Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Summing up the last three days

So each time I thought i knew what I was going to write about here, something else popped up. It's been quite a whirlwind last few days and instead of trying to overload about one particular thing or the other, let's just tackle it all head on... shall we?

ON THE REYES DEAL: Ok, plain and simple? This is a rough blow to the Mets and their fans. Looking at what the Marlins got him for (6 years, $106 million with a 7th option year that would be worth $22 million riding with a $5 million buyout which makes it a guarentee of $111 million) it's kind of hard to imagine the Mets allowed him to go when they were fairly close in a five year $85 million range. Frankly, the fact the Mets were unable (not unwilling, which they will say they were also) to match that offer or come fairly close enough to matter to Reyes is frightening. They are a New York team with a huge fanbase in a still mostly new stadium in a tremendous market. The fact this franchise is unable to give an extra year and $20 million to their BEST player to keep him is unacceptable. Yes, I agree he is a health risk, but the fact is this: over his career, when Reyes has been healthy and scored runs, the Mets winning percentage was HIGH. And to allow him to go to a HATED division rival? Unreal. Reyes saying the Mets never made an offer is kind of untrue, since his agents knew exactly what the Mets parameters were, but yeah, they could have showed him a little love and at least tried to dine him a little to let him know how important he was to the franchise. The freakin Marlins called Reyes EVERYDAY. The Mets had little contact. You have to know your own players and anyone who didn;t realize this would be a factor to Reyes dropped the ball. From what Sandy Aldersen has sadi, the mets and Reyes' sgents actually had a good conversation ojn Friday night and was positive enough to spur the Marlins to add a year and another $22 million to their offerand after that the Mets didn't even get the chance to counter since the Marlin's gave a take-it-or-leave-it to the Reyes camp. Well, they took it. Nice job there Sandy.

ON THE RAUCH SIGNING: It's not terrible, but it's not great either. Yes Jon Rauch is a very servicible arm and maybe last year was more of a blip than the way he's heading, but he has an ERA of over 5.00 last year. It's a one year deal for $3.5 million so it's not bad, and odds are he's better than most of what they already had, but this is more of an "OK, let's wait and see" deal then a "WOW!" deal.

ON THE FRANCISCO SIGNING: I can honestly say that the only closer i wanted to see LESS than this was Cordero. Listen, I know this guy has a great arm and packs serious heat. But he lost his closers job TWICE in the last two seasons. The Blue Jays has 25 blown saves last year (which is where Francisco and Rauch both are coming from) and as good of an arm as he has, Francisco is also prone to erratic periods. If this was a one year, $4 or $5 million deal I would be more impressed and happy. It being a 2-yr, $12 million deal? Too much, in my opinion. As with Rauch, yes he improves the bullpen, but I'm going to have to wait and see how this turns out. My prediction? He starts the year as the closer and is NOT the closer when the season ends.

ON THE PAGAN FOR TORRES/RAMIREZ TRADE: I'm torn on this one. I was a big Angel Pagan fan. I know he had a rough 2011 and that there was a ton of reports his work ethic and baseball IQ was nil. I know there was a lot of unhappiness about the "dehydration" issues that took him out of a lot of games. I still liked him and thought he was a solid player. Torres and Pagan are very simular type of players. I know Torres has a much better rep as a hard worker and excellent clubhouse presence and he has much more pop. I also know Pagan is a few years younger and a much better overall hitter. Both have about 20 SB a year speed. The big cog here was getting Ramon Ramirez. Now HE is who I'm impressed with getting. In my opinion, he will be the Mets closer by mid-season and will be very solid in that role. He improves the bullpen a lot on his own, and with Rauch and francisco, yeah... the bullpen in twice as good, if not more, than last year, where the mets were pretty terrible for the most part.

ON THE POSSIBILITY OF TRADING WRIGHT: Listen, right now, the Mets have VERY little star power. They have Wright. They have Johan Santana. The have a budding possible star in Ike Davis. Aaaaaaaaaaand that's really it. The loss of Reyes changes things dramatically in people's eyes. I mean, Bay's star is so fallen I cannot see it ever rising even close to where it was five years ago. Daniel Murphy is a solid bat with a suspect glove that will be beloved by smart Mets' fans and mostly dismissed by anyone else. Lucas Duda is still no one and Dillion Gee and Jon Niese have a far way to go. So take Wright from this team, and exactly why are people going to come watch them? The attendance is bad. VERY bad. It will not get better if Wright goes. IT WILL GET WORSE.

ON REBUILDING: Yeah, at this point you have to say that is what the Mets are pretty much doing. Listen, unless they shock everyone and dive head first into the free agent market next year, the mets are likely to have a young team looking to be in contention around 2014. They have some serious arms in the minors that are likely at least a year and a half to two years away. They have some other very soild position players who could be ready in that time period as well. The problem is, the Mets have NOT said to their fanbase "We are in rebuilding mode" and without a real "direction" the fans have no idea what is going on. If the mets had kept Reyes, I do not think a rebuild tag would be placed on the team, but without him, you have to consider that the fact.

ON THE RUMORS THAT NIESE AND DAVIS ARE TRADE BAIT: I'm sure the Mets are doing due dilligance, and talking about everyone and everyone just to gauge the market and if someone offered something insane like a top five pitching prospect (a la them getting Zach Wheeler for Beltran this past summer) and a high position prospect for one of them I guess they would have to seriously make the move, but I cannot, just flat out cannot see them doing something like this. It makes no sense. Neither player makes any real money and both have shown some serious talent so far. Many people (myself included) feel Davis is a serious .290, 30/35, 105 RBI guy with a great glove. Many people (myself included) see Niese as a VERY solid, higher end #3 starter... maybe even a lower end #2 down the line. Both have showne they can handle New York. Trading either would only make the fans think the team has flat out lost it. Gain, if they get bowled over, I can justify it. Otherwise, it makes little to no sense.

It's hard to be a Mets fan right now. The immediate future is not very bright and 2014 seems far away. I DO like the Mets brain trust of Alderson and crew and i do thik it's smart to build up the minors to the point you are more like the Rays than the Mets of 2009. But I have a fear that as long as the Wilpons own this team that there are some serious dark days ahead.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I assure you... we ARE open

Yeah, so I took the 2011 Baseball season off. There were a lot of reasons, and the inability to commit the proper time to the blog was the largest. However, I'm back and making a go of this. I actually started up and writing yesterday, which was the day the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, which just shows the type of wonderful timing I have. Yay.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The perfect time for Piazza

You know, there is a lot of things I don't get about the ownership of the New York Mets. I don't get why it took them so long to solve the Tony Bernazard issue. I don't get why they seemed to bungle so many public relation situations like the dismissial of Willie Randolph.

But first and foremost, I don't get why Mike Piazza's number has not been retired.

The Mets have very little history to be proud of. There's Tom Terrific and the Mets of '69. There's the juggernaught of 1986. There's the nice (but incomplete) Subway Series season of 2000.

Even when the Mets have what seem will be timeless icons in the making, it manages to go wrong (I'm looking at you Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden!)

So when you have an honest-to-goodness, sure fire, first ballot Hall of Famer with a strong tie to your organization you had damn well better make sure he's so entrenched to your team that no one doubts it.

The Mets HAVE made some nice moves when it's come to Piazza. He got a great celebration when he broke the all-time record for homeruns by a catcher. He got a very nice send off when he left the team and got a nice mini celebration when he returned as a Padre the following season. He was part of the last pitch at Shea (with Tom Seaver) as well as part of the first pitch at Citifield (also with Seaver).

This is all nice. It's not enough.

Let me tell you a story about my friend Tom.

Tom is a big baseball fan (he's a Yankee fan, but let's not hold that against him). He's big into the history of the game and he and I have had endless debates about the Hall of Fame. Tom covers the Yankees (and Mets) for Newsday (first as a photographer and lately as a Videographer for the website) so he's been around both organizations quite a lot.

So for years, he's been trying to get my (and my kids, including his Godson Alex) to make a trip up to Cooperstown.

However I refuse to go. Yet.

We started having the talk about going as long as 13 years ago. I was holding out.

"I'll go," I told him, "the next time a player goes in as a Met."

"So we're never going?" he replied.

The jerk.

My thought was this: Gary Carter was going on the ballot for the Hall of Fame that year (this was 1998). Carter had made it no secret that he wanted to go into the Hall as a Met. At the time, the Hall didn't decide what team's cap the players wore when they went in and generally allowed the players to choose if they had a preference and it wasn't a ridiculous one (like Wade Boggs going in as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray for example). I figured Carter would get in in his first or second year... go in as a Met and we'd make the trip to celebrate.

Ah, the best laid plans...

So first off it takes the voters six years to elect Carter in (which was ridiculous in itself. A year wait yes... two I could see... MAYBE three... but the fact he had to wait six was unreal) so he doesn't go in until 2003.

And second, Dave Winfield and George Stienbrenner changed the whole way the Hall of Fame worked.

2001 saw Dave Winfield go into the Hall of Fame (something he very much deserved). However, he chose to go in as a Padre instead of a Yankee. This, after the Yankees were to give him a 'Dave Winfield Day'. This irked George Stienbrenner to no end and rumors that the Padres paid Winfield a million dollars to choose a Padre cap circulated. Winfield actually had spent more time as a Yankee, it was argued, so why would he choose the Padres? Steinbrenner raised a huge stink about it and the Hall of Fame committe responded by taking the choice away from the players. 2001 would be the last time a plaer could choose the cap that would be on his plaque.

Why is this relevant? Because the Hall of Fame ignored Carter's request to go into the Hall as a Met and placed him in as a Montreal Expo instead.

So of course the trip never happened. Tom brings it up every year.

Back to Mike Piazza.

In 2013 Piazza will be on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. As the greatest hitting catcher of all time (with apologies to Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra and Carlton Fisk), I cannot imagine he will not go into the Hall in his first year of eligbility. Even if he doesn't by some bizarre reason, he'll make it in 2014.

And when the time comes, Piazza woud like to go in as a New York Met. He has been quoted (more than once) as such.

Unlike Carter in his Expo/Met split, Piazza actually played for the Mets longer than he did for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He played six and a quarter seasons for the Dodgers (of course he only had 69 at bats in 1992 so he was only a Dodger for Five full seasons and a half really).

He played seven and a half seasons for the Mets.

He never won a playoff game as a Dodger, making the postseason only once.

He won a number of postseason series with the Mets, including going to the World Series in 2000.

If you look at his overall best seasons they were 1995-97 with the Dodgers and 1999-2001 with the Mets.

He hit 169 HRs with 563 RBIs for the Dodgers.
He hit 220 HRs with 655 RBIs for the Mets. (and that was with missing half a season in 2003 to injury).

(Yeah. I'm trying reassure myself. Shaddap.)

In any case, there should be no reason Piazza will go into the Hall as a Met... but stranger things have happened. So why take chances?

The Mets need to take total possession of the image of Piazza. Right now, when you look at Tom Seaver, you think "Mets". You don't think "Reds". The same has to be with Piazza. Have a Mike Piazza Day. Retire his number. Offer him a position in the front office or the Broadcast booth (he's actually pretty good) or as a scout or a coach or something. ANYthing.

Make sure that when the HOF committe has to choose that cap, they think "Piazza? Met. All the way."

With all of the issues the owners have... with the doubts about the on-field team most people seem to have... isn't this the perfect time to start garnering some good vibes? Wash away the crap for a while and do something the entire fan base will not only get behind, but will love.

My God. What are you waiting for? Do it already.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Counting on Murphy

With the Mets second base position a wide open competition, so far it doesn't look too much like any one person has a solid leg up. Manager Terry Collins feels that second base is an "offensive position" which would bode well for Daniel Murphy.

I'm a fan of Murphy. I liked him as a rookie in 2009 and was sorry to see him get hurt and miss the 2010 season (although in the end it was the first of s string of things to happen that resulted in Ike Davis' call up in early 2010). Right now he's deep in the mix fpr the Mets second base job and in my opinion, it should be his to lose.

Yes, I know he's not your protypical second baseman. I know his defense is suspect and his experiance is more so. I'm not saying I don't care... but... I don't.

Murphy has a good bat. He's not going to make anyone forget Chase Utley, but Murphy's major league talent is with his stick and his hustling, excellent attitude. He'll struggle a little in the field and he'll not get to balls he should. I admit that. However, he's a full-speed ahead player who will give his all for his team, which is something everyone should like. I think his bat will be solid enough to look past the issues he has with his glove, and in the end he will likely be part of a platoon with someone who has a stronger defensive tag, to even out his rougher pedigree out there.

Yeah, this is a matter of liking the player despite some obvious faults, but looking at how badly some players have played defense at 2nd in the past on winning teams (Alfonzo Soriano or Dan Uggla anyone?) it's not the end of the world. If he's a total mess out there, well yeah... he'll need to come out and the experiment will be a failure, but somehow I think he'll be good enough to get by, and he'll do enough at the plate to let the Met fans excuse that ground ball just out of his reach.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's full circle for Izzy

Out of baseball for over a year, Jason Isringhausen is attempting a comeback. In doing so, he's returned to the team he started with.

Isringhausen was part of the Mets' Generation K. The trio of starting pitchers (Isringhausen, Bill Pulsephiler and Paul Wilson) that were supposed to be the Mets version of John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in the mid 1990s. In the end injuries derailed all three and Isringhausen only really found big time success as a closer for the Oakland A's after being traded in 1999.

He would go on to save 293 games for the A's and Cardinals (he pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009 but didn't save any games).

Isringhausen asked the Mets for a tryout and they obliged and were pleasently rewarded. His curveball looks good and he seems healthy. If he is, the chances of him making the team is actually fairly good.

It's nice to see him in camp. I like the fact he's there and could be a nice stable arm in the bullpen. I could see him (again, if healthy) being a nice compliment to Bobby Parnell in the setup role. His experiance alone will be helpful to the youngster.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's the rush?

Oliver Perez is in camp and basically is viewed as a dead man walking. Odds are he'll be out on he butt in about two/three weeks.

This isn't really speculation. It's pretty much expected unless he manages to find a few mils an hour on his fastball and stops walking people.

I have heard the question though... "why is he even in camp?"

Well, basically... why not? The Mets have to pay him anyway. His being in camp could possibly (albiet doubtfully) do two things:

1 - He could actually pitch well enough that he earns a spot. Likely in the bullpen if this was to happen. It's doubtful. VERY doubtful. Chances of happening: about 10%.

2 - Could pitch well enough that the Mets could trade him, while eating about 90% of his contract. Also doubtful, but slightly more possible considering the lack of depth in pitching for many teams. Chances of happening: about 16%.

Listen, I don't want Perez taking up innings that someone who will really benefit will miss out on (say Dillion Gee, Pat Misch or D.J. Carrasco) but for now the Mets don't lose anything in having him in camp. While I doubt it'll do anything much for the Mets, the slim chance it could work out is worth the amount of time. I just hope the Mets know when to draw the line and in reality, I think they do.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who says the Mets couldn't sign Pujols?

You know, I'm getting a little tired of this.

Everyone and his brother has basically written the Mets off as a franchise at this point. The Madoff Ponzi scheme hit the Mets' principal owners hard. In that there is no doubt. There is a definite chance that it will effect the Mets organization.

A chance.

However, from everything I'm reading and hearing, pretty much the world is expecting the Mets to become the New York version of the Pittsburg Pirates. A team that will spend little and have few reasons to expect a winning future anytime soon.

This is just flat out ridiculous.

First off, even with the lack of big spending this offseason, the Mets will STILL be in the top part of payroll in the Major Leagues. The Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Cubs will have higher payrolls. That is pretty much it.

Second, the Mets may not have been SMART with money in the past, but they have not been cheap. They have often been in the mix for high profile players.

With the news that the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols have not reached an agreement on a contact extention by this past Wednesday's deadline, many people are spectulating exactly what will happen to the best player in baseball.

I, myself, still think there is a better than decent chance he will return to the Cardinals. In my opinion, the second most likely place for him is actually the Chicago Cubs.

But I've heard time and time again how the Red Sox and Yankees, along with the Angels and Rangers are all possible landing spots. This despite both the Sox and Yankees having younger, big time, long term signed 1st basemen already (yes, I think the Adrian Gonzales signing is a for-gone conclusion). The same "experts" mention the Mets and in every case dismiss any possibility that the Mets would pursue, much less be able to sign Pojols. They use the Mets inability to spend, lack of history of spending, or lack of resources as the reasons.

I say bull$*!#.

Give me a break here. Without even much research I could come up with the bare bones of a scenerio where the Mets could look to sign Pujols and still be able to field a very competitive club for years to come.

Ok, follow me here. My number projections could likely be somewhat a little low, but in all honesty are more than in the ballpark.

The Mets have $60 million coming off the books after this season. That much is known and not under debate.

However, part of this goes away when you factor in the fact that Francisco Rodriguez can trigger a fourth year in his existing 3-year deal at $17.5 million if he finishes 55 games in 2011. I have no idea if that will happen or not. Somehow I get the idea that Sandy Alerson doesn't want to lay a closers $17.5 million. I do not know if that option remains if the Mets trade him in 2011. Last year was the first time since becoming a closer that K-Rod didn't finish 55 games. If he hadn't gotten into the altercation with his father-in-law he would have likely finished 55 games though. He pitched in 46 before messing up his thumb on August 14th.

So, ok... K-Rod could still be on the team and making $17.5 million. I will keep that in mind and paint the scenario as if he will be a Met in 2012.

The other notable free agents in 2012 for the Mets are Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Oliver Perez. There are other names coming off too, but I'll stick with the bigger ones for now.

Reyes is going to make $11 million in 2011. Let's say you resign Reyes and he gets a 6 year, $88 million dollar contract with a fairly easily obtainable (if healthy in years 5 and 6) 7th year option that would round out the whole contract at about $103 million. That is an average of roughly $14.7 million a year. Say it's $13.5 million in 2010 then the rest of the contract averages $14.9 a year. Would that be enough? Factoring in his health issues I think that is somewhere in the realm.

By letting Beltran ($18 million), Castillo ($6 million) and Perez ($12 million) go, you automatically have a $36 million set to play with for 2012. Yeah I know you're not looking to spend that all on one player and the Mets are supposedly looking to keep the payroll slightly on the south side of $140 million in 2012. No worry... you still can.

But wait! It's not REALLY $36 million free. Why? Reyes has a $2.5 million dollar raise in 2012. K-Rod gets a $3.5 raise (assuming he is still on the team). That is $31 million from your $60 million coming off the books. That leaves you actualy with $29 million left of that $60 coming off the books.

Still, no problem here.

Ok, we're going to look at this keeping not just 2012 in mind, but also 2013, 2014 and 2015 (if not 2016).

The Mets could offer Pujols a nine year, $247.5 million (averaging at $27.5 million a year).

The Reyes/Pujols/K-Rod contracts in 2012 would combine for $58.5 million. Then they could spin the very talented Ike Davis in a trade with another young pitching prospect (or more likley highly regarded Shortstop prospect Wilmer Flores since you now have another 6 years of Reyes at short anyway) for a front end of the rotation arm.

For 2012 (and going forward) you would look to have rookie Reese Havens as your 2nd baseman, Josh Thole as your catcher, Jon Neise and Dillion Gee in the rotation, Angel Pagan as your centerfielder and Lucas Duca, Fernando Martinez or Cory Vaughn in rightfield. Pagan, Thole, Neise and Gee all will have a few years of Major league experiance meaning your are really only looking at two rookies in the lineup. None of these players will make a lot of money (except possibly Pagan) for at least the first four to five years of Pujols' contract. Gee could actually find himself in the bullpen if Chris Young really works out or if Jenrry Mejia is able to crack the starting rotation.

Yes having two rookies in an everyday line up is a little scary, but look at the lineup:

Duca, Martinez or Vaughn

You also have a possible Daniel Murphy in that mix with Havens at second.

Add in a healthy Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Niese Gee/Mejia/Young and whom ever you can spin Davis/Flores for (say a Matt Cain, Chad Billingsley type) and you have a pretty good team.

That team would be right about at the $140 million mark. Most likely a somewhat over depending on raises for other players and who leaves and who else comes on. It's viable though... add in the crackshot management team of Alderson, Riccardi and Co. and it's not something you can just dismiss as impossible.

Also if the Mets keep K-Rod's option from vesting or they manage to trade him, then there is more money on the table (with someone like Bobby Parnell as a possible replacement as closer).

And do you think for a second ticket sales wouldn't go through the roof? They would. Even if the Mets raise ticket prices as a result (which they liikely would).

Citifield would become a rockin place with buzz they haven't had since the Mets traded for Mike Piazza back in 1998.

Is it likely? I didn't say that. Are my numbers off? Most likely, but I would wager they aren't TOO far off.

But could it happen?

Yeah, it could. Never say never.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Would Sabathia opt out?

So yesterday, C. C. Sabathia was asked about the possibility of exercising the opt out clause in his contract after this season and in response he said "I have no idea. Anything's possible."

Not quite the soundbite that the Yanks and their fans were looking to hear.

So what does that mean? Is it possible that Sabathia would opt out? You wouldn;t have thought so a year ago. The Yankees had just come off a World Series championship and things looked quite rosy for the team. Not that a LOT has changed... the Yanks did lose out in the AL Championship Series to the texas Rangers last year and there are questions about the starting rotation that have some people thinking the Bronx Bombers are in some trouble thie year... but it's not like the team outlook is bleak.

There are nagging thoughts though... Sabathia never seemed to really want to come to the Bronx. Even with no other offers even close to the hugh seven year deal the Yanks have put on the table, Sabathia held out for so long that eventually the opt out clause was put in. For whatever reason, Sabathia was hesident to come to the Yankees and even with the huge championship ride in 2009 it seems that he's not 100% enamored with his presence there.

Sabathia has five years remaining on the $161 Million Dollar contract he signed before the 2009 season. If he opts out he will be 31 years of age and leaving about $90 Million on the table. Looking at Cliff Lee's 5-year $120 million dolar contract (Lee was 32 when he signed that) it's not out of the question that with another strong year similar to last years 19-8, 3.37 ERA season could get Sabathia a five or six year deal worh as much as $150 million.

After the World Series Championship in 2009, the left-hander repeatedly said that he likes New York and enjoys playing for the Yankees and would not try to become a free agent via opt out. While he hasn't reversed that, the changing of his tune might mean the Yanks will have to consider going against company policy and discuss a contract extention.

While I doubt Sabathia will opt out, it's not a crazy question. If Sabathia has a great year but the Yankees do not, and it looks like he could get a nice payoff with an opt out, it's certainly within the realm of possibility that he'd look to take a leap out... especially if he really didn't want to be in pinstrips in the first place.

Listen, no one really imagined A-Rod out opt out either... but he did and turned his insane contract into an even MORE insane one. Who's to think Sabathia wouldn't do the same?

Look at the Phillies rotation. Now look how well Sabathia has thrived in New York and in the AL East. Do you think an NL team like the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals or maybe even the Mets wouldn't consider an offer of six years, $150 million to try and counteract that? Al teams like the Angels, White Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, And Rangers might all be willing to go to those lengths as well. There would be a lot of interest in Sabathia should be opt out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Does New York have the worst owners in sports?

Yeah it's a hell of a question isn't it?

Ok, right away I would have to excuse the Jets' Woody Johnson and the Giants' John Mara and Steve Tisch from this conversation. Both teams have been run pretty well and none of those guys really have anything to be embarresed about for quite a while.

So let's look at the rest and leave the NFL owners out of this.

I don't think any of you need me to rehash this. The Mets' ownership has been a near laughing stock more often than not the last few years. From the weird constant shifting change of directions for the team in 2007-2009, the horrible handling of the Willie Randolph firing, the bizarre public relations snafu's, the entire Tony Bernazard debacle, the obvious loss of power of Omar Minaya, the way-too-much hands on work of Jeff Wilpon on team baseball strategy and running, the ponzi schemes, the bad press, the lack of respect the team gets despite being such a big market team... it's just an endless stream of embarrassment for this franchise. The latest lawsuit and the real possibility that the Wilpons and Katz may actually be forced to sell the team is just the latest in a list of things that no fan of the club wants to hear. If the team was winning at least you'd be able to take things in stride, but the last four seasons have been beyond rough.

What would you call an owner that spends a crapload of money, yet NEVER seems to have teams with winning seasons, all the while making bizarre decisions that no one can figure out? Yep, you call him James Dolan. The Knicks were not only run into the ground by long time Dolan favorite Isiah Thomas, they were crashed into a mountian, lit on fire, and blown up. For years, as Thomas made the Knicks into just about the most laughable franchise in ALL of sports, Dolan refused to even consider making a change. Once Thomas finally resigned (which really was more because of the sexual harrassment lawsuit against him than anything) it was a mere 15 months before it she was being eased back into a role with the team as a consultant. Dolan seems to want Thomas back as the team GM which is got to be the stupidest move in the history of the NBA. The Rangers have been uneven contenders over the last number of years and have not gotten past the 2nd round of the playoffs in over six years. They constantly have one of the higher payrolls in the NHL yet seem to constantly be just tossing players into roles and hoping they will be a fit. While the Rangers have been much more successful than the Knicks, it's Dolan's inability to steer clear of making bad decision after bad decision (or making NO decisions when it comes to Isiah Thomas' long term as GM and Coach) that seem to unite the two.

I don't even know how to begin with how bad Wang has been for the Islanders franchise. First there was the neverending reign of Mike Milbury (shades of the Dolan/Thomas debacle) which really just ripped the organization into a mess. After Milbury finally stepped down, Neil Smith was hired as a GM, but lasted only a month before being replaced with backup goalie Garth Snow. Of course there was the impossible to understand 15-year, 67.5 million dollar contract that Wang signed constantly injured goaltender Rick DiPietro to. Then there was the weird cost cutting that took what looked to be a promising team with an excellent coach in Ted Nolan and ended with Nolan being fired for "philosophy differences" and the team being reduced to bscially a minor league club in a major league division. The Islanders have made the playoffs once in the last seven years.

It's hard to call the Yankees ownership bad, since the team is often so sucessful, but it's almost not really fair to leave them out of this espcially when you consider how controversial George was as an owner for years. Factor in things like the bizarre on/off relationship with Billy Martin, The Richard Nixon re-election scandal, the Mr. May comments about (eventual hall of famer) Dave Winfield, the firing of manager Yogi Berra only 16 games into the season in 1985, The attempt to dig up dirt on Winfield with known gambler Howie Spira which led to Steinbrenner's being banned from baseball for life (a ban that was dropped only three years later), the constant meddling in day to day baseball operations... George was quite the backpage maven. His sons have been much more restained, but still have managed some weird snafu's of their own including the weird handling of Joe Torre at the end of his tenure as Yankee manager, the bizarre 10-yr $275 million contract to Alex Rodriguez after A-Rod opted out knowing no one else was coming close to anything remotely close to that sort of offer, the very public and rough handling of Derek Jeter's contract situation this off-season, and Hank Steinbrenner's often very quotable presence in the media. Of course Hal is pretty quiet and was only in the news recentually because of the big mouth of Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg. Unlike the four teams listed above however, the Yankees are quite sucessful year in and out and have enough sucess that taking all of the bizarre and craziness is easy.

Looking at the recent lack of success of a lot of these teams and the totally bizarre on-the-field happenings with them all, it's not hard to wonder why New York sports is often tossed about as being over the top. With owner's like this, maybe a LOT of the NEw York sports franchises could use some new blood.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Would Michael Young make sense for the Mets?

The Texas Rangers are looking to trade long time infielder (and bascially long time face of the franchise) Michael Young after signing Adrian Beltre during the offseason.

Young has played shortstop, second base and third base for the Rnagers in his ten years with the club. He's been basically a selfless guy, moving his position more than once despite being a six-time all-star. He hit .284, with 21 hrs and 91 rbi last year. He would go a LONG way towards solving the Mets 2nd base issues.

Of course there is the simple fact that the Mets are not on Young's list of teams he can be traded to, but that doesn't mean it's not possible (or that it is or is not a good idea).

Young is due to make another $48 million over the next three years which is a lot of money. However what if the Mets tried the following?

Offer to send Ollie Perez (and his $12 million contract) to the Rangers, along with a younger mid-level player. They then ask the Rangers to pick up $11 million of Young's contact.

The Rangers save $25 million. They get a lefty pitcher in Perez who might just need to get the heck out of New York and how actually has a history of pitching very well against the Yankees. They get a mid-level prospect for it also.

The Mets in the end really only wind up spending $25 million for three years of Young. That is about $8.15 million a year. They get a veteran in the clubhouse who is respected and suddenly have one of the best hitting 2nd basemen in the league.

The line up would look like this:

And DAMN if that isn't an exciting thought.

Yeah it's unlikely on both ends and I make it sound MUCH more simple than it could really ever be.... but the idea has some merit. Doesn't it?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This just keeps getting better and better...

So now it's out that Sterling, Inc was involved in ANOTHER ponzi scheme a number of years back and wound up paying someone off in a settlement on profits they made on that one.

So, it becomes harder for Fred WIlpon and Saul Katz to look totally in good faith that they didn't have the slighest inkling about Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. If NOTHING else, they should have seen SOME similarities in the returns I would suspect. I mean, I know nothing about this sort of thing... but having been burned once, don't you think they would have at least been a little wary of ANY investment's that seemed a little too godd to be true?

Again, I know that Madoff and Wilpon were like BIG time, long time friends and that the friendship likely brought along a large amount of "benefit of the doubt" with it, but c'mon...

Remember what I said about being a Mets' fan and waiting each day for that kick in the groin? Sheesh.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ok, this is just getting to be very tedious.

If you are reading this I'm sure you know all about the craziness with the Wilpon/Katz/Ponzi/Lawsuit debacle. I don't need to rehash it.

A few thoughts on the subject:

1 - I just find it hard to believe that Wilpon and Katz knew that this was a scam. They got WAY too many people involved in it who lost a boatload of money. Odds are there WERE some red flags that should have tipped them off that SOMETHING was amiss, but seeing how close Madoff and Wilpon were, it's not hard to think at all that Madoff was just given the benefit of the doubt. I mean, the Government watchdogs didn't know anything was wrong for the longest time... so making it out like the Wilpons did is a tad unfair.

2 - At what point do the Wilpons stop looking like a pair of clown shoes? It seems there has been almost nothing but bad press after bad press for years now. I think the only real positive thing was the hiring of Sandy Alderson and his brain trust. Fred, Saul and Jeff REALLY need to stay out of the news.

3 - Will anyone REALLY want to pay $250 million or so to be a part owner in franchise with potential for further financial issues and not even have any real say in day to day operations or how the team is run? I don't know... but it seems very few people in the media seem to theink the Mets can sell a minority share without at least adding in some of SNY.

4 - While the Mets themselves technically haven't been affected here, the Wilpons and Katz have, which means they will likely look to not spend the same amount of cash on the team they would if these losses and lawsuits didn't exist. To pretend the Mets won't likely be affected is foolish and native.

This whole things stinks. Some days being a Mets' fan is like walking through your day, each day, knowing that at some point, someone is going to kick you in the groin.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Early (or late) Christmas Present?

Do you know how often I have hoped to hear those wonderful words?

You know... the ones that go: "The Wilpons are selling the Mets!"

Then of course my hopes and dreams are smashed by hearing they plan to only sell a minority share, and would still be the majority shareholders, thus still in a strong position of power with the team.


Ok... maybe I'm being unfair. I HAVE wished many, MANY times, that the Mets would be sold. I just have had too many bad tastes in my mouth with the constant feelings of the Wilpons' Keystone Cops-type management style. However they have shown the ability to finally allow the reins to be passed onto actual baseball people to have mostly full control over baseball decisions with the hiring of Sandy Alderson... so at least we have the chance to see the team move ahead without the total bumbling that seems to stick with the Mets front office.

In any case, with this nuggest of news hitting the media yesterday, I've heard a large amount of snickering from a number of Yankee fans... who likely don't realize their own team majority owners (the Stienbrenners) don't even own a full 40% of the Yankees.

That's right Bleacher Creatures. Hank and Hal (and daddy George Warbucks before them) only own about 39.6% of the Yankees. However it is the majority. The Mets could sell off a full 45% of the Mets and still have majority control and own more of their team than their crosstown rivals.

Not that it's really a big deal in the end. Most major league teams have multiple partners. The Mets are one of the few teams with an ownership of 99%.

So I'm hearing a lot of different rumors... like Mark Cuban, Donald Trump, Jerry Seinfeld and Charles Wang.

I honestly don't know what to think about that other than OH GOD PLEASE NOT WANG!!!!

Charles Wang has run my favorite hockey team (the NY Islanders) in the proverbial ground. The LAST person I want to see dipping his hands into the Mets well is him.

Listen, an influx of cash into the team could only be a good thing in my opinion. Yes there is potential to some future issues if someone with a strong personality (and strong media presence) becomes a part owner and decides he/she has a different ideology than the Wilpons on particular issues... however this team is just starting to stabilze itself and the road to respectibility is going to need something solid... like a credit line.

I think the Mets will be a better team than a lot of people seem to think they will be in 2011, however I have no delusions... and to fully compete with the Phillies and Braves going forward the team will HAVE to spend some money. Serious money for some serious players.

I would welcome a Mark Cuban or Donald Trump in here. Both of those names will come with a sense of entitlement and blowhardism... but both of those names would fall into the SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!!!!! mentality the George so aptly had over in the bronx... and look how well that has turned out when the combination of money and baseball smarts are put together.

I've seen the Mets spend money. I've seen the Mets make good decisions. However, those two things haven't always gone together. When they do... it's a wonderful thing.

So, bring on the rich blowhards! Put some serious cash in Alderson's hands. It's about time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I don't get it...

So the Angels just pulled off a trade... and it's one that makes no sense to me what-so-ever. They sent catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays for outfielder Veron Wells and his remaining $86 million dollar contract (over the next four years).

The Angels made strong bids on free-agents Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre, but lost out on both. Feeling like they needed to do something to keep in step with the American League Champion Texas Rangers in the AL West they seem to have made a panic move that makes little sense.

Wells is a decent centerfielder who had a pretty good stick a few years back and somehow lucked into one of the most bizarre contracts in MLB history. He's lost a step since then and it really better slated as a corner-outfielder now... where of course his lessened offensive numbers make him look WAY overpaid with stats below what you'd expect at those positions.

Napoli only hit .238 last year and his defense is considered a step below average, but it's hard to ignore his power (26 HR in 2010 in 453 at-bats, 20 HR in 2009 in 382 at-bats, 20 HR in 2008 in 227 at-bats). He'll make between $5.5 and $6 million or so in 2011. Rivera's power has all but disapeared, but he will only make $5.25 million in 2011. Both are not long term issues for the Blue Jays to be concerned with and both are more than appetizing when you filter in the fact the Jays are out of that albatross of a contract and will save about %74 million over the next few years.

For the Angels, they get a decent player who seriously bogs down payroll. At face value you have to think that the Blue Jays have to pay SOME of that contact. If not, it's a bizarre move that at the present seems to have hurt the Angels more than help.

Wells is a good guy. There is no question about his make up or his attitude. His 2010 was much better than his sub-average 2009. He hit .273 with 31 HR and 88 RBI with only 86 strike outs. Pretty good numbers, but not worth the $23 million he'll make this year.

The raise in payroll lifts the Angels to about $146 million, pushing them up with the Mets.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Arm: Mets Ink Young

Well, it was expected and in the end it was another decent low-risk, possible high reward move. Adding Chris Young to the rotation (I would say it's fairly likely he'll be the Mets #4 starter to start the season) was a move many projected.

Young gets a simular deal that Chris Capuano got earlier this month. He signs a $1.1 million dollar contract with inceptives that could make the total amount $4.5 million.

Young had excellent back to back seasons in 2005 and 2006 and was solid in 2007 and the start of 2008 before injuries put him on the DL twice. In 2009 he again started well but ran into problems and lost his last four starts before he had season ending arthroscopic surgery to repair partial tears in his labrum. In 2010 he six shutout innings in the second game of the season before being pulled with a right shoulder strain which caused him to miss most of the season. He did make three starts at the end of the season, finishing 2–0 with a 0.90 ERA.

Like Capuano, I think this is a good move that helps stablize the rotation to a degree. I think Young is a decent talent that healthy, can do quite well in Citifield. Right now I would pencil him in as the #4, ahead of Dillon Gee and Capuano who will compete for the #5 spot in the rotation.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One Month Until Spring Training!

Wow. That actually kinda went fast.

Well, in 30 days we'll all be excited and hopeful as all the MLB team fan bases should be (except for likely the Royals and Pirates).

I'm looking forward to getting back to the basics and the baseball season to start up. I miss it. I miss meaningful games and despite the very low expectatations everyone has for the Mets, I expect this season to have some excitment and a ton of meaningful games.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mets Ink Chris Capuano

In what is likely to be one of the bigger moves (and yes the irony of that line is not lost on me) of the offseason for the Mets, they have signed Chris Capuano (formerly of the Milwalkee Brewers) to a one year $1.5 million dollar contract (with an additional $3 million in incentives).

Capuano won 18 games in 2005 and was an All-Star in 2006. He had tommy-john surgery after the 2007 season and missed the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons. He pitched decently in 2010 going 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA.

No one is expecting another 18 win season, but I think this is a good move with little risk and fairly decent rewards expectations. I see Capuano as either a long man out of the bullpen or the 5th starter (depending on if the Mets make any other expected moves for another starter.

This is the sort of thing I'm expecting the Mets to do this offseason. I think they'll get at least one or two more players in this same vein (ie: pitcher with past success coming off injury with something to prove). I'm fairly confident the Mets will wind up with Jeff Francis or Chris Young... both of who I'd be quite interested in. The thing is, I have faith in Mike Pelfrey and I think the Mets will be able to count on R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese to pitch fairly well. If they can get two servicable pitchers out of Dillion Gee, Capuano, and whom ever they sign next they can hopefully stay in contention until the return of Johan Santana, I know it's not ideal, but it's not out of the question either.