NEWS & VIEWS & PODCASTS: Familia, Old Fans, Six Fixes, Suspect Pitching Prospects, and More

Mike:

Well, Jimmy, at 8:00 P.M. tonight we are going to have to break down and talk to each other. We are both going to be on the Shouts from Shea podcast hosted by Steve Keane of the Kranepool Society and Ed Marcus of Metsmerized.

If anyone is interested in joining us this link will get you to the Podcast.

Jimmy:

nelson_lindsey_jacketPodcast? I thought you said this was television? I just bought a new blazer from the Lindsay Nelson collection. Plus, I got a haircut for this. That’s $8 down the crapper!

Mike:

There is a piece of good news in the Arizona Fall League. Jeurys Familia is back from elbow surgery and pitching. Familia went down early last year and has been mostly forgotten about since then, but he could be another live arm for the 2014 bullpen.

Jimmy:

I wrote about his awful delivery back in late March, saying: “I’m not a pitching coach, but that stiff-legged landing looks all wrong — and all-arm. Don’t like this guy’s windup.”

When you look at that ugly landing, it's hard to imagine Familia NOT getting injured.

When you look at that ugly landing, it’s hard to imagine Familia NOT getting injured.

But yes, this is the kind of guy the Braves system seems to produce every year to fortify a deep and varied bullpen. I’m hoping he stays healthy, but my dreams for him do not extend much farther than that.

Mike:

According to Nielsens rating services, the average age of a World Series viewer in 2013 was 54.4. Children between the ages of 6 – 17 made up only 4.3 percent of the overall audience. The article listed the following percentages for that demographic in baseball’s competitor sports.

  • NBA, 9.4 percent
  • NHL, 9 percent
  • English Premier League Soccer, 11 percent

EeyoreFrankly, those demographics are brutal. Advertisers for most products have pure disdain for anyone over 55 as you have all of your stuff already and people need to hoard any money they have saved to last until they die. There are, of course, some things that still need to be bought. Expect to see a lot of “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials during baseball games.

Don’t worry, baseball is addressing this problem, as they intend to institute a replay system. If there is one thing we all know about young people it is that they like sports that move very slowly. The pace of baseball games is going way too fast for kids, it’s time to hit the brakes.

Jimmy:

It’s a business driven by quarterly earnings with no eye on the long-term. I guess that means baseball is still a lot like America. But I do suspect that today’s young fan expects and demands more technology within the game, the beauty of an umpire’s human frailty pales in comparison to “getting it right.” The speed of the game will have to be addressed on the mound and in the batter’s box.

Mike:

That is true about the lack of long-term thinking, but those numbers are not future projections, they are current. The next National TV negotiation will be interesting. Because you are correct, until those numbers go down baseball will ignore this trend.

I noticed this headline from our friends at Mets360 last week. It’s Time to Give Up On Reese Havens. No argument here.

Jimmy:

Ha, it’s a long winter, you gotta write something. I thought Dan Stack wrote a good piece for them on Monday, “Six Ideas to Make the Mets More Competitive.” They are, to paraphrase:

  1. Spend money,
  2. Dump Davis & Duda,
  3. Avoid multi-year deals on pitchers,
  4. Stick with Lagares in CF;
  5. Flip Murphy;
  6. Upgrade at SS.

Mike:

Not crazy about number five. We have very few solid major league players, teams that win have players like Daniel Murphy.

Jimmy:

gravity-teaser-1And while we’re floating in the blogosphere like George Clooney in “Gravity,” Joe D. at Metsmerized came out with both guns blazing on Monday, “Three Years In and Things May Be Worse.” The worm is turning.

I gotta be honest, I’m running out of patience…

Running out of patience with an ownership who continues to be less than forthcoming and has made my fandom disjointed… Patience with a front office that has fallen far short of their top billing and were never up to the task of contending on a shoestring which was supposed to be their forte…

I gave them their three years and outside of all the hollow words and empty promises, I see a team that is broken and still in a state of chaos and utter disrepair.

So how can I go into this offseason believing that we’re really going to spend when everything inside me believes it’s a lie?

That said, much will be revealed over the course of this winter, so I’m not ready to go “full dark” just yet. But this is the general malaise I was talking about over the weekend and posted yesterday. The crisis of confidence. He’s lost the fanbase.

Mike:

It’s early November, there is still plenty of time to despair. This seems too early to me.

Jimmy:

Baseball America posted their version of the Mets Top 10 Prospects a few days back. In general, I was surprised by the reaction from bloggers and fans, which seemed favorable and optimistic. I looked at those names and thought: “So where’s all this great pitching that we’re supposed to have?” Jacob DeGrom is our third-best pitching prospect?

Here’s their list:

  1. Noah Syndergaard
  2. Travis d’Arnaud
  3. Rafael Montero
  4. Dominic Smith
  5. Kevin Plawecki
  6. Wilmer Flores
  7. Ahmed Rosario
  8. Brandon Nimmo
  9. Gavin Cecchini
  10. Jake deGrom

I mean, last year Jacob deGrom went 2-5 in Binghamton with a 1.48 WHIP, allowing 10.4 H/9, while earning only 6.6 SO/9. Then he went to Las Vegas and essentially put up the same numbers. He’s 25 years old. This is the 3rd best pitching prospect in the Mets system? Yet every single day I read a reference to our stocked, pitching-rich system. I’m not convinced. Dominate at St. Lucie and I’ll start to get excited.

The Mets drafted Dominic Smith less than 5 months ago. He's 18. He's played 51 professional games, slugged 3 homers. BA ranks him as the Mets 4th best prospect. I don't believe that says great things about the state of the system. -- JP.

The Mets drafted Dominic Smith less than 5 months ago. He’s 18. He’s played 51 professional games, slugged 3 homers. BA ranks him as the Mets 4th best prospect. I don’t believe that says great things about the state of the system. — JP.

On the flip side, I’m hopeful about Smith and Rosario, but those guys are very young and a long ways away. I still think Nimmo has a shot to be a good player, he had a wrist injury and has played in tough leagues for hitters. Our top three are nice, though I wish the organization showed a little more enthusiasm about Montero. I can’t fathom why he’s not being given the inside track this Spring as the club’s #5 starter — except for “Super 2″ reasons or, worse, they just don’t think he can do it.

Mike:

Maybe he is getting traded.

Jimmy:

A few months ago, I went back and looked at the progress of the starting rotation from the Brooklyn Cyclones amazing 2012 season, “The Brooklyn Cyclones Elite Pitching Class of 2012 Falls Short of High Hopes in 2013.” At the time, it looked like the Mets had three aces and a pair of Jacks. But climbing the ladder is not so easy. My conclusion is that at the lower levels the Mets farm teams are situated in pitching-friendly environments. The annual tendency will be for the “prospect mavens” to overrate these young guns year after year after year. It’s Las Vegas in reverse. After three full years, the Reign of Sandy has not drafted and developed a single pitcher in the Mets top 10. Thankfully he inherited two great players that he could trade in R.A. Dickey and Carlos Beltran.

Mike:

After three years of rebuilding and trading for prospects a team should have excess prospects and be in a position to trade some away for major league talent. If we have a good system we can make those trades this offseason. If we do not have the depth to accomplish this we have failed.

Bloggers and rating services opinions are fun to read but the only opinions that will matter belong to the other MLB GMs. Those opinions should become clearer in the next month or so.

 

 

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16 comments

  1. tom says:

    One key pitching prospect was Luis Mateo, who was great in Brooklyn in 2012 and had a great first start in 2013 for St Lucie – then needed Tommy John. Michael Fulmer (considered Syndergaard-ish) has two injuries and does not pitch much. Robles also injured although now pitching real well in Arizona Fall League against tougher competition than he faced in St Lucie(last 4 outings, 14 innings, 14 K’s, 2 runs). Other 2012 Brooklyn elite had fine years in 2013 (see Ynoa). So there are arms downs there. Matz could be pretty elite by mid-2015 or start of 2016. So the arms are there if you look for them. Even Gorski sported a 1.83 in his innings in AA…another possibility for at least a LOOGY.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      Matz is interesting case. I could be wrong about the exact timing, but I am almost certain that he has to go on the 40 man roster ahead of this years Rule V draft. Once that happens he is officially on the clock. I think it is fair to say the Mets are heavily vested in him at this point, and I hope they do not do something stupid and not protect him thinking a team won’t roll the dice.

      He should begin 2014 at St. Lucie and his target for the year whether he advances to Bingo or not should be roughly 150ish innings. Which would make 2015 his year to transition to the bigs. The thing is, with his injury set backs you sort of have to hope he is more ready to go in the vain of Harvey and Wheeler (not saying as good, but when arriving, not going up and down) because 2016 based on the time table would be the last year he has options.

      He is an interesting prospect to watch.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Matz is an interesting pitcher, I would have had him higher on that published list.

    • James Preller says:

      I was hopeful about Fulmer, and still am, but the injuries are disappointing. There is definitely pitching talent in the system, a lot of depth. I don’t see that 1-2 starter to emerge, however. Flexen is another interesting young arm. I don’t mean to sound like I am discounting the depth, but it’s disappointing that we don’t have more potential stars, considering the hype within the Metsbloogosphere.

  2. PeeKay15 says:

    Hey……we’re reaching out to Rafael Furcal. Let’s cut the guys some slack, ah?

  3. RAFF says:

    Furcal is a very good shortstop- and of course, Tommy John surgery is a very big deal. it will be interesting to see what he does in 2014. I’ve been “training” my thoughts around the idea that the Mets have 3 holes (SS, RF, LF) and 3 question Marks (1B, CF, C)… They cannot fill all their needs this year, just by picking up 6 players to fill these spots, so nothing they do will be in a vacuum. They will need to pick, choose, and prioritize to at least move forward. Starting with the question of whether they could get a gauge on Furcal’s health – If they landed, for example, Choo, Arroyo, and Murphy (or fill in 3 players of your choice at a combined $40mil) – would it be worth a “flyer” to pick up an (anticipated) healthy Furcal, knowing that he might not end up being fully ready, necessitating another year with a hole at shortstop? (Tejada?) Maybe $1.5mil, with a $6mil team option for ’15 and a $1mil buyout?

    • I agree with this general line of thought. Every move effects the next move, and there’s a scenario where a guy like Furcal makes sense.

      I think we’re in good shape at catcher, personally.

      A lot of things have been said about the Red Sox of late, “Aura” and “Mystique” have changed venues, but the one thing that jumps out at you — after the $156 million payroll — is that everybody in that lineup is a legitimate bat. Middlebrooks had a tough year, but otherwise there were no easy outs. Too many times the Mets had Ike at cleanup, a SS who couldn’t hit, Lagares in for his defense, and so on. Too many black holes in the lineup. I think they can go defense first at one position, CF, but need to raise the baseline performance across the board.

      Furcal, IMO, in his younger days was as close to Reyes as you could get. Was a great & underrated player. No idea in the world if there’s any gas in that tank.

  4. RAFF says:

    Squeezed between priorities, but caught the last 20 minutes of the Podcast. thanks for representing us.

  5. Alan K. says:

    Great job on the podcast, guys. You should do this more often.

    • Thanks. It was a strange experience and I didn’t love it, personally. Maybe just too many guys, the conversation kept slipping away. Steve has some interesting opinions and I’m not in agreement with many of them. Murphy, for one. I also think it’s a giant leap to compare Sandy Alderson to Frank Cashen, the greatest GM in Mets history. But I guess that’s the nature of a round table, you can only speak when you have the microphone, you can only control those limited sound bites. I used to do school visits via Skype, but I turn them all down now, because I don’t love that format either. Miss the face. Except, of course, in Mike’s case.

      • Ed Marcus says:

        Sorry if I came across as brash – i do stand. By my comparison though

        • No apologies necessary, Ed. It was interesting how it lined up from the outset: You guys “support” Alderson and we have been “critical” of him. And that’s my problem, in a nutshell. There’s a culture out there that cannot tolerate any criticism of the job Sandy Alderson has done so far, whereas to my point of view, the best you can give him is an “Incomplete.” There’s been good and bad. Yes, there’s a scenario where this all works out, that we’ve needed to endure the necessary-evil stage of this regime. He forced us to take our medicine, and so on. I personally don’t think it had to be this mind-numblingly bad — and that if it was going to be this bad, losing two million fans, half the paying customers — that he should have rebuilt in earnest instead of half-assing it. Ultimately, no one can say you are wrong about Cashen, yet. But in order to believe in that comparison, you have to believe in a future that has not yet happened. You have to “hope” you are right, because there’s nothing concrete to support it, just a huge leap of faith. With Sandy, it’s a lot like Terry Collins, it’s tough to pin the fault on him. Terry has shitty players, not his fault. Sandy has the Wilpons. Will it all lead to a championship? I don’t know, there’s still an awful lot of work to do.

          Frank Cashen built a team using every asset available. He traded often and aggressively. Big names, small pieces. He had an eye for talent. Cashen was the architect of the greatest 5-year run in Mets history — by far. So far all Sandy has done is put together 3 losing seasons (eight in a row as a GM, btw). At this point, it’s a major streeeeetch to make that comparision, IMO. And frankly, I don’t think Alderson has done nearly enough to earn it.

    • Michael Geus says:

      After a lifetime of conference calls on more mundane topics it was fun to participate in one involving the Mets. Thanks for listening.

  6. [...]   Last night on the Shouts from Shea Podcast myself and Ed Marcus were glad to have Mike Geus and James Preller from 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball [...]

  7. PeeKay15 says:

    I hear you, and was just horsing around.

    Having no idea what’s truly available at this point (other than the guys who’ve filed for FA), and not wanting to sit on your hands until the Winter Meetings to find out if some kind of trade might present itself……..I don’t see what the issue would be, in reaching out to Furcal.

    - Maybe they see him as a bench/part-time player; who’d certainly be an upgrade on the guys we’ve carried over the past few years.

    - Maybe they plan on bolstering up at other positions, while taking a gamble on a season of Furcal — and in the process, giving a quick smack-upside the head to Ruben Tejada?

    - Maybe they keep him in mind – in an attempt to gauge his interest, while they go further into the winter….attempting to acquire some other SS via trade?

    - Maybe guys like Peralta and Drew have absolutely no interest in playing for the Mets….even if they are interested in said players?

    While I like to joke at the Mets expense, I also refuse to get all “up in arms” this early in the off-season. I can’t claim to have any clue where they’ll look to upgrade this winter, or how they’ll even attempt to do it.

    That being said, I’ve always been a fan of Furcal’s career…….and had advocated looking into his services, post-Reyes departure. Now?

    Think you’d be looking for trouble, “depending on him” for anything. Probably not best to expect him to be a starting Major League SS for more than a few months, at this stage of his career.

    Let’s see where it all goes…….

  8. Eric says:

    The Sandy-Cashen comps are STRAINED at best. Different era….. the FA Option was simply not in play for most of Frank Cashen’s career.

    Additionally, Cashen was a BASEBALL MAN…. he engineered huge trades with both the Orioles and Mets (Frank Robinson, Kieth Hernandez, etc)…… He Hired Significant, Historical Baseball Managers—Earl Weaver and Davie Johnson….. his ability/actions led to CHAMPIONSHIPS with BOTH Baltimore and NY.

    Sandy Alderson IS and has been an ADMINISTRATOR…..He “hired out” the baseball operation in Oakland, and now with the Mets. He simply has a LESSER track record than Cashen as a “Pre-Met”….and his actions as a Met’s Man have not included all facets of TODAY’S player acquisition Reality—-admittedly, he’s hampered by his owners.

    Obviously, he’s a top flight business executive…I believe he arrived here to shield the Wilpons and assure that MLB’s interests were protected. That’s reflective of his tremendous skill set in very specific areas.

    The BASEBALL Results/Resume—- frankly, Sandy has FEW BASEBALL Chops. The comp to Frank Cashen is a demonstration of the low level of understanding of BOTH Frank Cashen’s History and ability and that of Sandy Alderson.

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