Like a lot of observers I was puzzled this past winter why the Mets, a team that has scrupulously watched its payroll the last five years, decided to lavish a $20 million, two-year contract on rotund veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon.
I felt the Mets would have been better re-signing free agent pitcher Chris Capuano, who had pitched reasonably well for them in 2011 and would have commanded less money than Colon, who was coming off an 18-win season for the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees recently acquired Capuano, who has pitched well in two starts. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ bats were quiet when he was on the mound.
Although it was a foregone conclusion that Mets ace pitcher Matt Harvey would need Tommy John surgery to repair damage on his pitching elbow and miss the entire 2014 season, many Mets fans on social media, along with a good number of sportswriters, reacted as if they had just learned that the sky was falling. You would have thought these folks were expecting a parade down the Canyon of Heroes next November if Harvey were part of the Mets rotation in 2014.
The success rate for Tommy John surgery is reportedly over 90 percent. Given Harvey’s competitive nature, which probably breeds the arrogance that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, I fully expect him to be as good, if not better, when he returns to the mound in 2015.
June 18, 2013 was a historic day for the New York Mets.
It’s long been said that pinch-hitting is one of the most difficult things to do in baseball. But Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin has mastered it through his first one-plus seasons in the big leagues.
Of Valdespin’s 10 career home runs, six have come as a pinch hitter.
Howard Megdal is the Mets beat writer for The Journal News, serving as the lead writer for the paper’s Mets blog, Mets.LoHudBlogs.com. In addition, Megdal is the author of “Wilpon’s Folly: The Story of A Man, His Fortune and The New York Mets,” in which he chronicles the financial and legal difficulties of the team’s owners.
I recently had the chance to interview Megdal, where he gave his assessment of this year’s team, talked about which Met has the most upside and estimated how many wins this year’s team could have, if all goes well. You can follow Megdal on Twitter @HowardMegdal.
When the New York Mets hired Terry Collins to be the team’s manager Nov. 23, 2010, I remember the first thing I said to myself was, “Who?” Then, after doing some research, I thought to myself, “Really?” “This is who general manager Sandy Alderson has tabbed to be the team’s new skipper?”
With the exception of Jon Niese and Matt Harvey, the Mets’ rotation has been abysmal through the first two weeks of the season. So calling up Zack Wheeler, the team’s top pitching prospect, would seem like the answer to that problem, right? Not so fast.
Mets fans have not had much to cheer about in recent years, and it’s fairly safe to say that even the most optimistic can’t picture the boys in Flushing competing for a post-season berth this year.
Mets’ opening day starter Jon Niese held San Diego in check for 6 2/3 innings. He also wore out Padres pitching, reaching base three times on two hits and a walk, scored a run and had one run batted in.
Granted, no one should have expected onetime Mets ace Johan Santana to be a difference-maker in 2013. The general consensus from baseball prognosticators is that the Mets would finish in fourth place in the National League East with or without him.
In most years, the Mets would be picked to finish in the cellar with the kind of team they have, but the Miami Marlins have earned that dubious distinction from most of the baseball media because their owner, Jeff Loria, decided to gut their roster in order to save a ton of payroll. It should be pointed out that Loria has done this kind of thing before and the Marlins always seem to surprise when they put on the field a lineup of unknowns, so Mets fans can’t rest that easy.
One would be skeptical of the Mets’ 2013 season after another second-half collapse last year and the departure of 20-game winner and National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey over the winter.
But fans created an electrifying atmosphere at Citi Field for the season opener as they watched the Mets beat the San Diego Padres 11-2, collecting 13 hits including a grand slam from newcomer Collin Cowgill.