Follow Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson on Twitter. He just started a new account yesterday and has two tweets about his drive to Port St. Lucie. And he gained nearly 10,000 followers in the first day that he joined.
Alderson is a smart guy. I would guess that he’ll stay away from comments like that in the future and stick to tweets that are more closely aligned with what the organization would like to see him publicizing.
Yesterday Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services downgraded the nearly $700 million in debt against Citi Field to negative. That means that they’re reducing the debt to below investment grade. Forbes details the financial assault that the Mets are facing. The financial prospects for the Mets and Wilpon appear to be getting more dire by the day.
Without Jose Reyes on the roster the team is poised for even lower attendance than the 2011 season. The Mets have also floated the possibility that Johan Santana may not be healthy and ready for opening day after not throwing a pitch in 2011. Other than David Wright, who is in the final year of his contract (plus a team option for 2013), there isn’t much of a reason to go out the park in 2012.
It’s clear that the rest of the teams in the division have made roster improvements while the Mets have essentially failed to enter the free agent market. For the second offseason in a row, Sandy Alderson was handcuffed by the team’s financial situation. His only contribution to re-making the roster has been to shuffle some players in and out of the bullpen and the bench. The Mets GM job has to be one of the worst in baseball right now.
ESPN’s Buster Olney writes today that he expects the Mets to listen to offers for David Wright in the offseason. It’s the perfect time contractually to trade Wright because he only has one year left on his contract plus a team option for 2013 that is eliminated if he’s traded. Next season he’ll make $15 million and the 2013 option is for $16 million with a $1 million buyout.
Olney expects the Rockies and Angels to be in on the bidding for Wright. I’m sure there would plenty of other teams that would contact Sandy Alderson if they knew that Wright was available. His contract is very much aligned with his on-field value and with only one year left, there’s almost no down side for a team to acquire him. If the first year doesn’t work out let him to free agency for, presumably, Type A compensation.
The problem for the Mets is that if they trade Wright, they need to re-sign Jose Reyes or the team will be in danger of completely cratering for seasons to come. If the Mets trade Wright and don’t re-sign Reyes, it will clearly be a salary dump move to help alleviate the Madoff situation. And that won’t sit well with fans like me.
Timing could be an issue as well. Free agency starts five days after the World Series ends and Reyes will be one of the most valuable players in free agency. He may sign a new contract quickly, which wouldn’t give Alderson much time to work out a trade for Wright. That could be the most difficult aspect of this.
Yesterday Jose Reyes announced that he wouldn’t negotiate a new contract with the Mets until the 2011 season was over. He said that he wants to focus on baseball and not have the distraction of negotiating what is likely going to be the biggest contract of his career in the middle of this season.
I believe that’s also code for “I’m going to test free agency at the end of the season”. The SNY crew addressed this last night during the broadcast by painting a rosy picture of the situation. They talked about how it doesn’t sound like Alderson is going to trade Reyes during the season. They also stressed the exclusive five day window that the Mets have after the World Series ends if they don’t trade him this season. Keep in mind that SNY is majority owned by the Mets. SNY’s motivation is to keep people motivated to buying game tickets and watching on TV. In other words… Don’t believe the hype.
The MLB draft in taking place today through Wednesday. It’s a big draft for the Mets, who have the 13th pick in the first round, for a variety of reasons. It’s the first draft for Paul DePodesta with the Mets. He’s Sandy Alderson’s protoge and amateur and minor league expert.
The Mets also appear headed toward a rebuilding process so building through the draft is going to be critical. There are several big contracts like K-Rod, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes that the Mets are poised to trade away this season. Combined with the Mets financial problems, building through the draft and farm system would be the likely emphasis for the organization.
I’m certainly not an amateur player expert so I wanted to put together some links this morning that would allow you to keep up with the best draft coverage over the next three days.
This weeks rumors that David Wright could be traded instead of Jose Reyes came as a little shock to me. David Wright has been the face of the franchise and has endured years of being in the media spotlight under some of the worst conditions imaginable because no one else could deal with the media. This alone makes him the natural leader of the club. Not to mention David also has better numbers and a better work ethic than Reyes. But let’s mention them anyway.
Here are your numbers…
Since 2004 Reyes has played in 907 games with a .288 BA, .338 OBP, .437 SLG, and a .774 OPS
The most well spoken person in the Mets organization talked to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. He talked about what Memorial Day means to him as an American and a former Marine. He talked about his experience in Vietnam and the different attitude Americans have toward military service now than they did in the 60’s and 70’s.
As expected, Alderson didn’t reveal much about the Mets plan for trades in 2011. He said that they’re still trying to understand what kind of potential the Mets have for this season. Of course, he’s not going to tip his hand this early. So there’s no surprise that he was exceptionally vague.