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: September 3, 2011 11:16 am
By Evan Brunell
Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.
NL West battle continues: The Giants stopped Arizona from winning its 10th straight game and also pulled to within five of the division lead. San Francisco needs to do much more than that to have any hope of winning the division, though, and will turn to ace Tim Lincecum and his 2.58 ERA to try to hold 'Zona back. But Ian Kennedy is a tall order to face, as he holds a slim 3.03 ERA and is also angling to become the NL's first 18-game winner. He's only coughed up one run in his last two starts, punching out 15. It's shaping up to be quite a pitcher's duel. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 9:05 p.m. ET
Weaver takes mound: The Angels slipped to 4 1/2 back in the AL West after Friday's games, but can try to make up some ground on Saturday if Jered Weaver can silence the Twins, which shouldn't be too tall of a task.The Rangers have to fall to Boston for a full game to be made up, but L.A. will take winning their own game. Weaver, winner of six straight, will oppose Brian Duensing a night after the Twins pasted the Angels 13-5 to win their second straight. The Twins haven't won three games or more in a row since July 5, and that's a mark that might stand as they stare at Weaver's 2.28 ERA and wonder what they're supposed to do. Twins vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET
Debut: The Nationals are shuffling their rotation for September to get a look at their minor-league players. One of these pitchers draws the ball Saturday, as Tom Milone makes his big-league debut against the Mets. Milone had a 3.22 ERA for Triple-A this year, punching out 155 and walking 16 in 148 1/3 innings, strong numbers despite not being considered a heralded prospect. He'll have to face a streaking David Wright, who is hitting .500 over his last 26 at-bats and has hit the Nats well as of late. Wright will be manning the hot corner at third behind Dillon Gee. The Mets have won seven of eight. Mets vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET
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Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:51 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.
Winning streak: Roy Oswalt returns from the disabled list and looks to extend the Phillies' winning streak to 10. To reach double digits, Philadelphia will have to top Tim Lincecum. Lincecum set the tone last postseason against the Phillies, topping Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the NLCS, before losing Game 5 in a rematch against Halladay. A little more than a week ago, Lincecum threw six shutout innings in a victory in Philadelphia in a 4-1 Giants victory over Kyle Kendrick. Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt is making his first start since June 23, spending the last six weeks on the disabled list with lower back inflammation and two bulging disks. Phillies at Giants, 4:05 p.m. ET
Losing streak: On the other side of Pennsylvania, the state's other team is looking to avoid a 10-game streak of its own. Pittsburgh has lost its last nine and 11 of its last 12. The Pirates now trail the Brewers by nine games and any shot at making the playoffs seems remote at best. The team may now have to change its focus from the postseason to ending the streak of 18 consecutive losing seasons. The Pirates stand at 54-58, so that's a more realistic goal than the playoffs at this point. All-Star Kevin Correia (12-9, 4.71 ERA) starts for the Pirates opposite San Diego's Mat Latos (5-11, 3.94). Padres at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET
Hitting streaks: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 27 games on Saturday, going 3 for 5 with his 24th homer of the season on Saturday in a loss to the Mets, but he's not alone on the Braves' streaking list -- rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 20 games. Uggla's homer was his 12th during the streak and has seen his average rise from .173 to .220 during the streak. He's 2 for 8 against Sunday's Mets starter Dillon Gee. Freeman is 1 for 5 against Gee. Braves at Mets, 1:10 p.m. ETFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 2, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 1:09 pm
By Evan Brunell
HOMECOMING: Roy Halladay apparently couldn't care less that he's about to step on the Blue Jays' mound for the first time wearing a different uniform. "I feel like it's any other start," Halladay told MLB.com. "It's been long enough for me where that's not really something that's in the forefront. Obviously it's the first time back, but I don't really anticipate anything different than any other road start." I'm guessing there's just a little bit of an emotional twinge in Halladay, but he's a robot who does nothing but get outs, so what do I know? He'll be opposed by Carlos Villanueva, an ex-Brewer who opened the year in the bullpen and impressed enough to get, and so far retain, a rotation spot. Phillies vs. Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET (Watch live)
BEST MATCHUP: What a fantastic matchup slated for the Freeway Series in a rematch of a battle this past Sunday, when Kershaw outdueled Weaver with a six-hitter. Weaver was in line for his 10th win before L.A. rallied off closer Jordan Walden, but Kershaw's been the better pitcher this year. That may sound like heresey given Kershaw has a 2.93 ERA and Weaver 1.97, but if there's one thing you should learn from reading these pages, it's that ERA doesn't mean everything. Kershaw's peripherals are stronger than Weavers and he'll be going after his third straight complete game, which no Dodger has achieved in the last 11 years. Dodgers vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)
SUBWAY BATTLE: The Yankees are trying to win the division and would love to buffer their lead over the Red Sox, currently at an all-too-tenuous 2 1/2 games. The Mets, meanwhile, would love to avoid dipping under .500 for the first time since last Saturday. The Mets are still lingering on the fringes of the wild card race, plus boast perhaps the most exciting player in the game today with Jose Reyes. The Yanks will have Bartolo Colon coming off the DL to continue his bizarrely successful year. Likewise, the Metropolitans will trot out Dillon Gee, also experiencing unforeseen success. Yankees vs. Mets, 4:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)
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Posted on: June 15, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 5:19 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
There will be 20,001 Jason Heywards at Turner Field on Wednesday -- 20,000 bobbleheads and more importantly the real deal, as the Braves announced Heyward was activated from the disabled list before Wednesday's game.
Heyward played in two game for Triple-A Gwinnett, going 1 for 6 with a double in his first at-bat. He hasn't played for the Braves since May 19 with a shoulder injury. He was hitting just .214/.317/.407 with seven home runs when he went on the DL.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 11, 2011 1:26 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Scott Sizemore, Athletics -- Sizemore's two-out, three-run double in the ninth gave the A's a 7-5 victory over the White Sox on Friday. With the hit, the A's snapped their 10-game losing streak and gave Bob Melvin his first victory at the helm in Oakland. Sizemore was 3 for 4 on the night and is 5 for 9 since joining the A's.
Dillon Gee, Mets -- Gee became the first rookie to start a season 7-0 since Jered Weaver won nine in a row in 2006. It's the fourth-best streak to start a season in Mets history. Gee gave up a run in the first, but nothing else as he went eight innings in the 8-1 Mets victory. Gee allowed eight hits, all singles, while striking out five and walking none.
Ichiro's replacements -- Carlos Peguero started in right field for the slumping Ichiro Suzuki, while Chone Figgins was leading off instead of Suzuki. Both notched a pair of hits, with Peguero hitting a homer and a triple, scoring twice. Figgins, who entered the game hitting .187, recorded a single and a double in the Mariners' 3-2 victory over the Tigers.
Charlie Morton, Pirates -- Morton looked more like the 2010 Charlie Morton than the 2011 version on Friday, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- and nine hits in just four-plus innings. His ERA rose more than a half-run, from 2.52 to 3.08, dropping the Pirates to two games under .500 on the season.
Carlos Zambrano, Cubs -- Carlos Marmol didn't have a chance to blow a lead as Zambrano put the Cubs in a seven-run hole in Philadelphia, exiting following Placido Polanco's seventh-inning grand slam. Zambrano, of course, criticized his teammates and closer following a blown save in St. Louis on Sunday.
Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse gave up four runs on five hits in five innings in the Cardinals' 8-0 loss to the Brewers. He hasn't won at Miller Park since June 26, 2005, when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins and hasn't beaten the Brewers since July 25, 2007, as a member of the Reds.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 5, 2011 12:16 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- You didn't think Pujols would struggle all season, did you? After hitting just two home runs in all of May, Pujols has three so far in June, including two on Saturday. His second -- a solo shot with two outs in the 12th -- gave St. Louis a 5-4 victory over the Cubs.
Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Like Pujols, Kemp hit two homers on Saturday -- a solo shot in the seventh and a grand slam in the eighth, tying the game at 7. He finished the game with six RBI, adding another in the Dodgers' four-run 11th inning.
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox -- Papelbon lost his cool and nearly cost his team the game. Brought in with a 7-3 lead in the ninth, the A's jumped on Papelbon for three hits and four runs. Both Papelbon and catcher Jason Varitek were tossed for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo. While Randazzo may have overreacted to the pouting Papelbon, there's no excuse for Papelbon rushing Randazzo and bumping him. Expect a suspension for Papelbon.
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- For the third day in a row, Suzuki was hitless, going 0 for 4 in a 3-2 loss to the Rays. He now has 20 hitless games this season. His .261 batting average is his lowest at this point in his 11-year career. Only once, in 2008, has his batting average been less than .300 on June 5.
Ernesto Frieri, Padres -- Heath Bell was set to get a much-deserved night off, having worked five of the last seven days with the Padres leading 6-2 going into the ninth. Frieri walked the first batter he faced and then gave up a single, forcing Bud Black to call on Bell, who picked up his 16th save, and sixth in the team's last eight games.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.