L'il Murphy's Diary from Larry Smith
It's the month of October and what that always means to me and my fellow New York Metropolitans is the stop-playing-baseball season.
I confess that I learned about it this year in a somewhat embarrassing fashion. We played the Milwaukees last weekend and then on Sunday had a big to-do making Mike Piazza a member of the Mets' Hall of Fame (ha-ha, wonder if they'll ever have a day like that for me?). Then we played the baseball game.
The next day around 4 o'clock I showed up as usual at CitiField, put on my uni, grabbed my glove and headed out to take infield practice. Lo and behold there were just a couple of groundskeeper guys raking the infield. One of them was nice enough to explain that it's now the offseason and I should get some rest and head to Florida in February. Sounds like a plan I guess.
So now that my official stats are official I think I should tell you what kind of year I had.
On the plus side is the fact that I made it through the entire season healthy. Well I mean healthy enough to play just about every day. Right now there's a small area above my right knee which doesn't hurt. Everything else does from balls slamming into it and slides that didn't go 100% the way they were supposed to. But I avoided the dreaded DL which is more than I can say for pretty much all of my teammates. I looked it up and found that I was in 161 games this year - that's almost all of them.
And I doubled my homerun number. In 2012 I hit 6 which is kind of meek and in this season I hit 13. Hey, that's even more than double. My batting average finished at .286 which is about the normal for me. Some folks have gotten on me for not walking all that much - that Saber-me-tetric crowd - and all's I can say is that if I see a ball I like I go hit it (usually to leftfield) and hope for the best.
I know I'm not the classic defensive secondbaseman out there but I think I got the job done. The statistics I found on-line tell me I made 16 errors which is about average for a guy playing that position all the time. I won't be sitting home waiting for a delivery of my Gold Glove but I think I made some progress. Not too many people know that my best position on the field might be thirdbase but thanks to our Captain, Mr. David Wright, I never get to play over there.
I should tell you about our team and the chances to be better next year.
We're a mess at 1B where it could be Ike, Duda, Satin or somebody new altogether. Ike and Duda are supposed to be our lefthanded power hitters but the problem is that they haven't shown much power and really aren't showing up as good hitters. Josh gets on base a lot but it's mostly with walks and singles. I don't see the team's bigwigs giving him that job.
And shortstop is also not looking good. Between Ruben (Tejada) and Omar (Quintanilla) we have guys who can catch and throw the ball but not hit it. I think I might have a new keystone partner in 2014 but those kinds of decisions are "above my pay grade."
3B is easy. That's David as long as he can stay healthy and not pull the heck out of his hammie again.
At catcher I think that rookie d'Arnaud will be OK. He didn't hit much to start out but by the end of the year it started to look like he had a clue.
The outfield has what I'd call "issues." Juan Lagares can really go get them in center and I love that. As a hitter he's mostly a good bunter. Maybe with a lot of work with our hitting coach, Dave Hudgens, Juan can improve as a hitter. But seeing how Hudgie has done with Duda, Ike, and the shortstops I can't say I'm totally confident.
In LF we may have the speedy Eric Young Jr. Most teams have LFers who hit a lot of homeruns. Eric doesn't do that. Mostly he just steals bases. Eric can also play a little secondbase so I'll have to keep an eye out for him trying to steal my job.
I'd like to tell you who our RFer is but I haven't a clue. Guys like Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown played there this season but (and don't tell them I told you this) they're really not very good. They don't catch a lot of balls hit out there and don't hit them much at the plate. Maybe that newbie den Dekker can pan out but he's mostly a strikeout waiting to happen.
Our pitching staff could be good or bad depending a lot on what happens with our flame thrower Matt Harvey. Maybe he'll get surgery and be out all next year or maybe he'll pitch. If he pitches I'll be holding my breath every time he goes out there. Then there's Wheeler, Niese, and Gee. These guys can be good enough to win if only we could score a few runs for them.
Every year Sandy tries to redo and improve the bullpen. The redoing part will happen. The improving part? I'm not sure. We'll just have to see about that.
That's what's going on Dear Diary. I'll keep you updated during the wintertime.