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?

 

 

Jan 21

Wright Remains Mets’ Most Overriding Issue

Yesterday I examined the top ten issues facing the Mets with spring training five weeks away. It isn’t hard for me to pick out the player shouldering the most pressure.

The bullpen is the positional area of most concern, but individually the player remains David Wright. Somehow, last year the Mets withstood playing without him for over four months, but several things combined to make that possible, notably the ineffective Washington Nationals and acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.

WRIGHT: We want to see that smile again. (AP)

WRIGHT: We want to see that smile again. (AP)

Will the Mets be as fortunate if Wright goes down this year?

Baseball-reference.com projects Wright to hit .275 in 2016 with nine homers and 37 RBI, which would be terrible news for the Mets. The scary part is based on Wright’s recent injury history I can envision that before I can him returning to 30-homer form.

Wright hasn’t hit 30 homers since 2008 and has only hit at least 20 twice since then. He has a combined 31 in his last three years, and only once since 2013 has he played in as many at 130 games. Including the 2009 season, he’s had as many as 500 at-bats only four times.

You can talk about OPS and WAR all you want, but all statistics are predicated on at-bats and Wright hasn’t had many in recent years. Look, readers of this blog know I am one of Wright’s biggest supporters, but I can’t ignore the facts he hasn’t been healthy lately.

He missed over four months last year with spinal stenosis, and that he even returned late in the season was remarkable. Considering the good feelings about his return, recovery and playing in the playoffs, it would be another devastating blow is he were to go down again.

The Mets did not add a right-handed hitting power bat during the winter, perhaps with the outside hope Wright would come back close to form. As of now, they won’t have Cespedes back and it could be a dangerous gamble if they are thinking they can make another at-the-wire trade.

Let’s face it, as long as Wright is here he’s the face of this franchise, but if he’s hurt again and doesn’t produce, that contract with five years and $87 million remaining will be an albatross.

Imagine how much better things will be if Wright plays in 130 games, hits at least 20 homers and drives in 80 runs. Could make for another fun year, and for me that’s why Wright is the Mets’ most overriding issue.

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Dec 07

Mets Face Competition For Zobrist

If the Mets really want Ben Zobrist, they might have to give in on that fourth year as there’s a growing line of suitors for the versatile infielder, who, by the way, is an accomplished hitter who can also play the outfielder.

The reported dollars start around $50 million and he’s looking for four years. The Mets want three, and in what should be regarded as bluffing more than anything else, say they could still re-sign Daniel Murphy.

Reports have the Giants having interest, but where he’ll play is the question. They could stick him in left, but their infield is set. I doubt he’ll want to go there just to be a role player, but if Zobrist wants to win the Giants will get his consideration.

The Mets will also get competition from the Washington Nationals, and Zobrist would bring some stability and professionalism to their dysfunctional clubhouse. I also don’t need to remind you the Nationals have deeper pockets than the Mets.

One report recently had the Dodgers showing interest, but they just signed Chase Utley. That signing should also preclude the Dodgers as a potential landing spot for Murphy.

The Yankees continually say they aren’t in the market for Zobrist, but I’ll never discount their propensity for bluffing.

Meanwhile, the Angels, White Sox, Indians and Orioles could all use a second baseman. Of the four, the Angels appear the most willing to write the big check.

ON DECK: Potential landing spots for Murphy.

 

Nov 20

Mets Should Pass On Desmond

Nobody can say what the Mets will do this winter, but this much is a certainty: Signing Ian Desmond in no way represents an upgrade by any stretch of the imagination. Desmond made $11 million last year for the Washington Nationals and will undoubtedly want more in the first of what will be a multi-year deal.

Only a fool would give in to Desmond’s demands.

DESMOND: Just say no. (Getty)

DESMOND: Just say no. (Getty)

The Mets seem determined to replace Wilmer Flores as their shortstop, and and there are reports they will not tender a contract to Ruben Tejada.

Desmond hit .233 last year with a .290 on-base percentage, and hit 19 homers with 62 RBI in 641 plate appearances. By comparison, Flores hit 16 homers with 59 RBI in 510 plate appearances. So, that means Desmond 131 more plate appearances to hit just three more homers with three more RBI.

And, he cost over $10 million for those three homers and three RBI. You can throw out any of the new wave statistics you want, but none of them translate in any way to making the Mets a better team.

Defensively, Desmond committed 27 errors in 670 chances, while Flores made 14 errors in 400 chances at shortstop and didn’t make an error in 153 chances at second base.

i don’t see how those numbers in any way determine an upgrade at shortstop.

Like I said, I don’t know what the Mets will do this winter, but I can without a doubt what they shouldn’t do, and that’s go after Desmond.

Nov 04

Mets Do Right By Collins

The Mets did right by manager Terry Collins, and more to the point they didn’t waste any time doing it. Less than 72 hours after their season ended – and by Collins’ admission on his bad decision – the Mets extended their 66-year-old manager for two years.

Accused of being tyrannical in his previous stops in Anaheim and Houston, Collins gave his players a lot of leeway. He said he “trusts my players,’’ and in the end that might have cost him when he went against his better judgment and allowed Matt Harvey to go out for the ninth inning in Game 5 of the World Series.

COLLINS: How much more champagne? (AP)

COLLINS: How much more champagne? (AP)

No need to remind you of what happened.

It is key the Mets acted quickly as to not let how the disappointing way the season ended to fester.

The Mets opened the year after six straight losing seasons, but Collins insisted during spring training they were good enough to compete – as is. Yes, the Washington Nationals had a bad year, but the Mets were 90-72 to give Collins a 394-416 record during his Mets’ tenure.

Want to bet that will be over .500 by the time he retires after the 2017 season?

“My job is to pretty much make sure the players are on board with everything we’re doing,’’ Collins said. “So, I think I’ve changed a lot there.’’

Collins was voted the NL Manager of the year by The Sporting News and is up for a similar honor by the official Baseball Writers Association of America award.

“I think it’s well deserved,’’ Wright said. “Credit should be given to TC and his coaching staff for aiding and preparing us for this success. This preparation started years ago, and I’m thrilled this coaching staff has helped lead us to a World Series appearance.’’

Collins’ coaching staff – hitting coach Kevin Long, pitching coach Dan Warthen, first base coach Tom Goodwin, third base coach Tim Teufel, bullpen coach Ricky Bones and bench coach Bob Geren – will be retained. However, Geren will interview for the Dodgers’ vacant managerial spot.