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Thoughts on today’s Winter Meetings developments

Curtis Granderson signed 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card from my collection
Curtis Granderson signed 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card from my collection

The Mets officially introduced Curtis Granderson to the media today, and the new Mets’ cleanup hitter did his best to land on tomorrow’s back pages.

“A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that, ‘True New Yorkers are Mets fans,'” Granderson said. “So I’m excited to get a chance to see them all out there.”

I don’t know anything about “True New Yorkers,” but I do know that the Citi Field crowds are going to be sparse most days unless the team can get fans excited again.

And Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon told reporters today that the magic isn’t back just yet.

“I think we’re still building,” he said. “I mean, we’d like to win next season, of course. But I can’t tell you what other moves Sandy is going to be able to make between now and opening day. We’ve got a long way to go. This is the second day of the winter meetings.”

I can think of one easy move the Mets could make, assuming Wilpon family finances aren’t an issue – sign Stephen Drew and stop pretending that anybody other than Ruben Tejada really wants him to be the team’s shortstop next year.

But of course it’s not a financial issue, according to Wilpon.

“Right now it’s a baseball decision,” Wilpon said, ” because Sandy hasn’t come to say, ‘Gee, we have to go sign Stephen Drew,’ or anybody else for that matter. …

“I haven’t heard him say that that’s the best thing to do with our resources,” Wilpon added. “He hasn’t come to me and said, ‘Gee, if we had X, we would go take somebody like that.’ So there’s still discussion on who we’re looking at in a trade scenario and what else might be out there.”

And you know what? Maybe Alderson is pursuing a better option on the trade market and all this talk about Tejada is intended to help his bargaining position.

Or maybe the Wilpons have created an environment where Alderson knows not to even bother asking for more money to run the baseball team, just like Bob Cratchit learned not to ask Ebeneezer Scrooge for more coal, no matter how cold it got.

Justin Turner poses for a photo with me during a Mets Social Media Day event in 2012.
Justin Turner poses for a photo with me during a Mets Social Media Day event in 2012.

But hey, not every baseball decision comes down to money. Alderson said as much to Jorge Castillo when the Star-Ledger reporter asked the GM about the hatchet job rumors spread by an “unnamed source”  that Justin Turner was let go because of a lack of hustle.

Maybe I missed something – I certainly wasn’t focused on the Mets during the second half of the season (for reasons not really related to their performance) – but I did not see anything that made me question Turner’s work ethic. And I’m more than a little bit tired an “unnamed Mets official” being a source for these types of stories.

One bright spot: Jeremy Hefner, another Met who was non-tendered, will likely return to the organization on a minor league deal while he rehabs from Tommy John surgery next year.

And I just found this amusing: Jason Bay reportedly has an offer to play for Japan’s Yomiuri Giants next season. I hope they’re not expecting a big-time slugger.

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2013 Topps baseball cards will be out in two weeks

The first series of Topps 2013 baseball cards are due to arrive in hobby shops on January 30th, but you could get lucky and spot them at retailers like Target and WalMart earlier.

The official checklist has been released, and it’s going to rub salt in the wound for Mets fans: R.A. Dickey and Jason Bay are both included as Mets.

[via Sports Collectors Daily]

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Winter meetings items & thoughts

David Wright (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
David Wright (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Item: The Mets officially announce David Wright’s contract extension.

Thoughts: David Wright should finish his career as a Met and own nearly all of the team’s career offensive records when he retires. And since he has a full no-trade clause, he doesn’t have to worry about being shipped off to Toronto next winter.

“I take a lot of pride in putting on this uniform on every day,” Wright said. “I take a lot of pride in going out there and trying to play hard in front of those fans every day. And there’s a lot of good times to come.”

Let’s hope he’s right, because as happy as I am to see Wright commit to the Mets, this deal doesn’t make the team better – it just keeps them from getting worse.

Item: The Mets could officially name Wright “team captain” this spring.

Thoughts: Titles are nice, but I think they’re mostly for the fans. Any baseball player that needs that little “C” on his jersey probably isn’t up to the leadership the role requires.

Continue reading “Winter meetings items & thoughts”

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Bye bye Bay

Jason Bay (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Mets fans got an early Christmas present when the team reached an agreement with outfielder Jason Bay to part ways.

According to the New York Times’ Andrew Keh:

Under the agreement, Bay will receive the entire amount he is owed by the Mets, but will allow it to be paid over a period that may extend over several years, said a person with knowledge of the terms of the deal. By spreading out the payments, the Mets will gain some immediate payroll flexibility, but whether it will be enough to allow them to pursue a notable free agent — something the Mets were not expected to be able to do — remains to be seen.

As far as I know, Jason Bay is a decent person. He never gave me a reason to question his effort on the baseball field. But it became painfully clear this summer that Bay could no longer play the game at the major league level. If another organization gives him a shot, maybe the change of scenery (and expectations) will help. Unless that organization is the Long Island Ducks, I don’t think it’s terribly likely.

Without knowing the terms of the buyout deal, it’s impossible to guess if it means more resources for Sandy Alderson to use to fill the gaping holes in the 2013 roster. But at least we know we’ve seen the last of Jason Bay grounding out weakly to shortstop for the New York Mets.

Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be the highlight of the off-season.

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Another day, another Mets loss

Johan Santana

Johan Santana made his first major league start in three weeks last night, and he didn’t make it out of the second inning. He allowed eight runs on eight hits and a walk, but two of the four outs he recorded were strikeouts and he was throwing a bit harder than he had been prior to his ankle injury.

Some of the early hits against Santana just found holes, but the Braves were teeing off on him by the time he was pulled. Too many of Santana’s pitches seemed to be up in the strike zone, and that wasn’t a recipe for success.

Was it just a bad night? Or did Santana rush himself back from the disabled list before he was ready? Or could this be what we have to look forward to for the rest of his Mets career?

I just don’t know, but it’s starting to worry me… at least as much as I’ll let anything related to Major League Baseball worry me. That June 1st no-hitter seems like an awfully long time ago.

The offense fared slightly better against Kris Medlen and the Braves’ bullpen than they did against Paul Maholm Friday night, but three too little, too late runs shouldn’t fool anyone.

Jason Bay got into the game after I turned it off and struck out twice. His batting average is down to .150. Scary.

Scarier: The Mets will pay Bay and Santana $50 million in 2013.