Why can’t Noah Syndergaard start the season in the majors?
Well, there’s a whole host of reasons. Money, and we want to develop him even more than he’s already developed, and also money is important, and also something about an innings limit, and another important element is money. Really, it’s all about the money.
Really, I have nothing against having Syndergaard start the season in the minor leagues. What I DO have a problem with, however, is this whole half a season in the minors, wait-until-June, extra year of “super-2″ nonsense. By the way, here’s a fun experiment: go up to the biggest baseball fan you know or, for that matter, the owner of the Mets. Ask them what “super-2″ means. Unless they are Scott Boras or Sandy Alderson, they will have absolutely no idea what “super-2″ is, but they will have enough sense not to let it influence the way they run a baseball team. If you want to start Syndergaard off in the minors, fine, but bring him up after you gain an extra year of free agency at the end of April, not in June.
The thing about the Mets is that they operate in a different style than most other baseball clubs. Most teams adhere to the “try to win” school of thought, the basic tenets of which involve putting the best players you have on the field, and if your best players aren’t good enough, getting better ones. The Mets, on the other hand, adhere to what I call the “completely incomprehensible” school of thought, which consists of making brash statements, and then contradicting them with personnel moves that sometimes seem downright stupid. Take the last few weeks.
1) Sandy insists that the Mets can win 90 games. David Wright agrees with him.
2) Despite that, it is already assumed at every level, and may already have been confirmed by the team, that Syndergaard will probably not debut until mid-June at the earliest, although I have been hearing recently that a strong spring could lead to a call up in late April.
So, in summary, the Mets are A) claiming that they can win 90 games, and B) deliberately preventing their best players from helping them win 90 games. For comparison’s sake, it’s as if McDonalds announced that their new burger was going to be healthy, and then deliberately withheld any healthy ingredients from it. To me, at least, it doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to run a team.
Which brings us back to Syndergaard. Basically, by insisting on waiting until June to call him up, the Mets are conceding that A) their finances are so bad that the roughly $2.5 million difference between a rookie contract and a first-year arb contract is extremely important, and B) that this season is already a lost cause (that’s six in a row, for those of you keeping score at home). Teams about to make a playoff run don’t hold back their best players. Teams that are looking ahead to “The future,” on the other hand, do. I say “The future” because no one is sure exactly when this “future” is. Since about half way through the 2010 season, they told us that the future was 2013. In the beginning of 2012, they moved the future back to 2014. The current location of the future is unknown.
The Pedro Beato Fan Club has learned, via Adam Rubin, that David Wright will not play during the first week of grapefruit league games. No further details were offered by Rubin, so the assumption is that this is Wright’s “break” which Terry often referred to at the start of camp. I don’t see that Wright needs a whole week off, but if it helps Wright stay healthy this season, then hey, I’m all for it.
Ozzie Smith, the hall-of-fame (if that means anything nowadays) Cardinals shortstop, has started a petition, aimed at the Obama administration, with the aim of declaring MLB Opening Day a national holiday. The petition can be found here. The first video released by his campaign, sponsored by Budweiser, can be found here.
Honestly, this is something I’ve been advocating for a long time. There’s nothing quite so American as the warm fresh air of spring, the smell of hot dogs and burgers grilling, and the roar of the crowd. My opinion, in fact, is that baseball should be recognized as the national sport, having been recognized since around 1890 as “The American Pastime.” Unfortunately, for one reason or another, I don’t see it happening, but it’s nice that someone is finally putting the suggestion out there.
Several other well-known former players have expressed support for the project as well, including Howard Johnson, whose video can be found here.
Often, when I look at the game of baseball and the Mets aren’t winning, one thought comes to the forefront of my mind: this system is completely broken.
Allow me to explain. Look at the contract of Albert Pujols. 10 years, $250 million, and he was already on the decline. The Angels overpaid – and drastically – for one reason: his past.
This is all too common in baseball today. Just look at the contracts that have been given out: $214 million to a rapidly aging Prince Fielder, $210 million to Robinson Cano, which is already agreed upon as a bad deal no matter which team is making it – even 5 years, $125 million for a 32 year old Josh Hamilton is not looking good right now. The cause, on the surface, looks like a straight-up case of inflation caused by a combination of owner stupidity and teams being forced to overpay to outbid other competitors. But this is not, in fact, the root of the problem.
Again, I present the case of Albert Pujols. Pujols, after three absolutely stellar years in St. Louis, signed a seven year, $100 million contract extension, with an option for an 8th year, before the 2004 season. This covered his seasons for ages 24-31.
Do you see the problem yet?
Pujols signed his mega-deal with the Angels on December 8th, 2011, about a month before his 32nd birthday. It is acknowledged, for the most part, that the prime of a player’s career usually ends around the age 32 or 33 season, give or take a year either way, and often slightly later for pitchers than hitters. Despite all of the signs pointing to the inevitable conclusion that Pujol’s prime was already ending, he had signed one of the richest deals in MLB history, which would take him through his age 41 season.
The question is, how did Pujols end up in the perfect position that he did, to sign a big deal and not live up to it? If he had signed a year earlier, he would have had at least one great season with the Angels – he batted .299, with 37 home runs, in 2011. Had he hit free agency a year later, he would have been coming off a mediocre (for him) season, batting only .285 with 30 home runs, and his decline would have been much clearer, making a deal like the one he received all but impossible. So why did he hit the market at that point?
The answer, of course, is his original contract, signed with the Cardinals before the 2004 season. Contracts like this are common – David Wright, for example, signed a 6 year, $55 million contract extension in 2006, and Jose Reyes signed a deal that ended up being worth 5 years, $34 million around the same time. Homer Bailey, age 27, just days ago signed a 7 year, $105 million contract that will take him through his age 34 season. Andrelton Simmons, age 24, also recently signed a 7 year deal, worth $58 million, which will take him through his age 30 season.
So what do all of these contracts have in common?
I’m glad you asked. To illustrate, I’ll once again use the career of Albert Pujols. Pujols signed his deal, which ended up covering eight years, before the 2004 season. It did not end until he was 31. In other words, it ended just when his prime could be projected to end, leaving teams interested in signing him with a bit of a dilemna. The other deals, though most are still active, are much the same. David Wright’s deal, for example, would have expired before his age 31 season had the Mets not signed him to an extension, voiding the option year. Bailey, who, in all likelihood, will pitch effectively for several years to come, will reach free agency at age 34, just when his prime is ending.
The problem, in simpler terms, is that the way contracts are given in today’s game, GMs are forced to sign players based on what they have done in the past, despite the clear impossibility of their repeating such numbers. In 2012, no one thought that Albert Pujols would perform for 10 more years at the level of the previous 10, but the Angels doubled his salary anyway. Of course, some level of overpayment will always be necessary, but today’s system, in which a 31 year old Robinson Cano was just signed to a 10 year deal, is completely inefficient.
Look at Mike Trout. In all likelihood, the Angels, assuming they can afford it, will announce within a year or two that they have signed Mike Trout to an extension of between 6 and 9 years, worth around $150 million. Assume that Trout signs an 8 year deal. He will hit the free agent market when he is 29, turning 30 the following August. Assuming that his current level of production continues, he will be on pace to have one of the greatest all around careers of all time, approaching, when he hits the market, 400 stolen bases and 300 home runs, and maintaining a high BA/OBP and above average defense. In all likelihood, he will sign one of, if not the richest contract ever, likely for 10 years and eclipsing $300 million. And therein lies the problem.
We all know that Mike Trout will not maintain the assumed level of production through his age 39 season. We all assume, in fact, that he will likely not maintain that level of production through his age 36 season. Yet it is common practice for teams to sign players to mega-deals in the hopes of a few great seasons, often signing on for more years of salary cap problems than years of strong performance. This is assumed by many to be THE way that contracts work, and the only way that can be successful. But I’m here to tell you about my newest innovation.
What if, today, the Angels offered Mike Trout a 14 year, $280 million contract? Averaging $20 million a year for the next 14 years? That’s a deal that Trout accepts in a heartbeat. He gets a sort of insurance – he knows that even if he tears his ACL and has to miss a year, it won’t impact his free agent status, and that he’ll be well paid until he is 36. The Angels get one of the best all-around players that anyone has ever seen at what are, for this caliber of player, team friendly rates, and they don’t need to worry about committing 10 more years to Trout when he’s 30. That last point makes all the difference in the world – it’s not inconceivable to think that Trout will still be performing at a moderately high level, albeit not worth $20 million a year. Basically, Trout would be locked up until age 36, when he could still be a valuable player, at manageable rates. Compare that to the current system, under which Trout, BARRING INJURY, will make big money through, in all likelihood, his age 39 season or beyond.
But hey, what do I know? If you don’t think that Trout would accept the deal I put forward, or don’t think that it would actually benefit the Angels, by all means leave a response.
From Josh Lewin’s Blog, and only making us respect him even more
Mere words can’t express the depth of my appreciation to the dozens of you who went above and beyond on my behalf these past few months.
Many of you took the time to reach out to both the Mets and WOR, and I can’t imagine that hurt my chances of a return to the job I’m so excited about having in the first place. Two little words aren’t close to enough, but they are totally heartfelt: “THANK YOU.”
During this process, some of you have taken some shots at the Mets or WOR, and I say this not as an apologist or a company stooge, but quite sincerely – I have had nothing but great experiences with both the Wilpon Family and the new radio station. They both have the best interests of the overall collective at heart, they really do.
Also, I’m aware that those with dissenting opinions of the “Howie&Josh” dynamic have taken some shots as well… and I’ll invoke the old George Carlin line: “Like my grandpa always said, ‘hey, if everyone liked the same thing, they’d all be after your grandma.’”
I solemnly and sincerely pledge that I will try as always to make every Met fan a happy listener to our presentation… I regard this job with a near-sacred responsibility since so many are so passionate. And although I may continue to disappoint some of you, please know I’m doing my best to please everyone, but given that no two listeners have the exact same taste, that’s simply an impossible task. The late Harry Kalas used to quote Shakespeare and tell us fledgling broadcasters “to thine own self be true;” and that’s the way I’ll continue to go at it: Mets fan, a little goofy (okay, a lot goofy), not in possession of a classic radio voice, but at the very least, wanting to inform and entertain for all nine innings without fail. That’s all I can control.
I am overjoyed that I’m back for another year to live out my childhood fantasy as a Mets radio announcer. There is no better partner in the business than Howie Rose, and I am honored to return as the John Oates to his Darryl Hall. It should be a really fun and interesting year. (I can’t wait to watch Bartolo Colon run the bases, can you?)
Lastly, I would love to host as many of you as possible after Opening Day to thank you in person, buy you a beverage, and just talk a little baseball. I’m guessing McFadden’s is the spot that makes sense. Let’s touch base via twitter in late March and coordinate a meet-up, which will serve as my chance to thank you very kind people, fan to fan.
Wishing you peace, love and soul… (and thanking you all again) –
With the news earlier today that Josh Lewin will return to the booth along side Howie Rose in 2014, the only question that remains is who will host the pre and post game shows on WOR 710, the Mets’ new flagship station. Recently, via insider Adam Rubin, the following clues have come to light.
1: “There has been a prolonged negotiation with one candidate who currently works in satellite radio.”
But based on that, we can narrow it down ourselves. For instance, we can be relatively certain that this person works with a sports radio station, and that this person is either a talk-show host or has some kind of connection to baseball. With those categories in mind, I conducted an exhaustive research study of Sirius XM radio, searching for all personalities who met the following qualifications:
1: A current XM sports talk show host.
2: No distinct connection to a city other than New York (so no Dan LeBatard, for instance).
3: No connections to any specific sports other than baseball (so, you’re not going to get, say, Troy Aikman).
5: No one too big to want to do Mets pre and post game shows (Dan Patrick, not happening).
ALSO CONSIDERED: Any special connection to the New York Mets or New York specifically.
With that in mind, here are the candidates, listed in no particular order. I believe I have narrowed it down to the seven most likely to be currently engaged in “Prolonged negotiations.”
1: Casey Stern. The current host of Inside Pitch on MLB Network radio. Happens to be a “Die-hard Met fan,” according to Wikipedia, and has done Mets-related work before. Seems to be a strong candidate.
2: Jim Duquette. Former Mets GM, current host of Power Alley on MLB Network radio. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Please, Jim, I think you’ve already done enough.” Another strong candidate.
3: Jim Bowden. Former GM of multiple teams, including Reds and Nationals. Current co-host of Inside Pitch on MLB Network radio. No strong connections to New York. Doesn’t seem a particularly special candidate, but has baseball connections.
4: Cliff Floyd, a current part-time analyst on MLB Network radio. Was reportedly being considered for Lewin’s job. An interesting (and quite likely, in my mind) candidate.
5: Chris Russo. Probably not, but maybe…? He is originally a New Yorker, so I’d say it’s not completely impossible.
6: Steve Phillips. Current analyst on Mad Dog Radio, Mets GM from 1997-2003. Another interesting candidate.
7: Adam Schein. Host on Mad Dog Radio. He’s worked on SNY in the past, so it’s plausible.
Read the full post at metspolice.com
Which of the following scenarios would be acceptable to you?
Scenario #1: NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced that NBC will continue to show crappy low-rated shows until more viewers begin watching NBC. ”If our ratings go up, then we will air better programs.”
Scenario #2: Joe, owner of Joe’s Diner announced that Joe’s Diner will continue serving crappy food until more customers come in. ”Once people start flocking to Joe’s then we can start serving a better quality cheeseburger.”
Scenario #3: A general manager of a baseball club in the number one market reportedly told his most loyal customers that he will spend more money on players provided that more fans come to games to see the current players.
Again, via Metspolice
Isn’t this weather depressing?
Well, at least that’s what I was thinking as I stared into space, probably supposed to be working on something or other which was rumored to involve novels of an antiquated nature. Great Expectations? Actually, mine aren’t that great as in, like, baseball in October. It would be great if I expected that, wouldn’t it? But far from the tedious monotony of some author unaware of the concept of a plot, I was dreaming of Opening Day, the sounds, the smells, the food, all so close you can almost hold it, feel the sun, hear the crowd.
Yeah, this weather is really depressing.
As I languished in self-pity, literally paralyzed by work, I got to thinking. Not about work, because that wouldn’t have helped anyone, but about my team. Specifically, I remembered a story.
The year was 2006. At least, I think the year was 2006. It could have been 2007. Or 2008. I know it was at Shea, but I remember that Citi Field was under construction beyond center field. I was young, foolish, innocent, and just as amazed by the Mets as I always have been. I was at Shea, along with my father, his cousin, and someone else who may have been her brother. He had to leave halfway through – anyone who leaves a Mets game for something, quote, “more important,” is not deserving of a name slot in my story. He left.
My father’s cousin, who never had anything to do with the Mets after this game, as far as I know, had a friend, who she hadn’t seen for several years, who worked for the Mets. Very high ranking, it was rumored. Even more, the rumors went, he would be coming to see us at our seats during this game.
Despite several inexplicable protestations to the contrary, this high-ranking fellow did show up, and with him he brought a surprise: seat upgrades. We, the three of us, followed him into the bowels of Shea Stadium – I distinctly remember passing, among other things, the desk of Juan Alicia, whose name I knew because I just know things like that (“Spanish language coordinator and broadcaster”). I don’t remember how we got there – I suspect inception was involved – but before I knew it, I found myself, along with my companions, in a box (don’t you miss box seating?) in the first row behind the field, directly next to the Mets dugout. As the Mets ran in from the field, I was literally an arms length from Jose Reyes.
That evening, besides featuring seats that I would sell a kidney for, also featured several anecdotes which I still tell today – I remember my father’s cousin looking at Kevin Burkhardt, who was a few boxes across from us, and saying, “He’s much more handsome on television.” But that was not what made this story unique.
The eighth inning sing-a-long – yet another tradition inexplicably lost in the move to Citi Field – featured “I’m a Believer,” The Monkees’ classic that everyone loves. Frankly, I didn’t expect many fans in my section to be getting rowdy to The Monkees – many of them seemed to be businesspeople types, and I expected them to be more along the lines of Republican Delegates trying to dance at political conventions. But I was pleasantly surprised when the music began.
My section, directly behind the field, was singing along. But not just singing – this was a special kind of singing. The word parts of the song – that is, the parts that were defined in the dictionary – were sung, loudly but not absurdly. However, the gibberish parts – the “Ohhhh” right before “Love was out to get me,” the immediately following “da da da, da da,” and of course, the “Oooohhh, aaaahhhh” after “I’m in love” – these were shouted out with a volume level more appropriate for Citi’s own Big Apple Reserve on Opening Day. I was amazed. These people, some of whom were undoubtedly there to consider investment opportunities, were flat-out shouting.
When you stop and think about it, that’s the real magic of the Mets. Sure, we love watching winning baseball, and we loved Shea, but what we really love about this damn team is that when we least expect it, they turn us into kids again. I don’t know what happened with the rest of the people in my section – maybe they closed big deals that night, maybe that was the only game they ever watched, maybe they were Yankees fans trying to jump on the Mets bandwagon – but that night, Mets Magic got to them, and they believed. And it was amazin’.
There really isn’t much to say to this one, but I think I speak for all Mets fans when I say that there are not many things to be grateful for, and that makes us that much more thankful that we’ve got the best broadcasting teams in the sport on both radio and TV. With that said, when (the immortal) Chris Majkowski announced last night on twitter that he would return to produce the Mets broadcasts on WOR, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. So thank you, Maj, the producer-engineer in the booth, for sticking with us for, quote, “20 mediocre years,” and we’re all hoping for some good ones to come. Now we’re just waiting on Lewin.
The Pedro Beato Fan Club is proud to announce Mike Piazza as this year’s recipient of the Mike Piazza Common Sense Hall of Fame Award.
This award is and will be given annually to Mike Piazza, and recognizes his outstanding offensive accomplishments over his 16 year career. Piazza, who was never credibly linked to illegal substance use, hit more home runs as a catcher (396) and more home runs with catcher as a primary position (427) than any other player in history. His career .308 batting average is also quite good.
Piazza, who will continue to receive this award annually on the condition that he is not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This being the case, this may be the last year of this award.
Some of Piazza’s accomplishments are listed below.
-9 seasons with 30 or more home runs
-13 seasons with 19 or more home runs
-10 consecutive seasons (1993-2002) with at least 24 home runs, during which he had a batting average of .322.
-Had what many consider the greatest offensive season by a catcher in history in 1997 with 40 home runs, a .362 batting average, an OPS+ of 185, 124 RBIs, an OPS of 1.070, and an OBP of .431.
-1993 national league rookie of the year
-7 top-10 MVP finishes
-10 time silver slugger award winner
-12 time all-star
-Led Mets to a National League pennant in 2000 and a playoff series win in 1999
-427 career home runs
-396 career home runs as a catcher, 1st all time
-.308 career batting average
-.377 career OBP
-Career offensive WAR of 63.2
-1335 Runs Batted In
-Never struck out 100 times in a season
On receiving the award, Piazza expressed remorse that a similar honor could not be bestowed upon Tom Glavine, who he considered a former friend. However, he added, “I’m not devastated.”