David Berg has been following the Mets since 1990, and counts himself as a "die hard fan" -- the agonies have been numerous and arduous, but he's still watching every game he can, determined to "earn" the satisfaction when the Mets eventually win it all. In his non-spare time, David is a designer of graphics, web sites, and games. See his work at Shrike Design
Browsing All Posts By David Berg

Stock Up, Stock Down: Are Mets Better Off Than A Year Ago?

This is the second annual article on this topic. The first one is here.

Entering Year Five of the Alderson “retool while competing” administration, Mets fans are also entering Year Two of “competing trumps retooling”.

Competing certainly didn’t trump retooling entering 2013, when the Mets traded Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays for a top prospect and two talented kids. That’s a move for 2016, or 2015 if everything breaks right, isn’t it? Presumably “sell high” trades of Ike Davis and Jon Niese would follow, and the organization would be stacked for the future. Presumably the mammoth extension given to David Wright two weeks earlier would be budgeted as an indulgence in an expanding payroll, for a franchise icon and gate attraction who would no longer be the team’s best player when it returned to contention in his thirties.

Here the Mets are, though, in 2015, holding onto a creaky Jon Niese, having gotten nothing for Ike Davis, having signed only guys who are getting worse, not better (Granderson, Colon, Cuddyer) – and they’re still playing with a payroll that’s severely limited by what they’re paying an injury-prone, 32-year-old David Wright.


Mets vs Marlins, Position by Position

There’s been some talk lately about the moves made in the NL East, and how this impacts the Mets’ chances in the division. Does the Heyward trade tell us that the Braves are rebuilding? Does the Marlins’ signing of Stanton signal a sustained push on their part? This got me thinking about the gap between the Mets and Marlins – how big is it, in whose favor, and what would it take to bridge it? To that end, here’s a positional comparison of the two teams going into opening day:


Biggest Questions for the 2015 Mets

Many news outlets have listed their top Mets questions, many of them focusing on the team’s best players. Will Matt Harvey pick up where he left off? Will David Wright and Curtis Granderson return to form? Can Lucas Duda repeat? I agree that these are vital concerns, but I don’t see as much uncertainty surrounding them as many pundits do. The statistical projections for all these players seem quite logical to me — Harvey will be excellent though not Cy-worthy, Wright and Duda will split the difference between 2013 and 2014, and Granderson will continue to be the low-AVG, high-K guy he’s been for 4 of the past 5 years. I’d see any significant deviation from these projections as the sort of fluke every team goes through, and wondering about them makes no more sense to me than wondering about Robinson Cano‘s health as a key to the Mariners’ season. Anything can happen, but there’s no particular reason to foresee an injury there.

Accordingly, the biggest questions I’m looking at for the Mets are areas of true uncertainty, where a given player or position is a significant unknown, and could be either a big help or a major problem for the team. Here’s my list:


Frugal Mets Fit Bud’s Brand of Baseball

I was watching the Mets-Marlins game last week when retiring commissioner Bud Selig stopped by the Mets’ broadcast booth to chat about the state of the game and, briefly, the state of the Mets. Bud basically repeated his standard spiel about how the game has thrived under his stewardship, how competitive balance is bringing hope to more fans than ever before, and how he has total confidence in his buddies the Wilpons. I’d heard it all before, but in this new context, hearing it while watching the small-budget Mets pitch and hit, it finally dawned on me: Bud is right. By not acting in the best interests of their own fans, the Mets ARE acting in the best interests of Baseball.

It is the Mets and Cubs who allow fans of small market teams to have hope. Not everyone can just buy their way to a title. The Yankees and now the Dodgers get to be the loathed over-spending juggernauts that make even other big spenders look out-classed, and Rays fans won’t grumble about the payroll advantage of the Orioles and Blue Jays.

If ALL the big market teams bought themselves all-star lineups, fans in Miami and Milwaukee might not buy their owners’ promises of contention. Look how attendance declined in Baltimore when Ripken retired and the Yankees and Red Sox were leading the game in payroll dollars and wins every year. But in 2012 the O’s did a few smart things, caught a ton of breaks, were incredibly clutch, and all the fans came back to watch them make the playoffs. All without the team breaking the budget.

This is Selig’s plan for the Wilpons:


Mr. Granderson, Here’s Why Fans Boo

Like just about everyone else, I have been impressed with how Curtis Granderson handles himself. His charitable work, his inclusiveness with teammates young and old, his generosity with the media, his high energy, quick smile, upbeat tone — as a fan, it’s hard not to like the guy. One thing that particularly stands out in his interviews is his ability to mix personality with politics. Most players either avoid controversy by being steadfastly dull and obvious, or provide quality entertainment at the cost of some feather-ruffling. Since signing with the Mets, Granderson has seemed able to, at the very least, deliver the usual cliches with his own verbose flair, and occasionally he’s gone further to actually say something interesting, all without causing any stirs.

Until Thursday night.