About Those Deck Chairs, Captain Smith

The Miami Marlins are a better team than the Mets. This is why have accumulated nearly half of their win total this season against the Mets, not because “they have the Mets number.” Since baseball seasons are long and unforgiving, there is still a chance that the Marlins can pull even and possibly pass the Mets in the standings.

Immediately following Sunday’s fiasco, Mets GM Sandy Alderson announced that Ike Davis, Mike Baxter and Robert Carson where being sent to AAA Las Vegas. For a brief while, there was hope that the replacements would be guys like Jack Leathersich or Wilmer Flores. Instead, Josh Edgin, Colin Cowgill and Josh (Hail) Satin are joining the big club. This move is like tossing out a piece of gum that has lost its flavor and replacing it with the one you left on the bedpost the night before.

An interesting footnote about this move is that it now looks like the three first round picks that former GM Omar Minaya had in the 2008 draft, Davis, Reese Havens and Brad Holt, have all flamed out. It was one thing to blame the lack of top picks for the poor quality of Minaya’s drafts, but how do you explain going 0-3 in the first round? Minaya really was nothing more than a slick package, who for a year or two had unlimited access to the Wilpon’s checkbook. When blame is being doled out for the poor condition the team is in now, Omar’s short-sighted and biased moves shouldn’t be forgotten. Remember Omar once traded Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips for Bartolo Colon! Good riddance.

Speaking of blame, Alderson rightly deflected any thought that manager Terry Collins could be in trouble, blaming the performance squarely on the players. While Collins is a goner at the end of the year anyway, the only way he gets canned earlier is if he loses the clubhouse. With the season lost, his role is to keep the players in line and preventing the Mets image from devolving into 1992-1993 levels between now and September. He is more caretaker than manager at this point.

On Monday, Alderson appeared on Mike Francessa’s radio show and tossed a few of his players, most noticeably Lucas Duda, under the bus. When all else fails, blame the employees, I guess. He earnestly tried to inflate Davis’s value as still part of the core, however. Later, Francessa revealed “the plan.” It involves the young arms and Travis d’Araund coming up and the Marlins giving the Mets Giancarlo Stanton.

I told you this mess was coming.

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. Izzy June 11, 2013 at 7:18 am
    Ah the crap continues. alderson fails year after year, the team get worse year after year and the lovers of Alderson continue to do one thing BLAME ANYBODY BUT ALDERSON. By the way besides your idioitc rantings about a GM gone for three seasons, your opeining paragraph demosntrates clearly your total ignorance about the game. The Marlins are clearly better than the Mets you say but you ignore your pitiful logic by forgetting that the Mets therefore must be far superior to the Yankees. Your Minaya manure would have worked in year one, a little in year two, but by year three anyone but Rip van Winkle would have put his nmark on the company he runs. But BLAME ANYBODY BUT ALDERSON. You must like going to an empty park to watch your Alderson boys suck. Come back when you could can do something other but be a puppet for the GREAT MISTAKE.
    • Sidd Finch June 11, 2013 at 9:30 am
      You couldn’t possibly think that Minaya was a good GM for the Mets, could you?

      I’ll grant you he started strong with his deals in ’04-’05 but after the ’06 ALCS his moves did more to hurt than help the team-short and long term.

      Also, this is as much his team on the field in ’13 as anyone else because most of the assembled homegrown “talent” out there are comprised of his draft choices: Duda, Gee, Davis, Satin, McHugh, Valdespin. He does get credit for Niese and Parnell though.

      The combination of Alderson’s poor offseason moves and the Minaya regime’s poor drafting as well as talent evaluation skills leave us with this mess we call the Mets.

      • Sidd Finch June 11, 2013 at 9:39 am
        *I need to give credit to Omar for Harvey though. After not having a first round pick in ’09, he did come up huge with the one he had the following year.
      • Dan B June 11, 2013 at 10:44 am
        Omar had faults but he also had some skills. I’d say the same for Alderson. But I think neither GM is talented enough to overcome the poor management and the interference of the Wilpons. I don’t know if any GM is that talented.
        • Sidd Finch June 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm
          Agree completely with you about the Wilpons. Alderson has been underwhelming. Omar started strong but starting with the signing of Schoeneweis his moves became less and less effective–weakening the team in the process. Also, hiring Jerry Manuel was a huge mistake. A better managed club would’ve made the playoffs that year.
      • Joe Janish June 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm
        “You couldn’t possibly think that Minaya was a good GM for the Mets, could you?”

        Depends how you define “good” or judge success. Under Minaya, the Mets broke attendance records every year — playing in one of the crappiest stadiums in the country. The bean counters would call that success.

        Also during Minaya’s tenure, the Mets had a winning record overall (40 games over .500), finished with a winning record in four out of six seasons, made the playoffs once, finished first once and second, twice. That’s not outstanding but some would label it as a “good” run.

        In truth, though, Omar had very little to do with the way the organization has evolved. This has been Jeff Wilpon’s toy since Nelson Doubleday was forced out.

        • Sidd Finch June 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm
          As I said he started out strong but really lost it after the 2006 NLCS. Instead of making moves to put them over the top, his moves pushed them further away. He, and probably Bernazaard, do deserve credit for the work they did in Latin America though. Prospects like Flores, Aderlin Rodriguez, Gabriel Ynoa, Cesar Puello, as well as Domingo Tapia all were signed during his regime. He can still have positive impact on the future, despite his failings in the past.
  2. Happy59 June 11, 2013 at 7:37 am
    I totally disagree with Alderson’s statement that the Mets problems are all player motivated, not the staff’s!! Yikes, you mean that the manager, pitching coach, and their hitting coach have absolutely no culpability at all?

    To me it means something when players play good one year but poorly the next under their coaches. It isn’t always the player, one or two players maybe its the players fault, but when an entire team tanks, I blame onfield coaches and upper level management.

    Somethings wrong in their clubhouse atmosphere and blaming it all on the players is simply………. cowardly, by management and onfield coaching staff refusing to accept more responsibility.

  3. Happy59 June 11, 2013 at 7:47 am
    P.S: Alderson, Collins, Hudgens and Warthan need to go now, before they ruin any new players brought up to the big time. Cowgill? They have better players in AA ball.
  4. Dan B June 11, 2013 at 8:52 am
    Happy, you said it means something when players play good one year and poorly the next. Last year the Mets played poorly. They had one good run. They could have a good run this year and still have a bad year. The players are inferior. There are not enough players in the minors. That is the fault of Met management. The current players are, sadly, playing up to their potential. Collins is only average on his best day but the Mets would still stink with the best coach.
  5. Dan B June 11, 2013 at 8:58 am
    Dan, your reference to the Omar/Colon trade is simply ignorant and ignores history. Omar was GM of Montreal during it’s last year. MLB was either going to take over the Expos or dissolve them. Lee and Phillips were still prospects. Omar had assembled a team on the verge of first place. What good would prospects be to a team that is being dissolved? So he traded them for a chance for a good starter. It was all win and no lose for the Expos who literally had no future.
    • Joe Janish June 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm
      Dan C., I agree with Dan B. re: the Colon trade.

      Further, I don’t think it’s fair to slap Minaya for failing with the three 2008 picks — the draft is always a crapshoot. Prime example: the first overall pick (Tim Beckham) was a complete bust and still hasn’t played an inning of MLB. It’s not Minaya’s fault that Havens became chronically injured; I think many “experts” would agree that Havens was one of the most fundamentally sound players in the draft and seemed destined for a MLB career. And, while Ike has been a disappointment, the spot where he was chosen was, at the time, predicted by most in the industry.

      Looking at the players chosen after Ike Davis, the only ones that jump out are Gerrit Cole (who didn’t sign), Andrew Cashner, and Lance Lynn. Bottom line is that the 2008 draft — particularly after pick 15 or 16 (the Mets had #18, 22, and 33) — wasn’t deep.

  6. TexasGusCC June 11, 2013 at 9:42 am
    Dan, I think that Alderson may suffer from being too full of himself. He should have said the truth yesterday: Everyone is to blame.
    -the players for not executing, like his bullpen, his starters in early May, and his hitters at various points.
    -the manager for not enforcing accountability, not keeping his word ever, and not rewarding good results with more playing time to show appreciation.
    -the general manager for not making changes quicker before morale fell, like not sending Ike Davis down the minute he saw that Wainwright made him look like a fool with three straight outside corner breaking balls that Davis just wailed at and never adjusted, as had been Davis’ pattern.
  7. Yoko Ono June 11, 2013 at 10:05 am
    Not so sure I’d go so far as to say this:

    it now looks like the three first round picks that former GM Omar Minaya had in the 2008 draft, Davis, Reese Havens and Brad Holt, have all flamed out.

    Davis is terrible this year – no doubt. But he’s also been a productive major leaguer the past few years. It’s quite possible that he spends 3-4 weeks in Las Vegas, straightens himself out, and comes back and resumes a solid big league career, but you make it sound like his career is over and – to use the Howie Rose expression – you can put it in the books.

    I think you made some good point but this went a bit overboard.

    Let’s see what Ike does in the next few months and even next year before writing him off.

  8. Mic June 11, 2013 at 11:18 am
    ????

    I am sorry but there is so much selective memory going on here it is diabolical. Izzy hits the best note here.

    Sidd…you miss the fact that Jeff Wilpon pulled the plug on multiple deals at the trade deadlines in 2008 and 2009 that could have put the mets over and made up that ONE game we needed. instead Jeff gambled on Pedro Martinez coming back, or El Duque coming back or 1 or 2 extra wins from Ollie or John Maine. Or let’s revisit that year when the best bullpen arm we could get was Luis Ayala when everyone else’s arm fell off.

    In this case I agree with Izzy, It is year 3 Alderson should be paraded his picks in Citi by now.

    as for the critiques; Kirk and Ike will be fine. Probably somewhere else though like Juan Bautista or Nelson Cruz.

    Chiming in with Happy: I think this IS smoke and mirrors. Look at Kirk for example who has RAKED in Vegas lately, or the other hitters, in AAA including Wilmer and Carlos Torres. If Ike fixes his swing WITH Wally’s help that will signal TC’s termination. Frankly I can see Wally getting at least an audition with the big club this year and it is perfectly set up for him.

    • Sidd Finch June 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm
      True Mic, but let’s not forget the fact that one of the reasons the Mets went as far as they did in ’06 was their bullpen, which was one of the best in baseball even after Duaner Sanchez went down. He along with Darren Oliver and Chad Bradford were three very important pieces in the ‘pen that year. Sanchez was never the same after the injury, while Oliver and Bradford were replaced by the not nearly effective Schoenweis, Mota, Sele and Sosa.

      In that same offseason Omar traded Heath Bell and Matt Lindstrom. This after letting Oliver, Bradford and Mota walk. So in addition to losing two key parts of the ;06 ‘pen we trade two promising bullpen arms, further weakening what in ’06 was a strength.

      It was around this time they made the questionable move of signing the talented, but past his prime, injury-prone Moises Alou. On top of that they traded a young starting pitcher for a talented, but troubled fireballer in Burgos. Bannister gave the Royals 27 Starts in ’07 while we got 17 appearances from Burgos before TJ surgery and a career in felony sidelined him. You don’t think we could’ve used Bannister in the rotation to pick up slack after Pedro went down during the collapse in ’07? Some of the illustrious names we sent to the hill during that time included Brian Lawrence (who hadn’t pitched in MLB since ’05), and a dreadfully overmatched Pelfrey and Humber.

      In that offseason between ’06 and ’07 we also either add or bring back Sandy Alomar, Aaron Sele, Jose Santiago, Chan Ho Park, Fernando Tatis, Ricky Leedee. Tatis was the only one who really made an impact.

      So we enter ’07 with a weaker bullpen and flanking Beltran with a 40 year old who was fragile even during his peak years (I won’t even mention that he cost $15 mil for 102 games played in a Mets uniform) and a once feared slugger who would be playing his final season. Yet they let a cheaper and younger option, Cliff Floyd, go. Even at the time the Alou signing was stupid. So you have a team that’s hoping two old men can put it together for a full season run at helping to win it all. Flawed logic right off the bat-then there’s the “wisdom” of counting on a 37 year old 2B.

      A couple of intriguing OFers out there that offseason were Alfonso Soriano and JD Drew. Aubrey Huff was available as well. Both Drew and Soriano signed outrageous contracts that offseason but the Mets were flush within Ponzi-money still so while 8 for $136 mil or 70 mil would’ve been overpaying-the team had the money at that time. Also each were around a decade younger than Alou. When healthy he contributed a lot to the team in ’07 but signing him to an option in ’08 was pushing it, and the Mets paid the price.

      In that offseason they could’ve shed Alou’s $7.5 mil and put it towards Manny, Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez, or even Pat Burrell. Aside from Manny I wouldn’t have taken any of them over Moises in his prime but despite still playing at a high level when healthy, his body was breaking down and there was no way they’d get their money’s worth out of him in ’08. Instead in ’08 we have the likes Fernando Tatis, Ryan Church, and Endy Chavez out there with Beltran in the Mets OF. You don’t think if the Mets couldn’t have maybe spent a little less $$ on Luis Castillo and more on a couple bullpen arms and OF insurance behind Alou?. Sure they picked up Johann, but even at that time, much like when they signed Pedro, there was talk about arm trouble.

      But back to the Mets being inactive at the trade deadline in ’08 and ’08–From August 2008: http://www.faketeams.com/2008/8/1/584603/mlb-trade-rumors-omar-s-on

      You can’t give all the blame to the inept Wilpons about lack of trade deadline activity without giving some to Omar too. Because they deserve as much credit or blame for the Santana deal too. Which aside from Carlos Gomez, the Mets didn’t lose much. The irony is that the Twins wanted FMart more than Gomez, but the Mets wouldn’t budge. So instead of having an All-Star caliber CF right now, we chose the “can’t miss” arthritic-kneed one. That is a failure of the talent evaluators, Minaya, the Wilpons and even us fans for being so taken by the “five-tool” potential of FMart.

      Also, the Mets really didn’t have much left to offer after the Santana deal. Years of poor draft choices (talent and moneywise) had finally caught up with the team. Aside from FMart there weren’t many “high ceiling” lower A-AA trading chips there.

      By this time a combination of years of letting the farm system go to seed, lackluster drafters, poor offseason planning and moves the previous two years left the team vulnerable to the types of collapses that occurred.

      The owners, front office and fans kept believing we were still just one player or game away from the World Series. In reality, though we kept falling further and further away.

      By 2009, it was all a distant dream and it was 2004 all over again. Neither team was going anywhere and it was wise to not to be buyers. Any true aspirations of post-season glory were gone. Nothing left but bloated contracts, a gutted farm system, a soon going bankrupt ownership who should’ve sold the team and the fading vision of Carlos Beltran frozen at the plate by then rookie Adam Wainwright’s bender.

      • Paul Festa June 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm
        Excellent summary. So many missteps along the way.
      • Joe Janish June 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm
        This comment encapsulates much of what was written here at MetsToday while all that was happening.

        One big miss though: Jeff and Fred Wilpon absolutely, positively tied Omar Minaya’s hands when it came to many of those transactions and non-transactions. Yes, there was Madoff money available in 07-09, but the Wilpons’ sudden and mysterious tightening of the pursestrings during that time is telling — they clearly knew something wasn’t kosher about their “investments.” At the same time, many of Minaya’s short-sighted moves were fueled by the combination of wanting to succeed during the window of Pedro / Johan / Beltran and the desire for winning momentum when Citi Field opened. The Wilpons had the power to tell Omar “no” to short-term planning, but their greed interfered with logic. Shea Stadium was setting attendance records every year, money was flowing, and all the Wilpons could think about was how much MORE money they were losing by being in dilapidated Shea.

        Every single signing Omar made — from Pedro to Carlos to Ollie, Castillo, etc., — had to be approved by Jeff Wilpon. And for the record, it was Jeffy who insisted on signing Jason Bay.

        Today, Jeffy is still in charge. The only difference is that it’s less obvious, and there is an eloquent fall guy in place to take the heat and talk his way out of the paper bags that constitute the Mets’ “long-term strategy.”

  9. NormE June 11, 2013 at 11:50 am
    Dan Capwell, I loved your line about the chewing gum. It was a perfect description of the suituation—-Cowgill, Edgin, Kirk—-meh!
    The negativity found on the blogs is deflating, but probably accurate. Alderson, Minaya, Wilpon and Selig have all had a hand in this mess.
    I hope that Davis gets straightened out in LV, but something inside me says that he just may have fallen off the table. As for Duda, Sandy was right for a change. Duda is a big guy with very ordinary skills.
    Izzy, we recognize your dislike (too mild a word) for SA, but there is no way your defense of Minaya floats. Both GMs failed.
    If little Jeffy is still interfering with SA, as he did with Omar, then SA should have the integrity to call him out or walk away. But that won’t happen because Sandy is still hoping for Bud’s job, so he doesn’t want to rock the boat.

    PS: Did you see the attendance figures for Sat. (Harvey pitching) and Sunday. Under 21,000 for each game. I’m surprised that the figures were even that high.

  10. Paul Festa June 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm
    There’s no point in skipping Leathersich up to the bigs this year, or rushing Flores up (he’s in Triple-A, but has only recently gotten hot). Those would be panic moves, kind of like rushing Mejia to the bigs to be a mop-up man in 2010.

    The idea is to build this organization from the ground up for sustained success. Trying to turn a bad 2013 team into a mediocre by rushing up prospects can only hurt.

  11. TexasGusCC June 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm
    Wow Sidd, thanks for that trip down memory lane. I remember some of those facts, but most of them I have chosen to block out, LOL. I think my favorite was protecting 48 year-old Julio Franco over Jesus Flores.

    In fairness, Martinez was highly touted throuout baseball and we all wanted Santana. You can argue the Mets should have known his injury history…

    Folks, I got this fortune cookie once: “He who looks back bumps his head on tree.” Let it go.

    • Paul Festa June 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm
      That’s my new favorite fortune cookie of all time.
  12. John June 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm
    I feel everyone is missing the biggest point about these demotions. Murphy is playing 1B to let Valdespin play 2B. If the Mets had any use for Mutlrphy going forward, you don’t audition other players at his position. . . especially non-prospects like Valdespin.

    The Mets have shown they do not believe Murphy is part of the core. If that is truly the case, they better be right about Wilmer Flores.

  13. Mike Kelm June 12, 2013 at 9:30 am
    I think this is a good summary of the issues the Mets have… unlike the other major sports, the draft in baseball helps you 2-5 years down the road, and very rarely does a player come up and have an immediate impact- we’ve seen a few players over the last few years who are immediate all stars in Harper, Trout and maybe this year Puig, but those are few and far between.

    The harsh reality of the situation is- and we will have to see if Alderson is honest in that he has money to spend- that we will have to open up the checkbook for some 2-3 year “leased” players. An outfielder like Jacoby Ellsbury who would still be able to play center/lead off for a few more years, a 1B/LF like Mike Morse who is defensively limited but talented with the bat (basically a better Lucas Duda) and a starting pitcher or two who can hold down the middle of the rotation while Wheeler and Snygaard develop to join Harvey should be pursued this offseason.

    As far as the current Mets go… If Ike Davis can find his rookie year swing, then that’s fine, but otherwise I think he might just not be a “New York player”. I have little issue with Murphy getting time in at First Base this season- he is one of the better offensive first basemen, but being able to spell Wright at 3rd and whomever our first basemen is on their rare off days would allow the Mets to pursue some other roll players for the bench this year rather than someone who can back up first/third. I realize that I am in the very small camp that thinks Duda has value- I look at him and I see Kevin Millar- a first base/outfield platoon guy who is above average against righties and miserable against lefties. Until we get 3 good every day outfielders, I think he would be okay batting in the six hole and hitting .260 with 15-20 home runs a year for 100 games a season. John Buck will be a very good back up catcher, D’Arnaud mentor and bench coach in training next season.

    The rest of the guys are on extended tryouts this season. Tejada, Neuwenheis, Cowgill, Baxter, Satin, Valdespin, Turner, Hoffman, Brown, should all get opportunities this year to prove that they can make it in the bigs. If not, keep who ever you need to for organization depth (read: someone needs to play the outfield in Las Vegas) but clear them out to make room for someone else.

  14. Joe June 12, 2013 at 11:14 am
    The Marlins are a better team when they play the Mets, but the Mets played better against other teams. See the record, where the Marlins still have 10 more losses. The Marlins do have a more promising line-up from what I see.

    The minors have some interesting pitchers that provide some hope. Bats, not so much. I’m also with the person who said everyone is to blame, including the staff.

    • Joe Janish June 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm
      Have the Mets played better against other teams? Or did they happen to catch teams that were playing poorly for one reason or another — i.e., the Yankees? I wouldn’t say the Mets played “better” against the Yankees — they played about the same as they always do, but the Yanks were fielding a bad AAA squad for four straight games.

      Also, because of cancellations, the Mets have played 5 less games than the Fish. Maybe they win all 5 of those games, maybe they lose all 5 — who’s to say? But because of the discrepancy, it’s hard to point to Miami’s 9 (not 10) more losses as an indication of anything.

  15. John D. June 12, 2013 at 8:16 pm
    Bill Parcells said, “You are what your record says you are,” and re the Mets/Marlins records, I think he’s right. Overall, so far this season I think the Mets are somewhat better than the Marlins, mainly because of their overall advantage in starting pitching. The Marlins have had the edge head-to-head mainly because their starters have pitched well against the Mets and the Mets’ haven’t. That being said, I think there is a good chances the Marlins will have the better record by the end of the year as their talent develops.