New York Mets Newsbeat
Thursday, March 13, 2014
In the New York Mets locker room Monday morning, I was talking with Jeff Cutler, a 30-year old Japanese American from suburban Boston who serves as the interpreter for Japanese-born pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.
We were talking casually about Asian communities in America when we heard a voice behind us.
Cutler and I turned around. It was Dan Warthen, the Mets pitching coach.
“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen told Cutler.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
New players’ union chief Tony Clark did not use the harsh language his predecessors sometimes did when discussing the New York Mets’ paltry payroll, but he indicated there is an awareness of the lack of spending.
The Mets enter the season with roughly an $87 million payroll, which is estimated to be seventh-lowest in MLB, despite playing in the game’s largest market.
“Let me offer you this: If there are concerns, what often ends up happening is we have an opportunity, along with Major League Baseball, to sit down and discuss perhaps what the game plan might be or could be going forward,” said Clark, who played for the Mets in 2003.
“Is New York one of the marquee franchises? Yes. Will they always be? Yes. Are we paying attention in general? Yes.”
Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:14 PM | 15 comment(s)
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Sunday, February 16, 2014
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—In the wake of their fifth consecutive losing season, years of financial insecurity and a payroll that has plummeted at a historic rate, the Mets vowed to invest in the team this winter. They’d spent more than $140 million on players as recently as 2011, but since then their budget had fallen into the bottom half of the major leagues, tens of millions below those of their big-market competitors.
So the Mets went shopping this winter, and on the surface it appeared that they kept their promise: General manager Sandy Alderson committed $87.25 million to new contracts for pitcher Bartolo Colon and outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, the largest expenditure this off-season by a National League franchise on the free-agent market.
But is the Mets’ effort to spend their way back to relevance a mere illusion?
A closer look at the organization’s transactions suggests that the Mets haven’t added much money at all to acquire new talent. Instead, they reallocated the funds made available by departing players. In fact, their overall payroll will remain mostly unchanged from a year ago—“somewhere in excess of $85 million,” Alderson said. ...
No matter how the Mets account for Bay’s deferred payments internally, it seems clear that, rather than spend major-market money to build a winner, they did little else but replace the money that came off last season’s books.
“We’d always like to have more players,” Alderson said. “But that doesn’t always make you a better team.”
Alderson makes a fair point. Teams with smaller payrolls than the Mets win consistently, namely the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics. How a franchise spends usually matters more than how much.
In the Mets’ case, they should get more out of their money. Last season, Santana and Bay never took the field in Queens. Barring injury, the players replacing them will contribute rather than simply cash checks. ...
Ironically, the improvement will likely need to come from within, rather than from the newcomers. Colon, who posted a 2.65 ERA for Oakland last season, essentially replaces ace Matt Harvey, who will miss all of 2014 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Granderson, who slugged 84 home runs for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, essentially replaces departed outfielder Marlon Byrd, who hit 21 homers for the Mets in 425 at bats last season.
In other words, the money the Mets spent primarily replaces the production they lost. So how do they get better? The Mets’ heralded pitching prospects, highlighted by Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, must come to the majors and take steps forward. Travis d’Arnaud, arguably the sport’s best catching prospect, must begin to produce.
But most important, the Mets’ other players, their underachievers, must rebound from disappointing showings in 2013—young players Alderson said “have the capacity to improve.”
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Kiner always credited Hank Greenberg, the equally renowned home run hitter who hit 58 for the Detroit Tigers in 1938, as having most influenced his career. Greenberg was acquired by the Pirates in 1947 specifically to tutor Kiner, but besides working with him on his hitting, Greenberg also cautioned Kiner about his partying ways while ingraining in him the value of hard work. In becoming the most prolific power hitter in baseball, Kiner was credited with having coined the phrase “home run hitters drive Cadilacs” although he later confessed the quote was actually attributed to him by a ‘40s Pirate teammate, lefthanded pitcher Fritz Ostermueller.
Unfortunately, during those first seven years in the big leagues, Kiner’s Pirates finished last or next-to-last five times while finishing over .500 only once, prompting what has become one of the most famous lines ever uttered by a baseball executive. It was after the 1952 season, in which Kiner had won his seventh straight home run title, that Pirates GM Branch Rickey nevertheless offered to cut his major league high salary of $90,000 some 22% to $70,000. When Kiner protested, Rickey replied: “Son, we could have finished last without you.”
Friday, January 31, 2014
New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and family, who faced a massive $250 million loan against the team coming due in the next few months, have successfully arranged for it to be refinanced…
Posted: January 31, 2014 at 01:49 PM | 67 comment(s)
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