Sandy Sez

Mets GM Sandy Alderson was on with Mike Francesa yesterday to answer some questions about where the 2013 Mets currently stand. The team stands in the same spot as it stood since the R.A. Dickey deal, stalled. The picture Alderson gave of this upcoming Mets team was not very rosy but seriously what did you expect?  Some of you in the fan base love having smoke blown up your ass, all you want to hear is positives and unfortunately for you the GM is not the smoke blowin’ type. Others are shocked; SHOCKED when the Alderson is candid and tells you the truth, that the outfield is not one he wants to put on the field and that he is having a hard time constructing a bullpen that doesn’t contend for the worst in baseball. He also is on the level when he tells you there isn’t much out there in either trade or free agency that would make a whole helluva lot of difference so why just spend precious Skill Sets Bucks to prove that he has precious Sill Sets Bucks to spend.

Let’s look at some of the highlights from Alderson’ call with ’ ZAUN:

On what his ball club looks like right now and how he’ll improve it going forward Alderson said:

Well I’d say right now it’s an incomplete. But there’s still time in the semester, to give an educational metaphor. We’ve been watching the market, we know what’s available, we’ve known what’s available. We reconvene and review periodically, meaning every couple of days. There are a number of things that we’re currently involved in pursuing. But we’re hopeful we’ll have some additions before spring training starts, and I expect that we will have some additions, but at this point to say we’ve been patient is probably an understatement but that’s what we’ve been.

I get the idea that Alderson would have loved to have made further renovations to this roster but the over value of many of this year’s uninspiring free agent class and unreasonable trade options have hinder that plan.  Would Alderson like to trade for Justin Upton? Sure. Would he deal away Zack Wheeler for him? Hell no. Would he like to bring in a veteran outfielder? Of course. But  would he go 3years/$39mil (Shane Victorino to the Red Sox) or even 3 years/$26 mil (Cody Ross to the D’Backs) ? Nope, and if he did you know you’d scream holy hell.

On Travis d’Arnaud making the club’s opening day roster:

Yeah, I think it would be unfair given his situation, the level of his development to say, look, he can’t make the team out of spring training, but we had a somewhat open situation with Matt Harvey last year, too, and he had a fairly good spring training, and yet he opened the season at the minor league level. I just don’t want to rule anything out. At the same time, I don’t want to create false expectations on the part of our fans or any sense of pressure on Travis himself. But look, he hasn’t played since last June, he was out all the second half of last season with the knee injury. He would have been in the big leagues last year had he not been injured. Had he not been injured and played last year, I doubt he would have been available to us in a trade. So you take the good with the bad. But as far as Opening Day is concerned, he could be with us, but we do have a very capable veteran in John Buck as well.      

Ok now Alderson is blowing smoke up your ass. d’Arnaud only breaks camp with the team if Buck gets hurt, otherwise his arbitrational clock is more important than early season big league at bats. Last season’s knee injury and lack of playing in the second half of last season will come in handy to justify this decision.

The next topic to come up from ‘ZAUN was the outfield:

Well, the outfield is not a strength at this point, there’s no question about that. There’s a need for an upgrade at almost every one of those positions. Some of it could come internally. We may see Lucas Duda substantially improve defensively and offensively.

Or we may not see Lucas Duda substantially improve defensively and offensively. Duda is a liability in the outfield and would be a perfect DH if he could…you…know….HIT! Is it me or does Duda also strike you as a guy you makes playing baseball a chore?

Alderson then laid out what the outfield could look like on opening day:

We’re looking at him(Duda) in left. Center field right now is probably [Kirk] Nieuwenhuis and a player we obtained from the A’s, Colin Cowgill, who I think will be an interesting player to watch in spring training.

Ah yes Colin Cowgill. I too am interested in seeing Cowgill play as he looks to be the player that Mets have been waiting for the Alderson regime to bring in, the under the radar AAA to AAAA player who gets a chance to play regularly and makes an a strong contribution.  From looking at Cowgill’s minor league numbers he’s shown the ability to get on base, to steal a base and not get caught hit with a bit of power and his defense is a major plus and he bats right handed. Cowgill is an upgrade over Scott Hairstion and speaking of Scott Hairstion he is the exchange between ‘Zaun (‘Zaun is a play on the name of Francesa’s show Mike’s On but when the singers of his theme song make it sound like “MIKE ZAUN”) and Alderson:

 Francesa: You expect to have a Hairston back or another player in the mix before the season starts?

Alderson: Oh, we’re working on it. Yeah. And I think there’s been speculation about Scott. I think that…

Francesa: That he asked for too much money…

Alderson: You know, money’s always an issue and I wouldn’t deny that, but it’s also a question of playing time and he wants to play — we understand that — and one of the things that exists for us right now, the dynamic is, that in order for us to sign Scott we want to be able to commit a certain amount of playing time. This is where you balance two or three things going on at the same time. If one or two other things were to happen, it might affect his playing time. So it’s not just about the money, it’s also about playing time and what we can readily commit to Scott.

Francesa: You want to see what you can pull off before you commit to him?

Alderson: [Pause] … Uhh, yeah.

Francesa: Okay, that’s fair. I think that’s fair. I mean, it is fair. I mean, so it’s not a case of it just being a price, it’s also a situation of a couple other things actually can still happen or not.

Alderson: Yeah, absolutely.       

Trying to read between the lines here, it seems Alderson is waiting and hoping that some GM out there (Kevin Towers) panics and will trade from an over stocked outfield for some fringe prospects.   It goes back to the Upton talk I think Alderson believes he still has a shot at Upton and at his price but it’s going to take some more time and some more patience’s to pull it off. Even if it’s not Upton he gets it, seems before he commits those precious Skill Sets Bucks to Hairston, he leaves no options uncovered. No one is giving Scott Hairston 2ys/$8mil.

Alderson goes on in the rest of the interview to talk about how he sees both Johan Santana and Dillon Gee bouncing back from injury, how he hopes the younger bullpen arms he has will make an impact, how he has an eye on 2014 but his ‘dominant eye” is on 2013, and how he’s not happy with the way the Mets have finished that lase few seasons.

Big tip of the Mets cap to Amazin’ Avenue and Eric Simon and Steve Flanagan who posted a transcript of Francesa and Alderson’s conversation. Great job guys !  

 

 

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HEY DIDDLE-DIDDLE WILL THE BALL NOW GO OVER RIGHT-CENTER FIELD WALL OF CITI FIELD ?

This whole changing of the walls at Citi Field has me a bit perplexed to a point of being a bit pissed off. While I agree with lowering the height of the outfield walls to eight feet, which they should have been when the park was first built, it seems the lowering of the walls and bringing them in a bit closer to home plate is because some of the Mets starting eight have been traumatized by the outfield dimensions. According to Pitching Coach Old School Warthen, his pitchers “got a bit lazy” due to the vast pasture of the Citi Field outfield that they had a hard time pitching in a place like Citizen’s Bank or even the Mall of The South Bronx.  What all this tells me is this team collectively is mentally weak and the pitching coach has no idea how to do his job.

I’ve always been a card carrying member of the David Wright Fan Club but his constant crying about the Citi Field dimensions have me wondering if I want to renew my membership. Same with Jason Bay, I was never a fan of his as his signing was just another example of the damage Omar Minaya and Jeffey Skill Sets did to this organization. So now that the fences have been moved in and the walls lowered (I guess it is perfectly clear now that Citi Field was badly planed and put together between the skyscraper outfield walls, the lack of a Mets-eccentric feel and the whole homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers that was met with Mets fans ire) there should be no excuse for Wright and Bay to not have monster seasons in 2012. Right? Wright?

As for Warthen his quote :

“We got into being a little bit mentally lazy and overly secure. … I think that caused a lot of the homers this year. I really do. …[The new dimensions] will help us focus and concentrate and not be so ready to go out there and throw a fastball away and hope they hit it to center field.”

As the pitching coach shouldn’t you have nipped this problem in the bud ? By saying this out loud didn’t you realize that you are just feeding into the frenzy of many Mets fans (this one included) that you have no clue on how to fix this staff and should have been relieved of your duties this off season? It’s quotes like this that make me wonder if it’s Warthen fault that Bobby Parnell, he of the Howitzer arm, had no clue on how to pitch? Same with Mike Pelfrey. Pelf has talent and his a big strong workhorse of a pitcher is that Old School can’t or doesn’t know how to tap into what it takes to make both pitchers the dominate arms we feel they can be?

Jeffey Skill Sets says, not to worry about whom and when these minority shareholders of the Mets come on board. Besides it’s none of your business:

“Some of the people don’t want to be public,” Wilpon said. “Some of the people might never be public. I don’t think anybody knows all the minority shareholders in each of the other teams. Do you know all the minority shareholders in Atlanta or Kansas City or St. Louis, Cincinnati, the Yankees? It’s just not widely known.”

Do I care who holds a minority share in the Braves, Royals, Cardinals or the Bronx Bastards? No, because I don’t root or spend my money on tickets and merchandise on those teams but I do on the Mets. See I want to know as a Mets fan/customer what financial resources the team has to improve the product they are selling to me and my fellow Mets fans. I’m not going to pay Broadway prices for a high school production.  This is just another example of this ownership having not a clue of how to treat or connect with its fan base.

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween maybe it was because the neighborhood I grew up in was more about ducking flying eggs or avoiding getting jumped by guys with socks full of chalk (usually pulling a knife on the sock hopper curtailed those attacks) than collecting candy but Ed “Rusty Jr.” Marcus went to a Mets Halloween Party last night and saw some interesting costumes. Oh and by the way Ed, the image of you in KISS makeup is disturbing.

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METS ARE THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND

Only 23 days until pitchers and catchers

So the Oakland A’s have made a competitive offer to Ben Sheets and want and answer not later than tomorrow. Okay, what is a competitive offer and how many competitors are in this race? From all the innuendo we’ve heard on Sheets, the Mets, A’s and Texas Rangers are in the loop. Rumor is Sheets’ management is looking for an $8 mil base plus incentives for this year and an option for 2011. Now as much as I would love to have Ben Sheets on the Mets, but $8mil for a pitcher who could be a either a stud or a cripple is a tough decision to make. But then again the Mets did give Alex Cora $2mil bucks to be a leader on the bench.

I can not see any way that the A’s would give Sheets $8 mil even the Rangers, as they go through a transition of ownership, would have a hard time paying that kind of coin.

If I’m the Mets I call Sheets’ agent and offer $6mil guarantee with incentives that could go to $10mil if reached (post season starts include in that) and a mutual option for 2011. Then take the other $2 mil and give that to John Smoltz.

If they can do that, not only solidifies the pitching staff but I’ll get off managements back for a while and maybe even praise them for a job well done.

So far the Mets Mini-Camp has proved that OP is great shape and that Johan Santana will again try to help Ollie as much as he can both with his pitching and with his psyche. Jon Niese took the mound for the first time since he ripped his hammy and felt pretty good. Daniel Murphy is a camp and is doing what most fans wish all the players would do, work hard and try to get better but he still catches hell. Wait until he gets traded and becomes a solid ML’er, I will be insufferable or more insufferable than I already am, if that’s possible. 

Kevin Kernan seconds my position that the injury excuse from last year was a smoke screen to how badly last years team executed all facets of the game.   Time for Jerry Manuel to Man Up this spring and prove that he can manage and teach and to prove that he is just not waiting to get canned so he can go back to Sacramento and collect a check sitting on his porch.

I still baffles me how the Skill Sets don’t get upset or try to change the perception of their organization after time and time again being told they run one of the worst organizations in baseball. At some point you need to show some spine and fight back. Everyone from media to fans to bloggers keep kicking the organization in the ass waiting for them to fight back. It’s at the point now where I feel like a bully for calling out the Skill Sets as often as I do, they just take all these kicks in the ass and ask for more. It’s more sad than strange. Com’on Jeffey show some fucking fight will ya!!!!!!

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