Jan 03

Wonder If Mets Regret Signing Cespedes Now?

Congratulations to those who took the under of four days as the time it would take for me to rip Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson for spending $110 million for Yoenis Cespedes.

However, it’s not something new sparked by recent talk of the Mets being in financial distress or only have $10 million left to spend for next year.

CESPEDES: Think Mets regret him now? (AP)

CESPEDES: Think Mets regret him now? (AP)

That they only have that much remaining in their budget stems from several factors, beginning with owner Fred Wilpon still reeling financially from the Ponzi scandal. It also includes the Wilpon’s reported reluctance to spend, or should I say, history of spending foolishly.

For all the talk about Alderson being such a smart general manager, there were so many reasons why Cespedes was such a bad signing.

First, with the Mets under such financial stress, and with so many future monetary obligations and gaping holes, $110 million was too much to spend on one player, especially if that player wasn’t going to put them over the top, something I wrote after the 2015 World Series.

Secondly, there is the nagging question: If this guy is so good, why would three previous teams trade him? If you’re considered to be a centerpiece player, teams would want to keep you.

There is also the matter of Cespedes’ injury history, his reputation of hustling only when the matter suits him, and his diva tendencies.

Readers of this site know I’ve never been a fan of Cespedes for the above reasons with the money being the ultimate factor. The Mets have too many holes to fill, and $29 million over the next two years and $29.5 million in three years would have gone a long way to fill them.

For somebody supposedly as smart as Alderson, one would have thought he would have figured that out. So, if you’re out there on Opening Day and wonder why the Mets’ roster looks like it does today, just look out to left field.

Whether Cespedes is there or not, you’ll have your answer.

 

Jan 02

Five Things I’d Love To See Happen With The Mets

Here we are, two days into the new year and I’ve already broken one resolution. It was the one about eating junk food, not about criticizing the Mets.

There’s plenty of time left for that, but for now let’s take a look at the top three things I’d like to see happen with the Mets this year, not including winning the World Series.

WRIGHT: Want to see that swing again. (AP)

WRIGHT: Want to see that swing again. (AP)

I’m not even holding out for a winning season, or for them to even be competitive. The following are five individual things or events I am rooting for to happen to the Mets this season:

The Captain: The odds are getting longer and longer, but I sure would like to see David Wright complete a successful comeback following rotator cuff surgery. Maybe not 2006 revisited, but to play again without pain and make the throw from third to first as if it was effortless.

Those arms: I’m not thinking about any of them winning a Cy Young Award. Or winning 20 games. Or even each starting 34 games. What I want to see is just one time this summer the rotation of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler make all their starts in a row. I don’t even care if all five lose their starts. I just want them to make them.

Stay healthy: There will be some injuries, of course, but let’s have nothing like those that shelved Michael Conforto, Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes. Injuries have long been used as the explanation for the losing. I just want Mickey Calloway to not have to write out 125 different lineups this summer. No Mets manager has had something like that since, well, who knows when? Maybe Davey Johnson in 1986.

Solve Murph: Daniel Murphy has had his way since the Mets cast him aside. Murphy left as a free agent, but make no mistake he was pushed away much like Jose Reyes when he left as a free agent. Murphy has also owned the Mets since signing with the Nationals. In the 38 games Murphy has played against the Mets he has 54 hits, of which nine are homers adding up to 35 RBI and a .386 batting average and a .435 on-base percentage and a staggering 1.135 OPS.

Spend some money: Wouldn’t it be nice for ownership to call GM Sandy Alderson and demand he spend some money and bring some talent to Flushing.

I’m not holding my breath, especially on the last one.

 

Dec 20

Mets Might As Well Keep Harvey

I have advocated the Mets trade Matt Harvey for several years now and still believe if they should jump on any worthwhile trade offer. I just think those ideas are gone and he’s not going anywhere because his trade value has never been lower and the Mets have their reasons for wanting to keep him.

HARVEY: Why not the pen? (AP)

HARVEY: No option but to keep him. (AP)

Harvey’s value is down because he hasn’t pitched well in two years, because of a combination of injuries and simply stinking up the joint. A shoulder injury sapped his velocity as well as his command and movement. With the decline in all three, his confidence has been shot since Game 5 of the 2015 World Series when he selfishly lobbied manager Terry Collins to stay in for the ninth.

Harvey is damaged goods. Teams won’t give up established talent or promising prospects for somebody who’ll be a free agent after the 2018 season. It just won’t happen.

Even so, the Mets have to keep Harvey because of the health concerns surrounding Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and even Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ vaunted rotation hasn’t yet – over five years – made a complete cycle, and won’t again this season because either Matz or Wheeler won’t be ready by Opening Day.

Somebody will go down for the Mets this summer. It’s the way of the world and Harvey will have to fill the void. The Mets aren’t likely to sign a veteran arm this winter so they’ll need Harvey.

The Mets’ best chance to get something for Harvey is for him to get off to a strong – and healthy – start and trade him in late July. After that, well, I still believe Harvey will walk after next season.

 

Dec 14

How Big A Step Back Did Mets Take Last Summer?

In many circles, the Mets were favorites to reach the World Series in 2017, and by most accounts, injuries derailed those aspirations. They finished manager Terry Collins’ last season as manager 22 games below .500 after scuttling their roster at the deadline.

That seems to be a lot of ground to make up even after adding depth to their bullpen with the free-agent signing of Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal.

Several reviews of the Mets’ Winter Meetings’ needs mention a set-up reliever, and outfielder/first baseman and second baseman as to what is on GM Sandy Alderson’s shopping list, and cite Addison Reed, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker by name.

The Mets traded all three last summer for a group of relievers that might not make the Opening Day roster.

Surely, if the Mets kept all three, and still added Swarzak, they might still be regarded as a serious contender, even with the health questions surrounding Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes.

The best chance to re-sign a free agent is to make sure he doesn’t leave in the first place, but that requires an ability to spend. Whether they bring back Bruce, all three, or stun us and sign a name player, it will cost money. The bottom line is the Mets have to spend it if they are going to win. That is the idea, isn’t it?

Nov 26

Who Is The Mets’ True Rival

It was rivalry weekend in college football, and while watching Ohio State-Michigan, I couldn’t help but wonder about the Mets’ greatest rivalry. From Day One, there hasn’t been one team that cause Mets’ fans blood to boil over the decades.

A rival is one where the teams compete for the common prize year after year. Often there is bad blood and geography often plays a role. Sometimes there’s a historical event that triggers the rivalry.

The Yankees and Red Sox are a prime example, with the tensions ignited by Boston selling Babe Ruth to New York. Although the Yankees dominated for decades, there was the element of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. In fact, the two superstars were briefly traded for each other in 1947 during a drinking binge between the two owners one night at Toots Shore’s saloon in Manhattan, but was called off the following morning when Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey called the Yankees’ Dan Topping and backed out.

Yawkey did say he’d go ahead with the if the Yankees threw in their rookie left fielder: Yogi Berra.

New York consistently beat out the Red Sox until the Yankees’ historic collapse in the 2004 ALCS. The rivalry still sizzles today, as does Dodgers-Giants and Cardinals-Cubs.

Nothing the Mets have comes close.

With the Mets’ roots planted from the Dodgers and Giants, I wonder wasn’t the interest primarily about fans of the two teams coming out to Shea Stadium to see their old favorites rather than a disdain for either?

Coming into the National League in 1962 with Houston, one would have thought Mets-Astros would materialize, but the teams were so bad until the Mets came out of nowhere in 1969 to win the World Series. That was the same year Major League Baseball realigned into two divisions.

The Astros were just another stop on the schedule until they played in a dramatic NLCS in 1986, won by the Mets. But the sparks from that series turned to be dying embers.

However, Mets’ rivalries varied by the decade.

In 1969 into the early 1970s it was the Cubs. It was the Cardinals in the 1980s. There was compelling baseball played against the Barry Bonds’ Pirates in the early 1990s, but later in the decade and into the 2000s until now the Braves and Phillies created the most tension.

However, the temperature against the Braves and Phillies mostly depended on who is hot at the time. With all three playing under .500, are you really hooked when they play? The same goes for Washington. It’s been ten years since the NL East went down to the final weekend.

What about the Yankees, you ask?

The Yankees’ “rivalry’’ is a manufactured product created by interleague play. They don’t compete in the same division, just in the same city and for the back pages on the tabloids.

Interleague has run its course. It only matters against the Yankees in the World Series.

Let me ask you: When the schedule comes out which games do you circle?