Browsing Archive January, 2015

Lunch with Dwight Gooden

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We are still three weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training — in the meantime, to get your baseball “fix,” why not buy tickets to lunch with Dwight Gooden?

Dr. K will be the main attraction at a fundraising luncheon, hosted by the Baseball United Foundation, to benefit programs to grow youth baseball programs in regions of the world where baseball is not traditionally played.

The event — titled “Lunch with Doc” — will be held on February 21, 2015 at Graziella’s Italian Bistro in White Plains, NY. It will feature a talk and Q&A session with former Mets and Yankees star Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

Get tickets and more information on the “Lunch with Doc” at www.LunchwithDoc.com. And guess what? Because you are a MetsToday supporter, you get $25 off the price of your ticket! Just enter the promo code “METSTODAY” at checkout. You’re welcome!

As a side note, if you are in a position where you can be an event sponsor, and would like to enjoy an extra-special, private / VIP meeting with Doc, check out the sponsorship opportunities on the Lunch with Doc website — they are surprisingly affordable.

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Nationals Sign Casey Janssen

Cross another reliever off the free-agent list, as the Nationals have signed Casey Janssen to a one-year, $5M contract.

Interesting pickup by the Nats; my guess is that they see Janssen as the replacement for Tyler Clippard, who was traded earlier this month to the Athletics. If Janssen can return to his pre-2014 form, the Nats won’t miss Clippard. However, Janssen had a rough go of it last season, sporting his highest ERA since 2009 and lowest K/9 rate of his career. The former can be, in part, blamed on a mid-season food-poisoning episode. The bloated ERA aside, what is more stomach-turning (pardon the puns) was Janssen’s sudden inability to miss bats. That had nothing to do with eating a bad clam, but rather, the fact that he’s lost nearly 3 MPH from his fastball since 2012. Why has he lost velocity? Perhaps the issue is related to a sore shoulder and back problems that have been suffered over the past year or so. Janssen was never a flamethrower, and always relied on pinpoint command combined with keeping batters off-balance, so he’s a good bet to get back to something near his previous form. Additionally, it won’t hurt to be pitching in the NL for the first time. All in all, a pretty good, safe, low-risk, high-return signing by Washington.

In less significant news, veteran backstop John Baker has agreed with the Mariners to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.

Not much else happening on the hot stove.

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Gomes Goes To Braves, Gallardo To Rangers

Not much happening on the hot stove lately, though there were a few moves over the past week.

Most notably, the Brewers traded Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers for three prospects: infielder Luis Sardinas and RHPs Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan. Additionally, Milwaukee kicks in $4MM of Gallardo’s $13M salary in 2015 — which is the final year of his contract. Good move for both clubs, in that the Rangers get rotation depth and the Brewers get pieces for the present and future. Knebel is a former first-rounder who can reach the upper 90s and appears to be on track to be a MLB closer some day. Sardinas is a young, good-field, no-hit shortstop whose development has been jarred by injury issues. Diplan is a raw 18-year-old with high upside; he was hitting 94 MPH as a 16-year-old and was one of the most sought-after international players when the Rangers signed him for a $1.3M bonus in 2013.

In NL East news, the Braves have signed Jonny Gomes to a one-year, $4M contract that includes incentives and vesting options. With a little luck, he could replace a decent portion of the production lost by the departed Evan Gattis. Without a little luck, Gomes could be released before the All Star Exhibition.

In other NL East news, the Marlins have agreed to terms with Ichiro Suzuki on a one-year, $2M pact. With a starting threesome of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich, Ichiro makes a good fourth outfielder / pinch-hitter.

Elsewhere in the NL, the Giants have signed Ryan Vogelsong to a one-year, $4M deal.

In Adulterated League news, former NL club the Houston Astros have signed Colby Rasmus to a one-year, $8M contract. Rasmus steps into the spot left by recently traded Dexter Fowler.

That’s it for the moment. Let me know if I missed anything significant.

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Liars!

In today’s Newsday, Steven Marcus reports that tickets sales for the Mets are up by nearly 20% over last year and that season ticket sales are up nearly 13%. (Take that Leigh Castergine). We were told by Sandy Alderson that as soon as the fans started coming to the games, the Mets would start to add to their payroll. Well, the fans have done their part…

Meanwhile, as reported here and elsewhere, Anthony DiComo notified all of us that while the Mets have checked in on Cuban shortstop Yoan Moncada, they have decided that he is an “unrealistic option, given their budget.”

Like most of the rest of you, I have no idea if Moncada can play shortstop at the major league level. Some team may be about to make a multi-million dollar mistake. If that is so, then I will be glad it wasn’t the Mets. But with less than one month before pitchers and catchers, it seems obvious that there are no new additions coming to the 2015 Mets, despite the renewed support of their fans and the need for at least a veteran presence or two to supplement the hope and prayer options at shortstop, the bullpen and the bench.

Instead, like just about everything else that has ever come out of this organization in the past several years, pledges to improve the product if they get support at the gate have turned out to be another load of crap. I am not talking about trading a stud pitching prospect for a questionable middle infielder, but  several good fits for the Mets have been traded to or signed with other teams in just the past few weeks,  while our moribund front office still appears to be on Christmas vacation. They can’t even trade Dillon Gee , just like I called it here.

While I will never root for the Mets to lose, I almost relish the thought of a slow start. It might be fun to watch Alderson and the Wilpons run for cover.

Have you bought tickets yet?

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Red Sox Add Dana Eveland; Moncada Too Expensive for Mets

Dana Eveland, who resurrected his MLB career with the Mets last season, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox.

After returning from a stint in Korea, Eveland posted a 2.63 ERA, 1.093 WHIP. amd 8.9 K/9 in 30 appearances for the Mets. It seemed possible that he’d return to the orange and blue to compete for a LOOGY role, but the Mets were concerned about his health — he didn’t appear after September 6 due to inflammation in his elbow. Can’t really blame them, particularly when the Mets already have Scott Rice, Sean Gilmartin, Josh Edgin, and a few farmhands going after what will likely be two LOOGY spots. I think Eveland benefited from being somewhat of a mystery and underexposure; if he’s healthy this year, he could be effective in the Adulterated League with the same advantage — at least, for a while.

In other news, former Met Gonzalez Germen, who had been sold to the Yankees, has been sold by the Yankees to the Rangers.

Also, two free-agent outfielders came off the board in the last few days. Nori Aoki signed with the Giants for one year and $4.7M guaranteed, and Colby Rasmus signed with the Houston Astros for one year, $8M. Aoki’s power has dwindled significantly since his first year in the USA, but he’s otherwise been a steady performer with a penchant for getting on base. We’re still waiting for the enigmatic Rasmus to become a superstar; maybe 2015 will be the year.

Finally, the Mets are reportedly out on 19-year-old Cuban shortstop phenom Yoan Moncada, due to budgetary constraints. Hmm … I guess there’s still work to be done in terms of creating “payroll flexibility” — get on it, Mr. Alderson!

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