By Steven Inman
With the upcoming switch from Bud Selig to his hand-picked successor, Rob Manfred, as MLB’s commissioner, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon has not lost his standing within baseball.
The elder Wilpon will be the new chairman of the MLB’s Finance Committee, according to the Daily News. This is not a joke.
Selig, the biggest supporter of Wilpon, is retiring at the end of this week. It seemed like conventional wisdom to Met fans that once Selig left the new commissioner would put some pressure on the Wilpon’s to spend money on the Mets payroll. That no longer seems to be the case and the chances of the Mets payroll going up in upcoming seasons looks unlikely.
The Mets 2014 payroll was around $92 million which was the lowest for the franchise since the 2000 season. The 2014 payroll also ranked 21st in baseball and won’t be more than a few million dollars more in 2015.
Should baseball step in and force the Mets to spend money?
In what was considered to be one of the greatest hall of fame ballots in modern baseball history, four players were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz will all be inducted in a momentous celebration in Cooperstown on July 26th as part of the 2015 Hall of Fame class.
Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz each got into the Hall on their first try. Biggio was elected on his third attempt after falling just two votes shy last January. Biggio, who spent his entire career all over the diamond with the Houston Astros admitted he was worried about the verdict after getting so close last year. “I was a nervous dog this morning. I haven’t been this anxious in a long time,” Biggio said. “Maybe it does mean a little bit more this year.” Biggio said to the Buffalo News.
Randy Johnson goes into the Hall as the tallest player to ever get into Cooperstown, shattering the old benchmark made by the 6-foot-6 Dave Winfield. “I don’t think people quite understand how difficult it is to be 6-foot-10 and be throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches away,” Johnson said in an article by the Buffalo News. “In order to do that, you have to be consistent with your release point and where you’re landing and your arm slot and all that. For someone 6-1, 6-2, there’s less body to keep under control, so it’s a lot easier.”
It’s ironic that Johnson will go into the Hall the same year that 5-foot-11 Pedro Martinez will. Martinez was told constantly as a young flame throwing prospect that he was too small and frail to handle the workload of a starting pitcher. After 18 big league seasons, all as a starter, it’s safe to assume the doubters were incorrect.
Martinez is only the second Dominican born player to ever get into the Hall of Fame. Only the great Juan Marichal hailed from the Dominican Republic and got into Cooperstown before Pedro.
John Smoltz will be reunited with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine when he joins the two former Braves in the Hall this July. Atlanta’s former “Big 3” helped form one of the most dynamic starting rotations of all time and were vital to the Braves 1995 World Championship over the Cleveland Indians.
The last time four players were inducted in one year was the class of 1955, headlined by Joe DiMaggio. This baseball story evolved throughout the day amongst fans, going from joy and excitement for these four players to anger and confusion on who didn’t make the cut.
The closest player who did not get in was former catcher Mike Piazza. Piazza, 46, was denied entrance into the Hall of Fame for the third straight year despite getting 69.9 percent of votes. To get into Cooperstown a player needs 75% of votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Piazza played in 16 big league seasons and hit the most home runs by a catcher in baseball history with 427 long balls. The former 62nd round pick also leads all catchers with a .545 SLG %.
Piazza needs at least 28 voters to change their mind on him if he wants to get in on next year’s ballot. Piazza’s chances have suffered due to allegations of performance enhancing drug use during his career.
Piazza isn’t the only player with Hall Of Fame numbers not to get in due to PED Allegations. Elite players such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s chances to enter the Hall of Fame look very slim. First time vote getter Gary Sheffield, who hit over 500 homers in his career also received just 11.7% of votes due to allegations of PED use. Sheffield, a 9-time All Star, was listed in the Mitchell Report in 2007, which will cost him along with most alleged steroid users any chance to get into the Hall someday.
The most notable player to be exiled off the ballot for future years would be Carlos Delgado. Delgado, 42, enjoyed a strong career where he hit 473 dingers and drove in 1512 RBI across 17 seasons as a big leaguer. There weren’t allegations that the former first basemen took illegal substances. Delgado made just two All-Star teams in his career and only received 3.8% of votes. A player must get at least 5% of votes to stay on the following years ballot.
The class of 2016 should also be exciting as former stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman enter the ballot for the first time.
By Steven Inman
According to various media reports the Mets were engaged in three team dialogue with the Rays and Nationals that would have sent All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond to New York. Desmond, 29, has hit 44 homers over the past two seasons and would bring much needed pop to this Met lineup but a deal is now seen as very unlikely. Desmond has nine homers and 27 RBI in his career at Citi Field, both career highs in any visiting ballpark.
In the proposed deal the Mets would send two top prospects to the Rays, one of which would be Noah Syndergaard. The Mets deemed that package two valuable to give up because Desmond is under club control for just one more season.
Desmond has been the NL silver slugger in each of the past three seasons but giving up two top prospects is too much for a guy who is likely to hit the open market in November. The Nationals who have much more money to spend than the Mets, are willing to trade him because they don’t believe they can sign him.
Desmond would have been a one-year rental for the Mets as according to the Washington Post, the shortstop turned down a seven year contract worth $107 million last winter from the Nationals, thinking he could get significantly more as a free agent.
Desmond will make $11 million in 2015. Mike Rizzo and the Nationals have made it no secret that he is available for the right package.
The Mets were also interested in acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Rays, who instead went to the Athletics last weekend but the package the Rays wanted was very similar to what they were asking for in the three team deal for Desmond.
The Mets continue to try and get creative in finding a shortstop but the most likely scenario is the Mets give Wilmer Flores the first crack at being the starting shortstop with Ruben Tejada entering the season as the backup middle infielder. If Flores struggles offensively the club will likely continue to search for a long term shortstop.
By Steven Inman
Former Met catcher Mike Piazza was not admitted into the Hall Of Fame again when the final ballots were released Tuesday. Piazza earned just 69.9 percent of votes. To get in to the Hall of Fame, a candidate must appear on 75 percent of the 571 ballots from Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza got 62.2 percent in 2014, up from his debut year (57.8 percent).
There are many reasons Piazza didn’t get in. For starters many writers won’t vote for a player even if there is the smallest hint of doubt that he may have used steroids. Secondly but perhaps just as importantly some writers use their ballots as a way of getting themselves publicity which is just a shame.There were some voters that didn’t even vote for All-Time greats such as Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez for some reason.
As long as there isn’t any proof that Piazza did steroids than I think it is ridiculous that some of these writers chose not to vote for him. It’s disappointing for Mets fans as the Mets don’t plan on retiring Piazza’s number at Citi Field until they know for sure that #31 is getting into the Hall as a Met. Piazza won’t get into Cooperstown in July and it looks like he may not get in for the foreseeable future.
The Mets went into the offseason planning on trading one of their starting pitchers along with possibility trading All-Star 2B Daniel Murphy.This would allow the Mets to get new players while keeping payroll around $90-95 million. The Mets were going to use Murphy’s money to afford a starting caliber shortstop. Then the Mets would have a competition in spring training between Dilson Herrera, Wilmer Flores and Matt Reynolds for the starting second base job.
However the Mets never found a shortstop so Daniel Murphy will start the 2015 season with the Mets. Murphy is now the second longest tenured Met on the team, behind only the captain, David Wright.
Murphy will be a free agent after the 2015 season. It appeared as if Murphy would be a goner this winter but that has obviously changed. However if the Mets are out of the race by the All-Star break they could trade Murphy at the trade deadline.
The Mets had interest in a number of free agent shortstops but for a lesser price to what they actually got on the open market. The Mets liked Jed Lowrie in the past but only had interest in him on a one year deal. Lowrie went to the Astros on a three year deal. There were conflicting reports on whether the Mets had interest in Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera signed with the Rays on Tuesday. The Mets also showed interest in trade candidates such as the White Sox Alexei Ramirez and the Cubs Starlin Castro. Both Chicago teams have considered themselves contenders and have elected to keep their starting shortstops. Since the Mets didn’t spend on a shortstop they didn’t have to clear Murphy’s salary.
Are the Mets better off with Daniel Murphy or a starting shortstop?
With less than a week left in 2014, lets go back and look over the most important moments of the 2014 Mets year, on and off the field.
We did this the previous two years. The 2013 post can be found here and the 2012 article can be found here. In case you were living in a cave over the last year here is everything you need to know about the Mets in 2014. There were a lot of positives for the Mets but the team also had a lot of negatives. Here’s the list.
6. Bobby Parnell undergoes Tommy John surgery: Parnell didn’t look right all spring as his velocity was way down in Florida but the Mets elected to put him on the Opening Day roster anyway. Parnell blew the save on Opening Day against the eventual division champion Nationals and was sent for an MRI shortly after that revealed the need for season-ending surgery. The bullpen was a major liability for the Mets for much of the first half after Parnell went down as place holders such as Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth were ineffective as late inning options. Both players were let go midway through the season. The Parnell injury was a major reason the Mets fell in such a large early season hole that they were never able to climb out of. Bobby Parnell will not be ready for Opening Day but for some reason, the Mets elected to pay his arbitration price again.
5. Jacob deGrom win NL Rookie Of the Year: The most pleasant surprise of the 2014 Mets was their
ninth round pick of the 2010 draft, Jacob deGrom. The right-hander was dominant all season and was easily the Mets best pitcher in 2014. If deGrom can perform as well as a second year player, the Mets rotation should be a force in 2015. DeGrom’s special year was capped off when he was awarded NL Rookie of the Year. Jacob is the first Met to win Rookie of the Year since Doc Gooden in 1984.
4. Mets will bring in the Citi Field Fences once again: In what has become a common discussion in recent years, the Mets have elected to bring in the Citi Field fences yet again. The new dimensions are very similar to Shea Stadium but if the Mets had the money to bring in better hitters, this probably wouldn’t be #4 on our list. The Mets needed to get creative to solve their need for power bats. Regardless David Wright and Curtis Granderson should benefit in 2015 from the more hitter friendly dimensions at Citi Field.
3. Mets sign Michael Cuddyer: The Mets made the first move of the MLB offseason by signing outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two year contract worth $21 million. Cuddyer will cost the Mets the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft but will provide a much needed bat to the middle of the New York lineup ,should he stay healthy. When the Mets struck unusually quickly to sign the former All-Star most expected this to be a busy offseason for Sandy Alderson and company. That has not been the case as the Mets have been quiet since that move in November.
2. Mets trade Ike Davis to Pittsburgh: The debate over who should be the Mets first basemen mercifully came to an end when the Mets traded shipped the former first round draft pick to Pittsburgh. While the Mets didn’t get much back in exchange for Ike Davis, the move freed up such much needed money and more importantly allowed Lucas Duda to play first everyday. The left-handed slugger blossomed after being handed the job and hit 30 homers to go with 92 RBI’s for the Mets. Duda will be critical for the 2015 Mets.
Davis did not play well in Pittsburgh and has since been moved to Oakland as a salary dump where he will serve as depth in the A’s first base puzzle.
1. Sandy Alderson’s 2013 offseason signings don’t pan out: Unfortunately the Mets most significant moment of 2014 is a negative one. Last offseason Alderson and company signed OF Curtis Granderson and Chris Young along with P Bartolo Colon to lucrative deals, none of which have worked out. When you are operating at such a small payroll like the Mets, you must hit on all of your free agent acquisitions and the Mets hit on none from last winter. Granderson had a dismal year and received the boo birds often at Citi Field. The former Yankee is still owed $47 million over three years by the Mets. The Grandy Man has now not hit over .232 since the 2011 season. Granderson should benefit from the fences coming in power-wise but must improve on his .227/.326/.388 triple slash in his first season in Queens.
Chris Young was a disaster for the Mets and was released midway through the season. Young was the worst signing in Sandy Alderson’s tenure as Mets General Manager. Young badly struggled even just putting the ball in play as a member of the Mets.
While Bartolo Colon was a reliable veteran presence for the Mets in 2014, but the team simply over payed him. Colon,41, is still owed $11 million in 2015 which is far too much money for a 5th starter on a team that doesn’t want payroll to exceed $90-95 million. The Mets attempted to trade Colon but couldn’t find a team willing to take on his entire salary. Signing Colon last winter is preventing the Mets from finding a shortstop now.
The 2014 Mets year was mostly uneventful but expect 2015 to be a much more interesting year in Queens. With Matt Harvey back along with a rejuvenated David Wright this Met team should improve on 2014’s 79 wins.
Opening Night is now only 100 days away….
What are you looking forward to most from the 2015 Mets?
More media reports have emerged that the Mets have had dialogue with the Colorado Rockies regarding superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo, 30, is a 4-time All-Star and is a career .299 hitter in nine major league seasons. When healthy, few position players are better than Tulowitzki but he just isn’t healthy enough to be worth the remaining $118 million over six years on his current contract, for the Mets plus give up a ton of prospects starting with top prospect Noah Syndergaard.
Tulo has played in 130 games in a season just three times in his nine year career. Last year he was limited to 91 games after having hip surgery. Many great baseball players have hip labral surgery and have had trouble coming back as the same caliber player. Tulowitzki’s status for Opening Day is already in question so why would the Mets, who have negative payroll flexibility (trying to trade salary) acquire such a big contract and give up top chips.
If Tulowitzki was a free agent today and the Mets signed him to a six-year $118 million contract, that would be difficult for this small budget club to handle and that is without trading prospects.
A deal for Tulowitzki is still highly unlikely even if the two clubs could match up on players. The Mets would want the Rockies to pick up much of Tulo’s salary.
While he doesn’t have an actual no-trade clause, Tulowitzki has such a tight relationship with Rockies owner Dick Monfort that he could potentially decline a deal to a destination he doesn’t want to go to. It is unknown if Tulowitzki would “accept” a deal to the Mets.
It appears as if the Rockies are more interested in trading Tulowitzki than the Mets are in acquiring Tulowitzki.
The Mets need to watch their money so they are able to sign lock up young pitchers such as Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and others soon. Acquiring a $20 million a year player like Tulowitzki would prevent the Mets from doing that, so you aren’t just trading prospects you are trading the futures of many on the rise stars like Wheeler.
The Mets have preached payroll flexibility since the day Sandy Alderson was hired. Acquiring Troy Tulowitzki would completely go against that.
Metropolitan Hospitality, the world-class event and hospitality company for Citi Field, will host “Batter Up for a Cause: Autism Speaks” on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Attendees will participate in a unique batting practice event in the Visitors Clubhouse at Citi Field and enjoy light refreshments, a special appearance by Mr. Met and an exclusive tour of the ballpark.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families since 2005.
It truly is a great cause, especially during this holiday season. Plus when else as Met fans will you get the opportunity to take batting practice at Citi Field?
Tickets for the event are $99 and can be purchased online at Mets.com/BatterUp. If you are interested you may also purchase tickets by calling 718-507-TIXX.
Tickets are on sale now!
By Steven Inman
Baseball America has come out with their yearly top ten prospect list for every MLB Organization. The Mets are headlined by top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard who has been in trade rumors of late but is likely to stay Met property.
The big riser in the list in LHP Steven Matz, who didn’t even rank in the top ten last winter and is now right behind Syndergaard. Matz had a terrific year and could help the Mets in some role in the second half of 2015.
The prospect who fell the most was 1B Dominic Smith who was #4 last year but doesn’t appear in the top ten this winter. Smith struggled to hit for power in Low-A Savannah, a park that is very difficult to hit home runs in. 2015 will be a big year for the contact-first hitter.
The Mets of late have had mostly pitchers as top prospects, but the system has become much more balanced as six of the top ten prospects are position players.
By Steven Inman
Join Rob DeLucia of WSJU Radio and myself as we discuss the entire winter meetings in San Diego. We break down the entire N.L. East and determine what team is going to give the Washington Nationals some trouble in 2015.
Remember if you have a question for the next BrokeMets podcast leave it in the comment section and we will answer it during the next show.