October 30, 2013

Matt Garza. Why not?

I was reading a free agent profile over at mlbtraderumors.com in regards to Garza and it got me thinking. Why haven't we heard any chatter at this, or any other point about this guy?

The low down:

He will be 30 at the end of November. And for the 7th season in his career he has never had a combined ERA over 4.00 and the only other guy to do that is Tim Hudson (much older). He averages 93 mph on his fastball and his ground ball rate has really jumped in the last few years. He has played on a big stage winning 09 ALCS MVP during his time with the Rays.

The knock:

While having a season ERA of under 4.00 he struggled with Texas and his 4.38 ERA through 13 starts. He has a combined total of 259 innings since the start of the 2012 season due to various ailments so durability could be a thought when teams are putting together contract offers for him. He blasted the Cubs fan base last season which could be an issue in New York. And it sounds like his wife needs to put his twitter account on lock down when his emotions get the best of him.

Now where does this leave our Effing Mets? Well, this guy figures to get a 4 year contract with maybe an option. This could be too long and rich for Sandy. However, the GM has said they are looking for a veteran who can help anchor this young pitching staff and he could fit the bill. Plus, Garza isn't exactly old. He isn't tied to a draft pick so that is a non issue. Another plus is his success in the AL East which could transition well for those big games against the Braves and the Phillies.
For what its worth, my 14 year old son thinks his facial hair is pretty kick a$$
Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com
Follow me @jwil25


October 29, 2013

Angels Willing to Trade Bourjos, Trumbo for Pitching

From mlbtraderumors.com

The Angels' desire for young, controllable pitching is no secret, and ESPN's Buster Olney reports that they've indicated to other teams a willingness to trade center fielder Peter Bourjos or first baseman Mark Trumbo to acquire such talent

Both of these players could fill a void for the Mets. Personally I would stay away from Bourjos. While has has the speed and plays a decent outfield he doesn't have the durability.

Trumbo would be one that Sandy should take interest in. While his on base percentage is less than to be desired there is no overlooking his 95 homers in the past three seasons. He can play 1B or a corner outfield spot. When is the last time we had someone average 30 homers over a three year period? I'll give you one hint and he is playing in the world series for the Cardinals. Plus Mark is under control for three more seasons.

Now the Angels desire in return is young under control pitching. Ding, ding, ding Sandy! Let's see what we can get matched up here.

Photo courtesy of halosheaven.com
Follow me @jwil25

October 28, 2013

Cardinals Go Full On Mets

A World Series game ended on a pick off. You would have sworn the Mets were involved.

A GIF, courtesy of SBNation.


October 25, 2013

David Wright and the Golden Glove

It was announced earlier today that David Wright is one of three finalists to receive the National League's Gold Glove award for third base. The other finalists include Rockie rookie Nolan Arenado and the Dodger's Juan Uribe.

David hasn't won a Gold Glove since 2008, which was the second of back-to-back Gold Gloves (and his only two) that David won. Anybody who watched the Mets every day this year (all 8 of us) realized early on David was having a Gold Glove caliber year. He made 9 errors (career low), and had a field percentage of .973 (second only to his 2012 campaign). For those of you who, like me, enjoy the finer things in life, he had a UZR of 15.4, highest in the National League amongst third baseman.

The fact is, David should have won the award last year but didn't because, well I don't know exactly why. It was probably because he had a rough go in the 2 years after his last Gold Glove and reputation is gained quickly but lost slowly. However, this year he took it up another level. In addition, he had a very good offensive year, which always helps a players case.

Arenado is a rookie and will have his chances. I don't believe the voters will give it to him over David. Juan Uribe has never won the award, and in fact, hasn't been a full-time third baseman at any other time in his career.  All this points to David Wright receiving his, well deserved, third Gold Glove.

Eric Young, Jr. is also a finalist in the National League along with Starling Marte and Carlos Gonzales. I am not confident EY will win, but I am hopeful. He played a wonderful left field.

October 23, 2013

Making the Call about Making the Call

Over at ESPN Adam Rubin has been taking a look at possible trades that Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson could make this offseason. It's always fun to speculate in the off-season...so...I am going to take the time to react to each of the suggestions contained in Adam's posts. It seems in each post Rubin speaks to Jim Bowden of ESPN and a former MLB GM to gage what it would take to land each prospective player. I will use Bowden's expectations as a base for whether or not I make the deal and perhaps suggest what I would do.

In his first post, Adam discusses the possibility of trading for Tampa Bay Rays ace left-hander, David Price. Rubin notes that the Rays have a history of trading star pitchers two years before they leave for free agency and that Price is at that point in his current contract. Jim Bowden expects that any deal with the Rays for Price would have to include Zach Wheeler. This sounds right to me. The Rays love their young cheap pitching and that's exactly what Wheeler is, for several more years no less.

However, what makes him attractive to the Rays should also make him attractive to the Mets. Wheeler is cheap...and will continue to be so for a while...and as a team with many holes to fill, the Mets need to value what they do control that doesn't cost a lot.

Additionally, as Rubin notes, Price is only under control for two more years.  He WILL test free agency after the 2015 season.  With Harvey out next year, if you trade for Price (and it doesn't include an extension) you would only assure yourself one year of that 1-2 punch of Harvey/Price.  While that does sound tantalizing, you don't trade a Wheeler type prospect for only 2 years of Price, only half of which would be with your other star pitcher.

I don't believe in prospects like others do. Price is a proven commodity and Wheeler is not. You don't hold on to a prospect just because you like him. However, the length of Price's contract combined with Harvey's injury and my realistic expectations for the 2014 Mets lead me to say no to this deal.  Perhaps I could be so inclined if the trade included a big extension for Price, to guarantee me at least 2-3 years of Price/Harvey. Without that, Wheeler's price-tag is too much for me to give up.

In Rubin's second post, he posits the idea of trading for Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Jim Bowden believes Bautista could be obtained in a package that includes Jonathan Niese and two prospects, including Cesar Puello.  Set aside for the moment that this sounds a bit light, and that if I were the Blue Jays, I would be looking for revenge for the fleecing Sandy gave them last year (see: Dickey for d'Arnaud/Syndergaard).

As Rubin notes, Bautista is a premiere right-handed power hitting corner outfielder with a strong arm and a good walk rate. This sounds right in Sandy Alderson's wheelhouse. Combine that with the Mets and Blue Jays past of working with each other, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is an avenue the Mets actually go down.

Bautista is 33 years old, about the age where players (nowadays) begin to decline.  However, Bautista didn't begin playing full time until he was 26 years old. He doesn't have the mileage on him that others players at his age may have.  Additionally, he is under team control through the 2016 (there is a team option for the 2016 season - so if he gets old quick - you can cut ties after 2015 season) at the reasonable price of $14M per year. This means he would come off the books prior to turning 35 or 36, whichever the team chose.  He has a team favorable contract.

At the price Bowden suggests, I would jump at this deal. Niese is a nice mid-to-back of the rotation type of guy....but you can get those guys and the Mets have a glut of young pitching but no young hitting. Puello showed flashes of great talent this year, however, he only did that this year.  Prior to this season, he was ranked the 18th best Mets prospect by Baseball America. Add his PED suspension to that and he become expendable in my mind, particularly if you can land a bat now.

I think Bowden is being a little unrealistic with the package he proposes. I would think the Blue Jays would ask about Wheeler and Sydergaard. However, if the Niese/Puello package were possible, I would hand deliver the papers myself. Bautista is precisely what the Mets need, and he comes at a good price. Go get'em Sandy.


PSA: Free Agents Aren't Free Agents Yet

The above tweet is not meant to mock or demean @Hey_its_Don.  I'm simply using it as an illustration of the fan base's reaction on Twitter to yesterday afternoon's news that Tim Lincecum had reupped with the Giants.  People briefly lost their minds that the Mets had been unable to acquire Lincecum, who decided to stay in San Francisco to the tune of $35 million dollars over the next two seasons.

Here's the thing... Lincecum wasn't a free agent yet folks.  No potential free agent can speak to or sign with another team until the week following the completion of the World Series.  Please store that nugget for future reference in case any one else on your radar for the Mets finds their way off the market.

Oh, and another piece of information that's worth noting.  Most free agents, especially those represented by Scott Boras (ie: Shin Soo Choo), sign prior to the winter meetings.  So lets try to maintain our sanity for the better part of the holiday season.

Carry on.

Mets Are Worth More Than $2 Billion...Wait, What?

According to ESPN's Adam Rubin who cites a Bloomberg report, the New York Mets appraise for an estimated $2.050 billion dollars.  That's right...nine zeros after the two.  Rubin notes that the value factors in the team's stake in SNY, which accounts for more than half of the appraisal.  The report places the Mets as the fourth most valuable franchise in Major League Baseball, behind only the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox.

So let me get this straight.  A team mired in despair for the better part of a decade now, plus a network that fewer and fewer people watch every year, are worth $2 billion dollars.  Oh, the perks of playing in the big city!

All jokes aside this is probably really good news for the Mets, who will look to refinance their debt this winter.  If successful, its believe that the Mets will have more spending money, which could potentially lead to a higher payroll, better players and a better team (theoretically of course).  The Wilpons equity, or lack thereof, in both entities will certainly play a role in that process.  So, the higher the value the better their equity stance will be.

Basically, 90% of this is above my head.  I have an advanced degree, but its definitely not in finance.  So from where I'm sitting, this definitely isn't bad news.  With loan payments, interest payments and the like coming due, the Wilpons will need all the help they can get.

It Doesn't Suck To Be Matt Harvey

It must be nice to be Matt Harvey.. Well, not nice in the sense that he isn't going to take the mound any time soon, but nice in the sense that his world famous supermodel girlfriend was waiting for him when he woke up in the recovery room following his Tommy John surgery.  So really, what was probably one of the worst days of his life, wasn't that bad after all.


Harvey posted the above photo to his Instagram account late last night, several hours after it was announced that his Tommy John surgery had been completed successfully.  Just a man who will one day be worth every bit of $200 million dollars, with his $100 million dollar girlfriend draped over his shoulders.  Its good to be the King Of New York... or in this case, The Dark Knight.

October 22, 2013

Prospect Chasen Bradford Talks To Effing Mets

Chasen Bradford is a right handed relief pitching prospect in the Mets organization. After a stellar season in which he pitched to a 0.71 ERA after being called up to AA Binghamton, Bradford was selected by the franchise to participate in the Arizona Fall League. We caught up on Twitter, where he agreed to give us an interview freely and without pressure.



And here's the interview. Thanks to Chasen for taking the time to answer my inane questions.

KF: With the Arizona Fall League just starting, you've continued to pitch well after posting a sub 1.00 ERA in 20 games of AA ball in Binghamton. Now, you're off to a good start in the winter league. What is the biggest difference you've noticed since your promotion, and how do you adjust?

CB:  The hitters have a better ability to recognize and lay off of pitches. It forces you as a pitcher to throw more strikes and let them out the ball in play more. A lot of people look at strike out numbers but that is not the pitcher I am, I let my defense work for me and it has helped so far.

KF: You're a sinker/slider pitcher who seems to throw to contact, and posted a high rate of stranded runners, with 82% left on base. Do you think your style of pitching helps you get your teams out of jams in relief?

CB: I think being a sinker/slider guy makes it easier to get out of jams. My sinker gets a lot of ground balls and that is usually what is needed in big situations with runners on base.

KF: You were signed as a senior out of UCF. You didn't get a big signing bonus, but you got the opportunity to prove yourself. You're definitely taking advantage of it, but how hard is the struggle of playing minor league ball?

CB: Even if you sign for a lot of money the minor league life is difficult. Its tough to keep relationships and long times away from home and family makes it a little lonely but when you have a good group of guys around you who are chasing the same dream it makes it a little easier. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

KF: Obviously, you'd be thrilled to go, but do you have any concerns about pitching in Las Vegas given its proven track record of being a hitter's league and tough on pitchers?

CB: Growing up in Vegas it would be awesome to play in front of family and friends. Although its considered a tough league for pitchers that's what every pitcher should want to prove that they can compete and get the job done even with the cards stacked against them. As a professional athlete and pitcher you should want to face the best outside the big leagues in a uncomfortable situation such as a hitters league.

KF: You project as a relief pitcher. Everything goes right, you have an incredible start to your season, you wind up in the Mets bullpen this June. Blowout game, you're brought in for some mop up work because you're the new guy, and you get an at bat. You're swinging for the fences, right? You're not going to get to hit a lot, and chicks dig the long ball. Gotta try it.

CB: Haha I would probably be swinging if I could see it. I had one at bat this year and the guy was throwing 95 so I never saw it but I didn't go down looking so that's good.

A 12 Year Old's Interview With Justin Turner

My name is Tom. I used to write my own blog, but didn’t have the time to dedicate to it solo, so I’ve joined Effing Mets so that I can write when I actually have something valuable to say, instead of scrapping together nonsense for the sake of posting. A little about myself: I’ve been a fan of the team since the 1980’s, when my season ticket owning, former Brooklyn Dodger fan grandfather told me I can’t root for the Yankees. It’s been a passionate love/hate relationship ever since. I played college baseball, amateur league baseball and was even scouted. I know a lot about baseball. However, I’m not expert, and I’m not going to be like other people and pretend to be. I am simply a Mets fan who finds it therapeutic to talk about them with other fans.

So I was sitting at work wondering what I should even write, and I checked my email. In it I received an email from a father, explaining to me that his 12 year old daughter Haley had gotten the journalism bug and looked to make it a passion. She started traveling to stadiums and was actually granted access to interview players for Baseball Youth Magazine and SI Kids. So recently she was able to interview Justin Turner. I read it, and it reminded about what baseball is all about. It’s a kid’s game. It supposed to be fun. It’s been a rough stretch for the Mets, but we keep coming back.

I agreed to have it posted for a few reasons. The first being that who am I to not help a kid try to achieve something. Let’s be honest, she’s probably more insightful than a majority of people you talk to on Twitter. And secondly, I’m a Justin Turner fan. The guy is just a regular dude who is lucky enough to play a sport, and he has fun with it. A lot of Mets fans hate him, and I’ve never understood it.

So in order to help a girl take the next step in fulfilling a dream, here is Haley Smilow’s interview of Justin Turner:

HALEY: Do you have a favorite ballpark and why?

JUSTIN: My favorite place to play is probably Camden Yards. I came up there and the Baltimore Orioles were my first big league team so it was my home field. It is just beautiful park and the warehouse in left field is incredible.

HALEY: Who has the best Hot Dogs? Cincinnati Kahn's Hot Dogs, Baltimore Esskay Hot Dog or New York Nathan’s Hot Dogs?

JUSTIN: I actually got to try a Nathan’s hot dog last year and it was pretty good. It lived up to the hype so I am going to have to go with Nathan’s.

HALEY: What is your favorite restaurant in New York?

JUSTIN: In New York it would have to be STK Steakhouse, I got to meet one of the general managers there and he takes good care of me so I go in and get a big fat steak. They also have these really good cheeseburger sliders.

HALEY: And in Southern California?

JUSTIN: When I am back home, I grew up going to a little Mexican Restaurant called Mi Casa and every Friday night my mom, and my dad and sister would go in there and have some extended family come in so its kind of a little tradition we have so it probably my favorite place to eat.

HALEY: What was it like growing up in California?

JUSTIN: Sunny! Always had good weather. So the best thing was getting to be outside and playing with my friends year round. We used to ride are bikes everywhere, playing wiffelball, football, baseball, pretty active, I was always outside.

HALEY: Who is the biggest practical joker you have ever been on a team with?

JUSTIN: That’s a tough one. I’ve had some good ones. I had a pitching coach with Cincinnati Reds named Teddy Power he was pretty good. Fellow Met, Tim Byrdak as well, I wouldn’t call him a practical joker but he is full of little things that make everyone laugh.

HALEY: Have you ever been the victim of one of his practical jokes?

JUSTIN: Yeah I have been couple of times. Guys putting bubble gum around the top of a cup of water and sticking it to the roof of the dug out right above my head and after about 15 seconds it falls down on top of my head.

HALEY: Have you gotten them back?

JUSTIN: Laughing, yeah I got him back, but I am not going to bring up how but I definitely got them back.

HALEY: Do you have any other favorite sports besides Baseball?

JUSTIN: Ah, I am sports fanatic I kinda like everything. I wouldn’t call it a favorite, but I love going to Hockey games during the off-season and basketball, I’m a Lakers fan, and football. I like the Dolphins; the last couple of years I have made a trip down to Miami to watch them.

HALEY: Do you have any rituals or superstitions before and during a game?

JUSTIN: Before the game I go through the same routine. I stretch out. I always go out 15 minutes before game time. I always like to have a ball after I play catch and throw it to a kid in the stands. During the game, I always take a cup of water and I only drink half of it and throw the other half out. I never drink the full cup and I don’t know why I do it. It’s something I’ve always done I drink half, throw out the other half and then spin the cup and try to make it land standing up

HALEY: Other than winning the 2004 College World Series what other accomplishments are you proud of?

JUSTIN: Playing in the major leagues. That’s something that I’ve always dreamed of. In 2009 when the Orioles called me up and I got to play my first game at Fenway Park.

HALEY: Last year you played all over the infield, what is your role with the Mets so far this season.

JUSTIN: That’s hard to say right now. We have a couple of guys that are a little banged up right now and if they are healthy then I’ll probably end up being a role guy. I added a first baseman’s glove to my collection, last year so hopefully I’ll get to play first base again this year, but wherever Terry (Collins) needs me to do, whatever it is, I’ll go out there and do my best.

HALEY: What types of community service or charity work are you involved in?

JUSTIN: Throughout the season, we go out and do lots of stuff. We go to schools and fire departments that the Mets set up for us. During the off season, I have a couple of little cousins that play little league and I go out and help them and work out with the kids up there. I really have fun with them and really enjoy it. I think they really like it too.

HALEY: If you were not playing baseball, what else could you see yourself doing?

Photo by Michael Baron
JUSTIN: I don’t know. I think the only other thing I’m decent at is tweeting, so hopefully by the time I am done playing they’ll have a professional tweeting job.

HALEY: Somewhere I read you said that your father was your greatest influence. What baseball players or coaches do you think most influenced you?

JUSTIN: Two of the biggest influences other then my dad were my college coaches. Coach George Horton he was the head coach at Cal State Fullerton. I played under him for all four years and he basically taught me everything I could possibly know about the game of baseball and was super detailed about everything. The other was his assistant coach Rick Vanderhook who is now the coach for Fullerton. He is actually like an uncle to me I grew up with him and is one of my dad’s best friends. He gave me the opportunity as a kid to hang around Fullerton and be a batboy for the team. I was constantly around baseball. I have to give them a lot of credit.

HALEY: I have heard you are active on twitter, do you think it is a good way to interact with your fans?

JUSTIN: Absolutely, I love being on twitter. I have over 34,000 followers now most of them are all New York fans. I get asked all kinds of questions every day and it is a great opportunity to interact with them. It gives fans/followers a little more insight about what’s going on over here with the Mets and me.

HALEY: What is your twitter name?

JUSTIN: @redturn2

HALEY: How did you decide on that name?

JUSTIN: Red because of my hair, turn because my last name is Turner so I shorted it and 2 because I play second base and turn double plays, also because I wear #2.

HALEY: What advice would you give to young players?

JUSTIN: Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. I was never the biggest, tallest, strongest or fastest guy but I always worked hard. I always appreciated and loved the game. Everyone always told me I wasn’t going to make it but if you believe in yourself, keep working and practicing you can make it.

October 21, 2013

Mets Must Write Their Own Story

A lot has been written this winter already about the path the Mets will take in rebuilding the roster.  Blog posts have likened the current state of the team to the Boston Red Sox, this time last year.  Others hope to see the Mets go the route of the St. Louis Cardinals.  I've even seen one or two articles talk about the free agent acquisitions made by the Detroit Tigers last winter.  Which will it be?  Which should it be?  In my opinion, none of the above.

I can't count the number of teams who've tried to emulate the New York Yankees' attempts to purchase a championship.  On an annual basis, the Yanks have boasted the highest payroll in the game.  It guarantees nothing...  Other teams have gone that route, to include the Mets, Angels, Dodgers and more.  Spend all you want, but its often the right players, not the "best" ones who bring home the hardware.

There are reasons the Mets can't just follow the paths of the other currently successful teams.  First and foremost, those teams don't play in New York.  Like it or not, there is something to be said about the media grind that goes along with playing in the big city.  Not everyone can handle it... Further more, those teams haven't had to endure the financial burdens the Mets have over recent years.  How that has impacting the decision making during Sandy Alderson's tenure, we may never know.

I want to see the Mets do their own thing, the right way.  You've committed to not over paying.  Okay, I guess.  But you had best find someone to take a chance on.  Give fans a reason to come back to the park.  This fan base doesn't have the patience to sit through an extended wait like the Pittsburgh Pirate's faithful apparently did. This is New York..we need action and we needed it two offseasons ago.

I'm not advocating a spend at all costs idea by any means.  I'm just no longer comfortable with the status quo.  I want to see the Mets finally complete the plans we've been hearing about for years.  Go get the young, under contract studs in exchange for some of the young talent we've stockpiled.  Bring in the aging veterans on decent contract to both support and tutor our youngsters.  Make it happen the way you've been preaching since you arrived.

Many of us bought in three years ago.  We've sat through the slim down.  Now we want the results we've been waiting for.  While I'd sign up for the results of the teams I mentioned above in a heartbeat, I want to see the Mets earn their own stripes.  Big market baseball on a mid-major salary scale.  You told me it could work, now prove it!

Should The Mets Sign Tim Lincecum?

The really is going to be a crazy offseason, regardless of what the Mets do or don't get accomplished.  There is now news out of San Francisco that Giants pitcher, Tim Lincecum, has decided he will test the free agent market in hopes of a short term deal that will allow him to rebuild his overall value.  This is interesting...

At only 29 years old, Lincecum is well decorated.  He has a pair of Cy Young Awards, as well as three years where he has won at least fifteen games.  The problem is he is now three years removed from those glorious times.  The other knock on Lincecum is his mechanics, which you are probably familiar with.  They are awkward..and that means they are not consistent and deserve at least partial blame for back to back ten win seasons.

The issue becomes that Lincecum is likely better than his numbers the last few years would indicate.  Likely the reasoning behind seeking a short term deal, but at what price?

The Mets' front office has stated that they will seek starting pitching this winter from outside the organization.  Lincecum should at a minimum land on the teams radar for two reasons.  First and foremost, he is seeking a short term deal.  Secondly, the Mets have a short term need.  However, there are certainly detractors.

The Mets are rumored to covet a veteran starting pitching to not only eat innings, but also serve a mentor of sorts.  Tim Lincecum probably doesn't satisfy either of those criteria.  Furthermore, Lincecum, whether he is looking to rebuild his value or not, will not come cheap.  Coming off of a 2013 season that saw him make $22 million dollars, even a modest pay cut sees Lincecum make upwards of $15 million dollars next season.  I'm not sure that leaves him in the Mets price range and I'm not sure they should spend $15 million on a player who has not only struggled, but who has been known to have character issues.

If the Mets were operating with a blank check book, I think I would be all in on Lincecum on a short term deal.  In a vacuum, a short term deal for a pitcher of his abilities is a no-brainer.  However they aren't operating in said vacuum and still don't have that aforementioned blank check.  While I acknowledge that there is a need within the starting rotation, this team's major void has been offense for years now.  I'd rather see the money invested in the every day line up.

Lincecum is a premiere talent, but certainly a risky one.  For an organization that just dropped $30 million on a former ace who didn't throw a pitch last year, I'm skeptical they would bring in another former ace who may have more financial risk than on-field upside.  Is it better to dish out two years/$30 million to Tim Lincecum or 2 years/$20 million to a Bronson Arroyo type?  If the price is right I say go for it, but do not sacrifice the offense yet again because that should be the Mets number one priority this winter.

Mets100

I was born in 1984. I became a Met fan in 1988 upon becoming a conscious human being. In 1987, the Mets began broadcasting their games on the radio station WFAN.  So...I have known no other station. In September it was reported that the Mets and the familiar confines of WFAN would be parting ways. This made me a bit sad as I would not hear the old jingle and the same voices that I had been hearing on all those summer vacation car rides and all those trips home from the baseball field. It was comfortable. It seemed the FAN never updated...and I like that.

With that said - it appears the Mets have found a new home. The Mets are closing in on a new deal with WOR 710 AM to be their radio home. This is a Clear Channel station (aren't they all?) and is affiliated with Z100,  and KTU, amongst others, to name a couple of stations in the tri-state area.

I think this is a good deal for the Mets. Aligning with a station that has links to some of the other more popular stations in the area can only do more to raise the profile of the organization and the players within in. Reportedly, the links to Z100 may also lead to more Citi Field concerts, such as Z100's annual Jingle-Ball concert series.

Additionally, and this would be a deal-breaker for me, it's reported that Howie Rose will follow the team to its new home. This is important as Howie has become as associated with the team, at least for me, as anyone has. I hope it will raise Howie's profile as well, as he is very deserving.

Mets Have Competition For Free Agent OF's

As much as we would like the Mets and their offseason acquisitions to exist in a vacuum, obviously they do not. The organization is going to face some stiff competition from teams who may be a little more free to spend money in this thin free agent market. Here is a list of teams who may be looking through the same inventory of power hitting outfielders as the Mets:

Yankees

This one is the most worrisome. You can ignore their pleas that they will be looking to move their payroll under the $189 million cap they've been touting; coming off a non-playoff season, the pinstripes are going to spend money and get an outfield together. The expected departure of Curtis Granderson and the decline of Ichiro is going to propel them into the market.

Astros

Next time you think the Mets suck, watch the Astros. They need help at every position, and while they don't have organizational depth or talent to make a trade for a big bat, their payroll is low enough to absorb a big signing or two. They need help everywhere, so expect to see them attached to rumors for multiple free agents.

Mariners

They were aggressive but unsuccessful last offseason, and may feel more pressure to land a big name this winter. Despite Kendrys Morales providing a decent bat out of the DH, they may look to add an aging outfielder they can spell with days where they will be hitting only (think Beltran) to keep them fresh.

Cubs

Their outfield looks a bit like the Mets'. Adequate defense but light hitting, they need to add some power if they want to compete in that division. GM Theo Epstein may be feeling a bit of pressure as he enters his third year in Chicago with little to show for it, so don't be surprised if the Cubs come out swinging.

These four are teams come to mind, but, situation by situation, certain players are going to make sense for certain teams as well. It's important to bear this in mind becuase, even if Sandy decides this is the year and cracks the check book open, the Mets are not the only ones shopping. It's going to be a hunt out there.

October 19, 2013

Effing Round Table: What Will The Mets 2014 Payroll be?

By all accounts, the Mets have between $50 and $55 million already committed to next season's payroll. You read the rumors of possible free agents and potential trades... What do you think the Mets 2014 payroll will be and why?

Tim O'Brien:
As much chatter as there is about this being THE off-season for the Mets...I don't think it will be...and I agree it shouldn't be.  I think the payroll will remain "low" in between the $80-90 mark with the additions coming mostly in the bullpen and role players. I think the big contracts being sought by so-so players this off-season, combined with the Mets real hopes (hopefully) being placed on 2015 will make for an off-season that is uneventful and fulfilling for most Mets fans...but not this one.

Jason Wilson:

$60 million. Why? Because they haven't spent in recent years so why should they now?

Bryan Damis:
I'm going to put it just shy of $100 million, in the 90-95 million range. This projection would allude to the fact I don't think the Mets will sign any free agents to large contracts. I can't sit here and believe that the Mets will make any kind of big splash in the offseason, despite all we have read about this being the year Sandy will actually be able to spend. Just because you are able to spend, doesn't mean you should make bad investments. A 90-95 million payroll will put the Mets in the middle of the pack in terms of spending (just like this year) and most likely in the standings as well (a slight improvement from the 2013 season).

Robert Patterson:
I expect payroll to fall in the $85 to $90 million range. I expect one significant free agent signing (think Choo), a veteran pitcher (think Arroyo), and they a decent upgrade at shortstop (think Peralta).
That's probably an added $25 million in payroll, maybe more. I then anticipate another round of low end one year deals (perhaps Byrd, Buck and Harang), which will clear the books for more adds next season. I would think the only way the teams payroll approaches $100 million next season is if the trade for a well compensated outfielder such as Carlos Gonzalez or Jose Bautista. 

Kieran Flemming

The payroll will probably fall around $80 million, and for no other reason than this is not the offseason to spend big. I believe the team does plan to and will bring in some serious talent, but the free agent class isn't good enough to throw all of the money out there at once. They may plan to make improvements this year, take the 2014 season to be more competitive/gauge the rest of their needs, and make a big push next winter. The only way I could see that changing is if they acquire a big bat in a trade, but I believe teams will be asking for more from the Mets strong farm system than they are willing to give up.

October 18, 2013

Why do I get the feeling...

that the Mets aren't going to do anything spectacular this off season?

Well because these are the effing Mets and they haven't done anything really for quite a few off seasons. I hate as a fan feeling this way but I can't help it at all. Remember the good old days when they signed Pedro, Beltran, and several other key pieces of a winning team? How about when they traded for LoDuca and Carlos Delgado? It seems so long ago when you would get online or read about the next big splash the Mets were making. It was an exciting time as a fan.

Now, don't get me wrong, some of that led to the swirling down the toilet we have been doing for the past few years. There was consequences to some of those big signings and acquisitions. Cough Jason cough Bay. Our farm system went to crap as well.

Sandy, if you are reading this please please PLEASE make something happen to get this fan base excited. YOU have to. YOU must! And if the Wilpons don't like it tell them where to go. You were hired on to rebuild this team from the ground up and make it a winner. To win and make money you have to spend it.
photo courtesy of NY Post
follow me @jwil25

Nobody Wants Wally Backman

You won't be shocked to learn that not a single organization has called on the Mets for permission to speak with Las Vegas 51s manager, Wally Backman.  Amazing, isn't it?  A manager known more for his YouTube exploits and arrest record than his coaching abilities doesn't have teams beating down the door to get to him.

This of course hasn't prevented an almost cult following of those who appreciate profanity filled tirades and 1986 nostalgia.  A group that was adamant that he replace embattled skipper, Terry Collins, this winter.  A group that was somehow surprised that Backman wasn't even considered for the gig before the front office extended Collins' contract last month.

As a result, it appears he will remain with the organization..the only one that will give him a chance. He may eventually make his way onto the major league coaching staff, but that time is not now.  As reported by ESPN's Adam Rubin, the Mets expect he will return to Las Vegas and continue to wait his turn in 2014.

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Now to be honest, I've never watched a Las Vegas 51s game.  So I couldn't tell you what type of manager he is, but then again neither can most of you.  What I take away from this is the fact that Backman obviously doesn't have the value some Mets fans think he does.  I just hope that when he does warrant promotion to the big league staff (and he will), he doesn't immediately become the elephant in the room.  Until then..back to Vegas he goes.

Trade Unlikely, But Murphy Is Available

Photo Courtesy of @Lets86It
ESPN's Adam Rubin wrote yesterday that the team appears destine to go the arbitration route with  the likes of Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee and Daniel Murphy.  Each figures to be a key piece of the team going forward, but none need to be locked up long term just yet.  They are all under team control for at least another two seasons.

Rubin also cited a source within the organization who indicated that the Mets will listen to trade offers for Murphy, who will be 29 just after the start of next season.  Murphy is coming off a very strong year at the plate for a second baseman, batting .286 while having 188 hits, 13 home runs and 78 runs batted in.  A similar season in 2014 would see Murphy in line for quite a pay day next winter.  Unfortunately, his suitors may be limited elsewhere due to inconsistent defense at second.

Ultimately, as the source tells Rubin, all signs point to Murphy staying with the Mets.  The team has too many holes on its roster as it is to turn around and open another, unless Murphy become part of a trade package.  Then all bets are off.

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I'm still not at high on Murphy as the #ImWith28 crowd, but he's earned everything his gotten with the Mets.  He has moved to second base because that's where the team needed him and although the transition hasn't been without its speed bumps, Murphy has settled into the position nicely.  He remains an ideal two hitter because he can work the count so well.  I respect what he's accomplished and hope to see him with the team going forward, but he isn't irreplaceable, so I'm happy to see the Mets are willing to improve if possible.

Baxter and Carson Claimed Off Waivers

Mets utility man, Mike Baxter, was claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday afternoon.  The twenty-eight year old, who the Mets claimed off waivers from the Padres in July 2011, is the victim of the roster crunch necessary to add various minor leaguers to the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft this winter.    For all intensive purposes Baxter was an okay player, but he hit only .189 in 2013 and simply wasn't worth protecting.  He will be fondly remembered by Mets fans because of his sprawling catch in the seventh inning of Johan Santana's June 2012 no-hitter, which resulted in a shoulder injury that cost him nearly two months.

Also claimed yesterday was Robert Carson, who is on his way to the Los Angeles Angels.  Carson probably won't be as fondly remembered by the Mets faithful after a short by terrible 2013 campaign.  Carson appeared in only fourteen games, but gave up nine home runs and walked seven in round an earned run average north of eight.  As a result, he became expendable due to others in the organization who will soon force their way into the team's bullpen.

There will be more moves coming, as thirty-six players still sit on the 40-man roster.  The Mets have until November 20th to add players like Jacob deGrom, Cory Vaughn and Steven Matz to the 40-man roster.  Otherwise they can be selected by other teams during the Rule 5 draft.

Mets "Miss Out" On Jose Abreu

A first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports above, Cuban defector Jose Abreu has signed a six year deal worth $68 million dollars with the Chicago White Sox.  Also noted by Rosenthal, this is the largest first-time contract issued to an international player.  Furthermore, this is more than double the deal that Yasiel Puig obtained..and don't think for one second Abreu is that good.

There had been some Mets fans clinging to the hope that the team would pursue Abreu as an immediate replacement at first base for the super-combo of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.  Some proverbial winds were blown through those fires when the team sent three scouts to watch a workout Abreu hosted in recent weeks.  By all accounts, that workout confirmed what many already suspected about the young Cuban.  He has great raw power capable of hitting thirty home runs, but he is a liability in the field.  Such a situation makes him destined for the American League where he can be transitioned to designated hitter if necessary.

At the end of the day, Abreu just isn't worth the gamble for the Mets.  His deal is in excess of $11 million dollars annually, which would represent more than 20% of the organization's budget IF they were to reinvest every dollar that is coming off the books after 2013 (they won't).  Such a decision would limit their ability to address much more glaring holes in their roster, such as corner outfield and shortstop, where they were getting even less offensive production than first base.

I know its frustrating.  We all want to see the rebuild start to take shape sooner than later.  This time next year, if the Mets have already added quality outfielders, a good offensive shortstop and were a power hitting first baseman away from a World Series run, I'd suspect they would more seriously consider Abreu.  He would probably be an offensive upgrade over Davis and/or Duda, but he is a risk that isn't worth taking right now. 

October 17, 2013

Mr. Met's Best Commercials

Mr. Met is, in my biased opinion, one of the best sports mascots out there. Before the Mets moved to SNY and they had MSG as a home network, they utilized him in a fun series of commercials that I'm a little sad have stopped. I've collected a few of them here for your enjoyment, starting with my personal favorite.


Any Chance The Mets Get Byrd Back? There Should Be

The trade that send Marlon Byrd to the Pirates in a waiver deal this August sent the Mets most productive outfielder to a contender. In the time following that, Byrd spoke highly of the Mets and seemed thankful to be given the chance to get into the playoffs.

“I’ve talked to Sandy, I told him thank you for the opportunity at the beginning of the year and thank you for the opportunity to play for a winner,” Byrd said of his conversation with the Mets general manager. “ I told him, ‘If you want me back, I would love to come back,’.”
“Terry Collins already knows, the team owners already know, the players definitely know,” Byrd said. “I let them all know I loved it there.”
Kristie Ackert, NYDN 

He seems to have truly enjoyed his time in Queens, and definitely has respect for how Alderson treated him as a veteran player. Is he a good fit moving forward though?

Photo by Michael Baron
That question has a lot of moving parts. I think the odds of Byrd donning the blue and orange again fluctuate with each signing the Mets make this offseason, and I wouldn't expect Byrd to be among the first moves they make. If the team manages to add power or talent by improving at a couple of infield positions, than returning Byrd to the outfield makes a lot of sense. He will be more expensive than he was this season, but he will still be relatively inexpensive and probably won't require a long contract. If the Mets make a big push to get a slugging outfielder through a trade or free agency, the odds of seeing Byrd again may diminish a bit. It seems that the franchise is committed to giving Lagares his shot in centerfield, and Terry Collins seemed to truly like Eric Young, Jr., at the top of the order. Byrd is not going to come back to be a fourth outfielder; at the very least, he isn't going to come back to make fourth outfielder money.

Mets fans, myself included, have jumped on Sandy Alderson pretty hard about his "bargain basement" players, but Byrd has definitely been among the better of his signings. With a lot of clamoring for Justin Upton, Sandy bypassed the flashy signing and ended up with the better player. I'd like to see him back with the team whether we sign a big outfielder or not. I see EY as more of a fourth outfielder/bench player than an every day starter, and I think there should be room for Byrd on this club.

Sandy Alderson's Defining Moment

Love him or hate him, Sandy Alderson was brought in to be the adult in the room.   The man who was supposed to stop the frivolous spending and the public relations nightmares.  The man who was supposed to usher the New York Mets organization away from an era of heartbreak and into an era of potential success.  Sandy Alderson was supposed to be the man to make it happen.  Sandy Alderson's time is now.

A quick overview of Alderson's tenure looks more like a man trimming the fat than anything else.  Senior players were jettisoned in favor of younger, cheaper talent with more potential down the road.  If Alderson was going to put a winning team together, certainly he wasn't going to do it with the $150+ million dollar payrolls of yesteryear.  Perhaps that's by design or maybe its out of necessity, but it is without question his business model.

Alderson's successes can be debated (and they are).  Personally, I think he shining moment to date was sending RA Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for the likes of Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, amongst others.  While that trade will only begin to fulfill its prophecy in 2014, I honestly believe it will go down as a steal for the Mets.  A close second would have to be the acquisition of Zack Wheeler from the San Francisco Giants for the rental services of Carlos Beltran.  While Wheelers does seem to be of Matt Harvey quality, he definitely has the goods.  There have been other trades, which will stay under the radar for years to come, but I would have to say that Alderson's greatest strength is navigating the trade market.

His tenure however is not without failures.  First and foremost, the fact that he received nothing but a compensatory pick for the departure of Jose Reyes was abysmal.  Having either grossly misread Reyes free agent value or simply decided to keep him around to sell seats that summer, Reyes walked..for nothing.  Alderson has also struggled in the free agent market, having allotted too much money to Frank Francisco and taken far too many chances on lower end free agents to fill out the roster, with the lone bright exception being Marlon Byrd.

Three years have come and gone, and Alderson has done quite a bit over that time.  He has bolstered the farm system and shed an excessive amount of payroll in an effort to be ready for this winter.  How much money he really has to spend in the coming months remains a mystery, but you can be certain that this offseason will be his defining moment.

If he is able to restructure this roster in a way to produce meaningful fall baseball in Queens, few will remember how sad the past few seasons were.  If he can bring in the players..on the contracts necessary to maintain a liquid payroll and a competitive team for years to come people will remember him fondly.  However, should he fail this winter and field another 70 something win team, Sandy Alderson's legacy will have been written as a man incapable of navigating big market baseball.  A man who failed to save an already floundering baseball organization.  A man who may have possibly done more harm than good to this brand.

Sandy Alderson is a smart man.  Smart enough to know the task ahead of him.  Smart enough to know that this winter is it for him.  The last three years were simply a dress rehearsal for this offseason.  The time has come and his defining moment is now.

Like what you've read?  Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

Mets Will Pass On Abreu

Aaaand that should be about all you need to know when it comes to a potential pursuit by the New York Mets for the Cuban first baseman's services.  As a wrote HERE a week ago, the Mets have two in-house options who have the potential to give you 20-25 home runs in Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.  While neither is likely the longer term answer at the position, the team has bigger needs in other areas.  There is simply no reason to allocate that type of money when other positions on the diamond are in much more dire straits.

The money being discussed for Abreu has actually gone up in the past week.  Likely due to the inclusion of additional teams like the White Sox and Astros.  However, Abreu is a one way player, offering a good but not elite bat.  He would be a liability at first and is ultimately headed to the American league where he can serve as a designated hitter sooner than later.

October 16, 2013

How Would You Rank The Mets Free Agency Needs?

A few days ago, Jason Lempert, of Bleacher Report took the time to rank what he thought were the Mets most pressing needs via free agency.  He ranked them as follows:

1) Starting Pitching
2) Catching
3) Shortstop
4) Outfielder
5) Relief Pitcher

Umm..alright, I suppose these would be the five areas that the Mets need to address this winter, but that isn't even remotely close to how I would rank them.  Here is what I'm thinking:

1) Outfielder
2) Starting Pitcher
3) Shortstop
4) Relief Pitcher
5) Catcher

Even with the injury to Matt Harvey, the Mets still have a plethora of young starting pitchers.  Does that mean that the likes of Jenrry Mejia, Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero should be depended upon next year? No.  But the Mets most pressing need with unquestionably offense.

Its for that reason that I would select outfield as the first area that needs to be addressed.  If you looking for a guy who is good for a 25HR/100RBI season, certainly there are more to be had in the corners of the outfield.  Whether or not the Mets decide to spend what it takes to bring one of those guys in is another story, but the fastest way to add pop to the line up is going to be via an outfielder.

Second, I would agree that starting pitching is a definite area of concern.  The Mets and their young pitchers would greatly benefit from the acquisition of a veteran teaching type.  Lempert brings up Bronson Arroyo, whose name has come up frequently so far this winter.  I'm not 100% sure Arroyo is the best answer, but I think he's the right type of player.

Third is a supposed replacement for Ruben Tejada and/or Omar Quintanilla.  I think this spot needs to be addressed, but more so because there are going to be legitimate upgrades available.  Ruben Tejada at his best (which may already be behind him) doesn't provide the lineup presence someone like Jhonny Peralta does.  This is an area the Mets should definitely look into if they have the funds after addressing the first two areas.

Fourth is the bullpen.  I think this lands an nearly every team's list this winter.  Bullpens are always a crap shoot for lack of a better term.  The Mets' pen ended the year on a pretty good note.  Lempert suggests that Parnell's questionable health is the reason for his high ranking, but I anticipate the Mets have other in house options that can temporarily fill this roll, just as LaTroy Hawkins did in 2013.

Finally, a veteran catcher.  I think this a fair assessment.  The Mets don't need Travis d'Arnaud as their lone major league caliber backstop, nor can they count on his health.  The reason I don't stress this area is that I think backup catchers are almost a dime a dozen (sounds crazy to say that having endured years of Josh Thole).  The Mets will find someone, whether it be Henry Blanco or the recently traded John Buck to fill this role.
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So that's what I think... And more importantly why I think it.  How would you rank them?  Do you agree with Lempert's assessment of things or am I more in line?  Maybe you fall somewhere in the middle.  Either way, let us know in the comments section below!

Twitter And Fans' Relations With Players

Yesterday, I tweeted this:

It was the single biggest reaction I've gotten out of a tweet, which is not surprising given some of the stupid stuff I tweet about. It actually came as an observation after watching a New York Rangers fan in my timeline send a message out to Martin Biron, a backup goaltender, hoping he stays with the organization somehow after being waived by the team.

It relates to baseball as well or better, though. I think that fan-player interaction on social media is an overall great thing. Of course, it has the potential to go south quickly, as a few Mets experienced this year, most notably an instance involving the harassment of LaTroy Hawkins. By and large, it makes fans feel closer to the game and to the teams they love, which of course is a good thing. However, it causes a type of odd dynamic where people become protective of a player despite his actual value of the team. Yesterday's discussion landed us on two perfect examples: Justin Turner, and the Marlins' Logan Morrison.

Turner is a fun, interactive guy on Twitter, and it's hard not to like him. He's enthusiastic after each win, and lumps praise on his teammates. He answers his fans, takes on his critics without being offensive, doesn't cross any lines with the organization, and is an overall example of a pro athlete "doing Twitter right".

Naturally, we all become a little attached to him. However, he is an expendable on-field piece. A utility player, he made some starts for the team to fill in for injured players before he went down himself. He's cheap, and relatively productive off the bench and as a pinch hitter, so I'm not suggesting the team get rid of him. Yet if they did, there would be an outcry from the fans that would be disproportionate to his importance to the team. If he was traded or cut, it would probably not swing the Mets in the direction of wins or losses by so much as a game, but people would be unhappy to see him go.

The best example comes out of Miami. Logan Morrison has been an under-performing outfielder for the Marlins, hitting under .250 for his career with not much pop. But when it comes to Twitter...


...the guy's just funny. Day in and day out entertaining. But he is not that great a player. He is, in the words of Rob from the site here, "The best example of mediocre player turned twitter all star." If he got traded for prospects (prospects the Marlins desperately need), all three Miami fans would be upset.

Player accessibility through social media, again, has been a good thing. But as fans, we have to temper our attachment to a player because of his likability. I like Turner; if he was put in a package that brought back an important piece the Mets needed, I would still like him. He wouldn't stop being a decent guy, and I wouldn't have to unfollow him. No amount of humorous tweets or pies to the face add to the win totals though. Home runs do, and I'll take a guy who tweets like Jon Heyman if he can hit thirty of them and drive in 120 runs.

Yasiel Puig..The New Jordany Valdespin?

Photo By Ride The Pine
There were some tense..probably not absolutely necessary moments during the fourth inning of last night's Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.  Cardinal's pitcher, Lance Lynn, buzzed young Dodger's stud, Yasiel Puig, with an inside pitch in what was likely retaliation for Puig's antics one night prior. 

In case you've been living under a rock, late in Game 3 Puig lined a ball down the right field line that he originally thought would leave the park.  He threw his hands into the air and watched the ball's flight.  Then promptly realized the ball would stay in the yard right before it caromed off the outfield wall.  Puig ended up with a stand up triple, pumping his fists in excitement when he got there.  Personally, I didn't have a problem with it (minus not running out of the box), but the St. Louis Cardinals did.  This initiated much debate yesterday that raged far and wide on the internet about celebratory antics.

If some of this sounds familiar to Mets fans, its because our own resident bonehead, Jordany Valdespin, was guilty of similar nonsense multiple times this season.  Actions, which go against the unwritten rules of baseball, often cause reactions, leading to harsh words, players getting hit by pitches and sometimes..brawls.  Puig's actions in Game 3 were likely unecessary, but they do provide good theater for the series moving forward.  Once again, I have no problem with them.

That leads me to ask myself why I didn't take offense with Puig's showboating when I certainly took offense to Valdespin's during the season.  The only answer I'm able to come up with is that Puig has the talent to back those actions up.  All Puig did this season was almost single handedly turn the Dodgers season around.  He's an absolute stud in all facets of the game and will be a household name for years to come.  Valdespin is none of those things.

Simply put..its a double standard.  Puig isn't the next Jordany Valdespin because he's actually really good at baseball.  Where Spins actions are a detriment to his team, Puig's are a motivator.  I would go as far as saying that Puig is probably the most exciting player I've seen since Jose Reyes and we all know how many team's took exception to Reyes "antics".  But that was okay by us, because Jose Reyes was really good at baseball, just like Yasiel Puig.


Mets Clueless On Harvey's Surgery Date

Photo Courtesy of @Lets86It
Yesterday afternoon Matt Harvey's agent, Scott Boras, announced that Harvey will have Tommy John surgery within the next week. It was major news that the best pitcher in New York decided to go under the knife yesterday. It was also major news that a rough date had been set for the surgery. The problem is that it was news to the Mets as well.

From a standpoint of managing Harvey's injured wing this means nothing, but it does leave some egg on the face of the organization. First there were miscommunications about him experiencing pain, and now this?  How the team could not be on top of this situation is unbelievably frustrating...

Whether or not Alderson's front office is good at evaluating talent can be debated. What can't be debated is its seeming inability to maintain lines of communication with its best players. Think Jose Reyes prior to his departure...  I know it takes two to tango, and Boras probably should have called the Mets before he called the press, but that doesn't make the team look any better. 

With the goal being surgery before December 1st, Harvey will be on schedule to start the 2015 season healthy. Now he just has to navigate a career threatening surgery and a years worth of rehab. After all, this is the Mets... What could possibly go wrong?

October 15, 2013

Will This Be An Offseason Of Change For The Mets?

As the days slip by and the World Series draws near, so too does the official start to the offseason. It's at that time that things should begin to pick up and the 2014 New York Mets will start to take shape. First and foremost, the Mets will have to make decisions regarding their 40-man roster and who. will or won't be protected in the Rule 5 draft. Then, all eyes turn to acquisitions.

It appears for the first time in years, we will spend more time discussing what players the Mets will pay, than we will discussing what creditors they'll repay. Although not out of the woods completely with regards to SNY and Citi Field debt, the Mets will have substantial funds to work with this winter. Despite the much discussed reality that it is unlikely the team will immediately reinvest the full $50 million coming off the books, fans should have cautious optimism that the 2014 edition will be a much improved bunch.

With payroll at their disposal, the Mets needn't shy away from trading for any particular players either. The fact that Carlos Gonzalez will soon make $20 million annually shouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker. Neither should the contracts of guys like Jose Bautista, should hecome available. Simply put, the only restrictions the Mets have this winter are those they impress upon themselves. 

Therein lies the hesitation for some Mets' faithful, who remain unimpressed by the organization's new found thriftiness over the Alderson era. Will the team bring in quality additions, or will it be more of the reclamation projects we've become accustomed to? While the successes of players like Marlon Byrd are always welcomed, it would be nice to enter the season with some more concrete expectations. 

So here we go, off into what could be either a wild winter renovation or the fan base's biggest disappointment yet. The options are almost as unlimited as the debate has been to date on whether this when the Mets finally turn it around. So will the team be active in the higher end of the free agent market?  Will Sandy Alderson have the guts to trade away some off the farm system depth he's spent three years cultivating?  Will fans finally have reason to be excited in 2014? Only time will tell...

Mets Offseason Slogans

Times were tough again this year for the New York Mets and their fans, but this offseason offers some reason for optimism. With that in mind, here are some offseason slogans the Effing Mets could adopt this winter:
Picture from @lets86it

1) Shop Til' You Drop

2) Push, Pull Or Drag It In

3) #TRAIDS

4) If You Build It, They Might Come

5) Next Year Still Isn't Now

6) Prevention, Recovery and the Rebuild

7) Hey, At Least We Beat The Phillies

8) Buyer Beware

9) Simply Texting "Mets" To 81575 Will Donate $10 To Improve Our Crappy Baseball Team

10) Now Hiring, No Experience Required

Remember, if we don't laugh about it we'll cry. I don't know if they get things sorted out or not this winter, but we'll be certain to keep our sense of humor about the New York Mess either way.

Have a caption you'd like to add? Comment away!!

Yankees May Pursue Carlos Beltran

Photo by Michael Baron
No.

No. No. No.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Yankees and Carlos Beltran may both be interested in a deal that would bring the former Met, Cardinal, and Astro to the Bronx.

That's just disheartening.

There have been numerous blog posts and tweets touting the upside of bringing Beltran back to Flushing, but that was always a long, long shot at best. There were some extremely optimistic and hopeful fans (which is strange enough) that seemed to believe it was a possibility, but it wasn't. It remains to be seen where he will actually land, but I'll admit it will be more painful than almost anywhere else if I have to see him play in pinstripes.

As funny as all of the #BlameBeltran jokes are and as entertaining as people complaining about him striking out to Wainwright in 2006 is, he was the best centerfielder the Mets have had in my lifetime. He made everything look so easy in the field, and was a solid hitter with power in the middle of the lineup. I look back on his time here pretty fondly. The team came up short of what it should have accomplished, but I don't think much if any of that falls on Beltran's shoulders. Still, the Met fanbase seems pretty fixated on him, good or bad.

Also, are the folks over at the Daily News drinking at work? Because I drink at work, but I don't let it disrupt my job this much. Yikes. That's three typo/errors in one sub-heading.


I guess for the newspaper that employs Andy Martino, everything is a crapshoot.

October 14, 2013

Mets Will Steer Clear Of Matt Kemp

Two more outfielders seem as though they'll be available for the right price via the trade market this winter according to Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe, who states the Los Angeles Dodgers will but both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp on the block.  I'll save a debate for or against Andre Ethier for another time and go ahead and say that there is absolutely no way the New York Mets will entertain the acquisition of Matt Kemp this offseason.  Nor should they...

With the Dodgers set to compete for the NL Pennant this week, Kemp finds himself a member of the walking wounded yet again.  Out of the post season due to an ankle injury, Kemp has already had shoulder surgery since his season ended.  Despite what will be his second surgery on the injured wing, he is expected the be ready for spring training next season.  However, 2013 was the second consecutive season in which Kemp missed major time due to injury, appearing in just 73 games.

Injury concern aside for the moment, the 28 year old Kemp is scheduled to make $21.5 million each season through the 2019 season and will take quite a haul (talent wise) to acquire from the Dodgers.  He would instantly become the highest paid player on the Mets and consume nearly half of the teams potential budget this offseason.  That's not a play I would expect Sandy Alderson to make in a million years.

Sometimes fans need to take their blinders off when it comes to players like Kemp.  Yes, he is an excellent offensive talent with 30 home run and 100-plus RBI potential, but the injuries have come at an alarming rate in reach years.  Two separate trips to the disabled list in 2012 for hamstring injuries, along with four more in 2013 for an ankle ailment.  Scary stuff if your considering making him part of your outfield plans for the foreseeable future.

I don't need a comment from the team, or a report from an outside media source.  The Mets need to gamble somewhere this winter, but Matt Kemp is not the type of gamble they need.  He is not worth the commitment in talent the organization would have to send to Los Angeles to get him, or the financial liability he represents long term.  Simply put, there is no way the Mets will be in on Matt Kemp.

Who Should The Mets Move? Jon Niese or Dillon Gee

Photo Courtesy of @Lets86It
With the New York Mets set to enter the trade market this winter, they are going to have to trade something to get something.  If there is one area of strength within the organization, it is starting pitching, but the Mets don't seem eager to go down that path just yet.

Even prior to his need for Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey was going to be untouchable.  The same likely goes for Alderson's star acquisition to date, Zack Wheeler, and the team's front office has stated it will not part with top prospect, Noah Syndergaard.  If those three aren't available, teams will have to look at the Mets only remaining Major League caliber offerings: Jon Niese and/or Dillon Gee.

If I had to chose, I would say that Jon Niese has the higher ceiling of the two.  The only lefty in the Mets rotation for much of the season, he remains under contract through at least the 2016 season with team options for both 2017 and 2018.  At minimum he's owed only $21 million over the next three seasons.  When in control of his pitches, Niese has a good fastball and an excellent curveball.  However, the issue with Jon remains health as he pitched only 143 innings last year and seems to often battle fatigue issues throughout the year.  Despite never having a major arm ailment, this may be a red flag to inquiring minds.

Dillon Gee is a different kind of pitcher.  Despite leading the Mets with twelve wins in 2013, Gee would probably be shopped as a young, consistent back of the rotation arm who has gotten better each of the past three seasons.  Like Niese, Gee remains under team control through 2016, as he is just entering his first arbitration eligible year right now.  That likely makes him a cheaper option than Jon.  Furthermore, with the exception of a circulatory issue in his throwing arm in 2012, Gee has been much more dependable from an injury standpoint.

Photo Courtesy of @Lets86It
Each pitcher has their upsides, with both having the capabilities to impact the starting rotation wherever they hypothetically land.  I have been a big defender of Niese, as I have long believed he had the stuff to be an ace at the Major League level, but he just doesn't have the consistency to put it together.  Gee on the other hand is what he is, a #4 starter at best who you can be certain is going to give you six or so effective innings every time he takes the mound.  There is a ton of value in that!

I suppose what I'm saying is that I would prefer to see the Mets part with Jon Niese at this point if I had to chose between the two.  I think the fact that he is a lefty with a higher ceiling may make him more attractive on the trade market.  Along with the fact that the acquiring team could have him under their wing for as many as five years at a reasonable price also serves him well.

For everything he does well, I just think Niese remains the bigger question mark for the Mets between the two.  His seemingly repetitive trips to the disabled list make me wonder if a major arm event is in the cards going forward.  The Mets have too many of those to navigate as it is, and while Dillon Gee could just as easily fall victim to the same fate, the writing appears to be on the wall for Niese. 

Whether either gets traded or where they might end up remains to be seen, however each of the Blue Jays, Rockies and Red Sox have had interest in Niese in the past.  Each of those teams have players that the Mets should be interested in this winter.  Does that mean anything at this point?  I don't know, but if it were my decision to make Jon Niese is the man I move this winter.

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter at @RobPatterson83.

NYDN Harper: Mets Should Build Around Young Pitching

In Saturday's New York Daily News, John Harper had a fresh and interesting take on the Mets future, suggesting that the team follow the example of the Cardinals and Dodgers. He had this to say on the subject:

In a baseball post-season that so far has been defined largely by young, power pitching, the Cardinals won Game 1 of the NLCS against the Dodgers here by using seven pitchers, five of whom are age 26 or younger. 
Picture by @lets86it. Check out her work on Twitter
Now they'll start a 22-year old, Michael Wacha, on Saturday, then likely another, Shelby Miller, in Game 4. 
And somewhere, Sandy Alderson dreams of an October sometime in the next few years when the Mets are in a similar position, trying to win a championship on the strength of their young pitching... for now at least, this pitching-dominated post-season has further convinced the Mets' brass that it needs to be very careful about trading any of its young pitching.
This Harper guy seems like a real genius. Somewhere, in his office, Alderson read this article, surrounded by posters of Harvey, Wheeler, Montero, Mejia, Syndergaard, and whoever else you want to throw in there and thinking, "Oh... pitching. Thanks John Harper!"

Seriously, yes, this team should build around its young pitching talent. It's just that I find the writing of this article to be a bit... stupid, because I haven't heard anyone argue that the Mets shouldn't build around their pitching. They built a pitcher's park, have traded for and groomed what could potentially turn into the best rotation in the majors and we have to tell them to build around pitching? Just seems a little goofy to me is all.

A more interesting take from Harper would have been which one of these pitchers is the most expendable in a deal to fill some of the team's other holes. Including Niese in the long term, and even Dillon Gee in the short term, the Mets have more than a rotation's worth of very good pitchers in the system and plenty of other places they could use some real talent. On the flip side, I guess we do have an entire long winter to discuss that...

October 12, 2013

Effing Round Table: Should Mets Pursue The Top Free Agents

This week we asked the Effing Mets staff whether or not the Mets were correct in their decision not to pursue the top free agents in this years class?  Here's what they had to say:

Jason Wilson:
No they are not. Signing top free agents could attract other free agents to want to play with them. For example, if the Mets signed Cano you can't tell me that other players wouldn't want to be in a lineup with him, Wright and that young starting rotation.

Bryan Damis:
Depends on the definition of "top" free agents. In my opinion, Robinson Cano may be the only one that fits this bill. That being said, yes I do believe the Mets front office would be correct in not spending that type of money. There are several holes to fill and they are better filled with whatever mid-tier free agents can be had on the market.

Doug Plourd:
Simple answer? Yes.  Why go after second tier players at too much money, when this team will not be ready to contend until 2015.  The Harvey surgery has to come into play in ANY decision this off season.  We hate to admit it as fans, but 2014 will be another lost year....and that's ok.  Let the dead money come off the books, play 75 win ball in 2014, and get ready to gear up for the year we can actually contend. 

Craig Petraglia:
This winter, the only top free agent is Robinson Cano. And with that being said, the Mets are smart to not be willing to allocate 300 million dollars on one player. In my opinion, nobody will ever be worth that much money in baseball. It would be wise to follow the Red Sox model, signing several middle tier free agents as well as trading for a bat. I think it would be smart for Sandy to acquire players by the likes of Beltran and Peralta. This front office has got to devise a strategy to spend their payroll in order to become a contender in 2014. 

Kieran Flemming:
The front office is not wrong to pursue the top free agents available this winter, but only for one reason: this is not a very strong free agent class. In a year where Shin-Soo Choo stands near the top of the heap, it's not a banner year. With the amount of holes the Mets have to fill, I'd be more comfortable with them bringing in some true, maybe not superstar level talent, to complement some of their younger players.

Robert Patterson:
I'm going to level with you, I don't want the Mets anywhere near Robbie Cano this winter. He's declining and an 8 to 10 year deal for him is payroll suicide. I would like to see the Mets in on Choo if his price doesn't exceed $100M, but that remains to be seen. At some point the Mets will need to gamble on someone. Fishing the bottom of the free agent barrel has gotten the team where it's at now. While I agree with steering clear of massive bloated contracts to a point, the front office has best bring in a difference maker this winter. 

So what do you think? We keep hearing the Mets are interested in this player or that player, but does anyone really believe they'll take the plunge? More importantly, should they?