Not To Overreact, But: “SIZAFITZ! SHKLORTCH! BLORT!”

Warning: Stove is hot!

Warning: Stove is hot!

I know.

You don’t have to say it.

I know.

It’s early. Words aren’t important; actions are louder.

The title of this post, “Not to overreact, but: SIZAFITZ! SHKLORTCH! BLORT!” is actually a piece of performance art. It is my impression of the Mets twitterverse exploding during baseball’s GM Meetings.

Collectively, we hear things and flip out.

Hopefully all those devastated, angry feelings will be rendered meaningless over time, another object lesson in how not to react to every puny utterance that is said in November.

I am referring, for example, to this minor item from a couple of days back:

“[On] Tuesday, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson hinted that finding an alternative backup catcher is not an important need.

“First of all, we like Anthony Recker as a backup,” Alderson said. “So if we were to get a more veteran guy, it would be in part out of concern that somebody is going to have to play every day if d’Arnaud gets hurt. Part of it might be a desire to have a little bit of mentorship for both d’Arnaud and Recker.

“The nice thing is we have a guy like [bench coach] Bob Geren on our staff, who had been very good at that himself. So the backup veteran catcher is not really a high priority for us. I mean, it’s nice to have. We’ve got some other need-to-have holes to fill.”

The management team that was content in 2012 with a backstop combination of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas is now planning to leave their top-hitting prospect, catcher Travis d’Arnaud, without a mentor.

There’s been a lot of discussion about “The Plan,” writ large, but this is also a plan on a minor note. Penny-wise, pound-foolish. I hope it doesn’t play out this way in real life.

Just an idea, if the price is right.

Just an idea . . . if the price is right.

I believe it’s important to provide d’Arnaud with extra support to help ease his transition to the team. We know that he’s going to struggle behind the plate. He’s going to slump with the bat. He’s going to have to learn how to handle an entire staff — as a rookie catcher. There’s a lot weighing on his shoulders. It’s a huge task.

Think of what this organization has invested in Travis d’Arnaud. We traded a Cy Young award-winner for him. Think about a club that’s places its best hope on young pitching. Think of how Terry Collins kept rolling John Buck out there there first few months of the season, wearing him down to the point of uselessness. This man gets to steer the ship for another season. Because, you know, back-to-back 74 win seasons do not go unrewarded in Flushing.

The plan should be to support and help d’Arnaud succeed in every way possible. Pair him with a catcher who can show him the ropes. Who can reliably take a decent amount of starts. (It’s also another reason why he needed to start the season in Flushing . . . last year . . . so he could work with John Buck without the pressure of big expectations.)

The plan should not be, once again, to save a few crummy bucks at the catcher position. Anthony Recker seems like a good guy. He’s got some thump. But he’s not a talented backstop. He has little major league experience. Paired with Buck, he made sense. Paired with an equally inexperienced catcher? On a team that’s supposedly built around pitching? I don’t get it.

Of course, Sandy says that doesn’t matter, since the Mets have bench coach Bob Geren. He used to be a catcher! In fact, Geren started a total of 222 games in his rich and storied career. Think of that wealth of knowledge!

This is how I feel about NFL quarterbacks, too. If you’ve got a young guy who represents The Future, pair him with a veteran. A guide, a mentor, a confidant. Bob Geren is not a peer. He’s a coach, and he can only serve in that capacity.

Again, d’Arnaud is a key to the Mets future. If he’s the real deal — if he’s good behind the plate; if he hits anything near Charles Barkley’s weight; if he commands the respect of this staff — then the Mets will have filled a major piece of the puzzle.

Shouldn’t management do everything in their power to help this kid succeed?

Is this really the time to save a cool 0.75 million?

We’ve seen this movie before. Mike Nickeas backed up Josh Thole in 2012. The price was right. And the outcome was predictable.

Feel the excitement.

Feel the excitement.

Frustrating. And as eloquent as throwing in the towel.

If the Mets aren’t going to do the big things, then their strategies on the margins become even more critical. Small things matter.

In this aspect of team construction, I hope their actions are better than Sandy’s words.



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  1. Eraff says:

    Those are the Three top names that Sandy has on his OF list…no?

    How about signing Peralta and letting him know there’s a good possibility that he’ll be a Left Fielder?…now or at some future point.

    Addition of Peralta…..Drew….these are solid guys….then hunt for some “cheap thrills”…Chris Young?…

  2. Alan K. says:

    I agree that not adding a catcher is foolish. I would bring back Buck, who we know has rapport with d’Arnaud and the pitching staff and has some badly needed power. Recker is not a major league hitter and given d’Arnaud’s injury history and growing pains at the plate, the Mets are playing with fire. The comments about Geren are almost as disconcerting, as he seems to be in the manager in waiting in the event the Mets ever fired Collins.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      The Mets under the Wilpons will always go cheap with a replacement manager.

      The only time they EVER went to a truly new option was when their hand was forced by Bobby Valentine toward the end of 1996, when it was known if he did not ascend to the Mets job he was going to take the first job offered to him.

      For whatever reason the Mets relented and that worked out well other than the fact that Bobby and Phillips could not play in the same sandbox.

      This front office there is almost no chance, maybe a 0.01% chance that if Collins were fired, Geren would not replace him.

      As for catcher, I really have no problem with what they do there, other than that there current strategy completely contradicts their reasoning for signing Buck last year, which also contradicted itself last year when they tried to sneak an extra year of control out of a 25 year old by waiting for Super 2 season to begin.

  3. RAFF says:

    Alderson’s comments seem utterly silly and contrived. WHAT?— He doesn’t want to “tip his hand” that they’d like a solid veteran back-up catcher to lighten the load and provide a confidante and mentor to a rookie catcher and young pitching staff? I’m with you, Jimmy. In the final analysis, which we’ll have when the Mets DO WHAT THEY DO this offseason, all this blather is quite meaningless

  4. Michael Geus says:

    Overall I see no good reason why the Mets wouldn’t shut up last week (two more long radio interviews Friday.) It’s hard to ignore the press, but Alderson sought out publicity all week at a time when there is nothing much to say.

    But for me worrying about a backup catcher right now is about 100th on my list of concerns. There aren’t enough decent catchers to fill major league rosters. if you have one good catcher you are ahead of the game. Two good catchers almost never happens.

    It is a funny position, as without inside information fans rarely have a good feel for how the pitchers feel about throwing to a guy. And that matters, of course. Word was that Marcum, for one, had issues with Recker, but the more we have learned about Marcum, he had issues, period.

    If that wasn’t the prevailing opinion I don’t know how we would improve on Recker. Offensively he had enough pop to be one of the better hitting backup catchers around. You have to compare the guy to his competition, not OF’s and First Baseman.

    Take a look at the free agent catchers and tell me who the guy would be that you would target for under $2 million. Henry Blanco, Jose Molina, and Ramon Hernandez were the guys I found.

    I get where Sandy is coming from here.

  5. Eraff says:

    Here’s my WISHLIST for the Day…. I WOULD want to sign Choo….5/100-110. Overpaying for a quality problem solver is a great approach…..Wont Happen?

    Here’s an idea—- Peralta OF, Drew Short….. Chris Young OF, Dioner Navarro C….that is “roughly” a 40 million dollar menu. There is predictability…some upside… players who are marketable downstream….affordable….

    Don’t trade Pitchers….push your young guys out their….. give them a MLB lineup that can hit, field and run……

    of Chris Young/Eric Young
    ss Drew
    3b Wright
    of Peralta
    2b Murphy
    c d’Arnaud
    1b Duda/ Flores
    cf Lagares

    • I am concerned that the new path with be a series of quasi-reasonable (costs considered!) but uninspired rosters that keep the club in the 75-83 win vicinity. Not terrible, but not great either. The new goal: Mediocrity or bust!

      I think (and fear) they will accomplish it (and no more).

  6. Eraff says:

    That Lineup is an 82-85 game winner……and it carries over with performance and assets going forward. It has the possibility of MLB level anchors and it has room for perk and additions in forward years. It preserves the young assets for development and/or trade…. it’s a START.

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