The Mets front office has their work cut out for them. With the announcement of the Phillies signing of Cliff Lee, Mets fans everywhere cringed at the possibility of another World Series Championship to a division rival. Now the best team in the division just got a whole lot better. The Phillies will start the year with a rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. This is the best rotation in MLB right now.
This is painful for Mets fans. The front office has simply conceded that this year and maybe next, will be a wash. They are wasting the prime of David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Johan Santana. They are also wasting the end of the career of Jason Bay. They are tricking themselves into believing that Daniel Murphy will be a good fielder and that they will be able to spend money in the next two years for free agents.
With the Mets on the decline, I really hope that someone is taking a close look at their financial future. They have money tied up in players next year for over $120 million dollars. In 2012, they already have over $60 million dollars allocated to players but this does not include the impending signings of Ike Davis, Angel Pagan, R.A. Dicky, Jose Reyes, Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, or Josh Thole. While I do not think they will sign all of those players in 2012, the signings of even half of those players might push the 2012 dollars over $100 million and it still would not include any big free agent signings. Continue reading
All New York baseball fans are either crying, cursing or doing both simultaneously this morning.
In one stealth move Cliff Lee made both NY teams irrelevant in 2011.
Now some questions remain:
- Will the Mets win a game against the Phillies this year?
- Will the Phillies have 4, 20-game winners?
- Do you think that anyone in Philly really cares now about losing Jayson Werth?
- Can our new ace, R.A. Dickey, beat any of the Phillies top 4?
- Is there a no-spit clause in the contract?
I’m not going to lie. I mercilessly mocked the New York Mets for signing R.A. Dickey in the offseason. To be honest, I was frustrated. Other teams were out signing pitchers like John Lackey (Red Sox), or trading for others such as Cliff Lee (Mariners), and I was stuck having to deal with the Mets settling for a 35-year-old knuckleballer who had never seen any extended success in the Major Leagues.
Hell, he wasn’t even supposed to be on the Mets 25-man roster, which got me even more ticked off. Why are we trying to support our Binghamton/Buffalo starting rotations, when our major league rotation is in this type of shape?
Well, Dickey’s 2010 performance has shut me, and likely lots of other ignoramuses similar to myself, right up. He’s gone 8-5, with an outstanding 2.43 ERA. Hitters have rarely, if ever, looked comfortable against Dickey’s knuckleball, which he mixes in with a fastball. FanGraphs.com has Dickey throwing his knuckleball 83.7 percent of the time, with his fastball coming just 16.3 percent of the time he throws a pitch. Dickey’s got a good thing going with his knuckler, he knows it, and he’s taking advantage of it. Continue reading
Here are some links to review as we head into the last series before the All-Star break. The Mets are currently 3 games back of the Braves so a sweep would leave the Mets in a tie for first place in the NL East. I think any of us would’ve taken this position for the Mets before the season started.
Here are the links:
In 2009, the Mets and Phillies made two decisions which have been debated with fervor throughout baseball. The moves have helped to shape the current state and, quite possibly, the future of the NL East. As the NL East race continues to remain tight, these transactions find themselves subject to dissection.
Move #1: Phillies decline to pair Cliff Lee with Roy Halladay
In December of 2009, frightening reports were coming in all over the baseball world. The rival Phillies were putting together the right package to acquire the the dominant Halladay from Toronto. One of the most feared offenses in baseball would now have a rotation which would feature Doc Halladay and Lee. Lee was just off a run which included blanking the Yankees in Game 1 of the fall classic. Just as Mets fans were reaching for double shot of something strong, the final details of the deal came through. The deal was a three-way move which had the Phillies flipping Lee to Seattle to bring in their top pitching prospect in an attempt to replenish their farm system.
The deal had many Mets fans breathing a sigh of relief and likewise scratching their heads. There is no doubt that having Halladay in our division was a nightmare, but the idea that Ruben Amaro resisted the temptation to make the ’08 champs the outright favorite to grab another ring was startling. If the Phillies did not intend to sign Lee to an extension, they still had the ability to retain him through the season. They would also receive picks in the offseason for his signing elsewhere. The Phillies signed Doc to an extension and declined to keep Lee for the 2010 season. Amaro explained his reasoning for the three-way deal as not only preparing his team for 2010, but the future as well. Continue reading
The New York Post is reporting that the Wilpon family’s financial situation is so precarious that they cannot add payroll through trades. The report states that adding a front line starting pitcher is the least of their problems. Their debt load is so heavy and attendance is down so much this season that if the trend continues for a season or two, they may be forced to sell the team.
It was almost one year ago that I wrote about the Madoff mess causing talk of the Mets being forced to sell the team. Now those rumors are back. You never really know exactly what the financial situation of the team is. But it’s not a good sign when the rumors of trouble are consistent and persistent.
The key points of the NY Post article are:
- The team has nearly $700 million in debt
- The Mets are losing about $10 million/year including depreciation and interest payments on the debt
- Attendance is down 19% from 2009 and down 35% from 2008
- SNY is profitable but is leveraged to roughly six times it’s earnings before interest
- The Wilpon family refinanced about $375 million in loans and kept $75 million for themselves
The article has a little bit of information about the family’s investments in commercial real estate which has been in a down market for three years now. It doesn’t help that the Mets’ fortunes have been down for three years now either. And it won’t be easy to recover. The article states that one of the debt covenants prevents the team from increasing payroll. Taking on Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee would be great this month. But the Mets can’t expect the Astros or Mariners to take back equal or more salary.
We may be stuck with the pitching staff as it stands now. Maybe John Maine or Oliver Perez will come back and start doing what seems unlikely to most of us. If not, we could be speculating on who will be buying the Mets in a couple of years. Hopefully, it won’t get to the point that the Rangers have this season.
Thanks to MLBTradeRumors for the link.
Today’s Water Cooler Topic: Why would the Mets even try to sign Cliff Lee when they know the Yankees will just steal him this offseason?
Ok, if you don’t already know I am a Met fan who knows entirely too many Yankee fans. Inevitably, I have to defend the Mets on a daily basis and this topic is a big one.
We’ve made it to July and are only 1.5 games out of first. This team just held it’s own against the Twins, Tigers and Yankees. Three of the top teams in the AL. The Mets are legitimate contenders.
My gut feeling is that the Mets should go all out and get Cliff Lee and not worry about losing him to free agency after the season ends. If the Mets always want to be a team that plays in the shadows of the current World Series Champions then why bother fielding a team at all? Do what it takes to win a World Series every year. That’s what that other team does. Continue reading
Mets fans are quickly realizing that the 2010 version of Johan Santana is not the same pitcher that the team traded a proverbial “bucket of balls” for back in 2008. After Santana and the Mets agreed to a 6-year, $137.5 million extension following the trade that winter, the left-handed ace went 16-7 with an ERA of 2.53. Santana had a Cy Young caliber season that year, he could have easily had 4-5 more wins, if not for a horrendous bullpen that ultimately led to that team’s demise.
Fast-forward to the present, and it is plain to see that Santana is performing like anything but an ace. Coming off an injury shortened season in 2009, the wear and tear on Santana’s elbow is certainly showing, especially coming off surgery. The 31-year-old’s velocity is down considerably, which lessens the effect of his signature out pitch, his change-up. Combine the drop in velocity of his fastball with poor location of seemingly all of his pitches recently, and you have the make-up of a very hittable and predictable Major League pitcher.
With Santana’s 2010 campaign so far in mind, it reminds us of the importance of developing young pitchers within the organization (a big-market organization, at that), so the need for acquiring high end starting pitchers down the road isn’t as great. Continue reading