Tag:

Q&A

Matthew Cerrone: In this week's MetsBlog Q&ACast, presented by Citi, I talk with SNY analyst and former Mets GM Jim Duquette, who hosts Power Alley every weekday from 10 am to 1 pm on the excellent MLB Network Radio channel on Sirius/XM.

Duquette and I discuss the current trade market, how a team decides whether to buy or sell, if deadline deals are overrated, and opportunities available to Sandy Alderson to upgrade his team...

Tags: Hide, matthewcerrone, Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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Kevin Plawecki, the Mets first round draft pick in 2012, has worked his way up to Double-A in his age 23 season. In the brief season so far,?the catcher is hitting .286 with a .359 OBP and .343 slugging percentage. Over three professional seasons, Plawecki had progressed from low Single-A in Brooklyn to Double-A Binghamton, hitting .287 with a .375 OBP.

Robert Brender recently had a chance to talk with Plawecki about his experience in major league camp in 2014 and his development behind the plate and at the dish...


Tags: Interview, Minor League Q&A, Rob Brender
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The Mets had been counting on RHP Vic Black?to be?key piece of their?bullpen in 2014. However, after walking 10 batters and allowing 13 hits in 9.1 innings during Spring Training, he was demoted and started his?season with Triple-A?Las Vegas.

The Mets acquired Black and?2B??prospect Dilson Herrera?from the Pirates for C?John Buck, OF Marlon Byrd and cash last summer.

Black spent a week on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck?during early April. He?has struck out three, walked two and allowed one hit and no runs during three innings since returning from injury.

Tags: Interview, Minor League Q&A, Vic Black, Rob Brender
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MetsBlog.com's Matthew Cerrone answers voicemail questions about Travis d'Arnaud, Kendrys Morales, Bartolo Colon, and the possibility of acquiring Nick Franklin or Stephen Drew...

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To send in a voicemail question for a future show, click here.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, Note, Q&A, Andrew Vazzano

According to MiLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, Mets 1B prospect?Dominic Smith?is the second-best first baseman in the minor leagues.

Smith, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2013 draft, played just 51 games in his first professional season, but hit .301 with a .398 OBP and a .837 OPS.

?He looks like the total package at first base, combining solid athleticism and defense with a sweet left-handed swing,? Mayo said of the 18 year old.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, Q&A, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone
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Michael, a reader of MetsBlog.com

Why is the front office and the fan base trying to run?Ike Davis?out of town? He is still pretty young and has a lot of power potential, and could be their best option at first base right now.? It might be good for his confidence to tell him first base is his job to lose in Spring Training.

I don't think it's a matter of anyone wanting to run Davis out of town, Michael. In fact, some fans -- including myself -- believe Davis is a better option than Lucas Duda?and/or?Josh Satin right now.

Tags: avsny, Q&A, thebaron98
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Steve from Red Hook writes:

Would you trade for Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry? And if so, what would be the most you'd be willing to give up to get him?

Tags: Brooklyn, Mailbag, NBA, Nets, nets, Q&A
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Sean from New Paltz, New York writes: I'm excited that now that the Nets are getting healthy, this is the time where they'll finally turn into the team we expected them to be. What do you think? Are these last two games the real Nets? Or is this just a mirage against weak opponents?

Nets fans are searching for something to be positive about (justifiably so) in this mess of an early season and?the ?win over Boston certainly is a place to start. It was probably the best this team has played all year. With Deron Williams coming back, and Paul Pierce surprising everyone with an early return, it looks like we can finally see what this team is all about. I still need to see Andrei Kirilenko on the floor, but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.

That said, with all the optimism coming from the D-Will return, I would still pump the brakes a bit and not go too crazy with a single two-game winning streak. ?I want to see them win tonight against a road weary Clippers team that is coming off a game last night in Boston.?If they can play with the same energy and passion as last game tonight and grab another win it could make me start to think that maybe they have found something.

Tags: Brooklyn Nets, deron williams, Mailbag, Nets, nets, paul pierce, Q&A, Brian Erni
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Robert Brender:?You must be feeling great with the bat right now?

Tags: Q&A
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http://twitter.com/ConnorRush_94/status/323865620158504960

In ten games so far in 2013, Ike Davis is hitting .128 with a .244 OBP and .450 OPS. He has one home run and two RBI with six walks and 12 strikeouts in 45 plate appearances.

I think both are concerns, Connor. Games in April count just as much as they do in September, and Ike will have to figure out how to come out of the gate better going forward.

Tags: Q&A
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I think you answered your own question, Mike. Things can change, but it's pretty clear they have other arms in mind for the future of the starting rotation.?Ultimately, if Familia is in the club's long-term plans, they see his value as guy who can miss bats and limit damage late in games, either as a closer or a short-reliever -- something like that would be a very valuable asset for them going forward.

Tags: MetsBlog, Q&A
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Robert Brender - a special contributor to MetsBlog.com - conducted the following Q&A with Travis d'Arnaud in Las Vegas on Friday night:

[sny-box="fff"]

Robert Brender: You were here last year with Toronto so you?re familiar with the ballparks. Has that helped you?

Tags: Minors, MetsBlog, Q&A
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Earlier tonight, Sandy Alderson spent roughly one hour on a conference call with a group of Mets bloggers.

I actually enjoyed this call very much and found it to be very educational, in particular from the technical answers he gave about the game itself. It was fascinating to listen to Alderson talk about the metrics they use to evaluate players, and discuss details of the offensive philosophies they are preaching up and down the organization.

I also thought Alderson did a great job with his responses to everyone's questions. He was very detailed, candid and open, even on the issues surrounding the outfield and his inability to make significant additions to the roster this winter.

Tags: Editorial Aside, Q&A
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Earlier this week, Mets RHP pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard threw his first bullpen session since being traded for R.A. Dickey?

Last month,?MiLB.com prospect guru Jonathan Mayo listed Zack Wheeler and Syndergaard among his Top 10 Right-Handed Pitching Prospects for 2013.

In regards to Syndergaard, who checks in at No. 10 on this year?s list, Mayo says: ?He was sent to the Mets in the Dickey trade and could end up being the best player in the deal, though it may take more time for him to develop.?

Tags: Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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Yesterday, 23-year-old Mets RHP Cory Mazzoni pitched three?perfect innings against the Marlins, increasing his total to five shutout innings in two Grapefruit League appearances this Spring.

"He's been everything I've heard about him," manager Terry Collins said after the game, according to MLB.com. "I was certainly anxious to see him. He's been very impressive."

In his first time?pitching?at Double-A, Mazzoni was 5-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 14 starts last season, during which he walked 20 and struck out 56 in 80 innings.

Tags: Q&A, Video, Matthew Cerrone
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Here, Michael Baron of MetsBlog and SNY.tv talked one on one with Brandon Lyon?about:

-Why he chose the Mets, and playing with childhood friend John Buck.

-His improved curveball.

Tags: Q&A, Video
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Here, Michael Baron of MetsBlog and SNY.tv talked one-on-one with OF Collin Cowgill about:

-The opportunity in this camp for a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Tags: Q&A, Video
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Today at Tradition Field, MetsBlog's Michael Baron had a chance to chat with Mets reliever Scott Atchison about his pitch repertoire?and the injury he dealt with last season:

Michael Baron: Last year, you had an elbow injury, and it seemed like Tommy John surgery was looming, but you didn't have it. Why did you not need surgery on the ligament?

Scott Atchison: We didn't want to rush into anything, so I went down and saw Dr. [James] Andrews and explained everything that had happened. The biggest thing for him was that nothing happened on one pitch. I didn't feel something on one pitch where I felt a pop or I felt anything go. We looked over the MRIs and results and he did an evaluation with me. He ?said that I had a tear that had shown up on previous MRIs and it might have gotten a little bigger than it was, but since I didn't feel it on one pitch, it easily could have been something that I was pitching with for a year, a month, a week, whatever. There's really no way to truly tell, I guess, but he said that in my situation, he would try to rest it and come back and see. We did that, took three weeks off from throwing, worked back through a throwing program, and everything and was able to go again in the middle of September. Felt good, didn't have any problems, no issues, results were good, and more importantly than the results was that my stuff was the same as it was before. Hopefully, I've avoided it and can keep going, and I haven't had any programs this year getting started back up. I don't foresee any, but it's baseball and you never know.

Tags: Q&A, Brian Erni
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Michael Baron of MetsBlog and SNY.tv talks one-on-one with Matt Harvey about:

-What he worked on in his first bullpen session.

Tags: Q&A, Video
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Earlier this week, Frank Francisco announced that he has been temporarily shut down?because?of swelling in his elbow.

Terry Collins later said Bobby Parnell will take over for Francisco as the team's closer, in the event Francisco is not ready for Opening Day.

Yesterday, MetsBlog's Michael Baron talked one on one with Parnell, who said:

Tags: Q&A, Video, Matthew Cerrone
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Yesterday at Tradition Field, MetsBlog's Michael Baron talked with Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens about Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and other young hitters he is working with this spring...

Michael Baron: We've heard a lot about how you're helping Lucas Duda slow things down in the box. How do you get that to carry over to live action?

Dave Hudgens: That's the next step.?Every step of the way, there's going to be more?anxiety,?more tension that comes into it. So what we've been concentrating, more than anything, is relax his mind. Try to slow down his heart beat and his mind, deep breath. Trying to get him to relax. Even trying to put him into those situations where there's 40,000 people in the stands in his mind, and trying to understand what he has to feel like. He's making some physical adjustments, but it comes down to a mental adjustment. Because the reason for all of that pre-pitch movement is because his mind is racing so much. In the cage, it's easy. No one is screaming at you, no pressure. As the game builds up and the pressure builds, that's where he's got to handle it mentally and develop a routine to where he can calm himself down It's going to be a process, but, so far, I'm happy with the way it's going.

Tags: Q&A, Brian Erni
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Yesterday at Tradition Field, MetsBlog's Michael Baron sat down with Kirk Nieuwenhuis to talk about last year's foot injury as well as his struggles towards the end of the season:


Michael Baron: How is the foot holding up after last season?s injury?

Tags: Q&A
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This afternoon in Port St. Lucie, MetsBlog's Michael Baron sat down with John Buck.

Here is his Q&A with Buck in which they discuss working with the pitching staff, Travis d'Arnaud, and Buck's charity:

Michael Baron:?Last week, you said something interesting to Kevin Burkhardt on SNY's Mets?Hot Stove about Johan Santana tipping his pitches, and you working with him on that this spring. Do you see yourself as a mentor for this staff?

Tags: Q&A
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This morning at Tradition Field, Wilmer Flores worked out at second base with Daniel Murphy. He took ground balls, worked on pivoting for the double play, and reacting to plays to his left and right...

While watching Flores, Paul DePodesta told me Flores is one of the guys he will have his eyes on most this Spring. DePodesta said he's particularly impressed with how Flores has handled second base during the last year or so.

Tags: MetsBlog, Q&A
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Travis d'Arnaud says his knee is 'perfect,' despite suffering a partially torn PCL last season, he told MetsBlog's Michael Baron yesterday.

Here is the rest of Baron's Q&A with d'Arnaud, discussing strengths, weaknesses and working with young pitchers...

Question:?How would you describe yourself?

Tags: Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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Last season, Dillon Gee was diagnosed with a clot in his throwing shoulder?had later had surgery to replace a portion of the damaged artery.

Today in St. Lucie, Gee told MetsBlog's Michael Baron that he's back to normal, "100 percent," the surgery did what it was supposed to do, and he's had zero setbacks in his recovery.

Gee's doctor told him he likely experienced smaller blood clots for years, which caused occasional numbness in his fingers. He didn't realize it was an issue, ?he?explained? assuming it was just side effects and the wear and tear of pitching.

Tags: Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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http://twitter.com/michael_reszka/status/272729742082457601

I don't think anyone has a crystal ball, Mike. Regardless of any plan any team lays out, there are a ton of factors in play and they need things to break right in order to be successful. I like the Mets' plan - they are clearly building the future of this organization around the likes of young pitching. But those pitchers need to continue to develop and stay healthy in order for the plan to function. If the pitching continues on this track, it will be fun to watch unfold in 2013 and hopefully a part of better times beginning in 2014.

I also don't think there's any evidence to suggest the Mets are going to be operating with a "smaller payroll" in future seasons, either. They may, or they may not - only time will tell. But even if the Mets were to (hypothetically) invest $80 million in their payroll in 2014, their roster would likely be way more balanced than it is today. Why? Because they have such an imbalance of resource allocation on their roster now, and much of that (in the form of Johan Santana?s and Jason Bay?s deals) won?t exist at this time next year. And, free agent classes are getting worse and worse nowadays, and so it wouldn't be wise to invest solely in that market anyway. As I always say, it's not about spending and bringing in overpriced free agents - that's part of what got the Mets into this mess originally. It's about developing from within and creating a foundation - which they are clearly trying to do - and maximizing that value in each roster spot they fill from outside the organization to supplement that foundation. Going forward, the Mets should be able to do that more efficiently.

Tags: Q&A
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Nick Grimaldi sent in the following email:

Reports out of Kansas City are saying that the Royals are seeking starting pitching and top outfield prospect Wil Myers is one of the names that they are said to be shopping. He is the type of impact outfielder the Mets desperately needs. Do you think the Mets would be able to make a deal for Myers involving R.A. Dickey?

Myers, who will be 22 on Opening Day, hit a combined .314 with a .600 SLG, 37 home runs and 109 RBI and 140 strikeouts between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in 2012. He has not yet played in the Major Leagues.

Tags: Q&A
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Ken from Lindenhurst, NY sent the following e-mail: "Looking at the outfielders on the market, and considering that Sandy has expressed a need for power, Josh Willingham is a trade option I think is being overlooked by the fans. Last year he hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 home runs while playing half of his games in a pitcher's park. He is not the best defender out there by any means, but is somewhat respectable out there. The Twins need pitching and middle infield help desperately, and I think Jeurys Familia and Jordany Valdespin alone would be enough to get him. Do you think this would work?"

Willingham, who turns 34 in February, hit .260 with 35 home runs and 110 RBI in 145 games for the Twins in 2012. He hit 21 home runs at Target Field, and 14 home runs on the road.

Willingham signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Twins before the 2012 season. He will earn $7 million in 2013 and $7 million in 2014.

Tags: Q&A
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Jonathan Goeringer sent in the following e-mail: "As much as I want to think [the deal between the Marlins and Blue Jays] opens the door to a trade for Travis D'Arnaud, I can't help but think this could open the door to a trade for Giancarlo Stanton as well. What do you think of this possibility as it pertains to the Mets? Would a package of Wilmer Flores, Jordany Valdespin and Jeurys Familia work for Stanton?"It makes absolutely no sense for the Marlins to trade Stanton - he is making around the league minimum and is not eligible for arbitration until next winter. Assuming he is healthy, Stanton is one of the great values in the sport with prolific power and is actually pretty good in the outfield despite his size. He is on the path to becoming an epic game changer for any lineup he is a part of. Even after he starts earning a higher salary through arbitration, he will be one hell of a value if he continues to produce at these levels. But again, it would just be an illogical move to trade Stanton, at least while he is earning the league minimum. Then again, these are the Marlins, and so anything is possible I suppose.

As far as your package is concerned, Flores and Familia would probably be an early starting point for a deal. The Mets are not at the stage where they can afford to deal too many prospects, even in a more realistic scenario for someone who is reportedly available.

In regards to D'Arnoud, Brian Erni mentioned his name on the MetsBlog Podcast last week as a possibility for the Mets. The Blue Jays acquired John Buck as part of their deal with Miami and sent Jeff Mathis to the Marlins in the process, leaving Toronto with D'Arnoud, Buck, and J.P. Arencebia. D'Arnoud is Toronto's top prospect and is said to possess everything a team would want in a young catcher: the ability to play the position at a high level all while hitting for both average and power. Catchers who project like that are hard to come by and incredibly difficult to develop considering if a catcher can hit, he is often moved from the position to preserve him for the long haul. While I would love for the Mets to be able to acquire D'Arnoud, Arencebia might be a more realistic target, and could potentially be had for less than what it would take to land D'Arnoud. In fact, the wrong move for the Blue Jays might be to trade D'Arnoud away, given his talents are so hard to come by.

Tags: Q&A
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Joey G sent in the following e-mail: "I think as it becomes more clear that the Mets aren't spending money and 2013 - and maybe even 2014 - are less a priority than 2015, why not trade both David Wright and R.A. Dickey with the idea of building the most stacked farm in Major League Baseball. ... As we learned this year, you forget real quickly about staying in the race for 3 months when you are out of it by August 1. So, why not just have a clear plan, instead of trying to balance being competitive now and building for the future, which seems to be too difficult to do without being able to spend money. Keep in mind, this team has zero outfielders, a bottom-of-the-pack bullpen, no power and no catcher. The other angle is they aren't exactly trading two guys who are about to enter their prime. Dickey is going to be 40 soon (although there's no telling how old his arm actually is) and David Wright is entering his 30 (and considering his power has taken a massive dive over the last 3-4 years, you can't expect it to come back as he ages). The bottom line is: trading both guys will yield a MASSIVE package of prospects for a team that has so many holes in it's lineup and no money to spend. It's the most sensible move, but not an easy one to make."

Joey, you explain this well enough to almost make me actually consider it. I think trading Dickey is reasonable, but moving Wright could be foolish. I suspect you value Wright, more than most fans, which is probably why you imagine him bringing back meaningful prospects.

In my view, Wright has significantly more value over the next seven years to the Mets (as a hitter, as a third baseman, as a guy who knows and plays well in New York, as someone to market and someone to guide young players) than he would have in any trade, because there is no guarantee those prospects will ever pan out. I'd take that bet on Dickey, because I think his age and the mileage on his body limit his upside, yet he'd still net good value in trade because he's a pitcher making little money.

Tags: Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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Jon Pace sent the following email:

What do you think of trading Jon Niese straight up for Indians' C Carlos Santana? The Indians want starting pitching, the Mets want a catcher who can hit. Both players are signed to team friendly contracts, and both are the same age. It's a sacrifice for both teams but also at the same time helps them.?

Santana, 26, hit .252 with a .365 OBP, 16 home runs and 76 RBI in 143 games in 2012. He hit 27 home runs and 79 RBI in 2012.

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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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Last week, MetsBlog's Meredith Perri talked with Kevin Plawecki, the Mets' first round supplemental pick in the 2012 first-year player draft.

The catcher, who has played for the Brooklyn Cyclones this season, discussed his first professional season, his increased strike out rate and the Cyclones' hopes to make the playoffs.

Plawecki went 3-for-4 in the Cyclones' win Monday night as the Cyclones defeated the Lowell Spinners. Brooklyn now needs just one more win to make it to the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

Tags: Q&A, Meredith Perri
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Chad in New York: Do you know how the team plans to use Mike Baxter next season? ?It is a shame he went down with the injury because he probably would have had plenty of time to showcase whether or not he is more than a fourth outfielder. ?At this point, I think it is clear to everyone that he is, at the very least a great bench player, but is there any talk that he could be a legitimate starting outfielder?

I do think the organization will have a discussion this offseason about how high Baxter's ceiling is. But I think Sandy Alderson and company see value in keeping him in a fourth outfielder's role. ?It's unfortunate that Baxter's season was cut short. Over the course of his red-hot start, Baxter hit .323, including .500 (10-for-20) as a pinch hitter. Since, he's batting just .242, however he's still getting on base at a .385 clip, and has hit his first two home runs of the year (both during their most recent series in Philadelphia). When you take into account his strong defense, I think you can definitely make a case for giving him a look as one of the team's starting three outfielders.

But that's not to say that he should be given a job. ?If Baxter is penciled into the every day line up in 2013, the other two outfielders would have be very strong. Stronger than anything they have right now. There's no denying Baxter has done a nice job, but this team is in desperate need of power. With so many questions around Lucas Duda, the ineffectiveness of Jason Bay, and the second half slide of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the Mets need to do a lot of work in the outfield. If they were to acquire a power bat (preferably a right handed one) through either free agency or a trade, I think Baxter's case gets a little stronger. But right now, you do run the risk of overexposing a player who is a real asset to your bench. ?I think Baxter will get a fair shot to establish himself as a contender for an outfield spot in the next few weeks, but I feel like he may be more useful in his current role.

Tags: Brian Erni, Q&A, Brian Erni

On Tuesday, Gavin Cecchini, the Mets first selection in the 2012 first-year player draft, was promoted to Single-A Brooklyn after spending most of his first professional season with Rookie League Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League.

Last night, MetsBlog's Meredith Perri spoke with Cecchini before his debut with Brooklyn. During the Q&A, Cecchini discussed his reaction to being called up, his experience playing with Kingsport and what facets of his game he hopes to improve while finishing out the season in Brooklyn.

[sny-box]Meredith Perri: What was going through your mind when you found out you were getting called up to play with the Cyclones?

Tags: MetsBlog, Q&A, Meredith Perri
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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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Bryan in Mineola: The Mets' most glaring hole is an offensively unproductive outfield. With Sandy Alderson's statements about being active in the trade market, who do you see the Mets going after in the offseason? And what will it take?

While I think the Mets will entertain trade talks, I still believe they're better positioned to go after some of those B-level (read: not Josh Hamilton) free agents. I say that for two reasons: 1) The system isn't ready to fetch a big return. They're in the process of building a feeder system, and they haven't stockpiled enough talent in the organization yet to make big trades. Therefore, the prospect pool is a little too top heavy (meaning there are players the Mets hope will contribute soon like Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia) and the players who are further away in their development (Wilmer Flores and their recent draft picks of Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini). There aren't enough expendable parts. That means any trade would take away from, what they hope would be, their future core, and I don't know how much of a return one of their mid-echelon prospects (someone like Matt den Dekker) would fetch. Probably not anything significant enough to make an impact on Major League lineup.

2) The team really isn't ready yet. Until they get David Wright and R.A. Dickey locked up to contract extensions, the timeline for contention is very much in flux. If two veterans like Wright and Dickey are on board long-term, the Mets know that the urgency to win is a bit more immediate than should one or both of those players leave. If they can lock them in, and Wheeler and Matt Harvey continue to develop at their current pace, I think the Mets could end up being more aggressive in the trade market at the 2013 deadline.

Tags: Brian Erni, Q&A, Brian Erni
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Jim via e-mail: As a fan, it gets hard this time of year when you know you're team is out of the race for the playoffs. How is Terry Collins managing that in the clubhouse. If no miracles happen this year, can the Mets push to be above the .500 mark at the end of the season, and should they?

As a fellow fan, I understand. It's hard to believe it has been six full years since the Mets last made the playoffs. And, let's be honest, it's not like these last five seasons were just 'bad,' they were also cartoonishly dramatic to a point that when I actually stop and think about it, or say it out loud to a friend, it's?genuinely?hard to believe. I know there are franchises who have been far less successful in sports. But, is the another that has been more bizarre in doing it? On one hand, there is never a dull moment. On the other hand, there is never a dull moment...

Anyway, to your question, Jim... Terry is doing what he should be doing, which is to make these last 40 games about 2013. He's been saying that the measure of a man is how a player competes down the stretch, whether fighting for a playoff spot or not. He says he and the organization will be paying close attention to who does what and how, so to have a better idea about next year's roster. The thing is, every manager says these things. It feels rhetorical at this point, because a) this concept should be implicit with the whole getting-a-paycheck thing, and b) next year's roster will almost certainly have more to do with status, salary, off-season?acquisitions?and spring training performances than anything that happens in September. Nevertheless, it's a good message and he should keep pushing it.

Tags: Matthew Cerrone, Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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Eric in Stamford: I hope the Mets learned the lesson and next year they will have more than one left-handed relief pitcher. They basically burned out Tim Byrdak, and they did the same thing to Pedro Feliciano. Do you think they'll have more than one lefty next year?

I don't know, Eric. I really don't. However, it's worth noting that the plan this year was to basically have Ramon Ramirez be able to pitch to both right-handed hitters and lefties, and have Byrdak to pitch to just lefties in key spots. The thing is, Ramirez pitched well to lefties earlier in his career because he was pitching well in general. This year, he was getting rocked by lefties early, and so it was all Byrdak from that point forward. The point is, though the Mets broke camp with just one left-handed reliever, they talked like Ramirez was going to be used in that sort of role as well,?alleviating?some of the load on Byrdak... it just didn't work out that way. In terms of going forward, Josh Edgin is clearly an asset. I'm not sure what his potential is, but he can obviously help this team next year as a situational lefty, if not more.

Tags: Matthew Cerrone, Q&A, Matthew Cerrone

Jeff in Las Vegas:?In listening to analysis from the TV crew, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling have some great insight on the performance/development of the young guys, like Matt Harvey. Do they talk to the players in pre- or post-game situations or on road trips or flights?

From what I understand, though I'm sure they interact, there isn't a whole lot of advice or insight being passed back and forth. In the case of Keith, he once told me he is more than happy to help a current player on the team, so long as that player seeks him out. But, (and I assume this is the case for Darling as well) he doesn't just go in the clubhouse and start telling people their business, without an invitation.. and I understand the players and coaches prefer it that way, as well.

Tags: Matthew Cerrone, Q&A, Matthew Cerrone

Michael in Bethpage: What do you think so far of Matt Harvey? He looked great in his first start, but has been just so-so since.

That's true, but those are also the only four starts of his big-league career. I think it's totally unfair to cast jugement on what this kid's future will be given that limited resume. What I do know is he can clearly pitch at this level, he belongs here and he will likely be part of this rotation next season. To me, his last start was actually rather encouraging, because he started off rough (throwing 33 pitches and letting up two runs in the first inning) in his first start in Citi Field), yet he settled down and managed to throw five additional innings?without?giving up a run. He was probably a bit jacked up,?understandably, and yet got it together... and that's a really good sign. Basically, he (like all pitchers) needs to learn how to better command his pitches, specifically first pitch strikes, and he must command the inning better... pitch to contact, etc... and he will, in time. He was called up at the right time, and he should get close to 10 starts against major-league hitters this year to learn from in advance of next Spring Training.

Tags: Matthew Cerrone, Q&A, Matthew Cerrone

Derek R sent in this e-mail to MetsBlog:

[jbox color="gray"]Lucas Duda had a very good stretch after the All-Star break in 2011, hitting .322 with 10 HR and a .411 OBP in 64 games and 205 at-bats. ?The rest of his career, which is 93 games and 273 at-bats, he is hitting .227 with 8 HR and a far lower OBP. So, what is Duda exactly? I?m a little more pessimistic on him than other Mets fans. How do I know that his second-half performance in 2011 wasn?t just a flash in the pan? ? I?m interested to see if he ever picks it up this year because I don?t know how long the Mets want to stick with a .220 hitter who is below average defensively. They may not have any other viable options this year, so I wouldn?t be surprised to see him start all year. But if he doesn?t turn it around before the end of the year, I have to think the Mets would look at upgraded in the off-season if not before?[/jbox]

Duda is hitting .245 with a .343 OBP 4 HR and 16 RBI in 29 games for the Mets this year.

Tags: Brian Erni, Q&A, Matthew Cerrone
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[jbox color="blue"]Michael Baron: What influenced your decision to join the Mets this winter?

Jon Rauch: I knew Sandy Alderson pretty well from being around him in the Olympics. I knew the kind of guy he was, what he was looking for, and his goals for the future. It's exciting to be a part of this team with the younger talent that they have, and watch them develop There's a good mix of young and old here.

Michael Baron: In looking at the younger talent here, who has impressed you most?

Tags: Q&A
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Michael Baron: Last year was a struggle for you - a lot of ups and downs beginning in Spring Training. What are some of the physical and mental challenges you battled with last year?

Mike Pelfrey: The biggest problem I had was I gave up way too many home runs. I think thats a product of the ball simply not being down. The sinker wasn't that good, and when the ball is at the waste, it won't move and it won't sink. I emphasized throwing it during the off-season, and the movement is back. It's going to be important in camp now, and during the season later.

Tags: Q&A
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Here is Michael Baron's Q&A with Mets prospect Matt Harvey:

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Michael Baron: Last year, you dominated the Florida State League. After being promoted to Double-A, what were some of the challenges you faced, and the immediate adjustments which were necessary to make?

Tags: Q&A
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Last week, MetsBlog.com's Michael Baron spoke with Josh Thole:

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Michael Baron: This winter, you worked extensively on your defense.

Tags: Q&A
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Last week, MetsBlog Michael Baron conducted the following Q&A with Daniel Murphy in St. Lucie:

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Michael Baron: How's your knee feeling?

Tags: Standard, Q&A
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