Dec 04

Jacoby Ellsbury Signing Defines Mets Vs. Yankees; Time Running Out For Granderson

As if the New York Mets and their frustrated fan base needed another reminder of their status in town, they got a punch-in-the-gut this morning with the news Jacoby Ellsbury had agreed to a seven-year, $153-million contract with the Yankees.

Yes, the Yankees, the team that said they wanted to go below a $189 million payroll while Mets GM Sandy Alderson, despite saying he has the resources, isn’t likely to go over $90 million.

ELLSBURY: Would have been nice in Flushing.

ELLSBURY: Would have been nice in Flushing.

Alderson will say the Mets aren’t competing with the Yankees, and he’s right to a four-game, interleague degree, but he’s wrong everywhere else. There’s competition for the back pages, for free-agents, for attention from the on-the-fence New York fan, for TV ratings and time on the radio talk-shows.

Today, the callers will take a break from bashing the Nets and Knicks – and deservedly so – to hailing the Yankees, and yes, ripping the Mets for their inaction. Also, deservedly so.

It’s a great deal for the Yankees as they obtain a dynamic outfielder – which was Alderson’s prime objective this winter – that will more homers in Yankee Stadium hitting from the leadoff position, while at the same time, weakening their rival Red Sox.

This came after giving $85 million to catcher Brian McCann. And, they are hot after Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, which will entail a hefty posting fee to go along with a huge salary.

Then, there’s the matter of Robinson Cano.

Meanwhile, the Mets’ biggest splash this winter, if you don’t include Chris Young, is having dinner with Jay Z, Cano’s flamboyant agent.

That meeting garnered attention for one day, but these signings by the Yankees to go along with their courtship of Cano, have them in the headlines nearly every day this offseason.

The free-agent outfield market had four premium names: Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson. Ellsbury’s deal set the bar, meaning if history is an indicator, the prices for the others should increase.

This means if the Mets are serious about Granderson they had better act quickly because the meter is running. Who knows? It might already have clicked past Alderson’s price range.

The Mets weren’t going to overpay for Ellsbury or Choo, but they might have to for Granderson for nothing else, to save some face this winter.

But, Granderson would fit the Mets for several reasons:

* He would give them left-handed power. Yes, his numbers were elevated in Yankee Stadium, but of his 43 homers hit in 2012, 26 were at home and 17 on the road. Granderson hit 41 in 20111, with 21 at home and 20 on the road.

* He could play anywhere in the outfield, and has the speed to play center.

* All indications are he’s a good clubhouse presence, plus, he knows what it takes to play in New York.

While the Ellsbury signing screams the Yankees are back, it doesn’t mean the Mets have to limp away. There’s still time for them to do something, but it is running out.

Dec 01

Time Is Already Running Short For Mets In Free Agent Market

It is essentially the beginning of the free-agent market, but for the New York Mets it is already nearing last call.

Frankly, I don’t see Mets GM Sandy Alderson doing anything of substance this winter. He reportedly is considering pitcher Bronson Arroyo and shortstop Rafael Furcal, both of whom are 36.

Both of whom won’t be in it for the long haul for the Mets.

Arroyo has a track record of compiling innings, which is paramount, but is said to want three years. Eventually he will break down. If I am giving three years to a pitcher in this market, I would have rather gambled on Phil Hughes – who got those three years from the small market Twins – who is 27.

With Matt Harvey out until 2015 – and there are no assurances of what he’ll be when he returns – Hughes was potentially a better building block than Arroyo.

Initially, I liked the idea of Arroyo, and still do, but not for three years. Two years at the most. Arroyo made over $16 million last year in Cincinnati – another small market team – and won’t be taking a pay cut.

He was 14-12 last season pitching behind an offense and bullpen superior to that of the Mets. What can the Mets reasonably expect from him?

Meanwhile, Furcal made $7 million last year for not playing with St. Louis because of Tommy John surgery. After the season ended Alderson said he didn’t want an injury reclamation project, which clearly defines Furcal.

The best shortstop option for the Mets defensively, and for his offensive style in Citi Field, was Stephen Drew, who was out of their price range. However, he would have been a key piece to build around.

Jhonny Peralta was also too expensive and came with the black cloud of a PED suspension.

If the Mets sign Furcal, they will be looking to replace him next winter. If that is the case, I’d be more inclined to give Ruben Tejada another chance.

Arroyo and Furcal are the latest names linked to the Mets, and they are clearly filler for 2014. That’s what you want?

One by one the better names in the market will be scooped up, and not by the Mets.

More and more, I see this being a barren winter for the Mets. Then again, there was Chris Young.

 

Aug 01

Mets Chat Room; salvaging the home stand.

Game #105 vs. Diamondbacks

Despite a 6-14 slide, the Mets remain only 6 ½ games behind front-running Atlanta in the NL East. They are a similar distance behind in the wild card.

Today’s game, with Jon Niese pitching, is very important, like they all are for the Mets these days as they can’t afford to lose any more ground before they head on the road to Atlanta and Philadelphia.

The Mets have played well at home this season, going 33-18, but have been hideous on the road at 20-33. The formula to win is to dominate at home and play .500 on the road. Had they played at that clip so far for their 53 road games they would be 27-26 at home, which would translate to a 60-44 record, or a half-game lead over the Braves in the division.

But, they have dug themselves into such a hole that playing .500 on the road is no longer an option.

Jul 16

Plenty of blame to go around on Reyes fiasco.

REYES: On the shelf.

Maybe this time they are getting it right.

Better late than never, but the Mets say they are now shutting down Jose Reyes until he’s able to swing pain free from both sides of the plate. The decision came as the outcome of last night’s pre-game circus that first had Reyes in the lineup, and then scratched with the news he’ll be put on the shelf.

The ringmaster of the circus, of course, is Jerry Manuel, who has irresponsibly bungled this from the outset.

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May 04

May 4.10: Seeing is believing.

This falls under the `I’ll believe it when I see it’ category. Carlos Beltran is taking soft toss BP in Port St. Lucie and is hopeful of running, then resuming baseball activities later this week. “It all begins with running,” Beltran told reporters in Florida. There is no timetable for Beltran’s return until he begins running. Until then, everything is merely wishful thinking.

I thought of Beltran last night while watching the Mets’ offense sputter in losing to the Reds. Oliver Perez did his job, and so did the bullpen, but the game was lost at the plate. The Mets were cooked the last two games in Philadelphia, but last night was a winnable game, and losses like that ultimately come back to haunt a team.

Last night also reinforced the streaky nature of this team. It is capable of winning seven straight one week and going on a losing streak the next. As evidenced by their record, the Mets are barely a win-one, lose-one type of team.

Save for a few games, the offense has been inconsistent all season, and Beltran’s absence is a big part of the reason.

Losing Beltran forced Jerry Manuel to juggle his line-up by moving Jose Reyes to third. The problem is Reyes is not a No. 3 hitter and it has weakened the leadoff position. Reyes is not playing his normal game, two hits last night notwithstanding. Nor is his replacement, Angel Pagan, a leadoff hitter.