Tag:

Michael Baron

I am an avid vintage baseball card collector, especially cards of Mets players from the 1960's through the 1980's.

My birthday is tomorrow, February 11, and my dad purchased this 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan card for me as a gift to complete my collection of Ryan Met cards:

Tags: Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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Mets' Pitchers and Catchers will report to Port St. Lucie on February 11 - we are just 38 days away from baseball being back.

I've been going to Port St. Lucie for Spring Training since I was ten years old, and every year I say the same thing: there's no experience like Spring Training, and watching baseball in February and March. I recommend a trip for anyone with the opportunity - each year seems better than the last, and the facility in Port St. Lucie is among the best in Florida for fans. It's a chance to interact one-on-one with any player or coach, see the team's prospects, get autographs and personal pictures, and more. Major League workouts begin daily between at around 8:30 ? 9:00 am and typically run until around 12:00 pm. They are free of charge to attend and run through the duration of Spring Training.

Tags: Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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It was a long year in 2012. A lot of ups, and a lot of downs.

It was a year filled with a lot of individual accomplishments linking players to team history: Johan Santana's no-hitter, R.A. Dickey's mythical season culminating with a Cy Young Award, David Wright becoming the franchise leader in hits, among others.

None of those individual accomplishments led to much winning, however. It once again shows that baseball is not about the individual - it's about the 25 players on the active roster.

Tags: Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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I remain very optimistic the Mets will eventually agree to a new contract with David Wright. While I do want them to extend R.A. Dickey's contract as well, I haven't been as optimistic because it makes a lot of baseball sense to try and sell high on him now and fill other holes on the roster.

I do have some worry now, though. And I wasn't comforted by Jeff Wilpon's comments on Tuesday. Each day that goes by, with no reports of progression, the more I find myself questioning the situation and fearing the worst. It's not to say I think Wright will be traded this winter, but rumors will undoubtedly be flying if they don't have a deal by the Winter Meetings... and even the thought of that makes me cringe.

In talking with fans over the last day or so, I think most people feel the same way: they are hoping both Wright and Dickey remain with the team, but certainly have fears the Mets can't get these deals done; don't want to get them done; or both. It's like we're

Tags: MetsBlog, Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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I still can't believe R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young last night.

On the very first day of pitchers and catchers in February, 2010, R.A. arrived at the Mets Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie on a bicycle.

R.A. rides a bicycle to camp every morning.

Tags: MetsBlog, Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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http://twitter.com/mbranzburg/status/264080714914471936

Johan Santana is entering the final year of a six-year, $137.5 million contract he signed before the 2008 season. He will earn $25.5 million in 2013, and the Mets hold a $25 million option on Santana with a $5.5 million buyout for 2014.

Santana, who turns 34 in March, went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts this season. After his no-hitter on June 1,?Santana went 3-7 with a 8.27 ERA over his final ten starts, and averaged just under five innings per start over that span.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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http://twitter.com/butlerb92/status/263665736600399873

Dickey went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, having allowed 192 hits and 54 walks with 230 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings. He became the first Met to win 20 games since Frank Viola in 1990.

Dickey has to be the?favorite to win the Cy Young Award, And, ESPN's Cy Young Award tracker?says R.A. Dickey?should win the National League Cy Young Award this year:

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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http://twitter.com/Scotty_Eis/status/263653405019500545

It's too early to try and determine who the Mets will pursue. Yes, there have been some moves made this week, but I expect the bulk of the movement will?begin in the weeks ahead.?The World Series just ended, and there are a variety of important dates still ahead which will further impact both the free agent and trade markets. Teams have until tomorrow to make qualifying offers to their free agents, and players have until November 9 to accept those offers. Options are still being exercised and declined, and the non-tender deadline is November 30. And, the Winter Meetings take place in Nashville between December 3 and December 6. Rumors will be flying rampant, some of which will be valid, some of which will be completely silly.

A better question right now is not who the Mets would or should pursue, but to identify what players may or may not fit their current needs, which I'm confident is on-going. In listening to Sandy Alderson at the end of the year, it sounds less likely they will make major free agent acquisitions, but he could explore the trade market and find ways to fill some of the gaps on the roster. That's ok, because the free agent market isn't particularly intriguing, will likely become less intriguing as years go on. More and more teams are locking their star players up through their arbitration years and first few years of free agency, making them less desirable when those contracts expire.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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http://twitter.com/wsbzrvd210/status/263630126145757184

Dickey just completed a two-year, $7.8 million contract he signed with the Mets before the 2011 season. Last night, the Mets picked up the $5 million option on Dickey for 2013, but he can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Earlier this month, Andy Martino of the Daily News said the Mets are interested in retaining Dickey for the long-term,?there is an internal debate as to how the Mets will handle Dickey?s future with the Mets.

Tags: MetsBlog, Michael Baron
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What a moment this was for the Mets.

Seconds before, when Scott Rolen connected off Oliver Perez, Shea Stadium literally went silent. It was gone, and the Cardinals were going to take a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the NLCS.

Tags: Michael Baron
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As many times as Chipper Jones dug the dagger in our hearts for the better part of the last 20 years, there's no denying his greatness and what he's meant to the Braves organization. Both Chipper and David Wright are very similar players in that both are iconic players for their respective teams and own their own places in the history of their organizations.

In watching and listening to Chipper on Friday night, it made me immediately think about Wright (and Jose Reyes for that matter) and his stamp on the organization to date. I couldn't help but think about Wright during Friday night's ceremony - I envisioned Wright in a similar setting ten or so years from now, standing at home plate at Citi Field, and celebrating his career with a sold out ballpark.?Like Chipper, Wright's value to the Mets goes beyond what he does on the field - as I said, he is an iconic player, but what he represents in terms of their brand and identity define who he is and who the Mets are. After all, anyone who thinks about the Mets thinks about David Wright. As Sandy (and most fans) would say, he is the 'face of the franchise.' That carries a definition which goes beyond the physical game of baseball. It's important for every team to have a Chipper Jones, David Wright or a Derek Jeter to represent their identity and brand for not just the life of a single contract.

Tags: Michael Baron
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Jon Niese went 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts over 190 1/3 innings in 2012 - last night was his final start of the season.

In April, Niese signed a five-year, $25.5 million contract extension through 2016. He earned $769,500 in 2012, will earn $3 million in 2013, $5 million in 2014, $7 million in 2015, and $9 million in 2016. The team holds two options on Niese - his option for 2017 is for $10 million and his option for 2018 is for $11 million.

Earlier this month, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger said "Baseball officials outside the organization believe Niese could elicit a quality return on the trade market."

Tags: Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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In 67 relief appearances this season, Bobby Parnell is 4-4 with a 2.79 ERA with 56 strikeouts and 20 walks in 61 1/3 innings.

Over his last 36 games, Parnell has a 2.07 ERA, having allowed eight earned runs in 34 2/3 innings over that span.

Earlier this week on Twitter, I asked the following question:

Tags: Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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The Mets bullpen has a 2.41 ERA in their last 56 innings, a span 17 games.

Still, their overall 4.68 ERA remain second worst in baseball behind the Cubs.

Earlier this week on SNY, Gary Cohen asked if the Mets should go with internal options in the bullpen next season, which would free up resources to invest in outfielders and catchers this winter.

Tags: Michael Baron, Editorial Aside
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https://twitter.com/MetsWebDevKyle/status/240606325065801728

Yes, when Young is on, he is good. But his margin for error is so thin, given he has a low 80s fastball and relies on locating in the top of the strike zone to be successful.

In regards to Young pitching in relief, I don't see him succeeding in that role, and in turn, the Mets shouldn't bring him back to be in the bullpen. He has not pitched in relief during his big league career, and his arm is more or less a high wire act anyway - he has had shoulder problems in each of the last five seasons, and he is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder from last May. In a five or six man rotation, Young's outings are predictable, and he can prepare according to a set program. In a bullpen role, the preparation changes as well as the predictability and frequency of his outings, and I just don't see Young being able to get ready under those conditions.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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Chris Young (3-6, 4.87 ERA) will start for the Mets tonight.

Young was ineffective in his last start against the Marlins when he allowed seven runs in only 4 1/3 innings. Overall, left-handed hitters have hit .299 with six home runs and a .522 slugging percentage against Young. He made a start against the Reds back in June and pitched well - he allowed two earned runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss at Citi Field. Young has made three starts against the Reds in his career, and he's 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA against them.

Mat Latos (10-3, 3.81 ERA) will start for the Reds.

Tags: Game Day, Michael Baron
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Last night, with the Mets trailing by five runs after seven innings, the Mets scored one run in the eighth and three runs in the ninth to pull within one run of the Cubs before finally falling by the score of 8-7.

In watching last night's game unfold, I couldn't help but think back to prior years - even last year while under Terry Collins - and think about how many times the Mets would appear to simply go through the motions in games like this and accept the game for what it was.

On a night when Johan Santana didn't have it, they could have easily folded the tents early and just look towards today's game. But, they didn't. Despite falling behind by five runs through the first five innings, the Mets continued to work counts, foul tough pitches off, and take quality at bats off of Travis Wood and the Cubs bullpen. As a fan, I firmly believed they had a chance to win that game - in years prior, I would've thought that game was over really early.

Tags: Michael Baron, Standard
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Tags: Audio, Michael Baron
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There are a multitude of reasons for the organization to workout a contract extension with Wright in the short-term. Most notably, it would show they have an ability to invest in their major league roster, as well as show they have a desire to retain their homegrown stars and build a long-term historical legacy with them. Considering he is under team control through next year, there is time to see how Wright responds to the new dimensions at Citi Field and continue his early-season success.

It?s easy to simply label Wright as the ?face of the franchise,? but I don?t think that statement alone places a fair enough value on what Wright means to this club. This season he has showed a lot of character and guts, and he has showed the kind of impact he can have on his teammates. There are few players who mean as much to their franchise as Wright does to the Mets. His growth and status, even at this fairly early stage in his career, has become even more evident in this transitional point in the team?s history. And, as I had discussed with SNY?s Matt Dunn this past weekend in Miami,everyone?is a fan of Wright, and there would be a certain emptiness with this franchise if the two sides parted ways. That has meaningful value and needs to be a major consideration as they hopefully get closer to a negotiation.

Tags: Michael Baron
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So far this season, the Mets look and feel like a different team on the field. Yes, they've made 27 errors and their Pythagorean record (15-18) suggests they have been a little lucky over the first six weeks. But this is a fun and energetic group of players who are winning baseball games, and have built momentum in the early part of the season.

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Tags: Michael Baron, Standard
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In their series' against the Rockies and Astros, as well as their first game against the Diamondbacks last Friday, the Mets bullpen had a 8.64 ERA.

In the final two games against the Diamondbacks, and in their series against the Phillies (all wins), the Mets bullpen had a 1.38 ERA.

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Tags: Michael Baron, News, Standard
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Mike Nickeas has come down with flu-like symptoms and is not at the ballpark today.

This afternoon, Assistant GM John Ricco told reporters it's possible both Lucas May and Vinny Rottino could be put on the taxi squad in the event they need to replace Nickeas on the roster.

No matter what, the Mets are in a tough spot if they have to make a roster move. Rottino has had limited major league experience behind the plate and hasn't caught in the minors yet this season. May isn't a great defender and has struggled offensively as well.

Tags: Michael Baron
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The Mets announced Jason Bay has a non-displaced fracture in his rib, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

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Tags: Michael Baron
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Yesterday in Seattle, White Sox RHP Philip Humber pitched the 21st perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball, a 4-0 shutout over the Mariners at Safeco Field.

Humber joins Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, A.J. Burnett and Hideo Nomo as pitchers who have been in the Mets organization but threw either a no-hitter or a perfect game for another organization.

For my thoughts on Humber's perfect game and it's relationship with Mets history,

Tags: Michael Baron, Standard
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Yesterday, Terry Collins told reporters Andres Torres has increased his activity, although he has yet to run full speed around the bases.

Collins said once Torres is healthy and is activated from the disabled list, he will assume his position in centerfield.

Presumably, that means Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be returning to Triple-A Buffalo, considering he is unlikely to get the necessary playing time he needs to continue to mature and develop at the Major League level.

Tags: Michael Baron
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There are a multitude of reasons for the organization to workout a contract extension with Wright in the short-term. Most notably, it would show they have an ability to invest in their major league roster, as well as show they have a desire to retain their homegrown stars and build a long-term historical legacy with them. Considering he is under team control through next year, there is time to see how Wright responds to the new dimensions at Citi Field and continue his early-season success.

It's easy to simply label Wright as the "face of the franchise," but I don't think that statement alone places a fair enough value on what Wright means to this club. This season he has showed a lot of character and guts, and he has showed the kind of impact he can have on his teammates. There are few players who mean as much to their franchise as Wright does to the Mets. His growth and status, even at this fairly early stage in his career, has become even more evident in this transitional point in the team's history. That has meaningful value and needs to be a major consideration as they hopefully get closer to a negotiation.

Tags: Michael Baron
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While shooting photographs at yesterday's game, I was paying close attention to Daniel Murphy and how he interacts with his teammates during the game.

Murphy is a very vocal person. He also genuinely believes in this team's ability to win and make the postseason, and that's important for the chemistry of this team no matter what happens this year. But in watching him and listening to him in-game, he comes across as a future leader of this team.

For instance, when Kirk Nieuwenhuis came up for the second time Saturday, Murphy was the team's loudest cheerleader, complimenting his patience by saying, "Atta boy, Butch," and yelling, "Look for something to drive up the middle!" When Nieuwenhuis beat out his infield hit, Murphy was cheering as loud as he could, yelling to the field, "There you go, bud! Atta boy!" For someone who is still looking to establish himself in the big leagues, he is very veteran-like. He did the same thing for Lucas Duda, and after each of his two home runs Murphy was once again the stand-out cheerleader and seemingly the biggest fan in the dugout.

Tags: Michael Baron
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Lucas Duda could hit sixth in the lineup in the team's opening series against the Braves, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

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Tags: Michael Baron
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Last week, Tim Byrdak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, and Sandy Alderson said he is expected to miss six weeks.

Currently, Garrett Olson, Chuck James, and Daniel Herrera remain as options to replace Tim Byrdak on the Opening Day roster. Josh Edgin, a promising left-handed pitcher who was recently promoted from minor league camp, is also in the mix, although he has never pitched above Single-A. However, LHP Robert Carson was among 12 players either optioned or re-assigned to minor league camp last week.

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Tags: Michael Baron
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Yesterday, Mike Pelfrey made his first start of the Spring and allowed four runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings, including a solo home run to Austin Kearns in the third inning.

Obviously, it was his first start and he has nearly four weeks to work on things before he makes his regular season debut. But there were a lot of parallels between yesterday's start and his identity from last season.

For the most part, Pelfrey's fastball hovered between 90-91 mph last season, and that's pretty much where he was yesterday. He also lacked that hard, downward movement he so badly needs on his sinker, instead moving from left to right across the middle of the strike zone. That resulted in a lot of balls up in the zone and a lot of hard hit balls all over the field. He threw one real good sinker in his entire outing; a ball Terry Tiffee grounded through the third base hole for an RBI single in the first inning.

Tags: Michael Baron
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Here is a picture I took of prospects Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, just before the first workout for pitchers and catchers last Friday:

They contrast each other very much in terms of their size and build. Familia is tall and massive, whereas Mejia is much smaller. However, on the mound, they are very similar pitchers. They both throw hard. They both expend a lot of energy per pitch and neither have smooth deliveries. Familia almost appears to drop down to throw three quarters, but then comes back over the top with good downward action.

I wouldn't expect either to be groomed as relief pitchers. However, given the inefficiencies in their mechanics, both might be headed there eventually. It could work out well, having these two pitchers - with this level of talent - helping to shorten games for guys like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jon Niese in the rotation.

Tags: Michael Baron, Standard
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Yesterday at Digital Domain Park, Jon Niese threw a bullpen session, emphasizing his off-speed with most of the pitches he threw.

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[avatar name="baron"]Michael Baron: It was interesting to watch Niese yesterday. His curveball looked great, with a lot of sharp movement late. But Niese seemed dissatisfied and especially critical of himself during the outing, at one point turning to Dan Warthen in frustration and saying "I've GOT TO find that release point!" Warthen responded with "For this time of year, you look pretty good."

Tags: Michael Baron
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This week in Port St. Lucie, Johan Santana has participated in all workouts, including throwing, pitchers fielding practice, and fielding ground balls:

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[avatar name="baron"]Michael Baron:?I's still cautiously?optimistic?about Santana, and I'm trying not to get my hopes up for him starting Opening Day. However, I've been in St. Lucie, and it's?so encouraging to watch him go at 100 percent and never missing a beat. He is showing no resistance during these drills and, frankly, I am pleasantly surprised he threw two bullpens in as many days this week AND is throwing during warmups on his off-days.

Tags: Michael Baron
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Throughout my entire life, I have been an avid baseball card and memorabilia collector. I have hundreds of thousands of cards in my closet; cards I have even collected into my thirties. Of course, my focus has always been on the Mets, and over the years I have acquired Tom Seaver's Rookie Card from 1967, Nolan Ryan's Rookie Card from 1968, and many more (if you're interested, you can see some of them here).

As I said on Thursday, Gary Carter was my childhood hero. I wanted to be Gary Carter. And so, my baseball card collection includes every major release for Gary Carter across all of the brands.

Here are some of my favorites, including his rookie card from the 1975 Topps Series as well as his first cards as a Met; the 1985 Topps/Topps Traded and O-Pee-Chee (Canadian) sets. I have kept them all in mint condition:

Tags: Michael Baron
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It seems as though for the better part of the last 36 months, the discussion surrounding the Mets has been about lawyers, lawsuits, reducing payroll and costs, injuries, justifying and defending moves and decisions, losing, and other issues surrounding ownership - not about baseball.

In a few short days, baseball will return to Port St. Lucie and, in less than two months, baseball will be back. I will be in Port St. Lucie for a day this week and then again towards the end of February when pitchers and catchers arrive - and I can't wait to bring you the story both in writing and in photographs as it happens. My hope is we, as fans, can celebrate the birth of the new season at that time, and start talking about this baseball team and the game.?Why? Because as a Mets fan who has suffered through thick and thin with this franchise since 1985, I am sick of not talking about baseball and my favorite sports team. I am sick of the legalese, the mocking, the fear over the future of this franchise, and a theoretical inevitability that the Mets will lose. Everyday I hope the negativity will end, that the dramatics will end, and there can be a return to normalcy and winning.?

The reality is, I know that's not happening anytime soon, especially with ownership's trial in the Madoff case set to begin right in the middle of Spring Training - there's no telling how long this will last, either. I have faith that both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins can center the focus on the diamond rather than the courtroom, but the distractions will undoubtedly be visible each and everyday for the duration of the trial and in the days following it. That's sad and upsetting to deal with as a fan - that's not what it's supposed to be about.

Tags: Michael Baron, Standard
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Of all the coffee mugs I own, this is obviously my favorite:

Tags: Michael Baron
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I don't, Michael, although Jason Bay's contract is certainly more movable than Johan Santana's contract. I can't imagine anyone would entertain taking Santana off the Mets hands unless they would consider paying most of what's due to him through next season. His shoulder will be a big question mark all year, and that assumes he will be able to contribute consistently in some sort of capacity throughout the year.

In regards to Bay, I'm curious to see if he can carry over his positive September into the new season, with the new dimensions playing into his strengths. He is a huge key for this offense this season (like he has been in each of the last two seasons). But like Santana, if the Mets want to move Bay, they would probably have to pick up most of the remainder of his contract (and his easily attainable option for 2014, which calls for $17 million).

Tags: Michael Baron, Standard, Q&A
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I think so, David, and as SNY.tv's Ted Berg wrote on TedQuarters earlier this week, there is enough talent on the roster to win 94 games. But for that to happen, Johan Santana must be able to contribute consistently and at a high level, they will need growth from other starting pitchers such as Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey, and both David Wright and Jason Bay must rebound and perform. On top of all of that, they need to stay healthy, something they have failed to do for the better part of the last four seasons. That's a lot to ask, but this time of year is reserved for that kind of hope.

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Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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Of the two, I'd go the week of February 27. It's the best time to see everyone on the team, as they are engaged in organized workouts on the back fields at Digital Domain Park. Most of the players spend a tremendous amount of time signing autographs, posing for pictures, and talking with fans (typically after workouts conclude).

Pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie on February 20, with the first workout scheduled for February 22. Position players will report on February 25 with the first full-squad workout scheduled for February 27. Workouts begin between 8:30 - 9:00 am and typically run until around 12:00 pm. Workouts are free of charge to attend.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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The fan in me agrees with you, but the prudent approach might be to wait, at least until mid-season after his adjustment to the new dimensions at Citi Field has been evaluated and measured. Besides, I'm not sure Wright would sign a new deal right now, anyway. He is coming off the worst year of his career, and I would think he would want to re-establish his value in 2012 and also evaluate the direction of the franchise as the season progresses. But if Wright is having a good year, the team is playing well, and the front office is interested in retaining him beyond his current contract, I?d like for the Mets to keep him through the season and explore a new, long-term deal at some point over the next year.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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I took this picture of Shea Stadium during the 2006 NLDS:

I've been to a lot of ballparks over the years, but the sound of a sold out, Shea Stadium crowd roaring and on it's feet was like none other I have experienced in my life. There were times, such as Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Todd Pratt's series winning home run in the 1999 NLDS, and Endy Chavez's catch in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS when the stands actually seemed to bounce up and down. While that memory served as a symbol of joy and success for the franchise in that ballpark, they were a little nerve racking for a brief period of time.

I've often wondered what these experiences would be like as a fan inside Citi Field. How would the roar of the crowd sound at the climax of a ten run inning against a division rival? Or, a walk-off playoff series home run? Or, a catch like the those Endy Chavez and Tommy Agee made in their respective postseason games? Only time will tell, I suppose...

Tags: Michael Baron
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Pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie on February 20, with the first workout scheduled for February 22. Position players will report on February 25 with the first full-squad workout scheduled for February 27.

The Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule on March 5 at Digital Domain Park against the Nationals at 6:10 pm.

Tags: Michael Baron
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In October, Jonathan Mayo of MiLB.com said? OF?Kirk Nieuwenhuis was the Mets fifth best prospect in their minor league system.

Nieuwenhuis, 24, hit .298 with a .403 OBP, six HR and 14 RBI in 188 at-bats for Triple-A Buffalo in 2011. He had shoulder surgery in July and missed the remainder of the season. However, in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Nieuwenhuis was added to the 40-man roster last month.?Sandy Alderson said last week at the team's Holiday Party that it's unlikely Nieuwenhuis will be on the major league roster to start the season due to his injury last year.

Nieuwenhuis is a big and strong left-handed hitter who, outside of an inconsistent stint with Buffalo after a promotion from Double-A Binghamton in 2010, has found success at every level of the Mets organization. He consistently gets on base and can steal bases, but - like a lot of power hitters - he tallies his fair share of strikeouts. If not for his shoulder injury last season, I would have expected him at Citi Field in September. However, he will now get a long look during Spring Training not only to check his progress but to see how healthy his shoulder is after surgery. While I don't think his injury is a major setback at the moment, given his age, the time is now for Nieuwenhuis; he needs to get off to a strong and healthy start at Buffalo in 2012.

Tags: Michael Baron
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Today is David Wright's 29th birthday.

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Tags: Michael Baron
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Armando Reyes sent an email asking:

"Do you foresee the Mets getting another top-of-the-rotation starter that could combine with Johan Santana and give them a 1-2 punch that could at least give life to a weak rotation or at least provide some depth in the event Santana goes down?"
Based on reports, it appears the Mets recognize their shortcomings in the rotation and are at least kicking the tires on some names to fill the void. They were rumored to inquire about Mark Buehrle at the winter meetings in Dallas and they seem to be at least watching the Gio Gonzalez trade sweepstakes. I do think the odds are long they acquire Gonzalez because Oakland is reportedly asking for the moon, sun and stars in return and with Sandy Alderson apparently in accumulation mode when it comes to building his farm system, there just doesn't seem to be a match in terms of present-day strategy.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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MetsBlog.com reader Jodel Leneus asked: "I was wondering why Edwin Jackson isnt talked about more as an option for the Mets as a starter. He's fairly young at 28 years old and has pitched four seasons of 200 innings. With Mark Buehrle signing for 4 years $58 million maybe the mets could offer 3 years $30-36 million dollar range. There is no guarantee that Johan Santana will be back on time next season or at all. they have to get a viable proven big league winner on the staff!"

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[avatar name="baron"]Michael Baron: It seems as though in one way or another, Jackson's name comes up every winter, and the Mets never seem to sign or trade for him in the end. Jackson has proven to be a steady and reasonably consistent starting pitcher over the last few seasons and someone who could definitely provide quality depth in the rotation.

Tags: Michael Baron, Q&A
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Baseball is just about eight weeks away from starting all over again.

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Tags: Michael Baron
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In a post to SNY Why Guys, Mike Salfino examines players whose rookie seasons took place at age 25 and produced an OPS+ of 130 or more, and in regards to Lucas Duda, Salfino says:

"Let?s just spitball this list and say there?s a 44% chance that Lucas Duda becomes a valuable asset for the next five years, a 25% chance he becomes a hitter comparable to at least Jason Bay and a 12.5% chance he becomes a star in the Ryan Howard mold."
There's no question Duda has fantastic and prolific power to all fields (although the bulk of his home runs have been pulled to right field). Given his power potential, he's probably good enough to play the outfield in the major leagues and the new and less complicated dimension in right field at Citi Field can only help him defensively.

In watching and listening to Duda since he was first called up in 2010, I think his biggest challenge will be sustaining his confidence level. Both Duda and Terry Collins have talked a lot about that over the last year and when Duda has struggled, he's stated he needs to build that confidence. He appeared to grow in that regard as the season went on, as he appeared to let his natural talent take over as he began to believe in himself. Hopefully he has maintained those positive feelings, as the thought of a David Wright/Ike Davis/Lucas Duda trio in the middle-of-the-order can be both dominating and entertaining going forward.

Tags: Michael Baron
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Over the last couple of weeks, people have asked me both here and on Twitter why the Mets might be looking to trade Jon Niese - a young, inexpensive, high-ceiling, left-handed pitcher, who is under team control for another four years - especially with so much uncertainty in the rotation over the short-term.

I understand the point, but isn't Niese a part of that uncertainty? A player's value cannot solely be determined by the flexibility in his contract, or what he might be capable of doing. Regardless of what a player is earning, his value and his ability to maximize those dollars is determined by what he does on the field.

In the case of Niese, he showed some growth early in 2011, as he began to refine his off-speed pitches. He also showed some increased velocity on his fastball from the prior year. However, he's had a combination of physical and mental breakdowns that have ended the last three seasons prematurely. And so, the flexibility in a player's contract is valuable only if a he can remain healthy and contribute at a high level on the field.

Tags: Michael Baron, Standard
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