Dec 30

Top Ten Mets’ Stories of 2011

Good afternoon all. Just got back from Ohio and visiting with my family over Christmas. There was time to reflect on the year, which, of course, includes the Mets’ third straight losing season.

The year was the first under the Sandy Alderson-Terry Collins regime, which was supposed to represent a change in the franchise’s culture and downward spiral.

It did not.

There were seemingly countless storylines that swirled around the Mets this summer, most underscored their dire frustration. The following are the top ten:

REYES: Mets' mess uglier than Marlins' uniforms.

1) THE MADOFF PONZI SCANDAL: Most everything the Mets did this season, and will likely do in the next few years has roots in the Wilpon’s financial mess caused by the Ponzi Scandal. The Mets have a mounting debt approaching $1 billion due in the next three years and which does not include what the courts might put them on the hook for in a Ponzi ruling. Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Mets’ financial status and there are no immediate signs of improvement.

2) JOSE REYES SIGNS WITH MIAMI: Reyes’ departure to the division rival Marlins personifies the Mets’ current financial plight. It was a no-brainer to let him go considering his salary demands and injury history, but not making an offer revealed how the Mets aren’t in position to compete. Most believed 2011 would be his last season with the Mets, and he departed in style with two trips to the disabled list and pulling himself out of the last game of the season to preserve his batting title.

3) METS RELEASE PEREZ AND CASTILLO: Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo represented the Omar Minaya Era in giving obscene contracts for little production. Their presence cast a pall over the 2010 Mets and the new regime finally cast them away. Sad getting rid of two malcontent underachievers represented one of the highlights of the season.

4) BELTRAN, RODRIGUEZ TRADED: The Mets overachieved much of the first half, but any hope of a competitive season ended when Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez were dealt to San Francisco and Milwaukee, respectively, in the official surrender of 2011. Few thought Alderson could unload their contracts, but doing so lightened the Mets’ financial burden – a little. Beltran and Rodriguez were to be the missing pieces to a championship, but instead personified the window slamming shut.

DAVIS: Another freak injury hits Mets.

5) IKE DAVIS INJURED: What looked to be a harmless ankle injury ended up a season-ender for Ike Davis and renewed criticism of the Mets’ medical staff. Reportedly, Davis will be ready for spring training, but we’ve heard that song before. Davis’ injury opened the door for Lucas Duda’s promotion to the major leagues, one of the season’s few bright spots.

6) DAVID WRIGHT’S FALL CONTINUES: Wright missed over two months with a back injury and his power numbers dropped to 14 homers and 61 RBI. Wright’s recent injury history and declining production, coupled with the Mets in a rebuilding mode, increases speculation he could be traded. But, those factors also mean what the Mets get in return isn’t what it would have been two years ago.

7) THE DAVID EINHORN MESS: The Mets financial problems appeared to ease at the tune of $200 million when David Einhorn was brought in as a minority owner, but that fell through. The Wilpons’ fallback plan is to sell $20-milion shares. So far, no takers.

8) JOHAN SANTANA A MEMORY: Despite the Mets’ projections he might be ready at any number of occasions, it never happened and his rehab included several setbacks. The Mets will go to spring training knowing only one thing about Santana – they’ll pay him $24 million next year.

9) BAY SIGNING A BUST: It has been two years and Bay has hit a combined 18 homers with 104 RBI. He did better than that in 2009 with Boston. There were dozens of reasons why the Mets shouldn’t have signed Bay two years and one day ago. I’m thinking there are close to 66 million now.

10) PELFREY REGRESSES: After winning 15 games in 2010, Mike Pelfrey won seven games last year and there are thoughts he might never become the pitcher expected of him. With Santana injured, Pelfrey went into the season the de facto ace but posted numbers not worthy of a No. 5 starter.

Dec 27

A matter of time.

I guess I’m just like the Mets in a way, just passing the time until spring training. Even for teams with little chances, spring training brings anticipation and hope.

WRIGHT: Will Mets hold onto the dream?

I’m not going to bother you with posts about the Mets not going after guys like Matt Garza and Prince Fielder, because you know as well as I do that’s not going to happen. That’s not news, it is stating the obvious.

To answer the question everybody is asking: I don’t know when Bud Selig will step in and do something about the drowning-in-red-ink Mets. He does have a double standard, going hard after the Dodgers’ ownership while letting the Mets skate. Selig has agendas; it has been that way with him for a long time.

The Mets have close to a billion dollars in debt they must pay off in the next few years, and that doesn’t even count what they might be on the hook for in the Ponzi scandal. It’s not going to get any better any time soon.

Jose Reyes is one thing. They could justify not bringing him back based on their economics and his injury history. But, David Wright is another. He’s arguably the the image of the franchise the Mets haven’t had since Tom Seaver. Reading tweets the Mets aren’t going to trade him to the Phillies offer little consolation, because we can only imagine it is a matter of time.

Wright will be a Met until at least the end of July, but other than that there are no guarantees. Privately, the Mets regret not dealing Reyes when they had the chance to get something back. They gambled and lost they could compete in the second half. Privately, they realized they had no chance in keeping him.

They can’t afford to make a similar mistake with Wright. If he’s healthy and playing well and the team is going nowhere, then what’s the point in holding on to the dream that never happened?

Dec 25

Wishing you all the best.

What ever your beliefs, I wish you all peace and happiness during the holidays and for next year. I hope you were able to spend today with your family and friends.

I’ll be traveling tomorrow back to Ohio to see my brother and sister, then return to New York for New Year’s.

Take care. JD

 

 

Dec 23

Nationals making more noise … Mets remain quiet.

I don’t know much about the prospects the Nationals are sending to Oakland for Gio Gonzalez. What I do know is adding Gonzalez makes them considerably more improved, and that includes better than the Mets.

If what is reported is true, that the Mets wouldn’t part with Jon Niese and Ike Davis then that makes a degree of sense because with what is left it isn’t good enough for Gonzalez to carry. Then again, if I were Oakland I wouldn’t deal Gonzalez for a package that includes two players on the mend.

The essence of this trade reveals a key Mets’ weakness, and that’s a lack of depth in the minor leagues that could be used in trades. For the past few years, one of their biggest chips was Fernando Martinez, but injuries have slowed his career to little more than a crawl.

Do you remember when the Mets were telling us about their wealth of outfield prospects in Martinez, Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez? Kind of makes you think when they tout what’s down below now that we really don’t know.

It has been an interesting winter so far for other teams, including St. Louis, which will add Carlos Beltran for two years at $26 million. Beltran won’t make them forget Albert Pujols, but at least the Cardinals are attempting to move forward.

The Mets will add a few minor pieces between now and spring training, but nothing that will prompt anybody to pick up phone and order tickets.

Here we are, a couple of days before Christmas and the weather is warm enough for Opening Day. When I think about the promise and excitement Opening Day is supposed to have, I realize we won’t feel that way at Citi Field for several more years.

Sad really.

Dec 22

Dealing Niese makes no sense.

Pitching is the most valuable commodity in the sport, with a premium on left-handed starters.

In Jonathan Niese, despite last year’s injury, the Mets have a young, inexpensive lefty in their control with some degree of success and loads of potential. For a rebuilding team such as the Mets, Niese is just the type of pitching prospect they should be looking to acquire.

So, why am I hearing all this noise about the Mets trying to trade him? It just makes absolutely no sense unless they are receiving quality pitching and more in a package, which they are not.

Certainly, Colorado outfielder Seth Smith doesn’t fit that description.

I understand the Mets are in a rebuilding mode and have tried to be patient in that regard. I also understand the winter is ripe for rumors, most of them unsubstantiated. But, if the Niese talk is even remotely close to being true, that would border on the absurd.

Also crazy were reports the Mets were discussing lefty Gio Gonzalez and considering posting a bid for Yu Darvish.

Gonzalez goes beyond wishful thinking. The only way a team would surrender what it takes to get G0nzalez is if they could sign him to a long-term extension and we know the Mets don’t have that ability.

As for Darvish, the Rangers spent $50 million just for the rights to negotiating with him. No way the Mets would have even thought of something so ridiculous. For a team with little success in the Japanese market and in a cost-cutting frame of mind, and with the limited success of Japanese pitchers in the major leagues, that would have been crazy.