Former Mets OF Eric Young Jr.will get a chance to compete for a job on the Atlanta Braves this spring. He will be battling Trenton Thunder alumni Zoilo Almonte for the chance to platoon with Jonny Gomes in left field.
Young, 29, managed to steal 30 bases for the Mets last year despite a dreadful .229 batting average and .299 on-base percentage.
I’m not sure that Young will make the team, but if he’s wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform when they play the Mets I bet Young will haunt his old club.
The National League teams get into action today, though thanks to a television rights deal that relegates the games to FOX Sports 1, I suspect I will see more of the American League games this weekend. While the National League teams are more familiar to me, it was harder to decide who to root for.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Asking a Mets fan to root for the St. Louis Cardinals is a tough sell. Fans of a certain age recall the late 1980s rivalry between the two teams. Newer fans still have bitter memories of Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright. On the other hand, if you mention the names Mike Scioscia, Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson to a Mets fan old enough to remember 1988 and you won’t be likely to get a positive reaction.
The ex-Met factor is enough to sway my decision in favor of the Dodgers. After the Mets unceremoniously dumped him to save a few dollars, Los Angeles picked up Justin Turner. He had a really good year in a part-time role: .340 / .404 / .493 with 7 home runs, 43 RBI and 6 stolen bases.
San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals
The Nationals might be the best team in the National League, but as long as Bryce Harper plays for them I will find it difficult to root for Washington. Harper has the brash rock-star personality, but his on-field achievements haven’t quite matched that star status yet. Add in some stories I’ve heard about people who sought his autograph at the ballpark… no, I won’t be rooting for the Nationals in the playoffs this year.
A one-of-a-kind ticket to the 1867 meeting where the decision was made to exclude African-American players from the National Association of Base-Ball Players is going up for auction tomorrow. (via Sports Collectors Daily)
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.
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.
Letting Jordany Valdespin and all of his drama go is one of Sandy Alderson‘s best moves of the off-season.
Scott Atchison, Jeremy Hefner, Omar Quintanilla and Justin Turner are all players who contributed to the Mets to the best of their limited abilities, and I’m sad to see them go.
MLB Trade Rumors’ Matt Swartz projected that Atchison would have made $1.3 million through arbitration, while Quintanilla would have earned $900,000 and Turner would have made $800,000. Neither Hefner nor Valdespin had reached arbitration eligibility, so the Mets could have paid each of them around $500,000.
Total gain thus far today: five 40-man roster spots and approximately $4 million.
Despite rumored meetings, I don’t think that’s going to help put Curtis Granderson in blue and orange next year. (And if an aging, one-dimensional player is going to require a three- or four-year deal, that’s not really a bad thing.)
But the 2014 Mets are no better tonight than they were this morning, and they’ve cut loose two players in Turner and Hefner that I did enjoy having on the team.
The next two weeks are probably the swan song for this blog. The domain renewal is coming up, and I don’t really feel the same enthusiasm for baseball that I did when I began.
I could still change my mind, but I’m having a hard time imagining what I might find to say about the 2014 Mets that anyone would want to read and other commitments will keep me from going to more than a handful of minor league games next season.
I do want to thank everyone who stops by to read Random Baseball Stuff, and I appreciate the friends I’ve made because of this blog.