The Spotlight Shifts to Zack Wheeler and Sandy Alderson

Mike:

An open question for some time now has been when is Zack Wheeler finally going to pitch for the Mets. It now looks like it will be June 18, against the Braves in Atlanta. Anyone who wasn’t born this week knows the ‘Super 2′ status of Wheeler was one factor driving the decision. However, although there is no official date for ‘Super 2,’ it clearly has now passed. How do I know? The team the Mets now attempt to emulate, the Pirates, called up their prize prospect, Gerrit Cole. Nobody knows how to hold back talent like Pittsburgh, no seasons over .500 in twenty years proves that point. And so Cole coming up is the signal, there is no longer any ‘Super 2′ risk. Yet, we continue to wait. I guess he really wasn’t ready, and needed more time in Las Vegas.

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Jimmy:

Here is an exact quote from Sandy Alderson on WFAN:

“It’s a detriment for the development of pitchers.”

Got that?

Las Vegas is a detriment. For the development. Of pitchers!

So there it is, the Mets GM said it out loud. It’s been counter-productive for our top pitching prospect to spend half a season out there. Las Vegas, a place where “the ball gets through the infield so quickly” a player’s range is hard to access (Sandy’s words), where fly balls carry farther, where the park is small, where pitchers can’t properly grip the ball because the air is so dry. The club better not do this to Montero.

(By the way, big hat tip to Aaron Yorke and Amazin’ Avenue for posting the full transcript of Sandy’s WFAN appearance. Thank you, Aaron.)

Mike:

Detriment = damaging, as in damaging to progress. At least according to my online version of Webster’s, maybe Sandy has the special Harvard Law version. So, the Plan for Wheeler is to spend half a year somewhere that is damaging to his progress.

Jimmy:

On the subject of Wheeler’s debut, I found this exchange on WFAN pretty comical:

  • Alderson: Well, there’s been a lot of speculation that he’ll start one game of the doubleheader on June 18.
  • Francesa: Is that good?
  • Alderson: Unlike most speculation, this probably has some accuracy. [laughs] We get rainouts…
  • Francesa: But right now the plan is the 18th?
  • Alderson: I think you could speculate that and be fairly comfortable.

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Good Lord, why can’t he say a simple thing?

Mike:

Because they are now waiting because they are terrified to call him up. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it starts the clock Sandy has dreaded all along. The clock on Sandy. Alderson has had this tremendous period (for him) where no matter what happens to this franchise it is not his fault. Everything is Omar’s fault! The narrative has been that Sandy is busy cleaning up some toxic mess left behind.

It’s a great story, and as Mets fans we all want a happy ending. The implied pact between Sandy and the fans was that we would sit through terrible teams on the field while he rebuilt from the “mess” he inherited. What does this have to do with Wheeler? Everything. Because by now it is obvious to all that we have no position players in the entire system. The word has been that it’s okay, that our minor leagues are so deep in pitching it will not matter. Matt Harvey was Omar’s guy. Wheeler is Sandy’s guy, his first (yes, I know he needed Beltran to get Wheeler but his hand was involved.)

And the good news is that it could actually work out. Wheeler comes up and is great, Montero follows after the trade deadline and looks good, everyone’s mood is going to lighten. Add in a decent d’Arnaud and a trade for a bat and being competitive in 2014 is not out of the question.

But other than Wheeler and Montero there is not much coming in the system to help in 2014. Plus the idea that there might be enough organizational depth to trade for hitting starts with a productive Harvey (check), Familia (minus), and Wheeler. This makes what Wheeler can accomplish huge for this organization.

This organization has hyped Zack Wheeler very hard since the day they acquired him. The owners have been hearing it too. I’d say the front office has a lot riding on the player.

With the ‘Super 2″ deadline passing there really is no choice now but to let the spotlight hit Zack. Whether he likes it or not, the media glare now falls on Sandy as well.

It can’t be Omar’s fault forever.

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10 comments

  1. bartleby says:

    Montero was signed in January 2011… he is a Sandy signing, not an Omar signing… in fact, aside from Wilmer Flores, ANYONE that is worth ANYTHING in the Mets’ farm system is a product of the new regime either via draft, international signing, or trade…

    the reason the team right now sucks: perhaps you should take a gander at the drafts and international signings from 2005 thru 2010… THOSE are the players that either should be in MLB or just about MLB ready by now…

    well well… aside from Harvey — who is a stud, of course — the entirety of Omar’s tenure in charge of the Mets produced Niese and Murphy as the only remotely competent MLB assets. Want to throw Parnell in there? Fine. Still holding out hope for Ike Davis? Fine. That’s four players — none of them first-tier players, mind you — who can potentially contribute to a quality MLB team. EVERYONE else has either washed out entirely or comprises the detritus that currently inhabits the organization’s MLB and AAA rosters.

    Want to blame this on Sandy while bathing in some of thickest self-loathing and cynicism found on the internet? Go ahead. Keep rehashing the “Pagan trade” (as if the Wilpons had enough money to re-sign him even if NYM kept him for 2012) or the failed bullpens (which are supposed to be built from within, only Omar didn’t leave A SINGLE COMPETENT arm anywhere to be found… even Mejia was destroyed) or “Frank Frank”… yeah, those moves didn’t turn out great… but there were irrelevant in the big picture: THIS TEAM WAS NEVER EVER EVER going to contend from 2011 thru 2013… not with payroll slashed $50million and ANOTHER annual $50million lit on fire (Bay/Santana)…

    Sandy has done this the only way possible. Will it work? Remains to be seen. But grow up, already. If you are frustrated with Sandy et al., you are really just frustrated with Omar and the Wilpons. To be honest, Sandy/Ricciardi/DePo are THE ONLY CHANCE the organization has… you better hope they aren’t fired or forced out or whatever or else the ENTIRE PROCESS will just restart anew…

    • Michael Geus says:

      Apologies on Montero, he was signed post-Omar. Thanks for the correction.

      Whatever anyone thinks of my opinions I would never want to twist facts.

      • Montero signed in January 2011. Sandy was announced as Mets GM on October 30, 2010. So while Alderson clearly deserves credit for signing Montero, I’d wager Montero was in the DSL pipeline — and that scouts had their eyes on him — before Alderson ever heard his name. It would be interesting to read a little more background on it; I’ve seen reports that Montero did not play organized ball until he was 17.

    • The only way possible? Sorry there are many many many ways this could be done.

      People can keep coming to Sandy’s rescue all they want.

      Hard to point fingers at those willing to criticize a guy who says this…

      “I’ve never had a team where I saw the SS as a core player.”

      But does this…

      “With the 12th selection in the 2012 first year player draft, the New York Mets select, Gavin Cecchini, shortstop…”

      Because everyone knows, if you don’t see SS’s as a core player, pick a shortstop with the idea of being a core player.

      Alderson is what he is, a sitting GM babysitting the Wilpons for Bud Selig. It is sad, pathetic and embarrassing that it has come to this. Are his hands tied, sure. But the essence of this post are SPOT FREAKING DOODLEY DOO ON!!! He has been doing everything within his power to equally bide time as he has to make the team good. His trades have been at least on paper well executed. His fishing for talent has been atrocious. And now the cock crows. Time to see if the call for patience was warranted or it simply allowed the Wilpons and Katz families to bleed less money while the team prayed things would work out.

      Don’t be a bag handler for Sandy Alderson, he is a grown man. Though he has managed to evade criticism too easily.

  2. Michael Geus says:

    The post above says it could all work out and that for it to do so has a lot to do with Wheeler. I can’t think of one post that we have written that we expected the team to be good in 2013 or even thought that should have been a primary goal.

    If we have ever mentioned the Pagan trade I certainly cannot remember it.

    Overall we have been critical of Alderson, I would never deny that. I agree on payroll and the Wilpons being the number one problem for this team.

    As for Omar he had strengths and weaknesses. I hated to see him go for one reason which you cited above in regards to Sandy. The entire process had to restart anew. But by the time he was let go Omar needed to go. I cannot remember us ever saying otherwise.

    We blog daily on what we see and feel. Some days our posts are positive, some days the tone is negative. We are also not for everyone, nobody is.

    Sorry we seem to annoy you so much, we are just writing a blog.

  3. In a related note, have you guys seen this story on ESPN? It’s just perfect for the way things are going this season:
    http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/9384437/new-york-mets-asked-dating-website-promote-david-wright-all-star-game

    • Yes, seen it. The Mets can always be counted on for finding new ways of embarrassing themselves. I wonder if this was done by Mike’s friend in the PR department, Ezra? It sounds like his level of desperation.

  4. Brian Joura says:

    I like the last line of the piece.

    What I’m not overly fond of is the need of everyone from Alderson on down to bitch and moan about everything Las Vegas. At the bare minimum, the Mets will be there through 2014 so we should save the complaints for where they might actually do some good. Like did you know that LH relievers for the Mets have a 6.53 ERA this year? That’s a crappy situation we could actually do something about.

    Not every start for Wheeler – and the other pitching prospects – is going to come at Citi Field. There’s going to be starts in Colorado, there’s going to be starts in Arizona, there’s going to be starts at CBP in Philadelphia and there’s going to be starts in the house of horrors in Atlanta.

    It’s not the end of the world that they get experience pitching in tough circumstances. You still want to throw strikes and try to keep the ball in the park. And it’s the job of the talent evaluators to understand the conditions and act accordingly.

  5. eric says:

    Short Stop as a Core Piece: I listened to the interview. My ears heard that “THE SHORTSTOP” to whom he was referring was Tejada.

    Am I hearing something different or misinterpreting Sandy’s remarks or those of bloggers?/////// my understanding is that some of you are voicing an opinion that Sandy NEVER sees SS—ANY SHORTSTOP— as a Core Piece. I think that is Parsing and misrepresentation on the part of the listeners, not Sandy. What am I missing?

    • Alderson: Let me say this without being overly critical: I’ve never had shortstop in that core column. I’m not trying to be critical of a player, I’m just saying. Is Ike the kind of guy that we’d like to be able to rely on going forward? Absolutely.

      Don’t see how it gets any more clear that that. He did not say Tejada, Mets. He actually said never had shortstop in that core column. Which kind of speaks volumes about how he screwed the pooch on Reyes.

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