Dec 02

Mets Non-Tender Valdespin; A Good Move

What should have been done months ago finally occurred today when the New York Mets non-tendered the moody and limited-talented outfielder Jordany Valdespin, making him a free agent.

If some team is stupid enough to sign Valdespin and he becomes a star, then so be it because he never was going to do anything with the Mets.

VALDESPIN: Gone.

VALDESPIN: Gone.

Valdespin supposedly had a flair for the dramatic, but in reality he was simply a showboat with a volatile temperament.

Valdespin was suspended for a lack of hustle, but things boiled over for him when he posed after a meaningless homer in a blowout loss to the Pirates and then became aggravated when he was hit by a pitch the following day and complained saying his teammates didn’t have his back.

Manager Terry Collins didn’t seem too upset when Valdespin was plunked citing an old school mentality. Collins later lamely tried to justify Valdespin’s actions by his upbringing and background, and praised his emotional spark, which everybody could plainly see was a “look-at-me’’ scream.

Not soon after, Collins gave Valdespin a week tryout at second base, which he failed miserably and it was clear he had no future with the Mets.

On May 13, I wrote the Mets would be better off without Valdespin, and during spring training – noting his me-first attitude – I wrote how he was throwing away his career.

David Wright, as team captain, was the only Met to support Valdespin on the record after the beaning incident, but it was lukewarm at best. Several teammates off the record said Valdespin was generally hated in the clubhouse.

One of the last things a young, building team such as the Mets need is a divisive presence in their clubhouse, either on the major league or minor league level.

The topper came when he was suspended for 50 games in the Biogenesis scandal. Evidently, his performance wasn’t enhanced enough.

If I seem harsh on Valdespin, it is because I am. Valdespin was given a chance to play major league baseball because of his raw physical ability and he threw it away.

Nobody should feel sorry for him.

The Mets also non-tendered reliever Scott Atchison and shortstop Omar Quintanilla.

Nov 19

There Is No Plan For Wilmer Flores

For the longest time Wilmer Flores was considered the Mets’ most promising minor league position player. We finally had a peek at him last summer, but it was far too little to find out where he fits.

FLORES: What are they thinking?

FLORES: What are they thinking?

He played a lot of third base when David Wright was injured, which I thought was a mistake. Flores would never supplant Wright at third, so those were wasted at-bats.

The Mets played him briefly at second in place of Murphy, which was another mistake because there aren’t any imminent plans to replace Murphy.

The played him some at first base, which in a platoon with Lucas Duda could be a possibility.

The rap on him is his range, which put shortstop out of the scenario. However, is it really much of a problem? There are shortstops without great range which compensate by positioning. This was never explored on the minor league level. Instead, he was played at positions – third and second – which were blocked above.

Meanwhile, shortstop remains a black hole for the Mets. I would have liked Flores to play shortstop in winter ball, and want to see him there in spring training, just to see what he can do.

Shortstop is one hole the Mets need to fill, and how do they know Flores can’t do it unless they play him there. It’s not as if he could do any worse.

Nov 19

Moving Eric Young And Ditching Daniel Murphy Not A Good Plan

It has been suggested the New York Mets might consider moving Eric Young to second base and deal Daniel Murphy.

This isn’t a good idea on several levels.

YOUNG: Leave him in left.

YOUNG: Leave him in left.

The first is finding somebody to take Murphy, who, with David Wright injured last season was the Mets’ most consistent offensive weapon.

The Mets could move Murphy to first base, where there is already a logjam. That could be alleviated if they can trade Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, or perhaps even both.

The Mets apparently have given up on Davis, but hold out hope for Duda because of his power, something Murphy lacks, especially at a position such as first base that places a premium on power. At best, Murphy might be good for 15 homers.

They might be able to live with a Murphy-Wilmer Flores at first base if they can get the power elsewhere. A full season from Wright could give them some of that power, but where else would it come from if the line-up remains the same?

What has Travis d’Arnaud shown us to think he’ll be a big bat? Back-up catcher Anthony Recker has shown more.

As of now, there’s nothing coming from the outfield. As of now they are looking for one bat while giving Lagares a chance. Moving Young to the infield would create another hole, so that idea should be quashed on that reason alone.

LATER TODAY: There’s no plan for Wilmer Flores

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 12

Appreciating Carlos Beltran; Wondering About Return To The Mets

There are a lot of people who tell me if the New York Mets aren’t in the playoffs, and if there’s no arch enemy such as the Yankees to root against, they don’t bother watching the playoffs.

Too bad, because they missed a classic Friday night, and another example of Carlos Beltran’s post-season excellence to marvel over.

BELTRAN: I would take him back. (AP)

BELTRAN: I would take him back. (AP)

Beltran will be a free agent this winter, and because the man can still play and one must wonder if the Mets will make a run at him.

You do remember, that rather than pick up his $18.5-million option, the at-the-time rebuilding Mets chose to trade him to the Giants for Zack Wheeler.

I understood what the Mets were doing at the time, but even so I always appreciated Beltran, who is arguably one of the top five position players in franchise history.

I don’t know if Beltran is a Hall of Famer, but he’s a very good regular season player and an off-the-charts October performer.

Beltran drove in all three Cardinals’ runs and threw out a runner at the plate in a scintillating 3-2 victory over the Dodgers.

Add them up now and Beltran is hitting .345 with 16 home runs, 12 doubles and 34 RBI in 40 career postseason games. He also has 42 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. He’s played in October with the Astros, Mets and Cardinals, but has never played in the World Series. He is, however, an eight-tim All-Star.

“It’s just fun to watch him do his thing,’’ Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said last night.

A lot of Mets’ fans don’t want to hear that as they are instead they are caught up on one pitch Beltran took for a called third strike to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.

Hopefully, Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon was able to convey that to Beltran, along with the organization’s apologies for how his tenure in Flushing ended. You’ll remember, with the competitive part of the 2009 season over, instead of Beltran having knee surgery they opted to bring him back to play in 19 meaningless September games and was eventually shut down.

Then, in the offseason there was a snit between him and the organization – when Omar Minaya was still general manager – over knee surgery and Beltran had it on his own.

Beltran, as the team player he is, had no problem moving to right field for first year manager Terry Collins. Then came the trade for Wheeler and again the remembrances of the called third strike he took from Adam Wainwright.

That was a monster pitch that froze Beltran. It would have frozen Ted Williams. It would have frozen Babe Ruth. It was that good a pitch.

Instead of appreciating what Beltran gave the Mets during his tenure. Instead of acknowledging how he played hurt for the Mets, including with a broken face after his horrific collision with Mike Cameron, a great many Mets’ fans failed to recognize what they had.

Beltran, a free agent this winter, said he’d be open to a return to the Mets. I’d love for him to finish out his career here, where he’d take the pressure off David Wright and would be a tremendous influence to the Mets’ young outfielders in Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker.

Then, when 2015 rolls around with Matt Harvey’s expected return, we might enjoy seeing Beltran in another Mets’ October.