2014 New York Mets: All Da Duda Day

valentinscycle

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Maybe this wasn’t supposed to be The Year, but as of last July it was supposed to at least be The Year Before The Year.  Contracts that were supposed to be holding down spending were coming off the books— supposedly.  Jason Bay’s 4 year/$66M?  A bad memory.  Johan Santana’s 6 year/$137.5M?  Mostly gone.  The post-Madoff Wilpon pockets would finally open and fill holes in an Outfield of Misfit Toys.  Ike Davis would remember what his swing looked like.  Travis D’Arnaud would have a full season.  David Wright would be himself, still.  The payroll would inch, if not into Angels/Tigers First World territory, at least into nine digits.
 
Meanwhile the young pitching that Sandy had landed for Beltran, Dickey and Reyes would emerge and add a third group to the Seaver/Ryan/Koosman and Gooden/Darling/Fernandez trios.  Matt Harvey would go from Gooden ’84 (scary impressive) to Gooden ’85 (all-timer).  Zack Wheeler would harness an offspeed pitch and learn how to hit his spots.  Syndergaard and Montero would arrive, liberated from the thin Vegas air, and would dominate.  Bullpens can be built last-minute.  90 wins and a wild card would follow.  And then, the heavens would open and Jerry Seinfeld would descend in a Porsche 959 with Mr. Met riding shotgun and Chipper Jones would be run over by a riding mower. 
 
Reality check #1 (August): Harvey tears his UCL.
 
Reality check #2 (winter): No one says anything explicit, but it becomes clear that $90M is the cap.  Alderson uses up his savings on Granderson, Young, and Colon, adding $32.2M and 103 earth years to the roster.  Ike Davis has no trade market because he has a different swing for each day of the week.  Despite publically criticizing the sludgy and limp Ruben Tejada, Alderson apparently has no interest in a cut-rate Drew.  Jose Valverde joins up. 
 
Reality check #3 (February): The Wilpons get their debt restructured to avoid a $250M payment supposedly due in June, meaning that they’re under no immediate incentive to sell or, apparently, to spend either.  They have until 2021 on that debt now.  There’s still $600M due on the loan against SNY, but there’s seems to be no reason why they won't be able to keep kicking that can too. 
 
Reality check #4 (yesterday): Staked to 4-2 and 5-4 leads from improbable homers, the bullpen implodes twice, with two crucial walks in the 7th and a D’Arnaud passed ball doing significant damage.  Granderson goes 0 for 5 with 3 Ks.  Parnell’s velocity looks off—continuing a March trend—and after the game it’s announced he’s got a partial MCL tear and is probably headed for TJ surgery.  Valverde is promoted to closer.  Bobby Abreu is signed to a AAA contract.
 
Citi Field is in its 6th year.  Win totals in its era: 70, 79, 77, 74, 74.  Subtract Santana’s no-no and any Matt Harvey start, and the only memories it’s produced are Foreigner concerts and Amway storefronts.
 
At least there’s Gary and Ron and Keith on TV.
 
The reality check continues tomorrow with Colon on the mound.  If you squint real hard and look at his reflection in a mirror, you can pretend he’s El Sid and it’s 1986.
 

jon abbey

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valentinscycle said:
iCiti Field is in its 6th year.  Win totals in its era: 70, 79, 77, 74, 74.  
 
Attendance down close to 50 percent since the last year at Shea in 2008, that is amazing:

2013: 2,064,440, TBD, 21st 
2012: 2,242,803, -5.7%, 17th 
2011: 2,378,549, -7.1% , 14th 
2010: 2,559,738, -18.8%, 12th 
2009: 3,154,270, -22.0%, 7th 
2008: 4,042,047, +4.9%, 2nd
 

Doctuh

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jon abbey said:
 
Attendance down close to 50 percent since the last year at Shea in 2008, that is amazing:
 
 
Is it? The team has been abysmal, the best thing they have going for them is their broadcast booth, which you get at home.
 

valentinscycle

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Swept in the first series, and the early template is: a competent start giving way to a bullpen committed to issuing walks as quickly as possible; limp at-bats; a few errors scattered around to keep innings going in case the walks aren’t enough.
 
Hard to know what to make of the bullpen struggles so far, but what’s got to be more worrying is how unprofessional this offense looks.  There were 39 Ks in the series— maybe not all that horrible given facing Strasburg and Gonzalez— but that collective .211 OBP says everything about the approach up and down the lineup.  1B is a black hole of suck (1-for-12) as Collins sifts through his options to try to see who might achieve replacement level.  D’Arnaud has started 0-for-9.  Add Chris Young to the 15-day with a quad strain. 
 

Doctuh

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Not to mention that the team was not at all ready to handle the inevitable situation of meeting a catcher with the ball blocking at the plate. Wilmer Flores? whomever that was Ruben Tejada who looked completely dumbfounded in that situation and just walked past the catcher. That is just bad coaching. It is obvious to even diehards that this is part of the Mets continuing "years in the desert" till something finally shifts with the ownership group.
 

johnmd20

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Doctuh said:
 
Is it? The team has been abysmal, the best thing they have going for them is their broadcast booth, which you get at home.
 
I think it is pretty amazing. That is a humongous collapse of attendance, no matter the cause, and it's going to be worse this year. They drew 20,000 yesterday. As long as the crooks at the top are still running the team, they are dead. They are broke and they are not going to make it back by drawing 20k a night. Which I think is awesome. I hope the Wilpon's end up going bankrupt.
 
What a horrible man Fred Wilpon is.
 

jon abbey

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There was a huge pic in today's Post of yesterday's Mets crowd, and not too many of those 20,000 seemed to actually make it to the game.
 
First time the Mets have ever been swept at home to start the season, 39 Ks from their hitters in 3 games and brutal bullpen implosions in each game, Chris Young onto the DL and Parnell 50/50 to get season-ending surgery, and things are looking very ugly right now in Mets-town.
 

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Well, look who’s over .500!
 
This is coming off a sweep of the dismal D-backs, but still, you take progress where you can get it.  Three straight solid starts from Gee, Mejia, and Wheeler, as well as some unexpected punch from future trivia answers Nieuwenhuis and Recker, are the main reasons.
 
Nobody will be thinking this is sustainable, though.  It’s not sustainable when your OBP and OPS are both 27th in MLB (as well as extra base hits), and when that same offense leads the league in Ks.  It’s also not sustainable when Valverde continues to douse innings in high-octane fuel (even if he’s been bailed out once), when your biggest offensive bright spot (Lagares) just landed on the DL with a hammy strain, when your new 40-year-old starter is already complaining about back pain, when first base is still the same three-headed mess it’s been since those Ike Davis trade fantasies on the FAN failed to come true in January,.
 
And it’s really not sustainable when you’ve just called up Dice-K as long relief, and when the buzz about getting outfield help is that Bobby Abreu (.429/.500/.536 in 11 games in Las Vegas) might be coming soon.  At least if it’s not 2005.
 
If you’re looking for good news outside of some good starts, well, Grandy has started at a .170/.291/.319 clip.  That’s gotta regress upward, right?
 
Braves and Cardinals next up at CitiField to start a 10-game homestand.  If they’re still over .500 after that, there’d be reason for some guarded optimism, but no one’s expecting it.
 

jon abbey

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The rotation should be really good in another year or two, though: Wheeler, Harvey, Mejia, and Syndergaard and Montero seemingly already ready. Add Niese or Gee, that's a rotation with unlimited potential. 
 

valentinscycle

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Not-at-all-self-interested ‘leaks’ coming from Flushing (in the direction of Jon Heyman) say that the PTBNL for Ike is ‘significant,’ i.e., a Pirates 2013 first-round pick.  Of course now blogs are bringing up Austin Meadows as a possible PBTNL, which goes to show that if nothing else, Alderson’s history with trades (Wheeler, Syndergaard, etc) has people ready to believe anything.  That said, Sandy’s slack with the press is tightening a bit, as people like John Harper are saying he could’ve had Zach Britton for Ike this winter instead of someone they could've picked up in the Rule 5 draft anyway.
 
So it's a Duda/Satin platoon at first now.  The choice of Duda over Ike probably had more to do with Ike having at least some kind of a market and Duda having none, although for what it's worth Duda has some of the things (like a little bit more patience) the Mets claim to want.  And there’s no question Ike was broken; he didn’t have an ‘approach’ so much as a set of wild guesses.  He looked like the three-times-a-year golfer trying new things for the hell of it on each tee.  The question is how much the Mets broke him, because they certainly failed to fix him.
 

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If the Mets get Meadows in the Davis deal, Sandy should get a lifetime contract from the Mets. 
 

valentinscycle

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The Mets finish a somewhat dreaded 10-game homestand (Braves/Cardinals/Marlins) at 6-4, putting them at three games over .500 (14-11)—their high-water mark last year, and so far this year.  Given the injuries and awful first week this is good news in Flushing, and the main reason is consistent starting pitching: Wheeler, Niese, Mejia, Colon, and Gee have all had strong starts recently, and the 3.65 rotation ERA puts them comfortably in MLB’s upper half.   (In the last 11 games: 1.81 ERA.)  The pen is shaky still—Valverde’s been demoted for Farnsworth, then Dice-K; the at-bats can look about as undisciplined as they come; but thanks to some consistency in the rotation they’ve been in most if not all games.  One question now is whether (as they do in St. Louis) Sandy needs to call up some of the young arms like Syndergaard and Montero for middle-relief help and to break them in.  But for now the quality-start-plus-some-lucky-hits recipe is holding.
 
Plus, the Cardinals and Braves go away for a while.
 

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Mets pitchers are collectively 0 for 58 so far this season, the worst streak for any team since at least 1900. NL baseball!
 

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Wilmer Flores is starting at SS tonight, having just been called up.  Guess the Mets are finally done (for something like the fifth time) with Tejada and his .183/.302/.207 line.  Flores’s position is really second, and a defense of Flores/Murphy/Duda could be brutal.  But any offense would be an improvement on Tejada. 
 

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Former star of much-missed The Dugout, Kyle Farnsworth, cut yesterday-- a day ahead of the deadline for the 45-day waiver in his contract, meaning the Mets save $750K.   Sandy (who’s been invisible lately) is still looking for change in the couch cushions. 
 
Moves like this take the steam out of the youth movement.  Montero’s debut last night was solid (and not helped by poor defense and the shocking inability of Met bats to touch Tanaka), De Grom is up, Syndergaard will follow soon—and it’s not like Farnsworth had done enough to make staying the obvious move— but the financial reality hovers over everything.  In the news-so-bad-it-might-be-good department, it seems like one minority owner now wants to bail, which (everyone hopes) could be a domino falling toward a Wilpon sale.  Although the death grip they have on the franchise won't be broken easily.
 

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"Noah Syndergaard, the Mets’ top prospect, has been placed on the disabled list with a flexor pronator strain in his right elbow.
 
The 21-year-old pitcher will fly to New York to meet with team doctors for “precautionary reasons,” according to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.
 
“It’s between, basically, your wrist and your elbow,” WFAN Mets beat reporter Ed Coleman told host Marc Malusis on Monday. “And it usually comes from overuse. It could be one pitch, but I’m not sure which it is in this case. But Syndergaard is gonna come up here and take an MRI, which he should do."
 
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/05/26/mets-top-prospect-syndergaard-placed-on-dl-headed-to-ny-for-mri/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
 

jon abbey

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And the news keeps coming in MetsLand:
 
Jose Valverde blew today's game giving up 4 runs, and was released minutes after the game ended. Hitting coach Dave Hudgens was also fired, the Memorial Day Massacre. 
 

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jon abbey said:
And the news keeps coming in MetsLand:
 
Jose Valverde blew today's game giving up 4 runs, and was released minutes after the game ended. Hitting coach Dave Hudgens was also fired, the Memorial Day Massacre. 
 
Megdal is reporting it was the Wilpon's call to fire Hudgens.
 

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The morning after backup catcher Anthony Recker throws wide to first on a third strike, allowing the tying run to reach to lead off the ninth (who would score, because with 12 blown saves the Mets lead the league, so that’s how things go), D’Arnaud is sent down to Vegas, following Montero last week.  Syndergaard has a sprained A/C joint in his left (non-throwing) shoulder.  Lagares doesn’t look to be close to returning.  The youth movement (aside from Wheeler, who’s been good lately) has stalled.
 
They had come within a game of .500 but have now lost 5 straight, 3 of them in their opponent’s last at-bat.  The offense has maybe 4-5 MLB-quality hitters in it on any given night— at the low bar of ‘over .667 OPS’—but it’s the bullpen that’s been deadly.  It’s possible that the extra-inning extravaganza in Philly last weekend (39 innings over three days) did some damage, but in general the last 4-5 outs have become routinely difficult.
 

valentinscycle

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Third place never felt so good! 
 
It’s familiarly Metsian that their recent hot steak (8-2 homestand, 3.18 ERA in July) would be stopped by the break, and getting to .500 for the season would mean their having to go an unrealistic 36-31 the rest of the way, but why not look on the bright side.  With the crosstown behemoth at .500, it’s been a lot more fun in Queens lately than across the Triborough.  Mostly because of the rotation.  Wheeler’s last two starts (1.35 ERA, 10/4 K/BB) have been strong, Gee’s return was a 7-inning 1-run shutdown of the Braves, DeGrom has been unexpectedly strong, even Dice-K struck out 10 in his last outing (although he’ll be sent back to the ‘pen—probably, unless it’s DeGrom— when Niese returns from the DL).
 
The quality of the rotation isn’t necessarily news, and a lot of the recent success has just been luck evening out, like Wheeler’s BABIP coming back down to earth.  But the offense has been strangely positive lately.  Wright’s gotten hot after a week off for shoulder therapy (.429/.520/.762 with 2 HRs in the last week).  Since coming back from his Vegas head-clearing therapy, D’Arnaud is contributing (3 HRs and 10 RBIs in 61 ABs).  Duda has quietly made the case that getting rid of  Davis was the right move (.299/.400/.610 in the last month).  With Lagares around covering ground in center the outfield doesn’t look quite so much like a Superfund site.
 
So where now?  The press is beating the drum for acquiring a shortstop to replace Tejada, who, like the dog your parents tried to abandon at the campsite, keeps finding his way back; the ‘Sandy should’ve gotten Tulo’ stories have already been written and filed away for use in a couple of weeks.  Colon is very likely to be dealt (to make way for Syndergaard or Montero), although hard to see him bringing much in the way of a return; Murphy is also a candidate since he’ll be reaching arbitration coming off an All-Star year, and the Wilpons’ wallet alert just went off.  Unlike the offseason, July is when Sandy shines, and Murphy’s value is probably at its peak.  So something will probably happen.  Another week like the last one (unlikely, but, you know, possible) will make it a little bit harder for Sandy to move into his usual dump-the-veteran-assets mode, but that’s still by far the likeliest and smartest scenario.
 

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Things are looking up in MetsLand, Jacob DeGrom has been dominant in recent weeks and they have 5 of the top 100 prospects on the new mlb.com list, including four position players. 
 

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Obvious move made: Chris Young DFA'd
 
Despite disclaimers, Sandy turns his attention to 2015: Matt Den Dekker to take over in LF, Flores at short.  The rotation (with July rookie-of-the-month De Grom) continues to impress, but squeezing runs out of this lineup won't be easy. 
 
Meanwhile, somewhat under the radar, but Sandy's been abandoning the 'we've got money to spend' line no one believed anyway.  From a Howard Megdal piece, this revealing quote on why packaging prospects for Tulo was never an option: "Asked about whether the Mets could afford to add Tulowitzki to a payroll, in the largest market in the league, that ranks in the bottom fifth, Alderson responded by citing Tulowitzki's salary, along with David Wright's and Curtis Granderson's, this way: '20, 20, 15 and what, 22 dwarfs?'"
 

jon abbey

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Bumped for a new thread title, because Lucas Duda has been killing it, 18 HRs since June 17 and up to 9th in the NL in OPS at .862. 
 

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Gdiguy

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valentinscycle said:
Six games to go and, after a sweep of the Braves at the Ted (including DeGrom's latest, a 6 inning 10K effort bringing him right up against his inning limit of 180), the Mets are still in play for a .500 season-- and only .5 games out of second in the NL East.  Meanwhile, speaking of consolation prizes:
 
 
Well, one out of two isn't bad (finished 79-83, tied for 2nd with Atlanta)
 
Also, the Mets are one of only 6 NL teams (and the only one to miss the playoffs) to finish with a positive run differential, so that 2nd place finish isn't really smoke & mirrors... I'm cautiously optimistic for next year, with a couple improvements this could easily be a playoff team (maybe not a division-winning dominant team, but a wild-card team with Harvey could be interesting)
 

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Figured I'd post this here instead of cluttering the News thread

 
Rudy Pemberton said:
It's a draft pick. Folks were fine with them giving up Murphy and Niese for Cespedes, for example, but not a draft pick for Cuddyer (which allows them to keep Murphy and Niese)? Mets need to win now, or at least be competitive. If they sign another top FA, this ends up being a 2nd rounder lost. Not ideal, but giving up the pick is likely built into the cost of what they had to pay Cuddyer. I think we often make way too big of a deal about the loss of draft picks, at least when comparing them to the value of actual players.
 
I think the bolded is key to judging this - if it's actually the only FA signing they make, then I'm pretty unexcited about the Cuddyer signing. If they decided that they were going to sign another FA anyway, then the pick is gone regardless, and the 2 year deal in isolation isn't a bad idea considering the lack of reasonably good-hitting OF depth the Mets have.
 
Relating to my previous post, I don't think the Mets competing next year is that far-fetched; by run differential they were pretty close to the 2nd wild card this year, and that's with a craptastic bullpen and missing their #1 starter. Other than deGrom (who could be legit), it's not like they were really driven by anyone wildly outperforming expectations either - I don't think that they're going to be a powerhouse #1 team next year, but if they can get through without injuries I can easily see them as a very scary wild-card team (i.e., great starting pitching that's dangerous in a short playoff series)
 

jon abbey

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It looks like Zach Wheeler is going to get Tommy John, out for the season.