Is There More To the David Howard Departure from the Mets Than Meets The Eye?

With the ominous dark cloud of injuries and lack of overall pizazz that engulfs the 2013 version of the NY Mets, I should be concerned with the product that I and all Mets fans will be observing for better or worse this season but the thing that has me most intrigued about the New York Mets is why did David Howard leave the organization to head Madison Square Garden Sports?

When I heard that Howard was leaving the Mets to run the Garden sports properties I was taken by surprise to say the least. Howard has been a Mets exec for 20 years and in the last few years since the Madoff debacle, he has been the public face of the Mets Ivory Tower. Howard was outstanding at being the top talking head of ownership but then again following the awful displays of public speaking from Omar Minaya, Jeffy Wilpon and the rants of Freddy Skill Sets, those are not tough acts to follow, But Howard was the perfect front man for the club as he’s intelligent, articulate and able to spin the Mets angel better than any Capitol Hill spokesman.

I could be taking this whole departure way out of context; Howard could be leaving for a better position and more money. He could be leaving the Mets just because 20 years in one spot is a long time and he could want a new challenge.  But this being the Wilpon Mets, I always have the hint of disaster in the back of my mind.

Does Dave Howard know something is around the corner that could cripple the franchise again?  Does he see that Freddy Skill Sets crowing about all the cash he will have at his disposal after Michael Bourn signed with the Cleveland Indians as a heap of horseshit being that there is debt on the team, ballpark and a re-finance of SNY that could take a large chunk out of the organization’s ass?  Could it be he’s tired of going public about the ridiculous ticket and concession prices the Mets charge and just can’t put a happy face on a team that has a load of opening day tickets still available?  On a bit of a side note about ticket prices and concessions, the Boston Red Sox, one of the best baseball franchises in MLB, will see their 793 home sellout streak end the first week of the season. To counter that the Red Sox, THE BOSTON RED SOX!!!! Will cut the concession prices on food (buy 1 hot dog get 1 free) drink (5 bucks for a beer , 2 bucks for a hot chocolate ) and start 11 of the first 17 home games before 7PM so the cranks of Fenway don’t freeze their arses off in the April chill. Hello?????? Anyone home in the Flushing home office??????

Back to Dave Howard leaving, I wouldn’t question Howard leaving for MSG as nothing more than a corporate transfer going from one board room to another for a loftier title and higher pay but after reading that at least three other front office honchos will take over Howard’s tasks, it makes me think the club was caught off guard. Being that Howard was a 20 year employee of the organization wouldn’t you think that he would have gone to the Skill Sets and explain to them that he needed a new challenge a fresh start and the opportunity to run all the functions of the Gardens sports properties except for drafting, trading and constructing team rosters was too good to pass up, but before I leave I will help any way I can with finding my successor and showing he or she the ropes. That didn’t happen. We have a group of executives from different units reporting to, and this is where I come close to soiling myself, Jeffy Skill Sets. That is what has me the most frightened.

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Sandy Alderson Blinked

 

You know who I feel bad for in this whole Michael Bourn saga? The young man the Mets draft with the 11th pick in the entry draft because if he doesn’t turn into the next coming of Willie Mays or Walter Johnson he will be scared for life.

So the Mets finally free up money to make not only a competitive offer but an offer that Bourn was eager to sign, if the reports are accurate, that Bourn’s first choice was the New York Mets. So a bit of a silver lining for Mets fans to embrace here that the Mets were in position to make an offer on a free agent and the free agent wanted to be a Met. The only thing it seems between Bourn flying around Citi Field as a Met or going elsewhere was that priceless 11th pick and Scott Boras doing his Scott Boras thing, taking his clients best offer and trying to get an even better best offer.  Remember his midnight phone call to Pee Wee Cashman when Carols Beltran was to become a Met where he all but begged Pee Wee to match the Mets offer. While it seems that the Mets and Bourn were just a signature away, Boras came back with an offer from the Cleveland Indians that matched the Mets offer and went one better with a 5th year option based on goals reached in that 4th year . Did that scare off Sandy Alderson?  Did it piss him off that maybe he was being played by Boras? Could be a little of both.

Who knew that not sucking enough in 2012 would hurt the Mets for 2013? Maybe going on a bit of tear after the 16-1 embarrassing loss to the Phillies wasn’t the best thing that could have happened late last season.  The big question I have is why did it take the Mets this long to contest the clause in the CBA on compensation for the inability to sign a draft pick? When going over the CBA didn’t anyone, not just the Mets but any team, look at that clause and say, “something is wrong here”. It’s ridiculous that the Pittsburgh Pirates get rewarded for incompetence and not doing their due diligence in know what it would take to sign RHP Mark Appel last season.   I’m not taking the Mets and Sandy Alderson off the hook here either they totally dropped the ball on this, even without the Bourn signing shouldn’t the Mets GM have been fighting  to get to the 10th pick anyway since the Mets had the 10th worst record in baseball?

All through this Bourn saga, I’ve wavered back and forth and now that it’s done and Bourn is not a Met because of this 11th pick and more importantly the slot money the Mets would lose. I’m pissed off that Alderson couldn’t finish the deal with Bourn/Boras.

That fact that Bourn, if he signed with the Mets would have been the second best  everyday player on the team, he also would have added speed at the leadoff spot, a bonafide top notch centerfielder and most important the message that the Mets are back in the baseball business. All of these factors in my opinion outweigh a draft pick and a couple of million dollars of slot money. Signing Bourn would have boosted the fan base moral and made the baseball establishment sit up and take notice.

Bourn to the Mets would have capped off a fantastic off season for Alderson. He signed David Wright to 8 year deal, he dumped Jason Bay and he show his onions trading R.A. Dickey in turn making the Mets future look brighter. That’s what has me puzzled over not signing Bourn. Why not sign him and then go to the MLBPA and argue the stupidity of the compensation rule. If you have the balls to trade not only a reigning CY Young Award winner but also one of the most popular Mets players in recent history, why lose your courage over a draft pick? Roll the fucking dice.

Alderson made a terrific offer to Bourn/Boras who in turn said I see your offer of 4 years and raise you a vesting option on a 5th. Alderson looked at his cards showing an 11th round pick on a player who odds are will never make an impact on the Mets, and the slot money, which I believe is more important to Alderson that the pick itself and said I’m out. That’s what has me mad as hell, Alderson found a strange time to lose his nerve. He should have matched the Indians offer. He’d have been a hero today. I hope to hell he has another plan up his sleeve if not he should lay low and stop with the wise ass jokes , I’m really not in the mood.

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Random Thoughts Post Season Edition

Mets news? What Mets news? This is what happens during the MLB post season as the Commissioner’s office like for it teams not participating in the post season to lay low on news of their own. Sure it looks like the Cleveland Indians get a pass by hiring Terry Francona as their manger and knowing the kinship the Skill Sets have with The Used Car Salesman they have carte blanch as well. But with the Skill Sets looking to re-finance their massive debt of the team via its 65 % share of SNY we will have to wait a while to see if David Wright will be a Met for at least then next 6 years and if R.A. Dickey will receive his Cy Young Award as a NY Met as well.

So until then here are some random observations:

After listening to Sandy Alderson on with Mike Francesa earlier this week, it safe to say that Alderson is looking to add power, power and more power to his lineup. I would love to see him swing a deal with Toronto to add C J.P. Arencibia and CF Colby Rasmus to the Mets. I bet the price wouldn’t be that prohibitive to get both.  You fill two big holes with both players and I bet it wouldn’t take Jon Niese to get them either. Maybe Mejia, Familia and Duda ?

I’m pretty bummed that the two teams I’ve wanted to make it to the World Series, the Oakland A’s and SF Giants are both in big time trouble in a 2-0 hole in both their series.  Got to tip your Mets cap to the Reds for bouncing back after their Ace Johnny Cueto came out of game one with back spasms after one hitter.  Reliever Sam LeCure stepped up big time with a 1.2 relief stint that allowed Matt Laos to get up and warmed up to go 4 solid innings as to not tax the Reds relief corps. This is what I mean about teams like the Mets who accept failure and teams like the Reds that do what it takes to win.

I can’t believe some folks are still talking about the infield fly rule call in the Braves-Cards knockout game. The Braves are using Sam Holbrook’s bad judgment as a crutch for dropping this game. Did Holbrook make the wrong call? No. Did he stretch the interpretation of the infield fly rule? Yes. The infield fly rule is all about the umpire’s judgment and in Holbrooks judgment as bad as it may have been, Cards shortstop Pete Kozma was able to get in position to make a routine play on the fly ball hit by Anderlin Simons. The rule is in place to protect the runner from deception of a fielder dropping a routine fly ball in an attempt to get a double play, as the rule states batter is out, runners advance at their own risk. In the Braves case the runners Dan Uggla on 2nd and David Ross on 1st both advanced at that risk as the ball dropped between Kozma and LF’er Matt Holliday. So the Cardinals got the worst end of the play, not the Braves.  By the way once the infield fly rule is called it doesn’t matter which fielder makes the catch so again it would have been a more favorable outcome for the Cardinals if Matt Holliday made the catch since he was coming in on the ball which would have prevented Uggla from advancing to 3rd base. I love baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This kills me but I have to give the Highlanders and C.C. Sabathia their due this morning. Sabathia put on a clinic on how to pound the ball low in the strike zone.

 

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TONIGHT AT 10PM ET JOIN ME FOR BBA BASEBALL TALK ON BLOG TALK RADIO

Tonight at 10PM ET I will be hosting theBaseball Bloggers Alliance(BBA) Baseball Talk Podcast on BlogTalk Radio. Tonight I will be talking Cleveland Indians baseball with Nino Colla of The Tribe Daily and Steve Kubitza of Deep Left Field.

In the second half hour, my guest will be D.J. Short of Hard Ball Talk and Rotoworld, D.J. and I will talk some fantasy baseball and we will try to squeeze in some Mets talk as well.

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COACH ‘EM UP FELLAS’

Its official the somewhat new and improved Mets coaching staff has been announced via press release.  The names are the ones we figured on.  Old School Dan Warthen and Chip Hale remain on staff at their positions. Obie becomes Terry Collins sounding board in the dugout. Mookie Wilson is back with the team as first base coach (and I’d bet outfield and base running coach as well)

Two names that were added are of hitting coach Dave Hudgens and bullpen coach Joe Debus, here are their bios:

Hudgens spent the last five years (2006-2010) as the Field Coordinator for the Cleveland Indians.  He is currently managing Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League.  Hudgens was the hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics in 1999 and from 2003-2005.  He managed four years in Oakland’s minor league system from 1985-1988, including three years at Medford (A) of the Northwest League.  Hudgens, who was originally selected by the Mets in the first round of the January 1975 draft but did not sign, served as the Athletics’ Assistant Director of Player Development from 1996-1998 and 2000-2002.  He played six minor league seasons with the Athletics and Indians and appeared in six games with Oakland in 1983.

Debus was a professional scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009-2010.  He served on the coaching staff of the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League during Terry Collins’ tenure as Manager from 2007-2008.  He served as the minor league catching coordinator for the Dodgers from 2002-2004 and in 2005 he was the bullpen coach for the big league squad.  Debus began his coaching career in the Dodgers minor league system in 1990 and served as a coach or manager through the 1999 campaign.  In 2000 and 2001 Debus was the General Manager of the Elmira Pioneers of the Independent Northern League.  He played 10 seasons in the minor leagues, advancing as high as Triple-A.

This what you’d call a “grizzled” coaching staff

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CAN THE METS SUCK ENOUGH TO BE IN LINE TO DRAFT BRYCE HARPER ?

 

 

After yesterday’s ass whipping by the Braves a game where another player went down with a leg muscle strain and a player who allegedly is getting released by today pitched like his usual shitty self the thought came over me as maybe the Mets should get involved in a reverse pennant race, the race for the top pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.

 

Right now the Nationals again lead the way for the first overall pick in the next draft with a 26-65 record and lead the Mets by 17 games for that pick. Unless the Mets assign the rest of the big league team on the DL (not a bad idea, eh?) and bring up the whole Buffalo Bisons team then the Mets have no shot at beating DC for the top pick. The next team in line would be the Cleveland Indians who at 36-57 lead the Mets by a mere 8 games. Now passing the Indians could be done with the help of keeping Tim Redding not only on the team but putting him in the rotation and giving D-Wright the rest of the summer off and pitching Ollie Perez on two days rest.

 

Say this happened, no not Wright’s vacation or Redding and Perez every other day but say the Mets tank to the point of finishing with the second worst record in baseball, they would have a shot at drafting Bryce Harper.

 

You’ve all read about Bryce Harper, who has been hailed as the next great thing since the birth of Jesus. Harper just 16 years old will skip his junior and senior years of high school by obtaining a GED and enrolling in Junior College with the sole purpose of being drafted number 1 in the next draft. Now where this gets interesting is if the Nationals have that pick would they draft Harper who will probably ask for part of the franchise to sign after dealing with Scott Boras in their dealing with Stephen Strasburg? Can the Nationals shell out big bucks for two potential super start players? Would Freddy Skill Sets call in his marker with the Used Car Salesman to rig the draft so the Mets could get their hands on Harper? Am I drunk? Oh sorry no,  but when your team is 10 games off the pace and players are dropping to wayside every game the only thing to hang your hat on is securing a top 10 draft pick. Sad isn’t it?

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THE F-MART ERA IS UPON US

word out of Queens is Jose Reyes and Ryan Church have been relegated to the DL (finally!) and Fernando Martinez is in the ball park and the lineup hitting 6th and Wilson Vladez (yes THE Wilson Valdez) has been obtained from the Cleveland Indians for cash and will play short most likely tomorrow when he reports

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RANDOM ACT OF BLOGGING 11-10-08

Not much on the Mets front today as we await Friday when hunting season opens. No not for men in camo killing Bambi but for guys like Omar Minaya to don an orange hat and use the smell of devalued U.S. currency as a lure to rope in a few good arms for the Mets pitching staff and maybe a bat and a bench player too.  But even during this lull in the Mets off season action, you can always find some interesting things to discuss such as:

 

The New York Football Giants went into that cesspool called Philadelphia and showed the Philly fans that there is at least one team in NYC with a pair of balls. Far from their best performance of the season the G-Men ran the ball right down the throats of the Iggles but still allowed to keep Philly in the game with some bad fumbles (Brandon Jacobs is a stud but he HAS to learn to put his shoulder down, run low and tuck that ball up high as one day those fumble are going to cost the Giants a big game) and some spotty secondary play. I love the cover of the NY Daily News with Tom Coughlin making the play of the game when he asked for video review of the illegal forward pass against Eli Manning in the 3rd period that was reversed and set up the Brandon Jacobs TD that put the GIANTS in front for good. Just a side note with all the well deserved praise heaped on Justin Tuck and Osi Umenorya Chase Blackburn’s play at LB has been overlooked.

 

Mike Silva at NY Baseball Digest has a post and a link from Buster Olney on the Padres playing a tough negations game with Trevor Hoffman. The last guy who I would want to come pitch for the Mets would be the most overrated reliever of the 20th and 21st century Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman would not survive 5 minutes on 126th and Roosevelt Ave.

 

I’ve linked to Randy Newsom before at Dugout Central and Newsom has another great report from Venezuela posted. Newsom is a pitcher in the Cleveland Indians system and is a very entertaining writer.

 

I have no idea if the great footballer and Sunderland manager Roy Keane and I are related (he is from Cork my family is from Silo) but one thing we Keane’s have in common, we hate losing and we lack patience so when I read this story about Keane being very frustrated with the lads on the Black Cats and taking Sky Sports commentators to task I started to think me and Roy have to cousins.

 

Well what do you know,  the ground at Willets Point are contaminated I’m shocked, SHOCKED!!!!!  After reading this it may be more than the prices keeping me out of $iti Field and if I do show up it may be in a bubble.

 

I went to see FUERZABRUTA last night at the Darryl Roth Theater on 15 St and it was on of the best and most entertaining shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a must see show!!!!! (Holy shit I think I’m morphing into Larry King)

 

I saw this link from the Shyster Ball site it’s a story on former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee being honored into the Red Sox Hall of Fame. I always like Lee and in fact my daughter needed something from my book case Saturday and while we were looking for a book on the 50 states I saw a copy I had of Lee’s The Wrong Stuff that hadn’t read in years. I may just dust it off and give it a look.

 

            

  

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Tickets

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