Tag:Jose Reyes
Posted on: September 8, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Rain could cost Kemp HR, RBI titles

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The second game of Thursday's doubleheader in Washington has been postponed -- well, actually canceled. The game will only be made up if it's necessary, and it won't be.

The Nationals, 26.5 games behind the Phillies in the National League East and are already mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The Dodgers are 70-72, 11.5 games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West, but still have an elimination number of 9, so they still have a chance, but not a great one.

So what does it matter if the Dodgers and Nationals play 161 games instead of 162? Not much to either team, but it could mean something to Matt Kemp. The Dodgers' center fielder probably won't win the triple crown -- his 1-for-5 performance earlier on Thursday dropped his average to .318, well below Jose Reyes (.336 after a pinch-hit single in Game 1 against Atlanta on Thursday) and Ryan Braun (.332 before Thursday's game), but still good for third in the race for the batting title. Even without the batting title, he's still very much in the race for the home run and RBI titles. Kemp has 32 homers, tied for third in the National League. He's two homers behind Albert Pujols and one behind second-place Dan Uggla. His 107 RBI is third in the league, just one behind Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard. While the average could benefit from one less game, it's the counting stats that hurt -- at this time of the year and with margins as close as they are in those two races, the rain on the East Coast this week could cost Kemp one of the only titles the Dodgers have a shot at winning.

If Kemp finishes a homer shy of the title or an RBI short, tonight may have been the difference. 

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:01 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 1:06 am
 

Sizing up the NL MVP contenders



By C. Trent Rosecrans

During the week, Eye on Baseball will be profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. Tonight: the NL MVP.

Lacking perhaps the sizzle or controversy of the American League MVP race, the National League MVP race could be just as interesting. While there's plenty of buzz in the AL about whether a pitcher should win the MVP, the NL question of the MVP status quo may be about a member of a losing team taking the game's top honor. While the contending teams have some worthy candidates, the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki, the Reds' Joey Votto and the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen all have compelling arguments to be included even if their teams are well out of the race.

In alphabetical order, here are the 10 candidates that figure to appear on many of ballots:

Ryan Braun, Brewers: Braun leads the league in batting average (.335), slugging percentage (.595), OPS (.999) and runs scored (96), he's also in the top five in RBI (95) and top ten in homers (27) -- and he's doing it for a team that will be headed to the playoffs. Last season Joey Votto beat Albert Pujols convincingly on the MVP ballots (31 first-place votes out of 32), if not so convincingly on the stat sheet. The two were close to even in their offensive stats, with Votto's team winning the division title perhaps giving him the edge in the very vague category of "value." The Brewers' record could be Braun's trump card on many ballots.

Roy Halladay, Phillies: Widely considered the best pitcher in the National League, if not baseball, Halladay is having another stellar season with a 16-5 record and a 2.49 ERA. However, the pitcher for MVP argument is being made with Justin Verlander, not Halladay. While Halladay may be the best pitcher in the National League and could appear near the bottom of several ballots (he does lead the NL in pitcher WAR, 6.2 according to Baseball-Reference.com), but it will take a clear-cut best pitcher in the league to win the MVP. The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw is making a late push for Cy Young with a 17-5 record and 2.45 ERA) and Cliff Lee may be having the best season of any Phillies' starter.

Matt Kemp, Dodgers: Going into Tuesday night's game, Kemp was third in batting average (.320), tied for second in home runs (32) and third in RBI (106), giving him a shot at becoming the National League's first triple crown winner since Joe Medwick did it in 1937. The knock on Kemp will certainly be his team's 68-72 record and a season in Los Angeles much better remembered for the drama off the field than anything done on it.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: At the All-Star break, this would have been a popular pick, but since then, the Pirates have faded and the star around Pittsburgh's center fielder has dimmed. But McCutchen is still having a fabulous year, cementing himself as one of the game's emerging stars. His stats have taken a dip, hitting .269/.372/.464 with 20 homers and 81 RBI to go along with 20 stolen bases. According to FanGraphs.com, he's seventh among position players in WAR, but much of his value comes from his defense. McCutchen won't win the MVP and won't finish in the top five, but he may get some votes based on his all-around game and the Pirates' impressive start.

Albert Pujols, Cardinals: You can't talk National League MVP and not bring up Albert Pujols, can you? Not even this year -- when so many counted him out at the beginning of the year and others thought he'd miss a good chunk of time with a broken bone -- can you leave out the three-time winner. He's bounced back from an awful start to hit .295/.367/.553 and lead the league in homers (34). Pujols won't win, not just because he failed to live up to the expectations he's set for himself, but also because the Cardinals have faded in the seasons last months once again.

Jose Reyes, Mets: Reyes' reward will likely come after the November announcement of the MVP and be in the form of a huge contract. A front-runner for the award for much of the season, hamstring injuries have hampered the Mets' shortstop, limiting him to 105 games. He's fallen behind Braun in the batting title race, but is still putting up a very good .332/.371/.493 line with five homers, 37 RBI and 35 stolen bases. 

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: The Rockies have seriously underachieved, but not Tulowitzki, who is hitting .304/.376/.550 with 29 homers and 100 RBI while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. It seems like a matter of time before Tulowitzki wins an MVP (or two), but it won't be this year. Colorado's collapse was too great and while his offensive numbers are great, they aren't so much better than any other category that he's going to vault to the top of many ballots. He may be the best all-around player in the game (especially considering his position), but won't be the MVP.

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: It looks like the Diamondbacks are going to run away with the NL West and their best (and perhaps only recognizable player) is Upton, the 24-year-old center fielder. Upton is hitting .296/.378/.540 with 27 homers, 82 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He's having a fantastic season and has a very bright future. That said, in what was the most important month of the season and one that saw Arizona take control of the NL West, Upton maybe his worst month of the season, hitting .260/.342/.481.

Shane Victorino, Phillies: Overshadowed by Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and even Jayson Werth in previous years, Victorino has been outstanding in 2011. He's hitting .303/.380/.529 with 15 homers and 56 RBI, while scoring 84 runs. He's won three straight Gold Gloves in center field and has been a constant for the Phillies over the years. However, on a team built around its stud pitchers, a position player may get overlooked for MVP. He finished 18th in 2009, but look for a top 10 finish this season as respect grows for one of the game's most unsung stars.

Joey Votto, Reds: Last year's winner won't repeat, but he's again having another great season, hitting .316/.428/.536, leading the National League in on-base percentage and third in OPS. He's also doing it without Scott Rolen's protection behind him. Rolen has been injured much of the season, missing 76 of the team's 141 games and his play suffering in the 65 games he has played. That's allowed pitchers to pitch around Votto, who leads the National League in walks (100) and the majors in Win Probability Added (6.9). His numbers may not quite be where they were a year ago, but he's done nothing to suggest he's not the best first baseman in the league -- and that's some pretty heady competition.

So all in all, who is the best candidate to win the MVP? We'll answer that later in the year, but you can have your say in the comments. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Mets could cut payroll under $100 million in 2012

Reyes

By Evan Brunell

The New York Mets plan to pare payroll significantly next season, taking a $140-million team and slashing it down to at least $110 million, if not under $100 million.

The Mets aren't ready to commit to an overall payroll plan for 2012 because a lot of the decision hinges both on 2012 ticket prices and the fate of Jose Reyes. The team has yet to determine next year's ticket prices, which will directly influence the team's payroll budget. Plus, New York could choose to rebuild next year if Reyes departs, which would set the team up better for future success even if a year's pain would be needed, a source tells the New York Post's Joel Sherman for the first time on the record or on background.

Projected 2012 Mets
Lineup
C Josh Thole
1B Ike Davis
2B Ruben Tejada
3B David Wright
SS Jose Reyes?
LF Jason Bay
CF Angel Pagan?
RF Lucas Duda
Rotation/Closer
SP1 R.A. Dickey
SP2 Johan Santana
SP3 Mike Pelfrey?
SP4 Jon Niese
SP5 Dillon Gee?
CL Bobby Parnell
Helping matters is that the lineup and rotation for next season is pretty much ready to go, sans possible question marks at short and in center field, as well as the rotation, where the club could opt to non-tender Mike Pelfrey. If the team brought Reyes back, they would make more of a push to contend but still wouldn't go past $110 million in payroll, and that essentially guarantees the team next season looking much like this year's, as you can see from the table to your right. The projected lineup and rotation next season could be just like this year's, with Johan Santana added after a year-long rehab.

Why minimal change?

To start, the Mets don't have much choice. There are five players signed for 2012 at $60.45 million. Adding Reyes around $20 million annually would push the total cost to $80.45 million, leaving just $30 million to spread out among 19 other players. That's not a lot of flexibility, which would demand the Mets retain many of their players, especially those who have yet to hit free agency and can still be controlled at lower dollars.

But don't forget -- the Phillies aren't going anywhere, the Braves are a strong team and the Nationals are starting to worry many in the game. That's a lot of teams to get through to make the postseason, and the Mets aren't dripping with enough talent to make it happen. They could be better off punting 2012 -- if Reyes doesn't return... or even if he does -- to get one year closer to the end of Santana and Jason Bay's contracts, while bringing along their top prospects for another year. With Jenrry Meija undergoing the knife for Tommy John surgery and Zach Wheeler along with Matt Harvey still a year or two out, it may be the prudent move to load up for 2013... especially given the elite free-agent class that currently projects to hit the market. Sherman cites Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain as potential free agents.

While the Mets may be -- are -- paring payroll so the Wilpons can save money in light of the Bernie Madoff case, they're also slashing payroll because there just isn't much that can be done. Treating 2012 as a rebuilding year to evaluate the team may be the most prudent course of action, Reyes or no Reyes. And if there's one thing about GM Sandy Alderson we know, it's that he's smart and if the best course of action -- even in a major media market like New York -- is to wait another year for the best chance at long-term success, he will do it.

And frankly, if you look at the team, it's the right move. The Mets should do what they can to bring back Reyes, but any retention of Reyes would have to be with the idea that the contract would pay far more dividends in 2013 and beyond, not 2012. Lip service would be paid toward making the postseason next year with Reyes, of course, but it wouldn't go beyond that unless New York surprises and stays in contention deep into July.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 31, 2011 1:55 pm
 

September Storylines: Kemp's season overshadowed

Matt KempBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Dodgers may have the best player in the National League, and yet he's been overshadowed by the team's ownership story and even his own teammate, Andre Ethier who has a long hitting streak and a mysterious injury that have garnered headlines. Heck, the biggest story of the year involving Los Angeles' Matt Kemp may be better known for his breakup with his girlfriend last offseason than his breakout on the field this season.

Yep, Matt Kemp may be the best player in the National League, and Dodgerland is still talking about the McCourts, Ethier's possibly injury and the return of their broadcast team. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp leads all big leaguers in Wins Above Replacement players at 8.0 (according to Baseball-Reference.com -- FanGraphs.com has him sixth overall and second in the National League at 6.6).

If advanced metrics aren't your thing, he's hitting .321/.396/.573 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI -- numbers that put him in the running for the triple crown. (He's also tied for second in the NL in stolen bases with 35, 12 behind the Braves' Michael Bourn.)

September Storylines
    • A look at the postseason races

Last year it was Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez challenging for the triple crown, this year Kemp has the best shot. Here's a look at his numbers, and chances.

Batting average: Kemp's currently hitting .321, good for fourth in the National League behind Jose Reyes (.335), Ryan Braun (.331) and Votto (.325) -- with David Murphy (.320) hot on his heels. A career .292 hitter, this is his best batting average since 2007, when he hit .342 in 98 games (and 311 plate appearances) as a 22-year-old. This is the best year of the 26-year-old's career, so it's not like past performance will predict production, but he has tailed off in the last month of the season in his career. Kemp's hit .264/.310/.426 in September and October in his career, while hitting .297/.354/.502 in the other months (although those numbers do include this season's production). 

Home runs: Kemp's tied for the National League lead with Mike Stanton and Pujols with 31 homers, with Lance Berkman and Dan Uggla just one homer behind, each with 30. Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder both have 29 homers, while Troy Tulowitzki and Jay Bruce each have 28 homers -- meaning the race is wide open. 

The Dodgers have 10 home games remaining on their schedule and 17 road games, which would appear to help Kemp who has 16 of his 31 homers on the road this season in fewer games, hitting a homer every 17.3 plate appearances on the road and one every 19.4 plate appearances at Dodger Stadium. However, the stadiums left on the Dodgers' tour of the National League haven't been kind to Kemp -- he has just three homers in the parks left on the team's travel schedule, with two of those coming at Arizona's Chase Field. He hasn't homered in either San Francisco's AT&T Park or San Diego's Petco Park, despite playing six games in both stadiums this season. Kemp has just two homers in San Francisco in his career (166 plate appearances) and three in San Diego (139 plate appearances). Overall, he's managed just one homer every 40.6 plate appearances in the six parks (Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona) the Dodgers will play in during September and 15 total, seven of those at Chase Field.

RBI: Kemp enters Wednesday's game with 101 RBI, already tying his career best (2009), and just one behind leaders Howard and Fielder. Tulowitzki is the only other player with more than 90 RBI, with 94 on the season. The RBI stat is dependent on what other players do, and after struggling in July, the Dodgers had one of their best offensive months of the season in August, scoring 127 runs in the month, the most of any month and getting on base at a .322 rate, only just below its .339 OBP in June. That said, that doesn't mean much, since the Dodgers followed their productive June with their worst month of the season in July. Predicting RBI is the ultimate folly, because not only does Kemp have to deliver, so do his teammates. The same thing can be said about the others on the list, as well. 

It'd be silly to predict a triple crown or even guess at a single crown for Kemp with a month to go in the season, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on -- and gives Dodger fans something to cheer about, something that's not been easy to do in 2011.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 30, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 5:06 pm
 

September Storylines: Reyes readies for payday

Jose Reyes

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It only takes one to like you to hit the jackpot -- I'm the living proof. My wife, she's great. Me? Eh. I'm probably not even a replacement player -- I'm guessing my Win Against Replacement husband is roughly somewhere around negative-1.2. I'm certainly no Jose Reyes, I can tell you that.

Reyes has a lot of things I don't -- youth, speed, a great arm and he can hit. He also has really cool hair. Me? I'm left-handed, so there's that. Beyond that? I type pretty quickly and I'm not too shabby at a grill (and I smoke a mean pork butt). 

So what does this have to do with anything? Reyes will enter the offseason as the biggest free agent on the market and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Last night Reyes came off the disabled list between games of a doubleheader after missing three weeks with a strained left hamstring, singling in the seventh inning as well as making a nice play in the field (along with an error earlier in the game). There will be plenty of eyes on Reyes down the stretch, despite his Mets being well out of the pennant race, but not for what exactly he does on the field, just that he stays on it. What those watching will see with Reyes in the last month of the season? It's kind of a glass half-empty or half-full thing...

September Storylines
To come:
      • Can Jose Reyes stay healthy?
      • Which minor-leaguers can make an impact?
    • A look at the postseason races

Some general managers could see a guy who put up MVP numbers for the Mets this season. He's in line to win the batting title, has a .376 on-base percentage and is slugging .505. Put that a premium position and you're talking a pricey player for any team wanting to make an offseason splash -- and this would be as big of a splash as me doing a cannonball off the high dive. Reyes is the best shortstop in baseball not named Troy Tulowitzki -- and Tulowitzki isn't going anywhere soon. Reyes also just turned 28 in June, so he'll likely still be younger than New York's other starting shortstop when this contract is over (assuming it's not a crazy 10-year deal or anything).

Others could see him as injury-prone and a gamble. Despite great talent, they can look back on Carl Crawford and his injury-plagued first season in Boston as a cautionary tale. Even his own owner, Fred Wilpon said earlier this year that he didn't think Reyes would get a "Carl Crawford contract" -- which for the record was seven years and $142 million -- and that was before his two stints on the disabled list this season. And given that the Mets are one of the prime suspects for handing out that kind of contract, it certainly raises some eyebrows. When Reyes went on the disabled list earlier this month, an anonymous teammate told a reporter that his injury might cost him $100,000 for every day he's on the disabled list. So, that could cost him $2,150,000 -- that's more money than I can imagine, but just small percentage of what Reyes could earn on the open market.

And that's just the point -- no matter what Reyes does over the final month of the season, he's going to get paid. He's going to be paid handsomely -- and he may just get a "Carl Crawford contract" -- because in the end, it only takes one team to fall in love and overpay. Just like my wife… and Jayson Werth with the Nationals.

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 4:55 pm
 

On Deck: Two big NL East returns

OD

By Matt Snyder

The Mets and Marlins kicked things off with an afternoon game, as it was the front end of a doubleheader. That still leaves us with 12 night games, a healthy slate for a Monday night. Follow all the action live on our CBSSports.com scoreboard.

Hamels on the hill/Over Yonder: Phillies starter Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62) will return from a quick stint on the disabled list Monday night. He was sidelined with inflammation to his left shoulder. Now the task will be making sure he's strong for the postseason, as there's little doubt the Phillies are headed to the best record in the NL. Monday's opponent is the Reds and Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) will be on the mound. An interesting note here from the Reds' side of things is that Yonder Alonso is starting at third base. The 24-year-old slugger is a defensively liability pretty much everywhere except first -- and there's even some debate to that. Considering the Reds have a decent player already at first, they're trying to find a new spot for Alonso. He's hitting .467 with three home runs and a 1.422 OPS in 36 plate appearances since being recalled, so that's why the Reds are experimenting. The issue: He's never played third, not even in the minors. Should be interesting, to say the least. Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Jose, Jose Jose Jose! He didn't get back in time to start the first game of the double-dip, but Jose Reyes will return to the Mets' lineup for the nightcap. As I wrote Sunday, Reyes' return to the lineup is compelling due to his impending free agency. He's hitting .336/.377/.507 with 34 steals and 80 runs in 98 games and is still leading the majors with 16 triples, but health questions might mitigate how much money Reyes commands on the open market. Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 4.30) is the Marlins' starter while Dillon Gee (11-5, 4.37) gets the nod for the Mets. Marlins at Mets, 7:40 p.m. ET (if not later, as it's the second game of the doubleheader).

Hurly Buehrle: The White Sox have won three straight and trail the Tigers by six in the AL Central. They can't wait much longer to get on a serious run, or else they'll be too far back come mid-September, so the time is now to build a huge winning streak. Monday, Mark Buehrle (10-6, 3.19) will be the White Sox's starter against the Twins. If recent history is any indication, a win should be coming. Buehrle has a 0.39 ERA and 0.61 WHIP in three starts against the Twins this season. On the flip-side, the White Sox have owned Twins starter Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.84) over the course of his career, as Slowey has a 6.39 ERA in 38 innings against the White Sox. Still, games aren't won on paper or past history. Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 28, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Reyes expected to join Mets Monday

By Matt Snyder

After going 2-for-5 with a run scored in eight innings Saturday night for Double-A Binghamton, the Mets announced via press release that All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes is expected to return from his minor-league rehab stint and be activated Monday. The Mets have a doubleheader against the Marlins, so expect Reyes in the lineup for at least one of the two games.

Reyes will give the Mets' offense a jolt, but his return to the field is compelling for a different reason. He will be a free agent after the season. Should he stay healthy and close the month of September on a strong note, he'll command a pretty huge salary on the free agent market. If he injures himself again -- especially if he hurts his hamstring again -- it will cost him a pretty penny.

Reyes, 28, is one of the most exciting players in baseball when healthy. He's hitting .336/.377/.507 with 34 steals and 80 runs in 98 games and is still leading the majors with 16 triples.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 26, 2011 10:07 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 10:10 am
 

First rehab outing goes well for Reyes

By Matt Snyder

In the first game of a rehab assignment to help him recover from a hamstring injury, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes played five innings for Double-A Binghamton Thursday night, going 0-1 with a walk. He didn't have a fielding chance at shortstop. So it's hard to really judge much on his numbers. Still, that hardly matters in a rehab assignment for a superstar. What really matters is his health. And Reyes seems to think it went well.

"It feels good," he said after the game of his recovering hamstring (MLB.com). "Right now it's no problem, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be more active on the field. I'll go home, rest, and come back tomorrow and see what happens."

Reyes is scheduled to play seven rehab innings Friday night, nine Saturday and then rejoin the Mets Monday.

Reyes will obviously boost the Mets' offense when he's activated from the disabled list, but his return to the field is interesting for a different reason. The Mets won't be making the playoffs. Reyes will, however, be a free agent at the conclusion of the season. Should he stay healthy and close the month of September on a strong note, he'll command a pretty huge salary on the free agent market. If he injures himself again -- especially if he hurts his hamstring again -- it will cost him millions.

Reyes, 28, is one of the most dynamic players in baseball when he's healthy. He's hitting .336/.377/.507 with 34 steals and 80 runs in 98 games and is still leading the majors with 16 triples.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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