Oct 05

Mets and Digital Domain Cancel Naming Rights Deal

Digital Domain is canceling it’s $100,000 per year agreement for naming rights on the Mets’ stadium in Port St. Lucie as part of it’s corporate restructuring in bankruptcy court, according to Ballpark Digest.

As you’ll read below, I originally sourced the problems at Digital Domain almost a month ago and even speculated that the naming rights deal was in serious danger of being defaulted on. Nobody picked up my piece save for a link to it on MetsBlog at the time. (Thanks!)

Anyway…

New naming rights have not been announced for the ballpark.

Original Post September 8

Digital Domain is closing operations in Port St. Lucie, the company announced Friday morning.

According to a company press release, Digital Domain Media Group will be “reducing virtually its entire Port St. Lucie workforce, retaining approximately 20 employees who will remain as part of the wind-down.”

About 280 workers are losing their jobs. Employees are packing boxes at the company offices this morning.

According to Port St. Lucie Police, a Digital Domain executive flew in from California to inform employees their doors were closing.

Port St. Lucie police were called in as a precaution.

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of DDMG, John C. Textor has resigned, effective immediately, from his positions.

The company said Digital Domain executive Ed Ulbrich has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Digital Domain Productions.

Earlier this week Digital Domain Media Group defaulted on a $35 million dollar loan, according to a public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This can’t be good for the Mets who have already reported they never received their July $95,000 payment for their Digital Domain Park naming rights deal. After pursuing legal action, the Mets and Digital Domain settled for $50,000. It now appears the naming rights deal is in real jeopardy.

Tradition Field became Digital Domain Park in 2010 after Digital Domain Holdings, the New York Mets and St. Lucie County finalized an agreement to grant the animation and visual effects company naming rights to the Mets’ 7,000-seat spring training home.

Digital Domain Group stock has fallen from a high of $14.65 per share to a close of .60 cents on Friday.

Oct 05

How Mets Answered Preseason Questions

Like all teams, the Mets had questions entering spring training. The Mets, of course, had more than most. At that time I listed the top ten questions facing the 2012 Mets. Let’s take a look back at how the season answered those questions. Some were in the positive, others not.

1) QUESTION: To what degree will the Wilpon’s financial problems impact the Mets?  

ANSWER: Did you see any new faces of consequence added at the trade deadline? Nope, I didn’t think so. Despite a strong first half, the Mets had issues – notably the bullpen – which they did not address at the end of July. Failing to improve the team, the Mets spiraled down in the second half. While the Mets received a favorable verdict in the Madoff case – they have two more years before they have to pay off – it will not induce GM Sandy Alderson to significantly enter the free agent market. The Mets spent $100 million this year on player salaries and don’t expect them to pay much more than that in 2013.

2) QUESTION: What will we get from Johan Santana?

ANSWER: Actually more than anticipated, including the first no-hitter in franchise history. There remains speculation throwing 134 pitches in that game might have derailed him. Even though there were no arm issues, Santana did lose his command and struggled in the second half before being shut down with an injury. The Mets are on the hook for $31 million more to Santana next year, including a buyout.

3) QUESTION: How long will David Wright remain a Met?

ANSWER: Well, he’s still here and Alderson said retaining him will be an offseason priority. Because of a good first half Wright’s name didn’t come up at the trade deadline as Jose Reyes’ did the year before. Wright proved to the Mets his durability this season and had a good season, hitting .306 with 21 homers and 93 RBI. How much better could it have been had he not slumped trying to carry the team in the second half?

4) QUESTION: Which Mike Pelfrey will we see?

ANSWER: He was good while he lasted, but was shutdown early with an injury and underwent surgery to his elbow. Pelfrey might not be ready until May or June, making it highly unlikely for the Mets to tender him a contract despite Terry Collins’ urging. After a seemingly breakthrough 2010 season, Pelfrey regressed dramatically last year. Overall, Pelfrey has not lived up to expectations. The only way I see him staying with the Mets if he were to re-sign with them at a discount, but with Scott Boras his agent, don’t count on it.

5) QUESTION: What is the configuration of the bullpen?

ANSWER: That was supposed to be Alderson’s priority last winter, but it wasn’t to be as the pen factored greatly in the second-half swoon. Frank Francisco was the primary closer, but finished the season with tendinitis. Bobby Parnell pitched considerably better later in the season and will likely enter spring training in a set-up role if Francisco is healthy. The Mets received promising production from lefties Josh Edgin and Robert Carson. Look for Jon Rauch to be a part of the housecleaning.

6) QUESTION: Is Ruben Tejada the answer as Jose Reyes’ replacement?

ANSWER: That’s still up in the air over the long haul, but for now Tejada is the right fit. Tejada has a great glove, and his .289 average was better than one could have expected. With other pressing needs, Tejada showed enough to where the Mets don’t have to shop for a shortstop this winter.

7) QUESTION: Can Daniel Murphy make it at second base?

I don’t think we’ll see the second coming of Wally Backman, let alone Ryne Sandberg or Roberto Alomar. Murphy’s range could be better, but he showed promise this summer that the position isn’t a lost cause for him. He was less awkward around the bag and made most of the plays. His footwork on the double-play needs to get better. Overall, he showed enough to where the Mets don’t need to sign a second baseman in the offseason.

8) QUESTION: How healthy is Ike Davis?

ANSWER: There was speculation the virus was a contributor to a poor first half, but he refutes that notion. Not wanting to shatter his confidence, and probably moreso that there weren’t other alternatives, the Mets didn’t send him down when he hovered under .200. Davis responded with a strong second half and finished with over 30 homers.

9) QUESTION: What’s the make up of the rotation?

ANSWER: It changed considerably, beginning with Pelfrey’s injury. Dillon Gee and Santana also went down. Chris Young was brought in and gave them over 100 innings. The positive developments were Jon Niese taking another step and the emergence of Matt Harvey. Most positive of all was R.A. Dickey, who won 20 games to become a Cy Young Award candidate. Dickey has gone from journeyman to an offseason priority to be re-signed. 

10) QUESTION: Will it ever happen for Jason Bay with the Mets?

ANSWER: The newest theory is Bsy’s concussion last year caused him to be sluggish at the plate. It’s only speculation. A greater speculation is it won’t happen for Bay, who has given the Mets nothing for the $66 million they’ll pay him. Not even moving in the fences helped Bay. The Mets are just counting the days until he’s off the books.

Oct 04

Has Wright Played His Last Game With The Mets?

Until something gets done, the David Wright situation will to be the central theme on Mets blogs everywhere for this entire offseason. I wanted to get things started by asking our staff the following most important question for the Mets moving forward.

Have we seen David Wright’s final game in a Mets uniform? 

Mitch: No. The reason why the Mets won’t be spending much in free agency is so they can bring both David and Dickey back. If a deal isn’t done this winter, it will be a major distraction in 2013, as everyone speculates about what the plans will be. I do believe David will be back, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded mid-season in ’13. In fact, if a deal isn’t done his winter, I think there is a very good chance he gets traded.

Nick: No, no matter how people feel about the Wilpons and their lack of money and/or intelligence they understand David Wright is the New York Mets. He resembles to the fans everything Mets and is the face of the franchise and needs to be until he retires and into the foreseeable future.

Michael: No. I think Sandy has realized that this team can’t function without Wright or make any money, seeing as he is the only player the fans really pay to see play every day.

Gregg: I believe David Wright will be a Met for his entire career (of course I thought the Mets would have signed Jose Reyes). I think David wants to sign with Mets, it’s up to the Mets to make a credible offer. I also think if the Mets fail to re-sign Wright, 2014 will resemble 1977 at Citi Field.

Jim: Absolutely not. The guys wants to be here (surprisingly) and wants to be a part of the team that finally brings a championship back to Queens, whether that be next year, five years from now or 10-plus years from now. He’s now also the all-time leader in hits for the franchise. Ownership will somehow work out a deal for him for something like five years, $100 million. With Bay and Santana coming of the books in 2014, this will hopefully be a manageable contract.

Clare: After listening to David, it sure sounds like he wants to be a Met for his whole career. The Mets need to find a way to sign Wright long term. He is the face of our franchise and the fans are already dismayed with ownership. If Wright is allowed to walk like Reyes did, everyone better watch out! The fan reaction would be explosive to say the least

Jessep: No, because I do hope that the major financial issues of this franchise are behind them. Look, the bottom line is – if Wright is not retained past 2013, it tells you just how bad things really are. If he is signed, it gives hope that 2010 and 2011 are things of the past and yes there were some casualties from a terrible situation, but they are moving on.

Elliot: No, I’ve always felt that Wright, the Mets and New York had a different relationship than Reyes, the Mets and New York. The Mets know they need him for multiple reasons, and they’ll retain him beyond 2013. This could also be optimism blocking my sense of reason.

Fonzie13: No! David Wright will be extended over the winter. The Wilpons can’t afford the PR hit. Even they realize how important he is to the fanbase.

Satish: I think after the hit record, it would be an embarrassment to the franchise not to keep him. I think he will be around.

Rob Tie Dyed: This is a sad thought but a very real possibility. Sadly, I fear it will be. As David is in the midst of his most productive years, he needs to cash in. And to get to a team that actually wants to win, not just acts like it. Thanks for everything, David… See you in 20 years at Oldtimers Day. And go get that World Series ring. Ain’t happenin’ here any time soon.

XtreemIcon: No. His option will be picked up and the Mets will try to re-sign all the way up until he signs with another team. Coming to terms on money is an entirely different question.

Have the events and comments by Sandy Alderson in the last 24 hours given you more hope that a deal with David Wright will get done? Or did it only add to the uncertainty of the situation? Tell us your thoughts.

Fun with screenshots…

(Click to Embiggen)

(Click to Embiggen)

Sorry… Couldn’t resist… 😀

Oct 04

Explaining What Went Wrong For The 2012 Mets

Other than a lack of overall talent, there’s never just one reason why a team fails to win. The Mets began the season projected for the basement, with some corners speculating 100 losses.

So, at 74-88, 14 games below .500, and in fourth place, the Mets did better than expected, but in the end were still disappointing and kicked a promising season away with a dismal second half.

The Mets were 46-40 at the break, but ended the first half on a sour note by losing two of three at Citi Field to the Cubs. This coming after losing two of three to the Cubs at Wrigley Field a short time earlier.

You can’t consider yourself a serious contender when you lose consecutive series to a team that lost 100 games. You just can’t do it.

So, what went wrong?

STREAKY BAD: The Mets’ longest winning streak in the second half was four, accomplished twice. Conversely, they had five such losing streaks, including dropping six straight three times. When a team is streaky bad like that players begin to press, which is what happened in July and August.

STAYING WITH A PAT HAND: GM Sandy Alderson said several times the team had the resources to add talent if they were in contention at the trade deadline. But, that doesn’t meaning waiting until July 31. The bullpen had shown signs of breaking down in late June and early July, and there was a woeful lack of power with Ike Davis, Jason Bay and Lucas Duda doing nothing, but Alderson was content to believe things would get better and was satisfied at the break with a 46-40 record. The Mets opened the second half with two losing streaks of at least five games and by that time it was too late.

INJURIES: All teams have them and the Mets were no exception. It’s hard to win when three-fifths of your rotation goes down. First, Mike Pelfrey, then Dillon Gee and Johan Santana. The Mets simply didn’t have the replacement parts they needed, although the got more from R.A. Dickey than they could have wished for and Matt Harvey made a good first impression.

THE BULLPEN COLLAPSED AGAIN: The wasn’t bad in April, but was non-existent in the second half. The pen’s failures can be summarized by just 36 saves, and a 20-22 record in one-run games and 3-7 in extra innings. Clearly, they couldn’t slam the door late. The problem wasn’t really the closer as much as it was the bridge leading to the closer.

NO OFFENSE: The Mets had three players with 20-plus homers, but that’s not enough. The Mets went 15 straight home games in the second half where they scored three or fewer runs which lead to a minus-56 runs differential. If Davis had any kind of a first half he might have finished with 40. David Wright couldn’t carry the team from July on and one wonders if he’ll be a 30-homer player again. The Mets received very little from Bay, Duda, Josh Thole and Andres Torres. Who would have thought Scott Hairston would lead the outfield with 20 homers?

 

Oct 03

Amazing Season For R.A. Dickey Ends On Painful Note

R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young-worthy season ended last night with a painful revelation: That he’d been pitching with a torn abdominal muscle since April 13, injured in Philadelphia.

Ironically, Dickey will have surgery there Oct. 18.

Dickey called it a dull pain after last night’s no-decision, his eighth of the year, indicating a frustrating lack of run support.

“The pain was fairly significant from time to time,” Dickey told reporters last night in Miami. “We just did a good job of managing that. Whether it was backing off in the bullpen in between starts or getting the treatment that I needed or whatever else I needed to help with that pain, we were able to do it in a way that I was able to perform and not worry about it.”

Dickey finished the season with a 20-6 record and 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts while throwing 233.1 innings. That’s not good enough to win any of pitching’s Triple Crown, but good enough to be among the leaders, and even moreso considering he’s pitching on a team 15 games below .500 and with an injury.

One must also factor in opponent’s .226 batting average against him and a WHIP of 1.05. All his significant numbers showed domination on a team far from it.

There’s a school of thought the knuckleball would work against Dickey because many consider it a trick pitch. That nobody else throws it should be an endorsement for him because it is such a difficult pitch to master and one containing a high probability of error.

To wit, Dickey gave up 24 homers, including one last night. That shows he had incredible command of the pitch in the strikezone and they just wouldn’t knuckle for him those times.

There was bias from Tony La Russa in not starting him at the All-Star Game and I wonder how many of the voters might be swayed by that kind of thinking. It shouldn’t, because whether it is a knuckleball, fastball or curve, you still have to control it and Dickey was remarkable in doing it.

Perhaps also working against him is an anti-New York bias, which is often the case in voting such as this. It shouldn’t, but there are always some with phobia’s and Dickey has some significant opposition.

That Dickey did not pitch for a winning team shouldn’t work against him. This isn’t like the MVP voting where team placement in the postseason is usually an overriding factor to consider. There have been several cases of pitchers winning the Cy Young for teams not making the playoffs and Dickey should be one of them.