Now ... Was That So Hard?

Written by Metstradamus on .

So we finally have a resolution in the Matt Harvey Rehab scandal, which was (gasp) a compromise! Harvey will rehab in New York when the team is at home, and in Port St. Lucie when the team is on the road. As I think about what this story has become in terms of controversy level, I start to think that Justin Turner was right

"So far here, I've only done stories about baseball stuff. In New York, it doesn't matter what it is, everything's a story, and they want to know everything about it. It turns into a big ordeal. Stuff that doesn't even matter."

In the end, this Matt Harvey story didn't matter. They compromised, and that's that. But the road this story took from question to answer was paved with the asphalt of the scorn of anonymous Mets people, pointed in the direction of nowhere by media members paid to turn the sidebar into the story by executives looking for page hits and paid subscriptions. The vicious cycle continues, doesn't it? Only in New York.

 

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Is Jeff Francoeur A Fit For The Mets?

Written by Metstradamus on .

Hell no!!! Are you insane???

My sincere apologies to those of you who read this post while inebriated or baked. But, y'know ... drugs are bad.

Besides, who needs the recently released Francoeur when we have Ike Davis who has decided that he is now the Babe Ruth of hitting against the Twins and the Marlins. Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores also homered, and Bartolo Colon even drove in a run with a single. (Notably, he did so without needing an oxygen mask and intravenous fluids.) The Mets are obviously ready for the season, and Tim Teufel is a little bit too excited:

Sure Tim, we'll be there. Can you play shortstop?

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Bizzaro Spring

Written by Metstradamus on .

We all might have crossed over into the alternate universe, my friends.

We've spent all spring complaining about how the Mets don't have a shortstop worth a damn, and how the Mets have two first basemen that can't stay healthy and get on the field. So what do you think happens on Friday? Ruben Tejada gets his fifth straight hit, Ike Davis hits a double that drives in Tejada, aaaaaaaaaaaaand Lucas Duda ... and then Duda this a two run homer in the Mets' 9-1 win over the Twins.

I'm afraid we've all entered a world where nothing makes sense anymore. Think about it, if there was a guy that was in a medically induced coma for 20 years that woke up, and this was the first baseball game that he saw, he would think that Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis, and Lucas Duda were among the best that baseball had to offer. It's very hard to reconcile this in my head. We've crossed the streams, folks. What's next? Bowls made of bacon? Cats walking dogs? Duke losing in the first round?

Oh wait, those things already happen all the time. Must be that Ricky Nolasco just isn't that good.

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Logical Thinking

Written by Metstradamus on .

Yeah, let's send this guy to the minors.

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Taking A Breath

Written by Metstradamus on .

For lack of anything better to post after an off day (and because I don't much feel like searching for Mets drama, and I'm still hacked about losing in the first round of my Mets Blogger Bracket), here's a podcast from former Mets outfielder Ellis Valentine. It's from this past Sunday courtesy of my friends at Sportstalk NY. They give me five minutes every Sunday to complain about the Mets on their show, which if you are a baseball fan you should totally listen to because they have good guests like Valentine, Ron Darling, Todd Pratt, Paul Lo Duca, and many more all the time.

And go follow them on Twitter.

Valentine is notable because the former Montreal Expo will be in Montreal for the Jays/Mets exhibitions next week in baseball's return to Montreal. Gary Carter will be honored before the March 28th game, and it would be a nice touch if the Mets would all wear number 8 during the game to mark baseball's return to Montreal. Of course, the Mets are probably more worried about how they can keep their players from having personalities, so I'm not holding my breath. But it would be nice.

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Nobody Puts Harvey In A Corner

Written by Metstradamus on .

Are you kidding me?

All right, so you've probably read the Andy Martino piece about Matt Harvey by now, and you can read the entire thing here if you haven't. But here's a summary: Matt Harvey is giving an interview, Jay Horwitz comes over and attempts to break it up like he's Dave Hebner, and Harvey reminds the public relations director that its his right under the CBA to relate to the public. Sandy Alderson has to be brought in to clarify things, and then we all continue to talk about what Martino was trying to talk to Harvey about in the first place: where he should rehab.

On the one hand, Harvey is within his rights to rehab where he wants to rehab, and to talk to whoever he wants to. The question then becomes: is it a good idea to rehab in New York? Is it a good idea to give interviews while rehabbing? You might not think so. You might think that Harvey is too worried about publicity and the spotlight than he is about pitching. It's kind of like when Oliver Perez refused the assignment to Buffalo. Perez was perfectly within his rights to refuse the assignment. But doing what was within his rights to do was the worst idea for his own career, and it screwed over the Mets in the process.

I just realized that I just compared Matt Harvey to Oliver Perez ... and did it completely sober. I can guarantee this is the only time that Matt Harvey will ever be compared to Oliver Perez ... I hope.

But the bigger issue is this: How in the world does a team from New York City turn a simple spring training clubhouse interview into the next great controversy of our time? A f*cking interview!!! And it was transformed into a family squabble about the sexual habits of Uncle Willie played out in front of Tammy's book club, who just came over for lady fingers and tea. How the hell does stupid shit like this keep happening to this team?

And what exactly was the end game to awkwardly interrupting the interview and turning what was going to be just another Matt Harvey story into Battlefield Earth? To keep Harvey's personality in check? To avoid pissing off all of the other reporters that didn't get access to Matt Harvey because they didn't realize they needed to hear from him until somebody else got him? I loved that after the one-on-one, the Mets pushed Harvey to talk to all of the reporters at once because "well now it's only fair." It's like the kid that gets caught smoking, and for punishment he has to smoke the whole carton of cigarettes. For the love ... an interview between Andy Martino and Matt Harvey wound up getting Sandy Alderson and the entire New York press corps involved. For no good reason, either. Completely idiotic. Or as Mets fans call it ... Tuesday.

And you thought this Andy Martino interview was controversial, wait until he finds all of his "Mets sources" to tell him that the club is slightly perturbed with the fact that Harvey has more personality than drying paint, a weighted donut, or Lucas Duda.

Oh, and the Mets won 5-4 on Tuesday against the Tigers. Andrew Brown won the game with a walk-off hit in the ninth, and Daisuke Matsuzaka was terrible, giving up home runs to Miguel Cabrera (a forgivable sin) and Tyler Collins (he needs to repent for that one), but will still get the fifth starter spot because veteran leadership and professionalism! Oh, and Matsuzaka has developed a little pelvic wiggle in his delivery that looks like he's performing in an adult oriented movie. The wiggle might need to be pixelated at some point. Then again, if Matsuzaka carries today's outing into the regular season, more than just his hips need to be censored.

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This Must Be What Hell Is Like

Written by Metstradamus on .

The first thing one would have noticed about Sunday's Mets/Cardinals game was that they faced Adam Wainwright for the second time in five days. It's part of the horror of facing the same three teams in spring training because everybody has either moved to Arizona or western Florida. But gosh darn it why Wainwright again? We already see him in our nightmares. Now, every fifth day?

Combine that with this sight, courtesy of the bottom of the third inning, when everybody was expecting Jon Niese to return to the mound:

Jon? Jon??? JON!!!

No, Jon wasn't coming out. He came up with left elbow discomfort during his second inning of work against St. Louis on Sunday, and after another trip to New York Niese will lead the league in MRI's. And I thought ... this is how hell would be, wouldn't it? You wake up in your bed of flames, check the pitching matchups and see that "oh, we're going against Wainwright again." Every single day. Who do the Mets have going? Doesn't matter, because that pitcher will leave the game with an injury at some point during the game. You don't know when, but you know it's coming. And finishing off the game will be Aaron Heilman, Guillermo Mota, and Alay Soler to face Chipper Jones who is batting first through ninth in the lineup.

Oh, and Ruben Tejada makes an error. Every game. Yup, that's hell.

The Mets wound up defeating the Cardinals 10-4, but it doesn't matter as it is becoming increasingly apparent that Niese's arm might fall between now and ... now. And the Mets will probably respond by putting Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen just to spite me. But the good news was hearing the Cardinals announcers say that Chris Young has been working with Rod Carew all winter on hitting the ball the other way. Perhaps with the first base battle between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis resembling the battle between Herbert the Pedophile and Franz Gutentag on Family Guy, Carew would be interested in being Josh Satin's lefthanded platoon partner at first base. All we can hope for at this point is that Carew doesn't hire Scott Boras ... Hell's official tour guide ... to be his agent.

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Mets Across America

Written by Metstradamus on .

No need to beware the Ides of March, folks. Because the New York Mets are busy spreading cheer from coast to coast with their impressive baseball skills.

On the east coast, the Mets were led by Dillon Gee battling past the Twins lineup and Chris Young's long home run to tie Minnesota 3-3. It would have been a Mets victory except for Vic Black continuing his campaign to make me look bad after I've been so high on him. Black's wonderful eighth inning included three hits and two walks for the seven batters he faced ... legends such as Alex Presley, Brandon Waring, Eduardo Escobar, and Jermaine Mitchell. Black best be careful not to struggle against minor leaguers, lest he join them soon. Especially with Jeurys Familia breaking Taylor Teagarden's mitt with 100 mph pitches.

(Editor's note: That might be more indicative of the Mets not being able to afford proper equipment for their players.)

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, the Mets defeated the Cubs 9-4 at Cashman Field as the Mets beat up on the likes of Zac Rosscup, Paolo Espino, and Justin Grimm. It was almost unfair as their ninth inning rally was keyed by Zach Lutz and Kirk Nieuwenhuis who, let's face it, know the ballpark well. Bartolo Colon, like Black, was also hammered pretty good, but only by Anthony Rizzo. And this was at the Vegas launching pad. I'm not saying Rizzo's first of two home runs went a long way, but border patrol asked for a passport.

The Mets will be in Vegas for one more day which has me worried. At first I worried about Colon being so close to all those Vegas Strip buffets. But upon further review, Colon can handle big meals. I'm worried about everybody else who is in decent shape coming back. Curtis Granderson, for example, is strong and wiry. If he has to be rolled off the airplane after it touches back down in Florida, I'm going to be pissed.

But if this picture is any indication, Granderson is doing okay:

 

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Inconsistencies

Written by Metstradamus on .

The Mets/Nationals game on Thursday was not televised. It was also not on the radio. But I did notice ...

Daisuke Matsuzaka: three innings, two hits, three strikeouts. With the Mets seemingly searching for every excuse to put Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen, this isn't good news. The enablers have ammunition now.

But it got me thinking about what I wrote yesterday about Sandy Alderson and Stephen Drew. I still believe every word of it. But I will say this to those who want to use the Ervin Santana signing to chide the Mets for not improving by going after Drew: Ervin Santana is a bad comp. Daisuke Matsuzaka is a better one. While it's not a fool proof comparison because of the finances involved (thanks, Mr. Syndergaard for the inspiration for that last phrase), it does represent an inconsistent organizational philosophy. The Mets will bend over backwards to try to put a veteran in the fifth rotation spot, but will live with Ruben Tejada at shortstop every day?

Seems disjointed to me. On the one hand you want a veteran presence at the expense of a starting pitcher that showed a flash of brilliance last season and has some significant upside. And there's even talk of repeating a Jerry Manuel mistake and putting Mejia in the bullpen. But on the same field they'll stick with Tejada, who made another error today on an easy grounder? There's your Stephen Drew argument. You want Matsuzaka as the fifth starter over a good young player? Fine. Give us Stephen Drew instead of a struggling young player. Can't have it both ways.

Well ... yes you can, if you decide on Drew and Mejia. That would be acceptable. Does this make me a hypocrite? Damn straight it does. (Hey, I only have the Mets best interests at heart.) 

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Lashing Out

Written by Metstradamus on .

The Atlanta Braves are dealing with the loss of Kris Medlen for an extended period of time. How are they dealing with it? By taking quick, decisive action of course. The Braves (or Barves, as you might know them from the Internet) have signed free agent Ervin Santana to a one year $14 million deal. The immediate impact for the Mets is that he will probably strike out at least ten Mets per game in his brief time with Atlanta.

The side effect seems to be that this has caused more angst at the Mets for not signing Stephen Drew, who has been out there to sign for four months, to upgrade their shortstop position while the Braves basically took three days to decide to spend $14 million on Santana. I get this. It's tough to see the rich get richer while the team in New York takes a more measured approach. Trust me, I can go all day and night about how the Wilpons put this franchise in such disarray that they let Jose Reyes go to the Marlins without so much as a box of chocolates.

Let's face it, it's fun to lash out. And trust me, the Mets will give us plenty of opportunities to let loose with the insults and the jokes. I for one, am looking forward to that day. I'm sure many of you wish that David Wright would step up and voice frustration instead of continuing to be the nice guy that David is. But Wright gets paid a lot of money to be happy so for him to lash out wouldn't do him any good. It would only invite criticism, which is counterproductive.

But there are some things that need to be understood here ... that we need to be reminded of when it comes to the current compellation of the Mets. If we've learned anything about Sandy Alderson, it is that he is risk averse. If you look at pretty much every transaction that Alderson has made up until this season, the risk involved has been minimal. Trades like Beltran for Wheeler and Dickey for Syndergaard and d'Arnaud are risk averse in the sense that even if none of the players back in the deal work out, at least the Mets aren't going to have to see Beltran and Dickey kill them for 20 years. As far as free agents go, Curtis Granderson probably represents the biggest risk that Alderson has ever taken, but Alderson bought low on him. And even that seems like a move that isn't going to murder them like the Jason Bay contract did simply because even the Mets couldn't be that unlucky, could they?

(Don't answer that.)

The risks that Alderson takes are in conjunction with the level of improvement the risk provides. Granderson is a slam dunk improvement over what the Mets had in the outfield. Stephen Drew? Sure, he'd be an improvement over Ruben Tejada. But how much? And at what cost? And for what benefit? First answer: Tejada would have to really be a disaster in the spring for Drew to be a significant enough upgrade. Second answer: Scott Boras is Drew's agent. Third answer: If Matt Harvey was in the fold this season, I think Stephen is playing behind John Lannan and Carlos Torres today. Because then there would be a real chance for the Mets to contend beyond the usual "if everything goes perfectly and Mercury Retrograde doesn't go that badly this season the Mets might contend to be the road team in a hokey one-game playoff" chance. Now? Why lock themselves into Stephen Drew past this season when there might be better options for 2015 and beyond?

This seems to be what Sandy Alderson is thinking, in general and specifically. Of course I say this without a lick of knowledge of the inner workings, but going with what we know, I'm comfortable with the above paragraph. Is Alderson right? I'm not sure but I understand. Do Mets fans have a right to be frustrated at this? Same answer: I'm not sure, but I understand. Look, the Mets have always done what's necessary lately. Granderson was necessary to replace Marlon Byrd. Bartolo Colon was necessary to replace Matt Harvey. That extra signing that adds victories on top of that? The Mets haven't done that lately. And that makes Mets fans want to bash their heads into the wall. I remember when the Rangers signed Wayne Gretzky and Neil Smith basically said that he signed Gretzky as a "treat" for Rangers fans. More so than what Gretzky could do for the club. (The mistake was not getting him a real winger but that rant is for another blog.) The Mets always seem to only do what's absolutely necessary. That extra step hasn't been in the Mets wheelhouse lately. I think that frustrates Mets fans more than anything, especially after going through what can be termed as "the five years from hell". Where's our treat?

(And yes, I'm perfectly aware that Stephen Drew has no similarities to Wayne Gretzky except that they both had brothers who played in the league.)

What this really comes down to is how Mets fans feel about how bad Ruben Tejada is and will be. He's had a terrible start to spring training, but I'm not sure how much that has to do with anything. I, for example, have this fear that Ruben Tejada's 2012 might be a fluke. I wonder if others have the same fear, and want an upgrade this season before Tejada proves that theory with a second bad year after one good year. If that happens, and Drew goes somewhere in June and helps that team make the playoffs, people are going to storm the castle with pitchforks and blowtorches.

If Tejada merely splits the difference between his good season and bad season, it might not be worth the millions of dollars one would pay for a modest upgrade for Drew. I understand it if you might think that Tejada isn't even going near that middle ground. I have my doubts as well. But it's important to know that while nothing is off the table, the Mets signing Stephen Drew would be a departure from Alderson's norm. And it's also important to know that while the Mets are probably trying to talk Scott Boras down, and that Drew would still be a possibility if Tejada's bad spring extends past one or two horrible games, the main issue seems to be that the Mets don't think Drew is a premium talent or a big enough upgrade from Tejada rather than the issue being purely money. I could live with that a lot easier than I could live with the Mets not signing Drew because they're broke.

So I'll save my lashing out for another day.

***

As for Wednesday's game, the Mets lost 6-4 to the Cardinals as John Lannan made a case to be on the big club with a very good outing ... four innings, five strikeouts, two unearned runs. The bad news is that the bullpen continued to be hilarious as Kyle Farnsworth gave up a bomb to Kolten Wong in the seventh to go along with the two runs Jose Valverde gave up yesterday, and the home run by Giancarlo Stanton on Monday off Jack Leathersich that still hasn't landed. Well, I wanted hard throwers in the bullpen, didn't I ...

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