Mets, Charlie Samuels Gambling Saga

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You would have thought the big news this week for the Mets were the interviews for the open managerial position to replace Jerry Manuel. Instead, the news got particularly ugly when well-liked clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels was implicated in an illegal sports gambling ring. Apparently, Samuels was caught on wiretaps with a mob-run gambling organization.

Samuels has been with the Mets for more than 30 years. It’s hard to believe that anyone with such a good job would jeopardize it by getting involved in an illegal sports gambling ring. I have to assume that Samuels is a gambling addict and couldn’t stop himself. It’s really sad that he would hit rock bottom and it looks like he’s going to lose his job over this.

Of course, most of us don’t know Samuels. But Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling bring his name up frequently on SNY broadcasts. They talk about him with such affection. It sounds like he’s a universally liked figure among Mets and former Mets players.

The news in the media is that Samuels admitted gambling on baseball to an MLB investigator. That’s something the Mets just can’t have in the locker room. I don’t think there’s any way Samuels can keep his job of that’s the case. I’m sure the authorities will be working hard to make a splash by getting Samuels to admit that he took bets from players on the team too. Hopefully, that isn’t the next scandal to hit the news.

Here’s a rundown of the news about Samuels:

  • The Mets suspended Samuels last week indefinitely without pay
  • Samuels admitted to an MLB investigator that he has bet on baseball games
  • It came out that K-Rod started living with Samuels after he was suspended for fighting with his girlfriends’ father
  • Samuels reportedly gave comped seats for Mets games to organized crime figures
  • Samuels may have misappropriated Mets funds for short periods of time before paying the accounts back
  • Jeff Francoeur gave Samuels a $50,000 gratuity before he was traded to the Rangers

2010 Mets Lack Accountability

July 23, 2010 Los Angeles, CA..Mets Luis Castillo  in action during the Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Mets defeated the Dodgers, 6-1..Josh Thompson/CSM. night’s game had about as much intrigue as watching coffee brew. However, I continued to watch because of an ensuing conversation between Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen. The story started with an anecdote about Gregg Jefferies and the ’88 club. The newcomer to the big leagues had an impressive short stint in the majors in ’87. Apparently, he was already acting like a perennial All-Star, much to the dismay of the actual All-Stars. Jefferies did not want his bats grouped together with the rest of the team’s bats. Instead of scoffing at this request by the young player, the Mets happily indulged him. Jefferies gave a veteran request from a rookie mouth and was obliged. Keith told of the “team justice” which occurred after a loss. A teammate noticed the equipment manager packing the separated bats and he took the bag and hurled the bats onto the floor. Hernandez laughed but then continued on about his old Cardinal club. The team he broke in with had arguably the most intense and intimidating pitcher in history: Bob Gibson. He insisted the consequences of Gregg Jefferies’ diva request would have been swift or that Jefferies would not have had the nerve to request that in St. Louis at all. This lack of accountability is a recurring theme for the Mets. Let’s look at some of the 2010 examples. Continue reading “2010 Mets Lack Accountability”

Mets Trade Jeff Francoeur To Texas Rangers

July 18, 2010 - San Francisco, CA, United States of America - 18 July 2010; San Francisco, CA: New York Mets Jeff Francoeur. Francoeur is done in New York. It’s not a huge surprise as he was going to be non-tendered after the season anyway.

Here’s the press release from the Mets:

FLUSHING, N.Y. — The New York Mets today announced they traded outfielder Jeff Francoeur to the Texas Rangers in exchange for infielder Joaquin Arias.

Arias, 25, hit .276 (27-for-98) with five doubles, one triple, no home runs, 18 runs scored and nine RBIs in 50 games for Texas this season. The 6-1, 165-pound right-handed-hitting infielder made starts at second base (16), first base (five) and shortstop (one) this season for the Rangers, making two errors in 121 total chances (.983 fielding percentage). He landed on the 15-day disabled list twice with a lower back strain, first from April 30 to May 16 and then again from July 31 to Aug. 16. He was designated for assignment on Aug. 24.

A career .286 hitter, Arias originally signed a non-drafted free-agent contract with the New York Yankees on July 12, 2001. The Rangers acquired him on March 23, 2004, as the player to be named later in the deal that sent Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees. Arias, a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, made his Major League debut on Sept. 13, 2006, at Detroit, playing in 91 games for the Rangers over parts of four seasons.

Francoeur, 26, hit .237 (95-for-401) with 16 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 43 runs scored and 54 RBIs in 124 games for the Mets this season. Acquired from the Braves in exchange for Ryan Church on July 10, 2009, the 6-5, 220 pound Francoeur hit .268 (185-for- 690) with 21 home runs and 95 RBIs in 199 games with the Mets.

Braves 9 – Mets 3 August 30, 2010

New York Mets starting pitcher Pat Misch throws against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 28, 2009. UPI /Mark Cowan Photo via Newscom’s really become sad to watch the Mets season dissipate like this. Pat Misch got rocked by the Braves tonight to the tune of 5 runs in 3 innings. The big blow was a 3-run homer by Jason Heyward in the second inning.

Oliver Perez made a rare appearance in a game tonight and Brian McCann deposited his second pitch in the right field seats.

As usual, the Mets had very little offense with 9 hits and 6 walks. They left 12 runners on base and only Jeff Francoeur (2 for 5) had more than one hit in the game.

The Mets drop the opener of the series as the season winds down.

Box score

Mets Youth Movement Misplayed

Ruben Tejada
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It’s not that I mind the Mets going young by bringing up Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada. I’m cautiously optimistic that both players have some kind of future in the Major Leagues, whether it’s with the Mets or another team. Since the 2010 season has tanked, there’s no reason for the Mets not to go young for a couple of months to see what they have. Maybe they can even showcase some young players to prepare for offseason trades.

It also makes a lot of sense to bench Luis Castillo for Tejada. The Mets already know exactly what they have in Castillo, and it isn’t good. The guy has always been a slap hitter with limited range in the field since he came to the Mets. Hitting .245 this season in 61 games doesn’t exactly make him irreplaceable.

Although Tejada is only hitting .196 and is pretty much an automatic out, he’s only 20 years old and has some serious skills in the field. If he can gain some experience this year, in a meaningless season, it could pay dividends in the future. Continue reading “Mets Youth Movement Misplayed”

Mets 1 – Phillies 0 August 7, 2010

New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana delivers a pitch to the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning of their National League MLB baseball game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 7, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL) Mets got a big game out of Johan Santana and they really needed it. Santana didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning and ended up throwing 7.1 shutout innings. It was a nice comeback from two below-par starts. Cole Hamels was almost as good, only giving up 1 run in 7 innings. It was a classic pitchers duel.

The Mets offense was still sleeping with only 7 hits and 2 walks in the game. The Mets only run was on a solo shot by Jeff Francoeur in the seventh inning.

Ruben Tejada took over second base and made several outstanding plays in the field. Fernando Martinez also got into the game in right field late in the game.

The Mets and Phillies will play the rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon.

Box score

Mets Release Alex Cora, Demote Jesus Feliciano

Alex Cora
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According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, the Mets have released Alex Cora and demoted Jesus Feliciano to Triple-A Buffalo. In corresponding moves, Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada are being called up and will be with the team tonight in Philadelphia.

Cora is in his second season with the Mets but hitting only .207 this year in 62 games. The problem with Cora is that his $2 million option for 2011 would vest when he played 80 games in 2010 which he would certainly reach. Management decided to nip that in the bud and release him.

Cora is a popular figure in the Mets clubhouse and a leader on the team. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to this adversity. Clearly, the message is that nobody is immune from being shipped out if they don’t perform.

Martinez and Tejada wouldn’t be joining the Mets if they weren’t going to get significant playing time. They’re both young, rising stars in the Mets organization. There’s no point in planting them on the bench. So you would expect other moves to be made to clear out more playing time for them. Specifically, Luis Castillo and Jeff Francoeur will probably be the next Mets players to go.