The release of the MLB.com pitching prospect rankings should have been a good day for the Mets, and their fans, to boast about their pitching depth. But you didn’t have to look any further than the number one spot to be reminded that the Mets are still playing second fiddle to the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals 20-year-old right-hander Lucas Giolito was named the top pitching prospect in all of major league baseball. Noah Syndergaard, 22, of the Mets followed him in the rankings. Both Syndergaard (6’6″ 240) and Giolito (6’6″ 255) have big frames and are known for their power arms. Syndergaard is expected to start the season in Triple-A and could be promoted to the big leagues as soon as 2015. Giolito has never pitched higher than A-ball and is expected to start the year in Double-A. Although their timetables are slightly different, they will undoubtedly be compared to one another upon their arrival to the major league level.
Much has been made of the Mets young pitching. This is supposed to be the year they start to lead the organization back into relevancy and play meaningful games into late September, and then hopefully October. Although I don’t question the potential in the Mets rotation, the Nationals signing of Max Scherzer not only solidified themselves as the team to beat this year, but for years to come.
Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon is likely to be the Mets opening day rotation. I excluded Dillon Gee from this list because all signs point to him being traded in the near future. Minus Colon, this group is as young and talented as there is in the game. Harvey, before undergoing Tommy John Surgery, looked like a premier pitcher in the game. DeGrom was the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year. Wheeler has struggled with his command but showed his potential as a front-line starter in the second half of the season. Niese is a consistent lefty who provides stability. Colon will be the staffs innings eater who GM Sandy Alderson will likely look to trade come the All-Star break. Thus opening up a spot in the rotation for Syndergaard to make his debut sometime this summer.
Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez are projected to be the Nationals opening day rotation. That has the makings to be Atlanta Braves 1990’s good. In the event one of these starters is traded before the season, a more than formidable Tanner Roark will step right in. Giolito might be the top pitching prospect in the game, but the Nationals feel he is a year away. GM Mike Rizzo is well aware of what he has in Giolito and could be the reason why he would be okay with trading one of his soon to be free-agent starters. One hole that remains on the Nationals roster is their bullpen. Don’t be surprised if Giolito, assuming he continues to progress, is promoted to bolster the pen down the stretch. The more likely scenario would be Giolito joining the rotation in 2016 when a spot opens up due to trade or free agency.
There is no shame in having the second-best pitching prospect in baseball. These rankings are nothing more than someones personal opinion. And at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is how these pitchers perform on the major league level. Despite many off-season rumors of teams asking for Syndergaard, the Mets were unwilling to part with him. They clearly view him as a big part of their future. Only time with tell if Syndergaard, along with the rest of the Mets young pitchers, will be able to out-duel the Nationals rotation in the years to come.
We’ve all read and heard the praise of the Mets young starting pitchers, but not enough has been said regarding the arms in the bullpen. The Mets have quietly put together a young core, that has become a force, late in ballgames.
Sandy Alderson’s goal all along was to build this team around their pitching, and in 2014, that goal is becoming a reality. The starting rotation is stock full with young pitchers such as Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and Jacob deGrom. Now add in future pieces Noah Syndergarrd, Rafael Montero, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey, who will return from his Tommy John surgery next season, and you have an abundance of arms to build your rotation around.
When you look back on playoff team success in recent years, there is always a common trait, a shutdown bullpen. It isn’t always the dominant offenses, but rather the teams that are able to shut down games by the 7th inning, that make deep runs. That is what the Mets are looking to put together. When closer Bobby Parnell went down, a major concern remained as to who the Mets would use to finish off ballgames. However, the combination of Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, has stepped up and answered that question.
- Josh Edgin (27) 25 GP – 1.76 ERA
- Vic Black (26) 22 GP – 1.77 ERA 1.77 ERA
- Jeurys Familia (24) 44 GP – 2.11 ERA
- Jenrry Mejia (24) 25 GP – 2.42 ERA – 9 SV
Today we were given mixed reports regarding Chris Young’s future with the Mets. Adam Rubin, a team beat reporter for ESPN, said that Young may be cut from the team as early as Thursday. If we were judging this news off of numbers alone, this wouldn’t be a story at all, he deserves to be cut. But, when you pay a player $7.25 million just this past off-season, this becomes headline worthy.
The 30-year-old outfielder has failed to return to his all-star form with the Mets this season. Sandy Alderson brought him in quickly this winter to be the teams left fielder/fourth outfielder. Truth is, no one really knows what exactly Alderson promised him. Whatever it was, he is now walking on thin ice when it comes to keeping his job.
Despite Rubin’s report, Mets officials vehemently deny that there is any truth to this. However, we all know that doesn’t exactly mean much. It’s not like Alderson would come out and tell us “Yes, that report is correct and we plan on cutting Young if he doesn’t perform over the course of these next two days”. That wasn’t going to happen. Alderson gave us the statement that he HAD to come out and make. It’s impossible to let those reports float around over a player’s head, even if that is indeed your plan.
Personally, I hope the Mets do cut ties with Young. He has proven to be a complete bust of a signing, something we all saw coming months ago. His defense has been sub par and he looks over matched at the plate. I know we all want to jump on Alderson for making this move in the first place, and rightly so, but I will give him some credit if he ends this debacle of a signing sooner rather than later. It takes a lot to admit that one of you biggest off-season moves was the wrong one, but you must do whats right for the team, not your ego.
The Mets will be better off playing their younger outfielders on a daily basis than putting a struggling veteran out there whose career looks to be nearly done. With Juan Lagares due to return from the DL soon, their void in center field will once again be taken care of. Curtis Granderson has turned his season around and will remain to be a stable in right field. I would like to see Terry Collins continue to throw a combination of Eric Young Jr., Andrew Brown, Eric Campbell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis out there in left field. All of these players are better option than Chris Young at this point.
Bite the bullet Sandy and make the move. We may not be happy you made the signing, but we will respect you for admitting your mistakes.
Much has been made about Sandy Alderson’s offseason decision to sign Chris Young rather than Nelson Cruz. Young, who was signed early in the winter months, agreed to a 1-year $7.25 million deal. While Cruz on the other hand, turned down a 1-year $14 million offer from the Texas Rangers to retain him, waited out the market. It appeared to backfire, as no long-term offers came in, leaving Cruz to accept a 1-year $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
This brought about immediate outrage from the Mets fan base. How could Sandy Alderson not have signed Cruz, Chris Young or not, for such a bargain price? Let’s remind ourselves how Cruz got into this situation in the first place. Cruz, was among several players involved in the Biogenesis scandal last season, which ultimately lead to him accepting a 50-game suspension. This put him among a long list of sluggers to have tarnished the games reputation and put his previous season’s stats into question.
Chris Young: .202 BA/.288 OBP/4 HR/14 RBI (1-year $7.25 million)
Nelson Cruz: .314 BA/.384 OBP/20 HR/52 RBI (1-year $8 million)
Despite his black eye amongst many in baseball, Scott Boras still had his client believing he would attract a significant multiyear contract offer. Boras, arguably the most powerful agent in baseball, was wrong. When no suitors came calling, Boras and Cruz accepted what many believed to be a losing contract from the Orioles. FINALLY, teams had stood up against a steroids linked player and super-agent Scott Boras, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a backup plan all along.
Despite not receiving a contract that even matched his one year offer from the Rangers, let alone a multiyear deal, this was still a well thought out maneuver. Camden Yards, home of the Orioles, has long been known as a hitters ballpark. Thus making it the ideal situation for a power hitter to go spend a year and pad his stats before another year on the free agent market. On top of the friendly confines, the Orioles also possess a strong lineup from top to bottom, providing Cruz some much-needed protection.
The ONLY way the Mets had any real shot at getting Cruz, and I mean ONLY, was to give into Boras’ initial demands of a long-term deal. You can argue that he may very well have been a better investment than Curtis Granderson and Young combined, but it’s hard to assume his production would still have been the same. He is playing like a man on a mission this year in attempt to earn himself that mega contract. It’s no guarantee that his power numbers would be anywhere near the same in pitcher friendly Citi Field, surrounded by half the lineup that the Orioles have stacked around him. The odds are highly unlikely that he would be leading the league in HR and RBI with the Mets, but we will never know that for sure.
Let’s not act like Sandy Alderson chose Young over Cruz for virtually the same contract. Cruz was NEVER going to sign with the Mets for that same deal. Boras may not have gotten plan A to work out, but his fallback plan is making him look like a genius thus far.
However, I am still all for criticizing Alderson for his signing of Young. His production has been about what we all expected, and it isn’t pretty. The money was a head scratcher from day 1 and clearly could have been spent wiser on other players. The farm system is beginning to provide the big league level with high quality arms in the rotation and bullpen, the time has come for Alderson to earn his keep and find that hidden talent on the free agent market. Time and patience is running up on Alderson if he makes a few more Chris Young signings.
A few days ago, Mike Puma offended the Mets with his article poking fun at Bartolo Colons’ weight. The NY Post ran one of their attention grabbing headlines ‘Lardball!’ to go along with Puma’s piece.
His first paragraph included the excerpt:
“If the umpires searched Bartolo Colon’s neck for a foreign substance on Thursday, chances are they only would have found peanut butter.”
This was Puma’s way of taking out two birds with one stone, as he made light of the Michael Pineda pine tar incident and Colon’s appetite in one. Although Puma is responsible for the article, I hope the team is aware that he more than likely didn’t make the headline. Those are normally done by an editor after reviewing the piece. So there is more than one culprit here, just trying to be fair to Puma, who has been held solely responsible.
Once the piece was made public, and was received with more laughs than disgust, The Mets came together and took a stand against this kind of reporting. Following the game that day, the entire Mets roster was absent from the clubhouse and refused to speak to the media until Puma left the room. Upon his departure, the team quickly returned and spoke to the remaining reporters on hand. Continue reading
Yesterday, Mookie Wilson made headlines when blurbs from his new book, “Mookie: Life, Baseball and the ’86 Mets,” were released. Wilson, who is one of the most beloved players in Mets history, feels he has been mistreated since the Sandy Alderson regime took control of the organization. His comments were very critical of the organization as a whole and he questioned the direction management are taking this team in.
Wilson, was a fan favorite, who played for the Mets from 1980-1989. Fans of that generation remember him being one of the teams few bright spots of the early 80’s. As the decade went on, and more talent arrived, Wilson become a key member of the Mets glory years. But there is one singular play that will have him etched into the history books forever. Wilson is most famously known for hitting the ball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in game 6 of the ’86 World Series. From there, the Mets went on to win game 7, in what is known as one of the most memorable World Series of all-time.
When his playing days came to an end, Wilson returned to the Mets to become part of the coaching staff in 1996. He served as the teams first base coach under manager Bobby Valentine through the 2002 season. From there, he went on to manage in the minor league system and served as the Mets base running coordinator. In 2011, he returned to the big league club, as he once again served as the teams first base coach. But things got interesting following that season. Continue reading
The injury bug struck the Mets once again, Juan Lagares is headed to the DL with a hamstring injury. After winning the center field job outright this spring, Lagares was off to a tremendous start to the season. Besides looking like one of the game’s premier defenders, Lagares was producing at the plate, leading the team with a .318 batting average.
On top of Lagares going down, Curtis Granderson was also injured last night. Granderson injured his entire left side while crashing into the right field wall attempting to make a catch. X-Rays have come back negative but I would expect him to be listed as day-to-day for now. Knowing the Mets, that could quickly change to a DL stint any day now. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling I was reliving the nightmare of watching Jason Bay crash into the wall a few years ago. Don’t shake your head, I know it crossed your mind too.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis is the man being tapped by Sandy Alderson to replace Lagares on the roster. Nieuwenhuis, who has spent a fair share of time with the Mets the past few years, is off to a strong start in AAA. So far he is hitting .310 with 2 home runs in his first ten games. Nieuwenhuis has always intrigued me, he is a strong defender who is capable of playing all three outfield positions and has some pop in his bat. He is a hard-nosed player who might have made this roster outright if he could just produce consistently at the plate. Continue reading