Archive for the ‘ Op-Ed ’ Category

Now, the Mets need to sign Yoenis Cespedes…

Yoenis Cespedes


Baron

Even in the shortest off-season for the Mets in 15 years, it can be long enough for it to take some unexpected twists and turns.

As markets develop, opportunities both arises and collapse. Players become available as fast as they get signed or traded.

But throughout all of these twists and turns, the needs for a team typically remain while the markets get more and more defined and in the case of 2015, overvalued.

The Mets have identified their outfield as a box to check this winter. They’ve been very open about attempting to find a left-handed complement to Juan Lagares to form a platoon, or simply finding a replacement altogether.

But on Friday, the Mets got one of those off-season twists. They drew a badly needed ace to give them the flush they needed at this winter’s poker table. (more…)

By adding Walker and Cabrera, the Mets have added versatility via creative options

Cabrera Walker Tejada Flores


BaronFrom the moment the Mets lost the World Series, they set out to improve their roster versatility, reduce the number of strikeouts in the lineup, and become a more contact-oriented team.

There’s no question signing Ben Zobrist would have accomplished that goal, and why the Mets so heavily pursued him in their failed attempt to sign him this winter. He can play all four positions on the infield plus two positions in the outfield. He’s one of the best fastball hitters in the game, doesn’t strikeout very much and hits from both sides of the plate.

That’s the very essence of versatility.

The procurement of Neil Walker and their agreed upon deal with Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t directly accomplish their goals of signing truly versatile players, although Cabrera can play both middle infield positions with below average defense, and Walker insisted on Wednesday he can play third base if needed.

But the Mets might have been able to manufacture versatility on their infield with these two acquisitions by creating options and match-ups at both middle infield positions. (more…)

Now that Ben Zobrist has chosen the Cubs, what’s next for the Mets?

BaronThe best-laid plans often go awry, and that’s precisely what happened to the Mets on Tuesday night.

The Mets were focused on their pursuit of Ben Zobrist for the better part of the last month, but lost him to the Cubs as he reportedly signed a four-year, $56 million deal with them, leaving the Mets both stunned and disappointed.

But the Mets need to pick up the pieces, move on and figure out how to augment the roster in other ways. They still must consider upgrading their middle infield, build more depth and insurance, get some pieces for the bullpen and find a quality outfielder who can at least platoon with Juan Lagares, if not start on a full-time basis.

Ben ZobristIt’s worth mentioning that right now, the Mets have a third baseman with a bad back, one of two shortstops with broken bones in their legs, and a prospect slated to start on their infield on Opening Day.

Even though it’s still early December, that’s both sobering and alarming.

On Tuesday night, Mets assistant GM John Ricco said the club doesn’t intend to stand pat despite their top free agent target choosing a different destination, and is prepared to allocate the resources they had budgeted for Zobrist elsewhere.

But while the Mets envisioned an offense that made better contact in 2016, the Mets suddenly have to be more open-minded as to how their offense is designed next season, now that their top free agent choice is off the board and not in Flushing.

Here’s a look at some of the paths the Mets can take from a position player perspective as the markets are becoming more defined… (more…)

Matt Harvey threw a lot of innings in 2015, but history says he should be ok

Matt Harvey


Rich MacLeodFor Matt Harvey, 2015 was a tremendous success.

In his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in the 2013-2014 offseason, Harvey performed tremendously, as the Mets starter went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 29 starts, as well as 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four postseason starts.

On Thursday, Harvey was recognized for his terrific season as he was the winner of the 2015 National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Overall this past season, Harvey combined to pitch 216 total innings, well beyond what his agent, Scott Boras would have liked, as it was believed that he and the team along with his physicians had agreed to a hard innings cap set at 180.

Among all of the pitchers who had Tommy John Surgery, Harvey accumulated the highest innings total of any pitcher in their first full season following Tommy John Surgery:


TJ

Image courtesy of MLB Network


While this might seem alarming, it’s worth mentioning Harvey had a 17-month layoff in between his procedure and the start of his 2015 season. He also averaged a shade under 13 pitches per inning in 2015.

The Mets also gave Harvey breaks along the way to spread out his recovery periods in between several starts in 2015. And in the postseason, the only time he pitched on regular rest was in Game 5 of the World Series – he accumulated a total 27 innings between October 3 and November 1.

In addition, not one of John Lackey, Adam Wainwright, Tommy John or Jake Westbrook underwent or have undergone a second procedure. So if history is any indication, Harvey should be ok.

Of course, that shouldn’t be offered as any kind of guarantee. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen to Harvey or his elbow, be it in 2016 or in 2026.

The general takeaway is the Mets managed Harvey’s case as well as could be expected this past season. If he’s going to break – as Terry Collins always says – then he’s going to break, regardless of how much the Mets coddle and nurture their star right-hander.

The circle is nearly complete for David Wright


BaronDavid Wright  faced the greatest trial of his life in 2015 after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis in the first month of the season.

Not only was he faced with his own basebLl mortality, he also wondered how the quality of his normal life might be as he dealt with a back injury that often caused so much pain, he couldn’t even stand and talk with reporters without leaning over the back of a chair.

But instead of pouting, instead of feeling sorry for himself and giving up, Wright chose the longer view of his condition, looked at this season as the greatest opportunity in his career and went to work.

Wright rehabbed day after day 3000 miles away from home in Los Angeles as he spent what seemed like an endless spring and summer in physical therapy with Dr. Robert Watkins and his group of specialized trainers in an effort to strengthen his core, reduce the pain and get him back to his profession.

It took a long time. There were good days, there were bad days. The bad days often left Wright with more questions than answers.

But as he watched his team struggle but persevere through the season, his determination never wavered.

(more…)

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