There were no big surprises that came out of it or anything earth shattering. It’s mostly what we’ve heard before with the small exception that a $95 million dollar payroll has in fact been confirmed, that Terry Collins and his whole staff will be back, and that the Mets are on the hook for $50 million dollars on Johan Santana and Jason Bay in 2013.
The most compelling thing I heard Sandy Alderson say yesterday, didn’t even come Sandy’s state of the team event, but from another interview he did exclusively with Kevin Burkhardt afterward.
I’m really digging KB lately and he is definitely onto what’s really going on like white on rice. He knows…
I’m not sure if David Wright and R.A. Dickey got wind of what Alderson said regarding them to Kevin, but I guess they will find out soon enough – and I bet that they are in for a surprise…
You see it’s been assumed that once the season ended, that there would be an honest attempt by Sandy to re-sign each of them to an extension. In fact, the Mets GM reiterated that to the reporters yesterday almost in a very matter of factly way. But like all good lawyers, Sandy added an escape clause:
“As you get further into the offseason with the uncertainty of the contract situation (Dickey and Wright), then you do have to start thinking about other possibilities (trades). That’s not something we’re contemplating right now, but there’s that inevitability.”
While you let that sink in, I pulled a few questions and quotes from Alderson’s Q&A with Kevin Burkhardt that I felt were both important and revealing…
KB: Dickey is a fascinating case for me. Here’s a guy who could win a Cy Young and his popularity with Mets fans is through the roof, but he’s also arguably your most tradeable piece and is only making $5 million dollars next season. How do you view a guy like that who is 37 and coming off a great year and is looking for an extension when you still have limited payroll flexibility and you could use the players he probably could net you in a trade?
SA: That’s an issue we’re going to have to address in the next few weeks. We’ll be doing this in parallel and R.A. probably knows this. We’re going to be talking to him about the future and what we can work out, but at the same time we’ll be keeping in mind his market value in a possible trade.
KB: Does now being in a more stable place…With a little more payroll flexibility…Does that allow you more of a possibility to sign both of those guys – R.A. and David Wright to longterm deals and still enable you to add a few more pieces to build around them and help this team next year?
SA: One of the positives for next year is that their numbers for next year are already built into the 2013 payroll. We have the options and I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re gonna exercise both of those…they are already built in. Anything we do with them for the most part, substantially, is for 2014 and beyond…. As far as those two are concerned, I dont think any limitation we may have in 2013 with respect to payroll will have any impact with regards to them.
KB: Wait, even with R.A, not David he’s a little bit different he’s making a lot of money next season. But with R.A. lets say you give him $15 million, that’s an extra $10 million, won’t that take away from your ability to go out and get some bullpen guys or other pieces like you did last season?
Note that like me, Burkhardt believes the extension would replace the option, but that’s not the case at all….
SA: It wont take away from what we could do in 2013, but it would take away from what we can do on a longterm basis… Whatever limitations we have in 2013 wont be further limited by anything we do with Wright or Dickey. What will be limited is our payroll in 2014 and 2015 by re-signing them.
Wow, guess what R.A.? No matter what you may be thinking… you’re still just getting $5 million next season. Sorry about your bad luck…
KB: Oh, so then based on what you are saying, realistically you are looking at another three year block until you have the flexibility you need? Is that fair?
SA: Sure, that’s fair – I think it’s at least a three year block. (Wow, that takes us to the 2016 season!)
After a long pause….
SA: (Sigh) Some of the positive things we didn’t talk about with the writers…. Like Paul DePodesta says we are getting younger, cheaper and better…The financial situation being better than last year…Those are all positive things.
KB: My last question and then I’ll let you go… What was the most positive thing that happened in 2012?
SA: I was pleased that the first half of the season happened in the first half and not in the second half. Because then we’d be sitting here thinking that perhaps we were better than we are. And I know that there could have been some carry over, but this way we got to see all the flaws in the first half and many flaws that were revealed…
KB: Alright one more question because now I have to ask a follow up to that response… You said you saw flaws, what are the flaws?
SA: Well I think the bullpen needs to get a lot better. I made an effort to do that this year, but it didn’t really happen. Offensively we have to get back to our approach. We’ve had that approach over a year and a half, and we lost that in the second half of the season. Part of that now means playing guys who have adopted that approach.
I’m going to stop here… Some quick thoughts and predictions…
I don’t believe R.A. Dickey will be back. Dickey has his heart set on a new deal that will compensate him for the tremendous job he has done for this team over the last three seasons. If Alderson picks up his option, and you know he will, Dickey has zero leverage and what you’ll have is a disgruntled, under-appreciated ballplayer who most likely will demand a trade. SNY has already been busy paving the way for this. Bobby Ojeda went off on Dickey on the same day he was vying for his 21st win. He said Dickey should man up, and live up to his deal. This is how it works. It begins with a whisper campaign and slowly, but surely, they will have all of us hating Dickey for being a greedy SOB just like Jose Reyes. The battle lines are already being drawn and that’s too bad and too sad.
That “approach” comment was very relevant and I hope Ike Davis was listening because he was the target. Sure Davis had a great second half, but he did it by dropping “the approach” and swinging away. Davis finished the season with a league-leading 12 first pitch home runs this season, ten in the second half. Ike Davis has never met a first pitch he didn’t like, but he’s been that way in high school, college, and from the day the Mets drafted him. The worst of Davis was when he stood there staring at first pitch strikes for nearly the entire first half, getting into a pitchers count and whiffing at pitches out of the zone late in the count. You all know what I’m talking about…. Maybe the source who told Rubin that Ike Davis was uncoachable meant to say resistant to change? I say that because unlike most of you, I do believe Rubin was part of a Mets whisper campaign against Ike Davis. He’s out in the cold. Lucas Duda is their ”keeper”, Ike Davis is not. Lucas Duda is “one of the most valuable pieces to our puzzle”, Ike Davis is not. Lucas “Duda could be a 30-40 homer guy”, Ike Davis is a 30-40 homer guy. Lots of praise being heaped by Collins and Alderson on the .235 hitting Lucas Duda…. Ike Davis? Not so much…
The Wright situation is tricky, but Alderson evaded the answer and that adds a lot of uncertainty to this drama. But I thought it was interesting hearing GKR discuss this at great length during the second and third innings of yesterday’s game. They all concluded Wright’s next contract to be 7-8 years and about $18-$20 million per season. That’s a lot of clams.
I didn’t include it here, but Burkhardt asked Alderson about when he told the other group that he was opposed to 6-7 year deals, that he also said that sometimes “there are exceptions”, but didn’t say Wright was that exception. Is he? You could hear the whole interview on SNY.