Sandy Alderson and the Mets Baseball Ops Explain the Facts of Life to Season Ticket Holders

Last night at Citi Field Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta, JP Riccardi and John Ricco sat down for a Q & A session with Mets season tickets holders.  Of the season ticket holders in attendance were the first couple of Mets Blogdom Ed Leyro and Taryn Cooper.  On Ed’s Studious Metsimus site he gives a recap of the some of the questions posed to the group and the answers given by the Baseball Ops members assembled. Some of these stood out to me, such as being asked why it’s taking so long for Alderson to make the Mets a contender. And Alderson replied “”We don’t want to be there one year and gone the next.” There is segment of Metsfandom whose craniums are as thick as a milk shake at the Shake Shack. When you inherit a holy mess both personnel and cash flow wise, it’s going to take some time to straighten things out. Alderson and his crew have the Mets on the right path and the impatient Mets fan (who I believe like Chipper Jones said puts a Highlander cap on when the Bronx Bastards play in October)  is either too dense or quite frankly too ignorant to see this. In case you missed it, MLB on its 2013 Prospect Watch ranked three Mets in the top 30 of its top 100 list, Travis d’Aranud  at #6, Zack Wheeler #8 and Noah Syndergaard #29 . Wheeler and d’Aranud will be up by no later than mid-season, Syndergaard in two seasons at least add them to Matt Harvey and you have a nice foundation for the future. Oh yeah I know what you’re saying but the outfield sucks!!!!

Alderson has let it be known in interview after interview that yes, the outfield is a problem spot and yes, I could have spent money to find a bonafide ML outfielder but he wasn’t happy with the sticker price, something he also admitted he has to get over:

  “We understand what the market dictates and we have to be prepared to exist in that market,” said Alderson, who indicated there is an urgency to winning, and that he has not set out on a 10-year plan

Seems Alderson felt there were a couple or three players out there he could have signed but was unwilling to match the price set by the market. I wonder if he could have a do over, if he’d been a little more aggressive in bidding for Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross or even Reed Johnson as any of those three would be the Mets top outfielder and none of them broke the bank in their newly signed deals. Ross was a player I wanted badly on the Mets as he hits with some pop from the right side of the plate and would have been a big upgrade in right field.  To be fair here as well, there was not much else to choose from in the outfield free agent pool since there was no way in hell Josh Hamilton or Nick Swisher were going to be Mets, nor should they have been and my other wish list outfielder Shane Victorino got a year a couple of million dollars more than I thought he would from Boston and even though he’s born and bred  Phuck Phace  I’d have taken a run at him. Would you be happy with a Duda, Victorino, Ross/Baxter outfield? I would.

The best part of all this is in 11 days Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Port St Lonesome and 5 days after that the full squad will be there and then we can see for ourselves what we have in store in 2013 with our own eyes (and the eyes of those covering the camp) and be done with all this off season speculation.

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NY Mets News and Views

 

NEWS: Mets Still Dangling R.A. Dickey as Trade Bait

VIEW: Sandy Alderson knows his team is dire need of a front line catcher and at least one power hitting corner outfielder. Two get either prize possession will not be easy since he is working with a lack of trade chips and money, so what’s a GM to do? In Alderson’s case it seems he’s using Dickey as bait to lure in the sharks just to see how hungry they are. Reports from Nashville have the Mets talking to about eight teams about Dickey. Some are serious some are just bullshiters, the Red Sox and Blue Jays seem to be the most interested and have the most to give back in trade.

The Jays and Red Sox are flush with catchers, a position that Mets lack major league talent at (sorry Josh Thole) and outfield help again a deficient part of the Mets player personal roster.  Alderson is not going to give Dickey away and in fact he may not be giving Dickey away at all. Like I mentioned above, Dickey could be the bait to get the sharks out in the open to make his pitch for big time talent back in trade. I see where Alderson has asked the Red Sox for their two top prospects, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and center fielder Jackie Bradley. Bogaerts is shortstop that has power on offense and great range on defense. Bradley has great instincts in the field and covers a ton of ground in the outfield, gets on base by any means necessary and has (cover your eyes sabrmetricans) outstanding make up and is an on field leader.  Seems to me it would take more than a 38 year old knuckleballer to pry two gems like that, so maybe if Alderson switched the bait from Dickey to Jon Niese he could land these two trophy pieces?

Could this be the Mets GM plan? Lure teams with Dickey, ask for a major package in return, get rebuffed and then use Niese as the trade chip?    

 

NEWS: Angel Pagan Re-Ups with Giants for 4 Years $40 mil

VIEW: How Brian Sabean has two World Series rings is astonishing. I guess getting Shane Victorino to the Mets is now out of the question as his asking price has to be the same as Pagan’s if not more. FUCK!

NEWS: Jordany Valdespin Suspended For Insubordination From Winter League Team

VIEW: Enough is enough with Valde, he’s not talented enough to get away with acting like an asshole. I’m sure any deal that Mets make this off season Valdespin will be a throw in and if no other team wants him he’ll be assigned to Las Vegas or better yet given his release. If I know anything about how Alderson runs his team it’s he doesn’t put up with guys like Valdespin.

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The Wright Move

Even the self-hating Mets fans are happy today. Happy that David Wright will be a Met for the next 8 seasons and beyond taking the reins from Tom Seaver as the Mets Ambassador of Goodwill   . If you want to bitch and moan about length of contract or the amount of money that’s your prerogative, but for me today is to sit back and smile and enjoy that Wright will continue his career as a Met and hopefully more moves will be made to get this team back into the post season.

So far Sandy Alderson has rid the club of the albatross that was Jason Bay (the Alderson bashers never mention that he has had no problem getting ownership to cut all the deadwood he has inherited ) and re-signed Wright and seems he’s also on the verge of finalizing a deal with R.A. Dickey. For some, his moves aren’t coming fast enough but it looks as if his plan is in motion. Hopefully we will hear more news out of Nashville next week with either the Mets landing a catcher and power hitting outfielder or at least laying the ground work to obtain those two vital pieces for the team.  

Alderson’s work is far from done as positive as it is to have Wright signed long term, he still needs to be protected in the lineup to be effective and I’m sure Alderson knows that and has sat with Wright to explain what he is working on doing to bring that to fruition.  Sure Wright took the money and security but I’m sure if he didn’t hear a positive outlook from the Mets GM he wouldn’t have signed this deal so quickly.  

By the way, I have to tip my Mets cap to Ed Coleman who broke this story early this morning. I’ve been a critic of Coleman’s but I have to give credit where it’s due.

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Yes Fred and Jeff Wilpon Mets Fans CAN Handle The Truth!

I was all set to put up a post this morning but we had a bit of a situation at work that required an all hands on deck approach so that settled that for me.

One of the items I wanted to touch on was the anger that is building within the fan base. It seems the frustrations of another meaningless second half, this one coming on the heels of an optimistic first half, and the uncertainty of what the 2013 payroll will be are the main culprits in this uprising. The good news for Mets management is that there still is a pulse, a passion in Mets fans to get their dander up. But how long does the passion last until it turns to apathy?

I have no idea what the Skill Sets financial situation is and I’m sure they are not looking to share those details with me or anyone else not involved in the baseball operations of the Mets. I’m pretty sure there is still tremendous debt both on the ballpark, the team and SNY plus legal fees that have to be paid. So the question is what will be left to procure talent to make the 2013 Mets a contending team?

I’m not optimistic that there will be enough funds to sign a solid power hitting outfielder while releasing a very highly paid and unfortunately useless left fielder in Jason Bay. What will happen with David Wright this offseason, will he and the Mets come to an agreement on a contract extension that will keep him in a Mets uniform for the rest of his career? Again not knowing the financials I think the Skill Sets will find a way to extend Wright 5 yrs at $100 mil but the question is will Wright want to stay here?

I have to give Freddy Skill Sets credit when he was approached by David Lennon of Newsday during an infrequent walk on the field during BP, that he made no comment and kept walking briskly away as the media took off after him for a quote and all they got was a cloud of dust and the reply of “Ask Sandy”.

I guess after the Gucci loafer in mouth quotes Freddy gave to Jeffery Toobin last year in the New Yorker article, he’s learned his lesson to keep your head down and walk fast when discovered by reporters. Even at the All Star Game presser, Freddy was not in attendance and Jeffy gave just a brief speech.

As I’ve said, I have no idea what the financial situation is with the Skill Sets and how it effects the off season game plan but I do know this after the October 3 game against the Fish, the topic of conversation for the next four months will be money and how much the Wilpons have to invest in their team.

The only thing I’ve ever wanted from the Skill Sets is honesty and for some reason they have a tough time with that concept. Just level with your fan/customer base about what the game plan is going forth for 2013 and beyond. That’s all we’re asking, honesty and transparency two very good traits to possess. I’ve said for the longest time if Freddy came out and said “we are still trying to recover monetarily from the Madoff scandal and now that the trial has been settled we are trying to regroup financially both personally and professionally. “ Com’on try it Freddy and Jeffy just be honest with your fans/customers THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREEE !!!!!! and buy you some much needed good will as well.

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THE SKY IS NOT REALLY FALLING

I’m already feeling Mets fatigue as the stories out of St Lonesome other than Santana’s healthy and Matt Harvey is a stud, all the other news has the stink of negativity to it. But is it really that bad or is it because it’s the Mets that it’s portrayed that way?

Sure the rash of pulled obliques is a concern but is it serious enough to where some fans are going off the deep end? Of all the pull muscles in the abdomen area that bother me it’s Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ because I thought he had a real shot of making the team but this will most likely stall his major league debut. Scott Hairston’ is somewhat disconcerting but he’s a 4th outfielder who can be replaced by a waiver pick up at end of spring. Lucas Duda’ back looks to be fine as his Grand Slam yesterday is testament to.

Tim Byrdak is having his knee operated on today and contrary to all the bridge jumpers he’ll be back by mid-April. Is there a fan base in baseball that would get all worked up about a LOOGY missing 4 weeks of action in spring, some Mets fans reacted like idiots over the news of Byrdak’s injured knee.

If you want to throw yourself on the ground and kick up a tantrum, then do so over David Wright’s sore side. That’s the injury to watch.

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SCOTT HAIRSTON MUCH BETTER VALUE SIGNING OVER CODY ROSS

With the word that Cody Ross has signed with the Boston Red Sox with the Mets in contention for his services, the question of the day is whom would you rather  have as your 4th outfielder, Cody Ross or Scott Hairston?

Ross put a .240/.325/.405/.730 line last season with the Giants in 461 plate appearances. Hairston, stepped into the batter’s box, a sporadic 145 times to fill a line of .235/.303/.470/.773. while Ross banged out 14 home runs last season Hairston put seven baseballs over the outfield walls in his limited action. When you look at FB/HR rate Hairston’s beats out Ross 13.0% to 9.3 %.

Ross hits lefties very well especially for power with a .912 lifetime OPS to Hairston’ .813 OPS which is impressive as well making it even more a head scratcher on why Terry Collins didn’t use Hairston more before a rib injury at the end of August ended his season.

I would bet that Hairston re-signed with the Mets with the promise of more playing time, especially in CF against RHP unless Andres Torres can repeat his 2010 season. But between CF and spelling Lucas Duda in RF and staying healthy, Hairston could be a very productive 4th outfielder for the Mets.

Cody Ross would have been a nice choice as well for the Mets but with the Red Sox offer of $3mil plus incentives the Mets will get as much value from Hairston as they would from Ross and Hairston only cost $1.1 mil. No way Cody Ross is worth $2mil+ more than Jerry Hairston.

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ANDRES TORRES OVER COCO CRISP, NY METS GOT THE BETTER DEAL

 

 

When the Mets off season got under way one of the position I wanted to see an upgraded was center field. I had seen enough of Angel Pagan and it seems Sandy Alderson felt the same way. I was intrigued by Coco Crisp thinking he would be a nice cheap alternative to man the less spacious tundra of the center of the Citi Field outfield.  Alderson felt the better man for the job was Andres Torres, a great glove less than potent bat outfielder who came with RHP Ramon Ramirez to the Mets from the Giants for Angel Pagan.

After reading that Crisp re-signed with the A’s for 2yrs/$14 mil, a year and cash figure that quite frankly stunned me, I went over to Fan Graphs to look at a comparison of both players. 

There isn’t that much of a difference offensively between the two players that would make one about $5 mil better than the other. Crisp will make $7mil a year while Torres made $2.2 mil last year and is under team control for two more seasons.  So even with a raise to say, $3mil for Torres, having him over Crisp in the Mets outfield is major plus for the Mets.

Crisp, 32 years old, has a lifetime .264/.314/.379 with an ISO of .115 in 583 plate appearances.  Torres, 34 years old has a lifetime .221/.312/.330 with an ISO of .109 in 398 plate appearances. We are not talking offensive juggernauts here. Crisp is more the base stealer than Torres swiping 49 bags in his big league career to 19 for Torres. Both players walks rates are close Crisp take a base on balls 7.0% of his plate appearances to Torres’ 10.6 % rate. Torres K’s too much at 23.9 % while Crisp is more disciplined at 11.1 %. 

Back in 2010, Torres had a fine season putting up a line of .268/.343/.479 with 16 HR 43 2B and 63 RBI for the World Champion San Francisco Giants. The last real good offensive season that Crisp has had was back in 2005. So the odds are much better of Torres giving the Mets a bounce back season than Crisp putting up big numbers.

Crsip’ defense has been in decline the last couple of years whereas Torres has continued to play a stellar centerfielder.

So for a difference of say $5mil, who made the better deal, Billy Beane by signing Crisp or Sandy Alderson dealing for Torres? It looks like advantage Alderson to me especially is Ramirez is a decent reliever then this deal could be a huge positive for the Mets.

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ONE FOR FLINCHING

A Friday spew:

Got to hand it to the Amazin’s they find more exotic ways to lose baseball games than any team ever has. Last night’s “twitch” by D.J. Stirrups was a first for me. I’ve seen HBP force the winning run home and of course a walk off walk (fuck you Kenny Rogers) but a walk off balk? Never! The balk was so blatant that Terry Collins never argued nor did Stirrups, he knew what he did and just walked off the field with a “what can you do” look on his face. The only way left for the Mets to lose a game is for an outfielder to throw his glove at a fly ball for a ground rule triple. Maybe will see that this weekend?

It’s no secret that most of the MSM who cover sports pull most of their stories out of their ass and no one does it better than Jon Heyman (Joel “The Plagiarist” Sherman is a close second) who sent out this Tweet this morning about what a “competing baseball exc “ told him about how much money Jose Reyes can expect to get on the open market. There is no way to know if this is true or bullshit but since it’s Heyman I lean toward bullshit. In fact, another competing GM told me that Reyes will re-sign with the Mets by the All-Star break for a lifetime deal that includes VIP seating to David Einhorn’s new seminar “How To Fleece Clueless Sports Team Owners of Their Majority Share of Their Franchise”

If Brian Gordon was signed by the Mets the sports media in this town would be calling the Mets front office all the derogatory names their small minds could think of but since it was the desperate for pitching Highlanders who signed him, well…I’m sure he will the next subject on Yankeeography  on YUCK. I’m not saying Gordon’ story is not a good one and I wish him all the success in the world as the guy has definitely paid his dues but I’m sure the Highlander media cheer leaders will overdose on this story.

As I watched the Mets come back from down 6-2 and take an 8-6 lead then have Frankie Rodriguez give up two runs in the 9th to tie the game all I could think of was July 4th 1985 and who was going to be the next Rick Camp for the Braves and who would be the next Danny Heep for the Mets

The Brooklyn Cyclones open the NY-Penn League season tonight on Staten Island (the only time the SI Highlanders get a crowd is when they play Brooklyn) then open up their home schedule tomorrow night on Coney Island. I will be spending Father’s Day on the Poor Man’s Riviera and taking in the Cyclones-Highlanders game at 5PM.

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TRUST OUR SCOUTS

All I know about Brandon Nimmo is what I‘ve read. He comes from Wyoming which is a state that doesn’t have High School baseball ( The population of the state of Wyoming is the same as Staten Island’s minus the Mob Wives)  so he had to play American Legion ball which, in the case of young men of Wyoming, is their high school team.  It seem that besides a headline writers dream last name, he’s athletic and has a quick bat, a strong arm and at 6’2 “185lbs so at 17 years old he should fill out another couple of inches and maybe 25-30 lbs.  He has speed even though he has had knee surgery and the Mets will have to go over slot to sign him.

I also know the Mets VP of Player Development, Paul DePodesta and Scouting Director, Chad MacDonald and his staff have followed Nimmo very, very closely and extensively and are confident that this young man will project into a solid major league corner outfielder with power, speed and a great throwing arm. All of this is pure speculation and DePo and MacDonald would be the first ones to tell you that. But they felt with the hours and hours of work and study and checking and cross-checking they have done on this prospect, will pay off in the years to come.

What we as Mets fans have is someone to watch grow over the next three-four years and to root for to make it to the big league’s as a Met and be that impact player, the front office feels he can be.

We don’t really need to analyze the picks the Mets make or speculate on whether they drafted a guy to early or too late because quite frankly, what the hell do we know about these players? The MLB Entry Draft is unlike the NFL or NBA Draft, we’ve seen (for the most part) the players who make the jump from college to pros and in those two sports, your first round pick better make a contribution to your team or you as GM or Player Personnel Director won’t be in the War Room much longer.

So let’s start off small here and hope that Nimmo and the Mets compensation pick RHP Michael Fulmer sign with the team (both players have commitments to University of Arkansas ) and head to the Gulf Coast League. On second thought, that’s not a small item, let’s hope Sandy Alderson can get the Skill Sets and Minority Einhorn to pony up the dough to sign these two kids, otherwise all DePo will have to show for his first draft for the Mets is a lot of frequent flyer miles.   

MLB either has to jazz up the telecast of this draft or scrap it altogether. What a bore. My wife sat on the couch next to me reading while I watched it drone on and on and said “I know you love baseball but my god how can you watch this”?  There was absolutely no juice, no bling, no posse and the only bad suit in the place belonged to Bud Selig. Just  dreadful.

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DO THE METS NEED TO MAKE A BLOCKBUSTER DEAL ?

Have you noticed that the Mets telecast on SNY has turned more into a sports/general interest talk show than focusing on the action on the field? Not that I have a problem with that, not at all, in fact if it weren’t for Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Kevin Burkhardt along with Bobby Ojeda in the studio, I don’t think I’d be watching many more Mets games. As much as I love our announcing crew though, it’s a sad state of affairs when they are the main draw to watching Mets baseball.

During the game yesterday, Gary posed the question to Hernandez about dangling the names Jose Reyes and David Wright out there as pieces in trade talk. Hernandez said (paraphrasing here) “of course you would; you’d have to as a GM just to see who is interested and what kind of package you’d get in return.” Now Hernandez DID NOT say Yes dump them, get rid of them, off with them. He just said what any smart thinking Mets fan would say, you have to at least see what you can get for either or both.

I am in no way advocating the trading of Wright or Reyes, in a perfect world both players would continue their careers as Mets and retire as Mets, I would be very happy if the end of their Mets careers finished with “…and they lived happily ever after…” but as we know too well we Mets fans live in a imperfect world.

When I Tweeted that I agreed with Hernandez on this issue you would have thought I opened up a Mosques R Us on Cortlandt St. The question I posed is this, Say the Skill Sets hire a new GM like Kevin Towers, or Mark Shapiro or even promote John Ricco and they get a call from an team with a deep farm and young players who are on the Major League team already. For either player I want a at least a starting pitcher, a second baseman, an outfielder and prospects (of course the Mets will throw in a few other players as well) as you see it would take a blockbuster to have me trade Wright and or Reyes but as a GM you have to see if that blockbuster is out there.

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Tickets

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