Cespedes The Merciful Returns To Mets

In Sandy we trust! Sandy Alderson that sly dog has done it again. He convinced Yoenis Cespedes to accept a four year deal at an incredibly high annual average value of 27.5 million dollars a season and just like that the Mets get their best player back. Sandy basically said the Mets (The Wilpons) weren’t willing to go to five years for Yo, but he was still able to convince Cespedes to return on the Mets’ terms for the second year in a row.

Cespedes The Merciful once again shows tolerance by remaining in Queens despite the Mets refusal to extend him a five year deal. Yo’s tender-hearted nature and love for the Flushing Faithful has once again inspired him to forgo an offseason bidding war for his services.

I genuinely believe if Yo wanted to go to the highest bidder, he would have found a longer more lucrative contract elsewhere. Are teams genuinely scared off by his age and his golfing, smoking, and sports car driving nature? Apparently so. Do I care? Hell no. The most valuable player on the team will be back next year. That’s all that matters.

All the credit in the world goes to Sandy Alderson for thoroughly taking advantage of the one thing that has remained a constant since we traded for Yo in 2015. Yoenis Cespedes wants to be a New York Met. It’s really that simple. The man displays a unique loyalty to the ball club in Flushing which totally separates him from the majority of professional athletes.

Obviously a four year deal with the second highest AAV for a position player and a full no trade clause is extremely appealing. But Yo could still go through the process of pitting teams against each other and trying to squeeze every last cent out of some organization. But he doesn’t do that. Instead he shows the Wilpon-led Mets compassion.

All that being said, this offseason can be summarized as follows:

  • Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes (the two most valuable hitters from our 2016 team) return. That’s good.
  • Eric Campbell heads to Japan. That’s great.
  • Bartolo Colon (our most durable starting pitcher) goes to a division rival. That’s bad.

In other words, there is a lot of work to be done. There’s a bullpen and bench to be bolstered. The rotation could use some insurance. A new catcher would be nice. Let’s hope this uplifting Cespedes signing is the first domino to fall in what will continue to be a big offseason for Sandy. Thank the gods for Yo. He makes this team go. His return means the 2017 Mets have a chance to win the World Series. The window remains open, and I for one couldn’t be happier.

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Psychics Agree: No Fifth Year For Cespedes

The New York Post indicated that the Mets remain interested in signing Yoenis Cespedes to a four year contract but a fifth year could wind up being a deal breaker for the team. We can spend all day speculating about the actual reason for this rumored line in the sand.

Many fans still think the Wilpons have no intention of signing Yo and are just trying to give the impression that they made their best effort to keep him here. It’s also possible that this is all just part of the negotiating process for Sandy Alderson.

The Mets may just be leaking this news to the media purely as a negotiating tactic. In the end the Mets may cave and give Cespedes exactly what he wants because they recognize how important he is to the team.

The Cespedes negotiations have implications that go beyond simply losing or retaining the most valuable bat on the team. Many fans will see the outcome as a signal for the direction of the franchise. If Yo leaves, some Mets fans will see that as confirmation of their worst fears regarding the Wilpons’ willingness to spend. On the contrary if he signs a multi-year deal with the Mets, some fans will see this as a sign that the team’s payroll is going in the right direction.

That being said, many baseball “psychics” seem to know exactly how the Cespedes deal will turn out. I can’t tell you how many fans have talked to me or tweeted at me to state their support of a four year deal for Cespedes but not a five year deal.

The baseball fans that take hard stances against giving a free agent “the extra year” always baffle me. Baseball doesn’t have a hard salary cap. The Mets’ payroll is not approaching the current MLB luxury tax threshold. So why do Mets fans have strong views on this? Do people seriously feel that a four year deal is acceptable, but a fifth year is so unreasonable that they’d rather not watch Cespedes (i.e. the most exciting baseball player in New York City) play at Citi Field?

Why are some people specifically afraid of a fifth year? Do you have a crystal ball? These fans act like they know with certainty that at 35 years old Yoenis Cespedes will cease to be a productive major leaguer. At 34 he’ll be fine. But at 35? He’s done!

In my opinion, you can make one of two arguments when it comes to Cespedes.

Argument 1: Don’t sign Yo and instead spread out that money across multiple players to improve the team.

If you feel this way then fine. I can think of many ways to spend the 25-30 million in annual salary in lieu of signing Cespedes.

Argument 2: Go all out to sign Yo to a four to six year deal and hope he maintains his power and health over the course of the deal.

I understand that there’s uncertainty surrounding a contract that takes a player into his mid 30’s. But arguing over the merits of a four or five or six year contract for a 31 year old player coming off the two best seasons of his career, drawing arbitrary lines in the sand is ridiculous in my opinion.

Sure long-term deals can be hit or miss. Jose Reyes signed a six year deal with the Marlins at 28, and it didn’t really work out due to injuries and his off the field problems. David Wright signed an eight year deal at 29 and due to his health issues that hasn’t really worked out.

On the other  hand, Carlos Beltran signed a seven year deal with the Mets at 27, and he’s still going strong at 39. The four year deal we gave to Curtis Granderson has worked out thus far, and he’s 35 years old.

The point is unless these baseball fortune tellers have seen Yo’s medical reports and somehow know for a fact that he’s on the path to early retirement, I don’t how they can possibly sell me on the argument that a four year deal makes sense but a five year deal is irresponsible.

Speaking of multi-year deals, the Mets just announced that they have agreed to a new long-term contract with Gary Cohen. For those of you keeping track at home, the re-signing of Gary Cohen is arguably the most significant news of the Mets’ offseason other than Neil Walker accepting the qualifying offer and Eric Campbell leaving to play in Japan. I suppose it’s possible that the brass at SNY spent weeks debating whether or not to give Gary the extra year on his new contract. But when it comes to superstars like Gary, sometimes you need to go the extra mile to keep them happy.

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

Prepare For The Yo-pocalypse

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Have you seen the latest Hot Stove rumor? The Yankees are interested in Yoenis Cespedes.

If the Yankees sign Cespedes I will cry. Tears will actually roll down my cheeks.

If Yo signs with the Yankees we’ll be forced to listen to delusional Yankee fans raving about how players are drawn to the pinstripes. It would be the biggest setback for the Mets since…well since we lost the 2015 World Series and then saw all of our young aces undergo surgery on their arms. But it could destroy the progress the Mets have made in shifting the overall balance of baseball power in New York City.

Sandy Alderson did an interview this week, and he sounded optimistic about the Mets’ chances of re-signing Yo. He said that Yo texted the club saying he’d like to return, but added “we’re going to have to wait a while to see how this turns out”. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Yo wants to stay, but the Mets haven’t made him an offer yet.

Instead the Mets will continue to play with free agent fire. They’re essentially calling out every team in the league and daring them to make a substantial bid for Yo. And now the Yankees are making phone calls to his agent? I don’t like it. If the Red Sox sign Carlos Beltran the Yankees could easily pivot and go for Yo. This whole thing stinks.

So for now I’m sitting on my couch with my tinfoil hat, preparing for the worst, and urging everyone to take action:

Don’t Stop Complaining: I think every Mets fan has a daily obligation to tweet or post on Facebook “Sign Yo”. If you are driving and stop at a red light, you should roll down your window, honk your horn, and scream “Sign Cespedes” at people walking nearby. Last year, the World Series appearance really energized the fan base and sparked the #SignYo movement. I’m genuinely worried that the movement has lost some momentum. So this is a reminder to keep it going.

Contact Your Local General Manager: When American citizens are angry about the political process, we are supposed to “contact our representative” in Congress. Well in baseball, the best we can do is contact our GM. And it just so happens that Sandy Alderson has a Twitter account.

Considering his most recent tweet was a 2014 plea to make David Wright the #FaceofMLB, it would seem he’s not exactly an active Twitter user. But it’s better to tweet at his idle account than to do nothing. It’s about as useful as calling your congressional representative and leaving a voicemail.

Don’t Donate To The Wilpons: The Mets have been releasing schedules and sending out ticket promos. Ummm let’s hold off on all those purchases people. Obviously Noah Syndergaard is amazing every fifth day. But Yo is the number one daily attraction at Citi Field. The Mets already let Bartolo Colon, the sexiest man in all of sports, take his talents elsewhere. Hold off on sending the Wilpons any money until we know where they stand with Yo.

Secretly Hope The Yo Propaganda Scares Teams: I’ve spent so much time disputing the anti-Yo press. But it’s possible that the golf playing, non-hustling, smoking, horse riding, flashy car driving, distracting superstar narratives will scare off other teams. I want Yo to get paid big money and stay with the Mets. Whatever makes that possible works for me.

Pray For A Wilpon Cabinet Post: Maybe Donald Trump will appoint Fred and Jeff Wilpon as co-Secretaries of the Treasury? The Madoff stuff didn’t stop Major League Baseball from appointing Fred as head of the league’s Finance Committee. Maybe they’ll join Trump’s cabinet and be forced to put all their holdings (including the Mets) in a blind trust. If my choices for ownership are the Wilpons or a non-Wilpon human being controlling a blind trust, I’m going with the non-Wilpon every day and twice on Sundays.

Remember Where We Play: The important thing for Mets fans to remember is we deserve Yoenis Cespedes. Our team plays in New York City, and we deserve all the luxuries other big market clubs enjoy. Yeah we made the playoffs two years in a row. That’s amazing and in large part due to the fact that Sandy Alderson is an incredible executive. But this team has a legitimate chance to win the World Series with the pitching we have and we have to take advantage of the opportunity.

My Demands: What do I want? I want the Mets to head to the Winter Meetings in December and make some damn noise. The Braves signed R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon and they reportedly want Chris Sale. The Marlins are supposedly targeting Kenley Jansen. You know the Nationals are going to make big moves.

Well I want Yo, another stud closer, a new catcher, a bat off the bench, and a starting pitcher to replace the innings we gave to the Braves in the form of Big Sexy. I want a roster stacked with talent and the fans deserve that. I’m saying that the Mets should spend money to try and win during our window. I refuse to settle for less. As long as the Mets continue to have a payroll in the middle of the pack, I’m going to complain about it. And if that means I’m labeled a broken record by brainwashed Mets fans that have accepted the Wilpon way of operating then so be it.

Neil Walkyear Returns To The Mets

Neil Walker has officially accepted the Mets’ 17.2 million dollar qualifying offer instead of testing free agency. Neil Walkyear 2.0 commences effective immediately. 2017 continues to go down as the year of the walk-year for the Mets as Neil is added to the list of guys playing for a contract. It’s a smart move by Neil since the market for his services may have been hurt by his late season back-surgery as well as the draft pick compensation tied to signing him as a result of the qualifying offer. Now he will have another full season to show he’s healthy, and it’s also possible that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will modify the qualifying offer system and eliminate draft pick compensation as part of the process. So in an ideal world for Neil, he will prove his health in 2017 and have a chance to sign a 3-5 year deal next offseason without being tied to a draft pick.

On the surface this is great news for the Mets, assuming Neil’s back injury doesn’t linger and turn out to be a chronic issue (i.e. it evolves into a classic strain of METS disease). Obviously as a Mets fan I fear the worst, but even if the back problem persists the Mets aren’t committed to Walker long-term. They get to keep the roster/payroll flexibility that Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons love so much. The 17.2 million dollar price tag may be a bit higher than the 13-15 million annual salary Walker would probably earn as part of a long-term deal. But it’s a small price to pay to avoid the extra commitment in terms of years.

The downside of course is that nobody really knows the Mets projected payroll for next season. I’ve heard speculation that this contract may prevent the Mets from signing Cespedes. I’ve heard speculation that this deal may force the Mets to dump some extra salary in order to make a reasonable offer to Yoenis Cespedes. I’ve heard that the Mets ideally would like to keep Cespedes and Walker and won’t make any significant additions to the roster beyond the retention of those two guys.

The bottom line is this. If Neil Walker’s decision to accept the qualifying offer truly prevents the Mets from signing Yo or making other meaningful acquisitions then the organization is a lost cause. I’m hoping the Mets keep Yo, Walker and make other big additions to both the bullpen and the bench. We’re trying to win a championship. So let’s improve this damn roster and make a run. Retaining Yo/Walker and dumping the salaries of Bartolo Colon and Jay Bruce to make that possible doesn’t exactly equate to a net improvement of the roster heading into 2017. But the offseason has just started. Let’s see what happens.

The next step is to sign Cespedes. The Mets should have already signed Yo. But there’s still time. Do it tomorrow. And at least today is a good day. A Neil Walkyear reboot is a pretty good thing. As long as he doesn’t catch the stenosis. Pray for his back. Pray for all their backs.

Mets Let Bartolo Walk Because Depth/Money?


When I saw the news that Bartolo was leaving the Mets, I immediately assumed he received a two-year deal from some other team. I told myself that a two year guarantee would be a pretty big risk to take on old man Colon.

But then I saw he received one year 12.5 million to go play for our rival Atlanta Braves. In 24 hours the Braves have signed R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon and have assembled the old man innings eating dream rotation combo that I talked about at the start of the offseason.

So what is the reaction I’m hearing from much of the Mets’ fan base? I’m hearing a lot of “we’ll miss Bartolo, but that was too much money considering our pitching depth.” It seems the Wilpons brainwashing techniques have worked quite well. They must be transmitting the signals directly through SNY this year. Listen closely people. Baseball has no salary cap. The fans don’t have to pay Bartolo Colon 12.5 million dollars. The Wilpons have to pay that money. The notion that 12.5 million dollars is too much money to give a man who was our most durable and reliable pitcher over the past 3 years is insane. The man gobbles innings, the fans love him, and his teammates love him. Oh and he was also an All-Star. It’s usually important to keep your All-Stars.

And the depth argument is ridiculous as well. I don’t care how many young pitchers we have on this roster. In case you forgot, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman all had arm surgery. Zack Wheeler hasn’t pitched in the major leagues in two years due to his Tommy John surgery. Noah Syndergaard still has a bone spur in his elbow that the Mets felt didn’t warrant surgery. Seth Lugo pitched a nice little stretch of games in September as a rookie. Let’s stop pretending that this fragile crop of injury prone arms are a lock to stay healthy next year. Who cares if Colon starts in the rotation and winds up in the bullpen? We said that would happen last year, and then Wheeler disappeared from the face of the earth.

Whatever. Big Sexy is a goner. The Cold Stove continues. Now we just wait for Yoenis Cespedes to head to the Nationals for 5 years, 125 million and then listen to the brainwashed fan base say “we’ll miss Yo, but that was too much money considering our outfield depth.”

Mets Are “Interested” In Some Top Free Agents

The most significant news coming out of Sandy Alderson’s address at the GM meetings on Monday was that the Mets supposedly want to retain Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker and:

If you accept that quote, then you believe the Mets will have the necessary financial resources to sign Cespedes. If you doubt that quote, then you’re probably used to hearing the Mets feed us lines like the one above over the past few years. Let’s see how it plays out, but the Cespedes to the Nationals/Yankees rumors are already starting. Get your antacids ready. It’s going to be a long offseason.

Other than the ambiguous Yo news, we heard a few more news nuggets to kick off the Mets’ Cold Stove.

Outfield Situation and Jose Bautista:

I saw this tweet and my first thought was “I’d love to have Yo and Bautista mashing dingers in the Mets’ outfield.” Then I remembered the Mets aren’t a true big market club like the Cubs/Yankees and Bautista would be considered as a replacement for Yo not a complement. In that case it’s a hard no from me. I have no interest in signing an older, less mobile version of Cespedes. Pass.

Bartolo Colon and Pitching Depth:

The Mets, like any competitive team, should want to bolster or at least maintain their pitching depth in the offseason. Seemingly we feel the best way to do that is by letting our most durable and reliable starting pitcher leave via free agency. Bye bye Bartolo Colon. Pray that he’s willing to take a one-year discounted deal with the Mets once again. Pray.

Interested In The Guys We Have:

The Mets Hot Stove is really sizzling. Oh boy do we love our internal options. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo it is!!

No Big Arms:

The Mets will probably lose Jeurys Familia for a third of next season once he’s suspended for his domestic violence arrest. Our bullpen needed some depth before Familia’s potential suspension. So what’s the move? Apparently it won’t be to replace him with another “higher-tier” reliever like Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon. Sounds great. Just bring back Jim Henderson or some other low impact arm and get it over with already.

Showcase Showdown:

Greg Holland would be a great guy to take a flier on. I’m shocked we sent a scout to see him. I’m guessing the scout got right back on the plane once he found out it’ll take more than a spring invite to sign Holland.

Improve Catching by Doing Nothing:

Travis d’Arnaud was terrible last year. Kevin Plawecki has shown nothing at all in two seasons filling in for Travis. Rene Rivera was a great receiver but can barely hit over .200. What’s our plan to improve at the catching position? Apparently we’re going to pray that the results change with the same personnel. Exciting stuff.

Offseason Just Started But…

So far there’s been no surprises in Mets land. I already wrote about the Mets annual Cold Stove and the fact that Sandy is just hoping to double down with the same roster in 2017. The Cold Stove reality was reinforced when it was reported that the Mets are unlikely to make a splash if Yo departs via free agency. I’m still crossing my fingers for some Mets’ offseason fireworks. But for now it looks like we’re just “interested” in everything and planning to do almost nothing as usual.

Yo News Is No News

It’s early, but so far the Mets’ offseason highlights are:

1) Eric Campbell was “cut” (and he wasn’t really cut he was just removed from the 40-man roster and sent to Vegas so he’ll be back).

2) Tim Tebow slammed into the outfield wall trying to make a catch during the Arizona Fall League. And it won’t be long before Tebow jerseys dominate the racks at Modell’s and the Cespedes jerseys are out of stock.

3) The Binghamton Mets have been renamed the “Rumble Ponies” as a result of a fan vote. Frankly, I’m surprised the Wilpons didn’t sell the naming rights and force us all to watch the Binghamton Citi Preferred Platinums.

The rest of the Mets’ offseason has basically followed the anticipated script. The Mets picked up Jay Bruce’s one year 13 million dollar contract option which was a no brainer. Now we can listen to certain fans continue to complain about the Mets choosing to play slugging outfielder Jay Bruce over the unproven Michael Conforto. The Mets picked up Jose Reyes’ contract option which pays him the league minimum salary. After all, they did their due diligence on his off the field “mistakes” and they had no problem with any of them. But trust me, if they had to pay Jose Reyes 10 million dollars instead of the league minimum they may have had a problem with some of his off the field “drama”.

The Mets also extended the 17.2 million dollar qualifying offer to Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes.

I think there’s a chance Neil Walker accepts the qualifying offer and becomes Neil Walkyear 2.0. The uncertainty around his back injury makes the one-year “prove it” deal so appealing. I suppose he could reject the offer, do a showcase for interested teams, and hope that he gets a multi-year offer. But if he can play next year for the Mets, have another big season and stay healthy, he could come back next offseason and potentially score a 4 or 5 year contract.

Then at the GM Meetings, Sandy Alderson finally addressed the media. And as expected, the Yo news was no news. Sandy said the Mets would like to retain Walker and Cespedes and didn’t really elaborate beyond that. I suppose it’s a positive thing that he said the Mets want Yo. That’s nice.

In my opinion, it was an enormous mistake to let Yo test free agency. The Mets already passed on a chance to lock him up and prevent the whole free agency process. Now that he’s available to everyone, I genuinely feel it’s only a matter of time before a lone wolf crazy bidder gets into the mix and steals him from the Mets.

On the flip side, the Mets only have two players on the roster signed to guaranteed multi-year deals (David Wright and Juan Lagares). They have plenty of flexibility to retain Yo on a big contract and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Plus, with Matt Harvey having injury problems and Jeurys Familia being arrested for domestic violence, I think it’s less likely that the Mets commit to them long term. So that should theoretically free up even more money to allocate towards a deal with Cespedes. But whatever. The Mets are going to do their cheap negotiating tactics no matter how much I complain.

As much as I love the Hot Stove, I’m going to make an effort this year to remain emotionally disconnected from the Mets’ news cycle (spoiler alert: I’ll fail). But obviously I pray that the free agency gods smile upon the Mets and deliver us Yo like last year because in the end, the Yo news is the only news that matters.

Familia Arrested For Domestic Violence; Screw Him

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Jeurys Familia was arrested on a domestic violence charge. The Mets say they know about it and are “monitoring the situation”. Familia was literally just featured in an anti-domestic violence commercial. Yikes.

Familia supposedly said the following (because of course he did).

The victim was not named, but reportedly had scratches and a bruised face. I’m sure the details will come out, but the report is already making me sick. I can’t believe we went through this with Jose Reyes and now we have to go through it again. I can’t believe what his family (the actual victims) have to go through. I can’t believe at this point we “know the drill”. It’s pretty standard. The news breaks and there’s the contingent of people that are disgusted and want the person banished, and then there’s the group that says, “Wait for the details to come out.”

Then the details come out, and they are usually as horrible as anticipated. And when the charges are inevitably dropped or settled out of court, awful people try and cast doubt on the details or worse they make excuses for the behavior.

From my perspective, a DV arrest is a DV arrest. Screw Familia. And the player cycle is the same always too:

  1. Player gets arrested.
  2. Player goes through legal process.
  3. Charges often wind up getting dropped or settled out of court.
  4. League conducts investigation.
  5. League suspends player for insignificant amount of time.
  6. Player serves suspension.
  7. Player returns apologetically and is welcomed with open arms by many team, players, and fans.
  8. Player continues to get enormous paycheck (assuming teams deem the individual talented enough to overlook the domestic violence).

The whole cycle is disgusting and makes me sick.

Talk about a terrible 2016 for the preseason Sports Illustrated Mets’ cover boys. Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom with season-ending surgeries and now Familia gets arrested for domestic violence. Pray for Familia’s wife and kid. The Mets need a new closer. Too bad the most talented one available in free agency, Aroldis Chapman, is another domestic abuser.