Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/26

One more game in Florida, then it’s on to Canada for the Mets.

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What we learned: Jose Valverde made the Opening Day roster. Vic Black did not.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“I didn’t see it coming, but I also couldn’t expect anything different, really. What I did was struggle all spring.” –Black on his demotion

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Las Vegas and Port St. Lucie, 3/16

Back to Florida, with two weeks to go until Opening Day.

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What we learned: Jon Niese could miss Opening Day with an elbow injury that forced him out of Sunday’s game in Jupiter, Fla.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“It’s the Spring Training from hell.”–Niese

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/12

What we learned: Despite the opposite strategy unfolding in Atlanta, the Mets are not about to fill a major hole by making a free agent splash late in spring.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

“I’m not interpreting it in terms of our situation. I don’t know that we have a situation here.” –GM Sandy Alderson on the Braves’ deal with Santana

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/2

The Mets are now 0-3 in Grapefruit League play, outscored 21-6 in their three games.

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What we learned: Sorry, Jenrry Mejia, but Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are the frontrunners to win the Mets’ fifth starter’s job.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“It’s obvious that when you’re Daisuke Matsuzaka, you come with a track record. Certainly with what he’s done in the past, you might have to say he’s probably the guy.” –Manager Terry Collins on Matsuzaka’s chances to win the fifth starter’s job

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/25

One more day of workouts before Thursday’s intrasquad game and Friday’s Grapefruit League opener.

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What we learned: David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud will all participate in next month’s Las Vegas exhibitions against the Cubs, but Daniel Murphy will not. … Terry Collins still expects to be ejected next year, probably more than once.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“That would be like the ultimate jinx.” –Fifth-starter candidate John Lannan on apartment hunting in New York City before making the team

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

In defense of Carlos Beltran, an October stud

For Mets fans, the enduring image of Carlos Beltran in October is this:

But judging him on that at-bat alone is far from fair. With his National League Championship Series Game 1 heroics in the books, Beltran has further cemented his legacy not just as a good postseason player, but one of the best of all time.

Consider: Beltran entered NLCS Game 2 with a .750 career slugging percentage in 178 postseason plate appearances, the highest of anyone with even half that many PAs. (Second on the list? Some guy named Babe Ruth, whose lifetime playoff statistics look eerily similar to those of Beltran.)

Coming into the day, Beltran’s October OPS sat at 1.199, fifth on the all-time list by mere hundredths of a point. And while his 16 home runs only rank eighth all-time, they are the most by anyone with fewer than 200 postseason plate appearances.

The common misconception is that Beltran did not enjoy much of that success with the Mets, which is entirely untrue. He hit .278 with three home runs and nine walks in his 10 postseason games as a Met, including .296 with all three of his homers in the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals. Had Beltran not scored the Mets’ only run in the first inning of Game 7, he would not have batted with the tying run in scoring position in the ninth. Had his two-run homer not provided the only runs off Jeff Weaver in Game 1, the Mets might never have even reached Game 6 of that series, let alone Game 7. (Endy Chavez sends his regards.)

So begrudge Beltran for one called strike three on a fantastic Wainwright curveball if you must. But do not let that color your perception of what he is: one of the most talented clutch performers in postseason history.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets to play two nationally televised Spring Training games

ESPN just released its Spring Training broadcast schedule. You can view the Mets:

  • Tues., March 26 vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m.
  • Thurs., March 28 @ Nationals, 1 p.m.

Only 12 days left until pitchers and catchers officially report to Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Where will you go, Jose Reyes?

Welcome to speculation season. Various reports Wednesday pegged San Francisco as a possible trade destination for Mets shortstop Jose Reyes — which it is. But the reigning World Series champions are hardly alone in their desire. To nab Reyes at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, a team must be both in contention and in need of a shortstop — a rare combination that eliminates two-thirds of the league at first glance.

Below is the remaining one-third, in no particular order:

Team: Giants
Current SS: Miguel Tejada

The Giants have a clear need with an anemic offense, no true leadoff hitter, and an aging and unproductive starting shortstop in Tejada. Hardly a Moneyball disciple, general manager Brian Sabean is also unlikely to fret over Reyes’ history of low on-base percentages. But if a bidding war is in the offing, the Giants may fall short — their farm system remains thin beyond top first base prospect Brandon Belt.

Team: Brewers
Current SS: Yuniesky Betancourt

The Brewers could use someone to set the table for sluggers Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. But they also have greater needs — pitching, anyone? — and if they fall out of the race in the NL Central, the small-market Brewers are liable to turn into sellers themselves.  Like the Giants, they also have a weak farm system, widely considered to be the league’s worst.

Team: Cardinals
Current SS: Ryan Theriot

Acquiring Reyes would allow the Cardinals to shift Theriot down in the lineup and over to second base, improving their team in more ways than one. But they already have four dynamic offensive players in Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Colby Rasmus; like the Brewers, the Cards may be more interested in shoring up their rotation.

Team: Reds
Current SS: Paul Janish

Put Reyes in Cincinnati, and the Reds suddenly become clear favorites to repeat as NL Central champions. But given their rotation struggles, they may also mirror their division rivals, the Cardinals, in prioritizing a pitcher.

Team: Dodgers
Current SS: Jamey Carroll

It’s unclear how Major League Baseball’s takeover of the Dodgers’ day-to-day operations will affect their ability to take on salary at the deadline. If the Dodgers can indeed spend, they’d be an ideal trade partner for the Mets: a big-market team with playoff aspirations, a glaring lack of middle infield punch and a strong-enough farm system.

Team: Tigers
Current SS: Jhonny Peralta

As in St. Louis, acquiring Reyes would allow the Tigers to shift their current shortstop to second base. But if former top prospect Scott Sizemore pans out in Detroit, the Tigers may be more inclined to allocate their resources elsewhere. A big outfield bat may be a more pressing concern.

Team: Angels
Current SS: Erick Aybar

As long as the Angels remain unwilling to expose young center fielder Peter Bourjos to the leadoff spot, they could use a player such as Reyes. Their need is not glaring. But Reyes could be enough to vault them past the Rangers in a crowded AL West, and the Angels possess a deep enough cache of prospects to outbid almost anyone.

Team: A’s
Current SS: Cliff Pennington

A longshot, considering the team’s perennial small payroll and general manager Billy Beane’s affinity for on-base percentage. But Reyes would still represent a major upgrade over Pennington by any measurement, and the A’s do have the ability to take on some payroll. If they’re in serious contention come July, it’s not impossible.

Team: Twins
Current SS: Alexi Casilla

It’s clear the Twins are in need of an offensive jolt, and it’s clear that Reyes would be a major upgrade over Casilla. But after adding significant payroll in recent years by signing several key players to long-term contracts, they would the Twins would be unlikely to pursue Reyes in free agency. That makes a trade for the shortstop unlikely, as well.

Team: Red Sox
Current SS: Jed Lowrie

If Lowrie continues to produce at his current clip, this may be a moot point. But the Red Sox are never shy about trading for top talent, and despite the Adrian Gonzalez trade, they still have several intriguing arms in their system. Toss their deep pockets into the equation and they could be a match.

Team: Yankees
Current SS: Derek Jeter

It doesn’t make sense. But it’s the Yankees. Don’t ever count them out, ever.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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