Enough Is Enough d’Arnaud Needs to Go North

MobileHome2One constant since Sandy Alderson came on board has been the preaching of patience and doing things right. The idea is that a full-scale overhaul is going on and that the fans in New York have to bear with living in a trailer park for awhile because a fabulous penthouse is being constructed on the Citi Field grounds. Now it’s no fun living in a trailer park, and every once in a while it makes you cranky. But there are a lot of smart Mets fans, and a large segment of us want to give Alderson the benefit of the doubt. Plus, no matter what the owners said publicly, we all knew they were tapped out and scrambling to just keep the lights going and a hose connected to the outhouse.

So on July 13, 2011, when the Mets were still relevant in the pennant race and had star players Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Francisco Rodriguez, I understood when the team dumped K-Rod. In return they received a vertically challenged left-handed pitcher who had zero chance of being successful in the major leagues. But by trading K-Rod, the team was no longer on the hook for a $17 million option for 2012, and I understood. The owners were broke and needed short-term relief, so I hung in there, even though the bullpen immediately imploded and the 2011 Carlos  Beltranseason was effectively done. Next Alderson traded the great Carlos Beltran for prospect Zack Wheeler. Forget understanding, I cheered this. I knew Beltran wasn’t in the future vision and was pleased to now have a pitching prospect such as Wheeler added to the organization. But make no mistake, this move also made the 2011 team that much harder to watch, and again, the Wilpons saved immediate millions. Those savings were not passed along to season ticket holders as rebates, trust me.

reyes marlinsThe St. Louis Cardinals, who were in a similar situation as the Mets on July 13, won the 2011 World Series. Shortly after that, homegrown star Jose Reyes, only 28 years old, left the Mets to sign with the Marlins. Given Reyes’ age, the idea that signing him would be an impediment to future success rang hollow. I had a harder time swallowing this one but kept my emotions in check. The reality was the Wilpons still had huge immediate financial problems. As the 2012 season began, the Mets set records for how large the payroll had dropped in just one season, but mostly I got it. A new core of young players would be developed, and then talent would be added. Deconstruction was still going on, why spend yet? And you can’t spend what you do not have. At this point, the year 2014 started to get thrown around a lot. I understood.

Mentally prepared for a bleak 2012, I received some nice surprises. Johan Santana pitched a great first half of a season, and R.A. Dickey perfected the art of the knuckleball and became a beast. The Mets hung around the playoff picture until mid-July again, even though the bullpen was still the mess it had been since the K-Rod trade one year earlier. Given the option of making a move that might add salary to improve the situation, the Mets passed. Even after what had happened the year before, I understood. The odds were not worth it, and sure enough Santana broke down and the team totally fell apart. With Beltran and Reyes gone and no new stars brought in, the team was not only bad but boring. No speed and no power. But good things come to those who wait, and I stayed patient and rooted for Dickey.

R.A. did not disappoint and finished 2012 the Cy Young award winner. However, Dickey would be a free agent in 2014 and was already 38 years old. As the foundation was still being built, I was asked again as a fan to forget about today and accept a trade of Dickey. But this time, now two years in, Sandy Alderson made sure to let fans know he did not expect our patience to be unending. While shopping Dickey at the winter meetings Alderson said:

“To move Dickey, it has to be for a ‘difference maker.’ Are we punting ’13? Absolutely not…If we do something, we want whatever comes back to us to have impact on us as soon as possible.”

dickey as jayAnd then Dickey was traded for two players, Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. By now this blog was up, and I not only understood, I praised the move, even though it meant the end of watching Dickey pitch as a Met. Next, our principal owner Fred Wilpon emerged from exile to let the fans know that all of our sacrifices helped his family out greatly. He has no personal debt and is in wonderful financial shape.

Now it’s March and it’s March 2013, not March 2014. And I get it, I’m still supposed to be hanging in there, it takes time to build a penthouse. But even patient people don’t want to live in a trailer forever. Because that is what the Mets are trying to sell me for 2013, the trailer again, and for no good reason. Can I just come inside? I’ll wait for the kitchen to get finished. I’m talking about the “difference maker” now, Travis d’Arnaud.

Somehow it is becoming accepted logic that it would be a good idea to send him to Las Vegas in April. We are being told it is because he is not ready for the majors, only that’s hard to understand. So now — I do not understand. I do know that if he stays long enough in Las Vegas, the Wilpons can save some money years and years from now, maybe. That is not a good reason to me. And any other reason does not ring true to me.

David Wright played less than 400 games total in the minor leagues.

Jose Reyes, who started out even younger than Wright, played only 348.

What about a catcher though, right? I looked up Brian McCann, who plays for a team called the Atlanta Braves. We should be lucky enough to ever develop players as well as the Braves. McCann played 310 games in the minors and skipped Triple A completely.

Travis d’Arnaud has played 483 games in the minor leagues. He is already 23 years old. He has nothing left to learn in Las Vegas except how to get in trouble at night. You can do that very easily in New York City too, so no issue.

I’m not expecting a World Series team this year, or even a playoff squad. I do have patience. But I’m not a patsy either, and I know when someone is trying to play me for one.

It’s time to stop counting mythical future pennies and do something for Mets fans in New York. It’s time for Travis d’Arnaud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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38 comments

  1. Tommy2cat says:

    I have no problem sacrificing one month of d’Arnaud’s presence in order to secure an additional year of control over his contractual obligations. He will be placed on the Major League roster once his FA eligibility requirements are pushed back to 2019, which is the only reason he won’t be with the parent club in April 2013.

    • Patrick says:

      If he is as good as hoped he will never make it to 2018 or 2019 as a free agent to be anyhow. You field the team with your best players, this is not Tampa where they need to rely on these gimmicks of the CBA to stay competitive.

  2. Craig says:

    I agree bring Travis north give the fans something to be excited about because
    Byrd aint going to do it! Buck is ok and will make a nice backup who can mentor Travis! Lets see Travis or Byrd as your 5th hitter mmm! Then Duda 6th and Byrd 7th I can live with that! I also think the mets should consider bringing Wheeler
    north too, besides the fact that Santana and Marcum are having problems and
    who knows how long either of them will stay healthy I don’t see where sending Wheeler down to Vegas where the balls fly out of the park on a regular basis will
    help him get ready for the ML”s! Wheeler and Travis along with Harvy and Ike
    will bring fans to the ballpark and even though we might have a little ways to go
    the fans will be a lot more patient with these guys in the lineup and on the mound!

  3. Terrimac says:

    I agree. We’re getting excited about seeing them play in spring training. Why send them away?

  4. IB says:

    I gotta agree with you here too. Opening the season with Buck, Byrd, Duda et al is deflating. “Bad and boring”. And, Craig makes a very good point. These hot prospects will bring fans to the park. That’s lotsa money, Sandy, for future contract negotiations.

  5. DD says:

    You know, I never fully appreciated just how hard these last few years have been on you, Mike, the extent to which you have suffered.

    Ahem.

    If the Mets intend sometime during the season to sign Travis up to one of those five year deals popularized my the 90′s Indians, taking him through the arbitration years, then sure, bring him up with the big league team, give the fans something more to cheer about, give the kid (and the franchise) a shot at the Rookie award — all that stuff. I would want it to be part of such a plan, though.

  6. Michael Geus says:

    You should see me, I’m a mess!

    • metsforlife says:

      You sure are! You’re so out of it that you confused this baseball blog with your Facebook page, where I’m sure you have a string of the same status report, and a lot of people agreeing with you!

  7. I have to agree with you. There’s no reason why D’Arnoud can’t learn from Buck at the MLB level, and gradually work his way into an everyday starting role, perhaps by the second half of the year. He’s hitting well in spring training, and would learn more at the MLB level than he would at AAA. And yes, he gives Mets fans someone else to root for. The Mets brass needs to finally come to understand that, when all is said and done, they are in the entertainment business. If your product is not entertaining, eventually people will stop caring about your product, and your business model will be a failure. I’m not sure they get that.

    • metsforlife says:

      Take Tommy2cat’s response, add Wheeler to d’Arnaud, and you will understand better.

      • See my latest response on the comment section of the article, pal.

        • Yazzy says:

          d’Arnaud is better if in the minors until he can be brought up when it is feasible to do so. The Mets are not going anywhere this year but they might be able to make it an interesting season. If d”Arnaud and Wheeler are brought up in June there will be something to look forward to. SA should be more open to international free agents like Dariel Alvarez but apparently he is not. I feel that is a huge mistake. I do not think that Byrd or Cowgill we be bad it is just that Duda may hit but cannot field the ball. He has feet of lead so he can’t get to very much in the outfield. Pray he hits so the Mets can trade him to an American league team.

  8. [...] Link: Link to Read: Enough is enough, d’Arnaud needs to go north 2 Guys Talking Mets [...]

  9. Joe Lazar says:

    It’s really a bad idea to overreact like that now. Let him sit for 3 weeks in the minor leagues, so that you can have one more year of cheap control over him when he’s entering his prime (and presumably having All-Star caliber seasons for more competitive Mets teams).

  10. Evilnaturedrobot says:

    So your argument is “I understand that I need to be patient, but I don’t understand the value of stashing d’Arnaud in the minors for a month in order to retain an extra year of service time?” That logic has a disconnect.

  11. Greg says:

    TdA had a major knee injury last year – he missed half the season. Give him 6 weeks in AAA to make sure he’s ok, and to push his clock back. 6 weeks for 1 more year of TdA is the wise move. Look at how much more Davis is making this year b/c they couldn’t get by with Mike Jacobs in 2010.

  12. Steve says:

    Bring d’Arnaud north on opening day means that he’ll be a free agent after the 2018 season. Leaving him in AAA for three weeks means that he won’t be a free agent until after the 2019 season. Forget the money, the added year of team control is worth losing 70 or so plate appearances this season.

  13. Brad says:

    so silly to bring him north. You wait the month and control him another year. And to the guy who said he if he is so good you he wouldnt get to 2018 or 2019 before you sign him, that might be true, but if you look at deals for players with years of abritratio still left they are substainally less than free agents. Take Jon Niese last year. There is no rational baseball decision to bring him north other than you saying “I wanna root for him cause we are unlucky mets fans and come on we deserve it”

  14. Vin says:

    Hi, we got 3 players in the deal – one being a very low minor leaguer – Wuilmer Becerra, but who was thought highly enough that Toronto paid like $1.1MM to sign him as an international player.

    I think it’s best to let Wheeler and d’Arnaud play catch at AAA for a month or 2, then see if you can package Buck and a pitcher (Gee or Marcum) + 1 outfielder, for a reasonable outfielder or outfield prospect. Buck is playing for next year, as is Marcum, so they probably do okay to start the year, Wheeler and d’Arnaud benefit from playing together and the extra development time (Travis being hurt much of last year and Wheeler still having some improvements in control to make), and maybe we get a useful player in an area we really need it (pitcher and catcher being a relative strength right now).

  15. JOE says:

    Being a met fan has been a test of patience. We havent won it all since 1986…. 26 year ago! i think waiting a month to gain an xtra year of control is well worth it and
    should be a cake walk for the true met fan. Also during the free agency period there are no guarentees the player will sign with the home team ,,, as we all know.

  16. Dick Pole says:

    While I undertand why you want d’anaud to start the season with the big club, you need to understand that the benefits of leaving him down in triple A for the start of the season far out weigh the benefits of him starting the season with the big club. It allows the Mets to retain him for a full extra season, this is why every team is baseball uses the same strategy with their young players. Your way of thinking is shortsited, so just suck it up and you will see him at the end of May, hopefully for the next 7 years.

  17. chemteck29 says:

    You can’t wait 3 or 4 weeks to save a year? That defies common sense. I could maybe see it if the Mets were one player away from championship caliber and TdA was that player. But you said yourself that you weren’t expecting 2013 to be competitive. It makes ZERO sense to sacrifice 145 games or so of cheap control later so this kid can play in 15 games now.

  18. PM says:

    As was stated earlier, it’s not a matter of IF d’Arnaud is ready for the majors it is a matter of team control. By sending him to Vegas for only a month the team gets another year of him under control. In reality though what does sending him to Vegas mean?

    Starting at the simplest reason sending him to Vegas will allow him to start the season with the teams other top prospect, Wheeler. Since they are battery mates, having your 1 and 2 top prospects who hopefully will be working together for years to come, come up together should allow them to become comfortable working together in a very difficult pitchers league and should give them confidence in one another to build off what should be adversity in difficult outings, working out kinks in AAA rather in NY where the media will be all over them.

    The second reason is team control. That idea is hard to accept now, especially after a decade of awful play, terrible contracts, and broken promises, but it is a concept we have to accept. The Mets are being built around starting pitching. It’s a page taken from winning teams, the 90′s Braves (Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz) and the 00′s A’s (Mulder, Zito, Hudson). It’s a proven method. The Mets are about to have a starting pitching rotation of hopefully similar quality in Wheeler, Harvey and Niese, if you add Syndergaard (who has the makings as the ace to this staff) to the mix and any of the other top SP coming through the pipeline, the Mets will have one of the best rotations in all of baseball. Having a catcher who by all accounts can be an allstar under control and a rock that the starting pitchers can count on for years to come will be one of the best strengths the team can have.

    Now lets look at the possible downside. The Mets will start the 2013 season without their top two prospects; an outfield that has more holes than a sieve; a bull pen that is comprised of castoffs, the elderly, and arms held together by spit and gum; and a lineup that is lacking not only in power but devoid of speed as well. All points show that the 2013 Mets will place second to last in the division, and is at its core a rebuilding year. So there is no benefit to bringing up d’Arnaud early to just sell a few more tickets in April.

  19. metfansc says:

    I would agree with this logic if d’Arnaud didn’t finish the year hurt last year, he could use a month or so of seasoning in AAA and honestly hammering the ball in that league AND being the battery mate for Wheeler for the first 4-6 weeks will be beneficial in a ton of ways. Honestly to me I would be a little upset if Wheeler and/or d’Arnaud are on the opening day roster, now maybe they will force the Mets (and my) hand during spring training, but that hasn’t happened yet. So for now I see zero reason to create the “super-2″ situation and I can wait 4-6 more weeks to be honest.

  20. ilovethemets says:

    Hello? Injury last spring?

  21. Brooks says:

    Seriously dude, we’re talking about a month of the season here. In a season that’s six months long. I can live. To be honest I wouldn’t wanna chance it anyway, him coming here April 1 when it’s still freezing, and increasing injury risk. I’d rather him go to Vegas where it’s 90 and then come here when it’s warmer. Seems like health is gonna be this kid’s biggest obstacle.

    • Dan says:

      What’s makes any of you guys think it is only a month? I bet we don’t see him to July, then why bother? If he can help and is a difference maker, lets have him all year.

  22. Dan says:

    I agree, enough already. The Mets must have the oldest prospects in the history of baseball who have never seen action above AA. 5 of the Top 20 prospects are 22 years or older and all have not pitched above AA. I for one am tired of waiting for these prospects, if TD is ready then bring him up North. How many games do you really need in the minors, is another 20 games going to make a difference? Look at these guys minor league time and age, are they really prospects anymore?

    #8 Montero – 22 years old A ball only
    #9 Mateo 23 & A ball
    # 15 Mazzoni 23 AA
    #12 DeGrom. 24 & A ball

    #13. Robles 22 & 3 yrs rookie 1 year A ball

    I may not live long enough to see any of prospects play on the big club at this pace.

    Bring TD north.

  23. Michael Geus says:

    Many first time comments today, welcome all. I have no problem with the dissenting POV, it is a solid opinion and I understand the math. And I do not expect everyone to read all of our posts but they are not a slew of “spend money!!!” As an example I was against signing Bourn as I value the pick.

    In this case I think the benefit is worth it. There are games to be played in April, including a huge one (from a marketing and business standpoint) called Opening Day. This franchise badly needs something fresh to market, expenses are only one side of a profit and loss statement. Will d’Arnaud generate $20 million in revenue in April? Of course not. But many things can happen in the next three-to-five years before we pencil him in for huge paydays.

    One thing is for sure, whether it is a year early, or a year later, I hope Travis is due a huge payday. If so he will have come through.

  24. I keep reading that if only the Mets wait just 3-4 weeks, then they’ll have D’Arnaud under team control for an extra season. Here’s the actual clause pertaining to this issue:
    [A] player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.”
    The way I read that, we’re not talking about 3-4 weeks, but more like 2-3 months. In other words, about half a season. Now, I realize that the Mets aren’t realistically competing for a playoff spot this year, but should we be O.K. with throwing in the towel altogether? No one says D’Arnoud has to play every day if he stays with the big club, either. He’s looked healthy so far in spring training, so why not let him play 3-4 days a week, catching a couple of times and pinch-hitting a couple of times.
    Meanwhile, the Royals young catcher (a bit younger than D’Arnoud) Salvador Perez will be starting regularly for them this season. Why is a big market team apparently more concerned about the arbitration clock than is a small market team?
    Finally, why are some Mets fans so concerned about helping the billionaire owners of a large media-market team with a nice T.V. contract save some money down the road? If D’Arnoud turns out to be worth a big investment, then we should expect ownership to put up the money to re-sign him. If he turns out to be something of a bust, then we let him walk.
    Meanwhile, raise your hand if you think the current team they will be fielding this year is worth the cost of a ticket.

    • Brooks says:

      Who is talking about super two? Free agency is what I’m worried about. I don’t give a darn about super two. If they decide to lock him up, his arbitration is bought out anyway. If he comes up after April 20 I believe it is, he becomes a free agent one year later. That is all that should be worried about. If it is June and D’Arnaud is still in Vegas and he’s tearing it up, I will probably have some beef. And same applies for Wheeler.

      All teams do it. I can’t remember last time a big prospect broke camp with the big boys. Last year Washington called up Harper on April 28. They didn’t wait very long after the magic date. I’m assuming it’ll be the same for D’Arnaud this year IF he is hitting. We should see him no later than May.

      • Well, I hope it works out the way you say, Brooks. We all want the same thing, a playoff-bound Mets team as soon as possible. If Mets fans are getting a little antsy, it’s certainly understandable. Perhaps things really are changing for the better. We’ll soon find out.

    • Dan says:

      Right on Bill. As for Brooks and his comment about free agency, I can’t be worried about 6 or 7 years from now, I am tired of waiting. Bring him North.

      • Brooks says:

        There’s a reason why every major league team does it. It’s because it’s the smart thing to do. I’ll never understand why people want the Mets to operate differently than everyone else. Oh wait now I remember, it’s because “this is New York”.

      • Thanks, Dan. Of course it’s unlikely that Clan Wilpon gives a damn what any of us think one way or the other.

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