Results tagged ‘ David Wright ’

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.

murphysanta

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.

wright6

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.

Wright dishes on Mets’ offseason plans

In today’s Mets notebook, I talked to David Wright about his thoughts on the upcoming offseason. Here are Wright’s comments in full:

MLB.com: What do you expect out of this offseason?
DW: “We need to improve. Whether that’s through free agency or whether that’s through trades, I don’t think there’s any question that we need to get better. And that’s not just all on free agents and trades. It’s also on the players who are coming back next year to continue to improve, because there’s only so much you can do in those aspects of the game, at least in my opinion. The potential for extended success is to build from within, and we’re on our way to doing that. But I don’t think there’s any question whether it’s trades or free agents, that we have to try to make this team better.”

wright6

MLB.com: What is your ideal offseason plan?
DW: “Whether we get better in pitching aspects, whether we get better in hitting aspects, I don’t care. To me, there’s obviously some holes that we need to fill, and whatever we do to fill those holes, I’m OK with. It’s not like there’s one glaring weakness that we need that trumps another weakness. There’s a couple holes that we need filled, and whichever way we fill them is fine by me. Everybody’s been saying that this is the year with the money coming off the books, with some of the free agents that are out there, with some of the possible trade candidates given some of the younger pitchers and players we’ve developed. It seems like it’s all kind of culminating into this offseason to try to go out there and make this team better.”

MLB.com: Would you be OK with another quiet offseason?
DW: “Whatever way gets us the best the fastest is what I want. And that’s not to say that I want to trade away every single young player that we have for a veteran-type guy, because I want sustained success also. But I think we’ve gotten to the point now where the rebuilding project is coming to an end, and we need to start winning, and taking that next step to becoming that playoff-contending team. The last few years have been tough. This year’s been tough. But I think that we have an opportunity to go out there and really make this team better this offseason with the money that we have and some of the pieces that we have. I’m expecting this team to be much better next year than it is this year.”

MLB.com: So when do your recruiting calls start?
DW: “How do you know they haven’t already started?”

MLB.com: I think that would be tampering.
DW: [Laughing] “Not by me, is it? I don’t know the rules.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets visit Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9

Twelve years minus one day after terrorist attacks struck the World Trade Center, the Mets again paid tribute.

firehouse

To learn more about Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, check out this Eyewitness News piece from two years ago.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Marlins 8, Mets 1: Three Up, Three Down

Today’s Three Up should consider themselves lucky.

Three Up:
1. SS Omar Quintanilla:  Two singles accounted for two-thirds of the Mets’ offensive output against Marlins starter Jose Fernandez. They were also his third and fourth consecutive hits since snapping an 0-for-34 in the Majors.

2. SS Justin Turner: Pinch-hitting for Quintanilla, he knocked in the only run of the game with a double. That was enough for an “Up” on this day, despite Turner’s subsequent error in the field.

3. OF Lucas Duda: Duda got a hit. Most of his teammates did not. Good for Duda.

Three Down:
1. 3B David Wright: The captain’s 0-for-4 sunk him into an 0-for-13 funk at the plate. Accountability for a team-wide lack of offense must begin here.

2. C John Buck: Another 0-for-4 for Buck, this time with three swinging strikeouts. He probably should not be hitting fifth at this point, but problem is, the Mets have no obvious candidate to move up in the order.

3. RHP Collin McHugh: I have a hard time giving a “Down” to a pitcher making a spot start on short notice, but McHugh was facing the worst offensive team in baseball. The Mets were hoping for better than four runs in four-plus innings.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+7
RHP Matt Harvey
+6
2B Daniel Murphy
+5
C John Buck
+4
OF Marlon Byrd, INF Justin Turner

+3
RHP Jeremy Hefner

+2
RHP Greg Burke, LHP Jon Niese, LHP Scott Rice, OF Mike Baxter, SS Omar Quintanilla, OF Lucas Duda
+1
LHP Robert Carson, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Juan Lagares, 3B David Wright
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Scott Atchison, OF Jordany Valdespin, C Anthony Recker, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Rick Ankiel, RHP Collin McHugh
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

-4
LHP Josh Edgin, SS Ruben Tejada, RHP Dillon Gee
-14
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Marlins 5, Mets 1: Three Up, Three Down

Six good innings does not a good outing make.

Three Up:
1. 2B Daniel Murphy:  Murphy was responsible for the Mets’ only run, part of a two-hit night for the second baseman. His white-hot May has some people thinking he could be an All-Star.

2. 1B Ike Davis: Now 6-for-his-last-19, Davis lashed a double into the left-center field gap, one of his hardest-hit balls of the season. Maybe he really is coming out of this season-long funk?

3. SS Omar Quintanilla: His error in the eighth inning may have cost the Mets a run, but his 2-for-4 night on offense out-weighed that. If Quintanilla can keep hitting, perhaps the Mets can finally stop worrying about their leadoff spot.

Three Down:
1. RHP Shaun Marcum: This seemed like a surefire “Up” until the seventh inning, when Marcum turned into a different pitcher. Five baserunners over a seven-batter span resulted in four runs, and that was that.

2. 3B David Wright: Wright has had a solid-but-not-spectacular first two months of the season. The Mets should be fine with that, as long as it means his production will not crash in the second half as it did a year ago.

3. OF Rick Ankiel: Ankiel’s 0-for-4 night included a double play, a strikeout, and no meaningful contributions on defense. His early hot streak seems to have come to a rapid end.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+7
RHP Matt Harvey
+6
C John Buck, 2B Daniel Murphy
+4
OF Marlon Byrd

+3
INF Justin Turner, RHP Jeremy Hefner

+2
RHP Greg Burke, LHP Jon Niese, LHP Scott Rice, OF Mike Baxter, 3B David Wright
+1
LHP Robert Carson, OF Lucas Duda, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Juan Lagares, SS Omar Quintanilla
-1
RHP Collin McHugh
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Scott Atchison, OF Jordany Valdespin, C Anthony Recker, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Shaun Marcum, OF Rick Ankiel
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

-4
LHP Josh Edgin, SS Ruben Tejada, RHP Dillon Gee
-14
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

David Wright stars in All-Star commercial

The All-Star Game will be at Citi Field this summer, so perhaps it’s no surprise that David Wright was front and center in this commercial for the game.

davidwrightcommercial

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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