Mets Merized Online » Jason Bay http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 11 Jan 2017 22:21:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.17 MMO Fan Shot: Revisiting The Scott Kazmir Trade http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mmo-fan-shot-revisiting-the-scott-kazmir-trade-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/mmo-fan-shot-revisiting-the-scott-kazmir-trade-2.html/#comments Sat, 30 Jul 2016 17:13:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=219051 scott kazmir mets

An MMO Fan Shot by Noah Rainwater

I don’t remember much about the summer of 2004. I vaguely remember turning 21 that June, taking an ill-advised trip to Atlantic City, and realizing that all casinos are not created equal. (Apparently you have to win twice at the Taj Majal, once at the table, and once again in the parking garage, successfully making it to your car without getting stabbed).

AC trips aside, I spent the majority of my summer life-guarding at a small apartment complex in Jersey. If that sounds boring to you, it’s because it was. Wake up at noon, open pool at one. Rescue children whose parents were too irresponsible to watch them. Unsuccessfully hit on mediocre chicks. Listen to Mike and the Mad Dog.

If my summer was a reality show, it would have been cancelled after the first episode.

Absolutely nothing of note happened over those three months. Nothing I can remember anyway. Except for one day. July 30. The day we traded Scott Kazmir.

A little after 4:00 P.M. a somber Eddie Coleman came on WFAN to announce that the Mets had acquired Kris Benson AND Victor Zambrano. Mad Dog, working alone that day, then asked, “So what’d the Mets give up Eddie?” “Well, they gave up a lot Chris.”Before going to work that morning I read a blurb in the Star Ledger about how the Mets were interested in Victor Zambrano. But that the deal was unlikely because Zambrano was complaining of elbow soreness and the Devil Rays were asking for Scott Kazmir. This made me laugh. The Devil Rays were known for making ridiculous trade offers. No way. Not happening.

For the first ten minutes I talked myself into the deal. I knew a little bit about Zambrano, that he had a good K/9, but control issues. I also knew Benson was a former number one pick, and at one time a top pitching prospect. So I tried to get excited about the trade(s). Then Chris took his first caller.

“Honestly Chris, what’s the point of being a Mets fan?”

That’s when it sunk in. Despair. Then anger.

Wait, did we really just trade the Mets’ top pitching prospect  for Victor Zambrano?

Here’s eight thoughts on the deal.

scott kazmir rays

VALUE

Even if Scott Kazmir had blown out his arm, never pitched a day in the majors, and Zambrano won multiple CY Young awards, the trade still would have been a failure from a value standpoint. After the trade, Texas came out and said they would have considered trading Mark Teixeira in a Kazmir package. The Phillies mentioned that they would have parted with their slugging minor league first basemen, Ryan Howard, who was blocked behind Jim Thome at the time. Even if the reports were just heresay, there’s no denying the fact that on the day of the trade, July 30, 2004, Scott Kazmir was the top pitching prospect in baseball. A highly regarded, 20 year old lefty, with a high 90’s fastball and plus slider. He certainly could have brought back a lot more than a pitcher who was best known for leading the AL in walks, wild pitches, and hit batsmen. If Kazmir was worth a dollar, the Mets sold him for a nickel.

IMPULSE

When Texas came out and said they would have entertained trading Teixeira for Kazmir, there were two messages being sent. The previously mentioned point that Kazmir was worth a lot more than what the Mets got. And the second, and one that’s equally important, is that no one knew Kazmir was available. Which probably means that Kazmir wasn’t available, at least not until the Devil Rays asked for him. This is fine of course. The problem that occurs is, once the Mets internally decide that they are willing to trade him, they never stop and think, “Hey maybe we can get someone better than Victor Zambrano for Kazmir?” A month earlier, the front office viewed Kazmir as the teams future ace, and virtually untouchable. Then, after a better than expected record in July, they send him packing without even letting other teams know he was available? The trade reeks of an impulse buy. Like the time a 19 year old me spent two thousand dollars on a set of 18’ Lexani Rims, after putting a total of 15 minutes thought into the purchase.

Mom: “I thought you were saving that money to study abroad?”

Me: “Um……well…….Um……..Look how shiny they are!”

WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE?

Following the trade, rumors leaked that Jeff Wilpon, and not GM Jim Duquette, was in charge of roster decisions. Reports surfaced that Al Lieter hadn’t liked Kazmir, dating back to a spring training incident involving clubhouse music, and that Lieter and Tom Glavine were known to play golf with Jeff Wilpon. Were they an influence in trading Kazmir? And why was Rick Peterson, the teams pitching coach, allowed so much input regarding the trade? Did Peterson’s opinion trump Duquette’s? The question as to who was actually in charge became a big debate for the rest of the season. Only later would it be confirmed that the Mets had far too many voices making decisions about the roster. Or as Jim Duquette puts it in this 2006 New York Times article, “We had too many cooks in the kitchen, In that situation, if someone disagrees, he might not speak up. The loudest voices are the ones that get heard. It does become sort of like a mob mentality.”

MLB: FEB 17 Mets Spring Training

INCOMPETENCE AND DISTRUST

After the Kazmir trade there was a distrust between fans and ownership. And rightfully so. In the aftermath of the trade, a slew of rumors came out about the Mets and how they run their front office. Rumors the Mets denied. But as a fan, even the most optimistic, you couldn’t help but think that the people in charge of your favorite team were vastly incompetent. And to top it off, they were now lying about it. The whole thing came across like a bad corporate cover up. Even 12 years later, I still find myself doubting almost everything ownership says.

15 MINUTE RICK

Rick Peterson’s Met obituary is a short one. Six words to be exact. I’ll fix him in 15 minutes. When he retires from baseball, Peterson will be remembered for helping develop the big three of Mulder, Hudson, and Zito. Maybe people will also praise his many innovations in the study of pitching mechanics. But Met fans will most likely remember him for the influence he had in trading Kazmir for Zambrano. It’s not totally fair. The Mets could have said something like “Hey Rick, we’re gonna try to get Zambrano for you, but there’s no effing way we’re trading Kazmir for him.” Peterson never should have had the power to be so influential in the decision. But he was. And his arrogance, and subsequent failure to “fix” Zambrano, is what a lot of Mets fans will remember.

POOR VICTOR ZAMBRANO

I always felt kind of bad for Victor. It’s not like he was a free agent we gave big money to and didn’t perform (I’m looking at you, Jason Bay). I think he always knew who he was as a player. A fringe major league starter with control issues. It’s not like he told the Mets to make the deal. I can only imagine how the conversation went after the trade went through.

Rays Manager: Hey Vic, we just traded you to the Mets.

Zambrano: Oh… Did you get anything good back for me?

Rays Manager: Ha! Yeah we did… Scott Kazmir, only the best lefthanded pitching prospect in baseball! Don’t worry, no pressure Vic…

2007 COLLAPSE

Kazmir s big league career may have never lived up to the expectations we all had back in 2004. For one season however, it did. In 2007 he led the league in strikeouts and made the All-Star team. His final numbers: 206 IP, 3.48 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 239 K’s. Do the Mets collapse in 2007 if Kazmir is pitching every 5th day? It’s a fair question to ask.

PEDRO, CARLOS, AND OMAR

After the 2003 season, Omar Minaya was offered the GM job to share with Jim Duquette. They would be co-general managers and have equal power. Minaya declined the offer. After the embarrassment of the Kazmir trade and another losing season, Wilpon offered Minaya the full time gig in the fall of 2004. Telling Omar, “ We’ve become totally irrelevant.” The rest is Mets history. Omar convinces ownership that they must spend money to compete in the New York market. Taking almost the opposite approach of Jim Duquette and his “we won’t sign anyone to more than a three year contract” method that ended up costing us Vladimir Guerrero the previous offseason. The Mets went out and spent big on Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, and traded for highly priced first basemen Carlos Delgado. If Kazmir comes up to Shea in 2004, does he create enough buzz that Fred sticks with Duquette another season? Do we not then sign Pedro and Beltran?

It’s been a little over eight years since the Kazmir trade, and in that time the sting has mostly worn off. Scott Kazmir never won a Cy Young or a World Series. He never became Nolan Ryan or Dwight Gooden. Time, will undoubtedly diminish the significance of the trade. The incompetence of it eventually fading away behind the Mets’ more recent incompetence. In 20 years when a young fan reads about it, he will see only the career stats of both pitchers. Never truly knowing what a colossal blunder the trade was at the time. Even now, I still wonder how Tampa was able to pry Kazmir from the Mets? How could they have ripped us off so badly? It’s as if Jeff Wilpon stumbled into the wrong casino, and there in the parking deck were the Devil Rays, holding a knife, asking for his blue chip.

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This MMO Fan Shot was submitted by MMO reader Noah Rainwater. Have something you want to say about the Mets?  Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com.

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All-Time “He Was Good Until He Went to the Mets” Team http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/all-time-he-was-good-until-he-went-to-the-mets-team.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/07/all-time-he-was-good-until-he-went-to-the-mets-team.html/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 16:00:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=217606 jason bay

“He was good. Until he went to the Mets.”

If you’re a Mets fan, there’s a solid chance you say or hear that sentence at least ten times per year. The Mets have had several notable occurrences of “He Was Good Until He Went To The Mets” syndrome over their five decades of play, and countless players have fallen prey to it.

When the Mets turned 50, they released an “All-Time Team” to remember the greats who wore the orange and blue. But if you’re a die-hard Mets fan, you know that the greats are only half of the story. For every Keith Hernandez, there’s a Mo Vaughn. For every Mike Piazza, there’s a Jim Fregosi. For every… you get it.

So now we have an all-time “He Was Good Until He Went To The Mets Team.” This team was built with the players at each position who had the best careers prior to a lackluster stay with the Mets:

Catcher - Yogi Berra

After Berra was fired as Yankees manager in 1964, the Mets immediately scooped him up as a player/coach. Many people don’t even realize that Berra played for the Mets– albeit for four games in 1965. He went 2-for-9, and retired after striking out three times in a game for the second time ever on May 9. The American icon went on to coach and manage with the Mets for the next decade, including in a memorable run to the World Series in 1973.

First Baseman - Mo Vaughn

Vaughn looked like a potential Hall of Famer when he played for the Red Sox and Angels. From 1993-2000, an average season for Vaughn was .305/.394/.552 with 35 home runs and 111 RBI. But it was all downhill after the 2000 season. He missed all of 2001 with a torn bicep and was traded to the Mets for Kevin Appier prior to the 2002 season.
While Appier won 14 games and helped the Angels win the 2002 World Series,

Vaughn did little for the Mets. His first year with the team was far below his pre-injury averages– albeit not awful. He batted .259/.349/.456 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI. However, he played in just 27 games in 2003 and missed all of 2004 with a career-ending knee injury. The Mets paid him $46 million dollars over these three seasons to play in just 158 games.

Vaughn is perhaps best remembered by Mets fans for his weight issues; despite once weighing 225 pounds, Vaughn had skyrocketed to 275 pounds when he was with the Mets. This led to many an angry call into “Mike and the Mad Dog.”

Second Baseman - Roberto Alomar

Alomar has a plaque in Cooperstown today, but it’s safe to say this has little to do with his time on the Mets.
Much like Vaughn, Alomar was acquired from the Indians during the 2002 offseason to revitalize the team. The Mets would be acquiring a 32-year-old player who had made 12 consecutive All-Star teams and won 11 consecutive Gold Gloves.

Both of these streaks ended once he came to the Mets. Alomar batted just .266/.331/.376 in 2002, and after putting up similar numbers the following season, was traded to the White Sox in July of 2003. Alomar played just one more season before calling it a career.
The trades for Vaughn and Alomar helped end Steve Phillips’ time as GM of the Mets, who was fired in 2003.

(Dis)Honorable mention #1 - Carlos Baerga

Baerga was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby to record consecutive seasons of 200+ hits, 20 home runs and 100 RBI when he did so in 1992 and 1993. After he was traded to the Mets in 1996, he never reached any of these plateaus again.

(Dis)Honorable mention #2 - Luis Castillo

Castillo won three Gold Gloves with the Marlins, yet is best remembered as a Met for failing to catch a pop-up. Enough said.

Phillies vs Mets

Shortstop: Kaz Matsui

Matsui is a legend in Japan, where he batted .309/.362/.486 with 150 home runs and 306 steals from from 1995-2003. This 2003 scouting report on ESPN.com called him “More talented than Hideki Matsui,” and the “Best all-around player [in Japan] since Ichiro left.”

So when Matsui decided to take his talents to America, the Mets signed him to a three-year, $20 million contract prior to the 2004 season. The team was so confident in his abilities that it moved highly-touted shortstop prospect Jose Reyes to second base to make room for Matsui.

Unlike the other Matsui in New York at the time, Kaz failed to meet expectations. He batted just .256/.308/.363 in three injury-plagued seasons with the Mets. He was traded to the Rockies in June of 2006. He spent the next four seasons with the Rockies and Astros before heading back to Japan in 2011.

In case you’re wondering, Matsui still plays in Japan for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, where he batted .256/.324/.366 with ten home runs and 48 RBI in 126 games last season.

Third Base - Jim Fregosi

Before the days of David Wright, the Mets struggled to find an everyday third baseman throughout much of their early history. In fact, they had eight different starting third basemen from 1962-1971.

The Mets hoped to put an end to these woes when they acquired Jim Fregosi from the Angels in December of 1971. Fregosi was a six-time All-Star with a bWAR of 44.8 and an OPS+ of 119 from 1963-1970. But a down season in 1971 made him expendable for the Angels, who traded him to the Mets for some young pitcher named Nolan Ryan.

Unfortunately for the Mets, the man bought in to be the third baseman of the future had a short and forgettable stay in Flushing. He batted an abysmal .233/.319/.328 with five home runs and 43 RBI in 146 games in 1972 and 1973. The Mets’ search for a star third baseman would continue until Howard Johnson made his debut with the team in 1985. Meanwhile, Nolan Ryan went on to throw over 5,000 strikeouts and seven no-hitters en route to the Hall of Fame.

Outfield - Jason Bay

After a season in which Daniel Murphy led the Mets with just 12 home runs, the Mets were in desperate need of a power hitter. So they signed Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract. Bay came to the Mets with seven consecutive seasons of at least 20 home runs and 80 RBI, and was coming off a season in which he hit 36 home runs and 119 RBI with the Red Sox.

In three years with the Mets, Bay hit just 26 home runs and 124 RBI. He batted just .234/.318/.369, and had his contract terminated prior to the 2013 season.

Outfield – Vince Coleman 

Coleman stole 549 bases during the first six seasons of his career with the Cardinals. He is one of just four players in the modern era to steal over 100 bases in a season, which he did three times from 1985-1987.

It looked like the Mets were signing the next Lou Brock when they signed him in 1990. What they got was one of the biggest embarrassments in team history. Coleman, who played with the Mets from 1991-1993, never played more than 100 games in a season.

Aside from the disappointing on-field performance, his off-field behavior was even worse. He was gone for good after he was charged with felony a firecracker at a group of fans at Dodger Stadium, which injured three people– including a two-year-old girl. Prior to this dubious incident, he injured Dwight Gooden by swinging a golf club in the clubhouse and had been suspended for feuding with manager Jeff Torborg.

willie mays

OutfieldWillie Mays:

The “Say Hey Kid” was traded to the Mets in the middle of the 1972 season. Mays was 41 at the time, and was hardly the player he used to be. He hit just .238/.352/.294 in 135 games with the Mets from 1972-1973 to finish out his career.

Unlike many of the players on the “He Was Good Until He Went to the Mets” team, Mays is still looked at with reverence by the organization and fans, so much so that his No. 24 jersey has remained mostly out of circulation since he retired.

(Dis)Honorable Mention #1 - Bobby Bonilla

Many Mets fans would probably put Bonilla over Mays on this list, but from a purely numerical standpoint, Bonilla was actually not awful. He made two All-Star teams in four seasons while he recorded an OPS+ over 120 in each of his first four years with the team.

(Dis)Honorable Mention #2 - George Foster

Much like Bonilla, Foster didn’t live up to the hype of his five-year, $10 million contract, the second-largest in baseball history in 1982, but still put up decent numbers. Foster had at least 20 home runs in three of his five years with the Mets and had two years with a WAR over 1.5.

(Dis)Honorable Mention #3 - Duke Snider

Snider was a Hall of Famer and fan-favorite in New York as a Brooklyn Dodger before the team relocated to Los Angeles in 1958. He came back to New York in 1963 when he was sold to the Mets, where he batted .243/.345/.401 with 14 homers and 45 RBI in his only season with the team.

New York Yankees v New York Mets

Starting Pitcher - Pedro Martinez

Pedro signed a four-year, $53 million dollar contract with the Mets in December of 2004. This represented a new era in Mets history, and was a major factor in persuading Carlos Beltran to sign. However, he contributed little on the field after the first year of his deal.

Martinez’s first season with the Mets was electrifying, as he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and a league-leading 0.949 WHIP and 4.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After this season,Pedro would never make more than 24 starts in a season again, and recorded a 4.74 ERA throughout his remaining time with the Mets. A healthy Pedro could have made all the difference in 2007 and 2008, when the Mets were eliminated on the last day of the season.

Starting Pitcher - Tom Glavine

Glavine was one of the best pitchers of his era with the Braves, and was pretty solid with the Mets as well. He went 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA during his five seasons in New York. But he will always be remembered for his performance on the final day of the 2007 season, when he allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning to the last-place Marlins. Not a good time to have the worst start of your career.

Starting Pitcher - Warren Spahn

As a Brave, Spahn averaged 20 wins from 1947-1963. But after going 6-13 with a 5.29 ERA in 1964, he was sold to the Mets.
Much like Berra, Spahn had an oft-forgotten abbreviated cameo with the Mets in 1965. He was purchased and given both a spot in the rotation and the title of pitching coach.

Spahn had won 356 games prior to joining the Mets, and still believed that he could get to 400 wins when he joined the team. This proved to be a fruitless endeavor, however, as the 44-year-old went just 4-12 with a 4.36 ERA before being released midseason.

While on the Mets, Spahn was reunited with Casey Stengel, who he had played under with the Boston Braves in 1942. Reminiscing on his time with the Mets, Spahn once said: “I’m probably the only guy who worked with Stengel before and after he was a genius.”

Relief Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez

The 2008 Mets’ bullpen was so bad that had their games ended in the eighth inning, they would have won the NL East by 12 games rather than losing it by three games. So that offseason, they signed Francisco Rodriguez, who was fresh off setting a single-season record with 62 saves, to a three-year, $37 million contract.

Rodriguez failed as a member of the Mets. His ERA ballooned to 3.71 in 2009– more than a run higher than it had been in 2008. He suffered a season-ending thumb injury in August of 2010 by assaulting his girlfriend’s father following a loss. “K-Rod” was traded to the Brewers in a salary-dump trade in 2011, where he has since made two All-Star teams.

Relief Pitcher - J.J. Putz

Putz recorded a 5.22 ERA as the setup man in 2009 before suffering a season-ending elbow injury that June. Putz was a stellar closer for the Mariners prior to 2009, as he had a 3.07 ERA and 101 saves in his six-year tenure with the team. After his time with the Mets, he recorded two 30-plus save seasons with the Diamondbacks in 2011 and 2012.
Putz later said that the Mets never gave him a physical upon acquisition. As Mets fans found out last year, medicals are rather important.

Manager - Art Howe

Howe was bought in in 2003 to be the Mets’ manager following Bobby Valentine‘s firing. Howe was the hottest managerial name on the market, as he had just led the Athletics to three consecutive playoff appearances. If he could lead the $40 million payroll Oakland A’s to three straight playoff appearances. Imagine what he could do with more than double that budget?

Not much. Howe went 137-186 in his two years on the job. He was fired following the 2004 season, and never managed again after leaving the Mets.

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MMO Exclusive: Jason Bay Wishes Things Could Have Been Better With Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mmo-exclusive-jason-bay-wishes-things-could-have-been-better-with-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/06/mmo-exclusive-jason-bay-wishes-things-could-have-been-better-with-mets.html/#comments Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:23:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=214605 jason bay hanging head

From All-Star to disappointment; that’s what fans saw as Jason Bay took the podium last night representing the Pirates at the 2016 MLB Draft.

Pittsburgh fans had a two-time All-Star and a middle-of-the-order slugger. Mets fans, however, saw what could have been, rather than what was.

Bay, in the area for the first time since retiring in 2013, holds similar feelings about his time in New York.

“When I look back,” he told MMO. “I just wish I had done better.”

Bay hit just .234 with 26 home runs in three seasons with the Mets after signing a 4-year, $66 million contract. He was bought out of his contract in 2012.

“I don’t regret it by any means, but I went there to do a job and I didn’t do it,” Bay said candidly about his Mets career. “Ultimately I live with that. It’s a performance-based game, it’s ‘what have you done?’ And I didn’t get it done.”

Bay said he was thrilled to see the Amazin’s capture the National League Pennant last season, and marveled at the quality of the “amazing” pitching staff. The 37-year-old still keeps in touch with several former teammates, including David Wright.

“Nobody cares more than he does,” he said. “He signed with the Mets at a time where things weren’t going well. He wanted to be here. He’s loyal to the Wilpons, he’s loyal to the team, and that goes a long way.”

Bay, who endured two concussions and a broken rib in New York, said injuries were one of the most infuriating parts of his Mets tenure.

“The toughest part is when you’re not healthy, there’s nothing you can do,” he said. “You can’t do anyone any good and that’s a very frustrating feeling.”

While he said he sympathizes with Wright’s situation, Bay stopped short of likening their struggles with injuries.

“I didn’t really build up any good will, I kind of came in here with expectations and didn’t get it done,” he said. “David’s built up an endless supply of good will in my opinion.”

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It’s Opening Day, And What Could Be Better? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/its-opening-day-and-what-could-be-better.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/its-opening-day-and-what-could-be-better.html/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:46:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=178302 mets fans citi

It’s Opening Day, and what could be better?

There’s a little extra kick in your step this morning and getting out of bed wasn’t the drag it usually is… You woke up smiling as the little voices in your head said, It’s Opening Day, baby!”

The Mets and you are tangled in a deep, long-term love affair… And every year at this time your palms get a little sweaty, your heart is racing, and you find yourself constantly checking the time as we get closer and closer to the first pitch and the sounds of leather popping and the crack of the bat. It has all the feel and excitement of a first date and in many ways it is. For most of us the Mets represent the longest relationship we’ve ever had in our lives. We’re never gonna divorce them, we’re never gonna leave them. Face it, this is true love.

This Opening Day in particular feels extra special compared to years past. I’ve completely bought into the plan and I’m emotionally invested in this team and all the players.

Like any other MLB team, the Mets begin the new season with some questions and are far from perfect, but you just know that this year is going to be different. This year is going to be special. I’m not saying we’re gonna win 108 games and bulldoze through the league and the division. But I believe we have an 86 win team with a chance at 90 wins if things break right, and after the last six seasons I’ll take it!

matt harvey dark knight

I’m excited to see Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom pitch together for the first time ever and form one of the most lethal 1-2 punches in the league. I’m looking forward to seeing Juan Lagares develop into the rising star I always believed he’d be. I’m dying to see Jenrry Mejia do that thing he does after closing out a game, and watching Lucas Duda launching baseballs over the wall and chugging around the bases.

We have a great team! I love the blend of young emerging talent and the proven veterans. Suddenly we went from having one player with post season experience in David Wright, to having Granderson, Cuddyer, Mayberry, Colon, Blevins and Torres, all with postseason experience, and don’t underestimate the importance of that.

matt reynolds steven matz

And what about Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Akeel Morris, Matt Reynolds, Kevin Plawecki and all that other great talent on the way? This team is finally built for success and we have the minor league pipeline to sustain it.

For once I actually agree with manager Terry Collins who said, “We have high expectations. This is the year. It’s time to win. We’ve got a good team. We’ve got a great clubhouse. We’re going to compete.”

Yes, we still have some questions, but who doesn’t? The important thing is we have the elite pitching and once you have that the rest is just small potatoes. Great pitching always beats great hitting. Great pitching wins championships.

It’s Opening Day! So don’t be afraid to Dream a little, and it’s okay to Believe for a day… That’s what it’s all about.

It’s Opening Day, and what could be better.

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After A Slow Start, Granderson Has Quieted His Critics http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/after-a-slow-start-granderson-has-quieted-his-critics.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/after-a-slow-start-granderson-has-quieted-his-critics.html/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 19:15:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160343 Curtis - Granderson

I think it is safe to say that Curtis Granderson has been one of the most offensively productive players in the league since April 29th. Mets fans remember the slow start that Granderson got off too, which drew comparisons to Jason Bay from the harshly critical Mets Twitter community.

In a recent article on ESPNNewYork.com, Adam Rubin noted that Granderson has the seventh-best OPS at .895 since April 29th. The six players that rank above him during that span are all All-Stars.

Furthermore, Granderson is batting .276 with twelve homeruns, and has been a patient slugger drawing 41 walks, which ranks 2nd most in the majors during that span.  His ability to work the count has increased the amount of hittable pitches he has targeted recently.

During Monday’s game against the Braves, Granderson was able to get around on a fastball on the outside part of the plate and hit a homerun over the right-field wall to tie the game in the 8th inning. Those are the clutch RBI’s the Mets need from a guy like Granderson, especially with David Wright not putting up David Wright numbers. Six of Grandy’s homeruns this season have came against left-handed pitching which has quieted those believed he needed to be in a platoon-role.

What does all this mean? In most cases, don’t doubt a proven slugger who is healthy. If the guy is healthy, he will (in most cases) figure it out and produce at a level that is norm to him. Sure, Jason Bay is still fresh in the minds of Mets fans, but I believe it is safe to say that Granderson is a piece of what the Mets hope will be a contending team over the next few years.

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From Left Field: Mets Have No Luck With Free Agents http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/from-left-field-mets-have-no-luck-with-free-agents.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/from-left-field-mets-have-no-luck-with-free-agents.html/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:16:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154034 MLB Opening Day at Citi Field

We’ve played about a month of the season, and already the Mets’ prized free agent of the offseason – Curtis Granderson – has appeared lost at the plate.

As a Met fan, I understand what patience truly is, but Granderson’s struggles are certainly alarming for a player who has not only experienced success but has also done so in New York.

With a $15 million per year price tag, Granderson is going to play every day. If that’s the case, please Terry, get him out of the No. 2 hole. All he does is kill rallies, so I’d say bat him sixth or seventh until he figures it out.

Granderson’s slow start in Flushing got me thinking that this organization really has no luck when it comes to bringing in high-profile free agents.

From Vince Coleman, to Bobby Bonilla, to Kaz Matsui and of course to Jason Bay – arguably the worst of them all – good players sometimes forget how to play when they arrive here.

Some guys, like Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, were traded to the Mets before flopping completely.

And other guys, like Pedro Martinez, Frankie Rodriguez and Johan Santana, were productive for a time but will always be remembered for their injuries in New York.

Really, the only guys I can think of that played well after a free-agent contract were Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran.

Piazza of course was acquired via trade and would sign a seven-year, $91 million contract. Sure, he wasn’t the same player the final few years, but his production during the prime of his Mets career lived up to that contract.

As for Beltran, he may have gotten off to a slow start after signing a seven-year, $119 million, but he very quietly put together a solid Mets career. The strikeout against Adam Wainwright may cast a dark cloud over his Mets legacy, but he did have some good years in orange and blue.

It’s an unfortunate trend that the Mets have had so much trouble striking gold on the free-agent market. If things don’t turn around for Granderson, he could be next on the long list of Mets free-agent flops.

But luckily for Curtis, his Mets tenure has just begun. Guys go through slumps to start a season all the time. Keep in mind, he missed most of last year, so he’s still trying to rediscover his stroke.

Frankly, I don’t even care about the low batting average or the strikeouts as long as he’s driving in runs. He’s not all of a sudden going to transform into a .300 hitter.

It’s all about making productive outs and driving in runs when given the opportunity. Striking out with runners on second and third and nobody is unacceptable, especially for a middle of the order type hitter.

Since the other Mets are struggling offensively as well, Granderson’s woes are that much more noticeable, since he was brought in to give some stability to the offense and some protection behind David Wright.

For Granderson, I’ve already been hearing the Jason Bay comparisons. Through the first few weeks, “The Grandyman Can’t,” but he still has some time before a change is necessary.

It’s not like Bobby Abreu is going to be playing right field every day…

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Mets Owners Dodge Huge Debt Payment, New Loan In Place http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-owners-dodge-huge-debt-payment-new-loan-finalized.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/02/mets-owners-dodge-huge-debt-payment-new-loan-finalized.html/#comments Sat, 22 Feb 2014 15:33:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=148732 Outside a miraculous recovery by Matt Harvey, the New York Mets have the best possible news today. On the day of their first full squad workout, the Mets finalized their refinancing, reported The New York Post.

So, if Fred and Jeff Wilpon are spotted smiling on one of the fields in Port St. Lucie, you’ll know why.

The Wilpon family, stung in the Ponzi scandal, were five weeks from having to make a $250 million payment on an expiring loan. Had the loan been called, it is questionable whether the Mets could have come up with the money.

wilpon collinsReportedly, the Mets lost $10 million last season, but with their payroll to be under $100 million for a third straight year and Major League Baseball’s new television contract, they could turn a profit this season.

The new loan, which is for five years and headed by Bank of America, is for the Libor average plus 3.25 percent. According to the report, the Mets did not have to pay down their former loan to make this one happen or shell out one shiny nickel.

The Mets, who are currently valued at $1 billion, still need to have Major League Baseball approve the deal, which will be a formality.

Irving Picard, who was assigned to recovering funds for victims in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandal, initially sued the Wilpons for $1 billion, which would have necessitated selling the Mets. However, the courts reduced that to $386 million.

The Mets’ financial restraints were loosened this winter with the signings of Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young. However, that did not represent any new spending, but merely replacing some of the dollars freed up by expiring contracts on Jason Bay and Johan Santana.

While that was an encouraging sign, as is the re-financing, don’t expect a spending spree next winter and the team to return to the days of a $143 million payroll.

If the Mets are competitive this season with a $90 million payroll, they will likely increase spending in small increments. At least that’s the hope.

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Granderson Stands By His Statement That True New Yorkers Are Mets Fans http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/granderson-stands-by-his-statement-about-true-new-yorkers-being-mets-fans.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/granderson-stands-by-his-statement-about-true-new-yorkers-being-mets-fans.html/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 00:53:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=142203 curtis granderson]

After signing his new four-year deal with the Mets, outfielder Curtis Granderson created a stir – especially in the Yankees blogosphere – when he said “true New Yorkers are Mets fans.”

Keven Kernan of the New York Post caught up with Grandy while he was visiting the children at Nathan Hale Elementary and Heritage Middle Schools in Chicago.

Granderson said he has no regrets about his statement. In fact, he feels even stronger about his words now.

“My comment wasn’t a dig at anybody, it was just some things that people said to me on a consistent basis,’’ Granderson said. “I’m excited to see the New York sports fans that are Mets fans come out in droves. I’ve heard great things about the past, and now to get a chance to be a part of it in the present and the future, I’m very optimistic about it.”

“It feels awesome to be introduced as a Met,’’ Granderson told the students. Asked about the Yankees he said, “I’m looking to beat the Yankees when we play them. We play them four times in the season and who knows, we might play them in the biggest series of them all, the World Series.’’

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon who made the trip to Chicago to support Granderson’s foundation, agreed, and said he’s excited for what Granderson brings to the Mets.

“I thought it was a great comment,” Wilpon said. “I knew it was going to be controversial, but he’s speaking from the heart, and if that’s what he feels, guess what, he’s the type of guy who can back it up. He’s a Met now. He’s turned the page. Curtis brings an outside view to the organization, and that’s a good thing. I’m very happy to get to know him.’’

Granderson recognizes the need to back up those comments on the field, and he is excited to be in a leadership role with the Mets, writes Kernan.

I’m loving this guy so much already even though he has yet to take one swing in a Mets uniform. Something about him feels right as opposed to when we signed Jason Bay. Maybe it’s the fact he missed most of last season with freak injuries and all he can do is go up from there, but I believe it’s his personality which seems to be just right for this team and this town.

Presented By Diehards

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Jason Bay Likely To Retire http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/jason-bay-likely-to-retire.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/jason-bay-likely-to-retire.html/#comments Sat, 11 Jan 2014 23:03:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139483 jason bay

Former Mets outfielder Jason Bay tells Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca that he does not foresee a situation where he would continue his playing career and so he is “essentially retiring”.

Bay had contemplated an offer to play in Japan, however the 35-year old believes it is time to focus on family.

Bay finishes his career with a .266/.360/.481 slash, 222 career home runs and 754 RBIs in 1278 games over 11 years.

Prior to the 2010 season, Bay signed a 4-year, $66 million deal with the Mets, ending in disaster. The two parties agreed to part ways in November of 2012.

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MMO Fan Shot: Replacing What Was Lost, Will $29.25 Million Suffice? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mmo-fan-shot-replacing-what-was-lost-will-29-25-million-suffice.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/01/mmo-fan-shot-replacing-what-was-lost-will-29-25-million-suffice.html/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:30:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=139186 fred wilpon

An MMO Fan Shot by Ryan Flanagan

Recent off-seasons for the Metropolitans have been full of angst, speculation and in the end, money unspent and fans restless. As the Mets were a top three spender of all MLB franchises just a few years ago, the team’s off-the-field financial decisions, most notably the participation in the ill-famed Ponzi scheme run by Bernie Madoff, have limited the club’s ability to take on payroll in recent years.

The team has strayed from handing big money contracts to top-tier free agents and has instead taken a course of building through the draft, grooming prospects to field a perennial contender similar to that baseball team a borough away did in the late 1990s.

The 2013 offseason was, as promised the past couple seasons by the front office, supposed to be the fruitful acquisition of talent to make the Mets a legit contender entering the 2014 season. An injury to Matt Harvey had derailed much of the hope that this team could in fact contend this year, but it still should have had no impact on who the team was set to acquire towards the future. As we stand at the turn of the calendar year, have the Mets offseason moves warranted any excitement? Moreover, have the Mets offseason moves even replaced what was lost? For that, we analyze:

The 2013 season was certainly a career year for Marlon Byrd. Signed to be a backup’s backup, the Mets had no intention of Byrd, coming off suspension for using estrogen to mask PEDs, to produce anywhere near what he accomplished last year. In a split season for the Mets and Pirates, Byrd hit .291 with 24 home runs and 88 RBIs. That, at a payroll cost of only $700,000. (Even less to the Mets, who shipped him to Pittsburgh for a quarter of the season and with a pro-rated share of the remaining owed salary. His replacement will be making $12,300,000 more than Byrd did in 2013.

Last season was a also monumental year for young ace Matt Harvey. His first full rookie season provided the most buzz around the Mets since 2006 notching 178.1 IP with 191 SOs and a dazzling 2.27 ERA. To the dismay of Met fans everywhere and any true fan of the game, Harvey’s season was tragically cut short with a need for Tommy John surgery, shelving Matt for the entire 2014 season.

Both these players, the team’s most productive pitcher and arguably the team’s most productive hitter in 2013, are not on the roster for 2014. So, what have the Mets done to replace that production? Enter Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson.

granderson

Pressured to make a move, the Mets quietly acquired Granderson coming off his worst and most injury-plagued season notching just 7 HRs and 15 RBIs over 60 games. The prior year, Granderson smashed 43 home runs and netted 106 RBIs in the friendly and borderline laughable confines of Yankee Stadium’s “Little League” dimensions. Pull-happy home runs don’t occur with frequency at Citi Field, and Granderson stands a much better chance to hit doubles and triples than the long ball.

Playing the opposite corner outfield position, Chris Young was signed on a one year, 7.25 million dollar deal coming off his worst offensive season to date batting just .200 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. The Mets are hoping to rekindle Young’s 2010 All-Star caliber season in which he hit 27 home runs and 91 RBIs in Arizona.

Lastly, in an attempt to replace Harvey’s loss in the rotation, the Mets signed 40+ year old Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $20 million dollar contract coming off a season that was arguably better than his 2005 Cy Young performance, notching a 2.65 ERA over 190.1 innings. The “Big 3” offseason moves equate to a tune of $29.25 million in payroll acquisitions for 2014 with Granderson making $13 million, Colon making $9 million and Young making $7.25 million in 2014.

2013 was also the year of addition-by-subtraction in that the Mets freed themselves from Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco’s contracts to a tune of roughly $50 million dollars. That’s $50 million dollars that came off the books towards 2014 of which only $29.25 million has been replaced to-date. That’s a difference of $18.75 million dollars.

The Mets have failed to replace the payroll that was freed this offseason, even though on the surface it appears the Mets have certainly spent. Does this mean that the Mets will surely fail? Absolutely not.

It is, however, rather disturbing that the Mets, whom play in the largest market in the nation and have a fanbase that ranks in the Top 5 in spending power and strength in numbers, fail to maintain a payroll in the top half of MLB franchises.

The fact that this was the “big offseason” where they had all that money coming off the books to spend, and so far in early January have failed to even replace what was lost, is disturbing.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Ryan Flanagan. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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This Day In Mets Infamy With Rusty: Random Thoughts On Bartolo Colon http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-bartolo-colon.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/this-day-in-mets-infamy-with-rusty-random-thoughts-on-bartolo-colon.html/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 17:04:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=135333 bartolo colon

Last night as I was getting comfortable on my couch, I was scanning the twitterverse and lo and behold what breaking news did I see but the unofficial announcement that the Mets had signed veteran starting pitcher, Bartolo Colon to a 2-year/$20 million dollar contract pending a physical. Obviously this set Mets Twitter on the verge of nuclear meltdown, the likes that no one has seen since Jason Bay agreed to that fateful 3-year/$66 million dollar contract.

Then I got to thinking: What does this mean to the average Mets fan and how does this affect the Mets over the course of the next 2 years? So here are some random thoughts on the signing of Bartolo – or as the newly signed outfielder, Chris Young refers to him as – ToeLo.

Bartolo’s uniform number should be the same as his waist size (50).

Part of Colon’s contract is that he gets his own show on SNY called Bartolo vs Food.

I wonder who would win in a Sumo wrestling match in a ring filled with Jell-O, him or Mo Vaughn ?

With Bartolo on the mound there is no need for infielders – because he is the infield.

Bartolo makes me look svelte.

He gets his own personal “Shake Shack!”

I bet he doesn’t find salmon tasty.

And lastly, and in all seriousness, this is a good signing that hopefully will help the Mets compete in 2014.

And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!!

Sadly on this date in 1992, Rube Walker – the Mets pitching coach/guru from ’68-’81 – passed away.

The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder, Jim Gosger and utility infielder, Bob Heise to the San Francisco Giants for middle reliever, Ray Sadecki and reserve outfielder, Dave Marshall on December 12, 1969.

In what can and should be considered one of the worst trades in Mets history, the New York Mets traded outfielder, Rusty Staub and minor league pitcher, Bill Laxton to the Detroit Tigers for starting pitcher,  Mickey Lolich and reserve outfielder,  Billy Baldwin on December 12, 1975.

Lolich was supposed to help strengthen the Mets pitching rotation but finished his lone season with a record of 8-13. He retired after the season ended so that he could open a doughnut shop, but then he unretired in ’78 to pitch for the San Diego Padres !!!

The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder, Gene Clines to the Texas Rangers for outfielder, Joe Lovitto on December 12, 1975.

Lovitto ended up being released by the Mets during spring training.

The New York Mets traded middle reliever,  Roy Lee Jackson to the Toronto Blue Jays for utility infielder,  Bob Bailor on December 12, 1980.

The New York Mets signed free agent back up catcher,  Orlando Mercado of the Minnesota Twins on December 12, 1989.

The New York Mets traded reserve outfielder,  Alex Ochoa to the Minnesota Twins for reserve outfielder, Rich Becker on December 12, 1997.

The New York Mets signed free agent José Valentin of the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 12, 2005. This was one of then General Manager ,Omar Minaya’s best under the radar signings

The New York Mets traded middle reliever,  Scott Schoeneweis to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher, Connor Robertson on December 12, 2008. After the way Scho pitched that last game of the season everybody knew he wouldn’t ever return to the Mets.

The New York Mets granted  reliever and alleged murderer, Ambiorix Burgos granted free agency on December 12, 2008.

The New York Mets claimed starting pitcher, Jeremy Hefner on waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on December 12, 2011.

Hefner pitched admirably if not uneven the last two seasons for the Mets in a limited role. Lets hope his surgically repaired pitching arm is ready for the ’15 season .

Mo Vaughn is looking forward to chewing the fat with Bartolo Colon!!!

If you want to hear the rebroadcast of last night’s “Shouts From Shea” podcast featuring myself as well as Steven Keane from “The Kranepool Society” please click here. Our guests include Joe D of this fine blog as well as Danny Abriano from the “Rising Apple” blog.

mmo

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The Curtis Granderson Story: Have We Seen This Movie Before? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/the-curtis-granderson-story-have-we-seen-this-movie-before.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/the-curtis-granderson-story-have-we-seen-this-movie-before.html/#comments Sat, 07 Dec 2013 16:32:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134706 We’ve been waiting all winter for our team to do something. Yesterday, our inactive front office became active by signing Curtis Granderson for 4 years/$60 million. But is the waiting over? Will this be our only major move or will it be the first of several? Is this the first baby step in bringing a winner back to Flushing or purely window-dressing?

I’ve been a vocal outspoken critic of Sandy Alderson since his arrival. However, when Alderson does something positive, such as re-signing David Wright — something I never thought he’d pull off — I tip my hat to him.

With the Granderson signing, however, it’s different. I applaud Alderson and the Wilpon’s for bringing him over. No matter what, we’re a better team now than we were 48 hours ago. However, Granderson alone will not turn us into instant champions. But I still have concerns, many concerns.

ap-granderson-hurtjpg-6284dac22f1ef341_large

Back in 1985, Paramount Pictures turned the board game Clue into a motion picture. When they distributed it to theatres, there were three different endings. I feel that the acquisition of Granderson is a movie I’ve already seen. I’m just unsure of the ending. Will it be a Pedro Martinez ending or a Jason Bay ending?

In 2005, the Mets signed Pedro Martinez. It was a “statement.” Omar Minaya laid down the gauntlet to the NL that the Mets were serious. One month later, he added Carlos Beltran, awarding him the most lucrative contract in team history.

Martinez was our ace that first year. He was the team leader in wins (15), IP (217), K’s (208) and ERA (2.82.) Yet, most fans look back and view this signing as a bust. Over the remaining three years of his contract, Pedro would only win 17 more games, average 90 IP while compiling a 4.22 ERA. Minaya’s “statement” was, for all intents and purposes, window-dressing. We generally regard the Martinez-Mets relationship as a failure.

Five years later our fan base and the NY media was itching for Minaya to do something else, something big. The 2009 Mets stumbled and stumbled badly. It was the first time in half a decade we finished below .500 (70-92). And while the Mets christened their new stadium, fans in the Bronx were treated to yet another Championship. The pressure mounted, Minaya caved and made a move because he felt he needed to do something. That something was named Jason Bay.

Jason+Bay+New+York+Mets+Announce+Jason+Bay+aky-B7YqwDOl

I’m not really going out on a limb here when I say Bay won’t ever join Keith or Rusty or Piazza as one of the most beloved Mets of all time. Almost immediately he caught the ire of the fans and became the poster boy for everything wrong with the Minaya regime. Seemingly from day one, we were biding our time to be free of his salary.

Hindsight, however, is 20/20. Bay arrived in Flushing a top run producer in the game. He was one of the most sought after Free Agents that winter. Yet, he quickly learned that Citi Field is the place where power hitters go to die. Just look at the decreased power production of David Wright since ‘09.

What’s worrisome is the fact that Bay’s numbers in the 4 years prior to coming to New York are far better than Granderson’s over his previous 4 years. It’s doubly worrisome due to the fact Granderson played those 4 years in the launching pad known as Yankee Stadium.

stats

Bay was 31 when he donned a Mets jersey for the first time. Granderson will be 33.

I can’t help but feel that Alderson made this move due to the pressure to do something. I hope I’m wrong. I hope there will be a few more transactions to make this club relevant again. But I don’t see it. What I do see, however, is a double standard.

In 2011, Jose Reyes stated he wanted to stay in NY, the team he came up with. Negotiations dragged on and on. In spite of Reyes being one of the most beloved players in team history and already being near or at the top of numerous offensive categories, after eight seasons Alderson wanted to see more. Reyes went out and became the first Mets player to win a batting title. His .337 BA is third highest since 1962. Yet, Alderson made jokes about sending chocolates while Reyes packed up his batting title and headed south. Here we are two years later, still without a suitable replacement.

JOSE REYES EN LO MARLINS 2012

I alluded to it being a double standard. One concern that Alderson expressed (and understandably so) was Reyes’ history of injuries. However, with the acquisition of Granderson, that is apparently no longer a concern. In the 7 year span from 2005-2011, Reyes played in 928 games. In the 7 year period of 2007-2013 Granderson played in 972 games—a difference of only 44 games over 7 seasons. If Alderson had concerns about Reyes’ health, Granderson isn’t exactly Cal Ripken. Although Granderson averaged only six more games per year than Reyes, suddenly Alderson is NOT concerned about health.

Sarah Palin

When Jose Reyes batted .337 with 181 hits, an OBP of .384 and slugging percentage of .493 in 126 games, Alderson morphed into Sarah Palin: Thanks, but no thanks. When Granderson plays in 61 games, batting .229 with 49 hits, an OBP of .317 and a slugging percentage of .407, Alderson has no qualms about handing over $60 million. Alderson refused to sign a 28 year-old Reyes for 5-6 years. Yet, he signs a 33-year old Granderson for four years and coming off a season where he missed 100 games.

robert_plant-led_zeppelin

I can’t help but think of Robert Plant: Ooh, and it makes me wonder.

I applaud Alderson for doing… something.

The Mets are a better team than we were just a couple of days ago. And even though we’ve been waiting all winter… even though we’ve been waiting nearly 30 years for a championship…  even though we’re going on a decade since our last post-season… we’ll still have to wait some more to see how the Granderson signing plays out.

Hopefully this movie will have a good ending.

mmo

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Curtis Granderson Agrees To Four Year, $60 Million Deal With Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/curtis-granderson-agrees-to-four-year-60-million-deal-with-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/curtis-granderson-agrees-to-four-year-60-million-deal-with-mets.html/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 19:00:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134576 Curtis+Granderson

The Mets have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson to a four-year deal according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the deal is worth $60 million dollars or a $15 million annual average.

Andy Martino of the Daily News added that the deal is a straight 4-year deal, per source. No option of any sort for 5th, vesting, team or otherwise.

The Mets will lose their second round pick, but that’s no big deal if Granderson delivers 25-30 homers a season for the Mets as they believe he will.

Sandy Alderson apparently relented and gave into Granderson’s fourth year demand which came as a surprise to me. However, Sandy did what he needed to do and gave the 32 year old Granderson what he wanted to get a deal done. If he had let him go to Orlando unsigned, I doubt he would have been a Met.

Granderson suffered a couple of freak injuries last season and was limited to just 61 games with the Yankees, batting .229/.319/.407 with seven home runs and 15 RBI in 245 plate appearances while striking out 69 times.

In 2012, Granderson played in 160 games and another 156 games in 2011. Over those two seasons he compiled 84 home runs, the most in the majors.

The newest Met is expected to play left field I would suspect, pushing Eric Young Jr. out of a starting outfield job. If the Mets move him to second base, it could signal a Daniel Murphy trade which would free up about $5 million for the Mets.

Regardless of what happens, the Mets made some real noise in the free agent market for the first time in a very long time. For that I applaud them.

Original Post 9:00 AM

Nothing new to report this morning and all remains quiet between Granderson and the Mets.

The latest update came yesterday afternoon from Mike Puma of the New York Post who wrote that the Mets believe they have a “decent” chance of landing Granderson. This begs the question, how is that a “decent chance?”

Both sides seem at a standstill with Sandy Alderson holding firm at three years, while Granderson still wants four.

Usually when a team and a free agent get locked into a game of chicken, the free agent usually wins.

With the Winter Meetings starting in 48 hours, the Granderson camp will hold court in Orlando and bring 2-3 more teams into the negotiations.

After all, that’s what agents do and you could make a strong case that Granderson is the second best outfielder available. That’s not a bad spot to be in when you have at least 15 teams on record for needing an outfielder.

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Mets Extend A Three-Year Offer To Granderson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-extend-a-three-year-offer-to-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/mets-extend-a-three-year-offer-to-granderson.html/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:00:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134368 curtis-granderson_600

METS HAVE MADE A THREE-YEAR OFFER TO GRANDERSON

According to WFAN/CBS Sports baseball insider Jon Heyman, the Mets are believed to have offered free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson a three-year deal.

Heyman also reports that Granderson is looking for a five-year deal and that the 32-year-old outfielder is seeking $17 million per year.

It’s interesting watching how this is evolving.

About an hour ago I actually posted on Twitter than if I were Granderson’s agent, I’d probably advise him to wait until Carlos Beltran signs his deal and then demand a 4-5 year deal.

As was reported earlier, the Mets were only planning to offer three years.

That an offer was actually extended, indicates that talks may be settling down for now, while Granderson’s agents get back to some of the other teams that have reached out to him. This is what all agents do. They shop offers and try to get a better one.

No word yet if the Mets have asked for a right of first refusal, or even if three years was their final offer, but these things have a way of leaking out sooner rather than later.

(Updated 12/4 1:00 PM)

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When Did Dumpster Diving Become Inspired Genius? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/when-did-dumpster-diving-become-inspired-genius.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/12/when-did-dumpster-diving-become-inspired-genius.html/#comments Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:10:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=134209 I had an interesting conversation with a someone whose profile tabbed him as a baseball expert. The guy was also a die-hard Met fan. I found him to be representative of most of the Met fans I know from Mets Twitter. I thought I’d kill some time late last night and chatted with many of my now 8,000+ followers.

It all started with “I thought you said the Arroyo meeting with the Mets rumor was false? Not according to Adam Rubin.” I merely responded with “we’ll see.” About 20 minutes later the news came out that the Mets had no intentions of meeting with Arroyo and that the rumor was untrue. “As you were saying?” I asked. No reply.

“You’re crazy, no way Arroyo will get three years”, as I just posted the breaking news that Phil Hughes had signed with the Twins for three years. “Yes, you’re probably right, what was I thinking,” as I chuckled at home.

But let me get back to our baseball expert.

It’s amazing what great lengths some people will go to just to be right. You can hit them in the face with a John Buck style punch pie filled with whipped cream and facts, but damn it, there’s no way they are wrong. It’s impossible. It kind of reminds me of a few people right here in our MMO community.

It all began with this tweet from me:

Joe D. - Remember when Sandy Alderson said he had 25 pitchers on his wish list last month? It must be down to 13-14 pitchers by now and shrinking fast.

Die-Hard Mets Fan – Worst thing you could do is spend big money on average players. We should spend wisely not just spend.

Joe D. - Give me some smart buys for this offseason?

Die-Hard Mets Fan - Honestly, not many out there, but I’d rather not have more Jason Bay contracts. This is not a win now team, patience.

Joe D. – Champions cant be gun shy and afraid to take risks because of one or two bad decisions. Fear is a bad strategy.

Die-Hard Mets Fan – I’d like to see Nelson Cruz, to me he’s a big bat and worth the money.

Joe D. – I’d like to see Cruz too, but likely 4/$60 or more on a PED user. You in? That’s “Jason Bay” money.

Die-Hard Mets Fan – Jason Bay was never a power hitter like Cruz, he’s also produced off PED’s. I’d take the shot on him.

Joe D. – Bay was not a power hitter like Cruz???

Joe D. - He led the American League in SLG%, HR, second in RBI before Mets signed him.. Four 30+ HR seasons. What do you mean he wasn’t a power hitter?

Die-Hard Mets Fan – You do realize he played in Fenway right? #bandbox

Joe D. – Last season, Ballpark at Arlington – HR Rate .903 Rank #19, Fenway Park – HR Rate .845 Rank #23. In 2009 Fenway ranked 26th in HR, Arlington ranked 4th in MLB.

Die-Hard Mets Fan - Go deeper bud, you need to take into account right hand hitters only.

Well, you get the picture…

Fact is, every ballplayer is overpaid and it’s been that way for over five years, open your eyes and your minds for crying out loud. There are no upfront bargains.

garbageRolling the dice on some fish bones you pulled out of the trash in January that ends up having a solid season is not a mark of genius, nor is it uncommon. All 30 teams have stories to tell like that.

When a homeless person grabs a brown bag out of the dumpster and inside he finds an unopened, still wrapped Twinkie that’s as fresh as the day it was made, that’s not genius, it’s luck.

I wish some fans would stop harping on who they like, then do a complete 180 after they sign elsewhere. It’s so transparent and it impresses nobody aside from possibly your own inflated ego.

Either learn how to work and deal in this new free agent market that is here to stay, or do everybody a favor and go the hell home. Nobody wants to see beggars at a banquet.

I’m sick and tired of these damned Metsian pity-parties and half-assed attempts to make paint this Mets apocalypse as some sort of inspired genius when it’s only a joint effort by the front office and ownership to dupe your gullible selves into thinking this is a strategy when the word for it is simple – poverty.

For all of you who believe that Chris Young was some sort of piece for the future, and I know there’s thousands of you out there, I’d bet anything that if he has lets say 15 homers and 40 ribbies by middle of July – who the hell believes that – he’ll be traded for some minor leaguers.

Then the high-kicking chorus lines spouting genius will be on full display again, even though the Mets are not one step closer to a championship or even relevancy at this point.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat…

mmo

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Upon Further Review: The Mets Coaching Staff http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/upon-further-review-the-mets-coaching-staff.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/upon-further-review-the-mets-coaching-staff.html/#comments Mon, 25 Nov 2013 17:54:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133393 terry collins 2

When the Mets renewed Terry Collins‘ contract at the end of September once the season had concluded, it was also announced that the entire coaching staff would return as well. This announcement didn’t come as a huge shock, but it was conceivable due to the fact that the crew has been the same since the start of the 2012 campaign. There has been criticism, praise, doubt, hopefulness, hopelessness, and devotion to the staff, but it still raises the question, Does the Coaching Staff Deserve to be Here? Let’s find out.

Bob Geren, Bench Coach

Bench coach Bob Geren was hired back in October in 2011, coming off a five year tenure as manager of the Oakland Athletics and replacing Ken Oberkfell. Although not completely favored among his players, Geren finished with a winning percentage just under .500 in over 700 games managed. As bench coach, he is responsible for assisting the manager in making late game decisions and serving as his right-hand-man, if you will. In my opinion, I don’t see anyone more certified than a former manager to fill that position. So I say Geren is fine in that role going forward. Another plus to his resume is Geren’s 289 games played at catcher in his major league career, coming up with a fielding percentage of .992 for the Yankees and Padres. I believe that is an extreme upside for Travis d’Arnaud and others going forward. And also, before every game this past year (home and away, including Spring Training), Geren and that day’s starting catcher, whether it be John Buck, Anthony Recker or others, would go out to the bullpen and practice blocking balls in the dirt and other catching tactics. I think that relationship between player and coach is absolutely invaluable.

Dan Warthen, Pitching Coach

Longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen was hired in 2008 when the managerial position changed hands from Willie Randolph to Jerry Manuel, replacing Rick Peterson. Warthen is well liked around the clubhouse and in the front office, always a plus. Pitchers say that he prepares them well for starts and he is one of the best coaches they have worked with. Obviously something has to be going well if Warthen is about to begin his sixth full season on the job, and the numbers don’t tell much different. From 2007 to 2008, the Mets pitching staff improved in ERA, strikeouts, complete games, SO/BB ratio, and H/9. Although Peterson was well liked by players and fans, Warthen was a nice improvement. I say Dan Warthen deserves to be here, and possibly for the long term, as his contract runs through the 2015 season.

Dave Hudgens, Hitting Coach

The 2011 signing of Dave Hudgens as hitting coach was, to say the least, surprising, considering he played in just six major league games, connecting on one base hit in seven at bats. It is obvious that the Mets offensive production has been down over the past few years, but is Hudgens really to blame? Although Marlon Byrd says that he deserves credit for reconstructing his swing, David Wright‘s production went down from 2010 to 2011, as did Angel Pagan and (although there may have been other reasons) Jason Bay. Hudgens is well liked by players, and he is the lone Mets staff member that participates on social media (@dmhudgens), but I think the Mets could do better when it comes to their hitting coach; there has even been talk of the Mets adding an assistant hitting coach.

Tim Teufel, Third Base Coach

Longtime fan favorite Tim Teufel rejoined the Mets in 2012, when he replaced Chip Hale as the third base coach. Teufel had been around the organization since 2001, but had not been with the big league club since his playing days from 1986 to 1991. Teufel brings with him eight years of minor league managing experience, compiling a 464-562 record in that span. His best year came in 2003 with the Brooklyn Cyclones, when they finished with a 47-28 record, winning the New York-Penn League. Personally, I love how aggressive Teufel is in the third base coaching box. He is never reluctant to send runners, and even when you think he made a bad decision, the runner is usually safe at home plate. Like I said before, Teufel is well liked by the fans, so I don’t believe his position will be in jeopardy any time soon. I’m looking forward to seeing Teufel in the coaching box on March 31st.

Tom Goodwin, First Base Coach

Tom Goodwin was only six years removed from his professional playing career when the Mets signed him in 2012 as the first base coach. Goodwin played 13 years in the major leagues with the Dodgers, Royals, Rangers, Rockies, Giants, and Cubs. His duties as a coach include “handling the outfielders and baserunning instruction,” according to the Mets media guide. Goodwin committed only 22 errors in 1,288 career games and went 369 for 487 on stolen base attempts, so he passes that test. Goodwin also frequently communicates with runners at first base (unlike Ricky Henderson, who I once saw talk to only a single runner during a nine inning game — that runner was Ramon Castro), so he passes that test too. So Tom Goodwin can stay for now. Any objections? Okay, let’s move on.

Ricky Bones, Bullpen Coach

What are the duties of the bullpen coach? To chart pitches and pick up the phone in the ‘pen? Who couldn’t do that? All kidding aside, Bones brings with him 11 years of big league experience split between seven teams. During this time, he posted an ERA just south of 5 and finished with 19 more losses than wins. Can we bring Guy Conti back?

Who doesn’t love a ‘stache like that? And a name like Ricardo Bones? Priceless.

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Hits & Misses: Alderson Says No Offers On Table, Mets Wish List, Debunking Markakis http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/hits-misses-alderson-says-no-offers-on-table-mets-wish-list-debunking-markakis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/hits-misses-alderson-says-no-offers-on-table-mets-wish-list-debunking-markakis.html/#comments Thu, 14 Nov 2013 23:16:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=133001 alderson

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reports that Sandy Alderson has not made any offers to players or teams.

“We met with some clubs, we met with some agents, we laid some groundwork,” Alderson said before leaving. “We had some phone calls, because some agents didn’t attend these meetings.We made progress.”

“No,” Alderson said about having offers out on the table.

markakis

There’s a post on MetsBlog that the Mets spoke to the Orioles about Nick Markakis. There’s nothing there. A beat writer for the O’s said it was the first he heard about it when I emailed him this morning.

Is Markakis available? Of course he is… Markakis has $17 million dollars owed to him in 2014…

He’s also in steep decline and is coming off a negative WAR season…

He is as available as Jason Bay was during his last two years with the Mets.

Players with horrific contracts are always available.

The Mets spoke with the Orioles… Guess what? The Mets spoke with every single team in the last 72 hours. This is what they do at the GM Meetings.

Back to reality…

Anthony Recker

Adam Rubin confirmed with a team official that the Mets wish list remains the same; two corner outfielders, two starting pitchers, a shortstop, a veteran backup catcher, and some late-inning relief help. The backup catcher however, is now less of a priority as the front office is warming up to Anthony Recker.

There’s lots of work to do and the fans are getting restless. Nobody knows this better than Alderson, but he won’t let that dissuade him from his methodical approach.

Asked if he can sense “anxiety” from the fans, Alderson added: “Do I sense it? Yeah, to some extent. Do I tune it out? Yes, to the largest extent possible. Because for us this is a day-to-day proposition, and it’s not that predictable. So I just sort of have to take it out of the equation to some extent, but be aware of the overall environment as well.”

As I’ve said and most of you already know, this is Sandy’s make or break offseason. The last three years have all led to this point.
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Mets Shouldn’t Overpay For Middling Talent http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-shouldnt-overpay-for-middling-talent.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-shouldnt-overpay-for-middling-talent.html/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2013 13:45:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132412 The Mets are at a crossroads right now, and we know what the giant elephant in the room is: Matt Harvey is out for the entirety of 2014.

With that being the case, the Mets’ brass really needs to be smart this offseason. It begs the question: Do we go all-in right now or wait until next offseason to really make a big splash?

Look who’s available in free agency. Do any of these names really get you super excited?

We really don't need another Jason Bay-type contract!

We really don’t need another Jason Bay-type contract!

Maybe a name like Robinson Cano, but we know that’s not happening. And now that it seems the Mets won’t commit $100 million to a player, that eliminates the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury and potentially Shin-Soo Choo. (In other news, it’s absolutely crazy to think that Choo is poised to earn a $100 million deal, but that’s a completely different story.)

There are a few intriguing names out there right now, but it seems each has a drawback.

Curtis Granderson would be a nice addition, maybe even to play right field if the team is committed to keeping Juan Lagares in center for his defense. Granderson was once a Gold Glove caliber center fielder – and probably still is – but imagine that outfield defense with he Lagares roaming out there.

But Granderson strikes out so much, and we already have guys who strike out a ton. Let’s move on.

Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta have some baggage, but both have proven to be solid offensive performers. Would the fanbase accept these guys? Probably yes, simply based on need.

But do we cant to commit multiple years and millions of dollars to these two aging players coming off suspensions? It’s a good question to consider.

Believe me, I want the Mets to add a few pieces. If they somehow work out the finances to be able to sign Granderson (for right field), Cruz (for left field) and Peralta (for shortstop), as well as a back-end rotation starter and a few bullpen arms, that would be a very good offseason.

But I really don’t want to see them overspend, or even worse bid against themselves, in order to bring these guys in.

Granderson will undoubtedly receive interest elsewhere and likely as a center fielder. So if the Mets are committed to Lagares – which we don’t know right now – then Grandy is out.

All reports indicate that the Mets have money to spend, but they need to spend it wisely.

Think about it, would you rather see the team spend frivolously this offseason just to say they did something by bringing in guys like Granderson and Cruz?

Or do you want the team to be patient, bring in some filler type players like Rafael Furcal and Corey Hart that would only command one-year deals, wait for Harvey to return for 2015, and start with a clean slate then?

It’s such a tough dilemma, because we’ve been waiting for 2014 ever since Sandy Alderson took over. Now it’s here and we have the money to spend, so why not spend it?

Trades for Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki or Giancarlo Stanton really were the key to this team’s improvement, but all those ideas have been quelled. So unless Alderson can pry Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, it’s looking like free agency will be the route to add players.

Like we’ve established, the free-agent class right now does not blow anyone away. We really can’t afford to have another Jason Bay-type crippling contract.

With all the pitching talent, this team is eventually going to be good. The old saying goes, “Develop pitching and buy hitting.”

Developing the pitching seems to be going well, and the team finally has the money to buy the hitting, but it’s unfortunate that now that the team finally has money, the available offensive weapons don’t get us too excited.

So the takeaway from all of this: If you can get Granderson to agree to a manageable deal and Cruz and Peralta will take one-year (maybe two-year) contracts, then let’s do it.

But please Sandy, do not overpay for middling talent, as has become synonymous with the Mets for too long.

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Mets Don’t Love Mark Trumbo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-dont-love-mark-trumbo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/mets-dont-love-mark-trumbo.html/#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2013 16:08:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131668 trumbo

I don’t know about most of you, but a few of us on MMO let out a collective sigh of relief when we read the following from Andy Martino of the Daily News:

The Mets don’t love Mark Trumbo and they’ve never shown any interest in Peter Bourjos.

I see Trumbo as an Ike Davis with more consistent power, but a worse glove. I couldn’t imagine giving up a Jon Niese for someone like that… Especially when you consider that he’ll likely take a big hit hit offensively by playing half of his games at Citi Field.

What a disaster that could end up being…

No thanks…

Original Post

As the realization slowly sinks in that Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury will be too costly for the still downtrodden Mets, the talk inevitably shifts to trading for a legit outfielder instead.

Of course trading for any player who can provide the type of offense the Mets are looking for means that what you don’t shell out in tens of millions, you’ll end up paying for with elite prospects.

Baseball is a give and take business and quality begets quality. There’s no team out there looking to take broken down parts like Ike Davis and Jordany Valdespin off of our hands in return for a big cog. Ain’t happening… The real world does not operate as it does during sportstalk call-in segments.

MLB Trade Rumors wrote today that Mark Trumbo could bring the Angels a nice pitching haul if they decide to move him. Los Angeles is bent on bolstering the rotation with MLB-ready arms. That doesn’t mean Rafael Montero, Darin Gorski or Noah Syndergaard, it means Zack Wheeler or Jon Niese.

MLBTR said the Halos fielded calls from the Mariners, Pirates, and Royals in July and the Marlins showed interest in Trumbo last December. If he is available, and most baseball analysts say it’s a certainty, he’ll garner plenty of interest.

At 27, Trumbo has averaged a 2.6 WAR over the last three seasons, and in 2013 he had career highs of 34 home runs and 100 RBI. However, his batting average dipped to a .234 and his on-base has rarely hovered above .300. Still, if you’re desperate for right-handed power, Trumbo’s your guy.

Michael Branda wrote something for us on Trumbo a couple of months back in which he assessed the current Mets situation at first base.

The Mets find themselves in a real tricky spot heading into 2014. Whether we like it or not, what we thought was a sure thing – is now far from it. The Mets have no answer at First Base anymore. It’s a rare moment when a franchise goes from thinking they have a cornerstone franchise type player to build around, to having nothing good to hope for.

Look, I really have no problem with Josh Satin – but he’s not an everyday big league first baseman. I’m not willing to wait until June 2014 to see if Ike Davis is the guy we all thought he could be. No matter what he does from this day forward, we’ll know absolutely nothing about Davis until next summer – and I don’t think the Mets can afford to do that. So, unless the idea of Wilmer Flores at first base is a reality, the Mets need a first baseman for next season and beyond.

In his article, he correctly tabs Trumbo as a one-dimensional player – something most Met fans have been accustomed to for a very long time.

Trumbo is now hitting arbitration for the first time, and he’s expected to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.5 million.

I recently asked another of our writers, XtreemIcon to share his thoughts, to which he replied:

We’ve all heard of five tool players, but Trumbo is a one tool player. He has huge, prodigious, Hammer of the Gods type power, but you cannot trade Thor for him or any starter that projects to crack the rotation in any regard, let alone a top-of-the-rotation type starter.

Trumbo is a very poor major league ballplayer. He’s at best a platoon DH, given his terrible fielding, limited speed on the bases and career OBP under .300. I say “at best” a platoon DH because he actually doesn’t have any significant platoon splits. He’s a bad hitter from both sides of the plate. He’d be worse than Jason Bay in many aspects. Bay, to his credit, was a disciplined enough hitter during his prime, and Bay only cost money.

So it would seem the consensus here at MMO would be that Trumbo is most certainly not the player the Mets should be targeting once their attempts to target Choo and Ellsbury prove futile.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Are the Mets Snakebit? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/are-the-mets-snakebit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/are-the-mets-snakebit.html/#comments Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:13:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=132205 sad mets benchIt has been no surprise that after five straight losing seasons, any optimism that coincided with the arrival of Sandy Alderson and team Moneyball has now subsided into a cynicism and even a resentment of the current power brokers at the helm.

Second and Third guessing any decisions made by the current front office reflect the dismay which the current fandom, including many of us in the blogosphere, who are sick to death of the losing, the lack of spending, and the seeming lack of concern by the team charged with fixing it.

Of course, this is all understandable, fans have the right to complain when their teams lose. But sometimes, the odds just seem as though they have been stacked against this franchise for the past five years. Changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, and the surplus of media revenue available this year are two factors that have either already contributed to the Mets current milieu or will continue to affect their attempts to build a competitive team in 2014.

Lets take a closer look at how each of these external factors have affected the rebuilding of the farm and team via free agency.

The new front office took charge in November 2010, with a vow to bring the same principles employed (with some success) when they were in charge in Oakland and San Diego. That meant using money more effectively in the draft, and possibly go “overslot” on some high draft picks, something the previous regime (often thought to be at the request of ownership) were criticized for not doing. Then, in 2011, a new CBA agreement between the owners and players put an end to teams who used the largest percentage of their revenues on their youth. The Mets new front office had only one year under the old rules. Additionally, the fixed money pool also applied to international amateur players, although with the caveat that this money could be “traded.” From the 2011 draft on, teams were “forced” into a cap on their draft spending, with severe penalties for any team that went overslot.

Although the new draft rules, which one report alleged that the players; “threw the youngsters under the bus,” were impediments to the speed of the Mets rebuilding process, the changes in the amount of money teams have to spend this year in the free agent market could have the biggest affect on the Mets attempt to build a contender.

jason bayWe’ve all heard the story many times over now, the $40M that was taking up space in the form of Johan Santana and Jason Bay has now been freed and the Mets can spend, spend, spend, and when they’re done, spend some more. It seems it will be as easy as just splashing some green, and watch the instant playoff team take roots and show shoots of hope (too corny? Nah). Easy? Hmmm, not so fast. First, consider that the Mets payroll last year was approximately $90M; and (it is estimated) that the franchise lost $10M last year. If you can do math, and read tea leaves, one can come up with the theory that the Mets payroll in 2014 will be somewhere around $85M.

Ok, so thats not so bad, it means that the team can add $30M to the payroll this year. They can add a premier free agent, perhaps a Shin-Soo Choo at an affordable $70M over 5 years. Perfect, right?

This is where the new media money comes into play, all teams now have an increased revenue stream, and all indications are that they are willing to spend to improve this year. Now whether they are going into debt to supply this spending, is not known. But early reports, and the extensions that have already been done, point to a wild free agent signing period, and you can guarantee that some of these players will be overpaid. The San Francisco Giants just doled out $120M on Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum, who would’ve thought that a few months ago? No one, that’s who. There are also reports that the Astros, who’s entire team payroll was a notch above Johan’s, will be big players for Choo this year.

For a front office that has made all indications that 2014 was the year they were going to start competing and spending again, fate has stepped in to temper the Mets fan expectations. I am optimistic and believe that Alderson and co. will use a combination of trades and free agent signings to build a contender in 2014, or at least a team that plays meaningful games in September.

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Featured Post: Selling High & Buying Low – The Sandy Alderson Philosophy http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/featured-post-selling-high-buying-low-the-sandy-alderson-philosophy.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2013/11/featured-post-selling-high-buying-low-the-sandy-alderson-philosophy.html/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 17:39:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=131935 Over the last few seasons, Sandy Alderson has managed the team’s budget with an approach conservative enough to make the Republican party envious. Some love the strategy and some hate it but with each passing sub .500 season, his tactics are becoming increasingly questioned.

Most of the fan base understood the reasoning behind trading away Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey regardless of whether they were in favor of the trades or not. Many fans were frustrated that while prime time free agents and trade candidates were changing home addresses, the Mets were relegated to signing has-beens such as Chris Capuano, Chris Young, Shaun Marcum etc. I also would not doubt that when news of Jose Reyes taking his talents to South Beach made its ways around the Flushing faithful, a quarter of Mets nation temporarily quit their fanhood.

Unpopular as his moves are, I believe there is a positive angle we can all take from this. For the first time in recent memory, the Mets have a clean financial slate to work with. No Bobby Bonilla (sort of), no Mo Vaughn, no Oliver Perez, no Jason Bay. Many fans will point this out as reason enough to make a splash in the free agent waters. There are some intriguing names out there and if they are available for the right price, the Mets should not let past mistakes affect their current judgment.

However, due to a weak free agent class, I am inclined to believe that the price tags for any toys the Mets want this winter will likely not be worth the production they can receive from them. With Hunter Pence setting the market at 5 years/$90 million and Scott Boras representing both Choo and Ellsbury, Boras’ starting point for negotiations will certainly be north of $100 million.

Instead, I see Sandy Alderson continuing his march on the economical route, going after clubhouse veterans and acquiring players that may have fell out of favor with their current squads. I am a strong believer in the buy low theory - when you buy low your return could be significantly larger than your investment. A change in scenery and/or a team’s necessity to move surplus players can lead to some high potential rewards.

Here are some of the free agents Alderson’s assistants may present to him:

Rafael Furcal - SS

Coming off Tommy John surgery, Furcal missed the entire 2013 season. Known for his top tier defense before his injury, Furcal’s ability to perform on the field and at the plate is a huge question mark. Can he get play adequate defense and get on base at a serviceable .325 clip? I have not yet given up on Tejada but I am not sold on him either and Furcal may be the best option to motivate Ruben and serve as insurance for him as well.

David DeJesus - OF

(TBR team option 6.5 mil or 1.5 mil buyout) When the Cubs put Dejesus on waivers in August to shed his salary, the Nationals were the first in line on the waiver list. Figuring that contending AL teams would have interest in his services, the Nats claimed him and promptly traded him to Tampa Bay for Matthew Spann, a C/C+ prospect. Dejesus figures to be a quality 4th outfielder and may have mutual interest with the Mets if Captain Kirk or Matt Den Dekker is traded. Once again, the expectation here would be for Dejesus to provide some veteran leadership and insurance to a young outfield.

Curtis Granderson - OF

Only an injury season removed from back to back 40 HR campaigns, Granderson will hear some interesting sales pitches from just about every team. He will have plenty of offers. The Mets won’t have any advantage bidding for his services but it is not unreasonable to think that he may outperform Choo and Ellsbury next year for half the price.

John Lannan - LHSP

The Long Beach, NY native had mutual interest with the Mets last offseason after being non tendered by the Nationals. He eventually signed a one year deal with the Phillies where he pitched inconsistently throughout an injury riddled year. Before the Nats bought up and bought in their influx of young pitching talent, Lannan was their top starter in 2011. I believe he still has a chip on his shoulder for being left off their opening day rotation just a year later and I would be more than happy to provide Lannan an opportunity to make the Mets team and disperse his rage onto his former teams.

Jason Marquis - RHSP

Another New York product, I believe the Mets were also in discussion with Marquis following the 2011 season. Nothing much has changed since then. He still eats innings and he still pitches as inconsistently as the outcome on a roulette table. Considering the Mets just need to stall till June when two of Montero, Degrom, Mazzoni, Syndergaard, Verrett are ready, Marquis may be the most ideal option as he has experience working as a long man out of the pen as well.

Keep in mind, these should not be the only players that the Mets should seek this offseason, but rather players that could make sense as discount signings.

In my humble opinion, the Mets have too many question marks entering the 2014 season for any acquisitions they make to automatically elevate them to contenders. Other than David Wright, Daniel Murphy and maybe Jon Niese and Dillon Gee, the Mets really have no idea how their players will perform next year. The time to make a splash is when your team has a core that is solid, and when the circumstances allow for it. As of now, I would say neither of those apply. The Mets’ core is far from established and the market conditions are far from friendly. So for the time being, I’m in favor of Alderson being a Scrooge for just another season.

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