Thank you, Mets fans

League Championship Series - New York Mets v Chicago Cubs - Game Four


BaronWhat a year it’s been, not just for the Mets but for Just Mets as well.

The site was conceptualized a year ago between myself, Rich MacLeod and MLB Advanced Media, and at the time I really had no idea what I wanted this to be. Everyone in this community has a valid voice and opinion, but how I could make this voice standout was–and still remains–a challenge.

But after dealing with some growing pains and adjustments to the voice and style of the site, Just Mets was able to complete a surprisingly successful first year.

Sure, it helps that the Mets are both good and relevant again, and the chance to be great again in 2016 and beyond has only furthered the unification of our community.

And the one thing I’ve learned after covering this team for seven seasons is that every day provides a story, whether it’s a good one or bad one.

But what has helped steer and guide the site to the success it’s enjoyed is the inspiration of the audience. I’ve taken my unique opportunity as both a fan of the Mets and a member of the media to listen and understand you, and attempt to relate what I learn on a daily basis in various forms of writing, whether it’s an analytical story about a player’s performance, a player the club may or may not be interested in trade or free agency, or something I see or hear at the ballpark or during a game you may not have known or realized.

And I think that’s been the common goal of the Just Mets brand, to provide you that unique perspective on the club.

I hope we are off to a good start.

In conclusion, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for tagging along, thank you for teaching me and guiding me through the first year of Just Mets. Without this audience, Just Mets doesn’t exist and doesn’t function, but you gave me the inspiration to launch this brand, and continue to build what I hope is becoming a daily landing spot for you and your Mets reading. It’s not easy and a lot of sacrifices have been made to make this site possible, but your support makes it all worth our while.

Happy New Year, and here is to the Mets bringing it all home in 2016!


Rich MacLeodAs 2014 came to a close and 2015 was upon us, co-writer Michael Baron and I prepared the launch of–what is now known as–Just Mets.

When this venture began, I didn’t know what to expect.

The Mets hadn’t been to the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, and went six straight years without a .500 season. Not to mention that this team was already armed with a terrific group of beat writers and popular blogs such as MetsBlog and Amazin’ Avenue–among others–I knew this adventure wouldn’t be easy. In order to gain traction and the respect of Mets fans, we had to work hard from Day One.

And I think we’ve done that.

The reception that we’ve gotten over our first season has been far greater than I ever could have imagined and I have you all, our readers and fans of this franchise, to thank for that (with a big hat tip to the Mets for their performance on the field).

2015 was an incredible roller coaster ride from the onset as the Metropolitans went through an 11-game winning streak in April, a two-month long scoring drought, a myriad of trade deadline acquisitions, a prolific march towards the team’s first National League East title since 2006 and all the way to an unbelievable run into the World Series.

From the debuts of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, to Wilmer Flores’ near-trade, crying episode and subsequent walk-off home run, to Yoenis Cespedes putting this team on his back, Daniel Murphy making postseason history by hitting home runs in six consecutive games and so many more moments throughout the year, the 2015 season was an unforgettable ride that produces chills down my spine–the good kind–every time I reflect upon them.

The first year of Just Mets has gone better than I ever expected and I can promise you all that we will put forth the same tireless effort to bring you daily content, photographs, videos, quotes, breaking news, opinions and insight about the New York Mets in 2016 and beyond.

Thank you all once again for following along this season. At the end of the day, like all of you, I am a Mets fan–plain and simple. So, enjoy this picture of me appropriately losing my mind as the Mets clinched their NLDS series victory this past October.

The best is yet to come.

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Mets lose Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the Brewers on waivers

Kirk Nieuwenhuis


Rich MacLeodAfter an up-and-down 2015 season that saw him struggle with the Mets, get traded to the Angels only to return to New York and contribute down the stretch, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is headed to the Brewers on a waiver claim.

It was a roller coaster season for Nieuwenhuis, as the Mets versatile outfielder went just 3-for-38 with 17 strikeouts to start the season prior to being traded to Anaheim.

Nieuwenhuis was able to contribute a bit once he was re-acquired by the Mets early in the summer, as he became the first player in franchise history to homer three times in a single home game, as well as delivering a clutch, pinch-hit, game-winning home run against the Nationals in September.

With the signing of outfielder Alejandro De Aza, however, there really isn’t a place for Kirk on this roster, as the Mets now have their left-handed hitting platoon outfielder.

De Aza’s ability to play center field on a consistent basis is still in doubt, as he started just one game in center this past season, so the only true center fielder on the Mets roster right now is Juan Lagares.

If necessary, Curtis Granderson can play the position as well, but only occasionally.

Overall, Nieuwenhuis hit .235/.309/.389 with 38 doubles, 17 home runs, 71 RBI, 83 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and a .695 OPS in 263 games over four seasons with the Mets.

 

Mets have three outfielders on their radar, Span a ‘perfect fit’

OFers


Rich MacLeodWhile the Mets opening in center field is unlikely to be filled until after the new year, that doesn’t mean they’re not currently weighing a multitude of different options.

In addition to having interest in Denard Span, the Mets are also looking at Will Venable and Alejandro De Aza as left-handed outfield options, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

For most of this offseason, various reports have stated the team’s interest in Span, but this is the first time they’ve been connected to Venable or De Aza this winter.

Venable was reportedly on the Mets radar at the trade deadline this past summer. He checks the box as being a left-handed hitting outfielder and while he’s about league average defensively, he is also capable of playing all three outfield positions reliably.

He played mostly everyday for the Padres in 2015, but he might ultimately be better suited in a part-time role as his production drops off considerably against left-handed pitching, which isn’t the worst thing in the world since Juan Lagares is expected to be productive against southpaws.

He would certainly be a quality depth move, but he doesn’t profile as someone who can start everyday if necessary, whereas someone like Span does.

De Aza, who played for three different teams in 2015, is another interesting under-the-radar option for this team. Like Venable, De Aza is versatile in the outfield and does most of his damage at the plate against right-handed pitching.

In 2015, De Aza hit .278/.351/.448 with 17 doubles, five triples, 33 RBI and an even .800 OPS against left-handed pitching in 102 games.

On the downside, however, may be his ability to play center field. Over the course of his career, De Aza has shown the ability to play all three outfield spots, however, during his age 31 season this past year, he started just one game in center field. The year prior, he started just 15 games, thus making him less of a fit for this team.

At the end of the day, while Venable or De Aza could be of some value, the Mets’ sights seem to be focused on Span, who is scheduled to work out for the team in January, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

The Mets seem reluctant to offer Span more than a two-year deal, presumably because of the injury concern. And Span’s willingness to workout for teams is an indication other interested parties are concerned about Span’s health as well, and are weary of meeting such demands.

If he is healthy, however, Span is capable of being a catalyst for the top of any lineup. He has a career on-base percentage of .351, he puts the ball in play, has first-to-third speed, and, when he’s healthy, can be counted on for 200-plus total bases thanks to his ability to take advantage of big ballparks with his triples speed.

Acquiring Span would go a long way towards improving the team’s on-base percentage, which would allow Curtis Granderson to be moved towards the middle of the lineup as well where his power could be much more valuable, potentially helping to account for the loss of Yoenis Cespedes.

“I think all indications are that he’s healthy,” Richard Justice of MLB.com had to say about Span recently. “He is such a perfect fit for the New York Mets.”


Ben Zobrist at point of making decision; Mets, Nationals favorites

Ben Zobrist


Rich MacLeodAnother day, another story as the Ben Zobrist sweepstakes continues.

After visiting with the Mets earlier this week in Connecticut and reportedly scheduled to visit with the Nationals at some point over the Winter Meetings, Zobrist met with the Giants on Sunday, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, as well as the Dodgers, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

While this situation could potentially play out until the end of the week, Zobrist is at a point of making his decision, Marc Topkin of the Tamba Bay Times reports.

According to Topkin, Zobrist has undergone very thorough research and could be ready to decide on his destination.

But there isn’t a natural fit for Zobrist with the Dodgers, which seems to have narrowed the field down to the Mets Giants and Nationals, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Rosenthal said on MLB Network on Monday the Mets and Nationals must be considered the favorites to land the 34-year-old super-utility player.

While the Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Braves have all been linked to the versatile infielder in the past couple weeks, the Mets and Nationals are both located closer to Zobrist’s home in Nashville, and Heyman believes one of the Mets, Nationals, Giants or Dodgers will land Zobrist on a four-year deal.

2015 Winter MeetingsEarlier on Sunday, it was reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that the Mets were willing to go to four years in a potential contract for Zobrist, but there are other teams willing to do the same.

Among those teams are the Nationals, Giants and Dodgers according to Heyman.

While it is unknown where he is leaning, multiple reports indicate that it is likely that Zobrist could make his decision by the end of the Winter Meetings.

And according to John Harper of the Daily News, Zobrist liked New York when he visited with the Mets last week, and would be very comfortable signing with the Mets after touring Citi Field and the metropolitan area.

Zobrist reportedly prefers to play second base primarily, which could eliminate the Giants from contention for the free agent as they would sign him to play left field.

If that’s the case, can Washington guarantee Zobrist a mostly permanent spot at second base?

The Mets certainly can, and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo insists they see Zobrist as a second baseman, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. 

But it really is not that simple.

The Nationals have Anthony Rendon, Yunel Escobar, and Trea Turner along with Ryan Zimmerman around the infield today. Assuming Turner makes the team out of camp, he appears to be Washington’s shortstop. Right now, Rendon looks to be at second base with Escobar at third base..

Escobar is reportedly being shopped this winter. He is not a good defensive player, but he’s a body on the rosterand possibly a difficult one to move in trade. He could go to the bench as a utility infielder if they can’t move him, which would create room for Zobrist as they could move Rendon to third. But that could create an uncomfortable situation in general.

No matter what, a deal appears unlikely to be finalized before Thursday, tweets Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, as Zobrist still needs to visit again with the Nationals, which will take place tomorrow in Nashville.

Zobrist is on the verge of making a decision, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.


To read the latest news on Ben Zobrist in free agency, click here.

Original post: December 6, 11:25 pm
Updated: December 7, 8:35 am, 11:20 am, 12:10 pm, 3:15 pm, 3:59 pm, 4:35 pm

Mets still eyeing outfield, relief markets

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Rich MacLeod

While the Mets offseason has been centered around free agent infielder Ben Zobrist up until this point, that doesn’t mean the team isn’t eying other options at other positions.

According to Newsday’s Marc Carig, the Mets are still looking into the outfield market, and specifically at players such as Denard Span and Gerardo Parra. Continue reading