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.

Nov 13

Ike Davis Draws Interest; Should Mets Have Second Thoughts?

The New York Mets seem determined on dealing Ike Davis, and considering his lack of production and injury history over the past three years it’s a reasonable position.

ESPN reported the Mets are drawing interest for Davis from several teams, and it can be concluded the following are the primary reasons: 1) he has a track record for power, hitting 32 homers in 2012; 2) he’s a solid defensive first baseman; 3) he’s cost-efficient, having made $3.1 million this year; and 4) he’s young, at 26, meaning there’s time to turn it around.

DAVIS: Mets talking trade for him. (AP)

DAVIS: Mets talking trade for him. (AP)

For those very attractive reasons, and that teams have been cool on Lucas Duda, might be reason for the Mets to reconsider and give Davis another shot.

The general belief from scouts is Davis is young enough to resurrect his career, and a change-of-scenery with different coaching might have him again hitting bombs.

The Mets can give him a raise and they can give him another chance, but what they can’t give him is the different coaching and change-of-scenery.

Part of the rap on Davis is he’s reluctant to take coaching advice, but that’s stuff you hear privately and something he vehemently denies. Criticism that is easily verifiable is his propensity for striking out, a low on-base percentage, and an all-or-nothing mentality at the plate.

Alderson told ESPN at the general managers meetings in Orlando Wednesday he’d like to make a move soon, but, as always, reiterated he won’t make a move just to make a move.

“In our situation, we’d like to do something early,” Alderson said. “It would be great, if it’s the right move, and if that kind of thing is possible. It may be. It may not be. We’re working at it, but I can’t predict anything.’’

The teams reportedly interested in Davis are Houston, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Colorado. Naturally, they’d prefer to deal him to the American League.

From Davis’ perspective, each of those teams have better hitters’ parks than Citi Field, with Camden Yards and Coors Field particularly enticing.

Alderson acknowledged sensing urgency from the often-disappointed Mets’ fan base, but that’s no reason to make a panic move.

Speculation of a trade involving Davis would most likely be as part of a package, or one team dealing a disappointment for another. Nobody will surrender somebody of substance one-on-one for Davis.

Not that Davis has gone wire-to-wire without problems – either injuries or dreadful slumps – but if the Mets deal him they would be going with the largely unproven Duda. Another first base option could be Daniel Murphy, but dealing him opens a hole at second base unless they acquire a left-fielder and move Eric Young to the infield.

Reportedly, the Mets spoke with free-agent shortstop Jonny Peralta Wednesday.

The Mets’ top four priorities are at least two starters; shortstop; a power-hitting outfielder; and bullpen depth.

NOTE: Mets pitcher Matt Harvey finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award balloting Wednesday.

Nov 10

Mets’ GM Alderson Goes To GM Meetings With Many Needs But Few Options

There is normally little action at the GM meetings, which begin Monday for New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson in Orlando, the same city in which the winter meetings will take place a month later.

Alderson is open to discuss trades and signing free agents, but realistically the Mets have little trading pieces on the major league level, and the most coveted prospects on the minor league level he wants to protect.

Alderson knows he must protect his young pitching assets while Matt Harvey mends from Tommy John surgery.

The free agent market will be flooded Monday when those players given qualifying offers are expected to reject them to test the market.

Let’s face it, the Mets won’t be serious bidders for Jacoby Ellsbury, are expected to lose out on Shin-Soo Choo, and will likely be outbid for Stephen Drew. This leaves the Mets still with holes in the outfield and shortstop.

The Mets also have need for two starters at the back end of the rotation, a back-up catcher for Travis d’Arnaud, depth in the bullpen and a decision to make at first base between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.

Alderson has a lot of work to do, and despite saying he has the latitude to make a $100-million package, but Ellsbury and Choo what more than that and more than four years.

So, Alderson will be in Orlando to meet with general managers and agents and must be creative.

 

Nov 07

Mets Arbitration Projections

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Trade Rumors posted their arbitration predictions today. Daniel Murphy stands to be the biggest winner nearly doubling his 2013 salary to $5.8 million dollars.

Guaranteed Contracts

David Wright – $11.0 million (2013), $20.0 million

Jon Niese – $3.0 million (2013), $5.05 million

Arbitration 1

Dillon Gee – $527,375 (2013) $3.4 million

Ruben Tejada – $514,701 (2013), $1.0 million

Justin Turner – $504,547 (2013), $800,000

Eric Young Jr. – $492,000 (2013), $1.9 million

Lucas Duda – $504,000 (2013), $1.8 million

Arbitration 2

Ike Davis – $3.125M (2013), $3.5 million

Daniel Murphy – $2.925M (2013), $5.8 million

Bobby Parnell – $1.7M (2013), $3.2 million

Omar Quintanilla – $527,375 (2013), $900,000

Arbitration 3

Scott Atchison – $700,000 (2013), $1.3 million

Assuming each player is tendered and these arbitration estimations from MLB Trade Rumors are correct, that’s about $24.5 million in raises without adding any new players.

The total payroll for these 12 players comes to $48.7 million.

If you’re wondering what players could be non-tendered and added to the free agent pool this offseason after the non-tender deadline on December 2, here is a list from MLBTR.