Opening Day…….Are We There Yet ?

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Have  I lost my mind? Nope it’s time to make a BOLD move and by trading for Jimmy Rollins is as BOLD a move as you can make. See my rational below.  

It’s been pretty lackluster spring training for the Mets. Aside from watching the bumper crops of young pitching prosper and which organization is going to hand over a big league shortstop, the position battles we anticipated just haven’t happened.

The first baseman fight to the finish between Ike Davis and the new and improved Body by Lake Michigan, Lucas Duda has been non-existent. Both players have gone down with injury for most of the spring with Ike dragging a walking boot around to ease his calf injury and Duda resting a cranky hamstring.  So instead of who has the best at bats winning the first base job, the player who can walk to the batter box without a medical appliance will win that job.

We were all sold a bill of goods about the shortstop position as well. Ruben Tejada was also sent to Michigan boot camp and so far it seems like that was a big waste of time and money. Tejeda looks as bad as he did last season even with Grandpa Terry telling him how marvelous he is. While Grandpa Terry is trying to inflate Tejada’s self-esteem, Big Daddy Sandy is dangling young virile pitchers to any team with a shortstop who can move laterally and at least bat .250

The best move to fill the shortstop spot would be to sign Stephen Drew but Drew doesn’t want to play baseball he wants to be paid millions and then play baseball. It’s easy to kill Drew’s agent Scott Boras but doesn’t the agent work for the player? If Drew really had the hot desire to play baseball he would have told Agent Boras to get him the best deal out there.  There is no market for Drew except for one team, our beloved Mets, so if the GM should offer a face saving 1 yr for $14 mil to Drew/Boras and if they balk, lose their number. Then go into the contacts on your phone and dial Ruben Armaro Jr. and ask what it would take to deal Jimmy Rollins to the Mets.

Yeah you read that right, I want to bring Jimmy Rollins to the Mets as their everyday shortstop. I could care less that he’s a Phillie and that he’s rub our noses in the big stink of defeat for years, that’s exactly why I want him on the Mets. We need an everyday bad ass and since our every fifth day bad ass, Matt Harvey is out for the season. With  Rollins we get an everyday shortstop who has been told by his rookie manager that “he ain’t the ballplayer he used to be” and will be doing everything he can to prove him wrong.

Rollins makes $11 mil for this season and has very reachable clause in his deal to guarantee him $11 mil for 2015. That’s $22 mil the geriatric Phillies could use to get a player or two under 35 years old.  Since our owners declare they have cash to spend why not spend it on a guy who has a World Series ring an MVP and a prickly attitude?

I’m not saying I’d expect the Jimmy Rollins of 2007 his MVP year but if the Mets get Jimmy Rollins of the 2012 vintage it would make the season a lot more interesting .

Now for all of you, who are against this move remember not a single young stud pitcher will be moved in this transaction. That alone should get you on board the J-Roll Train.

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I Guess The Mets Plan Is Lose The Battle and Win The War

It was a rough weekend for the NY Mets. The bats and pitching arms have gone stale, the petulant utility player affectionately known by Mets fans as JV1, who it seems the front office, manager and players have run out of patience with while waiting for him to act like a big boy, reached out to the Pittsburgh Pirates for help in the form of a baseball thrown at him in anger over his “look at me, I’m El Hombre” slow dance after hitting a home run with the Mets down 7 runs. Then there was Banner Day in which only 99 banners were on display.

The Mets front office has a plan and contending in 2013 for the NL is not part of it. But we knew that coming into the season, right? So why is everyone up in arms about the abysmal play of this Mets team? Many Mets fans had the Mets pegged for a 90+ loss team and that is what they are right now. So why is everyone so upset about the recent awful play of this team?

We knew the outfield wasn’t Major League quality, we knew that back end of the rotation was weak. What we didn’t know was that Ike Davis would be this bad and Lucas Duda would morph into a little leaguer at the plate taking the walk is as good as a hit advice to new heights and that Daniel Murphy would be better with a glove than a bat.  We did know one thing, Sandy Alderson has a plan, what we didn’t know was part of the plan was do nothing in 2013.

Part of the problem is there is no worry on any offensive player on this team that there is someone within the organization to take their place. Last year when Ike Davis was slumping so bad it was a miracle he wasn’t shunned to Buffalo.  The reason Ike wasn’t sent away to Triple A wasn’t that the team wanted to show confidence in Davis it was a someone in the Mets front office told me “what’s the alternative” ? This season Ike is being Ike, looking awful at the plate, and again the question is “what do you about a problem named Ike Davis”? There is none that is if you feel Lucas Duda should be moved to first base and Jordany Valdespin goes to left field is a solid solution and either send Davis to Vegas (ooh that rhymes) or trade him. A trip to Triple A could happened this time as that scenario I laid out is a real option, as for trading him, quite frankly what team would want him?

The point is as much as Sandy Alderson is sticking to his plan it would behoove the GM to do something of a personnel move dealing with the offense just to send the fan base a signal that he is still interested in running this team and that he is as fed up with the suckitude of play as the fan base is.   

Right now there are four players who should be untouchable in any trade talks, D-Wright, Matt Harvey, Bobby Parnell and John Buck. Anyone else should be put on the market and moved for the right price. But again what kind of return would you get for an Ike, Duda, Murphy or even Tejada? At least with a broken down car you can strip it for parts, not so for broken down baseball players.

On the Jordany Valdespin hit by pitch on Saturday I’ve heard or read everyone from Terry Collins to Mets players to Jay Horwitz , well maybe not Jay, chastised for allowing Valdespin to get plunked and not rushing to his aid. The one guy who hasn’t been called on out on this and is the number one culprit in all this muck and mire is Jordany Valdespin. JV1 as the kids like to call him, has been spoken too, punished, had his clothing ripped to shreds and been call out by teammates mangers coaches and front office folks as a first class horse’s ass to no avail. People associated with the Mets that I’ve talked to who have a good word for everyone associated with the team make that face like a stink bomb went off when you ask about Jordany Valdespin.  So if you want to blame Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson or the Mets players about leaving Valdespin out to dry, you’re blame and anger is misdirected.

Here’s the problem with having Banner Day in 2013, no one cares. Banner Day in 1964 was great because the team still had the new team smell to it, as the Mets were Casey’s Amazin’ Mets our lovable losers. In 2014 there is no such thing as a loveable loser in fact even after you win the next question you get after handed the trophy is, “Can you repeat”? The fan mindset is totally different than in the past. Fans don’t care how hard you try, how much your hurt, or if you’re going through some kind of personal problem all fans care about is entertain me and goddamnit WIN!

This past week while at a Mets blogger event at Citi Field I brought up the 1973 Pennant winners and how this is the 40th anniversary of the Mets team that went on a tear and had to pass five teams just to win the division and then go on to beat one the iconic teams in baseball history in The Big Red Machine, so would there be a day at Citi Field to honor them?   The answer I received on why there will not be day for the team is that the cost to run that event is prohibited and who would show up for it? After my blood pressure subsided and we discussed the pros and cons of the Mets having a day for the ’73 NL Champs, it made sense to me. The 55 year old Mets fan would love to see George Theodore , Ron Hodges and Harry Parker , the 30 year old Mets fan doesn’t care. So why go to all the time and expense to throw a party and have no one come.  

I didn’t go to Banner Day.  I don’t think it’s a crime. I spent the day watching my daughter play soccer and returning a bunch of tuxedos for my son and his friends that they dropped off after their high school prom while they took off to a day of amusement park fun with their girlfriends. Then I dropped my daughter off at the mall with her friends because teen age girls love to shop. Then I was able to spend a great afternoon just me and my wife because now that our kids are older and don’t need to be with mommy and daddy, mommy and daddy can go off and do what they want to do, like eat at restaurant with cloth napkins and no coloring books at the table and catch a movie that isn’t animated. Life is good. So I’m sorry I wasn’t there to carry a banner professing my love for the NY Mets but even so, I know how much I love the Mets and the Mets know how much I love the team, so as I said Life is good.

 

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Will 2013 Be The Summer of Lucas Duda ?

 
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Lucas Duda is one very large enigma to Mets fans. We see a strapping young man who stands 6’4” 250+ lbs and wonder, when will it all come together for Duda, when will we see 30+ HR’s and 90+ RBI. Well at 27 years old if it doesn’t come this year it mostly likely will never happen for Duda.

27 years of age is a great age to be unless you are an unproven big league baseball player. It’s an age where you are hitting your playing prime, where if you are a quality baseball player, everything comes together, it all starts to click, you have a good read on the opposing pitching staffs, you have a good idea of your hitting zone, you know when to be aggressive and when to lay off the breaking balls you chased as a greenhorn. It’s when the game starts to slow down just a bit for you to manage it effectively.  This is the season for all of this to come to Lucas Duda at the plate, if it doesn’t the Mets are in for a long season and Duda could be one in a long line of young Mets outfielders to be discarded on the side of the road.

I’ve looked a few of the projections for Duda for the coming season and while there seems to be a bit of an uptick in his power numbers by some, is it enough t to keep him as a big league starter?:

PECOTA .251/.333/.430  15 HR 54 RBI

ZiPS  .248/.330/.418  18HR  74 RBI

Bill James  .268/.356/.454   18HR  69 RBI

 

James projects Duda with a better on base and slugging percentage and I kind of agree with that. Duda has improved his eye at the plate, swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone (30.1, 29.8 and 35.3 last season) and his base on balls rate has gone up each season as well. But it’s the power numbers that give me pause on Duda as his Isolated Power Average dropped from .189 in 2011 to a pedestrian .150 last season. Being that the Mets lineup is still in flux-I don’t think Terry Collins knows who will be his 1-2 in the lineup yet-where Duda bats will determine how many RBI opportunities he gets, I figure Duda to bat 6th so the opportunity to drive in runs will be there for him.

Hitting just 15-18 home runs will not be acceptable this season from Duda, the Mets have to see an increase to at least mid-twenty’s if the team is going to make any noise this season and again at 27 years old, it’s time for Lucas to bust out.

The dilemma is for Duda to stay in the lineup he has got to hit and be a run producer as his defense is, and there is no way to sugar coat it,dreadful. The Mets do not need Duda to be Barry Bonds-like in left field but he needs to be able to get a good initial jump on balls and just make the routine play. In Duda’s defense (no pun intended) he is a first baseman by trade who is still learning a new position, so I have to cut him some slack.

The intangible in the whole Lucas Duda equation is his mind set. When Duda first came up to the Mets, it took a while for him to become comfortable in the major league/NYC setting. Terry Collins has mentioned that Duda has to get a grasp of being a big leaguer and now as one of the young vets on this Mets team, he has to be a leader. That doesn’t mean he has to be vocal or a rah-rah type, which is not his nature but Duda has to step up this season and be a difference maker so the club and Mets fans don’t have to suffer through another disappointing season.

Let’s all hope that 2013 becomes The Summer of Duda.      

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The Dog Days Of July ?

 

Remember back about a month ago when the Mets were proving the critics wrong by playing hard nose balls to the wall baseball that translated into winning games and had the beaten down fan base thinking of crisp cool evenings in October at Citi Field ? What happen?
It’s hard to pinpoint but this Mets team that looked to be tougher and more resilient that in the past has lost its mojo. Or has it? Are the Mets like water and have found their level?
The level of frustration with the Mets is not just relegated to the fan base. The more I see Ron Darling on SNY the more frustration with this team I see. Keith Hernandez is almost there but Darling, he’s arrived. It started with watching the Mets relievers just kill the enthusiasm of the season with poor performance and poor performance. It intensified when Andres Torres with a chance to pay back Roger Bernadina for spiking Ruben Tejada bailed out, a play Darling called Torres out on and a few days later was still pissed about the nonpayment by Torres.
My frustration is with Terry Collins and his nightly “we have to give Jason Bay at bats to get him going” Terry, Please stop! My leg is full of piss! I don’t know whose call it is that Bay stays in the lineup, but someone in authority has to say stop already, and I’ll tell you this, Bay has not gotten anything close to venom spewed on Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez by the Mets fan base. What he gets booed? Big deal! Yes, I know Bay is a swell guy and is loved by all who meet him, and I’m not advocating the fan base go all asshole on him but I’m just pointing out the criticism of Bay is tame to what other non-performers in Flushing have endured.
Ike Davis knocks three baseballs out of the park and the Mets still loses. I’m speechless!

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The Mets Won Last Night, So Why Am I So Angry ?

 

 Jason Bay hit a home run last night. No, seriously Bay hit a home run last night. Yes, Jason Bay of the NY Mets


Oh well, my positive spinning of the Mets was good while it lasted. As great as last night’s win was over the Phuck Phaces and as enjoyable as it was watching The Dickster , Bobby Parnell and Frankie Firsco dominate. I have some issues with Terry Collins and more importantly a couple of players who I am very fond of.

First the manager, TC can spin it as much as he wants that he felt batting Justin Turner third was a the correct move as to not disrupt the rest of the lineup but let’s be real here, Turner is no 3 hole hitter. I understand the premise of not bunching lefty bats against Cliff Lee but Turner replacing Wright in the 3 spot? That’s a Jerry Manuel move. If TC had put Jason Bay in the third spot of the lineup I’d have defended that move. But Justin Turner? Please!

Look I am now and forever a proud member of the #IMWITH28 Club (I have the t-shirt to prove it) but for Christ sake Murph you have to make the routine play and 2nd base. That was the second time this week that a routine ground ball went under Danny Boys glove and it has to be the last.

Speaking of Murphy, TC and Sandy Alderson cannot put Murphy at 3rd base if (when?) David Wright goes on the DL with his fractured pinky (speaking of DW’s pinkie, there were some on Twitter questioning Wright and his threshold of pain for not playing last night and looking at the DL until he recovers. If you are questioning Wright’s toughness or his fight to get back on the field, then you’re an idiot) I agree 100 % with Toby Hyde that Zach Lutz should be promoted from Buffalo and planted at 3rd base until Wright gets back. For better or worse, Murphy is the 2012 2nd baseman and if the TC/Alderson go back on that, it shows real indecisiveness on their part and doesn’t help Murphy with his comfort level at 2nd. DW, if he hits the DL, will most likely be out just the minimum 15 days, so moving Murph makes no sense.

Its plays like Josh Thole made on the bases last night that infuriates the living shit out of me. Since the Mets won last night everyone can chuckle at that bone head base running blunder by Thole, put its plays like that, that this team cannot afford to make. Between Murphy’ ground ball through the legs and Thole getting duped by Jimmy Rollins, (and by the way Jon Niese better put a fast ball under J-Rolls fucking chin in his first at bat just to send him a message) that can sink this team as the Mets are not good enough to fuck up like that.

Just think the Mets won the game last night and are 5-2 after the first seven games and I’m still agitated. Just look at it as some tough love.

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LET’S DRINK TO JOSE REYES AT FOLEY’S NY

So what do you do with that REYES 7 you won’t be wearing to Citi Field anymore? Well, you can bring it to Foley’s NY and exchange it for a beer or an appetizer (or champagne if your happy he’s gone) Here is the info :

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rdSt.) offers New York Mets fans the opportunity to bid adios to former shortstop Jose Reyes, who has signed with the Miami Marlins.   The popular baseball bar will allow customers to exchange their Mets #7 Reyes jerseys for a free beer (to drown their sorrows), champagne (to celebrate his departure) or free appetizer (for fans who do not drink).

 

 “New York baseball is feeling a swirl of emotions as Jose Reyes heads south this winter,  We’re giving Mets fans a chance to drown their sorrows — or celebrate — and bid adios to Jose, one of the best and most popular Mets players ever,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features 2,500 autographed balls, bats and other baseball memorabilia.  “By doing this, we can have a little fun and donate to clothing drives for people who are less fortunate.”

 

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IKE’S ALLRIGHT? OOOHHH VALENTINO, TRIPLE A BASEBALL ON SI?

Last night was one of those games that even the witty repartee of Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez couldn’t keep me interested.  I read the paper and trolled Twitter while waiting for my favorite pawn shop owners to come on at 9PM.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t meaningful Mets news (as opposed to meaningful games) to peruse.

Ike Davis is running, hitting and fielding, not pain free but feeling much better than he has since what is still the most ridiculous Mets injury I’ve ever seen.  Davis is trying very hard to stay away from the surgeon’s scalpel as he claims the ankle while not 100%, feels much better. Ike will stay with the team in Miami and then return with them to NY to see team doctors, at which time the decision will be made on whether surgery is needed. Again, how Davis has gone from what looked like a non-injury, to what now will be something that will affect Davis for the rest of his career is stunning.

Even with or without surgery, Davis claims his ankle will never be the same. He talked about it becoming arthritic but he feels it will not hurt his plate production. That remains to be seen. What about his defense? Davis was ready to blossom into a perennial Gold Glove first baseman who know how this affect his play around the bag, as first base is all about foot work. From what looked like an innocent trip and tumble on an infield fly has turn out to be maybe a career changer for Ike.

As much as my stomach churns watching Jason Bay’ at bats, I’m starting to really feel bad for him even with the knowledge that the team is on the hook for two more seasons and $35 mil. Bay has played a better left field than we all thought; he hustles (last night he ran out a ball that was clearly going into the first base stands foul) and from the scuttlebutt around Citi Field, he works to the point of being obsessive compulsive in finding his hitting stroke. You can see after every unproductive at bat, it is eating him up that he has not stepped up and provided the big veteran bat this team sorely needs. It would be best for both Bay and the Mets to part company but the $35 mil price tag hanging his toe makes moving to a new team almost impossible. ALMOST. Maybe I have too much faith in the power of Sandy Alderson since the trade of Frankie Rodriguez and his unsightly option that no one thought the Mets could get out from under.  Maybe there is a team out there (West Coast? SF, Seattle, Angels maybe) that sees Bay’s work ethic and thinks a change could do him good if the Mets eat half or little more of the deal? Never say never.

Welcome back to the big leagues Val Pascucci. Pascuicci’ 21 HR and 91 RBI at Buffalo earned him a promotion, perhaps for the last time, to the big leagues. Don’t think the promotion of Passcuicci will go unnoticed in the Mets clubhouse and throughout the Mets minor league system along with the call up of RHP Chris Schwinden, it shows that this front office will promote and reward players who produce. Not only that, with all the talk about the Mets money woes, all the players the Mets have added to the list of call ups have to be paid on a pro rated basis on the ML minimum. Schwinden looks like he will get to start one of the games of Thursday’s DH vs. the Braves, I bet Valentino gets a start in one of those games as well.

Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest mentioned that the Highlanders Triple A team in Scranton/Wilkes Barre will need a place to play in 2012 as the ball park will be undergoing a big renovation project. One of the spots they are looking at is Staten Island, home of the Baby Highlanders. The move to SI makes sense as the Bronx Bastards own the stadium in St. George and the team, as well as owning the Wilkes/Barre team. The problem they will have besides getting the Mets to allow them to do this (like a scene out of Goodfella’s I can see Freddy Skill Sets and Uncle Saul listening to Randy Levine’s pitch for this project and Uncle Saul interrupting “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Fuck you pay me”) is finding a better management team to run the stadium that will have two tenants.

The SI Highlanders are very poorly run. The team has no sponsors and the majority of their tickets are sold to groups with the added attraction of all you can eat concessions. My wife bought tickets for every game SI played Brooklyn as a Fathers Day gift for me and those games draw the most fans, the majority rooting for the Cyclones. I’ve noticed that the fans that attend games on SI are there for social reasons, not many people pay attention to the game they are more involved in the all you can eat buffet and how unfair it is that they cannot grab a burger, hot dog and chicken sandwich all at the same time.  Staten Islanders are not fond of walking and taking stairs so to take just one item and then go back again is a huge crimp in their lifestyle.

There are ushers and security people employed by the team and it is a great job as you get to see a ball game, do absolutely nothing and get paid.  No one sits in his or her assigned seat. If there is a seat open behind home plate you can mosey on down and sit in it. If you see friend or neighbor at the game just go a sit in the seat next to them, no problem. “Oh wait, this is your seat? And what you wanna sit here?” “Uhh yeah” with that you get the eye roll and the nasty look.

If the SWB Highlanders were to call SI home for 2012 I would definitely  go to their games, especially when they play Buffalo but I don’t know how many Highlander fans would support the team, in fact I don’t think many Highlander fans know who the Triple A team is. If they do play here and want to draw fans just make sure you have an all you can eat plan and add delivery to your seat as an option, you’ll sell the place out every game.

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STEADY EDDIE AS HE GOES

Ed “RustyJr” Marcus posts to day that Ed Kranepool has finished in his Top 50 Mets of All Time Series. While Ed is my top Mets player of all time I knew he wouldn’t crack the top 5 but I was hoping for a top 10 finish.

Kranepool still leads the club all time in games played as a Met (1853) At Bats (5436) Hits (1418) and Total Bases (2047) and many Mets fans today have either never seen him play or really know who he is so I guess a 13th place finish is quite good for an original Met who played his whole career in blue and orange.

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R.I.P. BOB FELLER

Bob Feller passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Of course we all know that Feller was one of the greatest players to ever pitch a baseball, and if you didn’t,  don’t worry he’d tell you. The man lived a full life as a baseball player and a baseball entrepreneur, selling what else but Bob Feller.

What does sadden me about Feller’s death is he is one of the last of his greatest generation, who put down their bats, balls and gloves to do something much nobler, volunteering to serve his country by joining the military during war time. No two words get thrown around so cavalierly in sports like “hero” and “Warrior” for athletes who really do nothing but compete in an athletic completion, which cheapen those words. Bob Feller was a hero and a Warrior and he earned both those descriptions the hard way.

As usual Joe Posanaski has all the right words about Bob Feller, so take some time out today and read this post by Joe Pos.

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SMOOTH OPERATORS

No need to ask he’s a smooth operator

There was something different about the Mets last night, not just the great pitching performance by Jon Neise or the bombs away hitting of Daivd Wright, Rod Barajas or Frenchy there was a confidence displayed by the team that has been missing for awhile. When you look at Jason Bay the guy never seems to get rattled.  Ike Davis is the same way it feels like Davis has been here for a couple of years instead of a couple of weeks. The players all said during spring training that they knew they had a good team and that they’ll prove once the season starts, I for one didn’t believe it. I’m not going over board just yet although beating the Phillies like they did and shutting up the louts that inhabit Citizen’s Bank Park has we ready to go overboard.

It’s easy to go crazy during this hot streak and hopeful Big Pelf works his magic to day against Roy Haliday but the test of the makeup of this team to me will be how they react when they hit a bump in the road. They’ve already hi one early in the year and have shown for guts than last years team ever did but at some point the pitching is going to struggle and the bats will slump a bit and how the team reacts to that adversity will be the test .

I don’t want to dwell on that now though I just want to see the Mets kick Roy Halliday and the Phillies ass this afternoon.

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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