Browsing Archive March, 2012

Mets Sign Chris Young, Release Minor Leaguers

According to ESPN-NY, the Mets have signed pitcher Chris Young to a minor league contract. Why? No one knows. Perhaps the recent Picard settlement has resulted in a sudden flush of cash that ownership couldn’t wait to spend, and Kelvim Escobar was out of the country.

As you know, Young underwent a similar surgery that Johan Santana experienced — repair of a torn anterior capsule in the pitching shoulder. The possibility of full recovery from such an operation is bleak, and usually takes a minimum of one year. Young had this procedure done last May; you do the math.

However, Young “feels good” and the Mets have money to burn now so what’s the harm in signing him to a minor-league, non-guaranteed deal, right? Better to have him taking up space on a AAA disabled list than hire an extra scout or two. And if the Mets didn’t roll the dice now, some other MLB team may have swooped in and stolen Young from right under their noses — and then who would the Mets have to pitch in four or five games at some point in late August or early September?

Per ESPN-NY:

Young is due to fly to New York on Tuesday, where he will be examined by team doctor David Altchek, who performed the procedure last May 16. The GM expects Young will be in Port St. Lucie by Tuesday evening and report to work the following morning.

“At that point, or shortly thereafter, he’ll throw and we’ll see where he is,” said Alderson, who met with Young in late December in San Diego and remained in periodic contact. “Right now we don’t have an expectation other than a general one — that he’ll be able to pitch at some point. Until he’s seen by the doctor, and we actually see him throw, we really can’t make an estimate as to when he might be ready.

“He wanted to wait to make a decision until he had progressed to a certain point, at least in his mind. He got to this stage and felt he was ready to go in a more structured environment, so we’ll see what happens.”

See? The Mets are being very responsible about this signing — they’re going the extra mile and having Young’s shoulder examined (never mind that this is happening AFTER the ink is dry on the contract). This is a breath of fresh air coming from a team that has been struck with so much bad luck in regard to injuries over the past few years. Perhaps finally they’re learning a few things.

In other news, the Mets have released a bunch of minor leaguers: Tobi Stoner, Eric Niesen, Nicholas Carr, Roy Merritt, Chris Hilliard, Ronny Morla, Steve Winnick, Lucas Stewart and Chase Greene. This news isn’t exactly stunning, but it’s mildly interesting. At one point a few years ago, Merritt looked like he might have a shot to be a LOOGY; he reminded me of a “lefthanded Cecilio Guante.” He never progressed, however, from that peak. You may remember Stoner as the kid from Germany whose cockiness ticked off his Mets teammates. If nothing else, his was a missed opportunity for enormous jersey sales to the drug-taking crowd.

Nick Carr and Eric Niesen also jump out of that group; both were highly touted early in their pro careers but never quite made necessary progress. Niesen flat-out didn’t put up numbers, and he’s now 26 — too old for AA. Carr, though, is a different story; he pitched fairly well but had elbow issues that eventually required Tommy John surgery in June 2009. He appears to be fully recovered and still throws fairly hard — 93-94 MPH according to reports I’ve seen — but apparently he hasn’t progressed enough to warrant further investment of time and resources. After all, Carr turns 25 in mid-April, and the Mets need space for other oft-injured pitchers such as Chris Young.

So that’s the scoop for today — what’s your thought on these moves? Speak out in the comments.

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Do MLB Coaches Fix Pitching Mechanics?

Sorting through the MetsToday mail bag, I pull out this question from a visitor who refers to himself/herself as “Brain Sliver” :

I have been reading your blog for a few years and have been impressed with your analysis of pitching mechanics. My question is this: how well known is this in professional circles and how often can they fix it? I know that having something pointed out to you doesn’t mean you can just fix it, at least it never worked for me. But I am not even close to the level of athlete in major and minor ball. So, is the problem that coaches don’t know, that players won’t listen, that it is not easy to fix, or some other combination?

Great question, and the answer is

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Mets vs. Cardinals Notes

Mike Pelfrey‘s velocity was up — his fastball was hanging around 92-93 MPH, touched 94 — but his command was poor. How can a pitcher have poor command and yet not walk anyone? Because command means putting the ball where you want it, and even though Pelfrey threw plenty of strikes, I don’t believe he was hitting the spots he wanted to hit within the strike zone. Further, he fell behind on the count often, and would respond by throwing the ball over the middle of the plate — which is why he was hit fairly hard in the first few frames.

What I did like was it appeared as though Pelfrey was consciously trying to stay a little taller during his leg lift, and trying to hold that nice upright posture as he came out of the leg lift and began the stride. That tiny adjustment by itself may have contributed to his increase in velocity.

However, there were two other disappointments from the outing. First, as usual, he fell to pieces in the face of adversity.With runners on, Pelfrey struggles — as he always has. When he gets into a difficult situation, his body language expresses fear and confusion — and the results are negative. The look on his face is “how am I going to get out of this?”

The other disappointment was the lack of off-speed pitches. Maybe he was working on his fastball, which is understandable, so I’ll give him a pass. He did spin a handful of overhand curveballs that had promising vertical break, which was encouraging. But the closest thing to a change-up he displayed was a 88-89 MPH sinker.

Lucas Duda nearly knocked over the batter’s eye with a bomb over the center field wall. I don’t think he could possibly hit a ball harder.

Ike Davis also went yard, though not as impressively. However, it was nonetheless nice to see him drop one over the opposite-field fence. The Davis and Duda Show may be the one to watch this summer.

Jordany Valdespin continues to look like a Major Leaguer. What Major Leaguer, and at what position, I’m not sure, but he looks like one. For some reason Carl Everett, Tito Fuentes, and Willie Mays Hayes come to mind.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Mike Nickeas looks like someone who is playing the part of an opposing ballplayer in a baseball movie. Don’t ask me why, but I can easily see him coming to the plate against Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn or Nuke LaLoosh.

Frank Francisco continues to look unlike a closer.

That’s it for me. What did YOU see in the exhibition? Post your notes in the comments.

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Blog Roundup: Big News Day

Wednesday was a big news day in the world of sports, mostly in the NFL.  But the best news for the Mets didn’t include the words “Tebow” or “Saints.”  Johan Santana breezed through the World Champion Cardinals’ opening day lineup de facto.  He struck out 6, walked none, and surrendered 1 run on 6 hits in 6 IP, all while throwing an efficient 69 pitches.  Meanwhile, with the injured Andres Torres‘s immediate future in doubt, the Mets scramble to find a center fielder.

Blogging-ing:

  • NYBD looks at an unorthodox option for the Mets in CF (the man Cardinals announcer Mike Shannon referred to as “Jeremy Valdespin”).
  • Daily Stache hopes the injuries heal – time is running out.
  • Amazin’ Avenue explores the start of Johan the Man.
  • Hardball Talk has Jason Bay volunteering to play center for the Mets.  What, Hojo and Juan Samuel weren’t available?
  • Rising Apple suggests the Mets give Mike Pelfrey the ol’ Ollie Perez treatment.
  • The Bitter Bill has some good news and some bad news.  It really doesn’t matter which one goes first.

Spring Training is in full swing, and so is Mets Today – and we’re in mid-season form.

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Blog Roundup: Financial Edition

The heavyweight court bout between Wilpon, Katz, and company vs. Irving Picard ended in a…well, sort of split decision.  All in all, it was good news for the owners of the Mets, as Fred, Jeff, and Uncle Saul only had to payout a paltry $162 million.  After the ruling, the Mets were able to sell 12 minority ownership shares of the team at $20 million apiece, infusing $240 million into the organization.  This allowed them to immediately pay back their debts to the Bank of America and Major League Baseball.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, the Wilpons won’t be forced to sell the team.

The Blogs check their accounts:

  • Ian O’Connor of ESPN thinks Fred is still a loser.
  • Hardball Talk says the Wilpons are happy, and praise Mario Cuomo (this is not a blog post from the mid-80s).
  • Amazin’ Avenue explores the ramifications of today’s ruling.
  • MMO wonders if this means better days ahead.
  • Metstradamus examines what this does to the culture of negativity among Mets faithful.
  • Tedquarters, meanwhile, is always thinking about his stomach (apologies to Han Solo).  How would you define a sandwich?

We here at Mets Today work for free, so we don’t have to worry about million dollar settlements.  Stay tuned for more Mets news.

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