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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Hey Jordany, Smarten Up!

Yes it was an ugly loss last night but not ugly enough to throw up your hands just yet Mets fans.  I will say though, it would be a huge boost to the Mets and the fan base if they take the next two from the Fish. Some more about last night:

Hats off to Jeremy Hefner as he continued with the parade of solid starting pitching the Mets have gotten so far this week. Hefner showed nice command of his fastball and slider, keeping the ball down in the zone as well. He threw a lot of pitches in the 2nd and 3rd innings (49 total) but all he gave up was solo home run to Greg Dobbs.

Jordany Valdespin will drive us crazy all year. As good an offensive player as he is JV1 has absolutely no baseball instincts.  The 3rd inning brought it all into perspective. From be too far off the bag at 1st on Daniel Murphy’s soft liner to short that the throw to pick him at first base caught his bicep to then getting picked off at first with David Wright up and before a pitch could be thrown to Wright. MY GOD!

SNY cameras caught a great scene in the dugout after JV1 got picked off. He retreated to the corner of the dugout both to stay out of ear shot of Terry Collins and because is arm was hurting. That didn’t stop John Buck from coming over to him to give some “advice”. The funniest part of the exchange was Buck cornered Valdespin so there was no place for him to go until Buck was done “talking” to him.

I don’t know what you expect from Lucas Duda in left field. He’s not an outfielder; he’s a first baseman/DH and at some point Sandy Alderson is going to have a make a decision on what to do with Duda.

Don’t panic about Ike

As you know I’m not a fan of Ruben Tejada and with the scuttlebutt that it was thisclose as to who went to Vegas him or Omar Ouintanilla, I agree with what Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show  as much as you can play your way on to a team, you can play your way off a team. The only way Tejada keeps his job is with his bat and his glove and range at short are subpar.

Not a great night for Greg Burke, Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins to say the least.  

Got to take the next two from the Fish. Got to

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The Sweet Success of Opening Day

 

So far so good, the New York Mets are undefeated in 2013. Matt Harvey tries to keep the line moving tomorrow night. Here are some observations on yesterday’s opening day win:

I wasn’t in attendance at Citi Field yesterday due to my son coming back from a two week trip to Italy and Switzerland. At 17 years old he’s already been to Europe and hiked the New Mexico desert. When I was 17 I was happy to just spend time going to Coney Island and playing stick ball.

I watched all the festivities on SNY. The pre-game show started at 11:30 AM and right away the chemistry between Bobby Valentine and Bobby Ojeda was a hit. I can guarantee the spread sheet contingent of baseball fans would disagree with everything Valentine and Ojeda have to say about baseball which makes what Valentine and Ojeda say more valid.

Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt were in mid-season form yesterday. Hernandez had the line of the day. After KB interviewed the stunning Emily Rossum and threw it back to the booth, Hernandez mentioned that there are times he envies Kevin and the job that he has. Welcome to the dirty old man club Keith.

I still can’t understand why SNY has a 90 minute pre-game show but still has to interrupt game action with pre-recorded interviews?

What did I tell you about Collin Cowgill? As fabulous as his Grand Slam was in the 7th I was more impressed by the hustle double he hit in the 4th that normally would have been a single to center but Cowgill was thinking double right out of the box. Love that!

The worst outfield in baseball went 4 for 12 with 2 BB 3RS and 6 RBI (4 RBI from Cowgill and 2 from Byrd)

SNY put a camera on Jon Niese after the 6th inning where Terry Collins was coming over to tell him his day was over and a let him know “Job well done” Niese was very animated in making his case to stay in the game. There was a meeting between Collins, Dan Warthen and John Buck along with Niese pleading his case to stay in for the 7th inning. It was decided to let Niese go back out to start the 7th. It seems there was caveats that as soon as Niese was to throw his 100th pitch, he was done for the day. Even though Niese got 2 quick outs, Collins brought Brandon Lyon in the game to get the last out. SNY then aimed their camera at Collins giving an explanation to Niese on why he took him out. When the lecture was over  Niese had a big smile on his face and Collins go this message across.

I’ve mention about meeting Jon Niese and finding him as dull as dish water, yesterday between seeing him interact with John Buck and with Collins and Warthen, it looks like Niese has a new and improved personality which I feel goes hand in hand with the confidence he has that now knows he is a top flight big league pitcher.

Speaking of John Buck, how great is it to see a bon fide big league catcher handling the Mets staff.  You can see that Buck is a future ML manager. SNY showed inning after inning, Buck sitting with Niese and it seemed that they were going over their game plan. After the game, Buck was praising Niese saying he would the ace of any staff he pitched for. Whether you or I believe that, you have to love Buck pumping up his teammate like that.

Got to feel for poor Ike Davis, while everyone in the lineup made a contribution, Ike took the Golden Sombrero.

Got to feel great for Scott Rice and a great gesture by Terry Collins to give the 14 year career minor leaguer the ball in his first ML opening day.

Scott Achinson looks like a guy who just competed in a fantasy camp, he’s the oldest looking 37 year old I’ve ever seen.

No Mets game today but tonight R.A. Dickey will make his Blue Jay debut. I’ll be watching that one and rooting for R.A.

 

 

 

 

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Fare Thee Well R. A. Dickey

Sorry for the lack of posting the last week but I had tons of work to handle and when I did find time to sit down and compose some thoughts on the New York Mets the news from Newtown Connecticut of the mass killings of little children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolded and suddenly whatever Mets news that was out there was of no interest to me at all, which is why this past Saturday was just the kind of day I needed.

When I found out that Greg Prince who along with Jason Fry co-author the great Mets blog Faith and Fear in Flushing was having a get together at Foley’s NY to celebrate his joining the half century club (the more cranky middle aged Mets fans the better) and his new book The Happiest Recap I replied immediately that I would attend. Not only was it the great tonic to keep my mind off the tragedy in Newtown but it reaffirmed my love for the NY Mets by being in a room jammed back with people of my faith, real honest to goodness die hard Mets fans. How devoted were the fans in attendance?  We saluted our beloved Mets and pledged our allegiance to the Orange and Blue by singing a rousing rendition of Meet the Mets, the complete version of Meet the Mets, with butcher, the baker and the people on the street.  I get goose bumps just typing that. No doubt though, Mets fans are the most underappreciate fan base in sports.

Did you really think the break up between the Mets and R.A. Dickey was going to amicable? Let me just put my cards on the table right here, if you have been a frequent visitor to this site you know how much I respect and admire R.A. Dickey. I have been fortunate to meet Dickey and to interview him and I’ve found to be fascinating and a man of class and intellect that made spending time with him a fabulous experience.  But as much of a fan as I am of Dickey’s, this trade that sends him and Josh Thole and a prospect  to Toronto for Travis d’Arnuad , Noah Syndergaard, John Buck and a prospect is one that was absolutely necessary in the getting the Mets back to relevancy .

Sandy Alderson does not act on emotion; he acts on facts, on research from both statistical analytical and scouting departments. He is here to rebuild the NY Mets organization that when he arrived was a shambles in all departments but especially from a player development side. This will be the second time in his three years as Mets GM that he outlasted a desperate rival to pluck a top prospect for a player on the back nine of his career but one that could be the missing piece to their prosperity. Both R.A. Dickey and Carlos Beltran, who as older players are much more useful to teams in contention than one under renovation (sounds better than rebuilding don’t you think?)  were flipped for two of the top prospects in all of baseball in Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud.  We now have a future.

Back to the nastiness that has surfaced since this deal was deemed all but complete. Mets management, as has been a tradition around here since the days of M.Donald Scumbag, have found ways to try to embarrass players who are leaving but end up embarrassing themselves.  I have no doubt that there was jealousy amongst those who locker with Dickey in the Mets clubhouse. I’ve been told by people I trust that was the case. To me it says more about the people who are doing the bad mouthing than it does about Dickey. Think about the typical ballplayer in a locker room. Most of them are into playing video games, hunting, golf, and playing loud hip-hop music while sitting naked pursuing the latest edition of Swank.  Then you have the anti-Neanderthal ballplayer in R.A. Dickey, who not only reads books but writes them, a best seller no less. He also raises awareness to causes like sexual abuse of children of which he was a victim, going into schools to read and donate books to underprivileged kids. Having a role in a movie that documents his journey from a #1 draft pick who struggled through the system and then reinvented himself and persevered when he was told time and time again to give it up but never gave in to the naysayers and worked harder every time he was doubted to become one of the very best of his craft, to the point where he was honored with the highest award a pitcher can received, the CY Young. Oh and guess where Dickey will be right after Christmas? In India with his two daughters to make and distribute friendship bracelets for children who are abuse victims. Where did I learn this? At the Mets holiday party because unlike Ken Davidoff, I WAS THERE!!!!! And heard Dickey talk of his holiday plan. While I’m on the topic of that holiday party, let me set the record straight. Both Dickey and Ike Davis were helpers to John Franco who played Santa Claus. The media was closed off from the party proceedings by a black fabric partition. When Dickey and Ike were done entertaining the kids, they were brought in to the media area. No children were harmed during the interview process and I doubt any of them cared about hearing about contract extensions as they enjoyed eating hot dogs and opening up presents.  Dickey was asked about the stalemate in negotiations and spoke candidly if the press and media can’t handle that then they deserve to be locked in a room with Jon Niese.  

So who would have a problem with people wanting to celebrate a man who has fought so much adversity and rose to the top of his profession? Maybe a bunch of players who fade every August, September and October for the last four seasons. There are not a lot of players with intestinal fortitude in that Mets clubhouse. It could be that some of those who fail to rise up and contribute dislike Dickey because he makes them look bad. How would you feel if you were sitting the bench due to fatigue, while a 38 year old takes the mound with a torn stomach muscle that would need off season surgery and fights his way to lead his team to victory?

I do have hope that this trade will start a spiral of ridding the team of petulant posers,  pie throwers and the charter members of the bitch and moan club. The Mets are losing a stand-up guy in R.A. Dickey but that doesn’t mean we have to stop rooting for him. The Blue Jays come to the South Bronx for a four game set from April 25-April 28, how it would be great for Mets fans to show up if Dickey gets a start to express our appreciation for all he’s done as a Met on and off the field. Oh and it will piss off the Highlanders and their fans as well.

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While You Were Whining About No Traids, The Mets Are A Win Away From Going 5-3 So Far On This Road Trip

So the Mets are a win away from closing out a 5-3 West Coast road trip. Not bad for a team that most Mets fans felt threw in the towel because the GM failed to make a trade deadline deal.

Chris Young goes for the Mets and hopefully he can bounce back from his poor showing in his last start against the Snakes.  A win today would be a huge boost to the team after such a dismal start to the second half. Again the resilience of this team is to be admired.

So Jordany Valdespin got his first taste of veteran wrath yesterday in San Fran. Seems Mets have a rule that collared shirts must be worn on the road. JV1 must have thought that rule wasn’t meant for him so he wore a white t-shirt to the ballpark. Someone in the clubhouse decided it was time for a little rough justice and the Valdy’ tee was destroyed. I love the fact that whoever gave out the punishment wrote El Hombre on the shirt because Valdespin does walk around like he is “THE MAN” and I bet he embraces that nickname unlike the original El Hombre who despises it.  Seems after first getting pissed off, Valdy realized the error in his ways and laughed it off to the point he wore the shirt during batting practice.

The big knock on Valdespin is his maturity in fact it was such a problem in Binghamton that Wally Backman told the Mets brass that if Valdy kept it up he was going to ring his neck.  Valdespin still irks some in the Mets clubhouse but hopefully yesterday was just another chapter in the Big League Education of Jordany Vladespin.

So the hot rumor is the Mets offered Jason Bay to the Fish for Heath Bell and John Buck. All three stink and all three are overpaid but all three are in dire need of change of scenery. I voted in favor of this deal as I’d wager that Bell will bounce back from this season of suckitude much more than Bay by the way, have you ever seen a player with as bad of body language as Bay recently?  I actually feel sorry for him as he knows he’s at the end of the line not just with Mets but with playing major league baseball, and Buck as bad as he’s been this year would automatically become the best catcher in the Mets organization. Not saying much I know.   

When you look at the money involved in this deal starting in 2013 Bay would cost $19 mil while Bell and Buck are due $24 mil. I can’t see the Mets making this deal man for man, they would insist in the Fish sending both players to them along with a check for the $5 mil difference.      

Anyway the deal never happened but the end of the line for Bay is close like this weekend close. The Mets won’t cut Bay this season but this off season they will either sit down with him to work out a buy out or they will try very hard to trade him. Bet on the buyout release.

A Wall-Mart next to Citi Field? Forget that. Now a Costco with their $1.50 hot dog/soda combo? OH HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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CHILL-AX METS FANS

Have you come off the ledge? Good. If Mets fans are going to react to every game this season like they have over last night’s season opener, there will be a shortage of nitroglycerin pills in NYC hospitals by June.

Sure it sucks to lose on opening day (night?) and Big Pelf was far from good but some Mets fans are acting like the season just ended instead of just starting. Maybe it’s due to the Mets proficiency of winning on opening day or maybe it was the sheer dominance of Josh Johnson or maybe it’s that we are dying to root for a team that looks, acts and plays like a confident Major League Baseball team, but if you’re bringing a football mentality to this baseball season, you’ll get burned out by Memorial Day weekend. There’s going to be rough patches, and that’s when we’ll see what the team and the manager is made of. If I could give Terry Collins a bit of advice, don’t fall into that bad habit of saying the team how proud you are that the team played hard and never gave up, that’s not to be commended it’s to be expected. Collins did make a move that worked out nicely as Willie Harris 2 for 4 breaking up Josh Johnson no-no.

Big Pelf had a rough night; if that two seam doesn’t sink then he’s sunk.  Give Buck some credit on that at bat, he worked the count to his favor and proceeded to foul of pitch after pitch, not only seeing Pelf’s full arsenal of pitches but also frustrating Pelf to make that perfect out pitch, a sinking two seamer that Buck will either over swing at at strikeout or hit on the ground for tidy double play. Pelfrey came with the two seam but instead of breaking down and in it was up and away enough for Buck, who has power, to extend his arms and place the ball on row over the right field fence. As bad as that pitch was, it was the strength of John Buck that put it out of the park.

Pelfrey then fell into that lack of focus that he needs to get over if he is to be a top shelf pitcher as he let Omar Infante walk into second base with a stolen base in the 5th . That was followed by a Hanley Ramirez single which ended Pelf’s night.

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