Day: September 14, 2011

On Your Toes

I’m not a breaking news kind of gal.  Only if it’s something important, like someone gets traded or there’s an important free agent signing or there’s a response to some idiotic thing your team’s owner is saying (as a Mets fan, you can imagine…I have lots to write about).

But football is something I have an increasingly difficult time trying to find fresh content about which to write.  See, games are only once a week.  I don’t know about you guys, but I have a very immediate, knee-jerk reaction during the games especially.  It’s also easier for me to find things to say and write during a game, that when I have baseball and/or hockey overlapping (that have considerably more games to bitch and moan about…ESPECIALLY if you are a Mets and Rangers fan), I find my football fandom and my feelings get pushed aside for more immediate gratification.

Being me, though, I want to keep my thoughts and posts very personal, funny and engaging.  Like I said, it’s easier to do when you have new stuff to address each day, but also have some out-of-the-box thinking.  Like my post on comparing Rob Ryan to El Duderino…I have to say, I was proud of that post!  Especially for my foray into football writing, something which I would say is my definitive weakness.

Anyway, in my searches, I was able to link up with the Rant Sports’ Jets blogger, Jon Presser, who is a very creative out-of-the-box writer and thinker.  He agrees that the most difficult thing is to keep your readers on  your toes about football, and try to be engaging about new content in between the games.  However, Presser had a great piece today on his page, namely how right tackle Wayne Harris needs to step up his game, and is essentially an X-factor that no one really thinks about.  Now, this is the type of stuff I want to write about!  But since my reactions tend to be more in-the-moment and instinctive in any sport I follow, this is the type of stuff that grounds me as a fan, that I want to not only read, but I want to write as well.  So kudos to Presser (and be sure to click on the link as it is a good read).

Presser also brings up something else that the so-called smartest guys in the room weren’t talking about, but rather talking about the crown jewel that everyone pays attention to, and that’s the quarterback Mark Sanchez.  Hey, I have to admit, I like him too, but it’s more of a hero worship thing for me, since I truly believe he has a certain quality to him that is going to make him legendary in this town.  But ESPN brought up the effect of the cause Presser addresses, and that was how Sanchez was getting beat up during the game.  And how!  I kept cringing, and of course I was screaming about in on Twitter during the game.

My friend Blondie’s “That Ignorant Slut” Jake (just jokes – we go waaaay back) has his “There It Is Jake!” site, that he also writes about recaps and does his own version of Monday morning quarterbacking.  You know what I find?  That if my team does well on Sunday, I find I have nothing to bitch about on Mondays!  Perhaps like people like Jake, I need to do some Fantasy Football, so I have more of a reason to care about other games.  After all, the Jets provide me with a three-hour window to whine on Twitter about idiotic stuff they do.

So I guess my point is, I need to be able to channel that visceral response I have during games in order to give you some great Coop content.  So it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…in the meantime, though, I suggest you follow me on Jets game days @Coopz22 on Twitter.  I’m Randy Quaid-like, I get yelled at for being crazy, it’s fun.

If At “First” You Don’t Succeed…Get Depth

There’s an old saying related to baseball that, “If at first you don’t succeed, try the outfield.” But if the Mets march to the beat of their own drummer, they changed that philosophy from the “outfield” to “first base.” John Olerud leaves as a free agent, no problem! Throw Todd Zeile there. Mo Vaughn hasn’t played in a few years and was an American League DH at his most feared. Hey, I have an idea: why not put him at first? He’s played there a bit! Doug Mientkiewicz? Yeah, he was a first baseman. But he was pretty bad at baseball.

What’s funny about the team this year is that seemingly, EVERYONE gets thrown at first base. After Ike Davis took a freak-accident-spill on a routine infield pop-up earlier this season, like many Mets injuries, it didn’t seem like much…but he hasn’t played since. Evidenced as such, the Mets have thrown four guys at first base not named Davis. In fact, Daniel Murphy holds the lead with 46 games started at 1B, and 37 games for Lucas Duda. Ike Davis played 36 games at first base, and Nick Evans has started 27 game at 1B (as of Tuesday). If Evans finishes out the season at 1B, four guys could theoretically finish playing less than 50 games each at 1B. The Mets have not had a ton of turnover at first base in its history, so this is significant.

You know what I find interesting? That when Ike Davis is anticipated to return next season, the Mets find themselves in a position of strength: a lot of guys who can play first base. Bonus: all of them have proven they can hit and play the position well enough to be every day players or at the very least, in a platoon situation.

Clearly, the position is Ike Davis’ to lose come next year in Spring Training. At least, this is how I am looking at things. Lucas Duda has been pretty much hand-selected by Terry Collins to be his starting right fielder in 2012, and obviously for the remainder of the season. Leaving us with Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans as the odd men out. All of a sudden, the Mets and their Front Office have a position of value and strength to use as trade bait.

Who is the odd man out, singular, though? In that respect, odd “men” and that would be Nick Evans and Daniel Murphy.

It’s funny with these two. I’ve made no secret about my appreciation of Daniel Murphy, as I feel his defensive woes are much ado about nothing, plus he’s shown he’s at a position of strength as a first baseman. If he had a more consistent position, whether first, second or third base…anything in the infield, really…he’d certainly be a big asset to any team. Nick Evans is a bit limited to where he can play, as his biggest strength has been showcased at first base, but he also has experience at left field. However, we all know left field is locked up by Jason Bay till 2013. Unless he is traded. But that’s not the hypothetical here.

Anyway, defensively and offensively, Daniel Murphy might have a slight leg up on Nick Evans on the Mets. Yet, his value could be used to get more parts in return in a trade.

See where I am going with this? Is Nick Evans more valuable as an off-the-bench guy in 2012 for the team? Or is Daniel Murphy going to be counted on for the team in a bigger way?

Another thing to consider is the Jose Reyes situation. If Reyes is not figuring into the long-term vision of the team, where Ruben Tejada plays in 2012 will impact how the Mets will look at the future of the aforementioned players. Clearly, the easiest scenario is that Reyes will re-sign, Tejada will play second base and all is right in the world. But if Reyes flies the coop, Tejada will easily be penciled in at shortstop next year. Right now, while Daniel Murphy rests his legs, he’s also the only one of the previously mentioned with any regular second base experience. Another item that would weigh in his favor of staying with the team than Nick Evans.

Overall, Evans took several years to prove himself, but with regular-ish playing time, he’s shown that he can keep up with the big boys. Murphy though was able to smack the hell out of the ball from day one pretty much. We’ll also need to consider that Evans is out of options. Like, negative amount of options at this point with how many times he’s been put on waivers (Cot’s and MLB Contracts has no information on his current status unfortunately). Daniel Murphy isn’t arb eligible until 2013 due to his injuries in the last few years. This could go either way: he’s so cheap it makes sense to keep him around, or trade him while his value is high and let him become another team’s “problem.” (But he’s a good problem to have)

There is a surplus at first base for the Mets for 2012. I guess on one hand, it’s good that the Mets have so many serviceable players to fill in when their every day players go down at this point. On the other hand, the odd men out look to be Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans. Either way, their value is at its highest and it would make sense at this point to see about the future without either of those players in the organization.