News broke yesterday that Mets closer Frank Francisco underwent a surgical procedure to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. He is not allowed to start throwing again for six weeks, but is expected to be ready to go on Opening Day. After he signed a two-year/$12 million deal last winter to close games in New York, it hasn’t exactly been all sunshine and rainbows for the reliever.
To say it was a tough year for Francisco in his first season with New York is an understatement. He had a strong start to 2012, but that didn’t last long, as he compiled a 1-3 record with a 5.53 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, and 23 saves in 26 opportunities. Francisco also missed six weeks of the season due to an oblique injury, however he wasn’t very effective when he made his return, either (6.75 ERA in 17 appearances). Sandy Alderson has the task of once again trying to overhaul the bullpen, but Terry Collinshas already said Francisco will be his closer going into 2013, and there would be no discussion about it. Let’s hope removing this bone spur will help him throw more freely and close the door more consistently in the ninth inning.
New York made their second trade this week yesterday, but it wasn’t on the same level as the R.A. Dickey-Travis d’Arnaud swap. The Mets acquired outfielder Collin Cowgill from the Athletics in exchange for minor leaguer Jefry Marte. Our own Dan Haefeli took a look at Cowgill and the outfield situation in Flushing in his latest Fun with Numbers article.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York had a summary of the conference call R.A. Dickey had with the media to talk about his recent move to the Blue Jays. The knuckler talked about the holiday party where he made comments about his contract negotiations, when he knew his career with the Mets was over, and talked about his feelings of leaving New York. Here’s a great excerpt:
“I am sad. And I think it’s important for me to grieve that. I think it’s important for me to grieve leaving New York. I had a proverbial home there. I had a home among fans. I had a home in an organization. I had a lot of success there. And I think it’s important for me to be sad about that for a moment before I go on to the next feeling. And that next feeling has already arrived for me. So I’ve grieved what I need to grieve. And now I am so excited. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of an organization that’s committed to winning and putting a product on the field that the fans can be excited coming to support.”
There are no words to describe this quote; he’s a gracious and thankful for New York giving him an opportunity to revive his career, and he will always remember it. I mean, look at what he said; professional athletes just don’t talk like that, except for the real special ones.
On the other hand, there was another conference call to introduce two of the newest Mets, top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. However, it wasn’t all smiles for Syndergaard, as news broke about an anti-gay slur he put on twitter about a month ago. The 20-year-old addressed the situation by saying he was talking back and forth with a friend and made a poor attempt at humor. Although this was a “come on, man” moment, I’m glad to see him talk about it right away so he can start moving past it.
When talking to d’Arnaud, we found out he was a Dodgers fan growing up, and admired the likes of Mike Piazza and Russell Martin as a kid. Now that he’s joining the Mets, he’s honored to be in the same place where Piazza had so much success, as we wait to see if he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer next month. Mets fans can only hope he’ll have the type of career that even comes close to Piazza. Minor League expert John Sickel also thinks New York did a great job in this deal, as he ranks d’Arnaud the organization’s top prospect, and Sydnergaard as their third-best, with 2011 acquisition Zack Wheeler coming in at number two.
Also, now that Christmas is under a week away, are you looking for one or two more presents for a loved one? We at Rising Apple suggest Left Field Cards, which is a new company that makes hand printed baseball cards and t-shirts. A couple of my favorite products on the site include the Keith Hernandez card and Darryl Strawberry t-shirt.