Jan 04

Imagine Being A Marlins’ Fan

If you’re a Mets fan, and the assumption is you are, then you have to be grateful to Miami, because as stagnant as Wilpon’s team has been, the Marlins simply don’t care. Derek Jeter, one of baseball’s greatest frauds, is the face for the Marlins’ latest ownership group bent on stripping whatever competitiveness is left of the franchise.

The Marlins, reeling after the death of ace Jose Fernandez, were realistically a pitcher or two of being a contender for a wild card. Two starters could have made it a possibility.

Well, after trading Dee Gordon to Seattle, and Giancarlo Stanton the Yankees for a song, and then Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals for a whistle, the Marlins can be regarded possibly as worse than the Mets.

That would be assured if Jeter is successful in trading outfielder Christian Yelich, catcher J.T. Realmuto and infielder Martin Prado. Compounding matters for the Mets is the contenders to land these players are the Nationals, Braves and Phillies.

Reportedly, Jeter told MLB in the screening process he had no intention of stripping the Marlins. Whether he did or not is open for debate, but his actions speak otherwise.

The Marlins’ ownership groups have always been a mess, and it goes before Jeter. Have you forgotten the Marlins gutted their franchise after winning the World Series in 1997 and 2003?

This time Jeter didn’t even wait until a parade. He has scuttled the Marlins. So, if you think things are bad with the Mets, imagine being a Marlins fan.

Jan 03

Wonder If Mets Regret Signing Cespedes Now?

Congratulations to those who took the under of four days as the time it would take for me to rip Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson for spending $110 million for Yoenis Cespedes.

However, it’s not something new sparked by recent talk of the Mets being in financial distress or only have $10 million left to spend for next year.

CESPEDES: Think Mets regret him now? (AP)

CESPEDES: Think Mets regret him now? (AP)

That they only have that much remaining in their budget stems from several factors, beginning with owner Fred Wilpon still reeling financially from the Ponzi scandal. It also includes the Wilpon’s reported reluctance to spend, or should I say, history of spending foolishly.

For all the talk about Alderson being such a smart general manager, there were so many reasons why Cespedes was such a bad signing.

First, with the Mets under such financial stress, and with so many future monetary obligations and gaping holes, $110 million was too much to spend on one player, especially if that player wasn’t going to put them over the top, something I wrote after the 2015 World Series.

Secondly, there is the nagging question: If this guy is so good, why would three previous teams trade him? If you’re considered to be a centerpiece player, teams would want to keep you.

There is also the matter of Cespedes’ injury history, his reputation of hustling only when the matter suits him, and his diva tendencies.

Readers of this site know I’ve never been a fan of Cespedes for the above reasons with the money being the ultimate factor. The Mets have too many holes to fill, and $29 million over the next two years and $29.5 million in three years would have gone a long way to fill them.

For somebody supposedly as smart as Alderson, one would have thought he would have figured that out. So, if you’re out there on Opening Day and wonder why the Mets’ roster looks like it does today, just look out to left field.

Whether Cespedes is there or not, you’ll have your answer.

 

Dec 26

Handling Of Lagares Illustrates True Mets’ Dysfunction

Because the Mets are willing to trade Juan Lagares – despite the health concerns with Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes – further underscores the dysfunction of the Wilpon ownership and their lieutenant GM Sandy Alderson.

LAGARES: Another dysfunctional move. (Getty)

LAGARES: Another dysfunctional move. (Getty)

That the Mets signed Lagares to a five-year, $23.5-million contract in the first place based purely on potential was a reasonable idea gone bad because they never gave him a chance play fulltime and develop his stroke and plate presence.

Alderson gave him that contract, and yet didn’t let him play. When Lagares eventually played injuries forced him out of the lineup. Now, with Lagares presumably healthy, they are willing, perhaps even eager, to trade him to free up payroll despite their outfield holes.

Is this something an organization committed to winning does?

Ideally, since the Marlins are in a selling mode, I’d like for them to pursue Christian Yelich, but that’s just a pipe dream. So are Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson.

In the Mets’ dream world, they would like to deal Lagares’ $6-million 2018 contract and spend the savings on Jay Bruce, who’ll they’ll also play at first base because they don’t have faith in Dominic Smith.

Then, because their farm system is barren, they can deal Smith. Basically, it’s paying your VISA bill with a cash advance from American Express.

Reportedly, Alderson will have only $10 million to transform this team that finished 22 games below .500 into a contender. And, don’t forget this is a team with holes at first, second and third, the outfield, and in the rotation.

Oh, and they’ll need another reliever if they deal AJ Ramos’ $9-million contract.

And, you guys wonder why I am negative about Alderson and this team at times?

Dec 22

Wilpon Has No Reason To Resent Yankees

I admit, I laughed out loud when I read The Post’s article on how Mets owner Fred Wilpon was “irate’’ after hearing about the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with Miami.

Anything the Yankees do money wise paints the Mets in a bad, if not embarrassing light, because it highlights their penny-pinching ways and reluctance to make any high-profile moves.

WILPON: No reason to be angry at Yanks. (Getty)

WILPON: No reason to be angry at Yanks. (Getty)

Wilpon doesn’t believe the Yankees can sustain their spending, which is what envious owners have said since George Steinbrenner purchased the team from CBS in the early 1970s.

It’s a foolish belief.

I don’t buy the Wilpons are afraid to spend, because after all, their Opening Day payroll last season was $154 million. That’s post-Ponzi spending, mind you. But, now there appears a reluctance

The problem is the Mets don’t spend wisely and they’ve been stung by their last three $100-million plus contracts – Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Johan Santana – were injured, as is their vaunted rotation.

Even though the Mets are two years removed from the World Series – and the Yankees were last there in 2009 – the latter is a lot closer to returning than the former. And, that was even before the Stanton trade, and even if they don’t get Gerit Cole from the Pirates.

Instead, the news this offseason about the dysfunctional Mets have made a franchise icon – Ed Kranepool – unwelcome, but have re-hired former GM Omar Minaya back to act as a special assistant to GM Sandy Alderson.

Both are head-scratching moves, but what isn’t was hearing of Fred Wilpon’s ire directed at the Yankees.

That’s something he has control over.

Dec 21

Mets Extend Alderson To More Of The Same

Mets fans got an early Christmas present yesterday in their stocking late yesterday afternoon. It was a lump of coal with the announcement GM Sandy Alderson’s extension, speculated to be two years in a year-to-year format.

ALDERSON: Expect more of the same. (AP)

ALDERSON: Expect more of the same. (AP)

That means next winter’s free-agent market – with Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw highlighting the most prominent class in years – will presumably not include the Mets as shoppers.

They aren’t even expected to retain their own marquee free agent Matt Harvey.

That means Mets fans can expect their team’s biggest free-agent ventures will be more along the lines of pursuing veterans well past their prime, such as first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Alderson’s Mets’ zenith came in 2015 when everything fell together after the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes and the team caught fire and reached the World Series.

Cespedes was re-signed that winter to a $110-million, four-year package that has financially crippled the Mets since. Alderson then cast off Daniel Murphy, the post-season hero who became an All-Star with Washington.

The Mets reached the postseason again in 2016, but were bounced in the wild-card game by San Francisco. The Giants, like the Mets, have fallen onto hard times, but San Francisco just traded for All-Star Evan Longoria while New York is debating on Gonzalez, whom they’ll get for a song with the Braves picking up the bulk of his contract.

The Mets will be on the hook for the major league minimum of $545,000, with the Braves paying the balance of his $22.4 million contract.

But, the major-league minimum – with Alderson operating the franchise as the Wilpon’s wish – is what the Mets are about these days.