Is Curtis Granderson the new Jason Bay?

By Steven Inman

The Mets will not succeed in 2014 without a productive Curtis Granderson (Photo by NY Post)

The Mets will not succeed in 2014 without a productive Curtis Granderson (Photo by NY Post)

Curtis Granderson is 0 for his last 19 and has badly struggled to simply put the ball in play during his brief tenure as a New York Met. Granderson is batting just .121 with a homer and only 5 RBI’s. Granderson leads the team in most base runners stranded and has been a major rally killer often for the offensively challenged Mets.

When Jason Bay first got to the Mets four years ago he was driving the ball and simply wasn’t able to hit the baseball out of Citi Field’s large dimensions. That really isn’t the case with Granderson who is having a lot of trouble simply putting the ball in play. Granderson is striking out in over 30% of his plate appearances.

Bay hit .259 with six homers and 47 RBI’s in his first season with the Mets.

The Mets have moved Granderson out of the cleanup spot into the two hole in the hope of getting him more fastballs ahead of David Wright. Granderson had most of his success with the Yankees out of the two hole. The Mets don’t really have a cleanup hitter as Granderson is better off hitting sixth or so.

Granderson is learning a new position and a new league for the first time so it would be unfair to call him the next Bay already. Bay actually got off to a better start as a Met than Granderson has through his first 19 games. The Mets need Granderson to drive in runs or the Mets offense will be even worse than it was last year.

It’s amazing that half the Mets lineup including Granderson is hitting under .200 yet the team has stayed afloat early on at 10-9.

Granderson is on the first year of a 4-year $60 million deal.

Granderson is a very streaky hitter so hopefully he is just getting his first big cold streak out of the way early on.

Are you worried about Curtis Granderson???

Mets need to avoid overusing Carlos Torres and Scott Rice

By Steven Inmanimages

The Mets bullpen has been rightfully criticized so far in this young season. The bullpen has been amongst the worst in baseball. Another problem could be brewing and that is the overuse of the Mets two best relievers, Carlos Torres and Scott Rice. Torres is tied for the lead in baseball with 10 appearances out of the bullpen. Those appearances are often for more than one inning including an eight out save vs. the Diamondbacks last week. Torres has a rubber arm but this workload will not help him this summer. Torres had an ERA of 1.54 going into Monday’s contest and has easily been the Mets best reliever. Terry Collins needs to limit his work load.

Rice came into the season already overworked from 2013 according to Collins. He also has made 10 appearances like Torres although only in 4 1/3rd innings. For both pitchers to be effective all season the Mets must find other relievers to get key outs going forward.

Also while the Mets starting staff has been good, they have not been able to go deep in games, further depleting the bullpen.

Who can step up for in the Mets bullpen?

Mets trade Ike Davis to Pittsburgh

By Steven Inman

The Mets hope that Ike Davis won't breakout after leaving New York

The Mets hope that Ike Davis won’t breakout after leaving New York

The Mets have traded 1B Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.

Thornton, a right handed reliever, is 25 years old. He was pitching in Triple-A Indy for the Pirates, and has posted a 1.23 ERA and 1.091 WHIP in 7 1/3 innings this season. The 6-3, 220-pounder has issued one walk and struck out eight.

Thornton is considered a soft-tosser and isn’t much of a prospect. He was left off the Pirates 40-man roster over the winter so the Mets or any other team could have claimed him in the Rule 5 draft if they wanted. He went unclaimed at the time and will report to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Last season, Thornton pitched at three levels in the Pirates system, posting a 2.63 ERA over 75 1/3 innings. He had 90 strikeouts and walked just 12.

Thornton was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 23rd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft from the University of Oregon. He was traded to the Pirates in exchange for righthanded pitcher Chris Resop on November 30, 2012.

Davis was hitting .208 (5-for-24) with a double, home run, five RBI and four runs scored in 12 games this year.

The other prospect the Mets should get should be more significant but the main incentive for New York is the team will save around $3.14 million by trading Davis.

So why is the other player to be named? It could be for four reasons. The first is that information just isn’t available yet and should be public shortly.
Secondly and most likely the player was just drafted in the last draft and can’t be traded for a full year.
Third would be after the trade deadline and the player is on the 40 man and must go thru waivers like Vic Black last season.
Lastly and the teams haven’t decided on the player yet and have given the acquiring team (mets)
a list of players they can take after further scouting.

It is the end of an era in Queens with Davis, a former first rounder being traded out of town. The Pirates were desperate for a first basemen and getting a guy who could succeed with a change of scenery makes a lot of sense.

“You can’t play a major league season with three first basemen” Davis told reporters after hearing the news.

It is pretty clear that the Mets are buying into Lucas Duda and he will now get even more playing time after being named the everyday first basemen last week.

We said last week that the Mets have put off the Davis/Duda dilemma for two years now. Well on April 18th, 2014 the franchise has finally made their decision.

Dice-K being called up for John Lannan

By Steven Inman

Lannan's brief stay with the Mets was a rough one for the southpaw

Lannan’s brief stay with the Mets was a rough one for the southpaw

The Mets are calling up Daisuke Matsusaka from Triple-A Las Vegas. To make room for Dice-K the Mets have out righted John Lannan off of the 40-man roster. Lannan can now elect free agency or go to Triple-A. Lannan was awful for the Mets bullpen, a position he wasn’t all that familiar with as a starter throughout his major league career. The Mets were hoping he could help get lefties out but it just didn’t happen that way. Lannan was 1-0 with a 15.75 ERA in five appearances with the Mets.

Dice-K is coming up as insurance for both Bartolo Colon and Jenrry Mejia. Mejia is dealing with another blister issue and Colon has been dealing with a back problem. Both are expected to make their next starts but Dice-K is just insurance of they cannot.

If both do make their starts than Matsusaka can just be the long reliever in the bullpen.

Lucas Duda has been great since being handed the first base job

By Steven Inmanima

The Mets had debated Ike Davis or Lucas Duda at first base for seemingly forever but Terry Collins elected to go with Duda last week as the full time starter at first base in a surprising move. Duda didn’t earn the job as he was hurt throughout the spring and didn’t have a hit until being named the official first basemen before the fourth game of the season. Duda has taken off since and is starting to get the confidence he needs to succeed. Duda had a four hit game on Monday in Arizona and leads the team with three homeruns.

Duda is hitting a healthy slash line of .275/.341/.500 in 14 games so far in 2014. The Mets had been inclined to trade Davis and not Duda over the winter. They really believe Duda can succeed when he is playing his more natural position, first base. They believe this will be a breakout year for the 28-year old slugger.

It makes sense as Duda has struggled with confidence so far in his major league career so moving back to first base full time where he is more comfortable could do wonders for his offensive numbers.

Duda is not in the lineup Wednesday afternoon in the Mets series finale vs. the Diamondbacks.

Is Lucas Duda poised for a breakout campaign with the Mets?

Kirk Nieuwenhuis could be called up with Granderson and Lagares hurting

By Steven Inman

Juan Lagares Curtis Granderson

The Mets may have lost 2/3rds of their outfield to the DL in just a few innings

Both Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares ended up leaving Monday night’s win vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks with injuries. Juan Lagares pulled his right hamstring running out a ground ball. Lagares has never had a hamstring injury before so he has no idea how severe it is. The team will wait until Tuesday afternoon to make a disabled list decision on Lagares.

It would really be a shame if the Mets lost Lagares for any extended period of time. He leads the team with a .314 average going into Tuesday’s contest and has played a phenomenal center field. Perhaps most importantly for Lagares was that he was starting to establish himself as an everyday player.

Lagares will likely be placed on the disabled list.

Granderson crashed into the right field wall at Chase Field in Arizona Monday and looked to be in serious pain. X-rays on the Mets $60 million man were negative, although multiple beat reporters said on Twitter that Granderson appeared in lots of pain after the game, struggling to dress and walk.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis would likely be the first guy called up in the event that either guy is put on the disabled list. Nieuwenhuis had a decent spring and the Mets know he can play all three outfield positions. Chris Young is 7-7 at Triple-A Las Vegas in his rehab assignment but isn’t eligible to come off the disabled list until Friday the 18th.

The wild card here would be Bobby Abreu. If the Mets need to put both Granderson and Lagares on the disabled list than perhaps they call up both Nieuwenhuis and Abreu. It is unclear if Abreu can actually still play the outfield at this stage of his career. Abreu hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2012. Abreu can opt-out of his contract with the Mets if he isn’t put on the major league roster by April 30th.

Mets seem to have ditched first base plan already

By Steven Inman

Having three first base only players will cause a lot of roster inflexibility son for Terry Collins Photo by Newsday

Having three first base only players will cause a lot of roster inflexibility son for Terry Collins Photo by Newsday

Just days after Terry Collins announced that Lucas Duda would be the Mets first basemen, the team has seemingly ditched that idea. Collins has started Ike Davis a few times since making that announcement and also stated that Davis will start on Thursday in the series finale vs. the Atlanta Braves.

I guess the Mets don’t know yet but the season has started already. Auditions should be over the team should have picked a first basemen years ago (or at least a few weeks ago) but this audition could go on for the foreseeable future.

Honestly the Mets have no idea what they have out of their first basemen but it is in their best interest to pick one for the job and let him play their everyday for the next five or six weeks. That doesn’t appear to be the plan however.

Neither player can get into any kind of rhythm when they are in a three man platoon.

Duda is hitting .182 with two homers and four RBIs through 22 at-bats this season. Meanwhile, Davis is hitting .400 with one homer and four RBIs in only 10 at-bats. Josh Satin should play a lot this weekend when the Mets take on the Angels who will throw out two pretty good left-handed starters.

Who should be the Mets first basemen?

Mets will try to fix bullpen from within

By Steven Inmanimages

Despite various reports that the Mets will watch Joel Hanrahan throw next week the team is far more likely to attempt to fix their bullpen from within. With Bobby Parnell done for the season the bullpen is in flux. Obviously Jose Valverde has taken over as the closer but he isn’t throwing his fastball with the same velocity that made him a successful closer a few years back. It is tough to imagine him resurrecting his career at this point but hypothetically if he did, how do the Mets even get the ball to him with a lead?

The Mets have a very nice starting rotation but they don’t often go deep into games which means a lot of outs for the middle relievers like Carlos Torres, Kyle Farnsworth and Scott Rice to get.

The Mets were hoping Vic Black would be the 8th inning guy but he had control problems this spring, was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas and winded up going on the disabled list Monday with a pinched nerve in his neck. The team doesn’t believe the injury caused him to struggle this spring.

Obviously looking back on it the Mets should have addressed their bullpen in free agency. They didn’t sign any relievers to major league deals although they were very interested in Grant Balfour. Balfour elected to go back to Tampa where he had gotten to a World Series. The Rays also guaranteed Balfour would be the closer while the Mets still had Bobby Parnell at the time.

Can the Mets fix their bullpen???

Bobby Parnell to have Tommy John Surgery, likely done as a Met

By Steven Inman

Parnell will now have to work hard to get back to where he was,likely for another team in 2015 Photo by NY Daily News

Parnell will now have to work hard to get back to where he was, likely for another team in 2015 (Photo by NY Daily News)

Bobby Parnell has elected to undergo Tommy John Surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. His Met career is clearly in doubt as Parnell was arbitration eligible after the season for the final time. The Mets won’t give Parnell a raise coming off Tommy John and missing the season. Parnell is making $3.7 million this season and it is extremely rare for a player to be given less the next year in arbitration even if he only pitched in a single game.

 

The closer was expected to attempt to rehab the injury after originally being diagnosed first to be shut down for two weeks. This is a complete disaster. It was obvious that Parnell wasn’t healthy watching him throw all spring and a bad bullpen gets worse without their closer, possibly for the year. Rehabbing a torn elbow ligament rarely ever works if ever and there is a legitimate chance that Parnell has thrown his last pitch for the Mets.

Parnell had his value at an all time high last summer when the Mets fielded trade offers for their closer. I speculated that the Mets could move Parnell to the Tigers for a top prospect, perhaps even outfielder now 3B Nick Castellanos. You can check out that article here.

Parnell had nothing on his fastball on Opening Day and it was smart of the Mets to give him an MRI, even if it was a few weeks later than it should have been. Parnell needs surgery and it was probably smart of him to not attempt to rehab the injury first. Remember Matt Harvey tried to rehab a similar injury as well and winded up undergoing Tommy John surgery, prolonging the time he will be out.

Jose Valverde was already named the closer temporarily with Kyle Farnsworth being used late in games. It is unknown if either pitcher has anything left in the tank, let alone can close out games but both were solid in the season’s first week. Best of luck Bobby….

Why aren’t the Mets executing the second part of their plan???

By Steven Inmanphoto

It’s pretty clear what Sandy Alderson’s vision for the Mets is. Acquire as much cheap young pitching as possible and use that young pitching to build up the rest of the team. Well with young talented right-handers like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero it is pretty clear that the Mets have been putting their plan into the action. At least part 1.

The Mets have ignored the second part of their plan which is almost as important as part one.

The Mets now need to lock up their young talent.

I wrote a few months ago about how the Mets should lock up Zack Wheeler now while they still can on the cheap. You can check out that article here. That article took more backlash than anything I had ever written on BrokeMets. The majority said he needed to prove himself for at least another year or two before considering a contract extension. By then it will be too late.

Yes the Mets have some very nice pitching but by the time they will be ready to contend they will be going to arbitration and getting too expensive to keep. Plus they are going to need to find an offense eventually and power costs money.

As fans we need to stop dreaming of the day of the $140 million payroll again. We must assume that the payroll will stay in the $85-90 million range for the foreseeable future, because it will stay in that range whether we like it or not.  That shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

The Mets will not be able to afford keeping their top pitchers long term unless they get locked up now or very soon.

The Tampa Bay Rays have a payroll even lower than the Mets. Thursday vs. the Blue Jays their announced attendance was around 9,500. The Mets are worried when they get only 25,000 fans to a ballgame. The Rays aren’t making any money but they know how to run their organization. They lock up their pitchers long term. Matt Moore got a contract extension with the Rays after one month in the big leagues. Chris Archer has less MLB service time than Zack Wheeler and just signed a six year deal worth $24 million on Thursday. Baring an injury that deal will be a major bargain for the club. When they don’t sign their pitchers long term they lose them such as what is likely to happen with David Price and what could happen to the Mets.

The Mets should offer Syndergaard and Wheeler similar deals to what Archer got right now. They would get big time payroll relief when the team is ready to contend and could use that money to fix what looks like a very bad Mets offense.

It will be very difficult to extend Matt Harvey as he is injured and is a Scott Boras client. Boras always advises his top clients to test free agency.

Should the Mets begin part 2 of their plan?

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