Tag: damion easley

3 DUPACR: Bud Harrelson

With 3 Days Until Pitchers And Catchers Report, we offer a cool, refreshing Bud — Bud Harrelson, that is.

Derrel McKinley Harrelson was signed by the Mets in 1963 (there was no draft until 1965), and made such an impression on manager Casey Stengel that “The Ol’ Perfessor” lobbied to bring him north with the big club after spring training in 1964. Not surprising, considering the Mets were awful back then and Stengel always favored little guys with spunk, brains, and the ability to execute fundamentals (see: Billy Martin, Phil Rizzuto). In fact it was Stengel who, seeing Harrelson struggle with his hitting, suggest he try switch-hitting in 1965. The move paid off, as it helped him reach the big leagues quickly and it allowed him to be one of only 4 players penciled into the Gil Hodges’ platoon lineup on an everyday basis in 1969.

I had to live with the fact that I wasn’t going to be a hero hitting those home runs. I’m not a home-run hitter, I’m not a .300 hitter and I’m not going to make $125,000 a year. All I’m supposed to do on offense is get on base and score a run. I may not be as much of a hero to the fans, but I’m just as much of a hero to the club. I have to take advantage of what I am. I am Bud Harrelson, contact hitter, who has to hit the ball on the ground. If I try to hit a fly ball, I’m thinking wrong.

Looking at the numbers, Harrelson wasn’t much of a hitter. But you have to understand the era; generally speaking, a shortstop’s primary focus back then was to play defense, and any offense at all was a bonus. And though he provided no power (7 HRs in his 16-year career) and a low batting average, he often posted a surprisingly high OBP (for example, he hit only .227 but put up a .366 OBP in 1974). Additionally, he was an outstanding bunter, good situational hitter, and was an above-average baserunner.

Of course, Harrelson was known not for what he did with the bat, but for what he did with the glove. His defense was steady and flawless if unspectacular — the type of fielder who is better appreciated when seen every day rather than on a highlight reel. That’s not to say he didn’t make great plays — he did — but his real value was his day-to-day consistency. A good example was the 54 games he played without making an error in 1970 — also the first time he was named to the All-Star team and the year before he won his only Gold Glove.

As with many of the players in this countdown, Bud was known for being a scrappy, hard-nosed ballplayer with a fiery personality. Every Mets fan (even those who weren’t around to see it live, thanks to rain-delay highlight films) remembers seeing “Twiggy” take on Pete Rose during the 1973 NLCS.

This choice was fairly clear-cut, but there were several other Mets who have worn #3. Among them include one of my old favorites, former backup catcher Vance Wilson; Sergio Ferrer, whose name was better suited to making designer jeans; Richie Hebner, who was the most hated Met until Bobby Bo “came home”; dinosaur expert and child abuser Carl Everett; Rafael Santana; Miguel “How Is He Still in MLB” Cairo; and another of my all-time favs, Damion Easley.

Which #3 do you remember best and why? Share your memories in the comments.

The countdown thus far:

#3 Bud Harrelson
#4 Ron Swoboda
#5 John Olerud
#6 Wally Backman
#7 Hubie Brooks
#8 Gary Carter
#9 Gregg Jefferies
#10 Rusty Staub
#11 Lenny Randle
#12 John Stearns
#13 Edgardo Alfonzo
#14 Gil Hodges
#15 Jerry Grote
#16 Dwight Gooden
#17 Felix Millan
#18 Darryl Strawberry
#19 Anthony Young
#20 Howard Johnson
#21 Gary Rajsich
#22 Ray Knight
#23 Doug Flynn
#24 Kelvin Torve
#25 Willie Montanez (no link … sadly, didn’t have time to write a post)
#26 Dave Kingman
#27 Pete Harnisch
#28 John Milner
#29 Alex Trevino
#30 Jackson Todd


Filling the Holes

Carlos Delgado is out for at least two months, Jose Reyes is “day to day”, Alex Cora is out indefinitely, J.J. Putz may or may not have a chronic elbow issue, and Brian Schneider (yes, he’s still officially a Met) is hanging out with Oliver Perez in Port St. Lucie — and neither have a timetable for return.

Did I miss anyone?

Naturally, the question is, are the Mets serious about inserting Ramon Martinez in the sixth spot in the order on a daily basis, or will there be changes made to the current roster?
Over at NY Sports Dog, Dave Singer suggested that the Mets flip Martinez for Argenis Reyes and work a deal for both Mark DeRosa and Kelly Shoppach. Several blogs are wondering about a promotion for Fernando Martinez, who is suddenly lighting up the International League. Some rumors have the Mets talking to the Nationals about Nick Johnson. Afternoon talk radio is suggesting tons of other possibilities. (Hat tip to MetsToday reader Micalpalyn for pointing out many of these links.)

What will the Mets ultimately do? Most likely, nothing.

Unless Reyes is out for an extended period — meaning, several weeks — I doubt we’ll see any big-name players come to the Mets. And we hopefully quelled the fear that Reyes is THAT hurt. Someone like Mark DeRosa would be great, but I don’t see the Mets handing over the package necessary to obtain him. The pie-in-the-sky suggestion by Singer that the Indians might consider Jon Niese, Omir Santos, and Eddie Kunz for DeRosa AND Shoppach is a pipe dream (sorry, Dave) — those players might not be enough for DeRosa by himself. Similarly, I doubt the Mets are going to go nutty and obtain someone over the top like Matt Holliday, as many fans have hoped. The organization simply can’t afford to trade away any more of their major prospects, and I don’t know that they’re ready to ship off Ryan Church, Bobby Parnell, or J.J. Putz, the only men on the 25-man who immediately come to mind as legitimate trade bait.

The Mets might be able to pick up Nick Johnson, but not until the Nats’ asking price (Manny Delcarmen from the Bosox?) drops considerably. And before they get that desperate, let’s see what “first baseman of the future” Danny Murphy can do, huh?

As for Ramon Martinez, I’m not too confident in his ability to replace Reyes over a two-week period, if that becomes necessary. But I’m not sure I like the other in-house options any better (Argenis Reyes, Jose Coronado, Jonathan Malo).

Reese Havens is hitting only .240 for Port St. Lucie  but has 16 extra-base hits in 146 ABs

Reese Havens is hitting only .240 for Port St. Lucie but has 16 extra-base hits in 146 ABs

If they’re not going to keep Martinez around, and not going to sign free-agent utilityman Alex Cintron, I say go for broke and give Reese Havens a one-week audition — especially if you think you’d be happy with Mark DeRosa filling in at short. Havens right now is considered a decent hitter with power but the jury is out on his defense. In other words, a young version of DeRosa. Crazy? Maybe. But a small-market team would consider such a move. The big-market Mets, though, likely won’t.

As for Fernando Martinez, I’m not sure it makes sense to promote him now — where would he play? I suppose he could play some left field while Gary Sheffield is at DH during interleague play, but isn’t that a slap in the face to Jeremy Reed, who is hitting very well and playing excellent outfield defense? F-Mart is getting close to forcing the issue, but he’s not there yet. And the Mets aren’t desperate to add yet another outfielder to the mix — Jerry Manuel already has too many options to juggle. If F-Mart hit from the right side, and/or played 1B, I might think differently. Let him continue to build his confidence. When he’s dominating AAA, then promote him. There’s a difference between a hot streak and domination.

Another name that comes to mind as a good fit is Damion Easley, as suggested at MetsFever. But he’s one of “Willie’s guys”, so don’t expect that phone call to be made — no matter how much sense it makes.

And speaking of ex-Mets, where the heck is Jose Valentin? Wouldn’t right now be a perfect time for him to show up?

Post your ideas below …


Mets After Alex Cora

According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, the Mets are interested in Alex Cora.

Why is this news? Why am I posting it?

Further, someone tell me why there are actually some fans “disappointed” that the Mets didn’t sign Nick Punto?

Has the world gone mad?????

In all seriousness, I like Alex Cora. But not so much to lose sleep wondering if he’ll pick Flushing as his home in 2009. And I’m not quite sure why the Mets would spend about $1-2M for an older and more expensive version of Argenis Reyes. Ohhhhh that’s right — Cora is the brother of Joey Cora, and the Coras are best buddies with Tony Bernazard. Now it all makes sense!

Interestingly, Cora is coming off his best season since 2005. Although, I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in his eye-popping .378 OBP — he had only 168 plate appearances. He’s more likely to regress to his mean of .245 AVG / .313 OBP / .348 SLG — particularly since he’s now venturing toward his mid-30s. His main value is as a glove man. So again, why spend seven figures when you can pay Argenis Reyes the league minimum? Further, if the Mets want to spend money on a veteran infielder, why not bring back Damion Easley, or take a flyer on someone else with some punch, like Jose Vidro?

Why waste precious blog space on such a seemingly minuscule issue? Why quibble over a 25th roster spot and/or a few million bucks of the Mets’ money? Because this is the same team that supposedly thinks $3.5M is too much to pay Chad Bradford. It’s the little things that add up and can make a difference between winning a division or losing it by ONE game.


Hot Stove – First Moves

Wow … didn’t take long for the hot stove to heat up. Let’s quickly rake over the first coals.

Mets Pick Up Option on Carlos Delgado

No surprise here — after his second half, Delgado is a bargain at (gulp) $12M. There’s been speculation that he’d be traded, but I’m not seeing it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets flipped him, and I think it would be the right move, but it’s rare for this organization to sell high. It will be easier to leave him set at first base and spend the winter looking to fix other areas.

Mets Re-Sign Fernando Tatis

Tatis signed with the Mets for a paltry one-year, $1.7M contract. Great move to lock up a fine RH bat with plenty of versatility. While I doubt he’ll ever again hit like he did last July, he nonetheless proved he still has gas in the tank and fire in his belly. He’ll be a top man off the bench — taking the at-bats Damion Easley is likely to leave behind — and provide insurance in the OF corners in the event the Mets don’t find a legitimate slugger this offseason.

Damion Easley Files for Free Agency
Unfortunately, I think there is little chance of my favorite Met returning, particularly with the quick signing of Tatis. Why? Partially due to his age, and partially because I think the Mets are going to bring in a second sacker, one way or the other. That said, his main tool is as a RH bat off the bench, and that will be Tatis’ job. There are enough teams looking for a veteran second baseman this winter for him to find a job, though, so he should land on his feet. He may find himself in Chicago, with the White Sox, the Dodgers, or the Nationals (all of this is pure speculation — I have no inside track).

Oliver Perez Files for Free Agency

No surprise here. Ollie’s going to the highest bidder. If the Mets don’t sign him early, I don’t think they’ll sign him at all. Considering Scott Boras is his agent, an early signing seems unlikely. Bye bye Ollie, it was fun (regards to Mr. Hyde).

Matt Wise Files for Free Agency

Who woke him up and pulled him out of his cave? Wise never stayed healthy for a long enough time to determine his value. Too bad. Watch him move on to the Angels or Diamondbacks and become a decent 7th-inning guy.

Royals Trade Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs
The semi-annual fire sale is on in Miami! An interesting deal from KC’s point of view, as they flip a middle reliever for a starting first baseman — this deal would suggest that they’ve officially given up on Ryan Shealy. Nunez is only 25, and could step into a setup role for the Fish. Otherwise, it looks like the Royals are selling high, and the Marlins are selling out (yet again).

Chad Cordero is a Free Agent

The Nats cut ties with the reliever, and I can’t believe 24 hours passed without the Mets scheduling a press conference to put a flat-brimmed Mets cap on his head. Is there any other organization where he’ll be as welcome? My bet is on Omar Minaya plunging into the Cordero rehab project, and I like the idea. My guess is he won’t be helpful in 2009, and he may never regain the velocity needed to be a closer, but he has the mentality needed for a reliever and he has age on his side. He may be a valuable middle reliever for the second half.

Ken Macha Hired to be Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers

Ho-hum. The Brew Crew managed to find someone just as boring as Ned Yost. Should be a mildly entertaining puppet show.

65 Players Filed for Free Agency

See the “official” list here. We’ll discuss them here all winter.