Results tagged ‘ Terry Collins ’

Who is Jordany Valdespin?

Aside from that guy who hit a three-run game-winning homer last night off Jonathan Papelbon, who is this guy?

In truth, Jordany Valdespin was not really on the prospect radar until he hit 17 homers and stole 37 bases over two levels of the Minors last year. Following that performance, MLB.com ranked him ninth amongst Mets prospects, citing Valdespin’s power-speed potential but admitting that “he might profile best as an offensive-oriented utility man.” The Mets thought enough of Valdespin to keep him in camp until the final days of Spring Training, trying him out in center field while the team dealt with injuries.

The one knock against Valdespin is his apparent lack of maturity, which has manifested itself both on the field and in the clubhouse during his Minor League days. Just last week, during his first call-up to the Majors, Valdespin stole third base with two outs as the potential tying run, a sure way to earn a manager’s distrust. But Terry Collins also sees the benefit of Valdespin.

After last night, so do the rest of the Mets.

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, 3/22

It’s been a while since the Mets have enjoyed a full day of truly, unanimously positive injury news. Thursday was that day, with David Wright participating in a full workout for the first time since his injury (see batting practice photo below), Scott Hairston taking dry swings outside and Andres Torres feeling improvement in his tight left calf. If all three are ready for Opening Day, it will make things a lot easier for Terry Collins, who is struggling in particular with his center field roster decisions.

I also took a look today at some of the defensive data predicting a poor season for the Mets, particularly the Plus/Minus system in John Dewan’s “The Fielding Bible Volume III.” If you’re interested in that sort of thing, I’d suggest checking out Dewan’s Fielding Bible website, where you can purchase a copy of his book.

Oh, and R.A. Dickey took a no-hitter into the sixth, bidding to do in Spring Training what no Mets pitcher has ever done in the regular season. Ultimately, he fell a dozen outs short.

Still not convinced it was a good day for the Mets? Chipper Jones announced that he will retire after the season, leading Wright and others to reflect on the surefire Hall of Famer’s history of tormenting of their franchise.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/21

It’s getting down to the most interesting time in camp, when game action is magnified and competitions really start heating up. To that end, Terry Collins called Johan Santana’s 69 pitches in Wednesday’s game “a giant step forward” in Santana’s road back from left shoulder surgery.

Other than Santana, the most interesting aspect of camp right now may be the center field situation, with Andres Torres still nursing a tight left calf, Jason Bay volunteering to sub in center, Jordany Valdespin experimenting at the position while hitting the cover off the ball, and Mike Baxter and Adam Loewen still duking it out for a bench job that is purportedly still one of theirs to lose. I profiled Baxter, a Queens native, for Mets.com today.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 3/13

Injuries struck Mets camp again on Tuesday, with Ruben Tejada, Ronny Cedeno and D.J. Carrasco all suffering minor ones. All are day-to-day, but that did not stop Terry Collins from voicing his frustration over the rash of injuries to hit his players. You can view the comprehensive list in the previous post.

Tuesday also marked a return for Carlos Beltran, who made the short trip from Jupiter for his first appearance against the Mets. Beltran had some complimentary things to say about his former team, though he was coy when asked about paying for Jon Niese’s nose job.

Here’s Beltran sporting his St. Louis red:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/27

It’s been a year since Fred Wilpon has publicly discussed the financial and legal issues surrounding the Mets at any length, so the principal owner drew a huge crowd while holding court for 22 minutes Monday on matters ranging from the sale of minority shares to David Wright’s future to the 2013 All-Star Game.

Wilpon wasn’t the only member of the Mets’ hierarchy to hold court Monday. Manager Terry Collins also addressed his team for an hour prior to the spring first full-squad workout, reminding them that “there’s not a phase of this game we can take for granted.”

Oh, and Wright lost a bet. Pictures below:

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/26

A rare cloudy day did not stop Johan Santana from throwing an “up-and-down” bullpen session on Sunday, simulating game conditions (pictures below). Santana will throw twice next week, once off flat ground, in preparation for his first Grapefruit League start on March 6. From there, his April 5 assignment against the Braves will be in sight.

One other interesting note today revolved around David Wright and his friendship with Ryan Zimmerman, who just inked a six-year, $100 million contract extension with the Nationals. The deal could — but probably won’t — have implications for Wright’s own financial dealings in the future, even if he’s not too keen on talking about it now.

Today’s main story, of course, revolved around shortstop Ruben Tejada finally reporting to camp after manager Terry Collins called him out this week for not arriving early. The two smoothed things over early this morning, freeing Tejada to go about the business of replacing Jose Reyes.

Follow me on Twitter: @AnthonyDiComo.

Report from Port St. Lucie, 2/22

Some interesting news out of camp today, when the Mets revealed that Ike Davis flew back to New York for additional testing regarding his physical, and Terry Collins admitted that he’s not happy with Ruben Tejada for waiting until the position player deadline to report to camp. Both are developing stories that should see updates later this week. Those links also contain updates on Johan Santana and Jose Reyes’ old uniform number.

What created the biggest stir at camp today, however, was when Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and David Wright began spraying balls all over Field 7, the practice field designed with identical dimensions to Citi Field. Though it was just one batting practice session, and though the wind was blowing out, those three and Collins allowed themselves to hope that maybe Citi really will play in their favor this season.

More tomorrow, including an update on Davis and his situation.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Terry Collins’ open letter to fans

The following is Terry Collins’s open letter to Mets fans, which appeared today on Mets.com. In dealing with Collins over the last seven weeks, I can say without hesitation that he believes every word he wrote:

Dear Mets Fan:

With our 2011 opener tonight in Florida, I want to make this pledge to Mets fans — our team will play the game the right way.

We will always hustle on the bases, run balls down in the outfield and never take anything for granted, no matter the score of the game.

We had a great Spring Training. From Day 1 my message has been look ahead, not backward, and not to worry about what the people outside the clubhouse are saying. If we pitch and play defense like I know we can, we will surprise a lot of people, a lot of people.

I stack our lineup against anyone else’s in the league. Getting Carlos Beltran back and hitting cleanup is really big. The way Carlos handled his move to right field was one of the classiest things I have ever seen. Angel Pagan is coming off a great season. While we had a little setback this week with Jason Bay — who was swinging the bat well — going on the disabled list, he shouldn’t be out too long. We believe with the three of them on the field, we have one of the top outfields in baseball.

Our infield is anchored by the two All-Stars on the left side: David Wright at third and Jose Reyes at short. I think David will add on to his numbers from last year and Jose is ready to have a tremendous season. He is one of the most dynamic players in the game. Ike Davis will continue to develop at first base and Josh Thole is one of the fine young catchers in the game. Brad Emaus, a Rule 5 pick, got better and better as the spring went on and won the second base job.

On the mound, sure, we are going to miss Johan Santana until he comes back, hopefully in mid-year. But this spring, I think we established a solid rotation with Mike Pelfrey, followed by R.A. Dickey and Jonathon Niese. Chris Young and Chris Capuano proved that they are healthy, and they really strengthen us on the back end.

We remade our bullpen and we think we have quality arms who throw strikes to get to closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod has just had a fantastic spring and I never have seen him throwing better. People like Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz, Blaine Boyer, Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato — another Rule 5 selection who is from Queens — will give us a solid ‘pen.

I believe we have fortified our bench with the additions of Scott Hairston, Willie Harris, Ronny Paulino (who will begin the year on the disabled list) and Chin-lung Hu, along with Daniel Murphy.

It’s been 12 years since I have started a season as a Major League manager. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be leading the New York Mets and am very excited about the season ahead.

Thanks for your support and see you at Citi Field.

Sincerely,

Terry Collins

*****

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The final word on Oliver Perez

Don’t believe players when they say that personnel issues aren’t distractions. They are, plain and simple. Whether such distractions are generated by the media, by fans, by management or by the players themselves often varies from case to case, but a distraction is a distraction is a distraction.

ollieshrug.jpgOliver Perez was a distraction.

Contrary to popular belief, Perez was genuinely liked in the Mets clubhouse. “It’s one thing if a guy comes in and he doesn’t do anything,” teammate Mike Pelfrey said after Perez’s release Monday. “That pisses guys off. But he continued to work.”

The roots of Perez’s charred reputation in New York probably stemmed from February of 2009, when he reported to camp out of shape mere weeks after inking the largest contract of his life, the three-year, $36-million pact that runs through this season. Before that spring, Perez was enigmatic, with electric stuff and a frustrating inability to harness it. After it, he was overpaid and lazy. Perceptions can change just that quickly.

And reputations can be difficult to shed. In the wake of Perez’s release, several players admitted that the left-hander’s presence in camp had indeed become a distraction, regardless of their personal opinions of the man. That does not mean that inviting him to Spring Training was a mistake — with $12 million on the line, the Mets had every right to exhaust all options before cutting him lose. All it means is that now, with Perez officially gone, the club can move on. Can really, honestly, genuinely move on.

Manager Terry Collins spent a solid five minutes Monday raving about his other bullpen options (remember them?), something that would have carried little interest one day earlier. Over the past week in particular, thoughts of Perez and Luis Castillo have so dominated camp on a day-to-day basis that nothing else seemed to matter.

Now, everything else matters.

“At the risk of sounding bad, there’s a little bit of closure,” said Jason Bay, a teammate in New York and Pittsburgh who, like so many others, referred to Perez as a likable teammate.

“We love those guys,” shortstop Jose Reyes said of Perez and Castillo. “It’s not like they were bad teammates. Everybody loved those guys in the clubhouse.”

Perhaps that’s another reason why closure is important. Over the last four and a half years, for good and for bad (and admittedly, mostly for bad), Perez had been an integral part of the Mets. Now he is an ex-Met. Now the Mets can move on, without making any allowances, without making any exceptions and — perhaps most importantly — without answering any more questions.

Now, in other words, the Mets can play baseball.

That’s important.

“It’s time to move on,” Collins said. “It’s time to turn the page, and now let’s talk about who is going to be here and what this club’s going to be about right now.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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