Bad Signals from Mets Front Office?

Here’s the thing about Sandy Alderson — he does not say or do anything without giving it a great amount of thought. There is a message behind everything he says, which is why what he said in a recent interview does not bode well for the Mets in 2014.

“There’s no question long-term contracts carry risk, and right about the time you’re clearing payroll you can wind up right back where you started if it doesn’t work out,” Alderson told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. “On the other hand, you have some times where you have to roll the dice. I certainly haven’t ruled out a big-ticket item.”

Is Alderson laying the groundwork for another winter in which he does not dole out a contract to a major free agent? Will he say it was not time to “roll the dice” or that the right players were not there for the picking? This statement only reiterates Alderson’s wariness of “second generation contracts,” as he likes to call them. Why bother saying it again unless he’s trying to send some sort of message?

More disturbing is a paragraph Heyman wrote:

The Mets expect to have their first-base answer in-house, between Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Josh Satin, and will pencil in Travis d’Arnaud at catcher, Daniel Murphy at second base and Lagares in center… With David Wright back at third base, that will leave shortstop and the outfield corners as the main areas for import.

Now, considering Heyman spoke to Alderson, where do you think he got these assumptions? Obviously Alderson told him. That means we can expect pretty much the same team in 2014 that underachieved this season. I mean, Davis, Duda or Satin at first? They are all terrible options. It is time to move on from all of them (especially Duda), but it does not appear that will be the case.

If Alderson does indeed intend to get new corner outfielders (which he was supposed to do last off-season as well) and he does not want to give out any big contracts, whom does he expect to land? Will he get lucky again with two Marlon Byrds, or end up with two Collin Cowgills?

The article says the Mets seem intrigued by the Red Sox model from last off-season in which they brought in several “mid-range” free agents instead of signing big names, like they used to do. It worked — Boston has the best record in baseball.

It is not a terrible idea, but you have to be careful to pick the right mid-range guys. And that’s where the Mets have a problem. Alderson has shown time and time again that he can only pick the wrong players. His player evaluation skills have been dubious, at best, so I don’t think he can be trusted to pick the right guys.

Here’s what I predict will happen, in part based on Alderson’s comments; the Mets payroll — which has gone from $142 million in 2011 to $94 million in 2012 to $93 million in 2013 — will be even lower in 2014, perhaps as low as $80 million. Alderson will say that there was no one out there worth spending money on, and the Wilpons will say that 2013 revenues will not support raising the payroll. As I’ve said in the past about various Mets issues, I really hope I am wrong about this. Unfortunately, I have been right almost every time I have said that.

13 comments on “Bad Signals from Mets Front Office?
  1. Because of the sorry state of the Mets this year, I cancelled my MLB.tv subscription and will probably not renew again next year. it got too depressing to listen to Keith, Ronny and Gary moan and groan about poor play and strategies, and if the Coupons are just going to remain the second cheapest ownership in baseball (just behind the Stu Sternberg consortium in Tampa Bay) then I am not going to pay to watch losing baseball. In fact, my interest in the sport is waning completely, being tired of seeing the same four or five teams in the playoffs year after year. I don’t even watch the World Series anymore – this from a previously avid baseball card collector and Strat-o-matic player.

  2. Can’t say I disagree… I canceled my MLB.TV subscription for the same reason. Very sad. 5 years of garbage and no Harvey next year either.

  3. Not sure if the quote was meant to suggest one of Ike, Duda or Satin would start. They’re going to use them in some sort of platoon…

    Ike Davis (vs. RHP): 108 wRC+
    Lucas Duda (vs. RHP): 138 wRC+
    Josh Satin (vs. LHP): 158 wRC+

  4. What a terrible article. It’s clear you don’t watch the games or look at stats with your comments on first base. Everyone is free to publish his or her opinions but that doesn’t assure they’ll be any good.

  5. I don’t understand how anyone can watch the games and look at the stats (as I certainly do, and I’m sure you do as well) and think these are good options at first. But hey, like you said, everyone is entitled to opinion.

  6. The Mets have enough options at first that are more valuable to them than they would be to another team in a trade that it’s the only logical choice for next year. One of Ike or Duda needs to go but either combined with Satin would be more than serviceable. Let’s not forget that Ike hit thirty last year, twenty of them in one half. He also has a .950 OPS after the ASB this year. I take it you missed all of that. And Duda’s three run shot last night.

  7. You are very selective with your stats. Here’s another Davis stat — he hit just four homers with 17 RBIs since the break this season. That won’t cut it. And here’s a Duda stat you conveniently left out — he is hitting .169 with runners in scoring position. I don’t care how many homers Duda hits over the next few weeks. He is awful. They have both been given plenty of chances. Time to move on from them.

  8. It’s pretty clear you don’t know much about baseball.

    To start, RE Ike: He OPS’d .950 after the break. Definitely didn’t hit as many dingers as we would have liked, but .950 is .950. Joey Votto is at .930 for the season. And RBIs are a team stat, not a player stat. You put a guy with a .400 OBP in front of him and the RBI total could have been 35. If we’re going to go by RBIs as a real stat, remember that Davis in the FIRST half in 2012 hit .201 but drove in 49. Way to “pick and choose” stats.

    Incidentally, Duda hit ANOTHER homer tonight.

    Once again, you’re 100% entitled to blog about whatever you want, but it would be nice if you could put some facts in there and some sound analysis.

  9. It’s pretty clear you have your head buried in the sabermetrics handbook and are not watching the games. These players are terrible. It’s as simple as that. Oh, and quoting nonsensical advanced stats is not “sound analysis” in my opinion.

    As far as RBIs, I don’t disagree with you that it is on some level a team stat. But here’s the thing — if you look at a player with an unusually low amount of RBIs (like Duda this year), in most cases they have a terrible batting average with runners in scoring position. And that is an individual stat. That’s why I don’t think RBIs should be dismissed as a valid statistic — it often is telling about a player’s overall ability.

  10. RISP is not a predictable statistic. People can have down years and lucky years. It’s far more based on luck than skill, so anyone with their head shoved up so far, they believe in “clutchiness” clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.

    You clearly don’t watch the games, since if you did, you’d realize that Duda, Satin, and Ike, together all represent an upside that’s “good enough” for a team in the Mets’ position.

    I commented repeatedly that you should blog whatever you want, whether or not you know what you’re talking about. I’m not so sure anymore since it’s pretty obvious you’re only a pretend baseball fan without a real understanding of the game.

  11. I like how any statistic that conflicts with your stance is “not predictable” and “based on luck.” That’s a hell of a way to make a case.

    I’d rather evaluate a player with my own eyes than rely on a bunch of manufactured statistics. If that makes me a “pretend baseball fan” in your opinion, then so be it.

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