Saturday, January 30, 2021

Should I Care About GameStop?

Steve Cohen's Twitter account was fun while it lasted, but I can't say that I'm too sorry to see it go. I've been on Twitter since 2012, but I never was consistently active on the platform until I started blogging again last spring. Before that, I used to spend most of my Twitter time following either politics or the Mets. Both of those topics can get pretty emotional, so I learned long ago to take a pause when I felt myself being sucked in too deeply. And I'm not important enough to be a real target of the ugliness that runs deeply through much of social media.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Not on the Trevor Train

I started writing a post yesterday in reaction to the trade of Steven Matz to the Blue Jays for three prospects. That move, combined with reports that the Angels are reportedly no longer a part of the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes, made me want to take a deeper dive into the risks associated with signing Bauer. It wound up going for quite a while, and I started having reservations about the direction I was going with it, so I made the decision to table it until today and see how I felt about it. I don't have many personal rules about what I write about here, and occasionally wander pretty far from strictly adhering to posts about the Mets and even baseball. One rule that I always try to stick to, however, is write something that I would enjoy reading. If it fails that test, why would I want to share it with anyone else?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Zack Scott, Trevor Bauer and Twitter Finance Wizards

The Mets made some moves today. While nothing happened that will cause fans to become euphoric, it was a fairly significant day for the club nonetheless. What seems most impactful was that the club making the decision to name Zack Scott as the acting GM. Look, everyone knows that Alderson will be calling the shots on the major moves, but it's still important to have a clear chain of command. Scott was a runner up to Jared Porter for the GM job the first time around and the most likely candidate to receive the acting GM title. In his statement, Sandy Alderson said that he and the rest of the baseball operations staff would "continue to work collaboratively", and I'm sure there is an element of truth in that, but even the most collaborative of work places needs a clear chain of command. Someone has to have final say on details that Alderson decides to delegate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Worst Kind of Deja Vu

After living through all the awfulness of the MLB/Players Association attempts to play baseball this past year, it's not particularly comforting to see how negotiations are playing out in advance of the 2021 season. Everyone understands that it's to the benefit of both sides to have a DH in the National League this season — MLB wants to protect pitchers from injuries while batting and running the bases, the union wants those 15 DH positions — yet negotiations are going nowhere. The sticking point is that MLB wants to trade something both sides want, the universal DH, for expanded playoffs, which mainly benefit the owners.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Time for Action, Part 2

Before I take a look at where things currently stand with the Mets infielders and outfielders, I'll take a moment to react to Brad Hand signing with the Nationals. The accounts I have read said that the Mets were willing to pay Hand and give him a second year on the contract, but that Hand preferred a one-year deal with the Nationals and the opportunity to close. If the Nats had simply outbid the Mets I would have been ready to write something very uncomplimentary here. I'm still not happy when a Mets free agent target chooses to go elsewhere, particularly to a division rival, but I get that it's tricky to sign someone as a setup man who had been a closer and still wants to close.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Time for Action, Part 1

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand tweeted out yesterday that lefty reliever Brad Hand was coming close to making a decision on where he would sign, with a decision coming "perhaps even by the end of this weekend". The Mets are still in the running for Hand, but other teams are in it, too, and I've read a lot of speculation that the Mets aren't interested in giving a multi-year deal to the reliever. Hand has enjoyed plenty of success in his career as a closer. While there are questions about him losing some velocity, I'd be shocked if interested teams weren't willing to go 2 or more years for the guy. He'll be turning 31 before the season starts, which isn't old enough to scare teams from offering him 2- or even 3-year deals. If the Mets really are committed to holding to a 1-year contract, it seems likely that Hand will sign somewhere else, too.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Times of Your Life

I don't spend much time watching commercials these days. I DVR or stream almost everything I watch. Even when I'm watching a baseball game live, I grab my phone in between innings. Back in my formative years, these options weren't available. Watching tv meant watching a lot of commercials. Most of those were extremely forgettable, but some stick in my memory for one reason or another. In the mid-seventies, there were a series of Kodak commercials that especially affected me, featuring a bittersweet song titled "Times of Your Life."

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Filling the Gap

I wrote a post yesterday on the Jared Porter firing. I not only believe the Mets did the right thing by firing him, I think it was their only possible move once all of the facts came out. The type of behavior that the man engaged in was not only morally indefensible, but also showed such an extreme lack of judgement that essentially disqualified him from any possibility of staying in such an important position. A friend of mine asked me if I thought it mattered that Porter's toxic interaction with the female journalist happened a few years ago. The guy was in his mid-30s at the time, hardly a kid, and the actions were way beyond inappropriate, so no.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Thoughts on George Springer and Jared Porter

Your order is up, Mr. Porter
I started writing a post about Jared Porter yesterday, but then doctor appointments chewed up the majority of my day. I have a few thoughts on that matter that I'll share later in this post, but I thought I would weigh in on George Springer signing with the Blue Jays first. I spent most of this offseason pretty sure that Springer would sign with the Mets, especially once they signed James McCann to be their starting catcher. I stopped believing that Springer would be a Met the day the Francisco Lindor trade was announced. I still hoped that the Mets might somehow land the guy, but I knew that it would require some luck. The reality of the situation was that the Blue Jays were able to offer more than the Mets were comfortable with to land the guy. Frankly, if the rumors that the Mets were willing to go up to north of $120 million to land Springer are true, I find it hard to find fault with that effort.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Building a Better Bullpen

In more civilized times,
relievers used to enter in style
Last Friday morning Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted out that the Mets were "close to agreement with free-agent reliever Brad Hand." I saw another tweet from SNY's Andy Martino confirming that his own source verified Rosenthal's tweet. As I'm sure you know, as of Monday afternoon there has been no deal reached. Other sources have pushed back against the idea that an agreement is close, but by most accounts talks are ongoing. Should the Mets and Brad Hand eventually come to terms, the Mets are — barring injuries, of course — heading into 2021 with possibly their finest bullpen in team history.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

MLB Is Staying Away From Those Sweet Expansion $$$ (For Now)

We've been hearing a lot about the possibility of expansion in Major League Baseball for several years. There haven't been any new teams brought into the fold since the Diamondbacks and  Rays came aboard at the end of the last century. Ron Manfred, the empty suit who currently holds down the job of MLB commissioner, has been on the record for years that he wants add a couple of teams. Among other reasons, going to 32 teams would allow each league to divide into four divisions of 4 teams, which would cut down some on travel and also add another couple of division races. There is also the thought that the hefty franchise fees, expected to be around $1 billion per team, could offset some of the losses the clubs are claiming from the covid pandemic.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

International Signing Blues

The international signing period for MLB clubs began yesterday. It had been postponed from July 2, due to the pandemic. Unlike the amateur draft, there is no draft order for international free agents. Clubs have a fixed amount of bonus pool money to spend, and can basically use that pool to sign as many free agents as they can come to an agreement with. Although the signing period began yesterday, these agreement between clubs and players have been made months ago, long before the current Mets regime took over. This is significant, because the Mets are not expected to reach agreement with any player in MLB.com's Top 30 free agents. You could find the list here. There are a couple of Cuban players on the list who reportedly may wait until the next signing period begins.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

For Baseball, TV is Broken

Last week Ken Rosenthal had a piece up on The Athletic site about the major reduction in rights fees for the new contract between ESPN and Major League Baseball. The numbers are significant, with MLB revenues from the deal expected to go down from about $700 million a year to about $550 million. Sadly, one thing that won't be affected is ESPN's awful Sunday night baseball package, which will continue to take games away from Sunday afternoon and move them to the evening and, at least in the case of the Mets, replace a really good broadcast with a pretty awful one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Mets Can Still Use Starting Pitching

Now that Carlos Carrasco has joined Francisco Lindor on the Mets, the team has a top 3 in their rotation to match up with anyone in baseball. If Noah Syndergaard makes it back and the other three remain healthy — always a big if when you're talking pitching — the Mets would have as good of a rotation 1-4 as they've had in many years, easily one of the best in baseball this year. Combined with the solid offense and a defense that has certainly been upgraded and could be a really solid group if a true CF is signed, this is a legit playoff contender with a real shot at going all the way. But the questions certainly remain when it comes to the depth of this rotation, and we've seen lack of depth sabotage many promising Mets seasons in recent years.

Monday, January 11, 2021

On Extending Lindor and Sustaining Success

Now that the Mets have Francisco Lindor on their roster, the next big question is how they go about trying to keep him past this season. I think we can assume that it's a given that they at least make a big effort at extending him. I've seen some in the media postulate that the Mets may want to wait until they've had a chance to see how Lindor reacts to playing in New York, which would obviously mean that negotiations wouldn't even start before the season got underway. I could understand the rationale for that thinking. Not every player thrives in this city. I might even feel the same way myself if Lindor was under contract for a couple of years. That's not the case, however, so if the Mets decided to go that route they would need to ask themselves how long they would be willing to wait to begin negotiations, and if Lindor would even be willing to negotiate during the season. At his press conference today he indicated fairly strongly that he wouldn't do that.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Those Shiny New Mets and the Road Ahead

When Steve Cohen's purchase of the New York Mets went through, he was joined by new team president Sandy Alderson in a news conference where they shared their plans for the team. Both Cohen and Alderson spoke of the idea of building a sustainable winner with the Mets, which would necessitate improving the team's roster in the short-term while building out the farm system for long-term success. With the addition of SS Francisco Lindor and SP Carlos Carrasco to the roster, the Mets are well on the way to acing the short-term goal of being more competitive in 2021.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Now They Really Are the New Mets

I was in the middle of taking Lisa to some doctors appointments yesterday when my phone started blowing up. The Mets were reportedly close to a deal for Francisco Lindor. It was exciting to see the Mets involved in the type of deal I was used to watching happen with other teams from afar. Still, I was really worried what the Mets might be giving up for a year of Francisco Lindor.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Opening the Vault

In Sunday's post I wrote about my hopes that perhaps Japanese pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano would sign with the Mets this week. Upon hearing that "their focus is elsewhere", I found myself disappointed although, in fairness, I have no real fact-based opinion on the man's chances of being effective in MLB competition. It would have just been a relief for something concrete to finally happen and the 2021 roster inch a little closer to taking shape. Instead, the weird inertia of the 2020-2021 offseason continues to frustrate the desire of myself and many of my fellow Mets fans to have something to get excited about.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Sandlot

Although I enjoy living in the northeast and experiencing all four seasons, I'm not really a winter person by nature. By the time February rolls around, I'm more than ready for winter to be over. Back in February of 2006, during my first year of blogging, I spent a Sunday morning watching snow pile up outside of my house. Spring training was about to begin. My mind was filled with thoughts of warm summer days and baseball, in a year the Mets finally seemed poised to compete for the playoffs. I wrote a post for my blog, then I had to come back to the wintry reality and go out and shovel the nearly two feet of snow that had fallen.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Watching Paint Dry

The holidays are past us now, and I really do expect that we'll be seeing some free agents signings in the next couple of weeks. Then again, I thought that things were going to pick up after the nontender deadline back at the beginning of December, and that just didn't happen. Perhaps there's no real sense of urgency for MLB teams who are betting on some sort of delay for the 2021 season. Or, another possible reason for the slowness that's been bandied about is that player agents are unhappy with the small number of teams that are interested in their clients and keep hoping that some teams will reconsider and jump into the bidding. That would certainly make sense on their part. Whatever the cause, this hot stove season is moving slower than my friend Tony does when he's reaching for his wallet, and trust me, that's pretty damn slow. At times I've seen cobwebs form between his hand and his pocket during this maneuver.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Embracing the Pressure

Now that we've left 2020 behind, I hope that some of the players and teams resolve to not let January be as boring as December was, and that the hot stove season can finally live up to its name. The only sparks of excitement so far have been courtesy of the San Diego Padres, who have made themselves into one of the best teams in baseball by building a very deep farm system and being aggressive using it. For all of the deserved credit that the Rays get for making their voodoo work, it's good to see a team in a relatively small market like San Diego making a bold and aggressive push in a much different way to challenge the Dodgers in the NL West. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

The most important news of the week for me, personally, is finally saying "adios" to the least favorite year of my lifetime. Other than that, things seem to be pretty much in a holding pattern. I find myself out of work for the second time since the pandemic began, and I'm still trying to figure out how to most productively utilize the new found time I have on hand. A lot of crappy things happened this year, but Lisa is home and doing better and better. As a lifelong Mets fans, watching the Wilpons precede 2020 out the door was a highlight that at least cancelled out a small bit of the badness of the year, and we Mets fans won't even need to endure a vaccine to prevent Fred and Jeff from returning.

Mailing It In

The title of this post has nothing to do with the way the New York Mets are playing. Sure, they've been up and down this past week. The...