News & Views: Wheeler Dreams of 2015, TC Talks Flores, Super Twosday, Niese Goes Down Again, and More

The World is EndingJimmy:

I read on Friday that Zack Wheeler admits to having dreams of 2015. Maybe not the best thing to say in March of 2014. But, yeah Zack, I hear ya.

Mike:

All this 2015 stuff reminds me of the guys you see on street corners with signs.

“The End of The World is Tomorrow!”

Then tomorrow comes and they do it again. Eventually, of course, someone might get it right.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard 2014 was going to be the magic year I would have enough money for Mets season tickets in the Delta Club. Now, the new game is to say 2015. Before a pitch is even thrown for 2014 people are running away from their previous proclamations. That tells you how flimsy it was all along. It’s going to happen when it happens, hopefully sooner rather then later. Since my only role in all this is to root, I’m rooting for sooner.

One big step in becoming a winning team is to have players step up their game. We traded Carlos Beltran in 2011 for Zack Wheeler. Maybe Zack could get to work and give us some payoff for that now instead of dreaming about help from anybody else in the future. Because unlike me, Wheeler has a real role in all of this.

Jimmy:

When I saw the words “DeGrom” and “cut,” I nearly had a heart attack. But, no worries. He was only cut from the ML squad. Those gorgeous locks are fine. I was worried he’d visited the barber.

deGrom

Mike:

Interesting that he was sent out the same day as Walters. Remember, Sandy was a Marine, they might want to think about a buzz cut.

Jimmy:

On Thursday, Terry Collins pulled Ruben Tejada aside and said, “Kid, the job is yours.” Was this just another attempt to squeeze something out of Ruben — the loving approach that’s worked so poorly with Ike Davis? — or are we to believe that Terry actually means it?

Mike:

I saw this as a positive. If any of the brain surgeons in the Mets hierarchy thought the best way to handle Ruben was with tough love, well, it’s not working. I wanted to fly down to Florida myself and give Ruben a hug.

Jimmy:

That’s sweet, I’m picturing it now.

Ruben and Mike. Big hug!

Ruben and Mike. Big hug!

Mike:

I’m not a big believer in Tejada’s talent, so I’m not saying anything Collins is doing will translate to better play. But it is worth a shot, and since Terry isn’t the GM what else can he do? Award the job to Quintaniila?

More importantly it was the humane thing to do.

Jimmy:

Meanwhile, Terry can’t figure out a way to give Flores a longer look at shortstop. One start so far, and the next one comes . . . nobody knows, not even Terry. When asked point blank, Terry waffled, “You guys are asking me what’s going to happen in four days, and I don’t know what’s going to happen at 9 o’clock tonight.’’

It’s the same treatment that Mejia is getting. There seems to be no plan to maximize these guys.

Mike:

Yes, that is strange, there was a lot of opportunity previously, with all the split squad games. But it does seem like a major leap to think Flores can play short, when many people suspect he can’t play second. And Flores played a lot of short for the Mets in the minors, he was there for a lot more of his minor league career than at second. They should know already. I think they do, they know he can’t, and they don’t want to put him there and expose that.

Jimmy:

And yet, crazily, they are ones who revived the topic! Nobody, nobody was talking about Wilmer at short until Sandy piped up about it. Remember? He said they didn’t know Duda could play the outfield until they stuck him out there on the grass.

Look, I’d love to have a real shortstop. That would be swell. But maybe a combination of Seratelli and Flores isn’t so insane. In ’86 Davey Johnson used to run Kevin Mitchell out there at short, particularly when Sid, a flyball pitcher, was on the mound. He wanted the bat in the lineup. No we have Wilmer Flores, apparently headed for regular work in Vegas. On the other hand, when it comes to the outfield, Sandy says that offense will be given the priority over defense.

I am confused, once again, as to the plan.

Mike:

We all remember Mitchell in short in 1986 very clearly, because it was Mitchell. He started 20 games there (the Mets went 12-8) before the Mets mercifully released George Foster and Belmont_-Stakes_-31-lengths_photo1opened up a larger role for him in the outfield. I was at many of those games and loved it, because I was young and it was crazy. And nothing mattered anyway, we were in the process of winning the Division in Secretariat style. Looking back today (I wanted to see how many games he played there), I was struck by the fact that it was zero from August 1st forward. Which made me think, was Davey actually doing it as a way to force the conversation with Cashen to release Foster already. I could see Cashen not digging the idea of Mitchell at short and Davey shrugging and saying, “I’ve got nowhere else to play him.”

Jimmy:

Yes, that was Davey’s style. He wasn’t just a “Yes man” grateful to wear the uniform. “How high you want me to jump?! How high??!!” Times change.

Mike:

Anyway, none of that has much to do with anything, other than I found it interesting. If I ever get five minutes with Davey it becomes a question.

As to the plan, I do have that figured out. There is no plan.

Jimmy:

Usually I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve had this crazy thought. Noah Syndergaard was never on television this spring. Not once. He always pitched in away games, and for unclear reasons the Mets only televise the home games at Tradition Field. There are three ways to look at it:

  1. Completely accidental, just not a priority for Terry Collins or the organization.
  2. A dumb PR move by Mets management, who should be trying to promote excitement about the team, since building revenues should be a priority. You know, let the dream start to take shape in our minds. Easy enough to schedule an outing or two at home.
  3. An intentional move by management, keeping things on the down-low, since the idea has always been to keep Noah relatively off the radar until Super Twosday. (Trademark, JP.)

Mike:

It happens every spring.

Another thing that happens every spring is injuries. More and more it is not looking good for Jon Niese. Fingers crossed, but the signs on Niese get worse and worse.

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11 comments

  1. Meanwhile, Ruben Tejada: .090/.130/.136 with 4 errors. Please release him, let him go.

  2. Kicking myself for not addressing Niese situation a couple of weeks ago. Clearly, he knows that something is wrong. Last season he was told to rest, but that rarely fixes the problem. You just wait, and assess, and hope to manage the injury for as long as possible. Often surgery awaits and you don’t want to go there until it’s necessary. Since last season, I think he’s been largely untraceable, damaged goods. Sometimes guys are told to rest because, well, there ain’t no good cure. I’m hoping for the best for him, but I expect the worst.

  3. Reese Kaplan says:

    Great minds think alike once again. I penned a column for Mack’s Mets Report last night in which I talked about Mejia getting a whopping 3 IP all spring until yesterday when his rust showed. Now they’ll use that as an excuse to bury him in Vegas and/or the bullpen. In that same paragraph I said you should see how they’re doing the same thing to Wilmer Flores who has gotten ABs but not time at SS.

    On Ruben, he’s calling to mind a new stat. I remember the Dave Kingman days when the Daily News would run a column of “Players Failing to Hit Their Weight” (for which Bartolo Colon would be a shoo-in, of course). Now we can have, “Players with More Errors than Hits”.

    • Thanks, Reese. I keep wanting to write something about Sandy, how he has been able to get some of the Macro right, but how he has mostly failed at the Micro level of management. Is he the Buck Showalter of GMs? At a certain point, the little things matter enormously — the difference between making the playoffs or missing out. During his tenure with the Mets, the little things have been meaningless. But I don’t think you get to 90 wins by screwing up so many details, even if you do trade for Wheeler and Syndergaard. Sandy replaced Tony LaRussa with Art Howe. Now he’s given us Terry Collins, baseball’s oldest manager, and he’s no Joe Maddon.

      • Michael Geus says:

        Hiring a manager is not part of the Micro level of management. It’s a huge hire, a big deal, and if anyone thinks Collins is not the guy for the job they should have serious doubts about Alderson as well.

      • Michael Geus says:

        Sandy also forced out Bruce Bochy (who he inherited) in 2006 in San Diego, following a season in which the Padres won the Division. Bochy headed to San Francisco and has won two World Series there. San Diego has not made the playoffs since, one of only a handful of teams that has not.

        The Mets, of course, are another.

  4. Eraff says:

    Dreaming of 2015?….. after 2014 was “The Year”.

    The present course is the best indication of the Future Course. It’s all about managing nickles and dimes because they don’t have dollars….and I believe they are anticipating that they won’t have dollars in the near future. Their concept is to have a few anchor players who are paid with the rest being “fill and get lucky” players…. they anticipate that ANY payroll increase will be toward the Starting Pitchers who Graduate to Real MLB Salaries over the next several seasons.

    That all makes good sense, but they don’t have a MLB SS on the horizon until 2016 at the earliest. Trading a Rotation or Near Rotation Arm for a SS, instead of a 3rd round pick is NOT a measure of good value but an expression of the fact that they just don’t have the capacity or willingness to make the commitment of 10 million dollars per year for the next 3 years.

    They can contend NOW with 10-20 million of added payroll. That commitment would add a SS NOW….and provide some flexibility at mid year for a roster addition be needed. That increase would merely bring them to the middle of the pack.

  5. Reese Kaplan says:

    `Would you roll the dice on a Syndergaard package to Chicago for Javier Baez (who clubbed 37 HRs while playing SS last year in the minors)? I think it’s time for something bold.

    • Michael Geus says:

      I will be a wimp and say I can’t answer that definitively, as the fact is I know very little about Syndergaard and Baez other than what I’ve read. I’m certainly not against it on any principle, anything that will make the team better should be explored and done. Baez, on paper, looks like plenty, but that’s why the Mets and Cubs have scouts, to know.

      But overall, the idea that we trade one of our pitching prospects for a shortstop prospect is very intriguing to me. And there seems to actually be a number of major league shortstops available right now.

      I keep thinking a trade is coming.

  6. Eraff says:

    I would keep the Prospect and sign a FA.

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