Nov 27

Why revenue sharing and the luxury tax aren’t doing what they are supposed to.

You can get dizzy trying to figure out the various formulas for revenue sharing and the luxury tax, but some things are givens. There will always be some teams willing to spend because the objective is to win.

There will also be some teams not willing to spend and find comfort in using their small market status to free load off the big spenders because they are still making money. Pittsburgh and Kansas City have been notorious for using their revenue sharing income not to reinvest in players but to pay their electric bill.

I’m tired of hearing about small market – which should really read small revenue market teams – not fielding competitive teams because of the market they play in. It is inexcusable for a team such as the Pirates to have 20 straight losing seasons. How can the Orioles have 14 losing years playing in a gem of a ballpark like Camden Yards? Seems incomprehensible.

How Bud Selig can allow this is beyond reason. Also crazy is penalizing teams that go over the limit to take away draft choices. It stands to reason that a team having fewer draft picks will compensate with more spending in trying to build.

I’ve never been for revenue sharing because it promotes free loading, but the system is not likely to go away. If they are insistent on such a system, the receiving teams should be required to spend a designated percentage on player salaries. And, while we’re at it, there should be a minimum amount a team MUST spend on payroll.

 

Nov 25

Slow developing market for Reyes.

On the biggest shopping day of the year, the Mets are home wondering what to do with their leftovers.

When I read the Kansas City Royals could offer Bruce Chen $9 million, I begin to wonder if it worth being patient. Then I realize there is no other alternative. Jose Reyes could very well get his $100 million, but he won’t get it from the Mets.

The Mets’ stance of letting the market develop for Reyes before jumping in seems to be the philosophy of everybody else. The Marlins were the first one in, and they gave him a relatively low offer compared to what he’s expecting.

The Mets’ well-founded cautious take because of his injury history is also the thinking of everybody else. Rightfully so. This is not a knock on Reyes, but a statement of fact on the situation.

The offers will increase the closer we get to the Winter Meetings, and the Mets will undoubtedly make their tidy “well we gave him a fair proposal“ contract designed for show.

And, the Mets will be right. It would have been a fair proposal. But, when it comes to free agency, fair has nothing to do with it.

 

Nov 23

2011 Player Review: Justin Turner

JUSTIN TURNER

THE SKINNY: With second base a black hole last season when Brad Emaus didn’t make it and Daniel Murphy was hurt, Turner played more than anticipated. His playing time also increased when Jose Reyes twice went on the disabled list and Tejada played shortstop.

PRE-SEASON EXPECTATIONS: In the minor leagues, where he had been since 2006 with the Cincinnati and Baltimore organizations. The Mets would keep an eye on him because of his ability to play multiple positions (second, third and shortstop).

HOW THE SEASON PLAYED OUT: Turner quickly got his opportunity with the Mets and made the most of it with his hustle, timely hitting and defensive versatility. However, just because Turner can play multiple positions doesn’t mean he can play them all well as 12 errors indicates.

JOHN’S TAKE: Murphy is the better hitter and should get the first chance at second base, assuming Reyes leaves and Tejada takes over shortstop. The Mets will need bench players and it is better to stay with Turner than take somebody else’s reject off the waiver wire this winter.

JOE’S TAKE: Ultimately I don’t see Justin Turner as an everyday player. With sporadic playing time Turner was a hitting machine at the plate. He had a drive and intensity that almost made him an intimidating presence at the plate, and his focus and approach at the plate were spot on. But when he got regular playing time the results suffered which was a shame. I’ll tell you one thing though about this kid, there’s no Mets player including David Wright, that I’d want up at the plate with runners on base. Turner may be the best situational hitter on the team, and his presence on the bench is a big plus for the Mets.

Nov 22

2011 Player Review: Lucas Duda

We began our review of the 2011 Mets by examining their free agents and players the team will consider tending contracts to. We started evaluating the rest of the roster, beginning with infielder Ruben Tejada and continue today with Lucas Duda. Tomorrow: Justin Turner.

LUCAS DUDA, RF

THE SKINNY: Duda is power personified. When he gets one, it goes. He’s the last Met who needs the fences brought in. Duda was brought up to play first base after Ike Davis was injured, and finished the season as the candidate to play right field this year.

PRE-SEASON EXPECTATIONS: After a brief display of his power in 2010, Duda started the season in the minor leagues as expected with the anticipation he would be brought up eventually in case of emergency, but definitely when the rosters were expanded.

HOW THE SEASON PLAYED OUT: Duda’s opportunity came when Davis injured his ankle in a collision with David Wright. After a slow start, Duda finished with 10 homers and 50 RBI in 347 at-bats. First base was totally his after Daniel Murphy was disabled, but with right field forecast as a hole because of the Carlos Beltran trade, Duda eventually got 46 games in the outfield (42 in right). He closed the season with the expectations of being first in line for right field in spring training.

JOHN’S TAKE: Personally, when it became apparent the Mets wouldn’t make the playoffs – and that came pretty early – Duda should have gotten more games in right field. He’s not a great defender and a case could be made for moving him to left and shifting Jason Bay to right field, which is a difficult position at Citi Field. The brought-in fences should help Duda at the plate, but also in the field as there will now be less room to roam. I like Duda for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was his decision to bunt when he was on a roll because that was the team thing to do. The man plays hard and deserves a chance. With his power he should at least double his home run production over a full season.

JOE’S TAKE: For some odd reason, I’ve found myself having to defend Lucas Duda on a number of occasions this offseason. Many Mets fans don’t seem to believe in him as I do as an offensive presence in the lineup. Here are the facts…

Lucas Duda was leading the league with a .597 SLG and 1.100 OPS prior to his promotion to the Mets. In his last 153 minor league games, Duda slugged 33 home runs and drove in 111 runs. He also had 48 doubles in that span. In other words 550 AB, 48, 2B, 33 HR, 111 RBI, 96 RS, 83 BB, 111 K. In five years in the minors Duda has a .286 batting average, .383 OBP, and a .473 SLG. Fluke?

After Duda was promoted this season he batted .292 in 300 AB with 21 2B, 10 HR, 50 RBI, .370 OBP and .487 SLG. As he got acclimated to the majors he kept getting better posting OPS of .711, .910, .911 and .929 from June to September to finish third in the National League that final month of the season.

Now I’m not saying Duda is the next Jim Rice or Manny Ramirez, but he could be the next Carlos Lee. It’s no coincidence I’m using left fielders as a comparison, but ultimately left field is where I see Lucas Duda settling in. And while his routes to balls and his overall defense leaves a lot to be desired, I believe he’ll get better as he becomes more acclimated.

The kid’s a keeper.