Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oli as the Lefty Specialist? I Don't Think So!

By: Clayton Collier
 
   Mets pitcher, and I use that term lightly, Oliver Perez has been cited as a possible option to be the successor to former-Met southpaw Pedro Feliciano as the lefty specialist. Although the stat that has been observed to determine this possibility was his successful batting average against (BAA) when facing left handed batters, this only tells one part of the story. In order to take Oli into consideration for that role, one must look at his Achilles heel, walks.

   Oli has been infamous for walking one batter after another and inconsistency. These are two attributes that do not make for a reliever to be relied upon in a tight situation. Oli's BAA when facing left-handed batters in 2010 was a respectable .214. But if you look at the On Base Percentage (OBP) for left-handed batters in 2010, it was a monstrous .411 OBP. This is because despite his ability to fool left-handed batters, he still walks batters left and right. If it wasn't for all the walks, left handed batters would have only had roughly a .311 OBP. That stat isn't dominant, but it would give Oli a much better chance to contend for the vacant role.

   Also, Oli has some questionable numbers when it comes to the first batter he faces. In his career, the first batter he faces has a .298 batting average, a .383 OBP and a .519 slugging percentage against him. Even worse, in 2010, first batters batted .467, had a .529 OBP and an even 1.000 slugging percentage. This blows a major hole in the theory that Oli could be salvaged as a lefty specialist. A lefty Specialist is supposed to come in for 1 or 2 outs and face the tough lefties like Ryan Howard or Brian McCann. If these guys are teeing off on Oli at clutch, late moments in games, he cannot be successful in that position.

  The 29-year old lefty is in the final year of his exorbitant 3-year $36 million contract. Since signing that three year deal with the Mets Oli has fallen apart, posting a 6.81 ERA and an unsightly 3-9 record. In fact, Oli hasn't even recorded a win since August of 2009. Oli in the winter leagues has not enjoyed much success, posting a 3-3 record and a 5.18 ERA. The walk totals have not ceased either, he has walked 23 batters in 33 innings.

  Unless Oli can regain a morsel of his talent that landed him his big 3-year $36 million deal, It appears the Mets will be carrying another 24-man Roster into 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mets Aquire SS Hu, A Look at 2nd Base for the 2011 Mets

By: Clayton Collier

   Alderson has dealt minor league southpaw Michael Antonini to the LA Dodgers in return for second baseman Chin-lung Hu. This move adds yet another middle infielder into the mix for the starting and backup middle infield roles. Obviously, Jose Reyes will be the starting shortstop, barring a trade, but the major question is who will fill the black hole that has become 2nd base for the Mets.

    This move really did not make much sense other than adding some competition for the back-up middle infield job. The move really wasn't a big deal for either team. Michael Antonini had a career 6.29 ERA in Triple-A Buffalo so it is unlikely he will have much, if any, of a role with the big club in 2011.

    Chin-lung Hu, unlike Antonini, has had major league experience. The 26-year old in 96 games over four seasons has had a career .191 batting average. It is not an ideal stat but it is an improvement from a pitcher who has failed to have success in Triple-A. Hu will likely compete with Luis Hernandez for a spot on the bench. Both are out of options so the one who does not get the job will most likely go through waivers. Other possibilities for the bench role will include the likes of Justin Turner and Brad Emaus.

   As for the starting job, it is pretty clear cut that it will be Daniel Murphy or Luis Castillo. But it seems quite apparent that Murphy has the advantage. Murphy is 25 years of age, Castillo is 35. Murphy can hit for power, Castillo in 15 seasons has 28 home runs total. Castillo is booed by fans and a cancer in the clubhouse. Murphy has been open to trying multiple defensive positions and has been a team player for the Mets.

   The Mets have $6 million invested in Castillo this season, and is in the final year of his 4-year $25 million contract. In 2010, Castillo batted .236 over 86 games and his defense now leaves something to be desired. Murphy spent most of 2010 on the disabled list after two leg injuries, one in a minor league rehab game. In the winter leagues this year Murphy was outstanding. In 28 games Murphy hit .320 with four home runs and 22 RBIs. Unless Castillo has an exceptional spring training, he will not be the starting 2nd baseman. If Castillo does not regain his starting role, the Mets will likely eat the $6 million and release him than waste a roster spot.

  The acquisition of Chin-lung Hu has added another man into a slew of candidates for only two mere roster spots on the 2011 club.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Maybe Next Year Mets Will Be Doing a Q&A

If anyone would like to submit a question on anything Mets related you can submit a question by:

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If we like your question we will answer it in an upcoming article!

Tobi Stoner: The Forgotten Arm

By: Clayton Collier

     RHP Tobi Stoner could be the key the Mets need to fill the gaping hole that is their bullpen. Stoner has had very little major league experience but in his few outings he has held his own. With uncertainty on multiple fronts of the Mets pitching staff, Stoner should be taken into consideration to help bridge the gap from the starter to K-Rod.

   Stoner was a 16th round draft pick by the Mets in 2006 and has spent most of his professional career as a starter. In Stoner's minor league career he is 33-42 with a 4.04 ERA. In 2009, Stoner was 7-7 with a 3.96 ERA with Double-A Binghampton and Triple-A Buffalo. In 2010, Stoner's first full year with Triple-A Buffalo, he struggled at best. He went 5-10 with a 5.97 ERA. Although the 25-year old Germany native has not exactly been dominant in the minors, the small sample we have seen from him in the majors should give him the chance to pitch for a spot with the big club.

   If Stoner has a particularly good spring training he should even be considered for the currently vacant 5th rotation spot. This is granted that the Mets do not acquire a Chris Young, Jeff Francis or a Tom Gorzelanny, which more than likely will happen. But, Stoner is an option to consider if the Mets have a need for starting pitching. Out of the 111 games Stoner has played in the minors, all but one of them he has played as a starter.

   If given the chance, Tobi Stoner could become a solid long reliever/6th starter the Mets are lacking since the departure of Hisanori Takahashi. Although his lack of experience, Stoner could very well produce some consistency that is heavily lacking on the New York Mets staff.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Look at the Top Free Agents This Winter

By: Clayton Collier
   In an offseason of several franchise players looking for a new home, there are many reports and rumors giving us insight as to where these players may end up. Several of these free agents can turn an average team into the team to beat. Out of the large free agent market this winter, ten of these players are particular game changers. Here is the latest on their situation, stature and possible suitors:
 
Carl Crawford (OF)- Carl Crawford, 29, has emerged as one of the premier players in the game today. His presence in a lineup would add speed, average and power. Crawford has spent his entire 9-year career with the Tampa Bay Rays. Due to budget constraints, it appears that the four-time all-star will not resign with the Rays. Crawford, who earned $10 million last season, has drawn interest from several teams but the leading candidates appear to be the Boston Red Sox, The LA Angels and the Detroit Tigers. In 2010, Crawford had arguably his best year of his career batting .307/.356/.495 with 19 home runs, 90 RBIs, 47 stolen bases and 110 runs. Crawford also earned his first Golden Glove award and won his first Silver Slugger award. Crawford is likely to sign a contract in the range of 6-7 years and $95-$120 million.

Cliff Lee (LHP)- Cliff Lee, 32, is the best free agent pitcher on the market this winter. Lee was a 4th round draft pick by the Montreal Expos in the 2000 amateur draft. In 2002, he along with Brandon Phillips, Grady Seizmore and Lee Stevens were traded to the Indians for Bartolo Col√≥n and Tim Drew. Lee had spent most of his career with the Indians up until late July when he was sent to the Phillies. Since then, Lee has become something of a journeyman-ace. Since the beginning of 2009, Lee has played on the Indians, Phillies, Mariners and most recently the Texas Rangers. The 2008 Cy Young award winner has drawn interest from 7-8 teams, most notably, the New York Yankees. The Yankees are seemingly going all-in to acquire the two-time all-star. They are reportedly compiling an offer in the range of 5 year, $115-120 million. The Texas Rangers though are prepared to engage in a bidding war with the Yankees. Rangers ownership has approved to take on more payroll in order to lock up Lee. Team president Nolan Ryan expects the Yankees to outbid the Rangers. In Lee's contract year, he went 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA, 185 K's compared to only allowing 18 walks. Lee finished 7th in the AL Cy Young balloting in 2010.


Jayson Werth (OF)- Jayson Werth, 31, since joining the Phillies in 2007 has made himself into a key man in their potent offense. It is safe to say the Phillies would not have enjoyed as much success as they have had in recent years without the development of Werth into an all-star caliber player. Werth can play either right or center field with great success. In 2010, Werth batted .296 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs. Now that his contract is up, it also seems his tenure with the Phillies is up as well. Werth has hired the infamous Scott Boras, an action not for someone looking to resign. Also, the Phillies have begun exploring other options for right field such as Carlos Quentin. Werth is seeking a contract somewhere between Jason Bay's (4 years $60 million) and Matt Holliday's (7 years $120 million) signings during the 2009 season. Werth is expected to get somewhere in the range of 5 years and $90 million. Possible landing spots for Werth including the Red Sox and the Angels.

Adam Dunn (1B/OF/DH)- Adam Dunn, 31, is one of the best, if not the best, power bat on the free agent market this winter. Dunn has enormous power and consistently hits 35-40 home runs and 100+ RBIs per season. He has a career 13.96 home run per at-bat ratio, bested only by Mark McGuire, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Jim Thome. Dunn's only down side is his defense leaves much to be desired. Although, his 1st base defense has improved greatly this past season to a .990 fielding percentage, his outfield defense would be a concern. Dunn's last year of being a full outfielder he had a fielding percentage of .947 and career .967 fielding percentage in the outfield. For this reason, Dunn will most likely be limited to being pursued as a 1st baseman or a designated hitter. The former 2nd round draft pick has interest coming from the Nationals, Tigers, White Sox and Cubs. The Nationals offered Dunn, who made $12 million with Washington in 2010, offered Dunn a 3-year deal that has not been accepted by Dunn's agent for months. Dunn is seeking a contract in the 3-4 years and $40-$50 million range. In Dunn's contract season, he batted .260 with 38 home runs and 103 RBIs in 158 games played.

Derek Jeter (SS)- Derek Jeter, 36, captain of the iconic New York Yankees will undoubtedly resign. Jeter has been in pinstripes his entire career since being drafted 1st round, 6th overall in the 1992 amateur draft. Throughout Jeter's 15-year career, he has been the face of baseball. He is a no doubt hall of famer and will surely finish his career with the Yankees. Jeter's impressive resume consists of the 1996 Rookie of the Year Award, 5 World Series rings, 11 All-Star selections, 5 Gold Gloves and 4 Silver Sluggers. Jeter has complied 2,926 career hits, all as a Yankee. He currently is the franchise leader in career hits as a Yankee. When Jeter resigns he will likely become the first player in history to have 3,000 hits as a Yankee. The Yankees are reportedly going to offer Jeter a 3-year $45 million contract. Jeter, who made $21 million in 2010, wants a 4-6 year deal. Jeter is coming off his worst year in his career batting .270 with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and 111 runs. If Jeter does not resign with the Yankees, that would be an absolute shock and devastating to Yankee fans.

Victor Martinez (C,1B)- Victor Martinez, 31, is the best catcher available this winter and with few top tier catchers in general, Martinez, a switch hitter, could become a commodity in the free agent market this winter. The four-time all-star is a career .300 hitter and drives in an average of 20 home runs per season. In 2010, he batted .302 with 20 home runs and 79 RBIs. Martinez does have lackluster defense behind the plate though. He has only a career 24% throw out rate on base runners. In 2010 for the Red Sox, Martinez allowed 99 steals and 37 wild pitches. Martinez has drawn interest from many teams including the Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers and Rockies. The Red Sox offered Martinez a 2-year contract but he declined because he is looking for a 4-5 year deal. Martinez is expected to reach a 3-4 year deal at $12-$18 per year.

Mariano Rivera (RHP)- Mariano "Mo" Rivera, 40, is arguably the best closer in baseball history. Mo, like Jeter has spent his entire 15-year career with the Yankees. Although 40, Mo hasn't not skipped a beat, being just as dominant throughout his entire career. the 11-time all-star has saved 559 games for the Yankees, second most all time. Mo has won 5 world series with the Yankees including the 1999 World Series MVP. In 2010, Mo went 3-3 with a 1.80 ERA and 33 saves. Mo has said he wants a 2-year deal. He is expected to reach a 2-year deal worth $18-$20 million.

Paul Konerko (1B)- Paul Konerko, 34, is a top tier 1st baseman available this offseason. After a few average seasons, Konerko was back in 2010, batting .312 with a monstrous 39 home runs and 111 RBIs. Konerko began his career with the Dodgers by being selected 1st round, 13th overall in the 1994 amateur draft. After having little success Konerko was traded to the Reds and soon after to the White Sox for Mike Cameron in 1999. From there, Konerko's career took off earning four all-star appearances. In Konerko's 12-year career with the White Sox, he batted .282 with 358 home runs and 1127 RBIs. Konerko has drawn interest from many teams but the most serious contenders appear to be the Diamondbacks and the White Sox. Konerko earned $12 million in 2010 and is expected to sign a deal of roughly 2-3 years at $12-$14 million per year. Konerko stated retirement is an option if he doesn't like the way the market for him turns out.

Carl Pavano (RHP)- Carl Pavano, 34, can be a poor man's Cliff Lee for those who lose the Cliff Lee sweepstakes. Pavano has had an interesting career. For most of his career, Pavano has been mediocre at best. Prior to 2010, Pavano has only had one good full season. In 2004 with the Florida Marlins, Pavano went 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA, earning him his sole all-star appearance and finishing 6th in the CY Young balloting. In 2010, Pavano has had something of a second breakout year going 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA and 7 complete games, 2 shutouts. Six to eight teams are reportedly interested in Pavano, with the Marlins and Twins emerging the front runners. The Marlins would have a problem with finding the room in the budget to sign Pavano, especially after signing John Buck. The Twins are making a strong push for Pavano. Pavano, who made $7 million in 2010, will most likely reach an agreement close to 3 years at $9-$11 million per year.

Rafael Soriano (RHP)- Rafael Soriano, 30, after Mariano Rivera, is the best reliever available this offseason. Soriano throughout his career has been the "go-to guy" and had success wherever he has gone. In 2009, the Braves finally gave Soriano the shot to close. Needless to say, Soriano flourished, compiling 27 saves, a 2.97 ERA and a 1.057 WHIP. In 2010, Soriano built on his improvements saving an AL leading 45 games for the Rays including a 1.73 ERA and a 0.802 WHIP, earning his first all-star appearance and finishing 8th in the CY Young award balloting. This winter, nearly every team will be looking for a reliable arm in the bullpen. Team such as the Angels, Rays, White Sox, Red Sox and Yankees could be possible suitors for Soriano. The Angels appear to be the leading contender for Soriano. The Angels are looking to expand their payroll and very well could land Crawford and Soriano. Soriano earned $7.25 million in 2010 and will likely earn a big contract. Soriano's agent is none other than super agent Scott Boras. Soriano could reach a 3-year deal worth $10-$13 million per year.

   With an offseason full of free agents capable of changing the entire image of a given team, these ten in particular you might want to keep an eye on.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hurdle will Manage Pirates, Three Candidates Left for the Mets Manager



By: Clayton Collier

     The Pittsburgh Pirates have reportedly hired Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle to manage the club. Hurdle was a strong candidate for the Mets managerial opening but instead signed a 3-year deal with the Bucs. This makes Terry Collins the clear frontrunner for Mets manager job. Other Mets suitors include Bob Melvin and Chip Hale.

     Now with former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle out of the picture, the remaining men for the Mets are Terry Collins, Bob Melvin and Chip Hale. Although all three will reportedly get second interviews, Hale appears to be the least likely candidate because he has no Major League managing experience.

  Former Astros and Angels manager Terry Collins is widely considered the favorite for the job. He has worked in the past with new vice president of player development and amateur scouting Paul DePodesta and is a close friend of Sandy Koufax, a mutual friend of Fred Wilpon. Collins has managed a career six seasons in LA and in Houston combined and has posted a 444-434 record as manager. Collins has managed a second place team five times out of six seasons but has never reached the playoffs. Collins this past season worked as a minor league field coordinator and was quite popular among the players.

   Bob Melvin is still a strong suitor for the managerial position despite all of Collins credentials. Melvin mmanaged the Mariners from 2003-2004 and the Diamondbacks from 2005-2009. In 2007, Melvin managed the Diamondbacks to a NL West division title and earned the NL Manager of the Year award. Melvin was a scout for the Mets this past season so he knows the Mets minor league system well, something that could work heavily in his favor in the second round of interviews.

    Chip Hale is considered by some not even to be a candidate anymore while others say he is still in the race. Hale has no Major League managerial experience, which works largely against him. Alderson has stressed the fact he is looking for a manager that has managerial experience in the majors. Hale served as the 3rd base coach for the Mets in 2010 and is one reason for the largely improved Mets defense this season.

   As the extensive search for a new skipper for the Mets, Alderson must choose very carefully as this crucial decision could make or brake the Mets for 2011.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family Guy Exposes the Sad Truth of Being a Mets Fan

The hit TV comdey: Family Guy, poked fun at the Mets in this hilarious 17-second moment from last Sunday's new episode:

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DePodesta Newest Addition to Mets Front Office

By: Clayton Collier

   In the theme of getting "the band back together", GM Sandy Alderson has hired former Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta to be the new vice president of player development and amateur scouting. Alderson appears to be getting the "Moneyball" crew together again in order to revamp the Mets lackluster front office. With little funds, "Moneyball"could be just what the Mets need to turn the direction of this team around.

   Alderson mentored Billy Beane, current GM of the Oakland A's. Beane was at the helm of Oakland for "Moneyball", where on tight budget constraints the A's used incredibly smart baseball knowledge to create a dynasty of 4 straight playoff berths including two 100+ win seasons. DePodesta and also newly hired assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi were on Beane's staff throughout this time. It can be assumed Alderson will attempt to make his own "Moneyball" here in New York. If this is the case, he has taken an excellent step in hiring DePodesta.

   DePodesta started his baseball career with the Cleavland Indians in 1996 as an advanced scout for the franchise. But DePodesta's claim to fame is being Billy Beane's assistant during "Moneyball". Due to the A's great success, DePodesta was named the GM of the LA Dodgers in February of 2004 becoming one of the youngest GMs in history. DePodesta was GM of the Dodgers for two seasons until he was fired following a disheartening 71-91 finish in 2005. He was then hired with the Padres as Special Assistant for Baseball Operations in 2006. Two years later, DePodesta was made Executive Vice President of the Padres. Alderson was CEO of the Padres from 2005-2009 and worked with DePodesta throughout most of his tenure in San Diego.

   DePodesta seems to have excellent credentials and a perfect fit for this new and greatly improved front office for the New York Mets.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Terry Collins the Frontrunner to be the Next Skipper?

By: Clayton Collier

    Multiple reports have stated that Terry Collins could be the frontrunner for the vacant managerial position on the Mets staff. He is scheduled to be interviewed this weekend in San Diego by new GM Sandy Alderson. There is a great deal of speculation about who is the favorite for the job and this is just the latest development.
 
     From a massive list of candidates, the possibilities have varied on a constant basis. Alderson has begun by interviewing internal candidates first. Candidates like Chip Hale, Dave Jauss, Terry Collins, and Bob Melvin will be interviewed for the available manager position. The Mets are also rumored to be interested in external candidates Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle and former Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu. But what appears to be the case is that Terry Collins is indeed the front runner for the job.

      The 61-year-old Michigan native has managed the Houston Astros from 1994-1996 and the LA Angels from 1997-1999 and most recently was a minor league field coordinator for the Mets. In his career as a manager, Collins has a 444-434 record but has failed to ever manage a team to the playoffs. In his combined six years with the Angels and Astros, Collins has managed a second place team five times. His only sub .500 year was an injury hampered 1999 for the LA Angels where they finished 70-92.
   
    Collins also is close friends with hall-of-fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. This is significant because Koufax is a good friend of owner Fred Wilpon. This mutual friendship could become a deciding factor if Koufax chooses to endorse Collins for the job.

    With the first round of interviews just beginning and much speculation to be had, keep an eye on Terry Collins.

Takahashi will not be back for next year

By: Clayton Collier

     When the rotation was in turmoil, when the K-rod pulled a pinheaded move landing him out for season, who did the Mets call, Hisanori Takahashi. But after the Mets and Takahashi could not come to terms last night, this will no longer be the case. One of the Mets greatest assets this past season is now a free agent.

     The Amazins wanted to offer the Tokyo native roughly one year with an option with a total of roughly $3 million. On the other end of the negotiating table, Takahashi wanted three years and $4-5 million per year, a high asking price that was apparently too high for the Mets.

      Although a big loss, one can understand the Mets reasoning in not signing Takahashi to a multi-year deal. Takahashi is 35 and given all the bad contracts clogging up the 25-man roster, the Mets were probably not inclined to take that kind of a gamble. For example, Oliver Perez had a good 2007 and a decent 2008, he got a 3 year, $36 million contract and now is a cheap joke on ESPN. Also, the budget this off season is very little, so Alderson probably did not want to put a large chuck of his budget into one player.

     For most of his career, Takahashi was in Tokyo pitching for the Yomiuri Giants. In 10 seasons with the Giants Takahashi went 79-66 with a 3.70 ERA and over 1,000 strikeouts. In his final season in Japan, the Yomiuri Giants won the 2009 Japan Series, the equivalent of the World Series in Japan.

    In Takahashi's first MLB season, He went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA and 114 strikeouts. As a starter, Takahashi's ERA was 5.01, but as a reliever his ERA was a dominant 2.04.

    An off season of little financial flexibility has resulted in the Mets losing what was sure to be their 8th inning man for 2011. He will have to come back down to earth on his asking price, but there is no doubt he will find a home as a dominant reliever, a 5th starter or maybe even a closer. The only thing that is certain about Takahashi's MLB future is that he won't be in Flushing for 2011.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reyes' $11 Millon Option Picked up for 2011

 By: Clayton Collier

       Jose Reyes, spark plug of the franchise, barring a trade, will be back once again taking the field come April for the New York Mets. It was never a question whether the twenty seven year old speedster's option would be picked up but rather if a long term deal was in order.

      "Jose Reyes is one of the most dynamic players in the game and there never was any doubt about picking up his option," said newly installed GM Sandy Alderson "A long-term deal is not out of the question. It is something we can certainly discuss at a future date."

      A future date indeed, the Mets, given their tight budget this off season will most likely discuss an extension later in the off season or even next year. Reyes will make $11 Million in 2011.

     In 2010, Reyes made roughly $9.5 million. Reyes had an up-and-down year battling through injury and going on just ridiculous tears. He finished the season with a .282 average, 11 homers, 54 RBIS, 30 stolen bases in 133 games. Reyes is looking forward to hopefully having an injury free season for the first time since 2008. Reyes has only played 169 games in 2009 and 2010 combined.

   Reyes stated that he has no interest in being anywhere else but the Mets. He said he wants to lead the Mets to a championship, something all of us would be more than happy to observe.

Alderson Picked As The New GM

By: Clayton Collier 

  The New York Metropolitans have opted to go with experience over youth and have selected Sandy Alderson as the next GM for the franchise. The 62 year-old former Marine has had tenures with the Oakland Athletics and the San Diego Padres and was the executive vice president of baseball operations from 1998-2005.

     Alderson took over the role of GM for the A's in 1983 following a disheartening 68-94 season. After several years of dancing around the .500 mark the A's won 3 straight American League pennants including the 1989 World Series championship. Alderson is responsible for bringing up players such as Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, and Jose Canseco over his 15 seasons with Oakland.

    Alderson left the A's in 1998 to work in the commissioner's office as vice president of baseball operations. Alderson oversaw baseball operations, umpiring, on-field operations and security and facility management. He served in this esteemed position from 1998-2005.

   Alderson is nothing less than a perfect fit for the Mets. He is an expert at finding undervalued players, an attribute that will be largely need in this tight off season budget. Alderson has his work cut out for him as he hopes to rebuild the franchise and dispose of the bad contracts filling up the 25-man roster.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Doctober Off to a Memorable Start

By: Clayton Collier


      Okay. I know this isn't Met related, in fact it pertains to arguably their #1 rival but I have to recognize greatness when greatness occurs. Roy "The Doc" Halladay, the pride of Denver, Colorado, has done it again Wednesday night pitching his second no-hitter this season. During the regular season, Halladay pitched the 20th perfect game in major league history at Sun Life Stadium against the Florida Marlins. On Wednesday, The stakes were a little higher than a mid-May ballgame. Game 1 of the NLDS with Halladay making his postseason debut, shut down the potent Reds lineup, only surrendering a walk to Jay Bruce. With 2 out in the 9th innings, Brandon Phillips hit a grounder that was bare handed by Ruiz to make history.


      Wednesday's no-no marked just the second no-hitter in postseason history. The 1st, Don Larsen's perfect game in game 5 of the 1956 World Series facing the Brooklyn Dodgers. Don Larsen's masterpiece was even more incredible with the fact that hall of famers Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider were all penciled in the lineup that day and were dominated by Larsen.


      Halladay's no-hitter was obviously no easy feat either. Hallady faced all-stars like Brandon Phillps, Scott Rolen and MVP candidate Joey Votto. Halladay was on a roll as he faced only 28 batters while racking up 8 punchouts. Halladay became only the 5th pitcher in MLB history to have multiple no-hitters in a single season. The last man to do so was Nolan Ryan in 1973. Halladay also became the first hurler ever to have a no-hitter in the regular season and postseason.


     For a club that is already the team to beat, this event is the kind of momentum starter that can help carry a team deep into the postseason and maybe even into the fall classic.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Best Possible Mets 2011 Opening Day Roster

  Here is the ideal starting roster for the 2011 New York Mets (within reason). The Mets are not expecting to make any big splash this off season, just some hole fillers, so this is mostly based on who they already have. This is assuming Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo are traded:

Catcher:
-Starter: Josh Thole- As a developing prospect, Thole appears to be major league ready. He doesn't seem like he is going to be a superstar, but a solid major league catcher looks to be a given.
-Backup: Henry Blanco- Blanco knows the pitching staff well and is a veteran who can help the pitching staff and mentor Thole to improve his defensive skills. Blanco's defense is as good as any and can deliver a clutch hit every now and then.

1st Baseman:
-Starter: Ike Davis- Ike had a phenomenal season, for a rookie, in 2010. He batted .264 with 19 Homers and 71 RBIS in 147 games. I can't say enough about Ike. He's got enormous power, great defense, and looks to be the future star of this franchise. I believe Ike will be a 30 home run and 100 RBI man for the Mets in the near future. No one should be at 1st base on opening day besides Ike Davis.

2nd Baseman:
- Starter: Orlando Hudson- The Mets need to sign Orlando Hudson and trade Castillo for a halfway decent relief pitcher. Hudson is know for his ridiculous defense and a leader in the clubhouse. He is a four-time gold glove award winner and a two-time all star. The Mets were reportedly interested in Hudson last off season but couldn't find a suitor for Castillo.
- We cannot have another season of Castillo. His range at 2nd base is decreasing and has nowhere to go in the lineup. The best top of the order is the Reyes and Pagan one-two punch and Castillo is useless in the 8 hole. Castillo's offense consists of bunting, the occasional hit and his speed; all useless in the 8th spot because he is hitting in front of the pitcher's spot. Castillo should be traded to an American League team where he can be in the 9th spot as a 2nd lead off hitter.
- If Hudson isn't signed the most likely scenario is 20 year old Ruben Tejada would get the starting job. Tejada is a shortstop originally and has a great arm and incredible range. He will not be a major power hitter but Tejada is capable, unlike Castillo, of hitting the ball deep in the gap or over the fence every once in a while.

3rd Baseman:
-Starter: David Wright- Is it even a question? He is the face of the franchise and brings fans to the park. Wright is streaky but he is a good defensive 3rd baseman and when he retires will be the last Met to wear #5. Wright is the man in the 3rd spot in the lineup and the man at the hot corner. He is the consistent 5 tool player for the Mets and the perfect trifecta of speed, power and defense. there is a 99.9999% chance of David Wright being the everyday 2011 3rd baseman.

Shortstop:
-Starter: Jose Reyes- Even though Jose Reyes is the subject of trade rumors, Reyes and Wright are the clubhouse leaders and the co-captains of this team. When I think of the New York Mets I think David Wright, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana. Reyes is the spark in this lineup and prior to his oblique injury played the best game of his career. I fully believe Reyes will have a monster year. I predict he will hit .290 to maybe even .300 with 40-50 stolen bases and 100 runs. 2011 will be a career year for Reyes granted he nips the injury bug.

Left field:
-Starter: Jason Bay- Jason Bay had himself an awful year at best. We probably could have given Fernando Martinez the starting job and it would have gone better than Bay did in 2010. If it wasn't for the concussion Bay probably would have finished in the realm of 11 homers and 65 Rbis, relatively similar to Wright's first year at Citi Field. Wright in 2009 had 10 home runs and 72 Rbis. I believe Bay will adjust to Citi Field like Wright did but i do not expect a repeat of his 2009 campaign in which he hit 36 homers and 119 Rbis with the Red Sox. Bay will most likely be in the 5 hole and be back to his All-Star caliber form.

Center Field:
- Starter: Angel Pagan- Pagan had a breakout year in 2010 batting .290 with 37 stolen bases and 80 runs. He solidified himself as an everyday player by stepping over Gary Matthews Jr. and Jeff Francoeur by taking advantage of his opportunity to showcase his potential to Manuel and the Mets. He proved himself as an essential part of the team by batting well over .300 with runners in scoring position (RISP) and batted nearly .400 in the 7th inning or later. Pagan is easily the most clutch player on the team. Pagan also had a phenomenal year in the field as well. Pagan had a .987 fielding percentage with only 5 errors and 10 outfield assists, including a triple play. Pagan's blazing speed also allows him to have an amazing ability to run down balls in the gap, a requirement for the spacious Citi Field. He deserves the job over Beltran in center field because while Beltran's range is decreasing, Pagan's is getting better and better. Beltran is still trying to recover from his knee surgery in which he has to wear a knee brace that slows him down. The best center field option the Mets currently have is Angel Pagan.

Rightfield:
-Starter: Carlos Beltran- Currently, the more capable man for the center field job is Pagan, forcing Beltran to right field. Beltran has had a forgettable past two years at best. In 2009 and 2010, Beltran had 17 home runs and 75 Rbis in 145 games played over the two seasons. Beltran in 2011 will be in the final year of a 7-year 119 million dollar contract and is the subject of trade rumors. It is believed the Red Sox and the Cardinals could be suitors but the Mets would have to eat roughly 15 million of his 18 million dollar salary in 2011 for a trade possibility to become feasible. In September of 2010, we began to see the Beltran of old. In September, Beltran hit .353 with 5 home runs and 12 Rbis. Beltran also began reading balls off the bat better in the field, giving him a better chance of running down a ball in the gap. While we saw Beltran finally begin to recover from his knee surgery that benched him until after the All-Star break, we still are not sure he will regain his 2006 form. Since we do not know how Beltran will perform, the Mets need a better 4th outfielder as a safety net. I believe an Austin Kearns or an Eric Hinske would fill that job well.

Starting Rotation: This is Mets rotation granted Santana is not ready by Opening Day:

1. Mike Pelfrey- Pelfrey's breakout year has proven he is top of the rotation material. Pelfrey went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA and even 1 save in the Mets 20 inning marathon. He did struggle in the middle of the season due to changing arm speeds that tipped his pitches to batters. Once Pelfrey got that under control, he was back to dominance. If Santana is not ready for Opening Day, Pelfrey will surely be handed the ball.

2. R.A.Dickey- Robert Allen (R.A.) Dickey had himself a career year in 2010. The 35-year old knuckler went 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. The former 1st round draft pick had never had a better year than 9-8 with a 5.09 ERA in 2003. When R.A. Dickey was signed this past off season, it was mocked as a waste of money. In 2010 R.A. Dickey finished 7th in the National League in ERA with his incredible 2.84.

3. Dillion Gee- Gee got the September call up when Santana went down for the season with a torn shoulder. Gee dazzled in his debut allowing 1 run and 2 hits in 7 innings and had a no-hitter for 5 innings. The 24-year old rookie has the potential to be a top of the rotation arm. In his 5 starts in the majors this year, Gee was 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA and had a quality start in each of his outings. There is no doubt Gee will be in the rotation come 2011.

4. Jon Niese- Niese had a good rookie campaign going 9-10 with a 4.20 ERA. Jon collapsed down the strech going 2-5 with a 5.43 ERA in his final 10 starts of the year. The 24-year old southpaw will be a solid 3rd or 4th starter in the Mets rotation for years to come.

5. Hisanori Takahashi- Takahashi is the perfect 8th inning man/ 6th starter for the Mets. He will be a free agent this winter but the Mets need to resign him. Takahashi has proven himself a dominant reliever and a decent spot starter. In his first year in Major League Baseball, Takahashi went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA and 8 saves in 8 opportunities. Takahashi had been in Nippon Professional Baseball with the Yomiuri Giants prior to the 2010 season. When Santana returns Takahashi should be the 8th inning man. Jenrry Mejia was snubbed because he needs more time to develop as a starter in Triple-A.

Closer:
Fransisco Rodriguez- K-rod is a hot head but the bottom line is the Mets need him. K-rod is still one of the prominent closers in the game. In 2010, K-rod was 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 25 saves in 30 opportunities.. In August K-rod was charged with 3rd degree assault for beating his father-in-law in the family lounge of Citi Field. He spent a night in prison and a two game suspension by the New York Mets. Later it was discovered that he torn his thumb ligament in the scuffle and had to have season-ending surgery. If the new GM doesn't trade him, K-Rod needs to be the 2011 closer for the Mets.

Some players will look to bounce back while others are looking to build on 2010, the 2011 season for the New York Mets could be a pleasant surprise if everything more or less goes their way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mets officially fire Manuel and Minaya

By: Clayton Collier

      The inevitable has finally happened. Mets ownership has fired manager Jerry Manuel and relieved general manager Omar Minaya of his duties earlier today. This coming on the heels of the Mets closing a mediocre 2010 season. In 2010 they once again failed to reach .500 and the postseason. The Wilpon's stated they would like to go in a "new direction" and have a winning atmosphere in the franchise.

     Minaya joined the club in 2005 replacing Jim Duquette as the GM. In his first off season he made a big splash signing Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner, Pedro Martinez and trading for Carlos Delgado. These moves payed off as the Mets made it to the postseason in the 2006 season, falling to the Cardinals in 7 games of the NLCS. Unfortunately, that would be the only success Minaya would have. Despite acquiring Fransisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana, Jason Bay and J.J. Putz among others since the 2006 season, the Mets have failed to make the playoffs since, resulting in Minaya's termination as GM. Minaya could return with the organization in 2011 in a different position.

     Manuel came on board as a first base coach in 2005 and later a bench coach in the 2006 season. He became the manager in June of 2008 replacing Willie Randolph. Manuel went 55-38 as manager in 2008, falling one game short of a playoff berth for the second year in a row. In the 2009 season, the Mets were predicted to be in the World Series. But Manuel's first full season ended heavily below expectations. The Amazins finished in fourth place with a 70-92 record due to a ravage of injuries. With almost a fully healthy team the Mets did not do much better in 2010, ending yesterday's season in fourth place again with a 79-83 record, ending his career with the New York Mets.

     Ownership wants to hire a GM from outside the organization that will bring in fresh and new ideas. Assistant GM John Ricco will assist in the selection process for the position. Today the Mets drew up a list of roughly 30 candidates and have already narrowed that number to about half of a dozen.

     Whoever the new GM is going to be will select the new manager. The candidates are vast but the first man for the job appears to be Wally Backman. Backman is a former Mets 2nd baseman and managed the Brooklyn Cyclones this past season to a 51-24 record, best in their Single-A league. Backman has no major league experience as a coach except only one day with the Diamondbacks before rumors surfaced regarding his personal and legal issues that got him fired soon after.

    With a franchise without a certain direction to go, the Wilpons, players, and fans alike all hope the new management can right this sinking ship that is the New York Mets.

 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Disappointing Season Ends Fittingly

By: Clayton Collier

     The 162nd game of the season left fans with the same feeling this entire season has, disappointment. Today's 14-inning loss marked the end of the 2010 season for the New York Mets. they finish the season with a 79-83 record, four games under .500. This marks the second losing season and the fourth consecutive year in which the club has missed the postseason. This afternoon's game was the season in a microcosm.
    
     In the season finale, the Mets had excellent starting pitching but no run support. Pelfrey went 7 innings allowing only run and 6 total base runners. But unfortunately, the Mets offense was underwhelming and unable to comeback late in games. After the 7th inning, the Mets were held to only 2 hits for the remainder of the game. The only run scored by the Mets was a double play ground out by Thole that scored Pagan in the 5th inning.

    Then there was Oliver Perez, the LVP (least valuable player) of the Mets roster. Perez ran onto the field to roars of booing and jeering from the fans, not afraid to show his displeasure. In Perez's first game played in 27 games, he only recorded 1 out while walking 3 batters and hitting Adam Kennedy, walking in the winning run. This marks another awful year for the 29-year old southpaw. He finishes the year 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA.

    In a year of low expectations and mediocre results, we can only look foward to an unsure 2011 for the New York Mets.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mets reportedly to announce firing of Manuel, Minaya

By: Clayton Collier

       As another lackluster season for the New York Mets ends so to does the era of Manuel and Minaya. According to multiple reports, manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya are to be fired following the end of season Sunday. Ownership stated that they will not make any announcement until after the end of the regular season. The Mets on Thursday clinched their second straight losing season and forth straight season where they have failed to reach the postseason.

      Minaya has been with the Mets since 2005 and over his tenure brought in Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Johan Santana, Fransisco Rodriguez and Jason Bay among others. Yet all these major pickups throughout this time, the Mets have only made the postseason one time. Considering roughly a 140 million dollar team budget, one would expect better results. If Minaya is removed from his GM role, he might be offered a different position in the franchise.

       Manuel joined the Mets halfway through the 2008 season replacing Willie Randolph. Following Manuel taking over in 2008, the club went 55-38 only to fall one game short of a playoff berth. But eventually Manuel's laid back attitude lost its effect. Since the 2008 season Manuel has had a disappointing 148-174 record in the 2009-2010 seasons.

     Even though Minaya and Manuel have given it their best shot, it is time for the club to go in another direction in order to make the club a winning team once again.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beltran Done for the Year

By: Clayton Collier

        Center fielder Carlos Beltran will miss the remaining four games of the season following aggravating his right knee on Tuesday's walk off win against the Brewers. Beltran missed yesterday's double header to have an MRI that revealed mild inflammation in his knee. This is the same knee Beltran had off season surgery on that sidelined him for the first half of the year. The MRI did not reveal any actual re injury to the knee which is a good sign. Shutting him down was strictly a precautionary move. Now Beltran will begin his extensive rehabbing in Puerto Rico in order to regain his 2006 form.

      In 220 at-bats this season, Beltran is batting .255 with 7 home runs and 27 RBIs. This is Beltran's second consecutive season that has been hampered by injuries. in 2009, Beltran was just limited to roughly 80 games in which he batted .325 with 10 homers and 48 RBIS.

      Beltran is in the final year of his massive 7-year, 119 million dollar contract and has been the subject of trade rumors. The Mets are reportedly looking to trade Beltran this off season in order to free up contract space. Beltran is owed 18 million dollars through the 2011 season. The Red Sox and Cardinals are reportedly interested, but the Mets would have to eat close to 15 of the 18 million in order for any kind of deal to become a reality.

     In another lost year for Beltran and the Mets, all that we can do is hope for improvement and some sense of consistensy from this club.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mets Walk-off. But Beltran Limps off

By: Clayton Collier

       Tonight marked the beginning of the final week of the Mets 2010 season. This final homestand has started off on a hot start. The Mets had solid pitching and timely hitting for a change tonight. They were actually able to come back from a deficit late in the game without going belly up. Now a key factor for the Mets next season is to see if they can carry this momentum from a walk-off win and string some wins together.

      Of course, with good news comes bad news. Beltran exited the game in the 6th inning with a strained knee, the same knee that sidlined him for the 1st half of the season. Beltran said after the game that the knee felt tight before he came to the ballpark but didnt think much of it. The severity of the injury is still unknown but chances are he will not play in the double header tomorrow. This injury couldn't have come at a worse time for Beltran. It appeared that Beltran was beginning to return to his old form. In September, Beltran is batting .318 with 5 home runs and 13 RBIs.

      On the lighter side, the Mets had a walk-off win tonight. It was all rookies in the 9th as Davis, Thole and Tejada strung together 3 hits to produce 2 runs to take the game in their final at-bat. Tejada went 3-4 with two doubles including the walk-off hit. Wright homered to improve to 98 RBIs on the season, two short of his 5th 100+ RBI season.

     Mike Pelfrey had another encouraging start as he went 7.1 innings allowing 3 earned runs taking a no descision. Pelfrey has one more start this season against the Nationals in the final series of the season. Pelfrey is 15-9 this year with a 3.75 ERA.

     Pedro Feliciano tonight broke his own previous franchise record of relief appearences in a single season. Tonight marked Feliciano's 89th apperance this year. Feliciano is 3-6 this season with a 2.79 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched.

     The Mets in these remaining 6 games hope to achieve the allusive .500 mark. They are currently sitting in 4th place in the NL East and 77-79 on the season.

   

Final Homestand Begins Tonight Following Last Nights Rainout

By: Clayton Collier

          The Mets four Game series with the Brewers begins tonight after being rained out yesterday. Wednesday R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese will split the doubleheader as will Dave Bush and Yovani Gallardo. This begins the final homestand of the season for the New York Mets in which they hope to pull back to .500 for the season. They are currently 76-79.


           As for tonight, Mike Pelfrey will start against southpaw Randy Wolf. Wolf has handled the Mets well in his career, he is 12-5 with a 3.29 ERA. Wolf is on a stretch of dominance his last three games. He is 2-1 with a microscopic 0.78 ERA. Look out for Reyes, Wright and Beltran tonight who have dominated Wolf in their career. All Three have at least 20 career at-bats against him and all are batting over .300. When the Mets faced Wolf earlier this season he allowed 2 runs and 10 base runners in only 5 innings pitched. Randy Wolf is 13-11 this season with a 4.24 ERA.


        As for Mike Pelfrey, he in his past three starts is 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA. In his career against MIlwaukee, Pelfrey is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Pelfrey still hasn't allowed a home run to a left handed batter this season. None of the Brewers have had more than 5 career at-bats against Pelfrey. Pelfrey is hoping for a career high 16th win this season. The most wins he has ever had in a season in 13 back in 2008. Pelfrey is 15-9 the season with a 3.75 ERA.


       The Mets and Brewers faced earlier this year in a 3 game series at Miller Park in Milwaukee in which the Brewers took 2 out of the 3 games.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mets Managerial Mayhem

 By: Clayton Collier
            The only thing that we know for sure about the Mets future skipper is that it will not be Jerry Manuel. The list of possible candidates appears to be changing on a daily basis. Names such as Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine have been dropped in discussions the past few weeks. The five candidates appear to be Bobby Valentine, Wally Backman, Joe Torre, Bob Melvin and Terry Collins. Still, there does not appear to be a clear front runner for the job.
           
Of the five suitors, Bobby Valentine or Wally Backman are best fitted for the Mets current situation. Either of these two can light a fire under them to get them going. Either one of them will demand respect and whip this club into shape. The Mets desperately need a leadership role in their system and they could fill that position with great success.

            Backman managed the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones this season to a New York-Penn best 51-24 season record and their first division title since 2007. It is very possible that he was sent to manage the minors in order to get to know the farm teams and groom him for a 2011 major league debut. His fiery personality could very well ignite this team that is in dyer need of a spark.

             Bobby Valentine could be another option for the job. He managed the Mets from 1996-2002 to the tune of a .534 winning percentage over that time. He is most famously remembered for a June 1999 game  for sneaking back into the dugout wearing a disguise after being ejected. Bobby's abrasive personality could put some fight in the Mets and keep it going through the stretch run. Bobby’s “My way or the Highway” attitude could be just what the club needs. Bobby was fired following the 2002 season because of his personal conflicts with GM at the time Steve Phillips.

           Joe Torre although given his extraordinary track record would not be a great fit for the Mets. He admitted last week that he can’t connect with younger players anymore. Although he is one of the best managers in history, the Mets are mostly a young team. With exceptions to Bay, Castillo, Beltran and R.A. Dickey, the Mets are for the most part 30 or younger. For a team that is relying on their farm system for their future, they need a manager that can see eye-to-eye with the younger players. Torre managed the Mets from 1977-1981 with a 286-420 record. Torre never managed a winning season with the Mets.
   
           Melvin and Collins have no purpose being the Mets skipper other than just for the sake of change. It would be no improvement to Manuel. Even though Bob Melvin has had a postseason appearance with the Diamondbacks in 2007 and multiple 90 win seasons, He is infamous for constantly changing the lineups as does Manuel, (see batting Reyes 3rd). Collins can put together winning seasons but doesn't connect with players well. in 1999 he resigned from the job as Angels manager because the players were asking the front office to fire him. Melvin and Collins are working for the Mets as a scout and minor league field coordinator respectively.
           
       While the choices are many and we don’t know what direction they will take, what we do know is that whoever gets the positions will take them in a new direction. We can only hope that that direction is to the top of the NL East come 2011.