Posted on: February 28, 2012 9:43 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
The Marlins made headlines with their offseason spending spree, the Phillies still have the game's most intimidating rotation, the Nationals have some of the game's biggest young talents and the Braves are a sleeper team that shouldn't be written off because of last season's late collapse. And then there's the Mets. Last season the team finished fourth in the division and went 77-85, and then they lost their best player. To say there's a lack of buzz surrounding the Mets would be an understatement.
Major additions: CF Andres Torres, CL Frank Francisco
Major departures: SS Jose Reyes, RH Chris Capuano
1. Andres Torres CF
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Lucas Duda RF
6. Jason Bay LF
7. Josh Thole C
8. Ruben Tejada SS
1. Johan Santana
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Jonathon Niese
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. Dillon Gee
Closer: Frank Francisco
Set-up: Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Bobby Parnell
Important bench players
OF Scott Hairston, IF Justin Turner
Prospect to watch
The team's top prospect is right-hander Zack Wheeler, acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade, but if he sees Citi Field this season, it'll likely be near the end of the year when the team's fate has already been decided. Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis could contribute immediately. The 24-year-old missed the second half of the 2011 season with a torn labrum in his non-throwing (left) shoulder, but has been swinging the bat at full strength since last month. Before his injury, he was hitting .298/.403/.505 with six homers in 221 plate appearances for Triple-A Buffalo. A solid all-around player, Nieuwenhuis can play any of the three outfield sports, but center field may be where he could make his mark. The Mets have the 34-year-old Torres as the its starter in center and the 31-year-old Hairston backing him up, so it's not much of a stretch to see Nieuwenhuis get a chance sometime this season.
Fantasy sleeper: Lucas Duda
"From July 15 (about the time he took over for a departed Carlos Beltran) to the end of the season, Duda hit .322 with 10 homers and a .957 OPS -- numbers that jive with his minor-league track record. And that was at old Citi Field, complete with its big gaps, tall fences and ability to crush David Wright's spirit." -- Scott White [Full Mets fantasy team preview]
Fantasy bust: David Wright
"Over the last three seasons, he has a .284 batting average and .828 OPS, which are solid numbers but less than elite even for a third baseman. True, his struggles began the same year the Mets moved to spacious Citi Field, but that doesn't explain why his numbers have lagged on the road during that time. Thus, you can't assume the team's decision to move in the fences this year will be Wright's miracle cure. It'll help, but it won't eliminate the injuries, the perpetually rising strikeout rate and the curious home-road splits." -- Scott White [Full Mets fantasy team preview]
Santana returns to Cy Young form and Niese takes a step forward, as the Mets pitching staff rounds into form. The new dimensions of Citi Field make a huge difference for the team's offense, with Wright and Bay returning to form, while Duda becomes a star. Even in this perfect world, the Mets could have trouble leapfrogging the Phillies, Marlins and Braves. But Bud Selig could always add another eight playoff spots, giving them a spot in the postseason.
Santana's injuries continue to haunt him and nobody steps up to take over at the top of the rotation. Davis isn't the same player that he was before his injury and Duda suffers from a sophomore slump, as the offense struggles overall. And then there's the chance that the problems on the field pale in comparison to the ownership problems. The worst-case scenario (well, for 2012, it's may be the best-case scenario for the long term) has a repeat of the Dodger fiasco.
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Tags: AL East, Andres Torres, Bobby Parnell, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Beltran, Chris Capuano, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Frank Francisco, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jon Rauch, Jonathon Niese, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Justin Turner, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Ramon Ramirez, Ruben Tejada, Scott Hairston
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:55 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:01 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.
Another day, another entry in our series. For this one, we'll stop over in Queens and meet the Mets. We know about Wright and Reyes, but what else is there? For one, a guy who just tied the postseason home run record. Knowing that the Mets traded him for Jorge Velandia has to be a bit painful for Mets fans (don't feel too bad, though, because the A's and Brewers gave up on Cruz, too). Anyway, let's dive in.
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Nelson Cruz, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Angel Pagan, CF
8. Josh Thole, C
1. Dillon Gee
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Philip Humber
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. A.J. Burnett
Closer - Heath Bell
Set up - Octavio Dotel, Jason Isringhausen, Matt Lindstrom, Bobby Parnell, Joe Smith, Guillermo Mota
Long - Aaron Heilman
Notable Bench Players
Drew Butera, Josh Satin, Ruben Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez and the imcomparable Wily Mo Pena. Also, Scott Kazmir is on this team. If he never left, would it have been possible that he was an upper-tier starter for years? We'll never know.
I like the bullpen. The bench is good, too. As a whole, one thing that stuck out to me is there aren't any really glaring holes. And assuming everyone is healthy, that's a pretty stout top four to five in the batting order. Reyes setting up for Wright and Cruz would be scary for opposing pitchers.
The starting rotation is a bunch of threes and fours. There's potential to better sure -- like if Burnett gets locked in for stretches -- but if we're looking at just the present, the lack of an ace would hurt as the season progressed, especially in terms of stopping modest losing streaks. The catcher and center field spots could be better as well, but, as I mentioned above, it's not like those are glaring holes. On the whole, while there aren't any real glaring holes, there's nothing that stands out as spectacular other than a healthy Reyes while Wright, Cruz and Bell are very good.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Mets were 77-85, and I think this bunch is a bit better than that. It's a team that would put up a winning record and maybe contend for a wild card. It's definitely not great, as the lack of an ace shows, but the weaknesses here are all pretty minor. I'm thinking mid-80s in wins with a ceiling of 90 and floor of high-70s? That sounds about right.
Next: Cincinnati Reds
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Tags: A.J. Burnett, Aaron Heilman, Angel Pagan, Bobby Parnell, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Guillermo Mota, Heath Bell, Homegrown, Ike Davis, Jason Isringhausen, Joe Smith, Jonathon Niese, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Snyder, Mets, Mike Carp, Mike Pelfrey, Nelson Cruz, NL East, Octavio Dotel, Phil Humber
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder
It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.
Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.
Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a closer.
Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)?
New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson.
Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon.
Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so.
Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed.
Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air.
St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason.
Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think.
San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell.
San Francisco: The Beard.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, Addison Reed, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Bailey, Angels, Aroldis Chapman, Astros, Athletics, Bobby Parnell, Brad Boxberger, Brain Wilson, Brandon League, Braves, BRewers, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Carlos Marmol, Casey Janssen, Chad Qualls, Chris PErez, Chris Perez, Craig Kimbrel, Cubs, Daniel Bard, Denard Span, Dodgers, Edward Mujica, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Francisco, free agency, free agent tracker, Giants, Glen Perkins, Heath Bell, Houston Street, Indians, Jason Motte, Javy Guerra, Jays, Jim Johnson, Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Joel Hanrahan, John Axford, Jon Rauch, Jonathan Broxton, Jonathan Papelbon, Jordan Walden, Jose Valverde, Kevin Gregg, Kyle Farnsworth, Leo Nunez, Mariano Rivera, Mariners, Mark Melacon, Marlins, Matt Snyder, Mets, Miek Adams, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, Nationals, Neftali Feliz, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rafael Betancourt, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Ryan Madson, Scott Downs, Sergio Santos, Storen, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: August 7, 2011 6:23 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Dan Uggla improved his hitting streak to 28 games with an eighth-inning single off of Bobby Parnell in Sunday's 6-5 victory over the Mets. It was the fourth time during his streak it took until Uggla's final at-bat of a game to extend his streak.
Uggla was 1 for 5 in the game that saw teammate Freddie Freeman's hitting streak snapped at 20 games. Freeman was 0 for 4.
Uggla's streak ties the longest for a Brave since Marquis Grissom got halfway to DiMaggio with his own 28-game hitting streak in 1996. Atlanta's record is 31 games set by Rico Carty in 1970.@cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:39 pm
By Evan Brunell
On Monday, for the first time since 2009, Jason Isringhausen pitched in a major-league game. Wearing a Mets uniform, it was also Izzy's first time in that uniform since 1999, before he went on to have a successful career as closer for the Athletics and Cardinals.
While Isringhausen flirts with injury on every pitch, there's no denying his talent once he takes the mound and manager Terry Collins appears prepared to throw him right into the fire.
"I'm not afraid to use [Isringhausen] at any time," Collins told the New York Post. "I'm intrigued to use [him] in those big situations."
Unfortunately, using Isringhausen in big situations -- which sounds a lot like Collins is anointing him the setup man -- means someone else will be demoted to less stressful innings, and Bobby Parnell could be that guy."
The Mets shopped lightly this offseason, hoping to cobble together a bullpen that would be good enough, banking on Parnell's ascension to setting up Francisco Rodriguez. Instead, Parnell's bombed in the early going by giving up four runs in 4 1/3 innings. He's added seven punchouts but also walked three. It's still way too early, but Mets brass isn't pleased with Parnell.
"Bobby is either going to step up and do the job or we'll have to find someone else," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "We'll go with the hot hand, which might be [Isringhausen], Pedro Beato or D.J. Carrasco. We're looking, but nobody is jumping out."
It's not just Parnell that is struggling -- the 4-6 record for New York isn't unexpected, but New York has made too many sloppy errors that have contributed to the overall sense of malaise that seems to have settled over the club. Parnell is still a big part of the future, and could easily succeed Francisco Rodriguez as closer next season. That's how intriguing his arm is, but to hear Collins tell it, Parnell has a ways to go toward accepting defeat.
"This guy has a great arm," Collins said. "He should go out there, and if he makes pitches with his good fastball, he's going to get outs. One of the things he's got to realize is, once in a while you're going to get hit."
This is a bit discouraging to hear, as failure is embedded as a part of the game. Hitters are thrilled if they get a hit three times for every 10 trips to the plate. On the flip side, pitchers -- at least, any worth their salt -- should never have trouble retiring the majority of hitters. But to hold oneself to such outlandish expectations and get frustrated over allowing hits is to fight a losing battle. Giving up hits is going to happen; more important is keeping yourself in check and making quality pitches. Parnell's already reached the majors -- that's a major accomplishment. Now he just needs to let his talent speak for itself.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 10:52 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 10:52 pm
Bobby Parnell is ready.
After hearing that manager Terry Collins expects Parnell to serve as setup man, the 26-year-old was quick to agree.
"I’m here to do that," Parnell told ESPN New York. "I’m here to be in the eighth inning and hand that ball to K-Rod. I’m excited for it. And to actually hear it come from Terry is a definite blessing, and I’m ready for it."
Parnell spent all of 2009 with the Mets, but posted a poor 5.30 ERA in 88 1/3 innings. He was demoted to Triple-A to start 2010, but was called up in late June to finish with a 2.83 ERA in 35 innings. His demotion did wonders for Parnell -- even if he disagreed with it -- as he cut his walks from 4.7 BB/9 in 2009 to 2.1. His strikeout rate also rose from 7.5 K/9 to 8.5.
"I didn’t want to be there, obviously," Parnell said of his demotion. "But it was also a learning experience to go back down there. So I felt like it was a little bit of pressure taken off to go down there and learn a couple of pitches and to work on my stuff. I took it and did what I had to do with it. I didn’t want to be there. I felt like I could have performed well in the major leagues."
Parnell did say his changeup and splitfingered fastball made strides in Triple-A as he was able to work on these pitches. He also located his fastball better (which his improved walk rates indicate), and the Mets certainly noticed by promoting him.
However, the club did err in Parnell's usage after Francisco Rodriguez was suspended for the rest of the season after getting into an altercation with his then-girlfriend's father. Rather than throw Parnell into the closer's role, the old regime turned to Hisanori Takahashi. The Japanese import was able to save eight games in an excellent season as a swingman, which drove up his price. He later left to the Angels, leaving the Mets without a fantastic left-handed pitcher and lingering questions about Parnell's ability to pitch late in games.
"It would have been a good experience," Parnell said. "I think it would have definitely helped going into this year. But looking back is 20/20. It wasn’t my decision then, and it worked out how it did. I just have to go in this year and do what I can."
K-Rod is a free agent after the season, so if Parnell comes through with a strong 2011, the Mets could very well make him their closer of the future.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: September 11, 2010 9:28 pm
The banged-up Reds are currently searching far and wide for a healthy outfielder.
Down to just Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs, the Reds threw Miguel Cairo into right field for the Reds/Pirates showdown after Chris Heisey was scratched. Jay Bruce has been out since August 30 with side pain while Jim Edmonds was recently activated -- to his surprise -- to serve in a pinch if needed.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed that something’s gonna happen,” manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer on finding outfield help from outside of the organization.
"You know [GM] Walt [Jocketty] is working on contacting a lot of different teams, even though that person wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs. You’ve seen a lot of times, somebody helps you get there."
To be eligible for the postseason, a player must be in the club's organization on August 31. So as Baker referenced, any acquisition could not help the team in October. While the Reds largely have the Central sewn up, it's not over 'til it's over (to paraphrase Yogi Berra) and there's still the matter of having enough players to run out a lineup in the waning weeks of the year.
It would stand to reason that down-and-out teams would gladly part with a warm body in exchange for cash considerations or a prospect with an outside chance at future contributions, so bank on a move happening.-- Evan Brunell
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:20 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:22 pm
so? Want an idea of just how historic Aroldis Chapman's debut was ?
Even though Chapman was making his major-league debut, he's already solidified himself as the fastest-throwing pitcher the game has seen in a while. SABR has learned that Chapman's 102.7 mph fastball is the fastest thrown since the beginning of 2008, using pitch f/x numbers accurate to fractions.
Joel Zumaya also has a 102.7 mph mark -- two of them, in fact. Both came in 2009, seven days apart. The first was against the Cubs on June 23 when he blew a fastball by Milton Bradley. On the 30th, he unleashed another heater against Matt Holliday that ranked 102.7 mph.
Zumaya has an additional 102.6 mph headers, one coming the day after his unleashing against Bradley, this time showing Mike Fontenot what a fastball is all about. The other one was also against Matt Holliday on the 30th, showing a supreme test of endurance.
Placing sixth on the list is Jonathan Broxton at 102.6 mph on July 3, 2009, downing Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres. Bobby Parnell also joins Chapman in 2010 heaters, unveiling a 102.5 mph sizzler against Chris Johnson of the Astros on August 18.
And then the man of the hour, Chapman, checks in with his own 102.5 mark against Jonathan LuCroy.
How fast is Chapman's fastball?
Well, Louisville Slugger is more than happy to tell you, running calculations that show that Chapman's fabled 104-mph fastball (of which we technically have yet to see) takes 0.36 seconds from mound to plate, factoring in 60 feet and six inches of distance between the mound and home plate, plus a five-foot stride.
How fast is 0.36 seconds? Well, the average speed of a human's eye blink checks in at 300-400 milliseconds ... or 0.3-0.4 seconds. If you're standing at the plate right as Chapman unleashes the fury from hell, the ball will be nestled in the catcher's mitt before your eyes open again.
Now, let's just hope Chapman avoids the constant spate of injuries that have played Zumaya since hitting the majors. Between Zumaya and Stephen Strasburg, it has yet to be proven that a pitcher can consistently hit triple-digits and not break down.
-- Evan Brunell