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Blue and Orange 2014 Mets Preview

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Okay, so other than a live blog, I haven’t written anything since last year’s Mets preview. And there is no guarantee that I will write anything between this Mets preview and next year’s Mets preview. But what the heck, I still own the domain and web space here, so why not throw up this year’s version of the Mets preview? Here is one man’s look at how the 2014 New York Mets might look this year, breaking down the 25-man roster, along with a few other players along the way.

The Superstar

1. David Wright (Last Year: 1)

There is no point doing a countdown for this year’s team from worst player to best, because everybody knows who the best player is. David Wright remains awesome. He had that random dip from 2009 to 2011 where he was merely slightly above average, but whether that was due to Citi Field being way too pitcher-friendly, or because he was hiding an injury that was hindering his production, or whatever the reason, he is right back to being the perennial MVP candidate he was from 2006-2008. He may not stay at this level very much longer, but Mets fans should appreciate Wright for who he is, probably the best position player in team history.

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Blue and Orange Opening Day Live Blog

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Every year, I have had a yearly tradition to get together with my friends Joe and Travis to watch the Mets’ home opener together. This tradition dates back fourteen years, all the way back to 1999, when Joe and I attended our first Mets home opener together. We used to go to the game every year, and then as home opener tickets became harder and harder to obtain, we at least vowed to get together to watch the game. In recent years, even with the abundance of available home opener tickets, we have still been watching at home, no longer quite as motivated to make it out to the ballpark as we used to be.

Unfortunately, this year has changed. Joe has to work, and Travis has family responsibilities, so our yearly tradition has been broken. So what am I to do? Certainly not go to work; I haven’t worked during a home opener in thirteen years, and I’m certainly not going to start now. No, I’m still going to take the day off, but instead of spending it with close friends, I’m going to spend it with the entire internet. Besides, who cares if I’m spending the nicest day of the year to date in my dark basement watching TV and writing about it o the internet? I have three TVs down here, each of them tuned into a different game. It’s the one day of the year Mets fans have even a twinge of optimism, so let’s do this thing.

Keep checking back throughout the day for updates from the Mets game, the Yankees game, and whatever else I can find on MLB.tv worth watching. I mean, who knows how long I will want to keep blogging, so take advantage while you can. We start at 1 and go all day.

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Blue and Orange 2013 Mets Preview

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Let’s face it. There isn’t a whole lot to look forward to with the Mets this year. After you get past the first five or so players, it starts looking pretty ugly. For all the work Sandy Alderson has done in building the future for the Mets, he hasn’t really done a whole lot to build much of a present. Granted, he’s hamstrung to a degree by bad contracts and a low payroll, but you look at some of the players on this year’s team and wonder if there has to be somebody better out there. Nevertheless, this isn’t about what could be or what should be, but about what is. It may not be pretty, but this is the roster Mets fans are going to war with, hoping to clear the 70 win plateau this year.

For this year’s BlueandOrange.net preview, we’re going to count down the players 1 to 25, just to get a feel for what we’re dealing with this season. This won’t include players on the disabled list, so Johan Santana won’t be included (spoiler alert: Santana won’t throw a single pitch all season). It also won’t include players likely to make an impact in the second half, like Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler. This is the opening day roster, 1 through 25, with #1 a guy who will be around for the next eight seasons, and #25 a guy who you probably won’t even remember was on the team come May. Let’s see what we got here.

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Jerry Manuel is Smart

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

I was just listening to the Mets Extra pre-game show on WFAN and heard this gem from Jerry Manuel on his manager’s show (paraphrased):

Chris Carter is going to play in left field. It’s always tough to get him in there with Dickey on the mound because of the fly balls.

R.A. Dickey came into Sunday’s start with a 54.1% ground ball rate.

BONUS MANUEL

Luis Hernandez pinch hit for Ruben Tejada in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game. Hernandez is 26 with an MiLB triple-slash of .255/.302/.311.  Middle infield prospect Tejada owns a .273/.343/.353 line, despite being criminally young for every level he’s played.

The K-Rod fiasco

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Once again the NY Mets have made the news. This time it wasn’t for a terrible, painful, excruciating, heart-wrenching loss. No it wasn’t for a Mets pitcher being accused of raping a woman on a golf course. No, it wasn’t a vote of support for the manager or the GM. This time it was for their closer punching out his girlfriend’s father after a loss. Most of us already hate K-rod. He has blown way too many games already this year and last year. Every time he comes in, he finds a way to scare the piss out of you. Now he’s a criminal so we can hate him more.

 

The Mets fined K-rod $125,000 for his actions in the family room at Citi Field after Wednesday’s bullpen blow-up loss after yet another fine performance by Jon Niese. Whatever may have happened behind closed doors, K-rod’s behavior is inexcusable. You can’t behave like that in front of your team mates and their families. I really  hope Bud Selig suspends him for his reckless behavior and the Citi Field faithful boo him more than they already do in future games.

Thank You Friends!

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Blue & Orange Open Mic was a hit!  If you couldn’t make it, you missed a couple of virtuoso performances. Chris and good friend James Kannengieser re-enacted the Omar Minaya-Adam Rubin press conference. Eno Sarris performed “Oh, Frenchy”, a number sung to the tune of Barry Manilow’s “Mandy”. Mr. Sarris, named after Brian Eno, is well, um, named after Brian Eno.

“Open Mic” will be something of a recurring thing, so we look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

We appreciate everyone who came out to River last night.  Here’s a song that expresses our appreciation.

Blue & Orange Open Mic This Thursday

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Thursday, May 20th, 2010 at 7:00 pm

at River (riverhellskitchen.com)

500 West 43rd St (at 10th Avenue) – New York, NY

RSVP on Facebook

Though the vitals are  the same as December’s Hot Stove Huddle, this gathering will be different. There’s an actual baseball game to talk about! We’ll be watching the Mets take on the Nationals, in the finale of their eight-game road trip. There will be beers, cheers, uh,  jeers — and most importantly, a live microphone.

We urge everyone to come forward with their own comedic material (more Bengie Molina jokes?), mock play-by-play or personal analysis. It should be a good time…even if it does descend into bedlam.

Middle-Age Wasteland

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Gary Matthews Jr. ruining some perfectly good baseballs.

Gary Matthews Jr. ruining some perfectly good baseballs.

A couple of days ago, Andy Martino, surveyed the wasteland the Mets call a bench for Surfing the Mets. What he found was appropriately disappointing, yet so utterly typical.

In the case of Smithtown’s own pinch-hitting extraordinaire:

“Catalanotto, 36, is batting .143 in 21 at-bats. But the Mets, like many teams, prefer to use As a veteran pinch-hitters. Pinch-hitting is a specialized job, requiring different preparation than any other role. Younger players are not typically successful coming off the bench, meaning that [Chris] Carter’s gaudy triple-A numbers would not necessarily translate to a very limited big-league job.”

There you have it. The Mets are willing to carry an inferior player for the _________ experience brings. Never mind that Catalanotto, since 2007, has steadily traded line drives (LD% 2007-2010: 18.6%, 17.6%, 15.4%, 5.9%) for ground balls and infield flies, forcing his power to plummet to an unacceptable level (ISO 2007-2010: .184, .125, .104, .048).

A hitter, in his late 30’s, moves past the brink of usefulness. Billy Wagner’s got two words for you: “_______ shocker.”

Moving forward, Martino’s piece supposes that Chris Carter, upon being called up, would fulfill Catalanotto’s role as primary pinch hitter. If Carter is “The Animal” his AAA numbers suggest — or a reasonable facsimile — placing him in the same exact role would be foolish.  The Mets, ranked 18th in runs scored and 24th in wOBA, could use the offensive help.

The team’s slumping corner outfield tandem, both right handed sluggers, could benefit from a left-handed compliment. In particular, Jeff Francoeur, whose career line .259/.300/.409/.709 vs. right-handed pitching suggests that he should sit against tough right-handed pitchers. Also, Carter doesn’t possess a dramatic platoon split — he generates more power right-handed, but his contact and on-base skills are virtually the same against left-handed pitchers — so he would be able to spell Ike against lefties. I readily admit that this scenario is less than ideal because Ike needs the exposure to left-handed pitching, but I offer it as a viable alternative.

The sticking point with Chris Carter has always been his defense. He plays 1B, LF and RF, but none of them well. His poor hands make him a better suited for the outfield. I posit that his suspect defensive ability can blend in, if handled correctly. That is, keep him away from the outfield when Santana, Perez and Maine are starting and keep him away from the infield when Pelfrey and Niese are pitching. Managing is all about emphasizing strengths and hiding weaknesses. Right, Jerry?

Now, what’s the deal with that corpse in the outfield?

“Mets brass has not been impressed by the Matthews, in particular, but they regard April and a few days of May as too small a sample to cut him or the other bench players.”

On one level, it’s refreshing to hear the Mets organization considering sample size with personnel decisions. But this isn’t Nick Evans; this is a 36 years old journeyman outfielder.

Year PA AVG OBP SLG INN DRS UZR
2007 540 .252 .323 .419 1144.2 -11 -10.5
2008 477 .242 .319 .357 878.1 -6 -7.6
2009 360 .250 .336 .361 737.2 -10 -17.7

That’s three seasons, 1377 plate appearances, 2760 innings afield and one sizable chunk of suck. To put it a way that the front office understands, Gary Matthews Jr. signed his fifty million dollar atrocity when the Mets were the toast of the National League. Today they stand as one of baseball’s most impotent. How’s that for a sample?

Finally, I take issue with grouping Fernando Tatis with Frank Catalanotto and Gary Matthews Jr. Tatis has performed well in his role for the last couple of years, posting a wRC+s of 131 and 108. Defensively, he plays 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF adequately. When thrust into regular action, he doesn’t sink the team. And unlike Catalanotto and Matthews, Fernando received legitimate interest from other teams, but preferred to stay put.

To many fans, Fernando Tatis is symbolic of 2009 and representative of Omar Minaya’s lack of creativity. Don’t let that belief blind you; Tatis is a useful player. He shouldn’t have to answer for Omar’s sins.

Make Francisco Rodriguez Earn His Money Please

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The Mets finally won a game. Mike Pelfrey was awesome. David Wright is a superstar. Jeff Francoeur might’ve found himself a clue at the plate. These are all good things.  Here’s something that’s not:

  • 2012 option becomes guaranteed with:
    • 55 games finished in 2011, and
    • 100 games finished in 2010-11, and
    • doctors declare Rodriguez healthy after 2011

Those are the terms of Francisco Rodriguez’s outrageous 2012 vesting option. For the second time in this very young season, K-Rod picked up a “Game Finished” in a blowout win.  It’s one thing for his option to vest because he’s locking down close games; it’s quite another to give him “freebies” when he needs work.

Oh and if Frankie needs work so badly, maybe the manager should use him when it matters. Like — I don’t know — a tie game versus one of the best teams in the National League.

The Mets Didn’t Figure

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Carried away with Nelson Figueora’s background story and his desire to play for a team he rooted for, Mets fans and bloggers have been quick to overstate the impact of his DFA. Heath Bell 2.0, he’s not. Rather, Nelson is a fringe-average starter, who mixes an assortment of off-speed pitches with an 87 mile per hour fastball. Simply put a finesse pitcher who’s had more stops than the local ‘7’ train is hardly indispensable.

One could reasonably argue – though completely in vain – that Figueroa would be the third best pitcher on the Mets. Reality is that John Maine and Ollie Perez are making over $15 million this season to start games. Ryota Igarashi possesses a good splitter, Hisa Takahashi is left-handed and throws strikes and Fernando Nieve is younger and equipped with better stuff. The Mets preferring these pitchers is understandable, albeit a bit misguided.

What’s difficult to understand is how the Mets made it possible for Figueroa to go to a team they have designs on competing with – the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s clear that the Mets brain trust never intended to carry him on the 25-man roster, as evidenced by his inclusion in minor league spring games and various beat writer accounts throughout March. Management was content to place Nelson on waivers in hopes he’d slip through; however, his intentions were made clear: he would play in Japan before suffering another season in Buffalo.

So, why not attempt to deal him some place far away? With pitching attrition and uncertainty abound, Figueroa would’ve garnered interest from other clubs (he didn’t even make it out of NL waivers amidst roster crunch time). Hell, the Royals claimed Luis Mendoza and he’s barely AAA caliber.

This isn’t a replacement level pitcher. Figueroa’s average projection (see below) is a 4.45 FIP, which extrapolated over 150 innings, is worth 1.6 wins above replacement. Compare that with ~5.00 FIP projection for Phillies fifth starter  Jamie Moyer. Figgy supplanting Jamie Moyer would be a +1 win improvement (and +0.5 over Kyle Kendrick). In other words, Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel have done more to improve to Phillies than the Mets in 2010.

This brand of slipshod roster management is a patent of this regime. It’s the only intellectual property they own.

Nelson Figueroa IP FIP
2009 Season 70.1 4.31
2010 Bill James 53 4.42
2010 CHONE 155 4.38
2010 Marcel 83 4.47
2010 ZIPS 131.7 4.54
Average Projection   4.45
Jamie Moyer IP FIP
2009 Season 162 5.06
2010 Bill James 154 4.75
2010 CHONE 165 5.14
2010 Marcel 158 4.93
2010 ZIPS 173 4.98
Average Projection   4.95
Kyle Kendrick IP FIP
2009 Season 26.1 3.59
2010 Bill James 47 4.8
2010 CHONE 167 4.96
2010 Marcel 81 4.71
2010 ZIPS 173 4.82
Average Projection   4.77