Manuel completes first year as Mets manager

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes
that today is Jerry Manuel’s one-year anniversary as Mets manager.
Manuel has gone 88-67 at the helm, producing what has to be one of the
most-complained-about .568 winning percentages in baseball history.

Manuel took over for Willie Randolph 69 games into last season and
guided the Mets to a 55-38 (.591) record after they went 34-35 (.493)
under Randolph. Of course, they faded down the stretch and ended up
missing the playoffs by one game, so Manuel’s tenure was viewed as more
failure than turn-around.

This season has been similar in that the Mets currently sit a
half-game out of the playoff picture at 33-29 and fans criticize Manuel
constantly. Meanwhile, from a non-New Yorker’s point of view he has the
team in the thick of contention despite a ton of injuries to everyone
from Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, and Brian Schneider to Billy Wagner,
Oliver Perez, J.J. Putz, and John Maine.

He’s certainly been far from perfect and Mets fans have plenty of
room to complain about specific issues and faults, but in the big
picture Manuel has won 57 percent of his games with a somewhat flawed
and now injury-wrecked roster, which is good for the second-highest
winning percentage in franchise history behind only Davey Johnson.

Or as Sherman so aptly puts it:
“Manuel is a gregarious, self-confident man with a ton of baseball
knowledge. I sense an excellent manager in there. I just wonder if he
will ever have enough time or the right team with the Mets to prove
that.”

Diamondbacks name Dan Haren as pitching strategist

PHOENIX - APRIL 05:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the Opening Day major league baseball game at Chase Field on April 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.

Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.

Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.

Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life

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For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.

And it continues anew:

There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.

Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:

FORT MYERS, - MARCH 14: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox makes the throw to first on the ground ball from Jason Rogers (not in photo) of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning of the Spring Training Game on March 14, 2016 at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, Florida. The Pirates defeated the Red Sox 3-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Or at the end of the 2015 season:

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox warms up prior to the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 31, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won the game 4-3. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.

Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.