Mets Game 103: Win Over Brewers

Mets 3 Brewers 2

So much for my theory that Lucas Duda doesn’t hit big homeruns. But glad to see he reads MetsToday, and that it inspires him. Glad something finally does.

Mets Game Notes

Zack Wheeler struggled a bit in the initial frame, partially due to uncontrollable circumstances, but also, he simply looked — to me — like he was having a hard time getting comfortable. I was surprised that he was able to get out of the first without allowing a run, and thought for sure he was going to have a rough night. Everything changed in the second, and he proceeded to absolutely dominate the Milwaukee hitters through the sixth inning.

As soon as I saw Murphy dunk that double down the line in left, I also saw the David Wright single and Lucas Duda blast. I’m sure you did, too. Not because we’re psychic, but because we know Francisco Rodriguez all too well, and we’ve seen that body language before. Had he retired Murphy, things may have turned out differently, but once Murphy reached, K-Rod’s face and body changed. It has nothing to do with stuff, previous success, or anything else — it’s what happens to some people, at some times, in the moment.

If you’re a Mets fan, I bet you were especially happy to see K-Rod blow the game (personally, I’m always happy to see a parasite/social leper/despicable human being fail). But I doubt it’s possible you were as happy as Gary Cohen. Does he bring a change of shorts to the broadcast booth for situations like that, I wonder? I mean because it sounded like he spilled his cup of coffee on himself in the excitement — what the heck were you thinking? This is a family-friendly blog, for goodness sakes!

Although he had three hits, including the big leadoff double in the top of the ninth, it was not a great game in the field for Daniel Murphy. To the Murphy apologists out there, may I please comment? First off, the two errors on the scoreboard were only the tip of the iceberg. He nearly threw another ball away that could’ve resulted in more trouble, he was too slow in turning two “coulda-been” double plays, and he was lucky to be bailed out of just about all of his miscues. Mainly, though, I want to point out the sixth-inning routine double-play grounder that went through the wickets, as it offers a teaching moment. As you probably know, I am a catcher, and on the rare occasions a coach put me in an infield position, I would not be confused with Mark Belanger. However, from what I know from colleagues who are former professional infielders, one action an infielder should NEVER do is back up on a ball. In other words, when a ground ball is coming directly your way, you either hold your feet or charge in a few steps. Backpedaling is a bad idea. I’m not entirely sure why, but I believe it goes hand in hand with “play the ball / don’t let the ball play you,” and I imagine it has to do with being on your heels and therefore in a nonathletic, unbalanced position. From what I understand this is a very basic fundamental that I’ve heard over and over again. (If you are someone who played or coached at a high level, and/or know why backing up on a grounder is bad, please explain in the comments.) On that sharply hit grounder to Murphy, he backed up, and I’m guessing it’s because the ball was hit so hard (and it WAS scorched), he felt he was going to be handcuffed and/or didn’t have enough time to charge. So what should he have done, and what should YOU do, if put in a similar position? My limited knowledge suggests that you hold your ground, stay balanced on the middle of your feet, and therefore have a strong foundation underneath you, which will allow you to better react with your hands. You can’t be quick with your upper body unless the lower body is planted, no matter what sport or athletic movement you’re making. Even race car drivers need to firmly plant their left foot against the floor so that their hands are supple and quick to steer.

The Mets won, though, so we can glaze over Murphy’s miscues, right?

I was absolutely astonished to see Logan Schafer bunting with two strikes in the ninth, in part because it was clear he was uncomfortable bunting against Jenrry Mejia, and also because he’s pretty fast and unlikely to hit into a double play. Oh, and also because it’s always a bad move unless you have a bad-hitting pitcher at the plate. I do understand attempting a sacrifice in that situation, and would have made the same call. But regardless of how accomplished a bunter Shafer has been in the past, it was crystal-clear he wasn’t going to get one down against Mejia, so let him swing away. A team cannot be giving away an out when down one in the bottom of the ninth.

Is anyone else wondering why Bobby Abreu (and Chris Young, for that matter) are still getting Major League at-bats while Kirk Nieuwenhuis is back in Las Vegas? If the Mets are serious about winning games in 2014, then Nieuwenhuis should be on the roster instead of either of those two veterans. If the Mets are serious about building a winning club in future years, then Nieuwenhuis should be on the roster instead of either of those two veterans. So, again, why? Only The Shadow knows …

Carlos Gomez doesn’t kiss his bat before at-bats any more, does he?

During a random discussion about the Phillies, Gary Cohen described Ryan Howard‘s performance over the past two years as “below replacement level.” I thought that was cute.

By the way, would you trade Lucas Duda for Ryan Howard right now, straight up? I might, and I don’t think that’s crazy, especially if the Phillies were willing to eat some of Howard’s contract. Check the numbers and be careful to check your emotions before answering. Sure, right now Duda has the better AVG, OPS, and OBP, but Howard has more RBI and runs scored (granted, Howard also has about 60 more plate appearances) on a team that has more difficulty scoring than the Mets (believe it or not). Howard very well could be at the “Mo Vaughn as a Met” point in his career, but then again, he could be a half-year away from “Justin Morneau as a Rockie.” Much depends on whether you believe Duda is for real, and will keep it up over the next 2-3 years. But if you think there’s ANY chance that Howard can return to the beast he was prior to his achilles injury, you might think twice. Food for thought.

Hey, another one-run game won by the Mets. Channeling Mel Allen …

Was it really a “huge win” by the Mets? Because it saved Terry Collins‘ job for another day? Because it may help them move toward being “buyers” at the trade deadline? Because it may spark another big winning streak that may lead toward “meaningful games in September”? Or just because it was entertaining for Mets fans, and the Mets need to be entertaining in order to generate more revenue and keep the current ownership in place? Choose carefully before answering.

Mets Game Notes

The Mets and Brewers do it again on Saturday night at 7:10 PM ET. Jonathon Niese takes the mound against Wily Peralta.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Bat July 26, 2014 at 12:27 am
    Joe, the phrase “below replacement level” is a term of art in sabermetrics.

    It is curious that you write:

    By the way, would you trade Lucas Duda for Ryan Howard right now, straight up? I might, and I don’t think that’s crazy, especially if the Phillies were willing to eat some of Howard’s contract.

    This implies you might make this trade (1) even if the Phillies were not willing to eat “some” of Howard’s contract (i.e., Mets pay entire remainder) and (2) are even more interested if the Phillies would pick up up “some” but not “all”?

    Howard is still owed more than $68 million through 2016!

    I wouldn’t even consider trading Duda for him straight up unless the Phillies agreed to eat ALL of Howard’s salary and even then while I would consider I wouldn’t ultimately make the deal. Howard looks horrible at the plate and in the field.

    More relevant info:

    Howard’s OBP is .305 and his slugging % is .377.
    Duda’s OBP is .360 and his slugging % is .490.

    Howard is 34 2/3 years old.
    Duda is slightly less than 28 1/2 years old.

    Duda makes $1.9 million this year and is not eligible to be a free agent until 2018.

    Um…thanks, but no thanks.

    Acquiring Howard now is indeed akin to acquiring Mo Vaughn from the Angels and not Justin Morneau of the Rockies…who is incidentally being cited as a positive possible Howard outcome of this proposed Howard-Duda trade but Morneau has been worth significantly less WAR than Duda this year!

    Horrible proposal.

    If the Mets are going to spend $65 million plus, then trade some prospects for Stanton, Tulo, or (maybe) CarGo (and if the deal is for Stanton work out an extension). Those guys cost more money than Howard, but they are also light years ahead of him at this point in his career and play a position other than 1B…the Mets have much more glaring needs (LF and SS) than 1B at this moment as Duda is kicking ass.

    • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm
      I’m well aware of the term “below replacement level,” but thank you. I just think it’s cute when non-saber guys like Gary Cohen inject it into their diatribe. It’s kind of like a parent trying to use terms that their teenagers do to seem “hip.” It’s also cute because 98% of baseball fans don’t know what the term means and don’t care.

      As for it being a “horrible” proposal, that’s subjective. I do appreciate your mounting a strong and compelling argument, though.

      Here’s the devil’s advocate side of it, minus all the stats:

      1. What if Lucas Duda has hit his ceiling, and is peaking right now? Does it make sense to sell “high”?

      2. What if I don’t care about the contracts and salaries, because I’m Mike Repole and the new owner of the Mets? In other words, take the financials out of it completely, and look at it from the perspective of who is more likely to be the more productive player over the next 3 years. If you’re assuming Duda will either maintain his performance or get better, and Howard will continue to maintain what he’s doing or get worse, then you still win the argument. However, I’m not convinced that will be the case.

      3. Does it really matter what either player is doing right now? The Mets are not going to finish higher than third place, and are not going to qualify for the postseason. So, again, if you believe the contrast between the two players will remain the same (or the gap will widen), then, sure, keep Duda. Again, I’m still suspicious of Duda, and not positive he’s going to continue to hit the way he has lately.

      As long as the Wilpons remain owners, I don’t see the Mets spending the money it will take to keep Stanton or Tulo, And as long as Sandy Alderson is the GM, I don’t see them trading away the talent necessary to obtain Stanton, CarGo or Tulo — if they even have enough to part with. Who do the Mets have available that the Marlins would want? I just don’t see a match there, at all. As for Colorado, I’m not as up to snuff on what they’d expect in return for Tulo, but I also don’t see the current Mets regime pulling the trigger on a deal that would bring Tulo’s contract and injury history into NY. If they do, then I really have to wonder why they let Jose Reyes walk. What will the Rox want for CarGo? Wheeler, Lagares, and Brandon Nimmo? It’s going to take a lot more than 5 random prospects — they’re going to want at least one legit MLBer with a future as well as a top prospect.

      • crozier July 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm
        Stop trolling us, for Pete’s sakes. There’s plenty of useful discussion to be had here.

        “What If Lucas Duda is peaking right now?” After a few part-time seasons plus 96 games this year, less than half of which were at cleanup, where he appears to (finally) be showing confidence? That’s one of the more theoretical questions I’ve read here.

        But yes, let’s say that’s true, and the Mets trade him for Ry—

        Nope, I can’t do it, not even in theory.

        Read the papers. The Phillies have considered releasing the guy. That’s how much upside Ryan Howard has at this point.

      • Bat July 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm
        Apologies Joe as I read your cryptic comment to imply that “below replacement level” was just some type of negative comment Gary Cohen was making about Howard and did not realize that you knew this was a saber term of art. My bad.

        Not sure I agree that my categorization of the Howard for Duda trade as “horrible” is all that subjective. Put another way, the rumor mill is saying that the Phillies will trade Howard to anyone for nothing (AAAA-type player would be an acceptable return) if the other team will assume US$5 to $10 million and, failing that, the Phillies are considering releasing him.

        Yet the proposal on the table in this stream is to trade Duda – hitting .260 this season with a .359 OBP, .497 slugging percentage, .856 OPS, 17 HR and 53 RBI – for someone that the Phillies are trying to basically give away for nothing except salary relief? Plus, you are saying that the Mets could assume “some” of Howard’s contract?

        I don’t argue that Duda may have peaked but that doesn’t consider the fact that a peaked Duda this year plus anything in his age 29 season next year and for years afterwards is significantly better than Howard’s age 35 + seasons. You want to sell high on Duda? That’s fine, but sell for much more than Howard. Not only is Howard bad now, but he also has the classic “doesn’t age well” body-type of a slow, lumbering slugger with decreasing bat speed who was a poor fielder in his late 20s…what will he be like at age 37? You don’t want to find out.

        You are writing about Howard as if he is the Howard of 2009…the guy did not have a good year in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, and has not been good in 2/3 of 2014. So he has not been good in 4.75 years!

        So would you want to trade a guy who may be having a career year for a lousy fielder who can’t hit lefties in his age 35 season with two more years on contract even if you are only picking up “some” of his contract over the next two years?

        I agree with everything Crozier wrote – that doesn’t make sense and I confess when you first wrote this I was very surprised because your baseball knowledge is usually quite strong…I am pretty certain no GM in the game would trade Duda for Howard as of today not to mention generously pick up some of Howard’s contract.

        • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm
          Good follow up, thank you.

          I agree that no GM in baseball would make that deal, and none would even consider it for five minutes, except maybe Brian Cashman. Cashman likely wouldn’t make the deal either, but would put the financials aside for a moment and discuss the situation with his scouting department.

          And I agree that if the Mets were to sell high on Duda, it would make sense to get more back for him, especially considering that the Phillies are looking to dump Howard for anything that anyone will offer.

          But let’s say the Mets were handed Ryan Howard for nothing — where are you going to put him? First base. Then what do you do with Duda? It’s clear he’s comfortable at 1B and not LF, so in essence, you’d be trading Duda for Howard anyway.

          Regarding my baseball knowledge — that’s also subjective. I’m not thinking about the 2009 Howard, I’m thinking about the 2011 Howard, which you describe as “not good,” despite hitting 33 HR and posting a .835 OPS. If Duda hits those markers, would you consider it a “good year”? I’m also thinking about the 2013 Howard, who showed signs of returning to his 2011 form in June and July before his knee went out. And I’m also seeing the drastic downward trend in homeruns in MLB, and the resulting high demand / high value for players with the ability to put the ball over the fence. Howard not just shown homerun ability, he’s shown elite homerun ability — much like Curtis Granderson, who also went through a very rough stretch after an injury as recently as 2013 and this April. Players who have shown the ability to hit 30+ homeruns year after year are extremely rare these days, so I don’t think you can dismiss Howard so quickly — he has the “homerun tool” that so many lack today. If this were 2009, when 30 guys hit 30 or more homers, then, sure, don’t think twice about Howard, because homers were cheap.But now they’re expensive — witnessed by the Mets’ ability to get anything at all of value for Ike Davis, and why they rushed to give Chris Young $8.5M.

          Sandy Alderson’s offensive strategy (which has failed miserably) is clearly in line with Howard’s “game” provide — walks and homeruns. Alderson is hoping Duda will become what Howard was three years ago, and sure, if Duda can keep up what he’s doing, he might just get there. But he hasn’t … yet.

          Why did Alderson give Granderson 4/$60M, after Granderson had such a horrific 2013? It wasn’t because of what Grandy did in 2013 — it was because Grandy has that elite skill of hitting homeruns. Does Duda definitely have that elite skill? I’m not convinced he does, and I won’t necessarily be convinced even if he does hit 25-30 this year — possibly because we saw Ike Davis and Mike Cameron have 30-HR years, and both turned out to be flukes.

  2. Yeats July 26, 2014 at 12:38 am
    “By the way, would you trade Lucas Duda for Ryan Howard right now, straight up?”

    No.

    If Howard were at 1B instead of Duda, David Wright would have 30 errors this year.

    • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm
      I don’t know about 30 errors, but I get your point and Howard’s horrible defense is certainly something to consider.

      At the same time, this Mets regime doesn’t seem to care too much about defense, as long as players are performing offensively.

  3. Kent July 26, 2014 at 3:01 am
    Well, Howard’s performance in 2012 is certainly below replacement level, if you are hitting .219/.295/.423 it looks (and is) pretty bad without needing to use sabermetric stats. He is slightly above replacement level last year, but in the past two years Howard put up -0.6 fWAR so yeah, it’s below replacement level. (So is Lucas Duda, for that matter, since he accumulated a lot negative WAR when he was pretending to be an outfielder)

    And hahaha, no, I would not go trade Ryan Howard because I do not believe there is a chance he’ll return being the Howard back in MVP years. For the past two seasons Howard is hitting at worse level than Duda at a much more friendly hitting environment, not to mention even in his beast years Howard is still really bad against lefties, just like Duda. Duda is also better defensively according to UZR. We don’t need a player right now in my opinion will perform at best at same level with Duda (and I believe this is a stretch) who is much older and still has a lot of money left on his huge contract, thanks but no thanks indeed.

  4. Dan Capwell July 26, 2014 at 7:27 am
    My concern is that the Mets will “Ruben Tejada” Lucas Duda and start to think that he is the long term answer in the cleanup spot, much like they did with Tejada when it came to repaving Jose Reyes.

    Duda is a good complimentary piece but not an offensive mainstay.

  5. Bat July 26, 2014 at 9:42 am
    A bit of an error in my post above as I just googled the amount remaining on Howard’s contract and it is $70 million not $68 million!

    Small percentage tick upwards but still…starting that number with a “7” rather than a “6” makes it seem even more imposing.

    News reports are saying the Phillies are trying to trade Howard anywhere and there is not much interest.

    The problem is that the guy can’t field and that is only likely to get worse now that he is nearly 35 years old. So I suppose if you’re an AL team with a huge hole at DH and the Phillies will pay almost all of his salary you might consider taking a chance on Howard, but a second major problem after his inability to field is that he can’t hit lefties at all. So a platoon DH? Again, I suppose I would seriously consider if the Phillies would pay all the salary as he has historically mashed righties (although again will this continue as he has a bad body type for aging and he is now nearly 35 years old?).

    Cappy, I do agree with what you are saying in that I too am not sure Duda is the long-term 1B. When everyone was saying “What do you think – Duda or Davis?” My response was generally that both should go; admittedly I never thought Duda could be what he is right now. Let’s hope Duda keeps this up, but if he doesn’t there is always the chance that we have to seek his replacement in the offseason or 2015. But that time is not now and definitely not for a nearly 35 years old 1B who is awful defensively and against lefties and further if Duda comes back to earth there might be internal options next year (Conforto) and other options in subsequent years (Dom Smith).

  6. DaveSchneck July 26, 2014 at 9:46 am
    Joe,
    I wouldn’t take Howard for free and Philly eating 100% of the money. Nothing personal against him, he seems like a good guy and has had a fine career, but given his age and wear and tear, he needs to find an adulterated league where he can hit but not field. Oh wait, there is one out there.
    Dan – agreed that while Duda looks good right now it can be assumed he has established himself as a cleanup hitter. That said, this is a different Dude jumping on early fastballs without Ike looking over his shoulder. Add another legit power bat to the middle of the lineup and he can be a masher.
  7. crozier July 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm
    I typed “I wouldn’t let the Phillies give me Howard for free,” then saw DaveS said the same thing. So…ditto.

    Okay, Joe, I looked at the numbers, I checked my emotions, and…you’re joking, I’m sure of it. Howard has …what? More RBI? What decade is this? RBI is slightly more useful than pitcher wins as a determination of value.

    I’ll add this. Duda over 96 games: 17 HR, .855 OPS, 142 OPS+, 2.2 WAR. Davis over 92 games: 6 HR, .707 OPS, 101 OPS+, -1.3 WAR. I hope at least that argument’s been put to rest.

    The “theory” that Duda doesn’t hit big home runs is, I assume, tongue-in-cheek. Most of his at bats are with the bases empty, in which he’s hit .243 with 7 home runs. With runners on? .281, 10 HRs. And with RISP, he’s hitting .269, or a little better than his overall .260. These are small samples, overall, but there’s no smaller sample than a “big” opportunity. The bottom line is, if Duda hits more home runs, he’s going to hit more “big” home runs over time. And Joe, it’s Math that tells us this. You know, the way “Science” tells us things about pitching.

    Murphy taketh away; Murphy giveth. Maybe (I said maybe) it’s a wash this time. But it was tough to watch.

    Your comment on Abreu and Young are dead on, and the circumstance is infuriating: It took Alderson a couple months, but he finally figured out that Farnsworth and Valverde were a losing proposition, and it was time to give the young guys a shot. And what do you know? The Cardinals model for grooming young pitchers in the bullpen works for the Mets as well. Why he hasn’t taken a like-minded approach to left field at this point is mystifying.

    • crozier July 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm
      Since my RBI comment above was kind of snarky, I’ll paint a broader picture. With math.

      Howard and Duda have roughly the same number of ABs with the bases empty (RH 176, LD 173). After that, it gets a little skewed. With runners on, Howard has 195 at bats to Duda’s 135. RISP? Howard 116, Duda 78.

      I don’t think you can argue that these are factors within Duda’s control, but I can argue that Duda’s made more of his opportunities. That is, with runners on, Duda has driven in .34 runs per AB, to Howard’s .29.

      To reiterate: I’ll take my chances with Duda.

    • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 3:25 pm
      My argument is not a joke, I think it’s a legitimate topic for conversation.

      If put in the position, no, I probably would not trade Duda for Howard right now, but I absolutely would think twice before turning the deal down, because there is this tiny part of me that believes Howard needs a change of scenery and perhaps a corrected flaw in his hitting mechanics (no, I don’t know what it is, but someone like Lamar Johnson might) that came about as a result of his returning too early from his achilles injury. I wouldn’t expect him to hit 50+ HR again, but I won’t be surprised to see him return to being a 30+ homer guy who creates a presence in the middle of the lineup that opposing teams plan around — I don’t see Duda evolving into that type of entity.

      As for comparing pitching mechanics science to baseball math, there is no comparison. Math tells us what’s already happened, and only provides us a platform for guessing what might happen in the future. Kinesiology provides answers on what is happening right now, and what needs to happen in the future.

      • Bat July 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm
        I think Howard is pretty much toast although perhaps he could experience a bit of a resurgence in the AL as a platoon DH.

        But thank you Joe for sparking a good discussion…it was interesting for all of us to talk about this.

      • crozier July 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm
        No it isn’t. Seriously, it’s probably the least legitimate topic for discussion I’ve heard from you, and it concerns me. You would actually consider trading a young guy who has always shown tremendous power and a sharp eye, who is just now showing his potential, for a gimpy former great player whose team is considering releasing.

        It’s not even funny as a joke.

        My Math/Science reference, funny or not, was there for laughs, though.

        • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm
          crozier, please check my most recent reply to “Bat” above, and that will hopefully explain why this conversation absolutely is absolutely not a joke.

          Bottom line is that in 2014, the homerun tool has immense value, and anyone who has it, and might be able to wield it again in the future, has value. Seeing that Mets were able to get two warm bodies — and decent prospects at that — for Ike Davis is evidence.

          And as mentioned previously by me somewhere else in the replies, if I were GM I likely would not trade Duda for Howard straight up. But I think this was a conversation worth having, and for me, it was an enjoyable debate.

          You know I write things purely for the debate, and part of the reason I asked this far-fetched question was to get a feel for how much confidence people have right now in Lucas Duda, and whether they believe he could be the answer for the foreseeable future, and if so, why?

          Thanks for clearing up the science vs. math thing. Because I’m on a full-force life mission to get baseball people to accept and consider science, I’m highly sensitive to making light of it. To me it’s incredibly serious, and baseball’s continuing ignorance is resulting in one busted arm after another — and just about every one of those injuries and surgeries could have been averted.

        • crozier July 26, 2014 at 5:00 pm
          I know you do, Joe, and it is, as I’ve said more than once, a primary reason why I return here time and again.

          And had your opening question been “If the Phillies are essentially giving Howard away, would you want him as a veteran presence on the team?” I would consider it a useful and debate-worthy question.

          I’d still say no, unequivocally, but I wouldn’t think the question was from the darkest recesses of left field.

          I didn’t like Duda in 2012, and it took a whole lot of persuading via the hidden numbers game to convince me that his 2013 season was much better than it looked. But in 2011 I imagined the season he’s having now. I thought he could be a great hitter if Collins stopped coddling him, or worse (suggesting he couldn’t handle the pressure of the #4 slot; great motivational skills, Terry). I never doubted Duda could be a 30+ homers guy if he got his head on straight, and it appears he has.

          Power hitters who walk frequently aren’t just nice to have; they’re a cornerstone of a powerful offensive unit. The Mets are one great hitter away from being competitive (note I said competitive, not champion-worthy). Howard adds nothing. I bet even as a DH, he’s done.

        • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm
          Duda has been very good for about a 40-game stretch. That’s impressive, and encouraging, but it’s not enough for me to start believing he’s a legit 30-HR guy going forward.

          Again, I cite Ike Davis as reason for my doubt. But also feeding my doubt is that we’ve seen stretches in the past when Duda looked like he was about to become a beast, and fizzled out. This time, he’s sustained it longer than ever — usually it’s only been for about 25 games — so that’s encouraging. We’ll see.

          I’m sorry you don’t find this subject debate-worthy, but happy you’re debating it anyway. 😉

        • crozier July 26, 2014 at 7:50 pm
          Touché, Mr. Janish.
  8. Craig July 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm
    Joe, yes Murphy looked bad last night. Some games he seems to look rather lackadaisical in his fielding, definitely not concentrating. I was pleased to see him get that double in the 9th to start the rally. He does have to “take charge” when fielding. Perhaps his recent hitting woes plays a part. Joe, does that sound like I am apologizing for Murph? Grin.

    Schafer looked positively out of his element trying bunt in the 9th. He should have been allowed to swing away. Manager blew that one.

    You read my mind on Neuwenhuis. I also was wondering why they keep Abreu and CY instead of playing Neuwenhuis. Abreu has floundering at the plate, not only when starting but as a pinch hitter a flop. He is also too slow to play the field except in emergency situations. CY has tried, however, he hasn’t contributed on a steady basis all season. Time to let him go. Let the youngsters play!!

    I wouldn’t touch Ryan Howard under any circumstances. For one reason the Mets have very little luck rejuvenating fading players, particularly ones making huge money, aka Mo Vaughn. He is best traded to the other [adulterated] league where fading players are employed as dh’s.

    As for Collins, unfortunately he will probably survive the season despite his horrendous moves, decisions, and line up structuring. He also loves to keep veterans around even if they don’t contribute, for the life of me I can’t fathom why, other than he does not want a 25 man roster made entirely of hungry younger players dying to stay in the big leagues.Collins and the GM are hanging onto each other for survival, with the Wilpon’s help.

    • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm
      Thanks for the feedback, Craig.

      Is it possible that Sandy Alderson was hoping against hope that Young and/or Abreu would catch fire and become trade bait? Even if either/both did, what in the world would a team give up in return? MAYBE a fringe A-ball pitcher who projects as a possible middle reliever some day? I keep thinking of guys like Evan MacLane (who the Mets traded for Shawn Green) and Jose Castro and Sean Henry (who were traded for Jeff Conine).

      Maybe Alderson thought he’d be able to dump the rest of Young’s contract if he went on a hot streak. OK, maybe that’s almost worth playing him, considering the Mets dire financial woes. But what’s the motivation with Abreu? They don’t owe him much money, and he’s not bringing back much in a trade.

      • Bat July 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm
        I think this is exactly right Joe and Alderson will release both CYoung and Abreu if he cannot deal them by August 31. Or maybe he likes how Abreu hits and counsels young players so he will keep him on the team through the end of the year because rosters will expand?

        But both of these guys’ days are numbered only question is whether they make it to the last day of the season.

        • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm
          I’m an old-school baseball guy, so I believe in things like chemistry, veteran presence, etc. Maybe that is the case with Abreu, considering that Abreu always was exactly the type of hitter that Alderson covets. Hey, if it comes out that Abreu’s whispers and advice are the reason Lucas Duda is hitting so well, maybe Abreu should get a two-year contract extension.
  9. DanB July 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm
    Okay, I am game. I will get into this discussion. Joe is right that there is a premium right now for players who can hit 30+ homers. My response would be, Joe you just answered your own question. When ever there is a premium on any type of player, such as players who hit 30+ HRs and young quality pitchers, it is always my feelings you should go the opposite route. When people told me to buy dot.com stocks, I sold. When people told me there were no money in real estate, I bought. It made me a lot of money. When there is a premium, for a player, you are over paying. I would focus on, especially in Citi Field, on young hitters who hit for average, move runners on the basepath, and drive in runs. Howard might have been a great hitter in Philly, but he would be less appropriate, even in his prime, in Citi Field.

    While I am on it, I do believe in batting averages, RBIs, and pitching wins as a reflection of value. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad when these stats stopped being so important in judging players however at some point the pendulum swung too far. The game is about scoring more then the other team. When it became about not making outs and pitching quality stops, people forgot about the (wait for it Joe) little things that produce wins. If my number seven hitter is working for a walk with a runner in scoring position, I am angry because you don’t leave the RBI for the bottom of the order. If he is not looking for a walk down by three in the ninth, I am angry. If my pitcher is happy to give up three runs in six innings, I am angry because he needs the killer instinct to do better and go further. I remember the dominant pitchers of the 80’s like Gooden and Hershiser and Smoltz always seem to be winning their games by 2 runs whether it was 7-5 or 3-1. They just had a nose for winning. I am not saying stats don’t tell the story or that I don’t believe in sabermetrics. If anything, I am saying people are not thinking the numbers far enough. There are cause and effects that are not adding up.

    • Joe Janish July 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm
      DanB, can you be my financial adviser?

      “When there is a premium, for a player, you are over paying. I would focus on, especially in Citi Field, on young hitters who hit for average, move runners on the basepath, and drive in runs.”

      A-MEN. Too bad the Fantasy Front Office thinks it’s a better idea to shoehorn a now-ancient late-1990s/early-2000s philosophy into park that requires a throwback philosophy from the 1970s/early 1980s, executed to perfection by, ironically, two smaller-market clubs in Missouri: the Royals and Cardinals. It continues to baffle me that the man who invented Moneyball was unable to understand, and jump on, the most undervalued skills in baseball — speed and defense. Now, teams are starting to understand that those elements matter greatly again, and it’s too late. Had the Mets held on to Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan, and continued to add similarly speedy, athletic players, and focused more on defense than OPS, they might have a very exciting and successful team right now. Instead, Alderson keeps lamenting about the size of Citi Field, when it could be a tremendous opportunity and advantage.

      Oh, well, at least he’s a good talker.

      • DanB July 26, 2014 at 11:28 pm
        I am sure the stats said that three run homers won more games then hit and run strategy. And I am sure the stats told you that a walk is as good as a hit because being on first or third doesn’t matter when you score on a homerun. But the playing field is different. PEDs and greenies are mostly gone. We have a generation of quality young pitchers but no good hitting shortstops. When we examine the next ten years, the stats might tell you speed and defense wins more games then homeruns and OBP. Be careful in that stats tell you how things were and predict how things will be but only if everything remains constant. Life is never constant. I am not criticizing those you rely on sabermetrics. I am just suggesting being open minded on how numbers can change.
      • DaveSchneck July 27, 2014 at 11:09 am
        Joe,
        Since DanB jumped in, I’ll chime in my two pennies as well, although DanB’s comments are tough to follow. I’ll also play the devil’s advocate a little here. I will also say up front that I am no Alderson groupie, and have criticized him more than complimented him. Two things I will point out – regarding Reyes and Pagan, those moves were all about money, and defensively both were solid but not exceptional. Their speed was missed more offensively. Regarding moneyball, I don’t think Alderson invented it per se, and Beane certainly used it best. All the stats are useful to a point, but none is declarative except as DanB states, the final score.
        • Joe Janish July 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm
          I do understand that the Mets are not in a big market and that the Reyes and Pagan deals were based primarily on dollars.

          At the same time, they could have extended both, a year in advance of their expiring deals, at an extreme discount. Further, the Mets could have also chosen to make their salary cuts elsewhere to make those discounted deals more palatable. And/or, they could’ve been creative in putting together the extensions — as they did with David Wright.

          Bottom line is that Alderson chose to spend energy and dollars on homeruns, Frank-Frank, and Bartolo Colon. If the focus was to build a club around the ballpark, different decisions would have been made.

  10. Sidd Finch July 26, 2014 at 11:48 pm
    Defensively Howard would make Mo Vaughn look like Willie Montanez at 1B. Offensively he’d be a pauper’s version of Kingman circa ’82 with less power, better OPB but about just as many strike outs. His career numbers at Citi Field aren’t so hot either. He’s a great fit, as DH, for that other NY team with the short porch in right though.
  11. Andrew Lloyd July 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm
    Taking on Howard and his hilarious contract would be doing the Philthies an epic, franchise-saving favor. I could strike out Ryan Howard, throwing high arc softballs.

    No, never, I would not take Ryan Howard if he were a waiver wire pickup. Please, don’t scare me with horrible suggestions like this.

    • Joe Janish July 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm
      If you get the chance to pitch against Ryan Howard in a slo-pitch softball game, I highly recommend you wear a cup and a face mask. Just in case.

      You do realize there are only a dozen NL players with more homeruns than he has so far in 2014, right? It’s not like he’s an invalid. And as bad as his July has been, it’s still not nearly as awful as Curtis Granderson’s April. Things can change very quickly for homerun-streak-hitters.

  12. John July 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm
    While I understand what Young’s role could be on the team (platoon hitter and corner OF defensive replacement), Abreu has no role whatsoever. He can’t PH or field. He is actually taking up a roster spot that could go to Nieuwenhuis.