Results tagged ‘ Mike Pelfrey ’

Mike Pelfrey, you got punk’d

Check out this prank the Twins played on former Mets pitcher and Wichita State alum Mike Pelfrey:


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.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/24

Though Terry Collins admitted Saturday that Opening Day does not look good for Andres Torres, the center field situation actually grew somewhat clearer thanks to comments from Sandy Alderson. Basically, it comes down to this:

  • If Torres and backup Scott Hairston are both healthy in time for Opening Day, the Mets will fill their final bench spot with either Mike Baxter or Adam Loewen.
  • If one of Torres or Hairston is healthy, the Mets will still proceed with Baxter or Loewen on their bench, plus likely either Jordany Valdespin or Vinny Rottino.
  • If neither Torres or Hairston is healthy, the Mets will take a natural center fielder north: Kirk Nieuwenhuis if healthy, otherwise Matt den Dekker.

One other note from Saturday’s game: Mike Pelfrey tweaked his mechanics and came away pleased with the results in a 6-6 tie. Do with that information what you will.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/24

For once, a quiet day at Mets camp. No ripples today, save for a couple minor news stories: that Johan Santana will make his Grapefruit League debut on March 6 rather than March 5, and that Mike Pelfrey rolled his ankle during fielding drills. No red flags in either instance.

The recent quiet gave me a chance to catch up with David Wright, who is entering a career crossroads at the age of 29. Wright could be traded this year. He could be traded next year. He could stay for good. Either way, he is burning to win a championship with the Mets.

Here’s a picture I snapped today of Wright relaxing before batting practice with Daniel Murphy, who is also quoted in the story:

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The New York Mets and the curse of Santa Claus

Beware, Mets fans: the team revealed Tuesday that David Wright will play the role of Santa Claus at next Tuesday’s holiday party, one of the club’s most popular annual charitable endeavors. But like an action shot on the cover of Sports Illustrated or an appointment to defend the dark arts at Hogwarts, it is not an honor to be taken lightly.

wrightsanta.jpgFor the better part of the past decade, the position has quite obviously been cursed; any player who has pulled on the red-and-white suit has either left the team, been injured or suffered a serious decline in production thereafter. 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 famous 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: 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 this November.

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.

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 played the part well, 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.

You’ll notice one year missing from the story: 2006, the only only other time Wright played the role of Santa Claus. All Wright did the following year was enjoy the best overall season of his professional career, winning a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger and perhaps proving he is immune to the curse.

That’s the gamble, at least, that the Mets are taking in 2010.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Pelfrey open to long-term extension

As it stands, Mike Pelfrey will remain under Mets control until 2014. He’d like to stick around even longer than that.

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“I would be interested,” Pelfrey said about the possibility of a contract extension. “They’d have to bring it up, but I’m sure we’ll explore it. I’m definitely open to it.”

To date, the Mets have not discussed the possibility of a long-term extension with Pelfrey, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.

“Crickets,” Pelfrey said. “It’s been crickets.”

Pelfrey’s agent, Scott Boras, does not often allow teams to buy out arbitration or free agent years by signing players to long-term deals, preferring his clients to test free agency when the time comes. And Pelfrey could follow suit, even if his preference is to stay with the Mets.

After New York drafted him ninth overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Pelfrey signed a four-year, $5.25 million contract that expired prior to this season. Because he had not accumulated enough service time to be eligible for arbitration, Pelfrey then had no choice but to ink a one-year deal worth $500,000 for 2010.

Next year, his salary could increase more than tenfold through the arbitration process, giving the Mets incentive to broach the topic of a long-term deal. But the Mets must also address the instability within their own front office before they begin to make personnel decisions for the future.

“My agent and them will work it out,” Pelfrey said. “If they want to do it, I’m open to it. If not, that’s fine, too.”

In his most successful big league season to date, Pelfrey is 15-9 this year with a 3.75 ERA.

Grading the first half for the Mets

Time to grade some key Mets on their first-half performances. Without further ado:

Johan Santana: B
What a strange season for Santana, who alternated dominating stretches with periods of pure mediocrity. The overall results have been fine, though hardly ace-like. Safe to say the Mets are expecting more from Santana in the second half, with last winter’s surgery now squarely in his rear-view mirror.

reportcard.jpgMike Pelfrey: A-
Ignore the past few rocky starts for a minute. If I told you before the season that Pelfrey would go 10-4 with a 3.58 ERA in the first half, I think you would have taken that. Truth is, without Pelfrey, the Mets might not be close to postseason contention.

Jon Niese: A-
Injury aside, Niese has been brilliant at times, and as consistent as any of the five Mets starters. Like Pelfrey, he has given the Mets more than they ever could have expected in Spring Training.

R.A. Dickey: A+
When the Mets signed Dickey, he was nothing more than aging organizational depth. Now he is a legitimate starting pitcher, a cog in the rotation and a key reason why the team is still in this thing. Dickey deserves as much credit as anyone.

Hisanori Takahashi: B+
Like every other starter not named Santana, Takahashi has given the Mets more than they ever dreamed. His few bad starts have handcuffed them, yes, but between his early-season bullpen appearances and his role in the rotation, Takahashi has been stellar.

Jose Reyes: B
Yes, the fact that Reyes made the All-Star team was remarkable considering all he had gone through in the preceding year and a half. But Reyes was useless to the Mets for the first month of the season, and he has done nothing to shed his injury-prone image. Got to dock him some points for that.

Angel Pagan: A
Leading the army of overachievers was Pagan, a player who has finally begun to fulfill his potential. The Mets hardly missed Carlos Beltran this season in large part because of Pagan, who played stellar offense and defense in his absence.

David Wright: A-
Just like that, he’s back to being an All-Star. The Mets have to be pleased with that, considering the miserable season Wright endured last year.

Ike Davis: B
He’s gotten more credit than perhaps he’s deserved, considering his pedestrian offensive numbers. But Davis has played a solid first base while giving the Mets a measure of offensive pop from the position. That’s something worthwhile.

Jason Bay: C
The Mets’ one big free agent acquisition has been something of a bust. Bay is not hitting for power, and that’s the one thing he’s supposed to do well. Now down to sixth in the lineup, Bay must bust out for the Mets to succeed.

Rod Barajas: B
After a hot start, Barajas has cooled off plenty. But he did carry the Met offense for much of the early season, and he deserves some credit for the success of the pitching staff.

Jeff Francoeur: C
Other than his rocket right arm, Francoeur has contributed little to the Mets this season. Now, with Beltran back, he’s going to lose significant playing time because of it.

Luis Castillo: D
After justifying a portion of his contract with a strong year last season, Castillo has reverted back to an old, broken-down second baseman. He’s on the DL now, and there’s no telling how much he’ll be able to help when he returns.

Bench: C-
Gary Matthews, Jr., Frank Catalanotto and Fernando Tatis were all massively ineffective during their time with the team. Chris Carter helped for a while but has since faded. The Mets have yet to find a pinch-hitter who can give them consistently good at-bats. The one player here who deserves mention is Henry Blanco, who has worked well with the pitching staff while providing better-than-expected offense when he plays.

Bullpen: C
Francisco Rodriguez has walked a tight rope all season but ultimately has gotten the job done — and quite well, if you consider his numbers. Pedro Feliciano was overexposed against right-handed hitters, but has been just as effective as ever against lefties. Other than those two, the Mets have found no consistent answers in the back end of their bullpen. It’s the most conspicuous weakness for the team heading into the second half.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Pelfrey starting to think like an ace

In the aftermath of the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Saturday, Mike Pelfrey talked about how when Johan Santana pitches, the Mets take the field expecting to win.

“I want everybody to feel that way about me,” Pelfrey said.

They are starting to. Just as impressive than Pelfrey’s 6-1 record and 2.86 ERA through nine turns of the rotation has been his consistency. Six of Pelfrey’s nine starts have been quality starts — same as Santana. In four of them, Pelfrey has gone at least seven innings — same as Santana.

He’s not an ace yet, but Pelfrey is showing flashes of developing into one. That’s big for a pitcher that was beginning to convince Mets fans he might never figure things out.

Musings in the Queen City

This is my third night in Cincinnati, and still nobody has been able to tell me why the Ohio River is a sickly shade of brown. Google also provides no answers. Anyone?

In other Ohio-related news, I used Tuesday to try a local favorite: Skyline Chili. My review? Eh. Strange concept, strange taste. I’ve also been told that a former Great American Ball Park staple, the fried Twinkie, has been discontinued. So that’s disappointing.

As for the Mets, Mike Pelfrey skipped his bullpen session today on pitching coach Dan Warthen’s orders. Pelfrey, Warthen and Jerry Manuel all swear he’s fine and will be able to make his next start Friday at Citi Field. And I’m in no place to disagree.

But isn’t this how all major injuries seem to start?

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