We’re heading into the time in spring training when players get released, and the Mets should be all over this: Brennan Boesch was released this morning by the Tigers.
BOESCH: Worth a look
He’s an outfielder. He has some power. And, he’s still breathing. What’s not to like? And, he’s coming off a strained oblique muscle, so he should fit right in with the Mets.
Boesch is a lifetime .259 hitter with 42 homers in three years as a role player with the Tigers. He can play both outfield corners, which is an obvious need for New York.
Boesch is to make $2.3 million this year and is arbitration eligible for next winter. At 27, he’s not, well, he’s not Marlon Byrd. Boesch appeared to have a breakthrough season in 2011 when he hit .283 with 16 homers, but he missed the postseason with a thumb injury.
He regressed last year, and his strikeouts spiked to 104. Maybe it was just a bad year or perhaps there were lingering effects from the thumb injury. Whatever, he’s still young enough where he can rebound.
General manager Sandy Alderson stopped short of saying manager Terry Collins’ job was secure, but in a conference call this week, left the impression he will be judged with a broad paintbrush.
COLLINS: He’s smiling now.
As GM, Alderson’s job description entails building for the future, while his lame duck manager has nothing guaranteed beyond this season.
That doesn’t mean the two perspectives can’t co-exist.
Collins’ extension will be assured if the Mets have a winning season, but even if they don’t – very possible considering their holes – he could be back in the dugout in 2014, when the spending is supposed to begin.
“Well I think there are two things upon which a manager is evaluated,’’ Alderson said. “One is wins and losses, and the other is the improvement of the players on the team. And regardless of whether you have a veteran-dominated team or a younger team, players have to improve.
“And more importantly, they have to be motivated to improve, and that’s really partly where the manager comes in. I think that Terry will be evaluated on both of those bases, with the understanding that the wins and losses are not an absolute – to some extent they are relative to the talent that we have.’’
It will not be the dream spring training for Zach Wheeler that he might have hoped. After all the Stephen Strasburg comparisons, Wheeler was scratched from today’s start against St. Louis with a mild strain of the oblique muscle.
Wheeler sustained the injury swinging a bat in pregame warm-ups. He said the injury was nothing serious and it felt a little stiff, but that is something we’ve heard numerous times from various Mets – notably Jose Reyes – over the years about this type of injury.
“I’d rather be out one start than two months and be behind the eight-ball when I do come back,’’ Wheeler told reporters. “Early in the spring you don’t want to risk anything. We have a month, or a month and a half, left.’’
Veteran Mets watchers will quickly say it will be more than one start, but he’s right, caution is the way to go on this injury. Muscle strains and muscle pulls always last longer than originally speculated; it’s a baseball variation of Murphy’s Law.
Josh Kosman of the NY Post is reporting that the Mets won’t have much money to play with this season and are expecting to lose more than $10 million this year as well as suffering a fifth straight year of declining attendance.
“There is little room this year to raise salaries,” said a source familiar with the team’s finances told the Post.
Last week, principal owner Fred Wilpon told reporters that the Mets’ money woes were over and suggested that he had the resources to boost payroll and sign some major free agents if that’s what Sandy Alderson chose to do.
“While attendance is expected to be down,” Kosman writes. “The team is banking on a small uptick in gate proceeds in its second season of so-called dynamic pricing, which allows ticket prices to be adjusted on the fly based on supply and demand.”
As I’ve said repeatedly and will say again, unless the product on the field improves, fans will continue to stay away. People don’t flock to ballparks and lay out a hundred bucks a game just because a team’s farm system ranks in the top ten. What matters most is wins and the players they pay to see.
As I’ve preached for the last two years, it looks like payroll will in fact be around $80 million in 2013 counting dollars that are actually being paid out. In July of 2011, many of my readers were aghast at that projection and yet here we are.
Next season, the Mets will have about $30 million in payroll commitments, give or take a few. Does anyone really expect Sandy Alderson to go out on a $70 million dollar spending spree? I don’t.
Read Kosman’s full article in the New York Post here.
The Mets will have their first full squad workout this morning, prior to which Terry Collins will address his teams. Like I posted last night, don’t expect rah-rah. And, don’t expect the manager to use his lame-duck status as a motivator. He doesn’t work that way.
It must be an odd feeling for Collins to enter the season as a lame duck manager. Ownership and upper management are looking ahead to 2014, when Johan Santana’s contract will be off the books.
Trouble for Collins is he’s thinking about this year because there’s no guarantee of anything beyond while everybody else is thinking of the future.
Collins knows the score, but to his credit he’s not saying anything about it. Fred Wilpon and Sandy Alderson said they are pleased with the job Collins is doing and I’m wondering when that will translate into an extension.