Results tagged ‘ David Wright ’

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

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/24

It was only a matter of time before something contentious happened at Mets camp. The spring’s first squabble came in the form of a New York Post report revealing that Ike Davis played through injury for much of last summer. Davis responded with venom.

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What we learned: Davis played through injury from mid-May until one if his right oblique muscles “popped,” in his words, in late August. What we don’t know is how much the pain played into his season-long struggles; Davis says not at all. … Unlike fellow veterans David Wright and Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson will not shy away from early Grapefruit League action, preferring to see as much live pitching as possible after injuries severely shortened his 2013 season. … The new rule thought to ban home plate collisions will actually only prohibit the most egregious ones, in which runners or catchers are clearly and actively seeking contact.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries and now it just looks bad. I didn’t want the article to come out and it did, so whatever.” –Davis on the New York Post report

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/23

The games start soon, beginning with an intrasquad matchup on Thursday. Buckle in.

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What we learned: The Mets will hold back some of their regular starting pitchers early in the Grapefruit League season, in an attempt to see as many arms as possible. Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee in particular will not pitch the first time through the rotation.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“What is comfort? Is it money? I’ve made an ungodly amount of money. That’s the only way to describe it. We’re in a really cool spot with a child coming on the way, that’s exciting. That would be the way I would describe where we’re at — a very exciting time. But comfort comes and it doesn’t really last.” –Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Jon Stewart, Ty Burrell riff on Mets

Modern Family actor Ty Burrell appeared on The Daily Show last night, where he and host Jon Stewart — two of the Mets’ most famous fans — got a little off topic. Check out the clip here.

You may recall that several Mets players, including Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee, visited the set of Modern Family last year in Los Angeles. David Wright is also a huge fan of the show.

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Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Wright: “I am so glad that we didn’t sell low on Ike”

Mets third baseman David Wright appeared Wednesday on Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. Here’s a partial transcript of his interview, which you can listen to in full here.

Host Adam Schein: What does Curtis Granderson bring to the table in your opinion for the Mets?”

David Wright: “New York is a difficult place to kind of prioritize and put away distractions and go out there and focus on the game and I think Curtis has done that, along with having a couple 40 home run seasons. Not too shabby. And just being around him on a personal level, he is going to make us better for what he brings into the clubhouse, especially with a lot of the Derek Jeter types from the Yankees, that he has gotten a chance to watch and the way they carry themselves and bringing that kind of quiet confidence over to Queens, I think, is going to help us out big time. The numbers speak for themselves what he does on the field but I think what he brings to the clubhouse is equally important.”

Schein: “What are the expectations for Ike Davis this year and maybe as a team leader, how do you help Ike Davis for this upcoming season?”

Wright: “You know what, I am so glad that we didn’t sell low on Ike. I think that this is a year away from him having one of the best halfs of baseball that I have ever seen. A guy that has hit 30 home runs, is a run producer. The biggest thing with Ike in my opinion is the confidence. He has had a couple of years where he has gotten off to horrific starts, he starts beating himself up, he starts spending hours in the cage trying to tamper with things that he probably shouldn’t mess with.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Shortstop not necessarily dead for Mets’ Flores

Wilmer Flores has not played his natural position of shortstop professionally in the United States since 2011, when he was 19 years old. Despite the Mets’ clear weakness at that position, Flores’ name does not typically surface in discussions about it. And for good reason — the Mets have no immediate plans to use him there, in part because of the lack of mobility that scouts have long predicted for him.

But the notion of trying Flores at shortstop is not permanently dead. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this week that if Flores’ winter conditioning program pays the type of dividends the team hopes, it’s possible he could receive some reps at the position this spring.

“I don’t think we’d rule it out,” Alderson said in a telephone interview. “Why should we? I think we have to see how Spring Training plays out for him — is there going to be a spot for him in the lineup? Is there not? Is he going to be a bench player for us? Is he going to go to Las Vegas?”

Alderson pointed several times to the team-supervised conditioning program Flores attended in Michigan this winter alongside Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and several Mets prospects. This was the first winter of his career that Flores spent significant time focusing on his overall health rather than his baseball skills, according to the GM.

“I don’t want to place too much stock on four weeks of conditioning, but this is a guy who’s never really had the opportunity to develop himself physically the way players here in the United States do, who have a season and then an offseason,” Alderson said. “He’s never had an offseason. He’s always played. So this is a different type of offseason for him — one in which he’s been able to invest in his career. We’ll see how it pays off for him.

“I wouldn’t say [Flores to shortstop] is dead. I think that one of the things we want to see is how well he has done with his training regimen in Michigan. Before this offseason, I’m not sure he ever had any sort of structured, regimented conditioning program. The work that they have done on speed and agility and quickness, etc., may have an impact on his ability to play certain positions — including second base and conceivably even shortstop. But right now, that’s all speculation.”

Flores, who signed with the Mets as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2007, played shortstop exclusively over the first four years of his Minor League career. In 2012, he shifted to third base, before playing mostly second last year — partially an organizational response to third baseman David Wright signing an eight-year contract that runs through 2020.

Along the way, scouts have continually pegged Flores as a corner infielder, skeptical that his limited mobility would allow him to play a middle infield or corner outfield spot. But Flores held his own at second despite a nagging ankle injury, and Alderson is curious to see how he responds after two intensive fitness sessions near Ann Arbor, Mich.

“It became clear, if you watched him play last year and run the bases … that [conditioning] was an area that needed to improve,” Alderson said. “Since he’d never done any conditioning at all, you say to yourself, ‘Gee, there may be substantial opportunity for improvement. Let’s see what happens. Let’s try it.’ And that’s what we’ve done. We won’t know the benefits of that until we get down to Spring Training.”

What the Mets do know is that they are thin at shortstop, with Tejada coming off a below-replacement level season, free agent Stephen Drew a long-shot to sign and no high-ceilinged prospects on the immediate horizon. Flores, by contrast, revived his own prospect status with a breakout offensive year in 2012, carrying that wave all the way to the Majors in 2013.

“Is he definitely not a shortstop? I try not to say anybody’s definitely not something,” Alderson said. “We tried Duda [a natural first baseman] in left field. There’s no reason why we can’t try other players at positions where at first blush you’d say, ‘No, that’s not possible.’”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Top five Mets Cetera posts of 2013

With the year winding down, it’s time to take a look back at the top five Mets Cetera posts of the year, in terms of total traffic:

metsceteraharvey5. Mid-July was All-Star season in New York, and it just so happened to coincide with the height of Matt Harvey’s rapid-rise fame. We linked to a skit that Harvey did on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, seeing how many so-called Mets fans recognized their newest and brightest superstar.

metsceteraoutfield4. Last offseason, Sandy Alderson famously poked fun at his team when he quipped, “What outfield?” in response to a question. By the end of July, Alderson had changed his tune so completely that he called the Mets “maybe the most productive outfield in baseball.” We investigated his claim.

metsceteracurse3. Just last week, we revisited the Curse of Kris Kringle that has haunted the Mets at their annual holiday party for the better part of a decade. Well aware of the curse’s history – Kris BensonMike Cameron and even Wright have been among the victims – Daniel Murphy suited up as St. Nick.

metsceterawright22. As usual, David Wright was a popular figure in 2013. In March, we held a Twitter contest for fans to create their best “Captain America” photoshop mock-ups. The winner, from @Miss_Met, featured the captain in full regalia on a DVD cover. The runners-up were nearly as impressive.

metsceterawright1. In December, we took a look back at Wright’s eight-year, $138-million contract and what he might have made as a free agent this winter. The consensus? You’ll have to click and see. But here’s a hint: it’s closer to Robinson Cano’s 10-year, $240-million deal than you might expect.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The Mets and the Curse of Kris Kringle (2013 Edition)

The Mets hosted their annual children’s holiday party on Tuesday, with Daniel Murphy reprising the role of Santa Claus that he first played in 2011. He should know better. The suit is cursed, and has betrayed him before.

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For the better part of the past decade in fact, nearly every player who pulled on the red-and-white suit either left the team, suffered injury or endured a serious decline in production within the next year. Consider the following:

The Year: 2004
The Santa: Mike Cameron
The Fallout: Tremendously popular amongst teammates, Cameron played Santa and then suffered a frightening outfield collision with Carlos Beltran the following August, knocking him out for the rest of the season and ultimately ending his Mets career.

The Year: 2005
The Santa: Kris Benson
The Fallout: Perhaps the most memorable Mets Santa of them all, Benson entertained in 2005 while his wife, Anna Benson, infamously showed up wearing a revealing Mrs. Claus costume. A month later, the Mets sent both Bensons packing in a trade to Baltimore.

The Year: 2006
The Santa: David Wright
The Fallout: By enjoying the best statistical season of his career in 2007 and winning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at third base, Wright appeared to nix the curse of Santa Claus once and for all. But then he made a critical mistake, agreeing to suit up again four years later. Keep reading to see what happened.

The Year: 2007
The Santa: John Maine
The Fallout: Coming off a career year and looking every bit like a future cog in New York’s rotation, Maine played Santa Claus in 2007. The following year, he suffered the first of what became a litany of shoulder issues, resulting in multiple surgeries, robbing him of fastball velocity and ultimately leading the Mets to non-tender him in 2010.

The Year: 2008
The Santa: Mike Pelfrey
The Fallout: Like Maine, Pelfrey had just completed a career year when the Mets tabbed him to be St. Nick. The following season, Pelfrey’s ERA jumped from 3.72 to 5.03, his walk rate spiked and he lost more games than he won. Some argue that despite a strong first half in 2010, he never truly recovered.

The Year: 2009
The Santa: Jeff Francoeur
The Fallout: The affable Francoeur seemed a perfect choice for Santa after raking in his first few months after a trade to New York. He scored points for his jolliness, before hitting just .237 for the Mets in 2010 and losing his starting job to Angel Pagan. Frustrated with his production, the Mets eventually dealt Francoeur to the Rangers, who cut him after the season.

The Year: 2010
The Santa: David Wright
The Fallout: Making his second career appearance as Santa, Wright suffered a stress fracture in his lower back the following April, struggled while attempting to play through the pain, and ultimately spent more than two months on the disabled list. The resulting career lows in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging were only half the story; Wright also endured fallout from owner Fred Wilpon’s critical comments about him in the New Yorker magazine.

The Year: 2011
The Santa: Daniel Murphy
The Fallout: Perhaps Murphy ended the curse once and for all? It was not until after tearing ligaments in both knees that Murphy played Santa in 2011, still recovering from the second injury. Though he recovered to play a full healthy season in 2012, Murphy did not enjoy the same type of success that he had in 2011.

The Year: 2012
The Santa: John Franco
The Cameo: R.A. Dickey
The Fallout: The Mets wised up in 2012, using a former player instead of a current one for their Santa. It didn’t matter. Despite not receiving an original invite, Dickey attended the party as well, using it as a platform to express disappointment with his contract negotiations. A week later, the Mets traded him to the Blue Jays.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

David Wright, the $200-million player that could have been?

When the Mets flew David Wright to the Winter Meetings last year to finalize his eight-year, $138-million contract, they did so without assurances of what the deal would look like in the future. Injury and performance aside, it was impossible to predict how the market would shake out, and how Wright’s $138 million would stack up.

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A year later, it’s clear that the Mets inked Wright for far less than he could have made on the open market this winter, when he would have been a free agent for the first time in his career. Just look at some of the position player deals that have been done:

  • Ten years, $240 million from the Mariners for second baseman Robinson Cano
  • Seven years, $153 million from the Yankees for outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury
  • Five years, $85 million from the Yankees for catcher Brian McCann
  • Four years, $60 million from the Mets for outfielder Curtis Granderson

Though none of those players are terrific comps for Wright, they serve to demonstrate how much players are currently worth on the open market.

With that in mind, I spent some time at the Winter Meetings informally surveying a handful of executives and agents, asking them what Wright could have received as a free agent. The answers did not dip below $170 million, rising as high as $200 million.

One person suggested tacking $5 million per year onto Wright’s existing deal, resulting in an eight-year, $178-million pact. Another said that Wright probably would have been able to push for a 10-year deal, which would have taken him through his age-39 season. Two suits budgeted $200 million on the dot — a number that only five players in history have earned in a single contract: Alex Rodriguez (twice), Cano, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Prince Fielder. On more than one occasion, Wright’s squeaky-clean franchise cornerstone reputation came up as a potential negotiating platform.

Imagine those numbers in the context of the Mets’ rebuilding efforts. Even if Wright fell short of that $200 million mark, his $170+ million value might have forced the Mets to reconsider their commitment. Market factors alone could have transformed franchise history.

Wright knew he would be taking a discount to sign with the Mets a year before hitting free agency, but he still did it because he knew New York was where he wanted to be. (Recall that Wright shaped his deal like a bell curve to help the Mets retain present and future payroll flexibility.) He and the Mets are both happy things worked out the way they did.

But the rest of baseball was left wondering what Wright would have received on the open market had — like so many others — he chosen to play for the highest bidder.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets’ Opening Day lineup? Forever Young is in their mind

After the Mets inked Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60-million deal, the popular thinking was that the signing would push Eric Young, Jr. to the bench, giving the Mets an outfield of (from left to right) Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young. Yet one Mets official cautioned Monday that that might not be the case. The Mets were enamored with what Eric Young, Jr. gave them last season, and want his bat in the lineup in some capacity.

If the Mets trade Daniel Murphy, they could achieve that by sliding Young into the starting second base role. Short of that, and assuming the Mets trade Ike Davis instead of Lucas Duda, their Opening Day lineup could look something like this:

Eric Young, Jr., LF
Daniel Murphy, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Curtis Granderson, RF
Chris Young, CF
Lucas Duda, 1B
Travis d’Arnaud, C
Ruben Tejada, SS
Jon Niese, LHP

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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