My Plan for the Mets Offseason

I originally posted this article on Amazin’ Avenue as part of their AAOP (Amazin’ Avenue Offseason Plan) Contest. Check it out there! “We enter this offseason in a far better position than More »

10 Reasons to Root for the Mets

1. Our captain has stuck with us & led us through even the worst of times. 2. Our manager is a 66-year-old coaching veteran who is finally getting a chance to show More »

Blast from the Past: What the World was Like when the Mets last Played in the Postseason

Prior to this year, the Mets hadn’t played in a postseason game since 2006. Here’s what the world was like way back then, nine years ago. Politics and World Affairs… George W. More »

My Game 3 Experience

Attending Game 3 of the NLDS was, by far, my greatest experience at a sporting event thus far in my young life. I remember being at the second-to-last postseason game at Shea Stadium More »

Recap of Mets’ Clincher Celebration

The Mets clinched the NL East crown Saturday evening and it was absolutely incredible. Being a young, lifelong Mets fan, I have only seen my favorite team in the postseason twice, once More »

 

My Plan for the Mets Offseason

May 2, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) reacts after swinging for a strike against the Los Angeles Angels during the eighth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

I originally posted this article on Amazin’ Avenue as part of their AAOP (Amazin’ Avenue Offseason Plan) Contest. Check it out there!

“We enter this offseason in a far better position than I have ever experienced during my tenure as the Mets’ General Manager. We are coming off of a season in which we played in the World Series, for Pete’s sake! And that has had a huge impact on just about everything- heck, even the famed AAOP contest is starting about a month after schedule!

I had you fooled- all of you guys… You thought that I didn’t know what I was doing. But when I had a lineup containing Johnny Monell, Danny Muno, Eric Campbell, Darrell Ceciliani and John Mayberry in the middle of June, I knew what I had in store. I knew that Michael Conforto would be ready by the end of July. I was already planning to swing a couple of trades for impact bench bats, a couple nice relievers, and a superstar lineup-altering position player. Well, Kelly, Juan, Tyler, Addison, and Yoenis all came into Daddy’s arms, and they all helped bring my plan of success to fruition.

We missed the big-prize by three games (in reality, just about seven outs), but we are not done yet. When I said I was expecting 90 wins before the season, you guys laughed in my face. Welp, look how that turned out. Now all you need to do is trust me…

I will bring you to the promised land.”

-Richard Lynn “Sandy” Alderson (from this point forward, any “quotes” should be “attributed” to this great man himself)

 

Arbitration and Non-Tenders

Arb-Eligible Players

  • Matt Harvey- $4.7MM
  • Ruben Tejada- $2.5MM
  • Lucas Duda- $6.8MM
  • Addison Reed- $5.7MM
  • Jenrry Mejia- $2.0MM
  • Jeurys Familia- $3.3MM
  • Josh Edgin- $600K

Non-tender Eric Young Jr., Buddy Carlyle, Carlos Torres, Anthony Recker
“These guys have been a pain in my behind for far too long. EY is a nice burst of energy and has legs quicker than American Pharoah, but he doesn’t fit at any position and did nothing to warrant sticking around here after I traded to bring him back to NY this summer. Buddy far exceeded my expectations in 2014, but he suffered from injuries this year and couldn’t even get on the field, so we had to let him go. At this point, I’m much more comfortable having Alex Carlos Torres pinch-running than I am putting him on the bump with the game on the line. And Anthony, boy I just don’t understand that kid… He looks like he’s straight out of a Marvel comic, with super-strength, but the man can hardly even hit the ball out of the infield.”

 

One Big Trade

Send Lucas Duda, Jonathan Niese, Jayce Boyd and an international signing slot to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Marcus Semien

Semien

“Lucas and Jon have both been key parts of this team over the past few years and I appreciate all that they’ve given us. And Jayce has always been able to hit at every level in our organization, but we simply don’t have a fit for him on the current or future roster. That’s why I called up my broseph hermano brother from another mother mentor Billy Beane. I knew that he would have interest in all three of our guys…

…Lucas is a tremendous upgrade over Mark Canha at first, providing great value as both a hitter and a fielder. Jon has the stuff the be a key southpaw in the middle of a rotation, and the A’s literally do not have a lefty pitcher in their top-6 SP options. And I knew that Jayce would be an interesting guy for Billy, for two simple reasons: 1) he always hits for a high AVG and OBP; and 2) he’s been able to play formidably at all three OF positions as well as 1B, so he provides the key “utility factor” that Billy loves.

And on our side of the deal, Marcus fits like a charm. I’m not quite comfortable throwing Dilson into a full-time role at second base just yet… And so this deal allows me to move Wilmer to second- his natural position- and replace him at shortstop with a top-10 WAR shortstop who has a whole lotta potential.

Billy was willing to move Mr. Semien for a few reasons… First off, he was a bit frustrated by Marcus’s lack of defensive production, but this just doesn’t worry me because I think that his defense will improve drastically as he matures. Also, three of Billy’s top-8 prospects are shortstops (Barreto, Martin, Pinder), and they should all be ready in a timely fashion, so it only makes sense for him to clear out the SS position before there is a major logjam. And finally—what I think was the most important thing in swaying Billy towards this deal—was that I promised a dinner at Peter Luger’s Steakhouse on me next time the A’s come to town.”

 

Free Agents Galore!

“I’m happy as heck that Fred and Jeff are giving me some more leeway to increase the payroll this offseason! I look forward to showing up to the Winter Meetings without being emasculated by my fellow-executives, telling me ‘your team is from New York, and you spend money like you’re from Middle-of-Nowhere, Missouri…’ That really hurt my feelings. I cried. A lot.”

Sign Chris Davis to a Six-Year, $132 million deal, with a player opt-out clause after four years (AAV of $22mil).

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“Chris Davis is an absolute no-brainer for me. Especially once I traded Lucas, I knew I was going to make this move. Chris will be our impact bat this offseason. I was originally planning to re-sign Yoenis, and then I decided I was going to offer a long-term deal to Jason Heyward. But then I realized that we have a Gold Glove winner in CF, one who we are paying $2.5mil per year. If we’re adding a big-time bat, it had to be at first base. A dominant first baseman is the key to a great lineup, and while Duda was superb at times, he just didn’t fill that role.”

Sign Joakim Soria to a Three-Year, $22.5 million deal (AAV of $7.5mil).

soria

“We saw it during the World Series- we need a top-of-the-line setup man to bridge the gap to Familia. In August, my plan was to re-sign Tyler Clippard to fill this role, but he was totally ineffective in the playoffs and the end of the regular season, so he was out of the question for me. Joakim can absolutely be that guy.

I was originally between Soria and Darren O’Day, but I decided to go with Joakim for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Darren is going to command a bit more money than Joakim, for very similar production. Also, Darren is notably a submarine pitcher, and I don’t know how comfortable I feel about that. Sidearm guys have tended to either have their production fall off early, or they’ve been susceptible to significant injuries. Soria is an experienced, two-time All Star who is coming off of a good season. We’re damn excited to have a back end of the rotation consisting of Addison- Jo (that’s my new nickname for Soria, you like it?)- Jeurys.”

Sign Gerardo Parra to a Three-Year, $25.5 million deal (AAV of $8.5mil).

parra

“Well, we really needed a lefty platoon-mate for Juan out in center field, and Gerardo absolutely got the job done. We were quite interested in him at the trade deadline, but Milwaukee’s asking price was way too high, so we passed him up and ended up going with Yoenis. But now that Gerardo is out on the open market and we’ve moved on from Cespedes, he really fits the bill for our club. He’s coming off of the best offensive season of his career (with a OFF of 7.5) and what was tied for the best base-running season of his career (posting a 2.0 BsR). And he’s got some great righty splits, hitting for a .303 AVG, 11 HRs, and 134 hits against righties this year. Having a dynamic duo of Juan and Gerardo in CF, each boasting different skillsets, suits our team well for success.”

Sign Jerry Blevins and Juan Uribe to One-Year, $1.5 million deals.

Flushing, NY - August 12: New York Mets vs Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer #23 hits an RBI single driving home New York Mets third baseman Juan Uribe #2 during the 4th inning. New York Mets third baseman Juan Uribe #2 is greeted in the dugout after he scores on the play. Wednesday, August 12, 2015. (Photo by Anthony Causi)

“These are two guys who we loved having last year. Both provide a veteran presence and are extremely valuable in their particular niche areas.

Jerry is a great LOOGY who, in combination with either Edgin or Gilmartin, should make our bullpen very lefty-proof. In his career, lefty hitters have hit at a .200 pace against Blevins, which provides some proof for just how good of a lefty specialist he can be for us. In his 2015 campaign with us, albeit small sample size (only 4.2 innings), he really did his job, not surrendering a hit, a walk, or a run in any of his outings. Now all we need is for him to watch out for those curbs and sidewalks…

And Mr. UriBAE provides so much for this team. He can absolutely play at 3B and SS, and could also potentially play 1B or 2B if we were in an absolute pinch. It is key to have a good backup 3B like Juan, to have good insurance in case Wright goes down for a period of time. Juan has an inherent clutch factor that can come up huge in our “meaningful September games” (wait, so is that phrase retired or…)! Welcoming Juan back has been our plan all along, and we know that he provides the versatility, skill, and clutch-factor that we so need off of our bench.”

Sign Mat Latos to a One-Year, $1 million deal.

Latos

“With Jon Niese now in Oakland, we were missing a 5th starter who can hold down the fort until Zack Wheeler returns mid-season from his TJ Surgery. We were first thinking of retaining big sexy the greatest player ever fan-favorite, Bartolo Colon, but because he wanted to start all year ‘round, and will likely command at least $6 million on the open market, we decided to look elsewhere. And then Mr. Latos fell into our lap. He’s coming off of a brutal year (hence the extremely low price), but let’s not forget who this guy is. He’s a 27-year-old who went 14-7 with a 3.16 ERA just two years ago. Latos is the ultimate reclamation project for Dan Warthen, and I do believe that he’ll be successful. Latos has huge potential and can be a very good #5 pitcher, and ultimately, a lethal option out of the ‘pen after Zack returns.”

 

So now, let’s check out what we have in store…

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“This team accomplished my financial goals, as well as filled every area of need that I laid out from the outset. My pre-determined budget was $120 million, and this time comes out far below that, at $115.85 million. And with that money, we’ve created a dominant back-end of the bullpen, a great platoon in center field that can be extremely productive, added a superstar power bat to our lineup, and solidified the middle infield.

This is the team. This is the team that will get the job done.”

10 Reasons to Root for the Mets

1. Our captain has stuck with us & led us through even the worst of times.

550_DarkHelmet

2. Our manager is a 66-year-old coaching veteran who is finally getting a chance to show off his postseason makeup for the first time.

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3. Our shortstop has been a member of the organization since he was 16-years-old, and he showed the world just how much he loved being a Met late in July.

Flores.0.0

4. Our star player is the coolest guy in the world, and he’s probably one of the only true five-tool players in the league.

8/12/15 - Colorado Rockies vs. New York Mets at Citi Field - New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 hits a solo shot, his first home run as a Met in the 8th inning.

5. Our pitching staff is on the path to being one of the best in the history of the game.

noah-syndergaard-matt-harvey-jacob-degrom-pittsburgh

6. Speaking of our pitchers, one of our top guys is a hometown hero.

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7. We lost our starting shortstop to a terrible and illegal slide by Chase Utley (BOOOOOOO) just three games ago.

Los Angeles, CA - October 10: Ruben Tejada #11 of the New York Mets is kicked upside down as Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides into him reaching for second. Tejada is taken out of the game by stretcher in the seventh inning. October 10, 2015. (Photo by Anthony Causi)

8. Our GM is a genius who traded a a 37-year-old R.A. Dickey to Toronto for two top prospects, Syndergaard and d’Arnaud, who now are two of our best players.

Flushing, New York  9/30/13   Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks to media at a press conference at Citi Field on  Sept. 30, 2013 (Paul J. Bereswill)

9. Our closer, Jeurys Familia, is an absolute machine who is providing flashbacks to the days of Mariano Rivera and John Franco closing games for their respective NY teams.

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27: Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets pitches during the ninth inning of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 27, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

10. And, come on, how can you not root for this face???

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Blast from the Past: What the World was Like when the Mets last Played in the Postseason

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Prior to this year, the Mets hadn’t played in a postseason game since 2006. Here’s what the world was like way back then, nine years ago.

  • Politics and World Affairs…
    • George W. Bush was the President of the United States, and we were in the fourth year of the Iraq War.
    • The Democrats won the Mid-Term elections here in the U.S.A., and as a result, Nancy Pelosi won the position of Speaker of the House.
    • Speaking of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was executed.
    • The Irani nuclear crisis, which (as we know) is still going on today, more or less began when the country refused to allow U.N. inspectors to view their facilities. North Korea (then ruled by current leader Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il) began to test nuclear weapons, as well.
  • Pop Culture…
    • Sir Paul McCartney separated from his wife of seven years, Heather Mills. So did Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. And Britney Spears and Kevin Federline did, too.
    • “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” was far and away the highest grossing film nationwide.
    • Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” topped Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 charts.
    • “American Idol” was the top regularly-scheduled television show.
    • The Oscar winner for Best Film was Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.”
  • Technology…
    • The billionth song was purchased on iTunes. It was “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay.
    • Google purchased the up and coming video sharing website, YouTube.
    • Nintendo first released a revolutionary gaming system, the Wii, in the USA.
    • Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” was “You,” or all internet users.
  • Science…
    • Pluto was officially “demoted” from the title of ‘planet’ to that of ‘dwarf planet’
    • A Russian astronaut hit a golf ball in space, resulting in an estimated 2.2 billion yard drive.
  • Deaths…
    • Legendary funk singer James Brown died at 73.
    • Steve Irwin “The Crocodile Hunter,” died at 44 after being stung by a sting ray.
    • President Gerald Ford died at 93.
    • Martin Luther King’s wife, Coretta Scott, passed away at 78.
    • Minnesota Twins’ legend Kirby Puckett died at 45.
    • Negro Leagues’ star and later MLB manager Buck O’Neil died at 94.
  • Sports…
    • Italy defeated France in the World Cup finals after French star Zinedine Zidane was sent off for the “head butt heard ’round the world.”
    • Yankees’ pitcher Cory Lidle died tragically after flying his plane into a NYC buildings
    • Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth, moving into the second position on the all-time home run leaders list.
    • The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl, and the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship.
    • Geoff Ogilvy won the golf U.S. Open, and Roger Federer won the tennis one.
    • University of Florida won both the national football and basketball championships.
    • The first World Baseball Classic was played in Arizona; Japan defeated Cuba in the finals.
    • LeBron James won his first All Star game MVP.
    • Speaking of All Star Games, Mark Loretta, Vernon Wells, Edgar Renteria, Jason Bay, Chase Utley (BOOOOOOO), Kenny Rogers, and Brad Penny were all starters in the MLB’s version of the game.
    • Donavan McNabb donned the cover of Madden NFL 06.
    • Miguel Cabrera was an emerging star at third base for the Florida Marlins.
    • The Seattle SuperSonics and Atlanta Thrashers were still active teams in their respective leagues.
  • Putting Time in Perspective…
    • Malala Yousafzai, now a Nobel Prize winner, was just 9 years old.
    • Justin Bieber and Harry Styles were both 12 years old.
    • Miley Cyrus had just completed her first season as “Hannah Montana” in the show of the same name.
    • Of the current late night hosts (Fallon, Meyers, Kimmel, Oliver, Corden, Colbert, Conan), only Jimmy Kimmel held the same position that he does today.
    • Donald Trump was no more than a businessman and reality star.
    • The first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Karl-Anthony Towns, was just 11 years old.
    • Current MLB superstars Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were students in high school.
    • Not one of the Mets’ young stud pitchers (deGrom, Harvey, Wheeler, Matz, Syndergaard) was older than 18.
    • President Barack Obama was in his second year serving as the US Senator from Illinois.

My Game 3 Experience

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Attending Game 3 of the NLDS was, by far, my greatest experience at a sporting event thus far in my young life. I remember being at the second-to-last postseason game at Shea Stadium in 2006, Game 6 of the NLCS. John Maine pitched a gem and Reyes hit a bomb as we outlasted Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals. We all know what happened in the next game, though, so the inevitable heartbreak of Mets fans happened once again.

This year, as the Mets clinched the NL East Crown for the first time since way back then in 2006, a glimmer of hope re-appeared. We, the Mets, were ready to enter the playoffs with one of the best pitching staffs and a drastically improved offense led by Yoenis Cespedes and the now-healthy David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud.

In Games 1 and 2, the Mets played all the way across the country, in Los Angeles, and even still, the absolute excitement felt by all long-suffering Mets fans could be felt everywhere. deGrom pitched arguably the best game of his career in Game 1, leading to an early victory. In Game 2, we saw a winning performance by the offense & Noah Syndergaard early on, but as a result of an unfortunate, despicable, and most importantly ILLEGAL slide by Chase Utley (BOOOOOOOOOOO), the Mets surrendered a loss to the Dodgers, tying the series at one a piece.

Entering Game 3, excitement was at an all time high… Fans were excited to see the first home postseason game for the Mets since we called Shea Stadium home in 2006; Matt Harvey was ready to step onto the mound, with no pitch cap this time around; Chase Utley was the most hated man in the state of New York; and the Mets were all but poised to take a 2-1 series lead in the NLDS.

I was fortunate enough to attend Game 3, and let me tell you, the environment there was like nothing I’d ever seen before…

The tone was set early on, when the Dodgers were being introduced. A loud and all encompassing “BOOOO” filled the stadium with every name announced, even that of the Dodgers’ massage therapist. But when Alex Anthony on the PA said, “infielder, #26, Chase Utley,” this intensity was taken to an all time high. I can’t even begin to put it in words. So here, watch this clip.

And then, our beloved Mets were introduced. When Ruben Tejada limped out of the dugout with a cane, wow was that a heartfelt moment. After being unfortunately injured by Chase Utley (BOOOOOOOOOOOOO) in Game 2, Tejada was diagnosed with a broken fibula that would put his season to an end. I know that I, along with my brother beside me and several other fans in our vicinity, got “the chills” as our shortstop walked to join his team.

The entire night, the fanbase was standing, screaming, and waving their orange rally flags in the air. Even when Matt Harvey surrendered a three-run-inning in the top of the Second, the Mets fans continued to stand strong.

We witnessed an absolute offensive explosion. The Mets put up 13 hits total and set a team record for postseason runs in one game with 13… Travis d’Arnaud went 3-5 with 3 RBIs, Curtis Granderson had 5 RBIs, and then there was Cespedes.

In the home half of the fourth, Yoenis Cespedes sent a three-run-homer into orbit, making the score 10-3. At this moment, everyone understood that this game was long over. Yo’ hit one of, if not the, most powerful home runs I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. The place erupted, and they began to play some sort of movie theme song as Cespedes rounded the bases, further adding to the larger-than-life feeling of him, his dinger, and the game as a whole.

Game 3 was a magical experience, highlighted by the incredible offensive output, but also furthered by the overlooked pitching performances. While Harvey was certainly not himself and had one of his toughest games of his career, he still only let up 3 runs (all of which came in the same inning), putting into perspective just how good he really is. And Bartolo Colon, the absolute fan-favorite, pitching two innings (striking out the first one in order) was not only exciting, but actually historic. See below:

While Game 4 was not as magical and we just couldn’t get the best of Clayton Kershaw (still undoubtedly the best in the world), Mets fans, like you and I, remain hopeful and excited. So put on your Mets gear & get ready for JdG and the Mets to play in Game 4 on Thursday.

 

#LGM

Recap of Mets’ Clincher Celebration

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The Mets clinched the NL East crown Saturday evening and it was absolutely incredible. Being a young, lifelong Mets fan, I have only seen my favorite team in the postseason twice, once in 2000 and again in 2006. It was genuinely a heartfelt moment for all Mets fans, spanning the spectrum from die-hard to fair-weather. Seeing Familia come into that blowout of a game and get the job done was a reflection of his season as a whole- he has been tremendous and reliable, even in his toughest of stretches.

Yes, it was an incredible moment. It was a heart-warming moment. It was a historic moment. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about… Let’s take a look at the Metsies’ post-game celebration.

The Mets’ most underrated prospect: Danny Muno

Daniel-Muno

Daniel Muno profile:

Height: 5’11
Weight: 190 lbs.
Age: 26.07 y/o (as of when this article was written)
Acquired by: Mets drafted him out of Fresno State in 8th round of 2011 amateur draft
Bats/Throws: S/R
Number: 12
PositionSecond Base
Last Played For: Las Vegas 51’s (AAA)
Average stats/year through 4 years in minor leagues:

  • HR: 7.75
  • AVG: .276
  • RBI: 48
  • OPS: .814
  • SB: 13
  • TB: 138
  • AB: 329
  • H: 91

Let’s compare Muno, a second base prospect, to our best second base prospect, Dilson Herrera. Also, Dilson only played a mere 7 games in the Mets organization in 2013, so we’ll only count his 2014 numbers.

  • Muno is an inch taller than Dilson, and weighs 40 lbs. more than him.
  • This past season, Herrera played in both A+ and AA ball. Here are his numbers:
    • 524 AB
    • 13 HR
    • 71 RBI
    • 23 SB
    • .858 OPS
    • 169 H
    • 251 TB
    • .323 AVG
  • Those numbers appear much better than Muno’s… But what you may notice is that Herrera had 165 more at-bats than Muno (359) did this past season. So let’s adjust Muno’s numbers to the amount of at-bats that Herrera had.
    • 524 AB
    • 20.4 HR
    • 90.5 RBI
    • 13.1 SB
    • .790 OPS
    • 135.7 H
    • 219 TB
    • .259 AVG

Comparing these numbers, and also physical attributes (height and weight), shows that Muno is closer to Herrera than people may believe. He has better power than Herrera, and also is very good at picking up those RBIs. This season was a down year for Muno in a few categories, namely batting average and stolen bases, and he still managed to pick up some numbers that were respectable for his place in the organization.

Let’s Watch him Hit!

The fact that Muno is a switch-hitter is very significant, as he can hit pitchers from both sides of the plate. He has a very nice swing from each side of the place, which you can see in this video:

Here’s another highlight of his, showing off his opposite-field gap power…

And lastly, this next video shows Muno coming in to pinch hit late in a game, and immediately slugging a home run to right. It shows off his clutch factor and his pure power…

 

Can he play the field?

Well, first off, he’s a very versatile fielder. He can play on either side up the middle (shortstop or second base), and even has some experience, albeit limited, at third base. He’s played 28% of his games at shortstop, 7% at third base, and an overwhelming 62% at second.

Overall, his defensive statistics were nothing to call home about, but they were definitely not poor. We have to keep in mind that because he plays at three different positions, his defensive numbers may be skewed a bit. He has a nice arm, decent range, and overall steady defense.

What do I particularly like about him?

The thing that impressed me most about Muno was that he has improved across the board each time he’s moved up in the system.

He showed off nice power numbers in Las Vegas, where he played against MLB-level pitchers, who were either just about to enter the majors or just leaving the majors. For example, in a game against the Sacramento River Cats on April 10th, 2014, he faced Joe Blanton (yes, Joe Blanton the 10-year MLB-vet who won the 2008 World Series with the Phillies). And what did Muno do? He went 2-4 and hit a HR off the MLB-veteran.

What is my future outlook on him?

I think Muno has MLB talent. He has nice fundamentals, a super bat, average to above-average speed, and consistent fielding.

He earned an invite to the Mets’ 2015 Spring Training, but didn’t quite do enough to make the MLB-roster out of camp. However, the Mets called him up yesterday, April 17th, and he went 1-1 as a pinch-hitter. I see him spending some more time in the majors this season, but not quite earning a full-time roster spot until Spring Training of next year.

If Murphy leaves, he can compete with Dilson for the second base job. If Flores doesn’t pan out, he can spend some time at shortstop. He can even be a potential replacement for Wright when the latter’s career ends.

Who is his MLB Comparison?

I think Muno builds a fair comparison to current Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy.

Murphy, a 2014 All-Star, didn’t really hit his stride until he had spent a few years in the bigs. I think Muno is the same. While his minor league numbers are good, I still think, based on watching tape of him and reading scouting reports, that he has room to grow.

He and Murphy are comparable as fielders, baserunners, and power hitters (although Muno may have a slight edge here).

The differentiation between the two is that Murph has developed into a great contact hitter who consistently puts up a batting average from the high .200s to the low .300s. This was not always a given for Murph.

Hopefully Muno can grow as a contact hitter the way that Daniel Murphy did. I see similar tools between the two, and a similar growth pattern.

Overall, Daniel Muno’s style of play, skills, and even shortcomings all are reminiscent of Murphy.

Today in Baseball: Is Wilmer “The Future”?

wilmerflores

I remember on June 10th, 2003, when some guy named José Reyes played his first game in a Mets uniform. Entering the game, he was ranked the #3 prospect in the MLB by “Baseball America.” The 20-year-old Dominican shortstop was so highly touted that, on his debut, the Mets gave out mini-bats with Reyes’ picture and “the future” plastered all over them.

So yeah, he was pretty good.

He ended up playing nine seasons with the Mets. In those nine seasons, he totaled 370 stolen bases, a .292 average, 99 triples, 81 home runs, and 423 RBIs.

Here’s a clip just to remind you how electric Jose was…

…how fast he was…

…and how much the fans loved him.

And then, after a phenomenal 2011 season in Flushing, he was gone.

On December 7th, 2011, Reyes inked a deal with the Miami Marlins.

Reyes has expressed that he wanted to stay in Flushing. As the story goes, the only reason he bolted is that Sandy Alderson didn’t even schedule a meeting with him.

But, regardless of the reasoning behind it, Reyes is gone, as he has been for the last four years. And ever since he left, the Mets shortstop position has been constantly in flux.

Since Reyes has been gone, we’ve seen 276 games of Ruben Tejada, 126 games of Omar Quintanilla, 51 games of Wilmer Flores, 28 games of Justin Turner, 27 games of Ronny Cedeño, 8 games of Wilfredo Tovar, 5 games of Jordany Valdespin, a game of Eric Campbell, and even a single game of David Wright at shortstop!

Wilmer Flores, the third man on that illustrious list, is slotted as the Mets’ Opening Day shortstop.

It’s becoming increasingly evident with each passing day that Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have a lot of faith in Flores. They’ve passed on Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Desmond, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jung-Ho Kang, Jed Lowrie, Hanley Ramirez, and more, in favor of sticking with Wilmer.

This aforementioned faith in Flores isn’t unwarranted…

The 23-year-old is taller than the average shortstop, standing at 6’3″. He possesses nice power and has the potential to become a very good hitter.

While he often looks like a subpar and sloppy defensive shortstop, the numbers say otherwise… In 51 games at shortstop this past season, he had a .979 fielding percentage, which would put him tied with Adeiny Hechavarria for 7th amongst all shortstops last season (albeit small sample size). Wilmer had just four errors in 51 games, or .078 per game- during his Mets tenure, Jose Reyes, largely looked at as a nice fielder, averaged .1 error per game. While Flores is far from a defensive wiz, he’s an acceptable defensive shortstop. His lack of fancy plays, among other factors, unfairly gives him this reputation as a defensive liability.

Do I want the Mets to acquire a better, more proven shortstop? Yes, of course.

However, I don’t think that they will do that until AT LEAST the end of next season.

Flores certainly isn’t Reyes… He certainly isn’t “the future.”

But one thing is for sure- Flores has a whole lot of potential. The question is- can he make good on it?

Today in Baseball: HOF Reflections

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I felt that it was critical to move my “Today in Baseball” post to Tuesday this week in order to respond to the Baseball Hall of Fame results. So, we won’t see a new Trade Talk Tuesday until next week!

Today, at 2 o’clock ET, we, the general public, discovered that Craig Biggio (82.7%), Pedro Martinez (91.1%), Randy Johnson (97.3%), and John Smoltz (82.9%) were all elected to the Hall of Fame.

Overall, I was very happy with who WAS elected. In my mock ballot from last week, I voted for three of these men (Biggio, Martinez, and Johnson). I didn’t pick Smoltz, but I definitely believe he’s a Hall of Famer, and I solely left him off my ballot in order to leave space for some guys that I felt would get less support (Mike Mussina, Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling). All of these four men had tremendous careers and are deserving of a bronze plaque in Cooperstown.

However, I was extremely upset with who WASN’T selected…

Mike Piazza (69.9%) is the greatest offensive catcher in MLB history. Plain and simple. He finished his career with 427 home runs, a .308 batting average, and 1,335 RBIs, some outstanding statistics. He was a 12x All-Star, a 10x Silver Slugger, and the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year. His accolades and statistics were clearly phenomenal, but to add to his legacy: he hit one of the most powerful and significant home runs in MLB history… Watch the touching video below:

Please, watch that video.

Please, take a quick glance at Piazza’s statistics and accolades.

Please, think about Piazza’s underdog story (drafted in 62nd round of 1988 draft as a favor from Tommy Lasorda to his good friend, Piazza’s father).

Please, find any definitive evidence that Piazza used PEDs.

If you have fulfilled the first three requests, and have failed to complete the last one, you know. You know and understand that Mike Piazza is a Hall of Famer. End of story.

Moving on.

On my ballot, aside from Piazza, there were 6 players that I voted for that didn’t get in. They were:

  • Jeff Bagwell (55.7%)
  • Barry Bonds (36.8%)
  • Roger Clemens (37.5%)
  • Mike Mussina (24.6%)
  • Curt Schilling (39.2%)
  • Edgar Martinez (27%)

While I am disappointed that none of them got in, I honestly expected it. The latter 3 are victims of overlooking and undervaluing certain aspects, or the whole, of their career. The first 3 didn’t get in due to steroid issues: suspicion for Bagwell, and certainty for Bonds and Clemens. I hope, and believe, that all of these 6 guys, who are each extremely deserving, will one day end up in Cooperstown.

Lastly, I’m quite disappointed that Carlos Delgado (3.8%) has fallen off the ballot, as his percentage was less than 5%. He hit for 473 home runs, a .280 batting average, 1,512 RBIs, and 2,038 hits during his career. He excelled as a hitter during the Steroid Era, and he did it clean. He put up numbers comparable to some of the steroid users that the BBWAA so emphatically despises- and he did it the right way. He succeeded as a monk in a city of gamblers. Due to his excellent career achievements, the way in which he reached them, and the era that he played in, I believe that Carlos Delgado is a Hall of Famer. I can only hope that the Veteran’s Committee gets it right and puts him in the Hall when he becomes eligible once again.

Some final food for thought about Delgado? Take a peek at this photo that a fan tweeted. It’s a page from a Spanish magazine that puts Delgado’s numbers up against those of Hall of Famers. (Note: “jonrones” means home runs, “empijadas” means RBIs)

Trivia Friday: January 2nd

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The answer to last week’s question was… Yogi Berra!

The MLB legend is the oldest living man to ever don a Mets uniform… He is 89 years and 235 days old.

Berra, commonly known for his legendary play at catcher with the New York Yankees, is also a Mets legend in his own right. He played a year in Flushing, spent seven years on the Mets coaching staff, and managed another four years for the Amazins’. And in one of those seasons, he took the Mets to the World Series.

And now for this week’s question…

What if Wednesday: Justin Upton

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In the offseason of 2012-13, the Mets made a push for Justin Upton. Upton, then of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was just 25 years old and was considered to be one of the best outfielders in the game.

Supposedly, Sandy Alderson was pushing hard for Upton, trying to make a trade work for a while. Eventually, this effort failed.

Upton was traded along with Chris Johnson to the Atlanta Braves in January of 2013 in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and three prospects- Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, and Brandon Drury.

But what would a Mets trade for Upton look like? What would change as a result of this acquisition?

  • The Mets trade Daniel Murphy, Jenrry Mejia, Wilmer Flores, and Rafael Montero to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Justin Upton and Chris Owings.
  • Let’s take a brief look at how this one trade two winters ago would’ve impacted the way this offseason (2014-15) has played out…
    • With Justin Upton on the Mets, the Braves clearly can’t send him along to San Diego. The Padres killer offseason comes out a notch below where it is today.
    • The Pads’ lose out on Upton, and so, have no need to trade Seth Smith to the Mariners. He remains in San Diego.
    • Even with Upton, the Mets still sign Cuddyer to fill out the outfield, forming the “Norfolk Three” with Upton, David Wright, and Cuddyer.
    • Because Martin Prado is never a Diamondback, he can’t be traded to the Yankees in the summer of 2014. As a result, the Yanks can’t send him to Miami. Prado is still a Brave, and Nathan Eovaldi is still a Marlin.
    • Now that the Marlins don’t have Prado, they have no reason to trade Casey McGehee to the San Francisco Giants, and he thus continues to call Miami home.
    • With the Giants missing out on Chase Headley, and now not acquiring Casey McGehee, they’re in some big trouble at third base. They make a greater push for Asdrubal Cabrera, ultimately signing him, as he spurns the Tampa Bay Rays.
    • The Rays don’t sign Cabrera to add to their surplus of infield talent, and thus, all of these Ben Zobrist trade rumors (particularly to the Mets) are, more or less, obsolete.
    • The D-Backs don’t trade Didi Gregorius to the New York Yankees, as they have nobody else at shortstop, with Chris Owings a Met and Nick Ahmed still a Brave.
    • The Yankees need to find another shortstop, so they go out and place the winning bid on Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang.
    • And lastly, the Mets aren’t the subject of every shortstop rumor, because they already have their shortstop of the future in Chris Owings…
  • Now we can rewind a little bit…
    • The Braves need to acquire another outfielder to accompany Jason Heyward and BJ Upton after failing to acquire the latter’s brother. With all of the big-time corner outfielders off of the market, the Braves really have nowhere to go… They place utility-man Evan Gattis in left field.
    • In the 2013 season, the Braves don’t perform to the level that they did in the “real world” without Justin Upton, but they still just barely sneak into the playoffs with the weak NL East. They get swept in the NLDS by the LA Dodgers.
    • The Mets don’t sign Curtis Granderson in the winter of 2013 because they already have Upton and Lagares, and plan on signing another outfielder the following offseason. He ends up back with the Yankees on a lesser contract.
  • And many, many, many more things would’ve changed if Upton was a Met…

What else do you think would’ve changed? Let me know in the COMMENT section!