Tag: jon garland

Mets Game 33: Win Over Dodgers

Mets 4 Dodgers 2

Justin time, Mr. Turner made a pinch-hitting appearance to drive in the game winning run.

Justin Turner ripped a pinch-hit, two-run single in the 8th — perhaps the longest single in Citi Field history — to score Jasons Bay and Pridie to give the Mets a victory over the Dodgers.


Mets Game 60: Win Over Padres

Mets 3 Padres 0

Niese was nice.

After the ace messed the bed, the young lefty made it. As a result, the Mets took a series from the former first-place team in the NL West — in the process knocking them out of that division’s top spot.

Game Notes

Jon Niese was spectacular, following fellow farmhand Mike Pelfrey’s lead and going a full nine innings to earn his first MLB shutout. But it wasn’t just a shutout — it was a one-hit shutout that was a Chris Denorfia doink away from being a perfect game. That’s right, Niese allowed just one measly hit, walked none, and struck out six in nine frames, expending 108 pitches in the process.

Like Ace Santana before him, Niese didn’t get much offensive support — the Mets managed just 3 runs on 8 hits against Padres pitching, which also had a fairly efficient pitch count of 121 over 8 innings. But unlike Santana, Niese pitched well enough to win instead of good enough to lose. Though, maybe the Padres hitters were simply worn out after expending their energy against Johan earlier in the day.

Jose Reyes was 3-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, so I guess his mini-slump is over. Not that I was ever worried, but it was beginning to become “buzz” in some spheres.

Niese walked twice and scored a run to help his own cause.

Ike Davis went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Chris Carter hit a double and scored a run in a rare start.

Next Mets Game

The Mets travel south to Baltimore to play the Orioles on Friday night to begin an interleague weekend series. R.A. Dickey continues his real-life dream sequence against Jeremy Guthrie. First pitch is at 7:05 PM.


Garland, Sheets Off the Table

Remove the garland from the Christmas tree, and get Lazy Mary to pull the sheets from her bed.

A little late on this, but reporting it so you can post your comments — Ben Sheets agreed to a one-year, $10M deal with the Oakland Athletics, and Jon Garland signed a one-year, $4.7M deal with the San Diego Padres.

As mentioned in the previous post, Sheets + Oakland makes a lot of sense for both parties.

Garland, I imagine, preferred to be on the Left Coast, so it’s possible the Mets were never a possibility considering their Right Coast locale. Additionally, he has a nice opportunity to hurl a stress-free year in a huge pitcher’s park — a good formula for boosting his value when he becomes a free agent again next winter.

Additionally, former Cub prospect Rich Hill signed a minor-league deal with the Cardinals. The lefthander had a breakout season in 2007, then forgot how to throw strikes. This is a very under-the-radar move that could very well turn out wonderful for St. Louis. Can’t you just see Hill suddenly finding himself under the tutelage of Dave Duncan?

In other belated reporting, you may or may not have heard that the Phillies signed Jose Contreras to a cheap one-year deal. I don’t think the Mets were ever a player for his services, and I don’t believe he would’ve been a good idea. Most reports speculate that Contreras will begin 2010 in the Philly bullpen.

Finally, the latest buzz is that Jarrod Washburn is leaning toward the Twins and Mariners.

So, who’s left on the open market for the rotation? Looks to me like Braden Looper, John Smoltz, and Pedro Martinez are the best of the best. Ouch. In other words, Omar Minaya best be burning the phone lines talking trade with other GMs to find another arm or two.


Remaining Pitching Options

arroyo-vs-metsIt is no secret that the Mets need to acquire more quality pitching to contend in 2010 — both in the starting rotation and the bullpen (though, most people are ignoring the ‘pen part of the issue).

Let’s go over the names being bandied about.


Mets Game 114: Win Over Diamondbacks

Mets 6 Diamondbacks 4

For once, the Mets were on the right side of a poorly played baseball game.

The Diamondbacks gave the Mets several runs by way of 3 passed balls, 2 wild pitches, 2 errors, and 4 bases on balls. In addition, Arizona was unable to make the most of prime scoring opportunities, leaving over a dozen runners on base (14 to be exact).

Oliver Perez followed up his best start of the year with a more typical Ollie outing — 5 1/3 IP, 7 K, 6 BB, 6 H. Miraculously, he allowed only one run. Was that the product of good pitching, poor hitting, or dumb luck? You decide. In any case it was far from impressive, as Ollie was in constant trouble.

The Mets offense, though, made the most of every opportunity handed to them. They scored three runs on balls that escaped the catcher, and came through with three clutch hits in RBI situations — and that was the difference in the ballgame.

Pedro Feliciano, in the right place at the right time, scooped up his fourth win of the year despite allowing two hits that scored two runners inherited from Sean Green.

Frankie Fantastic was no more effective than Ollie and Feliciano, but somehow muddled his way to his second save of the second half and 25th of the season.


K-Rod was a Cory Sullivan misstep away from blowing yet another save. Stephen Drew hit a low liner in the left-center gap that Sullivan speared just before it hit the ground. Had he missed that ball it might’ve gone past him to the wall, and possibly led to more than just one run in the final frame.

David Wright was 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored, though he might have mildly injured himself during the contest. Cory Sullivan was 2-for-4 with two triples, a walk, and an RBI from the leadoff spot. Fernando Tatis went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run, and an RBI — just when you think he’s played his way out of a job, he pulls out a game like this to keep himself in the mix.

Today’s Baseball Lesson

Arizona catcher Chris Snyder had a tough time behind the plate, particularly in the 6th inning, when he committed one passed ball and allowed two wild pitches to give the Mets free bases. The passed ball was tough: Snyder was set up inside for a fastball, and pitcher Jon Garland threw the ball several inches outside. In addition to reaching across his body, David Wright swung at the pitch, which may have distracted Snyder. Fastballs are the toughest to block, because you don’t expect them to go in the dirt and they move the fastest. Snyder experienced a similar issue on one of the other wild pitches — it looked like it was a fastball in the dirt.

There were two things wrong with Snyder’s approach toward the balls in the dirt. First, he tried to catch them with his glove. Bad idea — it’s always best to send the glove directly to the ground, between the knees, and try to absorb the ball with the body. Second, his feet behind him were apart instead of together, so when the ball when “through the wickets”, it continued to roll to the backstop. These techniques can be learned with proper practice, just like any other defensive position.

Next Mets Game

The Mets can’t lose on Thursday as they have a day off. They return to Flushing on Friday to face the Giants. First pitch will be thrown by Bobby Parnell at 7:10 PM. Barry Zito starts for San Francisco.


Diamondbacks Sign Jon Garland

According to several reports, the Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Jon Garland to a one-year contract that includes a club option for 2010.

There had been rumors that the Mets were mildly interested in the sturdy, steady, yet unspectacular righthander, who won 14 games last season.

Garland would have been a nice addition to the back of the Mets’ rotation, as they need an innings-eater and he has hurled at least 190 innings and won in double digits for each of the last seven years. He would not have been the type of guy to put the Mets over the top, but considering all the question marks in the rotation currently, it would have been nice to have a “sure thing” in place. One cannot overestimate the value of having a starter take the ball every fifth day and giving the team 6 innings.

In any case, Garland’s signing means that the Dodgers may turn their attention to LHP Randy Wolf, who also has been connected to the Mets this winter.

Certainly the Mets need to sign at least one more starter, preferably two or three. The question is whether they’ll lock up Oliver Perez, which is looking more and more like a necessity, or if they’ll roll the dice on Ben Sheets.


Can the Mets Make a Deal?

It’s less than a month before spring training, and the Mets still need a frontline, #2 / #3 type starter; middle relief help; starting rotation depth; and a legitimate left fielder (who ideally bats with power from the right side). They also have a question at second base and might have interest in upgrading the catching position — though those issues are not nearly as dire as the others.

If you hear it from Omar Minaya, however, the only question is the starting pitching. Whether he’s lying through his teeth or not is up for debate, but his public opinion is that the middle relief will be handled by one of the rule 5 picks and Sean Green; the starting pitching depth is covered by Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell; and he’s very comfortable with Fernando Tatis and Dan Murphy in left field.

The reality is that, if he truly believes what he says, then the Mets are likely to finish in third … or fourth place. The Phillies, Braves, and Marlins all will be competitive in ’09, and the Mets as currently assembled do not look head and shoulders above any of them. They could tip the scales their way with the acquisition of a big bat and a solid starter, and there’s still time to do so.

However, it appears that neither of those acquisitions will come through free agency. It’s interesting to see the media and fans clamoring for the return of Oliver Perez — only months ago, many of these same people couldn’t see the inconsistent Ollie flee fast enough. That said, the idea that Perez is the “frontline” starter the Mets need is somewhat amusing. But hey, he’s the best left of a sorry lot, and if the Mets can re-sign him, then that one hole is filled.

But if they don’t, what is their recourse? The latest rumor suggests that Ben Sheets is the answer. Sheets does have frontline skills, but would the Mets want to add another health risk to a rotation filled with question marks? The next-best option after Sheets is Jon Garland, who is a nice innings-eater but at best a #4.

Conversely, the big bat the Mets need has been staring them in the face all winter: Manny Ramirez. For whatever reason, though, they continue to resist making an offer to the best righthanded hitter in the universe. After Manny, no options exist; the only other righthanded-hitting outfielders of consequence are Andruw Jones, Jay Payton, Jonny Gomes, and Kevin Millar (though, Moises Alou has not yet officially retired). Like Manny, the Mets have shown no interest in any of these players.

Maybe the Mets sign one of the aforementioned starters. But if they don’t go after Manny — and that appears to be a foregone conclusion — where will they find that righthanded bat for left field? Certainly not from the farm system — the only position player close to MLB ready is Nick Evans, who was overmatched in his short stint last year. A trade would have to be made.

But what do the Mets have available for a trade? Their organization is so low on valuable chips, it took four minor leaguers, three MLBers, and help from the Indians to obtain J.J. Putz. In order to make a trade for an impact bat, the Mets would likely need to orchestrate a similarly complex deal, or create another hole to fill.

Naturally, the Mets won’t be trading Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Mike Pelfrey, nor Johan Santana. You can probably add Carlos Delgado to that mix, and it’s hard to believe they’d swap away John Maine — he’s needed for the rotation and his injury puts his stock at an all-time low. No one wants Luis Castillo, so forget about that idea. Ryan Church might have some value, but because of his headaches, his greatest value may be to the Mets. Pedro Feliciano also might draw interest, but then the Mets are without a steady lefty in the bullpen. At times this winter, there’s been talk of moving Brian Schneider, perhaps to the Red Sox but 1) will he be enough to bring back an offensive force, and 2) if so, where do they find a new starting catcher? Would free agent Ivan Rodriguez be an option? The Mets would need to move fairly quickly to swap Schneider and still have time to sign Pudge.

Looking around MLB, there isn’t an abundance of available outfielders that fit the Mets’ needs. Righthanded hitters with some punch have become a rarity — which is why the Phillies were forced to add LH-hitting Raul Ibanez to their already lefty-heavy lineup. A quick look around turns up the names Eric Byrnes, Austin Kearns, Jose Guillen, Marcus Thames, Xavier Nady, and Gary Matthews, Jr., as players who might be available. Not exactly an awe-inspiring group, and yet most of them are probably unattainable in return for what the Mets have for trading chips. It might make sense to spin a youngster like Evans for a proven hitter stuck in AAA — someone like Matt Murton — or to take a chance on a guy who once showed promise, such as Gomes. But that doesn’t really upgrade the current situation of uncertainty in the outfield — rather, it muddles it further. There are only so many at-bats available in spring training to offer the likes of Tatis, Murphy, Evans, Jeremy Reed, Angel Pagan, Marlon Anderson, and whomever else is invited to ST.

Bottom line — unless their thinking changes in regard to the free agent pool, the Mets are likely to enter spring training with similar personnel as they have today. But of course, anything can happen.