Roster Moves, Lagares, d’Arnaud, Tejada, Murphy, and a Relevant Line from “Blazing Saddles”

* As Dorothy said, “I don’t think the Mets offense is in Kansas Colorado anymore.”

Wicked-Witch-and-Dorothy-the-wicked-witch-of-the-west-12812604-608-456

 

* Oh, wait. Problem solved. The Mets brain trust just DFA’d Omar Quintanilla. I am shocked — shocked, I tell you — that it didn’t work out. And I am reminded once again of that legendary line uttered by Governor William J. Le Petomane in “Blazing Saddles,” after Hedley Lamarr informs him of a situation in the frontier town of Rock Ridge:

We’ve got to protect our phoney baloney jobs!

The Mets brass snaps into action.

The Mets brass snaps into action.

-

* Can somebody please tell the Mets announcers to stop using the word “schneid” five times every telecast. It’s not that great a word.

* Lost in the Mets miserable Saturday night massacre in Colorado was a textbook use of bench player Bobby Abreu, who on the whole is being used correctly. He pinch-hit for Tejada (after an extremely dumb switch by the Rockies, replacing Logan with Hawkins) in the 9th inning. Abreu doubled and scored the go-ahead run (in the person of PR Eric Young Jr. on Juan Lagaras’ two-out RBI single). That’s twice this year when Lagares put the Mets ahead with late-game heroices only to see the closer blow the game. It’s tempting to tell Juan not to bother. You know, just a quick phone call from the bullpen:

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Lagares: “Hello?”

Reliever: “Hi, Juan. I’m calling from the bullpen.”

Lagares: “Yes?”

Reliever: “Look, you are probably thinking about more late-game heroics, maybe trying to win the game with a clutch hit.”

Lagares: “Yes. I’m coming up to bat next inning. I can’t wait to swing the bat and perhaps help the team win the game.”

Reliever: “Yeah, about that. Me and the guys, see, we’re thinking that would put us in a pretty uncomfortable position. You know, like it’s up to us to try to SAVE ANOTHER GAME. Do we look like life guards to you? You think it’s so easy? Suddenly — bam, home run! — and we’re the goats! So our message is, Juan, you need to take that bat and shove it up your –“

Click, buzzzzz.

* Hitting in the 7-spot in the Mets lineup has gotta be a very tough place to be. Behind you, Ruben Tejada and the pitcher. That is, garbage. Very tough for Travis d’Arnaud to get a good pitch to hit. I wonder how he’d fare in a more optimal spot with some protection. However, there’s really no solution to this dilemma short of acquiring a real, major-league caliber shortstop. And we all know that’s impossible.

darnaud

* Let’s not be fooled by the slash line. All numbers are not equal in baseball, which is a situational sport. Ruben Tejada’s slash line does not begin to tell the story of his terribleness: .182/.302/.207. Somewhere out there, there’s a fan saying, “Hey, the OBP isn’t too bad.” And he’d be wrong. Tejada leads the Mets in walks with 14. Among batters with at least 25 ABs, Ruben’s BB/PA leads the club by a huge margin:

  1. Tejada: .149 BB/PA
  2. Granderson: .116 BB/PA
  3. E. Young: .115 BB/PA

Batting before the Mets’ hitless (to date) #9 spot, Ruben has received 5 IBB and countless pitch-arounds. Not because he’s a threat — 2 doubles and 21 K’s in 82 ABs — but that he’s slightly more of a threat that the hitless guy behind him. His walks are largely not earned; they are given. I don’t know which is more criminal (or just plain lazy): Starting Ruben Tejada as your SS, or having Omar Quintanilla as Plan B.

* “Too bad nobody could see this coming,” said no one, ever.

* Welcome, Wilmer Flores, backup shortstop who nobody seems to think can play the position.  I hope there’s a plan for this guy.

* Observation: I bet Juan Lagares’ defensive stats will go down this year, solely as a result of the quality outfielders to his left and right. Many times I’ve seen Young and Granderson catch balls that Lagares could have easily caught. A few times it’s felt like he’s giving way to the vets. Statistically, Juan’s going to have less PO’s . . . his dWAR will suffer . . . and it’s not going to mean a thing.

* Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth are neck-and-neck for the team lead in saves, with two each. Dice-K for closer! Or maybe Jenrry Mejia! Or maybe Vic Black! Or . . . or . . . or . . . WILMER FLORES!

7895362* Bartolo Colon reminds me of the Mother Goose rhyme:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid!

* I don’t believe the Mets can continue with Daniel Murphy at 2B. He can’t field, there’s no range whatsoever. I like this player a lot — I really do — and he brings a grit and competitiveness that is in short supply in Flushing — but I don’t think the team, as constituted, can give up that much defense up the middle. That is my sad conclusion; he’s got to go, especially sharing that side with immobile Lucas Duda. Defense matters. I hate myself for typing that, Murph.

Daniel-Murphy-error

 

* Nice to see Zach Wheeler throw well in Miami. He needed that one. Nice, too, to see Familia throw darts.

* Team slash line for home games at Citi: .192/.277/.301. Yes, tough park. But opponents slash line is .250/.314/.377. Somehow the Mets are 8-8 across those 16 home games. Amazin!

davidwright

* Do you recall the circumstances of David Wright’s only HR this season? I do. It was in the first game of the season, in the 10th inning, with the Mets trailing 9-5. There was a runner on base, two outs, and a LHP on the mound. Given the lead, and Granderson on-deck, Matt Williams did not bother to make the switch. He kept Jerry Blevens on the mound. David took the LOOGY deep, but it almost could have been called defensive indifference. And so far, that’s been it from David. As my mom says, “He’s due.”

screen-shot-2014-04-23-at-9-28-49-am* In case you missed it, Yunel Escobar struck out on a 4-2 pitch and even Instant Reply couldn’t get it right. Hiiiilllll-larious. Hat tip, Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk.

* I thought Collins game-management in the 8th — after Duda’s single, bunting Recker (yuck), pinch-hitting Abreu for Tejada, then pinch-hitting Satin for the pitcher was horrendous. He burned three guys, pointlessly. The play there, IMO, was to let Recker hit (yes, and risk the DP), bunt Tejada (the one thing he can actually do), then pinch-hit Abreu for the pitcher with Juan Lagares on deck for protection. Bringing up Josh Satin against RHP Koehler and his fabulous curveball had almost no chance of succeeding. As I texted Mike, Omar Quintanilla had a better shot of getting a hit in that spot. “Slim” being better than “none,” you see.

* Mets were 15-11 not too long ago. Which reminds me of a song . . .

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20 comments

  1. Pressure is on Jenrry Mejia to perform or move to the pen. Regardless of where you feel he should be — or should have been — this seems like bungled management to me, and not the way to get the best from a (very) promising prospect. “Hello, Jenrry. You are meat.” Young players struggle, stumble, falter, fail as part of the process. This feels like a complete lack of support, where they are almost hoping he fails to help solve the logjam that they created through years of inactivity and lack of planning.

    A trade would make sense.

    I keep feeling, “There must be more than this.” And there never seems to be.

  2. Reese Kaplan says:

    I find it interesting that no one said “boo” about Zack Wheeler’s numbers (prior to yesterday’s gem) which were inferior to Mejia’s. Colon’s are inferior but he has a track record so he gets benefit of doubt. Mejia shouldn’t live like Flores will, always worrying that one bad game will get him banished to the bench.

    I applaud the team for trying to fix what ails them. However, until the manager goes, they’re not serious about the effort.

    Take yesterday’s debacle. I didn’t even have as big a problem with them burning through so many players so quickly as I did using Josh Satin who has been struggling against lefties — his better side — instead of Eric Young, Jr. or Omar Quintanilla who are lefties to face the right handed pitcher. That compounded foolishness with stupidity (or is it the other way around?)

    • Collins is incompetent. Josh Satin is 0-7 this year against RHP, and Koehler was extremely tough, great curveball. Career Josh has .221 BA against RHP with .632 OPS. There’s a reason why he’s (at best) a platoon guy. Against LHP over his career he’s got a .296 BA and .836 OPS. A good PH candidate . . . against LHP only!

      Meanwhile, Q can’t hit anybody and EY didn’t get in the game at all.

      Strange that TC keeps fussing about trying to get EY into games and then, INSANELY, he rests both JL and CY in the same game. If he staggered it, EY gets back-to-back starts and both players get the same rest (and outfield defense is better in both games).

      EY is actually best suited for that big park. His small-ball game is enhanced there, and more valuable.

  3. IB says:

    I’m morphing into a Marlins fan. Almost all kids given a shot regardless of team control or minor league experience. Kids like Ozuna and these young pitchers.
    Of course, Stanton. The Marlins know how to evaluate talent and manage a roster. Every 3 or 4 years they seem to re-emerge as a contender no matter what kind of asshole tactics Loria thinks up.

    Bring up these “kids”. Dump the decrepid bullpen components. Restock the awful bench (except EY). Get rid of Terry Collins! Bring in Wally. Then, maybe, the fans might stir from their pendular swings from anger to apathy to disgust to resignation and start to come back to the ballpark. I was talking to a fellow fan last night at the pub and, of course, we went through the litany of complaints – but at this point there’s no real emotion left – just a dull monotone. Defeat at the hands of “prudency”. And, you can see it on the field.

    • Five days ago on “pace” to win 93 games — Sandy crowing about it, the minions in the press feeding the line to the fans. A lot of bloggers, too. Now it’s back to a 78 win “pace.” Neither mean much. All of us would rather see a young pitcher go out there and struggle, and maybe succeed, then watching these retreads who won’t be around next year anyway. It’s bizarre to me that he can’t understand that. It’s all about draft and development, combined with a bizarre reluctance to use young players. It’s not just service time and Super 2. These are old, old guys running this team. Sandy is very old for a GM. TC is the oldest manager in baseball — with a track record of failure. The owners are ancient, nearly dead. This is not the young, vital, aggressive management group to usher in a new mentality. It’s stale, stale, stale.

  4. I posted this on April 25th, just a reminder:

    SOME FACTS: A former hitting coach for the Oakland A’s (where else?), Dave Hudgens was hired by the Mets after the 2010 season. It’s all been downhill from there. At what point will this organization admit that it’s been a disaster?

    2011: .264/.335/.391 * 571 BB * 1085 K

    2012: .249/.316/.386 * 503 BB * 1250 K

    2013: .237/.306/.366 * 512 BB * 1384 K

    2014: .216/.294/.308 (Note: Does not include Thursday’s performance.)

    ——-

    He’s a joke and it is Sandy’s fault for bringing him to NY. Sandy does not want original thinkers or ever people with track records of success. He wants “Yes” men to implement the Sandy Alderson Way.

    How’s that working out so far?

  5. IB says:

    Failure emoldens Alderson. Never say die. Keep the flag flying. It’s almost certifiable.

    I think a big part of Alderson’s problem is that he conflates the NY media with the actual fans. Who could blame him for resenting swarms of tabloid typers shoving mikes in his face every day? They think it, he nixes it. He should never work in a major market place. But, all this does is squash the pitiful little hopes and prayers of the few fans left. Every year, same scenario.

    His call for fan “loyalty” was one of the great dillusional acts in Met history. But, it doesn’t surprise me. In his eyes he knows what’s best. The whole setup is starting to remind me of one of those fatuous puppet governments in an old Mission Impossible.

  6. Meanwhile, Rafael Montero lurks waiting down in the PCL, already having proven all he needs to prove. Career minor league numbers: 385 IP, 362 K’s, 82 BB’s, 4.4 K’s / BB, 31-17, 2.67 ERA. Going on 24-years old already. Syndergaard will be 22 in August, and there’s a good chance he doesn’t get a call up this year, despite averaging about 10 K’s / 9 IP in 331 minor league IP. deGrom turns 26 (!) in June.
    Over in Florida, meanwhile, Marlins pitcher Nate Eovaldi is 24-years old and already has 305 Major League innings under his belt. Henderson Alvarez broke in at age 21 and has logged just under 400 MLB innings (and leads the league with two complete games shutouts this year.) And, of course, staff ace Jose Fernandez broke in last year at age 20. Between the three of them, they have over 900 MLB innings already logged. How many innings, cumulatively, would they have in the Majors if Alderson & Co. were in command down there? Perhaps 50 or 60?
    The time to play the kids is now. The idea that pitchers have to be fully finished products before they deserve a shot at The Show has seldom been the norm in MLB history, and is a waste of their talents. Also, if we’re ever going to make a trade for an actual MLB-quality hitter, the time to start show-casing our pitchers (the only commodity we have) at the MLB level is now.

    • Long, slow clap, William. Totally agree on all points. Given rate of injuries to pitchers, how many bullets do these guys have? And look at Wheeler, he’s learning on the job and needs the time to struggle. What’s happening now feeds tomorrow. As a writer over at BP said, “Hey, every 22-year-old could be working on SOMETHING.” That’s not an excuse for keeping them buried on the farm.

  7. EDIT NOTE: Technology glitches today, no worries, a temporary setback, but your post might not be immediately approved as in past. Carry on!

  8. Let the kids come up and play! Who are you trying to fool? We already know this team s***s.

    At least we have a “Battle of the Basement” with the Phillies this weekend! That should get the attendance to five digits!

    • You know, the maddening thing is that they don’t suck. The starting pitching is good. Even very good. There is some talent on the roster. It’s just uneven, not good enough. Mediocre. But look at the NL East this year. Look at the Central. Who is so great right now? They don’t have to suck, and I don’t think they will. The problem is that they could actually compete for the playoffs if management was aggressive and willing to try. It’s frustrating.

  9. Michael Geus says:

    As for Collins, he gets killed all the time, he is very unpopular. That’s what happens when you are the manager of bad teams.

    I don’t think any manager could do much with the rosters he is given, but after all this losing why is he always kept around? Could it be that Alderson likes all the heat that is deflected from him as people rail about Terry?

    Personally I don’t consider Terry a bad manager, the word mediocre comes to my mind. That might make him the most qualified guy in the organization.

    But he could go tomorrow and I would understand. I don’t see that happening, he is too convenient in his role as human shield.

  10. Eraff says:

    I share the frustration that the Starting Pitching is Close Enough to contend… it’s a projection that BEGS some movement by management… Add the SS…Add some Bullpen…ADD TALENT FROM BELOW!!!!… or trade it for Talent.

    Now I’m beginning to wonder— what is their threshold, much less their ability, to ADD to this outfit when contention is NOT merely a projection?

  11. Good, thoughtful, informed piece over at The Read Zone, re: Mets hitting. I had a quibble and commented, but overall excellent.

    http://thereadzone.com/2014/05/08/mets-lack-of-talent-not-hitting-approach-the-culprit-behind-weak-offense/comment-page-1/#comments

  12. Raff says:

    Great analysis, Brian. Begrudgingly- My vote was that the Mets Offense is Better Than Shown So Far. With Wright’s OPS around 670 and Granderson’s around 570- – Something close to a return to the “norm” for both of these guys would provide a big step forward. Lagares will probably drop-off a bit. Lastly- per Jimmy’s earlier point- The void in the #8 slot really places a young, anxious hitter like d’Arnaud in really bad spot.

  13. FL Met Fan Rich says:

    You think it’s easy being a Mets fan? Try being a Mets fan and living in Florida

  14. James Preller says:

    So: Murphy/Flores keystone combo. Can you name a worse SS/2B defensive pairing in baseball? How about over the past 40 years? Now add Duda at 1B. Yeah, we’re building around that classic combo, pitching and fly balls.

    • No worries, 33 year old Brian Burgamy is sure to get the call from AA to AAA which would put him on the timeline to arrive sometime in August, and lord knows, that will help his Super 2 status. He will only be 38! in 2019

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