The Mets have announced that Catcher Raul Casanova, Pitcher Mike Pelfrey, Pitcher Joe Smith and Outfielder Brady Clark have made the team and been added to the team’s 25-man roster. Pelfrey has been named the Mets fifth starter due to Orlando Hernandez being place on the 25 DL
Friday, March 28, 2008
Ruben Gotay was put on waivers yesterday and was claimed by the Atlanta Braves today. The Mets put Gotay on waivers because they did not have any room for him on the major league roster. They wanted him to start the season in AAA. In order for him to be sent to the minors he has to go through waivers, and the Braves picked him up.
I am furious about this move and think it is quite stupid. Last season, Gotay stepped up his game and took over the second base job. He was really crushing the ball with an average in the low to mid .300s and playing average defense. The Mets then went out and traded for Luis Castillo to replace him. The main reason for the trade was because Castillo was an experienced veteran who has postseason experience. I didn’t mind this trade that much because I knew was Castillo was capable of a lot but everyone knew that Gotay did not deserve to be benched. Gotay’s average then dropped and he finished the season batting .295 with 4 home runs, 24 rbis, 25 runs, and 3 stolen bases. It must have been an insult to Gotay signing Castillo to a 4 year deal showing Gotay that he will not be starting at second base any time soon.
The Mets once again did not trust a second baseman from their minor league system. Again, the Mets gave a young second baseman a chance and took it away. The Mets gave Jeff Kepinger a chance and he hit .284 with 3 home runs, 9 rbis, and 9 runs in 116 at bats but eventually traded him to the royals for Ruben Gotay. The Mets gave Anderson Hernandez a shot 2 years ago when he started the season as the Mets second baseman. He made a spectacular catch in the Mets Opener but shortly after got injured and did not receive the second baseman job again. And now Gotay, the Mets started him and he flourished, but I guess they didn’t think he had what it takes.
The Mets wanted to send Gotay to the minors because of his inability to hit left handers. Even though he is a switch hitter, Gotay only hit .194 against lefties. The Mets are most likely going to bring Fernando Tatis with them to start the season. The 33 year old hit .194 in 2003 and did not play in the majors again until 2006 for the orioles where he hit just .250. The Mets essentially gave a way a young bat who is working on hitting left handers for a 33 year old third baseman who has not hit higher than .250 since 2000. He better not miss left handers then because that doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
The thing about Gotay is that he really wanted to win and wanted to be a Met. In the Bergen Record, Steve Popper wrote: “Gotay sat alone in the clubhouse with tears in his eyes as he made phone calls to family and to his agent, trying to find out what is next.”
This incident reminds me of a few things in recent Mets history. The Mets traded Mora to Baltimore in midseason 2000 with two minor league players and Mike Kinkade for shortstop Mike Bordick. In 2006, Bell was traded with fellow relief pitcher Royce Ring to San Diego for outfielder Ben Johnson and reliever Jon Adkins. Most recently, in December of 2006, the Nationals claimed Jesus Flores, one of the Mets best catching prospects out of the Rule 5 draft. In all of these cases the Mets underrated these players and just tossed them around. Now they are all on new teams and playing great.
Last December, I suggested another option for Gotay would be to move him to the outfield. “I believe it would be a smarter move to convert Gotay into an outfielder. He could get a lot of playing time and he is a pretty good hitter. Alfonso Soriano recently made the switch from second base to outfield so why can’t Ruben Gotay do it. I do not want to waste Gotay’s bat for just pinch hitting and the rare start.” I also suggested that Gotay could play first base because of the extreme lack of depth in the minor league system.
The absolute worst part about this trade is the fact that the Atlanta Braves claimed him. It couldn’t be some random American League team; it had to be one of the Mets rivals. So now he will be on the Braves 25 man roster and will be competing against the team he once loved. What could be better motivation for Ruben Gotay?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Another option for a catcher to be called up is Mike Nickeas. The 25 year old Canadian is a good defensive catcher who lacks with the bat. Nickeas batted .288 with 10 home runs and 55 rbis for Spokane. In 2005, he played for the Rangers AA team, the Frisco Roughriders. The 6-0, 205-pounder was Texas' fifth round selection in the June, 2004 Free Agent Draft after spending three years at George Tech.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The 2008 season begins in less than a week and the Mets have a serious lack of depth at catcher. Brain Schneider has barely played due to hamstring problems, Castro is injured, and Cancel is injured, leaving only Raul Casanova healthy. One guy that could sneak up if Schneider gets hurt again or Casanova injures himself is Salomon Manriquez.
The 6 foot 1, 25 year old right hander has never seen the major leagues and finished the last 2 seasons at AA. He has had months where he has crushed the ball but is a very hot and cold hitter. Last season, after batting .306 in April and .327 in June, Manriquez ended the year with just a .275 average. In April of 2006, Manriquez got off to hot start batting .352 in April but ending up with a .257 average. He is more of a defensive player but so is Schneider so it really isn’t a huge blow to the lineup. If you are thinking, he is in AA isn’t that a big jump to the majors. It really isn’t that rare, especially for catchers. A few years ago Mike Jacobs got called up only to hit a homerun his first at bat. Jacobs ultimately was traded along with Yusmeiro Petit for Carlos Delgado. Manriquez would be used primarily for defense and could see time this year.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Jon Niese went 4.2 innings, giving up 2 hits and 2 runs, and 6 walks. He pitched extremely well in his first 4 innings allowing just 2 hits but Niese got into a little trouble in the fifth after the bases were loaded. He is now 1-0 with a 3.12 era, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts, in 8.2 innings pitched. Good news for tomorrow, Robert Parnell is scheduled to start in place of Pedro.
Robert Parnell is another pitched out of the 2005 draft class which landed the Mets Pelfrey, Niese, Parnell, pitcher Nick Carr, and second baseman Hector Pellot. Parnell has pitched 2 innings this spring training, allowing 0 runs while striking out 2 and walking 1.
The 5th spot in the Mets rotation is up in the air right now due to the recent struggles of both Orlando Hernandez and Mike Pelfrey. After both pitches were lit up on Sunday, questions were asked if whether Pelfrey is ready and if Hernandez is just too old. Pelfrey has been very inconsistent but has had games where he is getting the ground ball outs he intends to get. Though, his record is 0-1 after 5 games and he has an era of 8.31. In only 17.1 innings pitched, Pelf managed to give up 29 hits while giving up more walks (7) than strikeouts (6). Hernandez has pitched in just one game due to injuries. His age has really caught up to him as he is throwing his fastball in the low 80’s to upper 70’s. Major league hitters will crush him if he just slightly misses his target, especially on his breaking pitches in the 60’s. In that lone game for El Duque, he allowed 5 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, and a strikeout. So as of now, Pelfrey and El Duque are not up to par, posing the question who should the Mets fifth starter.
I believe the best option would be to give 33 year old Nelson Figueroa a chance. Nelson has not pitched in the Major leagues since going 0-3 with a 5.72 era with the pirates in 2004. Since then he has played in an independent league (0-1, 2.79 era), 1 year in AAA (4-5, 4.38), and last season in Mexico (8-6, 3.87). He has been overlooked in spring training even though he has pitched pretty well. In 7 games (2 starts), Figueroa is 2-1 with a 2.87, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts. He has had success in the majors and it is possible it could happen again. In 2003, Figueroa went 2-1 with a 3.31 era in 12 games (3 starts). All I am saying is for the Mets to give him a chance. They don’t have to have him as their fifth starter but just don’t overlook him. If Pelfrey and El Duque continue to struggle during the last week of spring training then the Mets would be smart to consider Nelson Figueroa
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The start of the 2008 season is almost 2 weeks a way. Moises Alou will be out for years so the Mets are most likely going to use Angel Pagan as their starter. Pagan started out spring training red hot hitting in the .400’s up until recently. Now Pagan has cooled off and is only hitting .333.
Something tells me that when the season starts Pagan is going to hit terribly leaving the Mets in a bad situation. I know this sounds pessimistic but it seems like one of those times where a player has a great spring training and then play crappy when the season starts. Just keep an eye out for how Brady Clark finishes spring training and how Fernando Martinez does in the minors because both could either end up starting or platooning in left for awhile.
As everyone knows, this season will be the last season at Shea Stadium. The Mets are building a brand new stadium that is supposed to be more fan friendly creating a better experience when you go to a game. But will Citi Field actually be better than Shea?
With Citi Field you get a new, clean, high tech stadium where every seat is a good seat. No more back row lodge or mezzanine where you can’t even see half the field. There will be more restaurants, activities, and most importantly more leg room at your seat. Everything will be easier to get to in the stadium making Citi Field very easy and fun.
Let’s not forget to focus on the most important issue, bathrooms. There are a total of 568 bathrooms at Shea and 345 (61%) are men’s bathrooms. It is already hard enough having to wait in the line if you go during the break between innings. Citi field will only have 51% of there bathrooms being men’s.
In the end, Citi Field is a good thing. Not for the average fan, but for the Mets and their investors by increasing the number of suits from 45 to 54.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Lastings Milledge is batting .359 with 5 doubles, 9 runs, 8 rbis, 5 stolen bases, and just 6 strikeouts in 12 games.
Ryan Church is batting .238 with no extra base hits, 1 run, no rbis, and no stolen bases in 10 games.
Brian Schneider has been injured for most of spring training and is just 1 for 5 with a home run, an rbi, a run, and 3 strikeouts.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Nick Evans had a pinch hit double in todays win against the O's. The 22 year old is now 2 for 2 with 2 runs, an rbi, and 2 doubles. He was a 2004 fifth-round pick, Evans put up some pretty solid numbers in the Florida State League, with 15 homers, 25 doubles and a .476 slugging percentage at age 21. That might not sound that terrific, but it put him seventh in slugging and tied for ninth in homers.
Monday, March 10, 2008
In early september last year I wrote about how underated Carlos Muniz is. He pitched great in AA and was shortly called up to the Mets around 3 weeks later. He struggled a bit but showed some positive stuff being put into a tough situation. He ended up giving up 2 runs in 2.1 innings with 1 hit last year and was named to the AFL star showcase during the offseason. He has not been used very much in this years spring training but has pitched well in his 3 games. He is 2 for 3 in save oppertunities with 2 hits, a run, a walk, and 2 strikeouts in 3 innings. He most likely will not make the team but will be called up when someone gets injured in the upcoming season.
Over at Mets.com there is an article about how Mike Pelfrey has fixed his problem of tipping his pitches. Last year he fanned his glove for a changeup; a visible tongue meant fastball; and if he did neither it could easily be identified as a slider.
Pelfrey pitched great in his first two games but got roughed up in his last game. So far this spring traing Pelfrey is 0-1 with a 7.56 era, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts, 7 runs in 8.1 innings pitched.
Friday, March 07, 2008
There has been recent talk of the Mets possibly signing Free Agent Barry Bonds. The pile of injuries are stacking up for the Mets right now, especially in the outfield with Alou, Church, and Anderson out. The Mets will need to find a replacement for Alou as he will be out 4 to 6 weeks but probably more like 8 weeks. At his ESPN.com blog, Buster Olney believes it time for the Mets to discuss signing Barry Bonds following the recent wave of injuries.
I do not want Bonds to be on the Mets. I would rather the Mets loose games rather than have to cheer for him. On July 31 I wrote an article showing my hatred for Bonds and what I would do if I caught his homerun ball. Bonds is arrogant and has 0 class. I have already heckled him at Shea and I am sure almost all Mets fans would rather have Fernando Martinez in left rather than Bonds.
The Mets today announced the following roster moves: Left-handed pitcher Adam Bostick has been optioned to New Orleans (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League while the following players have been sent to minor league camp for re-assignment: Right-handed pitchers Robert Parnell, Eddie Kunz, Juan Padilla, Andy Cavazos, Brant Rustich, Ivan Maldonado, left-handed pitchers Jonathan Niese and Ryan Cullen, catchers Salomon Manriquez and Mike Nickeas, infielder Anderson Machado and outfielder Ben Johnson.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Anderson Hernandez went 3 for 5 today and batted in the run in the bottom of the 9th to win the game. With Ruben Gotay injured, Hernandez has a chance to become the backup middle infielder. He is solid defensively at both shortstop and second base but is extremely streaky with the bat. In 87 at bats for the Mets since 2005, Hernandez has a .138 average consisting of 6 runs, 3 rbis, 2 walks, and 17 strikeouts. Though he has the ball better every year going from a .056 to .152 to .333. The 25 year old did bat .301 last season for AAA New Orleans with 84 runs, 42 rbis, 28 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs, and 16 stolen bases. He was the Mets starting second baseman going into the season just 2 years ago and made one of the best catches of the year opening day. If he stays healthy I would not be surprised to see him make the team.
Moises Alou has been sent back to New York for tests after compaining of a sore groin. So now Ryan Church, Marlon Anderson, Carlos Beltran, and Alou are all injured... Awsome. At least now we will really get to see Martinez play. Fernando Martinez doubled, singled and walked Wednesday to help the Mets edge the Dodgers 3-2. The 19-year-old Martinez is 6-for-20 with a 2/2 K/BB ratio this spring. For more on other outfield options click here. Update 9:21 pm: Alou out 4 to 6 weeks.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Michel Abreu didn't make Tuesday's trip to Jupiter because he's been diagnosed with a strained right hip flexor. With Carlos Delgado, Marlon Anderson, and now Abreu out the Mets will almost have to call up Mike Carp. Carp had 0 home runs in the Arizona Fall League and has lost a lot of his power since his injury last season. This could be a big chance for him for the Mets to regain confidence in him so he better not screw it up or he will be Anderson Hernandez… stuck in the minors.
The Mets 7th pick in the 2005 draft Robert Parnell was invited to spring training this year. Parnell started his career in Brooklyn with 2 wins and 3 losses but a 1.73 era, 67 strikeouts in 15 games, 14 starts. The 6 foot 3, righty pitcher went 5-10 with a 4.04 era with 54 strikeouts in 18 starts for A Hagerstown in 2006. He also started 3 games for A St. Lucie; 0-1, 9.26 era.
Parnell started the 2007 in St Lucie going 3-3 with a 3.25 era, 62 strikeouts in just 12 starts (55.1 innings) making him a FSL Mid-Season All-Star. After being called up to AA Binghamton, the 23 year old struggled with a 5-5 record and era of 4.19 in 17 starts.
The scariest stat for Parnell in AA was the difference between bases empty, runners on base, and runners in scoring position. Bases Empty he had an era of 1.09, runners on 7.99 era, runners in scoring position 12.04 era.
There is almost no chance he makes the team but will most likely start the year in AAA and could come up when someone gets hurt. Keep an eye on the development of his changeup; it has been a problem since he became a pro.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Over at Mets.com, Marty Noble updates us on the situation of El Duque, Pelfrey, and Pedro.
"Three pitchers, three mounds, three stages of three careers at three decidedly different stages of Spring Training. Pelfrey is on schedule, Martinez says he is and no one disputes that, though he has yet to pitch in a game. El Duque's Spring Training is barely past the starting line."
Reports show that yesterday Gotay was spotted walking on crutches with a boot on this morning. Xrays were taken on his right ankle after he injured it sliding into home plate during Sundays win. The X-rays showed a possible fracture and He’ll undergo a CT scan tomorrow.
This is huge for the bullpen. Gotay was likely to be the final guy on the bench. Now the Mets will most likely have to determine another player to replace him.
Marlon Anderson and Ryan Church collided in shallow right field on Saturday’s game and Anderson escaped with less damage - a bruised sternum - but Church suffered a Grade 2 concussion. On that scale, a Grade 4 is the most severe, and Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Church will play again when he is "symptom-free." (Newsday) Church is expected to be out around 2 weeks but chances are it could be longer.
If church returns days before or even a week before the regular season it scheduled to start, should the Mets bring him with the team for the start of the season?
If he is not healthy in time or not ready for the start of the season the best option is two let him stay in extended spring training. This would allow him to get the work he needs without causing a problem if he is not capable to fully play.
The Mets could use this time to think of potential candidates when Alou gets injured and also if easily or Endy gets injured again.
The Mets have 3 options for the outfield; Angel Pagan, Brady Clark, or Fernando Martinez. The 26 year old Angel Pagan batted .264 with 4 home runs, 4 stolen bases 21 rbis, and 21 runs in 71 games. Clark batted .306 in 21 games for the padres with just 3 extra base hits, 6 rbis. He also batted .224 with 4 extra base hits, 5 rbis in 46 games. The 34 year olds best days are behind him. The last plausible option is Fernando Martinez, aka F-Mart, aka the Teenage Hitting Machine. The 6 foot 1 left handed hitter batted .271 in 60 games with 4 home runs, 21 rbis and 32 runs.
The Mets would probably opt of Angel Pagan. He played well last year and is better than Clark. It would be pretty great if Martinez did start the season on the Mets but his age and his injury last season hurt his chances. I would certainly not be surprised if we saw Martinez later on in the season.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Everyone is saying Eddie Kunz is on the fast track to the Mets and that he will be the Mets version of Joba Chamberlin. He was the Mets first pick in the 2007 draft and has been reportedly taken under the wing of Billy Wagner. All I have to say is prove it to me Eddie?
Scouts say Kunz's package of stuff is well-suited to the back of a bullpen, but the lack of the third pitch may keep him from closing as a pro. His future may be as a setup man who can pound his sinker-slider combination in on right-handed hitters.
Kunz went 3-1 with a 3.05 era and 10 saves in his final year for Oregon State. He then was the first pick for the Mets in last year’s draft. He pitched in 12 games going 0-1 with a 6.75 era, 8 walks, and 9 strikeouts for A Brooklyn. Kunz followed his poor performance by continuing to play badly going 0-1 with a 10.13 era in 9 games (10.2 innings), with 15 hits, 2 homers, 8 walks, and 11 strikeouts. And boy did he have trouble with lefties (19 era in 3 innings) and runners in scoring position (21.21 era in 4.2 innings) while playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions. In his only inning thus far this spring training, Kunz allowed 1 run of 2 hits with 1 strikeout, giving him an era of 9.
As you can see Eddie has struggled to say the least, so I just can not figure out where all this hype came from? I mean what he has done other than be a pretty affective closer for the repeat college World Series champions Oregon State. Until I see Edward Kunz pitch well out of college, I am not going to say he is on the fast track. I am more worried that he is on the slow track than anything else. He is just a kid and most likely he will only get better but so far he has not progressed at all.
Spring Training has finally begun. This is the time of year where you see both major league and minor league talent coming together to get ready for the next season. But are these meaningless games even worth watching or paying attention too?
During the actual season every game matters and each game brings a new challenge. In spring training players rarely play an entire game in meaningless games. Games are usually filled with little excitement as pitchers go very few innings resulting in the occasional tie.
Meaningless spring training games are definitely worth watching. My favorite part is watching the young talent. How often are you going to get to watch Fernando Martinez or Eddie Kuntz play? You get to see how good these players can be, even if it is only for a limited time. Most importantly it gets you ready for the regular season. It gets the team ready and it gets the fans excited for the start of a new season. You get to watch players play the game but have fun more than anything else.
So who cares that the games don’t matter. It allows us just to be fans and enjoy watching you talent while all the players get ready for the next season and a World Series title.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
The Mets 7th round draft pick Jon Niese pitched very well in his first career spring training start going 2 innings with 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, and no hits. The 20 year old left handed pitcher finished up the regular season with an 11-7 record with a 4.29 era and 110 strikeouts. Niese went 5-3 with a 5.32 era before the all star break and had since gone 6-4 with a 3.52 era. Niese was 8th in the league in strikeouts. The thing to watch is opponent’s batting average against Niese; it is .285, not very good. In his only start for St. Lucie in the playoffs Niese pitched superb going 6 innings with 1 hit ball and 9 strikeouts. He Went 11-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 25 starts with Class A Hagerstown in 2006.
In other words, since starting off mediocre after being drafted, Niese has pitched very well and showed that today.