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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NY Mets News and Views

 

NEWS: Mets Still Dangling R.A. Dickey as Trade Bait

VIEW: Sandy Alderson knows his team is dire need of a front line catcher and at least one power hitting corner outfielder. Two get either prize possession will not be easy since he is working with a lack of trade chips and money, so what’s a GM to do? In Alderson’s case it seems he’s using Dickey as bait to lure in the sharks just to see how hungry they are. Reports from Nashville have the Mets talking to about eight teams about Dickey. Some are serious some are just bullshiters, the Red Sox and Blue Jays seem to be the most interested and have the most to give back in trade.

The Jays and Red Sox are flush with catchers, a position that Mets lack major league talent at (sorry Josh Thole) and outfield help again a deficient part of the Mets player personal roster.  Alderson is not going to give Dickey away and in fact he may not be giving Dickey away at all. Like I mentioned above, Dickey could be the bait to get the sharks out in the open to make his pitch for big time talent back in trade. I see where Alderson has asked the Red Sox for their two top prospects, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley. Bogaerts is shortstop that has power on offense and great range on defense. Bradley has great instincts in the field and covers a ton of ground in the outfield, gets on base by any means necessary and has (cover your eyes sabrmetricans) outstanding make up and is an on field leader.  Seems to me it would take more than a 38 year old knuckleballer to pry two gems like that, so maybe if Alderson switched the bait from Dickey to Jon Niese he could land these two trophy pieces?

Could this be the Mets GM plan? Lure teams with Dickey, ask for a major package in return, get rebuffed and then use Niese as the trade chip?    

 

NEWS: Angel Pagan Re-Ups with Giants for 4 Years $40 mil

VIEW: How Brian Sabean has two World Series rings is astonishing. I guess getting Shane Victorino to the Mets is now out of the question as his asking price has to be the same as Pagan’s if not more. FUCK!

NEWS: Jordany Valdespin Suspended For Insubordination From Winter League Team

VIEW: Enough is enough with Valde, he’s not talented enough to get away with acting like an asshole. I’m sure any deal that Mets make this off season Valdespin will be a throw in and if no other team wants him he’ll be assigned to Las Vegas or better yet given his release. If I know anything about how Alderson runs his team it’s he doesn’t put up with guys like Valdespin.

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Catcher In Awry

Who remembers this game when The Cobra took on The Dude and was not only out at the plate but suffered a broken cheekbone too! DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I know the Mets need a catcher, Mets Fan Rich knows the Mets need a catcher, Sandy Alderson knows the Mets need a catcher and Terry Collins in the privacy of his mind knows the Mets need a catcher, so what are the Mets going to do about it?

Alderson when asked about the catching position not just at the big league level but throughout the organization gave me an exasperated response “that it is clearly the position that need the most upgrading” So when does he start upgrading?

In my way of baseball thinking catcher is a defensive position and offense I get from my backstop is a plus, so what happens when I have two catchers in Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas who not only can’t hit, they’re terrible defensibly as well? Who try to get a catcher who can at least execute the position defensively and hope he can hit a little bit to sustain a spot in the lineup. Can Rob Johnson do that? I’d like to find out.

Johnson was brought up with Matt Harvey as Harvey has given Johnson a ton of credit for his rise from Triple A to the big leagues. Johnson caught Harvey’s major league debut which we all know was the best pitching debut in the club history, so you’d think Johnson would be behind the plate in Harvey’s next start right? Wrong. Terry Collins had Thole behind the plate so Thole could get uses to catching Harvey. Why? As we saw last night and throughout this season, Josh Thole is not the answer to the Mets problems at catcher.

I don’t know what Alderson is waiting for to bring in a top defensive catcher. The reasoning behind not trading for Ramon Hernandez was a smoke screen of we don’t want to disrupt the relationship between our catchers and pitchers in mid-season. After watching Thole butcher the play at the plate that allowed Carlos Quentin to score I wonder how many of the Mets pitchers would sign on to that statement.

We all know that finding an everyday catcher who fits the bill for the Mets needs-defensively strong with a decent bat-is near impossible to obtain but this off season it Alderson has to secure a catcher……….and a centerfielder……..and a left fielder…………and a right fielder…………and bullpen help…….and move Jason Bay’s contract……………..I think I’m gonna be sick………….

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Communication Breakdown…………….

Was yesterday’s blow up between Tim Brydak, Josh Thole and Dan Warthen a shock or surprise to anyone? I didn’t think so. This situation has been simmering for a few weeks  and as the losses pile up the finger pointing stars to sprout and in the words of Dan Reeves, “when you point a finger, remember there are four fingers pointing back at you”. Terry Collins said something similar after the game about guys needing to take on accountability for their actions, which was directed at Tim Brydak, but is Brydak the villain here? Not to me he isn’t.

For most of this collapsible second half, the bullpen has been held as public enemy #1 but there is so much more to the ineffectiveness of the Mets relievers than lack of talent, it’s more of lack of direction.

Most Mets fans were puzzled when Dan Warthen was retained at the end of last season and many are pointing the fickle finger at him for the suckitude of the pen. I would put myself in the group questioning why Warthen was retained, but the one part of the pitching game that has been as much a problem as blown saves and three run late inning jacks is the lack of a veteran backstop.

Let’s face facts, if Josh Thole were in any other organization he’d be the Sunday catcher or the starter at Triple A, what earned him the job was his ability to hit for a decent average and get on base.  His work on defense is not very good and since he’s so green around the grills as a receiver, he’s left to relaying signs given to him by Warthen to the pitcher on the mound and as we witnessed yesterday, Brydak is tired of it.

Warthen and Terry Collins put Thole in a bad situation as he’s being told by Warthen on what fingers to throw down only to have Brydak shake him off. Warthen I guess being adamant on what pitch he wants thrown, flashes the sign to Thole again for a fastball , Brydak shakes him off again as he wants to throw a breaking ball which to me his his perogitive since he is, you know, the guy responsible for what happens when that ball leaves his hand, but Brydak gives in an releases a heater and Adam LaRoche turned on it for a home run. After giving Thole a stare down, Brydak comes out of the game is hotter than the Roosevelt Ave asphalt.

What Thole should have done before the pitch to LaRoche was call time, motion to Warthen to come to the mound and then address both the pitching coach and Brydak by saying “can you two fucktards get on the same page”. There’s no way in hell Thole would ever do this but I’m sure Jerry Grote would have punched both of them is the jaw.

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Hey, How About Those Mets ? Who?

These two can knock the Mets right off the back pages and sports talk radio by next week

Well looks like Miguel Batista has thrown his last pitch as a Met out of the strike zone as he was DFA’d this morning and Elvin Ramirez has been asked back to audition for a role in the Mets bullpen. With Batista sent packing the Mets will need two starting pitchers for Wednesday’s matinee against the Nationals and then on Thursday in Phoenix. Word on 126th Street and Roosevelt Avenue is Jeremy Hefner will go against the Nats and Matt Harvey will be called up to face the Snakes the next night.

Seems the Mets need to do something if they want to stay relevant on the NY sports scene. With the Highlanders just about locking up the AL East and the Jets and Giants headed to training camp, the Mets are in danger of falling off the sports map here in NYC.

If you’re a sports editor for any of the fish wraps in town where do you see your space being better utilized on a Mets second half collapse or with the “Techez” QB controversy and Darrelle Revis will he or won’t he report to camp and his contract demands along with the defending Super Bowl champions getting set to make a run at another Lombardi Trophy? Hell, the Mets may have to fight with the Brooklyn Nets for some coverage as they have gone on an all-out public relations blitz to get folks to buy tickets at the Barclay Center; the Brooklyn brand goes a long way.

Here is your NY Mets lineup for today:

Ruben Tejada – SS

Jordany Valdespin – LF

David Wright – 3B

Ike Davis – 1B

Daniel Murphy – 2B

Lucas Duda – RF

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF

Josh Thole – C

Jonathon Niese – LHP

Terry Collins needs to play this line up 1-8 for the next two weeks straight and then let’s see where this team stands. I bet you would go no worse that 7-7 in the 14 games with this lineup

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Bunch of Bull-Pen

Raise your hand if you remember when relievers were escorted to the pitchers mound by the bullpen cart?

 

Loses are never good, and loses that cost you winning a series, which would have been the third straight series the Mets  had taken from the Phuck Phaces ,are awful but when you have a lead and the bullpen blows a win, that is downright  intolerable.

If I weren’t a Mets fan, I’d be doubled over laughing at the fan bases response to games the Mets bullpen blow. Nothing sets this fan base off like a good old fashion late inning bullpen melt down and last night was no different.  The only issue I have with the overreaction by some of the fan base is the back end of the pen that imploded last night hasn’t been that bad of late.  I will say as a whole the bullpen has a problem with inherited runners scoring and with the exception of Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco, there isn’t a reliever who can come in and get the big strikeout when it’s needed.

I would have like to see Terry Collins leave Dillon Gee in finish the 7th inning. Gee has pitched so well his last three starts and the double he gave up it seems should have been played better by Andres Torres. Collins is going to have to have faith in his starters going deeper into games, especially with R.A. Dickey, who I feel he yanks too early in starts where he’s breezing along.

The Ramon Ramirez 3 run jack to J-Roll was the back breaker but then Chris Schwinden  to finish out the inning but all he did was add to the carnage. What the hell is it with Schwinden ? Talk about the poster boy for the AAAA player?

 

Update: I just wrote a whole addendum to this post and deleted by accident so I’ll abbreviate it. RHP Elvin Ramirez will be on the roster tomorrow to help out the bullpen and Jenry Mejia and Chris Young are not far behind to replace the trio of Schwinden, Heftner (maybe?) and Egbert.

Josh Thole will be activated tomorrow as well which meand the Mets have to chose between Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson as Tholes understudy. I’ll say they keep Johnson.

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Last Night The Mets Were Fugly

There are loses, bad loses and I can’t believe it loses which is where I’d file last night’s stunner. To have a 4-0 lead handed to our Ace against a team that has scored the least runs in all of baseball and to do it with a Buffalo flavored lineup, it looked like this would be one the best wins of the season, but then in the 7th with one on, Santana served up an 87 mph meatball fastball to the Pirates version of Mike Nickeas, Mike McKendry, that was deposited over the left center field wall to tie the game at 4-4.

Santana seemed to labor from the 4th inning on as he lost command of his fastball and it seemed ironic that Santana who has had a tough time recording a win when he was out pitching the opposition would be in position to get a win in game where he was ordinary at best.

The Mets had a good shot at taking the lead back in the 8th as Kirk Nieuwenhuis got a pinch hit single to lead off the 8th and made it 3rd on a Ronny Cedeno ground out and a wild pitch, runner on 3rd 1 out all the Mets need is a fly ball but up steps Mike Nickeas who of course strikes out. I wish Terry Collins would give Rob Johnson the bulk of the playing time while Josh Thole recuperates. Nickeas just cannot hit and his defensive prowess quite frankly is overrated.  I’m guessing that Johnson‘sore thumb is still a problem and the reason he’s not behind the plate every day.  After Nickeas failed to get Nieuwenhuis home, it was left to Andres Torres and his icicle of a baseball bat to get the job done and of course he failed as well with his shitty little ground out 4 to 3.

When Nickeas, Torres and Ike Davis are in the same lineup they are 3 automatic outs add in the pitchers spot that 4 outs so multiply that by say 4 times through the order, that  16 of the 27 outs you get in a game that you are giving away. Nickeas shouldn’t start another game, Torres is ready to be regulated to 4th outfield status and Ike it seems is a DL activation away from becoming a Buffalo Bison. When Vinny Rottino gets the nod over you, lefty or no lefty, it’s safe to say you’ll be headed upstate soon.

Now if the top of the 8th didn’t piss you off enough, the Mike Baxter-Kirk Nieuwenhuis mix up of Neil Walker fly ball sure had to. Simple “Fundies” right there, it’s the centerfielder is king of the outfield and to their credit both Baxter and Kirk took responsibility for the screw up for what became the winning run on 3rd base. As bad an offensive team as the Bucs are, they at least were able to get the runner on 3rd home with less than 2 outs.

 

 

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Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times: 50 Years From The Mets Junk Draw

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times, has put together a 50 Years From The Mets Junk Draw column that looks at 50 of the best and most interesting moments in Mets history that are not the obvious choices, such as:

 May 2, 1963: Skipper Casey Stengel decides to do something different. He inserts catcher Choo Choo Coleman in the batting order’s leadoff slot. To this day, it’s still the only time any catcher has led off for the Mets. New York wins, 10-3

 WOW  who’da thunk that?  I would have bet either John Stearns or Mackey Sasser would have hit at the top of the order during their Mets career.   I bet Josh Thole hits in the leadoff spot at least once as a Met

Aug. 9, 1963: Jim Hickman hits a walk-off grand slam for the Mets, an achievement that’s extra special because it ends the 18-game losing streak of Roger Craig, the team’s best pitcher in their early horrible years.

Jim Hickman had terrific power and hit some home runs as a Met but the lure of obtaining Brooklyn born and bred (and Boys High baseball and basketball standout) Tommy Davis from the Dodgers was too strong so Hickman was shipped to LA for Davis. Davis by the way played one season for the Mets in 1967 and was dealt in the off season to the White Sox for Tommie Agee and Al Weiss.

Sept. 16, 1975: Since 1950, quite a few baseball games have ended on a walk-off walk, but none have happened as late as this one. The Mets top the Expos 4-3 when Montreal’s Don DeMola walks Del Unser with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 18th inning.

 

It has always seemed to me that the Mets have played more long extra innings games than any other team in baseball history

 

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Gee, The Mets Go For The Sweep

I’m sure many Mets fans bailed out of this game after the 2nd inning, down 4-0 with Miguel Batista on the mound in Filthadelphia really doesn’t make Mets fans very optimistic but maybe this team and the manager are telling the truth that they don’t listen to the negativity from the media and some in the fan base and they really don’t give a shit what the naysayers think of them.

Last night Batista started off shaky but after the 2nd inning, he settled down to give the team a very good 3.1 innings until he ran out of gas. Manny Acosta took over and came up huge getting out of a 2nd and 3rd 1 out jam with a ground out by Joe Blanton and punching out J-Roll to keep the score deficient to 3 runs.

I love when a player steps up when all eyes are on them to make decisions by the front office difficult. Andres Torres came back to the team when his understudy Kirk Nieuwenhuis broke out as a major contributor to the team.  Torres has stepped in and produced both at bat and in the field and now the Mets will have a major decision to make when Jason Bay comes back. There is no place for Bay on this team right now and if Bay is force fed into the lineup while this outfield is as productive as it is, the front office will take a huge credibility hit with the fan base.  While Bay’s ribs are healing hopefully Sandy Alderson is exhausting all options to deal Bay. Any type of removal from the team of Bay is going to coast money so if the Skill Sets want to prove to the fan base that they are back in the game they will authorize Alderson to move Bay by any means necessary.

The word on Josh Thole is not very encouraging. It seems Thole has been concussed before so it looks like a stay on the 15 day DL is more realistic than the short stay 7 day concussion DL. This will be a huge problem for the Mets in two areas. Between Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson, the Mets just took a major downgrade in the catching department. Nickeas can’t hit but he’s superior to Johnson behind the plate and quite frankly Johnson is only in the big leagues because of the dearth of catching talent in baseball. One thing is for sure, Johnson will not be behind the plate with The Dickster is on the mound as Johnson has a problem catching conventional pitches he’d need a tuna net to catch the knuckle ball.

The other obvious problem is replacing Thole’ bat.  With Ruben Tejada on the DL, the bottom third of the Mets batting order could become a Black Hole. The Mets have to hope that Valdespin can hit at least .250 and get on base at least MLB average of .315 because what can you expect from Nickeas at the plate a .220 BA ?  When Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey start it would not be crazy to bat them 8 and Nickeas 9th.

While your sitting at your computer at lunch time checkout Greg Prince’s writeup of the Mets 50th Anniversary Conference at Hofstra University. You can thank me later.

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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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