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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Johan Santana has a ‘probable’ re-tear of left shoulder capsule

Mets left-hander Johan Santana has a “probable” re-tear of his left shoulder capsule, GM Sandy Alderson announced on a conference call on Thursday. He was examined in New York and a second opinion confirmed the diagnosis. Alderson said surgery is a “strong possibility.”

Santana, 34, first tore the capsule and required surgery in September 2010. He missed the entire 2011 campaign and went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts in 2012 before his season ended in mid-August due to ankle and back problems.

Alderson said it’s unclear when the re-tear may have occurred. Santana was shut down this spring in an effort to build arm strength, but it became clear he would miss the start of the season in recent weeks. The injury may have occurred long before symptoms showed.

Torn shoulder capsules are among the most serious injuries a pitcher can suffer. Mark Prior, Chien-Ming Wang, John Maine, Chris Young, Rich Harden and Dallas Braden all needed surgery for a torn capsule and none were able to recapture their previous form. A second procedure would surely end Johan’s season and possibly his career.

Repoz Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:11 PM | 93 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JJ1986 Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4398758)
But...Sandy said that he wasn't injured and it was his fault for being out of shape.
   2. Lassus Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4398762)
####
   3. formerly dp Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4398763)
seconded
   4. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:36 PM (#4398770)
Oh well. When does Wheeler come up?
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 28, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4398779)
Not that the causation is certain, but managers will probably be far less likely to allow pitchers to extend themselves in pursuit of no-hitters or other milestones.
   6. AROM Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4398789)
#5, the career of Bud Smith should have done that.
   7. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4398790)
What a shame. He was one of the greats. It's been painful over the last several years to see Santana follow the Bret Saberhagen career path.

I was impressed at the...optimism it took in a previous thread to expect even a good half year out of Johan. I only hope rather than bring up someone who isn't ready in a desperate attempt to hold the line at 70 wins or better (meaningful games in June?) the Mets suck it up, develop the young guys properly, and if that means a retread who'll put up an ERA around 6, so be it. You don't sacrifice 2015 just to look a little less awful in 2013.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4398792)
if that means a retread who'll put up an ERA around 6, so be it.


I'll bet they sign Chris Young now.
   9. Loren F. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:21 PM (#4398793)
This saddens me. Santana was so good in his prime, he deserves a better wind-down to his career. Not to reduce every discussion to Cooperstown-or-not, but in 2008 he really looked like he was on the path to the Hall of Fame: a good enough peak (not historic, but 4 seasons of 7+ WAR and one of those 8.6, is a better peak than Drysdale, for instance), and compiling a good amount of Black Ink. Darn injuries.
   10. madvillain Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4398796)
This is more bad news for John Danks. Seems this capsule tear surgery is still highly uncertain with the outcomes. Danks is in the best hands in the biz on the South Side, but I'm quite scared he'll never have an season with an ERA+ over 110 again in his career, which would have seemed absurd pre-injury.
   11. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4398801)
This really sucks. Santana was really great, and before his injury problems last year he really looked like he was getting back to his old self. It was only in the last couple starts that he looked bad, he had an ERA under 3 at the end of June.
   12. JE (Jason) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4398802)
Adam Rubin: Why Mets Did Not Insure Johan's Contract
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4398807)
(12) Lemme guess. They could do better investing the premium with Madoff and getting 12% GUARANTEED?
   14. Transmission Posted: March 28, 2013 at 08:58 PM (#4398811)
having RTFA, and R between the F lines, it looks like 13 isn't necessarily off the mark.....
   15. JE (Jason) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4398815)
FWIW:
As premiums have skyrocketed because of escalating salaries and past payouts -- such as the bailout when Mo Vaughn was owed $17 million and could not play for the Mets in 2004 -- the organization began more often “self-insuring” its larger contracts than seeking outside coverage. In essence, the Mets chose to create a rainy-day fund available so that the organization would not be crippled financially by the loss of a key player due to injury.

It saves potentially a $2 million insurance premium per year to protect a contract, although the amount annually paid to an insurance company naturally decreases as the years on the contract elapse -- like you’d pay less to an insurance company on a car as the years go by and the vehicle is worth less.

Across baseball, outside insurance has “declined tremendously,” according to one baseball official.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:16 PM (#4398825)
Not related but is anyone besides me disappointed at the job Alderson has done?

Or can we simply not rate him given the Wilpons' financial situation?
   17. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4398826)
Across baseball, outside insurance has “declined tremendously,” according to one baseball official.


That's pretty predictable when one side has more information than the other. Also, the increase in revenue allows for greater leeway for owners who can now swallow the costs of an injury like this. [Obviously, the Mets are now excluded from that list]
   18. JE (Jason) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4398830)
Or can we simply not rate him given the Wilpons' financial situation?

Call me an apologist, Ray, but I don't know how anyone working for the Wilpons could do much better. If Cashman had been stuck in Queens, I think it's safe to say that he would have jumped from that plane without a parachute.
   19. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4398833)
As unfortunate as this injury is, it doesn't really matter to the long term fortunes of the Mets. The Mets weren't going to compete this year and they weren't likely to get much for him either. I am not that broken up about it. The idea that Johan's injury might be associated with his no-hitter is interesting but not one I buy. He threw 20-25 pitches more than he ideally would have. If that's enough to ruin your shoulder, it's going to happen sooner or later.

Not related but is anyone besides me disappointed at the job Alderson has done?


Hard to say. He hasn't made a lot of moves. I think he did quite well in the Beltran and Dickey trades. He probably should have traded Reyes as well but it seems like they thought they had a chance to re-sign him. I think he still deserves blame for that because he should have had a better idea about how much the Mets were planning to give Reyes.

His biggest free agent signing was Francisco which basically has been a waste. Really, it all depends on how the drafts turn out. I think it's fair to say that I'm not overwhelmed with the results so far.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4398841)
Yeah, the first thing I was thinking about was the failure to trade Reyes based on a fantasy that the Mets would be able to meet the market price for him (or based on a misreading of the market), which I think was pretty much a complete failure on the part of Alderson.

And ISTR that Alderson spent the 2012 money saved on a bunch of spare parts anyway, though I havent gone back to check.
   21. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4398842)
Not related but is anyone besides me disappointed at the job Alderson has done?

Or can we simply not rate him given the Wilpons' financial situation?
Admittedly I've not made any kind of study of this, but why are you disappointed? He took over a team that had averaged 87.5 losses the two years prior, cut--by ownership order/necessity--a huge amount of payroll, has added some pretty good prospects and the past two years averaged 86.5 wins. They're probably going to be worse than that this year, but what more can you ask for?
   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4398843)
RB: 86.5 wins? Where are you getting that from? I must be either missing your point or missing the sarcasm.
   23. formerly dp Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4398844)
Yeah, the first thing I was thinking about was the failure to trade Reyes based on a fantasy that the Mets would be able to meet the market price for him (or based on a misreading of the market), which I think was pretty much a complete failure on the part of Alderson.
I read it a bit differently--- I suspect at the deadline, they thought he'd be worth springing for. But the hamstrings acted up again, and that made them decide to invest the cash in Wright instead. They had the money to keep one or the other but not both.
   24. JE (Jason) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4398848)
Yeah, the first thing I was thinking about was the failure to trade Reyes based on a fantasy that the Mets would be able to meet the market price for him (or based on a misreading of the market), which I think was pretty much a complete failure on the part of Alderson.

Not surprisingly, I think that was a Wilpon decision undertaken to appease the fans. (IIRC, Citi was pretty empty in August and September even with Jose still on the team.)
   25. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4398855)
This knocks my projected win total for the Mets down to 9.
   26. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4398856)
RB: 86.5 wins? Where are you getting that from? I must be either missing your point or missing the sarcasm.

Probably meant 86.5 losses.

   27. The District Attorney Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4398857)
Re: Reyes: I think it mattered that no Met had ever led the league in Chadwick Ratio; I think that was something they wanted. Of course, now we've finally got both a "batting champion" and a no-hitter in the record books, and, umm, yippee?

(But nah, I don't actually blame the no-hitter for this either.)
   28. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4398863)
Did Minnesota know what it was doing with Santana? They kind of handled him gingerly and then traded him when he established himself as a 200 inning guy. Did they know, or at least suspect something about his durability?
   29. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4398867)
Not surprisingly, I think that was a Wilpon decision undertaken to appease the fans. (IIRC, Citi was pretty empty in August and September even with Jose still on the team.)


I think this is plausible -- and also a major failure on the part of Alderson. If this is what was going on, he really needed to convince his owners that this was a really bad approach to the issue. A good GM can do this, I believe.
   30. billyshears Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:59 PM (#4398868)
The Reyes trade (or lack thereof) was a big miss by Alderson. The Beltran and Dickey trades should be judged as hits based on the perception of the return at the time. Alderson has repeatedly failed to upgrade the team at the margins, but given the limited financial flexibility and low stakes involved, I'm not sure any of those failures matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.
   31. spycake Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4398869)
Did Minnesota know what it was doing with Santana? They kind of handled him gingerly and then traded him when he established himself as a 200 inning guy. Did they know, or at least suspect something about his durability?

No. They just weren't interested in paying anything close to free agent market rate for anyone at the time, especially for a pitcher.

I also don't think they handled him much more gingerly than any other pitcher -- he seemed to naturally throw more pitches than others because of the strikeouts, that was a factor. And remember, he started his big league career with a Rule 5 bullpen year, and then followed it with an injury-plagued year just as he really started coming into his own. So they gradually increased his innings over 2002-2003.
   32. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4398896)
Did Minnesota know what it was doing with Santana? They kind of handled him gingerly and then traded him when he established himself as a 200 inning guy. Did they know, or at least suspect something about his durability?


?

Once he established himself as a 200 inning guy, Minnesota made Santana a 230 guy, and they kept him at that level for 4 full seasons. They didn't baby him, and they didn't dump him early.
   33. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4398897)
RB: 86.5 wins? Where are you getting that from? I must be either missing your point or missing the sarcasm.
Russlan caught this in #26, but just for the record, I meant losses, obviously.
   34. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4398901)
But 86 losses on a boring team without much upside kind of sucks.
   35. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4398904)
But 86 losses on a boring team without much upside kind of sucks.
Well, I'm not sure they don't have a lot of upside. They have a pretty well-regarded farm system. Obviously how much upside they have largely depends on the Wilpons and their cash flow, but I'm not really convinced anyone could have done much better than Alderson has.
   36. Karl from NY Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4398905)
Did they know, or at least suspect something about his durability?

Has Santana actually proven any less durable than an average pitcher? Seems it's actually pretty normal for guys who go 200 innings for several years to then miss one or two. Actually more unusual than the injury is that he remained good enough to stay in the majors. The more common career path for an innings eater is that of say Kazmir or Ollie Perez, just fading out with ineffectiveness.
   37. formerly dp Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4398909)
but I'm not really convinced anyone could have done much better than Alderson has.
Granted, Beltran gets more credit than Alderson for this, but turning a guy who everyone thought was valueless at the start of the season into Wheeler was pretty awesome. The Dickey haul looks good. I like their core going forward.
   38. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4398922)
Granted, Beltran gets more credit than Alderson for this, but turning a guy who everyone thought was valueless at the start of the season into Wheeler was pretty awesome. The Dickey haul looks good. I like their core going forward.


No one thought Beltran was valueless. The question was, how much value would a Hall of Famer have following offseason surgery? The answer was, "tons".

Before he was traded Beltran put up .289/.391/.513 with an OPS+ 151. He played 98 of the Mets' 103 games to that point in the season. If Alderson didn't get a hell of a return for that player he would have been guilty of negligence.
   39. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM (#4398924)
Santana has not been a durable pitcher since he turned 30. He has not made 30 starts in a season since 2008. He has had at least one injury each of the past five years (including this year). He missed all of 2011 and will miss all of 2013. That's not durable.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: March 29, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4398928)
On Alderson: given grade inflation, he gets an A-. Without grade inflation, maybe a C+.

As noted, he didn't take over a team with a lot of talent and he had to cut payroll back from there. You couldn't expect improvement in that scenario I don't think. But he's sucked pretty bad at finding the cheap fringe players. Last year (or the year before?), he decided to spend what money he did have on relievers. I don't think any GM could have made them a winner the last couple of years but there are probably some that would have made them better.

So, yeah, are the drafts good?
   41. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 29, 2013 at 12:40 AM (#4398931)
So, yeah, are the drafts good?

That's why it's so hard to evaluate GMs early in their tenure with the team. This is pretty much the only question that matters for times without tons of money to spend.

   42. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 29, 2013 at 02:45 AM (#4398943)
But 86 losses on a boring team without much upside kind of sucks.

Well, I'm not sure they don't have a lot of upside. They have a pretty well-regarded farm system. Obviously how much upside they have largely depends on the Wilpons and their cash flow, but I'm not really convinced anyone could have done much better than Alderson has.


By "pretty well-regarded farm system", though, I think you mean "slightly above average". I haven't seen them in anyone's top 10, nor in the bottom half of anyone's list. Given that, their upside probably depends entirely on the Wilpons and their cash flow, otherwise in a couple of years, as I mentioned in a recent thread, they're going to have to start shedding guys like Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, players getting into their last years of arb or first years of FA. The Mets farm system is nowhere near good enough to help the team contend if they're having to dump two to four win players the way they dumped Beltran and Pagan (let alone letting go players like Reyes without anything close to a competitive offer).

I wouldn't be surprised if we learn in his autobio that Alderson as of last offseason got fed up with the job. Throwing 15m at relievers and calling it a day isn't what you expect from someone with his reputation. Also, and not to put too fine a point on it, Alderson's old. It's tough to do a complicated job requiring a lot of memory work well at 65. He wouldn't be the first guy to lose steps at that age.

------------

I wonder if den Dekker has any kind of shot at getting to the majors for more than a cup in 2014.

On Metsmerized:

Mitch Petanick March 28, 2013 at 10:22 am

Den Dekker would have been fine – they would have taken all offensive pressure off of him and told him to continue doing his thing on defense. Defense is still a major part of the game, and while you may have an opportunity to make an impact on offense 3-4 times per game, you have to be on the field playing defense for 27 outs – that means you have more of a chance to make an impact defensively.


Cain't hardly argue with that.

Still, dD's a blast to watch in the field. Has anyone ever figured out how badly a CFer worth +15 on defense can hit and still deserve a job?

edit: speaking of Santana, how odd is it that the Mets didn't try at all to deal him, ever? Especially as of halfway through 2012 surely someone would have picked up close to half his salary.
   43. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 29, 2013 at 03:44 AM (#4398946)
It saves potentially a $2 million insurance premium per year to protect a contract,...


TFA makes it sounds like 2m is the maximum premium on the most expensive contracts. Is that the premium that pays off only in the event a pitcher misses an entire season? If it's the average, the Mets would have shelled out 12m for the duration of Santana's guaranteed contract. While HOF track pitchers aren't invulnerable, I guess it's unusual for them to miss an entire season from ages 29 to 34. Of course, this being the Mets, it's entirely possible Johan will miss two full seasons.
   44. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2013 at 07:44 AM (#4398960)
No one thought Beltran was valueless. The question was, how much value would a Hall of Famer have following offseason surgery? The answer was, "tons".
No one thought Beltran had much value going into that season-- and he stayed healthy just long enough for the deal to happen. I'm not sure why you'd engage in this sort of revisionist history to avoid giving Alderson credit for snagging Wheeler in return. That was a good move, facilitated by a bit of good fortune. He settled for one player, instead of a package. And IIRC, he held out until really close to the deadline, which, with Beltran health, was a risk. And, more importantly, it looks like he selected the best player. But I'm sure you would have made a better decision.
Throwing 15m at relievers and calling it a day isn't what you expect from someone with his reputation
Where would you have spent the money? They signed a couple of guys to short-term deals. They needed arms in the bullpen, and pretty desperately-- the rotation was secure, they had position players set, for better or for worse.
   45. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 29, 2013 at 07:51 AM (#4398962)
I also don't think they handled him much more gingerly than any other pitcher -- he seemed to naturally throw more pitches than others because of the strikeouts, that was a factor.


Has this question, the question of whether strikeout pitchers throw more pitches per batter than "contact pitchers" (a nice way of saying "can't miss bats"), been studied? I hear it all the time, but intuitively I doubt it--I would think the pitches per batter of the two groups would likely be similar. The guys who can't miss bats are more likely to end the at-bat in the first three pitches, true, but I always suspected they're probably also more likely to go through 11 pitch at-bats because they don't have a strikeout pitch and can't induce swing-and-misses.
   46. JJ1986 Posted: March 29, 2013 at 08:06 AM (#4398967)
Where would you have spent the money?


They could have saved it and had enough money to pay Dickey more than 2y/$16m.
   47. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 29, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4398970)

Before he was traded Beltran put up .289/.391/.513 with an OPS+ 151. He played 98 of the Mets' 103 games to that point in the season. If Alderson didn't get a hell of a return for that player he would have been guilty of negligence.


At the time though, the conventional wisdom was "no way he gets a top prospect for a Beltran rental." Fact is, that was wrong, and it's hard to know whether people were wrong about the market or underestimated Alderson's negotiating. The process took a long time, and I don't remember other credible rumors that teams were dangling significant prospects for Beltran. Back to that conventional wisdom, I think when it happened people felt it was quite a high price to pay, but it perhaps made more sense for the Giants than for other teams given their weak offense, rotation stacked with young live arms, and the fact that they were defending champions hanging around the edge of the pennant race.

The Dickey process looked pretty similar - there was a lot of "no way he gets two top prospects."

No one thought Beltran had much value going into that season-- and he stayed healthy just long enough for the deal to happen.


It's true - wasn't this the offseason where Beltran had unauthorized knee surgery in January, after having already had microfracture surgery on the same knee?
   48. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2013 at 08:27 AM (#4398971)
The Dickey process looked pretty similar - there was a lot of "no way he gets two top prospects."
Yeah, if you look back at the Myers thread, there was a lot of that type of talk. Granted, the Mets did have to include Mike Nickeas in order to get top talent coming back, but the org will recover eventually...
   49. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 29, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4398998)
when johan Santana was at his best he was a fun pitcher to watch. i am sorry his career is winding down in this manner
   50. Conor Posted: March 29, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4399000)
Another note on Beltran is that he had it in his contract that he couldn't be offered arbitration after the season, so any team that was going to deal for him didn't have the fallback option of at least getting a pick when he left.

Sandy did a great job with the Beltran trade. He did very well with the Dickey deal as well. I have no way to judge the drafts, and Russlan is right that in the long term he's going to be judged mostly off that. I don't like a lot of the smaller moves he has made. Didn't spend any money to improve the OF this year, spent all his funds on relievers last year, etc.
   51. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4399014)
Didn't spend any money to improve the OF this year
Most puzzling to me was not matching the Cubs on Hairston-- he's a perfectly acceptable stopgap, who would have been relatively cheap, and provided power in a lineup that has very little.
   52. DL from MN Posted: March 29, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4399017)
I wonder if he can manage a few years in the bullpen to end his career. Lefties are always in demand.
   53. Conor Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4399029)
Most puzzling to me was not matching the Cubs on Hairston-- he's a perfectly acceptable stopgap, who would have been relatively cheap, and provided power in a lineup that has very little.


He seemed to imply in a WFAN interview that they were in for Upton at the same time they were negotiating with Hairston. I don't see why they couldn't have used both guys though, so I don't totally buy it.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:12 AM (#4399034)
Most puzzling to me was not matching the Cubs on Hairston-- he's a perfectly acceptable stopgap, who would have been relatively cheap, and provided power in a lineup that has very little.

The whole lack of bidding for Hairston was very puzzling. The Yankees could definitely have used him (with 3 LH OFs), but didn't seem interested in the least. I guess he's no Vernon Wells.
   55. Gamingboy Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4399044)
I fear that this is the end of Johan. Such a great career, shot down by injuries.
   56. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4399054)
The whole lack of bidding for Hairston was very puzzling. The Yankees could definitely have used him (with 3 LH OFs), but didn't seem interested in the least. I guess he's no Vernon Wells.
IIRC, the Yankees were in on him. I think what put the Mets off is the second year, and that may have done the same to the Yankees. Vernon Wells, FWIW, would be the Mets best OF. And I think that Hairston signed before Grandson's injury, but that might not be right.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4399059)
I think what put the Mets off is the second year, and that may have done the same to the Yankees.

At $2.5M, I don't see why that would be a consideration. You're going to pay someone at least that much to be your 4th OF in 2014.

I mean, for what they're paying Ichiro and Wells, the Yankees could have Pierzynski and Hairston, and $7-8M left over.

An OF of Garndner, Hairston, Boesch, Francisco and Mustelier, platooned well, would be fine until Granderson gets back. And they'd have an actual major leaguer at C.
   58. The District Attorney Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4399064)
I really wonder about Upton. If it was a question of not wanting to give up Wheeler, I think that was a mistake by the Mets. It would have been worth it.

I do get the feeling Towers was absolutely insistent on getting a SS back, in which case you'd be talking Tejada. Tejada's pretty good, and I also don't know how the Mets could replace him at SS. But I'd still be inclined to try to figure out a way to make it work, for Upton...

You guys think there is any hope for Valdespin? He's a real hacker, but there's something about him where he just looks good out there. Right now, my inclination is to have him in CF (once Murphy returns). den Dekker needs to hit something at AAA first.
   59. Conor Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4399071)
Second year for Hairston doesn't concern me that much, the Mets OF isn't going to improve so much from this year to next that there's no room for a lefty masher, and the price, even for the Mets, isn't much.

You guys think there is any hope for Valdespin? He's a real hacker, but there's something about him where he just looks good out there. Right now, my inclination is to have him in CF (once Murphy returns). den Dekker needs to hit something at AAA first.


He does have some pop, but he's walked 2 times in 70 spring PA. But he's got some skills, and if you look at where the Mets are at now, he should probably get some playing time.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4399072)
You guys think there is any hope for Valdespin?

I hope so, I picked him up in one of my DMB leagues.
   61. Conor Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4399074)
Second year for Hairston doesn't concern me that much, the Mets OF isn't going to improve so much from this year to next that there's no room for a lefty masher, and the price, even for the Mets, isn't much.

You guys think there is any hope for Valdespin? He's a real hacker, but there's something about him where he just looks good out there. Right now, my inclination is to have him in CF (once Murphy returns). den Dekker needs to hit something at AAA first.


He does have some pop, but he's walked 2 times in 70 spring PA. But he's got some skills, and if you look at where the Mets are at now, he should probably get some playing time.
   62. spycake Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4399075)
Has this question, the question of whether strikeout pitchers throw more pitches per batter than "contact pitchers" (a nice way of saying "can't miss bats"), been studied? I hear it all the time, but intuitively I doubt it--I would think the pitches per batter of the two groups would likely be similar. The guys who can't miss bats are more likely to end the at-bat in the first three pitches, true, but I always suspected they're probably also more likely to go through 11 pitch at-bats because they don't have a strikeout pitch and can't induce swing-and-misses.

You're probably right. There may have been the impression that Minnesota was limiting Santana's pitch counts, but in reality Johan was simply more capable of pitching effectively deep into games so he was hitting that ~110 pitch limit more than their other starters.
   63. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4399084)
#57 and #61, I don't agree either-- it did seem like the Yankees were willing to go 2, but Hairston might have thought he'd have a shot at more playing time in Chicago.
   64. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 29, 2013 at 04:10 PM (#4399298)
Across baseball, outside insurance has “declined tremendously,” according to one baseball official.


That's pretty predictable when one side has more information than the other.


This. I'm really puzzled that insurance companies got into this business, and that any are still in it. My theory is that originally it was a profitable business until teams learned to game the system, and the insurers started getting killed before they realized their providing insurance significantly changes the likely outcomes of the players they insured from whatever historical data the underwriters used..

That's why Insurance on player injuries has to be written so carefully, and it seems teams still have so many ways to game the system in how player injuries are handled/reported.

For example team has a veteran on tail end of a deal now fully insured. If he's been terrible and the deal horrible, if he has an injury that is normally played through now the team can put him on DL and claim the injury made him totally ineffective (despite being mostly ineffective during that huge deal the team now regrets) and claim insurance.

And then there is other motivations changing the team's risk/reward incentives in ways the underwriters might have trouble anticipating. Imagine Santana's final year was mostly or fully insured. He comes to spring training with a sore shoulder, but still can pitch. If it's their money, let's assume the Mets trainers aren't incompetent dolts (big if I know) and normally the team would do rest/rehab and bring him along slowly to get the most out of him this year without losing him to a season ending injury. But if that $31M is going to be paid by insurance they should be more inclined to push him early, since if he breaks they get most of the $31M refunded, a nice addition to the bottom line and maybe help for next year. And if he doesn't break they get a full season without losing substantial time to rest/rehab.

Insurance is never a panacea. The only way to insure something, outside a big mistake by the insurers underwriters, is to pay the expected cost of it happening + enough extra to give the insurer a reasonable margin of safety in their underwriting + enough to cover insurers operating expenses + enough to make it significantly profitable for their insurer (or a long enough time period to hold your money so that the interest earned makes for a significant profit).

This is true when insuring anything, cars, houses, jewelry, or athletes.

The more uncertainties the higher that margin of safety should be and the greater the insurers expected profit should be, since they are taking on more volatility and risk in their results.

Insuring yourself always has the expectation of being more profitable. You should only insure against levels of risk/volatility you can't afford to handle. IE events that are so costly they would jeopardize a large portion of your or the business's net worth, and self insure everything else.

In the case of baseball teams, they can afford the contracts they give out. If big contracts fail, they become dead money that makes it more difficult to field the best possible teams until the bad contracts expire. But they shouldn't endanger the team's solvency. So if teams are going to insure, they should do so gingerly only on the top of the volatility curve. For example, insure against your two highest paid players getting hurt at same time, and have insurance only pay 25-50% of their salary while they are out. This is an unlikely event, so premiums should be less. And by reducing insurer risk and informational disadvantage the premiums should be written closer to actual cost.

For example if the team has to pay a substantial part of the salaries even with insurance, they have less incentive to game their player decisions. Linking payout to more than one player also reduces the insurers risk, not just by making the event less likely but also making it harder to game by the team. If the Mets were in contention with Santana and Wright, and Santana goes down while Wright is banged up, the team has less incentive to put Wright to the DL and give up on contending just to pick up at most half of their combined salaries until Wright comes back off the DL.

I've always found it ironic that the people who hate insurance companies the most usually have low or zero deductible plans. They pay to offload as much risk as possible to the insurer they hate at the highest possible costs because low/zero deductible plans come with by far the highest incentives for customers to cheat and game the insurance. Obviously insurers know this and charge accordingly, and so the customer pays for all their fellow customers gaming and cheating and can't understand why THEIR insurance has to be so expensive.
   65. billyshears Posted: March 29, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4399308)
otherwise in a couple of years, as I mentioned in a recent thread, they're going to have to start shedding guys like Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, players getting into their last years of arb or first years of FA.


I can't rule out the possibility of this, but I do think it is a rather pessimistic view of the situatuion.
   66. billyshears Posted: March 29, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4399312)
You should only insure against levels of risk/volatility you can't afford to handle.


This is really the crux of it. Isurance companies don't rely much on specific information - they insured always has more information on the particular risk than the insurance company. Insurance companies rely on being bear risk that you can't, and to normalize that risk over a larger population.
   67. Swedish Chef Posted: March 29, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4399333)
If it's so hard to get insurance companies to cover players, couldn't MLB set up mutual insurance without involving anyone external? Of course, I'm sure teams like the Marlins would do their utmost to game such a system.
   68. Zach Posted: March 29, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4399353)
It saves potentially a $2 million insurance premium per year to protect a contract,...

It depends on what's covered, of course, but does this seem really cheap to anybody else?

Santana is making $25 million a year, so this insurance rate is about 10% of his contract. Just eyeballing it, that seems pretty close to the fraction of pitchers who suffer season-ending injuries. But season ending injuries tend to accumulate, and there's a fair chance that the same injury will lead to multiple missed years.

Maybe I read the article wrong and that's the rate to insure one year by itself.
   69. Lassus Posted: March 29, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4399357)
I really wonder about Upton. If it was a question of not wanting to give up Wheeler, I think that was a mistake by the Mets. It would have been worth it.

You think? Was there ever an explanation for his underwhelming 2012? Just the thumb?
   70. bobm Posted: March 29, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4399444)
I'm really puzzled that insurance companies got into this business, and that any are still in it. 

Insuring baseball players etc is probably a small "vanity" business within an insurer's portfolio. One has to do something to make insurance enjoyable. :-)
   71. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4399517)
I'm not sure why you'd engage in this sort of revisionist history to avoid giving Alderson credit for snagging Wheeler in return.


So, you pretending the endpoint when it comes to figuring Beltran's value in trade is the beginning of the 2011 season, before anyone knew how he'd recover from surgery, instead of after the two thirds of the 2011 season he actually played, where a likely HOFer was one of the best hitters in the majors, is the more accurate version of events?? Wonders never cease.

I have no idea why you think gilding the lily is necessary here. Alderson did well, but even a weak GM would have gotten real value for a Hall of Famer playing as well as he'd ever played. How could he not? The smart argument is that Alderson did as well as anyone could in that situation. There's no reason to pretend he walked on water by getting Wheeler. I suppose following Omar anyone looks like a giant.

The whole lack of bidding for Hairston was very puzzling. The Yankees could definitely have used him (with 3 LH OFs), but didn't seem interested in the least. I guess he's no Vernon Wells.


The Mets simply don't have the money. Jeffy approves every deal, just like he did with Minaya. He's said so, and Alderson hasn't disagreed. He wouldn't approve 2/5+ for Hairston.

otherwise in a couple of years, as I mentioned in a recent thread, they're going to have to start shedding guys like Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, players getting into their last years of arb or first years of FA.

I can't rule out the possibility of this, but I do think it is a rather pessimistic view of the situatuion.


Since this will be the situation after the 2014 season, what leads you to expect things will improve (never mind the chance that things not only won't stay the same, but actually get worse) for the Wilpons over the next 18 months?

Every article linked to here, and any credible article elsewhere, tells us that at best (from their point of view) the Wilpons will tread water for several more years. Is there news?
   72. Conor Posted: March 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4399532)
The Mets simply don't have the money. Jeffy approves every deal, just like he did with Minaya. He's said so, and Alderson hasn't disagreed. He wouldn't approve 2/5+ for Hairston.


I don't think this is true. Sandy has said he had some money that he didn't spend this off season. I'm not sure how much he had, but I definitely believe he had enough to spend $3 million on Hairston. They were in the running for Bourn (at the end, when his price came down), they were apparently at least trying to get Upton.

Since this will be the situation after the 2014 season, what leads you to expect things will improve (never mind the chance that things not only won't stay the same, but actually get worse) for the Wilpons over the next 18 months?

Every article linked to here, and any credible article elsewhere, tells us that at best (from their point of view) the Wilpons will tread water for several more years. Is there news?


You must've missed the part where Wilpon said as soon as Bourn had signed that the Mets financial troubles (you know, the ones he said were never an issue) were a thing of the past!

But you've got the new TV deal kicking in for the 2014 season, which is going to give them more money. Santana's contract will be off the books, and most of Bay's deal will be paid off. I'm not sure the Mets will have a huge payroll in the next few years, but they should be able to keep it in the same range as they are at right now, which should leave them enough money to extend Davis. (It might be the smart move to let Murph go anyway when he starts to become expensive).

   73. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 30, 2013 at 02:49 AM (#4399602)
I don't think this is true. Sandy has said...


I rest my case.

The Mets will owe Santana and Bay 8m in 2014, so there's that. 2014 is also The window (for this club at this payroll), after which Davis, Murphy and Parnell are Arb 3, and Gee, Tejada, Turner, and Baxter are Arb 2. I agree that they should consider letting Murphy go, but that's like letting Pagan go. If you're letting those guys walk, your minor league system better be top 5, otherwise you're not winning anything. You really just can't. If you have to lose a couple of 2 and 3 win guys because you can't afford a couple of those 7m to 10m deals, and you have no OFers in the system, where are the wins coming from? Look at what happened to the Mets OF over the last few years. It's going to keep happening until either they get really lucky in the drafts, or until the payroll hits 120m.

You're also forgetting, I'm guessing, what the Mets FO is going to look like once Alderson leaves in a year or two. He's traded well, drafted tolerably, and been shitty at the margins since his first offseason (which was what I hoped he'd do--maybe it was just so easy to unload 2000 sub replacement level PAs that I was misled regarding his skill at embroidery). It's probably going to get a lot worse once he's gone, unless you think one of Ricciardi, Depodesta, or Ricci is an improvement on Alderson.
   74. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 30, 2013 at 05:06 AM (#4399610)
ST hasn't been kind to the Mets. Looks like Hefner replaces Santana, but took a ball off something and is in doubt. Marcum's return is unclear. Valdespin may start in CF over Nieuwenhuis; those 15 minor league starts, lifetime, in 2012 really told the Mets something! Aaron Laffey, who's surprisingly not awful and always makes the ML minimum, may be in the rotation, meaning they won't rush Wheeler, a good thing.

ESPN's crew predicts between 66 (Adam Rubin) and 81! (Bill Daughtry) wins this season. It's not clear to me how you lose Dickey, Santana, and your best OFer, while adding Shawn Marcum (maybe) and Marlon Byrd, and pick up 7 wins, but that's why they play the games.
   75. formerly dp Posted: March 30, 2013 at 07:55 AM (#4399619)
There's no reason to pretend he walked on water by getting Wheeler.
Apparently you didn't read what I wrote:
Granted, Beltran gets more credit than Alderson for this,
Sandy got Wheeler because Beltran went apeshit on the league, following an offseason where people were questioning if he'd ever have the ability to be a solid regular again. That said, the GM still has to make the deal, pick the right players, not pull the trigger too soon, ect. Sandy did everything right. Do you think a better GM would have gotten a better package? Do you think a worse could have gotten a better deal? There was some criticism at the time that only getting one player coming back put too many eggs in a basket-- Alderson seemed unconcerned by that. He seems to have picked the right player. He could have prioritized getting someone a bit closer to being major-league ready, in order to assuage the fan base (Wheeler has progressed more quickly than expected).

It seems like a lot of effort on your part to deny a GM credit for executing well on a big decision. But it's not surprising, given the dumb sorts of unfounded claims that you make throughout the thread. For example:
I wouldn't be surprised if we learn in his autobio that Alderson as of last offseason got fed up with the job.
No doubt, your intuitions are correct. He spent about $15 M last offseason-- where would you have spent the money? I did not agree with the decision to let Pagan go, but I did get the logic of that deal. Other than that, there was nowhere else to upgrade-- they brought in Cedeno to be the backup INF, and he had a good season. The decision to have Mike Nickeas as the backup C was not a wise one. Beyond that, they were set at every position and in the rotation, and obviously didn't want to commit payroll long-term. So where would you have spent those FA dollars?
   76. Conor Posted: March 30, 2013 at 09:08 AM (#4399631)
Adam Rubin has made reference to the fact that the buyouts for Santana and Bay count against this year's payroll. (That has probably changed f or Bay since they changed the structure of the deal). Though I am sure that next year when the Mets are talking about how much money they have spent for the 2014 team, we'll hear about the buyout to Santana on that total as well.

My only comment was that I don't think they're going to be so financially strapped in the next two years that they're going to be forced to let someone like Murph or Ike go. I'm not in love with Murphy at second, so I wouldn't be averse to exploring the trade market for him at some point. (And since you brought up Pagan, I really hated that one, everything about his 2011 season screamed out it was a fluky bad year and he would bounce back, and he did. But Pagan is also a better player than Murph, Murph was worth 1.3 fWAR last season.)

2014 is also The window (for this club at this payroll), after which Davis, Murphy and Parnell are Arb 3, and Gee, Tejada, Turner, and Baxter are Arb 2


A few of those guys are pretty irrelevant to me. Turner and Baxter aren't going to make much money. An Arb 2 Tejada probably won't make much money either.

If you look at 2015, the Mets have $27 million committed, $7 million to Niese and $20 million to Wright. If they are able to keep the payroll in the same general range as it is now (which if they can't, then I give up) then they should be able to sign both Davis and Murphy.
   77. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 30, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4399911)
@75: you keep misreading me, and apparently feel the reverse is true so... moving along

@76: if they sign Davis and Murphy (and for them to be worth signing, let's assume 3 wins from Davis and 2 from Murph), both are arb 3 in 2015, the year you mentioned, so at 80% of what they'd get in FA, let's go with something like 20m for the pair. That puts us at 27m (Wright and Niese) + 20m. Let's solidify the IF and hope as an arb 2 Tejada has stabilized nicely at 2 wins, for around 5m. That's 52m for the IF and Niese (and, optimistically, around 15 wins), leaving something like 33m for the remaining 20 players, from whom we'd want 26 wins. That's a tough, tough thing to do on a team with no bullpen and no outfield, the two areas the team is weakest on the farm.

That's why I see real trouble for this team, and why the marginal guys getting expensive is likely to be particularly painful for the 2014 and 2015 Mets. Very much a bad timing issue.

By the way, I agree with your remark that a few of those guys are [largely] irrelevant, it's just that if you let them walk, you end up having to do what Alderson has demonstrated over the last couple of years is something that's very hard to do, namely picking up guys at the margins for around the minimum, who'll nonetheless deliver half a win to a win in part time roles. That's the thing about poor clubs: they have to gamble all the time. They have to gamble that relievers gotten on the cheap will come through. And when they don't, as they didn't last season, the team falls apart. Baxter's the kind of guy a team that isn't poor can keep around. Hairston too. He'd be a nifty backup OFer on a contender for the 2/5 he got, but the Mets can't afford his like in 2015. So they'll necessarily gamble on things like Marlon Byrd's ressurrection, and the problem is, most of those gambles don't pay off.

It's not that the team can't contend, it's just that a middle of the road payroll would be a huge help towards contending, the same way it would be for the Royals this season. For some teams a 120m payroll is irrelevant. Last year's Cubs, for instance. Probably this year's Cubs, too. Unlike the Mets and Royals, there's no there there.

It's a given the 2015 Mets will need their budding stars, their middling starters, and their IF to come through. They'll also need the bulk of their on-the-cheap, retread, old, or injured pickups to come through, too. That's a painful lot to ask.

   78. Conor Posted: March 30, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4399931)
Yeah, just so we're clear, I wasn't saying that I think the team is going to contend in the next few years. I certainly hope they will, but they have a way to go. I just didn't agree with this

Given that, their upside probably depends entirely on the Wilpons and their cash flow, otherwise in a couple of years, as I mentioned in a recent thread, they're going to have to start shedding guys like Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, players getting into their last years of arb or first years of FA.


I don't think things will be so rough that they can't afford to keep Davis or Murph, assuming those guys do well the next few years. There's just so little money tied up that unless the payroll goes to $60 million, they'll be able to keep those guys.

With all the guys that we see locked up before they hit the FA market, it looks like it's going to be hard to import the talent they need from the FA market, even if they were able to ramp the payroll up in the next few years. They're probably going to need to rely on the trade market, so maybe next off-season they can package some of the young pitching talent to get an impact bat in the OF. (Obviously we don't know who would be available by trade; hopefully there is someone like Upton out there)

By the way, I agree with your remark that a few of those guys are [largely] irrelevant, it's just that if you let them walk, you end up having to do what Alderson has demonstrated over the last couple of years is something that's very hard to do, namely picking up guys at the margins for around the minimum, who'll nonetheless deliver half a win to a win in part time roles. That's the thing about poor clubs: they have to gamble all the time.


I'm just not sure those guys matter much either way; how much is Mike Baxter going to make in arbitration? $1.5 million? it's not like it's make or break. (Also, Sandy did bring Baxter in in the first place, and didn't bring Turner in but gave him a shot when Omar wouldn't.)
   79. billyshears Posted: March 30, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4399934)
@76: if they sign Davis and Murphy (and for them to be worth signing, let's assume 3 wins from Davis and 2 from Murph), both are arb 3 in 2015, the year you mentioned, so at 80% of what they'd get in FA, let's go with something like 20m for the pair. That puts us at 27m (Wright and Niese) + 20m. Let's solidify the IF and hope as an arb 2 Tejada has stabilized nicely at 2 wins, for around 5m. That's 52m for the IF and Niese (and, optimistically, around 15 wins), leaving something like 33m for the remaining 20 players, from whom we'd want 26 wins. That's a tough, tough thing to do on a team with no bullpen and no outfield, the two areas the team is weakest on the farm.

That's why I see real trouble for this team, and why the marginal guys getting expensive is likely to be particularly painful for the 2014 and 2015 Mets. Very much a bad timing issue.


Look, if you're going to assume an $85 mil payroll for the team for the foreseeable future (which would put the Mets in the bottom third of MLB teams), life is going to be hard. I don't think that is in dispute. I do think, however, that the assumption of an $85 mil payroll is pessimistic. We can all talk about how the Wilpons are broke, liars etc., and there is not much evidence to contradict those points, but the fact remains that, as constructed, the Mets have had no good reason to spend money the past few seasons. They were going to be bad, and throwing money at the problem wasn't going to fix it. Avoiding long term financial commitments over the past few offseasons was the right baseball move. In the next few years as the Mets prospects hopefully become productive players and the Mets have an opportunity to replace dead money with other productive players (or, at the very least, players whose salaries represent slightly less dead money), it will make baseball sense to add payroll. If the team is competitive, it should also make financial sense to add payroll.

Now, maybe the Wilpons financial situation, combined with the stadium and SNY debt means that the Mets just can't add payroll for a long time. That'a certainly a possibility, but I think it's far from a certainty. I think it's a bit pointless to start with a very negative assumption on payroll and then go through the litany of horrible things that are going to happen because of the negative assumption. We're all smart here - we know that a bottom third MLB payroll strains a team in a lot of ways.
   80. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM (#4399949)
I don't think things will be so rough that they can't afford to keep Davis or Murph, assuming those guys do well the next few years. There's just so little money tied up that unless the payroll goes to $60 million, they'll be able to keep those guys.
Oh, sure, I agree they can keep them (even with a 60m payroll, albeit just barely). I said so. The problem is, they can't keep them and the other guys that solidify a team to the point of providing a basis from which to contend. As I said, if you can't keep your middling guys, your solid starters, or can only keep two of them, you aren't going to contend when you're built the way the Mets currently are. They'd have to contend while losing a couple of solid regulars and with no one in the minors who's at all likely to make it even as a solid regular in the OF. You just can't win that way. It sucks, but it's worth knowing.

I think it's a bit pointless to start with a very negative assumption on payroll and then go through the litany of horrible things that are going to happen because of the negative assumption. We're all smart here - we know that a bottom third MLB payroll strains a team in a lot of ways.


Assuming payroll is going to stay where it is, given besieged owners with the worst OF in the majors who nonetheless can't afford Scott Hairston is a "very negative assumption"? C'mon. It's the reverse.

In any case, you seem to be willfully missing the point, which is that this Mets team gets killed more than pretty much any other team by an inability to keep all its middling players. But, if you feel there's no point to a detailed analysis of where a team is, or that we should only analyze when it makes us happy, I don't see the conversation going anywhere--especially if you're not willing to offer even the semblance of a scenario in which the team contends. How do you see that happening? Are you projecting a $100m payroll? Given reasonable assumptions, what does payroll need to be during the 2014-2015 offseason to make the team competitive? How good do Wheeler and Harvey need to be in 2015 to get us past getting one or two wins from the OF?

Avoiding long term financial commitments over the past few offseasons was the right baseball move.
What's the point of this statement? The Mets didn't avoid anything. To avoid means to have had the choice of doing something different. If you don't spend 20m you don't have, you haven't made an intelligent move. Surely you grasp that?

Now, maybe the Wilpons financial situation, combined with the stadium and SNY debt means that the Mets just can't add payroll for a long time.


Straw man. No one's talking about "a long time". Just through December 2014, or the next twenty months.
   81. Conor Posted: March 30, 2013 at 10:49 PM (#4399972)
Assuming payroll is going to stay where it is, given besieged owners with the worst OF in the majors who nonetheless can't afford Scott Hairston is a "very negative assumption"? C'mon. It's the reverse.


They signed Wright to the largest contract in team history this winter. I don't buy that they couldn't afford Hairston. They seemingly made a very poor evaluation though. One thing I am worried about with Sandy is I'm not sure he understands how much talent costs on the FA market now. Hairston for 3 million a year is a pretty good contract. For a team that has no good OF and a lot of lefty hitting OF, it's a really good contract.

What's the point of this statement? The Mets didn't avoid anything. To avoid means to have had the choice of doing something different. If you don't spend 20m you don't have, you haven't made an intelligent move. Surely you grasp that?


Well, they spent what, $10-15 million on their bullpen last off-season, so there was some money to spend. Though I'd rather spend $15 million on Jose Reyes than Francisco, Rauch, and Ramirez. (I know they didn't combine to make $15 million.)

How do you see that happening? Are you projecting a $100m payroll? Given reasonable assumptions, what does payroll need to be during the 2014-2015 offseason to make the team competitive? How good do Wheeler and Harvey need to be in 2015 to get us past getting one or two wins from the OF?



Harvey and Wheeler pretty much are the key, aren't they? My reasonable best case scenario I think is they can add a FA bat in the OF, and get one via a trade. Potential FA OF next offseason are

Alfredo Amezaga
Rick Ankiel
Jeff Baker
Jason Bay
Carlos Beltran
Shin-Soo Choo
Coco Crisp *
Nelson Cruz
Rajai Davis
David DeJesus
Mark DeRosa
Matt Diaz
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jeff Francoeur
Curtis Granderson
Franklin Gutierrez
Tony Gwynn Jr.
Corey Hart
Raul Ibanez
Reed Johnson *
Austin Kearns
Jason Kubel *
Nate McLouth
Nyjer Morgan
Mike Morse
David Murphy
Xavier Nady
Laynce Nix
Hunter Pence
Juan Rivera
Luke Scott
Ryan Sweeney
Andres Torres
Chris Young *
Delmon Young

So yeah, kinda slim pickings. I have no idea what the trade market is going to bear, but it's going to be tough to be a legitimate contender getting only 3-4 wins from the OF (1-2 wins seems really pessimistic) unless Wheeler and Harvey turn into Maddux and Glavine or something.
   82. billyshears Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4400034)
Assuming payroll is going to stay where it is, given besieged owners with the worst OF in the majors who nonetheless can't afford Scott Hairston is a "very negative assumption"? C'mon. It's the reverse.

In any case, you seem to be willfully missing the point, which is that this Mets team gets killed more than pretty much any other team by an inability to keep all its middling players. But, if you feel there's no point to a detailed analysis of where a team is, or that we should only analyze when it makes us happy, I don't see the conversation going anywhere--especially if you're not willing to offer even the semblance of a scenario in which the team contends. How do you see that happening? Are you projecting a $100m payroll? Given reasonable assumptions, what does payroll need to be during the 2014-2015 offseason to make the team competitive? How good do Wheeler and Harvey need to be in 2015 to get us past getting one or two wins from the OF?


1) It's interesting that you claim that I'm missing the point when you ignore every single argument I made in my post. You just stick your head in the sand and yell "WILPONS POOR!!!! WILPONS POOR!!!! LA LA LA LA LA - LOOK!!! LOOK!!! LOOK!!! THEY'RE NOT SPENDING ANY MONEY I'M RIGHT I'M RIGHT I'M RIGHT" You have done this for quite some time now. I get that arguing things won't change is a fairly safe bet normally, but stating that what is will always be because that's what is right now is not insight - it's reading the newspaper.

2) You're not making a detailed analysis as to where the team is. You're making an analysis as to where the team will be based on a certain set of assumptions, and getting annoyed when people challenge your assumptions.

3) I know you just got here, and you talk a lot, but if you think this board is only about Mets fans analyzing what makes them happy, you haven't been listening enough. For the past 3-4 years, I have been arguing that the Mets need to do a complete rebuild because there was no reasonable path to contention. I happen not to think that is the case anymore.

4) I have no idea what the payroll needs to be in 2015 to make the team competitive and neither do you. Higher is better. Lower is worse. But that's kind of a silly question - the payroll will be what it will be and the people who make decisions will work within those parameters. But if I had to imagine a reasonable path to contention by 2015, it would go something like this: (a) Niese, Wheeler, Harvey, Gee plus prospects/fodder form a top tier rotation, (b) Wright and Davis give you all-star to borderline all star level production, (c) Murphy and Tejada are league average, (d) the Mets pick up OF bats through FA and trade (Carlos Gonzalez maybe) with the money saved on Bay/Santana and excess pitching prospects, (e) Familia, Mejia, Parnell, free agents/fodder form a solid bullpen. Now, I haven't done the math, but that doesn't look terribly expensive to me. And while there are some optimistic assumptions there, any path to contention that takes 3 years and begins with a team projected to win around 70 games is going to require either some optimistic assumptions or a ####-ton of cash.
   83. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:34 AM (#4400041)
@81: agree on Hairston. With an OF this bad it was silly not to re-sign him. That strongly suggests one of two scenarios:

1) the money simply isn't there. (I don't mean literally. Presumably the Wilpons could scrounge up 2.5 per less the minimum somewhere, but rather that they set a hard cap on salaries of necessity. At some point, though, the money literally isn't there, and we may be at that point.)

2) the Wilpons have calculated something like 'beyond a certain point (other than going Astros on us), marginal wins over 68 are completely irrelevant. Whether we win 68 or 78 games we're going to draw x fan, with little variation. Therefore there's no reason to spend the extra money.

I'm pretty sure 2) is where we're at.

Conor, why do you say you don't think Alderson gets FA valuation? He's always been a smart guy, a numbers guy. Pretty sure he has a solid grasp of that. If the money had been there, and the goal was to inexpensively bump up the team's win total, I can't believe he wouldn't have signed Hairston.

They signed Wright to the largest contract in team history this winter.


I don't agree this is meaningful except as it indicates the Wilpons new they needed to keep one link intact, a patina of respectability to keep attendance from plunging. If there's a face of the franchise it's Wright. Not keeping one of Reyes, Wright, and Dickey would have been, imo, a disastrous business decision. Put it another way, if you were vile, cynical, father and son team owners, and you wanted to gut payroll relative to your market, how would you do that without seeming to do that? Pretty sure what you'd arrive at is that keeping Wright, on a HOF path after 2012, gives you more credibility than signing either of Dickey or Reyes, and is the scenario most likely to let you drop payroll while minimizing the drop in attendance. The Wilpons are milking the Mets to stay alive. There's no other way to look at ANY of this. This team no longer makes baseball decisions. They make business decisions, which occasionally have something to do with what's best for the team, but the business end predominates; it always comes first.

Well, they spent what, $10-15 million on their bullpen last off-season, so there was some money to spend. Though I'd rather spend $15 million on Jose Reyes than Francisco, Rauch, and Ramirez. (I know they didn't combine to make $15 million.)


Close enough though, IF (big big "if") another 15m per year was going to be available to pay Reyes from 2013-2018, but it wasn't. It wasn't available in 2013 and I see no reason to think it will be available in 2014.

Btw, no one talks about it, but in trading the Cy Young winner the Mets got rid of a catcher who could still turn into a cromulent regular (almost certainly a backup) and took on one of the worst players in the majors at the not insignificant salary of 6.5m. (More than Dickey's salary this year.) I'd be surprised if Thole's replacement cost on the FA market wasn't at least 3m versus his salary of 1.25m; write off Buck's salary and the Mets dropped a cool 8+ million on the margins of the Dickey deal.

This had to be a real sticking point, too. You don't hand over Thole for Buck so people will like you.

Potential FA OF next offseason are...


You put Jeff Francouer on that list. If I see him on the Mets again I will hunt you down and I will kill you.
   84. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:44 AM (#4400042)
So yeah, kinda slim pickings. I have no idea what the trade market is going to bear, but it's going to be tough to be a legitimate contender getting only 3-4 wins from the OF (1-2 wins seems really pessimistic)...


If you believe that, then the fact that the Mets got negative WAR from their OF in 2012 is going to come as really, really, really bad news to you.

What's actually worse is that the team lost by far its two best OFers from 2012. An estimate of 0 WAR from the OF in 2013 would not be at all pessimistic, never mind 1-2 WAR. Our vaunted front office could not get better than replacement level play from the OF last season. Do understand I did not create this fact. I merely report it.

I'm not singling you out, personally, but it seems an ongoing fact of Met fan life to not be able to retain the shocking and embarrassing realities we deal with with this team, and thus be surprised and irritated when those embarrassing realities keep surfacing, as embarrassing realities will do.

   85. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4400086)
In any case, you seem to be willfully missing the point


Always fun to have a discussion with somebody who accuses you of bad faith every couple of paragraphs.

I know you just got here


He's been posting under different handles (OmarsBlackCloud, Something Other) for quite some time.
   86. billyshears Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4400091)
He's been posting under different handles (OmarsBlackCloud, Something Other) for quite some time.


That explains it. If I knew that, I wouldn't have bothered.
   87. Conor Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4400092)
Conor, why do you say you don't think Alderson gets FA valuation? He's always been a smart guy, a numbers guy. Pretty sure he has a solid grasp of that. If the money had been there, and the goal was to inexpensively bump up the team's win total, I can't believe he wouldn't have signed Hairston.


It seems crazy to say, since he's obviously a really smart guy. I believe he had some money available to spend this winter (not a lot, but some) and the fact that he didn't sign ANY major league OF just makes me worry a little bit.

Thole was awful last season, though I'm sure he will be better this year. But I think you may be too hard on Buck. Just looking at C, there were 28 guys who had more than 300 PA last year, Buck was 23rd among those 28 in RC+, in his worst year of his career. He was 31, so it could be the beginning of the end,but he had one WAR in 100 games last season; (and I think Fangraphs doesn't give much credit to catcher defense, or am I making that up) he's not a very good player, but he's definitely not one of the worst players in baseball. Btw, any guesses as to who the 28th ranked catcher was?

If you believe that, then the fact that the Mets got negative WAR from their OF in 2012 is going to come as really, really, really bad news to you.


BBref or Fangraphs? I usually use Fangraphs, for whatever reason, and trust me, I am well versed in how the Met OF rated there last season. Did Fangraphs change their WAR calculation recently? Probably has something to do with the story I saw about them and Bbref agreeing on a replacement level.

Anyway, Mets OF had 2.3 fWAR last season. Baseball reference has them with 0.5 WAR. So split the difference, about 1.5 WAR from the OF. I'm also talking about in 2014 or 2015, I can definitely see a season similar to last year from the OF this year. I'm just assuming at some point the Mets will spend some resources (money, players, or both) and get at least one legitimate major league OF on the team.
   88. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4400096)
Cowgill looks like he has potential. If Duda hits more like 2011 than 2012, there could be a shade of respectability there.
   89. formerly dp Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4400103)
Thole was awful last season, though I'm sure he will be better this year.
I am inclined to agree with you, except he'll be playing, at least to start, at AAA, and based on his craptastic spring training, that looks like the right move. The Jays have 3 former Met catchers on their roster in Blanco, Nickeas, and Thole. The new market something...
Always fun to have a discussion with somebody who accuses you of bad faith every couple of paragraphs.
That's the frustrating thing about this conversation. There are legitimate baseball reasons for some of these decisions, but Something Other/Jack/Omar's insists that his explanation is the only one, based on no evidence other than his own pessimism. I don't doubt that money played a role in the Reyes decision, but it also seems like his hamstring problems at the end of 2011 put the Mets off of a higher offer-- if you're going to commit a chunk of your (small) payroll to a player for the considerable future, you don't want to risk him breaking so badly that even if he can take the field, it will be as a shadow of his former self. We're only one year into the Reyes deal, so it's too soon to know if that was the right call. I am excited to see him on the Jays, but it's not like he comes without risk.
   90. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 01, 2013 at 05:22 AM (#4400638)
It seems crazy to say, since he's obviously a really smart guy. I believe he had some money available to spend this winter (not a lot, but some) and the fact that he didn't sign ANY major league OF just makes me worry a little bit.


So, serious question, with such a crying need for an OFer, why didn't he?

Thole was awful last season, though I'm sure he will be better this year.


Agreed--I really hope the Mets weren't viewing him as a throw in. I can't believe they did, given Buck's salary.

But I think you may be too hard on Buck. Just looking at C, there were 28 guys who had more than 300 PA last year, Buck was 23rd among those 28 in RC+, in his worst year of his career. He was 31, so it could be the beginning of the end,but he had one WAR in 100 games last season; (and I think Fangraphs doesn't give much credit to catcher defense, or am I making that up) he's not a very good player, but he's definitely not one of the worst players in baseball. Btw, any guesses as to who the 28th ranked catcher was?


Don't tell me--Thole?

I'd be a lot happier with Buck if he wasn't making more than the entire Mets OF. My unhappiness with him is due to cost, lack of offense, and that he has no chance of being even a backup on the next Mets team. Given what he's likely to produce the Mets would be much better off trying to teach a 27 year old from AAA to hit a curve ball, or something, anything other than an expensive guy who's very likely to be out of baseball by 2015, and possibly by June.

BBref or Fangraphs? I usually use Fangraphs, for whatever reason, and trust me, I am well versed in how the Met OF rated there last season. Did Fangraphs change their WAR calculation recently? Probably has something to do with the story I saw about them and Bbref agreeing on a replacement level.


I was working off of BBRef, but have no quarrel if you want to go by fangraphs. I think both split the difference on replacement level so my calcs may be too new or too old, depending on if and when the new numbers were generated. I wish 0 WAR was pessimistic, but iirc the Mets lose 3.2 WAR from last season just for starters, what with Torres and Hairston leaving. Strangely, they only gain half a win by Bay's departure.

-------------------------

but it also seems like his hamstring problems at the end of 2011 put the Mets off of a higher offer--


Do you follow the Mets at all? The reason Reyes didn't get Crawford money or better and had to settle for 6/102 with a buyout was precisely because of his somewhat limited durability. What do you think a SS with a nice chunk of a HOF career under his belt and coming off one of the best offensive seasons for a SS in history would have gotten if he'd been able to play 150-155 games a season?


arbitol, you're being a whiny little bitch. Again. Please find something useful to do. I'm tired of scraping you off my shoe. The first time you post something interesting about the Mets will be a first, and your confusing me with multiple other posters is at least a little bizarre. Did someone take your lunch money? As for billyshears hysteria, it's obvious from the rest of this thread that other folks are capable of engaging in reasoned conversation. Sorry plain honesty about the parlous state of the club gets a few of your panties in a bunch, but it's time for you to grow up.

   91. formerly dp Posted: April 01, 2013 at 06:57 AM (#4400643)
Do you follow the Mets at all?
Jack, are you this much of a prick IRL, or is this an internet only thing? I understand that perfectly well. But the Mets seemed ready to go all in on Reyes at the deadline. He had significant hamstring issues in the second half-- if you're the Mets and dealing with a limited payroll, committing long-term to a player who might not be very good for the bulk of the deal seemed like not a great risk, no matter how much those hamstring issues discounted his price. But keep insisting that your interpretation of events is the only one possible, and that the rest of us are just too blinded by our own fandom to see the truth.

The Mets could have said "with Jose's hamstring issues, we feel it's unwise for us to sign him long-term." But kicking a star player as he leaves town isn't really the classiest move either.
you're being a whiny little #####
This is ironic, considering the source. In 3 separate threads, unrelated in any way to the Mets, you have complained/whined that the site's Met fans are too deluded to see the reality as it is. Different handle, same a$$hole.
I'm tired of scraping you off my shoe.
It can't be *you* so it must be *us*.
   92. formerly dp Posted: April 01, 2013 at 07:17 AM (#4400646)
I'd be a lot happier with Buck if he wasn't making more than the entire Mets OF. My unhappiness with him is due to cost, lack of offense, and that he has no chance of being even a backup on the next Mets team.
Do you follow the Mets at all? Taking on Buck (in exchange for Thole) was the cost of getting two premium prospects in return for Dickey. Buck's salary isn't going to hurt the team long-term, and if taking him allowed the Mets to get better players coming back, that's a good move for the team in the big picture. It's not like they dealt Thole for Buck straight-up.

I'm sure the Jays would have happily given up Jeff Mathis instead, but they had already shuffled him off to the Marlins...for John Buck. I don't know why Toronto wanted Thole, Nickeas, and Blanco to back to Arencibia, but I can definitely see wanting one guy with experience catching the knuckler.
   93. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 01, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4400662)
arbitol, you're being a whiny little #####. Again. Please find something useful to do. I'm tired of scraping you off my shoe. The first time you post something interesting about the Mets will be a first, and your confusing me with multiple other posters is at least a little bizarre. Did someone take your lunch money?


Clearly I must be confusing you with a different psychotic.

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