Showing posts with label Bench. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bench. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What To Do with Chin-lung "Boo?"


The great thing in sports about having a first or last name that has two "o's" next to each other or a "u" is that fans love cheering the name, even though it sounds like the player is getting booed.

Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls, Mets first base coach Mookie Wilson, Mets farmhand Lucas Duda and scores of others have enjoyed this luxury.

When the Mets signed Chin-lung Hu this offseason, they added another player who fits this mold.

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hu had never been more than a backup infielder, since he struggled offensively. He did, however, play a terrific defensive shortstop.

While many fans questioned this signing, I was one of the few who thought it was great (at the time). Hu could provide strong defense late in games, especially if Daniel Murphy was going to receive the bulk of the playing time at second base.

If he could just do an adequate job with the bat, Hu would hear his name chanted loudly every time he took the field.

Well, Hu has been hearing a similar chant lately, but it's not the customary "Hu" sound. He's been getting booed for his extremely poor performance.

Hu has only one hit in 18 at-bats, which translates to an .056 batting average. Even worse, of these 18 at-bats, Hu has struck out a whopping 11 times.

Being a reserve player has to be a tough task offensively. You sit around all game and then are expected to produce, usually in a tight situation.

Hu did have that clutch sacrifice fly in Washington a few weeks ago, but other than that his Mets tenure has been lackluster to say the least.

While he has been solid defensively, there are other players out there who are just as good with the glove and can also handle the bat better.

How patient will the Mets be with Hu? "Who" do they have to replace him?

It's not like he's one of the regulars struggling this much, so if he keeps this up, he'll be sent packing very soon. The Mets have already shown that they have a quick leash with underperforming players like Brad Emaus and Blaine Boyer).

The one thing I will miss about Hu is the puns that Keith Hernandez and Howie Rose constantly reference during the Mets television and radio broadcast. That never gets old!

But what's getting old fast is Hu's terrible play.

Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Willie Harris Makes the team


PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 03: Willie Harris #...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Willie Harris was told by Mets Manager Terry Collins today that he has made the team.

"He's played good," Collins said later Sunday morning. "He really had a great spring and brings a lot to the table, which is what we were told he would."

Playing on a non-guaranteed Minor League contract, Harris has batted .269 this spring with five doubles, three home runs and a team-high 12 walks.

If Carlos Beltran's knee issues prevent him from breaking camp with the team, Harris could be the team's Opening Day right fielder. Otherwise, he will serve as a lefty pinch-hitter and backup corner outfielder.
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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Beltran Benched with Tendinitis


For another spring training game, Carlos Beltran will sit it out on the bench after DH'ing on Sunday against Boston.
Beltran is said to have stiff legs and tendinitis in his left knee according to manager Terry Collins. "I said, 'Look, let's take the two days now. It beats two weeks if we try to stretch it.' We've got a lot of time. He's swinging the bat great. He's had good BPs. He's doing a lot of work in the cage, which I know that's what's causing it."
It was suggested that Beltan attend a simulated game this afternoon where he would get to see live pitching and get 7-10 at-bats without having to run. Collins scratched those plans after speaking with the right fielder on the phone this morning.
Scott Hairston seems more and more likely to take over the right field position in Beltrans absence.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Scott Hairston gives the Mets some power off the bench


The New York Mets signed outfielder Scott Hairston during the off-season hoping he could provide some pop off the bench.

He's already providing the pop.

Hairston, who signed a one-year deal in January, homered twice in an intrasquad game Friday, giving manager Terry Collins some early confidence in his offense and the depth he could have in the outfield.

"Obviously Scott Hairston showed us exactly why we brought him here," Collins said. "He hit the ball out of the ballpark, and he plays center. Now he is a Met and he's still beating the Mets. He beat the Mets on the other side of the field."

The 30-year-old Hairston batted .210 last year with San Diego but had 10 doubles, 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and 34 runs scored in 104 games. Over the last three years, he has 44 home runs.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Let's Play the Waiting Game


With the signing of Willie Harris to take over as the team's fourth outfielder and the high possibility of a Chris Young signing soon, it seems as though the Mets have addressed all of their needs heading into the season.

Granted, there are still position battles to be won (second base, bullpen and bench spots) as well as a ton of question marks.

Unless the Mets plan on adding another bullpen arm (maybe a loogy), Sandy Alderson has assembled the pieces of this complex puzzle.

It will now be up to Terry Collins to arrange those piece into a working entity. While there may not be anymore major additions, there certainly might be some addition by subtraction.

I'm sure you guessed it: Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo. I'm curious as to what either of these players will have to do during spring training to make the club. Perez won't magically be able to throw strikes, and Castillo won't be stealing second and third base after laying down a bunt single.

If they show they are competent and might be able to contribute in some capacity, will the Mets take the gamble with them or would it be wise to eat their contracts and start fresh with younger talent?

And more importantly, will our core players be able to stay healthy and produce? The talent is undoubtedly there, but can it click all at once?

These questions and more should hopefully be answered during spring training and in the early part of the season. We have a month until pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie so I'm sure there will be tons of speculation and hype concerning position battles and injury updates.

I will list my projected 25-man roster at this point. Naturally, I am not the one making these decisions, but I tried to put together the most realistic roster that will give this team a shot at winning.

While the team may not look as good on paper as some of the Mets' teams from a few years ago, we should not write them off until we see them play for a few months. Teams can get hot, and hopefully the new management can inspire these players to play to their full potential. I know I'm am optimist, but that's the type of attitude that could lead to success in 2011.

Without further ado, here is my roster. I would love to hear other opinions and analysis. Please feel free to offer alternatives and provide your own explanation.

Note: I did not include Perez or Castillo since I feel this team is better without them.

Lineup

1. Jose Reyes SS

2. Angel Pagan RF (for now)

3. David Wright 3B

4. Carlos Beltran CF (for now)

5. Jason Bay LF (ahead of Davis due to speed)

6. Ike Davis 1B

7. Daniel Murphy 2B

8. Josh Thole C (I'm a little worried about the three straight lefties in the order)

Bench

C: Ronny Paulino (Mike Nickeas or Raul Chavez for first eight games)

INF: Brad Emaus

INF: Chin-lung Hu

OF: Willie Harris

OF: Nick Evans

Starting Rotation

1. Mike Pelfrey

2. R.A. Dickey

3. Jon Niese

4. Chris Young (assuming he signs)

5. Dillon Gee (but what happens when Johan returns?)

Bullpen

CL: Frankie Rodriguez

SU: Bobby Parnell

SU: Taylor Buchholz

LhR: Taylor Tankersley

Mid: D.J. Carrasco

Long: Chris Capuano (might be starting depending on Young)

Final spot: Manny Acosta, Pat Misch, or Pedro Beato (Beato has more upside and is a Rule 5 pick)

Originally featured at Mets Merized Online.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Would Fred Lewis Make a Good Fourth Outfielder?


So the Mets just signed Chris Capuano and Taylor Bucholz to add some more depth to the pitching rotation. Both of these are solid signings and may pay off in big ways.

Capuano is only a few years removed from an 18-win season, and Bucholz has shown he can be a valuable seventh or even eighth inning reliever.

For the most part, barring a rumored Chris Young or Jeff Francis signing for further insurance and maybe looking at some left-handed relievers, the pitching staff appears to be filling out.

It is now time to turn to the bench. The starters besides second base seem set, and even the players in competition for second base are already in house.

The bench depends a lot on who wins the second base job. Most likely, the runner-up in the competition will stick around to be the utility infielder. But as of now, there is a void in the fourth outfielder slot.

Before he established himself as a starter last year, Angel Pagan was the epitome of a fourth outfielder. He could play all three positions and play them well. He brought great energy whenever he started and was a valuable late-inning defensive replacement.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hypothetical Mets 2011 Bench


With the acquisition of Chin-lung Hu, let's take a look at some bench options this year for the Mets. Strong depth is always an important factor for success. Just look at the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

Usually, National League teams carry 12 pitchers so that leaves 13 spots for position players. Eight of those will be starters, so the Mets have to construct a bench made up of five players.

The first of those five will be back-up catcher Ronny Paulino. Paulino will serve as a right-hand hitting complement to Josh Thole. I don't think it will be a platoon, but Paulino will certainly get the bulk of his at-bats against lefties.

If Luis Castillo somehow wins the starting second base job, Daniel Murphy should still have a spot on the roster. He has shown he can play a variety of positions, albeit some better than others. He can spell Ike Davis at first and maybe even do some corner outfield duty. He would serve as the primary left-handed pinch hitter off the bench.

Speaking of which, why did Mets not sign Chris Carter? Yes he had his moments of inconsistency, but who didn't in 2010? He was the perfect power threat off the bench, but kind of like Murphy, he didn't really have a defensive position. He's likely gone so the Mets must make due without him.

The next spot should be an open competition for the utility infielder position, the role that Alex Cora used to play. Candidates are Hu, Luis Hernandez, Justin Turner and Brad Emaus. Basically, if these players fail to win the starting second base job, the runner-up will likely stick with the big club. From what I've heard, Hu plays solid defense and has above average speed so he may be the best of the bunch. Turner and Hernandez are out of options however, and Emaus would have to be returned to the Blue Jays if he's not on the roster.

The Mets seem to still be in the market for a fourth outfielder. Reed Johnson is a free agent as well as Scott Podsednik. Podsednik may look for an opportunity to play everyday, but Johnson would accept his role. With a healthy Bay, Beltran and Pagan, there won't be too many at-bats for the fourth outfielder. That's why it would be wise to let Lucas Duda play everyday in the minors and wait for an injury, which is bound to happen. Come on, it's the Mets. Fred Lewis may also be available via trade. Internal candidate Jason Pridie has some major league experience with the Twins and might be the fall back option.

The final spot could go to Nick Evans. He would be the right-handed bench threat. He's got a little pop and also can play several positions. Unlike Duda, Evans has now had a few cups of coffee in the bigs, and if the Mets see him more as a full-time reserve, this would be a good opportunity for him to show he can stick with the big league roster.

So in review, a bench looking something like the following could be serviceable for the 2011 Mets:

Ronny Paulino, Daniel Murphy, Chin-lung Hu, Reed Johnson and Nick Evans.

Originally featured at Mets Merized Online.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mets see Reed Johnson "as a potential fit" for bench


A team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the Mets have identified Reed Johnson “as a potential fit” for their bench.

Johnson, who turned 34 earlier this week, batted .262/.291/.366 with two home runs and 15 RBI over 202 at-bats with the Dodgers this past season. Alarmingly, he drew only five walks all season and struck out 55 times, or in 24.8 percent of his at-bats. He has a .281/.340/.408 career batting line, including a .312 batting average and 836 OPS against left-handed pitching.

The Mets don’t have much wiggle room with their payroll this winter, but it would be smart to add some insurance for Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay. At the very least, Johnson has the reputation as a fine defender, and would likely come at a lesser cost than some of the alternatives in free agency, including Fred Lewis and Scott Hairston.
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