The 2015 Mets had a number of free agents. Of all the players that were on the World Series roster, the only one they brought back was 42 year old Bartolo Colon. They need to bring another player to provide real depth to the major league roster.
Right now, the Mets are expecting Wilmer Flores to literally back up every infield position. He’s the answer to every contingency. David Wright needs a break or has to go on the DL? Flores to third. Neil Walker doesn’t hit well against lefties. Flores to second. Lucas Duda needs a day off? Flores to first. Asdrubal Cabrera reverts back to the way he has the prior five and a half seasons? Flores to short. That is unless Ruben Tejada‘s leg completely heals, then Flores and Tejada will become part of the triumvirate over there.
The Mets need another option. Last year, Wright and Daniel Murphy got hurt. This lead to the Mets moving the deckchairs around the Titanic. We saw a lot of Dilson Herrera, who wasn’t ready. We also saw a lot of Eric Campbell, who is nothing more than a bench player. They were pressed into action because frankly, Flores and Tejada showed they couldn’t hold down the fort. They shouldn’t have been everyday players, at least not in the first half. Remember, for all the Mets vaunted new depth, they’re still two injuries away from Flores and a Tejada both being everyday players. It didn’t go so well last year.
Their relative ineptitude lead to the best trade the Mets made last year. They brought in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. They provided real depth, and they took the pressure off of everyone else. It’s of little surprise that once they came to the Mets, Tejada began to establish himself as an everyday player. They way it appears, the Mets have one roster spot left. Uribe or Johnson should be brought back for 2016.
The argument for Johnson is he can play all the infield positions, including being an emergency SS, and both corner outfield positions. He provides more depth and versatility than a Ryan Raburn or a Steve Pearce. In 49 games, he hit .250/.304/.414 as a Met. He’s a career .251/.333/.424 hitter. While the Mets would prefer a right-handed bat, Johnson has fairly even platoon splits where that shouldn’t matter. In his career, he has hit .244/.330/.421 against righties and .272/.334/.431 against lefties. More than anyone Johnson has the versatility to provide the depth the Mets need.
Uribe on the other hand is much more limited. He is now a third baseman, but he was willing to play some second last year. It’s possible given an offseason, he may be willing to learn first. It would help considering he’s a right-handed bat, and he was a leader in the clubhouse. Last year, Uribe only hit .219/.301/.430 as a Met. However, he did hit .253/.320/.417 overall. Like Johnson, he had no real platoon splits. He hits .258/.303/.419 against righties and .251/.302/.427 against lefties. It should be noted if Uribe comes back, Flores probably needs to learn to play the outfield as well.
I’d prefer to add both players, but as it stands, the Mets only have one bench spot open. Johnson had the versatility, but Uribe has the leadership skills, which are crucial on a young team. If the Mets go either way I can’t fault them. In fact, I’d argue they’re needed because the Mets can’t have Flores be the answer for everything.
No, the Mets need a veteran presence with versatility so the Mets can make good at the deeper and more versatile overtures they have been making.
Perhaps, the Mets biggest free agent remains unsigned. No, not Yoenis Cespedes. I’m of course referring to Keith Hernandez. As Adam Rubin reported, Keith remains unsigned. Most people expect him to return. I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t.
We know this isn’t the first time it was rumored that Keith was leaving SNY. There was his infamous 2009 sign-off where he hinted he may not return. As we know, Keith returned, and he has been a part of the Gary, Keith, and Ron (GKR) booth ever since. So, why is this time any different?
For starters, we had the Bobby Ojeda situation last year. Every Mets fan seemed to enjoy his work. I believe that was because Ojeda didn’t mince words. He called it as he saw it. Mets fans appreciated it regardless of whether we agreed with him or not. Unsurprisingly, it was reported the issue was money. Ojeda was replaced with Nelson Figueroa, who was presumably cheaper and definitively less critical.
We don’t currently know what the reason why Keith’s deal hasn’t been completed. We also know this isn’t the first time this offseason it was rumored the GKR booth was breaking up. There were the rumors Ron Darling may be poached by NESN to call Red Sox games. It turns out there was nothing to the rumors as Ron never had any conversations with NESN. I still question how those rumors arose.
What we do know is the Mets have been penny pinching this offseason. Instead of $12.5 million a year for Daniel Murphy, it’s around $9 million for Neil Walker. Instead of $9 million for Jon Niese, it’s $7.25 million for Bartolo Colon. Free agent Tyler Clippard earned $8.3 million last year, but the Mets did bring back Jerry Blevins for $4 million. Then there’s every Mets fans’ favorite, Cespedes was paid $10.5 million last year, and he remains unsigned (he seems to want double that). In his stead is the $5.75 million Alejandro De Aza. The total savings of those moves is $14.3 million.
Sure, I didn’t include the $8.25 million to Asdrubal Cabrera. That would reduce savings to $6.05 million. However, I also didn’t include the retirement of Michael Cuddyer, which took $12.5 million off the books. In total, that’s $18.55 million in savings. The Mets have increased revenues and attendance, and yet, they’re still cutting corners. Put aside your feelings on the wisdom of these moves, it’s fair to say the Mets saved money in each mechanation.
With that in mind, why should we feel the Wilpons will act differently with SNY? They already did it with Ojeda. Is Keith really immune to cost cutting measures? I’d argue no, and admittedly fans are partially to blame.
Be honest with yourself. If Keith is gone, will you stop watching Mets games in 2016? Of course not. You’re watching them to see if they can go back to the World Series. As we all know, there is higher attendance figures and higher ratings when a team is good. The Mets could hire Joe Buck and Bobby Bonilla to call the games, and you’d still watch. It may be on mute, but you’d still watch.
That’s the reason I wouldn’t be surprised if Keith wasn’t re-signed. The Mets are good again. SNY doesn’t need GKR to help drive ratings. They have a good team to do that. With all that said, I still believe Keith will be back next year.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he wasn’t.
Happy New Year! When I think of New Year’s now, I think of college. It’s probably because even the most responsible of adults revert back to their college behavior in celebrating the new year.
Speaking of college, I went to school with a lot of Buffalo fans. My roommate was a huge Bills and Sabres fan. As a Giants fan, I used to set his VCR around Super Bowl time to record Super Bowl XXV highlights. He got me back in 2000. Between 2000 and the Sabres losing the Stanley Cup on a garbage no-call, we were convinced we would never see our teams win a championship. I was waiting since 1986 for the Mets, and Buffalo has never win anything.
One night, my roommate and I had a discussion. After the way the Mets lost the 2015 World Series and the Mets less than spectacular offseason, I thought it was time to bring it up here. What would you be willing to do for the Mets to win the World Series? We didn’t talk about absurd things like giving up our first born or losing a limb. We talked about the one thing that would give even the biggest of fans pause.
Would you be willing to miss each and every game of a season, including the postseason, if it meant the Mets would win the World Series? No watching games on tape delay. No listening to games on the radio. No following the games on the Internet or Twitter updates. None of that. You can only find out about the games after they’re over by reading what happened in a newspaper or on some website. Also, don’t be smart, you wo t get the benefit of laying a bet down in Vegas.
Would you be willing to do it? There are times I thought I might. However, at the end of the day, I love baseball too. I would miss the games too much. Part of my joy is seeing it happen. Part of what makes it all great is that tension you feel followed by the rush that follows after a big hit or out. I wouldn’t miss out on any of that even if it meant I would never see a World Series in my lifetime. I’m still not sure if that makes me a better or worse fan. I’m not sure it matters.
However, I am curious. Who would be willing to miss it all?
Happy New Year. As 2015 closes, so ends the first year of this blog. I’m surprised how far this blog was able to reach. There were readers from all over the globe. Can you name what countries they came from? Good luck!
Back in July, I began this blog at the suggestion of my wife. It was her idea to create a site not only to talk about the Mets, but also to discuss how our son is becoming a Mets fan. My wife has been and continues to be my biggest supporter. I couldn’t do this site, or really anything, without her.
At the core of this site is my son becoming more and more of a Mets fan. It began with him screaming and cheering “Duda!” in response to Gary Cohen Spring Training call for a Lucas Duda RBI double. From that point forward, our evening ritual was my son and I watching the Mets games together until he fell asleep.
I used that time to tell him what was happening and about all the players. I’d say he learned a thing or two:
There’s no convincing him to hit righty. He wants to hit homeruns like Murphy. We were all enamored with Murphy during October, sorry, Murphtober. My son was enamored with him long before that. He was a fan during the season. He was a Mets fan. In fact, he became a bigger Mets fan than even I knew.
My Dad shows this video to everyone. At my cousin’s wedding, he played that for each and every relative. I don’t blame him. I’m still amazed by it. Even though I was to there when it happened, it’ll be one of the things I take away from this season. It shows me, he is a big Mets fan, and he is understanding the game. I love that.
Below are some images of some of my favorite moments with him at Citi Field:
As 2015 draws to a close, I have to say it was a good year. I’m married to a woman who still hasn’t figured out she’s too good for me. I have a brilliant son, who makes me proud each and everyday. As you can also see he’s a good looking kid (he turned two recently -it’s kid, not baby now, right). He clearly gets his looks from his mother. I’m thankful each and everyday I’m with them.
I’m also thankful for my parents. This includes my Dad, who made me a Mets fan, and my mother, who doesn’t get nearly as many mentions on the blog as she should. Luckily, they’re in goodish health right now. I’m thankful for my brother, who’s always been by my side whether it was a Mets game, my Best Man, or my son’s “Mets Godfather.” I keep telling him to create that site.
I appreciate all of my readers, especially my cousins.
Lastly, I wanted to take time to acknowledge those who provided assistance along the way, a retweet, or a link my to site. If I omitted anyone, I’m truly sorry as my phone is acting up, and there are many to thank. With that said, I wanted to acknowledge the following:
- The Oh Murph guys Harry & Keith
- Joe D., Michael Mayer, and the Mets Mezmerized crew
- Keith Law
- Mark Simon
- Greg Prince and his standard bearer Faith and Fear in Flushing
- Justin Weiss
- Danny and all involved at Rising Apple podcast
- Studious Mets
- Sons of Sam Horn
- Again all of my readers including George and TP Survey
Everyone have a happy, healthy, and safe New Years, and remember . . .
LETS GO METS!
Before looking at my ballot, please keep in mind that the IBWAA already elected players on the current ballot. This includes Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell I would’ve voted for them because I don’t play the steroids guessing game.
I also would’ve voted for Tim Raines, but he already received the necessary 75% from the IBWAA. Raines was the second best lead off hitter of all time, and frankly I haven’t seen a good reason to withhold your vote for him. Furthermore, even if the vote doesn’t count towards the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, I didn’t want to incur the wrath of Jonah Keri.
Junior might’ve been the best player in my lifetime, at least when he was launching home runs in the old Kingdome. When you look at his WAR, he’s only behind Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Mickey Mantle. If you’re the fifth best ever at a position, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
The average Hall of Fame SS has a career WAR of 66.7, a peak WAR (also known as WAR7) of 42.8, and a JAWS score of 54.7. Trammell’s numbers are 70.4/44.6/57.5. Translation, he’s one of the top SS in major league history. Keep in mind, he is a .285/.352/.415 career hitter with four Gold Gloves, six All Star Game appearances, and three Silver Sluggers.
On top of that, he hit .333/.404/.588 in the postseason. He was also the 1984 World Series MVP. It’s his last year on the ballot. He deserves to be elected.
The narrative on Walker is he’s a Coors Field creation. I get it because he hit an amazing .381/.462/.710 at Coors Field. Those are insane numbers.
Look at it this way. Walker has hit .278/.370/.495 on the road in his career. In his six years with the Expos at the beginning of his career, he hit .281/.357/.483. Reggie Jackson, who was one of the top RF all time, hit .262/.356/.490. On top of this, Walker was a five time All Star with seven Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He was the 1997 NL MVP. If you’re comparable to Reggie Jackson, you’re a Hall of Famer.
If you look over Kent’s career, his WAR, WAR7, or JAWS doesn’t match-up. The average for second baseman is 69.3/44.4/56.9. Kent was only 55.2/35.6/45.4. He fell short on those terms, but I voted for him anyway.
The issue is Kent was not a good defensive player, but he was a terrific hitter. Amongst second baseman, he’s hit the most homeruns, fourth most doubles, third highest RBI, and the second highest slugging percentage. Overall, he was a .290/.356/.500 hitter with 377 homeruns. He was the second best offensive second baseman to Rogers Hornsby. To me, being the second best offensively at his position was barely sufficient for me to vote for him.
Look, I think postseason excellence should be considered in Hall of Fame voting. Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA, a 0.968 WHIP, and a World Series MVP. Bloody sock or not, that is as impressive as it gets.
With that said, I didn’t vote for Schilling due to his postseason success. I voted for him due to his regular season success. Schilling was 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA. 1.137 WHIP, a 8.6 K/9, and a 4.38 K/BB ratio. His K/BB is second best all time. His stats are good enough for a 127 ERA+, which is the same as Tom Seaver. His WAR is 79.9, which is higher than the average WAR for a Hall of Fame pitcher.
Postseason success or not, Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer.
Speaking of career WAR, Mussina’s career WAR of 83.0 is actually higher than Schilling’s.
Mussina was 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.192 WHIP. Those are remarkable numbers considering he pitched his entire career in the AL East during the steroid era. It’s unsurprising he would have an ERA+ of 123. That’s better than Juan Marichal and Nolan Ryan. Mussina bomgs in the Hall of Fame.
I didn’t vote for Edgar, who is a career .312/.418/.515 hitter. My vote for him only partially had to do with him being a DH.
I do believe there is room for a DH to be in the Hall of Fame. No matter how they are characterized, there are two right now: Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor. As these are the only two DH’s in the Hall of Fame, I’m judging Edgar against the two of them.
Thomas had a 156 OPS+, 154 wRC+, .416 wOBA, and a 73.7 WAR.
Molitor had a 122 OPS+, 122 wRC+, .361 wOBA, and a 75.4 WAR.
Now, Thomas and Molitor had the magic numbers. Thomas hit over 500 homeruns. Molitor had over 3,000 hits. Now, this isn’t dispositive, but it counts for something. Molitor also has postseason success hitting .368/.415/.615. He won the 1993 World Series MVP.
I bring this up because Edgar was a better hitter. Every stat but WAR is in Edgar’s favor. Edgar averaged a 3.79 WAR per year to Molitor’s 3.59 per year, so in that respect Edgar is again better. However, by no measure is Edgar better than Thomas. Thomas is better than Edgar in every stat.
Now, normally, I would say Edgar falls in line between Thomas and Molitor, so let him in. However, we’ve only had the DH since 1973. That’s only 42 years, or 27 years (10 year career with five year waiting period) of DH’s even being eligible for the Hall of Fame. With that in mind, I look at Thomas, and not the mean, as the standard.
No, I don’t think it’ll be a travesty if Edgar is elected to the Hall of Fame. Over time as I see better arguments for his inclusion, I may change my mind. However, at this time I think Edgar falls just short for me.
In response to an anticipated counter-argument, no, I don’t think it’s hypocritical that I voted for Kent due to his bat. While I do think defense should count, I have Kent credit for being the second best offensive second baseman ever. As a DH, all Edgar does is hit. Using the same standards, he would have to be the second best hitter ever. He’s clearly not that.
So for right now, I left Edgar off my ballot.
Sure, there are amazing stats in his favor. Wagner has the most ever saves for a left handed pitcher. He has a career 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, and a 11.9 K/9. They are impressive numbers. What’s not impressive is his 28.1 career WAR. That’s lower than Tom Gordon, who is off the ballot, and Lee Smith, who last year received 29.9% in the voting last year.
Overall, I wanted to vote for Wagner on a personal level. However, when the people who are better than you aren’t in the Hall, you shouldn’t be either.
This was an easy name to leave off the ballot. Looking over the career stats, the only thing Hoffman has over Wagner is his saves total.
Like Wagner, Hoffman’s WAR falls short. Hoffman’s WAR was 28.4. Essentially, you’d be voting for him because he had the highest save total ever when he retired. If that wasn’t good enough for Lee Smith, it shouldn’t be enough for Trevor Hoffman.
Overall, even if this doesn’t count towards the BBWAA vote, I took this seriously, and I tried to justify my votes. Admittedly, Kent was my weakest vote. I still think someone could change my mind on Edgar. I don’t see myself voting for a reliever until Mariano Rivera hits the ballot.
If you’ve been married long enough (one day), your wife tells you the things about you that are crazy, and in turn, drives her crazy. For me, it’s the overwhelming feeling of guilt I get for reasons no one would bat an eye over. It’s my Irish Guilt. It happened for me again today when I saw this tweet:
I didn't realize until I was doing some 2015 research today that former #Mets IF Jeff McKnight died of leukemia in May. Made me sad. RIP
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 30, 2015
You see in September, I was having fun with the Mets Magic Number to clinch the division. I was seeking to name the worst player I ever saw wear that particular number. As it so happens, I selected Jeff McKnight for the number 17. When I did that, I had no idea Jeff McKnight had died months earlier of leukemia. Had I known, I wouldn’t have said anything. I know better to speak ill of the dead, even when it is good natured fun.
Reading this, I felt horrible. I felt even worse after learning he succumbed to this disease after battling it for 10 years. Sadly, there’s not much out there on him other than the fact his father also played in the big leagues. What we do know is he was a Met, and he played with them during the tough times. We do know that on “The Worst Team Money Can Buy,” McKnight was probably the lone Met that acquitted himself well. His play did help him earn a role on the 1993 team. In 1993, he had his best year.
Very few of us make it to the big leagues. It is a major accomplishment no matter how you fare. I hope Jeff McKnight is proud of what he achieved. Even as I poked fun, I do remember those days at Shea rooting for him and the Mets when there was not much to root for.
With that said, may Jeff McKnight rest in peace.
It’s been a while since baseball was the top sport in America. There are a million reasons for that. With that said, baseball has always been held to a higher standard. Baseball has earned that right.
Whether it was dragged to the point by outside forces, baseball has always been at the forefront. Despite its racist past, including the absurdly named “Gentleman’s Agreement,” baseball was the first major sport to integrate whwn Jackie Robinson began his Hall of Fame career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Baseball ensured we would never forget this moment by forever retiring 42 and by every player on every team wearing it on every April 15th.
It’s part of the reason why when steroids became an issue, it was baseball, not football, that was dragged before Congress for very publicized hearings. Sure, the NFL were subject to the same hearings, but there was much less fanfare.
The reason is that baseball has been held to a higher standard. It’s why people are still angry with Barry Bonds has every homerun record with the help of PEDs. It’s why people roll their eyes at the Steelers dynasty being fueled by steroids. There’s a higher moral standard applied to baseball than any other sport.
Personally, I look at baseball being held to a higher standard as being good for the sport. It means baseball is still relevant in the public consciousness. It also puts itself on direct contrast to the NFL, who has seemingly had a rough year from a PR standpoint. The last thing baseball would want to do is to take something that makes it unique and completely abandon it. The Aroldis Chapman trade threatens that.
The NFL got beaten up over the Ray Rice scandal, and the Cowboys signing Greg Hardy. The NFL was linked to domestic violence. At the same time, MLB was being lauded for its new domestic violence policy. Again, MLB was attempting to establish itself as the league with a higher moral standard. As you can see, they seem to accept this responsibility. That’s why the Chapman trade is so baffling. You would think teams wouldn’t want to touch him with a 10 foot pole. Keep in mind here’s what has been alleged:
Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman allegedly fired eight shots in the garage of his Miami-area home following an October argument with his girlfriend in which she told police he “choked” her and pushed her against the wall, according to reports obtained by Yahoo Sports.
In all seriousness, considering MLB’s domestic guidelines contain no maximum penalty, MLB should really consider a season long penalty. As with Jose Reyes, MLB cannot come out weak in this. To put it in perspective, people went nuts over Ray Rice being suspended 12.5% of the season, which would equate to 20 games. They weren’t happy with Greg Hardy being suspended 25% of the season, which would be 41 games.
Now, we don’t know if the Dodgers backed out of their trade deal with the Reds due to moral grounds or due to the uncertainty of the length of the suspension. What we do know is that the domestic violence allegations didn’t deter the Yankees. No, the marquee franchise in baseball, perhaps in a of pro sports, traded for him. Not a joke of a franchise like the Marlins. No. He was obtained by The New York Yankees. In making the deal, the Yankees “did their due diligence”:
Cashman said Yankees did "due diligence" in researching Chapman's alleged domestic violence issue. Wouldn't speculate on possible suspension
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 28, 2015
What constitutes due diligence in this circumstance? Can Chapman help the bullpen? Does Chapman still throw 100 MPH? Do we have to give up a lot to get him? Do we care that he beats women?
That’s it in a nutshell. The Yankees don’t care about what he did. They don’t care as long as he helps them. If the Marlins do this, we roll our eyes at the despicable Jeffrey Loria. However, these are the Yankees. Look, even as a Mets fan, I can appreciate what the Yankees are. They’re the model franchise. They’re the gold standard.
They’re now tarnished. Sure, this doesn’t take away the 27 championships. However, what it does signal to the world is that baseball’s most important franchise doesn’t care about domestic violence. That’s not good for baseball. Really, it’s not good for anybody.
Of all the major pro sports, baseball is held to a higher standard. When the Yankees traded for Chapman, baseball failed to live up to that standard. I was a bad day for the Yankees. It was a bad day for baseball.
The only way to rectify this is for Rob Manfred to hit Chapman with a massive suspension. How does one month for each gunshot sound?
Note: photo was from prior arrest for Chapman speeding with a suspended license. It was not from the domestic violence allegations.
When you think of CBS and its news division, typically, the first name that comes to mind is Dan Rather (depending on your age). Dan Rather was forced into retirement for reporting on a story with insufficient documentation.
Rather thought he had the last great story of his career. He thought he had the smoking gun in what had forever been rumored: George W. Bush never served in the National Guard. Problem is the documents and source of the documents were utterly unreliable. As CBS was embarrassed by the ensuing scandal, it forced Rather out due to his perceived misconduct. Rather tried to sue to, in part, clear his good name. The lawsuit was thrown out.
He should be considered an all-time great — he’s the greatest-hitting catcher ever and the value of having a catcher who’s one of the league’s best hitters is immense — but he’s had to wait a few years surely due to a strongly-held belief he participated in the steroid era. I understand there’s no public evidence he did more than play in the steroid era and looked the part. However, since this isn’t a court of law, the burden of proof is much lower and since it’s only about who is honored, and not who is punished, I held out for now.
Make no mistake about it. Heyman just accused Piazza of using steroids. Whether it is guilt by association or how he looked, he accused Piazza of using steroids. He offered no substantive proof. Additionally, with his voting for Barry Bonds because he was a Hall of Famer before using steroids (because he knows the exact date Bobds started using), he has announced Piazza only had the success he did because of his steroid usage.
If you were on Twitter, Heyman was given several attempts to recant his statements or provide specific evidence to establish Piazza used steroids. He didn’t:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 29, 2015
By his reasoning, we can’t understand his writing. In a side note, that’s his fault if everyone seemingly took that as his meaning. I digress. His lack of a response just exhibits a lack of respect for anyone who has questions about his “learned ballot”:
I find it funny when voices on the internet — almost invariably stat guys and folks who only cover the game from a distance — declare which ballots are “strong” or stupid.
[Tom Verducci and Pedro Gomez] are reporters who are willing to take the abuse from the loud and shallow guys on Twitter.
You see Heyman doesn’t cover the game from afar. He’s in the thick of things. Like when he’s in studio or on the phone with WFAN. He knows more than you. If people weren’t so “loud and shallow,” they would understand that. It’s how he knows Piazza used steroids, and you don’t. Nevermind that your knowledge would come from reporters like Heyman. Nevermind that he is withholding the information that would constitute proof.
Perhaps, he’s withholding it because he had insufficient proof to prove Piazza used steroids “in a court of law.” As such, he feels comfortable making this accusation. Here’s the problem. Do you know what the burden of proof is in a court of law? In a court of law, Heyman would need to show it is 51% more likely that Piazza used steroids than he didn’t. Ergo, no one is even half sure he used steroids. By logic extension, Heyman fabricated this story.
As we’ve seen, is it a surprise to anyone that a CBS reporter has leveled accusations against a public figure with underwhelming evidence? By using Heyman’s standards, does he deserve the benefit of the doubt? Using his standards, isn’t it fair to say he fabricates stories?
I would say it is fair to use his logic against him. However, I will make clear that despite the title of this post, I’m not saying he fabricates stories. Rather, I’m specifically saying he has presented no substantive proof Piazza used steroids. I sincerely question whether he has anything linking Piazza to steroid usage. He’s had ample opportunity to provide it, but he still refuses.
That’s a real problem. Writers are tasked with reporting news, not creating rumor and innuendo. When that happens, how are the Heymans of the world any better than TMZ or any other gossip site. We deserve better than that. The Hall of Fame deserves better than that. Mike Piazza deserves better than that. If the same was done to him, Jon Heyman would deserve better than that.
Accordingly, it’s time for Heyman to stop being a loud and shallow gossip mongerer and start being a reporter.
There are all sorts of pitching prospects. There are pitchers who were uber prospects like Matt Harvey. The question with these prospects is where they’ll slot in the rotation. Then there are prospects like Jeremy Hefner.
The prospects like Hefner aren’t no doubters. You’re not a no doubter when you’re a 5th round draft pick who was twice placed on waivers before pitching one big league inning. Hefner referred to himself as “an average prospect.” Average prospects need to make the best of not only their stuff, but also their chances. Somehow, it’s more satisfying when these guys make it. You want the Hefners of the world to succeed because you want to believe in a player that really is doing everything he can do. It’s what you tell yourself you would do if you had enough talent to get that chance.
Well, Hefner made the most of his chances. He showed the Mets enough in 2012 for him to be in the 2013 rotation (even though he might’ve been a placeholder for Zack Wheeler). As the calendar turned to June, he seemed to figure something out. He went on a stretch of eight straight starts allowing two earned or less. Now what happened next is up for debate. Initially, it was thought he regressed to the mean. The truth may just be he was injured. In August 2013, Hefner had Tommy John surgery.
It’s a crushing blow to a player who just arrived on the scene. It was also crushing to him, but also to the Mets. They lost not only Hefner, but also Harvey to a torn UCL. The two rehabbed together. Seeing Hefner’s promise, the Mets kept him around rather than release him. Then something horrible happened. Hefner was not progressing in his rehab. He needed a second surgery. It definitively ended his Mets career. It put his baseball career into question.
Anytime a player like Hefner suffers a setback like this it’s deflating. Part of what makes sports fun is the out of nowhere stories. Everyone knows Tom Brady’s and Mike Piazza‘s stories. They’re reminders that what you need to succeed in sports, and in life, is hard work and determination. Hefner had those qualities. His mind was willing, but his flesh seemed weak.
Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. Hefner again worked his tail off. We shouldn’t expect anything else. He started pitching in the Winter Leagues. He pitched well enough to sign a minor league deal with the Cardinals. Normally, I hate the Cardinals and their players. However, I’m making an exception here. The world is a lot better when the Hefners of the world are given a chance to succeed. It’s even better when they do.
I thought the Mets should’ve brought him back. I thought he could’ve filled a need as a spot starter or a bullpen arm. Instead, Hefner is a Cardinal, and I couldn’t be happier for him. I’ll be rooting for him.
Good luck next year Jeremy Hefner.