Nov 24

Mets Have Same Issues As When Season Ended

With it being 27 degrees outside, what better time to think about spring training for the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie?

Spring training will be here before you know it, and the Mets aren’t close to being ready, having not filled any of their myriad of the holes they had at the conclusion of last year’s 74-win season.

Not one, and please, don’t even attempt to justify Chris Young as an answer.

The Mets have roughly three months to address the following concerns:

ROTATION: At least the Matt Harvey question was answered, as it is better to know in the negative rather than to wonder. Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and the sampling from Zack Wheeler comprises the starters. With the uncertainty of Jenrry Mejia recovering from elbow surgery and the preference to wait on Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets have two slots to fill, with none immediately from the inside.

BULLPEN: Bobby Parnell is recovering from surgery, so he’s a question. LaTroy Hawkins is now in Colorado. A late-season pick-up last year, Vic Black will either be the closer until Parnell returns or in a set-up role. Scott Rice, Carlos Torres and Scott Atchison are expected back, but two or three other roles could be determined during spring training.

CATCHER: Travis d’Arnaud goes in No. 1, but the Mets are still searching for a veteran mentor. Although they never were going to get him, the Mets have to be pleased to see Brian McCann going to the American League, even if it to the Yankees.

FIRST BASE: Reportedly, there was interest in Ike Davis, but where did it go? Supposedly there was interest from Milwaukee, but that appears to have cooled. Perhaps, something will warm up at the Winter Meetings.

SECOND BASE: Daniel Murphy might be a tradable asset, but will go as a package for anything substantial. He won’t bring back much in a one-for-one trade.

SHORTSTOP: This is a major concern, but it appears Jhonny Peralta is close to signing with St. Louis, which just traded former World Series hero David Freese. That franchise just keeps rolling on. Ruben Tejada is attending a fitness camp in Michigan, so maybe they are re-signed to going with him for another year.

OUTFIELD: No, .200-hitter Young is not the answer, but acquiring him does seem to answer the question of whether Jordany Valdespin is in their plans. Juan Lagares and Eric Young have tentative spots, in center and left, but right field is open. Matt den Dekker could fill a spot, but won’t provide the offense they want.

So, nearly two months after the end of another disappointing season, the Mets are in the same position from when we last saw them.

 

Nov 23

Nate McLouth Would Have Been Better Choice Than Chris Young For Mets

The New York Mets might get lucky with Chris Young the same way they did with Marlon Byrd last season. It could happen.

However, are you betting on it?

McLOUTH: A better choice.

McLOUTH: A better choice.

I am not buying for a second they’ll make a play for Nelson Cruz, but there are others I would have liked to see them get over Young.

We know Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury were out of their price range. Supposedly, they liked Corey Hart. How about Nate McLouth?

McLouth, 32, hit .258 with a .329 on-base percentage – both superior to Young – and drew 53 walks in 593 plate appearances. He also homered 12 times, equal to Young’s production. And, he did it for $2 million. Plus, he stole 30 bases, plays good defense and always hustles.

You can’t convince me for a second Young was a better choice. They got Young, who is two years younger, for $7.25 million. Don’t you think they could have gotten McLouth for two years at $8 million?

There aren’t a lot of great choices out there, but Young was a bad one in that they gave a lot of money for somebody with little production.

Sandy Alderson values on-base percentage, and clearly had a better option in McLouth. Too bad he didn’t make a harder run at him.

Nov 22

Mets Add Outfielder Chris Young. Happy Now?

One can’t get any louder denial of the irresponsible and bogus report of the New York Mets discussing Ryan Braun than the announcement of today’s announced deal for Chris Young. That’s the restaurant equivalent of thinking about Morton’s for dinner, but settling for McDonald’s.

Young isn’t even worth a Chili’s comparison.

YOUNG: All better now?

YOUNG: All better now?

Actually, the best thing that could happen to the Mets is Young failing his physical to void the one-year, $7.25 million deal. You read that correctly. That’s a lot of money for a career .235 hitter with a .315 on-base percentage.

The 30-year-old Young played with Arizona for seven years before being traded to Oakland last winter.

Ready for this?

Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBI in 335 at-bats. And, that on-base percentage Sandy Alderson likes so much? Try .280, with 93 walks and only 36 walks. Young averages 148 strikeouts every 162 games.

Alderson said he could live with a lot of strikeouts if the hitter makes up for it with run production and a high on-base percentage. His 12 homers is hardly worth the trouble.

The Mets would like Juan Lagares to play center, but that’s Young’s natural position. However, it shakes out that as of now the Mets’ outfield is Young, Lagares and Eric Young. Now, don’t tell me you don’t have the warm fuzzies.

Frankly, if Chris Young is the best the Mets can do, I’d rather they go with Matt den Dekker, or teach Wilmer Flores to play left field, or sign the pitcher Chris Young to play the outfield.

Please tell me this isn’t it for the Mets in the free agent market. I know they aren’t players for Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury or Nelson Cruz. I knew all along none of those would happen. But, paying Chris Young $7.25 million is shopping at a thrift shop and still overpaying.

Alderson projects an $87-million payroll for 2014, which is ridiculously low for a team in New York. Conversely, the Yankees are desperate to get under $189 million.

As of now, the Mets have $32.5 million earmarked for three players: David Wright ($20 million), Chris Young ($7.25 million) and Jon Niese ($5 million).

According to an ESPN report, they also have a projected $23 million for arbitration eligible players: Daniel Murphy ($5.1 million), Ike Davis ($3.82 million), Bobby Parnell ($3.725 million), Dillon Gee ($3.55 million), Eric Young ($1.9 million), Lucas Duda ($1.8 million), Scott Atchison ($1.3 million), Ruben Tejada ($1 million) and Justin Turner ($800,000).

Assuming those numbers, that leaves them to add 13 players for the remaining balance for roughly $32 million.

And to think, some people actually thought Braun was a possibility.

Merry Christmas.

Nov 21

Ike Davis Doesn’t Want To Leave Mets; There Are Reasons Why He Shouldn’t

Supposedly, the New York Mets have a half-dozen potential trading partners for flawed first baseman Ike Davis.

However, based on service time, Davis has no ability to void a trade. Even so, that doesn’t mean he’s open to the idea of leaving.

DAVIS: Wants to stay.

DAVIS: Wants to stay.

Davis told the Mets’ website on MLB.com he doesn’t want to leave Citi Field for Milwaukee, Tampa Bay or the launching pad in Baltimore.

“I just want a chance to play,’’ said Davis, who hit .205 with nine homers and 33 RBI in a frustrating season punctuated by a lengthy stay in the minor leagues. “Honestly, I’ve loved my time with the Mets. I’m still a Met right now and I don’t want to get traded. But that part of the game is not up to us. You want to stay, but you don’t have any say in it.’’

There are several compelling reasons why the Mets could re-consider their stance to shop their once-future centerpiece slugger:

* He has shown an ability to hit with power evidenced by 32 homers in 2012, a season that featured a lengthy first-half slump.

* There might not be a good enough offer for him, or some other team might snag Lucas Duda in a trade first, leaving first base open.

* Duda might not prove to be the answer, either.

The arbitration process, considering Davis’ season, might be kind to the Mets (he made $3.1 million last year).

* At 26, Davis is a year younger.

* It has always been something with Davis, either a slump or injury, so he hasn’t had an uninterrupted season with the Mets. Giving Davis another year could give him time enough to figure it out for 2015, the year they pencil in to be competitive with the return of Matt Harvey.

If it happens, Davis said he would suck it up and accept what the baseball gods give him.

“That’s life, man,’’ Davis said. “You can’t just sit there and cry. You’ve just got to move on. Like this year: I’m not going to sit here and pout because I’ve been bad. No, I’m going to work my butt off and see if I can be better next year. That’s the only way to live life.’’

Both Duda and Davis have a high propensity for striking out, but the Mets might prefer the former because of a slightly better on-base percentage last season (.352-.326).

 

Nov 21

Why Not Go With Rafael Montero Now?

I understand the New York Mets’ position on wanting to delay Rafael Montero’s promotion to the major leagues so they can delay the arbitration process by a year.

But, why?

MONTERO: Why not?

MONTERO: Why not?

We’re talking up to six years down the road and who knows what the Mets’ financial landscape will be by then? Who knows what will become of Montero over the next half decade. Maybe he gets traded. Maybe he blows out his arm. Maybe he becomes a big star and the Mets sign him long term.

If Montero has a solid spring training, they shouldn’t they bring him up right away. Why delay if he’s ready?

If Montero is getting batters out during spring training, then let’s see what he can do during the regular season. All indications are he has a plus-fastball and other quality pitches, so let’s see if he can learn how to pitch on the big stage. The Mets should not be thinking of delaying paying him by a year, but by giving him a chance to develop his mental toughness a year earlier.

Pitching in the major leagues – even if it means taking his lumps – would be more beneficial to Montero’s development than breezing in Triple A for two-and-a-half months.

Remember, this is supposed to be a write-off year with Matt Harvey gone, so why not?

If Montero pitches to his expectations, he should give the Mets at least the nine victories Harvey gave them before his injury. And, if he doesn’t, then so what? He would learn from the experience.

Often you hear the argument teams don’t want to rush a player because they fear they’ll destroy his confidence. However, if a player’s confidence is so fragile that it would be ruined in a couple of months, then how mentally tough was he to begin with?

Actually, the Mets’ stance on bringing up Montero in June might hinder their chances of signing a middle-tier free agent, including a guy like Aaron Harang, because the perception is he’d lose his spot in the rotation in two months. If I’m Harang, that has to be part of my thinking on returning to the Mets.

However, if the Mets said everything was wide open, that could mean the difference. I say go with Montero and still sign veteran pitching. If Montero pans out, then they’d have a trip to trade at the deadline.

ON DECK: Here’s a possible answer to the Flores dilemma.