Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Will the Mets’ off-season result in progress or frustration?

Mets have big plans, but are they players or posers?” asks a headline on a Newsday article by Marc Carig.

I suspect every Mets fan who hasn’t given up on the team is wondering the same thing.

David Wright runs on to the field at the start of the game on June 15, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
David Wright runs on to the field at the start of the game on June 15, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

For the New York Post, Dan Martin writes that David Wright is already trying to convince free agents to come to the Mets.

“Some players question what the plan is and say, ‘Why should I come to the New York Mets?’ ” Wright said. “Our track record isn’t exactly great lately.”

Fans are wondering the same thing.

If you tuned in to any of the September games and listened to Gary, Keith and/or Ron talking about their expectations for the team’s plans in 2014, it almost seemed a forgone conclusion the Shin-Soo Choo would be filling one of the corner outfield spots next season.

Now Choo is said to be asking for a contract better than the seven-year, $126 million deal Jayson Werth signed with the Washington Nationals before the 2011 season. Whether or not he gets it, Choo is probably not going to end up a Met unless his market craters before Sandy Alderson commits his available money to other players.

For the Daily News, Andy Martino notes the Mets have expressed preliminary interest in Curtis Granderson, but they’ve got competition from both Chicago teams and the New York Yankees made him a qualifying offer of $14.1 million for one year. He may not fit Alderson’s budget either, and it’s a virtual guarantee that he will not be able to hit 40+ home runs if he plays half his games in Citi Field.

The Dodgers have let it be known that they are shopping one of their three veteran outfielders – Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford – but according to Jon Heyman, none of the three figure into the Mets off-season plans.

Maybe none of these particular players do make sense for the Mets. But at some point soon, they have to start spending more money on player payroll and trading for players who meet needs, even if it means losing other useful players or prospects.

Frank Francisco (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Frank Francisco (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

No matter what Alderson does this off-season, he probably can’t turn a 74-88 team into a playoff contender in one shot. But if the winter’s acquisitions amount to another round of Frank Franciscos, Brandon Lyons and Shaun Marcums, I’m going to be saying the same thing a year from now.

Going back to what Wright said in Martin’s Post story:

“We need to start making an impact and show we’re a contender,” Wright said. “That would be better than anything I could tell them.”

Fans and free agents are looking for the same thing. Let’s hope the Mets take some visible steps in the right direction soon.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Late night ramblings: flying bats, milestone home runs, rumored blockbusters and more

The Newark Bears lost to the Lincoln Saltdogs on Friday night by the score of 9-0 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Friday night, I watched the Lincoln Saltdogs defeat the Newark Bears 9-0 with my friend Bart. It might have been my last Bears game of 2012. Although I hope to make it to at least one game during Labor Day weekend, recent stories about the financial picture surrounding the Worcester Tornadoes leave me with some concern about whether the series will be played.

The only exciting part of the game came in the ninth inning, when Lincoln’s Matt Forgatch lost his bat and it went flying towards where we were sitting behind the visiting team’s dugout. We both ducked, and fortunately the bat landed a couple of rows behind us.

So I missed seeing David Wright‘s 200th home run (though I did get to see it among SNY’s postgame “highlights” when I got home.) At least I was spared watching the Mets lose to the worst team in baseball (mostly – I was home in time to see the bottom of the ninth inning.) Saturday is Mike Piazza bobblehead day, but even with R.A. Dickey scheduled to start for the Mets, I don’t feel like spending the time or money to go into Queens for the game.

After the game, Terry Collins sounded every bit as defeated as his players. “I’m going to tell you something: I walk through that locker room every day and I look at those names up there and I see good players…Dave Hudgens and I sat this morning — shoot, 11:15 this morning, we’re talking, trying to come up with a game plan, trying to come up with a new theory, with something that’s going to unlock the hit box. We haven’t found it yet.”

Although I was impressed with Collin McHugh‘s performance on Thursday, it wasn’t enough to help him stay in the big leagues. McHugh was sent down Friday to clear a roster spot for Jeremy Hefner, who returned from paternity leave. All because Collins must have a second left-handed reliever because he’s become obsessed with platoon matchups.

A tip of the cap to Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers for noticing that 1970s Mets reliever Bob Myrick passed away Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He made his debut the year that I was born.

But the big baseball news on Friday was a potential blockbuster trade between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. According to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, the Red Sox would send Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto for pitcher Rubby de la Rosa, first baseman James Loney, pitcher Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. and outfielder Jerry Sands.

The four Red Sox players are owed a combined $262.5 million after this season. If reports that L.A. will assume most of those costs prove true, former Mets general manager Omar Minaya is suddenly going to look like a fiscal conservative by comparison to  Ned Colletti.

My friend Bart, who has been a Red Sox fan longer than I’ve been alive, wasn’t happy about the idea of trading Gonzalez. But to get rid of Beckett and Crawford – and the money that they’re owed – while bringing back prospects, he liked the rumored deal just fine.

I tend to agree. Theo Epstein handed out some awful contracts during the later years of his tenure in Boston, and now Ben Cherington will get a do-over if he can pull off this deal. I’m not sure what the Dodgers are thinking. Is it really worth taking on Beckett and Crawford to get Gonzalez?

Before the Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez, I wonder if Sandy Alderson could have packaged Wright, Johan Santana and Jason Bay and sent them to L.A. to get a do-over of his own.  It would have hurt to see Wright go, but with each passing day I’m becoming more convinced that he’s going to leave for a team that gives him a better chance to win once he hits free agency.