Preemptive Hype

In war there is something called “preemptive strike”, which, essentially, is attacking a rival before the rival attacks you.

In Mets baseball, we may be experiencing something that I’d like to term “preemptive hype”, which is geared toward preparing the fan base for an inevitable fire sale.

The strategy is to hype up players who — presumably — will not be sold. Generally speaking, these are young (read: cheap) ballplayers. Suddenly, we fans are more stories about these young players — both on TV and in the media. Am I being a paranoid conspiracy theorist? Or does it behoove the Mets — who own and control their own TV network — to develop talking points that hype up players who will still be around as of August 1? Does it not make sense to have human interest stories told about young men such as Justin Turner, Dillon Gee, and others? After all, if the Mets do in fact sell off their high-priced veterans, the fans could have reason to stop showing up at the ballpark, and stop tuning in to SNY. So before the fire sale happens, it makes perfect sense to start talking up the guys who are most likely to be kept.

From a casual, cursory glance at some of the storylines of the past few days, I noticed a few instances of what might be evidence of “preemptive hype”. For example, Terry Collins identified Josh Thole as a “leader” on the Mets. Hmmm … not saying he’s not, but it is a bit unusual for someone who doesn’t play every day, and who has had issues with some of the pitchers (such as Mike Pelfrey). Another example is the very recent buzz that Bobby Parnell is a “future closer”. Yes, Parnell has pitched well very recently, and with his heat you’d hope he’d develop into a closer eventually, but he’s had stretches like this before — let’s see him pitch well for, say, 25 appearances, and against the same teams more than once, before we start talking about him being a closer.

What do you think? Is there something to this preemptive hype theory? Have you recognized any evidence of such a thing? Let me know in the comments.

Personally, I’ve noticed a few

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. Walnutz15 July 8, 2011 at 8:10 am
    By hook or crook, I think that a large majority of us will maintain that the Mets need to rid themselves of Francisco Rodriguez.

    You simply can’t risk that vesting option kicking in for 2012 – and at the same time, if you are able to pawn him off on someone else — you can get a look at other guys in a closing capacity for next year and beyond.

    I think that this, and only this right now – coupled with the tentative nature of this team’s success – is why you’ll hear so much “Parnell is our future closer” talk.

    Personally, I’m at a point where I think the team will be looking for it – and that he needs to show something in that spot for him to advance in his career as an actual pitcher.

    You’re absolutely right – in that everyone and their mother wanted to drool over his “101 on the gun” vs. Boston that year —- newsflash: it’s summer-time and guys let it fly in the warm weather.

    At the same time, though – I’m hoping that this has been an actual advancement as a pitcher (working with RICKY BONES during his rehab at Buffalo and not much w/Warthen….cough, cough).

    I’d be willing to go “sink or swim” with him in the 2nd half. Mainly due to my belief that the Mets have some gears churnin’, but will ultimately go nowhere in 2011. “Doesn’t hurt to see whatcha got.”

    Even Beato has some potential, and is no worse than any of the other arms we’ve seen in a “closer by committee” capacity through the years (Ayala, Takahashi, some wanted to see Igarashi).

    Beato’s done a nice job (aided mainly by a nice start to the season) as a cross-over guy – but by the same token, it’s his first year in The Bigs. We’ll see what the 2nd half brings.

    Still, I think he’s just as likely to take the next step as he is to fall to the wayside…..still as serviceable as the younger guys we’ve seen in that bullpen over the last few years. He’s learning on the job, and as long as he’s not burned out – I think he’ll be alright. Not spectacular, but maybe more than people think at this point.

    I know this has nothing to do with leadership, but it’s more of a commentary on why we need to see some guys in different “stepping stone” spots this year. I’m still waiting for the wheels to fall off the wagon; and realistically – Reyes being out for a prolonged period is the start of it, for me.

  2. Chris from Freehold July 8, 2011 at 8:55 am
    I had the exact same thought (i.e., pre-emptive hype) when I heard Daniel Murphy geting a lengthy slot on Mike Francessa at WFAN. The same Francessa who has repeatedly belittled Murphy in the past.

    Then I said to myself : “You’re just being paranoid.” Then I said: “Can you blame me?”

  3. izzy July 8, 2011 at 9:42 am
    7.5 behind the Braves. Why shouldn’t the mets sell. rember the trap Duquette fell into in ’04? Compare this team honestly to the Braves, Brwers, Cards, Phillies… Seriously think this team is good enough to make the playoffs? Thole…Why not hype him even if its a joke. There are contenders who really need an upgrade at catching duw to injuries. Giants! Even Pirates! Yes, Clint Hurdle has them in the hunt despite more injuries than the whiny Met org has had. They are using minor league catchers and Paulino is a guy they know, and cheap. Releivers…All contenders will want a releiver like Isinghausen. You won’t get much but there won’t be an Izzy pitching when the Mets contend someday. So hype the kids SNY. It doesn’t wirk. It doesn’t sell tickets like fireowrks night for a bad team, but what else can you say when you mkae it official that you aren’t good enough?
    • Walnutz15 July 8, 2011 at 10:14 am
      Speaking of the Braves, how good does young Freddie Freeman look right now?

      (301 At-Bats)
      .279, 13 HR, 42 RBI
      .354 OBP/.472 SLG./.826 OPS

      He’s recovered quite nicely from his initial struggles – and is making the adjustment in his 1st full season.

    • Walnutz15 July 8, 2011 at 10:16 am
      Consider me the minority then, since I don’t expect 1969 from this roster….and even at the highest of heights, didn’t ever.

      Like you said, Dog – it will be more about seeing what you have in the 2nd half…..rather than “contention”, as so many over-optimistic fans continue to flap about now.

  4. David Howard's Nutsack July 8, 2011 at 9:43 am
    Way off base Joe! If this was true, then why didn’t the SNY crew start mentioning on base percentage all the time, once Sandy Alderson was hired?



    Oh… they did. Nevermind.

  5. CatchDog July 8, 2011 at 9:58 am
    Interesting topic, Joe.

    IMO, anything short of a repeat of 1969 will have most of the fanbase up in arms. At this point, winning is the only cure-all.

    I prefer to view the glass as half full. In another injury riddled season, we’ve seen some promising play from the “Buffalo Soldiers” and it should now be about setting the stage for next year. This includes dealing Frankie and Beltran, perhaps getting a long look at Duda, FMart and Lutz, plus seeing if Beato and Parnell can finish the last two frames when needed.

    If communicated properly to the fanbase, as long as this team continues to play for Terry, I’ll be satisfied with the results, considering the expectations and the injuries.

    • Walnutz15 July 8, 2011 at 10:17 am
      For some reason, my reply to your post posted above – CD.
  6. Joe July 8, 2011 at 11:07 am
    I have not seen the stories you speak of, but if they are out there (and for those who watch/listen to the outlets, perhaps they are), it would make perfect sense.

    This team wasn’t going to win this year. It annoys me to hear the Mets place in the NL East standings as if they have some shot. They really don’t. The Phillies, unless something pretty bad happens to them, will. The Braves are playing well and some other team (perhaps the Brewers though maybe the Cards or a NL West team) will compete with them for the WC.

    The Mets are outclassed and the theme of this year should be to get rid of some bad wood and doing things in a smarter way. The team could put forth an enjoyable gritty type of baseball — after all, there are many teams out there who are at best longshot playoff contenders who are worth watching.

    So, sure, promote the young players. They are fun and people to root for. BTW, anyone else Gee looks like he is older than his years? Seems to have thinning hair (before he shaved it) in his mid-20s.

    • izzy July 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm
      please name the “gritty” long shot contenders who are worth watching. Are you talking Pittsbuegh in the hunt due to divisional mediocrity for the first time in 20 years. Are you ready to put up with crap for 20 years for one playoff run? Are you talking Washington? They are behind the Mets. Clevelenad? They are heading toward their normal spot under 500. Who are these mediocre teams you are willing to spend a fortune watching?
      • Joe July 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm
        I will if you tell me where I said I am willing to spend a fortune watching them.
  7. BCA July 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm
    Mets will Keep Reyes, Beltran, & others and get good draft picks for them next year after they sign on with other clubs in the offseason. Will make a push to keep Reyes but someone will overpay and give him a seven year deal in which about threes years will be on the disable list.
    • Mike July 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm
      Shows what you know…

      Beltran has a clause in his contract that prevents the Mets from offering salary arbitration. This means that they get nothing if he leaves as a free agent.

      • Joe Janish July 9, 2011 at 1:38 am
        All the more reason to trade him. I can’t imagine he’d re-sign with the Mets in the offseason, so may as well get something back for all that money invested in him.
        • Mike July 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm
          As much as Beltran likely wants to leave, if the Mets felt he was the best option at RF next year, would they offer him a 1-yr deal for like 5+incentive or something like that with possibly an option for 2? Something like that. But,
          A. would he even consider returning
          B. if this was his best offer or if this was comparable would he do it?

          I think it is an interesting discussion. From the Mets standpoint I don’t see why this is a bad idea provided that he is the best option. As we have seen this year this team is not devoid of talent and Beltran is clearly a good player still. He’s an All-Star in fact,