Dec 09

Mets Conclude First Day Of Winter Meetings With No Moves

While the New York Mets would like to deal Ike Davis or Lucas Duda by the end of the week, general manager Sandy Alderson gave no indication today a move was imminent.

Teams are waiting out the Mets in the hope either might be released, but that won’t happen. Alderson said prospective buyers are exploring other options, whether it is in the trade or free-agent markets. And, teams could be offering the Mets little in return.

ALDERSON: Nothing doing.

ALDERSON: Nothing doing.

There are a lot of reasons why a trade doesn’t get done.

“That’s always the case,’’ Alderson said. “There’s always going to be an alternative. That’s what provides the tension of negotiating a deal. [Teams] are always looking at what their alternatives are. That’s what provides the tension of getting something done and not getting something done; simply there are other options.’’

Of course, it could take one phone call to change everything. A team could offer the Mets a sweet deal, or Alderson can cave just to make a trade.

The latter is highly unlikely.

“Could we do something?’’ Alderson rhetorically asked. “Yeah, we have that ability. Whether we do it or not is a function of what we can get and what our other options are.’’

Working against the Mets in trying to trade Davis is that other teams are aware of his shortcomings and of the Mets’ overt desire to swing a deal. The Mets have not been subtle in this, and given the high probability Davis won’t be with the team next spring have teams being reluctant.

They aren’t waiting in line to talk trade about Duda, either.

“Everybody is aware of what we have. We don’t have to advertise that,’’ Alderson said. “As far as marketing, [other teams] do their own evaluations. If somebody is not inclined to make a deal for a particular player, it is difficult to talk them into it and get something in return.’’

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Dec 03

Why Mets Did Not Non-Tender Ike Davis

If the New York Mets don’t want Ike Davis, why didn’t they just non-tender him? That way the unproductive first baseman with the looping swing and high propensity for striking out would be gone. Davis would just them be another failure in Mets lore.

DAVIS: Mets playing waiting game, (Getty)

DAVIS: Mets playing waiting game, (Getty)

That’s the conventional wisdom, but there’s more to it under the surface. There always is.

As long as Davis remains on the Mets’ 40-man roster, he’s an asset capable of either producing on the field when the season starts, or as a trade piece.

Obviously, the Mets would like to find a trading partner, but might find they won’t be getting much in return. With a flood of free agents on the market, most teams would rather attempt that route first because all they would spend is money.

The smarter teams are waiting for the Mets to dump him during spring training, that way they could get Davis without having to surrender talent in return. Subsequently, the Mets are holding on to Davis to see if there’s a team that loses a first baseman to injury during spring training and finds itself in a bind.

If there’s no such opportunity, there’s always waiting for the July 31 trade deadline. That’s the Mets’ best hope of getting quality in return.

In addition, if the Mets take Davis to spring training, he might win the job if Lucas Duda doesn’t perform. There’s no given with Duda, so that has to be in the back of Sandy Alderson’s mind.

 

Dec 02

Mets Non-Tender Valdespin; A Good Move

What should have been done months ago finally occurred today when the New York Mets non-tendered the moody and limited-talented outfielder Jordany Valdespin, making him a free agent.

If some team is stupid enough to sign Valdespin and he becomes a star, then so be it because he never was going to do anything with the Mets.

VALDESPIN: Gone.

VALDESPIN: Gone.

Valdespin supposedly had a flair for the dramatic, but in reality he was simply a showboat with a volatile temperament.

Valdespin was suspended for a lack of hustle, but things boiled over for him when he posed after a meaningless homer in a blowout loss to the Pirates and then became aggravated when he was hit by a pitch the following day and complained saying his teammates didn’t have his back.

Manager Terry Collins didn’t seem too upset when Valdespin was plunked citing an old school mentality. Collins later lamely tried to justify Valdespin’s actions by his upbringing and background, and praised his emotional spark, which everybody could plainly see was a “look-at-me’’ scream.

Not soon after, Collins gave Valdespin a week tryout at second base, which he failed miserably and it was clear he had no future with the Mets.

On May 13, I wrote the Mets would be better off without Valdespin, and during spring training – noting his me-first attitude – I wrote how he was throwing away his career.

David Wright, as team captain, was the only Met to support Valdespin on the record after the beaning incident, but it was lukewarm at best. Several teammates off the record said Valdespin was generally hated in the clubhouse.

One of the last things a young, building team such as the Mets need is a divisive presence in their clubhouse, either on the major league or minor league level.

The topper came when he was suspended for 50 games in the Biogenesis scandal. Evidently, his performance wasn’t enhanced enough.

If I seem harsh on Valdespin, it is because I am. Valdespin was given a chance to play major league baseball because of his raw physical ability and he threw it away.

Nobody should feel sorry for him.

The Mets also non-tendered reliever Scott Atchison and shortstop Omar Quintanilla.

Nov 23

Nate McLouth Would Have Been Better Choice Than Chris Young For Mets

The New York Mets might get lucky with Chris Young the same way they did with Marlon Byrd last season. It could happen.

However, are you betting on it?

McLOUTH: A better choice.

McLOUTH: A better choice.

I am not buying for a second they’ll make a play for Nelson Cruz, but there are others I would have liked to see them get over Young.

We know Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury were out of their price range. Supposedly, they liked Corey Hart. How about Nate McLouth?

McLouth, 32, hit .258 with a .329 on-base percentage – both superior to Young – and drew 53 walks in 593 plate appearances. He also homered 12 times, equal to Young’s production. And, he did it for $2 million. Plus, he stole 30 bases, plays good defense and always hustles.

You can’t convince me for a second Young was a better choice. They got Young, who is two years younger, for $7.25 million. Don’t you think they could have gotten McLouth for two years at $8 million?

There aren’t a lot of great choices out there, but Young was a bad one in that they gave a lot of money for somebody with little production.

Sandy Alderson values on-base percentage, and clearly had a better option in McLouth. Too bad he didn’t make a harder run at him.

Nov 22

Mets Add Outfielder Chris Young. Happy Now?

One can’t get any louder denial of the irresponsible and bogus report of the New York Mets discussing Ryan Braun than the announcement of today’s announced deal for Chris Young. That’s the restaurant equivalent of thinking about Morton’s for dinner, but settling for McDonald’s.

Young isn’t even worth a Chili’s comparison.

YOUNG: All better now?

YOUNG: All better now?

Actually, the best thing that could happen to the Mets is Young failing his physical to void the one-year, $7.25 million deal. You read that correctly. That’s a lot of money for a career .235 hitter with a .315 on-base percentage.

The 30-year-old Young played with Arizona for seven years before being traded to Oakland last winter.

Ready for this?

Young hit .200 with 12 homers and 40 RBI in 335 at-bats. And, that on-base percentage Sandy Alderson likes so much? Try .280, with 93 walks and only 36 walks. Young averages 148 strikeouts every 162 games.

Alderson said he could live with a lot of strikeouts if the hitter makes up for it with run production and a high on-base percentage. His 12 homers is hardly worth the trouble.

The Mets would like Juan Lagares to play center, but that’s Young’s natural position. However, it shakes out that as of now the Mets’ outfield is Young, Lagares and Eric Young. Now, don’t tell me you don’t have the warm fuzzies.

Frankly, if Chris Young is the best the Mets can do, I’d rather they go with Matt den Dekker, or teach Wilmer Flores to play left field, or sign the pitcher Chris Young to play the outfield.

Please tell me this isn’t it for the Mets in the free agent market. I know they aren’t players for Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury or Nelson Cruz. I knew all along none of those would happen. But, paying Chris Young $7.25 million is shopping at a thrift shop and still overpaying.

Alderson projects an $87-million payroll for 2014, which is ridiculously low for a team in New York. Conversely, the Yankees are desperate to get under $189 million.

As of now, the Mets have $32.5 million earmarked for three players: David Wright ($20 million), Chris Young ($7.25 million) and Jon Niese ($5 million).

According to an ESPN report, they also have a projected $23 million for arbitration eligible players: Daniel Murphy ($5.1 million), Ike Davis ($3.82 million), Bobby Parnell ($3.725 million), Dillon Gee ($3.55 million), Eric Young ($1.9 million), Lucas Duda ($1.8 million), Scott Atchison ($1.3 million), Ruben Tejada ($1 million) and Justin Turner ($800,000).

Assuming those numbers, that leaves them to add 13 players for the remaining balance for roughly $32 million.

And to think, some people actually thought Braun was a possibility.

Merry Christmas.