Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Blevins’

By Steven Inman

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Photo by Fox Sports

After losing the N.L. Wild Card Game, the Mets entered the offseason with a long list of needs. The club did most of their heavy lifting early by bringing back Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker. The Mets feel their bullpen is an area that needs improvement with the possibility that closer Jeurys Familia will miss time with a suspension after an alleged domestic violence incident. The Mets reportedly had interest in a few relievers that have gone off the board recently such as Brad Ziegler, who signed a multi-year contract with division rival Miami.

Junichi Tazawa, 30, would also have been a good fit for the Mets to eat up some middle relief innings but he also went to the Marlins. The Mets have been saying to agents that they are unable to add more salary now until they can move one of their expensive outfielders, most likely Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson. The Mets have gotten more bites on Granderson than Bruce but neither has been seen by other teams as much more than a salary dump. Granderson finished the season red hot for the Mets and in my opinion is the better fit for New York in 2017. The Mets should have just dumped Jay Bruce so they don’t get left out in the cold on the reliever market. The longer the Mets stubbornly hold on to Bruce, the more likely they are going to miss out on adding to this bullpen.

The trade for Jay Bruce was very perplexing when it happened as the Mets didn’t really have a fit for him and the team was overly left-handed before the deal. The team was probably hoping Bruce, who didn’t cost much to get, would get hot like Cespedes did when acquired the summer before, but Bruce went on to not hit at all in his 2 plus months in Queens. That should have been the reason for the Mets to decline Bruce’s $13M team option as he really didn’t have much trade value. There is also the legitimate question of whether Bruce can handle the spotlight of playing in New York City. Some Mets fans believe picking up Bruce’s option was done as a “hedge” to protect themselves if Cespedes departed. If the Mets lost Cespedes they would have been better off declining Bruce’s option and using that money to add a different outfielder like Ian Desmond. It’s easy to wonder if the Mets, who were 25th in runs last year, lost Cespedes and replaced him with Jay Bruce for a full season, would they have scored the least amount of runs in the National League?

To start the offseason teams like the Blue Jays and Orioles reportedly were willing to take on Bruce’s contract but the Mets demanded something for the slugger. When the Orioles showed interest earlier in the offseason, the Mets reportedly asked for All-Star reliever Brad Brach. It seems like the Orioles moved on to trying to re-sign Mark Trumbo after that request, at least for the moment.

Now with so many notable home run hitters still stuck on the free agent board the Mets would be very fortunate to get someone to take Jay Bruce off their hands. Think of the scenario from an opposing team’s viewpoint: why would a team take on Bruce’s $13M and give the Mets something in a trade when they can just sign a similar player like free agent Chris Carter to a cheaper contract?

The Jay Bruce move continues to hurt the Mets and if they don’t clear payroll soon, they might lose out on re-signing Jerry Blevins or another lefty specialist that they need.  Also moving Bruce is vital for the Mets so they can get Michael Conforto every day at-bats. It’s going to be a distracting storyline in Spring Training if the Mets are unable to move Jay Bruce before camp opens in 6 weeks.

Do you think the Mets have been asking for too much in a Jay Bruce deal?

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By Steven Inman

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Photo by Newsday

A Mets season that was filled with many ups and downs ended on its lowest note as Madison Bumgarner shut down the Mets in the NL Wild Card game at Citi Field. On paper, when healthy, the Mets still have a very good team entering 2017 but if they want to win their first World Series since 1986, or even take the National League East back from Washington, they’re going to have to make some quality decisions. The Mets payroll entered 2016 at around $135 million, its highest since 2011. After acquiring Jay Bruce at the trade deadline, the Mets payroll is in the $140M range now. It’s highly unlikely the club will be able to go much higher than that. Having said that, $140M is a far cry from what the payroll was a few short seasons ago under $85M. The Mets payroll should be in the 6-10 range in baseball which should be enough to support what the Mets are trying to do. With huge raises in arbitration coming for some key Mets, plus Neil Walker accepting the qualifying offer at $17.2M the Mets aren’t going to be able to add much new money so they’re going to have to get creative.

Here are the annual MLB Trade Rumors arbitration projections for the Mets.

Rene Rivera is likely a non-tender guy (who could be brought back at a smaller salary) but the rest of these players will be here, barring a trade. The Mets need to improve their offense and maybe address the bullpen as Jeurys Familia is probably looking at a lengthy suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident. Sandy Alderson and his front office have their work cut out for them but the correct moves can bring Queens a title. Here is what they should do.

 

  1. Re-sign Yoenis Cespedes to play left field

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    Yoenis Cespedes must be the Mets #1 priority this winter

Yoenis Cespedes has been a very polarizing figure since arriving in New York at the 2015 trade deadline but make no mistake about it, the Mets are a completely different team when the Cuban slugger is healthy. When Cespedes did not play in 2016, the Mets had a 13-17 record. He’s a complete game changer, especially as a left fielder. He really struggled range-wise in center field and the amount of running required for that position was taxing on his legs. Keeping him in left field will make the Mets defense better and give Cespedes a better chance of staying healthy. I think at the end of the day Cespedes would return to the Mets on a 4 year deal worth a little over $100M with another opt-out involved in the contract. The Mets are a little concerned not over dollars with Cespedes but the length of any deal. It’s fair to wonder if Cespedes would give an all-out effort if he was not playing for a huge payday but #52 is definitely worth taking that risk.

  1. Sign Dexter Fowler

It’s hard to imagine the Mets finding the funds to sign Cespedes and CF Dexter Fowler but the speedy outfielder is the perfect fit. Fowler would give the Mets an actual center fielder at spacious Citi Field instead of letting a corner guy like Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson or Yoenis Cespedes patrol out there. Fowler is an on-base machine at the top of a lineup and really improved his defensive metrics this season thanks to playing deeper in the outfield. He is probably looking at a 4-year deal at around $15M a season but at just 30 years old he should be able to hold up health wise. Fowler just helped the starving Cubs fan base end a 108 year title drought so I don’t think the bright lights of New York City would be too much for him. With that said, if the Mets sign Fowler they would have to forfeit a draft pick.

So how can the Mets afford Fowler and Cespedes you may be wondering?

  1. Trade Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson

Both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson are in the final years of their contracts and in my opinion the Mets would be better off letting the two conclude their deals elsewhere. Both are lefty swinging corner outfielders who really don’t fit on the same team. It didn’t make much sense to bring Jay Bruce to Queens in the first place. Bruce not hitting for an entire summer in New York should have convinced everyone in the Met front office that they should move on from him, especially with better options available at similar salaries. The Blue Jays thought they had a deal for Bruce done last spring; perhaps they have interest in him again. Granderson’s strong finish to the year will probably be able to entice some team to take on the final year of his deal.While the Grandyman has been a good citizen and was huge in the Mets 2015 postseason run, he will be 36 before Opening Day and is a below average defender due to his declining range and poor arm. Clearing Bruce’s $13M and Granderson’s $15M would give the Mets enough money to sign both Cespedes and Fowler and perhaps pave the way to consistent playing time for Michael Conforto. Conforto could become one of the Mets best hitters if they just gave him the playing time he needs. Both Granderson and Bruce are older guys coming off mediocre years so it’s hard to imagine the Mets getting anything of value for either player but getting their contracts off the books would be huge for the Mets offseason. Getting these two out of the Mets lineup would allow the team’s outfield defense to improve tremendously along with preventing the club from being overly left-handed like they were in 2016.

  1. Re-sign Jerry Blevins

Often the most overlooked pitcher in the Mets brilliant 2016 bullpen, Jerry Blevins was terrific in his second season for the Mets and retaining him should be a priority for the Mets. With Familia facing a potential suspension the Mets need to find as many reliable arms as they can get their hands on and Blevins has proven in New York that he can get big outs. Terry Collins was able to push a mostly injured Met group to the playoffs but one of his huge weaknesses as a manager is overusing his best bullpen arms. If the Mets do not find more bullpen help Collins will overuse Addison Reed without a doubt. With big left-handed bats like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy with the Washington Nationals, the Mets could probably use a second Jerry Blevins, much less lose the one they already have.

The offseason is a tricky time for baseball front offices. All teams enter the winter with holes they would like to address but budgets can cause teams to be unable to fill all of their concerns. The Mets would love to upgrade at catcher and possibly add some rotation insurance after they lost 4 of their 5 young stud starters to season-ending injuries but that is unlikely to happen. If the Mets are able to re-sign Cespedes and Blevins along with adding another key bat (preferably a center fielder) the Mets could be parading down the canyon of heroes next November.

How should the Mets upgrade their team this winter?

By Steven Inman

With less than 2 weeks before Opening Day, the Mets Opening Day roster is pretty much set. The only questions left are with a few injuries along with spots on the bench and the bullpen still to be determined. Here’s how we expect it to all shake out.

The Starting Rotationdownload

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jacob deGrom
  4. Bartolo Colon
  5. Steven Matz

Matt Harvey has already been named the Mets opening night starter in Kansas City. After a strong 2015 season along with a brilliant performance in WS Game 5 against KC, Harvey has certainly earned the honor of starting opening night.  Jacob deGrom’s wife is expected to give birth around April 5th so Noah Syndergaard will start the second game. If deGrom is back from his expected paternity leave he will likely start Game 3 with 3rd year Met Bartolo Colon and rookie Steven Matz behind him in the rotation.

The Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson RFdownload (1)
  2. Neil Walker 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. David Wright 3B
  6. Michael Conforto LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) is questionable for Opening Day. It is unknown if he will get the at-bats needed this spring to be able to be ready for the season. The Mets seem to believe that he will be ready so we will put him in the starting lineup for now. After releasing Ruben Tejada the Mets don’t have much shortstop depth with major league experience.

If Cabrera is not ready Wilmer Flores will likely step in to the starting lineup at shortstop. The Mets will need Wilmer to play third base a few days a week for the aging David Wright. This could be a very big year for the Mets two youngest starting position players, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto.

The Bullpen

  1. Jeurys Familiadownload (2)
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Antonio Bastardo
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Hansel Robles
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Jim Henderson

Terry Collins said a few weeks ago that the first five on this lists already had spots cemented in the Opening Day bullpen. Hansel Robles will be suspended for the KC series but the Mets will not be able to replace him on the roster while he is out. Gilmartin was very solid last year as a long man for the Mets after coming over from the Twins as a Rule 5 pick. Jim Henderson, the former Brewers closer, has regained velocity and looks very sharp this spring. While the Mets can send Henderson to the minors, he has looked very solid and if the Mets believe he can go back to being the reliever he was when he pitched the 9th for Milwaukee, then he certainly would be a fine addition to the Mets bullpen. Other candidates are Erik Goeddel who has been injured most of the spring and Logan Verrett who is likely competing with Gilmartin for the Mets long man role.

The Bench

  1. Wilmer Floresdownload (3)
  2. Juan Lagares
  3. Alejandro De Aza
  4. Kevin Plawecki
  5. Eric Campbell

Thanks to additions to the Mets starting lineup, players that were expected to get major at-bats like De Aza and Flores now become solid and versatile bench players. Flores will help Wright at third and will back up at short and second. Neil Walker didn’t hit lefties much last season so Flores could get at-bats at second vs. lefties. Expect Flores to play a lot this season even though he isn’t an “everyday player” anymore.

While Juan Lagares is a very good center fielder expect him to play some left field as a defensive replacement for Conforto. Terry Collins is wary of moving Cespedes all around the outfield so Lagares may not play much center field while Yoenis is in the game.

The Mets were interested in finding a backup catcher so Kevin Plawecki wouldn’t be sitting on the bench so often but they haven’t found a player they like yet so Kevin stays on this list. The Mets believe an extra 200 plate appearances for Plawecki in the minors would really help his development offensively. Thanks to the trade of Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell makes the club as the 25th man. Campbell has struggled in the majors the past few seasons but has had a strong spring and can play the infield and outfield corners. A majority of Terry Collins’ bench can play multiple positions.

With two weeks to go still before the season, injuries can alter this list. On paper this is a very strong roster that should have Citi Field buzzing all summer. Do you agree with this 25-man roster projection?

By Steven Inman

April 19th was a very bad  day for the New York Mets

April 19th was a very bad day for the New York Mets (Photo by NY Post)

Before the season we talked about how Travis d’Arnaud needed a hot start more than any other Met and he has done just that. The 26-year old d’Arnaud is hitting .317 with 2 homers and a team leading 10 RBIs. The catcher also started 11 of the Mets 13 games so far.

Perhaps just as importantly, d’Arnaud’s defense has improved as well. In the Marlins series he threw out Dee Gordon twice. Teams would try to run consistently in 2014 when Travis was behind the plate. The catcher has also done a nice job of pitch framing as well.

With all the talk in spring of how great top prospect Kevin Plawecki looks, it was easy to connect the dots. If Travis didn’t play well than they had a suitable replacement for the backstop. Plawecki had a 5 RBI game for the 51’s in Triple-A on Saturday but for the most part has gotten off to a slow start. Plawecki was hitting just .216 in 37 at-bats in Vegas.

Travis d’Arnaud is a big reason why the Mets are in first place two weeks into the year but now because one reliever couldn’t find the strike zone, he is gone indefinitely.

The David Wright injury was a huge blow but this one is far worse as d’Arnaud although still early, was having a breakout year and will be out at least a few months. Kevin Plawecki, who was not playing well in Triple-A will come up and get the first crack at being the Mets #1 catcher while d’Arnaud is down.

Plawecki will be the second player drafted by Sandy Alderson to make his debut with the Mets. The first was Danny Muno last week.

Although the Mets are on an eight game winning streak and seemingly buried the Miami Marlins in the process it was a very somber mood around the clubhouse following the win. While the team has played well on their way to tying a franchise record best 10-3 start, the injuries have piled up and it may be too much to overcome at this point.

After already losing Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin for the season the team then lost David Wright for at least three weeks and now a catcher who could have made his first all-star game this year.

The Mets a half inning earlier also lost key reliever Jerry Blevins to a fractured forearm after he was struck in his pitching arm by a comebacker. Blevins didn’t think it was a big deal before he got the diagnosis as he wanted to stay in the game. Blevins had not allowed a baserunner from the 15 batters he faced in 2015. He was the Mets best reliever through the club’s first 13 games but now they will have to hope Alex Torres can throw enough strikes to get lefties out.

Now it is next man up and if this magical start is to continue than it is going to have to be thanks to unknown players like Kevin Plawecki. The Mets had a similar situation in 2006 when key pitchers like Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez went down and young guys like John Maine stepped up big and helped will the Mets to the best record in the National League and their last playoff berth. Maybe a similar story will ensue but we will now know how much depth the Mets truly have.

Can the Mets hold on and continue to play well?

By Steven Inman

The 2015 season is finally here. Barring some sort of bizarre injury, here is your 2015 Mets Opening Day roster.

Starting pitchers: 

Matt Harvey will start Game 3 on the road as well as the Mets second Citi Field Game next week

Matt Harvey will start Game 3 on the road as well as the Mets second Citi Field Game next week

1. Bartolo Colon

 2. Jacob deGrom

 3. Matt Harvey

 4. Jonathon Niese 

5. Dillon Gee

This is the order the Mets will go the first couple times through the rotation. The team will start arguably their worst starter on Opening Day in Colon. There are probably many reasons for this but the most public one at the moment is that way Harvey doesn’t start the home opener and will start the second Citi Field game which the Mets believe will maximize ticket sales. This is a clueless, idiotic way to run a franchise IF true, but hey its Opening Day so we won’t harp on the negatives today.

Relievers: 

Jenrry Mejia had a rough spring but will it carry over into the season?

Jenrry Mejia had a rough spring but will it carry over into the season?

6. Jenrry Mejia

7. Jeurys Familia 

8. Carlos Torres

9. Jerry Blevins

10. Alex Torres

11. Rafael Montero

12. Sean Gilmartin

13. Buddy Carlyle

Sean Gilmartin pitched well as Spring Training came to a close and will not be offered back to the Twins just yet, If he can make it all season on the Mets roster or DL he will become Mets property. The Mets didn’t want to lose Buddy Carlyle either who had an opt-out date coming up so the club elected to keep him and go with 8 relievers, Bobby Parnell and Vic Black will start the year on the DL but both should be ready to contribute at some point in the first half with Black likely ready soon. 

Starting Position Players: 

One thing to watch early on is if the Daniel Murphy-Wilmer Flores combo are able to sucessfully turn double plays

One thing to watch early on is if the Daniel Murphy-Wilmer Flores combo are able to sucessfully turn double plays

14. Travis d’Arnaud

15. Lucas Duda

16. Daniel Murphy

17.  David Wright

18.  Wilmer Flores

19.  Michael Cuddyer

20.  Juan Lagares 

21. Curtis Granderson

After much debate Daniel Murphy will in fact be ready for Opening Day and will meet his teammates in Washington for Monday’s opener. Terry Collins is planning on moving Murphy down in the order to get him more RBI opportunities but he is probably better off in his usual #2 spot in my opinion. 

Bench: 

22. Anthony Recker

23.  Ruben Tejada

24.  John Mayberry Jr

25. Kirk Nieuwenhuis

With the Mets carrying 8 relievers, they will go with a 4-man bench to start the season. Eric Campbell would have been the 5th man on the bench but was optioned to Vegas instead. Campbell even worked on catching this spring to make himself even more versatile. A four man bench isn’t the Mets brightest idea but it likely won’t stay like this for more than a few weeks. Collins would use Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter should he use the rest of his bench first. 

 

Should be a fun season and Lets Go Mets!

By Steven Inman

Alex Torres was the first pitcher to wear this padded hat. He elected towear it after former teammate Alex Cobb cgot a concussion from a comebacker

Alex Torres was the first pitcher to wear this padded hat. He elected to wear it after former teammate Alex Cobb got a concussion from a comebacker

The New York Mets made a pair of shrewd moves Monday, acquiring LHP Alex Torres and LHP Jerry Blevins. The Mets were set to enter the regular season with zero lefties with a track record, instead they picked up two solid ones in a few hours.

The first move the Mets made was acquiring Alex Torres in exchange for pitching prospect RHP Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later. Torres will be under Met control through the 2019 season. Torres is expected to wear # 53 in New York. He is not yet arbitration eligible.

Mazzoni, 25, was one of Sandy Alderson’s first draft picks as Met general manager. Mazzoni’s prospect status faded significantly after a rough 2014 that included more injury problems. The Padres will probably move the young right-hander to the bullpen where he will have a much better chance of helping a major league club. The PTBNL is most likely a 2014 Met draft pick. Those guys can’t be traded until a year after signing their draft contracts.

Torres, 27, first came up with the Rays in 2011. He had a very effective season in Tampa in 2013 before being shipped in a trade to the Padres. Torres was still a useful reliever in his lone season in San Diego but struggled mightily with his control. Torres is more effective against right-handed bats than left-handed bats thanks to a quality changeup so he isn’t a guy you bring in for a batter to get one lefty out.

That’s why the club then acquired Jerry Blevins.

Newest Met Jerry Blevins

Newest Met Jerry Blevins

Blevins, 31, is more of the lefty specialist that Terry Collins is looking for. Blevins held LHB to a .160 average in 2014. (.290 vs. RHB) Bob Geren, the Mets bench coach, used to manage Blevins when both were in Oakland. The familiarity was certainly a factor in the move. Blevins will wear #13.

Blevins was traded straight up to the Mets for 27-year old Matt den DekkerThe outfielder hit .238 with a homer and 13 RBI in 237 career plate appearances with the Mets. Despite his age, he still had value because of his elite glove and speed. With Juan Lagares in center and Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the team as a lefty bench bat there was no room for den Dekker here.

Washington will likely put the former Florida Gator on their major league roster with Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth all likely to begin the season on the disabled list. With the Mets opening the season in Washington they will see their old friend very soon.

One of the reasons Blevins was available was a reported dispute between player and team during the club’s arbitration hearing with the lefty. Blevins won his case and will be making $2.4 million in 2015 before becoming a free agent after the season. The deal puts the Mets payroll over $100 million.

Both relievers will help the Mets bullpen significantly. Yes they are both lefties but they will have very different roles in Terry Collins’ suddenly reloaded bullpen. Terrific job by Sandy Alderson and his staff handling this issue.