Beltran To Switch Coasts

It was just a matter of time before the New York Mets dealt centerfielder Carlos Beltran. The only questions to be answered were “what is Beltran’s destination?” and “who will the Mets get in return?”.

It appears the answers to those questions are just a formality away from being answered.  Beltran must waive his no-trade clause to accept a deal to the San Francisco Giants, the team he’s wanted to go to all along.In return the Mets will get higly touted prospect Zack Wheeler, who was ranked prior to the season by Baseball America as the #55 prospect in baseball.

Beltran is in the final year of an seven year, $119MM contract and is owed the remainder of $18.5MM for this season. The 34-yr old had his ups and down in New York and fell in and out of favor with the fans. Many have, unfairly, pointed to his NLCS ending strikeout at the hands of Adam Wainwright as his defining moment in New York. He hit .280/.369/.500 in his Mets’ career with 149 home runs and 559 RBI. He didn’t produce much offensively in his first year at Shea Stadium, but averaged nearly 34 home runs and 113 RBI over the next three seasons. Injuries took their toll the last two years, and limited the outfielder to 81 and 64 games in 2009 and 2010.  Beltran bounced back this season with 15 HR, 60 RBI, and a league leading 30 doubles. He also made his first All-Star appearance in two years.

Wheeler was the Giants number one pick, 6th overall, in the 2009 amateur draft. In 146.2 minor league innings, Wheeler has averaged 10.3 strikeouts and 5.2 walks per nine innings, and posted a 3.99 ERA. He’s made 37 appearances, 29 of them as a starter. Wheeler has a low to mid-90′s fastball, a sharp curveball and a changeup that’s about 10 mph less than his fastball.

Phil Hughes Trenton Thunder Rehab Appearance A Sparkling Success

Trenton, New Jersey – Phil Hughes needed to be better than his last minor league outing. Mission definitively accomplished.

Hughes returned to his old stomping grounds in what could be his second to last rehab appearance, pitching 6 1/3 innings and throwing 88 pitches. He worked quickly and smartly, not to mention fearlessly. He pitched to contact, attacking with a quality and consistent fastball and cutter, allowing just 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks and struck out 8.

“[My comfort level from last start to this one] was much better. I felt like I was throwing more strikes today. Until the end I was commanding the baseball pretty well. I threw a couple poor changeups and the curveball I couldn’t really command height-wise. But fastball-cutter was pretty good.”

Velocity is the other part of the equation and certainly the most concerning. According to a scout at the game Hughes threw his cutter between 91-93 and reached 94. He consistently threw in the mid-90′s.

Hughes will likely need one more start. But the guy behind the plate has even more confidence in him.

“I think he’s ready [to go back to the big leagues] right now,” said Thunder All-Star catcher Austin Romine. “He was very on top of stuff today. He threw in and out well. Cutters in and out. He said he wanted to work on his curveball today and we got a lot of those in there.

Thunder manager Tony Franklin said in a pre-game interview that they Yankees wanted between 85-90 pitches out of Hughes. Franklin could only speak for himself, but what he saw impressed him.

“My pitcher was extremely good. He looked like he was in very good rhythm with his delivery and his mechanics. I never saw a pitch that missed location by a wide margin. That’s a pretty good indication that he’s staying within his lines. He was very good in New Britain, but his command was probably better here.”

Yankees GM Brian Cashman was in attendance for most of the game. What he came to see, he saw.

Gotham Baseball LIVE

Jay Ferraro and Hawk Drobnis, talk Yankees-Mets, fantasy baseball and New York sports on a brand new edition of Gotham Baseball LIVE! Jay Ferraro is the Assignment Editor for Gotham Baseball and the Fantasy Editor for BaseballDigest.com and Gotham Gridiron. Hawk Drobnis is a senior columnist for Gotham Baseball and Gotham Gridiron. Jay is a Yankees Fan, Hawk is a Mets Fan, and neither can hit a curveball!

Jay and Hawk are more than just New York baseball! They cover all of Major League Baseball’s hot topics in the “Teepee Talk” segment and all New York City sports on their “Around The Apple” segment.

Please click the link to listen live or to past shows:  Gotham Baseball LIVE

Gotham Baseball LIVE: MLB Trade Deadline Round Up

Jay Ferraro along with his co-host, Hawk Drobnis, talk baseball, football, sports movies, fantasy baseball, fantasy football, and anything else that pops up! Host Jay Ferraro is the Assignment Editor for GothamBaseball.com and Fantasy Baseball Editor for BaseballDigest.com. Co-Host Hawk Drobnis is a columnist for GothamBaseball.com. Jay is a Yankees Fan, Hawk is a Mets Fan, and neither can hit a curveball!

Jay and Hawk are more than just New York baseball! They cover all of Major League Baseball’s hot topics in the “Teepee Talk” segment, all New York City sports on their “Around The Apple” segment, and what it all means for your fantasy teams in “The Waiver Wire Abyss.”

Please click the link to listen live or to past shows: Gotham Baseball LIVE


Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE. He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.

Gotham Baseball LIVE: TGIFantasy Baseball And Football

Jay Ferraro along with his co-host, Hawk Drobnis, talk baseball, sports movies, fantasy trades, and anything else that pops up! Host Jay Ferraro is the Assignment Editor for GothamBaseball.com and Fantasy Baseball Editor for BaseballDigest.com. Co-Host Hawk Drobnis is a columnist for GothamBaseball.com. Jay is a Yankees Fan, Hawk is a Mets Fan, and neither can hit a curveball!

On today’s “TGIFantasy Baseball And Football” edition of Gotham Baseball LIVE, the guys discuss who to pitch or ditch, prospects on the farm, and who is hot or not with special guest Cory Schwartz of MLB Networks, Fantasy 411.

Fantasy Football is just around the corner and the guys tackle player rankings, position battles, sleepers, hot rookies, and the Madden curse!

Please click the link to listen live or to past shows:  Gotham Baseball LIVE

Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE.  He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.

Mr. Niese Guy

Jon Niese, the Mets  #3 starter, has certainly out-pitched that title since returning from the disabled on June 5th. The 2005 seventh round pick is pitching to a 4-0 record with a 2.67 ERA in 5 starts since that return. After winning his first three starts since returning from a hamstring injury that sidelined him only for the minimum 15 days, (including a one hitter against the Padres on June 10th) Niese hit a slight speed bump in a game against Detroit on June 22nd (4.2 IP 7 H 6 ER 3 BB 4 K). That night at Cti Field, Niese had held the Tigers hitless through the first three innings before a one-hour rain delay interrupted the left-hander’s rhythm. “The ball felt good coming out of my hand and I felt like I had good command,” Niese said. “Then the weather changed and it seemed like everything stayed flat. None of my pitches did anything. I didn’t have my command, and that’s what hurt me.”

With staff aces Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey recently coming back down to Earth after sizzling starts to the season, Niese was on a mission to prove that his struggles against the Tigers were solely weather-related. And Niese did just that. On a humid afternoon at Citi Field, Niese used a sharp curveball and an effective cutter to hold the potent Twins lineup, stacked with 7 right-handed hitters, to just four hits over six-plus innings of work. There really isn’t anything negative you could say about the youngster’s performance of late. But as an always skeptical Mets fan I can’t help but ask the question, is this too much pressure for a twenty-three year old starter who has never pitched a full major league season?

There has been no talk of limiting Niese’s innings. With 39.2 major league innings under his belt coming into the year, Niese has already more than doubled his career total with the 75 innings he’s logged thus far in 2010. In fact, the most innings Niese has ever pitched in a full year came in 2008 when the hurler threw 178 innings between AA, AAA, and the majors. However the Mets are very thin organizationally in starting pitching, and come the middle of August the Mets could find themselves in uncharted territory with their prized, young left-hander if Mets GM Omar Minaya doesn’t strengthen his pitching staff soon.

And with each passing day, the urgency for Omar to add depth to that staff increases. As we approach the July 31st trade deadline, Omar does have some options. The question is, does he go the sexy route and bring in a name like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt? Or does he bring in some middle tier starters like Jake Westbrook or Kevin Millwood to eat up innings. R.A. Dickey seems to have solidified his role as a starter pitching to a 6-0 record and 2.33 ERA in his first 7 starts with the Mets. And Hisanori Takahashi whose had his ups and downs as a starter, would be better served coming out of the bullpen as he did so effectively early in the season before being called upon for starting duties. That is, if Omar chooses to only bring in one starter. If he is able to deal for two, it would be essentially like getting three. Both Takahashi and Dickey are capable of being successful out of the bullpen. And more importantly, if the Mets are serious about making a big run in October, the Mets will need Niese to have something left in the tank.

Hawk Drobnis is co-host of Gotham Baseball LIVE, and contributor to gothambaseball.com

Hawk can reached at the TheHawkIsWatching@yahoo.com

Gotham Baseball LIVE: Subway Series Recap

Jay Ferraro & Hawk Drobnis explore the world of New York City baseball on a brand new edition of Gotham Baseball LIVE.

Round 2 of the Subway Series is in the books and they guys break down each and every game.

July 31st is rapidly approaching and the Yankees and Mets both could use some reinforcements.

Jay and Hawk will also touch upon everything fantasy baseball including who to “Pitch or Ditch” and which free agents to look for in the Waiver Wire Abyss. Jay is a Yankees Fan, Hawk is a Mets Fan, and neither can hit a curveball!

Please click the link to listen live or to past shows:  Gotham Baseball LIVE

Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE.  He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.

Gotham Baseball LIVE: Baseball Film Snobbery With Nic Baisley

Jay Ferraro & Hawk Drobnis explore the world of New York City baseball on a brand new edition of Gotham Baseball LIVE.

We have an all star lineup of guests on today’s show: Nic Baisley, Executive Producer/Host from FilmSnobbery.com will chat about baseball films.

Gotham Baseball columnist  Anthony Federico gives us insight on the latest Lance Berkman to the Yankees rumors.

Actor/Comedian Lance Rizzo highlights his “Bang For Your Buck” comedy show in NYC this weekend.

Jay and Hawk will also touch upon everything fantasy baseball including who to “Pitch or Ditch” and which free agents to look for in the Waiver Wire Abyss. Jay is a Yankees Fan, Hawk is a Mets Fan, and neither can hit a curveball!

Please click the link to listen live or to past shows:  Gotham Baseball LIVE

Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE.  He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.

Mike & Ike

For all of the criticism that Mets GM Omar Minaya has taken for not addressing the team’s overall pitching needs this year, you couldn’t say that the man hasn’t drafted well, especially in the first round. Mike Pelfrey, who Omar drafted with the 9th overall pick in 2005 has been magnificent through his first eleven starts of 2010 after a rocky 2009 campaign. And rookie, Ike Davis (drafted 18th overall in 2008) has proven to be poised at the plate and a more than formidable defender at first. (search: Ike Davis railing.) With these two home-grown talents to go along with now veteran Mets, Jose Reyes and David Wright, the Mets seem to have the makings of a decent core four going forward.

Throw in the 23 year old left-hander Jonathon Niese who looked very good in his June 5th return from the DL against Florida (7.0 IP 1 ER 1 BB 6 K’s) and who knows? Maybe the fans will even return to Citi Field to watch their dominant home team play! http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance

But Met fans have reason to be pessimistic. The metaphorical spiral of the Mets organization going downward since Adam Wainwright’s curveball struck out Carlos Beltran to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS seemed to have spiraled out of control after an abysmal 2009. But fear not Met fans. That same Carlos Beltran that took that nasty Wainwright curve could now foreseeably return to the Mets lineup shortly after the All Star Break. The flexibility that would offer manager Jerry Manuel in his outfield could prove lethal with a fresh Beltran, Pagan, Bay, Francoeur rotation.

The baseball season is just heating up, and I’m starting to smell some magic in Flushing (Not intended to be toilet humor) With what the Atlanta Braves have proven with their recent hot streak, (20-5 since May 10th) the National League is wide open. And the Mets appear to be in prime position for a run. If Omar wants me to continue eating his sweet, sweet candy, he should bring in some arms to reinforce an overexposed bullpen and a starting staff that seriously lacks depth. But for now, I like his Mike & Ike.

Hawk Drobnis is a co-host of Gotham Baseball LIVE and contributor to gothambaseball.com

Gotham Baseball LIVE: Subway Squawking With Lisa Swan

Jay Ferraro &  Hawk Drobnis explore the world of New York City baseball on a brand new edition of Gotham Baseball LIVE.

The Yanks and the rest of baseball continue to steamroll over the Baltimore Orioles and the Mets home cooking continues! Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers joins us to weigh in on everything Yankees.

Jay and Hawk will also touch upon everything fantasy baseball including who to “Pitch or Ditch” and prospects soon to be in the show. Jay is a Yankees Fan, Hawk is a Mets Fan, and neither can hit a curveball!

Please click the link to listen live or to past shows:  Gotham Baseball LIVE

Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE.  He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Assignment Editor for Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.