Dispatches From Mets Holiday Party

I’m back from covering the Mets holiday party where the club invited about a 100 kids from P.S. 43 and The Scholars Academy both in Far Rockaway to meet Santa (John Franco) Claus and his Elf’s R.A. Dickey and Ike Davis. Also on hand was Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

After spending time with the children and giving out gifts the players and the GM were available for some Q & A time.  After spending some time with all three I have some observations:

R.A. Dickey looked and sounded puzzled, hurt and a bit defiant when he spoke of his situation now with the club. From the way I see it, the Mets first priority with Dickey is to trade him and they are waiting out teams that are interested in trade to offer more in return to the Mets than has been offered now. How long this plays out is anyone’s guess right now but make no mistake for the Mets this is a stone cold baseball business decision and honestly I hate it and from listening to Dickey this morning he understands it’s business but he’s not happy with the way it’s played out so far either.

Dickey also declared that once the season starts he will not negotiate a contract extension, nor should he.  I don’t know which end of the organization is playing by these hardball rules whether its Sandy Alderson looking to fill the massive gaps in personnel this team has or if it’s The Skill Sets looking to nickel and dime the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. If it’s the baseball ops guys being hard ass’s I can understand it, that doesn’t mean I like but if it’s  Jeffey trying to win at a negotiation, then I’ll be totally outraged.

What Dickey is asking is not just more than fair; I believe he’s selling himself short. Dickey’s agent has proposed a 2 year extension for $28 mil, how in the hell is that excessive? Dickey should have proposed a deal well north of $30 mil for 2 years. As much as I want to believe it’s the Skills Sets acting like hard ass’s here I feel it’s more Alderson and his baseball ops who are dragging this out to see if they can get a trading partner who will send back quality and quantity in a trade.  The worst part of this situation is it’s starting to get ugly and could breakout in a lot of nasty if not rectified soon.

It was Ike Davis’ turn to meet with us and as down and dourer as Dickey was Davis was very upbeat and effervescent.  It could be that Davis is 100 % healthy as he said he just had his lungs x-rayed and they are clear so he has no more effects from Valley Fever and his ankle is a good as ever. He was very happy that Wright received his contract extension and he hoped that something can work out with R.A. Dickey staying with the Mets.  You can check out the conversation with Ike by clicking here

Sandy Alderson made his way into the press area and I don’t hide the fact that I’m an Alderson fan. I think he has a plan to rebuild this organization (even though he’s not allowed to utter the dreaded “R” word because it gives any Mets fans a case of the vapors) but I think the reason I admire him is every time I talk to him he comes off very cool and collected. You can’t make him flinch. There is no emotion in how he is running the baseball operation of this organization in that way he’s the anti-Omar.

Alderson was bombarded as expected with question on R.A. Dickey and his status with the Mets. Alderson gave a name, rank and serial number answer saying that he is still speaking to clubs about dealing R.A. and at the same time looking to negotiate contract extention as he said the situation is the same as it was last week. The contrast in Alderson talking about this situation and Dickey talking about it are quite a contrast. Dickey’s answers were of an emotional nature whereas Alderson was from the business end. Alderson has no problem trading R.A. Dickey but he wants a solid return back, he’s not going to give him away.  If he can’t find the right trade for Dickey I think he’ll sweeten the extension offer and get Dickey under contract for an additional two years.

Alderson claims there is money to spend but he’s not going to spend just to spend, he doesn’t seem to care about winning the back pages of the tabloids in December. The impression I was left with is Alderson will not be the first to blink. He’s not tipping his hand on who he’s looking at to sign or trade for.

I’m as confused and frustrated as any Mets fan, in fact coming back for Citi Field today with Ed Marcus we were both in such deep discussion about what we just heard from the Mets GM we kind of forgot what a pain in the ass traffic jam we were stuck in trying to get back to Staten Island.  No matter if you like or dislike Alderson you have to admit he’s one shrewd dude. Now if nothing changes personnel wise between now and spring training I may have to alter my view but I’m trying to stay patient which is very hard for me to do but I’m trying my best.

To hear my chat with Sandy Alderson click here.

To hear the total media Q & A click here.

 

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Mets Management Should Show R.A. Dickey More Respect

Yesterday on SNY I watched the coronation of David Wright as The Franchise II (Wright would have to win a couple of MVP’s and some World Series Championships before I’d even consider him as The Franchise) Everyone was yucking it up on the SNY set about Wright having a “Burger and a Beer” with Jeffey Skill Sets in Miami after the last game of the most recent second half collapse to end a season. Between Jonas Schwartz and Ed Coleman you would think that was the equivalent of Camp David Accords of 1978. Sure it’s nice that Jeffy wants to be BFF’s with Wright and as we know from our long time Jeffey viewing, he acts like a teenybopper at a Justin Bieber concert when he’s around ball players. So it makes me wonder, why Jeffey not only hasn’t invited R.A. Dickey out for a little nosh but seems be a hard ass with the knuckleballing CY Young Winner.

Take a gander at this quote from The Little Emperor about Dickey’s status with the Mets:

 

At Wednesday’s news conference at the Opryland Hotel to announce David Wright’s eight-year contract extension, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon reiterated earlier comments that the Mets were willing to allow Dickey to simply play out next season on the pre-existing $5 million club option, and become a free agent.

“We’re in the process now,” Wilpon said. “It’s a negotiation. They want more than we’re willing to give right now. We want to do it for less than they want to accept right now. Somewhere in between there’s probably a deal to be done. If not, he’ll be a great bargain at $5 million playing out next season for us.”

 

Pretty condescending comment if you ask me.  If the reports we are getting are correct, Dickey is not asking to break the bank, in fact his offer of 2yrs/$30mil is a somewhat low if you ask me. As much as Wright is the bright shinny face of The Franchise, Dickey is the team’s heart, soul and inspiration and the holder of a post season award, something Wright does not possess. So why the hard line and disrespect for Dickey?  I think if you caught Sandy Alderson in a candid moment he tell you he’d love to send Jeffey to Langley and let Saul Berenson handle him  CIA style as Jeffey doesn’t make his job any easier.

Alderson does not want to go into the season with Dickey as a lame duck, he either wants to deal him for a rewarding return or sign him to an extension. It serves the Mets no purpose to start the season with Dickey not under contract for more than the season, his trade value will never be higher than it is now. Logic says Alderson is waiting for Zack Greinke to sign somewhere, in hopes that the runner-ups panic and over pay for Dickey. If the return is not to his liking then I’m sure Alderson and Dickey’s people sit down and settle on a contract extension. This plan is not very difficult to decipher except of course for Jeffey.

Let’s face if Jeffey and Dickey sat down to talk it would be kind of awkward. Dickey reads books, Jeffey colors in books. Dickey is charismatic; Jeffey takes the air out of a room. Jeffey like to hang around with jocks he loves being one of the guys where Dickey would rather visit a museum than a country club. Jeffey doesn’t grasp what he has in R.A. Dickey, He doesn’t comprehend that Mets fans have not just embraced a baseball player but a man that they look up to and admire. I’ve always agreed with Charles Barkley when he said “I am not a role model” athletes shouldn’t be looked at that way as most have been given privileges and perks that other’s more worthy never get  but R.A. Dickey is THE exception to that. Dickey has fought and worked to reach this point in his baseball and personal life to where he not only can provide big for his family but to reach out to others with charity. That’s the part that seems to be lost on Jeffey Skill Sets.  

If Sandy Alderson deals Dickey and gets back some pieces that will be of value to the Mets and help curtail this endless spiral of losing and giving up then that’s fine but if Dickey plays out this season and walks because Jeffey Wilpon thinks a 2yr/$30 mil extension is too much for one of the most honorable men to ever don a Mets uniform, then it may be time for me to reflect if all this support I give to this team is worth it.

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CAMP FIRE

That is the patch the Mets will wear this season in remembrance of Gary Carter. I’d still like to see all uniform personnel wear CARTER 8 uni tops for a game and auction them off for charity


You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a Mets fan who feels Terry Collins is being a hard ass to Ruben Tejada for not getting to camp early and then complain that the team isn’t very good.

Collins is stressing to his team that they have to work harder than anyone else and be  focused better than anyone else if they are to succeed this season. You can see from the early interviews of TC down in St. Lonesome that he wants his team to stick it up all the naysayer’s asses and show that the Mets are a winning baseball team.

The maturation of Matt Harvey continues to be an early training camp story line. As Josh Thole has raved about Harvey’s pitch repertoire, the manager and coaches, especially Wally Backman, have raved about his willingness to get their advice on what he needs to do to reach the big league level. Sandy Alderson is on the record as saying Harvey will not break camp with the Mets but Harvey is determined to make that a difficult decision, it’s hard to get giddy over Matt Harvey.

Same for Jeurys Familia who along with Harvey was profiled in the NY Daily News today as two guys who are competing for a job in the big leagues but have grown close as teammates and hope to join the big league club together at some point this season.

It’s so early in spring training but from reading stories about the mood of the camp and camaraderie  of the players, the Mets are staring to give me a feeling that they could be baseball version of the New York Rangers.

If Jason Bay struggles against right handed pitching as he did last season, the more reason to root for Kirk Nieuwenhuis to make the team as a platoon partner for Bay in LF. No one in the front office will say it but I bet the leash on Bay is short this season especially if he struggles against rhp.

 

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WHO ME? I’M DAY TO DAY

I’m sitting today out and not because the NY Football Giants offered up one of the great choke jobs of all time, no it’s due to a head cold that has inflamed my sinus to the point I feel like I got cracked in the face with a Louisville Slugger.

I have never been a Tom Coughlin fan and even if the Giants win another Super Bowl with him as HC I still won’t be a fan, the guy just comes off as a hard ass jerk. That was evident after he berated punter Matt Dodge after Dodge didn’t follow orders and punt the ball out of bounds.  Look, I’d cut Dodge today as he’s very inconsistent and he suffers from the yips too many times to be a pro athlete and if Coughlin wants to rip him a new asshole that’s fine by me, but do it in the clubhouse and don’t show up at your post game presser and take all the blame and then throw your punter under the bus.  How about alerting your kick off team to the possibility of an on side kick? How about not dropping Justin Tuck into coverage? How about not abandoning the aggressive defensive style that had you dominating the game by going into a turtle defense (a/k/a Prevent D)

As bad as that loss was, it couldn’t ruin my evening as I had a great dinner and saw a tremendous show last night. My kids claim that from singing and dancing in the aisles is why I’m sick today, as I’ve heard all morning that “I’m not a kid anymore” Thanks but I know what my birth certificate says, but in my heart I’m still 17 years old.

I’m out time for sinus meds and a nap

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