From Last Night:
- Valdespin hits a walk off grand slam in Flushing against the Dodgers despite only needing one run
- Todd Frazier homers to power Latos and the Reds to a 1-0 win
- The Orioles lost an extra inning game!
- Strasburg goes 7 and gives up 3 runs, but it isn’t enough to avoid a sweep against the Cards
What I’m Watching Today:
- Cliff Lee gets the Pirates at home (1p Eastern)
- Buchholz looks to pad his stats against the Astros (630p Eastern)
- The Reds and Nats battle in what could be a playoff preview (7p Eastern)
- Hellickson and Sale hook up at U.S. Cellular Field (8p Eastern)
The Big Question:
- Has anyone noticed David Wright this year?
Both of today’s observations concern the Mets, who walked off on Wednesday. First, David Wright is having a great start despite no one saying anything about him. He’s hitting .309/.447/.529 in 85 PA to go with a 176 wRC+. Seems like that should get more attention, but just having 2 homeruns is probably to blame even though he has 6 steals and that amazing line. Surprisingly also, Matt Harvey appeared to resemble a human being last night as he only went 6 innings and allowed 3 earned runs. That said, I mean, 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA, 2.39 FIP, and 10.03 K/9 is still pretty good.
74-88, 4th in the NL East
The 2012 version of the Metropolitans was very compelling and super exciting into the early summer, but bottomed out as the dog days arrived. They were led by an MVP contender and the NL Cy Young, but the supporting cast wasn’t enough to make the Mets a player in one of the tougher divisions in the sport.
The afore-alluded to Wright (7.8) was worth more WAR than the next four position players combined. Only Ruben Tejada (2.1) and Scott Hairston (2.0) hit the 2.0 starter threshold. Ike Davis gets honorable mention for doing everything right except getting hits. Great power, good patience, but the .227 batting average dragged the whole thing down. He should be better in 2013.
R.A. Dickey had an RA-diculous season and was my (and the BBWAA) pick for Cy Young. Jonathan Niese also had a fine season, but no other pitcher made more than 21 starts. Johan Santana was good, but got hurt. Dillon Gee too. Chris Young was meh, but not bad for a 5th starter. Matt Harvey was eye-popping good, but only made 10 starts after his callup.
The bullpen was, let’s be generous, a weakness.
The Mets had some bright moments this year, especially the first no-hitter in franchise history, courtesy of Mr. Santana, and a wonderful string of dominance by Dickey. Wright signed an extension and Matt Harvey stepped into the spotlight.
The 2012 season shot some life into Mets fans for the first few months and faded down the stretch. I think they’re on their way up. The starting pitching is there.
A Dickey, Niese, Santana, Harvey, and Gee rotation is very good. If Zach Wheeler is ready to be the 1/2 a lot of us think he can be, they Mets could easily have a top five rotation.
They need offense. Wright is a good centerpiece and they have a handful of guys who can really fill out the bottom of a lineup. They need one or two more formidable bats to surround Wright near the top and they could be good to go.
It wasn’t a great year for the Mets, but the future looks bright.
2012 Grade: D
Early 2013 Projection: 80-82
In the most cliché move yet this offseason, the hot stove is heating up as baseball’s GMs decided to start making moves in the week before the Winter Meetings in Nashville. Because my day job doesn’t allow me to spend the 12 hours a day I would like to writing about baseball, I’m going to have to get you caught up at lightning speed.
Here are the big moves from this week and my brief take on each:
Angels sign RP Ryan Madson, 1 year, $6 million plus incentives
Excellent move by the Angels who followed up by dumping Jordon Walden on the Braves for Tommy Hanson. Madson was a solid reliever for the Phillies for several years before signing a 1 year deal with the Reds last season. He got injured before the season and never threw a pitch, so it’s hard to judge exactly how healthy he may be. The Angels took that risk and added Madson to their bullpen on a one year deal during and offseason that has seen two meh relievers (League and Broxton) get three year contracts. Grade: A
Braves sign OF BJ Upton , 5 years, $75 million
The Braves needed to resign or replace Michael Bourn and this will do the trick. I have my doubts about Upton going forward and think he’s a guy who peaked early and will never live up to his skills. That said, he’s been a useful big leaguer with flashes of star power in the past and the Braves are only signing him through his age 32 season. I don’t love this deal, but it’s not a huge risk given how big contracts are getting. I think Upton has a couple more $15 million seasons in him, I’m just not sure how many and when they’ll come. I’m glad my team isn’t taking this risk, but I’m guessing the Braves won’t regret this and if they do, it won’t be a huge regret. Grade: B-
Nationals acquire Denard Span from the Twins for P Alex Meyer
The Tigers fan in me is thrilled Span is leaving the AL Central. The analyst in me thinks the Nationals made a shrewd move here. A cost controlled Span for three more seasons will do wonders between Harper and Werth and can provide a nice boost at the top of the order in a much cheaper way than the free agent options. Meyer is an interesting prospect, but most of the people I’ve talked to or read seem to think he’s a risky-high upside type. Span fills a hole in the Nats outfield and they traded from pitching depth, and they have a lot of that. The Twins have Ben Revere to fill the Span void and they do need a lot of pitching. I like this deal for them except that I think they probably could have gotten more in a deal for Span. Grade (Nats): A, Grade (Twins): C+
Pirates sign Russell Martin, 2 years, $17 million
The Pirates got something they needed. Offense. Martin hits for power and walks at a decent rate while provide some value on defense through solid pitching framing and debatable throwing skills. He’s a good fit for the Pirates and it’s hard to call $8.5 million for a free agent who can easily get to 2.0 WAR an overpay. Can’t complain if I’m a Bucs fan, but I really just want to point out that the Pirates outbid the Yankees for a player. The Pirates…outbid…the Yankees. With money. Grade: B
Mets extend David Wright, 7 years, $122 million
This extension starts after 2013 and carries Wright into his age 37 season. I was preparing a “What Should the Mets Pay Wright” piece when the news broke of this extension and I have to say, the Mets are getting a really solid yearly price for the cost of guaranteeing a lot of years. This is similar to the Longoria deal in a lot of ways except Longoria signed his four years ahead of free agency and Wright signed his one year ahead. Wright proved, through signing this deal, that he is committed to winning in New York and he’ll likely be a Met for life. Assuming he stays healthy, it’s hard for me to see a way in which this deal becomes a mess. It might not payoff, but it should mostly pay off. Grade: B+
The Winter Meetings are coming next week and a lot more action should be coming. Check back with STT for complete coverage.
122 days until Opening Day.