Jul 24

Piazza: “The Thing I Miss Most Is Making You Cheer”

CoJoOciWgAQFUUm

For eight years, Mike Piazza heard you, and today’s induction speech by only the second Met, joining Tom Seaver, to be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame was his way of saying thank you for the encouragement, the prodding, the enjoyment, and most of all, for the love.

“How can I put into words my love, thanks and appreciation for New York Mets’ fans?” was one of the many highlights of his Hall of Fame induction speech, which timed out close to 31 minutes, which was the number he proudly wore during his magnificent career.

“You have given me the greatest gift and graciously taken me into your family. This brings me back to the best time of my life. … You guys are serious. The eight years we spent together went by way too fast. The thing I miss most is making you cheer.”

Today wasn’t about numbers, but emotions and memories and Piazza made sure to thank his father, Vince, saying: “We made it, dad. The race is over. Now it’s time to smell the roses.”

But, not before thanking a few more special people, from managers Tommy Lasorda and Bobby Valentine, to scores of teammates, including John Franco, who gave up his No. 31 when the former 62nd round draft pick was traded to the Mets.

Piazza’s speech embodied the way he played – from the heart.

We loved him for the numbers and moments, including his post-September 11 home run, with a reference on his plaque saying, “it helped rally a nation.” But, we also loved him for his class and humility.

Piazza acknowledged how many noted that home run in the proceeding weeks, but he chose to honor the first responders who selflessly gave their lives.

That home run might have been a symbolic gesture, but what the police and firemen did was a greater sacrifice.

Piazza gave us numerous memories to love him over those eight years. Today he told us he loved us back.

Feb 13

I Don’t Care If Mejia Ever Pitches Again

Excuse me, but I really don’t care if Jenrry Mejia ever throws another pitch for the New York Mets or any other team for that matter.

Somebody asked me today if I thought Mejia would be reinstated if he applies in another year. I thought about it for a second and that was my answer. Come to think of it, I didn’t even need a second.

Mejia is 26 and blessed with an arm that can throw a baseball well over 90 mph. He was playing every kid’s dream, yet it wasn’t enough.

So, he cheated. He was caught and then he cheated again. Then cheated for a third time.

He was to get $1 million this year, which is enough to live on for the rest of your life, if invested properly. Not lavishly, but you can more than survive on it.

Yet, none of that mattered to he had to cheat. He says he’ll appeal, but I don’t care. How can it be an accident if he’s caught using the same drug?

So, if somehow Mejia does win an appeal, I hope the Mets are smart enough to walk away. Personally, I don’t care if he every pitches again.

 

Feb 04

Alderson Hints Cespedes Deal Could Lead To Bigger Things

Mets GM Sandy Alderson hinted at Wednesday’s press conference that the Yoenis Cespedes deal indicates a change in philosophy for the organization.

Let’s hope so. Long accused of running things on the cheap, Alderson said the $75-million contract should change that perception.

”Sometimes we have a habit – we do in an organization and fans as well – of thinking about the guys we have now, but thinking more about when we’re going to lose them than enjoying the moment,” Alderson said. ”That moment hopefully lasts two, three, four, five years. But I think maybe if the Cespedes signing says anything, is that there are no possibilities that will be dismissed out of hand strictly for financial reasons.”

In particular, let’s hope that will apply to signing their young pitching to long-term contracts. The popular sentiment is the Mets can’t keep them all, referring to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler.

Maybe not, but the can try to keep them for as long as possible.

”When you’re talking about long-term deals with younger players, there needs to be sort of a mutual interest in doing so,” Alderson said. ”And typically we find out about that mutual interest a little bit later, closer to spring training or even in spring training. So, we’ll just see if that happens.”

Harvey, signed for $4.325 million, will be 27 in March and a free agent after the 2018 season. His agent is Scott Boras, whose reputation is to test the market and not leave money on the table. He’ll be the first test.

Then there is deGrom, (28 in June) who will be arbitration eligible next year and a free agent following the 2020 season. Syndergaard (24 in August) and Matz (25 in May) could become free agents after the 2021 season. Wheeler (26 in May) could become a free agent following the 2019 season.

Money will be coming off the books when the contracts for David Wright, Cespedes and Curtis Granderson expire, but the don’t the Mets have to replace those players as well?

The market for pitching doesn’t seem to show a ceiling, but if the Mets’ core perform to their potential, they’ll test it.

Jan 22

Mets To Lose Cespedes To Nationals

We can boil the Mets’ pursuit of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a simple conclusion: If they really wanted him they would have him. Pure and simple, he was theirs for the taking. The Mets said they wanted him, but on the cheap. They played things correctly and tried to let the market come to them, but that won’t happen.

That’s the risk one takes when you gamble.

CESPEDES:  Going to Nats. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Going to Nats. (Getty)

The Mets weren’t willing to give Cespedes more than three years, but reports are the Washington Nationals have a five-year, $100-million offer on the table. There’s no way the Mets could compete with that, nor should they for a myriad of reasons, beginning with the economics and including his mercurial personality and that he faded in the playoffs. There’s also the matter of him playing with four teams by age 30.

The Nationals will be his fifth in an 18-month span. Things could be finalized today.

I agreed with the Mets’ rope-a-dope approach simply because that was the only card they could play considering they wanted to do this cheaply. Conversely, the Nationals made runs at Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, in addition to signing Daniel Murphy.

Washington has clearly been more aggressive than the Mets this offseason, with GM Sandy Alderson going on the belief his young rotation will be enough to carry them back to the World Series.

Will that gamble pay off?

 

 

Dec 07

Mets Not Players For Cespedes For Multiple Reasons

Let’s face it, the Mets wouldn’t have gotten into the playoffs without Yoenis Cespedes. It is certain now they need to find a way to return without him.

CESPEDES:  Not going to happen. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Not going to happen. (Getty)

ESPN reports Cespedes wants somewhere in the neighborhood of $125 million over six years. That’s clearly the upper East Side, not Flushing. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said as much at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

“It’s unlikely right now that he ends up a Met,” Ricco told reporters at the winter meetings. “I think that’s fair to say. I think we will end up meeting with his agent. Right now, I still think he’s looking at a deal that would be north of what we would consider.

“Whether we have a specific meeting to talk about Cespedes, I’m not sure. They have other players. I imagine we’ll meet with them, and as part of that conversation his name will come up. I think right now, in talking with them, and getting feedback from Sandy [Alderson], I would view it as pretty unlikely that we do anything with him. But you never know how the market is going to develop. So I wouldn’t rule it out completely.”

I would and not just because of the money.

After a torrid August, Cespedes’ bat turned silent in the playoffs and he had numerous defensive and fundamental breakdowns. There were also numerous times in which he dogged it running the bases and in the field.

The Mets saw this and must also ask themselves why Cespedes during his brief career has already played with four teams. Three of those teams, the Mets, Detroit and Boston, consider themselves contenders, yet disposed of Cespedes. The fourth, Oakland, didn’t want to spend the money.

If Cespedes’ salary demands were considerably lower and would give the Mets a home team discount, I could see it. But, as with Jose Reyes, he’s not interested in leaving anything on the table.

The Mets’ first outfield priority is a left-handed bat to platoon with Juan Lagares.

ON DECK:  Jon Niese is Mets’ best trade chip