Tag: rays

Series Preview: Mets vs. Rays

Imagine the Mets are Mr. Worf, and their June opponents are the guys with the pain sticks.

The Mets continue their journey through the gauntlet that is their June schedule with a 3-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Pete.

They are 4-6 so far this month against opponents like the World Champion Cardinals, the first place Nationals, and the always formidable Yankees.  Those 6 losses have come in their last 7 games.  Now they have to play another AL East powerhouse on the road.  It’s as if the Mets are going through some kind of rite of passage.  How they stand up over the next couple of weeks will tell us more about this team.

This series features a couple of marquis pitching matchups.  On Wednesday, red-hot R.A. Dickey faces off against the nasty left-hander, David Price.  On Thursday, Johan Santana takes on Jeremy Hellickson, who’s having a great year.

New York Mets

After getting swept out of the Bronx, the Mets are now in 3rd place in the NL East, 5 games behind Washington.

Who’s Hot (Last 10 games):

  • David Wright – .306, 3 HR, 4 RBI
  • Lucas Duda – .286, 3 HR, 10 RBI
  • R.A. Dickey – 24.2 consecutive scoreless innings, 3 walks and 38 strikeouts over his last 4 starts
Who’s Not (Last 10 games)

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are coming off a sweep of the Amazing Technicolor Marlins, and have won their last 4 overall.  They currently reside in a first place tie with the Bombers in the AL East.

Who’s Hot (Last 10 games)

  • David Price – 2 wins, 0.73 ERA, 13 strikeouts in his last 12.1 innings pitched
  • Elliot Johnson – .321, 1 HR, 7 RBI
  • Ben Zobrist – .290, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Who’s Not (Last 10 games)

Pitching Matchups

Tues, June 12, 7:10 PM: Chris Young (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (2-2, 4.13 ERA)

Wed, June 13, 7:10 PM: R.A. Dickey (9-1, 2.44 ERA) vs. David Price (8-3, 2.40 ERA)

Thurs, June 14 1:10 PM: Johan Santana (3-3, 2.96 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 2.65)


Will Mets Trade Daniel Murphy?

Yesterday Buster Olney suggested that Dan Murphy could be a fit for the Tampa Bay Rays, and that the Rays could have the young pitching that the Mets desire.

To be clear, this was not a rumor that Olney heard, but merely an idea that he proposed as realistically plausible. This isn’t the first theory focused on a trade of Murphy to another club; in fact there have been several this winter. But let’s consider this — would the Mets trade Daniel Murphy, and if they did, would they get a worthwhile return for him?


The Animal is Free

Former Met Chris “The Animal” Carter has exercised his June 15th opt-out clause and is now a free agent (hat tip to “Mike”, who alerted me via email). Carter was hitting .270 with 10 HRs and 46 RBI in 54 games with the AAA Durham Bulls. His walks and OBP are down considerably compared to what he’s done in the past, but based on that high RBI total I’m guessing that he’s changed his approach to drive in more runs.

Carter seemed to have a golden opportunity to earn a spot on the 25-man roster and get regular playing time as a DH when he signed a deal with the Rays in January. But things changed quickly when the Rays later signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon.

Carter split his time between the outfield and DH with the Bulls this year, and though I haven’t heard anything about his defense improving, it’s interesting to note he did not make any errors in 26 games in the OF.

If the timing was different, I wonder if the Mets would have considered bringing the Animal back? For example, if Carter was available at the time of the Ike Davis injury?

Considering Carter’s power potential, my guess is he’ll find an opportunity somewhere. Since the Mets have lefthanded-hitting on-base machine Willie Harris on the bench, and young Lucas Duda back with the club, there’s no room for Carter in Flushing. But there are 28 other teams besides the Mets and Rays, so where do you think The Animal might land? Let me know in the comments.


Chris Carter Signs with Rays

In case you haven’t yet heard, “The Animal” has gone south for the winter (and spring) — Chris Carter has signed a minor-league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, who extended an invitation to spring training.

The 28-year-old Carter was non-tendered by the Mets in November. He hit .263 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 100 games for the Mets in 2010, splitting time between right field and left field and coming off the bench as a pinch-hitter.

He was let go by the Mets because the new regime didn’t see him as a sure thing to make the 25-man roster, and because he spent as much he did on it last year, he would have been guaranteed to make at least $200,000 (60% of last year’s salary) even if he were to spend all of 2011 in AAA.

It was a somewhat surprising move by General Anderson and Co., since we assumed they valued players like Carter — who can hit, hit with power, and show an affinity to get on base. But I guess the move came down to saving a few extra dollars for the cash-strapped Wilpons. Hopefully they can pay the peanut vendors at Citi Field come April.

I’ll miss Carter, but once he was non-tendered, the writing was on the wall: the Mets’ future did not include his bat and hard work ethic. It always stunned me that Jerry Manuel had no problem making left field a platoon of Fernando Tatis / Dan Murphy, but avoided at all costs putting Carter in the lineup more than once a month. It also baffled me that Manuel never let Carter hit against lefthanded pitchers, since he tore them up in AAA. On the one hand I’m disappointed to see him go, but on the other, I’m happy for him and hope he gets a legitimate shot to make the Rays.

Considering his defensive deficiencies, one would think that Carter will be looked at in a DH role. However, the Rays already have lefthanded-hitting Matt Joyce penciled into that role. They also have a lefthanded-hitting first baseman in Dan Johnson. Though, Joyce also plays the outfield, and depending on where Ben Zobrist ends up, Carter does have an outside shot at making Tampa Bay’s big-league club. If nothing else, he’s likely to be the first corner man called up if he starts the year in AAA.

Good luck, Animal.