By: Paul DiSclafani
As the calendar turns to December, we’re just about three months away from the Mets first Spring Training game, March 3rd against the Washington Nationals. That means pitchers and catchers report sometime in the middle of February.
The great Rogers Hornsby once said, “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for the spring.”
Shall we stare out the window together today?
PITCHERS SIGNING MEGA DEALS
Are these teams insane? The Red Sox give 30 year-old David Price a seven-year, $217 million contract that averages about $31 million a year, making him the highest paid player in baseball history for about eight minutes. Then the Dodgers “other ace”, 32 year-old Zack Grienke, signs a six-year, $ 206 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and his average annual salary is up around $32 million.
Didn’t any of these team executives take a peek at the 2022 calendar during the August and September pennant races, when they will be paying a 37 year-old Price $31 million (with still one more year left) and an almost 39 year-old Grienke $32 million?
Is this where baseball is heading? Teams signing one player to a huge contract and then just crossing their fingers that they will be able to afford to pay 24 other guys somewhere down the road? What does that mean to a team like the Mets with four or five aces? You think the agents for Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz aren’t wringing their hands and putting deposits down on personal islands in the Caribbean this weekend? And what if Zack Wheeler makes it back in 2016 as the fifth ace? Let’s say all of them agree to a “home team” discount of $25 million each – that’s $125 million on just five players. Sheesh…
THE PURSUIT OF BEN ZOBRIST
Am I missing something here? This guy will be 35 in May and is looking for a four-year deal for $60 million? He hit .276 with 13 HR and 56 RBI, but played in only 126 games between Oakland and Kansas City. In the World Series against the Mets, he hit .261 with four doubles and three walks. Is that worth $15 million a year? Will that really be worth $15 million in 2019 when he turns 39?
He can play second base, help out at third for David Wright and he even plays the OF (50 games) and made only 7 errors in the field. He is a contact hitter and struck out only 56 times in 467 AB’s with 129 hits and 36 doubles.
Wait a minute – didn’t we already have a guy like that named Daniel Murphy? He played 130 games in 2015, hit .281 with 140 hits, had 14 home runs, 38 doubles and drove in 73. He also struck out only 38 times all year in 499 AB’s and made only 13 errors.
SANDY ALDERSON’S CANCER
I don’t care what type of cancer you have; there is no “good” cancer. How “good” could his cancer be if he is going through 8-12 weeks of chemotherapy? The word cancer alone is frightening.
The 68 year-old Alderson, who was just named Executive of the year by Baseball America, was told that the cancer is “very treatable” and that he will make a full recovery. The cemeteries are full with cancer “survivors”.
This is devastating news to Alderson and his family and as Mets fans; we all wish him the best of luck.
But at this time, he needs to concentrate on himself and getting healthy. The Mets, the fans, the media and everyone else will get along just fine. Life goes on for everyone, including Alderson and his family.
I don’t want to sound maudlin or uncaring because I care very much about his health, but not as it relates to being a Mets fan. That’s not important to me right now. I’m not concerned about how this is going to affect the Mets chances of signing free agents or their representation at the Winter Meetings next week. To me, that would be selfish.
I love the Mets, you love the Mets, and we all love the Mets. We certainly would not be in the position we are today if not for Sandy’s guidance and that will forever be his legacy here. I’m not lamenting the bad break we were dealt here. Just think how Lou Gehrig thought of himself as the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth”.
We love you Sandy and we are all rooting for a full recovery and when you are ready, we’ll be here for you. But please don’t put yourself in jeopardy again for any job. You should have taken care of this months ago instead of being “tough” and ignoring it because we were in the playoffs. Your health and your family come first. We, the fans, understand that. Godspeed, Sandy and see you in the summer!
WHY NOT TAKE BACK JENRRY MEJIA?
Before you lose your mind, just take a deep breath, OK? I know all the negatives. I know how he let us all down. I know how he let down his teammates and how we all questioned his intelligence level in getting caught again.
I think that players in this day and age that are taking steroids should be banned for life. But they are not. They are punished and then they are allowed to resume their careers. That’s just the way it is.
Tendering Mejia a contract will cost the Mets about $2 million. Since he is still suspended for 100 more games and therefore not collecting a salary, that’s only about $765,000. Where are you getting a major league pitcher for that price? You think Mejia could have helped the Mets in October? You BET he could have!
Mejia would be eligible to join the Mets in early August, just when things should be heating up.
The big difference this time? We’re not depending on him at all. We already have a closer. Should Mejia be a failure, what have we lost? If he is still on the juice and gets suspended again, he’s gone from the game forever. Again, what will it cost us?
But what if he comes back strong and can really help us in August and September? Since he wasn’t suspended during the 2016 season, he is eligible for the postseason. Do we really want to give the ball to O’Flaherty again?
Of course if we don’t take him back, someone else will, won’t they? Do you want to see a clean and healthy Mejia closing games for the Nationals next year?
SO LONG TO THE PEPSI PORCH
Mets and Coca-Cola have agreed to a deal that will be formally announced next week as the new soft drink sponsor at Citi Field. That means no more Pepsi Porch, although I will most likely continue to call it the Pepsi Porch, the same way I still sometimes slip and call it Shea Stadium. I guess they are going to put a giant Coke bottle up there, kind of like what they have in San Francisco.
NEWS AND NOTES: Our old friend Oliver Perez signed a contract this weekend with – wait for it – the Washington Nationals! They lose Jordan Zimmermann (to Detroit) and gain Good Ole Ollie … Good luck to bench coach Bob Geren, who has moved on to the Los Angeles Dodgers with new manager Dave Roberts. Most likely candidate would be Tim Teufel to replace Geren, but what about Wally Backman? … Mets will play their final two exhibition games against the Cubs in Las Vegas before heading out to KC for the 2016 season opener … Mets signed right-handed relief pitcher Jim Henderson (Brewers) to a minor league contract … MLB announced that the Mets issued 44 full postseason shares worth $300,757 each, a record for a World Series runner-up. The Royals issued 58 full shares worth $370,069 each. So I guess we won that one…