New York Mets: Joba Chamberlain

A Mets free-agent shoppers guide

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
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Getty ImagesPlayers who could be of value to the Mets: Shin-Soo Choo, Stephen Drew, Bronson Arroyo.
When putting together a list of the priorities for the Mets in this offseason's free-agent market, you must be realistic.

To think that the team is going to land anyone with a nine-figure salary is a longshot (no matter what Sandy Alderson says), so cross Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury off any wish-lists.

Logic would also dictate that pitchers for whom the market might provide a four-year commitment comparable to the one Edwin Jackson got last winter (four years, $52 million) are not what this front office is looking for, so scratch off Matt Garza and Ricky Nolasco (and probably Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Lincecum and Ervin Santana). We also left out a few pitchers with strong preferences for specific teams or markets-- A.J. Burnett (Pirates), Dan Haren (West Coast), Tim Hudson (Braves) and Hiroki Kuroda (Yankees/Japan).

But there are players who would be good fits for this team, which most likely will be shopping for multiple outfielders, a shortstop, both starting pitchers and relievers, and maybe a backup catcher.

What is below is a list arranged alphabetically, rather than by rank, of 20 targets that we deemed realistic based on educated guesses and available information. When the World Series concludes, these players will be on the market for the Mets to pursue.

(Read full post)

Watch the Yankees with free agents in mind

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
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As a Mets fan, you can certainly be envious of the Yankees latest postseason push, but if you’re watching the Yankees, you should also be watching with an eye to 2014.

We’ll be writing a lot in this space about the 2014 offseason outlook, and there are a number of current Yankees who may have some appeal to the Mets next season.

Here’s a look at three of them to keep an eye on in the final weeks of this season.

Curtis Granderson
Granderson will turn 33 this offseason and will be a free agent after three productive years and one injury-filled season with the Yankees in 2013.


Yankee Stadium has been good to Curtis Granderson

Granderson’s appeal comes in the power of his bat, which produced 41 and 43 home runs in 2011 and 2012 and has tallied four in 127 at-bats in 2013. He has more homers than any lefty-hitting American League player over the last three seasons.

The one concern with that is that Granderson has benefited a lot from his home ballpark, Yankee Stadium. He's hit 63 homers on 402 balls in the air in the Bronx, 49 homers on the 421 balls he's hit in the air in other venues.

The image on the right shows Granderson’s home-run spray chart in Yankee Stadium. He certainly would lose some of those homers playing 81 times a year at Citi Field instead.

Granderson’s best days as a centerfielder may be behind him. His defense was valued at -16 Defensive Runs Saved the last two seasons. But in 26 games in the corners this season, he’s a positive- two Defensive Runs Saved.

Phil Hughes
With Matt Harvey either out or of uncertain health for 2014, Sandy Alderson indicated the need for a veteran pitcher for 2014 (which sounds a lot like the role Shaun Marcum was supposed to fill.

Prior to this season, Hughes would have been someone with modest appeal, given his body of work and age (he doesn’t turn 28 until June). But Hughes is 4-13 with a 4.86 ERA and was demoted to the bullpen earlier this week by Joe Girardi. He’s homer prone, especially at home, somewhat so on the road, as the chart on the right notes.

Hughes could fit the Mets as either a starter or reliever, which is why his performance in the latter role is worth watching. In 2009, he had a 1.40 ERA, with 65 strikeouts, 13 walks, and only two home runs allowed to the 193 batters he faced in 44 relief appearances. Hughes’ upcoming usage may shed some insight into a possible fit as an eighth-inning man for some team in 2014.

Joba Chamberlain
The Mets have had their ups-and-downs at picking relievers in the Alderson era. Chamberlain would be one who would seem to be there for the taking, with a 4.23 ERA and 1.54 WHIP this season.

But there are a couple of aspects of this performance that are unusual. His 11 percent walk rate and 4.6 percent homerun rate are considerably higher than they were in any season from 2010 to 2012. Chamberlain's slider needs fixing. He gets a good miss rate with it (40 percent), but it's hittable. Opponents have a .300 batting average when an at-bat ends with one this season.

Chamberlain would still seem to be an intriguing gamble for this reason. He’s still throwing hard. His fastball velocity averages 94.7 mph, the same as 2012 and approximately the same as 2011. That’s just a hair under what Bobby Parnell averaged prior to his injury.

The team that can get Chamberlain’s head right would seem to have something significant to gain.

Do you think the Mets should pursue these players? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Series preview: Mets vs. Yankees

May, 27, 2013
5/27/13
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Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsMariano Rivera, 43, makes his final regular-season visit to Citi Field this series.
METS (18-29, fourth place/NL East) vs. NEW YORK YANKEES (30-19, first place/AL East)

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.80) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (2-3, 5.51), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 1.93) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-3, 2.67), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 4.76) vs. RHP David Phelps (3-2, 3.96), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-6, 6.34) vs. LHP Vidal Nuno (1-1, 1.93), 7:05 p.m. ET

Yankees short hops

• Retiring Mariano Rivera makes his final regular-season visit to Citi Field. He has converted 18 straight save chances to open the season, the second-longest streak of his career. Rivera saved his first 28 opportunities in 2008. With a perfect 11th inning Saturday, Rivera matched Dennis Eckersley for fourth on the all-time games-pitched list at 1,071. The only pitchers with more appearances happen to all have appeared for the Mets: Jesse Orosco (1,252), Mike Stanton (1,178) and John Franco (1,119).

Curtis Granderson broke a pinkie and landed on the disabled list this weekend. The Yankees recalled Brennan Boesch from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.


G Fiume/Getty ImagesLyle Overbay has filled in well for Mark Teixeira at first base.


Granderson suffered the latest in a rash of injuries to high-profile players. Also on the DL: Derek Jeter (left ankle surgery), Mark Teixeira (torn ECU sheath, right arm), Alex Rodriguez (left hip surgery), Kevin Youkilis (lumbar spine sprain), Francisco Cervelli (broken right hand), Eduardo Nunez (left oblique strain), Andy Pettitte (strained left trapezius muscle) and Joba Chamberlain (right oblique strain).

The Yankees have received stellar fill-in performances, including from first baseman Lyle Overbay for Teixeira. Overbay -- who was signed hours after being released by the Boston Red Sox late in spring training -- has three homers to give the Yanks the lead in the seventh inning or later this season. But he will recede from a starting role with Teixeira expected to return next weekend.

Teixeira is a switch-hitter, which should not provide much opportunity at first base for Overbay. And Overbay is unlikely to unseat Travis Hafner at DH against right-handed pitching. Teixeira has started playing in extended spring training games and is due for a midweek rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton.

Youkilis, who has been out since departing with a lower-back injury on April 9, played in an extended spring training game Saturday. He is due to repeat that activity Monday. Youkilis could join Teixeira with Trenton on Wednesday.

Pettitte will throw a 75-pitch simulated game on Tuesday in Tampa. He should reenter the Yankees' rotation no later than next Monday.

Chamberlain has started throwing in extended spring training games.

• Long man Adam Warren was a college teammate of Matt Harvey's at the University of North Carolina.

• Rookie David Adams (.300), a third-round pick in 2008 from the University of Virginia, has stepped in nicely at third base for Youkilis and is considered the best homegrown infielder since Robinson Cano.

Hiroki Kuroda and David Phelps both are optimistic about starting against the Mets, despite issues in their last starts. Kuroda -- who is due to face Harvey at Citi Field and has been the Yanks' top starter this season -- was struck on the calf by a liner off the bat of Manny Machado in Baltimore. Phelps took a line drive off his right forearm against the Rays.

• Rookie left-hander Vidal Nuno, who was released by the Cleveland Indians at the end of spring training in 2011, is keeping his rotation spot even after the return of Ivan Nova from the DL. With Nuno's success, Nova made only his 12th relief appearance in 178 professional games Saturday, in his return from the DL after recovering from a right triceps injury. Nova loaded the bases against the Rays but escaped.

• The Yankees claimed left-handed reliever David Huff off waivers from Cleveland and designated for assignment seldom-used backup outfielder Ben Francisco, who was hitting. 114. Huff, who is stretched out for a multi-inning performance if required, was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of A-Rod in 2010.

• Catcher Chris Stewart was held out Sunday because of continued nagging from a groin injury suffered last week.

• Ex-Mariner Shawn Kelley had struck out 33 batters in 19 2/3 innings.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187