Dilson Hererra will not play SS this season

20-year-old infielder Dilson Herrera will only play second base during his time with the Mets this season, a team insider said (Rubin, Aug. 29).

Hererra played 27 games at shortstop in the minor leagues, compared to 257 games at second base.

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: Herrera is not a shortstop, two professionals who have watched him told me today. They say, while he’s speedy, he doesn’t have the range of a shortstop, where his arm is also in need of significant work. He’s perfect at second base, they said. This is in line with what Rubin’s source is saying above.

It’s too bad, given how much of a need this team has at short. Speaking of short, I don’t think we’ll see Triple-A SS Matt Reynolds this September, a) since he doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster, and b) because he’s slated for the Arizona Fall League. However, next spring, I have a feeling we’ll be talking a lot about Hererra and Reynolds on the middle infield one day…

Backman named PCL Manager of the Year

Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman has been named the 2014 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, the league office announced Friday.

Backman, 54, has guided the Las Vegas 51s (80-61) to their second-straight Pacific Southern Division title, spending the entire season in first place. It is the first time in the franchise’s history that the club has recorded back-to-back 80-win seasons.

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Backman rejoined the Mets in 2010 to manager Single-A Brooklyn. He was among the four finalists interviewed by Sandy Alderson and his staff when looking to replace Jerry Manuel. However, the newly hired Alderson hired Terry Collins and reassigned Backman to Double-A Binghamton. The next season Backman moved to Triple-A, where he is 228-200 since taking over.

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: This will only further embolden Mets fans and media who feel Backman’s time has come and that he should replace Collins as soon as next season. I don’t think it matters, though. The way I understand it from team insiders, it’s very unlikely that Wally is ever managing the Mets under Alderson. I do think it could work under Paul DePodesta, John Ricco or JP Ricciardi, but not Sandy.

In terms of what I think, I’m not 100 percent sold on this idea. Look, I love Wally’s attitude and his intensity, and nearly every player to ever appear on his roster thinks he’s great. He’s also smarter than people give him credit for. He has binders of notes and does tons of research. He knows his game, there is no question about that, and I’ve heard he left a strong impression on Alderson’s front office, including Collins, who advocated for moving him to Triple-A to work with guys on the cusp of the big leagues.

And that’s the thing, he’s so good at what he does in the minors. He seems to be great at whipping these kids in to shape, getting them focused on the final leg of their career. Or, in the case of Ike Davis and Travis d’Arnaud, taking guys back with open arms, re-focusing them and returning them to Queens. This isn’t easy. It’s a skill and he has it. This also suggests he knows these players and would transition well with them to the big-leagues. However, I’m reluctant to change this dynamic, especially since it’s quite clear Alderson is going to be running a constant shuttle from Vegas to Queens during the next few years… That’s not my big concern with Wally, though.

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The above is no reason to pass him over in the event Alderson wants to replace Collins. Frankly, I think he’d be great between the lines when the game is going on. In fact, I’m not sure anyone will be better. Instead, I worry how he’ll do in the time before and after the game, specifically in regards to the media. The reality is, like it or not, New York managers have to talk to reporters twice a day – and a lot more if you consider all the sidebar, off-record discussions that occur anywhere they can. My fear is that he’ll divide the clubhouse more than he’ll motivate and unite it. This might also be an issue if he’s bench coach, by the way.

I think his message will work at first, but could so easily turn south if the team doesn’t do well, and depending on the talent that could be beyond his control. I love our local reporters and media, they’re great at what they do; but that’s the problem, they’re great at what they do. I can totally see him saying things, on record, off record, building walls, isolating people, taking shots at people above and below and – even if those comments are justified and accurate – it will spin out on control in way that, unless he’s really, really good at damage control, will create a bigger circus than already exists at Citi Field.

That said, it would be fun to watch. Again, I’m not totally against the idea of Wally as manager, but I’m not 100 percent on board either. I have plenty of concerns.

Now who is the team to beat?

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: In 2006, the Phillies finished in second place, but 12 games back of the NL East Champion Mets. Nevertheless, a few months later, Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies “the team to beat in the National League East.” The Mets mocked his quote during Spring Training, six months before blowing a seven-game lead… to the Phillies.

“This year, tell Jimmy Rollins we are the team to beat,” Mets OF Carlos Beltran told New York media the following Spring, weeks after his team acquired Johan Santana from the Twins.

The Mets eventually lost the division by three games to the Phillies in 2008.

Today, six years later, the two teams begin a three-game series to end August, and kick off September, fighting to stay out of last place…

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In fact, the standings are the complete reverse of how they looked on the final day of 2008…

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“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” John Lennon once said.

This feels extra poignant today when looking at the state of this division.

Doc Gooden documentary premieres Monday night on SNY

It’s been thirty years since Doc Gooden burst onto the New York sports scene.

This Monday, September 1 at 9:30 PM, SNY looks back at the highs and lows of Gooden’s career in the premiere of The Good Doctor.

MetsBlog Q&ACast, pres. by Verizon

In this week’s MetsBlog Q&ACast, presented by Verizon, Matthew Cerrone answers fan voicemails about about Terry Collins’s job status, Wally Backman and Frank Viola, Daniel Murphy’s contract, injuries, luck and Wilmer Flores’s value at shortstop.

Listen in separate window | Subscribe with iTunes | RSS

What does Hererra’s promotion mean for Daniel Murphy?

The Mets put All-Star 2B Daniel Murphy on the disabled list with a strained calf muscle.

He told reporters he doesn’t know much time he will miss.

MLB: New York Mets at Seattle Mariners

Murphy, 29, is expected to earn around $9 million through salary arbitration in 2015, after which he can become a free agent.

He has said he is open to signing a contract extension to stay with the Mets.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, based on his position, age and stats, Murphy warrants a a four- or five-year contract extension worth around $12 million per season (MLBTR, June 26).

He had been on pace to finish this season batting around .300 with 10 HR, 40 doubles and 80 RBI, making him one of the top two or three most productive second basemen in the National League.

The Mets have reportedly listened to trade offers for Murphy at various points during the last year, but the asking price was ‘substantial,’ according to multiple reports (ESPN, July 25) Rubin, Dec. 11).

In Murphy’s absence, the Mets will start 20-year-old 2B prospect Dilson Hererra, who has drawn rave reviews from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, ESPN’s Keith Law, scouts and his manager in Single-A >> Read more.

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: So, the big question is: Let’s say Herrera plays lights out in his debut, what does this mean for Murphy’s future with the Mets? I’ll say this, it’s a good problem to have, right? It’s better than what this franchise has going on at shortstop. It’s also worth noting Hererra used to play shortstop…

To me, in a perfect world, Murphy stays at second and Herrera goes to shortstop. But, he hasn’t played there very much and he appears to be more natural at second base. So, if he’s going to be a second baseman, then what?

The way I see it, the question for Sandy Alderson is more about when he feels this team is going to make a serious run at a ring – and when does he think Herrera can deliver the type of production that Murphy already does? Because, if scouting reports say Herrera can be an All-Star, but not until 2016 or 2017 – at the same time Alderson feels next year and the year after are his window to contend with an affordable Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler – then he needs to sign Murphy to an extension and trade Herrera in a package for more powerful bat. However, if Alderson truly doesn’t think his team will get to October the next two seasons, if he thinks 2017-2020 is his window, then he should keep Herrera and trade Murphy in a deal for a powerful bat.

In either case, all eyes are on Herrera, since he may dictate how Alderson handles a variety of decisions this winter…

By the way, in this week’s MetsBlog Q&ACast, presented by Verizon, I answers fan voicemails about Murphy, as well as Terry Collins’s job status, Wally Backman and Frank Viola, injuries, luck and Wilmer Flores’s value at shortstop…

Listen in separate window | Subscribe with iTunes | RSS

PepsiCo salutes our troops on Free Shirt Friday

181x191_pepsi_tshirtTonight, Pepsi will be honoring a select group of its employees who are Military Veterans or Active Duty service members during a pre-game ceremony at Citi Field.

PepsiCo’s “Valor” program aims to recognize, appreciate and support veterans, military members, their families, and the communities in which they live and work.

It’s also Free Shirt Friday and all fans in attendance will receive this t-shirt Mets T-Shirt courtesy of Pepsi. Log on to www.mets.com/pepsi for more info.

What’s on Tap for Friday, Aug. 29…

The Mets (62-72) open a three-game set with the Phillies (61-72) at 7:10 pm ET on Friday at Citi Field.

Dilson Herrera is expected to make his major league debut after being promoted to replace Daniel Murphy, who was put on the DL with a calf injury.

Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13 ERA) gets the start for the Mets, opposed by David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21 ERA) for Philadelphia.


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In case you missed it…

Jon Niese was strong over seven innings of work, but the Mets couldn’t muster enough offense during a 6-1 loss to Atlanta on Thursday >> Read more at MetsBlog, ESPN, MLB.com, Newsday, New York Post and Daily News

Vic Black was placed on the disabled list Thursday due to a herniated disk in his neck. To replace Black on the roster, Daisuke Matsuzaka was activated from the DL.

The Mets signed a two-year extension that will keep their Triple-A team in Las Vegas >> Read more at MetsBlog

Regarding the potential of a Bartolo Colon trade, Sandy Alderson said, “there’s a lot less going on than some people speculate.”


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