Mets Merized Online » Joe D Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:37:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Latest On Dillon Gee and James Shields Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:30:25 +0000 dillon gee

Buster Olney of ESPN says the Padres and Marlins appear to be the best fits for free agent James Shields because they’re both ready to be playoff contenders, and he would be a difference-maker both in leadership and performance. The market for starting pitching appears to be at a standstill until Shields lands somewhere.

While the Mets continue to wait out the market for Dillon Gee, the Milwaukee Brewers may not be a trade partner for much longer. Speaking to fans at the Brewers Fanfest Sunday, team owner Mark Attanasio told fans to expect at least one more significant addition. GM Doug Melvin then told the crowd he’s focused on bolstering the bullpen more so than adding a starter. Reports say Jonathan Papelbon is still in play, and a reunion with Francisco Rodriguez, who saved 44 games for the Brewers last year, remains a strong possibility.

I wonder why the Houston Astros are never mentioned as a potential landing spot for Gee. They are still looking to add a starting pitcher reports Brian McTaggart of, and they almost landed free agent  Ryan Vogelsong before he opted to re-sign with the Giants according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.

At this point and with spring training only three weeks away, there’s a good chance Gee reports to camp and works out with the team while the Mets continue to wait for a deal to materialize.

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MLB Commissioner Defends Naming Fred Wilpon Finance Committee Chairman Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:22:12 +0000 saul katz and fred wilpon

I wanted to update this post with some quotes via the New York Times from incoming MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Responding to criticism over naming Fred Wilpon chairman of the MLB Finance committee, Manfred said:

“I understand the whole Madoff thing, but before and since, Fred Wilpon was an extraordinarily successful businessman.”

Manfred said the committee Wilpon will chair deals with two issues, executive compensation and a central office budget. “Obviously, to be a successful businessman, you have to know how to budget.”

“If you really understand which committees do what, I don’t see it as an issue,” Manfred said.

“He understands how the budget process in baseball has worked, and he’s more than qualified to fill that role.”

January 19

If any of you were hanging onto a slim hope that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would somehow be the antithesis to Bud Selig who turned a blind eye as Mets owner Fred Wilpon skirted the rules and nearly bankrupted a big market franchise, think again.

Bill Madden of the Daily News reports there was a lot more happening at last week’s owners meeting in Arizona than just a farewell party for Bud Selig.

New head honcho Rob Manfred announced a complete overhaul of major league baseball’s hierarchy and among the new restructuring he named Mets owner Fred Wilpon the new chairman and head of the MLB Finance Committee.

In what was his first major decision as the 10th commissioner of baseball, Manfred showed that the commissioner’s office will continue to have the same close and binding relationship with Fred and Jeff Wilpon – just as it had for nearly a quarter of a century under Bud Selig.

Wilpon, who allegedly lost about $700 million in the largest Ponzi scheme in American History – the second time he was embroiled in a massive Ponzi scheme – was nearly forced to sell the team three years ago and is still on uncertain financial footing.

Fox guarding the henhouse copy

What makes Manfred’s decision so bizarre is that Fred Wilpon admits to not being the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to financing, and in fact, Wilpon’s entire defense case in the trial brought on by trustee Irving Picard was based on his ignorance of how the convicted Bernie Madoff oversaw his investments as well as his role in team finances. His entire defense was based on ignorance of his own team’s finances.

Wilpon used Madoff to run the team’s finances and turned a blind eye as he negotiated deferred money into players’ contracts and then used that money to invest in high-yield fraudulent investments to make money for themselves before paying players.

The trustee, Irving Picard, also alleged at the time that the Wilpons had enriched themselves over many years of profitable investing – even outpacing the S&P 500 by 6-8% – while ignoring repeated warnings that Madoff was fudging the numbers, was fabricating false quarterly and annual statements that showed huge fictitious gains and balances, and even internal complaints from their own employees that he was committing fraud.

In addition to the millions lost in the Madoff affair, the Wilpons are currently buried waist deep in nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in debt between the team and the SNY Network which broadcasts the team’s games. A huge portion of that debt – a reported $600 million – is actually due in June of this year.

The MLB Players Association has recently opened an investigation looking into financial inconsistencies regarding offseason workouts being held at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie. A team consultant is leasing space and then charging players who participate in a voluntary training regimen fees ranging between $1,000-$4,400 dollars.

It’s mystifying and completely logic-defying that Manfred would tap Wilpon for such an important chairmanship – one that on the surface would require someone who was supremely qualified in the areas of corporate finance and investing.

It just goes to show that the old adage is true — It’s not what you know, but who you know. Sadly, in his first official act as commissioner, Manfred looks to continue years of Selig cronyism under the guise of the best interest of the game.

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Mets Pass On Cuban SS Yoan Moncada; Yankees, Giants, Phillies Considered Favorites Sun, 25 Jan 2015 15:20:26 +0000 yoan moncada

(Updated 1/25)

Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada is close to being cleared to sign with an MLB team. He continues to conduct private workouts for several interested teams.

The New York Yankees are the latest team to hold a private workout for Moncada. Several industry sources told Baseball America, the Yankees are one of the frontrunners to sign Moncada. The 19-year-old switch-hitter who would likely slot it at second or third base, they said, and he would immediately become the Yankees’ top prospect if he ended up signing with them.

According to what team sources told reporter Anthony DiComo of, the Mets have done their due diligence on Moncada, but do not view him as a realistic option given their budget and financial constraints.

Top talent evaluator Ben Badler of Baseball America recently said that the Cuban infielder is a dynamic player with premium bat speed, an enticing combination of power and speed along with a strong track record of hitting.

He also added that while all 30 MLB teams would undoubtedly love to have Moncada, his high price tag ($30 million bonus plus $30 million tax) limits his signability to big market teams like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

“That’s why you can comfortably count out teams such as the Indians, Twins, Royals, Pirates, Athletics and Mets when it comes to handicapping the Moncada sweepstakes.”

Moncada, who has abundant speed and power, has been compared favorably to Dodgers star Yasiel Puig.

While discussing international free agency at the Winter Meetings, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters that while the Mets had been mostly bystanders in foreign markets over the years, that was going to soon change.

“We haven’t been in that category,” he said. “I expect we will be in that category, soon.”

Many took that to believe that the Mets would be players for Korean shortstop Jeong-ho Kang and five-tool prospect Moncada.

Alderson also told reporters the Mets were considering a bid on Kang and that they were very interested, but a month later on the eve of the bidding deadline he announced the Mets were out.

A day later the Pittsburgh Pirates won the rights to Kang and ultimately signed the 27-year-old infielder to an $11 million, four-year contract on Friday.

Reports have suggested that Moncada will likely receive a signing bonus in excess of $30 million and in addition to that there will be a 100 percent penalty for any team who signs him.

Besides the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants also worked out Moncada last week. The Phillies. Dodgers, Rangers and Cubs are also very interested and held private workouts previously.

There have been no reports linking Moncada to the Mets.

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Sandy Alderson Pokes Fun At Mets Shortstop Situation Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:21:24 +0000 sandy alderson

Last night, at the Baseball Writers of America Awards dinner in New York, general manager Sandy Alderson introduced Cal Ripken Jr. to the podium.

“It’s a big night for me and for Mets fans, who have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop.”

It’s been a while since Alderson has made one of his self deprecating jokes.

Mike Puma of the NY Post writes that the Mets are set to head to Port St. Lucie with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada at the position.

He adds that the Mets have been disinterested in taking on Troy Tulowitzki’s contract in a trade from Colorado and unwilling to part ways with Noah Syndergaard for Washington’s Ian Desmond.


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Featured Post: Promises, Promises Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:09:07 +0000 new-york-mets braintrust collins, katz, wilpon alderson
On Wednesday, executive vice president Lou DePaoli told Newsday that Mets ticket sales are up 19.26 percent over last year.

Considering the team hasn’t produced a winning season since 2008 and failed to add any high-priced box-office draw, Howard Megdal of Capital New York finds it astonishing that ticket sales would surge that significantly especially since they did nothing to impact those two primary drivers of attendance spikes for baseball teams.

Additionally he asks, if sales are really up almost 20 percent, it would also seem to “fly in the face of a promise by the team’s financially troubled owners to increase payroll when revenue rose.”

“Why would the team invite such trouble with its fan base, after years of misleadingly sunny projections and unfulfilled spending pledges,” he asks.

Megdal speculates that one motivation for the Mets to come out and make such a public claim is because it helps their defense in the discrimination lawsuit against the team by a former Mets executive who was in charge of ticket sales. Plus the fact remains that the Mets could claim anything they want right now and can distort those figures knowing that they are not obligated to provide evidence of it.

An increase in sales this large would be historic. Megdal points out how the Seattle Mariners experienced the biggest jump in attendance in 2014, going from 1,761,546 in 2013 to 2,064,334, a rise of 302,788, or a jump of 17.1 percent.

But the Mariners drove that by signing Robinson Cano for $240 million and giving Felix Hernandez a $175 million extension, arguably the best hitter and pitcher in the game.

Even if you assume this 19 percent spike in sales is completely legit and the Mets have truly achieved an “economic miracle” without a winning season or big splash signing, why are they not acting like a team swimming in $23 million dollars of new revenue?

Why do the Mets continue to cower in fear at the presence of any player who could help the team when the subject turns to dollars?

According to my own calculations and assuming the Mets unload Dillon Gee, payroll will see a slight uptick of about $3 million dollars above last year’s $89 million level. If they trade Daniel Murphy at the deadline – as many predict – payroll could actually finish lower again for the fifth straight year.

So if things are so much improved financially, and if money issues are in the rear view mirror, and attendance is rising, and now we hear revenue is projected to rise at MLB historic levels, why does it still feel like we’re in Kansas?

Inquiring minds want to know.

“I do believe that payroll will go up if we’re able to generate the kind of revenue that will support that.” ~ Sandy Alderson

Promises, promises…


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Wright Believes In His Team, Supports GM’s Decision Not To Trade Young Arm Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:25:16 +0000 david-wright

Speaking to Newsday reporter Marc Carig at his fundraiser to benefit a children’s hospital in his hometown Friday night, Mets third baseman David Wright said he supports Sandy Alderson’s decision not to trade a young arm like Steven Matz, Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard to bring in a player that can fill or upgrade a vital position.

“My focus is short term,” he said. “But I understand the long-term view of this also. We spent some pretty miserable years getting to this point. The last thing you want to do is you spend all this time getting to this point, then all of a sudden you start trading it away to go all-in on one year.”

The team captain is confident in the current team and last week said he expects this group to be playing October baseball.

“Are there some places where we probably tried to upgrade that we couldn’t? I’m sure there is. But I believe in the group that we have. I believe in our guys that we do have continuing to get better.”

“Is Sandy still trying to upgrade the roster? I’m sure,” Wright said. “But I thought going into the season that we weren’t too far off. And we’ve definitely filled a big hole for us signing Michael Cuddyer.”


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Cuddyer Downplays Injury History, Says Mets Will Challenge For NL East Supremacy Sat, 24 Jan 2015 00:45:14 +0000 michael cuddyer cage

Michael Cuddyer told Mike Puma of the NY Post that he doesn’t buy the notion he’s a “disabled list stint waiting to happen” for the Mets.

The Mets’ biggest splash this offseason was limited to 49 games last season with the Rockies, but told Puma the injuries were “freakish in nature.”

“A broken shoulder was a freak injury … which I don’t see that happening here,” Cuddyer said Thursday at Citi Field. “And because I was in a sling for eight weeks and I wanted to get back on the field, my rehab wasn’t great as far as my legs are concerned.

“There were specific reasons for the injuries. It wasn’t anything that I’m concerned with that it’s going to happen again.”

Puma adds that the Mets are betting $21 million over the next two seasons that Cuddyer, who will turn 36 just before Opening Day, can stay on the field, and will be asked to help anchor a lineup that includes two other players, David Wright and Curtis Granderson, who need strong rebound years.

Meanwhile, responding to questions that he basically represents the entire extent of the Mets offseason, and if that adds any pressure to perform, Cuddyer responded that he’s not the only big acquisition the Mets have made, and that a healthy David Wright and Matt Harvey are also big additions.

“That’s the beautiful thing about the Hot Stove League,” Cuddyer said. “A lot of people get caught up in the signings and you tend to forget who’s actually on the team.”

Since Cuddyer’s signing on November 10, the Mets have spent just $1.45 million in the 11 weeks since.

Finally, Cuddyer said the Mets already have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the Nationals and challenge them for supremacy in the NL East.


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Kevin Long Says If Hitters Can Deliver Peak Performances, Offense Will Be Pretty Good Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:37:14 +0000 kevin long

I just viewed the video on Kevin Long, who’s in Port St. Lucie, speaking to Daily News reporter John Harper on Mets Hot Stove.

The new Mets hitting coach says that if all the players remain healthy and stay on the field AND if they all deliver their peak performance or better than their peak performance, the Mets can have the type of offense they’re looking for in 2015.

“I feel pretty good about our offense. Certainly we’re gonna need them to stay healthy and be on the field. We’re gonna push them to their limits. They’re going to have to perform if not close to their peak level then above their peak level.”

“There’s going to be a few things I try to do that they’ll be uncomfortable with. But hey, I’m uncomfortable coming to a new team and working with all these new faces.”

It’s extremely rare for a team to stay healthy all year and have a lineup full of players each having the best seasons of their career. Any team that can pull that off usually wins the World Series.

We won’t really know how Long impacts this team until at least the All Star break. By then we’ll have enough of a sample size to see what kind of offense Sandy Alderson has built and if Long truly gets all these peak performances out of them.

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Nationals Talkin’ Shit, But Don’t Count Us Out Yet Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:23:14 +0000 MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

Michael Cuddyer was at Citi Field today entertaining some local kids at a charity event. Afterward while speaking to reporters, he responded to the hype surrounding the Washington Nationals being the best team in the NL East and comments by ownership and management about their powerhouse rotation.

“I think the ‘Baseball Almanac’ would be written a lot differently if you donned a champion in February every year.”

During the Nationals press conference to introduce Max Scherzer, GM Mike Rizzo lauded his new starting rotation which will be headlined by Scherzer and followed by Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez.

“We’ll stack our rotation up with anybody’s in our division, our league and maybe in baseball,” Rizzo told reporters.

Teams owner Mark Lerner called his rotation historic, saying that they could possibly allow the fewest runs ever in the National League.

The plan is to keep Zimmermann and Strasburg, and neither will be traded as some have speculated. At 88, the principle owner Ted Lerner wants to see the Nats win a World Series in his lifetime and is prepared to do anything to make that happen.

The Nationals have owned the Mets in recent years, compiling a 41-15 record against them over the last three seasons, and beating the Mets in 15 of 19 contests, outscoring them 95 to 52.

That said, they lost Mets killer Adam LaRoche and that’s gotta make some of our starters happy. Still, the road to the playoffs for the Mets goes through Washington, have we done enough to make up the 17 win gap from last season?

Is good health, a couple of bounce-back seasons, and improved performances from returning players plus the addition of Cuddyer enough to bridge and overcome that gap? It’s not impossible.

There’s a lot of optimism in Flushing these days, and sometimes great things happen when you least expect it. But silly me… You already knew that… You’re Mets fans.

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Kevin Plawecki Named MLB’s Sixth Best Catching Prospect Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:37:28 +0000 kevin plawecki

Jonathan Mayo of ranked the Mets’ Kevin Plawecki as the sixth best catching prospect in baseball, with Blake Swihart of the Red Sox taking the top spot.

“The Purdue University product has been on a fast track ever since the Mets took him with the 35th overall pick of the 2012 Draft. Plawecki has excelled at two levels in each of the last two years, playing in the 2014 Futures Game and finishing with strong showing in Triple-A.”

“Throughout his climb up the Mets’ ladder, Plawecki has shown a penchant for making consistent contact. He rarely strikes out and has hit for average at every stop, with a career .295 average entering the 2015 season. He has a contact-over-power approach, but he does have enough strength to clear some fences. Plawecki hit 11 homers in 2014 and that sounds about right in terms of what’s fair to expect in the future. Drafted as an offensive-minded backstop, Plawecki has been solid behind the plate, with good hands and enough agility to block balls well. His arm is average, and he’s never going to be the kind of catcher who completely shuts down a running game.”

Mayo’s colleague Jim Callis added that while the Mets already have Travis d’Arnaud, who ranked No. 1 among catching prospects a year ago, Plawecki could conceivably push him for the starting job in the second half of 2015.

“Plawecki doesn’t have a standout tool,” he writes. “But he also doesn’t have a weakness, as he makes repeated contact with gap power and is an efficient thrower and receiver.”

In an exclusive interview with MMO’s John Bernhardt, GM Sandy Alderson acknowledged to us that it’s a good problem to have.

“Right now we’re fortunate that we have two who are essentially major league ready. I think Plawecki is close and of such high quality. At the same time, as they sort of both converge on the major leagues, it’s a question of whether both can be accommodated.”

“I think there are circumstances under which that’s possible. For example, sharing the catching duties and then one of them playing first base a little bit or playing in the outfield. Or, during interleague games one of them DHing against left-handed pitching. I think there are ways to do it.”

“The question is really whether that’s the best use of those two resources. And it may be, because beyond those two there’s a little bit of a drop-off at least in the catching we have in the system. We’ve got a couple of very young guys that we really like, but there may be a little bit of a drop-off after Plawecki. And so we have to be careful about trying to keep both of those guys in the system.”

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Steven Matz Ranked Eighth Best LHP Prospect In Baseball Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:59 +0000 Jeff Roberson Associated Press  steven matz

Mets top prospect Steven Matz, was just ranked by Jonathan Mayo of as the eighth best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball. Top Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias was ranked first.

Scouting Grades:

Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Mayo writes:

Matz is lean, lanky and loose, firing mid-90s fastballs with ease and having the ability to reach back for more when he needs it. He throws it with sink, not only missing bats, but also generating groundball outs. His changeup is his best secondary offering, which he turns over and sinks very well. His curveball has gotten better, a big breaking ball he can keep down in the zone and is now a Major League average pitch. He doesn’t hurt himself with walks, and his overall command has improved over time.

Thoughts from Joe D.:

Matz was the Mets top draft pick in 2009 and hails from Long Island, New York. However shortly after signing with the Mets, he tore the UCL in his left elbow and lost over two years to Tommy John surgery and several associated setbacks.

But Matz is making up for lost time and since returning to the mound in 2012 he has performed spectacularly and quickly rose up the prospect rankings while impressing scouts along the way.

In 2014, Matz was the most dominant pitcher in the Mets system, leading the organization in ERA and finishing second in strikeouts. He posted a  2.24 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched for Double-A Binghamton and Advanced-A St. Lucie.

Matz also excelled in the playoffs, striking out 11 batters and taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning to lead the B-Mets to a title. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Vegas to begin the year and should make his debut at some point in the season.

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Mets Minority Share Owner Speaks On Cuba and Shortstop Situation Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:03:25 +0000 maher

During the latest episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedic host, who also happens to own a minority stake in the Mets, made light of the team’s shortstop situation.

While segueing into the recent policy change about normalizing relations with Cuba, Maher says:

I don’t know if this is legal or not, but if it gets the New York Mets a better shortstop I am so f***ing down with this.”


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MLB Ranks Syndergaard Second Best Pitching Prospect In Game Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:00:43 +0000 noah syndergaard - las vegas 51s

RHP Noah Syndergaard has been ranked by Jonathan Mayo of as the second best pitching prospect in baseball for 2015.

“Even though he was pitching at home in hitting-friendly Las Vegas, Syndergaard still managed to lead the organization in strikeouts in 2014.”

“The two-time Futures Gamer is knocking on the door with his combination of stuff and command, a fastball that can get up to 98 mph, a curve and a changeup, all of which are above-average offerings. His 3.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his career thus far speaks volumes about what he’s capable of.”

Hey Kenny Rosenthal, are you reading this?

Ranked ahead of Syndergaard and tabbed as the number one pitching prospect in baseball was Lucas Giolito of the Nationals.

Syndergaard will begin the season in Triple-A where he’ll be the ace of the Las Vegas 51s rotation that will also feature Rafael Montero, Steven Matz and Cory Mazzoni.

I wish SNY would broadcast more minor league games, especially when the Mets have the day off. It’s going to be fun watching these guys pitch this year.


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MMO Mailbag: Frustration Is Reaching Critical Mass Wed, 21 Jan 2015 03:43:48 +0000 jeff wilpon

Frank Jr. asks…

So now the Mets say they cant afford Yoan Moncada? I thought the financial problems were in the rear view mirror? I thought the Mets were ready to start tapping into the International free agent market? I thought we were going to start spending once the team’s young core of players arrived?

I am so sick and tired of constantly being stringed along by the Mets, by the Wilpons, and by Sandy Alderson.

I’m so weary of constantly having my loyalty to this team tested by their lies about things being better financially when they are obviously not. I feel like a damned idiot because I’m always giving my Mets the benefit of the doubt only to have my hopes and dreams crushed by them.

When are things going to change? Are they ever going to change or is this it? Is this the way it’s going to be from now on?

I don’t even care about the spending as much as I am concerned with the constant lying, distorting, and misrepresenting that goes on from one day to the next. I’ve never felt so down and depressed about this team as I am now. I’m ashamed to admit that my friends were right, I’ve been a gullible sap for the last five years. This hasn’t been a rebuild as much as this is what all teams without money do. The proof will be in the pudding when we watch Lucas Duda, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom all walk away when the time comes.

The Wilpons have wrecked and demolished my faith in a bright future. All I see is gray skies as long as they are running things and Alderson provides cover for them. I’ll never stop loving the Mets, I just wish they’d love me back once in a while.

Joe D. replies…

I don’t know where to begin and I’m so sorry to see a true Met fan like you reach such a breaking point. It’s sad to see such dedicated and loyal fans brought to their knees like this by such a disjointed and dysfunctional ownership who are less committed to winning as any owners I’ve ever seen.

I would suggest that you stop investing yourself so much into the propaganda that this organization has taken to new heights. Don’t believe all the hype and take nothing that comes from team brass at face value. I’m talking about buying into the constant barrage of rumors connecting them to the myriad of young stars and top flight players when there’s absolutely no truth behind them.

Unfortunately for us fans, the Mets have one of the best propaganda machines in major league baseball. It’s actually the one thing they do very well. With a gigantic cable station, and a growing network of blogs delivering the team’s talking points, they can reach hundreds of thousands each day and spin every storyline anyway they want and to great effect.

The problem is that we’re stuck with these owners and any hope that the new MLB commissioner might have had our backs went out the window last Thursday when Rob Manfred named Fred Wilpon the Chairman of MLB’s Finance Committee.

I myself don’t get that disappointed when I see players who could help the Mets win sign with other teams. I used to let that kind of stuff eat me up, but the last 2-3 years I’ve become numb to it because I’ve accepted the fact that ownership doesn’t give a damn about winning or our rich history.

The Mets are just a shiny toy to the Wilpons. A toy that they can show off to all their rich billionaire friends and celebrities. When Fred retires, the plan is for Jeff to take complete charge and even become more hands on than he’s been already.

All we could do as fans is enjoy the players, relish the occasional great moments, and create our own special memories throughout the season with our friends, family and other Met fans. There’s still plenty of Mets baseball to love on the field.

I truly feel bad for you brother, and I wish I had a better response for you. But as long as the Wilpons own this team, the lies, the deception, the misrepresentation, and the dysfunction will continue. And no, winning cannot cure that.

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Olney: Mets Are the Losers of the Max Scherzer Deal Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:29:09 +0000 Max-Scherzer-450x316

Buster Olney of ESPN lists the winners and losers of the Max Scherzer mega-deal agreed to this weekend, listing the Nationals, baseball players in general, and Scott Boras as the big winners.

The Nationals, he says, have properly groomed their trade leverage in the first 48 hours after the deal  The on-background message being dispensed through reporters is that Washington intends to keep all of its starting pitching, including Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister, who are eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

“The Nationals don’t have to address their surplus now; they have time to slow-play this, to go through the process of talking with all teams again, of even going into spring training and seeing if some injury in another camp makes another club desperate — as the Braves were last spring, after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy got hurt.”

“After letting the trade market develop, some executives with other teams fully expect the Nationals to move either Zimmermann or Fister. “Because they don’t need all six guys,” one official said. ”

He says the Marlins and the Mets are the big losers.

“The Marlins have loaded up during the offseason, investing big dollars in Giancarlo Stanton and trading for Martin Prado and Dee Gordon, but now have to overcome what appears to be a superteam to win the NL East.”

“But the Marlins are in a better position than the Mets, because not only do the Mets have to try to find a way to beat the Nationals, but they may also suffer from the wrath of a fan base increasingly angry at the team’s unwillingness to have much more than a small-market payroll.”

“The Mets are inhabitants of the best media market in the free world, with a loyal fan base built over more than a half-century — and yet they have a payroll that will be about two-thirds the size of that of the Nationals. In the eyes of a lot of Mets fans, that makes no sense. And they are right.”


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How Many Games Will Mets Win In 2015? Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:07:41 +0000 wright mets win d'arnaud

A reader sent me a link to this 2015 NL Preview from FanGraphs who project the Mets to have a 79-83 season. That total seems very low to me, and basically their expecting the Mets to have a season similar to last year. Here’s their glass half full, glass half empty takes:

Reasons for optimism

When Matt Harvey was last healthy, he was as good as any other pitcher in the whole entire world. He’s healthy now, again, and this should be the year that Noah Syndergaard arrives. Throw in an improving Zack Wheeler and a breakout Jacob deGrom and there’s plenty to hang your hat on. On the position-player side, one hopes that rest and recovery will allow David Wright to return to being a force, and Juan Lagares is perhaps baseball’s best example of a guy who contributes star-level performance while leading with his defense.

Reasons for pessimism

The same concerns that apply to Jose Fernandez apply to Matt Harvey, and Wheeler still has issues with his walks. deGrom might get worse just as fast as he got better, and it’s not like Wright is certain to get back to what he was when he was younger and awesome. If Lagares is the most exciting position player, he’s also a position player who projects to be a below-average hitter. It’s a poor man’s boom-or-bust ballclub. Does that still count as a boom-or-bust ballclub?

I’ll tell you what, the players would certainly disagree with this projection and many of them fully expect this team to be playing in the postseason this year.

David Wright recently told Kevin Kernan of the NY Post:

“For me, personally, last year sucked,” said Wright, who struggled all last season with an injured shoulder, before shutting his season down in September. “I want to make sure that never happens again. If I do what I’m capable of doing, we’re a different lineup.”

“I fully expect us to be in the playoffs,’’ Wright later told Kernan. “It’s not coming out here and boasting, but I think – where we stand right now – we’re a much better team than we were last year and in years past. You win with young, dominant pitching and we have quite a bit of that. And, offensively, we are going to be better than we have been.”

Jacob deGrom is also optimistic about a postseason run for the Mets telling Kernan:

“I think this year is going to be a lot of fun. We should have a really good team,” he said. “I think for sure we should be playing in October. Everybody plays to go to the World Series. Hopefully it all comes together this year.”

We’ve heard similar expectations from many other players this offseason including Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and Matt Harvey who says he would expect nothing less than the playoffs this season.

We’ve heard quotes like this before, but mostly from Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson – who are supposed to talk like that – never from the players, this is new. You get the real sense these guys mean business this year and I for one can’t wait for this season to get underway already.

How many games do you think the Mets will win this season?

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Where Does Mets Payroll Currently Stand Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:19:05 +0000 daniel murphy

Here is the most recent update for the Mets payroll calculating in last week’s arbitration settlements for Murphy, Tejada and Gee.

Guaranteed Contracts ($82.93M)

David Wright $20.0M
Curtis Granderson $16.0M
Bartolo Colon $11.0M
Michael Cuddyer $8.5M
Daniel Murphy $8.0M
Dillon Gee $5.4M
Jon Niese $7.0M
Bobby Parnell $3.7M
Ruben Tejada $1.88M
John Mayberry Jr. $1.45M

Arbitration Estimates ($6.5M)

Lucas Duda $4.3M
Jenrry Mejia $2.5M

That’s a total of 12 players making $89.43 million.

Using the major league minimum of $507,500 to fill the remaining 13 spots on the roster, that gives us a total of roughly $6.6 million.

Adding all of that up brings us to a total current payroll of $96.03 million.

If you trade Dillon Gee than you’re looking at an Opening Day payroll of roughly $90.63 million dollars.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, recently noted and took issue with Mets payroll level this past weekend:

“The New York Mets, who play in America’s biggest market and would have a $96.7 million team if the season started today – about $15 million less than Kansas City, $14 million lower than Cincinnati, $10 million under Milwaukee and $8 million behind Minnesota, whose four metropolitan-area populations combined aren’t half as big as the Mets’.”


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Mets To Unveil New Larger High-Def Scoreboard At Citi Field Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:46:40 +0000 citi field hi def scoreboard

The New York Mets announced today they are installing a new Daktronics high definition Citi Field center field video board that is 62% larger than the original screen.

The installation puts the Mets in the top 10 largest displays in professional baseball and makes Citi Field one of the few baseball venues to feature more than one video capable LED display in the seating bowl.

“As we look forward to a great season on the field in 2015, these significantly bigger and higher resolution video boards are state-of-the-art in size and LED technology and reinforce our commitment to provide our fans a superior experience when attending games at Citi Field,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

The new true high definition video display in centerfield will measure 54 feet high by 105 feet wide and feature a 13HD pixel layout resulting in more than 1.5 million pixels.

Two new ribbon displays along the left field fascia of the seating areas will measure approximately five feet high by 234 feet wide and five feet high by 49 feet wide respectively.

The larger display will feature sponsor messaging and the other display will track strikeouts of opposing batters by Mets pitchers via a “K-Board.”

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Fred Wilpon Is Optimistic, But Does Winning Cure All? Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:23:47 +0000 wilpon fred

David Lennon of Newsday caught up with Mets owner Fred Wilpon who is more optimistic about the 2015 season than he’s ever been over the last few seasons. Wilpon refrained from giving any details at the owners meetings last week, except to say that the Mets finally “have the horses to win.”

Lennon says that despite outward appearances, the Wilpons are not absentee landlords and they remain closely involved with every move the franchise makes, down to the smallest detail.

“So far, that hasn’t translated to winning, and nothing that either Wilpon says can change that without impactful moves.”

The resentment toward Mets ownership has reached a fevered pitch with as many as three petitions now circulating, fans organizing protests, another fan funding a pair of billboards near Citi Field, and increased pressure from mainstream media, most recently Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Last week, Matt Cerrone made an argument that if the Mets win this season it would cure all and nobody would care about the Wilpons. I posed that question to our readers and here were some of the responses I received.

El Verdadero Presidente – Winning would lower the heat, short-term. But when the owners are financially incompetent, they won’t be able to hold onto any young stars. And if we get good and then start auctioning off Harvey, Duda, Wheeler, etc, then fans will finally begin to see what we scream about here. New York wants to put its stars on pedestals, not ship them out because they’re too good.

Bo Beck – Nothing cures incompetence, it just masks it.

Clark – It does not, what it does do is get the fans back into the seats for the chance of a bigger payroll. What guarantee is there that the Wilpons raise the payroll with the profits from a winning season? I can see them using most of the profit to pay off debt and maybe increasing payroll a little.

Kevin H. – Not unless you win it all. Even if the Mets make the postseason this year but do not win it all, fans will question what could have been with a reasonable payroll.

Mad Met – Winning takes the sting out of embarrassing owners but it does not fix the problem. Good business people understand their customer base. Sadly for the Wilpons they lost touch with the fan base. They do not understand the sting of the lack of commitment to winning down to the disrespect to the Mets with the Dodger love fest.

Some Dude 718 – It’s kind of an unfair question: Incompetent owners cannot sustain winning. That’s their most important job, create a sustained winning franchise. So the actual problem is that they’re not winning, and it doesn’t look like they are willing to invest the money required to give us the best chance to start winning AND they’re also incompetent and embarrassing.

Where do you stand on this? Will a winning season wipe away any ill feelings about ownership? Has ownership done enough to produce a winning season this year? Let us know how you feel.

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Mets Not Necessarily Looking For A Major Leaguer In Return For Gee Sun, 18 Jan 2015 17:01:09 +0000 dillon gee

Here’s a new wrinkle on the Dillon Gee trade front from Mike Puma of the Post.

The Giants, Padres and Rockies continue to be potential landing spots for Gee, but an industry source indicates that at least one AL team has now shown interest in the veteran right-hander.

Additionally, the source added that the Mets no longer consider it necessary to receive a major league player in return for Gee.

While that was always a possibility, the message has mostly been they’d deal a starter to improve the active roster when the offseason began.

It was believed Gee would be dealt for either a proven lefty reliever or as part of package to acquire a solid everyday shortstop.

January 14

Joel Sherman of the NY Post hears that the Mets expect to trade a starting pitcher, most likely Dillon Gee, within the next 7-10 days.

However, it might not happen until free agent pitcher James Shields signs with a team first. The Mets are hoping Gee could be some team’s Plan B if they fail to sign Shields.

Sandy Alderson initially felt that the market would open up for Gee once Jon Lester signed but that never really happened after he agreed on a deal with the Cubs six weeks ago.

The Mets were hoping to move Gee when they were dealing with the Nationals and Rays to try and land shortstop Ian Desmond. However, they balked after the Rays insisted on Noah Syndergaard plus an additional prospect.

There have been several teams connected to Gee this offseason, with the Rockies, Giants and Twins among the teams who reportedly had the most interest in the veteran righthander.

The Mets reportedly discussed a deal for Gee with the Rockies back during the Winter Meetings, but nothing ever materialized and there’s been no buzz from either side since.

The Twins reportedly offered the Mets shortstop Eduardo Escobar for Dillon Gee, but were turned down. The Rangers also showed early interest in Gee, but suddenly backed off and talks broke down.

The Mets have repeatedly said they had no preference as to which starting pitcher they move, but it’s been pretty clear they prefer to hang onto their lone left-hander in Niese, and are unwilling to sell low on Colon.

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