Mets Pass On the Buck, Say Nay to Nyjer

Several players have found homes outside Flushing over the past few days. Let’s take a look at them briefly.

John Buck has agreed to a one-year, $1M deal with the Seattle Mariners — a far cry from the 3-year/$18M contract he inked with Miami in 2011. Buck hit like Babe Ruth last April, then like Babe the pig before being dealt to Pittsburgh (along with Marlon Byrd) in the trade that brought back Dilson Herrera and Vic Black. There was no need for the Mets to bring back Buck, other than to placate fans who own Buck Shot and Buck You shirts. His (lack of) production will easily be replaced by Anthony Recker, Taylor Teagarden, Juan Centeno, and/or any other random backup catcher. As for the intangibles he brought to the team, I understand that Travis d’Arnaud had nice things to say about Buck, but I felt that the veteran backstop’s frequent whining to home plate umpires was a negative influence on the Mets’ younger players (Ike Davis and Josh Satin, in particular, seemed to follow his lead in that department).

Another former Mets catcher, Rod Barajas, has left active duty and will be managing a Rookie League team for the Padres. Remember when Barajas hit like John Buck a few Aprils ago?

Nyjer Morgan returned to the USA after a stint in Japan and signed a minor-league deal with the Indians. Throughout the winter, a few MetsToday readers have suggested Morgan as a possible candidate for center field / leadoff, and, considering his cost, to me it would’ve made sense for the Mets to give him a flyer. Perhaps they did make an offer, and he preferred Cleveland — who knows? His three main tools — glove, bat, and speed — were all wearing down prior to his exile to Asia, and at age 33, being the player he was three years ago is unlikely (without tapping the resources of an anti-aging clinic, of course). But, bringing in a veteran like Nyjer Morgan might have been a good message to send / motivation for the Mets’ young outfielders. The argument against such a move is that the Mets are content with Matt den Dekker, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Juan Lagares competing against each other for roles on the 2014 club. But, sometimes there can be too much familiarity and camaraderie amongst players — perhaps throwing a wild card like Morgan into the mix would put everyone on edge.

Chris Coghlan signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. If he makes the big club out of spring training, his salary is $800K, with another $250K possible in incentives. Again, would it have hurt the Mets to bring in Coghlan to light a fire under the youngsters? Further, Coghlan spent the bulk of his minor league career as a second baseman, and has seen time at 3B as well — I wonder if he’d be able to be a utlityman? If so, he’d be a nice bat to have on the bench. What the Cubs are giving him, though, is far more than what the Mets wanted to pay the “lazy” Justin Turner — who is a similar player but with more recent infield experience.

Two more middle infielders are off the table: Gregorio Petit and Alexi Casilla. Petit is a minor-league shortstop who had a strong 2013 in the hitter-happy PCL; he inks a minor-league deal with the Astros. Casilla joins the Orioles on a minor-league deal; Baltimore originally declined his 2014 $3M option. I realize that few of you ever heard of Petit, and may not be so high on Casilla, but there aren’t many middle infielders left on the market, other than Omar Quintanilla and Stephen Drew. Well, there’s Miguel Tejada, but he’s not so slick at shortstop any more, and he still has about a hundred games to serve on his latest PEDs suspension.

The Orioles also signed Alfred Aceves to a minor-league deal. The lefty will get $1.2M guaranteed, and up to $3M in incentives, if he makes the Majors. He’s been wildly inconsistent over the past two years, with some behavioral issues that didn’t fly in the pressure-cooker of Boston.

Finally (for now), Dallas Braden has retired. Kind of ironic, considering the news of Alex Rodriguez‘s 162-game ban. Post your relevant jokes below.

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. Bill January 15, 2014 at 8:41 pm
    If you are still thinking that another low-cost outfielder would be a good idea, how about a flyer on Grady Sizemore? He was a terrific hitter (and overall ballplayer) at one point – I suspect he can still hit, but does he have any knees left?
  2. Izzy January 16, 2014 at 9:00 am
    Have to disagree with several points. How can yu call Josh satin “young”. The kid is 29. He is in the prime of his career. Young, only if he changes his name. Secondly, I don’t think anyone can influence Ike Davis when it comes to whining. He was a pros pro (if you remember Tom Seaver favorite line when he was announcing) when it came to whining when he was a rookie. Keith Hernandez constantly harped on how bad it was way before the whiny Buck showed up. But as for Buck, 62 RBI wil not be “easily” replaced by the hodgepodge of names you list as Met catchers.
    And I don’t understand why so many “young”Mets players need outsiders to make them work hard. Isn’t seeing the differences between major league and minor league conditions, food, salary enough to make them work hard. Are they all lazy? If do I guess the “lazy” Justin Turner must have had hypnotic powers to ruin so many kids.
    • DaveSchneck January 16, 2014 at 9:31 am
      Great point. I didn’t realize how much Alderson has made the Mets ‘Young-er” thanks to Chris and Eric. I actually think Josh should change his name, it should help him get more playing time.
    • Joe Janish January 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm
      I referred to Josh Satin as youngER, not “young.” He was younger than Buck in terms of both age and MLB experience. Regardless of the job – be it on a baseball field, factory, corporate building, wherever – the behaviors and habits of younger employees who are just starting in the industry are influenced by elders. If they see a “veteran” on the job get away with certain things, or act certain ways, they tend to follow accordingly.

      As for why young Mets players need outside motivation, it’s because there’s clearly little internal motivation. Why would there be? Mets brass regularly rewards their youngsters before they accomplish much and sometimes in spite of negative issues (i.e. Jordany Valdespin).

      • Izzy January 16, 2014 at 6:20 pm
        I’ve been in business longer than you since I knoew I am much older and I disagree completely with your premise about young”er” employees. I have found that the young ones who care about their work and want to get ahead charge as fast as they can, and when they see more senior employees that are lazy, whiney, mopey or whatever, they ignore them and find the ones who are not like that. The ones that are not self chargers and do not care about quality love to look at the whiney guys for their poor leadership. Sorry you cannot differentiate between people and their work ethics. Its a skill that hopefully you will develop in time. Now the Mets are dysfunctional, but if any of their kids need motivation they ain’t becoming David Wright or Harvey. Funny how Harvey flourished mightily despite having to deal with the negative Buck much more regularly than Davis did. You got this one all wrong. You still have the best site around!!!!!!!!!!
        • Joe Janish January 17, 2014 at 12:27 am
          We’ll have to agree to disagree. In my limited experience of playing on and coaching sports teams, working for others, working for myself, and living on this planet, I’ve found that there are two types of people: followers and leaders. Very generally speaking, there are far more followers than leaders, and very few followers ever become leaders.

          I’m not going to argue who’s “right” and who’s “wrong” on this, because it’s moot, and further, it seems that we agree on who are the leaders (ex., Harvey) and who are the followers.

          It’s really weird to me that you’re trying to argue with me on this, because we see things almost exactly — it’s just the words getting in the way. Since I’m distracted lately, I’ll take the blame of miscommunicating my perspective and we can move on. Cool?

          Thanks for the nice words about the site. It’s everyone in the comments section who make it MY favorite place on the web to visit every day.

    • Joe W. January 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm
      From what I’ve observed a lot of our younger players (be they 21 or 29) just seem more immature and less polished than other organization’s players. Maybe it’s because I watch more Mets games than others but the Cardinals as an example don’t seem to have as many “immature” players. By immature I mean not mature AND always needing an extra secondary pitch, etc.

      Seems to me this is an area of the minor leagues that still needs some tweaking by Alderson and crew.

  3. DanB January 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm
    Off topic — Clayton Kershaw signs for 7 yrs, $30+ million per year. Does this mean Harvey’s days are numbered? Even more importantly, does it mean young quality pitching is no longer the cheap way to build a contending team? Is the keystone theory in the Met’s development no longer as valid? Or are the Dodgers the exception? Should the Mets had invested in young hitters, instead? Does anyone think the Mets are ever going to pay one of their aces over $25 million/year?
    • argonbunnies January 17, 2014 at 1:53 am
      It means that the Mets should take advantage of Harvey’s taste of baseball mortality to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Boras will advise Matt against it, but really, $100 mil now has always got to be tempting, even given the alternative of $300 mil later. Because $0 later is another possibility (if you get hurt).
    • TexasGusCC January 17, 2014 at 2:48 am
      I think the Dodgers bought out two arbitration years, right? Was there an urgency to pay him $30MM right now? Would he have turned it down next year, or the year after? If you want to buy them out, give him a little more than his arbitration number and then go long term. Why the need to hit $30 right now? Looking at the Dodgers recent payouts, there must be money trees growing all over the Chavez Ravine because they are just throwing around. Saved the Red Sox (brilliant, sic) and wanted Cliff Lee’s $34MM a year contract for three years but the brainiac Amaro wouldn’t part with it.