Nov 26

Here’s A Marketing Strategy – Just Win!

sad mets bench

Tiffany asks…

It’s almost the end of November and the Mets offseason is two months old with two months to go. I thought this was going to be the offseason when the team would be able to add better players to the team. I’m so frustrated. What have we waited three years for?

Joe D. replies…

I feel your frustration. Our expectations were that this offseason was going to be the one that would allow Sandy to put the Mets back on the map, followed by the first of many winning seasons beginning in 2014. So far, it doesn’t feel that way. I believe we all expected to see a greater sense of urgency in attacking this offseason and addressing the team’s needs.

According to most reports, Sandy has about $23 million left to spend in his budget after signing free-agent Chris Young to a one-year deal. But there’s still a lot of work to be done and I’m not sure that we have enough resources to fix it all in one offseason.

A team source said that the Mets are not done shopping and are still targeting a power bat for the outfield. I would love to see them add a Curtis Granderson or Nelson Cruz who are both still available. But a trade seems more likely and Sandy is now a buyer and not a seller and unfortunately for him, this isn’t Fantasy Baseball.

Sandy needs to get past his sticker shock and realize that the most talented players are going to be costly in any free agent market. I wish he had held off on Young until he addressed the cleanup hitter need first. That should have been the top priority.

Before this Hot Stove season heated up, Sandy answered “absolutely” when asked if he was finally going to upgrade his underwhelming lineup for 2014 and give the fans a team to be proud of.

“I gotta watch those games, too, you know,” he quipped with a laugh.

Last night, the Mets had a conference call which I unfortunately missed, but I was covered by our “infamous” Ed Marcus.

Newly hired Chief Revenue Officer Lou DePaoli, discussed his plans for marketing the Mets. He said there are currently 5 million Met fans in our area and described some cool new strategies to get those fans watching, listening, and going to the ballpark again.

But I think the best way to boost fan interest and energize an apathetic fan base lies more in Sandy Alderson’s hands.

Sandy needs to get this team winning again. Winning is historically the best marketing strategy – with a proven 100% success rate in Flushing.

Sandy needs to construct a winner and if he builds it they will come. All five million of us.

Nov 16

Greater Urgency For Mets To Move Ike Davis

The New York Mets’ Sandy Alderson is more of Sabremetrics practitioner than most general managers, which goes in part for his preference of Lucas Duda over Ike Davis at first base.

Alderson favors on-base percentage over power, and Duda – despite not having a good year – scored over Davis in both categories in 2013. Apparently long forgotten are Davis’ strong first impression and the 32 homers he hit in 2012.

Both had sluggish starts last year, but Davis’ was far worse and more prolonged, and when they returned in the second half, the frustrated Davis continued being a strikeout machine, hit with limited power and did little else to get on base.

Mercifully, he was injured.

Duda is rated higher in Alderson’s eyes because of the following:

* He has a higher on-base percentage, which somewhat offsets his strikeouts. Davis has shown little improvement, or even desire, to limit his strikeouts.

* The belief is if he’ll continue being selective at the plate he’ll develop the aggressiveness that will increase his run production. To the contrary, Davis has shown little, if any, improvement in pitch selection.

* Duda has shown more of an ability to use the whole field, while Davis still is determined to pull everything.

* While Davis is better defensively, Duda isn’t terrible at the position. And, beside that, just how many games are decided defensively at first base?

* Davis could have had a higher upside at the start of his career, but where is it now? The feeling is getting more pronounced that Davis is as good as he’ll get.

* Duda makes considerably less money, which always remains an issue for the Mets.

* Currently, more teams are interested in Davis because the belief is he just needs a change of scenery. That makes his potential greater to those from the outside. Meanwhile, Duda’s total sampling is limited to the outside.

The Mets have two first basemen they are interested in shopping, but clearly a greater sense of urgency to get rid of Davis.

 

 

 

Nov 16

Sandy Alderson Said Mets Will Spend; No Promises Made

How much the New York Mets will spend on free agents this winter is undetermined, but what we can ascertain is it will not be enough to satisfy everybody. This much we know is general manager Sandy Alderson will not just throw money at a player to placate the grumbling fan base.

There’s an old saying if a baseball manager or general manager acted solely to please the fans in the stands he’ll soon be sitting with them, and Alderson will not act out of emotion.

“No fan is probably ever going to be satisfied with what his or her team is spending on players. It’s kind of too bad that the measure of commitment, the measure of loyalty to the fan base, is measured in dollar signs,’’ Alderson told ESPN today.

“That be as it may, we’re going to spend more money this year than we’ve spent in recent years, just in terms of what we have to spend. You know, last year we only spent about $5 million on free agents. So this is going to be a new day. We have it to spend. We have to spend it wisely. That’s what we’re trying to do.’’

We’ve heard that before from Alderson, which puts us in an “I’ll believe it when I see it,’’ position.

Alderson promised nothing this afternoon in his ESPN interview. Essentially, the said they’ll do more than last winter, which was basically Shaun Marcum.

We all want the Mets to not only compete, but win. Barring a miracle it won’t happen. You might point to the “Miracle Mets’’ of 1969, but remember that team had a core of a solid pitching staff highlighted by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Plus, it was a different game back then.

Even if the Mets were to start writing checks there’s no guarantee they’ll win. Look how much the Yankees have spent recently and look where it got them.

What has it gotten the Dodgers the past two years? The Nationals? The Tigers? The Phillies? The Angels?

The bottom line is there’s not one free agent out there – not Jacoby Ellsbury, not Shin-Soo Choo – or trading for David Price – that will guarantee the Mets the World Series.

Hell, even if the Mets do it traditionally right through their farm system there are no assurances. Hell, Matt Harvey’s elbow injury should have taught us that lesson.

However, gradual building, which the Mets tell us they are doing, does provide the Mets odds.

I believe the Mets will make some moves this winter, and the recent inactivity doesn’t mean they won’t do anything.

The Mets won 74 games last year, and if they get two innings eaters in the back end of their rotation, improve at shortstop, build depth in their bullpen and add an outfield bat – in that order – they should have a better team.

Those additions, while low key, along with a full season from David Wright, and improvement from Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler, the Mets should improve enough to win at least one more game a month, which would put them at .500.

And, this is regardless of whether they trade Ike Davis, Lucas Duda or both.

If that happens and Harvey comes back healthy in 2015, plus a few more holes are patched, then they can make a run at the postseason.

Hell, even if that does occur, there’s no givens. There never is in baseball.

Oct 02

Mets’ Alderson Has The Resources, But How Will He Use Them?

New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the 2014 budget has already been discussed, and Sandy Alderson said he could have enough resources at his disposal to offer a $100-million contract, which seemed unthinkable last year at this time.

Alderson also said it is conceivable the Mets’ payroll could be even smaller next year. Their payroll this season – excluding what they owed Jason Bay – was $88 million. The Mets will have roughly $40 million coming off the books, which leaves them financial flexibility should they choose to use it.

What Players Will Alderson Give Collins?

What Players Will Alderson Give Collins?

“Would it be the right player?’’ Alderson said. “And, would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? Factor in what’s left to do the kind of things we want to do. But is it out of the question? It’s not out of the question.

“Will we do it? That’s more of a strategic question than a resource question. At this point, it’s not a matter of resources.’’

No, it is not. It is a matter of using those resources wisely, which they did not do with Oliver Perez, Frank Francisco and Luis Castillo to name a few.

The outfield must be upgraded from an offensive standpoint, and the elite options are Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nelson Cruz.

However, are any of them worth $100-million? Are any of them truly elite? Will any of them be a difference maker? Probably not.

In addition to the outfield, the Mets are looking to upgrade their bullpen, shortstop, first base and with Matt Harvey probably out, there’s a need to add one or two starters.

“We could go after the perfect player, at the perfect price and for the perfect number of years,’’ Alderson said. “And, we won’t sign anybody.’’

Alderson said the Mets could spend, but won’t spend just to make a splash. The Mets have not been active in the free-agent market in Alderson’s first three years – they only spent $5 million this season – and this year’s spending depends on the market.

“The bottom line is yes, it’s conceivable we won’t sign a player,’’ Alderson said. “But look, we have to be realistic about the marketplace, so I’m hopeful we’ll get some things done.

“It’s great to say, well, we have financial flexibility, and then blow it on players’ deals that don’t work out and put yourself right back in the same situation you were in before. At the same time, at some point, you’ve got to go for it. Having flexibility is great, but at some point, you’ve got to put yourself on the line.’’

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Sep 30

Did Collins Deserve A New Contract?

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Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson will address the media at 12 p.m. on Monday, September 30 in the Citi Field Press Conference Room.

He is expected to announce a two-year contract extension for Terry Collins to remain the manager of the Mets. The deal is reportedly valued at $1 million per season and includes an option for  2016.

A fourth straight losing season; another fourth-place finish in the NL East and another .400 something-or-other win percentage – the Mets have not improved this year.

In fact, the majority of MLB betting fans would argue we’ve devolved since 2008, the club becoming preoccupied in the huge vanity project that is Citi Field and the problems we’ve had filling it.

Overseeing three of these four disappointing seasons is Terry Collins, who has not exactly been the revelation we expected when GM Sandy Anderson promoted him in November 2010:

“We were not looking for someone who was an extension of us,” Alderson said back in 2010. “We were looking for someone who was going to be complementary to us. I think that’s what we’re getting.”

Sadly, we haven’t got that. Instead of a complimentary manager that develops the team, Collins has seen players leave, newcomers fail and win percentages drop. The general trend of underperforming year on year has set into the Mets locker room and something must change soon to correct this.

While the Mets played out a meaningless series with Milwaukee this weekend, the top brass thrashed out a new deal for Collins – despite his 224-260 record (by Saturday). The new two-year contract is effectively a 12-month one, for if we don’t improve in 2014 Collins is out the door.

But do we trust him to progress this raw team and save his job – and do we even want him to? Another year is a long time to realize you’ve made a mistake hiring the same guy and, as respected as he is in the majors, Collins has proven he cannot get this team fighting on all fronts.