Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Jay Horwitz outshines Carlos Beltran

You asked for it, now you have it. Exclusive video of Mets PR man Jay Horwitz running the bases during Carlos Beltran’s simulated game today:

Congratulations, Jay.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The final word on Oliver Perez

Don’t believe players when they say that personnel issues aren’t distractions. They are, plain and simple. Whether such distractions are generated by the media, by fans, by management or by the players themselves often varies from case to case, but a distraction is a distraction is a distraction.

ollieshrug.jpgOliver Perez was a distraction.

Contrary to popular belief, Perez was genuinely liked in the Mets clubhouse. “It’s one thing if a guy comes in and he doesn’t do anything,” teammate Mike Pelfrey said after Perez’s release Monday. “That pisses guys off. But he continued to work.”

The roots of Perez’s charred reputation in New York probably stemmed from February of 2009, when he reported to camp out of shape mere weeks after inking the largest contract of his life, the three-year, $36-million pact that runs through this season. Before that spring, Perez was enigmatic, with electric stuff and a frustrating inability to harness it. After it, he was overpaid and lazy. Perceptions can change just that quickly.

And reputations can be difficult to shed. In the wake of Perez’s release, several players admitted that the left-hander’s presence in camp had indeed become a distraction, regardless of their personal opinions of the man. That does not mean that inviting him to Spring Training was a mistake — with $12 million on the line, the Mets had every right to exhaust all options before cutting him lose. All it means is that now, with Perez officially gone, the club can move on. Can really, honestly, genuinely move on.

Manager Terry Collins spent a solid five minutes Monday raving about his other bullpen options (remember them?), something that would have carried little interest one day earlier. Over the past week in particular, thoughts of Perez and Luis Castillo have so dominated camp on a day-to-day basis that nothing else seemed to matter.

Now, everything else matters.

“At the risk of sounding bad, there’s a little bit of closure,” said Jason Bay, a teammate in New York and Pittsburgh who, like so many others, referred to Perez as a likable teammate.

“We love those guys,” shortstop Jose Reyes said of Perez and Castillo. “It’s not like they were bad teammates. Everybody loved those guys in the clubhouse.”

Perhaps that’s another reason why closure is important. Over the last four and a half years, for good and for bad (and admittedly, mostly for bad), Perez had been an integral part of the Mets. Now he is an ex-Met. Now the Mets can move on, without making any allowances, without making any exceptions and — perhaps most importantly — without answering any more questions.

Now, in other words, the Mets can play baseball.

That’s important.

“It’s time to move on,” Collins said. “It’s time to turn the page, and now let’s talk about who is going to be here and what this club’s going to be about right now.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets officially face $1 billion lawsuit

A full story detailing Irving Picard’s amended lawsuit is coming later today on MLB.com. For now, here’s a copy of the Picard’s press release detailing the suit, via the trustee’s web site:

NEW YORK, NY – March 18, 2011 – Irving H. Picard, the Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BLMIS”) today announced the filing of an amended complaint, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, against Sterling Equities (“Sterling”), its partners, their family members, and certain related trusts and entities (collectively, the “Sterling Defendants”).

The amended complaint provides additional specific detail and quantification of the alleged fraudulent transfers from BLMIS received by the Sterling Defendants.

In addition to the approximately $300 million in fictitious profits received by the Sterling Defendants cited in the original complaint, the amended complaint states that the Trustee seeks more than $700 million in alleged fraudulent transfers of principal received by the Sterling Defendants, bringing the total recoveries sought by the Trustee from the Sterling Defendants to more than $1 billion. The additional alleged fraudulent transfers of principal occurred during the six years prior to the December 2008 commencement of the BLMIS liquidation proceeding and include preferential transfers received by the Sterling Defendants within the 90-day period prior to the filing date.

“The amended complaint sheds more light on the deep dependency of the Sterling business
organization on the continuation of the Madoff fraud and certain knowledge of indicia of fraud by the Sterling partners,” said David J. Sheehan, counsel to the Trustee and a partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP, the court-appointed counsel for the Trustee.

“Perhaps the most telling evidence of Sterling’s dependency on Madoff is the fact that postrevelation of Madoff’s fraud, the Sterling partners were forced to negotiate with at least seven lender banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, HSBC, M&T, Wachovia, and Bank of New York (the “Lender Banks”), to restructure more than a half-billion dollars in collective debt – not just the millions of dollars of debt secured by the Leveraged KW BLMIS Accounts,” said Fernando A. Bohorquez, Jr., counsel to the Trustee and a partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP.

As described in the amended complaint, in the aftermath of the discovery of the Madoff fraud, with full notice of the potential liability to the Trustee faced by the Sterling Defendants, Sterling and the Lender Banks entered into various restructuring credit facilities containing certain provisions that attempted to circumvent any potential recovery action initiated by the Trustee.

“The restructuring demonstrates both Sterling’s and the Lender Banks’ serious concerns regarding potential recoveries by the Trustee, and supports the Trustee’s contention that the Sterling Defendants were inextricably bound to the Madoff fraud,” said Mr. Bohorquez.

The amended complaint also provides additional substantiation of the inter-dependent relationship between Sterling and BLMIS as well as certain Sterling partners’ knowledge of Madoff’s dishonesty in his investment advisory business. For instance, the amended complaint details a multi-milliondollar interest- and cost-free bridge loan from Madoff to Sterling in connection with its purchase of the broadcast rights for the New York Mets from Cablevision. This transaction was documented by a single letter agreement that falsely described the loan as an “investment” by Ruth Madoff in the company that would later become the SNY network.

The Sterling complaint was initially filed under seal on December 7, 2010 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The original complaint was unsealed on February 4, 2011.

In addition to Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Bohorquez, the Trustee acknowledges the contributions of the Baker & Hostetler attorneys who worked on this filing: Lauren Resnick, Kathryn Zunno, Steven Goldberg, Amanda Fein, Keith Murphy, Marc Skapof, George Klidonas, and Henry Bodenheimer.

***

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/17

We’re now two weeks away from Opening Day, and I still have no idea who the starting second baseman will be in Flushing. And I’m pretty sure the Mets have no idea either.

Manager Terry Collins has taken time this week to praise Luis Hernandez, who started at second base for the Mets down the stretch last season. But with nothing more than a handful of spring statistics under his belt, has he really leapfrogged Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy and Luis Castillo in the competition? Seems unlikely, though perhaps Hernandez could land a bench role in lieu of Chin-lung Hu. Anything’s possible. To that end, it would still surprise me to see Castillo on the Opening Day roster…but it certainly wouldn’t shock me.

For now, I suppose, I’ll stick with Emaus, my original pick. But I will remove Carlos Beltran from the projected roster, under the growing assumption that he will start the season on the disabled list. I just can’t see him being ready in two weeks’ time.

C – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Angel Pagan
OF – Lucas Duda
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz
RP – Jason Isringhausen*
RP – Manny Acosta

In
the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Luis Hernandez, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/10

I’m not going to count Carlos Beltran out for Opening Day just yet, considering the company line is a minor case of tendinitis. But if Beltran continues to sit out Grapefruit League games, he could have to start the season on the disabled list, possibly pushing Nick Evans, Lucas Duda or Fernando Martinez onto the Opening Day roster.

Also, if Brad Emaus continues to struggle, this may be the last week I project him onto the Opening Day roster. Even now, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt:

beltrandirty.jpgC – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Carlos Beltran
OF – Angel Pagan
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz
RP – Jason Isringhausen*
RP – Manny Acosta

In
the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/3

Not much new this week, with only a small sample of Grapefruit League innings to analyze and little clarity in the second base competition. Pedro Beato has impressed Mets brass and could sneak onto the roster, as could left Pat Misch. But for now, I’ll stick with my guns (and I’ll include a picture of Jason Isringhausen, since the photos were not working last week):

izzypitching.jpgC – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Carlos Beltran
OF – Angel Pagan
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz*
RP – Jason Isringhausen
RP – Manny Acosta

In
the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Analysis: Beltran to right field

Credit Carlos Beltran this: he made what appears to be the right decision for the Mets.

Beltran announced Monday that he will move to right field for the upcoming season, paving the way for Angel Pagan to start in center. According to metrics, it’s the smart move — in a little more than half a season in center field last year, Pagan ranked fourth in the Majors with an 11.8 Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 defensive games, according to the web site Fangraphs.com, which measures a player’s overall defensive contributions. And that’s no aberration — he holds a combined 12.4 UZR/150 at all three outfield positions for his career. Even in Beltran’s best defensive season, 2008, he posted a 12.2 UZR/150. Considering he is one surgery and three years removed from that season, it’s reasonable to think he might never reach that level again — while Pagan, in his age-29 season, could potentially improve. (Disclaimer: defensive stats at times can be murky, but do give a general idea of a player’s worth.)

For all Pagan’s offensive improvements last season, his bat also plays better in center. The Mets insisted that whatever they decided this season would be final, meaning if Beltran started in center field and suffered an injury, Pagan would remain in right. But Pagan’s bat and skill set are a better match for center, meaning that if Beltran does get injured, the Mets can safely plug in someone with more power and less range — a Nick Evans type, for example — in right.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

In case you missed it: 2/28

It’s easy for stories to get lost in the shuffle down here in Spring Training, with so much going on daily. Each Monday, I’m going to try to recap what happened on Mets.com and the greater world of baseball over the past week.

Monday, Feb. 21: The first new addition I profiled in camp was D.J. Carrasco, a versatile reliever from the D-backs by way of Northern California. Ostensibly trying out for the team as a starter, Carrasco will most likely fill the jack-of-all-trades role left vacant by the departed Hisanori Takahashi. He also has a sweet collection of vintage cars. Also Monday, new manager Terry Collins summoned some brimstone and fire in addressing the team prior to the first full-squad workout.

Tuesday, Feb. 22: Marty Noble filled in for me this day and interviewed Willie Harris and Scott Hairston about their history of beating the Mets with spectacular catches. Harris and Hairston are the two favorites to win backup outfield jobs this spring. Noble also provided union chief Michael Weiner’s take on the Francisco Rodriguez contract situation.

Wednesday, Feb. 23: Known for their diversity, the Mets draw many players from Latin America and Asia. But Germany? I wrote Wednesday about Kai Gronauer, a rare European prospect looking to hook on with the Mets. Also making news was Collins’ admission that had it been his choice, he would have kept Jenrry Mejia confined to the Minors last season.

Thursday, Feb. 24: Mets fans know Luis Castillo, they know Daniel Murphy and, to some extent, they even know Justin Turner. (They also know Jason Isringhausen, who is working on a new pitch in camp — but that’s beside the point.) But most do not yet know Brad Emaus, the fourth candidate in the second base competition and perhaps the favorite for the job.

Friday, Feb. 25: Some troubling off-the-field news surfaced Friday, when the Mets confirmed that Major League Baseball loaned them money to deal with a “short-term liquidity issue.” On the baseball front, things went smoother, with top prospect Matt Harvey discussing his offseason and Hairston homering twice in an intrasquad game.

Saturday, Feb. 26: Grapefruit League play began Saturday with a 5-5 tie against the Braves. Starting pitcher Jenrry Mejia, whose future remains conflicted, hit 94 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun. The Mets also announced that single-game tickets will go on sale March 14.

Sunday, Feb. 27: Oliver Perez’s bid to make the team began sourly, when the lefty allowed four runs in two innings against the Braves. Noble had the report from Orlando. Back home at Port St. Lucie, the Mets beat the University of Michigan, 7-1, in an exhibition at Digital Domain Park. With Sandy Koufax in attendance, Chris Capuano started and pitched two strong innings. Some sad news also broke Sunday, however, when Koufax’s former teammate with the Dodgers, Duke Snider, passed away at 84.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Saber-Met-rics and you

The folks over at Amazin’ Avenue recently sent me a review copy of their new book, Amazin’ Avenue Annual 2011, which hits stores this week. It’s a comprehensive mix of essays, reflections on the 2010 season, in-depth statistical looks at several players and projections for the 2011 season. For the sabermetrically inclined, it’s certainly worth a look.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets single-game tickets on sale March 14

From the Mets:

FLUSHING, N.Y., February 26, 2011 – The New York Mets today announced that single game tickets for the 2011 season at Citi Field will go on sale Monday, March 14 at 10:00 a.m. exclusively online at Mets.com, LosMets.com, and by phone at (718) 507-TIXX.  Ticket prices start at $12.

The following day, Tuesday, March 15 at 10:00 a.m., tickets will be at Citi Field’s Advance Ticket Window on the third base side of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the Mets Clubhouse Shops in Manhattan (42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, across from Bryant Park), at the Roosevelt Field Mall (Garden City, Long Island), at the Tangers Outlets at the Arches (Deer Park, Long Island), and MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Mets Season Tickets, 40 & 15 Game Plans, Flex Packs – five-, 11- and 17-game packs starting at $99 per seat – and Group tickets are also currently on sale at Mets.com and by phone at (718) 507-TIXX.

The Mets will offer fans more than 60 promotion, theme, and heritage dates and special events, giving away more than 300,000 items. The 2011 promotion schedule will begin with a Mr. Met Bobblehead giveaway on Opening Day, Friday, April 8.

Highlights of the 2011 season schedule include:

METS MERCHANDISE
Mr. Met Bobblehead presented by Citi – To celebrate Opening Day, Friday April 8 at 4:10 p.m. against the Washington Nationals, the first 25,000 fans will receive a Mr. Met Bobblehead.

Tote Bag presented by Harrah’s – During the Memorial Day weekend Mets-Phillies matchup at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, Harrah’s will offer a tote bag to the first 25,000 fans.

Sports Bag presented by Delta Air Lines – The first 25,000 fans attending the 7:10 p.m. game against the Braves on Saturday, August 6 will receive a Mets themed sports bag courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

METS COLLECTIBLES
Collector’s Cup presented by Premio – Premio will give an orange and blue collector’s cup to the first 25,000 fans attending the 7:10 p.m. Mets-Dodgers matchup on Friday, May 6.

Ike Davis Bobblehead presented by Gold’s Horseradish – The first 25,000 fans can take home an Ike Davis bobblehead courtesy of Gold’s Horseradish when they arrive at the 7:10 p.m. game against the Cardinals on Tuesday, July 19.

HERITAGE
Fiesta Latina presented by Budweiser – The Mets and Budweiser will celebrate Latin heritage in pregame activities at the 7:10 p.m. game against the Braves on Friday, August 5. The first 25,000 fans ages 21 and over will also receive a Jose Reyes banner.

Green T-shirt Night presented by Geico – On Saturday, August 27, the first 25,000 fans attending the 4:10 p.m. game against the Braves will receive a green t-shirt courtesy of Geico as part of Irish Heritage festivities.

HEALTH AWARENESS & EDUCATION
The Mets will host groups and provide information on health and wellness issues on the following dates: the sixth annual PIX11 Weather Education Day featuring Meteorologists Mr. G and Linda Church (Thursday, May 19);   Environmental Education Day (Thursday, May 5) and Fitness & Nutrition Education Day (Thursday, June 2).  Tickets include the on-field educational program at 11:00 a.m. and the Mets game at 1:10 p.m.

Non-refundable service charges are applicable on Mets.com, by phone, and at the Mets Clubhouse Shops.  Fans will have the same access to available ticket inventory online at Mets.com and LosMets.com, as on the (718) 507-TIXX phone line.

The 2011 Mets schedule – including information on promotional dates, heritage and theme days/nights, and other special events – is available at Mets.com.

*****

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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