Tag Archive for Andres Torres

Will Ruben Tejeda Become the Next Angel Pagan? (And Sad Postscript on Matt Harvey)

There were murmurs about his attitude, his alleged low baseball IQ, the player’s sulky and self-absorbed clubhouse demeanor. The problems, we were to infer, ran deeper than the numbers in the box score. He was not a fit moving forward. From those reasons it was understood that Terry Collins and the Mets braintrust had made a decision:

Angel Pagan had to go.

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And so he went, in one of Sandy Alderson’s rare trades that involved players on active MLB rosters: Angel Pagan and cash in exchange for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez.

The trade was met with shock: “The Mets had cash?”

Kidding aside: Let the record show that the trade struck me as perfectly fine at the time. I accepted the fate of Pagan, a talented guy who didn’t work out. Happens. Though I never liked Andres Torres, not even a little bit, I hoped that Ramirez would make a solid addition to a bedraggled bullpen. Sometimes you have to flush the system. Thumbs up. The pen needed the rebuild and, well, Angel had to go. Right?

Of course, in 2012 Angel Pagan put up a pretty good season for the Giants, and amazingly ended up 32nd in MVP voting (I shit you not), tied with Chipper Jones, Miquel Montero, and Hunter Pence with one misspent vote apiece.

All of which is preamble for my real subject of the day, the Mets’ 23-year-old bad boy, formerly known as “a great kid,” wayward Ruben Tejeda.

Forget Lindsay Lohan’s media troubles. If anybody needs to fire his public relations firm, it’s Ruben Tejeda. He’s lost the media war. For a couple of years, Ruben was the kid who played the game right, bright and innocent, working deep counts, making the most of his skills. Steady and reliable and smart. Easy to root for. Homegrown.

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Yet all that acquired good will circled the drain this spring, suddenly he was fat and lazy and he didn’t care. Now the club would rather run Omar Quintanilla into the ground — a shortstop with no future with the Mets — instead of giving young, chastened Ruben the slimmest shot at redemption.

An interesting turn of events.

We know that Ruben is not great, and will never be. But it’s not impossible for him to return to the form of his age-22 season — .289/.333/.351 with 26 doubles in only 114 games — and perhaps even improve upon it by a notch or two.

It could be that he’ll become a steady, unspectacular player for some other team, or teams, for years to come. However, that team is likely not going to be the New York Mets.

And you know what? I’m okay with that.

And if someday a misguided writer casts a stray MVP vote in Ruben’s direction, well, shrug, we’re all going to have to live with it.

It’s time to aim higher.

NEWS ITEM: MATT HARVEY ON DL. “Noooooooooooo!”

My college son texts me, “We just can’t win.”

This morning I wrote a rough draft for a blog post for later this week. Here’s one part of it, below. Look, I think injuries happen, especially to pitchers who throw hard sliders. That’s a tough pitch on the arm. So I don’t want this to be about blame. But nonetheless, this is what I was thinking this very AM:

>> Remember how Terry talked about how tired David Wright was, how Terry had to somehow find David a day off somewhere in the schedule. Maybe next Tuesday in Chicago, etc. But he just couldn’t, you know. Even when Wright pulled up with a tight hammy, there was still no rest, no adult in the room. Well, that worked out great, didn’t it?

In Monday’s Daily News, Collins said this about Wheeler and Harvey:

“You’re trying to win games, we’re trying to put people in the seats out there, and having Matt Harvey out there every give days helps us. We still know down the road we’ve got to keep this guy healthy. You back off the bullpens, you back off the running program a little bit, so he’s not so fatigued.”

Ditherment, thy name is Mets.

Here’s the deal with Harvey. He should have 3-4 more starts left, about 25 innings, and that’s it. Done. There’s nothing else to say. The idea that there’s value in finishing out the entire season is total and complete bullshit. This is Wright’s captaincy all over again. The talking, talking, talking. <<

Moving on, it’s worth clicking here at Craig Calcaterra’s post on Hardball Talk about “the blame game.” Money quote:

No, Harvey getting shut down and likely needing surgery doesn’t appear to be a matter of the Mets abusing Harvey or some awful mechanical flaw. It’s just a matter of pitching living to break your heart. Maybe someday there will be a viable theory that predicts and can help prevent elbow injuries in pitchers, but for now it just feels like chaos and sadness. A chaos and a sadness that seems to have visited Mets pitching prospects in disproportionate fashion over the years.

 

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3 GUYS TALKING ABOUT THE OUTFIELD: Brian Joura of Mets360 Joins the Conversation

NOTE: Since we started this thread a little bit of time passed, due to our ramble into soggy Georgia. The Mets have since dropped Cowgill and added Brown. Huzzah.

Jimmy:

This winter, the outfield was a huge topic of speculation. While the consensus was that it would be a less than optimal (in Sandy speak), there were still scattered blog posts that opined it might not be as bad as we thought. Now we’re in May and there’s actual game results. It’s no longer what we think will happen, it’s about what’s really happened. I’m going to welcome Brian Joura today, who has agreed to join our conversation. Has it been as bad as you feared, Brian?

Brian:

Strictly by position, the three primary outfielders last year were Duda (poor), Torres (bad) and Bay (awful) so it wasn’t unreasonable to expect improvement, even if the overall result was still ugly.

After Jason Bay, the only direction was up! Right?

After Jason Bay, the only direction was up! Right?

 

What’s been disappointing to me is the ultra-quick hook of Collins. At the end of March, Cowgill is a full-time player and that lasted about a week. Contrast that with Ike Davis who last year was permitted to go 10 weeks without hitting. I understand the upside with Ike was greater but Cowgill deserved a real opportunity and didn’t get it. Duda’s doing great and I think a Baxter/Byrd platoon will be sort of okay. I just wish Collins would give Cowgill 100 PA of everday action to sink or swim. What Collins did was throw him off the deep end and then pulled him out of the pool when a drop of water went up his nose.  And now he’s got to battle Juan Lagares for the scant playing time against LHP. Is this really the way to break in a guy to the majors?

Jimmy:

th_less-cowbell-shirtI’d like to be first one here to say . . . Less Cowgill! I’m all for shipping him to Vegas [ed. note: written a couple of days before the wish came true.] But I hear you about Collins. When he starts talking “mix-and-match,” I just imagine his brain misfiring and guys getting yanked around, no consistency, everyone platoons, etc. Valdespin has not started 3 games in a row. But still, is Terry the guy we should be hammering here?

Mike:

If you put together a team of suspect guys it is only normal that none of them will have much rope. For every guy who says Cowgill hasn’t gotten enough at bats, someone else is yelling that Collins hates Valdespin. If I was Collins I would be cursing the whole lot of them and dreaming of when I got to write Carlos Beltran into the lineup every day. And what about the fact that until Lagares showed up none of these guys could catch a fly ball? Well, actually, Byrd can field.  Defense matters, and it is a great thing to emphasize when you go cheap.

Jimmy:

Maybe if we all chipped in and bought him some protein shakes and a bar bell?

Maybe if we all chipped in and bought Mike some protein shakes and a bar bell?

To me, Mike Baxter is the poster boy for a failed organizational approach. I feel cruel saying this, but Mike Baxter doesn’t belong on a major league roster. His only strength is that he doesn’t swing the bat and sometimes, unaccountably, pitchers nibble. It’s not like he’s going to park it over the fence. Baxter is fortunate enough to be with an organization that actively seeks to foster the dubious skill of standing there with the bat on your shoulder. He got a few early walks and that artificially inflated his early-season OBP. Baxter can’t field, can’t hit for power, and can’t help a team win games. I mean, he seems like a terrific human being, he’s easy to like, but this is professional sports, not a Sunday softball league.

Brian:

Baxter’s certainly not getting the job done to this point but I don’t understand the venom. This is a guy who ran full speed into the outfield wall to preserve a no-hitter! That bought him a ton of goodwill with me. I’m all for keeping him around and if you want to justify it like some type of Luis Sojo good luck charm — I can live with that.  I also think he’ll hit if given enough chances but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it.

Jimmy:

No venom at Baxter. I like everything about the man except what he does on a major league baseball field.

Look at these outfield splits (as of 5/3) by position:

  • LF: .261/.409/.543 . . . 952 OPS
  • CF: .184/.229/.272 . . . 501 OPS
  • RF: .219/.288/.314 . . . 602 OPS

That’s the reality, and pretending that mixing-and-matching lousy players is some kind of answer has been a great fraud perpetrated on Mets fans. So my venom, I guess, is directed to ownership and the three geniuses running the show.

Mike:

Baxter is not a good enough player to platoon in right field. I’m happy he caught that ball, and like him. Local Queens kid makes good is a nice story. He just isn’t talented enough to play right in the major leagues. It’s not personal, it’s business.

Jimmy:

Back to Duda, Brian. Do you really think he’s been doing great? Outside of the walks, he hasn’t been very productive. I just think someday batting average should come back in vogue.

Brian:

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I just got done watching the afternoon game against the Marlins where they attacked Duda with breaking balls at the knees and lower, to which Duda flailed helplessly.  I thought I was watching Ike Davis bat. However, for the most part, Duda’s going about things the right way. He only swings at about 10% of the opposing team’s first pitches — an approach I applaud. I think you go up to the plate looking for a certain pitch in a certain area and if it’s not there you lay off. Now, you can’t always say, “fastball, middle-in.” But if you go up intent on one pitch in one area and only swing at those — I think you’re ahead of the game.

Duda is getting on base and hitting for power.  Would you really prefer Justin Turner’s high-average, low-OBP, no power approach?  I hear Collins is thinking about adding him to the outfield mix…

Jimmy:

SCKWWERKK. (That squishy sound you just heard was a steak knife plunging into my own chest — Turner patrolling the outfield, thanks for the thought.)

Don Martin, the King of Onomatopoeia . . . and my inspiration.

Don Martin, the King of Onomatopoeia . . . and my inspiration.

Mike:

You know it’s not my style to get excited about walks. But in Duda’s case I do think the approach has him calmer at the plate and he is also hitting better. I like how Duda has looked overall.

Jimmy:

Small sample size, but he’s not hitting when it matters: 2-16 with RISP, and 8 walks, slugging .133. In a quote that stunned me today, Sunday, even Dave Hudgens said: “I’d like to see him swing.”

Brian:

He also has 8 BB w/RISP, giving him a .458 OBP. Hey, as long as we’re trotting out small sample thingies — how about his .267/.522/.533 line in High Leverage Situations? Duda’s been a revelation this year and is one guy I want to see at the plate, regardless of the situation.

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AROUND THE HORN: Shaun Marcum, Michael Bourn, “Best Units in Mets History,” Mets Pitching Prospects, the Collin Cowgill Era

Jimmy:

* Tip of the hat to my blogging partner, Mike, for identifying Shaun Marcum as his primary target for #5 starter back on December 24th. I see Marcum as a major injury risk with high upside. For a one-year deal, a nice move. And a guy we can potentially flip in July. However, he’s not nearly as tall as Chris Young, so Jeff might be upset.

Two thumbs up from “2 Guys” on the Marcum deal.

* One thing about Michael Bourn: color us confused. Sandy is petitioning for a waiver of the CBA rule that requires the Mets, as holders of the #11 draft pick, to forfeit their pick in the event they sign Bourn. Our question: they thought of this now? Why wasn’t this petition put forward two months ago? Seems like it’s kind of a big deal, losing a first-round draft pick or not. Was this an organizational screw up?

Mike:

If the pick is not protected we must pass. With the new CBA, you lose the pick AND the overall signing dollars attached to that pick. In other words, it is not like the old days, you can’t make that up with money later in the draft by going “over slot.”

The Mets outfield desperately needs gloves — well, actual outfielders would be nice — but something about this potential deal smells like desperation.

Jimmy:

Mark Simon at ESPN ranks the Top 5 Mets infields and outfields.

He names the 1999 infield as best (Olerud, Alfonzo, Ordonez, Ventura) and the best 1988 outfield as tops (Strawberry, Dykstra/Wilson, McReynolds). Apparently, the 2013 Mets outfield is was not yet eligible for such an honor, so this list might have to be revised. Amazingly, Simon calls the series “the best units in Mets history,” but I’m above that kind of humor.

* Terrific piece by Joe at Metsmerized, “Projected 2013 Mets Minor League Rotations.”

The projected rotation at High-A looks crazy talented. Just a crucial year for the team over all. The failure of the farm system can’t be overstated. Right now, there’s no feeder program. With some luck, that should change within two years. And just as importantly, these assets will ripen into tradeable chips with value on the marketplace.

 * Joe Vasile at Mets360 analyzed the projected 2013 Mets outfield and concluded, “they are on the right track.”

Well, I myself lack faith in tallying up “Approximate fWAR*.” But if by “right track” Joe means something like this . . .

. . . then, toot-toot, I’m all aboard. I’d be happy to see our current outfield on that track.

* Credit to Sandy Alderson for correctly reading the mood of the fans and removing from our sight many of the most hard-to-watch Mets: Jason Bay, Andres Torres, Mike Nickeas. Each of them became sources of frustration and symbols of ineptitude. In other words, depressing. In this climate, how long can our pie-throwing redhead last, I wonder? Who will be the most complained about Met in 2013? I guess Frank Francisco wants a piece of this, too.

* The Collin Cowgill Era doesn’t quite have a ring to it. I know we’re supposed to be sold on this guy’s intangibles — he plays the game the right way! — but I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid. 3 XBH in 116 PA’s last season is not my kind of player. Career SLG: .311.

* And in case you missed it, we found “The Plan.”

 

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BEHIND THE SCENES with Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, and Sandy Alderson: A One-Act Play

 The “2 Guys” team recently enjoyed unparalleled access to the inner workings of Mets management. Here’s our report . . .

Scene: Fred Wilpon’s office. Fred Wilpon sits at a ramshackle desk made of old boards, duct tape, and cinderblocks. He gazes misty-eyed through the dusty pages of the 1954 Lafayette High School Yearbook. Fred’s son, Jeff Wilpon, is sprawled on the floor, surrounded by crayons and scrap paper. Jeff is wearing a white shirt, loose tie, and jacket with matching schoolboy shorts, looking like Angus Young’s pasty-faced twin. A knock on the door and in enters . . .

SANDY ALDERSON: Fred, I’m glad I caught you.

FRED WILPON (ducks under desk, speaks in a ghost-like voice): Fred is not heeeeere. Go awaaaaay.

SANDY: Don’t worry, Fred. I’m not here to ask for money.

FRED (returns to chair): That’s good, because that ship has sailed, my friend! The cow is out of the barn! That shit’s been shot! Can I get you something to eat. A cracker? A glass of water? Tap, of course.

SANDY: No, I’m fine, thanks. I realize that times are tough.

FRED (muses): Did I ever tell you how Omar used to come into this office? I swear he used to pull some kind of voodoo magic on me. He’d start talking and I’d go into a trance . . . and before I knew it, I was writing checks to Third World countries. That’s why I like you so much, Sandy. You never ask for money! What’s that phrase you use so often?

SANDY: One of the key tenets of our approach, blah blah blah?

FRED: No, that’s not it.

SANDY: We do understand and are actively engaged in blah blah blah?

FRED (shakes head): Nooo.

SANDY: Still exploring internal options before blah blah blah?

FRED: Bingo, that’s the one! Exploring internal options! Ha-ha, love it! You know what else I like about you, Sandy? You’ve got the Good Face! You can make burnt toast smell like, um, er . . . toast that isn’t burnt!

SANDY: Obviously, you’ve seen my work in San Diego.

FRED (laughs): That whole speech you gave the other day about wanting to keep R.A. Dickey, and how much you like him, but then leaking the organization’s “fears” — quote/unquote — about his age and injuries and -–“

SANDY (laughs): Don’t forget the anonymous GM tipster who opined that Dickey will demand 4 years at $15 million per.

FRED: That was you?!

SANDY (grins, blows on fingernails): It’s not lying, exactly. I see it more as the art of rolling up your sleeves and gently massaging a pile of poop. You’ve got to get your hands in the muck. Well, not my hands! That’s why we pay Ricciardi and DePodesta.

FRED (points): It’s like every time you talk about Jason Bay still possibly being a productive player!

SANDY: Lots of massage. Big, huge, steaming piles of poop! (Laughter.)

FRED (leans in, hopeful): Speaking of Jason . . . ?

SANDY (shakes head): No, sorry. He won’t surrender those photographs. Really, Fred. You should be more discreet.

FRED: Blackmail’s a bitch. You’re so right, Sandy. You know I love that name, Sandy. I used to play ball with a fellow by the name of Sandy. Turned out to be a pretty good ballplayer, too. I ever tell you that story?

ALDERSON (sighs, sits uncomfortably, reaches for a cracker): Yes, several times.

FRED: Lafayette High, those were the days. I was a pretty good prospect myself, some scouts thought I was even better than Koufax, actually, but –-“

SANDY: YOUCH! Damn it, Fred! Little Jeffy just stapled my leg! Jesus, that hurts!

FRED: Ha-ha, kids. Jeffy, did you take Daddy’s stapler?

JEFF: Waaaahhhh!

FRED: Sandy, look what you did. You made him cry.

SANDY: I’m bleeding here!

JEFF: Wah-wah-waaaahhhh!

FRED: Now you have to make my boy happy, Sandy. You know what little Jeffy loves, don’t you?

SANDY: No, absolutely not!

FRED: Just this once.

SANDY: Fred, I already let Jeffy make a trade last winter! Remember? Angel Pagan for Torres and Ramirez! Who on EARTH would want Andres Torres??!! We can’t afford another lame-brained move like . . . I mean, miscalculation, like that.

JEFF (whines, bangs head on floor): Daddy, I wanna pway Genewal Manager!

FRED (cajoling): Come on, Sandy. Just let him make one eensy-weensy trade this winter. Who’ve we got on the blocks? Niese, Dickey, Davis? Let Jeffy get on the phone and cut a deal.

JEFF (speaking into toy phone): Hewwo? Dis ish Jeffy Wilpon and I wanna bwoker a deawl width you!

SANDY: Heaven help us. Do you have any Tylenol, Fred? Bayer aspirin? Excedrin?

FRED: Pish and tosh! No need spending on expensive brand names. Generic is just as good! (Fred cuts crumbling aspirin tablet in half.)

SANDY: Ah, yes, thanks. (Chuckles to himself.) The Mike Nickeas of pain relief.

FRED: Don’t be so glum. You know this is a family business, Sandy. Why even my son Bruce was instrumental in helping us scout Kaz Matsui. Remember Kaz? Talked funny?

SANDY: Talked funny? Oh, Christ, Fred. He was Japanese!

FRED (whispers): Oh, I thought he was gay. Threw like a girl. Even I didn’t understand why Bruce wanted to move rocket-armed Jose to second base.

SANDY (bends down, pats Jeff on head, sighs with resignation): I suppose I could let the little tyke sign another free agent. What harm could it do?

FRED (demurs): I don’t know, that stuff costs money. I don’t have my good old pal Bernie anymore. Guy used to practically print the stuff — ho, ho! I still think you never should have let my brain-addled son sign Frank Francisco. I mean, come on, Frank Fran-Freaking-cisco!

SANDY: Um, that’s was me.

FRED: Well, the idiocy of signing D.J. Carrasco to a 2-year deal. Only a certified moron would have –

SANDY: No, that was me, too.

FRED: Oh, crap. You’re killing me here! No more Daddy Bigbucks, Sandy. You’re on your own. (Pops remaining half-tablet of aspirin into mouth.) 2013 is going to be a loooong season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AROUND THE HORN: Wright’s Contract, Marco Scutaro Remembered, the Perils of Colitis, and Batting Stance Guy

Let’s take it around the horn, where our motto remains, “If it’s not snappy, it’s crappy!”

The Real Dirty blog provides a complete history of Mets Free Agent Signings under Sandy Alderson. It’s not so much a “Who’s Who?” as it is, simply, “Who?!” I appreciate the need to shore up the minor league system — they need outfielders in Binghamton, too — but the chart vividly underscores just how little our GM has spent during his reign. This is the guy who gives you socks for Christmas.

* Mike Bates over at Amazin’ Avenue spells out why he is wary over signing David Wright to a long-term contract.

While Bates raises legitimate concerns over the wisdom of long-term contracts in general, and this one in particular, my biggest fear is that ownership will sign Wright to appease fans and then fail to surround him with quality players. The purse opens, then snaps shut. We are thisclose to  squandering Wright’s prime years. 

* The Eddie Kranepool Society is a big favorite over here at 2 Guys. We’d love to buy the guy a beer, even at Citifield prices (we’ll chip in for it!).  Steve’s tribute to Marco Scutaro brought back memories of blogs from seasons past, including my all-time favorite, The Raindrops, written by a guy named Avkash, an advanced thinker & early champion of Marco Scutaro and Heath Bell. Mets Geek was also beating that drum, if I recall correctly. Writes Steve:

When I first started doing this blogger thingy over ten years ago, Marco Scutaro was a favorite of the small group of Mets fans on the internet who were blogging or commenting on message boards. Many fans started a FREE MARCO movement back in the 2002 season exalting to Art (Lights Up A Room) Howe to give Scutaro more playing time and sit the fading superstar Roberto Alomar. Seems like eons ago that Scutaro was a Met. 

* Joe Posnanski blogs about the virtue of walks (and somewhere Mets Hitting Coach, Dave Hudgens, sheds a tear):

Bill James tells a famous story of watching Amos Otis draw a game-winning walk and reading in the next day’s Kansas City Star that Otis had become a hero doing exactly what everyone else in the stadium had done — nothing.

* Okay, fine. But I want to hear more about the accident in Philly “when his colitis acted up.” Or maybe not. It would be childish to make Angel Pagan the butt of cheap jokes (drumroll, rimshot).

* Mike Puma of the NY Post tweeted that the status on Andres Torres was still “up in the air.” And all we can say to that is . . . Really? He HAS to go! The Mets cannot start a new season with Andres Torres on the team or the payroll.

* And finally, the New York Mets remembered — by Batting Stance Guy:

 

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