Aug 06

Reyes coming to Earth?

Jose Reyes said he’s 100 percent, but he’s not really. He’s not been the player he was before going on the disabled list with a hamstring, and while he’s still had a good year, he once again served reminder of the dangers of giving him a long-term contract in the neighborhood of seven years.

REYES: Vulnerabilities showing.

The offensive rap on Reyes has always been giving away too many at-bats at the plate and falling back into bad habits, such as pulling off the ball and adopting an uppercut swing.

What were line drives and crisp ground balls have turned into weak fly balls and pop ups. He’s taking a 2-for-13 slide into tonight’s game against the Braves, including nine fly ball outs.

Reyes has had had a marvelous season and somebody will give him a payday this winter. If not the Mets, then somebody.

However, two things have surfaced to warrant caution in anybody dealing with Reyes, with the first being his propensity to injury and breaking down.

He hasn’t played in 150 games since 2008, and since 2003 has only logged at least 150 games four times. From 2005 through 2008, Reyes had at least 56 stolen bases.

For a player who makes his living with his legs, there are breakdown signs for the 28-year-old Reyes.

With his health always a concern, so is his performance. Players will always have slides and slumps, but there are still holes in Reyes’ game that indicate Carl Crawford money of $142 million over seven years – which Fred Wilpon said he would not get – will be unattainable.

After three years of leading the NL in stolen bases, he has 32 now, his most in four years. His on-base percentage on .376 is the highest of his career, but how much is that playing for the contract? His career .339 on-base is more representative of his capabilities, and that’s not worthy of Crawford money. I don’t know if it is worth more than a $100,000 million package.

He’s never walked more than 77 times in his career and has only drawn 29 this summer. His career strikeouts-to-walks ratio is 498 to 319.

Reyes is a good player having a good season, but as the last few weeks have shown, there are vulnerabilities in his game that say Wilpon might have been right all along.

 

Jul 01

Reyes sizzles in June. Will he stay to sizzle past July?

Jose Reyes had one of those dream months in June when he hit .385 (45-for-117) with seven triples, 11 stolen bases, 29 runs scored and a .425 on-base percentage.

REYES: What's going to happen?

The only other player to reach those numbers in triples, runs, steals and hits was Ty Cobb in 1912.

How can he not be the player of the month? But, will he last another month in Flushing?

I’m beginning to think he will, even though I am not sold on him being here next season.

Things could fall apart in July and by the end of the month there could be the fire sale we’ve expected, but figuring for a minute the Mets remain competitive I can see them holding on to him and making an offer during the winter.

Doing so will act as a diversionary tactic to focus away from the Wilpon’s financial problems. If the Mets made a solid offer, and I define that being over $100 million for the package, they can always say they tried and blame the market.

I believe $100 million over five years is fair, but it probably won’t be accepted. The Mets must think long and hard about seven years for the following reasons:

* Reyes is a player who does it with his legs and how much running will he be doing at 34 and 35?

* He’s having a superior season, but this is his walk year, and there must be the thought he won’t produce like this again.

* This is the healthiest he has been in two years.

I believe the Mets already know what they will offer Reyes in terms of years and money, and barring a complete collapse for the rest of the month will keep him as to not alienate the fan base.

Should the Mets remain competitive, they will have much harder decisions to make on Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez, players they would prefer to unload because of their finances.

If the Mets remain around .500 and have a half-dozen or more teams they must hurdle, they might see it too difficult to contend and deal. However, should they make a serious run in July despite a difficult schedule they might go for it.

Jun 17

Out of the ashes.

No matter how you slice a baseball season, a team figures to win 60 games and lose 60 games regardless. The remaining 42 determines the success or failure of that season.

Some losses, of course, hurt more than others and last night’s 9-8 balk-off heartbreaker in 10 innings could be one of those games if the Mets cave into the negative expectations thought of them coming out of spring training.

CARRASCO: Balks in the winning run.

However, I don’t look at sweeping the Braves in Atlanta as much a sign of progress as I do how they bounce back from last night.

It was clear R.A. Dickey was off his game and for much of the night it appeared they would simply go down at the hands of Chipper Jones – the real owner of the Mets. However, Jason Bay got a couple of hits and drove in a run and Scott Hairston tied the game with a homer.

All of a sudden, we were looking at a new Mets team, one of grit and fight. Amazingly, the Mets were going to sweep, but Francisco Rodriguez coughed up the lead, and well, you know the rest.

To lose on D.J. Carrasco’s balk was one of those things you never saw coming, yet something not surprising with how things have gone the past few years. Right, typical Mets.

OK, what next?

They could either look at last night as devastating, and now that they are below .500 again, slide into obscurity and take the summer with them. Or, they could demonstrate the resiliency they’ve shown the past three weeks and regroup.

Baseball teams aren’t often fueled by emotions as teams in football and basketball, but the Mets have an opportunity as they come home to feed off the anger and disappointment from last night and continue their building. The season is far from over, but for the Mets the season will be defined by the next six weeks.

If they stumble, management could pull the plug and begin the fire sale. In the back of our minds, that’s something we’ve anticipated all along. Even now, with Jose Reyes playing so well, half the fan base is waiting for him to be traded.

However, should they recover and play well, this team could stay intact and try to make a run at a wild card. No, there doesn’t figure to be any serious acquisitions because of the Wilpon’s legal and financial issues, but there could be enough tinkering to make this an interesting, enjoyable and unexpected summer.

 

May 26

Mets OK minority owner; still have major problems.

The Mets have the minority owner they hope will be able to bail them out of their major financial mess in the fallout of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Mets to get minority owner.

David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital Inc., will purchase roughly 25 percent of the team for roughly $200 million. The sale does not include any ownership segment of SNY. The $200 million will go toward paying down the Mets’ considerable debt, which includes repayment of a $25 million loan to Major League Baseball.

The Mets confirmed the sale this morning in a press release, saying Einhorn has a non-operating stake in the team.

“We are very excited about David joining our ownership group for several reasons,” owner Fred Wilpon said. “David’s investment immediately improves the franchise’s financial position. Equally important, David’s intelligence, integrity and success in both business and civic affairs provides us with another perspective in evaluating what is best for this organization and our fans, and we welcome his input. In partnership with David, we look forward to achieving our ultimate goal of again becoming World Series champions.”

EINHORN BIO

Einhorn, 43, co-founded Greenlight Capital in 1996. He is the author of “Fooling Some Of The People All Of The Time,” a book detailing his battles with Allied Capital. Considering how all this transpired and the parties involved in the Ponzi scheme, it is an ironic title.

Einhorn grew up a Mets fan and dressed up as Dave Kingman one Halloween.

“Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams,” Einhorn said in the release. “ I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets.  In 1975, I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween.

“ I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s little league team.  I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”

Continue reading

May 25

How much does Alderson know about Wilpon’s finances?

GM Sandy Alderson said a $100 million budget is news, and he hasn’t spoken with owner Fred Wilpon about next season. Alderson anticipates a payroll between $100 million and $145 million. That’s a wide berth, and the spectrum ranges from being able to compete to being a bottom feeder.

ALDERSON: How much does he know about Wilpon's finances?

When he took the job, Alderson said expectations are high in this market and meeting them means spending. Alderson said it is not guaranteed the Mets won’t make an offer to Jose Reyes. There can be no assumption made, Alderson said, Reyes will be is gone.

Alderson has made some conflicting comments regarding his role and the Mets’ financial picture. He said going in he knew money would be tight around the Mets, and indicated just because money will be come off the books doesn’t mean there will be wild spending next winter. He also said he’s been assured there’s enough money to make a contract proposal to Reyes.

How big that proposal is uncertain, but there doesn’t appear to be any indication it will be made any time soon.

Considering Alderson’s reputation, I find it difficult to believe he doesn’t have greater knowledge of Wilpon’s financial problems then he is letting on. Maybe not to the penny, but definitely with a handle on next season’s budget.

How do you take such a job without knowing that information?

Or, considering he took the job at the urging of commissioner Bud Selig, maybe he knows it all and is just minding the store until it is sold.