Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, WILMER FLORES!

Are the Mets Reckering Their Prospects?

I don’t understand what the Mets are doing with their prospects right now. First, they are actively stunting the development of Michael Conforto by keeping him in the majors and not playing him everyday. Keep in mind, this is a player, they didn’t want to call-up in the first place. 

Additionally, there is the constant noise over the six man rotation, but their young stud muffins are set to far exceed their innings limits.  Plus, these prized arms’ aches and pains are largely ignored until it becomes more serious. They even have Dan Warthen playing doctor. It’s inexcusable. 

Their treatment of Kevin Plawecki is almost as ponderous. I understand he might’ve been the best option at backup catcher, but it’s not like he’s been good. It’s just that Anthony Recker and Johnny Monell have been that bad. That was, in part, the rationale behind keeping Plawecki up when Travis d’Arnaud came off the DL on July 30th. Let’s see how that worked out for Plawecki:

  • 3 games played out of 11l
  • .111 average
  • 12 extra days of accumulated service time

In essence, the decision was just short of being a disaster. Plawecki is going to be a Super Two player. Overall, he’s hit .228/.283/.296. Those are ugly numbers, especially when he’s a .292/.368/.435 hitter in the minors. Obviously, he should’ve been in the minors trying to get better. For those that argue that there’s value sitting on a major league bench, it sure hasn’t helped him thus far. 

Plawecki probably would’ve benefitted from time in AAA making him a better player. d’Arnaud did the same last year, and he’s the better for it. Plawecki didn’t, and he’s worse off. The Mets catching situation is also worse off. 

Overall, the Mets prospects are worse off the past two years in how they’ve been handled. I only hope Plawecki and Conforto can overcome it because they have real promise . . . promise that isn’t being g cultivated by the Mets. 

The Full Harvey?

Befote tonight, even though Mets starters have thrown more innings than any other team, and yet, have no complete games to show for it. So much for innings limits, huh?

Tonight, Matt Harvey was yet again the real Matt Harvey. He could’ve gone for the complete game after having thrown only 97 pitches over eight innings. All night, there was only one hard hit ball against him. He had a 1-0 lead. He was lifted for Curtis Granderson

Granderson made Terry Collins looke good by drawing a bases loaded walk off of Boone LoganJuan Lagares, who was seemingly stranded on base in every inning, followed Granderson with a two RBI double expanding the lead to 4-0. 

There were other highlights tonight other than Harvey. Lagares had a great game going 3-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Michael Cuddyer‘s knee looked healthy scoring a run from second on Ruben Tejada‘s sixth inning RBI single. He also had an eighth inning stolen base. He also looked alright in the OF. 

There was some bad news. First, Lucas Duda missed the game with a stiff back. Second, Michael Conforto sat showing Collins’ is going to platoon him (exactly why he should’ve been sent down). 

On another note: over the years, Mets fans have been hard on Collins. Much of it was justified. However, he was never as bad as Walt Weiss has been these past two games. 

Earlier in the game, he ordered Tejada be intentionally walked to bring up Harvey. In the sixth, with the game getting tighter, he had Chris Rusin try to pitch around him. Tejada was wise to him and knocked the go-ahead run to the right side. Also, in two straight games, he got stuck with Logan against a RHB. It didn’t burn him last night, but it did burn him tonight. 

Anyway, tonight was about Harvey, who is still getting better. That’s scary. On a personal note, I’d like to thank him for capping off a wonderful birthday with a tremendous pitching performance and a win. 

Dinner is Outback

I love steak. My steak of choice is the T-bone. I’ve been thinking of steak all day because: 1) I get to pick where we go out to eat tonight, and 2) David Wright‘s going to be a good guy and get steaks for the St. Lucie team:

https://mobile.twitter.com/whereskernan/status/630928401520566273

Ummm yeah. Outback isn’t exactly outdoing Michael Cuddyer’s chicken.  Outback is to steak like McDonalds is to Shake Shack. Sure, they’re both hamburgers, but one is in a different class than the other.  

I’m not one to spend someone else’s money, but I’m sure Wright and his $20 million could afford something better than Outback.  According to Yelp!, there are Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses within an hour of the ballpark. Now that’s a steak dinner. 

Before making his choice, Wright should remember that one day Dom Smith may one day be his teammate, and he may be preventing Wright from accumulating throwing errors. If Wright doesn’t go the Ruth’s Chris route, he can at least say he’s not providing steak, but rather he’s providing this: 

  
Now that right there is a reason to go to Outback. 

All kidding aside, I think it’s awesome Wright is buying the minor leaguers dinner. Minor Leaguers notoriously make little money, so I’m sure this meal is welcome. Also, this will give them some additional time to pick his brain to see what it takes to be a great major league player. 

Seemingly, Wright has nothing to gain from this, and this is what makes it such a great gesture. With all the negativity going on in and out of the world of sports, it’s great to hear a story like this. It makes it easier to root for Wright. It’ll be better rooting for him when he’s back in New York. 

Hello Reyes My Old Friend

Last night, Jose Reyes returned to Citi Field . . . again. This is the third jersey Reyes has worn at Citi Fiels since Sandy Alderson informed him the Mets weren’t interested in resigning him. 

Reyes hasn’t killed the Mets since he left. In 22 games against them, he’s only hit .229/.298/.325.  Last night, he went 1-4 and was picked off of first base. However since his departure, the Mets have been unable to resolve their SS situation. We were reminded of this as Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] played SS twice (is he becoming Bartolo Colon’s personal SS?) and Ruben Tejada, who was terrible in the field on Saturday, played once against the Rays. Overall, since Reyes left the Mets after the 2011 season, here are the Mets’ SS by games played (as per Baseball Almanac):

  1. Ruben Tejada – 281
  2. Omar Quntanilla – 168
  3. Wilmer Flores – 125
  4. Ronny Cedeno – 27
  5. Justin Turner – 10
  6. Jordany Valdespin
  7. Eric Campbell – 2
  8. Wilfredo Tovar – 1
  9. David Wright – 1

This is why I begged the Mets to bring Reyes back to New York. It would at least end the pattern of: 1) give Tejada the job; 2) Tejada over exposed or not able to play SS everyday; 3) look for another poor solution and repeat. It’s insane that Quintanilla has played the second most games in the above list. 

The Mets are in first place right now with a SS problem. The job, yet again, belongs to Tejada. As the information shows, it won’t be for long. This is why I hope the Mets make a move for a SS prior to the August 31 waiver trade deadline. I really hope that player is Reyes. I know we’re stuck with Tejada. 

Are the Mets All-In?

Rarely, if ever, do you see the Mets go all-in on a season. In fact, the only time I remember it happening was 1999 when Steve Phillips traded everyone to try to improve the team after just missing out on the playoffs in 1998. 

Watching that 1999 team was probably the most fun I had watching baseball. With that season came so many highlights including the Al Leiter two-hitter in the Wild Card play-in gamePratt’s All Folks, and the Grand Slam Single. The season ended cruelly with Kenny Rogers . . . . 

If you remember, that year the Mets gave away Jason Isringhausen for Billy Taylor.  As we know Taylor had no regular season impact and was left off the playoff roster.  It also saw Octavio Dotel get called up too soon and stay in the majors too long to the tune of a 5.38 ERA. He was warming in the bullpen when Kenny Rogers . . . .

This year, the Mets are seemingly all-in like they were in 1999. They gave up their two best prospects who have not appeared in the majors this year. In exchange the Mets received two and a half months of Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes, who is leaving as a free agent. Because of deplorable offense, Michael Conforto was rushed to the majors, and the Mets won’t send him back down

Look, I understand going all-in. It led to a run in 1999, and to a certain extent 2000. However, in order to go all-in, you don’t hedge your bets. 

For starters, that means ending the innings limits nonsense. First of all, the underlying theorem was proven incorrect. Second, the rotation is set up nicely the rest of the year if it’s left unadulterated. Third, Steven Matz must go to the bullpen upon his return from the DL. 

If the Mets make the playoffs, he will be in the bullpen anyway (if he makes the postseason roster). He can be like the 2006 Adam Wainwright or the 2008 David Price out there. This will help him and the Mets. If you put him in the rotation, you mess up the rotation and you endanger the opportunity that Matz can be effective in the postseason as a reliever. 

If the Mets are truly all-in as their trades and treatment of Conforto suggest, Matz will be a reliever. If the Mets put him in the rotation and try spot starts or a six man rotation in September, then they should’ve sent down Conforto. You can’t go half way in being all-in. 

Let’s hope no matter what they do, it works out to their benefit. Let’s also hope we’re talking potential postseason roster moves instead. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, WILMER FLORES!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Since my 14th birthday, I always look to take stock of where the Mets are in the standings. That year the Mets were a 3 games under .500 with no hope for the playoffs . . . and not just because of the strike. 

Typically, I will go to the Mets game if they are in town on my birthday. Usually, they’re not in town. Mostly, they’re not in contention. I still go because I enjoy the games. However, we all enjoy the games more when the Mets are good and in contention. 

It would not be for another four years before they would be in playoff contention on my birthday (thank you Mike Piazza). The Mets would then be in contention for the following two years before the team started to decline in 2001. 

It wouldn’t be until that glorious 2006 regular season that the Mets would be in first place on my birthday. They would be the next year as well until that horrid collapse. They were in second in 2008 before yet another collapse. I still don’t know how Jerry Manuel got a contract extension off of that season. 

Six years later, and the Mets are in first place again on my birthday. Next to a beautiful wife and an amazing son, this is what I’m celebrating most. I’m not going to tell you what I’m wishing for when I blow out the candles . . . but I’m sure you can guess. 

Rockies Limit Their Chance to Win

Lucky for the Mets, the Colorado Rockies are more serious about Innings limits than they are. In his second career start, Jon Gray stymied the Mets offense for six innings. The only damage against him was a Travis d’Anaud second inning homerun. 

Now there’s no shame in getting shut down by Gray. He was the third overall pick in 2013. He was rated the 13th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. He is a prized prospect that left the game after 75 pitches in six innings. 

After Gray was pulled, the Mets offense finally went to work against Justin Miller. d’Anaud got it started with a single. Michael Conforto and Ruben Tejada walked around a Juan Uribe pop out. Curtis Granderson worked the count full and was hit by ex-teammate Boone Logan’s pitch to tie the game. Daniel Murphy then hit a two RBI single just past old friend Jose Reyes to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. 

The Mets seventh not only gave the Mets the lead, but it also gave Jon Niese the win. Niese was good tonight. He only allowed a fourth inning two run opposite field homerun to Carlos Gonzalez, who could hit anything out of the ballpark right now. Niese deserved the win, and the Mets got it for him with that rally. 

Tyler Clippard worked a 1-2-3 eighth. Jeurys Familia followed with a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 31st save. As long as the starters go seven and hand it to these two, there will be a lot less agora this year.
Now no matter what happens tonight in Los Angeles, the Mets will keep their one game lead in the loss column, and I can wake up in my birthday with a first place Mets team. 

Frank Gifford Played Football?!?!?!

Growing up, I became a New York Giants fan.  I think it had something to do with the fact that my Dad was still bitter over the Jets leaving Shea Stadium and heading to New Jersey.  I remember he claimed to be a Buffalo Bills fan declaring them the one true New York team.  However, his heart never really was in it.  On the other hand, my mother was a Giants fan.  She got me the Giants helmet and jersey set growing up.  Between that and the Giants winning Super Bowl XXI and XXV when I was young, I was hooked.

However, unlike the Mets, I was never raised with any sense of the history of the NFL.  To be fair, the NFL doesn’t really seem interested in it either.  Anyway, I remember sitting there one day and watching a Monday Night Football game with Frank, Al, and Dan, and I asked my father if Frank Giffords got the job  because of Kathy Lee.  You see at that time, Kathy Lee Giffords was huge, and I was a little boy who never had any clue as to who Frank Gifford was.  My father informed me that Frank Giffords was a great football player, a Hall of Famer, who played while my grandfather was alive.  He was a big Giants fan (even had season tickets before he was married).  Sadly, my grandfather had passed, so I did what every other kid would do . . . I went to the library to research Frank Gifford’s football career (remember when people used to do that?).  Well, I discovered that Frank Gifford was an incredible player, who at that time was the best player ever to put on a Giants uniform for a full career.  I was stunned and in disbelief.  How could I never know this happened?

I thought of that day as I learned of Frank Gifford’s passing on Sunday.  It was remarkable that this man could be so great, and I had no idea about it.  It also made me think of Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.  I grew up with these players.  I love those 1980’s Mets.  If I had enough money, I would buy the team and bring back the racing stripe uniforms.  I would celebrate them (and the 1969 team) constantly at Citi Field.  With the passing of Frank Gifford, I came to think of a better way to celebrate those teams.

I need to let my son know that Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling were not only terrific broadcasters, but they are also two tremendous former Mets players.  I need to share with him their careers as he becomes old enough.  Luckily, Keith and Ron do a better job talking about baseball when they were playing together than Frank Gifford ever did.  This is no slight at Frank Gifford, rather, it’s just an observation on the difference between the styles and how each sport views its history.  If I do my job right, my son will know about Keith and Ron.  If he wants to learn more on his own, I will encourage it.  I only hope that the internet will back up my claims on each player.

So with that said, I will keep the memories alive of those players I cheered for and adored as a child and as an adult.  That’s the best  tribute I can give to Frank Gifford, a man who I knew as someone who excelled only in the broadcast booth.  I wish I was there to see him excel in the field.  Frank Gifford, Rest in Peace.