Stephen Drew: The Missing Piece?

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By David Andrews

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson showed little faith in shortstop Ruben Tejada last year, and with less than three weeks until Spring Training it looks as if Tejada is going to get another chance. Instead, Alderson should go shopping while free agent shortstop Stephen Drew is still on the market. He is worth more than just a one-year deal to boost fan morale. A three-year, $36 million contract is the way to go.

According to a report late on January 28 by MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the Mets are unlikely to sign Drew. The question is how long the Mets could lock him in for if their interest reemerges. Alderson has said that he is only willing to sign him for one year at a bargain, but Scott Boras, Drew’s agent, seeks three. The Mets might have better shortstop options in 2015, but there is also the possibility that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles extend would-be free agents Hanley Ramirez and J.J. Hardy. Other teams could outbid the Mets for other desirable free agent shortstops. Ramirez and Hardy will ask for more than Drew next offseason. Why wait one year to sign Hardy, who isn’t even that much better than him?

Seventy-eight wins for the 2014 Mets won’t get them into the playoffs, but Drew would have an impact on the team. The difference in WAR (wins above replacement) between Drew (3.4) and Tejada (-0.3) was 3.7 last season. Could that be the difference between an eighth consecutive year of missing the playoffs and a Wild Card spot? It’s a long shot but not impossible. Say the Mets have a better season than expected and win 81 games. That could be 84 or 85 wins with Drew. Since the addition of the second Wild Card position in 2012, the worst team record to win the spot was the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals’ 88-74 season. That still puts the Mets just a few games out.

Drew played 124 games last season for the Red Sox. Prior to 2013 his last full season was with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. Drew put up strong offensive numbers for a shortstop when healthy. Last year he hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBI. In 2010 he hit .278 with 15 home runs and 61 RBI. If that does not seem impressive, then looking over Tejada’s offensive line should change a few minds. He had a .202 batting average with no home runs and 10 RBI last season. In 2010 Tejada hit .213 with just one homer and 15 RBI. Four seasons have gone by and he has only hit two home runs. The Mets need some kind of power from the shortstop position.

2014 is shaping up to be another lame duck year for the Mets. The ace is out for the season and won’t return until 2015. The future beyond 2014 is bright, but if the Mets want fans to frequent Citi Field this season Alderson should insert Drew’s bat into the lineup and remove the worthless Tejada. But why mess with team chemistry by only having Drew for 2015 and a new shortstop in 2016? Alderson should give Drew the security of a third year with a $3 million buyout. That would be comforting for both Drew and the Mets. If Alderson were willing to make Drew a key piece for 2015 and 2016, when postseason hope might rekindle in Queens, then I’d tell Alderson to open his wallet. With a three-year deal at the right price, Drew would be a great fit for the Mets. Either that or place your faith in the hands of Tejada and hope he doesn’t throw it wide.

You can follow David Andrews on Twitter @Metfan2442

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Hate It Or Love It, My 2014 New York Mets Projections

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By Michael Mandelkern

Most New York Mets fans do not see eye to eye on the 2014 season. The Ike Davis versus Lucas Duda debate has been contentious and never ending. Some believe Curtis Granderson will be another Jason Bay while others are optimistic about the three-time All-Star. What keeps these arguments alive in January is that Opening Day is not until March 31st and fans are itching for baseball. No one knows for sure how the Mets will perform this year. Many players on the roster have not played one full season in the majors going into 2014. Predicting performances based on a small sample size is difficult, but minor league statistics must be taken with a grain of salt.

I compiled my own predictions of 12 Mets hitters for the 2014 season. They are based on past MLB performance and my gut feeling from watching games. There are no correct answers because I am inherently biased and did not apply a computer formula. If you have something to say about it leave a comment or tweet me @metsonmymind.

Eric Young Jr. 

.247/.316 /.337 with 2 HR and 22 RBI

Last season is the most accurate evaluation of Young since he played 14 games shy of a full season. He got off to a hot start when the Rockies traded him to the Mets in June, but then he became an easy out for considerable stretches. He is overeager at the plate and does not draw many walks. However, he posted OBPs of .342 and .377 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, as a part-time player so he has potential. He has virtually no pop and drove in just 32 runs in 2013, so he won’t produce much. With the additions of Chris Young and Curtis Granderson, he likely won’t play as many games as he did in 2013. Speed kills, but only if the runner is on base.

Josh Satin

.252/.330/.377 with 5 HR and 26 RBI

Prior to 2013, Satin only played 16 games with the Mets: 15 in 2011 and 1 in 2012. He had an impressive .376 OBP in his 75 games last season. Satin demonstrated plate discipline and an ability to work a count over his 221 plate appearances in 2013. He has earned a roster spot as a bench player, but maintaining that on-base percentage is not realistic. Between the platoon, pinch-hitting and utility starting, he could see a similar amount of at-bats to last season. His extra-base power is scarce, yet he can connect with singles.

Wilmer Flores

.272/.321/.377 with 7 HR and 28 RBI

Flores only played 27 games in 2013. He was scorching in his first week with 9 RBI in just first six games, but then he twisted his ankle and was not the same for the rest of the season. He sat out of games down the stretch and looked tentative in the batter’s box. Although it was just one week, he showed a capability to drive in runs. Since the infield is booked there is no everyday position for him. Flores needs to make the most of every opportunity presented to him, and maybe one day he will earn a starting role.

Lucas Duda

.218/.337/.418 with 6 HR and 16 RBI

These numbers are underwhelming because Ike Davis will likely get the majority of starts against right-handed pitchers. If Davis prospers then Duda will spend a lot time on the pine and possibly not even live up to these meager projections, but he could see some playing time if Davis struggles. He hit an atrocious .145 with runners in scoring position last season and only drove in 33 runs on 15 homers. The past two seasons do not suggest that he can hit for an even decent average, and his RBI production fell dramatically from 2012 to 2013. Duda could even spend all of 2014 with the Las Vegas 51s.

Ruben Tejada

.224/.301/.304 with 1 HR and 22 RBI

Tejada’s regression last season was alarming. Hitting a pathetic .202 with a .259 OBP in 2013, he was an automatic out who could work counts but he ultimately grounded out instead of drawing walks. Tejada has never played over 114 games in one season. He is injury prone, sometimes from trying to do too much. Relying on him to even play 130 games is irrational. Tejada showed some promise in 2012, but it was not sensational enough to buy himself a lot of time. With just two home runs and 86 RBI throughout his entire career, it would not be surprising if he does not hit a single home run this season.

Travis d’Arnaud 

.262/.331/.372 with 12 HR and 51 RBI

Evaluating d’Arnaud beyond his minor league performance is difficult because he played just 31 games in his Major League debut last season. Despite a strong performance in AAA, he has not even lived up to a portion of the hype. But d’Arnaud looks intimidating at the plate and seems to have a good eye. He showed an ability to hit line drives into the gap, which would serve well in Citi Field’s vast outfield. With just one homer and 5 RBI in a small sample size, it is difficult to predict whether he has big league pop. He is a top prospect who is skilled at framing pitching and had success in AAA. The catching position is his to lose this season. If d’Arnaud he excels his disappointing 2013 will be forgotten.

Juan Lagares 

.258/.302/.364 with 7 HR and 46 RBI

Lagares is in the lineup for his stellar glove and strong arm, but he may not be a complete liability on offense. He posted a below-adequate .242 batting average and .281 on-base percentage in 121 games last season. Lagares will be less of a burden at the bottom of the order if he can lay off pitches in the dirt and far outside of the strike zone. Although not a slugger, Lagares has opposite field power and is capable of belting more than a few long balls. At 24 years old, he has plenty of time to grow. If he makes significant improvements at the dish he could play in a Mets uniform for many years to come.

Chris Young

.224/.303/.440 with 19 HR and 64 RBI

Young’s peak season average is .257 and his OBP has never surpassed .341. His highest average and OBP over the past three years was .236 and .331 in 2011 and the power has been reliable. He hit 20 home runs or more in all four of his seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he played 148 games or over. However, Chase Field is a friendlier ballpark to hitters than Citi Field. Unless he struggles his way onto the bench or gets hurt he will be a starter and bounce back candidate from his dreadful 2013 season.

Daniel Murphy

.282/.315/.429 with 11 HR and 74 RBI

Murphy has proven that he can drive in runners in scoring position. During a slump he is ice cold, but when Murphy is on fire he hits the ball to all parts of the field and comes through in the clutch. He is a streaky, impatient two-bagger machine with 144 doubles over the past four seasons. Since he is aggressive and expands the strike zone, it would be difficult for Murphy to get more hits and reach base at a higher clip. Taking pitches is not part of his game: his batting average and OBP have been on the decline since 2011. He had career highs in 2013 with 13 homers and 78 RBI. Sustaining this level of production would come at the expense of his average and OBP.

Ike Davis

.239/.328/.455 with 24 HR and 82 RBI

Davis is a gamble. The Mets could send him down to the minors before the All-Star break, yet he has the potential to be an All-Star first basemen. He hit .290 with a .468 OBP in August 2013 before suffering an oblique injury on August 31 that ended his season. He only hit nine home runs in 2013, but most of them were majestic and reminiscent of his monster second half in 2012. If Davis can combine everything he has achieved in isolation he will emerge as a top-tier first baseman in the National League.

Curtis Granderson

.241/.342/.472 with 28 HR and 88 RBI

With the exception of 2011, Granderson’s batting average has been declining since 2009. He became pull happy with the New York Yankees and slugged 41 and 43 homers in 2011 and 2012, respectively, but two hit-by-pitch injuries cut his 2013 season to just 61 games. He is not injury prone; Granderson played at least 136 games every season from 2005 to 2012. Granderson will provide much-needed pop in the middle of the order to protect David Wright. The vast Citi Field could reduce his home run total, but the large gaps in Citi Field will suit him well. What would have been a long ball in the Bronx will turn into doubles and triples. If the batters ahead of him set the table he will be cooking up plenty of rib eye steaks, as Keith Hernandez calls them.

David Wright 

.306/.384/.502 with 24 HR and 91 RBI

Wright is the most consistent and productive hitter in the Mets lineup. Aside from 2011, when he had a stress fracture in his lower back, Wright’s season-low batting average is .283 in 2010, when he also hit 29 homers and drove in 116 runs. Dan Szymborski of ESPN’s 2014 ZiPS projections for the Mets uses a computer formula that predicted Wright will hit just .276 with a .358 on-base percentage and .467 slugging with 19 HR and 74 RBI. His career slash line is .301/.382/.506. His 2012 season (.306/.391) is nearly identical to his injury-shortened 2013 season (.307/.390). Wright’s power numbers are not what they used to be, but he has legitimate protection from Granderson in 2014. Even if the homers decrease he has a track record of slugging doubles. At 31 years old he could decline, but a drop as steep as Szymborski’s calculations suggest would be shocking.

Ten Signs That You Are #MTE

Image  By Don

Your favorite “not a blogger” is back to refresh the original #MTE (Mets Twitter Elite) article and give it a new home at metsonmymind.wordpress.com.

So what was the most groundbreaking event on #MetsTwitter so far this offseason? Signing Curtis Granderson? Signing Bartolo Colon? Jill’s nipple slip? Signing Chris Young? Tanna getting arrested? 50 Cent performing at Citi Field on June 14?

Nope! The answer is none of those. That’s right, the most talked about item is the creation of #MTE. And it’s not losing steam anytime soon.

I have gotten a lot of questions lately asking who and what is #MetsTwitterElite. It’s basically a very small group of Mets fans that were losers throughout their entire lives and were most likely bullied in high school. They have formed an allegiance of sorts on Twitter, where they can hide behind their keyboards and not face reality. Since they were never “cool kids” in real life they have turned to Twitter to try and act cool. Most people see right through this act.

I have been called many nasty things by #MTE since I wrote the first article. The #MTE All-Star roster, which you can find on http://dlongo1.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/mte-official-roster/, also ruffled some feathers. My favorite insult is when they called me immature for creating such a thing, yet they attempted and failed badly to ridicule fans they do not deem worthy. Can anyone say hypocritical? I guess mature stuff in their feeble minds is TRAID jokes, silly grade school level puns and old people jokes.

#MTE has turned this harmless joke into an all-out personal attack. This further proves what type of people they are. Thank God they are a very small and non-influential group of Mets “fans.” The original article has made them, as well as some bloggers who won’t be named, very angry. They are mad that I’m not a blogger but still garnered way more attention than they ever have despite trying very hard every single day.

There are many exciting things coming to the #MTE brand in the near future. One of them is my weekly #MTE Twitter Recap where I will post all of the best (err, I should say worst #MTE tweets) of that week. So if I favorite one of your tweets, look out for it in the #MTE Twitter Recap!

Almost every single person has read the original #MTE Top 10, but it needed a new outlet and I touched it up a bit. So see below…

1. MTE will use the word “TRAID,” which is completely corny and makes no sense. They giggle like schoolgirls when they use it.

2. MTE will type in all caps and spell words wrong, another extremely corny thing. I’m not sure who they are mocking other than themselves. An example of this is something like this: “SAAANDEE Y U N SINE NEONE!!!” They also add “zzzz” to end of the words, such as “RINGZZZ” and “WRONGZZ.”

3. MTE will use silly puns on players’ names. Words can’t describe how corny this is. Some examples are “BYRD IS THE WYRD,” “IMWITH28,” “BUCKSHOT” and “MOARCOWGILL.” I’m not sure how much lamer it can get, but I’m sure it will only get worse this season.

4. MTE thinks Lucas Duda is a good baseball player. This needs no further words.

5. MTE loves Sandy Alderson despite him being one the worst general managers in the history of baseball.

6. MTE will blame Omar Minaya for everything wrong with the Mets today, even though as of now none of Omar’s dead money is left on the books. They also refuse to give him credit for drafting Matt Harvey, signing Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey, Dealing Beltran and Dickey eventually turned into Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud.

7. MTE will use obscure advanced stats to try and convince people that minor leaguers are better than they actually are. In reference to #4, this is why some think bums like Duda and Josh Satin can platoon first base and it will be competent. Absolutely ridiculous.

8. MTE will call every non-Met injury prone, but will never say that about David Wright. A great example is calling Matt Kemp injury prone, even though he played more games than Wright since 2008.

9. MTE loves to attempt to bully and pile on others that disagree with them or they deem not worthy. They pounce on people new to Twitter who ask for follow backs. But in person they’d cower and apologize. I guess since they got bullied their entire lives they try to flip the switch while hiding behind a keyboard.

10. MTE @ button on Twitter must be broken, they subtweet and laugh about it.

I’m pretty sure I have missed a few examples and points, but I figured these 10 steps will help you weed out the MTE from your Twitter following list. Please feel free to give me some more examples so we can all educate the masses and not let these people ruin our once great fan base.

With all that said, I will say this: we all want the same thing, MTE included. We want a consistent winner in Queens. We are the most passionate fan base in all of baseball. I guarantee, unlike our crosstown rival, that if and when we make the playoffs every seat will be filled for every game, whether it be a mong, lunatic, pessimist, optimist…or even a Mets Twitter Elitist.

Let’s go Mets! #LGM

Tweet me at @Hey_its_Don with your thoughts