There are numerous times – too many to mention – when ESPN demonstrates a tabloid mentality, which is to say it throws something on the wall hoping it will stick. Such is the case when it endorsed the position of the Mets trading for Tampa Bay infielder Ben Zobrist.
ZOBRIST: Another stab in the dark. (AP)
There is undoubtedly a lot to like about an in-his-prime Zobrist, specifically his grind-it-out mentality all teams professing to be contenders must have on their roster. He’s versatile, always hustles, has a career .354 on-base percentage in his nine-year career with a respectable .783 OPS, all statistics ESPN used in making its case.
However, he’s not in his prime. The stats the network failed to mention are the most telling. Zobrist’s best season came in 2012 when he hit .270 with 20 homers, 74 RBI, a .377 on-base percentage and .848 OPS.
Those numbers declined the two following seasons. Also omitted are the prospects the Rays will undoubtedly seek, keeping in mind the Mets have no intention of dealing their young pitching.
Also conveniently forgotten is Zobrist will make $7.5 million in 2015, and will become a free agent after the season. There’s no way the Mets will pick up that salary and if ESPN was paying attention it would know the franchise’s financial mentality. It should be mentioned the author of the piece was not Adam Rubin.
So, the Mets will give up a handful of prospects, pay a lot of money for an infielder who has only played 52 games at shortstop the past two seasons – where the Mets have the most need – and will likely leave after the season?
Considering his gradual decline and he’s 33-years-old, this is not the move the Mets should or will make.
I don’t know what the Mets are waiting for, but they need to lock up Carlos Torres, who might be the Mets’ most reliable reliever.
TORRES: Valuable asset. (AP)
To understand why, you must first look past his 8-6 record and 3.06 ERA. The numbers are rather pedestrian, but 14 decisions out of 162 games indicate a sizeable percentage.
Torres appeared in 73 games last season and finished 20. His 97 innings pitched included working multiple innings in consecutive games. Prior to every game, manager Terry Collins was usually asked which relievers were available. Rarely did he say Torres couldn’t go.
Don’t think he doesn’t have great stuff? Well he struck out 96 in those 97 innings and walked only 38. There’s not a starter in the rotation that wouldn’t take that ratio.
Torres is pre-arbitration which means he doesn’t yet have a contract for 2015. The Mets are all excited about the potential of their young pitching and rightfully so. When they boast of those arms they don’t mention Torres. And, they should.
And, they should lock him up.
It was a simple gesture, but further proof David Wright gets it.
The son of a policeman, Wright knew what Jaden and Justin Ramos – the sons of slain NYPD police officer Rafael Ramos – would be feeling Christmas Eve. So, he called to invite them to spring training and to hang with the Mets this summer at Citi Field.
A police source told The Daily News: “You should have seen them — what a reaction. They were really smiling. It gave them a few minutes to smile and be excited.’’
Wright declined to talk to the newspaper about the phone call, which is also fitting.
There are hundreds of athletes in all sports who understand what they mean to people and just always know what to do. It is what makes them so special.
In no small part, this is why the Mets gave Wright that contract and named him captain. He is not only the face of the franchise, but arguably the most important position player in their history.
He’s always been one of the good guys.
Among the things I find puzzling with manager Terry Collins is his propensity for making announcements without all the facts. Most recently, he said Bobby Parnell will be next season’s closer, this despite not pitching last season and nobody knowing for sure his physical status.
With Parnell shelved, Jenrry Mejia took over as closer and saved 28 games. Incidentally, Parnell’s career high was 22 saves in 2013.
So, the Mets have two capable closers, and at times last year used Jeurys Familia and Vic Black in that role. So, what’s the hurry to make an announcement before the Jets fire Rex Ryan?
We are a week shy of three months before spring training and have no idea what to expect from Parnell. What’s wrong with going to Port St. Lucie with it open between Parnell and Mejia? (Black and Familia, considering their limited experience should go in with set-up roles.)
What I don’t want is to give the job to Parnell under the assumption he’s physically ready, then dealing Mejia. What I also don’t want is for Collins to go with a closer-by-committee, which rarely works.
While much of Major League Baseball was active in a swirling trade market, the Mets were getting ready for Christmas.
The most important bit of news was that David Wright reached the next level in his rehab and is starting to swing the bat and told ESPN he’s on track to intensify his training.
Wright, who turned 32 Saturday, also plans to meet with new hitting coach Kevin Long in Phoenix sometime in January.
Wright is rehabbing his left shoulder, which forced his season to end early.
Also, the Mets traded reliever Gonzalez Germen to the Yankees for cash considerations.
The Mets also declined to get involved in the posting for South Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang.