Archive for February, 2013

By Steven InmanJavier Vazquez

The Mets were looking for a “6th starter” to put on a minor league deal as insurance. That player won’t be Javier Vazquez who won’t be pitching in the majors this season. Vazquez was planning on showcasing himself to major league teams during the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. Vazquez will not pitch in the major leagues this season because he is still recovering from late January surgery on the meniscus in his right knee. Vazquez is still mulling retirement but seems very unlikely to ever pitch in a major league game again.

It appears unlikely the Mets will bring in another starter as insurance. They had some interest in Vazquez as well as Roy Oswalt but neither appear likely to ever become Mets. The Mets will probably stick with what they have and Jenrry Mejia will be the Mets 6th starter who will start the season in triple A Las Vegas.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

According to John Harper of the Daily News the Mets were discussing the possibility of trading Daniel Murphy or even Ruben Tejada, along with some of their younger pitching prospects, to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton. Upton eventually was traded to the Braves in a package centered around Martin Prado after rejecting a trade to go to the Seattle Mariners. Murphy has put up similar numbers to Prado but Prado was in the last year of his contract. I would rather have Murphy under team control for the next three years than Prado for one where I would have to pay him. Arizona did pay him 4 years around $40 million.

Most scouts believe Prado is the only major starting player the Diamondbacks got back for Upton. Murphy or Tejada plus lower level pitching prospects like Michael Fulmer and Rafael Montero would probably be a more appealing package for Upton if I was the Diamondbacks.

If the Mets did trade Murphy and or Tejada, I have no idea who would play middle infield. Justin Turner would probably play second every day but they really don’t have another shortstop option. The Diamondbacks would have had to give the Mets a shortstop like Didi Gregorious or Cliff Pennington. This probably isn’t enough to get a star player like Upton but I didn’t think the Braves package was good enough either. Bottom line is Upton is now on the rival Braves and the Mets will have to fill their outfield needs somewhere else.

By Steven InmanimagesCAU5LIB3

One of the more controversial issues in major league baseball the last few years has been should catchers be allowed to block the plate? It has been controversial ever since Giants superstar Buster Posey was badly injured in a collision at the plate with OF Scott Cousins who was playing with the Marlins at the time. Posey was done for the year and the Giants were basically done. In the two years that Posey has been healthy throughout the whole year the Giants have won the World Series.

Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny who also is a former catcher has been lobbying baseball for a rule change to protect catchers. Apparently Terry Collins agrees with the Matheny and told Travis d’Arnaud today not to block the plate. I told him, ‘Trav, I know you’re a tough guy. I know its baseball. But if you want to play for the next 15 years, the last thing we need is to have you reinjure your knee. Just get in front of that plate and let them have the plate. And if you receive the ball early, get yourself in a good position. But I’m not going to let you stick that left leg out there and have somebody who is just a reckless guy come charging in and have you shorten your career. I’m not going to allow that to happen right now.'” Collins said. D’Arnaud tore part of his PCL in his left knee in June last year and was deemed out for the year. Collins doesn’t want to put the same knee in jeopardy again.

This is the right move because blocking the plate may save a couple runs over the course of the season but is not worth the potential of losing your franchise catcher for any duration of time. The Mets are going to need d’Arnaud later in the season if they want to compete for a playoff spot.

By Steven InmanimagesCAU5LIB3

Zack Wheeler has been scratched from today’s start against the Cardinals with a strained oblique. Wheeler suffered the injury when he was participating in batting practice today. The injury is not considered serious and prospect Darin Gorski will start in Wheeler’s place.

It’s better for Wheeler to get nicked up now in February than in the regular season. He has plenty of time to dazzle the Mets upper management this spring especially with spring training being extended for the World Baseball Classic.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

Lucas Duda has been working with hitting coach Dave Hudgens this spring to remove a lot of the extra movement in his swing. Duda is coming off surgery this offseason on his wrist from moving furniture. He hadn’t been able to start swinging the bat until recently and is a little behind in spring training. Terry Collins gave Duda the day off yesterday as he started just 1 for 8 with six strikeouts so far this spring. Duda remains a work in progress in left field and his wrist isn’t completely recovered yet.

The Mets should be very concerned with Duda, who is the only power threat in their outfield. “He’s not quite ready. He’s behind the other guys. He hasn’t had any cage work, but his hands are starting to feel better, starting to feel stronger, so we can start to ramp up the work load a little bit and work on his timing.” Hudgens said. Duda is only taking about 25 swings a day according to Hudgens. For comparison most hitters in camp take about 150.

Duda doesn’t appear too worried yet and luckily it is still February but this is not a great start for an outfield that has been highly criticized.

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

Terry Collins told reporters that Ruben Tejada will not play at least tonight against the Nationals and tomorrow after injuring his quad today. Collins called it a strain but Tejada downplayed the injury saying he would be back in no time. It’s nothing,” Tejada believes. “I feel it, but I don’t push too much. It’s prevention to stay healthy. This is spring. I felt it today and I stopped.”

While Tejada is out Brandon Hicks will play at shortstop. This should be more concerning than the Mets originally let on because Tejada missed about six weeks with the same injury last year during the season. This time, it doesn’t sound as serious but the injuries are starting to pile up here as Spring Training gets into full swing…

By Steven InmanimagesCADQ3WP8

Pedro Feliciano told reporters over the weekend that he has a small hole in his heart and will be required to wear a heart monitor for the next two weeks. Over that time Feliciano will not be allowed to participate in baseball activities.

With Feliciano trying to make the team as a second lefty this obviously doesn’t help his status but more importantly we all hope health wise that Feliciano will be okay. The condition has not been considered life threatening at this time. Feliciano should still have plenty of time to make a case for the roster if he only misses two weeks.