Monday, November 30, 2020

Baseball Executive Needed, Cojones Required

Hire me, Steve!
Another day, another disappointment for the Mets in their search to hire an executive. After lowering their sights to a GM working under Sandy Alderson rather than a President of Baseball Operations, the Mets are still looking to make a hire. Today's news is that former pitcher Chris Young doesn't want to uproot his family from Dallas to New York City. Some people are making a big deal of this, but I don't really care all that much. I don't blame the club for aiming high for a candidate, and I don't think they should settle for anyone they don't really want. At this point they should perhaps consider tabling the whole thing for another year and going forward with the people they already have. But that's up to Alderson and Cohen.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Damn (Yawn) Yankees

If someone can decipher the purpose behind Mike Vaccaro's piece in the New York Post yesterday, I would be grateful if you could share it with me. Vaccaro shared a story from the 1934 season, when Giants manager Bill Terry made a dismissive comment about the Dodgers, then in Brooklyn, and it came back to bite the Giants at the end of the season when Brooklyn knocked them out of a pennant chance. Fast forward to today. Apparently there is some parallel to this because everyone is excited about the Mets, and nobody is talking about the Yankees.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Rebooting the Mets

It was becoming fairly obvious for a while that the Mets weren't going to hire a President of Baseball Operations and a GM, signaled by the lack of interviews with any of the big names they were reportedly pursuing. The Mets made it official Monday when Sandy Alderson what it be known that they had changed course and were only looking for a GM. As it stands now, Sandy Alderson will do the job of president of baseball operations. The Mets will hire a GM to work underneath Alderson, with the goal that within a year or two this person would take over running the baseball operations.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Myth of the Super Tough Boss

One of the first ways Steve Cohen made his mark as the new Mets owner was with Twitter. He's been funny and remarkably candid, even replying bluntly to stories in the locals he believes are off the mark. There was a story by Joe Pantorno on AMNY.com yesterday citing a source that Mets leadership, including Sandy Alderson, would be on a short leash. To those of us old enough to remember George Steinbrenner's heyday with the Yankees, that does not paint an appealing portrait of what you're looking for from an owner. Not that I freaked out about it — I take anything written with anonymous sources with a huge grain of salt. That's not at all to disparage the writer of the piece, who I'm sure did their job in quoting someone with some familiarity on the matter. It's just that the opinion of any third party is just that, an opinion, not fact.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Waiting Game

Last week I read that the Mets were going to make a decision on their President of Baseball Operations position within the next week to ten days. It's fairly safe now to assume that this isn't likely to happen within that time frame, unless the Mets are prepared to name former Marlins exec Michael Hill, the only person they've interviewed so far, to the position. Clearly the Mets are operating on a different timetable than was expected, prepared to let Sandy Alderson and the people working under him lay some of the groundwork for the new Mets era. So, while it's a bit surprising that so little has happened up to now, it's not really cause for concern.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Cheaters Gonna Cheat

When the news of Robinson Cano's PED suspension popped up as an alert on my phone yesterday, my first thought was that it was likely to be a good thing for the Mets, at least for 2021. My second thought was f*** Brodie Van Wagenen. Nowhere in those thoughts or any of the thoughts that came later was even an inkling of surprise. This was news that I've been more or less suspected I would hear since Cano bounced back with strong offensive numbers this season.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Pitching Is Serious Business

As we await with baited breath to see if Cleveland's Mike Chernoff is, indeed, the frontrunner for the Mets' head baseball honcho job, I thought I'd take a look at an area where the Mets have to drastically improve to extend their season into October. It's pretty obvious that the Mets will need to make significant upgrades to their starting pitching if they really want to contend in 2021. As it stands right now, their starting rotation consists of Jacob de Grom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson and the hopes that Noah Syndergaard can return and be a force sometime into the season. Seth Lugo may also wind up there, I guess, although I thought it was a mistake when the team moved him there during the season. Steven Matz is a complete mystery, and any other starting pitching candidates the Mets have on their roster now look more like depth pieces than viable starters

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Mets Still Searching for the Right Leader

Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark had a piece in The Athletic today about the difficulties that the Mets and Phillies are encountering in their respective searches for a truly great candidate to lead their organizations. Teams that already have highly regarded executives are holding onto them, as is the case with the Brewers and David Stearns. Now that Theo Epstein has stepped down from his job with the Cubs, there are sure to be rumors connecting him to the Mets and Phillies jobs. However, Epstein indicates pretty strongly that he's not going to be working for anyone else this year:

Monday, November 16, 2020

To Everything There Is a Season

I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I'm not on the trade for Francisco Lindor bandwagon. It feels kind of lonely where I am, because I think if you polled Mets fans the vast majority would be in favor of this move. The idea, and it certainly has merit, is that Lindor is an absolute superstar available in his prime, much like when the Dodgers acquired Mookie Betts from the Red Sox. Lindor just turned 27 a couple of days ago, so the idea of trading for him and then signing him to a multi-year contract is much more appealing than your typical free agent signing, where most players are 30 or even a bit older.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Ponies Rumble Onward

Somewhat lost among all of the other news from this week's Cohen/Alderson press conference was the news of which four teams would still be New York Mets affiliates going forward. If you missed it, the ones staying on are Syracuse, Binghamton, Brooklyn and St. Lucie. This was especially good news for Binghamton, which earlier this year had been listed as a team likely to lose their affiliation. As I wrote a while back, the Mets relationship with the city in south central New York state stretches back almost 30 years.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Spending Wisely is Cool

Nice feature on former Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill in the New York Post yesterday. He was the first person interviewed by Sandy Alderson for the same position on the Mets. If the reporting is correct, he's still the only one the Mets have interviewed for the position. That might be the case, or it might be indicative that the organization does a lot better job of not leaking everything that happens to the press any more. According to Mike Puma, the piece's author, the final selection will be made in the next week to 10 days, so I'm assuming there will be names of other interviewees popping up shortly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Waiting for What Happens Next

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty great day. I listened to some of the Cohen/Alderson press conference live, then listened to the whole thing again last night. I've been a Mets fan for a long, long time, but caring that much about what was said in a press conference is a new phenomenon for me. I can't imagine listening to Fred or Jeff Wilpon talk for even a fraction of that amount of time without losing all hope for the Mets ever being more than a punchline. But today doesn't seem a day to dwell on the sins of owners past. This one definitely seems to be a keeper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

When You Meet the Right One, You Know It

I remember taking stock of my life when I turned 35. I had been divorced about five years earlier, and had done the things that divorced guys generally do. I went through a time when my love life consisted of mostly meaningless sexual encounters with random women looking for the same. It was fun for a while, meaningless sex is actually pretty great, but after a while you figure out that it's also kind of, you know, meaningless. So I came to a point in my life where I decided to make an effort to find a real connection with someone. This was before dating apps or even online dating, so you found woman where you worked or you were introduced by friends.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Why Winning by Losing Wouldn't Be the Right Call

If you missed it, Saturday's post on this blog was a rebuttal to a Daniel Kaplan article on The Athletic site that took a pretty negative point of view on the team's future. Kaplan's angle was that the Mets would be unable to keep up with the Yankees in New York without deficit spending that would slowly bleed new owner Steve Cohen dry. The gist of Kaplan's view was that the Mets' revenues are significantly less than the Yankees and Citi Field was less ideally located than Yankee Stadium. I'm not going to rehash it all here, basically I found his argument to be remarkably weak and superficial.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Seriously, Dude, It's Not the Ballpark

There was a piece today by Daniel Kaplan today in The Athletic about Steve Cohen's purchase of the Mets. My first instinct upon reading it was to dismiss it as a bit of contrariness and fluffery, but in thinking about it afterwards I thought it would serve as an excellent starting point for today's post. It was clear from the beginning of the piece that Kaplan was trying to pour some cold water on the mostly positive coverage — at least so far — of Cohen's takeover of the club.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

It All Begins Monday, but It Might End for Brodie

I've been a bit distracted by the election this week, but I was still quite happy to read in the Post yesterday that the expectations are that the Steve Cohen's control of the Mets is expected to begin Monday. Even though it's basically been a done deal since last Friday, it still will be with a sense of relief and excitement that I await that climactic change over. Honestly, it feels like it's been forever since I've been looking forward to this moment, going back to the original negotiations between Steve Cohen and the Mets last winter. Even my concerns expressed yesterday over labor-management uncertainty won't dampen this anticipation. So, while Monday is generally not my favorite day of the week, this upcoming Monday will be a big exception to the rule if, indeed, the changeover happens.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Baseball's Uncertain Future, and How It Might Affect the Mets

There was a piece by Evan Drellich in The Athletic last week that caught my eye, but in all of the excitement surrounding Steve Cohen's final approval by MLB owners, I wasn't able to get around to writing about it. The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between MLB and the Players Association is set to expire after the upcoming 2021 baseball season. It's been a long time since the last strike/lockout in 1994-1995, but those of us who lived through it still remember it vividly and dread the potential for a repeat of that event. The ugly negotiations that preceded this season were a red flag that a quarter of a century of avoiding those stoppages is very much in jeopardy this time around. And how cruel would that be to all baseball lovers, even more so to Mets fans like us who have waited so long for a regime change for our club?

Monday, November 2, 2020

My Favorite Billionaire

Steve Cohen's decision to engage with Mets fans on Twitter this weekend was, by all accounts, a smashing success. Fans were already quite giddy about the final hurdles being overcome on the sale of the Mets. Cohen's commitment to pumping some money into the club, along with some commitments already made to the team's employees, is a breath of fresh air to fans after the final penny-pinching years of the Wilpon regime. Cohen's decision to engage with the fans directly also provided a welcome contrast to what felt like the increasing aloofness of the Wilpons. While I don't expect to find Cohen on social media communicating with fans constantly, this weekend's interaction was a lot of fun. It also seems to me pretty smart, whether intentional or not, to solidify the fans' solid buy-in to the new regime.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Decisions, Decisions

The Mets made a qualifying offer to pitcher Marcus Stroman today. If he accepts, he gets $18.9 million to stay here for one more year. If he rejects the offer and signs elsewhere, the Mets get a draft pick. This is a no-brainer for the Mets, who retain Stroman for a year at a fairly reasonable price if he accepts their offer.

Closer to Home

I grew up in a very unconventional household. I don't retain the warm memories of home and family that most folks have. I don't live...