Up Along First

RSS

Posts tagged with "Sandy Alderson"

Aug 9

What Can Be Salvaged From This Year’s Bullpen?

The bullpen has been a major discussion virtually every day in Mets-world over the past few months. As a unit, they are clearly the worst in baseball, and the numbers back that up as well. We know that Sandy Alderson needs to acquire a reliever or two net off-season. However, the bigger question this winter will be: Who stays?

Despite the Mets having one of the worst bullpens in baseball, there are definitely some parts that can be salvaged from the rubble. Here are a few guys the Mets should consider bringing back next season.

Frank Francisco

Say what you will about the early-season inconsistencies from Francisco, but he has settled down and pitched well of late. Although he missed the end of June and early July, he came back on Saturday and looked fine. Before last night’s game, Francisco had posted a 2.00 ERA since June 1.

He’s not one of the best closers in baseball, but he’s decent. I would be perfectly fine with him sticking around next season as the closer. He’s not as expensive as some of the other high-profile closers and he’s also pretty good. If he can stay healthy, I want him in the bullpen for the 2013 season.

Bobby Parnell

Parnell has finally settled into his role in the bullpen and looks like he could be a decent setup man. In the past, he just threw gas to get him by, but now he has looked like more of a pitcher this season, as opposed to a “thrower.” Combine that with the fact that he will be very cheap and you have someone to keep around.

Parnell is finally finding a place for himself. I wouldn’t trust him as a closer based on his past experiences, but he is a solid setup man for sure.

Ramon Ramirez

Ramon Ramirez has definitely not had his best season, but Sandy Alderson should bring him back net year if he is cheap. If he asks for a one-year deal for two to three million, I’d be perfectly fine with that.

Ramirez has a great track record as a relief pitcher, going all the way back to his age 24 season in 2006. No, he hasn’t been particularly great this year, but he has shown improvement and his track record is too big to ignore. Again, this is only if he won’t cost the Mets much.

Josh Edgin

Edgin, just 25, has been very impressive this season. Edgin, unlike past lefty relievers, throws very hard, with his fastball clocked at 95 MPH and a really good slider. Not only does he has the stuff to succeed, but so far, he has succeeded.

I really think Edgin can be more than just a one-out left-hander. He isn’t a Tim Byrdak or Pedro Feliciano. He can be a reliable setup man who can go one, or even two innings when needed.

I’m very excited to Edgin’s future. He will be under team control for quite a few years. There really isn’t any reason why he shouldn’t be on next year’s roster.

The Rest

I wrestled with the idea of including Jon Rauch on this list. He has a 2.45 ERA since June 1, after having a terrible April and May. However, he will likely get an offer to be a full-time close and he will probably take it. The Mets will probably still be on a tight budget this winter, and if Rauch is being offered closer’s money, Sandy Alderson won’t be able to match. I would like Rauch on the roster, but it’s unlikely that he would re-sign, especially if he keeps pitching so well.

Now, we are getting into the junk. We’ve gone through all the consistent (maybe “consistent” is a little generous) pitchers on the roster. The guys the are left are the Manny Acostas and Elvin Ramirezes of the world. Definitely guys not worth even thinking about re-signing this off-season.

Looking back at this list, I realized that most of the bullpen will probably be back next season, which I’m actually fine with. Sandy Alderson does need to find a legitimate setup man to go along with Parnell and Edgin, but the bullpen has a solid core going for it. It’s really been the guys on the fringes of the roster (i.e. Miguel Batista) who have hurt this team the most. Manny Acosta, for example, despite not being with the team for almost two whole months, is still second in all of baseball in runs allowed as a relief pitcher. That’s astonishing. Him, Batista, Elvin Ramirez, and others have also been awful with the Mets so far.

Hopefully, next year, the bullpen won’t be such a hot topic. Maybe we will be talking about the bullpen as a strength as opposed to a weakness.

Jenrry Mejia Going Back To The Starting Rotation, Mets Making The Right Call

The Mets are moving Jenrry Mejia back to the starting rotation and it’s about time. Mejia, 22, has bounced between the bullpen and the starting rotation throughout his career including a stint in the big league bullpen as a relief pitcher.

The original thought on Mejia was he was coming off Tommy John surgery, so his innings would be limited this season. The Mets front office decided to take advantage of that and move Mejia to the bullpen, where he eventually might be anyway. However, the role switch really hurt Mejia’s performance. As a relief pitcher, he has a 5.48 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched compared to a 1.13 ER in three starts with the Bisons.

The Mets want to (and need to) give Mejia the quality innings so he can develop and eventually become the major league pitcher that he has the talent to be. However, it’s been made clear that the bullpen is not the place for him to do that. I’ve always thought that a pitcher gets quality innings when starting. Then, pitchers are utilizing their off-speed pitches in order to get hitters out as opposed to just trying to blow away hitters with fastballs, as Mejia is reportedly doing and what many starters transitioning to the bullpen often try to do.

Velocity isn’t going to get Mejia by at the major leagues. It may scare a Double-A, or even some Triple-A hitters, but hitters like Giancarlo Stanton and Chase Utley are going to smack a fastball down the middle, whether it’s at 100 miles per hour or not. It’s the changeups and breaking balls that make or break pitchers and that’s what Mejia really needs to work on.

As I’ve said all along, Mejia, for development purposes, belongs in the starting rotation. Who knows? He may still be a relief pitcher in the future, but he needs those quality innings as a starter in the minors before he can become the dominant, late-inning force the Mets so desperately need him to be in the future.

Mejia is scheduled to return to the rotation for Buffalo on Monday, when he will start in Indianapolis.

Why All The Hate For Sandy Alderson?

Alright, I know these past few weeks have been frustrating. The Mets have gone from a playoff contender to almost completely out of it. The team has obvious holes and inconsistencies. But why are so many people mad at Sandy Alderson?

If we look back to late 2010, when it was obvious that Omar Minaya was going to be fired, the Mets were in bad shape. Word of financial troubles were emerging and flexibility was limited. Jason Bay was coming off a really bad year for the Mets in the first year of his contract. That, combined with concerns regarding his concussion made him untradeable. Then you had Johan Santana who had major surgery late in the season and with a huge contract, he was stuck there, too. The list goes on and on. The bullpen was decimated. And on top of all that, the farm system had been decimated by Omar Minaya. Sandy Alderson was put in a really tough spot.

Throughout last season, it was more of the same. The outlook for the team financially looked very bleak and with quite a few unmovable contracts, Alderson couldn’t do much then either. All he was able to do was unload Francisco Rodriguez's bad contract as well as get a stud prospect from the Giants in Zack Wheeler.

Now this season comes along. Before this season, the mindset was all about development, and preparing this team for the future. The “core” of this team was, for the most part, extremely young and inexperienced. If the front office stayed the course, it would all turn out pretty well. Then came the season.

With he Mets’ hot start, expectations rose to a level unfair to the players. Yes, the team was a few games over .500. They were fun to watch and for the first time in a few years, they really showed fight and resilience. However, this team had deep flaws. Flaws that couldn’t be fixed with one simple deadline deal and I think Alderson realized that.

When you look at the farm system you see that it is just starting to recover from what Omar Minaya did to it. We are now finally producing some notable prospects. After that comes legitimate big league talent. Do fans really want to risk the future by trading some of those rising minor league stars away? Is it really worth it?

The way I think of it is this: The Mets are a long, long ways away from being a playoff team. They need a completely new bullpen and a reorganized outfield. They may also need a catcher. The flaws are so deep that even multiple mid-season, blockbuster trades may not guarantee a playoff berth. I’d much rather stick it out with the young prospects, which can help the team much longer than any 35 year-old veteran outfielder can.

Accepting this might be hard for Mets fans, especially ones that don’t follow the minor league system closely. However, Sandy Alderson has an eye on the future and isn’t going to throw it all away for this season. I have to admit that these past three weeks have been tough to swallow, but I know that the Mets will be better off in the long-run without making impulsive deals.

Jason Bay May Be Getting His Last Chance As A Met

While Terry Collins has always been patient with Jason Bay, even he has to be sick of his perforemance right now. He stuck with him these past two years based on his long track-record of success in Pittsburgh and Boston. However, his leash with Bay is shortening, as it should be.

Prior to Friday night’s game in Arizona, Collins told reporters that it could be Mike Baxter who gets the starting left fielder job when he returns from the DL. Baxter is 21-for-65 in limited playing time, but even considering how small his sample size is this season, virtually anything is better than Jason Bay, who is hitting .170 at the moment.

Bay will only have a few more weeks to regain the form that earned him the four-year, $66 million contract he earned before the 2009 season.

This may also be Bay’s last season as a Met. It seems unlikely that Sandy Alderson would trade him now, especially since Scott Hairston could go as well, but this offseason may be the perfect time to deal him, if there was one. Bay has one more year left on his contract at $16 million and a $17 million option for 2014 if he gets to 600 plate appearances.

I could see (and certainly hope) that somehow, the Mets can pull of a deal similar to the one that sent A.J. Burnett to the Pirates in February. However, Sandy Alderson will probably be willing to accept any trade that takes Bay off his hands. Any amount of salary that the receiving team would be willing to take on is just an added bonus. Bay really needs to get out of New York. He needs a change of scenery, as well as a hitting coach that can get him back to whatever he was doing in Pittsburgh and Boston that he hasn’t been doing since. A major resurgence for him as a Met seems extremely unlikely at this point.

Bay can’t go into next season under contract with the Mets. If he does. he will be put in almost an impossible situation for him to deal with. Not only will fans be booing him in every at-bat, but there will be mounting pressure on Terry Collins to not use Bay as much so he does not reach the 600 plate appearances, much like what happened last year with Francisco Rodriguez. That’s a distraction that the team won’t be able to handle.

I respect Jason Bay. He’s a professional and is just as upset (probably more) as all of us fans are about his performance. But there’s one thing that’s clear: he has to go.

Morning Links: July 24, 2012

Here are this morning’s Mets links:

  • The Mets imploded in the 10th innin last night, losing 8-2 to the Nationals to drop to 47-49. Chris Young pitched well and Ike Davis tied it up late, but Pedro Beato got rocked in the top of the tenth. (Post, Box Score)
  • Sandy Alderson told reporters before yesterday’s game that they would not be major buyers at the trade deadline. The only moves the Mets would make are ones that would help them in 2013 and beyond. (ESPN New York)
  • In order to make room for Matt Harvey on the roster, the Mets have to send someone to Triple-A Buffalo. Bob Klapisch reports it will be the struggling Lucas Duda that gets sent down. (@BobKlap)
  • Frank Francisco will begin his rehab assignment today in Brooklyn. Francisco threw two bullpen sessions this weekend. (ESPN New York)
  • The Braves made a big move yesterday by agreeing to a deal that would send Ryan Dempster to Atlanta. There is only one obstacle in the way of the deal now: Dempster’s approval. (@MLBBowman)
  • The Marlins also made a blockbuster deal yesterday. They dealt Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers in return for Jacob Turner and two other prospects. (@Pgammo)
  • The Mets battle the Nationals tonight at Citi Field as R.A. Dickey faces off against Gio Gonzalez. First pitch is at 7:10. (MLB.com Preview)

Morning Mets Links: 7.19.12

(NOTE: I’m trying out a new format for the morning links. Let me know what you think.)

Here are this morning’s Morning Mets Links:

  • Frank Francisco will probably not return until August with a left oblique injury. Francisco recently suffered a setback and will not begin his rehab assignment until next Friday. That leaves an already consistently awful bullpen shorthanded even longer. (MLB.com)
  • Terry Collins called a rare team meeting yesterday down in Washington, in part to discuss an “issue” between Pedro Beato and Josh Thole regarding Tuesday’s extra-inning loss to the Nats. (Star-Ledger)
  • We were all wondering why Jon Rauch didn’t pitch in Tuesday night’s game. Apparently, RAuch had his knees drained and wasn’t available. (MetsBlog)
  • Sandy Alderson may still be torn about how to go about the trade market this season. We are just under two weeks away from the deadline and Alderson hasn’t made any moves, and isn’t close to making any deals. He is trying to keep a balance between winning now and winning in the future. (Star-Ledger)
  • Adam Rubin writes an interesting piece on Mets prospect Collin McHugh. McHugh has had some stellar seasons down in the minors, but has largely been overlooked by fans because he doesn’t have great “stuff” like Zack Wheeler and others. (ESPN New York)
  • Adam Rubin also sat down with Paul DePodesta, the head of player development for the Mets in a two part series about the Mets system, the draft, etc. In the first part of the interview, DePo touched on a recent hot topic around baseball. He talked about innings limits, and how he likes to look at the difficulty, not just the quantity of innings that young pitchers throw. He also talked about Jenrry Mejia's various roles and where he may end up long-term. (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Over at Amazin’ Avenue, Chris McShane  made his case to give Manny Acosta a second chance in the big leagues. He mentioned the extraordinarily high BABIP that opposing hitters had against him. Luck may have been a part of his rough season. (Amazin’ Avenue)
  • 'Spinsanity is catching on… well sort of. Joe D at MetsMerized Online writes about how Jordany Valdespin's electrifying stretch of games has him excited for his future. (MetsMerized Online)

Morning Links: 7.18.12

News:

Opinion:

Keeping 2012 In Perspective

Dillon Gee went on the DL yesterday with a blood clot in his right shoulder. Depending on the severity, he could be out anywhere from two weeks to over a month. So today, Terry Collins had to make an adjustment to the rotation. He had two choices: Miguel Batista or Matt Harvey.

He made the decision to plug in Miguel Batista into the rotation as opposed to Harvey, saying that he didn’t want to rush the young pitching prospect (according to MLB.com):

"I don’t want to put him in a situation where he can fail."

This decision may not be the best one for the team in the short-term, but it is a real reminder of what this year is all about.

Matt Harvey is clearly the better pitcher. He has two killer breaking balls to go along with a plus fastball and a developing changeup. On top of that, he’s been stellar for Triple-A Buffalo, going 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA and 9.3 K/9, earning himself an All-Star selection. Meanwhile, while Miguel Batista has been a useful innings-eater in mop-up situations, he has been inconsistent and proven that he can’t be relied on in big spots.

However, this year is a development year for the New York Mets. It’s a transition year. They’ve got a very young nucleus and are waiting on a few prospects to be ready before they can make a run. Don’t you remember?

We’ve all been swept up by the excitement this season. The Mets are contending, but let’s not go crazy. You never know what could make or break a pitching prospect. I’m fine with calling up Matt Harvey in September once the Triple-A season is over for a few starts, but calling him up now would be jumping the gun, in my opinion.

It seems like Sandy Alderson has made the purpose of 2012 pretty clear. Just look at this headline from CBS Sports: “Mets officials believe they may owe it to overachieving team to bolster roster." I don’t know about you, but top me, that sounds like a "let’s thrown this team a bone" as opposed to "we’re for real, let’s go for it!" This move really didn’t surprise me when I thought about it. There are certain things a pitcher must master before he can be called up to the majors. If the Mets don’t think Matt Harvey has done that yet, then he should not be playing for the big league club. It’s as simple as that.

Of course playing well and winning games is a goal of every team. Even the Astros field a team each year hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and make a playoff run. However, you have to keep in mind your long-term track as a franchise before making any impulsive decisions, such as calling up your second best pitching prospect before you’re sure he’s ready. Just look at the 2011 Pirates. They could have gotten excited with their fast start last year, and traded away some of their best pitching prospects for a few veteran bats. However, the Pittsburgh brass knew that they were likely going to collapse and were a year or two away from a legitimate playoff run. It’s not quite the same situation, but the concept is the same: Don’t take unnecessary risks just because you’re excited about how the team is doing.

Hopefully, Gee won’t be out too long and Batista will only make three or four starts, but yesterday’s decision was a good indicator that the Mets brass has this season in perspective.

Jul 9

Morning Links: 7.9.12

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”490”] New York-bound?[/caption]

News:

Rumors:
Opinion:
Jul 8

Morning Links: 7.8.12

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”512”] DOMINATION[/caption]

News:

Opinion:

Jul 2

Morning News: ASG Rosters Released, Alderson Surprised, Demotion Could Be Coming For Familia

Here is this morning’s Mets news:

Morning News: Mets Will Be In On Reliever Talks, Mejia Back To Rotation, Wright Still On Top In ASG Voting

Mets Adding Reliever?

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports went on WFAN yesterday and said he expects the Mets to trade for a reliever.

However, this weekend Buster Olney said the Mets won’t dive into the trade market until the All-Star break.

Mejia To Rotation Again

According to Adam Rubin, the Mets are planning on moving Jenrry Mejia back to the starting rotation in Buffalo, even though they think his long-term future is in the bullpen.

Mejia was moved to the bullpen earlier this month, but has allowed seven runs in four innings as a relief pitcher.

To read my take on the original move to the bullpen, click here.

Wright Leads NL Third Basemen In ASG Votes

David Wright leads NL third baseman in All-Star votes. He is over 400,000 votes ahead of Pablo Sandovol, who is in second.

To view the rest of the results so far, click here.

Sandy Alderson’s (@MetsGM) Twitter Q&A session with fans yesterday

Here are some highlights from yesterday’s Q&A session that Sandy Alderson conducted yesterday with Met fans.

When asked about the trip Ike Davis took to New York yesterday, he replied:

He also addressed the Ruben Tejada situation. Tejada hasn’t reported to camp yet, which got Terry Collins a little upset.

On what to expect from Lucas Duda this season:

About who we should watch in the position player pool:

Interesting to see that he thinks of Matt Den Dekker as further from the majors than some other prospects. I don’t know what he thinks of den Dekker or whether he just misspoke, but den Dekker seems very close to the majors from what people have been saying. He has torn the cover off the ball and at age 24, he seems very close. Finally, on expectations:

I love that he’s doing this with fans. Sandy’s a smart guy, so you’re not going to get much more than this. With all the bad PR that’s surrounded the Mets lately, he is probably very careful in what he says, but it’s nice to see him interact with fans. I hope he does this often.

Follow Sandy on Twitter (@MetsGM)

Follow me on Twitter (@UpAlongFirst)

Sep 1

Einhorn deal off, could create another miserable off-season