Dec 20

One More Time: Tulowitzki Not Happening

OK, one more time: Troy Tulowitzki is not coming to the Mets.

Yes, yes, yes … there have been reports this week the Mets and Rockies are talking. I am sure they’ve spoken since the Winter Meetings. They could be exchanging holiday greetings, or talking about the weather, or trading fantasy football players, but serious dialogue about Tulowitzki isn’t one of the topics.

TULOWITZKI: Keep on dreaming.

TULOWITZKI: Keep on dreaming.

To understand why it won’t happen one must first ask:  Why do the Rockies want to deal him?

It begins with health, and here there aren’t any guarantees. A healthy Tulowitzki would be great to have, but he’s coming off hip surgery that puts his power potential in question. The Mets don’t have to look any further than across town at Alex Rodriguez to understand how a bum hip makes even great players, well, bums.

Couple his questionable health with the $118 million he is owed over the next six years, and you begin to comprehend why the Rockies want to start over. Sure, they’ll have to assume some of his contract to get another team to take him off their hands, but not nearly enough to make the Mets bite.

Having played at least 140 games only once in the past five years makes him a high-risk gamble. Sandy Alderson has spent his tenure as the Mets’ general manager paring down payroll. That’s why he was brought here.

Say what you want about the Wilpons and their budget, but understand that’s not going to change. It just won’t, and it especially won’t with a high-risk gamble with the cost of one or two of their young stud pitchers, even if one of them isn’t Matt Harvey.

The Rockies are concerned about his injury history, salary and want a talented bunch of prospects in return. Given that, those are the same reasons the Mets should run away.

But you say, look at his numbers at Citi Field. OK, I will. Let’s see, five homers, 11 RBI, a .438 batting average and 1.368 OPS in 58 plate appearances over 14 games. Hmm, well, that is impressive, but it’s not the ballpark as much as it is the Mets’ pitching he’s faced over the years.

Understand, he won’t be facing that pitching if he comes here. If you’re hung up on seeing Tulowitzki play at Citi Field, the Rockies will be in for the start of a four-game series, Aug. 10.

Plenty of tickets are available.

Dec 10

Mets Almost Too Desperate To Deal Niese and Gee

Mets GM Sandy Alderson seems determined, almost to a fault, to trade his excess pitching and the signing of Jon Lester by the Chicago Cubs can only help in his efforts.

Those wanting a left-hander, “Jon Niese is available” Alderson will tell anyone within earshot. But, first things first, he wants to dump Dillon Gee’s $5 million contract. Remember, priorities.

Speaking today with reporters at the Winter Meetings, Alderson said: “We’re comfortable that we’ll be doing something. It could happen today. It could happen tomorrow. It might be a little later.’’

Sounds like a firm timetable. I am betting on later, most likely after the meetings.

San Francisco and Boston, both of whom lost out on Lester – with the Red Sox, it was their own fault as they low-balled him – and Texas, Kansas City and Minnesota all need pitching and reportedly are willing to spend.

Since Lester was the lead pitching domino, it stands to reason Alderson’s phone would ring more. Once James Shields and Max Scherzer are off the board things could warm up for the Mets.

However, it must be remembered Niese and Gee have been dangled by Alderson for several months now. Alderson’s eagerness to trade them sends the message they aren’t valued highly be the Mets. Teams know this and believe they can always come back to the Mets if their Plan A doesn’t pan out.

Any real estate agent will tell you that the longer a house stays on the market the price will go down.

It’s the nature of the market.

Dec 07

Patience Is Mets’ Winter Meetings Approach

The Mets enter the Winter Meetings with three needs, but don’t expect any to be met soon because of their approach of waiting out the process.

They are seeking a shortstop, a right-handed bat off the bench and left-handed reliever.

The Mets want an upgrade over shortstop Wilmer Flores, but for now aren’t biting on Stephen DrewAsdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie. They could have had any of the three if they wanted and their thinking is to wait this out to see if their asking price will drop.

Another possibility, Didi Gregorius, was acquired by the Yankees in a trade. The Mets aren’t inclined to deal to fill any of their needs unless a team takes either Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee. Because determining the free-agent market usually comes before trades, the problem facing the Mets in dealing their pitchers is teams needing pitching first want to see where Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields land.

So, for now, waiting appears to be the Mets’ course of action. No surprise there.

 

Dec 05

Flores Buys Mets Time

With the Winter Meetings days away, the Mets’ shortstop options are dwindling. You can scratch Didi Gregorius from their list today after Arizona traded him to the Yankees in a three-way deal that also included Detroit.

GREGORIUS: Never a real option. (Getty)

GREGORIUS: Never a real option. (Getty)

We’ve gone over the Mets’ options several times this week, and to me it all comes back to Wilmer Flores. Flores isn’t without concerns, otherwise we wouldn’t be going over this topic again … and again … and again.

I’ve written several times why Flores should be first in line, ranging from his salary to the asking price from other teams in terms of prospects and salary for any potential replacement. These players, including Gregorius would tie the Mets’ hands in terms of payroll and years.

However, Flores would only burden the Mets for one season, and they enter 2015 as playoff long shots in the first place. Flores buys them time to figure out their shortstop dilemma and that’s attractive to the Mets. If Flores works out, that’s a plus. If he doesn’t, there’s always next year.

I would hope if the Mets were sure about Flores one way or another they would be more proactive.

Feb 18

Mets’ Zack Wheeler Likes Low Profile

One of the highlights for the New York Mets last season was a double-header sweep of Atlanta anchored by future aces Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

If you weren’t reading about Harvey last summer you were reading about Wheeler. This spring most of the ink is going to Noah Syndergaard, whom the Mets expect will be in the major leagues in June.

WHEELER: That night in Atlanta.

WHEELER: That night in Atlanta.

“That’s fine with me,’’ Wheeler told reporters Tuesday in Port St. Lucie when asked about the spotlight being on Syndergaard. “I don’t have to have all the attention.’’

Actually, in Wheeler’s perfect world, he would rather have little, if any. Wheeler is extremely quiet and shy, and if given the choice, he’d rather not talk if he didn’t have to.

Wheeler was 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA last season in 17 starts. Manager Terry Collins doesn’t presently see an innings limit on Wheeler, and believes his composure and natural stuff will enable him to progress.

Collins said at the Winter Meetings Harvey showed he could make adjustments on the run and thinks Wheeler has that same capability.

Wheeler was matter-of-fact when asked today what he needs to do to improve: “Just being more consistent, throwing more strikes and stuff.’’

Ask any veteran pitcher and he’d say the same thing. That’s one of the things the Mets like about Wheeler.