Feb 05

Idle thoughts while waiting for kickoff.

Watching the Super Bowl with the mute button, which might be the best way, and planning my week ahead and what I might write about the Mets.

Spring training is two weeks ago, and in seems it was only yesterday that it was only two months away. Time does creep up on you.

There are several things running through my mind pertaining to the Mets:

The Mets will get an influx of money from SNY and with another minor investor. Possibly up to $100 million. On the surface, the Mets have the money to make some significant moves, certainly more than what they did this winter. Even so, the money is earmarked for their expenses, including a potential hit in their court case pertaining to the Ponzi scandal. In short, the money is to go to the mortgage and not a new flat screen TV.

Only twice in seven years has Andres Torres played in over 100 games.  And, since he’s never been on the disabled list, it has to be talent related. The Mets have him penciled in as their center fielder, with Scott Hairston as the back-up. For a team with a spacious outfield and supposedly wants to build on pitching and defense, this is a dangerous sign. I still believe Rick Ankiel could benefit the Mets as a lefty bat and defensive presence.

Brad Penny was a .500 pitcher last season – 11-11 – and recently signed with Japan. I can’t believe there wasn’t any interest here. Surely, he could’ve helped the Mets’ rotation.

I don’t think the Mets will retire Gary Carter’s number, but I hope they honor him in some capacity this season – when he can still appreciate it.

The Mets once made annual winter caravans to drum up interest heading into spring training, with the players and coaches going from town to town. Lots of teams have FanFests in their cities, where the public can meet players and get in the baseball mood. Would be nice to see that again.

 

Feb 04

Mets did not win Santana trade.

I read a blog posting this morning that claimed the Mets won the Johan Santana trade, based on the talent given up, but lost the contract extension. This couldn’t be any less accurate or more naive.

SANTANA: On the hook for three more years.

While it is true the players surrendered didn’t amount to much on the major league level and Santana did have several productive years, one cannot separate the trade from the contract because they are linked. The trade was made because Santana waived his no-trade clause and agreed to a six-year extension.

Translated: There would have been no trade without the contract.

I wrote at the time the Mets overpaid for Santana both in terms of players – not that it matters now – and in money. That has proven to be correct.

The market for Santana was Boston and the Yankees, and the Mets only became involved only after both those backed off because of the Twins’ demands. When the deal was made Omar Minaya admitted Santana came back to them.

In essence, the Mets were bidding against themselves, something Minaya also did in the contracts for Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and several others.

The contract of $137.5 million over six years was excessive for Santana because of the accumulated innings on his arm and he had a previous arm injury. Six years is a gamble for any pitcher at any time because of the fragility of the arm, shoulder and elbow. Too many things can go wrong and the team ends up paying from damaged goods.

I believe, as I did then, the Mets misjudged the market and overpaid for Santana. While he did win for the Mets, he was injured at the end of every season and required surgery. The Mets already paid for one season and received nothing, and it is possible they could be on the hook for three more years.

Any trade is a gamble, but this one the Mets lost. That is, unless Santana makes a full recovery and pitches – and wins – for a pain-free three more years.

Anybody want to take that bet?

Feb 01

A blast from the past for Mets this summer.

One of the mainstays of a Mets’ summer will be returning this year, the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

BANNER DAY: Back again,

Banner Day will return May 27 to give you an opportunity to express your affection to your favorite players and memories, and yes, also a chance to editorialize on the direction of the team. Undoubtedly, there will be some censorship involved.

With the way things have been going, how can there not be?

However, I like the premise. Beginning at the Polo Grounds in 1963, and from 1964-96 at Shea Stadium, Banner Day was a Mets’ staple. So too, was Old Timers’ Day,

Maybe, the thinking is to do something for a day to spike the attendance, but it is a great day. It was an event cherished by the fans and the players got a kick out of it, also. The idea is for this year, but let’s hope it takes off.

 

Feb 01

Ike Has Visions Of Post Season Dancing In His Head

Last night at the 32nd Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in New York, Daniel Murphy told reporters that expectations for the Mets this season are to make the playoffs.

“Expectations for us this year are like any other. We expect to go to the playoffs.”

His thoughts on Terry Collins seeing him batting in the leadoff spot:

“I am gonna hit wherever he tells me, I am gonna hit wherever he sees best fit. If I am hitting No. 1 that means I am in the lineup. That’s a good sign for me.”

Murphy reserved his best comment on him raking in 2012 and busting out with Ike Davis:

“I sent Ike Davis a text. I told him I was putting in a request with TC to hit somewhere near him to get some good pitches. That guy is a killer and I want to be near him,” Murphy said. “He kind of laughed and texted back: ‘Let’s go dominate.’ I think we’re ready and excited for the season.”

This guy is sumthin’ else and I’m glad he’s on our side… I’m with 28 too…

Feb 01

What would success be to the 2012 Mets?

On this, the 50th anniversary of the Mets, I am sure they’ll have a better record than their founding fathers, but not have much better odds of success.

The ultimate success is defined by winning the World Series, followed by reaching the playoffs, winning your division, then finishing over .500. Realistically, a lot of things have to break right for the Mets to have a winning season.

But, with all that seemingly out of their reach, what would define a successful season?

I’m narrowing it down to a handful of things:

1) Some resolution, either way, to the Mets’ financial struggles. There’s such a negative feeling permeating this franchise because of the unknown ramifications of the Ponzi scandal. Even a court decision will go through the appeals process, so it won’t happen this summer. But, a little movement one way or another could tell us what direction the franchise is heading. Even if the news is bad, that’s better than not knowing and speculating.

2) A healthy and productive David Wright is important because he’s the face of the franchise and has been a shell of his All-Star self. If the Mets are to rebuild, they’ll need plenty of young pieces and Wright is the only player capable of bringing in that kind of talent.

3) A strain on the Mets are the contracts of Johan Santana and Jason Bay. If they can be healthy and perform even remotely to their potential, perhaps Sandy Alderson can find a taker. He did so with Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez and their impossible contracts. Maybe he can do it again. Yes, I know we’re talking a long shot here.

4) The Mets have some young talent that offers hope of better days. Jon Niese, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole and Daniel Murphy aren’t without ability. You can throw Bobby Parnell in with that group, too. Maybe these guys can show us a glimpse of something promising in the future.

5) The Mets desperately need a fast start against the brutal schedule in April and early May to avoid a double-digit deficit before the weather gets warm. If the Mets can play alert, aggressive baseball out of the gate they might draw some people to Citi Field and perhaps curb some of the flood of red ink.

If all of these things happen it won’t guarantee a winning season, much less the playoffs. But, should they happen it might ease the negativity swarming around this franchise and that would be a start.