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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2013 NY Mets Mid-Season Report Card Pitchers Edition

 

A day later than promised, sorry about that, so here is the 2013 NY Mets pitching staff mid-season report card.

Matt Harvey Grade A+

Matt Harvey is sensational, dominating, fearless, overpowering, handsome, intimidating, charismatic, ours.

Dillon Gee Grade C

Was close to going with a B for Gee since he has pitched very well of late but his overall body of work so far had me go with the C. Gee is a solid starting pitcher who in good health will give you 6 to 7 good innings which is fantastic for a #4 starter.

Jeremy Hefner Grade B

Who’d a thunk it? Hefner has been the best pitcher on the Mets not named Matt Harvey. Last year I was ready to say bye-bye to Hefner but now I find myself rooting hard for him to continue his success.  Puts ball in play but home run rate is up. Gave a B because Hefner is developing a strong dose of TWTW.

Jon Niese Grade C

Hope he gets healthy and pitches well in the second half so Mets can trade him and his team friendly contract for an outfield bat.

Shaun Marcum Grade F

Sorry he got injured and needed surgery but I’m not sorry he’ll never pitch for the Mets again

Zack Wheeler Grade Incomplete

Let him learn he’ll be fine if you think otherwise you’re an idiot

Bobby Parnell Grade A

FINALLY!!!! Parnell has emerged as the reliever we all hoped he’d be. Confidence in himself and his ability has fueled Parnell to could have been an All Star status. Still throws hard but isn’t of throwing; he’s pitching this year with pin point command. Sure it’s tempting to trade him but as Sandy Alderson said he’d have to be bowled over to deal him. Make your move Dave Dombrowski

LaTroy Hawkins Grade C

Has pitched much better than I’ve given him credit. Terrific BB/K ratio of 3.78 but he is hittable. His LOB % of 74 % has made Hawkins a go to guy for Terry Collins late in games.

Scott Rice Grade C

Seems like Rice pitches everyday not quite but I’m sure he warms up every game. The career minor leaguer walks way too many batters but he is able to get tons of ground ball outs. A classic LOOGY.  Got to give the guy props for toiling in the bushes for so long to finally make it to The Show. A Collins favorite.   

Brandon Lyon Grade F

F as in Farewell

Josh Edgin Grade D

Still waiting for Edgin to emerge as an effective late inning reliever but he needs better command of his slider to compliment his 90+ fastball. The second half of the season is Edgin’s audition to remain a Met in the future.

Greg Burke Grade D

Burke pitches from the mound down under and isn’t very effective he’s a JAG (just another guy)

David Aardsma Grade C

Was on the fence here with the C or B grade as Aardsma has only gone 17 IP he has looked like a guy who can be a good set up man to Parnell

Scott Atchinson Grade D

Suffered an arm injury that set him back a month and now he’s back and if he can get back what he had with the Red Sox and stay healthy add him to Hawkins, Aardsma and Parnell, that’s a pretty good back of the pen with Rice to get a lefty out.

Carlos Torres Grade Incomplete

Torres has only pitched in 10 games but he’s been very effective. Torres is now going into the starting rotation to replace Marcum hopefully he can stretch his arm out enough to give the innings needed.

 

 

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Could Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan Reunite In Flushing?

 

Welcome to July. Time for some Mets-cellaneous views and opinions as our favorite baseball team closes out yet another losing month:

The angst expressed by some Mets fans and know nothings in the media over Zack Wheelers start yesterday was stunning.  It wasn’t a great start for Wheeler but his problems came from lack of command and poor choice of pitches, two things that can be fixed. Wheeler also altered his delivery which I’m not a big fan of doing this between starts as I’m starting to think there is too much information overload given to Wheeler than just letting him go out there and pitch comfortably.

If you watched Wheeler pitch yesterday and think he’s a bust then you need to stop watching baseball and also stop going on social media with your dumb ass opinions because all you do is embarrass yourself.  Pitchers like Matt Harvey come around once generations so just enjoy watching him pitch and enjoy watching him wear a Mets uniform and stop comparing every young pitcher in the Mets system to him.

My only concerned with Wheeler is that he gets his instructions from Dan Warthen. If Wheeler and the rest of the Mets pitchers can survive the next 3 months of Dandy Dan’s Guide to Pitching, next season should bring a new voice to the Mets pitching staff. I’d have to think that there will be a new manager and coaching staff installed for the Mets 2014 season, and those hiring’s could be the most important free agent hiring’s of the Mets off season.

Last Friday I saw a tweet from 95.7 The Game in San Francisco that Dave Duncan was going to be a guest on their morning show. You can listen to the interview here. As I listened to Duncan speak about pitching I went into full J. Peterman mode, screaming at my computer screen, “NAME YOU’RE PRICE, MAN”!!!!!!!!

Duncan left the Cardinals in 2012 to care for his ailing wife who unfortunately lost her fight with cancer in early June.  From listening to Duncan in that interview it’s clear he still watched what’s going on in MLB and it would not be a reach to say he’d like to get back into the game.

Sandy Alderson had a very successful relationship with Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan back in the late 80’s when Alderson ran the Oakland A’s, winning a World Series title in 1989. Could Alderson place a call to LaRussa and Duncan offering them to get the band back together? As much as LaRussa annoyed me during his St Louis Cardinal days, I would be totally on board bringing LaRusa and Dave Duncan to the Mets. Mets fans have discussed and debated who could be the next Keith Hernandez or the Gary Carter, the player who would bring the Mets back to prominence, maybe Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan in Mets uni’s fit that bill in a supervisory position?

Now I know my whole scenario is pretty much a pipe dream, I mean who am I kidding, Freddy & Jeffy Skill Sets own this team not Mikhail Prokhorov SIGH!

 

Anyone miss Ike Davis? Would a Lucas Duda/Josh Satin platoon at 1B be more productive than trotting out Ike every game? What happens when Ike returns or better yet does Ike return?

A big THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! To David Aardsma for hitting Ian Desmond to lead off the 6th inning yesterday.  Finally a pitcher with onions!

And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes and so it goes

Where it’s going no one knows:

The Mets have not had a winning month since June of last year. Here is the W/L record for the Amazin’s from July 201 to June 2013:

July 2012 7-18

Aug 2012 12-16

Sept 2012 11-16

Oct 2012 1-2

Apr 2013 10-15

May 2013 12-15

June 2013 11-15

That comes out to a grand total of 161 games and a 64-97 .397 winning percentage.

Enjoy your Monday!

 

 

 

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When You Play Not To Lose, You’re A Loser

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Preach it Herm! Preach it!

I guess Terry Collins doesn’t believe that pitchers win/loss records are meaningless. Last night Collins pulled Jeremy Hefner from his start after 6 innings and 94 pitchers with a 3-2 lead because he wanted Hefner “to feel good about himself and not let HIM lose the game”. HIM, Hefner the individual not the TEAM but this one player on the TEAM the manager was worried about. Collins went on to say that Hefner has been down about not getting a win, seriously ?  Is this where we are now, worried about individual feelings of players?   

It’s not just Hefner but how about Ike Davis? On any other team Ike would have been sent to Triple A told to work out his hitting problems and then work on getting back to the big leagues.  Teams do this all the time.  Why Sandy Alderson has become so passive with Ike is baffling to me. But then again it seems the organization has taken a big step back when it comes to accountability.

We all knew this wasn’t a contending team but did we think it would be a non-competitive team? I didn’t but when I hear the manager worry about the psyche of a journeyman pitcher instead of challenging him to get out there and finish the job and then to keep running Ike Davis out there every day to embarrass himself, you have to wonder how lost Terry Collins is right now. What does it say about Hefner that he didn’t demand the ball for the 7th inning? Hefner should have put up a fight to where he would have to be restrained from ripping the bullpen phone out the wall. But like the bulk of this Mets team he lacks passion.  In fact the whole organization lacks passion.  

And talk about killing a players confidence, how do you think Juan Legares and Jordany Valdespin feel  sitting out of the lineup day after day? And  you wonder why JV1 has a piss poor attitude? I don’t blame him.  If I’m Legares and Valdespin I try to figure out whose arm I have to break to get them out the lineup so I can get in.

Its’ one thing to compete and lose but at least you can say I gave it all I have and played to win. The Mets play not to lose and when you have that mindset, you usually lose.

 

   

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Johan Santana Stepped Up When He Was Needed

Can’t say I’m surprised about the news of Johan Santana and his re-injured left shoulder, what I was surprised about was the Mets not following Johan’s workouts over the winter and the laissez-faire attitude the front office had with the Ace lefty.  It seems no matter what regime runs this team there is always questions about how they operate.  

This re-tear of the shoulder didn’t just happen overnight, some want to blame the no hitter, some want to blame Sandy Alderson calling out Santana for reporting to camp in less than optimal condition and then responding by being a petulant child going into “I’ll show you mode” by throwing the hell out of a bullpen session that should have never been allowed to happen.   

Santana is the last of the Minaya bad signings and I have the feeling the Mets front office are not exactly pulling out one Kleenex after another mourning the loss of Santana. If they are mourning anything it’s the fact that they will pay Santana $30 mil dollars to have surgery and re-hab the shoulder for a second time.  

Safe to say, Johan Santana is now a former Met and the final piece in the purging of the Omar Minaya Era. Mets fans today are in full reminiscent mode regaling each other with stories about the June 1st no hitter and the Game 161 of 2008 when Santana kept a running on fumes Mets team in contention to the last game of the season. The game that will define Johan Santana’s time with the Mets for me though will be the game he pitched on July 27th of that year.

2008 was a year of turbulence as Willie Randolph flew with his under achieving team to Anaheim only to be told to turn around and go home as he was relieved of his managerial duties in a very unprofessional way.  Jerry Manuel took over and the team responded by making a run and landing in first place in July. On July 26th the Mets lost to the Cardinals in 14 innings using 8 pitchers in defeat.  The bullpen was in dire need of a rest and Santana gave them that the next day pitching a complete game 9-1 victory over the Cards. That is what an Ace does; he steps up when needed and performs at his best. You can bemoan the injuries Santana suffered as a Met, you can bitch about the contract he received although at the time Mets fans were tripping the light fandango over the trade and long term deal he signed and you can try to place the blame on anyone and everyone over this latest announcement of bad injury news, but never forget that Johan Santana gave the Mets everything he had when he took the mound.

As I say the 7-27-08 game will stick with me, but so will the Saturday game against the Fish on that next to last day of the season and Shea Stadium that year as well and no one will ever forget the no hitter especially Mets fans of my generation, we will always have a spot in our blue and orange heart for Johan Santana.    

 

 

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Mike Piazza Jumps Into The Literary Field

Not much Mets on field news today as we await the official opening of camp tomorrow with pitchers and catcher ready to check in, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any off field Mets news.

Mike Piazza has written a book with Lonnie Wheeler called Long Shot (Simon & Shuster) which I hope to get my hands on tomorrow. But before the book drops, there have been some excerpts of what to expect in this tome that I can guarantee won’t come close to approaching R.A. Dickey’s book in both substance and style. If the excerpts I read this morning with my bagel and coffee are any example I hope I don’t get whiplash from all the head shaking I’m anticipating while reading Long Shot. You know what? That’s really not fair, I should hold final judgment until I read the complete work but still there are some things I’ve read so far that made me take notice.

Piazza is still haunted by Roger Clemens and the night he took one Clemens fastballs off the side of his head.

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Piazza talks about taking karate lessons after the beaning with the premeditated thinking of confronting Clemens if or when he faced him again. That time came just about three months later in Game Two of the World Series when Clemens threw the barrel of a shattered bat at Piazza who did turn and walked toward Clemens but as he said:

“There were complications,” he ( Piazza) recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Maybe in the book Piazza goes into more detail and at least using getting tossed out a World Series game and possible suspension of another game in the series as reason for not charge at Clemens because turning tail fearing an ass kicking is mighty weak.

It seems not only was Piazza intimidated by big powerful pitchers he also got smacked around by ex-girlfriends as well:

One of his best-known girlfriends was Debbe Dunning, the actress who played the “Tool Time” girl on the hit comedy “Home Improvement.” One Halloween night when Dunning came over with a pumpkin and her dog, Piazza decided to break off the relationship.

There was screaming and crying and then the Tool Time girl waffled my ass,” he recalled. “I hadn’t taken a punch like that in a long time.”

WOW!

Piazza speaks about taking androstenedione and of course everyone’s skirts go up in the air when they hear this. This morning on WFAN, Richard Neer was all up in arms over this revelation and in his ranting over this proclamation by Piazza failed to remember (I could see him falling asleep listening to his own voice) that Andro was both legal  to use in MLB and was sold over the counter at health and nutrition  stores like GNC. This never occurred to Neer who acted like he was Bobby Goren cracking a Major Case.

Piazza also fesses up to taking amphetamines which puts him a class with over three-quarters of those enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Piazza also states that he needed to grab some Vioxx on those days when the grind of squatting behind the plate was taking its toll. Vioxx,, a powerful anti-inflammatory has since been banned in the U.S. due to the bad side effects from the drug, the most harsh being death.

The excerpt goes on about the stories of Piazza’s sexuality and his rough relationship with Latin teammates, which will be more strained after the read his quotes about “Latin’s should learn English and not be as pampered as they are by MLB teams” and the “Latin Mafia” that had it in for him. Safe to say a managerial or coaching spot in pro baseball is not in the cards for Piazza.

Again I shouldn’t pass judgment on the book until I read it, I just pray it’s better than this book which may be the worst written book of all time

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Mets Minutia

While I have some quiet time, I figured let me sit down and knock out a post because the next few days will be quite hectic. So in no particular order rhyme or reason here are some of my Mets Musings:

Seriously, how do you put out a holiday video of the best moments of your season and not included R.A. Dickey in it? This beyond petty and stupid it’s indefensible.  No mention of his winning the Cy Young Award, no mention of his back to back 1 hitters (6/13 vs. Tampa and6/18 vs. Baltimore) where he K’s 25 batters in 18 innings, no mention of the great atmosphere at Citi Field on the final home game for his 20th win??????  And you want to know way the vast majority of the Mets fan base scream SELL THE TEAM!!!!!!  Are the Skill Sets this clueless and numb to public perception that they signed off on this video?????

If Sandy Alderson wants to look at Grady Anderson on a minor league or a make good major league deal, I have no problem with that. It’s a low risk/high reward move. Now as for some of the pitchers we hear they are looking at well, that’s another story.

We can scratch Francisco Liriano off the list as he signed a 2yr/$14 mil deal with the Pirates which looks to be a year and about $11mil more than I thought he’d get.  Carl Pavano’s name has been mentioned as well and you could probably get him very cheap and for a guy who would be a 5th starter and place holder for Zack Wheeler he wouldn’t be a bad choice at the right price. Of course we all remember Pavono as a major bust with the Bronx Bastards but he would be coming to the Mets not as a top of the rotation pitcher but as journeyman seat filler.  Pavano is also coming off missing most of last season with a bruised bone in his shoulder that did not require surgery, so I could see offering Pavano a minimum ML contract loaded with tons of incentives.  Aaron Harang makes $7mil for 2013, unless the Dodgers are ready to eat $6 mil of that then he’s a thought but if the Mets can get Chris Capuano back that would be the move. What would it cost player wise in trade is the question and Capuano makes $6mil for the coming season so maybe a B level pitcher and the Dodgers eating at least half the contract would be a nice little re-acquisition by the Mets.

If you have a Hall of Fame vote and you don’t cast a vote for Mike Piazza and then try to write a column where you attempt to justify your non-vote, all you do is prove to your readership that you’re a self-important jerk and you have violated the first rule of reporting, never make yourself the story.

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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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If Not Matt Harvey, Then Who ?

Looks like the Sandy Alderson regime has come to face its first real crisis of its reign with what looks like the season ending shoulder surgery that Dillon Gee will undergo. I call this a crisis because Gee’s ailment came out of nowhere and starting pitcher was not on Alderson’s shopping list.
So what’s a GM to do? It seems the last thing the Mets want to do is promote Matt Harvey to the big leagues because they would love to see some more consistency out him and the fact that he has a tendency to leave his fastballs up in the strike zone and in the big leagues that’s a batting practice pitch. Emotionally Harvey is ready and quite frankly he’d fit right into this Mets team as he is young and confident and an ex-teammate of many of the young Mets and besides what are the other options?
Alderson is on record as saying he will not trade a top prospect at the deadline so to getting Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster is out as that would be cost prohibitive in terms of players. Do pitchers like Paul Malholm or Kevin Millwood excite you? Didn’t think so.
It’s great that the Mets want to try to solve this unexpected problem without disrupting the development of a top prospect but sometimes you have no choice. Miguel Batista is clearly not the answer and Jeremy Heftner is like a dounut spare tire, he’s good once in a while for an emergency start or two but more than that you run a great risk of serious damage.
I would love to hear the talk going on in meetings today the Mets brass will have in Atlanta before that start of the second half starts tomorrow night, just to hear who is pro-Harvey and who’s not.

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NY Mets Guilty of Erroneous Assault

 

Nothing angers me more than errors. I HATE ERRORS! When you give the opposition 4,5, 6 outs in an inning you’re just putting the game on a platter for your opponent and saying “here, help yourself to a victory”. Nothing demoralizes a team more than errors. Pitchers lose faith in their fielders, the acid in the managers stomach boils and the players on the bench start to question “why is he out there and I’m sitting here”? The Mets are the worst fielding team in baseball and it’s a testament to the players and to Terry Collins that between that bad defense and shoddy relief pitching, that this team hangs in as it does and is still four games over .500 but if last night starts a trend that mood will change quickly.  The Mets need to give the Cubs an ass whippin’ tonight.

Jason Bay is ready to begin baseball activity, he’ll ride the stationary bike today if he survives that without a setback he should be able to go down to St. Lonesome and begin hitting and fielding. Last time Bay was on a rehab assignment, Terry Collins felt he came back to quickly as his bat was slower than usual, which for what we’ve seen so far in his Mets career means it moved at glacial speed, so I’d think his time in St. Lonesome will be weeks instead of days.

So what happens when Bay comes back? Well as we seen that past couple of weeks, a little bit of Scott Hairston is fine, a lot of Scott Hairston well, you get to see the imperfections that have makes him more valuable as a bench player than a starter.  Bay gets his left field job back but it still leaves the team woefully short of a right handed bat that has some potency. The guy I’d love to get to fill that right handed hitting void is Cody Ross, Ross would make a huge difference in the Mets line up with his power and the guy has a World Series ring so you’re adding a guy who has won which is huge in my book.

I don’t know if the Red Sox would deal Ross off but it seems with the trade of Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, the Old Town Team is ready to rebuild so if Ross is available Sandy Alderson should jump on a chance to add him to the Mets. Here’s how much I want Ross on the Mets, I’d offer Daniel Murphy as part of the deal.

I hope Justin Hampson becomes the reliever the Mets need to hold late inning leads but I wish he was wearing a different number. You cannot give a journeyman pitcher 45 com’on Kevin Kierst find Hampson a number in the fifty-somethings will ya!

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Tickets

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