Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Hoping the Mets emerge from hibernation

We’re about six weeks away from the start of MLB spring training, and most of the best free agents are still looking for jobs. So there’s still time and opportunity for the Mets to make some moves to improve their club for the 2018 season.

And that’s a good thing, because so far all they’ve done is lock up reliever Anthony Swarzak for the next two years. It could just be a negotiating position, but so far GM Sandy Alderson looks like he’s planning to go into 2018 with substantially the same roster that he had at the end of last season – a year where the Mets lost 92 games and scored just 735 runs while allowing 863.

If the Mets can avoid key injuries — no guarantee for any organization, especially this one — they will be better than they were last year. But still, it’s hard to believe that the current team is likely to have a record much better than the .500 mark.

John Harper is the latest columnist to call on the Mets to loosen the purse strings to compete before the window that opened with the 2015 playoff run closes completely. There’s a fan movement to boycott until Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz sell the team.

I understand where that fan anger is coming from, but I don’t think this is a battle I want to fight.

I’ll savor the experience of being at the ballpark on the one or two occasions I go to Citi Field this summer. I’ll put games on as background noise when I’m home. I’ll enjoy the great performances we get from players like Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes and Amed Rosario.

And if the Mets stop being fun at all, I will stop paying attention to them.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

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Posted in Baseball

I should probably be more excited…

yoenis-cespedes-cci11302016
2016 Yoenis Cespedes Topps Bunt Card, received from A.J., The Lost Collector

Yesterday, the New York Mets made what is likely to be their biggest move of the off-season. They reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to bring him back to New York for the next four seasons that will make him the highest paid Mets player ever (at least in terms of average annual value.

 

And that’s great. No, really, it is – the 2017 Mets will be a lot more fun to watch with Cespedes in the lineup than without him.

But at least according to published reports, Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson‘s next off-season priority is trading away RF Jay Bruce or CF Curtis Granderson.

The 2016 Mets were tied for 25th in the majors in runs scored despite ranking 5th in home runs. And since it seems like the offensive game plan is going to be the same in next year, don’t you want to have a deeper lineup where all three of your starting outfielders are legitimate 20+ home run threats?

But ok, Cespedes is a Gold Glove left fielder, while neither Bruce nor Granderson are considered strong defensive players. Maybe Alderson is trying to shore up the defense in a deal? Nope… at least not according to what Newsday’s Marc Carig is hearing. The Mets are hoping to unload one of their outfielders for “prospects or even a controllable bullpen piece.”

If Bruce is traded, Granderson would play center and presumably Michael Conforto would inherit right…perhaps in a platoon with Juan Lagares. If Granderson gets traded, Bruce plays right and Conforto and Lagares platoon in center.

So unless Conforto figures out how to hit curveballs this winter and starts living up to the promise we saw when he first came up in 2015, we’re probably looking at an offense that will be very similar to what we watched last year.

And I don’t think I have to remind anyone that wasn’t always a whole lot of fun.

But at least we don’t have to find out how much worse the Mets’ offense could look without Cespedes. So we’ve got that going for us, which is something.

Posted in Baseball

Mets make mistake in letting Tejada go

Ruben Tejada (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ruben Tejada (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Ruben Tejada‘s New York Mets career came to an end when Chase Utley broke his leg during last year’s National League Division Series.

With the off-season additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera pushing Wilmer Flores into a reserve role, Tejada was slated to be the Mets’ second backup infielder in 2016… and with a $3 million salary, Tejada was apparently too expensive for the Mets.

According to published reports, the Mets placed Tejada on waivers – if another team claims him, the Mets would be completely free of Tejada’s salary. If they end up releasing him more than 15 days before Opening Day, the Mets still save 5/6 of the money.

If you thought the Yoenis Cespedes signing signaled an end to the Mets’ penny-pinching payrolls, I guess you were wrong.

Cabrera is hurt and may miss Opening Day. Wright is slated to make his first Grapefruit League appearance on Friday, and there are questions about just how many regular season games he will be able to play this year.

Continue reading “Mets make mistake in letting Tejada go”

Posted in Baseball

Terry Collins: "Good (expletive) players" have good numbers

Terry Collins argues a call (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Terry Collins discusses a call with an umpire during a 2014 game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I don’t think anyone who has watched the Mets regularly during Terry Collins‘ managerial tenure will be very surprised by his comments in Bob Nightengale‘s USA Today piece.

“I’m not going to sit there today and look at all of these (expletive) numbers and try to predict this guy is going to be a great player. OPS this. OPS that. GPS. LCSs. DSDs. You know who has good numbers? Good (expletive) players.

For better or worse, that’s who Collins is… he’s going to summon that lefty reliever to get a left-handed hitter out even though the lefty reliever fares better against right-handed batters, and he’s going to go with the hitter who he believes gives him the best chance to win even if those numbers suggest he should use somebody else in that spot.

He did get to the World Series last year and all of the Mets players seem to love him, so it’s hard to argue with success.

But as a fan, I’d sure like to think that there’s somebody in the dugout who is paying attention to the numbers. Someone who has enough of Collins’ respect to maybe talk him out of some of those not-so-good strategic moves, and who can help players identify and perhaps overcome their weaknesses.

Or we can just keep pushing Sandy Alderson to fill the roster with “Good (expletive) players.”

Whatever works.

Posted in Baseball

We got Yo! (and snow…)

The snow plows on the Garden State Parkway woke me up, and the news I saw on my phone’s lock screen made me not really mind so much.

Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to a three-year contract with the Mets, with an opt-out after the first season. He’ll get $27.5 million this year, and $75 million over the life of the contract if he does not exercise the opt-out clause.

Score another win for Sandy Alderson. The 2016 Mets should be strong playoff contenders again.

(And yes, the snow is here too, but the blizzard conditions are waiting for it to be time for me to go to work.)

  

Posted in Baseball

Waiting for Yo (and snow)

Yoenis Cespedes waits in the on-deck circle (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Yoenis Cespedes waits in the on-deck circle during the final regular season Mets game of 2015. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

All week, I’ve been hearing predictions about our first real snowstorm of the winter, which could bring blizzard conditions to New Jersey tomorrow.

All week, I’ve been reading about where Yoenis Cespedes will play baseball this season, which city he prefers and whether he’s a good teammate.

While Cespedes is mulling competing offers from the Washington Nationals and New York Mets that both fall far short of his desire, we’re left in limbo.

Continue reading “Waiting for Yo (and snow)”