Here are today’s pertinent news and notes…
Lucas Duda is starting tonight at first base:
After the team demoted Ike Davis to AAA, the proper move would’ve been to shift Lucas Duda (a natural first baseman) to first. Instead, the Mets chose to keep Duda in the outfield, shift Daniel Murphy from second base to first base, and use the last week to give Jordany Valdespin some serious run at second base.
Well, Valdespin failed to impress (going 3 for 23 during the six games he started last week), and there was an uproar from the fans who hated the fact that Murphy had been moved to first to accommodate JV1. Tonight, the Mets have altered their plan. After noting that he didn’t want to send a bad message to Ike Davis by having Lucas Duda slide to first base (this never made sense anyway), manager Terry Collins has put together this lineup for tonight:
Tonight’s lineup (Duda at 1B!): Lagares CF, Murphy 2B, Wright 3B, Duda 1B, Byrd RF, Buck C, Nieuwenhuis LF, Quintanilla SS, Gee RHP
— Rising Apple (@RisingAppleBlog) June 17, 2013
Tonight’s lineup is a relative thing of beauty. It features Duda at first base, allows Murphy to slide back to second, and gives the Mets a chance to have both of their young, plus defenders (Lagares and Nieuwenhuis) in the outfield. Let’s hope the lineup stays this way for the near future.
Zack Wheeler meets the media:
Zack Wheeler, who will make his big league debut tomorrow night in the second game of the Mets’ doubleheader in Atlanta, met the media today at Turner Field for about 15 minutes. Here are some of the highlights:
Zack Wheeler meets with the media. Said he has to treat his debut like any other start. pic.twitter.com/5stWKHM9rY
— Jay Horwitz (@Jay_HorwitzPR) June 17, 2013
Said he couldn’t think about getting promoted over the last few months because then you lose focus. Plus the PCL experience made him battle. — Jay Horwitz (@Jay_HorwitzPR) June 17, 2013
Wheeler handled his 14-minute press conference with aplomb. At times funny, at times charming, Wheeler’s opening appearance was sharp.
— Mike Kerwick (@mikekerwick) June 17, 2013
While his stuff is electric like Matt Harvey‘s, it’s been reported that Wheeler has a much more reserved personality. There’s a certain beat writer who tried to spin that into a negative a few days ago, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not being as talkative and brash as Harvey. Most players aren’t.
Mets fans (and Wheeler) have been waiting years for tomorrow night’s debut. Regardless of the outcome, it should be a special night.
Fred Wilpon speaks about the current state of the Mets:
Mets owner Fred Wilpon, 76, spoke with Newsday on Monday about the Mets. Here are some of the quotes:
We’re coming to the end of the time when we have had an overhang of players who got hurt or didn’t play well, and I think that Sandy Alderson and his staff have a plan. I know some people are impatient about it. But they do have a plan and they’re executing on their plan and I think things are in the right direction. It’s hard to say that when the team loses four, five in a row. I get it, I suffer with it. I think that we have to see that plan become successful because in today’s world it’s not how much money you spend — although we have invested a lot of money. Some of it has been wasted because right now we have a [large] payroll and 50 percent of the payroll is not playing.
This franchise is a very big part of our family. We are as passionate as any fan out there to want to do well. We can’t always pick the players, obviously. Sometimes we’ve done very well, people who have represented us have done very well. Sometimes they haven’t. I’ve been around a very long time. I do get it. I try these days to have two faces of the organization and they’re not mine or [son] Jeff’s. They’re really good representatives — Sandy and Terry [Collins] are really good people.
There’s nothing Earth shattering from Wilpon in the above quotes, but it’s nice to hear from him. There are a portion of fans who vilify Wilpon and claim that he doesn’t care about the Mets. There are those who take it one step further and insist that he was aware of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. I believe both of those claims are false.
Fred Wilpon isn’t perfect, and he’s put his foot in his mouth in the past. However, he is a self made man from Brooklyn who loves the game of baseball and loves the Mets. I’m sure nothing would make Fred happier than to see a winning product on the field as early as next season, and I believe him when he says he’s willing to spend to make that happen.