It’s been about two months since I last had a thought. Wait, what? NO! It’s just been two months since I had time to write down a few thoughts about the local sports scene, and I guess anything in the sports scene that I’m thinking about.
Let’s start with the obvious: the New York Mets.
Last time I wrote about the Mets, I said that the organization was doing something wrong if they couldn’t acquire a team president. Steve Cohen changed my mind.
Steve Cohen is a very rich man, as every radio show host will repeatedly let you know. The other owners know this, and have been fucking with him in the only way that they can. “I don’t have your money, so you can’t have my stuff.” Agents fucked with him. Players fucked with him. Because he was playing nice and trying to fit in. He finally decided enough was enough.
So what did Cohen do? Basically he said “The stuff I have? The players want.” And then he overpaid Starling Marte by roughly $20 million dollars. Then he offered a guy coming off of an injury tens of millions of dollars. And then the gut punch. The highest annually paid player was the New York Yankees Garret Cole. Was. The Mets offer to Max Scherzer – a future Hall of Fame pitcher who, while old, competed for a Cy Young last season- wasn’t just $5 more than the Cole deal. It wasn’t 1% more.
IT WAS 20% MORE THAN WHAT COLE GETS. TWENTY PERCENT.
Folks, that is called a fuck you. And a game changer.
EVERY agent will come to the Mets with their free agents as a final offer. A deal with Samsung will transform Citi Field into an entertainment destination. The manager is not only not a brand new inexperienced manager, but a widely respected, player friendly one in Buck Showalter. And the general manager he hired was both experienced and mentored by a baseball legend in Gene Michael- Billy Eppler. You know, the guy that brought Shohei Ohtani to the majors? The guy that hired former Yankee Showalter?
I get the sense that Eppler isn’t done contacting former Yankees. Brian Cashman will be a free agent executive in December of 2022. He’s presently making $25 million. I get the sense that Cohen can make a better offer.
And I want to give a pat on the back to Eppler for this overlooked gem- sure, losing Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto hurts if you’re rooting for a player instead of the team. But by losing both Confotro- who seems to be good every other year, and Syndergaard- who has pitched a handful of innings over the last two years and will maybe throw 125 innings next year if he doesn’t get injured? The Mets gained two second round picks in this upcoming MLB draft. And with the Kumar Rocker fiasco? The Mets gained a compensatory first round pick. So 5 of the top 80 and 6 of the top 100 picks will belong to the Mets. Anyone want to know how to restock a farm system? Let inconsistent and injured players bring you high level picks and save you wanted money.
Gone are the days where the Mets are auditioning rookie major league managers. By the way, former Mets manager Rojas is now an outfielders coach for the Yankees. Outfielders coach.
I’ll add this- in October I offered to be the Mets GM. At this point, I will accept an assistant GM position.
The New York Yankees: Your Dad wouldn’t put up with this Mets shit!
Major League Baseball: Give the players what they want. When it comes to Labor vs Management situations, there are two truisms: Management will always fuck labor because management itself is inherently backstabbing as people, and labor asks for fairness which usually falls against backstabbers.
The Chicago Cubs saw their team value increase 400% in the last decade because PLAYERS won them a World Series. Shouldn’t the owners reward the players with that new found $3 billion dollars? That the players made them? Yes, yes they should. The Wilpons sold the Mets for almost 7 times what they paid for it in a mere 20 years.
Also, paying players more doesn’t mean fans pay more. In the last 5 years, the average salary of baseball players has decreased. Have ticket prices?
The New York Rangers: Again, a good coach with a solid system can create a winning culture when surrounded with talented athletes.
The New York Islanders: A coach that works hard to emphasize defense at the point to stifle the offense has faith in Josh Bailey, who magically neither plays offense or defense. Something I learned in research this week- the more time you play Josh Bailey in a game, the statistically more likely you are to miss the playoffs.
The NHL: Maybe it’s time to go back to the 2019-2020 COVID playoff schedule, where everyone makes the playoffs? You screwed up early outbreaks, which benefits present COVID teams. My position is that if you can’t field a team, you should forfeit. But reality says that teams will roll out AHL caliber players and charge you NHL prices. Since you’ll fuck the fans at every turn, collapse the season and give each team a playoff birth. There’s not going to be an NHL player Olympics anyway, so let it fly.
The NFL: Have you seen the state of football in New York? Pretty good, right? Sure, a playoff bubble, but very likely a 10 win team.
But those guys in New Jersey are absolutely terrible. You need to have two pro leagues. One for the good teams, and one for teams trying to get there. Like European soccer.
The NBA: you have the most complicated salary cap in sports. You have a $113 million salary cap. One team follows that. ONE. Five teams are 50% above the cap. Sure it’s a soft cap. But if you have 29 teams ignoring the cap? You need to rewrite the collective bargaining agreement into reality.
The New York Knicks: Last year was fun because you were hard nosed and tough. Then you added soft players in free agency, drafted strong players that you refuse to play, and wonder why you’re losing. You lost your way.
The Brooklyn Nets: You’re not winning a title. Too old, too much Kyrie. Thank you for signing those guys so that the Knicks didn’t look even more dysfunctional.
Alright folks. I’m switching from writing to reading: next up, The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. Hopefully Buck will hand it out to the players.
Across the nation, groups of individuals look to celebrate our nation’s return to “normalcy” (or whatever normalcy looks like). While football fans enjoy week eight of the NFL season, melancholy baseball fans prepare for Game 5 of the World Series.
The last time Atlanta hosted Game 5 of a World Series (October 24, 1996), John Smoltz and Andy Pettitte treated everyone to one of the greatest games in baseball history. The Hall of Fame pitcher refers to his performance (8 IP, 4 H, one unearned run, 3 BB, 10 K – 135 pitches) as “the greatest game I ever pitched because I had nothing that day.” The winning run reached base when Gold Glove OF (Marquis Grissom & Jermaine Dye) miscommunicated on a routine fly ball by Charlie Hayes.
During the 1990s, the city of Atlanta grew comfortable hosting major league baseball’s premier event. The 1996 World Series represented the fourth time in five seasons Atlanta hosted three World Series games. Unfortunately for the Braves, only once did they have the opportunity to finish off an opponent and win the most coveted title in baseball.
Tom Glavine took the mound for the Braves on October 28, 1995, at Fulton-County Stadium against the foremost offensive juggernaut of that era, the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland’s lineup featured three Hall of Famers, 22 combined All-Star appearances (not including the three HOF), and 19 Gold Glove Awards (not including HOF). Glavine’s eight shutout innings gave way to Mark Wohlers, and their 1-0 victory remains the cities only World Series title.
This season is the 17th postseason appearance for Atlanta since defeating Cleveland in 1995, extending their record for most postseason appearances without a championship, previously set by the Chicago Cubs from 1910-2015 (14 appearances).
The Braves’ most tenured starter, Charlie Morton, saw his season end in Game 1 with a broken fibula. Tucker Davidson, an elite pitching prospect who replaced Morton on the roster, gets the chance to make history in Game 5.
Clinching the series in Atlanta would be especially sweet for the city, as MLB moved the 2021 All-Star Game to Colorado after bowing to political pressure.
Houston returns to Game 1 starter Framber Valdez. Atlanta roughed up the left-hander from the Dominican, collecting eight hits and five runs in his two innings of work.
As we sit in the rarified time of year where all four major North American sports are rolling, now is as good a time as any to do some quick hits on the New York sports scene, as well as anything else I can fit into a paragraph of a take.
New York Mets: A second year in a row of failing to find a president tells me something: you’re doing it wrong. Yes, a team president can change a culture. But the St. Louis Cardinals have had back to back losing seasons once since 1960, and I’m almost positive that they’ve had more than one team president in that time. Maybe culture starts at the top?
Also, I am available for the GM position. And unlike other GM’s I won’t trade any of the top 5 prospects unless I think they stink.
New York Yankees: Need a shortstop? Wait until a week into free agency, and see what the Mets would take for Francisco Lindor. I get the feeling that you could move a bad contract or two and get a bargain price based on the savings. Maybe move Gerrit Cole’s deal, because without super glue in the glove that deal seems like it’s about to blow up.
New York Rangers: See what happens when you get a good coach? Amazing. Hopefully the Mets take note.
New York Islanders: While you’ve been the most successful team in New York for the last two seasons, realize that’s always a tenuous position. On that theme, Zdeno Chara needs a rest. Time to make that guy a 7th defenseman and give Robin Salo or Samuel Bolduc a chance.
New York Knicks: You need an all star. Watching Julius Randle shoot in the clutch is like watching…Kirstaps Porzingis shoot in the clutch. You need the guy that ends opponent’s rallies. You need the guy that looks forward to getting the ball with 8 seconds left on the clock and the team down by one. You have 4000 draft picks over the next few years. Seems easy to look to move picks and pieces starting with Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robrokenson.
How many times do we need to watch a Knicks 10 point lead evaporate in the last 3 minutes of a game before you address this?
Brooklyn Nets: Trade Kyrie Irving. I get he is wholly overpaid and few teams can afford him. But he is a me first player. Always has been, always will be. No one wins with him unless they have 3 other all stars, and then they don’t even win. A swap with the Sixers for Ben Simmons would help with the salary differential, and Simmons doesn’t need to shoot with James Harden and Kevin Durant willing to throw even more shots up. Plus, Philly hates winning, so Irving will fit in nicely.
New York Giants: You are hard to watch. You need an identity. You wasted a 2nd overall pick on a running back when you had so many more issues. That’s like a homeless guy buying a Ferrari. You can’t even sleep in that, which makes it a total waste.
New York Jets: You are hard to watch. You need an identity. And a new owner. You have a head coach who was a defensive guru, and your defense is absolutely horseshit. You have the second best quarterback in the draft playing like he was chosen in round 5. You’re a dysfunctional franchise.
Jet and Giants: If you merged these two teams into one? They would win 4 games all season. Think about that. Also, call yourself New Jersey, for fucks sake. You’ve been there for 40 years.
All Major Sports: Stop firing people today over things that happened years or decades ago. It’s a stupid practice to use modern standards to not only evaluate the past, but to punish it. Or in many cases, punish it a second time. It’s even dumber to have the people who originally made those initial decisions making new ones that are even worse. Unless you can dig up Hitler’s bones – who actually did bad stuff- and make him apologize? Shut the fuck up, be glad the world is a little better now than it used to be which isn’t much, and then learn what forgiveness is so that we continue progress instead of falling into retroactive justice for none of your concern that makes society even worse than it used to be. Let he or she who is without sin case the first stone, but everyone else? SHUT THE FUCK UP. We’re not chasing Nazi’s hiding from Holocaust crimes. Most of these sins are from emails and tweets that hurt your feelies. Remember that sticks and stones rhyme? Time to grow up.
Besides, why should behavior occurring outside of work affect your job? If your lawn looks bad you should lose your job? If your wife is ugly you should lose your job? How about losing your job when you’re bad at your job, and dealing with personal matters personally?
Sports Teams Across the Nation: It costs $2 to make a t-shirt. Here’s an idea: start selling them to fans at $5. Not all of them- you can have some kind of fancy t-shirt, maybe with frills or flip flop paint or something. But a basic, made in China t-shirt? You give that shit away to fans at games in rocket launchers. Offer fans some free advertising for your awful franchise at low prices as a thank you for putting up with our milking you for every dollar you have while we have a 300 winning percentage offering. You know, actual decency? Instead of firing a guy that said “Ching Chong” 20 years ago? Speaking of, Shaq is still on the air, so get cracking, social justice warriors!
Steve Cohen is a wealthy guy. Crazy wealthy. And yet he’s finding that unless it’s Francisco Lindor, he can’t give his money away.
When Cohen first bought the Mets, he sent out a bat signal for anyone that wanted to be a President of Baseball Operations. He ended up with nobody. Maybe it was his aggressive sounding demand of winning a World Series within 5 years. Whomever was scared away by that probably knows that the extent of the damage done to the franchise by the Wilpons could not be totally painted over in just 60 months.
Fast forward a year. Cohen still has the same wants, but probably has a better idea of how his organization is seen around the league. Having a GM scandal and then a GM scandal probably brought some humility. And while I’m sure that I’m in the minority that firing Jared Porter for something he did while working somewhere else years ago is overreacting and overreaching in a supposedly Christian and forgiving nation, it is what it is.
This offseason, with the same charge as last one, the Mets have so far come up looking foolish. First off, Theo Epstein interviewed for the job, and there was a mutual disinterest. Not that I was there, but I’m sure the conversation was like this:
Epstein: “I expect that if I take this job I’ll be a co-owner.”
Cohen: “You got a $250 million buy in? Because I paid a power of ten more than that for this team.”
Next up was Billy Beane. The former Met player would seem like a wonderful coming home story. Except Beane is a partial owner of the Oakland A’s. Owning a team is basically owning an ever increasing bank account. You can borrow off of it, you never HAVE to sell it, and when you die the value is stepped up so your family pays no taxes on the inherited millions. It’s called “Buy, Borrow, Die.” Look it up if you’re interested in how you get fucked by rich people while blaming poor people for eating government food.
To work for the Mets, Beane would have to sell his A’s ownership. NOT HAPPENING.
Then there was David Stearns. The New York native Harvard grad and former Mets employee has a same position in Milwaukee, so the move would be lateral, which generally teams are not fond of allowing. Plus he’s also still under contract in Milwaukee, so the Brewers rightfully told the Mets to beat it.
After these three strikes, the Mets were talking about all sorts of young guys, like assistant GM’s leapfrogging GM roles and assistant president roles to become a team President. That’s a bad idea. Not because people can’t rise to an occasion, but because this is New York. It’s a huge market. It doesn’t need untested guys cutting teeth in major power positions. We saw how that went with Luis Rojas as manager- which was a flop on any winning standard. How any times do you have to watch guys hit into a shift before you say “Ever think of hitting fly balls and line drives instead of, you know, GROUNDING BALLS RIGHT INTO THE SHIFT?”
But suddenly, there came a beacon of hope. The San Francisco Giants former team vice president, Brian Sabean, had been put to pasture by the Giants. When his contract ran out as Executive Vice President, he was retained as a sort of nebulous Senior Advisor and Scout. Not only did Sabean not want this position, he wanted more.
Who is Brian Sabean? He personally scouted and signed Derek Jeter. He also inked Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, and Jorge Posada. So yeah, he built the backbone of 4 World Series winners. Then he went to San Francisco, where he won 5 division titles, 4 pennants, 3 World Series, 2 wild cards, a wild card playoff, and had an over .534 record in 18 years as the GM, which is the 10th highest GM winning percentage since the end of World War Two. That’s an amazing feat considering that the Giants had losing seasons in 5 of the 6 years prior to hiring Sabean despite having MVP’s Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent on the team.
He also drafted two time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP Buster Posey, 4 time all-star and 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, 3 time all-star and pitcher with a 3-0 record and ZERO ERA in the 2010 World Series winning postseason Matt Cain, and 3 time all-star and 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.
And the 2016 Giants ended the last set of playoff hopes for the New York Mets.
Now, Do I want Sabean determining my roster? Probably not. He seems a little quick in trading youth for veterans. Conversely, he also acquires all stars in trades, which is something the Mets last did with…Mike Piazza?
But would I be ok with him hiring a GM? Assistant GM’s? And a manager? Absolutely. In fact, he probably comes with a manager.
Bruce Bochy was Sabean’s guy with the Giants. When the Giants won 3 World Series? It wasn’t with 2 time manager of the year as a Giant Dusty Baker. It was with Bruce Bochy, who was also a strong manager with the San Diego Padres, where he won three division titles, one pennant, and was a manager of the year. Bochy has 2003 career wins as a manger, making him 11th all-time among managers. All of the top 10 winningest managers are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Expect the same for Bochy.
So are a probable Hall of Fame manager and a potential Hall of Fame GM with n eye for young talent willing to come to New York? Based on recent Mets events, if they do? We’ll find out that Bochy eats puppies for breakfast every day, and that Sabean has a plantation full of slaves in Uruguay.
But what if they come here without baggage? Well, they’re old, people would say. Probably millennials, who think that you shouldn’t criticize anyone. Except old people. You can skewer the fuck out of old people. But is that smart? And are millennials?
Dusty Baker is ancient, and he’s playing for the World Series. Somehow being old isn’t exactly an occupational hazard in baseball. In fact, history see it as a plus. Having seen and reflected on everything? You’re not so likely to make basic mistakes. Like letting your hitters ground into a shift instead of telling them to uppercut a baseball, Kris Bryant style.
Oh, that’s the other thing. Sabean was not afraid to acquire players via trade as a Giants GM. But with the Mets? He has an unlimited checkbook to go free agent shopping. Or to let the GM he hires do such.
So, if that GM was me? Buhbye, Michael Conforto. Welcome, Kris Bryant! Carlos Correa? Welcome to third base. Bret Baty? Get used to left field- that’s your job in 2023. Welcome back, Javier Baez. You can’t give up your top outfield prospect for a few weeks of a guy that hit .300 for you. And you can’t let him go to the Yankees and own the back pages of newspapers for the next 8 years. Plus it’s always good to add World Series winners to your organization.
I’d also ask Minnesota about super oft injured Byron Buxton. He would be an easy trade target, and he would be an absolute upgrade as backup over Kevin Pillar. Also, bringing back Jonathan Villar is a lay up.
I’d be looking to trade some players. Dominic Smith is one of them. Robinson Cano is another. And Jeff McNeil or J.D. Davis rounds that out, despite both of them being “super subs.” One super sub can work. Cano probably needs to be traded with salary retention. No biggie. But a super sub and Smith should get you assets. Maybe prospects are needed? Or pitching?
Then go out and get the most dangerous hitter you can for the upcoming DH position. I’d recommend a guy that hit 300, while also showing 30 home runs. Nick Castellanos comes to mind.
I can get into pitching here as well, like the obvious bring back Marcus Stroman and Aaron Loup, and trade Carlos Carasco back to the American League. I haven’t sent in my resume for GM yet, and don’t want scrubs stealing my roster moves, but philosophically, I want as many guys throwing 100 miles per hour as possible, like the 2015 Mets.
Steve Cohen may have been handed a golden opportunity to save face and hire a battery that has a winning pedigree, while still being able to add youth to the organization in the assistant GM and GM positions. There is a chance for culture change to come to the Mets. That would be winning, if you’re a Mets fan and unfamiliar with the concept. So my question for everyone is, how will the Mets pull a Mets and screw this up?
This is all about money. You’re looking at a free agent Hall of Fame executive that you won’t need to give a piece of the team to. You’re looking at a Hall of Fame manager that wants to work with his buddy. You’re looking at spending money on a free agent market without damaging your present prospect system. You’re looking at making up for a wholly failed 2021 draft with a guy that has skill at identifying prospects and has worked with frankly a better set of scouts in two different, more successful organizations. All you need to do as owner is shut the fuck up and write checks. And there comes the guarantee. If you fail to do all of this? The 2022 New York Mets will be more of the same.
Will Atlanta and Houston enact sweet postseason revenge and meet in the World Series?
As the calendar turns toward winter, the remaining days of autumn are highlighted by the culmination of the MLB postseason.
In the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers spirited Game 3 comeback victory is the only thing saving their season. Heading into Game 5 at Dodger Stadium tonight, Dave Roberts’ depleted bullpen needs a heroic performance from midseason acquisition Max Scherzer.
The 3-time Cy Young Award winner’s impact on the Dodgers season is undeniable. The 36-year old currently in his 14th MLB season went undefeated (7-0) in his 11 starts with the defending champs, posting a career-best 0.86 WHIP and 2.46 ERA (0.82/1.98 with LAD). Scherzer provided relief for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS, recording his first postseason save two days after suffering a hard-luck 1-0 loss in Game 3 (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 10 K).
In the American League, the Red Sox power seems to have dissipated. In losing Games 4 and 5, the Sox offense has hit a wall after connecting for 18 HR, hitting .338, and averaging just under nine runs PG in their previous six games. The vaunted Red Sox offense combined for three runs while hitting .157 overall and going 0-13 with RISP.
Meanwhile, Dusty Baker’s unit finds themselves one win away from reaching the World Series for the third time in five seasons. If his team eliminates Boston, Baker receives another chance to win his first championship as a manager (currently owns the record for most games managed without winning a World Series).
Finally, in recognition of Max Scherzer’s start tonight, here are a few examples of pitchers providing super-human efforts facing elimination along with salvaging their team’s bullpen.
Josh Becket (Marlins) – Game 5, 2003 NLCS
Facing elimination, Beckett threw a 2-hit shutout, striking out 11 Cubs while inspiring Florida to rally and win the series.
Curt Schilling (Phillies) – Game 5, 1993 World Series
Without the former ESPN announcer efforts, one of the most memorable postseason moments in MLB would cease to exist.
Schilling’s 147-pitch, five-hit shutout came after Philadelphia used six pitchers, unable to hold a 14-9 lead in Game 4. Joe Carter would be just another Joe without Schilling’s spectacular performance.
Danny Jackson (Royals) – Game 5, 1985 ALCS; Game 5, 1985 World Series.
Jackson sent the ALCS back to Toronto with a brilliant, 8-hit shutout of the Blue Jays. Jackson’s performance came at the perfect moment, provided how poorly the Royals bullpen performed in Games 1-4. The left-hander delivered a repeat of his ALCS performance in Game 5 of the World Series. Jackson’s complete Game, five-hitter at St. Louis, sent the series back to Kansas City, where the Royals completed another series comeback.
Mickey Lolich (Tigers) – Game 5, 1968 World Series
The Tigers watched 30-game winner Denny McClain, and five relievers allowed ten runs on 13 hits in the Cardinals 10-1 win in Game 4.
Needing to save an extended bullpen, Lolich allowed nine hits and three runs but went the distance in the Tigers 5-3 victory.
When Steve Cohen dropped a mere bag of shells to buy the New York Mets, everyone knew that the team he was inheriting was being mismanaged on just about every level possible. The prospect pool was hardly that, the pro talent was inconsistent, he was saddled with a trade where the Mets top prospect was moved for an average closer and a $25 million contract with 2 years left on it. The manager was hired because he was sitting around after the guy that was really hired was just a dirty cheater who somehow twice disappointed the Mets organization.
And Cohen stepped in to the organization and…continued to make bad decisions. Cohen wanted a head of the organization. Somehow, he fell flat in hiring anyone for that gig. Instead, Sandy Alderson was brought back to right the ship. That’s understandable, as Cohen knew Sandy from his time as a partial owner of the Mets and needed someone he trusted. Sandy immediately hired Jared Porter. The Jared Porter decision was a good move, until it was discovered that years ago Porter sent too many text messages to someone. Man they should hang that guy, because girls never do shit like that ever. Clearly this guy that’s good at his job should never work again because he sent a girl a text and she wasn’t happy.
The Mets promoted Zack Scott to interim GM, a spot that he’s held on to for an awful long time as an interim. Scott’s biggest contributions as interim GM so far was the firing of the hitting coach, only to watch Mets bats seemingly get WORSE after Chili Davis was let go, and for drafting Kumar Rocker – a potential first overall pitcher – then selecting undervalued picks after that, then to ultimately NOT sign Kumar, thus ruining the entire 2021 MLB draft. What an amazing asshole!
Then there was the whole Francisco Lindor trade. The new owner wanted to make a splash and show how serious he is in creating a winner. So what does he do? Go out and take advantage of a small market team that did not want to pay their big player big money. And the cost? Two basic players. While Amed Rosario is playing well for Cleveland, Andres Giminez isn’t hitting his weight. Which really makes it a steal for the Mets as former All Star Lindor is hitting…224 as I write this? WHAT? And making $21 million dollars a year? And was a $13 million raise for next year? And signed for 9 more years after that at $34 million a season? After coming off a career worst year? HOLY SHIT. I get Cohen is into investments, but he’s also into risk management. That’s a gigantic risk, and so far? No reward at all.
You’d think that’s enough fucking up for one season, right? Nah, it gets worse. The Chicago Cubs have a fire sale and send off their 2016 World Series Champion team heroes. The make Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo available. The Mets were flirting with a Bryant deal all off season, so of course at the deadline the Mets get….Baez.
Bryant ended up with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants sent a top pitching prospect and a below average hitting prospect to the Cubs. Rizzo ended up with the Yankees for a not good pitching prospect and a average hitting prospect that’s not even in A ball.
And Baez? The Mets traded Pete Crow Armstrong. Armstrong was hitting over .400 in A ball, and is considered by anyone that watches baseball a future gold glove center fielder.
As of this writing, Baz is hittieng .220 with the Mets, while flashing the lack of power one would expect to happen when a player leaves Wrigley Field and their high school distanced walls. Oh, I also fully expect the Mets to offer him $20+ million a year to retain such services, as Baez is buddies with Lindor.
Mets fans are screaming that Jacob DeGrom is underpaid and deserves a new contract. This would be yet ANOTHER mistake that the team can avoid making. While it is without a doubt that DeGrom is among the best pitchers in baseball, let me share some 2021 math:
Gerrit Cole: $1.57 million per start, 12 wins. The cost per start will go down and the wins will go up as the season goes on.
Jacob DeGrom: $2.33 million per start, 7 wins, season over.
Based on statistical analysis, which would you prefer? Especially considering DeGrom is 2 years older, was ALREADY given a $10 million raise over last season, and his arm seems to have fallen off in 2021. And has $100 million left on his deal if he doesn’t opt out, which he will not because said arm is falling off.
Am I out of mistakes? Of course not. The Mets will try to bring Noah Syndergaard back to pitch this season. But why? Will THAT be the push that gets them to the playoffs? I get why Noah would want to be back, he’s in a contract year. And he pissed it up. If he had guts, he would do the same as Marcus Stroman and take a one year deal.
More mistakes? Sure. Signing Michael Conforto is a mistake waiting to happen. Remember Bret Saberhagen? He had that shitty batting cage in West Babylon before his wife divorced him and stole his money. Point is, Saberhagen was good every other year. Sound familiar?
Conforto has that lack of consistency, AND he has Scott Boras as his agent. Boras will cherry pick stats and try to make Conforto a $20 million a year player. For reference purposes? His best full season slash line is 33/92/279. The problem is those numbers are from different seasons. What’s not from different seasons is his averaging a strike out a game. His 162 game average is 28/83/254/154 strike outs. Sounds more like Jay Bruce than Mike Trout. Hmm…. There is an upcoming Met UFA whose 162 slashline is 28/87/262. So if Mets fans think Conforto is worth $20 million a year, then so is Javier Baez, who also plays gold glove defense. And Baez is a year younger than Conforto.
What about signing a same aged as Conforto player whose career slash line is 31/91/279? Looking at you, Kris Bryant.
And as if they knew I was in the middle of writing how awful the Mets have been this season, the franchise star decided that Sunday was a good day to piss on the fans, bringing other first year Mets along for the ride. I don’t think people even realize that the ten year deal Lindor signed starts NEXT season. What a horrible, thoughtless introduction. This will end like an ARod trade, except ARod was actually hitting when Texas sent him to New York.
Well, the Mets must have done SOMETHING right, right?
Sure. They resisted calls from other teams to trade Francisco Alvarez, Bret Batty, and Matt Allen. I’d add Rony Mauricio to this list, but the guy they signed to a decade long contract at $34 million a season blocks his path to the majors at short, because a $34 million contract is untradeable for at least 5 more years. Alvarez is looking like he may be a special player. Batty is looking like a solid 3B with power. Allen looks like he’ll be in the rotation in 2023. And Mauricio needs to be traded before he starts looking like shit.
But even the successes have a moose shit lining. The Mets A, AA and AAA teams all have losing records despite whomever their prospects are. And that’s with the Mets signing a lot of former major league players to add to triple A. Triple A prospects are beating the shit out of MLB retreads. That’s not a good sign for the future, but it’s also an indicator of how to proceed. More on that soon.
What else have the Mets done well? Fortify their bench. Historically with the Wilpons, any single injury ruined a season. The Mets suffered 300000 injuries by August 1, and were still in first place. Largely because for the first time in recent memory, the Mets were staffed with a bench that were starters for other teams very recently. Jonathan Villar has more home runs than most Mets regulars. Kevin Pillar is putting up all time power numbers per at bat at this stage in his career. Brandon Drury may have found a career as a pinch hitter by accident at a young age, like a slim Rusty Staub. The rest of the bench? Wilponish.
What else? The Cohen Mets addressed the bullpen. In a horrible way. After this season they will have a chance to rebuild it, as they ride out the Dylan Betances and Jeryus Familia deals. That is key, and a door opener.
Why? Because now we get to the part about how to fix this. This is absolutely fixable, and quickly. But for fans, it will be painful. Which Mets fans should be used to at this point. The Mets need a fast rebuild.
But who to rebuild? Zack Scott? I’m ok with him doing math somewhere in the organization. But not as GM. So who? Honestly, I’d chose me as the new GM. While my lack of experience would seem a negative, the last 3 Mets GM’s have zero experience as well. But I have played baseball before, yet I would not instruct a catcher on how to catch unlike the last owners. And I’m not sure how many have my background in economics. A cost benefit analysis of players would be useful, as would comps to other players to make decisions on other investments in time, money, and strikeouts. Plus, bargain shopping can actually be smart.
But only a Wilpon would hire a GM for New York that has no experience in order to save a few bucks. No, if Cohen is smart, he will start with a known commodity. He will offer a boatload of cash to former Boston and Chicago older wunderkind Theo Epstein. Epstein says he wants part ownership of whatever team he works with. That’s a bad call. You can’t truly fire an owner. But you can pay a guy enough to buy ownership into a different team when he abandons the team he’s presently with- see Theo in Boston, Chicago.
Epstein can hire me, which would be smart. Or he can be smarter and hire Brian Cashman. Cashman is in the last year of a $25 million deal, and is totally used to the New York environment. If anyone thinks that is not a factor, you are not from New York. If you are looking to find ways to avoid the salary cap tax, you can spend on everything that isn’t salary cap. A GM buyout with the Yankees is a start. Then a Cashman contract at $30 million a year is another start. Jeff Luhnow looks like a good add to the staff as well. He did his time. Isn’t forgiveness a thing anymore?
What next? Scouts. Triple the current amount. The Wilpons failed at a prime opportunity to steal the Braves scouting staff. I think it’s a fair assessment to say that the Braves scouts have run circles around the Mets scouts for the last 30 years. The Wilpons should have brought every one of them in. Fail.
Next up? Coaches. In the age of consultants. I’d allow every player to hire a personal batting or pitching coach as a consultant. What is a batting coach? Or a pitching coach? A guy that is supposed to fix EVERY pitcher or hitter? That’s an impossible task. Why not have each payer have a personal coach, supervised by a pitching manager and a hitting manager that reports to the team manager?
Oh, that guy? Luis Rojas needs to go back to the minors for seasoning. In the meantime, the Mets need a legitimate manager. See how Tony LaRussa has made the White Sox winners? No, I’m not saying bring Terry Collins back as a manager. Bad call. But maybe Mets legend Davey Johnson? What’s old is new again, or at least until its proven ancient. Speaking of, how is Tony LaRussa doing with the White Sox today? Johnson’s winning record speaks for itself, unlike Luis Rojas, who may be the manager of the future, but in fairness, his decision making sucks rhino assholes right now.
I’m not saying that Davey Johnson is the perfect candidate. I’m just saying, name a better one. And yes, I would accept Wally Backman.
Also, the Mets needs to make some trades. For next season, the Mets need a real outfield. Bryant in right, Brandon Nimmo in left, and whomever Dominic Smith can bring in return to staff center field would be a good start. Nimmo gets on base. That matters. Bryant has 5 years left in his career. Probably 4, but you give that last year as a draw, and you can play him at 3 positions. But center field? George Springer was the draw last year. What a welcome pass. Peter Crow Armstrong would have been an interesting experiment. However, trades can always fill a hole.
More deals? Starting pitching. Syndergaard should be back as a Met on a very team friendly deal. Honestly $10 million on a one year deal should be enough to say welcome back, but agents will assuage him to find more money. If that money is $20 million? See you later. The Mets still have Carlos Carasco and Taijuan Walker under contract, as well as DeGrom. Stroman seems to be doing OK in NY and may want to stay here. He’s been the best pitcher on the Mets this season, and thats saying something. He’s also a guy that you don’t overpay for. Clearly there needs to be a move to be like the Dodgers and add 3 1A pitchers. So outside of DeGrom, everyone is tradable for upgrades or tradable to fill holes like bullpen and free up money for unrestricted free agents. Shit, ever restricted free agents. What are we giving up? Draft picks that will likely get fucked up?
Also, the Mets need more scouts. I know I already said it, but that’s how much they need quality scouts.
Honestly, as presently managed and performing, I expect the 2022 Mets to be an 80 win team. That’s not the worst thing ever. Unless you want to win now. And now is today. They can’t win today. However, the Mets are fixable. They can be a 90 win team easily. Why? Because money can fix a lot, especially when it’s spent in smart ways. It can happen overnight, because with will and with smarts, lots can happen overnight.
But you need clarity in a process and a culture, and right now, the Mets have none of that shit. Nightly, Rojas looks like he’s overwhelmed. There’s a saying that someone plays chess while you play checkers. Rojas? He’s licking the checkers. But in the next 13 months, Cohen can change much of this. He can have process and culture. I would help bring both, but ideally someone more experienced than myself will bring New York some deserving winning experience. Lovable losers are indeed lovable, but at the end of the day, it skews fans expectations to always think that losing is acceptable. It’s not. You want to piss away your money for 100 years before the next World Series title? Fuck you. Grow up. Until that happens, the Mets can get away with a lot that looks like right now. Demand better fans. Demand better, Owner. Until then? It’s just more of the same.