Dec 20

One More Time: Tulowitzki Not Happening

OK, one more time: Troy Tulowitzki is not coming to the Mets.

Yes, yes, yes … there have been reports this week the Mets and Rockies are talking. I am sure they’ve spoken since the Winter Meetings. They could be exchanging holiday greetings, or talking about the weather, or trading fantasy football players, but serious dialogue about Tulowitzki isn’t one of the topics.

TULOWITZKI: Keep on dreaming.

TULOWITZKI: Keep on dreaming.

To understand why it won’t happen one must first ask:  Why do the Rockies want to deal him?

It begins with health, and here there aren’t any guarantees. A healthy Tulowitzki would be great to have, but he’s coming off hip surgery that puts his power potential in question. The Mets don’t have to look any further than across town at Alex Rodriguez to understand how a bum hip makes even great players, well, bums.

Couple his questionable health with the $118 million he is owed over the next six years, and you begin to comprehend why the Rockies want to start over. Sure, they’ll have to assume some of his contract to get another team to take him off their hands, but not nearly enough to make the Mets bite.

Having played at least 140 games only once in the past five years makes him a high-risk gamble. Sandy Alderson has spent his tenure as the Mets’ general manager paring down payroll. That’s why he was brought here.

Say what you want about the Wilpons and their budget, but understand that’s not going to change. It just won’t, and it especially won’t with a high-risk gamble with the cost of one or two of their young stud pitchers, even if one of them isn’t Matt Harvey.

The Rockies are concerned about his injury history, salary and want a talented bunch of prospects in return. Given that, those are the same reasons the Mets should run away.

But you say, look at his numbers at Citi Field. OK, I will. Let’s see, five homers, 11 RBI, a .438 batting average and 1.368 OPS in 58 plate appearances over 14 games. Hmm, well, that is impressive, but it’s not the ballpark as much as it is the Mets’ pitching he’s faced over the years.

Understand, he won’t be facing that pitching if he comes here. If you’re hung up on seeing Tulowitzki play at Citi Field, the Rockies will be in for the start of a four-game series, Aug. 10.

Plenty of tickets are available.

Dec 18

A Case For Not Trading Gee

There’s been a lot of talk about the Mets wanting to trade Dillon Gee. I understand their reasoning and on the surface it all makes sense.

However, I wouldn’t be the contrarian I am if I didn’t examine the other side.

Sure, the rotation looks crowded with the return of Matt Harvey. But, what if his return from elbow surgery isn’t smooth? What if Jon Niese continues to falter? What if Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom regress? What if Noah Syndergaard isn’t ready?

Few things go as seamlessly as hoped, especially if you’re the Mets. You should know that by now if you’ve been following them for any length on time.

The fact remains, the Mets have potential pitching issues, and with the trade market stagnant, there’s no reason to force a trade just to free up space.

Just wait, they could use another pitcher before the season is over.

 

Dec 17

Projecting Mets’ Opening Day Roster

As much as they are trying to trade Dillon Gee, realistically I believe the Mets are done for the winter and will hibernate until spring training. They might pull something off with Gee, but I doubt he will bring back much substance.

Whether it is Gee, Bartolo Colon or Jon Niese, they aren’t likely to make a worthwhile deal until the trade deadline. There are too many free agents remaining and too much time until spring training for another team willing to give up something.

Also, teams could be waiting for spring training roster cuts and non-tendered players when there will be another wave of players to hit the market.

GM Sandy Alderson knows this, but won’t say anything first, to further reduce trade value of these guys, and secondly, not to alienate the fan base when he wants them buying tickets.

Given this, as of today here’s how I envision the Mets’ Opening Day roster:

PITCHERS

Matt Harvey: Opening Day starter.

Zack Wheeler: Mets looking for breakout year.

Jon Niese: The lone lefty.

Bartolo Colon: Veteran presence.

Jacob deGrom: Hoping to avoid sophomore jinx.

Gee: Long relief or the minors.

Bobby Parnell: Terry Collins says will be closer if healthy.

Jenrry Mejia: Gets closer role if Parnell doesn’t. Gets eighth inning if Parnell is ready.

Jeurys Familia: Set up and situational role.

Vic Black: Set-up and situational role.

Josh Edgin: Situational lefty.

Scott Rice: Situational lefty.

CATCHERS

Travis d’Arnaud: Must reach the next level.

Anthony Recker: Back-up catcher.

INFIELDERS

Lucas Duda: Hoping for 30-homer encore.

Daniel Murphy: Steadiest bat in 2014.

Wilmer Flores: Has shortstop job to lose.

David Wright: Needs to stay healthy.

Ruben Tejada: Back up at short and second.

Dilson Herrera: Made a good first impression last year.

OUTFIELDERS

Michael Cuddyer: Return to batting title form might be too much to ask.

Juan Lagares: Center fielder could also bat leadoff.

Curtis Granderson: Not expecting 40, but 30 homers would be great.

Matt den Dekker: A nod to defense.

John Mayberry: Adds right-handed bat.

Dec 16

Trade Of Gee Won’t Happen Soon

Speaking today at the Mets’ holiday party, GM Sandy Alderson said not to look for anything involving Dillon Gee soon.

“I’d say activity will pick up significantly in January across the board,’’ Alderson said. “That’s probably the likely time frame for us as well.’’

Given that, don’t be surprised if he’s with the team in Port St. Lucie. I wouldn’t even be shocked to see him on the Opening Day roster.

A lifetime 40-34 pitcher with a $5 million contract, and with the Mets making it clear they want to trade him ahead of Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon, his value isn’t that high. And, with the free-agent market still heavy, teams will look there before trading.

Alderson said the Mets are unlikely to bid on South Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, which means there’s a high probability of Opening Day job going to Wilmer Flores.

Dec 15

Would Rather Have Germen Over Mayberry

The Mets made the signing of right-handed hitter John Mayberry Jr., official today and to make room on the 40-man roster they designated for assignment reliever Gonzalez Germen.

Personally, as the San Francisco Giants proved three times over the past five years, bullpen depth is critical for a team’s success, so I would rather have had them keep Germen. To me, a 27-year-old hard-throwing reliever with a fastball in the mid-90s has a greater upside than a 30-year-old with a lifetime .241 batting average and career .305 on-base percentage.

I don’t know what will become of Germen, but Mayberry has proven he’s about as good as he’s going to be. Yes, the Mets need right-handed hitting, but if they won’t spend to get it, then they would stand to have numerous opportunities later.

Speaking of lost opportunities, Houston signed Jed Lowrie to a three-year, $23-million contract. Considering the Mets weren’t willing to go that high in years or dollars, it wasn’t that much of a lost chance.

What this does is only reinforce what I’ve been alluding to for the past month, which is the shortstop’s job belongs to Wilmer Flores.