Tag: mets

Free Agent Targets: Starting Pitchers

The MLBPA compiled a full list of players who filed for free agency this offseason. Out of those, there are several possibilities that stood out to me as players I would consider signing if I were the GM of the Mets (assuming I had a moderate amount of money to spend). Mind you, I’m not saying the Mets should sign ALL of these players – that would be impossible. But this would be the pool of players from which I would choose.

We’ll break them down by position. In this post, I’ll take a look at…

Starting Pitchers

The Mets would like a veteran starting pitcher to anchor a young, Matt Harveyless rotation in 2014. Not really an ace, just someone to eat innings while Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, and Noah Syndergaard grow into the top-tier starters the team thinks they can be.

Tim Hudson, 38, RHP – Hudson should be fully recovered from his ankle injury (inflicted accidentally by Eric Young) by Opening Day. He had a 3.97 ERA and 1.19 WHIP before going down. He’s coming off a 4-year, $36 million deal, and should be affordable.

Paul Maholm, 31, LHP – Aside from Jon Niese, the Mets are thin on left-handed starting pitchers at the major league level, and the high minors. Maholm would give them a decent lefty arm for 150 innings or so. He wasn’t great against right-handed batters, but he held lefties to a .226/.262/.297 slash line. His last contract was 2 years, $11.25 million.

Scott Feldman, 30, LHP – Feldman is a more intriguing lefty. Once a prospect for the Texas Rangers, he started 2013 with the Cubs, and finished with the Orioles. According to MLBTR, the O’s are keen on keeping Feldman, and are looking at a 2-year, $17 million contract. If he falls through the cracks, however, he and his 2013 ERA of 3.86 and WHIP of 1.18 would be welcome in the Mets rotation.

Scott Kazmir, 29, LHP – Perhaps a return home for the prodigal son is in order? After several years of injury and ineffectiveness, Kazmir rebounded to post a 4.04 ERA, 1.32 ERA, and a 9.2 SO/9 ratio with the Cleveland Indians. Given his injury history, however, he’s still a question mark.

Aaron Harang, 35, RHP – Harang threw his final 23 innings of 2013 with the Mets, and had a 3.52 ERA and a 10.2 SO/9 ratio. However, he also walked an average of 4.7 batters per 9 innings. He looked sharp enough to be considered for a return. His last contract was 2-years, $12 million, but he may be available for less than that.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 33, RHP – Matsuzaka spent his last 38.2 innings of 2013 with the Mets. Early on, he walked a lot of batters and took forever to deliver the ball to home plate, both hallmarks of Dice-K’s career, but in his last 4 starts, he went 26.1 innings, won 3 games, and had a 1.37 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a .461 OPS. He’s still a gamble, but he might be worth another look if they can sign him on the cheap.

Dan Haren, 33, RHP – Haren had a bad year in 2013. He had a 4.67 ERA and 4.09 FIP. However, he still struck out 8 batters per 9 innings, and had a 1.23 WHIP. His fastball velocity is down from the level it was in his halcyon days, but good pitchers figure out how to pitch without their best stuff. He’s coming off a 1-year, $13 million contract. If he asks for anywhere near that, the Mets should pass.

The Mets would be wise not to spend a large percentage of whatever offseason budget they have on starting pitchers. They have some organizational depth (as long as they don’t trade any of it), even if it’s somewhat inexperienced. They have more glaring holes to fill at other positions.

Coming up next: Free agent relief pitchers.


It’s Only a Game

I love sports. I watch a lot of sports, attend games, and write about sports. I take sports seriously. But I know that they are just games. They’re diversions and entertainment meant to make life a little more fun. But some people don’t see it that way. They become emotionally invested to the point where sports become destructive to them and those around them.

There have been several incidents recently involving people who took it too far. Today, a man was arrested for making threats on Twitter toward Mets players, management, and fans. If you have a Twitter account, you probably know who this is.

Brandon Jacobs, running back for the New York Giants, also received threats from a Twitter user. Not only is that rude and illegal, it’s pretty stupid. Jacobs is 6’4” and weights upwards of 270 pounds.

Four people were charged with assault and disorderly conduct stemming from a fight at the Jets game this weekend. They punched each other because they had a disagreement over whose football team was better – and in this day and age of trash talk, an argument like that can turn personal.

Down in Houston, Texans fans have been threatening their quarterback, Matt Schaub, burning his jersey in the stadium parking lot, and two people were even arrested outside his home.

A Dodgers fan was killed near AT&T Park in San Francisco, reportedly because he shouted “Giants suck” outside a nightclub. In 2011, a Giants fan was severely beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.

I’d like to think these are all isolated incidents, and that 99% of people reading this would never engage in this kind of behavior. Maybe it’s been going on forever, and with the propagation of the new media and the too-much-information age, we’re simply hearing about it more, but I am increasingly disturbed by the severity of these events.

We’re passionate sports fans. We like to discuss, debate, and argue about what the GM, manager, and ownership should do. We like to roll our eyes at the latest baserunning mistake, or throw our hands up when our QB throws an interception. There’s nothing wrong with that.

When it gets to the point that you’re threatening players, trespassing on private property, engaging in violence, or even killing someone – just because you don’t agree with them or they’re in a slump or they’re wearing another team’s colors – then it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life.

Let’s just remember that these are games. They’re supposed to be fun. Let’s keep it that way.


Mets Have New Radio Home

The Mets are moving a few notches down the radio dial. They reportedly reached an agreement with WOR (710 AM in New York City) to carry their games beginning in 2014.

The 50,000-watt station is nearing an agreement with the Mets on a multi-year deal, according to industry sources.

Howie Rose is expected to remain the primary voice of the Mets.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment also operates five FM stations in the market: Z100, KTU, Power 105.1, Lite FM 106.7 and Q104.

WFAN decided to part ways with the Mets following the 2013 season, citing disappointing advertising revenues. The all-sports station will now become the flagship station of the Yankees.


Link Roundup: Playing Carnac

Carnac the Magnificent

The 2013-2014 offseason (for the Mets and other non-playoff teams, anyway) is almost two weeks old, and Mets fans are abuzz with speculation about what the Mets will do to improve their team.

Trying to predict the future can get kind of repetitive. The same names keep coming up – because those names will be available via free agency, or are widely believed to be trade candidates. But there’s only so much you can say or write about until deals actually start to happen.

That doesn’t stop us bloggers from trying, however.


Harvey to Have Tommy John Surgery

A decision has been made:

Sounds like it must have been an obvious choice. The Mets originally said they’d give Harvey a chance to rehab until December, and even had plans to test his elbow out in the Arizona Fall League.

So now, the Mets will have a 2014 rotation of Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, possibly Jenrry Mejia, and someone else – maybe a stopgap veteran like Aaron Harang or Daisuke Matsuzaka (or someone else). 2014 will also likely feature the debut of Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard, but it probably won’t happen until May or June, so the team can have an extra year of control.

More details will be coming out about Harvey as the day progresses.


How to Improve at Home

With the final road trip in the books (as it were), the Mets 2013 road record finishes at 41-40. This is significantly better than their home record, which stands at 32-45 with 4 games to play.

One obvious reason for this disparity would be park factor. While the Mets decided to shrink the dimensions of Citi Field prior to the 2012 season, it’s still not a band box. In fact, you can fit almost the entire field at Citizen’s Bank Park inside the fences of Citi Field:


Link Roundup: Playoffs. Playoffs?

Minor Leaguers

Three Mets minor league affiliates made the playoffs this year, but none are faring too well.

The Rookie league Kingsport Mets were swept by the Greenville Astros. The ‘Stros have been 100% focused on building their minor league system from the bottom-up over the past 2 years, and it appears to be paying off.

At the higher levels, the Double-A Binghamton Mets are down 2 games to none to the Trenton Thunder, and the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s trail the Salt Lake City Bees by the same margin.

Here’s a look at Rafael Montero’s less-than-stellar start last night.

Despite their performance in the post season, it’s encouraging to see the affiliates playing well. Win-Loss records are not the ultimate measure of the health of a farm system, but there’s no doubt the system is in better shape than it was a few years ago. Having a deep farm system not only produces some players who will stick around and play for the major league team, but it also gives the organization trade chips.

Tonight, the Mets open a series with the Cleveland Indians. Game 1 will be a matchup of former and current Mets prospects, Scott Kazmir vs. Zack Wheeler.

Kazmir has struggled lately, but overall, has had a solid bounce-back season, pitching to a 4.36 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He’s also struck out an average of 8.2 batters per 9 innings. Most importantly, he’s been healthy enough to make 24 starts. Wheeler has been outstanding after struggling during his first three starts. Overall, he’s 7-3 with a 3.36 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.

Finally, with Ike Davis done for the year, Lucas Duda will get a good, hard look at first base. One can’t always trust what one sees in September, but you probably have to break it down to a more granular level – what kind of competition they’re facing, is the opposing team in contention, etc. The Mets must figure out what to do with first base going into 2014.