David Wright swings

ICYMI: David Wright has lofty goals, says last year was unacceptable

This post originally published January 20, 2015

David Wright injured his shoulder on June 12, 2014, he told reporters at the end of last season.

In the 68 games that followed, he received a cortisone shot, missed sporadic time, he was hit by a pitch in the same sore shoulder, missed more time and finished 2014 batting .268 with a .324 OBP, 8 HR, 30 doubles, 63 RBI and just a 1.9 WAR.

It was the second least-productive season of his 11-year career.


This past week on the MetsBlog Q&A Cast, MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone had the following discussion with Wright about the injury and how it impacted his 2014 season…

Matthew Cerrone: Now that you’re healthy, in hindsight, how much do you feel the injured shoulder was a factor last season? And, when did you first start to notice it and think, ‘Wow, this is an issue?’

David Wright: It’s tough to tell. I like to think that when I’m physically able to play at a certain level, I want to do it. Is that always the smartest thing? Probably not, but that’s the way I try to wire myself. And, last year, you start pointing fingers at the shoulder and I don’t know if it, or much of it, attributed to the struggles through the majority of last year. But, either way, I know, for me, that is unacceptable to have that type of production.

I expect more out of myself. I’ve proven that’s not the norm, so I want to make sure I don’t go through that again. I’m doing everything I can to make sure I don’t have a repeat of that. The goals that I set for myself are very lofty. And, I want to make sure, year in and year out, that I reach those goals. Last year, I did not. That, combined with the team’s failures, makes for a long offseason. But, you use it as motivation going in to next season, that’s for sure.

Matthew Cerrone: Is it better or worse for you to struggle, as you did, and have an injury to point to or not have an injury? I mean, if you look at a season and say, ‘This is unacceptable to me,’ is it easier to have an excuse, like a physical issue that can be healed and resolved? Or, is it worse to not have that? I don’t know…

David Wright: It doesn’t matter one way or the other. For me, if I hit the field, I expect to have a certain level of production. I took the field last year, for the majority of the year, and didn’t have that production. Shoulder injury or no shoulder injury, whatever, when I take the field with that uniform and I tell Terry Collins that I’m ready to play, then I expect to perform at a certain level and I didn’t do that.

I don’t look to make excuses. If I do well, I’ll be the first to privately pat myself on the back, and when I struggle I take it personally and I take it hard. It’s been a rough offseason thinking back to how I played last year, but it motivates me to work that much harder to make sure we don’t get a repeat of that.


Listen in the full interview | Subscribe with iTunes | RSS

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Sandy Alderson jokes about not acquiring a shortstop

Sandy Alderson introduced Cal Ripken Jr. at the N.Y. Chapter of the Baseball Writers of America Awards dinner in New York last night.

“It’s a big night for me and for Mets fans, who have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop,” Alderson joked, before handing the podium off to Ripken (NY Post, Jan. 25).

Alderson has repeatedly said all off season that he hoped to acquire an upgrade at shortstop.

The Mets been connected in rumor to several high-profile shortstops, including Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond, but now appear likely to again enter Spring Training with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada competing for the starting job.

Newsday: Wilmer Flores is working hard to prove he can play SS

“I’m not going to say I don’t hear things, but I try not to because I know what I can do, man. Honestly, I know what I can do,” Wilmer Flores told reporter Marc Carig.

Flores has been working all winter, ignoring criticism and focused on Opening Day >> Read more at Newsday

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Mets

Manfred defends Fred Wilpon’s role on finance committee

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred does not understand why people have been critical of his choice to name Mets owner Fred Wilpon head of the league’s finance committee (NY Times, Jan. 25).

According to Manfred, the committee mostly deals with executive compensation and budget reviews. Issues dealing with possible fraud or inconsistencies in financial statements are handled by a separate group.

“I understand the whole Madoff thing, but – before and since – Fred Wilpon was an extraordinarily successful businessman,” Manfred told reporter Tyler Kepner. “If you really understand which committees do what, I don’t see it as an issue. He understands how the budget process in baseball has worked, and he’s more than qualified to fill that role.”

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ICYMI: Names in the mix for Opening Day, 25-man roster

This post originally published January 18, 2015

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: It’s early, and things could change, but here is where how I see things eventually shaking out on the 25-man roster…

Starting Lineup

Terry Collins has said his every-day lineup will likely be CF Juan Lagares, 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B David Wright, 1B Lucas Duda, RF Michael Cuddyer, LF Curtis Granderson, C Travis d’Arnaud and – yep – SS Wilmer Flores, followed by the pitcher. Cuddyer will shift to first base, with John Mayberry Jr. in right field, pushing Duda to the bench, when facing a difficult left-handed starting pitcher, he has said.

The Bench

Johnny Monell will be in camp, but Anthony Recker will probably end up the back-up catcher again. The rest of the bench will be Mayberry, Ruben Tejada and probably Eric Campbell, though that will hinge on whether another shortstop is ever acquired.

Matt Harvey 6The big debate will be choosing Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Matt den Dekker to be the fourth outfielder. I prefer den Dekker, but Nieuwenhuis is out of options. So, they’ll probably go with Nieuwenhuis and – if Lagares is out for a significant amount of time – call up den Dekker when needed.

Starting Rotation

The starting rotation should be really good, featuring Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon, because I assume Dillon Gee will eventually be traded. The buzz from Citi Field is that Harvey may start the year on the DL or at least not pitch Opening Day, instead making his first start of the season at home a week later. How he handles this news, and if it changes their minds, remains to be seen.

Bullpen

I really like the bullpen, regardless of who they use as their closer. Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Carlos Torres, Josh Edgin and Bobby Parnell (when he returns from the DL after the start of the season) have the potential to be as good as any bullpen in baseball.

I assume Rafael Montero will also end up in the bullpen, and I figure LHP Sean Gilmartin, Scott Rice, Dario Alvarez or Jack Leathersich will be added as a second left-handed reliever.

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ICYMI: Who, why and when can a team sign Yoan Moncada

This post originally published January 20, 2015

The Yankees are considered the early favorites to sign 19-year-old Cuban SS Yoan Moncada, according to conversations with several industry sources (Badler, Jan. 20).

The Mets have done their “due diligence,” but they don’t see Moncada as a realistic acquisition because of their budget, according to MLB.com reporter Anthony DiComo (Twitter, Jan. 20). Similarly, the Twins will not pursue Moncada for fear the bidding will be too high (Wolfson, Jan. 20).

Moncada is not yet eligible to sign a big-league contract. Nevertheless, the Yankees, Giants, Brewers, Rangers, Red Sox and Padres have all conducted private workouts with him in Guatemala as he waits for approval from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (MLBTR, Jan. 20).


cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: So, according to these reports, while the Mets sit on the sidelines with the Twins, the rest of the league’s big-market teams will be going after this kid… This is more than disappointing, it’s incredibly frustrating.

The thing is, it’s important to know this is not a typical draft or free agent situation. There are complicated restrictions, penalties and league rules about how much a team can spend on pool-eligible players, none of which have to do with market size, revenue or big league payroll.

January 21, 2015, 5:43 pm

The Mets have already spent around $2 million of the $2.7 million bonus-pool money allocated to the them by MLB for 2014-2015 international signings.

According to multiple reports, Moncada will likely command a $30 million contract.

The penalty for exceeding the bonus pool allotment is a 100 percent tax, plus that team is prohibited from being able to give more than $300,000 to any player during the next two signing periods. In other words, if a team decides to give him a $30 million deal, it’s really $60 million. Also, if you’re going to go all-in on Moncada, you’d be better be sure another Moncada (or someone better) isn’t around the corner, because you’ll be automatically out of the bidding.

The way Ben Badler at Baseball America explains it, if Moncada is willing and able to sign a deal before July 2, the Yankees will likely outbid every one, pay the 100 percent and get him. The Yankees are already over the limit, so if he isn’t able or willing to sign before mid June, they’ll be limited to a $300,000 bid and have no chance to get him.

The Mets, on the other hand, should be clear to make the decision based entirely on how much they want to spend, how much they’re willing to pay a 100 percent tax, and how confident they are he’s worth restricting themselves the next two bidding cycles.

The kid isn’t even free to sign a contract yet. Nevertheless, some Mets fans are already getting mad about money not spent on a player no one can spend money on yet. I understand the skepticism and conditioned response, but I’m going to refrain from judgement until he’s able to sign a deal and contracts are (or aren’t) being offered.