Tag Archives: baseball

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…

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 4.53.22 PM

“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.”

Today in Baseball: Is Wilmer “The Future”?

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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!

Trade Talk Tuesday: Nothing New Here…

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On this day, there’s really no other trade proposals that I can make… I’ve already posted about Starlin, Javy Baez, Tulo, and Alexei. And while I think that Ben Zobrist would be a nice addition, I think his age, the fact that he only has one year left under contract, and his lack of history at the shortstop position all lead me to believe that Sandy won’t make a play for him.

I have just one thing to say…

SANDY, GO GET TULO!

Today in Baseball: Hall of Fame Edition

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On January 6th of the new year, at 2 PM ET, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their next class of inductees.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has been criticized a lot in recent years, due to their unwillingness to induct “suspected” steroid users, the fact that zero legends were inducted in 2013, and the MLB’s persistence in continuing the ban of Pete Rose, one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

This year, there’s a pretty nice ballot. Several returnees, like Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell, reemerge to the forefront of conversation; well known steroid abusers, like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, add some spice to the conversation; and then there are the newcomers, like Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, and Pedro Martinez, who bring something new to the party.

Here’s what my ballot would look like if I had one…

  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Craig Biggio
  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens
  • Randy Johnson
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Mike Mussina
  • Mike Piazza
  • Curt Schilling
  • Edgar Martinez

And now for my explanation of each of these guys…

Jeff Bagwell was truly one of the great power hitters of his generation. He spent 15 years in the big leagues, all with the Houston Astros. He finished his career with 449 home runs and a .297 batting average. He made it to four All-Star games, won three Silver Slugger Awards, and earned a Gold Glove in 1994. However, the most notable of his accolades was his 1994 NL MVP Award. Regardless of the rumors about his steroid usage (which have never been proven, or anything close to it), Baggy deserves a gold plaque in Cooperstown.

Craig Biggio, Bagwell’s teammate and partner-in-crime, also played in Houston for his entire career, from 1988 to 2007. Mainly a second baseman, Biggio was a true super-utility, as he could also play catcher and outfield, all at an All-Star level. He finished his career a member of the 3,000 hit club- he has the 21st most hits in league history. Biggio also ended up with 414 stolen bases, 291 home runs, and a .281 average. He won five Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves, as well as being elected to seven All Star Games. Biggio was a rare breed- a player that could excel as a hitter, fielder, and baserunner; a player who could play at several different positions; a player who had true character; a player who stayed with one team through it all. Because of this all, though his stats aren’t the greatest anyone has ever seen, Biggio is the true definition of a Hall of Fame player.

Barry Bonds was the greatest player that I’ve ever seen, and arguably the greatest of all time (I said arguably). He was the most electric player of his generation. The combination of power, contact, and speed made him a the force to be reckoned with. Even before he ever as much as touched a syringe, he already had three NL MVP Awards under his belt. While the steroid situation may take away from his legacy and reputation as a person, it most certainly shouldn’t take away from his legacy as a ballplayer. He already was on track to be one of the greatest players of all time BEFORE he used the steroids. Now, of course, his stats may have been somewhat inflated by the ‘roids. He probably wouldn’t be the all time home run leader, but he’d surely be close. What people forget is that Bonds already had the skill- the steroids didn’t make him a better player, they just made him stronger. Heck, Jay Gibbons has been accused of using steroids, and that guy batted .260 with 127 home runs. Bonds isn’t the greatest guy, and yea, he cheated, but he was already a superstar. I’m not in any way approving steroids- quite the contrary, actually. I’m not sure that the majority of the successful steroid users deserve to get in, but there are some exceptions. Barry Lamar Bonds is one of them…

…and so is Roger Clemens. Being a Mets fan, I especially despise this man. Not only was he a Yankee, but he repeatedly started problems with the Mets, most notably the “bat incident”. How big of an A-Hole do you have to be to throw a broken bat at another person, particularly a superstar [Mike Piazza]?! But, regardless of his character issues, Clemens is still the most dominant pitcher of his generation, and maybe of all time. His seven Cy Young Awards are an example of his sheer dominance, as are his eleven All Star appearances, his MVP Award, his two Pitching Triple Crowns, his two World Series wins, and all of his other accolades. Overall, there really is no doubt that Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Randy Johnson, AKA “The Big Unit,” was one of the few pitchers that could even be named in the same sentence as Clemens… The 6’10” southpaw maintained dominance throughout his 22 years in the MLB. He finished up with the 22nd most wins and the 2nd most strikeouts in MLB history. He had ten All-Star appearances, 5 Cy Young Awards, a World Series victory, a no-hitter, and a perfect game, just to name a few of his accomplishments. Randy Johnson deserves to live on amongst the immortals, no less gain a plaque in the Hall.

Pedro Martinez was just about the only pitcher besides Randy Johnson that could be mentioned alongside Roger Clemens. “Petey” was a superb pitcher, one who, according to Baseball Reference, is the 15th best pitcher in MLB history. His stats don’t quite do his legacy any justice, as he was much better than his 219 wins would lead you to believe. He finished with the 2nd highest winning percentage in MLB history. Just let that sink in for a bit… Better than Cy Young, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson. Better than them all. As Mets fans, we sometimes overlook Pedro’s legacy here in Flushing. He was at the top of his game in 2005, giving us one of his best seasons of his career. In 2006, he started off great, but injuries got the best of him. Those injuries basically derailed Pedro for the rest of his Mets tenure, and ultimately, his career. Just imagine that, if Pedro didn’t get injured during his time with the Mets, his career would’ve ended up even better than it already is. Pedro was an all time great, and an excellent postseason performer, and he most certainly belongs in Cooperstown.

Oriole and Yankee great, Mike Mussina, had an illustrious career. The most notable of his all-time stats is that he ranks 19th amongst all pitchers in career strikeouts. He was selected to five All-Star Games and won seven Gold Glove Awards. While he never quite reached the very top, with no Cy Young Awards, he sure got close, finishing in the top-five six times. He finished with 270 career wins. Mussina’s career is fairly comparable to that of fellow Oriole great, Jim Palmer, and he’s considered to be one of the best pitchers in league history. As a result, there is no doubt in my mind that “Moose” deserves a spot in Cooperstown.

And then we get to Mike Piazza. The Mets legend. The greatest offensive catcher in MLB history. The subject of many steroid rumors, all of which have zero foundation. Piazza is one of the most deserving members of this class of potential inductees. While he wasn’t a great defensive catcher, he was better than people originally thought. And, regardless of his defensive skill, or lack thereof, Piazza’s offense was something to be remembered. Piazza, the last player picked in the 1988 MLB Amateur Draft, was asked by LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, the best friend of Piazza’s father, to give up first base in favor of catcher. Piazza listened, and the rest is history. He was a twelve time All Star, a ten time Silver Slugger, and a former NL Rookie of the Year. Mike was traded to the Mets in the spring of 1998, after just five games in a Marlins uniform, and he went on to further his superstardom. He finished his career with 427 home runs, the most by a catcher, a .308 batting average, and 1,335 RBIs. There is no question that Piazza earned the right to call himself a “Hall of Famer.”

Curt Schilling is a borderline-HOF caliber pitcher who played 20 years in the bigs, splitting time with the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, and most notably the Diamondbacks and the Red Sox. He was a three-time World Series champion, sharing the World Series MVP with teammate Randy Johnson in 2001, and playing an intricate role in the Red Sox 2004 and 2007 World Series runs. He was a phenomenal postseason performer, going 11-2 in all of his career playoff starts, and putting up a .846 winning percentage in playoff games, the highest of any pitcher with 10+ decisions. He also finished in the top-4 of Cy Young voting four times, three of which he came in second place. He has the fifteenth most strikeouts of all time, with 3,116. Schilling finished his career with a nice career record of 216-146. For all of his accomplishments, during both the regular and postseason, he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

For the last spot on the ballot, I had a pretty difficult time. I had to decide between Edgar Martinez, Carlos Delgado, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Tim Raines, and Larry Walker. All of these guys can have a nice argument made in their favor, but in the end, it came down to Martinez and Mattingly, for me. It’s Mattingly’s last year on the ballot, and he had a nice career- former MVP and a legend for the most illustrious team in MLB history, the Yankees. Martinez played for longer and put up better stats. In the end, I had to go with Edgar Martinez. He is one of the greatest players in Seattle Mariners history, and his famous hit, “The Double,” from the 1995 ALDS is arguably the most famous play in team history. He revolutionized the position of Designated Hitter, as he’s the only DH to ever win a batting title. Edgar finished up with 309 home runs and a .312 batting average, and while those are good numbers, they don’t do Martinez’s career justice. Here’s what does: Mariano Rivera said that the toughest batter he ever faced was Edgar Martinez. That all but sums it up- Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Fame-worthy player.

 

So, there’s my ballot, folks. Share your opinions with me in the COMMENT section!

Trivia Friday: December 26th

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The answer to the last question was… FOUR!

Four players with surnames beginning with “Z” have, at one point or another, donned a Mets uniform. They were Pat Zachry, Victor Zambrano, Todd Zeile, and Don Zimmer.

And now for this week’s question…

Throwback Thursday: Christmas Birthdays

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On this wonderful Christmas day, we look back in Mets history to see what notable events occurred on this day.

Since baseball, of course, isn’t played in December, and teams usually don’t finalize transactions on the holiday, opting to spend time with the family, it was difficult to come upon a notable event from Mets history that took place on December 25th.

And then I found two. Two notable players from Mets history, regardless of for how long they donned the blue and orange, were born on this day.

First, there was Rickey Henderson- the fastest, most incredible baserunner in MLB history. One of, if not the, greatest left fielder in MLB history. He was a Met from the 1999 season into early 2000. For more on his impact in Mets history, check out my article “What if Wednesday: Rickey Henderson”.

Here’s Rickey’s Hall of Fame Induction speech, which came after he received 94.8% of the vote in 2009, his first year on the ballot.

Happy Birthday, Rickey!!

The other Mets birthday today is that of Al Jackson. The southpaw starting pitcher, fondly known as “Little Al,” pitched for the Mets from 1962-1965, and then again from 1968-1969. While most of his records have been broken, he set virtually every Mets pitching record during his time with the team.

He established a Mets single-season record for walks in 1962, which he broke himself in 1963.

He established a Mets single-season record for shutouts in a single season in 1962.

He established a Mets single-season record for strikeouts in 1962, which he then broke in 1963.

He established a Mets single-season record for wins in 1963.

He established a Mets record for all-time shutouts.

Al Jackson was one of the first Mets, and he was a great one no less… And on this Christmas day, we shouldn’t forget his impact.

Happy Birthday, Al!!

Trade Talk Tuesday: Troy Tulowitzki

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As we’ve heard since mid-July, the Mets have been speaking to the Rockies about Troy Tulowitzki for quite some time now. And every time another rumor about these talks pops up, it seems like no more than a mean tease to us Mets fans. But, through the frequency of these talks, it seems likely that it’s more than that…

“Tulo” has been a premier shortstop in the MLB since entering the league in 2006. He has blossomed even further, becoming one of the best hitters in the National League, arguably third behind only Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton.

There are only two concerns with Tulowitzki- his proneness to injury and his large contract. He’s guaranteed $129 million over the next 7 years, and he’ll be 37 years old when the contract expires. In terms of injuries, so far in his career, “Tulo” has had: torn quadriceps tendon, cut right palm, fractured wrist, left groin surgery, fractured right rib, injured left hip leading to labral repair surgery.

However, regardless of his downfalls, Tulowitzki is still one of the premier players in the MLB, and his addition would push the Mets over the edge and make them a potential World Series contender.

Here’s my proposal:

Mets get: Troy Tulowitzki, Rex Brothers, cash considerations
Rockies get: Noah Syndergaard, Dillon Gee, Dilson Herrera, Kevin Plawecki

This trade makes sense for both sides…

The Mets are in need of a shortstop and are clearly interested in Tulowitzki, so it goes without saying that he’d be a tremendous addition. Rex Brothers would also be a nice addition, as the Mets have been looking for a lefty bullpen arm to accompany Josh Edgin. Also, the additional cash considerations could cover a portion of Tulo’s contract.

Now, this trade also makes the Rockies more adept for future contention. They get the ace they’ve been longing for in Noah Syndergaard… Dillon Gee, who they showed tremendous interest in at the Winter Meetings, would also serve as their #2 or #3 pitcher. Dilson Herrera, a top second base prospect who has a great bat and is also a great fielder, would assume the role as the team’s starting second baseman. And Kevin Plawecki, a top catching prospect who has a nice bat, would become the team’s catcher of the future, as Wilin Rosario hasn’t been reliable enough to assume this role.

DJ LeMahieu, the team’s current second baseman, would shift to shortstop, a position that he played until midway through his college experience.

To make this deal even more enticing for Colorado, all three of the prospects that they receive are 23 or younger, and they all are expected to be fully MLB-ready by mid-season. Also, Dillon Gee is only 28 years old and won’t hit free agency until 2017.

Check out what the Mets potential lineup would be if this trade went through:

C: Travis d’Arnaud
1B: Lucas Duda
2B: Daniel Murphy
3B: David Wright
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
LF: Curtis Granderson
CF: Juan Lagares
RF: Michael Cuddyer

Now that… That’s a playoff team!

Let me know what you think about this potential trade in the COMMENT section! Would the Rockies do it? Should the Mets do it? Does this make the Mets a playoff team?