Jan 17

Murphy A Goner After This Year

Barring something out of the blue, Daniel Murphy is entering his last contract with the Mets in agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal. In doing so, they avoided arbitration. Murphy’s figure was $8.6 million while the Mets’ countered at $7.4 million.

If the Mets really wanted to keep Murphy, they would have done so by now. He’s a free agent after this year, so barring something unforeseen he’s gone. Then again, if they find a taker, he could be out of here by the trade deadline.

Murphy will end his major league career, probably in the American League where there’s a designated hitter, as a reliable and serviceable player who always hustles, and who’s shortcoming is he doesn’t have a lot of power.

He’s playing his fourth position with the Mets, an indication of the organization’s lack of position-player depth, and his willingness to be a team player.

In an era of self-centered players, Murphy is something of a throwback, and the Mets won’t necessarily be better off when he leaves. In fact, they could, and have, done a lot worse.

Normally, the Mets avoid arbitration and this winter is no different as they’ve already come to terms with Dillon Gee ($5.3 million), whom they want to trade, shortstop Ruben Tejada ($1.88) and Bobby Parnell ($3.7 million).

Who’s left are Lucas Duda (wants $4.7 million; offered $3.75 million) and Jenrry Mejia (wants $3 million; offered $2.1 million).

When you look at the numbers exchanged, there’s usually a million-plus difference, which says a lot about the organization. It wouldn’t be a bad guess that when these players enter their free-agent year, they’ll also soon be ex-Mets.

Jan 16

Mets Charging Players To Attend Workouts

Who among us was surprised with the news the Mets charged their minor league players to attend an off-season conditioning program?

The Mets were within their rights by the collective bargaining agreement to allow Mike Barwis, their new strength and conditioning coach, to charge the players, although one would have hoped they would have picked up the tab. After all, the players were trying to improve themselves to better help their employer.

Minor league players don’t make much to begin with, so you’d think the Mets, who according to Forbes, are worth over $800 million, could cover the cost. And reportedly, the players would be penalized if they didn’t report.

All this might be legal, but it’s not right, and what it does is foster an adversarial relationship between the organization and players. It also reinforces the perception the Mets are cheap. It doesn’t matter if the Mets are within their rights, but that is trumped by the perception, which becomes reality.

Of course, who hasn’t worked for a notoriously cheap company? And, never mind the cost can be written off on the players’ taxes. That’s not what they are thinking when they write their checks.

Jan 15

Wright Reports Progress In Rehab

The Mets are starting to get good news about arguably their most important issue heading into the 2015 season in David Wright, who has started hitting off a tee and taking “flip toss’’ batting practice. The later is when a ball is flipped underhand to Wright. The intent is to sharpen hand-eye coordination and develop hand quickness.

Wright reported feeling no pain in his left shoulder and is optimistic about his recovery.

Wright told the New York Post: “It’s still pretty controlled, which is fairly normal for this time of year. I feel good. Now it’s just a matter of me trying to get my left shoulder on a par with my right shoulder, just strength-wise.

“I feel pain free, which is good, feel like the shoulder is healthy, and now it is just a matter of building up that strength. `In my eyes, I’m not too far behind from where I am normally at this time of year.’’

That’s extremely encouraging news.

The Mets have a lot of issues heading into spring training, but I think Wright is the most important, because if he’s healthy it not only adds a productive bat in the order, but alleviates pressure off him and the organization.

Brace for a long summer of contract questions if he doesn’t return to All-Star form.

Jan 13

How Would Wilpons Answer Question: Why I Should Root For The Mets?

There was an interesting story on-line the other day about a 12-year boy, Cade Pope, who wrote the owner of each NFL team asking the simple question: Why should I root for your team?

Took a lot of initiative on his part, but very little initiative was made by the league’s 32 owners as only one, Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers replied, and with it sent an autographed helmet of Luke Kuechly. Richardson wrote he would be “honored if the Carolina Panthers became your team.’’

Richardson’s letter was handwritten, by the way.

Of course, this got me thinking, what if Fred Wilpon were to get such a letter? How about Jeff Wilpon? What would their reply be? What would they say to some 12-year old kid without a team to root for?

What would be their magic words to make him a Met fans for life?

 

Jan 12

Mets Right For Balking On Syndergaard-Desmond Trade

Word is the Mets had a shot at Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, but balked at the trade because it would have cost them Noah Syndergaard.

SYNDERGAARD: Just a start. (MLB.com)

SYNDERGAARD: Don’t deal him. (MLB.com)

Good move on their part. Eventually, the Mets might trade Syndergaard, but now isn’t the time.

Before trading Syndergaard for Desmond, or anybody else for that matter, the Mets must ask themselves this question: Would they be better off?

Desmond does not put the Mets over the top. I’m not saying Wilmer Flores does either, but he deserves the chance to show what he can do with a legitimate opportunity, something he has not been given.

There’s another reason to hold onto Syndergaard, and that’s the current make-up of the rotation. Bartolo Colon is gone after this season. Matt Harvey is coming back from surgery and we don’t know about his status until he gets back on the mound. Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom are still in their developmental stages and are largely unproven, despite a high potential upside.

The potential for Syndergaard is also high and I want to see what he really is. If Syndergaard pitches to he projections, he has far more value than Desmond, or Ben Zobrist for that matter.

Sandy Alderson gets ripped here, and elsewhere, for moves he doesn’t make. This isn’t one of them.