New Years Mets Rant

New Year’s is supposed to be a time of optimism. We write resolutions in the hopes of making ourselves better people(or at least, more accepting of ourselves). The dropping of the ball, the fireworks, and the ushering in of a new digit at the end of the vintage are supposed to be signs of better things to come.

Why don’t I feel that way as a Mets fan?

Oh sure, the organization cleaned out the old management and brought in a fantasy team of front office folks. At some point in the far future, that decision may or may not lead to success on the field. But for now, for 2011, success is hardly within reach.

After collapsing from an almost-certain playoff spot in the final weeks of two consecutive seasons, the Mets gave us two consecutive, miserable, unbearable losing seasons. To add injury to insult, we watched Johan Santana go under the knife on his pitching shoulder, cutting out any chance of seeing the ace pitcher start on Opening Day 2011.

Meantime, the Phillies assembled The Greatest Rotation In History by signing Cliff Lee, the Braves acquired Dan Uggla, and the lowly Nationals asserted themselves as a serious team by giving Jayson Werth an irresponsible 7-year contract.

And what did the Mets do? They signed D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, and Boof Bonser, and traded for Chin-lung Hu (whoever that is).

To top it all off, new GM Sandy Alderson announced that although there would be $60M coming off the books after what is sure to be another dreadful season in 2011, the Mets would not necessarily reinvest all of that into 2012. Further, when asked if there would be an extension offered to Jose Reyes, the answer was “we’ll see” — which in turn, means that 2011 is Reyes’ final season as a Met.

This news is supposed to please me, by the way. I’m supposed to be pleased that the Mets are saying goodbye to one of the few players who could provide a genuine reason for me to watch the team play as they drudge through what is looking to be several dark years of “rebuilding”.

And, I’m supposed to be pleased that Sandy Alderson is going to find ways to be more thrifty in the spending of Fred Wilpon’s money. As if I care about Fred Wilpon’s money. I’m supposed to be excited about the future of the Mets because random individuals say that Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta are smart people. Mind you, I don’t for a minute doubt the intelligence of those three men; I’m sure their IQs are off the charts. But I’m just not ready to take a blind leap of faith in the theory that being smart equals World Championships. Perhaps it’s because I vividly remember when Omar Minaya was hired, and those same random individuals expressed high hopes for the Mets because Minaya was “a great talent evaluator”.

Perhaps I’m a pessimist. Or maybe I need to see things before I begin believing them.

Action — and inaction — speaks louder than words. And thus far, I’m not hearing anything that makes me feel good about the upcoming Mets season.

Except one thing: the fact that there WILL be a season. The most inactive offseason in recent memory has caused cabin fever to set in earlier than usual. Not sure about you, but somehow this winter seems longer and colder than ever. Yes, I know winter is technically only a few weeks old, but for me, winter begins when the baseball season ends — and it felt like the season ended in late July (maybe earlier).

It’s about six weeks before pitchers and catchers report. I’m counting the minutes.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. hernandezhof January 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm
    The reason you don’t commit all $60mm next year is because the last thing any fan/owner/executive/player wants is for the Mets to be in this situation again. The idea that Alderson has voiced is that he wants the Mets to have the flexibility to be active EVERY offseason. If the Mets commit $60mm to free agents in the 2011-2012 offseason, that (combined with the long-term contracts already committed) puts the Mets on the sidelines probably for the next two offseasons.

    Giving the Jason Bays, Jayson Werths, Rafael Sorianos or Adrian Beltres of the world large, long-term contracts are not how teams win. What big name free agent helped SF or Tex make the World Series? Aaron Rowand was the only FA with a big contract ($10mm or more) to start for either team (one start) in the WS.

    You don’t win with big name FA acquisitions. You win by developing young stars and fitting in role players around them.

    • Joe Janish January 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm
      OK two arguments supporting the $60M:

      1. Reyes is one of the few “young stars” developed by the Mets. So is David Wright. You might throw Pelfrey in there. Those three men will command serious ducats very soon. Are you going to let them go or use some of that $60M to keep them around?

      2. Why does a New York sports team have to have a budget of $140M?

      No one said anything about giving away 7-year contracts. My question is why you can’t re-spend most of that money — or more — on a year-to-year basis. There is such a thing as 1- and 2-year deals.

      • Steve S. January 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm
        True, Joe. There’s no reason that the Mets shouldn’t have a budget equal to or exceeding the Red Sox budget of about $180 million.
  2. Steve S. January 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm
    I am a bit more hopeful than you, Joe. I hope that Penny and Francis or Young are signed, along with a few decent relievers. That some of that $60m. is spent a year early, and that Bay, Beltran, and Reyes have good seasons. That Thole and Davis continue to improve. That Wright stops swinging at so many pitches out of the strike zone and changeups that fool him. Also that Murphy turns out to be a decent second baseman, and provides more hitting to the lineup. And goodbye to Perez and Castillo! Finally, that Collins is not the boob that Manuel was.

    Then, if the Mets are still in the hunt at mid-season, Santana comes back, and Alderson makes a trade or two.

    • Joe Janish January 2, 2011 at 8:09 pm
      If all of those things happen, the Mets MIGHT finish in third or fourth.
      • Steve S. January 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm
        I AM projecting the Mets to finish third, with some additions in January by Alderson. I doubt that there is anything NY can do this year to finish ahead of Philadelphia, although if most of what I hope for actually happens, they would have a shot at the wild card.

        Niese, Dickey, Pelfrey, and Gee could all be improved, as well!

  3. mic January 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm
    You build with young talent and fill in around them………….

    Omar did. Now DW, Reyes et al aint so young…PLUS the are 25 M Plus they CAN net rebuild worthy talent.

  4. mic January 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    Okay that was not entirely comprehendable. But Whats to ‘assess’….

    DW=DW. Reyes=Reyes.
    If you want to assess…do so with MURPHY, EVANS, ZACH LUTZ at 3rd, Salivate at what DW can bring you.

    Reyes= Reyes. Assess Tejada EVERYDAY at SS. Or go get Alcides Escobar.

    Sorry not seeing much ‘thinking’ .

    • Joe Janish January 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm
      That comment is more depressing than my post.

      Murphy, Evans, and Zach Lutz at 3B, and Tejada at SS?

      Why pay big bucks to go to Citi Field when I can pay a fraction of the cost to watch a minor league team in Brooklyn or Buffalo?

      • Donal January 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm
        Some of us have traded in those Mets tickets for Cyclones tickets a few years ago. You going to blame Sandy for that?
  5. gary s. January 3, 2011 at 12:17 am
    What a depressing way to start the new year.Maybe, Alderson is just doing a “George Costanza” and hoping doing the opposite of what the Mets normally do (waste big bucks on Jason K, Ollie, Bobby Bo etc) and spend no money on anyone will work out better in the end.It worked ok on a Seinfeld episode years ago.Maybe Alderson was a fan of the show.Any thoughts??
  6. Sean January 3, 2011 at 11:38 am
    I guess I’m just wondering what you think the Mets options are in 2011 other than what they are currently doing?

    What Free Agents are our there that they should have been in play for to make thme compete in 2011?

    • Steve S. January 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm
      How about a trade for Carmona?
    • Joe Janish January 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm
      What they are currently doing is nothing, so something other than nothing could have been an option.

      Most of the free agents worth signing are already gone, but here’s a list of some that might have been considered (mind you, I’m not suggesting they should have signed all of them, only pointing out a few that might’ve improved the club):
      Javy Vazquez, Jon Garland, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Grant Balfour, Jeremy Bonderman, Aaron Heilman, Chad Durbin, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Dan Wheeler, Chris Ray, Kevin Gregg, Miguel Olivo, Dioner Navarro, Gerald Laird, Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, Andruw Jones.

      Further, had they fired Omar Minaya back in July or August, they would have had a new GM in place before October, and therefore had more time to get settled and make a real plan for the winter and 2011, rather than scrambling around and having to trash next season. With an extra month or two, maybe Sandy could have made a few impact trades, for example.

      • Donal January 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm
        Orlando Hudson has been off the market for a while now. He somehow wrangled himself a 2 year deal. And Andruw Jones? Really? The only names on your list that interest me are Bonderman and Garland, and only to low guaranteed, high incentive contracts.

        What impact trades could they have made the last 4 months? Ship off Ike Davis? David Wright?

        You really want to commit as big deal to Jose Reyes, who has spent seemingly half his acareer on the DL and has become a strike out waiting to happen and on high priced journey man relivers?

        Throwing good money after bad is how the Mets ended up in this situation. Let Sandy clean things up and give him a reasonable amount of time to make some progress.

        • Joe Janish January 4, 2011 at 12:47 am
          Donal, thanks for your comments.

          I know O-Dog has been off the market; the question raised was what signings I would have made, which includes the past / time prior to FAs being signed.

          Can you name me an OF better than Andruw Jones that the Mets have and is not named Bay, Pagan, or Beltran? I can’t, so yes, really.

          As for a trade, sure, perhaps the Mets could have shipped out Reyes, Beltran, K-Rod and/or other players who do not figure into the 2012-2103 and beyond plans.

        • Donal January 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm
          “I know O-Dog has been off the market; the question raised was what signings I would have made, which includes the past / time prior to FAs being signed.”

          Fair enough, but I’m off the Hudson bandwagon after years of campaigning for him. I think the window has finally closed on him.

          And I didn’t notice Miguel Olivo on your list. I actually was interested when I found out he was a FA. But, he’s not getting me to buy a ticket package.

          “Can you name me an OF better than Andruw Jones that the Mets have and is not named Bay, Pagan, or Beltran? I can’t, so yes, really.”

          So, a 33 year old, over weight, past his prime 4th outfielder is getting you excited? There is now way he’d be able to cover the outfield. I’d rather take a chance on Duda or F-Mart, especially if the FO is considering shipping off Beltran.

          “As for a trade, sure, perhaps the Mets could have shipped out Reyes, Beltran, K-Rod and/or other players who do not figure into the 2012-2103 and beyond plans.”

          Reyes, I think should at least be given one last chance to prove he can be part of the team’s future. Besides, him and Beltran need to be healthy and productive to be real trade bait. Of course, in Reyes’ case, that is a Catch-22.

        • Joe Janish January 7, 2011 at 12:23 am
          Reyes is not part of the team’s future. If he has a good year, Alderson won’t give him the long-term deal he can get elsewhere. If he has a poor year, there’s no justification to sign him.

          I never said Andruw Jones “excited” me. And the fact that he’s 33, overweight, and past his prime, and STILL is better than anything the Mets have, says something, doesn’t it?

          You may want to take your chances with Duda or F-Mart, but neither — right now — is better than Jones. Sorry, that is the reality until one of them proves otherwise. Further, wouldn’t you prefer that those two play every day in the minors and continue developing, rather than play once a week rusting on the MLB bench?

  7. Rob January 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm
    Joe: I think that everyone expected that new management wasn’t going to do much this year. So inaction should not be a surprise. Like I’ve said before, let’s give management some time to formulate a long-term strategy. It is my humble opinion that the Mets have been disappointing (understatement?) in the last decade because management has gone for the quick fix and the short term result, rather than build for the long haul. I can’t say that I blame them, what with all the overreacting fans who are quick to boo and quick to abandon the ship when the team struggles, but the Mets need to start ignoring the boos and the sharp criticism and the barbed comments and the insulting analogies and start doing what they think is right rather than what they think is popular. If they don’t sway in the wind of public opinion, I think we’re going to like the result. And if they lose some fans in the interim, they’ll be back. The majority of the fans are fair weather anyway…only the die hard fan base will stick around during this time of struggle…but when the team starts to win again, they’ll be back. They always come back.

    So now that you’ve vented, relax and see what happens. Who knows, they may just surprise us this year. And if not, the next few years should bring some better baseball to the New York Citi Field.

    All the best,

    • Joe Janish January 4, 2011 at 12:49 am
      Well stated, thank you.

      Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll be able to relax. 🙂

  8. micalpalyn January 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm
    So the comments range from, support apathy, bomb the sunken ship, rearm the torpedos.

    1. What if Jose sprains his hamstring, (odds are 50-50)
    2. DW has an off year with a bad supporting cast.
    3. Pagan depreciates on the field
    4. Pelfrey’s yips get worse.

    Note; CB is a FA so really has reduced value unless he hits .310 with 2)HR at the all star break. Santana has reduced value as he is injured.

    MY arguement is WHY NOT just rebuild? (The Marlins do it all the time)…DW AND Reyes will hook the best 5 (ML ready) prospects of most teams. Consider DW to San Fran for Nolan Baumgartner

    PLUS you still have:

    1. Pagan (RF) (leading off)
    2. Castillo/Turner..(2B)?
    3. Danny Murphy/ Evans (3B)
    4. Carlos Beltran (CF)
    5. Ike davis
    6. Jason Bay (LF)
    7. Paulino/Thole (C)
    8. Tejada (SS)
    9. P

    This is not including ML ready talent coming back. PLUS Francis, Beimel become more cost friendly.

    • Joe Janish January 4, 2011 at 12:58 am
      Mic, the Mets ARE rebuilding. They have said as much, publicly, several times since November.

      However, a team can rebuild and compete at the same time — IF they have the kind of money that a pro franchise located in NYC would have. The Mets were so crappy last year that they could have signed a Type A free agent w/o losing a 1st round draft pick, for example. Further, there is no reason they needed to adhere to a measly $6M budget this winter — it was an arbitrary number, unless the Wilpons are expecting to lose their shirts in the Madoff nonsense. Remember when they said Jason Bay would be the only FA signing last winter because they planned to spend more money in July? So what happened to that money? It could have been used to sign a few solid, healthy arms. Instead we have to hope that Jeff Francis or Chris Young will take the Wilpons’ money, AND hope they’ll stay healthy enough to be mediocre starters.

  9. micalpalyn January 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm
    PS. If the Mets are PUBLICLY rebuilding alot of the boos will go away.
  10. wohjr January 4, 2011 at 5:51 am
    The process has to begin with shipping (not so) young David out of town– I’ve been saying it here since late ’08. Until then we are the New Jersey Nets of the MLB.

    “Until things get brighter I am the man in black.”

    -Johnny Cash