Tag: New York Mets

What’s Up With the Mets?

The Mets started this season on a strong point, and for a moment were the top team on the NL East.  However, such dominance didn’t last long; although it’s still very early on in the season, they’re already below .500, and while they could make it to the wild card later on in the season, they’ll have trouble taking the NL East title from the Nationals.  But it’s not entirely bleak for the Mets; while this season is shaping up to be a tough one for the team, it’s not over yet.  I recently read an interesting article arguing that the Mets are setting the groundwork for a big win in the near future.

The Mets have still got some pretty talented players in their roster; they might have lost Colon to the Braves in a bittersweet loss, but Jay Bruce has been stepping up to the plate in a big way, in many instances hitting home-runs that have saved the game.  Alderson and Collins seem to be making decisions similar to a few years ago when they were rebuilding the team.  Some spots on the Mets roster could spell trouble, for example Asdrubal Cabrera.  For the second straight season, he’s forced to play the infield’s most difficult position while fighting through all sorts of injuries.  This happened last year as well, and it didn’t end great.  Flores and Duda are both out, meaning that Collins needs to rely on Reyes, Bruce and Rivera.  Sometimes this goes well – Jay Bruce has been doing very well this season – but not always.  

While this is a perfectly acceptable approach when expectations are low, it’s not sustainable if the Mets want to be the last team standing.  According to a quick survey on baseball insiders, the Mets are the only baseball team that consistently plays shorthanded.  That’s perfectly fine if you don’t expect to break .500, but it doesn’t look good if the Mets want to get as far as they did in 2015, or even last year.  For the Mets to make it to postseason, Collins and Alderson need to play a lot more aggressively.  Such players as Rosario, Cabrera, Reyes and Conforto, if used properly, could help propel them to postseason as opposed to making fans wait years for any hope of making it to postseason.   

Mixed Feelings About Colon

Mixed Feelings About Colon by Ari KellenThere were some mixed feelings for Mets fans tonight as Bartolo Colon made his first Citi Field appearance of the season.  Because this time, baseball’s lovable everyman wasn’t playing for the Mets, but rather for their fabled rivals of the NL East, the Braves.  And maybe it got to the Mets’ heads: over the course of a 12-inning game last night, the Mets were only able to get one run and five hits.  Although the Mets won their first game of the season on Monday, such playing isn’t going to get it done.  

For six innings, deGrom was doing well, yet Robles let some hits go that allowed the Braves to tie the score and bring the game into overtime.  When he went out to the mound, Colon was met with cheers from both his former teammates and their fans.  Yet after Colon spelled doom to the Mets, those fuzzy feelings may go away soon.  As Bruce pointed out, you’re almost guaranteed to get a fastball from Colon, which puts players on the defense.  By hitting Colon’s “mistakes”, few and far-between as they are, Bruce was able to score the only run for the Mets of the game.  

The Mets’ frustrations after various blown chances came to a head in overtime.  Rafael Montero, the seventh of eight Mets pitchers, wiggled out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the 11th with a double-play grounder from Garcia.  Yet his magic died out in the 12th after Matt Kemp was able to get a two-run shot that propelled the score to 3-1 in favor of the Braves.  This might be discouraging, but it’s also only two games into baseball season.  Anything can happen, and I’m excited to see what this entails.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to head up to Citi Field soon!  

Mets Players To Watch

mets players to watch by ari kellenBaseball season is coming up!  I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited to meet the Mets of 2017!  After various players went down for the count last season, and the Mets blew their chance to make it into the playoffs, fans are watching with anticipation.  Spring Training isn’t always an accurate indicator as to a team or player’s performance, but nonetheless, some names have been standing out.  Here are eight different players to watch this season:

Michael Conforto: Conforto got off to a hot start this season, hitting well above .300 with more at-bats than any other player.  He’s been playing well, but at the same time it’s unclear as to where you can put him.

Fernando Salas: The Mets are getting excited about Salas, who is typically the first out of the bullpen.  Yet he’ll be playing an even bigger role as this season starts, setting up for Addison Reed.  Nonetheless, he hasn’t pitched much this spring and needs to shake off those cobwebs.

Brandon Nimmo: While Nimmo showed promise at the World Baseball Classic, a hamstring injury has prevented him from playing in Grapefruit League games since his return.  

Josh Smoker: This left-handed pitcher has had a good spring, which makes him particularly attractive to Terry Collins.  

Matt Harvey: Harvey had a bad 2016, and although his Grapefruit League has started out well, he’s still having trouble getting through the order.  His surgery typically requires about 10 months to fully recover, and that’s still a few months away.  

Ben Rowen: After being signed early on in the off-season and showing some promise during Spring Training, Rowen’s unorthodox style is tough for hitters to combat, yet whether or not he can continue to command his pitches remains to be seen.  

Zack Wheeler: Wheeler is expected to start the season off, yet it isn’t clear what will happen if he out-pitches Harvey.  His innings limit keeps changing, and so the idea of having him work out of the bullpen has been floated.  

Lucas Duda: After back spasms got in his way during the Grapefruit League, Duda is back into action, and looks ready to deliver.  He’s hit .296 with five runs scored, five doubles and two homers, so things are looking good.
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Trading Lagares

trading lagares by ari kellenEven as Mets fans are still grieving over the loss of Bartolo Colon to the Braves, the Mets are receiving trade interest for outfielder Juan Lagares.  They could use his $4.5 million salary to address their bullpen, although they already did that be resigning both Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins.  Yet they still might choose to trade Lagares.  I recently read a blog post that discussed the pros and cons of this move.  Here’s what they have to say:

Pros

 

  • There are too many outfielders making too much money: Since the Mets weren’t able to trade Jay Bruce, their outfield, made up of him, Lagares, Granderson, Cespedes and Conforto has got a combined salary of more than $55 million.  While most of these outfielders will see plenty of games, Lagares is mostly limited to a late-inning defensive replacement.  So $4.2 million for a player with 15 at-bats a week and is mostly being used for his glove doesn’t make much financial sense.
  • He’s not a “prospect” any more: Lagares is going on 28, and isn’t nearly as fit has he used to be.  After he sprained his thumb, he wasn’t able to play as regularly last season.  At some point, there isn’t going to be any more improvement.  
  • He’s got value: While the Mets aren’t in a dire need of center fielders, they’re still valuable.  Lagares is signed through 2019 for $20.5 million, and is under team control through 2020 with a $9.5 million option.  

Cons

 

  • He’s the only actual center-fielder on their roster: As Granderson plays center fielder regularly for the first time in years, the Mets will need to replace him for defense in later innings.  
  • They need him for 2017 and beyond: Even though he’s mostly just a glove man, the Mets need help to balance out their young pitching and unmemorable offense.  

 

  • It’s against the Mets philosophy: General manager Sandy Alderson doesn’t want to give away players simply because they’re seen as valuable.  Since the Mets didn’t want to give away Bruce simply to get him off the team, it’s unlikely they’ll do that with Lagares.

No Tebow This Spring

No Tebow this spring by ari kellenWhen Tim Tebow signed on with the Mets for a minor league contract late last year, it was hard to understand.  Was it a whimper from a football has-been to regain relevance?  Were the Mets trying to generate publicity?  Either way, here’s how it went: Mets fans spent a day laughing about it on Facebook, then apart from the occasional amused head-shake everybody stopped caring.  

While many have questioned Tebow’s decision to move from being a football has-been to a baseball nobody, he’s defended his decision, saying that it was something he wanted to do, since it would be a fun challenge.  But he went on to play for a minor league Mets team, and it wasn’t terribly bad, but it wasn’t great.  With spring training coming up soon, people were wondering if Tebow would receive an invite, even if they knew deep down in their heart that it wasn’t going to happen.  He didn’t.  Instead, he’ll be starting in the minor league camp, as was expected.  Nonetheless, this is probably a disappointment to Terry Collins, who has said before that he wanted to see Tebow at spring training.  

Although Tebow didn’t get an invitation, the Mets did invite RHP Chase Bradford, catcher Xorge Carrillo, LHP PJ Conlon, infielder Phillip Evans, infielder Luis Guilllorme, RHP Kevin McGowan, LHP David Roseboom, RHP Paul Sewald, infielder Dominic Smith, outfielder Champ Stuart, outfielder Travis Taijeron, RHP Corey Taylor and RHP Logan Taylor.  

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The State of the Mets

The State of the Mets by Ari KellenFor New Yorkers, it’s that time of the year once again when the Mets have their annual Food Drive.  The donations are being collected for the anti-poverty organization The River Fund New York.  Mets fans who drop off 10 or more nonperishable items before the team’s matchup with the Washington Nationals from July 7th through 9th will get a pair of tickets to another Citi Field game.  Donations can be dropped off from 5pm to 7:30pm all three days, and can include canned fruit and vegetables, peanut butter and cereal.  No homemade foods, dented cans or opened packages will be accepted.  

This upcoming series against the Nationals is going to be an important one for the Mets.  Even though the Mets’ rivalry with the Braves and Phillies is better-known, in recent seasons that has become eclipsed by a bitter rivalry with the Nats.  However, the Mets and Nats are currently the two highest-ranking teams in NL East.  The two teams have already squared off several times already this season, and while the Nats have won most of those games, that’s not to say the Mets can’t make a comeback.  The Mets have been doing well this season, but if they can’t start winning more games, they won’t make it to the playoffs.  

While the Mets aren’t likely to become NL East champions this season, there is a very good chance that they could make the wild card.  They’re currently competing against the Dodgers for the wild card, and the Dodgers are currently ahead by several wins (48-39 instead of 46-38).  The Dodgers have been winning most of their games, so that means the Mets need to start winning more games if they want to take the wild card from them.

While the Mets don’t traditionally have a rivalry with the Dodgers, they’re personally my least favorite team in baseball.  As a New Yorker, I’ve never liked Los Angeles, and the Dodgers, formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers, represent the worst kind of Los Angelite: the ex-New Yorker.  So the Mets beating the Dodgers is particularly important, and that can’t happen unless the Mets start winning more games.  And that can start with the Nationals.