I wish for all of you a very Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. Wishing you good health in the new year. Will talk baseball with you soon. Peace. JD
I admit, I laughed out loud when I read The Post’s article on how Mets owner Fred Wilpon was “irate’’ after hearing about the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with Miami.
Anything the Yankees do money wise paints the Mets in a bad, if not embarrassing light, because it highlights their penny-pinching ways and reluctance to make any high-profile moves.
Wilpon doesn’t believe the Yankees can sustain their spending, which is what envious owners have said since George Steinbrenner purchased the team from CBS in the early 1970s.
It’s a foolish belief.
I don’t buy the Wilpons are afraid to spend, because after all, their Opening Day payroll last season was $154 million. That’s post-Ponzi spending, mind you. But, now there appears a reluctance
The problem is the Mets don’t spend wisely and they’ve been stung by their last three $100-million plus contracts – Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Johan Santana – were injured, as is their vaunted rotation.
Even though the Mets are two years removed from the World Series – and the Yankees were last there in 2009 – the latter is a lot closer to returning than the former. And, that was even before the Stanton trade, and even if they don’t get Gerit Cole from the Pirates.
Instead, the news this offseason about the dysfunctional Mets have made a franchise icon – Ed Kranepool – unwelcome, but have re-hired former GM Omar Minaya back to act as a special assistant to GM Sandy Alderson.
Both are head-scratching moves, but what isn’t was hearing of Fred Wilpon’s ire directed at the Yankees.
That’s something he has control over.
Mets fans got an early Christmas present yesterday in their stocking late yesterday afternoon. It was a lump of coal with the announcement GM Sandy Alderson’s extension, speculated to be two years in a year-to-year format.
They aren’t even expected to retain their own marquee free agent Matt Harvey.
That means Mets fans can expect their team’s biggest free-agent ventures will be more along the lines of pursuing veterans well past their prime, such as first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Alderson’s Mets’ zenith came in 2015 when everything fell together after the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes and the team caught fire and reached the World Series.
Cespedes was re-signed that winter to a $110-million, four-year package that has financially crippled the Mets since. Alderson then cast off Daniel Murphy, the post-season hero who became an All-Star with Washington.
The Mets reached the postseason again in 2016, but were bounced in the wild-card game by San Francisco. The Giants, like the Mets, have fallen onto hard times, but San Francisco just traded for All-Star Evan Longoria while New York is debating on Gonzalez, whom they’ll get for a song with the Braves picking up the bulk of his contract.
The Mets will be on the hook for the major league minimum of $545,000, with the Braves paying the balance of his $22.4 million contract.
But, the major-league minimum – with Alderson operating the franchise as the Wilpon’s wish – is what the Mets are about these days.
I have advocated the Mets trade Matt Harvey for several years now and still believe if they should jump on any worthwhile trade offer. I just think those ideas are gone and he’s not going anywhere because his trade value has never been lower and the Mets have their reasons for wanting to keep him.
Harvey’s value is down because he hasn’t pitched well in two years, because of a combination of injuries and simply stinking up the joint. A shoulder injury sapped his velocity as well as his command and movement. With the decline in all three, his confidence has been shot since Game 5 of the 2015 World Series when he selfishly lobbied manager Terry Collins to stay in for the ninth.
Harvey is damaged goods. Teams won’t give up established talent or promising prospects for somebody who’ll be a free agent after the 2018 season. It just won’t happen.
Even so, the Mets have to keep Harvey because of the health concerns surrounding Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and even Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ vaunted rotation hasn’t yet – over five years – made a complete cycle, and won’t again this season because either Matz or Wheeler won’t be ready by Opening Day.
Somebody will go down for the Mets this summer. It’s the way of the world and Harvey will have to fill the void. The Mets aren’t likely to sign a veteran arm this winter so they’ll need Harvey.
The Mets’ best chance to get something for Harvey is for him to get off to a strong – and healthy – start and trade him in late July. After that, well, I still believe Harvey will walk after next season.
In many circles, the Mets were favorites to reach the World Series in 2017, and by most accounts, injuries derailed those aspirations. They finished manager Terry Collins’ last season as manager 22 games below .500 after scuttling their roster at the deadline.
That seems to be a lot of ground to make up even after adding depth to their bullpen with the free-agent signing of Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal.
Several reviews of the Mets’ Winter Meetings’ needs mention a set-up reliever, and outfielder/first baseman and second baseman as to what is on GM Sandy Alderson’s shopping list, and cite Addison Reed, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker by name.
The Mets traded all three last summer for a group of relievers that might not make the Opening Day roster.
The best chance to re-sign a free agent is to make sure he doesn’t leave in the first place, but that requires an ability to spend. Whether they bring back Bruce, all three, or stun us and sign a name player, it will cost money. The bottom line is the Mets have to spend it if they are going to win. That is the idea, isn’t it?