Aug 08

Alderson: “Bay’s Not Going Anywhere”

Sandy Alderson must say he won’t eat Jason Bay’s contract, even with the announcement the perpetual slumping outfielder is now a platoon player.

Sure, right now, nobody believes Bay won’t ever be the player the Mets envisioned when they signed him to a $66 million package over four years. 

Currently, Bay has little value as a player in the market, but saying the Mets will eat the contract reduces it to nothing. By saying that, teams will hold back and wait for the eventual DFA. Yes, the Mets could always DFA Bay, then pull him back if they can’t work a deal. If nothing else, it’s another way to test interest. Consider it a given Bay has cleared waivers.

There’s a timing to these things, and now it is not the time.

You’d better believe Alderson is working the phones trying to pull off a waiver deal with a contender. Maybe if the Mets eat part of Bay’s deal for next season he can do something. We all thought he’d never deal Carlos Beltran – who didn’t expect a revival? – or Francisco Rodriguez, but he did.

Stranger things have happened. There could be interest in Bay.

If not now, there’s always the offseason to work a trade. But, with the free-agent market, the Mets won’t find takers. There are plenty of quick fixes during the winter so bet the Mets will still have Bay after Christmas.

The Mets’ only hope is for Bay to find it next spring. If he does, that could ignite trade talks. But for now, Alderson’s proclamation of Bay staying will hold.

At least, until there’s a team with a desperate need that makes poor decisions. Yes, the way the Mets were when they signed Bay in the first place.

Jul 20

Mets In Huge Buyers Market

Of the 30 major league teams, only six after at least 10 games behind in the wild-card standings. The Mets are only 3.5 games behind, a position which should have them as prime buyers.

The problem of shopping in the bullpen aisle, say the Mets, is the cost. That translates into not expecting too much. Huston Street and Jonathan Broxton, while manageable in salary, extract a big prospect price the Mets aren’t willing to pay.

In weighing the present and future, the scales a tipping toward the latter, said assistant GM John Ricco: “We’re watching every day the same thing people are. But you also can’t fool yourself into thinking that there’s one guy that is going to be the be-all and end-all solution to all of our problems. You can fall into that trap and make some big mistakes.”

The problem for Sandy Alderson is his team isn’t one of the six 10 games out, which is what the expectations of them were – probably even from Mets management. Alderson never thought he’d be a buyer.

Although their contracts are Jeremy Lin Ridiculous, Alderson was thinking maybe somebody would be desperate enough to take the Johan Santana and Jason Bay off his hands.

Despite their skid, the Mets are in it now. There’s no guarantee in the future Alderson is trying to protect that they’ll be close again anytime soon. That defines the pressure he is under.

Jul 16

Mets Need This Day Off

Players do all kinds of things on a day off in a city. Some work out, others shop. Some take in movies or simply sleep in another strange hotel room.

Whatever the Mets’ players do, hopefully they won’t dwell on what was the disaster in Atlanta. Every aspect of their game went south, from the starters to the bullpen, to the defense to the clutch hitting.

If it wasn’t the worst series of the season, it was close.

At one time the Mets were eight games over .500 and enjoying lofty thoughts of contention. This morning, they are three over, losers of four straight and seven of their last ten. They have six games against first-place Washington within the next two weeks. Yes, it is conceivable the Mets could lose all six and still make the playoffs.

Anything is possible, I suppose.

Despite numerous injuries and deficiencies, the Mets have played over their heads this season. However, things are starting to catch up to them. The last month hasn’t been kind to Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey. David Wright’s average is diving while his strikeouts are steadily increasing.

In many aspects, the Mets are playing to the expectations many have had of them.

General manager Sandy Alderson said ownership has the resources to add at the trade deadline, but he was talking salary. He’s not inclined to dip into the farm system to deal for that salary.

Help could be on the way in the persons of Matt Harvey and Jason Bay. Harvey will pitch tonight at Triple-A Buffalo; Bay could be activated from the disabled list tomorrow. Neither are considered locks that will spark this struggling team.

The Mets overachieved by playing alert, aggressive baseball and with strong starting pitching. Whatever they accomplish this season – one many had written off – it must be by playing that way again, and with the talent they have on hand.

The Mets must be their own calvary.

On second thought, whatever the Mets’ players do today, thinking long and hard of how they played this weekend and before the break might be the best thing they could do.

 

 

Jul 09

Mets Close Exciting First Half With Concern

After a plus first half, the Mets limp into the All-Star break on the skids – definitely not the team that captivated our imagination for the better part of three months.

We all knew they had questions and issues, but played through them. Just not to the point where we can think they’ve disappeared.

Over the past few weeks, the Mets bullpen continued to implode. That wasted Chris Young start comes immediately to mind. More alarming is that both R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana have twice been roughed up. The defense has been erratic, and the overall lack of power and speed have both come into play.

Losing two series to the Chicago Cubs is just not an encouraging sign.

The Mets finished the first half with a winning record, and maybe this is just a glitch. A warming to Sandy Alderson more parts are needed.

During the break, I’ll look at what went right and wrong, what is needed, and grade the players. I’ll be back around noon.

Jun 01

Chris Young Could Be Back For Subway Series

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that starting pitcher Chris Young is expected to remain with Triple-A Buffalo for one or two more starts as Sandy Alderson predicted earlier in the week.

Young took a huge step toward re-joining the Mets rotation after he tossed six scoreless innings yesterday in a start for Triple-A Buffalo. The 33-year old right-hander threw 87 pitches and allowed just two hits and three walks.

The Mets have been struggling to replace Mike Pelfrey since losing him for the season to an arm injury and have already had the likes of Miguel Batista, Chris Schwinden and Jeremy Hefner take turns trying to replace him until the Mets could get Chris Young ready. It appears that the wait is almost over.

Bisons manager Wally Backman assessed the situation as follows:

“If he can do the same thing he did today five days from now, he’s pretty close to being ready. He’s a smart pitcher. That’s why he’s had the success that he’s had in the big leagues. Now, all we hope for is that we keep him healthy.”

Young dazzled in four starts for the Mets last season before his shoulder surgery and went 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA to lead the rotation at the time.

Rubin quoted Josh Thole who happened to catch Young for his start yesterday and came away very impressed with Young’s performance. ”I thought his velocity, to be honest, was better than it was last year.”

If Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey could continue to pitch as they have, the addition of a very effective righty in Chris Young, could make a huge difference in how long the Mets continue to contend for that second wild card spot.

I took a quick glance at the schedule… Assuming Young was to make two more starts for Buffalo, he could return to the Mets in time to get the Sunday start against the Yankees during the Subway Series on June 10.

That would make things pretty interesting…

Mets Merized Online