Results tagged ‘ R.A. Dickey ’

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/27

Breathe a sigh of relief, Mets fans. Jon Niese is okay, and Grapefruit League games start tomorrow.

traditionfield2-15

What we learned: Niese’s MRI came back clean, meaning there is no structural damage in his shoulder. Expect him to miss his next start, but probably not much more.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“Usually when our guys have gone up to get looked at, they’ve come back with bad news. I’m happy I’ve given people some peace of mind.” –Niese

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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.

Reality TV: Finding the next knuckleballer

Check out this R.A. Dickey-inspired new reality show from MLB Network:

Former NCAA Division I FBS quarterbacks John David Booty (USC), Josh Booty (LSU), Doug Flutie (Boston College), David Greene (Georgia) and Ryan Perrilloux (LSU & Jacksonville State), will compete for an invitation to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Spring Training camp in MLB Network’s first-ever reality series competition The Next Knuckler, premiering Wednesday, February 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Produced by MLB Productions and co-hosted by World Series champion and former All-Star knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield and MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar, the five former quarterbacks will compete against one another to determine who can throw the best knuckleball.  

dickeyknucklerTaped at Vero Beach Sports Village, the former Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, each episode will feature the contestants learning from Wakefield how to throw this baffling pitch before facing challenges to test the effectiveness of their knuckleball.  One contestant will be eliminated from the competition in each episode based on his performance and input from Wakefield and Millar. The winner will earn an invitation to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Spring Training camp and the chance to pitch for the D-backs in a Spring Training game.

 “I’ve dedicated my entire baseball life to the challenging art of throwing the knuckleball,” says Wakefield in the premiere episode. “Now, I’ve embarked on this mission to continue the knuckleball legacy. These guys were great athletes on the gridiron so I wanted to try this experiment out. You don’t have to grip the baseball the way I threw it, but if you want to win, you have to lose the spin.” 

In addition to Wakefield and Millar, The Next Knuckler will feature special guests, including 2012 NL Cy Young Award Winner and knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, former All-Star knuckleball pitcher Charlie Hough and 15-year old knuckleball phenom Chelsea Baker, who threw two perfect games for her Plant City Little League team in 2010.

 “We look forward to being featured on The Next Knuckler and giving an opportunity to one of these top-flight athletes to come to Spring Training with the D-backs,” said D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall. “With a knuckleball, you never know what kind of success a pitcher will have and that’s part of the intrigue for our franchise to take part in this reality show.”

Following the premiere hour-long elimination episode of the The Next Knuckler on Wednesday, February 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET, the final three episodes will air on February 14, 20 and 21 at 10:00 p.m. ET, with a re-air of the previous episode beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Updated top 10 prospects list, via Baseball Prospectus

How did the R.A. Dickey trade affect the Mets’ farm system? Baseball Prospectus today offered this new top 10 prospects list:

1. Zack Wheeler, RHP
2. Travis d’Arnaud, C
3. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
4. Michael Fulmer, RHP
5. Wilmer Flores, INF
6. Gavin Cecchini, SS
7. Domingo Tapia, RHP
8. Jeurys Familia, RHP
9. Brandon Nimmo, OF
10. Rafael Montero, RHP

Obviously there is some difference in opinion here from last week’s Baseball America list, which was published before the Dickey trade, and ranked Fulmer seventh and Luis Mateo fourth. But the industry consensus seems to be that d’Arnaud and Syndergaard are now the Mets’ clear second- and third-best prospects behind Wheeler.

On d’Arnaud, Baseball Prospectus called him “ready for prime-time” and described him as a “.275-plus batting average” guy with “17-25 HR power potential.”

On Syndergaard, BP wrote that his ceiling is as a “high-end no. 2 starter” and that “he could be a monster.”

You can read the full scouting breakdown here (subscription required).

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

R.A. Dickey’s original press release

Here’s how unheralded R.A. Dickey’s original signing was with the Mets. When he agreed to terms in early 2010, the team didn’t even give him his own press release. Check this out (click picture to enlarge):

dickeyrelease

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

…And what about Noah Syndergaard?

A new day brings new names. The R.A. Dickey deal currently on the table, according to the New York Post, would net the Mets right-handed pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, in addition to catchers Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck and another as-yet unnamed prospect. The Mets would give up Dickey, Josh Thole and a non-elite prospect.

So let’s take a look at Syndergaard, as we did yesterday for d’Arnaud. Again, click to launch the 2012 MLB.com Prospect Watch page:

syndergaardblurb

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Is Travis d’Arnaud a “difference-maker?”

The Mets are in serious talks to trade R.A. Dickey. This has become clear. But who might they receive in return?

If the Blue Jays are indeed the second team involved, then catchers Travis d’Arnaud and J.P. Arencibia, along with outfielder Anthony Gose, are the obvious targets. d’Arnaud the highest-rated player of the bunch, but is he the so-called “difference-maker” that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has been seeking? Check out MLB.com’s Prospect Watch bio (click below for the full page), and decide for yourself.

d'arnaudbit

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Photo: R.A. Dickey and some candy-coated friends

After attending a holiday party at Citi Field and discussing his contract situation, R.A. Dickey stopped by M&M’s World Holiday Village today in Times Square. Here’s a photo of Dickey showing off his knuckleball grip to some new friends, courtesy M&M’s World:

dickeymms

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo

What should the Mets do with R.A. Dickey?

R.A. Dickey is under contract for one more season at $5 million, after which he can become a free agent. The Mets are currently negotiating a contract extension with Dickey that could take him through his age-40 season. They are also weighing trade offers from other clubs, ideally trying to add an impact power hitter to their lineup.

Opinions vary on what to do with Dickey. So what would you do?

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Report: Mets only “50-50″ to re-sign Wright

Despite public optimism from COO Jeff Wilpon, the New York Post quoted an anonymous source Tuesday in saying that the Mets are only a “50-50″ bet to ink third baseman David Wright to a long-term contract extension this winter.

The source told the Post that Wright “is less than thrilled with the length of contract and amount of guaranteed money the Mets have offered,” which “could set up a game of chicken between Mets brass and Wright’s agents.”

“Part of it is [COO] Jeff Wilpon tries to win every negotiation, he doesn’t go for the middle ground,” an anonymous source told the paper.

Later Tuesday, Wilpon appeared publicly in Far Rockaway, Queens, and said he is more optimistic than he was two months ago that the Mets will be able to re-sign Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey.

“Certainly it’s gotten better because there’s conversations going back and forth,” Wilpon said. “So when you look at it from the end of the season when you didn’t really know how they were going to accept, or look at how we were positioning things and they were positioning things, there’s more optimism.”

Both Wright and Dickey are under team control for one more season.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo

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