Earlier this afternoon, the A’s announced they had designated 1B Daric Barton for assignment.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets have not yet discussed the possibility of signing Barton.
However, according to Sherman, the Mets will look into such a possibility should they demote Ike Davis to the minor leagues.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
Barton isn’t very good, but neither is Rick Ankiel and they signed him earlier this week – these are the kinds of players who are typically available this time of year.
Barton has spent a good amount of time injured or in the minor leagues over the last couple of years – he hasn’t spent a full season in the big leagues since 2010. He led the league in walks that year with 110; he’s always been a guy who gets on-base even though he’s struggled a lot in recent seasons. He’s a left-handed hitter who doesn’t hit for much power and doesn’t possess any speed, and so he shouldn’t be viewed as a long-term solution should the Mets demote Ike. But, Barton is a decent first baseman with big league experience – two things they don’t currently have to turn to from within if they send Ike out – and so I would not be opposed to seeing if a change of scenery might benefit Barton. If it didn’t work out or if the Mets were to turn back to Ike in this scenario, the Mets would not have much invested in Barton at that point, anyway.
Statistics and information on Daric Barton...
Stats: Barton hit .143 with a .217 OBP and .503 OPS, one home run and three RBI in 23 big league plate appearances before being cut loose by the A’s – he hit .287 with three home runs and 21 RBI in 29 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season.
He is a career .248 hitter with a .359 OBP and .729 OPS, 28 home runs and 166 RBI in 1924 plate appearances over 492 games in seven years with the A’s.
Contract: Barton, 27, signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract to avoid arbitration this past winter. He was ‘Super Two’ eligible last year, meaning he has two more years of arbitration left.
“Although Ike Davis snapped an 0-for-24 skid Friday in a 3-2 win against the Chicago Cubs, the internal discussion about potentially demoting the first baseman has only intensified,” writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
May 18, 4:23 pm: Ike Davis told reporters Sandy Alderson assured him a possible demotion is not imminent.
In 151 plate appearances, Davis is hitting .156 with a .238 OBP, four home runs and nine RBI with 14 walks and 46 strikeouts.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:May 18, 7:20 am:
As was the case last year, this is going to be a daily topic until clarity is brought to the situation, one way or another…
I’ve been told the organization is trying to remain loyal to Ike and his ability to break out of these doldrums, because he showed he is capable of doing so a year ago in a big way. Part of that has to do with limited options both in the big leagues and in the minors, but they also believe the best medicine for him lies at the big leagues and working with the big league coaching staff. Still, I get the sense they are aware that what happened last year doesn’t necessarily apply to this year and if he can’t figure things out here, they’re going to have to do what’s in the best interest of the organization and make some kind of a change.
The thing is, even if Ike breaks out of it today and goes on to do what he did a year ago, there are still concerns over his ability to be consistent. Personally, I would have taken fewer home runs from him last year if he hadn’t been so rotten over the first two-plus months – the same can be said about this year, assuming he finds his way and gets on track. I don’t know if the organization would prefer that as well, but I do believe it’s an important factor in determining what to do with Ike as time goes on, regardless of whether or not he sees time in Las Vegas this season.
The Least You Should Know…
Jeremy Hefner allowed four runs, all coming in the fourth inning. Two of those runs scored on a two-out, two-run double by Cubs starter Scott Feldman.
Robert Carson allowed a home run to Anthony Rizzo in the fifth inning, and Collin McHugh allowed three runs in two innings in his 2013 debut.
Rick Ankiel hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning – it was his second home run since being signed earlier this week.
Daniel Murphy went 2-for-4 today, has a seven game hitting streak and he’s now hitting .500 (14-for-28) over his last seven games.
Ike Davis went 0-for-4 to lower his average to .156 for the season – he’s now 9-for-75 when hitting cleanup this season.
The Mets left seven men on-base and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
The Mets fell to 0-9 the game following a start by Matt Harvey, and the Mets are 0-8 in games started by Jeremy Hefner this season.
For a full recap and box score, check out SNY.TV.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
I couldn’t believe Hefner gave up a two-out, two-run double to the pitcher in the fourth inning. Seriously, Jeremy? He had a chance to get out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam with only two runs allowed, then that happened. I mean, come on…
After they fell down 4-0 after four innings, the game felt over to me. The offense just isn’t good enough to compete when the starting pitching gives up crooked numbers early, and that’s what happened today. Unfortunately, that’s been a routine occurrence for the Mets this year, as the starting pitching has been awful and the bullpen isn’t much better, although I still believe they’re being overused and overexposed on a daily basis as a result of a mostly ineffective rotation.
Speaking of the bullpen, Robert Carson has been miserable since being recalled. He’s allowed seven home runs in only 11 innings this season, and he’s allowed three homers to left-handed hitters in only 19 plate appearances. I did like what I saw from him in his second inning of work today, as he used more breaking pitches than he normally does and got some quick outs. He was seen talking to Dan Warthen in the dugout after the fifth inning, and so perhaps that was an adjustment they were talking about.
Overall, chalk up another bad day for the Mets. They had their opportunities early, but they stranded four runners over the first two innings and had opportunities – two of which with runners at third – and failed to get anything. That helped set an unpleasant tone for this game.
The Mets will look to take the rubber game of their three-game series against the Cubs tomorrow afternoon at Wrigley Field, with Dillon Gee facing Travis Wood at 2:20 pm ET.
W.B. Mason Post Game Extra
The Good: David Wright now has a five game hitting streak, going 8-for-20 over that span. Wright has hit .346 with four home runs and eight RBI during the month of May.
The Bad: The Mets are 5-7 in one-run games, although they’re 4-1 over their last five one-run games.
The Pitching Matchups: Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61 ERA) will start for the Mets. Hefner was solid in his last start against the Cardinals, taking a no-decision while allowing three runs and five hits in six innings. Over his last four starts, Hefner has pitched to a 3.33 ERA although he’s 0-2 over that span. Hefner has made one relief appearance in his career against the Cubs, although today is his first start against them.
Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53 ERA) will start for the Cubs. After struggling to an 0-3 start to his season, Feldman has been very effective over his last four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA and is averaging over seven innings per start over that span. He allowed only a run in six innings to the Nationals in his last start, although he took a no-decision in a 2-1 win. Feldman’s only career start against the Mets came in 2008 – he allowed six runs in five innings against them while with Texas in that game.
New York Mets
1) Mike Baxter RF
2) Daniel Murphy 2B
3) David Wright 3B
4) Ike Davis 1B
5) Lucas Duda LF
6) John Buck C
7) Rick Ankiel CF
8) Ruben Tejada SS
9) Jeremy Hefner RHP
1) David DeJesus CF
2) Starlin Castro SS
3) Anthony Rizzo 1B
4) Alfonso Soriano LF
5) Nate Schierholtz RF
6) Luis Valbuena 3B
7) Wellington Castillo C
8) Darwin Barney 2B
9) Scott Feldman RHP
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
The 2013 first-year player draft will take place from June 6 – 8 with the first round airing live on MLB Network.
In the first rounds of the last two amateur drafts, the Mets have taken two high school position players – OF Brandon Nimmo in 2011 and SS Gavin Cecchini in 2012.
The Mets have the 11th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft. They will then have to wait until the 48th overall pick in the second round, followed by the 76th overall pick in the third round – the Mets will have $6.99 million in their draft pool in 2013.
According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Mets had previously been eyeing college bats for their first round selection, although they’re now considering a college pitcher.
“I … am beginning to hear they’d love for one of the better college arms (Gray, Appel, Shipley, Stanek, Manaea) … Not sure that will happen, though,” Callis explains.
Meanwhile, in his mock draft for ESPN, Keith Law projects the Mets will select high school 1B Dominic Smith, although they have been linked to college infielder DJ Peterson, college OF’s Austin Wilson, Hunter Renefroe and Aaron Judge.
“Smith is one of the best pure hitters in the high school class, showing a smooth left-handed swing with power and a plus glove at first base,” Law explains about Smith. “He has quick, strong wrists, with a projectable body that should lead to very hard contact when he fills out in three or four years.”
At this point, I’ve heard the Mets don’t have a pre-defined strategy with their first selection - they are simply looking to take the best possible player they can in the first round, regardless of age or position. One of the main reasons for that is they cannot control what the ten teams in front of them will do. While they might want to take certain players, in many cases they will be unavailable to them by the time the Mets are on the clock. In addition, the “sign-ability” of players could impact who they select as well. All of this seems to play into why both Callis and Law don’t really have a sense of who the Mets are actually targeting at this time.
Now, the Mets have some immediate problems in their farm system, and who they ultimately take in the first round could be determined by that need. The Mets are certainly a more pitching-rich organization than they once were, and that’s due to not only their draft selections but their work in the international markets as well. But, the Mets still do not have many quality position players who are on the cusp of making their big league debuts. Most of those players are still years away at A-Ball or below. That’s not meant to sound like a bad thing, but the Mets need impact position players now and will need them long before those players in the organization are ready as well – they could go outside the organization to fill those needs, but the draft is a good place to start as well.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Scott Hairston said the Mets did not make him an offer to return during the off-season.
“I get the feeling that they wanted to go in a different direction,” Hairston said, according to Rubin. “There was an opportunity — a slight opportunity — for me to come back to New York. I just didn’t get the sense that they wanted to move forward in that direction.”
Hairston also told Rubin he was looking for an opportunity to play every day with the Mets, but said the team didn’t have that availability for him.
Hairston signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cubs in February – he is hitting .125 with a .154 OBP, three home runs and seven RBI in 52 plate appearances this season.
Hairston hit .263 with a .299 OBP, 20 home runs, 25 doubles and 57 RBI in 377 at bats for the Mets last season, during which he hit .286 in 189 at bats against left-handed pitchers.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
Even though the Mets may not have made an official
offer in writing, I’m willing to bet Hairston had a pretty good idea what the Mets were thinking in his case this winter. I can’t get too wrapped up in that language, considering a) who knows what actually took place, b) it doesn’t change anything, and c) it can only spark further negativity in an already ugly situation in the outfield.
Sandy Alderson said over the winter Hairston wanted more playing time than the Mets were willing to guarantee, and that was partly due to Alderson hoping to make a bigger deal for his outfield which is why he held out in signing Hairston. In the end, the Hairston and his agent didnt want to pass on the Cubs offer and wait for the Mets. True, the Mets still failed in their pursuit of better outfielders, but I’m willing to bet Hairston would have ended up in a platoon no matter what even though the outfield currently sucks.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
Scott Rice spent 14 years in the minor leagues before being promoted to the Mets for the first time this season, and he has already shown to be an effective weapon out of the bullpen.
Rice is 1-3 with a 3.38 ERA, having allowed seven runs and 14 hits in 18 2/3 innings and has finished four games for the Mets so far this season. He’s held left-handed hitters to a .154 average, has allowed only one extra-base hit in 43 plate appearances, and he has nearly a 65 percent ground ball rate.
However, he has already appeared in a league-leading 24 games and is on-pace for a franchise record 100 appearances, exceeding the mark set by Pedro Feliciano of 92 games in 2010.
If Rice continues to work this frequently, eventually his effectiveness will be reduced. I also worry about the impact this can have on Rice’s health. The Mets have had a history of their left-handed relievers eventually wearing down and succumbing to arm injuries – such as Feliciano and Tim Byrdak.
Terry Collins is going to have to find a way to rest Rice, although considering the ineffectiveness of Robert Carson, Terry is essentially playing with only one left-handed reliever on any given day once again.
So often people get on Collins for mishandling the bullpen, but he very often is forced to use the pen in ways which are unconventional due to ineffectiveness in the rotation, other arms in the bullpen, or a combination of the two. At some point, Collins has to simply ride the hot hand and hope other pitchers come around, for better or for worse. Hell, even Rice has been put in situations with a low probability of success for that very reason. That might sound like a rationale, but what is Terry supposed to do in this case? He’s in an unenviable position, but if the rotation can start to provide the length they have consistently as they have over the last few days, Terry can better manage the bullpen and better manage situations, and maybe start using guys like Carson in situations where they’re more probable to succeed.
Michael Baron, MetsBlog.com:
Matt Harvey has primarily dominated with his fastball in the early part of his career – he has thrown them 57 percent of the time over his first 19 career starts – but he needed to get crafty and turn to something else in order to win yesterday’s game.
He did so yesterday and allowed two runs and five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings to improve to 5-0 with a 1.55 ERA – Harvey retired 20 of the last 22 batters he faced, and ended six of his 7 1/3 innings with strikeouts.
“They were being pretty aggressive, so we started a few of them off with some curveballs and changeups to get them off of his heater,” John Buck said.
Harvey also drove in the decisive run with a two out single in the seventh inning to score Rick Ankiel.
“You can’t say it enough: [Harvey] a different animal,” Terry Collins said after yesterday’s game. “He’s not your run-of-the-mill young pitcher. This guy has got some savvy, he’s got great confidence and he knows how to pitch. He just doesn’t have a great arm.”
Early on, he was throwing mostly fastballs, but while he was struggling with the location of that pitch, the Cubs were being aggressive early in the count and squaring up on him. But after throwing 39 pitches through two innings, Harvey changed the program and started using his change-up, slider and curve to setup his fastball, and he dominated for the remaining 4 1/3 innings throwing his fastball only 42 percent of the time.
To me, what differentiates him from so many other young pitchers is his baseball intelligence. His entire repertoire is both intimidating and dominating – he knows it, we know it, everyone knows it. But, as he showed yesterday, he has an ability to read the opposition’s approach against him, understand and effectively adjust off of it inning-by-inning. In doing so yesterday, that’s both more impressive and more important than putting on a show by flirting with perfection – in all probability, meaningful games in the playoffs or postseason aren’t going to come down to no-hitters – they’re going to come down to overall execution, but also an ability by the starting pitcher to continue to adjust, persevere, and win games. Harvey has already shown he has the physical and mental talent to do that, and he’s only 19 starts into his career.
That’s the thing: The great ones not only have the talent, but the acuity, awareness, and understanding of how to get hitters out when either they’re off their game or the opposition is adjusting to them. It’s the mark of an ace and an established veteran, and Harvey quickly becoming a popular star in this game for being this kind of pitcher.
The Mets, Phillies, Braves and Nationals won yesterday, while the Marlins lost.
To read about yesterday’s win over the Cubs, check out this post on MetsBlog, as well as beat reports from MLB.com, the Wall Street Journal, Star-Ledger, Bergen Record, Journal News,ESPN New York, Newsday, the Daily News and New York Post.
The Mets continue their three-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field this afternoon, when Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61 ERA) faces Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53 ERA) at 1:05 pm ET.