Di-JEST (by Larry Smith): THIS & THAT
Usually our DiJest articles hit on one topic and have at it. But today I'd like to skip around and throw some commentary at a number of different issues of the day in Metsdom.
#1 IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE When Terry Collins was named manager I remember my exact thoughts: "OK". This was shortly after Sandy Alderson took over as the GM and when he was in the honeymoon period when we were all happy that a baseball grownup had taken the reins. We were to have Moneyball East. What we've since learned is that we ended up with Don't-Spend-Moneyball. And what Sandy does and says is not accepted blindly any longer. There were several candidates for the skipper job and the one that many Mets fans wanted was (and still is, actually) Wally Backman. I thought it unlikely then and now that they'd turn the job over to Wally who is sort of an animated version of Billy Martin. I have no doubt that he could squeeze more wins out of the club than Terry has but along the way he'd likely burn CitiField down or get into a spitting (that's not really the adjective I want to use) match with his GM and/or the owner (the latter is what I would pay to see). So Terry has run the club and taken teams with the talent to win 75 games and gone out there and won those 75 games. Big whoop. But what I'm now ready to call an impeachable offense is that Terry seems wild about Eric Young Jr. He wants to put EY in the lineup as his leadoff batter. This is wrongheaded and reason enough to think that Terry's time to walk the plank has arrived. I'm not saying that Young is not a major league player. I would say that he is not a GOOD major league player. Ideally he is your 4th or 5th OFer and maybe your number 3 secondbaseman. He can do some pinch-hitting late (against lefties preferably) and he'd be a nifty pinch-runner. When you're playing guys like Ike, Duda, and Wilmer Flores it is useful to have a scatback like EY to come in and swipe a base late. But if Terry is going to force feed EY into his regular lineup then I'm jumping on the FIRE TERRY bandwagon.
#2 COMING UP SHORT Sounds like the revitalized spa-going Ruben Tejada is not the chiseled stud that we expected. It's the "new Nixon" all over again. The Mets desperately would like to turn the job over to someone better but they either cost money and a draft pick (that's Stephen Drew) or one or more nifty pitching prospects (for Seattle's Nick Franklin or perhaps Arizona's Chris Owings). It's really quite a soap opera to watch. Too bad we fans have such a vested interest in what happens. I'd liken it to a rocky marriage where both Ruben and the team would like to live apart but stay together either for the sake of the kids (we fans can play the role of the kids) or for financial reasons. I suspect that when the Ground Hog saw his shadow it meant six more weeks of sniping between the team and Tejada.
#3 WHO "DREW" UP THIS PLAN? So now we know that the Mets have made one feeble stab at signing Stephen Drew who, I bet, regrets that he declined the Qualifying Offer of $14 million that he received from the Red Sox. By published accounts the Mets offered one year/ $9.5 million.
This kind of confuses me but not the $9.5 mill part but the one year offer. I would not expect him to jump at that even this late in the offseason but that's not it. It's the fact that it's a one year deal. This is what you'd expect if a team has a hot prospect that figures to need one more year of seasoning in the minors and then is ready to assume the job of SS at the major league level. If the Mets have one of those then they've certainly kept him well concealed.
Or a team does this because they expect to sign or trade for a SS one year from now. And who exactly do the Mets plan to outbid for a quality middle infielder? Plus we now know that the Yankees will be shopping for a top tier shortstop next offseason to replace that retiring guy - I forget his name. So if the plan is to buy a free agent SS how can we expect him to be a better value next winter than Stephen Drew is right now?
It's not my money but I still think that if Drew will sign for 2 years/$22 million we can get this nightmare over quickly and move on to the inevitable next one.
#4 THE ENIGMA THAT IS IKE Riddle me this. If a team has as its strength minor league pitching depth and has holes on the field at the major league level and almost no position players as decent near-the-majors prospects why does it spend the whole offseason trying to trade its failed 1Bman and insist that the return be a pitching prospect? And a top one at that? It's ludicrous. That's what it is. I don't know how the Ike vs Duda showdown is going to go. I do know that those two belong on the same team about as much as Ted Cruz and Chuck Schumer belong in the same telephone booth (Anachronism warning- Does anyone remember phone booths?)
#5 BALANCING YOUR ASSETS I've been a Strat-O-Matic manager for about 35 years now. And yes, I realize that there's a lot more to trading in the majors than there is when you're participating in a hobby. But one element that is common to trading in all sports and at all levels is that if you have a lot of one thing and very little elsewhere you try to trade from your surplus to fill your voids. I know the old saw about your never having too much pitching and I am not an advocate of moving more than a few pitching prospects but I wonder why the front office seems so adamant to hold onto Mejia, DeGrom, Montero and others where they could bring back improvements on the field. It's as if they feel that doing nothing is going to be better than being proactive and doing something.
Currently the #1 prospect in minor league baseball is a 20 year old outfielder in the Minnesota organization named Byron Buxton. Of course, the Mets' top prospect is the pitcher we call Thor, Noah Syndegaard. He is very highly regarded in baseball but is not considered the prospect that Buxton is. I would bet that if Alderson had the chance to get Buxton for Thor he would not do it. And similarly the Twins would not make that swap either. This is what always befuddles me. If the deal is that bad for one team that they'd never consider it how could it be equally bad for the other?
#6 FLORES TO TRY SS Back to that position. Following Wilmer's path to the majors I read one thing after another saying that the youngster could hit but could they find him a position? No one thought he had a future at SS although that's where he played when he was 16 years old. And now that he's a larger and even slower man he's in the mix to play some shortstop for the Mets? Does the fuzzy thinking ever end?
#7 NIESE'S SHOULDER HURTS So Jon Niese, the guy who theoretically was going to be this year's sacrificial Opening Day starter, has been airlifted from Port St. Lucie up to New York City for an MRI. Too bad the state of Florida has no MRI machines.- could have saved on airfare and luggage fees. Baseball fans in general and Met fans in particular know what shoulder pain may be leading to. It makes one wonder whether the team in paying for Matt Harvey's Tommy John surgery got a "buy one, get one free" coupon from the surgeon. With the way Met pitchers tend to go down I could see Thor, Montero, and DeGrom in the rotation by Memorial Day.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@dr4sight There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.