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Mets win another 4th of July marathon while I watch fireworks

On Friday night, the Mets beat Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers. I thought the game was very exciting, but I’d certainly understand if people who sat through all four hours and eight minutes of it had a different opinion.

See, I watched the first inning. I saw Shin-Soo Choo hit a lead-off home run and Alex Rios hit Jonathon Niese with a line drive that forced him out of the game. I saw Niese throw a temper tantrum in the Mets’ dugout (and while I admire Niese’s desire to compete, I think Terry Collins, Dan Warthen and Ray Ramirez made the right call. There’s no reason to risk Niese when the team is still 10 games under .500 and 10 games out even after the victory.)

I saw Curtis Granderson hit his first-inning double to ensure Darvish wouldn’t have a chance at a no-hitter, and I saw Bobby Abreu drive him in to erase the Rangers’ early lead. I saw Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer that momentarily confused the umpires… and with the score 3-1 in the Mets’ favor, I left to go watch my town’s 4th of July fireworks. Afterwards, we watched the rebroadcast of the Macy’s fireworks in New York. (At this point, I think I’ve had my fill of fireworks until next July, but I had fun.)

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Marlon Byrd deal likely bad news for Mets’ outfield upgrade plans

Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game earlier this year (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game in 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

If you were hoping Marlon Byrd would return to the Mets in 2014, you got some bad news on Tuesday.

Likewise, if you are a Phillies fan who wants to see the team get younger, Tuesday wasn’t a banner day for you, either.

In another sign that baseball salaries are ascending to new levels of ridiculousness, the Phillies agreed to a 2-year, $16 million contract with a vesting option for 2016 with the 36-year-old outfielder.

Yes, Byrd had a nice year with the Mets and Pirates, but the odds of him duplicating it at age 37 are not great. But I guess the Phillies figured he’s going to be better than Delmon Young, and Byrd is younger than Raul Ibanez.

Hunter Pence‘s five-year, $90 million contract extension with the San Francisco Giants is starting to look a bit less like an aberration… who knows, maybe Scott Boras can get a Jayson Werth-type deal for Shin-Soo Choo after all. There are not a lot of power-hitting corner outfielders on the market, and they seem to be in demand.

That’s not good news for a team like the Mets that really could use an upgrade in both corner outfield spots, and has fairly limited resources to work with.

Hopefully Sandy Alderson will not be left looking at options like Manny Ramirez in his quest to add power to the Mets’ lineup.

Will the Mets’ off-season result in progress or frustration?

Mets have big plans, but are they players or posers?” asks a headline on a Newsday article by Marc Carig.

I suspect every Mets fan who hasn’t given up on the team is wondering the same thing.

David Wright runs on to the field at the start of the game on June 15, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

David Wright runs on to the field at the start of the game on June 15, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

For the New York Post, Dan Martin writes that David Wright is already trying to convince free agents to come to the Mets.

“Some players question what the plan is and say, ‘Why should I come to the New York Mets?’ ” Wright said. “Our track record isn’t exactly great lately.”

Fans are wondering the same thing.

If you tuned in to any of the September games and listened to Gary, Keith and/or Ron talking about their expectations for the team’s plans in 2014, it almost seemed a forgone conclusion the Shin-Soo Choo would be filling one of the corner outfield spots next season.

Now Choo is said to be asking for a contract better than the seven-year, $126 million deal Jayson Werth signed with the Washington Nationals before the 2011 season. Whether or not he gets it, Choo is probably not going to end up a Met unless his market craters before Sandy Alderson commits his available money to other players.

For the Daily News, Andy Martino notes the Mets have expressed preliminary interest in Curtis Granderson, but they’ve got competition from both Chicago teams and the New York Yankees made him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million for one year. He may not fit Alderson’s budget either, and it’s a virtual guarantee that he will not be able to hit 40+ home runs if he plays half his games in Citi Field.

The Dodgers have let it be known that they are shopping one of their three veteran outfielders – Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford – but according to Jon Heyman, none of the three figure into the Mets off-season plans.

Maybe none of these particular players do make sense for the Mets. But at some point soon, they have to start spending more money on player payroll and trading for players who meet needs, even if it means losing other useful players or prospects.

Frank Francisco (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Frank Francisco (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

No matter what Alderson does this off-season, he probably can’t turn a 74-88 team into a playoff contender in one shot. But if the winter’s acquisitions amount to another round of Frank Franciscos, Brandon Lyons and Shaun Marcums, I’m going to be saying the same thing a year from now.

Going back to what Wright said in Martin’s Post story:

“We need to start making an impact and show we’re a contender,” Wright said. “That would be better than anything I could tell them.”

Fans and free agents are looking for the same thing. Let’s hope the Mets take some visible steps in the right direction soon.