First Half Mets Marking Period Is Over Here Are The Grades

                                                                                The Ol’ Perfesser

As promised in my last post, it’s time for the 2013 NY Mets first half report card.  Unlike years past there is room for optimism even though the team has not had a winning monthly record since June of 2012, that’s seven consecutive months of losing, but the tide seems to be turning.  There is optimism in that the young arms are starting to emerge as we see today with Matt Harvey being named the starter for tomorrow nights All Star Game. Zack Wheeler has shown some growing pains but he should figure it out and Noah Syndergarrd talk is all the rage.

But the club needs bats and needs them badly but that’s a post for another day. On to the grades:

John Buck Grade C

Took off like a rocket in April with the bat hitting 9 HR and driving in 23 runs. From months May thru July, Buck has hit 5 HR and knocked in 23 runs. The biggest aspect of catching is defense, while Buck is not a great catcher; he is a vast improvement over what the Mets have had the last two years. He’s holding the seat warm until Travis D’Arnaud gets himself healthy and ready for the big leagues, most likely next season.

Ike Davis Grade F

UGH! What a mess Ike is. So far the great re-invention of Ike Davis approach at the plate has been a failure.  His first couple games when Ike came back from Las Vegas there was a bit of an improvement but the last week he’s back to his ass going one way and his arms going the other. UGH! I sense Sandy Alderson’ patience are wearing thin with Ike and with Davis arbitration eligible next season  Ike looks like a lock for non-tender status.

Daniel Murphy Grade D

Who doesn’t love Murph? He plays his ass off, worked very hard to be a serviceable 2nd baseman and has battled serious injury to come back strong.  But Murphy like Ike is at a crossroads in his career. He’s making just a shade under $3mil this season and would be looking for a raise towards the $5mil mark in 2014. He’s 28 years old he doesn’t draw walks and he hits with little power and is not a solid fielder. Add 2nd base as another position the Mets will need to upgrade in 2014.

Ruben Tejada Grade F

I’ve never been a fan of Tejada’s and never understood what some baseball people saw in him. He’s in Las Vegas now and will most likely be there until September. Call this addition by subtraction.

David Wright Grade A+

Just put a decent bat behind Wright and he’ll put up numbers like have never been seen in Flushing. Just having a decent bat like Marlon Byrd protecting him has allowed Wright to put up solid numbers. His defense has also improved to where you might as well give him the Gold Glove now. He has also embraced the role of Captain showing more leadership on the field than we’ve ever seen. David Wright is one of the top 10 players in baseball and we are damn lucky to have him on our team.

Lucas Duda Grade C

Duda and Josh Satin could be the demise of Ike Davis. Duda will never see left field again as a Met and that’s a major plus. It’s not Duda’s fault that he was a lousy outfielder, he never played outfield and when he was moved back to his natural position of 1st base he looked like a new man. But then he went down with a strained intercostal muscle pull and hasn’t be heard from since.  Duda’s 14 % BB rate and .204 ISO is what has me not quitting on him, I’d love to see him get back soon healthy and coupled with Satin as a very productive 1st base platoon. Sorry Ike.

Juan Lagares Grade D

Tough grade for the young center fielder but when you break it down his offense is an F and his defense is an A. Thought of giving him a C but he lost his job to Kirk Nuienhuis so that dropped it to a D

Marlon Byrd Grade A

All the Sandy Alderson critics were screaming “where’s the bargain signing that pays off” well here you have him in Marlon Byrd. Now no one, even the Mets GM ,thought Byrd would contribute as much as he has. Byrd leads the team in HR’s (15) and Rib Eyes with 51 his wOBA is solid .346 and his play in right field has been stellar. So where do you fall? Keep Byrd, Trade Byrd? I get the feeling Byrd will stay as the Mets GM is sick of his team sucking in the second half and is looking for a strong finish to build on for 2014. Byrd stays.

Omar Quintanilla Grade D

Best part of Q’s game is he takes a walk as in base on balls with an 11% BB rate. His defense is plausible and he’s 31 years old so he’s not the future. Mets have a big ? at shortstop

Jordany Valdespin Grade F

Good bye and good riddance.  If Valdespin had called John Buck the name he called Terry Collins, he’d be getting fit for dentures today.

Mike Baxter Grade D

Still can’t understand why he had to go to Las Vegas and JV1 got to stay big big mistake. Baxter better lefty bat off the bench than Vladespin.

Justin Turner Grade D

Teammates love him and his pies but where does he fit on this team on the field? Isn’t Josh Satin Justin Turner but with talent?

Kirk Nieuwenhuis Grade C

Looks like Kirk has won the CF job and the last couple of weeks his bat has come alive and his play in centerfield has been solid. A C grade may be a bit generous but Kirk gets a little more love due to grit.

Anthony Recker Grade Incomplete

Poor guy doesn’t play enough but when he does he hits with pop with a .237 ISO but it’s a very limited sample. He could find his way as a Sunday catcher with Mets when Travis d’Arnuad makes his debut

Josh Satin Grade Incomplete

Again small sample size but he has forced Terry Collins hand as Ike Davis regresses and the team looking to win games and stop the loser mentality Satin has played his way into the lineup. Easy guy to root for.

Terry Collins Grade C

Some days I’m pro-Collins some days I’m looking for his replacement. Collins handles the press and his clubhouse as well as anyone in the game but when it comes to in game strategy and handling his bullpen, Collins is playing checkers while the opposing manger is playing chess. Second half of the season will determine if Collins is the Mets skipper in 2014

Tomorrow the pitching staff.

 

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A Good Reliever Is Hard To Find

Maybe the Mets should bring back the bullpen carts from the 1970′s could be Mets relievers are exhausted from running in from the pen

 

Watching the implosion of the Mets bullpen has pissed me off as it has you but fact is, this bullpen has sucked all year.  If I can take the Mets to task for anything to do with this pungent pen, it waited too long to fix it, the trade deadline may be to make your move.

We’ve heard all the names from Huston Street, Jonathan Broxton, Grant Balfour and Frankie Rodriguez as relievers the Mets have or should target as Mets fans feel anyone other than relievers who wear a Mets uni will pull a Mighty Mouse and save the day.  Not one of those pitchers is guaranteed to be any better than who the Mets are currently employing as relief pitchers and none of them will come for free.   Take K-Rod for instance, he’s owed about $4mil for the rest of the season and before the All Star break he could have been had for a next to nothing just by picking up the rest of the money on his contract. Now, it will be a bit tougher since he has taken over the closer role from John Axford. You could probably get Axford for nothing but the idea here is to improve the bullpen and Axford is far from an improvement.

Huston Street would be a fine addition to the Mets pen and if Alderson could get him plus LHP Joe Thatcher in a deal, that would be a huge upgrade. Street is owed $3+ mil for rest of 2012 with a $9 mil option for 2013 but the club can invoke a $500K buy out. Thatcher is an arbitration eligible player who  signed for $700 K for the year, so the money commitment to both player would be less than $4mil, if the money is prohibitive to the Skill Sets then just shut the franchise down but I have to think they could scrape some of Bill Maher’s minority money along with the other silent partners who bought in to pay for this bullpen upgrade. So what would the coast be in players? I have no idea but I know the Mets baseball ops has a big commitment to rebuilding the minor league system  and they will not over pay in players to get a two month pitcher rental. 

The Rockies have a pair of relievers, RHP Matt Belisle and RHP Rafael Betancourt who I’d think you’d be able to obtain for a C level prospect or two. Belisle has stranded 79 % of the runners he has inherited which is one of the huge holes in the Mets bullpen, the ability of relievers to come in and get big outs with runners on base, and his walk rate of 1.5/9 IP is fabulous. The money a club would take on is about $1.8 mil for the rest of this season and in 2013 Belisle is owed $4.1 mil, so again the more money a club would agree to take on the less you would have to give up for Belisle or for Betancourt who has a stupid contract that pays the 36 year old right hander $4 mil for 2012 and $4.25 for 2013. The Rox would have to eat a lot of dead presidents to deal him.

RHP Shawn Camp of the Cubs would be a fine addition since he hardly makes any money (baseball wise that is) at $550K. Camp’s 80 % LOB number is what got my attention but I would bet he will be used as a tag team partner of either Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster when Theo Epstein decided to deal either or both starters.

Former Met right handed pitcher Darren O’Day could be on the Mets radar as he has a 87 % success rate when dealing with inherited runners but even though the Birds are double digits behind the Highlanders in the AL East race, they are just a half game off a Wild Card berth so I’d look at the O’s as buyers not sellers so O’Day may be off limits.

Trying to build up this Mets bullpen is not going to be easy. I have no idea how much money the Skill Sets have allotted to upgrade this team at the trade deadline. It would behoove the Mets owners to show the fan base they are back in the game by taking on additional salary, if they don’t they will be torn apart by the fan base and they will deserve every bit it of nastiness that will be hurled at them.

The Skill Sets can’t expect Mets fan to care until they see ownership cares, your move Freddy.

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CAN’T THANK YOU GUYS ENOUGH!

First I’d like to thank each and everyone for their kind words and condolences, your kind words at this time are extremely comforting. Thank you guys so much

Poor Daniel Murphy what at time to get hurt? Just when his bat was coming around and he settling in to play first base to start the season he goes down with a knee sprain that will set him back 2 to 6 weeks. So now both Murphy and Jose Reyes start the season on the DL. How about that “unnamed Met” telling the NY Post about the club “babying” Reyes. From following this team for as long as I have I know that its’ a bad sign when “unnamed Met” shows up in the clubhouse.

Back to Murphy and first base, I cannot believe the Mets will start the season with Mike Jacobs and Fernando Tatis at the position. What message does that send to Ike Davis? “Kid we feel you’re a big league player right now but you know we have to delay that service time clock as much as possible”.  That’s the only reason they have not grabbed Davis out of minor league camp yet they are still deciding if it’s worth starting the arbitration eligibility clock.

Alex Cora at short and Mike Jacobs at first for opening day UGHHHHHHHH!

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FOR IKE DAVIS IT’S NOT “GOOD-BYE” BUT “UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN”

I’m having a tough morning concetrating as I’m still stunned over the events last night on “24″ STUNNED!!!!!

Anyway, The Mets have assgined Ike Davis to the teams minor league camp but this is just a temporary assignment for a couple of reasons, the Mets have a habit of rushing guys up through the ranks so for the first month of the season the trio of Murphy, Jacobs and Tatis for better or worse will man the first sack. Second, it delays the arbitration clock on Davis which is most like the real reason he was sent down.

Remember April showers bring May flowers and that’s when our slugging chrysanthemum will return.

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RANTINGS OF AN ANGRY METS FANS

If you like coming to this site and root for the day that my head will explode, well this may be your lucky day. As the great Frank Costanza said “I HAVE A LOT OF ISSUES WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ISSUE 1: How the hell can any of you, my fellow Mets fans, see anything positive in acquiring Gary Mathews Jr. and don’t tell that I’m overacting negatively to this deal, if I want to fucking rant about a broken down valise of a ball player who sucks so badddddddddddddlllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy the Angels lined is fucking pockets with $20 FUCKING million dollars to get rid of him, I’ll rant and I’ll rant hard and I’ll rant all night long. And of course the Mets were the only dumb ass’ in baseball that would take him on.

I’m not pissed with GMJ (as we Tiwits from the Twitterland call him) and yeah he’s just going to a spare part being paid spare change but don’t you Polly-Wilpons see that this guy is could be taking up one of 25 valuable roster spots on this team? I hate to wish bad on someone, as we all know God don’t like ugly, but you have to hope that GMJ sucks so bad in spring that the Mets release him.

And to all of “Angel Pagan is an All Star” worshipers you need to get over that as well. I don’t want to attack Pagan who is a good player but some of you Mets fans have built this guy up to the point if I were Pagan’s agent I’d bring in your Tweets and message boards posting to make his case in arbitration.

Back to GMJ (take a Dramamine because this is going to be one rocky post, I’m going all over the road here ) this poor bastard is not even an average Major player anymore. Check this out from Ball Busters blog:

{After the Mets completed their trade for Gary Matthews Jr. on Friday, committing about $2.5 million and a middle reliever to land him, one talent evaluator dug into his team’s scouting reports, wondering if maybe his general impression that Matthews was a player in decline was wrong.

The reports for his team were clear: Matthews is a player to be avoided. Slow bat. Declining range. And above all else, a player who wants to be a regular and will be an unhappy distraction in your clubhouse when he’s not in the lineup every day.

Said an executive with another team of the Mets’ efforts to acquire Matthews, which have been extensive, including the discussion of one possible four-team deal this winter: “Baffling.”

His OPS the past three seasons: .742, .675 and .697; the last number ranked 90th among 104 outfielders with at least 300 plate appearances. His slugging percentage of .361 ranked 96th among 104 outfielders with at least 300 plate appearances. He is now 35 years old.

I asked a scout with a team not involved in this deal for his observations on Matthews’ play. His response:

“I still see Matthews as an expensive extra outfielder. The Angels knew they were fooled by his Texas numbers before they went after Hunter. He should still be able to play center field while Beltran is out, but he hasn’t shown any sock since he was outed for receiving shipments of HGH a couple years ago. His bat has been dragging through the zone the last couple years. Nevertheless, he should benefit from getting more consistent at-bats in NY than he had been getting in Anaheim.”

His defense? Well, Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information sent along his year-by-year UZR/150 ratings from FanGraphs. Let’s just say there’s a trend in the numbers:

  • 2002: 23.8 (1st among 107 outfielders with at least 500-plus innings)
  • 2003: 6.6 (33rd of 105)
  • 2004: 21.3 (9th of 107)
  • 2005: 18.7 (15th of 112)
  • 2006: 1.0 (46th of 108)
  • 2007: -12.2 (88th of 108)
  • 2008: -13.7 (94th of 112)
  • 2009: -24.6 (109th of 115)

The winter’s market has had other guys who could have fit the role of extra outfielder. Randy Winn. Jeremy Reed. Endy Chavez, who reportedly is making progress in his rehabilitation.

To sum up the view of Matthews within the game: He can’t hit for average, can’t hit for power, his defense ranks statistically among the worst outfielders in the majors and, to top it off, rival scouts have been reporting that in recent years he has been a clubhouse negative.

If Matthews were a free agent, he would be a player who might get a $500,000 non-guaranteed minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. And yet the Mets opted to commit $2.5 million and to trade a serviceable pitcher in Brian Stokes to get a player whose effectiveness might have ended years ago.

Very strange.}

I threw up twice while reading that.  I don’t care if GMJ was PAYING the Mets to let him play, the guy is 35 years old, not very productive on offense and his defense has decline sharply every year. Yes, I know this just a temporary move until Carlos Beltran comes back and you may be right that I should save my anger with the Mets for more important fuck ups (I’ll get to one more in a sec) but I’m mad because is GMJ the only type of player the Mets can attract ? Think about it, they have tried to give away Luis Castillo who is ten times a better player than GMJ but with a $12 million dollar nut,  they can’t find a taker. The mere fact that the Artie Moreno would pay over $20 million dollars (just about the Pirates and Marlins total payrolls) to ship Mathews sorry ass out of Anaheim should have all Mets fans up in arms.

The one bright spot in this muck is Omar Minaya coming out and saying that the centerfield job is not Angel Pagans it’s an open competition, which of course I applaud. But it better not be just a two man event with Pagan and GMJ.

Issue 2:  First let me clean the spittle off my screen here as I was screaming as I wrote that last section of this post.

As you know I’ve been clamoring for the Mets to host a Fan Fest during the winter at $iti Field. I bring this up today for two reasons one, the Baltimore Orioles are having theirs today at Camden Yards and from reading the tweets from Orioles Prospects, the place is full of fans and players signing autographs and spreading good cheer. So on a beautiful sunny day in NYC what am I doing? Ranting like a fucking lunatic when I’d rather be at $iti Field and a Mets Fan Fest, which is where all of us Mets fans should be. But you’d have to have forward thinking management to do this instead of the Skill Sets whose version of customer service is out of the Henry Hill School of Business Management : “FUCK YOU, PAY ME!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Another reason why today would have been a great day for Mets-Fest is you could have tied in raising money for Haiti along with pushing your product. Charge everyone 20 bucks to come to the ball park with proceeds going to UNICEF for relief aid to Haiti. I bet there are tons of giveaways that weren’t distributed during the season, you could sell raffle tickets for them and for other used items like bats, batting gloves and the like and use that money for charity as well. I’m not saying the Mets are not charitable, in fact one of Freddy Skill Sets admirable traits is his generosity to charities but  not only would a Mets-Fest raise a ton of money for a good cause, it would also give the Mets some badly needed positive press.

End of rant……….a Jehovah’s Witness is ringing my bell time for an ass kicking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE IN FLUSHING

If anything came up as a positive last night that the Phelatios won the NL Pennant it’s that the flame that was close to Omar Minaya ass to make his team better just turned into a blow torch. I ‘ve read a lot about who should go, who should come back and who the Mets should go after but as much as we Mets fans want to see some movement immediately nothing will happen until after the World  Series and after the free agency grace period. As far as the bullpen I would say you won’t see any action on that until December to see what players are offered arbitration and who doesn’t as the non-tendered list should bring something of substance to the beleaguered pen. This process will be take a while to play out and I’d say to all Mets fans to be patient but I know better than to go that route.

 

I am staring to fee bad for Mike Francesa. Here was a guy who was on top of the sports talk food chain and now has become as relevant as a rotary telephone. It’s hard to get mad at his Anti-David Wright rant yesterday as I feel more embarrassed for him than pissed. To say that David Wright is not a five tool player and that “every team in baseball has a David Wright “ is so over the top stupid it was like listening to a drunk at a dinner party slur his words and spit his food. WFAN has tried to do everything to save Mike’d Up as they see that Francesa by himself can not carry a show (just like Derek Jeter can’t carry a team by himself) and Program Director Mark Chernoff has trotted in just about all of the talent the station has to find a match. So far Joe Beningno has been the best of the lot with surprisingly Evan Roberts putting up a good showing as well. Kim Jones was good to but Mike was treating her like it was his sister and not a colleague and the biggest disappointment was Chris Carlin who was dreadful but I digress, it seems most of the callers and posters on MikeFrancesa.com feel that this attack on Wright is personal. A caller brought this up to Francesa and he acted in his typical rude way. For Francesa to diss Wright as he has in belittling his ability not only in the field but at bat (at one point in the day, Francesca said that Wright’s 33 HR’s and 124 RBI meant nothing and that Wright was an awful 3rd baseman which if a blogger wrote that they would be laughed at and their site never heard from again) .

 

It sad because as much as I would bitch about how out of touch Francesa is I listen every day at work and I’ve always found his analysis spot on for the most part, but now I see a guy who looks ready for a nervous breakdown and who misses his partner more than he will ever let on. 

 

Mike Silva has a post on this Francesa Fiasco at his always informitive NY Baseball Digest site 

 

R.I.P. Tom Tresh. I remember getting one of his bats at bat day at Highlander Stadium as a little kid and having my friends beg me for it looking to trade me a Ron Woods bat for a Tresh bat and when I wouldn’t budge on the deal being called a “stupid fucking Mets fan” which is funny because those same friends still call me that to this day.  

 

Joel Sherman in his Hardball Blog writes on how Larry Bowa enjoyed working with Manny Ramirez and how Bowa is rumored to be headed back to the Highlanders. If Bowa is looking to leave LA why doesn’t Omar grab him to coach 3rd base? A Bowa type is sorely needed and Bowa did play for the Mets. Okay that one was a stretch but I would love to see Bowa waving home runners at third for the Mets.

 

Here’s what I took from last night’s Presidential debate. If you were going to jump off a building, Barrack Obama would talk you out of leaping to your death. John Mc Cain on the other hand seems like he would yell “Will you fucking jump already!!!

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