Tag: fernando nieve

Fernando Nieve Signed By Pirates

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that the Pirates have signed former Mets pitcher Fernando Nieve to a minor-league deal.

Personally, I’m a bit sad to see him go as I believe he has potential as either a middle reliever or swing man. But considering his poor performance both at the MLB level and in AAA after being abused by Jerry Manuel in the early spring, and the fact that there is a completely new management regime in place, it’s probably best for Nieve to start over with a different organization.

You can read my 2010 analysis of Fernando Nieve here.

The Pirates also signed Dusty Brown (formerly of the Red Sox) and former Indians infielder Andy Marte, who never lived up the billing of top prospect in baseball.

In other news coming out of Pittsburgh, Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young both elected to become free agents. Like Marte, LaRoche never fulfilled the promise he showed as a hotshot prospect and is now 27 years old. Young is somewhat intriguing — a 28-year-old switch-hitter with some pop and experience as both an outfielder and second baseman. However I don’t believe he is strong enough defensively at 2B to be considered for an everyday spot; he could, though, possibly be part of a platoon and/or be a super-sub.


2010 Analysis: Fernando Nieve

Nieve isn’t currently on the Mets’ 40-man roster, and he finished the year in AAA Buffalo, and he didn’t pitch for the Mets after July 21, but I felt it necessary to evaluate him anyway.

Despite being on the roster for only 95 games, Nieve found his way into 40 of them. He appeared in 20 of the team’s first 31 games of the year, a pace that had him on course to threaten Mike Marshall’s MLB record of 106 games in one season. Manager Jerry Manuel kept putting Nieve on the mound, seemingly intent on seeing his arm fall off.

Manuel’s argument was that Nieve was his best option out of the bullpen at the time – and to an extent it was true, as Fernando held batters to a .191 average in April. But continually putting Nieve into ballgames was blatantly irresponsible and screamed of desperation by a manager managing for the short-term security of his job rather than for long-term production of a team over the course of a 162-game season.


Mets Game 56: Win Over Marlins

Mets 6 Marlins 1

It was a shining afternoon both for the fans due to the sun, and for the Mets front office due to the fact that Mets farmhands led the way toward victory.

Homegrown Jon Niese pitched 7 innings for the win, fellow farmhand Jennry Mejia threw a perfect 8th, #1 draft pick Ike Davis went 4-for-4, supplemental first-round pick David Wright blasted his 10th homer of the year, and international free agent signee Ruben Tejada had an RBI double. Heck, you could even throw in Angel Pagan’s fine day — he did, after all, spend his entire minor league career in the Mets’ system.

Game Notes

Jon Niese shut out the Marlins through six, before finally allowing a run in the 7th. In all, he spun 7 stellar innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 6.

As good as Niese was, at least part of his success was due to the over-aggressiveness of the Marlins hitters, who expanded the strike zone both horizontally and vertically. Niese was wild high all afternoon, but the Fish kept swinging through the high pitches, so it worked out great. Additionally, Niese had a good, tight, 11-5 curve working well most of the day, which kept the Marlins from sitting on the fastball. Still, though, his arm action, angle, and release point change when he throws the deuce, so you have to wonder if other teams will pick up on that. Additionally, I don’t like the way Niese tends to drop his arm angle and release with the fingers to the side — instead of on top of — the ball. I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating: when the fingers slide to the side, or under, the ball at release, fastballs tend to flatten and stay high, and it’s difficult if not impossible to get downward sink on pitches (it also puts considerable strain on the elbow). In this game, against the Marlins hitters, it worked to his advantage — and it will likely work against many other teams. However I’d prefer to see him stay more over the top to get more downward movement and protect that elbow, which already gets strained when throwing the curve.

Fernando Nieve pitched a perfect ninth, but to me he didn’t look good at all. You’re probably thinking, “gee, Joe, why so negative? The Mets won after all!”. But the process is as important as the result, and what I saw from Nieve was slightly concerning. First, he threw almost all curveballs — and we know he is essentially a fastball pitcher. Maybe he was working on the curve in the hopes of showing he has enough of an arsenal to be a starter, since he’s made it clear he doesn’t enjoy relief. But he was also opening up his front side very early and short-arming his pitches — I’m not sure if it’s something he has to do in order to get good spin on the curve or if his shoulder is bothering him. The third “yellow” flag for me was his body language, particularly after the last out was recorded. You never would’ve guessed the Mets just won the game — he looked indifferent, bordering on miserable. Was it because of pain? Was he unhappy to be coming out of the ‘pen? Something else?

Ike Davis’ perfect day included two doubles, three runs scored, and an RBI. It’s safe to say he has become a fan favorite in Flushing.

David Wright’s 10th homer was a monster shot off the restaurant glass high in left field. He also had a single and a walk and drove in three, scored twice. He’s now hitting .270 and based on his approach and huge swings, am going to go on a limb and say that he has turned himself into a “go for the downs” slugger in the style of Mark Reynolds. Which is too bad, because although he may help him hit 30 HRs instead of 20-25, he may no longer be a .300 hitter and therefore not a 100-run guy. We’ll see, though, I could be wrong.

Jeff Francoeur had two more hits — though one was a cheap swinging bunt that Jorge Cantu hoped would go foul — and an RBI. When Francoeur is hot, he’s red hot. His hot streak has been a boon to my fantasy team as well.

Next Mets Game

The third and final game of this weekend series takes place at 1:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi takes the hill against Ricky Nolasco.


Mets Game 50: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 8 Mets 6

My wife summed it up perfectly: a long game is OK if it’s interesting. But when it’s not, it’s like you had your Saturday night stolen from you.

Although there were 14 runs scored, and although the Mets were within 2 runs for the last half of the game, the contest did more to suck the life out of you than provide entertainment. 345 pitches and 10 walks over 3 hours and 28 minutes can do that. Had it not been for an Ike Davis three-run homer to cut the lead to two, I might’ve flipped the remote to Fried Green Tomatoes by the fifth inning.

Game Notes

Jerry Manuel’s managerial decisions were mind-boggling, beginning with the decision to start Fernando Nieve. I realize that Nieve made a request to audition as a starter, but that didn’t mean Manuel had to appease him. Nieve was terrible, despite reaching 95 MPH on the radar gun. It took him nearly 50 pitches to complete the first frame, which was highlighted by a Corey Hart grand slam. The final line was 2 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 ER — and 5 Ks. But that’s to be expected from a relief pitcher who was burned out by the end of April. My guess is Nieve is so worn out he can’t even feel his fingers.

Oliver Perez followed in Nieve’s footsteps, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in the next two innings.

Offensively, the Mets weren’t terrible — at the beginning. But they petered out after Ike’s blast. Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur, and Angel Pagan all had two hits apiece. Of those four, only Bay didn’t have a stolen base.

Rollie Fingers is back with the Brewers closing out games. Actually, that’s not true — but his waxed handlebar mustache has returned to Milwaukee for save situations, attaching itself to the upper lip of a fireballer named John Axford.

Next Mets Game

Mets avoid the sweep in Milwaukee by sending R.A. Dickey to the mound against Randy Wolf. Game time is 2:10 PM. If it’s between staying at home to watch the game and going to a barbecue, I recommend the BBQ. Fry up some green tomatoes.


Good Signs from Game One

Yes, I’m still basking in the glow of first place and undefeated status. It may disappear quickly, so let’s take a look at some positive signs while we still can …

Johan Santana’s Slider

He didn’t have his best stuff, but he had “good enough” stuff and allowed only one run through six. His velocity wasn’t as high as we’d like, but it’s early — he should add a few MPH as the season wears on. More importantly, his slider had great bite, the kind of bite we haven’t seen from him since he one-hit the Mets in 2007. His efficiency was nowhere near what it was in that particular game, which is the only pebble in my shoe concerning Santana — ever since Dan Murphy muffed a fly ball around this time last year, it seems like Johan has been trying to retire hitters with swings and misses rather than rely on the defense.

In any case, after seeing him flat-out dominate during the first few months of 2009 with a weak elbow and a so-so slider, it’s scary to think how good Johan will be this year “fully loaded”. Halladay, Shmalladay.

David Wright’s Big Cuts

Last year, Wright publicly admitted to


The Mets 2010 Starting Rotation

NY Sports Day reported this from the “21 Days of Clemente”, where Omar Minaya was a special guest:

The GM was asked his opinion of the 2010 Mets starting rotation. He quickly answered, “[Johan] Santana, [Mike] Pelfrey, [John] Maine, [Oliver] Perez , [Jonathon] Niese and possibly a free agent.”

Though it wasn’t an official press event, and there is still time for the Mets to upgrade their rotation, seeing that in print is something of a splash of cold water in the face.

Think about it: the Mets’ starting rotation currently consists of four pitchers coming off injuries and/or surgery. One of their backup plans — Fernando Nieve — is also recovering from a major injury and surgery.

This may not seem like a big deal until you look back to the past few years, and remember the pitchers coming off injury that the Mets counted on. For example: Duaner Sanchez, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez, Scott Schoeneweis, Dave Williams, and Pedro Martinez. In fact, the only pitcher that comes to mind who had “minor surgery” and pitched effectively the next season was Aaron Heilman (elbow scoped after the 2006 season). Not a good history, and history is supposed to shed light on the future.

Keeping a rotation intact through an MLB season is enough of a crapshoot when you begin with relatively healthy arms, but in the Mets case, they’re counting on 4 or 5 men to a) come back from surgery on schedule; b) come back at 100%; c) return to their form prior to the injury; d) avoid any setbacks; and e) keep their stamina through a 162-game schedule.

Anyone else have doubts?


2009 Analysis: Fernando Nieve

fernando-nieve-metsWhen things were beginning to unravel in early June, Fernando Nieve burst on the scene and filled a huge hole in the starting rotation — only to be befallen by the injury bug a month later.

Before going down with a season-ending leg injury, Nieve posted a sparkling 2.95 ERA through 7 starts and 36 innings. He had a stretch of three straight spectacular outings in mid-June, when he went 6+ innings in each and allowed a grand total of 3 earned runs through 18 2/3 IP. He was on the verge of being the Mets’ biggest success story when his quadriceps muscle gave out on an infield grounder, and became one of the infamous “backups to the backups” who went to the DL.

The numbers look good, and our memories return fond memories, but what can we really expect from Fernando Nieve going forward?

First of all, he has to


That’s Some Cramp

sheff-crampIt looked bad when Gary Sheffield came out of last Friday’s game against the Braves. Sheff had been running down a rocket off the bat of Yunel Escobar, then pulled up lame. Everyone assumed it was a hamstring pull. But alas, it was merely “a cramp”.

Our collective sigh over that “close one” has now lasted four days, as Sheffield remains out of the lineup with “cramps”. Is this a menstrual thing? Because that I can understand. Maybe Sheff is having a post-steroid-use issue like Jose Canseco, or maybe he’s on the same stuff Manny Ramirez was caught using, and it’s causing him to have “female issues”. Who knows? But it sure seems strange to have a leg cramp that lasts four days.

Or maybe it’s not a “cramp” but actually a hamstring “pull” or “strain”. There are at least two reasons for the Mets to mis-report the injury. First, the potential loss in ticket sales and other stadium revenues (i.e., tacos, Czechvars, spicy tuna rolls, etc.), because people don’t like paying Yankee Stadium prices for a Tidewater Tides show. Second, there is the outside chance (not likely) that another club is looking for a RH bat — and if Sheffield is placed on the DL, he can’t be traded. Or maybe there’s another conspiracy theory I’m missing.

In other injury news, Fernando Nieve will be out for six weeks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for ticket sales, since most fans are more interested in seeing Jonathan Niese anyway.