Nov 17

Collins Deserves Manager Of Year Award

The popular choice is Joe Maddon of the Cubs, but the right choice for NL Manager of the Year has to be the Mets’ Terry Collins. Considering all he went through this summer, and the preceding four years, how can it be anybody else?

Seriously, how can it be?

COLLINS: Deserves Manager of Year Award. (AP)

COLLINS: Deserves Manager of Year Award.

In normal seasons, Maddon is a great and easy choice, but the Cubs were consistently good this summer, and he is the popular, sexy pick because of the history of his team. But, what about Collins?

The Mets kicked away an 11-game winning streak to fall below .500. With David Wright out for over four months; Travis d’Arnaud also out for an extended period; there was a patchwork bullpen; and a team last in scoring in the NL at the trade deadline; and a young rotation, including Matt Harvey coming off Tommy John surgery, there were few that had the Mets finishing .500, much less reaching the World Series.

Yet, with their season crumbling and rumors Collins’ job was in jeopardy, he held his team together. Unlike other losing teams where players don’t hustle and point fingers, Collins’ players played hard for him, which is the ultimate sign a manager has their respect.

This award is voted on prior to the playoffs, so the Mets’ sweep of the Cubs can’t be considered. All too often, this is a popularity contest, which is why I can see Maddon getting this. But, the expectations of Collins’ Mets were low. He kept his team together and playing hard. He had the Mets overachieving, if there is such a thing.

Maddon and the Cardinals’ Mike Matheny also had outstanding years and normally would be deserving. But, this year, Collins deserves it most.


Nov 17

Are Mets Willing To Outbid Yankees For Zobrist?

Both New York teams are interested in free-agent infielder Ben Zobrist – who can also play the outfield corners – but early reports are the Yankees aren’t willing to go all out.

ZOBRIST: How high will Mets go? (AP)

ZOBRIST: How high will Mets go? (AP)

Do you really believe that? I don’t, either. If the Yankees really want a player, and their competition is the Mets, smart money is on them. Yes, the Mets outbid the Yankees for Carlos Beltran, but that was an aberration.

Leopards don’t change their spots, and if the Yankees want him they will spend. And, the Mets aren’t likely to become big spenders for a 34-year-old second baseman, especially when they have other voids they must fill.

The speculated cost for Zobrist is $60 million over four years, which is reported to be about $10 million more than the package for Daniel Murphy.

I like Zobrist, always have, but second base is not their primary concern. I would say an outfielder and bullpen depth rank higher. Wilmer Flores can replace Murphy at second base, and the Mets also have confidence in Dilson Herrera.


Nov 14

Ricco: Mets To Outline Offseason

We’re two weeks removed from the World Series and the Mets already took care of two orders of business: 1) they signed manager Terry Collins to a two-year extension, and 2) made a $15.8-million qualifying offer to Daniel Murphy, which he rejected Friday afternoon.

With Sandy Alderson unable to attend the GM Meetings because of a medical procedure, assistant GM John Ricco said the Mets achieved what they set out to do this week.

“Obviously with Sandy not being here, the goal was to make sure we touched base with various clubs and agents that we thought might fit what we’re looking for,” Ricco said at the conclusion of the meetings. “I think we clearly were able to do that, between J.P. [Ricciardi], Paul [DePodesta] and I. We had a lot of different meetings. We were able to get a pretty clear idea on some clubs – on some other clubs, not so clear – what they’re looking to do.

“And also we met with agents for the key [free-agent] players we think might be fits. So we head back. We’ll regroup with Sandy back in New York and further define the plan for the offseason.”

Ricco said the Mets are exploring free-agent Ben Zobrist; inquired into the availability of Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons before the Braves traded him to the Angels; and reiterated the team will not trade any of their core pitchers. Ricco also indicated the Mets do not want to trade catchers Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki and said they are satisfied with another year with Curtis Granderson as the leadoff hitter.

Ricco and the other assistant general managers are expected to meet with Alderson at the beginning of next week to outline their offseason priorities.

Nov 13

Murphy Rejects Mets; Both Sides Win

As expected, Daniel Murphy rejected the Mets’ $15.8-million qualifying offer this afternoon, a decision that makes a winner out of both sides.

Here’s how the Mets are winners:

MURPHY: Now an ex-Met. (AP)

MURPHY: Now an ex-Met. (AP)

1) They will receive a compensatory draft pick, which is what they really wanted in the first place.

2) With Murphy gone, the Mets are able to pursue free-agent Ben Zobrist, who is a better player, and if unable to sign him, are free to move Wilmer Flores from shortstop to second base, where he’s stronger defensively. The Mets can also explore playing Dilson Herrera at second base if they prefer.

3) With no financial obligations to Murphy, the Mets have $15.8 million free to spend elsewhere.

4) Whatever retooling plans the Mets have, they can move on to them quickly.

Here’s how Murphy is a winner:

1) The Mets can still sign Murphy if they choose, but aren’t expected to make the effort. Doesn’t that really mean they didn’t want him in the first place?

2) Coming off a stellar postseason, Murphy is in the prime earning years of his career. Had he accepted the qualifying offer, he would have delayed free agency by one year, and taken a huge gamble that likely wouldn’t have been rewarded with a multi-year contract. He’ll likely be offered a contract the Mets wouldn’t come close to making.

3) Much has been made of Murphy’s defensive limitations, but now he’s free to sign with an American League team and be a designated hitter.

4) The Mets yanked Murphy around for years at a variety of positions and numerous times attempted to trade him. Now, he’ll be able to sign with a team that really wants him.

Where will Murphy go? The Dodgers and Yankees are two teams prominently mentioned, but Houston and the Angels are other possible suitors.

Nov 13

Murphy Decision Due Today

We should know a great deal about the make-up of the 2016 Mets in a few hours when second baseman Daniel Murphy makes his decision on whether to accept a $15.8-million qualifying offer. His decision is expected to be NO.

The Mets made the qualifying offer to assure a compensatory draft pick.

MURPHY:  Sliding away from Mets? (AP)

MURPHY: Sliding away from Mets? (AP)

“That’s obviously a big factor – whether he’s back or not – because financially and roster-wise he’s a big party of who we were and what we need moving forward,” assistant GM John Ricco said at the conclusion of the GM meetings in Florida. “We have to see what happens there. That will guide us in the short term, at least, in one direction or another.”

Should Murphy reject the Mets, they could make a run a Kanas City’s Ben Zobrist. They’ve already in touch with his agent. Should Murphy leave it would also smooth the transition of Wilmer Flores from shortstop to second base.

If Murphy becomes a free agent, the Yankees – regardless of their GM Brian Cashman’s denials – Houston and both Los Angeles teams are thought of as the prime candidates to land him.

If Murphy stays, it will might complicate things for the Mets after next season, especially if his power surge during the playoffs proves not to be a fluke, in particular, would they be willing to give him the four-year deal he’s reportedly seeking?