Signs of Progress Within The New York Mets

Very interesting news coming from the Mets yesterday and today. First the team seems to be on the verge of locking up Jon Niese for the next 5 years, that will reward the lefty pitcher during his arbitration eligible years and buy back a year of his free agency eligibility.  This quite a progressive and proactive move by the Mets front office, something not seen in these parts in many ,many years.

Some reports have the deal at 5 years and $28mil, the 5 years is a big commitment to a pitcher who has suffered from fatigue and injury issues in his brief major league career but it speaks to the high esteem the front office holds Neise in.

During the winter there were rumbles that the Mets put Niese’ name out on the trade market (at the same time Billy Beane made it known that Gio Gonzalez was available in trade and of course the deal was made with the Nationals) that wasn’t an indication that the Mets were looking to rid themselves of the young lefty as some Mets fans jumped to that conclusion, it was more to see what was out there in trade for his valuable services as the Mets front office is trying very hard to add depth to the farm system.

Tying up Niese seems like a smart move by Sandy Alderson. As we see in this column by Mark Simon of ESPN, Niese put up some very impressive numbers involving K/9IP, BB/9IP and HR/9IP, add to that he is 25 years old and left-handed,  it’s hard for even the most jaded Mets fan to go against the front office in this move.   

Seems like the verbal kick in the ass that Mike Peflrey received last week when it was reported the club discussed however informally about giving Big Pelf his release,  has now made its way to Jason Bay as Mike Puma reports there has been some talk about Bay becoming a platoon player if he continues to struggle at the plate.  This should show Mets fans that last year’s getting to know segment of Sandy Alderson’ reign as Mets baseball boss is over and now we are entering the “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” phase of rebuilding the Mets.

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IF JON NIESE IS TRADED OR STAYS IT’S STILL A PLUS FOR THE METS

For everyone who says “why would Sandy Alderson even think about trading Jon Niese”? You got your answer yesterday when the San Diego Padres traded Matt Latos to the Cincinnati Reds for a cache of prime prospects.

The Reds see 2012 as their shot at winning the NL Central and putting together a pitching rotation that would stand up to the post season test so they took the big leap and dealt off four prize prospects,  Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger to add a pitcher they feel will put them thismuchcloser to being a pennant winner.

This brings us to Jon Niese and to Gio Gonzalez. Billy Beane saw the trend as did Sandy Alderson but Josh Byrnes was the first to act on it. We’ve been looking for the next undervalued commodity in baseball and we’ve found it, the twenty-something pitcher whose contract is under team control.  Beane and Alderson are in the same boat so to speak, they both can’t compete with the top teams in their division as presently put together and both have owners with money issues, although Beane is in a bit better spot than Alderson as his team with the help of the strong armed Bud Selig, could get their wish and get permission to move the A’s from the Black Hole of the Coliseum to San Jose, thats’ if the Giants show them the way (the Giants own the territorial rights so they do know the way to San Jose, a multi-million dollar check to waive those rights) any way back to Alderson and the Mets.

From hearing all the talk of Gonzalez being on the trade stroll and so many teams with large pockets and plentiful prospects to trade, Alderson and his staff decided to put Jon Niese’ name on the stroll as well. One ridiculous rumor was the Mets sending Niese to Colorado for 29 year old outfielder Seth Smith, please, that’s an Al Harazin kind of move and one I’m sure was let out after a few whiskeys and ryes by a guy who thinks he’s a cowboy, no if Alderson is going to trade Niese he’s going to get players who fill many of the voids the Mets have.

Alderson made it plain that the Mets catching situation is in dire need of an overhaul, not just at the major league level but organization wide. The club also needs help in adding prospects to its minor league system to accelerate the rebuilding (yes I used the “R” word) of the franchise into a contending team once again.

I can’t fault Mets fans when they get jumpy when they hear of a 25 year old pitcher being shopped as we have seen so many Mets GM’s get fleeced in the past but I’m pretty confident that if Niese is dealt it will be to a contending team or one just on the cusp and views Niese as a missing piece and is willing to pay a big premium to get to the promised land.

It’s a win-win for the Mets, Niese is dealt to fill multiple spots or he stays and becomes a solid major league pitcher. It’s not often I used the phrase Win-Win when discussing the Mets.

 

 

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THIS IS THE DAWNING OF THE AGE OF SANDY ALDERSON

Take out that Mets jacket.  Bend the brim of your Mets cap. Start putting some cash away to buy tickets to the 2011 season, my fellow Mets fans  WE ARE BACK!!!!!!!!

Our suffering summer has been replaced by a spectacular autumn. This has been the best October the Mets have had in 24 years.  First the Highlanders and Phuck Phaces went down in flames.  Then the cretins of the Mall of the South Bronx have been exposed by Mrs. Cliff Lee who was subjected to taunts, thrown objects and general fan disobedience to the point that Pee Wee Cashman better rethink putting all his eggs in a Cliff Lee free agent basket. Then the news today that CC Sabathia’s knees have given up holding up all that girth to the point his meniscus ripped, you had to wonder if the baseball gods decided that we Mets fans have had enough penance and are now due a reward.

The adults of the Skill Sets family have taken to bring back credibility, accountability and authority by naming Sandy Alderson as the new GM of the New York Mets. The pride in Flushing has returned.

Maybe I’m going a bit overboard on the Alderson hiring but I can’t hide my giddiness. Sandy Alderson was the name that first popped into my head when it was a fait accompli that Omar Minaya was done as the baseball boss. It just made so much sense to hire Alderson, the man had everything that was needed to bring back the respect this organization has lacked for years.

There is a segment of Mets fans who wanted the young hipster type of GM and I’d have had no problem with that but in Alderson you get the Mr. Myiagi of baseball execs. Alderson was baseball analytical before baseball analytical was cool. Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Paul DePodesta (a name to keep an eye on Mets fans as he could be brought in to the Alderson Cabinet) all learned the trade from Alderson.

This hiring also sends word to fan base that the days of Little Jeffey meddling in adult decisions are over. A man of Alderson’ resume and stature in baseball did not take this job to have a no nothing like Jeffey lurk over his shoulder. This is Freddy and Uncle Saul putting Jeffey in the time out chair.

It looks as if Friday will be the day that Alderson will enjoy his day in the sun at Citi Field for his inaugural presser and I can’t wait to hear what his plan of attack is. It’s nice to have a guy in charge that has a plan, we haven’t had that around here since the days of Frank Cashen.

The biggest decision Alderson will have will be to name a manager. A majority of Mets fans want Wally Backman to get the job and I would count myself as a Backman supporter.  From reading this post from Mike Silva’ NY Baseball Digest, Backman could be exactly the guy Alderson is looking for. Backman has no problem being a manager that carries out the organizational orders from the GM. From reading the quotes in Silva’s post, Backman to me, looks like a strong choice for manager.

That discussion will be now on the front burner and I have a ton of faith that whoever Alderson picks he will do his due diligence on that choice. It’s so nice to have someone in charge that makes me feel optimistic that the Mets will be back as one the best teams in baseball.

By Friday the weather in NYC will be what it should be; autumnal so it would be nice is all Mets fans wear their Mets jackets or sweatshirts to celebrate the new day dawning in Flushing as the Alderson Era begins.

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“CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME, JOKERS TO THE RIGHT, HERE I AM, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU “

22 days until pitchers and catchers

As a Mets fan, I’m starting to feel like a weary traveler standing at the airport luggage carrousel waiting for my bags, and my bags have gotten lost.

Pitchers have gone around the free agent carrousel and the Mets just stand there waiting and waiting and waiting to the point where they are the lone team standing around with nothing to show.

Ben Sheets for $10 mil is a very steep price to pay but give the A’s and Billy Beane credit for taking a chance with Sheets. Beane is taking a shot that of the three things that can happen with Sheets, if  two of the scenarios work in the A’s favor, Beane and the A’s come out a winner.  He can stay healthy and become the Ace of a very young and potentially strong starting rotation and the A’s can be big time contenders in the NL West, or he can stay healthy and the rest of the team not play up to expectation and fall out the race where by Beane can flip Sheets for a couple of top prospects, or the worst case scenario, Sheets breaks down like a ’76 Pinto and the A’s are stuck with an expensive invalid.

But then again, Beane and the A’s management are competent and have watched Sheets throw and checked his medical reports and have given him a full medical by doctors who have cleared Sheets good to go, so with the odds in his favor Beane decides to spend Lew Wolf’s money and go for a post season berth.

Jeffey Skill Sets on the other hand, will take the money saved on buying much cheaper baseball labor to build an extension of his Hamptons mansion.

At some point one of our fine beat reporters in this town should really try to get through the Wall of Horowitz and get a sit down interview with Jeffey Skill Sets to get answers on how he feels that the baseball team he runs is the laughingstock of the industry.  The Mets have gone from an organization where every player agent made sure that the Mets were involved with their client during free agency to an organization that has become Plan Z (welcome Jason Bay) The Mets wanted John Lackey but John Lackey wanted no part of the Mets.  A pitcher coming from the American League refused to even talk to a team in the NL, that plays in a pitchers ball park, in the greatest city in the world, for a team with a big income. Stunning.

Jason Marquis begged the Mets to sign him but the Mets treated him like he had cooties. Bengi Molina? He’s a Met the MSM told us, it’s just a matter of finding a pen with ink in it. Molina is back with the Giants.  Randy Wolf? Never called Flushing.  “Mr. Minaya, Joel Piniero on line 1” WHO? Responds Omar. Jon Garland? No! Chone Figgins? No! Orlando Hudson? No! Aroldis Chapman? No! If he were 45 years old then YES! Russell Branyan? No! and on and on and on…………………………

This perception of the Mets is not a figment of Mets fans imaginations, it’s real, the baseball world shakes its head and says “How the fuck?” We can rant all day and night about Omar Minaya and Fire Omar, and Omar this and Omar that. Get over your Omar hate, this is beyond Omar. Omar Minaya is a bit player in the Mets moves these days.  If Omar were the baseball boss, Molina and Piniero would be Mets and Carlos Delgado would have a 5 year deal. But nothing gets done until Jeffey Poo says it’s done. That’s why we’re fucked.

I give Johan Santana a ton of credit not just for showing up at the mini camp but for coming on WFAN with Joe Bada Bing and Tinkerbell and being positive and optimistic about this team. The right man in charge could play this “the whole world thinks you guys suck” as a rallying cry but the guy that would play that angle perfectly has to prove himself on Coney Island this summer, while Cool Breeze Jerry works on his lounge act in Flushing.

I swear to Henry Chadwick that I hope I’m wrong that Wright and Reyes explode with career years and Daniel Murphy hits like I believe he can and that Bay and Frenchy  prove to be “corner-stones”, and Beltran comes back like a track star that hits 30 HR’s  and Big Pelf pounds that strikezone like a blacksmith and this team is not just competitive but contends for the NL East crown.

As negative as I’ve been all winter and I’m sure other Mets fans will say the same thing, none of us wants to go through another summer like last year.  As I look down the line on the big decision makers though in this organization though, it is very hard to get enthused.  Jeffey is clueless and Omar is ball-less, and the manager couldn’t care less.

All I have is my ace pitcher preaching to me like Bob Marley, I hope he’s right. It’s hard to find Three Little Birds when it’s so damn cold outside

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I’M TIRED SO HERE’S A QUCKIE

Now that the site is up and running again and that fact that I’m jonesing for a  posting, lets call this a late night lighting round:

Once upon a time, Marco Scutaro was Mets bloggers favorite player, mostly due to his success in Triple A. I wish I had the posts I wrote from back then as I was calling for Scutaro to be brought up from Norfolk to play 2B for the Mets and when was called up, I thought I had some juice. It was my Big Balls moment.

But Scutaro played sparingly for two not very good Mets teams and it was about that time we were fed up with Robbie Alomar and felt Scutaro had the tools to takeover at 2B. But the Mets but him on waivers after the 2003 season and Billy Beane claimed him for the A’s and it set off a bit of a bloggers firestorm around these parts. Ahhhhhhhh good times!

Now Scutaro has signed with the Red Sox, a move made by” cut from the same Billy Beane cloth”, Theo Epstein  to play shortstop for the Old Town Team.  It’s good to see both me and Scutaro are still kicking around.

In another move to kick Omar Minaya in the nuts, the Mets have signed former Reds GM Wayne Kivsky to be an Asst’ GM. If you listened to our PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL show last week, Joe McDonald said he had info that the Mets have a plan in place if (when?) the Mets get off to a bad start, to ax Omar and J-Man and put a new GM and Mgr. in there place. Looks like the GM part of Plan B is in place.

First, Placido Polanco goes back to the Phuck-Phaces and now Chone Figgins signs with the Mariners. And Rogers Castillo sighs in relief.

The news I’ve been waiting to hear, the KC Royals are looking to move RHP Gil Meche and LF David DeJesus and both would look great on the Mets. Then I’d go trade for Aaron Harang and sign either Joel Pinerio or Jason Marquis to give myself a fighting chance to be a contender in 2010.

That’ it for now but I will leave you with something I posted on Facebook:

“Why do I have a feeling that the NY Mets will start the 2010 season like the NJ Nets? If there was a stock called “The Mets will suck in 2010″ I’d empty my bank account to buy it”

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THE YANKEE YEARS

 

 

I know we all bleed Orange and Blue around here and you’re probably saying to yourself “why should I read “The Yankee Years” (Doubleday) by Joe Torre and TomVerduuci? Well if you’re a baseball fan and if you really want to feel better about being a Mets fan you’ll read this book.

Verducci does the writing here and that’s what makes this a first rate book. St Joseph of Torre adds in lots of inside the Highlander clubhouse stuff and the book does come off a bit like a tell all jilted lover story but the real big contributors to this book are bullpen catcher Mike Borzello, who is not afraid to let his feelings known like when he tells how the Derek Jeter-Alex Rodriguez War of the Roses spilt the team, David Cone and Mike Mussina who come off as straight shooters.

The book reveals how the Steinbren-ian way of just buying talent bothered Brian Cashman as the more he dealt with Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Mark Shapiro, he wanted to run the Highlanders in the same new school manor.

Verducci also delves in the PED Revolution with Rick Helling comeing off as the voice in the forest pertaining to steroids and how they were rampant through baseball and needed to be controlled and both ownership and the MLBPA told him to “Sit down and shut up”

The book is a great read and just shows that The Yankee Way is really a myth as Verducci and Torre let us know that once his core guys (Bernie Williams, Chuck Knoblauch, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neil and David Cone) left the team, they were replaced by guys who had no idea what it took to win and it’s a problem that the Highlanders still have today.

After reading this book I realized the New York Highlanders are not as regal or as highfalutin as my Highlander fan relatives, co-worker or next door neighbor will lead me to believe.

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“ACCORDING TO YOUR BLOOD TEST, YOUR OPS+ IS A LITTE LOW AND YOUR WHIP AND ERA+ ARE ELIVATED”

When I saw this I thought is was a column from The Onion but no it’s an op-ed piece in the NY TIMES written by John Kerry, Newt Gingrich and Billy Beane outlining a sabermetric formula to keep down cost for the nations health care.  I wonder if Bill James can come up with PSORD (Patient Survial Over Replacement Doctor)

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