Wally Backman, who is joining the Mets as a coach for the final nine games of the season, may be added as a coach full time starting in 2015 (Rubin, Sept. 18).
According to a team insider, Backman joining the staff in 2015 is “under discussion.”
Backman, who turns 55 next week, managed Triple-A Las Vegas to a division title this season and was also named PCL Manager of the Year.
Backman joined the Mets as a minor league manager prior to the 2010 season, when he managed the Brooklyn Cyclones.
He was a finalist to become manager of the Mets before Terry Collins was given the job for the 2011 season.
The Mets might be better served trading for a left-field upgrade, than signing or trading for a shortstop, a major league talent evaluator who has scouted the team told reporter Mike Puma (NY Post, Sept. 18).
“If they went into the offseason and Wilmer Flores is their shortstop and they don’t find anybody else, I mean, they have bigger issues than shortstop,” the talent evaluator said. “Left field is probably their biggest need.”
Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Jonny Gomes, Michael Morse, Josh Willingham, Michael Cuddyer and Yasmani Tomas are all expected to be free agents at the end of this season.
However, the Mets payroll will again be in the range of $85 million next season, according to expectations within the organization (Olney, Sept. 10). The Mets started this season with an $89 million payroll, ranking 22nd overall in MLB (Deadspin, March 2014). They now sit around $84 million, dropping them to 23rd overall (USA Today, Sept. 5).
The Mets need to add one or two veterans this winter, when putting together next season’s roster, Sandy Alderson recently said (Kussoy, Sept. 9).
ICYMI: Mets will scout Yasmani Tomas in DR next week
Matthew Cerrone: I’m told the Mets will be among the teams watching free-agent Cuban OF Yasmani Tomas during his public workout in the Dominican Republic on Sept. 21.
This is good news. I really want them to consider signing him >> Read more from Sept. 16
In early August, Mets closer Jenrry Mejia said he had been pitching through pain – due to a sports hernia – for three weeks (ESPN, Aug. 10). There is less than two weeks left to the 2014 season and – considering how the Mets handled David Wright‘s nagging shoulder injury – should they also consider shutting their young closer down for the remainder of the season?
Ben Berkon, MetsBlog Contributor: “Dear Mr Mejia, I pitched with sports hernia in 2010, results will not get better because you won’t be able to finish your pitches,” former Mets reliever Tim Byrdak recently said on Twitter (Byrdak, Aug. 10).
Nevertheless, despite the injury, and despite beginning the year as a starting pitcher, the 24-year-old Mejia has had consistent success out of the bullpen. To date, he has a 2.98 ERA, a park-adjusted 3.36 xFIP, and 2.95 strikeouts-to-walks ratio with 26 saves since May 12. And, aside from a mild 1.61-point increase in his ERA since July 22, which is when I assume he started feeling pain, Mejia’s peripherals have been relatively stable.
In fact, his zone (pitches thrown within the strike zone), whiff, and line drive rates have all been on par with the pre-injured version of himself.
However, Mejia’s already solid 45 percent ground-ball rate has spiked to an elite 57.9 percent level. Given the 12.9 percent bump in grounders, is it possible Mejia is actually pitching better with the sports hernia?
It’s difficult to pinpoint for sure, but according to Bleacher Report’s injury expert Will Carroll, pitchers do tend to compensate for pain.
To read more of this story, click here
Mets SS Wilmer Flores went 9-for-32 (.281), with three home runs and 11 RBI in nine games, during the team’s recently-concluded home-stand.
Sept. 18, 12:01 pm: The Mets are becoming more comfortable with the idea of Flores being their starting shortstop next season, Sandy Alderson told reporter Mike Puma before Wednesday’s game (NY Post, Sept. 18).
“One of the reasons for giving him as much playing time as we have is to build up his number of plate appearances to get him more comfortable to try to establish sort of a baseline,” Alderson explained.
According to Triple-A manager Wally Backman, Flores is the best RBI guy he’s ever managed (Daily News, Sept. 18).
“He can have some ugly at-bats at times, but he’s absolutely big-time in RBI situations,” Backman said. “He drove in a ton of big runs. He just has a way of getting the job done in those situations. Keith was like that. The bigger the situation the better.”
In Spring Training, Terry Collins said people in camp were saying Flores was reminiscent of Edgardo Alfonzo at the plate.
“That is a big statement,” said Collins in late February. “If that’s what Flores is going to be, obviously you have to find a position for him to play.”
Collins said Wednesday at Citi Field that Flores has done well on the infield, specifically how well he gets the ball to first base.
“He’s shown that there’s no reason why if he continues to swing the bat the way he is, that he can’t be a middle-of-the-lineup, everyday shortstop,” he concluded.
That said, an NL scout told reporter John Harper that Flores has not shown he can be an every-day shortstop on a winning team (Daily News, Sept. 18).
“If they play him at short and Daniel Murphy at second, they’re not strong up the middle defensively the way you’d like to be,” a second scout told Harper. “But, the Mets might have enough strikeout pitchers to justify trying it — if he hits, that is. Because they need the offense.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer for MetsBlog:
Sept. 17. 9:50 am: I’m told the team’s front office and talent evaluators are split on Flores being the team’s starting shortstop next season. He has support, and has swayed people with how he’s handled playing in the field. I still assume Sandy Alderson will look to acquire a shortstop this winter. But, at this point, I’d say it’s 50-50 that Flores gets the job, which is amazing considering how few people (including me) believed in his fielding at the start of the year.
In the first inning of his start Wednesday against the Marlins, Dillon Gee let up two runs on three singles, he hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
He let up another run in the second inning, but ended up pitching well the rest of the game.
“We gotta get Dillon going somehow,” Terry Collins said, despite having just nine games left in the season. “We’ve gotta find out what’s going on. He just hasn’t been the same guy in the second half.”
Gee had been 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA after his first eight starts this year. He then went on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle that forced him to miss two months. He is 4-7 with a 4.63 ERA since his return from the DL.
“A lot of things haven’t gone the way you want them to,” Gee said, noting he feels fine physically. “Tonight was just another example, I felt like I threw the ball well, I was mixing it, early on I was getting the contact I was looking for, it just wasn’t working out.”
Matthew Cerrone: The Mets are off today, as well as next Monday, and with nine games left in the season it looks like Gee will get just one, maybe two, more starts before ending his 2014. It’s worth remembering a) that he’s just 28-years-old, and b) he had a 40-or-so start stretch from 2012 to early this season in which he had a mid-3.00 ERA, which was among the best in the league during that time. It’s not like he had a few good starts and has since wobbled. He was a really good pitcher for nearly a year and a half, drawing interest from teams in trade talks and looking like a rock-solid mid-rotation starting pitcher surrounded by more popular, flashy phenoms. This shouldn’t be ignored.
That said, it’s been a rough second half and – considering the amount of pitching in this organization right now – I have no idea what Gee’s future has in store. He knows the deal, he sees the faces around him, and in the minor leagues, and he knows what’s up…
“I want to be here. I think this team’s going to be good,” Gee said after Wednesday’s game. “If you get pushed out, you get pushed out; but I think I’ve proven that I can pitch in the big leagues.”
Juan Lagares has an elbow sprain and is unsure if he’ll play the rest of the season.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer for MetsBlog:
Sept. 18, 10:10 am: This is becoming a slight concern, in that he’s had a lot of random injuries throughout his career – most of which are not chronic, just the result of aggressive play. He shouldn’t change. He’s awesome in the field. But, it reminds me of Carlos Beltran, in how Beltran would often miss 10-20 games a year battling aches and pains suffered from doing such incredible things in the field. Lagares is 25. His body should be stable and ready for the grind, so this may just be how life is going to be for him in center field. It’s no reason to avoid playing him. He has to be out there, he’s too good. But, it may be reason enough to carry Matt den Dekker on next year’s roster.
Sept. 17, 3:52 pm: Lagares will be reevaluated on Sunday, but could sit the rest of the season just to be on the safe side, Terry Collins said Wednesday at Citi Field.
Lagares left Tuesday’s game with a hyperextended right elbow.
Lagares said after the game he felt a “stinger” making a throw from center field to second base. He said experienced the same issue in Cincinnati.