Jan 04

Will Miss Kirk

The Milwaukee Brewers signed outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis off waivers, which pretty much says it all considering the Mets are searching for a left-handed hitter with the ability to play center field. I’ve always liked the 28-year-old Nieuwenhuis, but never thought he got a fair shake to show what he could do.

Over the past four years on the major league level, Nieuwenhuis (over 693 plate appearances) hit .232 with 40 doubles, three triples and 20 homers. Three of those homers came one afternoon last summer. Nieuwenhuis had several moments like the three-homer game, but clearly not enough that put him in favor with what the Mets want to do.

We’ve known all along Niewenhuis didn’t fit into the Mets’ plans, and with the acquisition of Alejandro De Azo he clearly became expendable.

Too bad.

 

Jan 02

Did Mets Make Right Call On Cespedes?

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

When last we checked, free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes not only had appeared on the radar of the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, but both teams had emerged as the frontrunners to sign the former New York Met juggernaut. That was three days ago.

However, we have a little more clarity on the Cespedes front as the calendar flips to 2016, and none of it is particularly good news for the free agent who bellowed his demands for a six-year deal three months ago.

To begin, it turns out that the Orioles – while interested – never had any intentions of coming close to the $150 million Cespedes and his representatives at Roc Nation had set their sights on. The two sides are reportedly not even in the same zip code.

And as for the other frontrunner on the south side of Chicago, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported today that their interest in Cespedes is limited to a deal for no more than three years.

Sound familiar? It should. Three years was the most Sandy Alderson and the Mets were willing to offer Cespedes according to what team sources told Jon Heyman, and that firm stance ultimately led to the end of any negotiations with Roc Nation. In fact, the conversation between the two sides never even advanced to the point of discussing dollars.

Now, I’m never one to defend the Mets’ frugal ways, however last week I raised the possibility that perhaps this was not a case of the Mets being cheap, but simply a smart baseball decision by a general manager who has never taken kindly to handing out second generation contracts to players on the wrong side of thirty. It’s possible isn’t it?

Those of you who have followed this site since its inception 12 years ago, know all too well that I am not the least bit squeamish about hammering the Wilpons every chance I get. But this feels different to me.

Oh. I’m sure there’s no doubt Fred and Jeff were doing Ralph Kramden’s version of the Watusi when they heard about Sandy’s stance on Cespedes. I’m just saying that this wasn’t a case of them pressuring their GM to back off, or applying those well-polished fiscal handcuffs. Maybe giving Cespedes a six year deal is just a terrible baseball decision for the Mets or any other MLB team.

Still, our poor Mets took a lot of flak upon the news of their three-year or nothing posture, with most of the incoming fire coming from their own fan base itself. Perhaps the Mets front office was being judged a little too harshly based on today’s rumblings on the Cespedes front. Perhaps the Mets may have even been a little ahead of the curve?

In an offseason fraught with spending madness and vast ungodly sums of dollars being thrown about with such reckless abandon, maybe on this one occasion Sandy Alderson and John Ricco were being the adults in the room? It’s possible, isn’t it?

Anyway, there it is… My first article of 2016 is in the books and whether you agree or not, I hope I gave you something to think about. Happy New Year, my friends.

Dec 22

Mets Add Journeyman Outfielder De Aza

We knew the Mets weren’t going to bring back Yoenis Cespedes and diving deep into the free-agent market is not their style. They needed a left-handed hitting outfielder and addressed that void with Alejandro De Aza.

DE AZA:  Signed to platoon with Lagares. (AP)

DE AZA: Signed to platoon with Lagares. (AP)

De Aza was signed to platoon with Juan Lagares in center field. He’s a role player and nothing more.

He might be slightly better than Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but nothing to get excited about. His most relevant numbers are he’s 32; will make $4.5 million in 2016; has played for five teams in eight years, including three last season and hit .267 with a .331 on-base percentage last year.

He can play all three outfield positions and has some speed, with 86 career stolen bases. But, that doesn’t mean he’s a base running threat as he’s been thrown out 41 times. De Aza played for Baltimore, Boston and San Francisco last season. Three teams in one year, and five before the age of 32 tells you something, doesn’t it? It tells me this is no big deal; nothing to get excited about. This also tells me De Aza fits in with the Mets’ recent history of operating on the cheap.

We’re talking about a player who’ll be no better than the 23rd, 24th or 25th player on the roster. We’re not talking about somebody who will return them to the playoffs.

Actually, for my money they might be better off just playing Lagares full time and skipping the platoon.

 

Dec 21

More Proof Matt Harvey Doesn’t Get It

Matt Harvey said he’s mad the Mets didn’t win the World Series. That’s fine. However, when he had the chance to answer the batting practice question on The Player’s Tribune of what his biggest regret was in 2015, and responded with “becoming a Belieber,” in regard to becoming a fan of singer Justin Bieber, he blew it.

Then he wrote, is it too late now to say sorry?”

HARVEY: Walking away after World Series collapse. (AP)

HARVEY: Walking away after World Series collapse. (AP)

Maybe he was trying to be cute. Only he knows for sure. But, let’s call The Player’s Tribune for what it is, a joke of a sports media website created by Derek Jeter.

There’s no question Jeter is a future Hall of Famer, but there’s also no denying he was given a free pass by most New York media and created this website because he doesn’t want to truthfully answer or address any tough questions.

Pretty much the same thing applies to Harvey. Until his innings fiasco, the New York media wouldn’t cross Harvey on any issue, despite having just cause. Harvey is the New York correspondent for Jeter’s site. Nobody will question him there.

If Harvey had any stand-up backbone to him, he would have answered the question with “my behavior in the dugout directed at Terry Collins in the World Series.”

But, he didn’t. And, won’t. Not on The Player’s Tribune. Not anywhere. A player’s only website is like a player’s Twitter in that nothing meaningful is ever mentioned. Even so, I checked it out today just in the off chance Harvey wrote anything worthwhile.

He did not. If Harvey does want to apologize for anything, it should be to Collins and his teammates for putting himself over them at the worst possible time.

 

Dec 20

No Real News, But Plenty Of Issues For Mets

There’s no concrete breaking news on the Mets these days, but more than a few things are racing through my mind:

* Proving they have a sense of humor, the Mets included a $50,000 bonus in Bartolo Colon‘s contract if he wins the Silver Slugger Award for the best hitter at his position. It would be great to see Colon hit a homer or even draw a walk this year, something he’s never done during his 18-year career.

DUDA: Can he be the real deal? (AP)

DUDA: Can he be the real deal? (AP)

* One bat I’m concerned about is Lucas Duda. He’s extremely streaky and that’s something I don’t see changing.

* As well as he performed in the leadoff spot this summer, I still prefer Curtis Granderson hitting in run-producing spots in the middle of the order, especially if they don’t land an outfield bat. Then again, they really don’t have many other options in the leadoff spot. I’ll have to do some more thinking about this.

* David Wright’s back will continue to be an issue for the duration of his contract. He might eventually have to consider a position change. But to where?

* Some people think I don’t like Matt Harvey. Not true. What I don’t care for is his attitude and still think a trade might be something to seriously consider. They have numerous holes to fill and he could do it for them.

* This will be the season the Mets will likely choose between Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. I don’t think they’ll keep both.

* I’m very curious as to see how Michael Conforto will produce in his first full year.

* The Mets’ starter I think will be the first to win 20 games is Jacob deGrom.

Of course, I’ll go into greater depth on all of these topics, but for now just think of this as an appetizer, or in the spirit of the season, just a stocking stuffer.

Cheers.