Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio are heading from the Miami Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays for a collection of lousy big leaguers Yunel Escobar, Jeff Mathis and Henderson Alvarez, and interesting prospects Jake Marisnick, Adeiny Hechavarria, Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani.
When he signed with Miami last year, Jose Reyes said, “They met with me at 12:01, and they showed me their plan that they have. It showed me they wanted to win, and I want to win, too. That’s why I made the decision to play in Miami.” I suspect the plan the Marlins showed Reyes did not include a trade before Thanksgiving 2012.
Leaving aside arbitration cases, Hechavarria is now the third-highest paid Marlin on the books for 2013. Mathis is the only Marlin on a multi-year contract through 2014. The Marlins are brutal.
Their own players know it.
Yup, pissing off your current best player by trading away all of your team’s competent big leaguers is usually a good way to go. Of course, winning baseball games is not the point here, slashing payroll and making money hand over fist, thanks to a new stadium and baseball’s revenue sharing is the point. Miami, a great city, and the fourth-largest metro area in the United States deserves better. Baseball deserves better.
Jeff Passan in July (!) on the Marlins’ ownership: “They’re awfully good businessmen, if you consider the ability to fleece feckless politicians and wring every last cent out of a metropolitan area a skill. What they lack in morals they make up for in social faux pas.”
Everyone reading this should know that the Mets have been through severe financial problems in the last few years. Some were a result of the ownership group’s relationship with Bernard Madoff, but some were not.
Last night, Michael Salfino, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Sports and used to have a blog around these SNY parts (the now defunct SNYWhyGuys) tweeted that the Mets were broke.
He deleted his original series of tweets, but I retweeted one. Note, I edited it to keep it under 140 characters and use the old-style retweet, but did not change the meaning. Amazin Avenue has a screenshot of the original.
Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal wanted to make sure that it was clear that Salfino’s report did not come from the Journal, but also did not attack the statement as true or false on the merits, tweeting as a follow-up: “That’s not an attempt to discredit what he [Salfino] wrote.”
Salfino himself then walked away from his own statements, tweeting, “I have no knowledge of the Mets financial situation other than hearsay.” There was also a long string of tweets that included apologies to the Mets, and ones designed to insulate the Journal by declaring that he was not a WSJ employee. Just because it is hearsay does not make Salfino’s original contention not true.
What to make of all of this?
The Mets certainly are operating like a team with tight budget restrictions. Releasing Jason Bay, he of the -1.3 bWAR in 2012, to defer payments from 2012 to some date in the future and open a roster spot now is partially an argument that the team needs every penny now. On the other hand, the move was not purely financial. The 40-man spot freed by releasing Bay has value too, and will require the Mets to spend at least a little money to find someone to fill it.
The nice thing about Salfino’s assertion, or more precisely, his source’s assertion, is that it’s eminently testable. If the Mets do not extend David Wright or RA Dickey, his guy will be on point. If the team does extend Wright or Dickey, Salfino will just be the latest guy on twitter with lousy information.
I know we have discussed it (like every week) on the Mostly Mets Podcast, but I’m not sure I have written it here, so now I will: if either Wright or Dickey is not extended this winter, the Mets must trade that player. Both guys are too valuable for the team to let them walk via free agency while returning only draft picks, as the team did with Jose Reyes. If Wright or Dickey are to be part of the Mets’ future, they must sign extensions before Opening Day 2013.
In terms of talking about the Mets’ choices this winter, despite that similarity, it’s really time to split Wright from Dickey. (As an aside, did you realize that both Wright and Dickey’s middle name is Allen?)
First, the Mets hold a $16 million dollar option on Wright. It seems likely that they would be able to extend him with no raise, or at most a very small raise for the 2013 baseball season. Wright, who will be 30 on Opening Day 2013, is coming off his best year, by OPS+ since 2007. Wright’s price is rising to scary levels (7 years and $120 million dollars) but given his value, age, and history of production, keeping him probably represents the Mets best chance of winning in the near to medium term.
Dickey is in a different situation. The Mets hold a $5 million option on him for 2013 with a $300,000 buyout. Any extension (say $25 million over 3 years on the low end) would very likely increase his 2013 base salary. Since the Mets also need between one and three outfielders, catching help, and bullpen reinforcements, that raise could blow up their limited 2013 budget. Dickey wants to remain a Met, but he might not have a choice. Trading one year of RA Dickey, who will be 38 in 2013, and potentially coming off a Cy Young Award season, should return young, cheap talent the Mets can use to build their next winner. Unless Dickey is willing to sign an extension with a small enough raise for 2013, that the Mets would still be able to address the team’s other shortcomings, the team should be willing to turn his feel-good story, and mound dominance into talent that will be employed past 2013.
Broke? Not broke? Extend? Not extend? Trade? Not Trade? The decision points are coming. The Baseball Winter Meetings begin in Nashville on December 3.
By now, Mets fans know that Lucas Duda has surgery on his right wrist which he broke while moving furniture after the team announced it. Damn, couches are dangerous.
This is not the first time Duda has had wrist problems. As a freshman at USC, he broke his left wrist on a collision at first base back in 2005. He went on to hit just .208/.322/.299 in 91 PA over 34 games that year as a 19-year old. His sophomore year, his batting average and his OBP rose, but his power did not as he hit .298/.391/.398 in 226 PA over 56 games. By his junior year, he hit for a little more power: .280/.378/.468 in 223 PA over 53 games.
Here’s his College Isolated slugging, calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging to measure a batter’s power, by year:
Fr. (’05) – .091
So. (’06) – .100
Jr. (’07) – .188
The next time he hit for an isolated slugging above .180: 2010 when he “broke out” with a .304/.398/.569 line in 495 PA between AA Binghamton and AAA Buffalo as a 24-year old that earned him his big league debut.
How analogous are Duda’s two wrist injuries separated by over seven years and many professional paychecks? I do not know precisely. The hands (top and bottom) do different things in a player’s swing, but a batter needs both. Also, Duda’s collegiate improvement was likely a result of both improving health and physical and mental development.
Well, I didn’t see that coming. I really had no idea who would win a Tigers-Giants series. That’s the thing about a seven-game series in baseball. I thought in many respects, the Giants’ contact ability combined with the Tigers’ lousy defense made it a good matchup for the Giants. On the other hand, I thought Detroit had two starts of Verlander and the series’ best two bats. Whoops.
The really surprising thing is that the Giants’ swept the Tigers. The Giants held the Tigers scoreless in two games and to a .159/.243/.246 line in four world series games. That’s a really good way to do business if you’re a Giant, and a bad way to do business if you’re a Tiger.
I loved the ending. Sergio Romo had thrown nothing but sliders to the two right-handed batters he faced in the Detroit 10th inning, until his final pitch. Then, he painted a fastball on the inside black to straighten up Miguel Cabrera for a called third strike. You can see on the video here (around the 0:28 mark) that Cabrera is has started his hands out, and is about to dive over the plate to go get a slider. Romo fooled him.
Ok, if you weren’t watching baseball Wednesday night you lose.
One quick thing from the ninth inning of the Yankees’ win over the Orioles (Raul Ibanez’s party).
Pinch-hitting Ibanez for Rodriguez was absolutely the right tactical move given that Yankees needed one run to tie the game. The best way to get one run? A solo homer.
vs RHP in ’12:
Raul Ibanez: .248/.319/.492 19 HR, 360 PA
Alex Rodriguez: .256/.326/.391, 10 HR in 356 PA
I brought this up on yesterday’s podcast, but did not get it right at the time. Since the Mets last made the playoffs in 2006, they are one of only eight teams to miss the playoffs in all of the last six years. I said the Mets were one of six teams and Patrick and Ted both rightly told me that did not sound right.
The futile eight: the Mets, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, Padres, Jays, Royals and Mariners. Every division in baseball is represented among this group.
In breaking news, it’s been a long time since the Mets were in the playoffs. Most other teams have been better than the Mets in the last six years.
After the jump, I reviewed the gory details for every team since the Mets last played postseason baseball.
To read more of this story, click here
Opened up Tweetdeck at 4:30 on Tuesday and saw this string of Tweets in my “Mets Beatwriter” column.
That’s one Santana will not start Thursday tweet (which was retweeted) versus one, “it has not been ruled out.”
And the clarification moments later.
As far as a 40-man roster move, that’s relatively close to a formality. The Mets have 39 players on the 40-man now so they have space to add a player. Once they are full, they could also simply shift Tim Byrdak or even Santana himself from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL without exposing anyone else to waivers.
Matt Harvey’s Major League debut was not just a fun night for the Mets. Instead, his 11-strikeout two-hit outing turned into something historic. He became the first Mets pitcher to every strikeout 11 in his big league debut. He became the first pitcher in the “modern era” to strike out 11 and pick up two hits in his big league debut.
How did he do it? He was throwing hard. After regularly sitting 93-95 at AAA Buffalo, he averaged at the high end of that range – 94.9 last night with his four-seam fastball, sitting 92.5-96 and touching 98.
His slider averaged 85 mph, and was as high as 90. This is a pitch has some a long, long way in the last 12 months. It’s more or less a new offering for him, and it’s very good.
His curveball was in the low-mid 80s with bite. Pitch-fx shows the slider and the curve with the same horizontal movement, but had more depth and a slower speed. They are two distinct pitches.
There were notes of caution in Harvey’s performance: he threw just five changeups. He did much of his damage on fastballs up.
Analytically, I find myself with little to say. It was fun. His performance was great. He made those who thought he wasn’t ready for the big leagues look foolish. Now, he just has to do it again. And again.
Sometime during the 10th inning from Monday’s Mets 8-2 loss in 10 innings:
If you missed it while you were out with friends, you missed an ugly Friday night in the Mets’ world. It started at the top, where Johan Santana allowed six runs on seven hits, including a pair of homeruns, and walked three in the Mets’ 7-6 loss to the Dodgers. Then, he was placed on the disabled list with a right ankle problem. I thought today should have been Matt Harvey time in the big leagues. Instead, Harvey is starting in AAA, and Miguel Batista is throwing in Queens. The Mets have added Jeremy Hefner to the roster as Batista insurance and potentially to make Santana’s next start next Wednesday. Will the Mets turn to Harvey now? Don’t ask me, I thought he should be starting for the Mets today.
AAA: Charlotte Knights 4, @ Buffalo Bisons 0
The Bisons had two hits.
RHP Collin McHugh: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Meh.
RHP Jenrry Mejia: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 73% strikes (16 of 22)
AA: @ Bowie Bay Sox 10, Binghamton Mets 0
Ouch, Zack Wheeler: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HBP, 1 WP. The eight runs Wheeler allowed were a career-high and at 3.2 innings, this was his shortest outing since his very first start of the season on April 6. He’s now given up five runs or more in three of his last five starts and six hits or more in each of those five outings.
One positive: CF Juan Lagares was 2-for-4 with a double. Thanks to a .329/.352/.459 July with nine extra-base hits, he’s up to .280/.333/.378 in 95 games. His nine extra-base hits in July are already his most in any month of 2012.