I came across this on MLBTR this morning:
The Mets are looking for players to buy into their offensive philosophy, and that means finding guys with discipline at the plate, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. That might help to explain why the free-swinging Daniel Murphy has found himself on the pages of MLBTR over the last week or so.
I headed over to Martino’s post after reading that, and immediately knew I was in store for something strange when I saw the title “The Mets Need Fewer Sourpusses.”
Sure enough, Martino makes his maiden voyage into MMO Fair or Foul…
In Sandy Alderson’s previous three offseasons, the GM was shackled by budget constraints, and forced to choose from an undesirable pile of free agents. In many cases, he did not choose well, signing guys who brought a sour vibe into the clubhouse, in some cases creating more trouble than was justified by their limited contributions.
It began with catcher Ronny Paulino and reliever D.J. Carrasco in 2011; the former was uninterested in following game plans, and the latter drove the coaching staff crazy with frequent whining about his usage. Subsequent years brought Jon Rauch’s unrelenting surliness and Frank Francisco’s unwillingness to pitch, along with attempts to dissuade youngsters from doing so.
Shaun Marcum was, well, not charming, and while Marlon Byrd arrived with a questionable reputation, he was generally a pleasant surprise in the clubhouse — save for what many Mets people saw as his overcoaching of teammates.
It is that latter point that the Mets want to address, in addition to bringing in more pleasant people. On every level of the organization up to major league hitting coach Dave Hudgens, Alderson’s staff has spent three years working to instill a hitting philosophy that stresses plate discipline and on-base percentage. Agree or disagree with that view — many baseball folks criticize it for making hitters less aggressive, a characterization that proponents dispute — it is one that the GM insists on.
Players like Byrd and Daniel Murphy are good hitters, but operate in a mode that is far from Aldersonian. Byrd is an aggressive swinger, unwilling or unable to draw many walks (his walk rate last year was a lowly 5.4 percent), and more than willing to encourage teammates to follow his own ideas while they worked pregame in the batting cage. That is one of the reasons the Mets did not pursue a reunion with the outfielder, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Philadelphia on Tuesday.
The Mets are open to trading Murphy for similar reasons. Murphy has earned the respect of the front office by working to turn himself into a passable second baseman, but he is another aggressive hitter, whose style does not fit what the general manager, hitting coach, and organizational instructors teach. This is one of the reasons that the team might be ready to move him.
Well that was quite the mixed bag… Who knew that backstory on Marlon Byrd as well as all those other free agents that have come and gone. I thought Byrd’s coaching of the younger players was kind of a good thing, but I guess it didn’t sit well with the higher-ups.
But what bugs me most is the thought that Murphy could be shipped simply because he doesn’t comply with the program. As much as they say it’s not a one-size fits all approach, you read something like this and it makes you wonder just how much truth there is to that.
The way I see it, the Mets already have their hands full trying to replace the 40 homers they got from Byrd and also John Buck. That should be difficult enough to do. But then to also have to replace Murphy as well makes me wonder how they intend to replace all three and then begin to upgrade the offense on top of all that. Maybe Sandy has a few tricks up his sleeve…