Results tagged ‘ Terry Collins ’

Fred Wilpon and “the best meeting I’ve ever been a part of”

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Over the past half-decade, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon has made himself exceedingly scarce in public settings. And while Wilpon continues to avoid interview requests on a regular basis, he has become a more visible presence at Mets camp, frequently meeting with manager Terry Collins before and after games.

wilpon_fred720_wr9f5xxy_pe8vj3pcThat manifested itself in a different way early Monday morning, when Wilpon gathered everyone in big league camp for his first closed-door meeting with players in years. One player described the meeting as exceedingly positive and “very, very genuine,” saying Wilpon expressed to the players how badly he wants to win.

“Fred’s always been upbeat,” third baseman David Wright said. “I’d say that the vast majority of conversations that I’ve ever had with Mr. Wilpon have been very upbeat, so nothing different.”

Wilpon, who has not spoken on record in over two years, declined comment on the meeting, brushing past a group of media members with his bodyguard.

Players, however, did not describe Wilpon as angry or even upset, despite six straight losing seasons. To the contrary, they portrayed the 78-year-old owner as cheerful and optimistic; one player went as far as to call Monday’s gathering “the best meeting I’ve ever been a part of.”

“I’d like to think that whenever anybody has the floor, that it gets everybody’s attention,” Wright said. “When you have very few meetings, regardless of what the meetings are about, they mean a little bit more. When you start having meetings for the sake of having meetings, sometimes the message doesn’t quite come through. But when you have limited meetings about baseball, like we have, when somebody speaks, the message I think comes through a little clearer.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

It may be Harvey Day, but Harvey tries to keep himself at bay

VIERA, Fla. — Take Matt Harvey, one of the most competitive pitchers in baseball, and place him in a game after 16 tiresome months of rehab. Throw a former Cy Young Award winner on the other side, then toss them both into the carnival like atmosphere of Port St. Lucie, Fla.’s Tradition Field. Home opener, mid-70s, packed house — that sort of thing.

Understand, then, that Harvey can say and do all the right things leading up to the Mets’ 1:10 p.m. ET Grapefruit League against the Tigers on Friday, his first game action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in Oct. 2013. He can swear a dozen times over that he’s “just looking at it as another day” and that he’s “getting ready for the season like anybody else.”

Manager Terry Collins still knows that once Harvey steps into uniform, stands on the mound and sees Tigers ace David Price on the other side, it will be impossible — even in a boring, old, counts-for-nothing spring game — to completely rein in Harvey.

“I just want him to understand this is part of the process of getting back,” Collins said. “You’re not going to do any more to make a huge impression on this club by trying to overthrow tomorrow. Just go out there, hit your spots, work on your stuff and let the two innings play out. But as we all know, we’re going to have to ratchet him down a little bit probably before he walks out on that mound.”

Said Harvey: “I don’t think my mentality’s going to change at all. It’s just my first outing in Spring Training, getting ready for what’s coming in the future. I’m not looking at it as a comeback or anything of that sort. It’s me preparing for a normal season.”

For Harvey, Friday’s Grapefruit League game will complete an 18-month process that began when he partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, cutting short what had been, up to that point, one of the finest seasons of any Mets pitcher in history. Following a two-month flirtation with rehab, Harvey decided in Oct. 2013 to undergo surgery, then spent most of the next year working his arm back into shape — sometimes in the privacy of the Mets’ Port St. Lucie training center, often within the media crush of New York City.

By Sept. 2014, Harvey had convinced the Mets that he was back to his old self. Still, the out-of-contention team held him back, knowing that an extra six months could mean the difference between long-term health and a future recurrence.

That decision makes Harvey’s matchup with Price his first game action since Aug. 24, 2013, also against the Tigers.

“Prior to the surgery, he had premier stuff,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “He looked like he was bound to be a superstar. Certainly for his sake and the game’s sake, I hope he bounces back and continues where he left off, because he was a very bright spot for Major League Baseball as a young player.”

Daniel Fields, one of the Tigers hitters making a two-plus-hour bus ride across Florida to face Harvey, noted that having Price on the other side only adds to the juice.

“Those are two of the best arms in the game right now,” said Fields, who will be in a lineup also set to include big leaguers Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias, Rajai Davis and Nick Castellanos, but not star veterans Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Yoenis Cespedes or Victor Martinez. “Whenever you get a matchup like that in Spring Training, that’s what you want to see. I’m excited for [Friday]. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

The Mets are, too. They just want Harvey to stick to his word and avoid overdoing it.

“Only Matt Harvey can speak for Matt Harvey,” Collins said. “For me, it’s a Spring Training game. I know that it’s a story because he’s Matt Harvey, but I don’t want to see anything more than I would see in a normal Spring Training game.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets’ deGrom for deRookie of deYear?

After Jacob deGrom wrapped up seven more sparkling innings in Tuesday’s 3-1 Mets win over the Mariners, manager Terry Collins noted that “this guy’s got numbers to match up any rookie in the league.”

Well, does he? Certainly after that performance, deGrom made a statement that his name belongs in the National League Rookie of the Year discussion. Thanks in large part to a weak NL field — Jose Abreu, George Springer, Dellin Betances and Jake Odorizzi all play in the American League — deGrom now leads all NL rookies with 1.3 fWAR and ranks third overall behind Billy Hamilton of the Reds and Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks. But those players both have significant flaws.

Hamilton (3.2 fWAR) derives the bulk of his value from baserunning and defense, which — and it’s a shame, but it’s true — are not always high on many voters’ lists of criteria. Hamilton’s on-base percentage sits at just .313. He is probably the NL ROY leader in the clubhouse right now, but he is hardly infallible.

Owings (1.9 fWAR) has not played since June 25, forcing him to the periphery of the discussion. Any argument Owings can make at this point, Hamilton can make a better one.

Other high-profile competitors lurk in the field, most notably Tommy La Stella (1.0 fWAR), Kolten Wong (0.9), Jesse Hahn (0.8) and Carlos Martinez (0.5), plus the Mets’ own Travis d’Arnaud and Jeurys Familia. But deGrom has outperformed them all to date, making this, right now, a two-horse race between him and Hamilton.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

A DiComotorial: Free Lagares!

Twelve days ago, shortly after Juan Lagares’ return from the disabled list, Mets manager Terry Collins called him his “everyday” center fielder. The statement came as Lagares was in the midst of an 8-for-20 run at the plate in Denver, entrenching himself as the team’s early-season MVP.

That stretch ended when Collins benched Lagares on May 5, part of his plan to cycle all four of his outfielders in a regular rotation. Fine. Collins did not bench Lagares again for another week, but then he did so again two days later. Then again Thursday, keeping his “everyday” center fielder out of the lineup for the third time in four games.

No doubt Lagares is scuffling a bit, batting .185 with a .541 OPS in nine games since leaving Colorado. But he still entered Thursday’s play ranking third on the Mets in batting average, second in slugging and third in on-base percentage. According to both the systems used by Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, his Wins Above Replacement total ranks top three on the team.

When asked about benching Lagares, Collins typically discusses the spark that Eric Young is capable of delivering from the lineup’s leadoff spot. And it is true that the Mets own a far better record in games that Young has started than they do in all others.

But little in the underlying numbers suggests that is uniquely Young’s doing. The outfielder plays above-average defense, but nothing approaching Lagares’ premium level. He has scored 28 runs in 35 games, but that is largely because of his gaudy plate appearance total and the fact that those at-bats have mostly come directly in front of the Mets’ two best hitters, Daniel Murphy and David Wright. Young’s .336 on-base percentage ranks 104th in baseball; his .672 OPS is 172nd. Most of the production that Young has achieved is cumulative — a result of his playing time, not an argument in favor of it. He is 28 years old and has already been designated for assignment once in his career.

The one area in which Young has unquestionably excelled — baserunning — is an asset that Collins could best use off the bench. With Young at his disposal in the seventh or eighth inning, Collins could routinely dispatch him in the highest-leverage baserunning situations possible.

At the least, the manager must make good on his promise to play all four of his outfielders — not bench the one with the most potential to remain part of this team four years from now. Chris Young, another right-handed hitting outfielder, entered Thursday’s play with a .233/.298/.407 slash line — including a .292 on-base mark against right-handed pitching. Lagares’ production on both sides of the ball has been better.

There is a chance Lagares is not a good enough hitter to play every day in the big leagues. But considering that the potential does exist, why not find out now?

In talking about his closer situation Thursday, Collins said it is important that his players know and understand their roles when they arrive at the ballpark each day. As the “everyday” center fielder in name only, it is impossible for Lagares — a 25-year-old with as bright a future as any position player on the team — to know where he stands.

The Mets might be a better overall team if he did.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Poll: What should the Mets do when Chris Young returns from the DL?

With Chris Young due back Friday from a strained right quad, an outfield logjam is imminent. Manager Terry Collins has indicated that he will start Curtis Granderson every day and rotate his other three outfielders among two spots. But what should the Mets do?

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Projecting the Opening Day roster, 3/24

With the latest round of cuts in place, here’s an updated roster projection. First, a rules refresher:


  • The following takes into account only those players under Major or Minor League contract with the Mets. We will not speculate on trades or free agent signings in this space… so no Stephen Drew or Nick Franklin.
  • For our purposes, any healthy player in big league camp will be considered in the running for a roster spot.

Without further ado:

LF Eric Young, Jr.
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
RF Curtis Granderson
CF Chris Young
1B Ike Davis

C  Travis d’Arnaud

SS Ruben Tejada

OF Juan Lagares
OF Andrew Brown
1B Lucas Duda

INF Josh Satin
INF Omar Quintanilla*
C Anthony Recker

P Dillon Gee
RHP Bartolo Colon
RHP Zack Wheeler
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka*

RHP Bobby Parnell (CL)
RHP Jose Valverde*

RHP Vic Black
RHP Jeurys Familia
RHP Carlos Torres
LHP Scott Rice
LHP John Lannan*

RHP LHP Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, RHP Jeremy Hefner

In the running:
C Taylor Teagarden*, INF Eric Campbell*, INF Anthony Seratelli*, RHP Jenrry Mejia, RHP Gonzalez Germen.

*Denotes non-roster invitee

It’s really getting down to crunch time now, with only 31 healthy players left in camp. The only change comes on the bench, where I moved Omar Quintanilla onto the roster over Anthony Seratelli. Neither backup infield candidate is hitting this spring, but Seratelli has committed four errors while Quintanilla has been solid with the glove. … I still don’t see Jenrry Mejia making the team over Daisuke Matsuzaka, particularly after Terry Collins expressed concern over the weekend regarding Mejia’s low innings total last summer. … Andrew Brown should be on the team only until Jon Niese is ready to return from injury April 6.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Dispatches from Las Vegas and Port St. Lucie, 3/15

One more game in the desert before the Mets head back east.


What we learned: Believe the hype: Cashman Field in Las Vegas is as hitter-friendly as they come. … Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias may miss significant time with a stress reaction in his shins, perhaps creating another suitor for Stephen Drew.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“If you get hit when it’s 117 degrees right here, you get to go into the air conditioning.” –Triple-A Las Vegas manager Wally Backman on Cashman Field’s unprotected dugouts

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/5

The Mets split up on Wednesday but lost both games, anyway. Here’s a picture of palm trees to distract you:


What we learned: David Wright will play in a Minor League game Thursday, in advance of what will likely be his Grapefruit League debut on Friday. … Terry Collins is strongly considering batting his pitchers eighth this season, according to the New York Post, in an effort to generate more RBI opportunities for Wright.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

“I dedicate the rest of my career to him. Everything I do, I do it for all my family. But I do it for him, mostly. I hope he’s watching from somewhere.” –Mets roster hopeful Anthony Seratelli on his late father, Russell

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.


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.


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