NEWS & VIEWS: Hot Stove, the Key to Sustained Success, Byrd Flies On, Trading Ike, Learning to Settle, “Scary” Prices, and More

Warning: Stove is hot!

Warning: Stove is hot!

Mike:

Sandy Alderson arrived at the General Managers meetings and began the annual process of lowering Mets fans expectations.

Jimmy:

Lower? Does that mean I need to get a shovel?

Mike:

Overall his comments get a shrug from me, except one. As he has done in the past he alluded to sustained winning. After three straight years of under .500 baseball these words have a hollow tone. All Mets fans, myself included, would love to see a sustained period of success from the team, but that begins with one season of success.

Until this ownership and front office proves it can accomplish that, Alderson sounds like a crazy homeless guy talking about being a billionaire.

Jimmy:

He more or less said, “We’re going to do some things, but it’s not going to be terribly exciting.” Fans with heart conditions will remain safe, that’s a promise! In fact, that could be a new slogan for next season: FORGOT YOUR HEART MEDICINE? DON’T WORRY, YOU’LL BE FINE.

I used to think that Steve Phillips had too much of an eye on the fans. But to Sandy, it’s like we’re invisible. By the way, when he talked about the foolishness of the $100 million player, I kept thinking about Matt Harvey. We are looking at a time when baseball is flush with TV money, revenues up, payrolls up, and the Mets are going to stay flat. In other words, continuing to lose ground. He won’t trade prospects because that’s the only hope for this team, it’s where all the eggs are: The vision is a bunch of young, talented guys working on the cheap, supported by a couple of mid-level guys, and lonely David Wright with a blueprint in his back pocket. A cool $30 million isn’t much money at today’s prices.

Mike:

Rumors have once again surfaced about Troy Tulowitizki being available in a trade. The current troy_tulowitzkireports center around discussions with the Cardinals.

Jimmy:

Yes, there’s an opportunity there. If traded, he’ll be the best player to change teams this offseason. I don’t see the Wilpon-Alderson Mets competing with the Cardinals here. The Cards are trying to become the best team in baseball. The Mets are not in that conversation. I think the pass on Abreu told us all we needed to know about this off-season. In a word, prudent.

Mike:

Well, even if the Rockies handed us Troy we can’t take that fools gold. His contract is an impediment to sustained winning. Pity those Cardinals if they get him, they will surely be done.

Jimmy:

Touche. They’ve spent big money on Holliday (7/$120), Molina (5/$75), Wainwright (5/$97.5). They paid Chris Carpenter $84 million over the past 7 years, including $21 million over the past two seasons (when he pitched a total of 17 innings). They achieve their success — and their ability to spend — by having a great farm system and a lot of guys at $0.5 million or less. Now they are dreaming of Tulowitzki. Their payroll has gone up five years in a row . . . and they had the wisdom (and courage) to let Pujols walk. Like the Braves and Red Sox, they hit on all cylinders: trade, free agency, farm system.

Mike:

Mark Healey had a great post on Nelson Doubleday over at Gotham Baseball. I mentioned this in Doublday Buys the Metsour comments section a few weeks ago, trading deRoulet for Doubleday was as big as any trade in team history.

Jimmy:

Yes, Healey really did his homework with that piece. It was long, but I enjoyed it. He brought together a lot of good information. When you step back, it’s insane that Fred Wilpon — who had almost no money then, and no money now — has backed himself into such a position of power.

Did you see Marlon Byrd signed for 2/$16 million. Seriously, how does any player on the fringe NOT take PEDS?

Mike:

Although I understand where you are coming from, there is the whole living a long healthy life thing. If it was me that would be the deterrent. Clearly the 50 games is not, the contracts these guys end up getting prove that. The math is simple.

Jimmy:

Reportedly,  the Astros, Brewers, Orioles, Rays and Rockies have all inquired about Ike Davis. Say this about Sandy Alderson, he has a great track record trading established players. This is where he excels. I’m confident Alderson will get the best deal possible.

Mike:

I’m expecting the type of return we once got for Kaz Matsui. But this has become my refrain lately and I will repeat it again: I’m always wrong about everything regarding Ike. In this case, that is cause for optimism.

Jimmy:

Do you like Dexter Fowler? There’s a guy who reminds me of the famous Billy Beane quote, “We’re not selling jeans here.” Fowler looks like he should be awesome . . . toolsy as hell. But to date, he hasn’t lived up to it. And he plays half his games in Colorado, with terrible splits. That said, walks a lot, good OBP, entering his prime years. Very well could end up on the Mets.

Mike:

Honestly, no, I don’t like him. But rooting about the Mets is no longer about who you like, that is the impossible dream. It is who you will settle for, and then finally, who you actually get, as Metsradamus so aptly pointed out this week. Here is another reminder of that reality, a team insider shot down the idea of the Mets seriously pursuing any of the players who received qualifying offers.

So back to Fowler. He has no real power, and although he has some speed he has never had any success stealing bases. He can get on base. He is not a guy to go crazy to get, but he is a major league player. We need those.

I would settle for Dexter.

Mets fans plead with Sandy Alderson

 

Jimmy:

Jeff Wilpon was quoted on Wednesday saying that prices were “a little scary.”

Sigh.

We really did get the wrong Wilpon.

Bruce Wilpon (left) married a billionairess, always keeps it classy, and likes to drink the good stuff. Instead, we’re stuck with Fredo.

5_633985457175360000831753_37_BWilponTKatzRWhite_010710

 

 

 

 

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21 comments

  1. RAFF says:

    Fowler’s AWAY Splits are downright LEGARESQUE!

  2. Patrick Boegel says:

    I think we are finding out, there is not a right Wilpon.

    If Wilpon is going to be a walking talking moron, least he could do is walk around in the Firemen’s Helmet, or an oversized Hard Hat as if he was going to lift a shovel at Citi-Field.

    James Dolan achieved my great disinterest in NBA basketball, Daniel Snyder did the unthinkable and made my Sunday’s permanently free. The Mets are on the verge of the unthinkable to me, but it is starting to happen. I attended ZERO games in 2013 for the first time since I was in college and the Mets were transitioning from Doc and Darryl to Vince and Eddie.

  3. Eric says:

    Bogie….I’m not quite so repelled that I’m disinterested. I’m at the stage where I want to Knock on their door after I light a Flaming bag of Dog Poop on their Front Step.

    I pray for Serenity.

    • I have to say, I find myself oddly fascinated by the news out of the Winter Meetings. I can’t get enough of it. And at the same time, I realize that it’s almost all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  4. Regarding Daniel Murphy: No one is untouchable, so I can’t comment until I see the return.

    However, amidst all this talk about following Boston’s lead and seekingmid-level, character-type players, Murphy is the only player on the Mets who I could imagine with a full beard. He could have played 3B for those guys and fit right in.

    • Eric says:

      We need CHARACTER GUYS who earn $160,000,000….. we could use 5 new Character Guys who make 60-70,000,000 this year.

      SPENDING MONEY on Legitimate, MULTIPLE Major League Ballplayers is a very big part of THE BOSTON PLAN. Leveraging Big Market Finances with Baseball Smarts…THE BOSTON PLAN.

      • I think we all know that Boston had a high payroll and quality players — certainly the discerning readers of “2 Guys” know — and that you want the Mets to spend much more than they are going to spend. You’ve been fairly clear on that.

        What I was commenting on was in relation to all the talk on the internet, and David Wright’s most recent quotes about how the Mets should follow the Boston plan. Even on our recent podcast, the host, Steve Keane, talked about how terrible Murphy was, while at the same time saying the Mets needed to follow Boston’s lead by signing mid-level character guys. You know, winners. A lot of trade talk surrounding Murphy today. I’m simply pointing out that he’s the most Boston-type guy the Mets have got.

        • Eric says:

          Jimmy…you know that I know that you KNOW that I Know…..what I’m saying is…WE AGREE. We’re attacking the windmills TOGETHER!

          As for Murphy— he’s a MLB player…and he has some Marketability. I can see them exchanging his ability as an IF for a “similar” OF type—- they have NO OF players and several guys who might fill the IF role.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      It is all about the return. I simply can’t understand the total disdain some Mets fans have had for Murphy. He is not a star by any means, but considering the Mets barely have any players one should be counting their lucky stars he actually comes to play every night.

      The only plausible way I see the Mets improving by trading Murphy is if Flores steps right in and rocks. Otherwise it will be a lateral move in which the Mets likely lose a Gee or Niese plus Murphy and a pitching prospect for a decent corner outfielder.

  5. Eric says:

    Mike and Jim…BTW, just a comment on how I enjoy the site…and a NOTE… most of the Blogs claim SOURCES “close to the Mets”…… strenuous research reveals that this means anyone WEST of West Hempstead. It’s trash…It’s Tripe…it’s FUN to read……. 2GUYS is where the REAL Talk is. When Boeg or Raff or the other Posters say something, I listen…it’s GENUINE, well thought…. ORIGINAL.

    Yeah….we vent plenty….. I think we have it mostly right.

  6. Eric says:

    It GETS LATE EARLY at This Bar!!! 2 Days ago, Peralta was a 7….. all of a sudden, he’s a 9!

  7. RAFF says:

    The thing which really makes things difficult to assess is that two of the young guys you will be counting on to make large contribution, d’Arnaud & Flores, each have under 100 Major league AB’s. And there are other potential contributors -or “trade-bait” who similarly lack any track record at the major league level. It was one of my chief bones of contention all last year- Their inability/unwillingness to get their young guys Plate Appearances. Frankly, it makes me wonder about what the Mets own INTERNAL scouting is telling them about their own prospects. Maybe there’s a reason they’ve played “Hide & Seek” with these guys and didn’t expose them to additional scrutiny.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      d’Arnaud was mind numbing, Flores, legitimately being still young and only having had two fairly impressive years under his belt, 2010 at low A & 2012 at A+/AA, was warranted some time at AAA. Position wise he might be a harder square through the round hole than Murphy.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Up to now the entire strategy has been heavily tilted toward the long-term. Bringing up guys starts their service time clock, and they just did not care at all about the product they were selling in 2013.

      The customers picked up on that.

      Now the narrative last year was that we had no shot anyway because of the dead weight of the Santana and Bay contracts.

      That narrative is over.

      I do expect some type of honest effort to improve the roster. It probably won’t be the way I would go about it, but that is fine, I do not have all the answers, and there are many ways to put a winning team together.

      As long as an attempt to do just that takes place I will be happy. At this point I’m just looking for a commitment to winning.

      It has been years since that has been a consideration.

  8. RAFF says:

    SO far, the narrative coming from the Mets sounds an awful lot like the narrative we’ve been hearing for the past years- looking for value, not making any big splashes, etc, etc… And in the past, what followed was mostly NOTHING. I guess I’m hopeful that they are not refuting the narrative coming from beat writers, blogs, and fans which state that they’re in line to spend something on the order of $30 Million + to upgrade the talent- SO, that is a positive sign. On the other hand, in keeping with the basic “Physics” of the Mets problems- A dead log, maintains its pace in a river. With each team gaining an additional $25 million in shared revenue- a $30 million uptick in spending may not do much to enhance the Mets pace in gaining ground on their opponents. I suspect that a good number of teams may try to “pocket” some of that money. And the Mets don’t have too many salaries increases to address in the coming year. Hopefully they can spend what they have wisely, put a better product on the field, and get some pieces in place. If they get some real traction with some of their young prospects, we might have a nice little surprise- Watchable, Competitive baseball. If so, it bodes well for 2015. Still – I’m skeptical.

  9. Dave says:

    On a potential Tulo trade…that contract (7 yrs/$134 million left) is daunting. I can justify buying him at that price (Tulo is a better value than Ellsbury or Choo) but it’s harder to justify absorbing that contract plus trading a major league position player and top prospects. Also, Tulo has a no trade clause. The rumor is he wants to play for a WS contender, so where does that leave us?

    The Red Sox have a high payroll but they also keep payroll flexibility. Pedroia is the only player the Sox are committed to beyond 2015. I would be happy if the Mets signed a good outfielder, a SS and one other player. I would be happy to see Arroyo as part of the Mets rotation. You can expect 200 innings and 12 or 13 wins. A trade is the only hope for getting a cleanup hitter, unless you consider Granderson a cleanup hitter.

    • Dave, thanks for stopping by. I actually think Tulo’s contract is a bargain. But I really don’t see this deal happening, so don’t want to get into the pros and cons too deeply. The Cards are in this thing and I think they will land him — and there will be a cost in young talent. How many frontline starters are in the Mets minor league system right now? I count one.

      Overall, I believe the team will be improved next season: better, more watchable, more competitive. I think Alderson will do things; he won’t stand still. So if they can start moving in the right direction, even with only a $90 million payroll, I will take solace in that. They won’t do some of the things I would like to see done, but there are many ways to skin a cat. If they flip Murphy & Davis, that’s an extra $10 million to horse around with.

      I get worried when Sandy talks about “power.” It’s a big thing for him. He tends to forget about speed, defense, athleticism. The Mets hit 5 more HRs than the Cardinals last year. Again: we will see. I expect things to be better, but not awesome. Honestly, I don’t even think “awesome” is available this season. Better will have to suffice. I don’t want to be grouchy all the time, it saps the fun out of the thing.

  10. RAFF says:

    I think Granderson is going to end up back with the Yankees. Nobody serious should hold it against him for getting Hit by pitches and breaking two bones over the course of his disastrous year. While it’s true that Yankee Stadium is PERFECT for him, if you look at his splits- he’s shown Plenty of Pop on the road with 20 Road Homers in 2011 and 17 Road Homers in 2012.

    • I can’t speak to the specifics of Granderson, but some guys are more prone to get hit by pitches, and some guys are less skilled at it. Choo gets hit a LOT, and I always saw that as a worry. At the same time, it seems to be part of his skill set, he’s good at it, and possibly knows how to protect the small bones in his hands, etc. Just saying that when guys get hit a lot, it’s another vague thing you throw into the risk blender, but really impossible to measure.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        While Granderson getting his hands/wrist hurt were a touch freaky in nature, the reality is if you watch his stance, his approach to the path of the ball and where he keeps his hands it is not terribly shocking that he got hit there. That bones broke is not necessarily always the outcome. On the flipside, Choo (in the limited time I have seen him play) seems to get hit the way Don Baylor once did. He is tight to the plate, and has such a good eye to begin with, he sort of just doesn’t care if he gets plunked in the shoulder, backside, thigh. He kind of just lets it land.

        Granderson actually got hit on pitches he was loading up and prepping to swing at.

  11. RAFF says:

    Interesting point, Jimmy… I did a little fact checking. The thing with Granderson is that he really isn’t a frequent flyer on HBP’s> However- I DO think your hypothesis that “some guys are good at it” has merit. The Victorino’s Utley’s and Choo’s of the world regularly get plunked 20-30 times with lasting lasting effects. So, Granderson got hit Exactly ONCE in Spring training and ONCE in the regular season, and both times the archer hit his mark and broke bones. This has not been an issue with him over his career. He normally plays 150+ games. Apparently it’s a case of lightening striking twice.

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