January 6, 2015

Why I Agree With The BBWAA On Piazza


January 1, 2015

It's 2015...What's Next?

With the turn of the calendar page a new year is upon us and like 29 other fan bases who claimed wait til next year we are ready for more!  Pitchers and catchers report in less than two months and we will ring in the Grapefruit league season in no time.

So with a fresh start and a clean slate for the year what do the Mets need next?

Well, the shortstop conversation is still up in the air and unless Sandy has something up his sleeve we are resigning ourselves to Wilmer Flores at the 6.  Tulo is still ever present although I would have to say anything happening around him will wait until at least Spring Training when the Rockies can show he is healthy.  Ben Zobrist is a name that has surfaced since Tampa Bay signed Asdrubal Cabrera.  I would not mind Zobrist in the slightest.

A career .264 hitter with three 20 home run seasons and the ability to play almost anywhere, he would be a welcome addition to the team and would not cost nearly what Tulo would.  Granted Zobrist is 33 and past his peak form but he's a professional hitter and since he can play so many positions he can fill that super utility role while being a steady hand in the lineup.

We have long figured out that a lineup deep with hitters who can work the count and get timely hits super cedes the lineup with one megastar and seven nobodies.

Zobrist was not a guy I or anyone else thought of early in the off-season since he wasn't deemed available, but if he is Sandy should make a play and see if he can pry him away from the Rays.  This would be another move in line with the Cuddyer signing.  A guy who can still play, will not cost a ton and doesn't block up and coming players with a long term deal.

Although the impact bat we all may have hoped for hasn't arrived and may not, a healthy and maturing starting rotation and the addition of Cuddyer and possibly Zobrist could make for a formidable team especially considering the Braves seem to have mailed it in and the Phillies are in total rebuilding mode.  The Nationals are the odds on favorite to repeat as division champs and the Marlins are relying on young talent to carry them.  The Mets are definitely in a good position to jump up this season and surprise everyone.  Time to make it count.

December 6, 2014

That Sinking Feeling...Again

So here we are, into December.  New York sports is horrendous save for the Islanders.  The Red Sox signed everybody, the Yankees countered with a trade and a signing.  Apparently Chase Headley is worth 16 million a year.

What are the Mets doing?  Cuddyer is signed, I like it but it isn't the impact move we need on its own.  One of the long spoken about shortstop targets is now filling Jeter's shoes in the Bronx, Seattle apparently may hold onto their shortstop glut and all that Mets pitching isn't really selling all that well.

As impatient Mets fans we sit here and contemplate another off-season without making the big splash.  Don't get me wrong, I do not want to see the Mets spend for spending's sake.  The payroll does not need to be in the Dodgers stratosphere to be competitive.  Go ask Kansas City how they did on a relatively modest payroll.

What I worry about is the seeming complacency the Mets have shown, while internally I do think they are making a concerted effort to improve the team in any and every way possible, the outward appearance seems a bit too relaxed.

I cannot stand hearing all of these projections, whether it be PECOTA, ZiPS or Steamer, that tell us how Wilmer Flores will compare favorably to the likes of Alexei Ramirez or Starlin Castro.  I'm not a crazy stats guy so I can't begin to tell you how accurate these projections are but hearing that Flores will have similar if not better numbers than other players doesn't hold much water since I get the feeling that these computer systems do not pass the smell test.

Any guy can have a breakout year or have a down year and we have been witness to both with this team.  I take no solace in hearing that some random, single guy, working from his mom's basement "knows" that this guy is going to have a statistically superior year so why trade for some other guy who has tangibly superior results historically.

We need something, and something big at that.  Sandy and Co. have been extremely deft at playing their cards close to the vest and not tipping their hand too soon.  While that can be frustrating I believe it has served the team well over the last few years in being able to do deals and make moves without the overbearing scrutiny of the NY media breathing down their necks.

With that said, however, this off-season needs to be different.  Michael Cuddyer is a good guy, a good baseball player.  He is not the signing any of us were hoping for.  We need more additions like this to make this team move forward.  It has to be different, it's time to double down and make an aggressive play rather that waiting for the sure thing that will most likely not pan out.

The winter meetings start on Monday, time to turn up the heat Sandy.

November 8, 2014

The 2014-15 Offseason - What the Mets Need to do (and probably won't...)

I met Ron Darling last night at a signing for his wine.  All proceeds went to the juvenile diabetes research.  While that last bit is positive and uplifting, I met freaking Ron Darling!  He was a gentleman, took pics with us and engaged in conversation about whatever topic people wanted to discuss.

What was more telling was waiting on line and talking to other Mets fans.  We all have the same mentality, ideas and hopes for what the current version of the team needs to do in order to play those oh so meaningful, yet rare, September games with the hopeful October extension we crave.

While most in line agreed that a better shortstop and upgraded left/right fielder was the main focal point in any roster improvement, the path by which to achieve these goals varied widely.

"Niese and Gee can go...Murph too...not Murph, he's the teams best hitter.  Trade Granderson, no one will take that contract...trade Syndergaard, not him...trade Montero but keep Matz..."

While the conversation revolved around those possible trade pieces and I laughed at the bottle of Giancarlo wine behind me stating we needed one of those in our lineup, I pondered the Mets decision making for this offseason.

The needs are obvious, more offense.  Solution, bring in the fences and Granderson will hit seven more homers.  Ok, solved...wait, not exactly.  Where does the big bat in the lineup come from?  The trade route is definitely the way to go since the free agent market is littered with solid yet underwhelming players that will either cost a draft pick or too much money and/or too many years.  I have been the eternal optimist for this team for as long as I can remember but even I have been sucked into the glass is half empty crew these days.

Last off-season the Harvey injury seemed to alter the Mets plans as they no longer saw their young pitching depth as an asset in the trade market, rather an asset they needed to hold on too.  I felt it was a more severe knee-jerk reaction than was necessary but I can sympathize with the idea.  However, the Dark Knight is back, Wheeler is a year older and wiser, we are about to have the NL rookie of the year and you still have Niese, Gee, Colon, Montero, Syndergaard and at the end of this season Matz.  That seems to be a pretty well stocked pitching rotation with one problem.  Too many arms, not enough slots.  The solution is to package some combination of a veteran arm and a young fireballer along with some semblance of position player(s) and go get another bat or two.

Offense was way down across baseball this past season which is why you can't have enough of it.  The Mets have a commodity that is in demand and the time is now to sell high.  No Michael Morse, no Michael Cuddyer, no Alexei Ramirez.  No CarGo or Tulo, we have spent too may seasons as an infirmary to waste dollars, years and good prospects on players who can't stay healthy.  Be aggressive and creative and go after some bigger fish.

I have a few examples, maybe they are unrealistic but that's what the offseason is for, ridiculous ideas and grandiose dreams.  So here goes:

The ever popular Cespedes to the Mets, Stanton to the Red Sox and something to the Marlins deal is very palatable.  I would gladly send Niese and/or Gee with a young pitching prospect to the Sawx for Cespedes.  This one is not my idea but still a decent stab in the dark.

Cleveland's Michael Brantley would be a great addition, the Tribe could use some support in the rotation for Corey Kluber and the Mets have the arms to give them.   Prying away a bat like Brantley's is about as likely as me winning the Mega Millions but why not ask?

The Royals seem to have made a few players available so why not pony up a few young arms for Alex Gordon?  The Platinum glove winner would make our outfield almost impenetrable and he has a good bat.  Granted, like Brantley, Gordon is left handed so this makes a trade here a bit less likely since a right handed power bat is preferable, but this is another area the Mets should research.

How about helping the Rays restock their pitching corps and seeing if they aren't too reluctant to part with Wil Myers.  Yes he was a huge prospect, had a great rookie campaign but injuries set him back last year and maybe you can make a sweet enough deal to pry him away.

Granted, these are all somewhat proven, young, major league talents.  I'm sure there are plenty of minor league guys at the cusp of being an "impact bat".  However, the Mets do not have the luxury, in my opinion, of selling the fan base on someone who can possibly help the club in a year or two.  The time is now to make your move, trade a portion of your pitching stockpile along with some veterans in the right moves, either one of those listed above or ones that none of us have thought of, to fortify this team and finally give the Citi Field faithful something to come to the ballpark for.

So the next time I meet Ron Darling or another of the Mets elder statesmen the Mets need to find the next generation of players worth going to see 30 years after they win a championship.  Standing in line talking about what they accomplished sure beats standing in line shaking your head about what they always do...nothing.

June 5, 2014

Please Stop Tracking "Games Out"

I see a lot of people taking the time to track the Mets in relation to the second Wild Card and first place in the NL East. I get why they are doing it; with the fairly early date in the season and nobody in the division running away with it, 3.5 games seems tantalizingly close. But before we go and measure this team against the Braves or a potential playoff spot, we need to measure them against mediocrity, a .500 record.

The Mets have not won more games than they lost since 2008, the year of the second collapse and when things began to truly unravel. They have not played meaningful games or even been relevant since then. They are not going to storm back into the playoffs this season. It is more important they start to build something. Sandy's 90 win projection was silly, and so is hoping for the playoffs right now. Let's just get back even and go from there.

Sorry for the delay.

April 27, 2014

24 Games Down, What Do We Know?

Last night was my first game of the season at Citi Field and represented 30 years of going to games with my Dad, that's a pretty solid streak if I say so myself.  A more modest one came to an end last night as the Mets 3 game winning streak was snapped in a come from behind extra inning loss to the Marlins.  Normally a game like this would distress me more but a win today is another series win for the Mets and considering the doom and gloom predictions by many of the New York media pundits this has been a pretty solid campaign so far.

The negatives are wide ranging of course.  Granderson has yet to do anything but play hard, he hit into some bad luck again last night, but I remain confident he will turn it around and be an offensive force (this is not Jason Bay, I swear!).  The bullpen scares the ever loving excrement out of me.  With a dearth of young yet unproven arms and three veterans who are trying to resurrect their respective careers this rendition of the Mets pen is rife for failure.  They have pitched well of late and haven't repeated the disaster of opening weekend since (although last nights go ahead homer allowed by Farnsworth may qualify).  The offense still struggles to produce.  All too often men are left in scoring position with less than two outs.  Those runs last night would have changed the game and the team could have absorbed the 5 run sixth inning and still won.  This team is in desperate need of another bat, Wright has been ok, Murph has hit but is by no means a clean-up hitter and as mentioned earlier Granderson has yet to get off the mat.  D'Arnaud is showing signs and his hustle and heads up play last night will endear him to the fans.  There is a lot of effort but they lack the pay off for that effort as of yet.

The positives include the starting pitchers which have been stellar for the better part of three weeks.  A dud every now and again is par for the course so I tend not to worry, if Gee goes 7 solid for a win today all is well in the world.  The defense has been adequate thus far.  While they aren't the 1999-2000 Mets, they have made the routine play more often than not and have yet to hurt themselves defensively.  Getting Lagares back into the fold will improve that greatly as he may be the best center fielder in baseball (yeah, I said that!).

It was great to be in the ball park last night and I feel like the team is one or two positive moves away from taking off.  One bat, a more reliable bullpen piece and who knows.  Forget ownership and the bullshit they bring to the table.  Leave the constant Matt Harvey drama on the back burner and get behind the team.  Too often we get caught in the mire of what goes on around the team and the focus is off the field and in recent years that was justified, however, this year may be and should be different.  Get on the band wagon bitches!!