Who’s the Next Shawn Estes?

There’s a moment that will forever live in Mets infamy:

(Seriously, how is there no video of this moment available?)

After all the garbage with Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza, the Mets finally had a chance to get revenge. Clemens came to Shea and finally had to stand in the batter’s box to answer for all his sins. Then Shawn Estes, who wasn’t a Met when everything happened, just missed. Missed!  

There were discussions on whether it was fair to put Estes in that spot. I always disregarded them. Estes was Piazza’s teammate. You stand up for your teammates. The Mets will have that opportunity again with that coward re-signing with the Dodgers. After the World Series, the hope is it’s Noah Syndergaard standing 60’6″ away from Chase Utley

After Utley’s dirty slide, the Mets have an opportunity to exact revenge. It will be all the more important if Ruben Tejada remains on the team. Assuming the rotation is the same set-up as in the World Series, the Mets re-set the rotation after the first two games of the season, and the Mets having a full five man rotation from that point forward the job will fall to Steven Matz. If the Mets don’t reset the rotation, the job will fall to Jacob deGrom

In some ways, the task will be easier for whoever the pitcher is because they were on the team when it happened. On the other hand, the situation is more difficult because the pitcher will have to do it in Los Angeles. 

Whomever it is, they need to actually plunk Utley. For the psyche of the team and the fan base, that pitcher can’t miss. 

Brutal Losses

I haven’t posted in a while because of: (1) Thanksgiving; (2) my son’s birthday; and (3) the offseason has been slower than molasses. 

In the past few days, I’ve watched a lot of sports. I saw the Rangers absolutely blow a game against the Bruins by allowing two late goals. I then saw them follow that up with an embarrassing 3-0 shutout loss to the lowly Flyers. Notre Dame had a heartbreaking last second loss to Stanford on a lady second field goal. The Giants no-showed for three quarters and then choked the game away on the Redskins last possession. I just watched the Knicks give a game away to the Rockets with a pivotal non-call on a Dwight Howard mauling, sorry screen. 

All tough, brutal losses. However, none of them bother me as much as any one Mets loss. I’ll still go to bed obsessing over the World Series over any of the other aforementioned losses. This offseason I’ve learned something I’ve already known to be true. I’m more of a Mets fan than a fan of anything else. I’m not even surprised at this development or the disparity in my feelings between the Mets and the other NY teams. 

In any event, the only sentiment I can share tonight is “Lets Go Mets!”

Good for Willie Randolph

For the life of me, I still don’t know how Willie Randolph never got another chance to manage.  

His career record is 302-253, a .544 winning percentage. Over 162 games, that’s an 88-74 record. He did a great job handling Mike Piazza‘s last year as a Met. Never did he embarass him. He helped David Wright and Jose Reyes go from prospects to All Stars. He brought the team to the cusp of a World Series. 

Then Carlos Beltran struck out. Seemingly, the entire pitching staff was injured leading to a historic September collapse. The Mets struggled out of the gate in 2008. All the while, his bench coach, Jerry Manuel, was undermining him in an attempt to get his job. As a result, the Mets unfairly fired a pretty good manager. They embarrassed him in the process by firing him the day after a win. It was also the first game into a long West Coast trip. 

We know what happens next. The Mers collapsed again showing maybe it wasn’t Willie’s fault. The Mets kept Manuel on who just became a caricature for post-game press conferences. The Mets slowly slipped into irrelevancy. Willie never got another managerial job. Well that was until now. 

He’s now the manager of Team USA in the WBSC Premier 12 Tournament. This tournament is being used as a replacement for baseball being taken out of the Olympics. The roster is made up of players who are not yet on their team’s 40 man roster. After yesterday’s win, Willie Randolph has USA in the championship game. He’s on the verge of winning a championship. He’s showing he know how to manage. 

With minority hiring at a low in MLB, Willie should get another chance. He’s been a winner everywhere. He’s no less deserving of a second chance than Terry Collins was, and Collins was almost Manager of the Year. Imagine what Willie could do with another chance. 

It’s time Willie Randolph gets another chance to manage. 

Who’s the Fourth Member of the Big 4?

When discussing the 2016 Mets, I see many people referring to their Big 4. Now, I knew there was a Big 3, who were referred to as stud muffins by Tom Seaver. My question is who is the fourth member of this proverbial Big 4. 

Let’s start with the obvious. It’s not Jon Niese. He’s the definition of an average pitcher. Also, even if he’s the fourth best pitcher, I’m assuming it’s not Jeurys Familia. I doubt a closer would be thrown in with a Big 4 starting pitching group.

No, the fourth member would be either Steven Matz or Zack Wheeler. I like both Matz and Wheeler, but they haven’t earned this distinction yet. 

In his career, Wheeler is 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, and an 8.5 K/9. His ERA+ is 100, which means he’s just an average pitcher. That should be no surprise given his other statistics. While this is nothing to sneeze at, it does not merit putting him in the same conversation as Harvey, Thor, and deGrom. This is before taking his return from Tommy John into account. Wheeler is a tremendous talent, but he’s not a part of a Big 4 yet.

The more obvious choice for the Big 4 is Matz because he was in the postseason rotation. The only thing I can say about Matz right now is we had no idea what he is. He was incredible in his first two starts before being shut down with a lat injury. He was average when he came back only to hurt his back sleeping on the sofa. When he returned he was only good through five innings in the postseason. 

This isn’t a knock on him. He sat for long stretches which would challenge anyone’s effectiveness. The overall point is we don’t know what he is yet. He could very well reach the level of the stud muffins. He could also be nothing more than an average pitcher. 

Long story, short, there’s no Big 4. There could be one. There could be a Big 5. There’s a number of possibilities. However, right now it’s just a Big 3. 

Duda’s More Valuable than You Realize

After one uneven season and a poor throw in the World Series, Mets fans seem ready to move on from Lucas Duda. Some see it as an avenue to keep the very popular Daniel Murphy. Others just don’t seem to like him. 

While I tend to think this is overplayed, I wanted to do a Player A and Player B comparison. I used the last two years because those are the years Duda has been an everyday first baseman. Player A and Player B are both first baseman. They are both the same age. Both players are left-handed hitters. 

Player A

2014 – .196/.300/.404, OPS+ 96, WAR 1.8

2015 – .262/.361/.562, OPS+ 146, WAR 5.2

Player B

2014 – .253/.349/.481, OPS+ 137, WAR 3.6

2015 – .255/.352/.486, OPS+ 132, WAR 3.0

Which player would you rather have?  It’s certainly debatable.  

Well, Player A is Chris Davis, who is expected to receive a free agent contract in the area of 5 years $100 million or $20 million per season. 

As you guessed, Player B is Lucas Duda, who cannot be a free agent until 2018. Lucas Duda is projected to receive $6.8 million in arbitration.  Even if you picked Player A above, would you have paid him $13.2 million more a year?  Of course not, regardless of the Mets financial situation.

I already know the following arguments:

  1. I’m omitting Davis’ 2013 season; and 
  2. Davis has hit more homeruns over the last two years. 

That’s fine. I am. However, Davis gets to play half his games in Camden Yards over Citi Field. Last year, Davis hit .285/.376/.650 at home and .241/.348/.482 on the road. Davis’ road numbers look awfully similar to Duda’s .255/.352/.486 from last year.  This just shows that Lucas Duda is a very good baseball player. Mets fans should appreciate him. He’s got enormous value. 

Move Duda to Camden Yards and maybe he’s the guy getting a $100 million contract. 

Do You Move Wright Off Third?

Mark Simon had a thought provoking article about moving David Wright off of third base. 

His reasoning was sound. Wright’s defense has taken a noticeable step back. It played a part in costing the Mets two World Series games. While his throwing was never a string point, it’s gotten worse, and he throws more side armed now. Whether it’s his age or the stenosis, there may be a point in time when the Mets may have to move him off of third. 

I just don’t think first base is the best option. Spinal stenosis is exacerbated by the typical twisting and turning actions you see on a baseball field. The stretching and turning at first would only exacerbate Wright’s stenosis. It may limit him further. I don’t think first is an option. 

I’ve seen people suggest second. There’s no way I put him in the middle infield. Just remember what happened with Ruben Tejada. As a second baseman, Wright will have his back turned on many double play chances. I can’t put him in that position especially since he’s got limited mobility with his back. 

There’s no good option in the infield. It’s why you might look to moving him into the outfield. Wright still has some speed and athleticism to cover the ground. He has shown the ability to track fly balls well, even if it has been at third base. His arm might be a liability in left, but it may be at third as well. 

The Mets have a spot coming up in the outfield within the next few years. Curtis Granderson has two years left on his deal, and as good as he’s been, I can’t see the Mets re-signing him at 36 years old. From what we’ve seen so far from Michael Conforto, he should be able to handle RF. We don’t know what Brandon Nimmo or any other prospect will be. 

We do know Wright will be around for another five years. Maybe he can stay at third. Whatever the case may be, the Mets should explore the possibilities. 

Mets Treat the Military Well

With free agency in the works, you already have heard people getting upset with the team for not doing anything before any offseason moves have been made. Today, I think we should put that aside and acknowledge something they do well. They are very respectful to our veterans. 

Each and every year, the Mets team makes a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center. They go and visit troops who have been injured protecting our country. These people sacrificed so we don’t need to. Visiting these soldiers in the hospital may not seem much, but it’s more than most people do. The Mets should be commended for organizing this. 

Also, the Mets honor our military with Military Mondays. No, I don’t mean the jerseys. Military members are admitted free and three people who go to the game with them receive discounted tickets. The Mets Team Store also offers veterans a discount on all merchandise purchased in the store. 

The Mets also honor veterans during the game giving them an incredible seat to a game and a flag that once hung over Citi Field. 

I hope one day my Dad gets this honor. 

Flores is a Better SS than Tejada

Going into the 2015 season, the Mets were determined to make it work with Wilmer Flores at SS. It was rough. Flores had trouble turning the double play. He made some routine throwing errors. He seemed to press from day one. 

Eventually, the Mets had to abandon the plan. Not only was Flores struggling in the field, he was also struggling at the plate. At the end of June, he was hitting .236/.267/.390. At that point, Flores wasn’t the only one struggling. The whole team was, especially with David Wright out indefinitely. Therefore, Daniel Murphy would move to third, Flores would move to second, and Ruben Tejada would once again become the Mets SS. 

From June 30th on, Tejada was the everyday SS. Flores would eventually be relegated to the bench first with the trade for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. That went doubly so when Wright came off the  DL. Soon Tejada was going out there everyday and Flores was on the bench. 

At that point, the Mets got healthy and got Yoenis Cespedes. They just needed defense from Tejada. The narrative was Tejada was a good defensive SS, and Flores wasn’t. Looking over the stats, I believe the narrative was wrong. The narrative should’ve been, Tejada is more steady than Flores. It’s a slight difference, but it’s an important one. The difference is because Flores has better range at short than Tejada. 

In fact, in terms of range, Tejada isn’t a SS. He never was. His UZR this year was a -5.6. This translates to him being a below average SS.  Throwing away last year, Tejada’s average UZR is 0.8, which means he’s, at best, an average SS. 

On the other hand, Flores did come into 2015 with some promise. His 2014 at SS was 4.0 rating him as an above average defensive SS. However, this year he had a UZR of -2.5 which rates as being a slightly below average SS.  It makes him better than Tejada, but still below average. However, the flaw with UZR is it doesnt judge throws or the ease in which a player turns a double play. 

It’s the attempt at turning the double play that might’ve cost Tejada a chance at being the SS in 2016. Going into the playoffs, Tejada really seized his chance to be the everyday SS. He was making the routine plays, and he was hitting. In September and October, he hit .297/.357/.496. For the year, he hit .261/.338/.350. This is compared to Flores’ .253/.287/.386. 

Tejada really became the better of two bad choices. He had the leg up in the competition until Chase Utley took Tejada’s legs right out from under him. Mets fans were initially nervous with Flores really being the only SS. He performed admirably. 

Flores did show off that range, but now he was making all the throws. He showed no signs of hesitation on the double plays. He only hit .195/.298/.294 in the postseason, but he was taking better at bats. He showed why the Mets wanted him to be the SS over Tejada. 

Accordingly, Flores is the better SS, and if the Mets make no additional moves, he should be the 2016 Opening Day SS. 

What You Missed

Apparently, other sports have had seasons start during the Mets playoff run. As of today, I’m still in mourning over the a Mets blowing the World Series. If you’re ready to to come back to society, here’s what you need to know:


Jets are 4-3, which is good for second in the AFC East behind the undefeated Patriots. They have a good defense, talented skill position players, and no quarterbacks. Something tells me I can cut and paste this for next year. 

Giants are 4-4 which is good for sole possession of the putrid NFC East. Their defense is terrible with no pass rush. JPP is coming back, but no one knows how’s my fingers he has left or what he can do. Also, Victor Cruz is yet to play a game this year. 


Rangers are 7-2-2 with 16 points, which has them tied atop the Metropolitan Division with the Capitals. They still haven’t figure out who will play on the last two lines. Their vaunted defenseman are not up to snuff, especially Girardi. They still have Lundqvist though hence the record. 

Islanders are 6-3-3 which is good for third in the Metropolitan Division. They’re in the Barclay’s Center which everyone hates, but at least they got their goal horn back. Of concern, leading scorer and captain Tavares has a mystery illness keeping him out of the lineup. 

Devils are somehow 6-4-1 with 13 points. Maybe they can sustain it now that Adam Henrique seems to be cashing in on the potential he showed in his rookie season four years ago. 


Knicks are 2-1 with two good and one bad game. Melo finally seemed to get his legs underneath him in his last game. Porzingis has shown promise as a rookie. The Knicks free agent signings have created both depth and a hungry team. 

Nets are winless at 0-3. It looks like they’re lottery bound with a lot of ping pong balls coming their way. Unfortunately, it’s going to the Celtics. 

In world news, everyone is in mourning because the Mets lost the World Series. In Mets Daddy news, I’ll be rolling out stuff on the postseason starting tomorrow. I have some other ideas what to do. I’m receptive to any ideas anyone has. 

Wright’s Moment

Given that today is Trivia Friday, here’s another question for you. Who was the last Mets player to knock in a run in the playoffs?  If the title didn’t give it away, the answer is David Wright

Seriously, how many Mets fans remember that Wright knocked in Carlos Beltran to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS?  I doubt many because most people focus on his .160/.276/.320 line in the NLCS. They choose not to focus on the RBI or his .333/.385/.500 line in the 2006 NLDS. Instead the narrative became Wright isn’t clutch

In 2000, I remember similar rumblings being uttered about the then face of the Mets franchise, Mike Piazza. Up until 2000, Piazza was not seen as a playoff performer. That perception did not change with his homerun against John Smoltz in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS. Rather, it changed when he hit a double with third base coach John Stearns proclaiming over and over again, “The monster is out of the cage!

Piazza would hit extremely well in the 2000 playoffs. He hit .214/.389/.286 in the NLDS. He hit .412/.545/.941 (video game numbers) in the NLCS. He hit .273/.273/.636 in the World Series. Overall, he hit six doubles, four homeruns, and eight RBIs. Not too bad for a career .242/.301/.458 postseason hitter. 

I wasn’t surprised by Piazza in 2000. He hit .324/.398/.570 with 32 homers and 111 RBIs. He is a career .3o8/.377/.545 hitter. I expected Piazza to hit in 2000. It was only a matter of time before he busted out in the playoffs. I’m expecting Wright to perform just as well. 

Sure, his 2006 playoff numbers were not good. However, he is a career .298/.377/.492 hitter. Since returning from his back injury, Wright has hit .277/.381/.437 with seven doubles, four homeruns, and 13 RBIs. Like Piazza, it’s his team. Like Piazza, it’s his moment. Like Piazza, I’m expecting him to perform. 

Wright is capable of doing it. He’s the face of the franchise. He’s the guy who stayed.  He’s the Captain of the team. He’s chasing a World Series ring. It’s his time. It’s his moment.

If he performs like we know he can, it’ll be his World Series ring.