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Paul Sewald Jersey

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NEW YORK — As Paul Sewald battled his way through the minor leagues, some others his age began their careers and had stable salaries. The Mets, it seemed, were calling up pitcher after pitcher in 2016, but none were Sewald. He felt frustrated and defeated because he had pitched well all season.

So, he made a decision.

“I’m done,” he told his now-wife, Molly, shortly after the season ended.

“What is your reasoning for that?” asked a concerned Molly, who now admits she seriously feared Paul would actually walk away from the game he always loved and leave a dream behind.

“I’m just not getting called up,” Paul responded, “but I love to play baseball.”

Molly keyed on that last part. She knew she could support them on her salary. She then asked Paul what he would do if he weren’t playing baseball. He didn’t know. Well, she told him, just keep playing baseball then.

She was confident he would eventually get called up. She could relate to how he saw his peers making money and starting to settle down. But giving up a dream because of it? She hoped he wouldn’t.

For much of that offseason, Paul wavered on whether to return.

Years later, standing in the Citi Field concourse, Molly recalls that time. She’s wearing a custom-made jacket with “Sewald” and his No. 51 on the back, and his signature sewn onto the left wrist cuff. The night before, her husband earned his first major-league win. He hasn’t thought about quitting since that offseason.

One offseason, Paul became the temporary Spanish 1 teacher at Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, his alma mater, when the full-time teacher went on maternity leave. It was somewhat funny because, according to his mother Judi, he “didn’t speak all that much Spanish.” He would wake up at 5 a.m. to work out, then be at school by 7 a.m.

His other offseason gigs included training kids, giving pitching lessons and working part-time at Judi’s accounting firm. “My offseasons were busier than my seasons,” Paul said. He made more money during the offseason than the season.
When Paul Sewald wanted to quit baseball, his now-wife, Molly, talked him out of it.

When Paul Sewald wanted to quit baseball, his now-wife, Molly, talked him out of it. (Photo: Photo courtesy Molly Sewald)

According to The Athletic, the average salary for minor leaguers whose contracts are handled by MLB, ranged from around $6,000 in Single A to around $9,350 in Double A to almost $15,000 in Triple A in 2018. Players are only compensated for the months of the season.

The ridiculously low pay is the main issue Paul sees with what he calls “the system.” It’s not ideal considering players do not only work during the games. For example, Paul will arrive at Citi Field at about 1 p.m. for a 7:10 p.m. game. At home, he watches video and continues to train. Plus, he must maintain his craft for the entire year, even if he won’t be paid during the offseason.

“I shouldn’t have to quit baseball,” Paul said, “because I can’t afford to live out my dream.”

Then, he said, people often say to “get a real job.” Impossible, considering most employers don’t hire people who’ll be gone in three or four months. There isn’t a reliable way around minor league baseball’s low pay.

Steven Matz Jersey

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Mets LHP Steven Matz is a pivotal player for the Mets, which means the difference between making or missing the playoffs could hinge on how he performs in 2019.

Assuming each takes the mound 30 times this season, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will again be among the league’s elite pitchers. There’s every reason to believe Zack Wheeler, in his walk year, will continue his terrific turn-around from 2018. Jason Vargas (and the pitchers behind him) should never be counted on to be a difference-maker at any point in the season.

This leaves Matz, who, at 27 years old, is at a make-or-break point in his career. And he could be poised for a breakout.

The fact is, as he enters what is historically considered a player’s prime, he’s had just one impact season out of the four he’s thrown in the big leagues. Also at play are his total innings on the mound, during which a player gains experience and knowledge about how to pitch as opposed to just throwing.

At this point in the career of a left-handed starting pitcher like Matz, most guys have thrown 650 innings and made 120 starts. Matz has essentially half that work load under his belt, which means he has spent 50 percent less time learning and feeling out situations than many who have come before him.

Matz is up to the challenge, though. He may be quiet and one of the most friendly, nicest people in baseball. But, at his core, he’s as competitive as deGrom and Syndergaard.

Health has been his big obstacle in his previous seasons. Matz began his professional life by having Tommy John surgery, which delayed the start of his career. Since then, he’s dealt with and eventually had a bone spur removed from his elbow, he’s had his ulnar nerve moved, he had an issue with his finger and has battled a variety of back issues, all of which were reportedly received with frustration by the organization.

“He needs to understand that pitchers pitch in pain, it’s part of life,” a clubhouse source told me in 2017, parroting a talking point that existed within the front office as well. “The great pitchers aren’t just great because they’re healthy. The difference is that they learned to prepare between starts, they’ve learned how to manage their body, pitch through whatever their issue is that day and allow themselves to be great.”

Matz projects to have a low 4.00 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and his typical low 90s fastball and traditional swinging-strike rate, according to a composite of all the major statistical systems.

The above is likely a 2.0 WAR season and perfectly fine for third or fourth starting pitcher. Matz and the Mets will enter this coming season in hopes of more production, though.

In 2018, he reached a career-high in starts (30) and innings pitched (154). According to his friends and family, after finally staying on the mound for a full season, Matz has been given a sense of relief never experienced during his first seven years as a professional baseball player.

In other words, if he’s going to take the next step in his career, which would mean another 30 starts, closer to 200 innings, an ERA lower than 3.30 and at least 3.5 WAR while receiving national attention, this is it. This is the year to make it happen. And if it does, suddenly the Mets will have three aces (potentially four if Wheeler carries over his 2018 success) and without question the best rotation in MLB.

Hopefully, going 150 innings, pitching through pain and making 30 starts put his past frustrations to bed and gave Matz the experience and lessons needed to repeat his workload.

Because, when healthy and strong, Matz knows he can pitch on par with his best friend, deGrom.

“They room together, their families are close, they support each-other through good and bad, but they also have a healthy competition,” former Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen told me during spring training, 2016. “I’d love to see them both at the top of their game and what that dynamic would be like for a full season.”

In 2016, deGrom missed all of September to undergo surgery that decompressed and repositioned the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow. According to deGrom, this alleviated a significant amount of chronic pain, which in large part helped him throw 200 innings in 2017 and become the best pitcher in the National League in 2018.

Matz underwent the same surgery in late 2017. And, like deGrom the year after his surgery, Matz finished with a career-high in innings and starts in a season. Now, I’m not saying he will elevate his game and become the best pitcher in the National League in year two just because that’s what his happened to his buddy deGrom. But, damn, wouldn’t that be nice if it did happen…

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen never discussed Matz in trade proposals with other teams this offseason, according to team sources. Van Wagenen, manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland believe Matz crossed a career threshold in 2018 that he’s mentally and physically capable of building on in 2019.

“He’s got a tremendous arm. I love the way he throws inside to righties, so he neutralizes that component that usually hurts a left-handed starting pitcher, and he’s gonna continue to improve,” Callaway said on WFAN earlier this winter. “He’s a great worker, a great guy, and Eiland is gonna get him where he needs to be.”

Eiland and Callaway are on record saying they spent a lot of time last season helping Matz break down his game pitch-by-pitch, looking at each moment as an isolated event with its own unique context. During games that he was not pitching, Eiland would encourage Matz to put himself in the mind of the pitcher and hitter to continue the task of thinking about each solitary moment.

My hope is that Matz continues using the same release point that he used after returning from the DL last summer. The adjustment ended up getting hitters to swing more at pitches inside the strike zone. The weak contact helped him throw fewer pitches each inning, which played a large role in him reaching 150 innings. To do this for a full season, especially if he uses his curveball more frequently than he has, Matz should have no trouble creating quick innings and pushing on 200 innings for the season.

In addition, it’s important to keep Matz pitching every five days.

I’ve heard Eiland believes it is important for Matz to keep his body and mind moving and never allowing for downtime, which can tighten up muscles and allow doubt and bad habits to creep in.

From what I can gather, at the end of this past season, Eiland prepared a strength and conditioning and pitching program for Matz that will keep him loose and throwing every few days, including throwing multiple bullpen sessions between starts during the season. The plan, like it was for deGrom lat season, was to start the programs a few weeks after the end of this past season.

To date, Matz has been frequently described as having “good stuff,” and a lot of “potential.” He took a big step toward being the pitcher he hoped to be when the Mets drafted him out of Ward Melville High School in 2009.

Finally, the evidence, experience and stars are aligned for him to put all of the above behind him and add his name to the mix of pitchers considered to be among the best in baseball.

Walker Lockett Jersey

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With Noah Syndergaard on the injured list, the Mets have called up right-hander Walker Lockett, who is the last remaining healthy starting pitcher on the team’s 40-man roster. With Syndergaard’s injury not being as serious as initially feared, we do not know if this is this will be Lockett’s only start or if he is going to get more chances. Perhaps, that will depend on how he pitches.

Before delving deeper into the scouting reports and repertoire, it is important to first note Lockett started the season in Extended Spring Training due to elbow soreness. In his four starts in Triple-A, he has averaged 85 pitches per start with a high of 92, which he reached twice. Aside from how he’s pitching, there is a legitimate question as to how deep into a game he can go right now.

Fortunately, he is the type of a pitcher who could potentially go deep into games with a limited pitch count because he is a sinkerball pitcher who pitches to contact. In fact, in his minor league career, he has a struck out only 6.8 batters per nine. Between his low strikeout rate and his low walk rate, he is someone who is going to force the offense to put the ball in play.

5 scoreless innings last night for #Mets pitching prospect Walker Lockett. Including these 3 of his 4 Ks on the night. Showed impeccable command all night of his FB and breaking balls. pic.twitter.com/bbNZCdFCed

— Ernest Dove (@ernestdove) May 25, 2019

Lockett predominantly throws a low 90s sinker which is a worm killer. The same could be said for his curveball which could be a little slurvy. With him focusing on this power sinker and curve, he had a 1.57 ground out to fly ball out ratio with a 53.7 ground ball percentage in the minors.

With this combination, he struggled in his brief cup of coffee with the Padres last year. In three starts and one relief appearances, he was 0-3 with a 9.60 ERA and a 2.133 WHIP. Part of the was bad luck with him yielding a .360 BABIP and only having a 60.6 percent strand rate.

However, it should be noted the Padres had a very good defensive ball club last year with their 48 team DRS being the fourth best in the National League. The only position where they had a negative DRS in the infield was second base. On that front, you could see things might’ve stabilized for Lockett for more appearances.

Still, with Lockett only getting soft contact 16.7 percent of the time, it’s debatable how much better he would have been. With respect to this Mets team, they have the worst defense in the National League this year, and as noted by Mark Simon of The Athletic, the Mets are one of the worst shifting teams in all of baseball.

Ultimately, Lockett has an arsenal which could potentially succeed at the Major League level. What’s up for debate is whether this Mets team gives him that chance to succeed, and ultimately, whether it worth was trading Kevin Plawecki to the Indians to find out.

Franklyn Kilome Jersey

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NEW YORK — One of the silver linings of the Mets’ season, pitching prospect Franklyn Kilomé, will miss the entire 2019 campaign. The Mets announced Thursday that Kilome, their fifth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, underwent Tommy John surgery this week.
Part of the Mets’ next upcoming wave of pitching prospects, Kilome, 23, posted a 4.03 ERA at Double-A Binghamton, with 42 strikeouts in 38 innings after the club acquired him from the Phillies for second baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera in July. Overall, the hard-throwing Kilome produced a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts for the Mets’ and Phillies’ Double-A teams.
Four of the Mets’ top six pitching prospects have now undergone Tommy John surgery in the past two years. Seventh-ranked prospect Anthony Kay returned to the field this summer following his 2016 surgery, while ninth-ranked prospect Thomas Szapucki and 13th-ranked Jordan Humphreys have yet to do so after their 2017 operations.
Kilome profiles as the brightest of the bunch, capable of throwing consistently in the upper 90s. Tommy John surgery typically carries a 12- to 18-month recovery, putting Kilome on track to return to Minor League play in 2020.

• Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes delayed his second (left) heel surgery due to a scheduling conflict, but he expects to have it done by the end of next week, according to multiple sources. Cespedes remains on track to begin baseball activities in late February or early March, though he does not anticipate being able to run full-speed at that time.

Darryl Strawberry Jersey

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Darryl Strawberry doesn’t crave for the nightlife like he did throughout his 17-year Major League Baseball career.

He’s no longer in and out of substance abuse rehabilitation centers for repeated cocaine use or wrecking his life from parole violations, domestic violence to solicitation to failure to pay child support.

Finally, he has turned his life around though it took a while – he’s 56.

″Most people kind of look at my life and they believe it’s my fault because I had everything but my home was broken before I put a uniform on,″ Strawberry said. ″My dad was an alcoholic and used to beat the crap out of me and said I would never amount to nothing. So I had pain before I ever put the uniform on. My pain led me to my greatness and my greatness led me to my destructive behavior and that’s the reality of life.″

From trouble man to redemption, Strawberry has found a purpose to help people by speaking about his past struggles with drug addiction and alcohol abuse. He admits it wasn’t an overnight process, but took time to get where he is now.

Strawberry was in Jacksonville last week for the City Rescue Mission’s 4th Annual Difference Maker’s Banquet, sharing advice that he didn’t follow as a former eight-time All-Star and four-time World Series champion.

″The rescue is a phenomenal organization and I’ve done previous events with them,″ said Strawberry, who is twice divorced and has six children. ″They love those that can’t love themselves and until they can love themselves. The assumption is that these people are not going to make it. Who are we to say they’re not going to make it. We don’t really have the last say. Just my life, they had written me off. ″

Though a recovering addict, Strawberry has been clean for almost 14 years. An awakening came in 2000 when he met his third wife, Tracy, at a narcotics anonymous convention in Tampa. She had been battling drug addition but had been clean for a year before meeting Strawberry for the first time.

While Strawberry continued to have problems, which included serving 11 months at the Gainesville Correctional Institution in 2002 for violating probation on cocaine possession charges, she stuck beside him and eventually got him to become an active church member so he could seek faith to change.

In 2006, Strawberry and Tracy married, and a year later they both became ordained ministers. He’s stayed on track, sticking with his faith instead of reliving his past baseball accomplishments.

″God uses people to help people and it was my wife,″ Strawberry said. ″I watched her joy and it meant everything because I wanted that. I didn’t want anything else because I already had money, fame and already knew that doesn’t work. So I knew there was something greater inside that I needed to receive.″

In 2014, Strawberry founded a drug rehabilitation center in St. Cloud, near Orlando, and opened another facility in DeLand in 2015.

Last year, Strawberry said he made 214 trips to speak to various groups and churches. In November, Strawberry said he spoke to the Buffalo Bills players before they played the Jaguars and pulled out a 24-21 victory at New Era Field.

Strawberry says he no longer speaks much about baseball or his career. He said that chapter in his life is dead, even though he hit 335 home runs, was the first overall pick in 1980 by the New York Mets and won World Series titles with the Mets (1983) and New York Yankees (1996, 1998 and 1999).

″It was baseball but life still was not fulfilling,″ said Strawberry, who has overcome both colon and kidney cancer. ″We can all dress ourselves up and look well on the outside but who am I on the inside? That’s what really matters at the end of the day. All the stuff that I accomplished doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day if I didn’t get well. I think that’s the message we need to carry across the globe.″

Keith Hernandez Jersey

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“I consider cocaine the devil on this earth,” testified New York Mets’ first baseman Keith Hernandez. He described cocaine as “a demon in me.

Hernandez stated that he had used massive amounts of the substance starting in 1980 after he and his wife separated. He developed what he described as an “insatiable desire for more” and admitted that he played under the influence of cocaine in his career.

After he saw St. Louis Cardinals’ teammate Lonnie Smith have a such a bad experience after using cocaine that he couldn’t play in a game, Hernandez realized he had to break the habit.

Just before he was traded to the Mets in June, 1983, Hernandez, who had lost 10 pounds, awoke with a nose bleed.

“I had the shakes and I wound up throwing a gram down the toilet,” he testified during the trial of alleged cocaine dealer Curtis Strong, who had been the Philadelphia Phillies’ clubhouse caterer.

Hernandez and the other players that testified had been granted immunity from prosecution.

When he was asked to provide the names of other players with whom he had shared cocaine, Hernandez became uncomfortable. Unlike when he broke the law by obtaining and using cocaine, this time Hernandez took on the role of a law-abiding citizen.

He named pitcher Lary Sorenson and outfielder Bernie Carbo, a Boston Red Sox hero in the 1975 World Series.

Lonnie Smith testified that he had purchased cocaine from the defendant Strong for himself, Joaquin Andujar and Hernandez.

The list of players named in testimony sounded like an All-Star team. Included were Dave Parker, Gary Mathews, Enos Cabell, Al Holland, Jeff Leonard and J.R. Richard.

Strong’s defense lawyer. Adam Renfroe, insisted that baseball was on trial and that the players were “nothing but junkies.”

He called them “hero-criminals” who “sell drugs and are still selling drugs to baseball players around the league.”

Reports claim that by the time he joined the Mets, Hernandez was no longer using cocaine. Despite the fact that drug users often offer unreliable testimony, Hernandez should be believed.

He certainly played extremely well during his time with the Mets. He has been an excellent, if sometimes overly emotional broadcaster over the last few years.

Of course, we will always wonder what would have happened if one of Strong’s customers had been Mary or Joe Average Citizen.

Yogi Berra Jersey

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Yankees legend Yogi Berra passed away in 2015, but on Opening Day, we can’t help but think of the great catcher and manager. An 18-time All-Star, Berra appeared in 14 World Series as a member of the Yankees and won 10 of them.

Berra’s contributions to MLB history are incalculable, but his legacy might be even better remembered for what he contributed to American language. A sportswriters’ favorite, Berra had countless expressions and turns of phrase that were memorable because most of them didn’t make any sense. (At the same time, every one had some truth to it.)

Berra-isms (colloquial expressions that lack logic) are now countless, and many of them are just attributed to Berra, even if he never actually said them. As he so perfectly put it: “I never said most of the things I said.” Here are 50 of our favorites.

1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

2. You can observe a lot by just watching.

3. It ain’t over till it’s over.

4. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

5. No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

6. Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

7. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

8. Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

9. We made too many wrong mistakes.

10. Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.

11. You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.

12. You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.

13. I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.

14. Never answer an anonymous letter.

15. Slump? I ain’t in no slump… I just ain’t hitting.

16. How can you think and hit at the same time?

17. The future ain’t what it used to be.

18. I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.

19. It gets late early out here.

20. If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.

21. We have deep depth.

22. Pair up in threes.

23. Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.

24. You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

25. All pitchers are liars or crybabies.

26. Even Napoleon had his Watergate.

27. Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.

28. He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

29. It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

30. I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won twenty-five games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.

31. I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.

32. I’m a lucky guy and I’m happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.

33. I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.

34. In baseball, you don’t know nothing.

35. I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?

36. I never said most of the things I said.

37. It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.

38. If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.

39. I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did anything wrong on the field. I’d never seen him dive for a ball, everything was a chest-high catch, and he never walked off the field.

40. So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.

41. Take it with a grin of salt.

42. (On the 1973 Mets) We were overwhelming underdogs.

43. The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.

44. Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.

45. Mickey Mantle was a very good golfer, but we weren’t allowed to play golf during the season; only at spring training.

46. You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.

47. I’m lucky. Usually you’re dead to get your own museum, but I’m still alive to see mine.

48. If I didn’t make it in baseball, I won’t have made it workin’. I didn’t like to work.

49. If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.

50. A lot of guys go, ‘Hey, Yog, say a Yogi-ism.’ I tell ’em, ‘I don’t know any.’ They want me to make one up. I don’t make ’em up. I don’t even know when I say it. They’re the truth. And it is the truth. I don’t know.

Wilson Ramos Jersey

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The Department of State has declassified a cable on the November 9, 2011 kidnapping and November 12 rescue of Washington Nationals star catcher Wilson Ramos in response to a National Security Archive Freedom of Information Act request. According to the previously “Secret/NOFORN” cable composed by the US Embassy in Caracas, Ramos’s rescue “was the result of good police work” by Venezuela’s Corps of Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigative Corps (CICPC).
“Free Wilson” signs left at Nationals Park on November 11, 2011. Courtesy SB Nation.

“Free Wilson” signs left at Nationals Park on November 11, 2011. Courtesy SB Nation.

On the evening of November 9th, Ramos was kidnapped at gunpoint from his mother’s home in the city of Valencia, near the Caribbean coast. According to Ramos’s account, the gunmen threw him into the back of a Chevorlet Captiva and covered his face with a black t-shirt. They drove to a mountainous region near the town of Montalban in central Venezuala. There, they did not physically harm Ramos, attempted to feed him (arepas with sardines), and told him that they “were going to ask for a ton of cash for [him].”

According to the Department of State cable, the CICPC “already had the abductors under investigation prior to Ramos’s kidnapping because the group had kidnapped other individuals in the same area of Valencia.” The State Department also reported that the CICPC used “source information and wiretaps” to immediately “identify the individuals responsible and and the location where Ramos was being held.” This information allowed CICPC to “act quickly and immediately” and begin planning its rescue mission. State reports that approximately 300 CICPC officials worked on the case. Hugo Chavez, himself, had repeatedly called the CICPC director demanding updates, and personally authorized the search and rescue mission.

After 50 hours in captivity, Venezuelan commandos raided the building he was being held and exchanged gunfire with his captors for –according to Ramos– as long as fifteen minutes. Finally Ramos was rescued, and was returned at 3:0o AM to a celebrating crowd at his mother’s house in Valencia.
Ramos, at CICPC headquarters in Valencia on November 12, 2011. Courtesy, Associated Press.

Ramos, at CICPC headquarters in Valencia on November 12, 2011. Courtesy, Associated Press.

“Thank God, I’m alive and here at home…I thank you for everything. I don’t have words to express all that I feel, and how thankful I am for all your help. Thank you, for real. I really love you,” Ramos told the crowd.

According to the State Department cable, based on US Embassy contacts with Venezuelan law enforcement and media reports, “The kidnapping ring responsible for Ramos’s abduction does not appear to have been highly sophisticated. The kidnappers may have believed Ramos would be an easy target and perhaps underestimated the international media attention” his kidnapping would generate.

The embassy was correct. Ramos –who hit .267 with 15 home runs in 2011– was a beloved member of the Washington Nationals, and fans throughout the Washington, DC area, United States, and world closely watched for any updates on his plight. Distraught National Fans held a vigil at Nationals Park. It is likely the outpouring of Nationals and American, Venezuelan, and international baseball fans contributed to the catcher’s release. He remains a highly-productive and much loved player on the Washington Nationals.
Washington Nationals fans gather for a vigil at Nationals Park on xxxx. Courtesy SB Nation.

Washington Nationals fans gather for a vigil at Nationals Park on November 11, 2011. Courtesy SB Nation.

But the State Department cable does not close the case on Wilson Ramos’s kidnapping. After his return, questions began to emerge about the exact nature of the crime. A February 2012 Sports Illustrated article raised the possibility that Ramos may have been kidnapped because “he chased the wrong woman.” The same article also speculated that Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera secretly paid the ransom to bring Ramos home. Finally, Sports Illustrated posited that to save face, the Venezuelan authorities may have arrested six people with no actual relation to the kidnapping.
Ramos and his bobblehead, which was release by the Nationals during the 2014 season, three years after his kidnapping and release.

Ramos and his bobblehead, which was release by the Nationals during the 2014 season, three years after his kidnapping and release.

The declassified cable, written before the Sports Illustrated article was published, does not answer any of these theories. It does, however offer an additional one: that the FARC, a Colombian guerrilla movement, may have been behind the kidnapping. The cable reports that “in his public statements Ramos claimed that two abductors spoke with Colombia accents and spoke of a ‘la guerilla.’”

The cable also raises more questions. After its speculation on the FARC, a substantial section of the cable has been redacted on claimed “national security” grounds , leaving the public to wonder which aspect of the Wilson Ramos kidnapping still remains hidden.

Of course, the National Security Archive has appealed this redaction.

9/27/2019 UPDATE: And we won! Below is a side-by-side of the original redactions and the fully-released version provided by State after we appealed. The new version shows that the original redacts hid that State had Venezuelan law enforcement contacts, and that those contacts had “received no evidence to corroborate a FARC connection.” State’s Venezuelan law enforcement Sources also reported that they believed the “shoot out” was actually a Corps of Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigative Corps (CICPC) “diversion to disorient the abductors during the raid.”

Robinson Cano Jersey

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The New York Mets have officially announced the widely reported trade to acquire second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners:

The Mariners will receive major leaguers Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista as well as top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Seattle will also send $20 million to the Mets to help offset Cano’s contract.

The move has led to mixed reactions from both sides, with the Mariners seemingly entering a rebuild after a strong year. Cano is the biggest face of the deal as an eight-time All-Star, although Diaz was one of the best relievers in baseball last season while saving 57 games.

“I think the Mets got two great players in Diaz and Cano,” New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said of the deal, per Joe Trezza of MLB.com. “Both will help them win in 2019 and beyond. They’re a better team today because they made these moves.”

However, not every fellow general manager around the league thought it was a smart move.

“If new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is making deals like this, where can I sign up for one of my own?” an unnamed executive from another club asked Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic.

New York is taking on a hefty salary for Cano, who is owed $120 million over the next five years. The team is also parting with high-upside prospects in Kelenic and Dunn, both of whom were recent first-round picks. Kelenic was the No. 6 overall selection in 2018.

Still, the Mets wanted to make a splash this offseason and have certainly accomplished that with one of the biggest deals in baseball so far.

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The New York Mets acquired J.D. Davis and minor leaguer infielder Cody Bohanek from the Houston Astros this past offseason in exchange for minor league outfielder Ross Adolph, infielder Luis Santana, and catcher Scott Manea. Many believed the Mets gave up too much for Davis at the time of the trade since he was still unproven and hadn’t hit at the major league level. Boy, things have changed.

Now in early Septemeber, Davis is a huge reason the Mets are still in a playoff hunt. There is no denying he has worked out for the best this year for the Mets. What about everyone else in this deal?
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The guy that probably gets talked about the least in the trade is Cody Bohanek. Bohanek was the other player the Mets acquired from the Astros and gets shadowed because Davis was the headline. Bohanek is a 24-year-old infielder who reached AAA ball with the Astros last year. This year he has split time between A+ and AA ball in the Mets system.

This year Bohanek has played in 107 games in the minors, accumulating 328 at-bats and has hit .226, with a .340 OBP, and a .329 slugging percentage. He has 5 home runs, 24 RBI, and 12 stolen bases while being caught 11 times. He also has 115 strikeouts, which is an average of at least one a game.

Bohanek is clearly not a great hitter with a .226 average, but he does get on base at a decent clip at .340, over a hundred points higher than his batting average which is good. If he can bring his average up just a bit and keep his OBP around the 100 points higher than his average like he has, that would be great.

He does seem to have a little bit of speed since he has stolen 12 bases despite getting caught 11 times. If he can work on his baserunning he could be a sneaky stolen base guy. He is 24 so he does have time to grow and get better.

One of the guys that we sent to Houston is 22-year-old outfielder Ross Adolph. Adolph played A- ball last year with the Mets and has split time this between A ball and A+ ball in the Astros system this season.
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Adolph has played in 114 games this year between A and A+ ball. He has had 382 at-bats and has hit a combined .228, with a .357 OBP, and a .366 slugging percentage. He has 7 home runs, 40 RBI, along with 6 triples and 11 stolen bases in 20 attempts. Adolph has also struck out 142 times which is more than once a game.

Adolph has very limited time in the minors and is still very young so it is hard to see what he can truly be. He did have very good statistics in college and A ball last year with the Mets. He shows signs of decent power and speed with pretty good XBH hit numbers and stolen bases. At still such a young age, Adolph has a lot of time to develop.

Another one of the players sent to Houston in the trade is 20-year-old infielder Luis Santana. Santana spent last season in Rookie ball with the Mets. This year he has split time between Single-A and Double-A in the Astros system.

Santana has played in 70 games this year and has accumulated 222 at-bats this season between the two leagues and has slashed .257, 337, .329. He has collected 2 long balls and 17 RBI with 4 stolen bases in 6 attempts. Santana has only struck out 33 times which is good for about one every other game.

In somewhat limited time in the minors at such a young age Santana has shown some good signs. He has good bat-to-ball skills with limited strikeouts, which is great at a young age and a decent batting average. At such a young age it is hard to see what Santana will be like in a few years, but he does have good aspects of his game at a very young age which is a good sign.

The last player sent to the Astros in the trade is 23-year-old catcher Scott Manea. He spent last season in A ball for the Mets. This season he has played in A+ ball for the Astros.

This season in the Astros organization Manea has appeared in 102 games with 328 at-bats and has hit .235, .347, .387. He has also smacked 12 home runs, 49 RBI, and 12 doubles. He has struck out 83 times which is just under 1 a game for the season.

Manea is hitting right where his career average for AVG, OBP, and SLG has been in the minors so he stayed consistent in his few years playing. He has developed more power over the last 2 years with 12 home runs in each season and never hitting more than 1 in his previous seasons. Manea could develop into a decent hitting catcher, his average is a little low, but he gets on base and has a little bit of pop which is good for a guy behind the plate.