Browsing Archive December, 2013

J.P. Ricciardi: Teams Don’t Build Through the Draft

Last week, Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi appeared on WEEI Radio (Boston) to comment on the free agent status of 2013 Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew. During the interview, Ricciardi mentioned that the Mets were “very happy” with the prospect of heading into 2014 with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop. Some fans may not love to hear that, but it was the right thing to say — mainly for the sake of keeping any leverage the Mets may have in negotiations with Drew.

What struck me, though, was this quote by Ricciardi, in response to a question about teams parting with compensatory draft picks for signing free agents who rejected qualifying offers:

”One of the things that is happening in baseball right now, that I scratch my head with it: young players are so overvalued right now, and I think falls in with the draft picks, too. Listen, I get it. No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft,” Ricciardi said. “You can’t build a team through the draft because they just don’t all work out. But you can supplement your system, and I get all that. But if you’re telling me I have a chance to get Curtis Granderson over a second-round pick I think I’m going to take my chances with a proven major league player as opposed to maybe a high school or college kid that may or may not become Curtis Granderson.

“Hindsight is 20-20 and we can all go back and look at guys where they were drafted and what happened to them, but in the end, the major league players, the proven major league player, has a lot more value to me than the Double A kid, the Triple A kid or even the kid who is drafted. I wouldn’t hesitate to give up a draft pick. If I’m the Houston Astros or a club like that who is still building, I might not be as engaged to do it. But if I’m a club that is looking to get closer to being good, I might be more inclined to do it.”

Huh. So, for those fans who believe the Mets should be building a juggernaut dynasty through the draft — well, according to Ricciardi, you’re wrong.

Similarly, I suppose Mets fans shouldn’t get too excited about youngsters like Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith.

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments.

Mets Item of the Day

If you work in construction, or know someone who does, how about a New York Mets Professional Hard Hat? This isn’t a kid’s toy, it’s the real thing — it meets ANSI Z 89.1-1997 Type I standards and complies with OSHA regulations for industrial head protection, so it can be worn on the job site.


Meet Jim Duquette and Jeff Nelson, Help Baseball Ireland

Join former Mets GM Jim Duquette and former Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson at Foley’s in NYC on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, at 7 PM for a night to raise funds for baseball programs in Ireland. Money raised will go to travel and shipping expenses for baseball clinics in Ireland.

A group of baseball scouts and players – known as the Baseball Miracles group – will be traveling to Ireland in to hold clinics in Limerick and Dublin on January 18 and 19. As part of the clinics, over 1,000 lbs of donated baseball equipment will be shipped to kids in Ireland.

Foley’s is “Cooperstown South” and the site of the Irish Baseball Hall of Fame; visiting the pub is something every baseball fan must do at some point in their life — this is as good an excuse as any. Foley’s is located at 18 W 33rd St, New York, New York 10001.

If helping promote baseball in Ireland, meeting Jeff Nelson, and asking Jim Duquette why the heck he traded away Scott Kazmir isn’t enough to entice you, there’s one more reason: you can buy me a pint of Guinness! In return I’ll teach you to throw a knuckle-curve.

For more info and to make an online donation, visit the Baseball United Foundation.


Mets May Not Add To the Bullpen

Have you noticed that the Mets haven’t yet added any veteran big-league arms to the bullpen? There’s a possibility they don’t acquire one significant reliever — though, surely they’ll sign a few pitchers on minor-league deals. What do you think of that?


MetsToday Mailbag: Where Does Carlos Torres Fit?

Opening the MetsToday mailbag, here is an email from reader “Mike W.”:

There’s not been a lot of chatter about the bullpen this off season. We hear more about the rotation and in particular the 5th starter spot. One name left out of the conversation has been Carlos Torres who was a nice surprise for us last year. I personally think he is more
valuable out of the pen as a long man to give us 2-3 innings when a starter gives us less than 6 innings. I would want to limit his exposure to keep him effective. What do you expect from him next season?


Should Mets Bid On Masahiro Tanaka?


For those who celebrate the holiday, Merry Christmas! Hope Santa was good to you. For those who don’t celebrate, Happy Hump Day!

Late last night, the Rakuten Golden Eagles announced that they would post right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. In 7 pro seasons, the 25-year-old has 53 complete games and 18 shutouts with a 1.10 WHIP. His K/BB rate is 4.5 (8.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9).

In the new posting system, the highest possible bid is $20M. So in effect, any MLB team that is willing to post $20M can negotiate with Tanaka. If a team posts a bid and fails to sign Tanaka, the team has their bid returned to them. The signing deadline is January 24, 2014.

Will the Mets post up to $20M to enter the sweepstakes? Should they?


Halfway There

Merry Christmas everyone. While the past few years with the Mets have tempered my enthusiasm for baseball somewhat (OK, greatly) this time of year does signal that we’ve reached the halfway point in the offseason. I think “halfway there” also describes the current state of the Mets offseason. FWIW, I do approve of both the Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson signings. I am also willing to remain optimistic that Chris Young can actually contribute. Kudos to Sandy Alderson (and the Wilpons) on this trio of moves.

But then there is this:

“Well, I think it is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago, let’s say,” (Alderson) said. “But we’ve improved the team at other positions. And so giving Ruben (Tejada) a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn’t such a bad thing. But we’ll continue to monitor what’s there from the trade market and conceivably free agency, although there really isn’t much left there. There are two or three teams that are possibilities.”

Oh boy. This sounds like the usual doublespeak from the GM. It looks like we are not only stuck with Tejada again, but some combination of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda at first base. If that is indeed the case then the Mets are at essentially Hold Serve, or another 74 win season.

In my estimation, what this flurry of moves really did was buy the regime a little more time this offseason. At this point, waiting for the market to come to them may not be the worst of strategies. I think holding out for a good pitching prospect for Ike is a sound plan. Either Nick Kingham or Tyler Thornburg would be a solid return. In a perfect world, Ike comes to Spring Training still a Met, launches a few moonshots, builds his value and gets dealt at the price Alderson is asking for (and apparently not getting) right now. They would then need to resist the notion that Davis is “back,” but that is another post.

Unfortunately for the Mets, the ideal shortstop for them currently plays in Toronto and is never coming back here. Stephen Drew is a nice enough name and if Sandy’s “let the market come to us” strategy makes Drew a Met I won’t be too upset. But, let’s go back to Alderson’s quote for a moment. What if one of those “two or three teams” is the LA Dodgers? They do have Joe’s long time fave Dee Gordon, a shortstop with the speed to hit leadoff. Gordon is blocked by Hanley Ramirez and LA’s ranked #2 prospect is SS Corey Saeger, so Gordon is likely available. Maybe a straight swap of Gordon for Tejada? (Or even Ike?) This might be the classic “change of scenery” deal that helps both clubs. I understand that Gordon has underwhelmed so far, but this is probably the year to take a chance on him.

Imagine a Met lineup with speedsters like Gordon and Eric Young Jr. at the top of it. Also it might help the strikeout prone CB Young and Granderson see more fastballs if one or both of these guys can get on base (the BIG if, I admit) and are in motion. Putting David Wright in the three hole, Grandy four, CB Young five, some 1B combo of Ike, Duda or Daniel Murphy six and TDA seven creates a nice right-left balance in the order one through seven; maybe all the way to eight if Matt den Dekker starts in center.

Something to ponder this week while you sip your eggnog and watch the Bowl Games.