Tag: david wright

Blog Roundup: Mets > NFL Replacement Refs

Don’t look now, but the Mets have won 4 in a row.  How’d they do it?  By beating up on teams that are even less competent than they are.  They swept the hapless Marlins in a series that Mets’ radio announcer Josh Lewin described as “schadenfreude theater.”  It was nice to see another team implode for a change.  Then they won the first game of the series against the Pirates, a team that has echoed the Mets’ pattern of getting off to a hot start, only to collapse in the second half.  Ike Davis hit 2 home runs in the game to raise his tally to 30 for the season.  Who woulda thunk it (to coin a phrase)?

To the Blogs:

For more bright spots, keep reading Mets Today.


Backing Up The Truck: Six Tradeable Mets

This always happens around Labor Day with sub-500 baseball teams. Having realized that the current season is a lost cause, the hardcore fans join the team scribes, broadcasters and even some front office types in the therapeutic process of speculating about next year’s roster. Therapy started a bit early for the Mets this year, when GM Sandy Alderson appeared on the Mike’s On radio show in late August and clearly stated that major changes are coming to the 2013 team. He added that most of the changes would come via the trade market. This fueled a wave of speculation in the blogosphere, which soon reached the so-called mainstream media, culminating in last weekend’s Joel Sherman NYP article recommending trades of David Wright, R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese.

While I agree with Alderson that the time for change has come, I reject Sherman’s notion that the Mets could trade Wright or Dickey for some blue chippers that could be plugged right into the lineup and return the team to respectability. Think about some of the deals made in the last five years involving big name players and what shape the teams that surrendered those players are in now. Since 2008, Texas, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cleveland, Seattle, Toronto, San Diego, Oakland, Houston and Minnesota have all unloaded star players for bushels of minor leaguers. With the exception of Texas and possibly Oakland, none of these teams will see the 2012 post season and most of them will likely finish with a record just as bad (if not worse) than the Mets this year.

It’s no secret that the Mets need to strengthen ¾ of their up the middle defense, jump start their offense by adding both speed and right-handed power, and acquire at least two reliable relief pitchers. That’s a tall order. Extracting a Wright or a Dickey from the roster only makes more work. So not only should the Mets retain Wright and Dickey, they need to work on extending them both before Spring Training.

If Wright and Dickey are the “Elite Mets”, then Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada fall into the category of “Successful Mets,” a group of players whose 2012 production cannot be replaced with an-house option. It’s not unreasonable to expect that the best from Ike and Rueben is yet to come. I would also put Niese in this category, as well as Matt Harvey. If I’m Alderson, I would hold out a king’s ransom in any trade that involves those aforementioned six players as well as minor leaguers Zack Wheeler, Michael Fulmer or Brandon Nimmo. So I don’t expect any blockbuster deals.

On the flip side, I don’t think the Mets could even give away Frank Francisco, Jason Bay or Johan Santana, let alone get anything of value in return. They also have no leverage with Chris Young, Scott Hairston, Kelly Shoppach, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Ronny Cedeno, Andres Torres and Mike Pelfrey, as they all have expiring contracts. I suspect Shoppach gets a nice contract extension to stay here and it isn’t too farfetched to suppose that Josh Edgin and Robert Carson are already penciled in as the bullpen LOOGYs. Rauch and Hairston might also be approached about a return.

So who’s left to trade? Surprisingly, for a team that has fallen as far and as fast as the Mets have, there are a few intriguing names. The challenge facing the brain trust is not only deciding on how accurate the 2012 performance is as a barometer of future results, but also exactly what metrics to use when making those measurements. Dreamt up trade proposals in which my team trades garbage for your team’s treasure are beneath this site and its readers. It is possible however, to have an intelligent discussion on just what the Mets realistically have to offer other teams. I would be very surprised if any more than two are moved. In other words, I didn’t believe Alderson when he talked with Jeter Booster Mike. That aside, here is my speculation on who is available, ranked in order of my perceived value:

1.Dillon Gee: In retrospect, Gee’s injury was the first major crack in the façade of the 2012 season. He may never be a top of the rotation starter, but he has shown long stretches of serviceability and could have a long and useful role in a contending team’s rotation. The injury that ended his season shouldn’t scare off teams as there was no apparent structure damage from the clot. I think he will have better seasons, but I wonder just how high his ceiling is.

2.Jennry Mejia or Jeurys Familia: Two enigmas, but also good reasons to pay attention to the Mets this September. Each has a good arm and can either relieve or start. Both have minor league numbers that are good, but not great. It may be a case of offering them separately around both leagues and taking the best package in return for one of them, with the other heading to the 2013 bullpen. One of them for Peter Bourjos perhaps? (Sorry– can’t resist).

3.Bobby Parnell: Looking at the glass as half full, the Mets do have some interesting arms to dangle. I love the fact that Parnell can throw as hard as he does and fear that once he escapes Dan Warthen, he will blossom into the shutdown reliever many of us thought he always would. But we have been waiting on Bobby to take the next step for four seasons now. Is he being poorly mentored/utilized or does he lack the necessary elements to be a consistently successful relief pitcher? He is heading for arbitration this year so it will now cost more to find out. I believe the latter fact makes both Parnell and Daniel Murphy, who is also arbi-eligible, near locks to be moved this offseason.

4.Daniel Murphy: Wasn’t it Branch Rickey who said he always wanted to move a player a year too soon rather than a year too late? In retrospect, Alderson should have made the trade rumored in 2011 with Detroit involving Murphy for outfielder Andy Dirks. I like Daniel, but I now think the time has come to move him. This winter, Alderson should go back to the Padres and ask if their offer of reliever Luke Gregerson for Murphy still stands. Gregerson would certainly be an improvement over anything the Mets have in the bullpen now. The Mets also have several potential replacements for Murphy in Wilmer Flores, Jordany Valdespin and Justin Turner, although either Wilmer and Jordany could be a blog post all by himself. There is always the possibility that the Flores/Jordany market heats up this winter, meaning one or both of them go and Murphy stays. Boy, being GM is complicated!

5.Lucas Duda: I almost put Jeremy Hefner on this list instead. Duda’s power potential is definitely there, but that may take a few years to develop. He also looks overmatched in the outfield, either at left or right. I could see Lucas being dealt for what he one day might become, a slow footed outfielder, one capable of hitting 20-25 homers. In a less imperfect world, this outfielder also hits right-handed.

This is a key offseason for the Mets; decisions made in the next few months could very well impact the direction of the franchise for the rest of the decade. Time for Sandy to earn his salary, don’t you think?


The Next Scapegoat Is…

Well, here we go again, another year, another collapse. I had no expectations going into this season, but then the team’s invigorated play during May and June, coupled with the wave of sentiment about the geniuses in the Front Office, an improved farm system, the no-hitter, the R.A. Dickey story, the collapse of the Phillies, etc. fooled me into jumping in. Riding the wave was fun, but once again, the crash is brutal.

I think that the Mets’ failure to make a key move in June to shore up the bullpen lead to their demise. They want us to think that they stood pat based on some ill-defined organizational philosophy to build from within, but I suspect more and more that the real organizational philosophy, which is to protect the margins, was the real driver behind this decision.

As I wrote here earlier, the culture fostered by ownership is to evade the truth and to instead cast dispersion on and scapegoat others. As soon as the last pitch of the 2012 season is thrown, they will once again search for a convenient target or two.

To save them some time, here are a few likely candidates:

Ricky Bones: The Mets bullpen has been brutal and the repeated meltdowns right before and after the All-Star break killed the team’s momentum. Here’s a thought: blame the coach. Forget that probably not one Met fan in 20 could identify Bones as the BP coach. I had to Google it to find it out myself. That being said, Bones will likely find himself somewhere else next year.

Dan Warthen: Maybe the blame lies with the Mets “COO of pitching.” His funky glasses and his stumbling/bumbling ambulation towards the mound do make him an easy target. However, rumor has it that he is a “Wilpon Man,” so he very likely gets another stay of execution.

Scott Kazmir/Jim Duquette: The Mets are so dysfunctional that even two men no longer in Major League Baseball get blamed for their current woes. Everybody knows the story by now—back in 2004 (which was two GMs ago), the Mets, believing themselves to be one starting pitcher away from true contention, made a huge blunder by dealing their prized left-handed pitching prospect for Damaged Goods. The fans went nuts, the team collapsed shortly thereafter and the loss of Kazmir was felt for years. The backlash from that deal is felt today, as anytime a deal involving one of the Mets young arms is discussed (see the Michael Fulmer for Huston Street rumors) somebody in the press brings this trade up and the talk quickly dies down.

Jason Bay: Samuel Becket couldn’t have written this any better as the Mets wait, wait, wait for the pre-2009 version of Jason Bay to finally appear at Citi Field. I advocated spinning him off for another contract, but that ship has sailed as well. Instead, Bay likely gets “Ollie Perezed” out of here a few days after the season ends.

Terry Collins: Now it gets dicey. The players like Collins and he seems to get New York. He was smart enough early on to position himself as being familiar with the developing players. When the team played well in the first half, he looked like part of the long-term solution. Now, it is two second half collapses in a row, something that cost both Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel their jobs as Mets Manager. A noted firebrand, Collins looks like he is ready to explode. One ill-directed tirade at the press corps should be all that is needed to start the inevitable decline. One of the factors in Terry’s favor is that there is no obvious heir apparent. Wally Backman has lost much of his shine and there is no trendy minor league manager or current big league bench coach to pluck from someone else’s system. I guess they could call Terry Francona…

David Wright: The Mets might go for the shock value factor and trade Wright this offseason. They could claim to have been overwhelmed by the offer and that they felt a change in direction is needed. I highly doubt this will happen and instead am bracing for a long goodbye to David during the 2013 season.

Sandy Alderson: It is beginning to appear more and more like Alderson has joined the pantheon of players, managers and front office people whose reputation gets tarnished by his tenure with the Mets. Quite frankly, his track record as Mets GM sucks. OK, he doesn’t have much money to work with, but he also doesn’t have much creativity either. Remember Brad Emaus as the starting second baseman? That was about as out of the box as he has been so far. How about the DJ Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, Miguel Batista, Jon Rauch and Ronny Cedeno signings? Can we wait for Zack Wheeler to pitch a big league inning before we anoint this as The Best Trade Ever? Speaking of which, Wheeler has been bombed in two consecutive outings in Binghamton. While Sandy was killing any chance for contention last year, why didn’t he also move Jose Reyes? Instead, the Mets didn’t even make Jose an offer before he skipped off to Miami. But hey, we got the awesome draft pick of Kevin Plawecki as compensation. While other teams are making some bold moves, Alderson gives us Rob Johnston, Manny Acosta and Matt Harvey for Mike Nickeas, Lucas Duda and Pedro Beato. But then considering how poorly the Angel Pagan for Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres deal has worked out, perhaps he should just turn his phone off.

On a more positive note, I do remember the vitriol that surrounded GM Frank Cashen after the 1983 season and the loss of Tom Seaver to the White Sox in a compensation draft. By then, Cashen had a four-year track record of moves that either made little sense at the time or just plain flopped. The Mets seemed to be as far away from winning as they did the day he took over. A year later, the team burst into contention and he looked like a genius. I think Alderson gets at least one more year, maybe two before it gets hot for him, after all, the Mets don’t want to embarrass their friend Bud Selig.

The Fans: Not as ridiculous as it may seem at first. There were snippets here and there by some media tools bemoaning the low attendance when the team was overachieving. Plus we’re all way too negative.

Jeff Wilpon: Here’s the problem. But he isn’t going anywhere. I am back to advocating not spending any money on his product.

BTW- I called the whole Miami Marlins fiasco back in January.


Poll: Mets First-half MVP

Who is the Mets’ first-half Most Valuable Player — the man who has contributed the most to their success thus far? Hard for me to say; on the one hand, David Wright has been carrying the offense on his back. On the other hand, the starting pitching has been excellent, so maybe one of the starters deserves the honor. For example, it could be said that the Mets wouldn’t even have BELIEVED they could have a winning record at the All-Star break if it weren’t for Johan Santana‘s presence — some think Santana lifted the hopes of the entire organization, and perhaps ignited extra motivation from his teammates. At the same time, R.A. Dickey has been simply outstanding; some argue, he’s been the best pitcher in MLB. And then there’s Dillon Gee, who hasn’t been nearly as outstanding as Dickey or Santana, but who has given the Mets at least five innings and a chance to win every single start; that’s a valuable asset at the back-end of a rotation.

Maybe Gee is a stretch, but I’m not sure the Mets have a winning record if, say, Chris Schwinden is taking the ball every five days instead of Gee.

Bottom line is I’m not sure who is the Mets’ first-half MVP, so I’ll leave it to you — vote for your choice, and explain your supporting argument for that player in the comments.

Who is the Mets' First-half MVP?

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