Sources: Mr. Met To Opt Out

mr-met-optout

With the New York Mets already bracing themselves for the potential opt out of Yoenis Cespedes, sources are now indicating that team mascot Mr. Met will also opt out of his current contract with the club. Mr. Met has been with the organization for over 50 years, but when asked about the prospect of a long-term contract extension Sandy Alderson said, “That’s not something we like to do. Those contracts often don’t work out. I’ve said that before. We’ll make those decisions as they’re presented.”

Prior to the Mets’ loss in the NL Wild Card playoff game, Fred Wilpon was asked how the organization could even consider letting Mr. Met, the face of the franchise, leave Flushing to which he responded, “I have made a decision — you guys don’t like, I get it — I want the face of the organization to be Sandy and Terry. I don’t want Mr. Met to be the face. I don’t want Jeff to be the face. And I don’t want to be the face. I don’t want to start because I know you’ll ask me other questions. I don’t want to do it.’’

When asked about his contract situation, Mr. Met indicated he would like to finish his career with the Mets, but noted “I get it. My head is just a giant baseball, so I can pretty much work for any team.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that the team had concerns with the mascot’s behavior during the season on a number of occasions. In April, it was reported that Mr. Met was denied a National League Championship ring because he “didn’t pay his dues”. Then in September during the closing weeks of the season, Mr. Met was seen golfing on two separate occasions with the Phillie Phanatic and Billy the Marlin. At the time, Sandy Alderson stated, “The golf is bad optics. You play golf with a rival mascot during the day and then go out and play against that team in the evening, it’s a bad visual. I think he recognizes that at this point. So we’ll go from there.”

If Mr. Met departs, the team will likely turn to internal options to replace him including Cowbell Man, Jay Bruce, or a random member of the Mets Party Patrol. When asked directly if James Loney would be considered as a replacement, a team spokesperson replied, “No. Never. He doesn’t have the range.”

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The Ghosts Of Cold Stoves Past

Did Sandy Alderson’s pre-2015 signing of John Mayberry Jr. excite you? What about when the Mets signed Chris Young before the 2014 season or Alejandro De Aza before the 2016 season? I don’t know about you, but I’ll never forget the 2012/13 offseason when the Mets signed Shaun Marcum and Brandon Lyon and traded for Collin Cowgill all in the span of a few months. What a whirlwind of exciting activity.

Whenever MLB’s all-time best reliever free agent signings are discussed, I know Mets fans love to debate whether the Frank Francisco (2011/2012) or Antonio Bastardo (2015/2016) signing made a bigger mark in Mets history. One day I’ll tell my children about Sandy’s first year as Mets GM when he snagged D.J. Carrasco and Chris Capuano for the staggering combined total of 3.9 million dollars.

Then there’s the list of talented players that have walked (or been forced) out the door during the Alderson era including Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan after the 2011 season, Justin Turner after the 2013 season, and Daniel Murphy after the 2015 season.

The MLB Hot Stove has always been the primary thing that helps me survive the winds of winter. But that stroll down Mets memory lane should serve as a reminder that Sandy Alderson generally keeps the stove pretty cold. He’s never been about the flashy headline grabbing moves.

Sure he’s made the occasional offseason splash during his tenure as Mets GM. He extended David Wright (8 years 138 million) before the 2013 season which obviously hasn’t worked out due to David’s injuries, but was a no brainer at the time. He signed Curtis Granderson (4 years 60 million) and Bartolo Colon (2 years 20 million) after the 2013 season.

He searched far and wide for a big bat before the 2015 season and ended up with Michael Cuddyer (2 years 21 million) who promptly fell apart physically and retired (Whoops!). And then obviously last year he signed Asdrubal Cabrera (2 years 18.5 million (with a team option)) and retained Yoenis Cespedes (even if it only turns out to be for one extra season).

Sandy’s most impactful offseason trade was probably the R.A. Dickey deal since it netted Noah Syndergaard. But the Jon Niese for Neil Walker deal after the 2015 season was a close runner-up.

The bottom line is we’ve all seen the Alderson front office strategy. He generally makes some minor additions to the roster during the winter and leaves something to be desired. He’ll make a few cost efficient signings and an occasional under the radar trade. Then he adds major league depth via trade or the waiver wire to the extent the roster needs it over the course of the season (e.g. Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, James Loney, Jose Reyes etc.) before going big at the trade deadline (e.g. Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce).

In no way am I trying to criticize anything Sandy has done as General Manager. Sandy built up the farm system, lifted our franchise out of the doldrums, acquired two of the most talented players to ever don the Mets uniform in Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes, and all of his actions have resulted in two straight playoff appearances.

That being said, as a sofa GM who lives for the rumor mill, it would be a refreshing change to see an offseason full of meaningful moves for the Mets. Plus, the whole strategy of making trades over the course of the season to patch up roster holes isn’t the best way to maintain the talented minor league system that Sandy helped create.

I suppose it’s possible we will see some more action this winter considering the last two years the Mets’ Hot Stove has trended up in temperature. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up folks. I’m grabbing my gloves and scarf just in case Sandy sticks to his typical plan and avoids any major signings. But if adding a middle reliever, a right-handed hitting bat for the bench, and a backup catcher on one year deals lights your fire, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy the kind of “heat” the Mets bring.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

If Yo Leaves, Banish The Wilpons From NYC

ban-wilpons

I used to enjoy the Hot Stove season. I really did. But it’s pretty clear that as long as the Wilpons own this franchise, the only meaningful offseason news will be about whether or not Yoenis Cespedes is willing to accept another lowball, short-term contract from the Mets. The news we all expected came out yesterday. Yo plans to opt-out of his contract and the Mets are “pessimistic about their chances of re-signing him”.

If Cespedes told the Mets he wants to test free agency no matter what and see what offers are out there, then I respect that decision. But if the Mets have a legitimate opportunity to lock him up with an extension and are voluntarily passing on that exclusive window then they are a complete joke of a franchise. Let’s be real. We all know that it’s scenario number two. The Wilpons love their wait and see bargain hunting BS. It’s disgusting.

I can’t believe there are Mets fans that 1) Defend the Wilpons and point to last offseason and say “well the wait and see approach worked last year” and/or 2) Don’t want Cespedes. I’ve actually had conversations with people that think retaining Yo is a mistake. If you think the Mets should let Yo walk then there’s no way you watched the team play without him in 2015 and 2016. Or maybe you like when teams can’t score runs and lose all the time. I suppose there are some masochists out there that enjoy when the team loses. And if you think the Mets would let Yo walk over money and then replace him with some other combination of high-priced free agents on long-term deals like Justin Turner, Ian Desmond, and Kenley Jansen then you are delusional.

Honestly if they let Yo walk to any other team, the Mayor or Governor should step in and ban the Wilpons from the city. Strip them of all their New York lands and titles. Letting an international superstar who relishes the New York spotlight leave the city and take his talents elsewhere is a goddamn disgrace. We’re going to let a 31-year-old star leave the financial capital of the world over money? And where the hell are the Wilpons anyway? Where’s Sandy Alderson? We lose to the Giants in the NL Wild Card Game and every member of the organization disappears like Keyser Söze? Have they all taken a vow of silence until the Cubs break their championship drought?

I’m guessing the Wilpons are secure in their Citi Field panic room. I’m sure Sandy is there trying to convince them to pony up the dough. I’ve always been willing to accept the reality that Sandy is generally opposed to long-term contracts and prefers roster flexibility. But I will never accept the bogus notion perpetuated by the media that Sandy doesn’t want to retain the most valuable player in his organization.

Banning the Wilpons from the city is pointless anyway. We’ll never be able to get to them once Yo leaves. They never make public appearances to speak to the media. Plus we all know that when they built Citi Field they created underground tunnels to escape to Connecticut in this exact type of situation. Hopefully the architects of Citi Field botched the design of the tunnels like they screwed up the insane original outfield dimensions and the Great Wall of Flushing height. With any luck the escape tunnels lead to an exit at the bottom of Flushing Bay.

I’m Still Brooding Over The 2016 Season

The 2016 World Series started last night, and a few pitches into the game I realized there is no way I’ll really enjoy it. A friend of mine recently said it was hard for him to get too worked up about the Mets fate in 2016 because their demise at the hands of Madison Bumgarner was so quick and efficient. I agreed at the time but I kind of lied. I just didn’t want to spend five hours ranting about why I’m so bitter.

I’ve heard Mets fans say they’ll enjoy this World Series because it’s free of certain rivals. Sure, it could have been worse. The Nationals could have made a run sparked by our former 2015 playoff hero Daniel Murphy. Or it could have been the even year Giants who disposed of the Mets in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game. Or it could have been stupid David Ortiz and the Red Sox. It’s nice that the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs period. But still, as a jealous Mets fan this series won’t be easy to watch.

On the one hand I can root for the team that was often compared to the 2015 Mets before the season. The talking heads all raved about the Indians elite starting pitching staff. Many experts felt they’d be a big bat short on offense (especially without Michael Brantley) unless they made a move at the deadline. They even had their own failed trade with the Brewers at the deadline like the 2015 Mets. In the end it turned out they had plenty of talent and won 94 games without adding a middle of the order presence. They’ve had a great playoff run despite missing two of their best starting pitchers.

On the other hand, the Cubs had the best record by far in 2016 and no matter what happens in the World Series they are showing they will be a National League powerhouse for the foreseeable future. The Cubs spent a ton of money last offseason and bolstered a team that already had arguably the most talent. They lived up to the hype. Theo Epstein is the man.

Whether the Cubs win or Indians win, one team will break an enormous championship drought. By next week, the number of sad, self-loathing, championship-less fans will diminish in a big way. There will be a mass exodus from Losertown as either the Cubs or Indians faithful pack up and leave. And I’ll remain behind with the rest of the sad sacks. As far as I’m concerned, the Mets have never won a championship. I wasn’t alive for ’86. My team will be 0-28 in my lifetime.

I think it’s hard for me to stay upbeat about the future for the Mets because I’ve never witnessed anything remotely close to competitive stability. Making the playoffs two years in a row is nice. It’s literally the greatest accomplishment I’ve witnessed during my time as a Mets fan. Forgive me if I keep the two year playoff streak celebratory champagne on ice.

And then there’s the fact that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller are both playing in this World Series. So Yankees fans get to have a World Series talking point and feel like they were instrumental in crowning this year’s champion. It’s just a nice little Yankee cherry on top of this stupid Mets-less World Series. Sure it’s nice that the Yankees voluntarily traded Andrew Miller, arguably the best reliever in the game. But they’ll probably just re-sign Chapman, and then we’ll watch all the prospects they acquired instantly turn into stars. And we’ll still hear Yankees fans talk about the great “rebuild” of 2016. A season where they won 84 games and played better AFTER they traded away their most talented players at the deadline and brought up a once in a generation catching phenom in Gary Sanchez.

Meanwhile the Mets went from a four year rebuild, to a 2015 World Series appearance fueled by elite young pitching, to a 2016 offseason where Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz had their arms surgically rebuilt. Ehh whatever. I’m brooding. I’m bitter. I’ll shake it off eventually, but not until the season is actually over. Until then I’ll be sulking in Losertown, trying not to be sick as I watch some of the longest-tenured residents boxing up their belongings before they move out.

A Bruce Salary Dump Would Be Unacceptable

Jon Heyman recently reported that a rival executive thinks the Mets might consider trading Jay Bruce once they pick up his 13 million dollar contract option after the season. This news really isn’t all that shocking. Mets fans have been speculating for months that this might be a possibility depending on the outcome of the Yoenis Cespedes contract situation.

I want to make one thing clear though. A trade of Jay Bruce for a pitcher or position player that improves the major league roster is completely acceptable. A trade of Jay Bruce for a prospect that improves the overall depth in our farm system is also acceptable provided that the Mets make corresponding moves to enhance the quality of the major league roster in significant ways. But the Mets cannot trade Jay Bruce if they are purely being motivated by financial reasons and plan to just hand the job to Michael Conforto. I refuse to accept the narrative that many fans are citing which is “the Mets can use the Jay Bruce money to pay for Yoenis Cespedes”. The focus of the offseason should be on improving the overall roster relative to last season in an effort to win a championship. I realize every team has payroll limits, but I don’t want those limits to be the running theme that dominates the Mets offseason headlines. And so far, it has already been headline news in the form of the Yoenis Cespedes opt-out discussion and the Neil Walker qualifying offer debate.

The NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers have incredibly talented farm systems and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. But it’s no coincidence that they were the highest spending teams in the NL at the end of the season. The Cubs “won” the 2015/16 offseason when they signed Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and John Lackey and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. When the Cubs retained Dexter Fowler their organization didn’t worry about finding enough playing time for Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Jorge Soler. And the Mets shouldn’t worry either if they wind up retaining Bruce and Conforto.

The Dodgers brought in a plethora of starting pitchers (Scott Kazmir (3 years 48 million), Kenta Maeda (8 years 25 million), Brett Anderson (accepted 15.8 millon qualifying offer)) before the season started to replace Zack Greinke, and they certainly made use of their starting pitching depth over the course of the year. They re-signed second basemen Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley and turned the former into a utility player. Despite having the most regular season injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their unrivaled depth.

Spending big money on payroll doesn’t always equate to success in baseball. But in 2016, the NL teams that flexed their financial muscle in the offseason and assembled deep rosters made it to the NLCS. That can’t be ignored.

Please don’t read this post and confuse me for a member of the Jay Bruce fan club. I don’t think Jay Bruce has to be on the 2017 team for the Mets to have success. And I certainly don’t want the Mets to spend money for the sake of spending money or to “make a splash”. But the days of the Mets making a purely financially motivated roster decision should be over. They appeared to be over last offseason when the Mets raised payroll and retained Cespedes. But the Mets must continue on that track if they want to win it all. Otherwise they will be at a real disadvantage when trying to overtake the Dodgers and Cubs going forward. Because those teams certainly aren’t going to stop spending like big market clubs any time soon.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

Everything Is Rigged!

Apparently saying “it was rigged” right before you lose whatever you’re competing in is the new hot trend. Trump is going with “it was rigged” for the election. And now Jose Bautista is implying the ALCS has been rigged after the Blue Jays dropped the first two games of the series in Cleveland. 

And what is he basing his claim on? He’s pissed about balls and strikes. Surprise, surprise! The Bautista crybaby sore loser routine is a joke considering the series is far from over. And it’s even more pathetic considering the Jays played in the ALCS last year. How about you act like you’ve been there before Jose? Okay?

He’s also making a stink about the wrong issue.

Wait so the umpires haven’t had a perfect strike zone in the ALCS? Really?!? Talk about the least shocking news of all time. Umps aren’t perfect in the ALCS because they are never perfect. What else is new? I rant and rave about this every season. This isn’t about MLB intentionally fixing a series so the Indians can play in the World Series. There’s no way MLB is dying to have Chief Wahoo plastered all over this year’s World Series memorabilia. If anything, Jose Bautista should be joining me in the crusade for robot umpires. Please fix the horrible officiating MLB! Fix replay!

All that being said, if the sore loser/woe is me routine is en vogue then the majority of Mets fans (myself included) are in luck. I’ll obviously continue to monitor this, but I’m fully prepared to whine and complain about how unlucky the Mets are for the entire offseason and all of the 2017 Mets campaign. Quite frankly, that’s going to happen whether it’s en vogue or not.

As far as the playoffs go, I think the NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers are the highest spending NL teams, have incredibly deep farm systems, and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. In other words, spend money Wilpons! Keep everyone on the current team and then add a star reliever and another big time hitter. Sign the best free agents! The Cubs won the 2015/16 offseason, and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. The Dodgers lost Zack Greinke, and then they stockpiled starting pitchers to replace him. And what happened? Despite having the most injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their depth. All of the professional sports leagues are copycat leagues. So I hope the Mets copy the Dodgers and Cubs. Please sign stars, continue to build a deep farm system, and explore every conceivable avenue to bolster our already talented roster. And if the Mets fail to do this then I’ll obviously just complain and say the offseason was rigged. With the Wilpons running the team it basically is rigged in favor of their pockets.

Is A Dickey Reunion Possible?

Let me say this right off the bat. I’m not writing this to sell people on the notion that R.A. Dickey has another Cy Young caliber season left in his right arm. I’m not writing this to try and convince people that Dickey the knuckleballer is a better rotation option than our five young aces, our newly emerging Triple-A starting depth, or our other 43 year old Big Sexy starting pitcher. But I am writing this to say that it may be worth bringing in some cheap veteran rotation insurance this offseason considering all the injuries we witnessed this year.

Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (ulnar nerve), and Steven Matz (elbow bone spur) all had season-ending surgery to repair their pitching arm issues. Noah Syndergaard was pitching this season with a bone spur, but the team decided against surgery to repair the issue. Robert Gsellman had his labrum surgically repaired in his non-pitching shoulder. Zack Wheeler has missed two straight seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery (he’s probably still listed as day-to-day).

From now on every single conversation about one of the Mets’ young starters will include the caveat “if he can stay healthy”.

Bartolo Colon will eventually be a free agent at 43 years old, and there’s no guarantee he returns to the Mets. The young aces are all supposedly going to be recovered and ready to pitch come spring training. But on the off chance that one of the young starters experiences a slightly delayed recovery timeline (very unlikely because as we all know an injury recovery setback has never happened to a single Mets player in history) it might make sense to have a veteran innings eater like R.A. Dickey as an option.

Dickey will be 42 years old this month and wasn’t that effective last year for the Blue Jays (10-15, 4.46 ERA). His walk rate was up (3.3 BB/9) relative to his career norm (2.8) and his strikeout rate (6.7 K/9) was down relative to his best seasons where he averaged over 7 Ks per 9 innings. But prior to last year, he had pitched 200+ innings for five straight seasons. In 2014 and 2015 he posted an ERA under 4.

He said he’s considering retirement after the season, but if he does continue to play, he’s openly said he wants to play for a team that gives him a chance to win it all. The Mets certainly fit that description. If the interest in Dickey is limited league-wide, and he would sign a one-year deal at a minimal cost (significantly less than the 12 million he made in 2016), I think he’d be a fine rotation insurance policy for the Mets.

The Mets have plenty of major issues to tackle this offseason before they even begin to think about starting pitching depth. And despite all the question marks surrounding their young starters, it’s unlikely the Mets will spend big money in free agency on a starter or trade for a big time arm.

This team is built on the backs of our five young aces. If we are ever going to make it to the promised land in October, the young arms will be the ones that lead us there. But Bartolo Colon emerging as the most durable pitcher in the Mets rotation in 2016 has served as a very real reminder of how fragile the young rotation can be.

Plus, imagine how amazing the 2017 storyline would be if we paired Bartolo and Dickey in the same rotation even for a short stretch. If the stars align and the cost is minimal, I would have no problem watching two 40 year old fan favorites serving as insurance for the Mets young studs. After all, whether they are among the youngest arms in the league or the oldest, you can never have enough pitching.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

Terry’s Dog-Tired 

“I’m tired, boss. Dog tired. Tired of all the heartbreaking losses. Tired of all the media second guessing. Tired of the Wilpons “forgetting” to pay my salary. But mostly, I’m just tired of all the player injuries, day after day.” – Terry Collins to Sandy Alderson (probably)
I’ve been baffled by many of Terry’s managerial decisions over the years and confused by some of his postgame statements. But there was nothing confusing or shocking about the quotes from Terry that came out today. Today it was reported that Terry is tired and considering retirement after next season. Quite frankly, I feel the exact same way. This 2016 team sucked the life out of me. If I feel this way after next season I’m ready to move down to Florida and be Terry’s neighbor. We’ll just bask in the sun, and he can show me how he achieves his glorious tan. I’ll watch spring training baseball, and then when the teams head north I’ll go to the beach everyday and listen to the games on the radio. Combining the beach with the Mets might at least help keep my regular season blood pressure down.

So if Terry leaves who’s up next? Terry said he’s been struggling with all the travel. Considering Dan Warthen struggles to travel from the bench to the pitcher’s mound for the occasional conference, I can’t imagine he steps into the manager’s role.

Wally Backman just left the organization. Perfect timing Wally! The guy was waiting for an opportunity for eight years, decided it wasn’t going to happen, stormed off, and a month later Terry announces he’s running out of gas. Whoops!

Tim Teufel is out. He couldn’t even coach third base this year. Maybe David Wright? Bring back the player/manager? Do they have a DL for managers because I’m not even sure David can sit on the bench without tweaking that back of his. He’d probably have to lie down flat on the bench and watch the action from an iPad or something.

What about Bartolo Colon?!? I’d absolutely be in favor of appointing His Sexiness to the managerial throne as long as his translator is willing to work the extra hours.

Who’s left? Bench coach Dick Scott? I’m not even sure I know what he looks like. Did SNY show him on camera once this year? Apparently he’s number 23. The Mets’ media guide probably just has a photo of Mr. Met on Dick Scott’s page, and they just assigned him Michael Jordan’s number.

I can’t wait until Jeff Wilpon takes over the managerial reins in 2018 and has Noah Syndergaard throw 350 innings.

Rest up Terry. We all need this long winter vacation.

The Mets Will Double Down In 2017

Do you like teams built around talented young power arms that could fall apart due to injury at any moment? Do you like streaky power hitters and an offense that scores the majority of its runs via the long ball? Do you like short term contracts and a hard mandate from ownership to avoid expensive long term deals? Well then you probably love the team Sandy Alderson has assembled in Queens. Pitching, power, and payroll flexibility have been three of the hallmarks of Sandy’s New York Mets. And if you’ve watched him operate over the last six years you also probably realize that he’s unlikely to change his approach for the 2017 season. That’s right folks. Don’t get excited about the prospect of the Mets adding a number of new high-priced free agents. Brace yourselves. Sandy is about to double down on the current roster.

Pitching: Despite the injuries to our pitching staff of young aces, the Mets had the third ranked team ERA (3.58) in 2016. Noah Syndergaard emerged as a stud ace. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz are all supposed to be healthy and recovered from their surgeries by Spring Training. Bartolo Colon has stated he wants to return to the Mets in 2017, and considering he was the most durable arm on the staff in 2016 (led the team with 191.2 IP) the Mets have every reason to bring him back. Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Gabriel Ynoa stepped up down the stretch and gave the Mets confidence in their organizational rotation depth.

Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed were arguably the two most reliable relievers in baseball in 2016. The Mets aren’t likely to shell out big bucks on a late inning reliever like Aroldis Chapman when they already have an elite back-end bullpen combo. They aren’t likely to bring in another starter when they have all the young aces due back for Spring Training and other young arms ready to step up at Triple-A. All signs point to the pitching staff remaining fully intact and mostly unchanged next season.

Power: The Mets hit 218 homers as a team in 2016 (5th in baseball). They had four regulars who hit 20 or more homers (Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera). Jay Bruce hit 8 home runs as a Met and 33 on the season. Lucas Duda and David Wright failed to amass double-digit home runs totals due to injury, but they’ve both done so many times during their careers. Travis d’Arnaud had an awful season at the plate in 2016 and struggled to throw out base runners, but it’s possible that some of that was due to the rotator cuff injury he suffered during the season.

D’Arnaud is under team control for three more seasons, and the Mets will almost certainly bank on him returning to his 2014/15 form where he showed his power potential. Asdrubal Cabrera is signed for next season and his second half power surge helped propel the team to the Wild Card game. David Wright seemingly plans to attempt another comeback and has no interest in retiring. Lucas Duda is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility and is likely to be tendered a contract. Curtis Granderson is signed for one more season, and when the Mets inevitably pick up Jay Bruce’s one year 13 million dollar option he’ll be under team control as well. If Sandy has his way, this entire group of power hitters will return in 2017.

Payroll Flexibility: The final characteristic of Sandy’s club is an emphasis on payroll/roster flexibility. Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Jose Reyes are all likely to return next year on one year contracts. That sounds like a Sandy Alderson payroll/roster flexibility dream scenario. It will allow him to re-evaluate a large portion of the roster at the end of next season.

The only real offseason question marks surround the future of Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes. This is where the payroll flexibility trait becomes a double-edged sword. On the surface, it makes sense for the Mets to retain Yo and Walker. They were arguably the two most productive hitters on the roster last year. But we all know ownership is unlikely to engage in a bidding war and pay Yo the contract he deserves if he decides to opt-out of his deal. Based on historical precedent, it’s unlikely that Sandy signs Neil Walker to a long-term deal either. But his late season back surgery at least makes it conceivable that he will entertain accepting a one year 16.7 million dollar qualifying offer if the Mets extend it. If by some miracle Walker accepts a qualifying offer and ownership is willing to add a few extra years to Cespedes’ current deal to keep him from opting out, the Mets might just be able to keep the entire roster intact while also meeting Sandy’s long-term payroll flexibility standards.

The bottom line is once you take a look at the state of the roster outlined above, it becomes pretty clear that Sandy is going to double down on his three pillars- pitching, power, and payroll flexibility. They may look to trade some outfield depth for another player that fits better on the roster and to create an opportunity for Michael Conforto to play. But based on how Sandy has operated in the past, I wouldn’t expect a massive roster overhaul. He’s more likely to make every effort to bring back this entire 87 win squad and hope that the team has some better luck in 2017. And considering Sandy led this team to two straight playoff appearances for only the second time in franchise history, it’s hard for me to doubt him if that turns out to be his approach.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.

Season Over; Pray For The Metssiah



Final Score: Giants 3, Mets 0

The Mets lost the NL Wild Card game last night to MadBum and the Giants. The season is over. Pray for the Metssiah. The game itself was a true nail-biter and basically the Mets’ worst nightmare. MadBum pitched a complete game shutout, and once again reminded the baseball world why he is the postseason GOAT. He kept the Mets off-balance all night and his dominance was really the only storyline that mattered in the end. 

First Time Through: The first time through the order the Mets were extra aggressive against Bumgarner. I suppose they figured they’d see hittable pitches early in the at-bat before MadBum was able to get ahead in the count. The plan backfired, and Bumgarner had an incredibly low pitch count after three innings. 

Loney Stinks: The Mets started James Loney in this game and made their typical claim that he’s a better defender than Duda. He isn’t. He stinks. He can’t hit either. Rene Rivera led off the third inning with a single, and then James Loney hit into a double play on the first pitch of his at-bat. Pathetic.

Umps Stink: In the fourth inning, Thor issued a leadoff walk to Denard Span. As expected, the Giants were running on Thor. Span immediately stole second base, but he was called out on the field for some reason. On replay it was clear that Span was safe, but the umps reviewed and upheld the out call (wrong call) on the field. It was a gift blown call for the Mets. The umps sucked all game. The home plate dude had an inconsistent strike zone. Bumgarner was barking at him non-stop. Hopefully Rob Manfred rolls out robot umps in the offseason. I’m sick of these mooks. 

Squandered Chance: In the fifth inning T.J. Rivera doubled. Then Jay Bruce came up with a runner in scoring position and struck out. He not only failed to come through with a hit, but he also failed to advance the runner. Awful. Then Rene Rivera hit a ball to shortstop and T.J. Rivera was caught off second base. Rene managed to get to second base while T.J. was in a rundown but it was awful base running by T.J.

Late Battling: Span singled and stole another base in the 6th inning (that time it counted). But Thor was able to escape the inning thanks to an unreal two out Grandy catch in center field. In the 7th inning with two outs, Thor walked Brandon Crawford. Then Loney made an awful effort on an Angel Pagan infield ground ball that led to a single. But with runners on first and second base Noah Syndergaard buckled down and retired Panik to end the inning. 

Thor: Noah was really dominant in this game. He pitched 7 scoreless innings, gave up 2 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 10. Against almost any other pitcher this game is going down as a legendary Syndergaard start. Unfortunately MadBum outdueled him, plain and simple. 

Familia/Reed Dead Arms: I’ve raved on and on for months now about how Terry has killed his best relievers by overusing them. The fatigue of Reed/Familia showed a bit in late September, and it showed last night. Addison Reed gave up a leadoff single and struggled in the 8th inning with walks and passed balls. He ultimately intentionally walked Buster Posey to load the bases with two outs for Hunter Pence. By some miracle Reed was able to strike out Pence and escape that jam.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Ty Kelly singled but Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera failed to come through with a big hit. Then Jeurys Familia had nothing in the 9th inning. He gave up a three-run shot to Mr. Nobody Conor Gillaspie. It started with a leadoff double by Brandon Crawford. Angel Pagan followed that by failing to get a bunt down, and he struck out on a foul tip. Then Familia walked Joe Panik. Honestly the Mets should have considered walking Gillaspie to load the bases. At least it would have forced the Giants to pull Madison Bumgarner from the game. Maybe it wouldn’t have. In the end Gillaspie hit the three-run shot and that was that. The ump blew some close strike zone calls for Familia. The umps sucked. Waddya gonna do?

Final Game Thoughts: 

  • Thank God for Thor. He gave the Mets every chance to win. Not only in this game but all season long. 
  • Yoenis Cespedes was ice cold at the end of the season, and in this game. Without Yo we don’t go, but this you already know. I’m sure the Mets will use Yo’s cold ending combined with the fact that he didn’t talk to the media after the game as an excuse to let him walk. Pray that doesn’t happen. Sign Yo. 
  • The Wild Card is a joke crapshoot ratings ploy by Major League Baseball, and I hate them for it. 
  • It wasn’t the year for this Mets team because ultimately there were too many key injuries. I’m happy they rallied and at least made the playoffs, but in the end the season was a failure. Year two of “the window” has officially been flushed down the toilet. 
  • The Mets ran into the MadBum buzz saw. They weren’t the first team to suffer that fate and won’t be the last. 

The Metssiah Will Rise Again: I’m taking a break for a few days to grieve for the lost season. Pray for me. But I assure you, The Metssiah will rise again with expanded end of season thoughts before fully converting to offseason mode. There are also some big announcements coming for the site and for The Metssiah personally. Stay tuned. Let’s Go Mets!