Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Questions Answered, Answers Still to Come

I had questions, he had answers. Specifically, a mailbag column from Anthony DiComo at today answered a question that I had on yesterday's post. I wondered whether reliever Dellin Betances had recovered enough to give the Mets a dependable bullpen option. DiComo quoted GM Brodie Van Wagenen on Betances' progress:
We are extremely excited about where he is physically. He's been one of the players that has been off a mound and able to face real hitters here over the course of the last couple weeks in live batting practice, simulated games, however you want to describe it. He's had multiple sessions where he's faced Major League hitters over the course of the last couple weeks, and he's encouraged. Our performance staff evaluated him over the last couple of days, and we're ready to see what he looks like when we start going here.
So, while I won't presume to guess what success Betances might enjoy this season, it does sound as if he's going to be physically able to perform. I still want to see what his velocity might be in real games, but it gives a Mets fan like me something to dream about now. A healthy Betances doesn't just make the Mets bullpen deeper at the crucial start of the short regular season but, if he's successful, they'll have another closer option if Edwin Diaz repeats last season's ineffectiveness.

Another question that I had previously was about player development. The Mets are clearly not putting prospects on the 60-man roster. The worry, which I've written about in this space several times this spring, is that prospects not close to major league ready would lose a full year of development. DiComo concedes the possibility that a prospect or two might find their way onto the 60-man roster, but it's not a priority for the Mets who see themselves as win-now. DiComo had another quote from BVW on the priority the Mets are placing on this area:
"We have not quit on a player development opportunity at all. I know there have been a lot of calls and people participating within Major League Baseball and the GM community and the player development community of trying to find ways to make some plan to allow these kids an opportunity to play, whether it's in the summer or in the fall. I know those conversations continue to be ongoing."
Again, I think it would be foolish in the extreme for the Mets to fail to provide some sort of organized opportunity for the top prospects in the organization to develop their skills this season. If financial considerations cause the Mets and other teams to cut back on spending, developing these prospects can have a real effect on whether they can compete over the next few years. You can't just depend on MLB to put together some sort of expanded fall leagues. If that falls through, a team should have their own plan for some sort of complex instructional camp on their own.

I had a quote from a Keith Law column on my post from June 25 about 2019 draft picks and the danger to them from missing a full year of development this season:
"Players drafted last year — I feel terrible for them. They had limited innings or at-bats last year because they were gassed. They work their tails off all winter. They’re in spring training in two weeks. Now they might not play at all this year. And if we lose a short-season club (to minor-league contraction), you go into next year, all those guys have to jump a level."
By all accounts the Mets had a great draft in 2019. They simply can't let those players be dependent on Zoom meetings and the like to progress this year. I await with interest some sort of specific plan to get these kids some meaningful instruction.


Speaking of great drafts, the Mets signing of 2nd rounder J.T. Ginn to an above-slot deal put a bow on another strong upside draft - particularly from where the Mets were picking. As Mike Puma pointed out in the Post, the Mets utilized a somewhat risky strategy two years in a row and pulled it off both times. As BVW pointed out, it's not a good draft if you don't sign the guys you drafted, and the Mets have pulled that off both last year and this year. I love the strategy, I love the execution.

BVW gives a lot of credit to Omar Minaya, who oversees both domestic and international scouting. Minaya may well have been overmatched as GM, but he's back now in a role that feeds into his strength. I'm sure that the credit belongs to others in the organization besides Omar, too. Van Wagenen seems to have placed a real premium on player development, and that's very much to his credit. It's nice to see the Mets acting aggressively, what I'd still love to see is for them to have more than the very occasional success out of their international scouting operation.

Puma's piece ends with the challenge of developing players remotely with zoom chats and individualized workouts. Brodie is quoted on the team's commitment to these prospects:
"We have kept the entirety of our player development staff working, communicating and making sure we are building individual plans so that these players are making strides as opposed to reaching stalemates."
Which sounds great, of course, but I still want to hear about some plan for hands-on instruction for at least the top prospects in the organization who don't find themselves on the 60-man roster.


Finally, last and very much least, can I just say that I don't give a good flying f*** that today is Bobby Bonilla Day? I'm so over this tired, overused, unoriginal clichéd story. It doesn't only wind up in the local sports coverage, but on national sites like ESPN, too. Can I just say to every moron editor who asks for a piece on this story that was beaten into the ground many years ago, please print the story out, shove it deeply where the Good Lord split ya, and then try to come up with an original idea for once in your useless life?

We get it. We got it years ago. This is not the only deferred money ever handed out to a ballplayer. The Mets aren't the only team with a contract like this. I've been over Bobby Bonilla for many years, and the money isn't coming out of my pocket. Read my lips: I DON'T CARE. Does anyone really still care about this? F***ING STOP ALREADY. The only thing irritating about this is how truly dead and used up this story has become, yet every year someone still tries to write something clever about it. If there truly is a God, the Bobby Bonilla stories might finally stop once the team is sold and the Wilpons aren't here to kick around any more.

That's it for me today. Thanks for stopping by, please come back again soon. In the meantime, please stay safe, stay well and take care.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos


  1. For your reading pleasure, see what the Braves are doing to cover what they owe Bruce Sutter:

    1. Good one. I know the Mets have been guilty of some dumb stuff over the years, but this deferred money to Bonilla has gotten as stale as a 5 year old Pop Tart. Show some freaking imagination, people!


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