Tag: alex cora

Mets Release Alex Cora

So there isn’t any big-time trade coming after all. Instead, the Mets have released Alex Cora and demoted Jesus Feliciano.

Per the Mets’ PR department:


FLUSHING, N.Y., August 7, 2010 – The New York Mets today announced that they have recalled outfielder Fernando Martinez and infielder Ruben Tejada from Buffalo (AAA) of the International League. Martinez will wear uniform #26 while Tejada will wear uniform #11. Both players will be available for tonight’s game at Philadelphia. In order to make room on New York’s 25-man roster, outfielder Jesus Feliciano was optioned to Buffalo and infielder Alex Cora was released.

Martinez, 21, was hitting .255 (63-247) with 38 runs scored, 16 doubles, 12 home runs, 33 RBI, 17 walks and 60 strikeouts in 68 games with the Bisons. Over his last 10 games at Buffalo, the 6-1, 200-pounder was batting .324 (11-34) with three doubles, two home runs and three RBI.

Martinez hit .176 (16-91) with 11 runs scored, one home run and eight RBI in 29 games with New York in 2009 before undergoing season-ending surgery on July 15 to repair a tear of the medial meniscus of the right knee.

Tejada, 20, was with the Mets from April 5-10 and June 4-July 19 this year. He batted .212 (22-104) with 17 runs scored, four doubles, five RBI, seven walks and 19 strikeouts in 35 games with the Mets. The 5-11, 162-pounder was hitting .280 (61-218) with 25 runs scored, 11 doubles, one home run, 16 RBI, 14 walks and 36 strikeouts in 65 games with the Bisons.

Feliciano, 31, hit .292 (19-65) with eight runs scored, four doubles, one triple and two RBI in 27 contests with the Mets this season.

Cora, 34, was batting .207 (35-169) with six doubles, three triples, 20 RBI, 10 walks and 16 strikeouts in 62 games with the Mets this year.

By cutting Cora now, the Mets have lost some grit and a future manager but they also are absconded of the $2M guaranteed to Cora if he had appeared in 18 more games this season. The move is similar to the dumping of Livan Hernandez around this time last year — who was let go before attaining numbers that would’ve netted about half a million in incentives.

From a financial perspective, the Cora move makes obvious sense.

As for Feliciano, I’m not sure what he did to deserve getting demoted. He seemed to do everything the Mets asked, and added a bit of a spark when he found his way into games. I’m guessing this means that F-Mart will be used at minimum in a platoon in LF with Jeff Francoeur while Jason Bay’s head mends — or perhaps he will be given the job full-time. It certainly makes more sense from a development standpoint for Martinez to play every day.

As for Tejada, I don’t get it. Is he going to play 2B over Luis Castillo? Why not bring Justin Turner back up, who is on a tear in AAA — his OPS over the past ten games is 1.300. In contrast, Tejada is hitting .229 over his last ten games.


Mets Demote Feliciano, Release Light-Hitting 2B

In order to free up room for the recently promoted Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada, the Mets have demoted Jesus Feliciano and released a light-hitting second baseman.

No, not Luis Castillo! Castillo is still owed $12 million over the next two years. Cutting ties with Castillo would be like cutting ties with Oliver Perez! Ridiculous!

Think again… Here’s a hint, the Mets are trying to save money.

The answer is Alex Cora! The de facto leader of the team was only 18 games away from reaching a vested option, so the Mets will save $2 million by sending him packing. Sweet!

So to recap… F-Mart and Tejada are likely to sit on the bench behind Francoeur and Castillo. Ollie Perez is still here. And the light-hitting second baseman who was the only semblance of a leader on this team is gone.

To be fair, the Mets may be working on a deal to ship Castillo and Francoeur out of town (possibly to Seattle?), and that would actually make this a good move because it would free up playing time for F-Mart. Let’s hope so, because as it stands now, it seems like the Wilpons are pinching pennies with no clear direction. Again.


F-Mart and Tejada Scratched

In a mysteriously salacious move, both Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada were scratched from the Buffalo Bisons’ Friday night game (hat tip to MacksMets via Twitter).

Could Tejada and F-Mart be on their way to another organization, as part of a post-deadline trade? Or, could they both be on their way to the Mets, to take the place of players on the current 25-man roster who are being sent away?

Hmmm ….

The Mets might be silly enough to try to make a desperation deal, but for whom, I have no idea. Carlos Zambrano? Manny Ramirez? Adam Dunn? Vernon Wells?

Bringing in Manny would make the most sense from the standpoint of selling tickets. Dunn or Ramirez would make the most sense in terms of improving the offense. Zambrano is a frightening thought, even if Oliver Perez is part of the deal. Vernon Wells is similarly scary, considering the length of his deal.

Perhaps it is more likely that the Mets are trading two (or more?) current MLBers and in turn will be replacing them on the roster with Tejada and Martinez. So we’d guess the players would be an infielder and an outfielder. Could some team be interested in Luis Castillo? Or the gritty Alex Cora? If it’s Castillo, the Mets would certainly have to pick up a big chunk of his salary. Maybe Jeff Francoeur is on the move? Or Carlos Beltran?

My guess is Francoeur is most likely on the move, maybe to Boston — a team in need of a corner outfielder and a team that has shown some interest in Francoeur in the past. The Red Sox are also in need of a second sacker, with Dustin Pedroia still on the DL. Jed Lowrie is doing an OK to pretty good job filling in, but you never know — this is the same team that gave Julio Lugo an obscene 4 year/$36M deal. They also had an overvalued appreciation for Cora.

According to reports, the Bosox have worked out Carlos Delgado as a possible fill-in for Kevin Youkilis. That in itself should be enough evidence that the “braintrust” in Boston is not thinking clearly, and ripe for a ridiculous deal.

All of this, of course, is conjecture. The scratches of Tejada and F-Mart may have meant nothing at all. We will soon find out.


Mets Game 80: Win Over Nationals

Mets 5 Nationals 3

The Mets picked one off.

Seemingly safe and secure with a 5-1 lead going into the ninth, Jerry Manuel put the final three outs in the hands of LOOGY Pedro Feliciano and ROOGY Elmer Dessens — while Francisco Rodriguez warmed up in the ‘pen.

As everyone expected, Feliciano enticed Adam Dunn to swing and miss three times, and Dessens took care of the “One Out” part of his “Righthanded One Out GuY” role. Unfortunately, Dessens could not get that second out, so K-Rod was brought in for (comic) relief.

And again, as expected, K-Rod caused every Mets fan’s heart to race as he struggled with the tying run on base. With a full count on Willie Harris, Rodriguez spun toward second and picked off a napping Roger Bernadina to end the ballgame.

Game Notes

Jon Niese assembled another masterpiece, hurling seven innings of 6-hit, 1-run ball. He struck out 8 and walked none. By now I should be convinced that he’s the real deal … but I’m still holding some reservations, considering my disrespect for the Nationals hitters. But he has proven he can beat the lesser lineups, and that’s all you want from a #4 starter. Oh wait, he’s a #3, isn’t he? Eh, details, details.

David Wright went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Did you know he’s now hitting .312?

Alex Cora had only one hit but it was a three-run triple. His batting average is .229 and his OBP is .290, but he has 17 RBI in 126 plate appearances and via 27 hits. That’s not a superstar rate but it is a remarkably high number for someone who makes so many outs … isn’t it? He’s hitting well over .300 with RISP.

Francisco Rodriguez answered the trivia question, “how does a reliever earn a save by allowing two hits and not retiring a batter?”. K-Rod gave up two hits and recorded his only out of the game by picking off Bernadina. Had Bernadina not been sleeping, who knows how this might’ve turned out?

Jerry Manuel’s bullpen “management”, as usual, was suspicious. Why in the world did he use Pedro Feliciano to get one out in a four-run ballgame? And why in the world did he bother using Dessens when he had K-Rod getting warmed up? If you are so worried about holding a 4-run lead for the three final outs of the game that you feel the need to use specialists, why aren’t you just putting your closer in — who is warming up anyway? The wear and tear of warming up cannot be underestimated. It may not be as high intensity an effort as being in the game, but the arm and body are still being used when they’re propelling a baseball on the sidelines. If you get your closer up, you use him — end of story.

Feliciano, by the way, appeared in his 46th game. Again: why?

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Nats get together in the nation’s capital for the third game of this four-game set at 4:10 PM on Saturday afternoon. R.A. Dickey looks to bounce back against some rookie flamethrower by the name of Stras-something. As you might’ve guessed from the time slot, the St. Louis Cardinals announcers will be calling the game on FOX. What a coincidence … how lucky was FOX that their Saturday game of the week just happens to feature Dickey the knuckleballer?


Mets Game 45: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 4

Jerry Manuel keeps his job for at least another week, maybe two.

Jason Bay continued his red-hot hitting — he is about as locked in as a batter can be right now — and Johan Santana put forth perhaps his best, most clutch outing of the year as the Mets beat the Yankees and won their first “rubber match” of 2010.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was spectacular through 7 2/3, allowing only 1 earned run on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out three, relying predominantly on fastballs up and well-placed changeups down. He cruised from his first pitch through his 86th, but quickly lost his command in the eighth as the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and a single. However, Pedro Feliciano came in and struck out Robinson Cano on three straight sliders — perhaps the sharpest he’s thrown all season.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay continued to carry the Mets on his back, hitting 2 homeruns in as many at-bats, walking once, and getting plunked (unintentionally). He scored two and drove in three. For those who were up in arms about Bay for the first month and a half of the season, you were told he was “streaky”.

Jose Reyes had another two hits and is starting to look a little better at the plate. Remember he sat on a couch for over a month.

Luis Castillo was a late scratch from the lineup and Alex Cora took over the #2 hole. He made all of us eat crow with another clutch 2-out, 2-RBI single, followed by a stolen base. Championship ballplayer, or performing well enough in spots to create that illusion? You decide.

There are rumblings that Castillo will need to go on the DL shortly. If so there’s an outside chance that Cora’s vesting option for 2011 automatically kicks in based on games started (he needs to start 80, he’s started in 17 thus far).

Ryota Igarashi, who was activated from the DL a few hours before game time, came on in the ninth to protect a 6-1 lead. He proceeded to throw the ball all over the place and allow the Yankees to rally, forcing Jerry Manuel to bring in K-Rod. Iggy’s final line was 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 18 pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez caused everyone a minor heart attack en route to his 8th save. He threw 21 pitches in the process, following up his 5-out, 28-pitch performance on Saturday night. That’s 49 pitches in two days and 63 pitches over the last four. The Mets have an off day on Monday but will that be enough rest before they face the Phillies on Tuesday?

Next Mets Game

As just mentioned, Mets have off on Monday then start a three-game set vs. the first-place Phillies in Flushing on Tuesday at 7:10 PM. R.A. Dickey takes the mound against Jamie Moyer in what promises to be the MLB game with the lowest average MPH per pitch.


Ruben Tejada at Second Base

Loyal MetsToday reader and occasional contributor Matt Himelfarb brought up a good point in the comments section today:

I know its’ not really relevant to the outcome, but after Jerry made a double switch replacing Castillo with Tejada- i think around the eighth inning- why did Cora remain at short while Tejada played second? The Mets would have been far better off defensively. Tejada played short most if not all of spring training, and has been a shortstop his entire minor league career. The only rationale I can see is the Mets plan on playing Tejada at second when he returns to Buffalo.

It may seem a small detail, but as we’ve been saying here for nearly five years, it’s often the little things that win and lose ballgames. While the move wasn’t relevant in last night’s game, the point is, it could have been.

Maybe Jerry Manuel was


Late April Fools Joke

Kevin Burkhardt and Matt Cerrone are three days late with their April Fools Joke; below is what is posted on MetsBlog as the Mets’ Opening Day starting lineup:

1. SS Alex Cora
2. 2B Luis Castillo
3. 3B David Wright
4. 1B Mike Jacobs
5. LF Jason Bay
6. CF Gary Matthews Jr.
7. RF Jeff Francoeur
8. C Rod Barajas
9. SP Johan Santana

Or maybe the above was orated by Jerry Manuel on April 1st, and Burkhardt didn’t realize it was a joke.

Because only a fool would bat Alex Cora leadoff, and Mike Jacobs ahead of Jason Bay.

There’s also some humor in playing Gary Matthews instead of Angel Pagan, and placing him in the #6 spot — though, I guess it’s arguable. Maybe Pagan didn’t prove anything based on his performance last year, and maybe Jeff Francoeur isn’t a better hitter than GMJ.

What I like most about this joke is the lefty-righty going on. You know, you don’t want to have two lefty hitters in a row, because then the Marlins will have an advantage when they bring in a LOOGY.

You know what? If I were manager of the Mets, I’d purposely stack two LH bats or two RH bats in a row, to entice Fredi Gonzalez to bring in someone crappy like Clay Hensley or Renyel Pinto. Don’t you WANT the other team’s 11th- and 12th-worst pitchers in the game?

I can’t decide which is the most laughable aspect of this joke: Jacobs in the cleanup spot or Cora at leadoff. Cora, of course, has a career OBP of .313 — and even when he was so great for the Mets last year, he reached base only 32% of the time. His speed, never great, is average at best now that he’s 34 years old. But hey, let’s make sure he comes to the plate more often than anyone else on the team!

Similarly, when the Wilpons shelled out $66M for Jason Bay, was it with the idea that he’d provide protection for Mike Jacobs? Not to mention that Jacobs’ career numbers are worst when he’s hitting fourth (we’ll get into that in further detail later).

If the above is NOT a joke, then it may be time to schedule a lobotomy for Manuel, because something is not right inside that man’s head. It’s scarier than the lineup seen in my nightmares. Speaking of that nightmare: