New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has no problem with how the Wilpon family handles the Mets, he told reporter Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports, Jan. 28).
Here is the Mets-related portion of their conversation, which covers everything from Alex Rodriguez, to marketing MLB, to potential rule changes…
Ken Rosenthal: The Mets play in one of the biggest markets in the game. I know Commissioner Selig was close with (Mets owner) Fred Wilpon and that you just appointed Mr. Wilpon head of your finance committee. Yet, this team’s payroll is lower than some lower-revenue teams, certainly projects to be that way again in 2015. How do you justify to their fans the Mets’ inability or reluctance to spend more on players?
Rob Manfred: I’m a huge fan of Sandy Alderson. I think Sandy Alderson is as good a general manager today as there is in the game. You could go back 20 years and argue that he’s one of the best. I think they have developed a strategy with respect to the Mets they’re going to try to grow from within so that they have a team that can be competitive and sustainable, and I have no doubt that as that process continues and it requires the owners of the Mets to invest additional dollars in payroll that they are going to be willing and able to do that.
In early January, Rosenthal wrote that the Mets having a payroll less than some low-revenue teams is ‘absurd,’ and the commissioner’s office should consider getting involved (FoxSports, Jan. 14).
“The situation is what the situation is, for whatever reason it is,” ESPN’s Buster Olney told a group of New York baseball fans at Pitch Talks New York in early January, and no amount of billboards, complaining or reporting is going to change that because the Wilpon family is in good standing with Major League Baseball.
According to Olney, despite taking a loan from the league, which he says other teams have done as well, the Wilpons have never pocketed baseball money or refused to pay their employees, which is what essentially led to Frank McCourt being forced to sell the Dodgers.
Mets pitchers and catchers must report to Port St. Lucie in 21 days…
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Baseball Prospectus projected the Mets to be 82-80 in 2015 and finish in second place in the N.L. East >> Read more
According to Keith Law of ESPN, the Mets have the fourth-best farm system in baseball >> Read more
Cuban SS Yoan Moncada, who the Mets recently said was out of their budget, may officially be a free soon >> Read more
The Mets and Jenrry Mejia agreed to a one-year, $2.595 million, avoiding salary arbitration (Heyman, Jan. 28).
Mejia, 25, began last season as a starter, but was sent to the bullpen in May. He quickly took over as the closer after Bobby Parnell needed Tommy John surgery in April.
Mejia finished with 28 saves, a 2.72 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 24.3 percent strikeout rate in 56 1/3 innings as a reliever.
In December, Mets manager Terry Collins said Parnell will be the closer when he returns from the DL this season, which didn’t upset Mejia (Daily News, Dec. 16).
“Whatever job they giving to me, I gotta be there to help my team,” Mejia said.
Listen to Mets: On the Air
Mets: On the Air, hosted by James Flippin, took calls about the team’s talk of October, Spring Training position battles, and more…
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The Mets have the fourth-best farm system in MLB, according to Keith Law (ESPN, Jan. 28).
“They’re deep in arms and bats, especially guys who might play in the middle of the diamond or pitch in the top three spots of a major league rotation,” writes Law. “They’ve kept all their prospects while patiently building, but this is probably the year to swap some of their starting pitching prospect depth for a bat.”
The Cubs, Twins and Astros are the only teams to rank ahead of the Mets on Law’s list.
Matthew Cerrone: We read so much about the pitching, but this is the first time I recall someone acknowledging the farm system’s hitters. In the last week, 1B Dom Smith, 2B Dilson Herrera and C Kevin Plawecki were all ranked in the top 10 of all prospects at their position. Also, Jim Callis of MLB.com said Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto will crack the Top 100. The talent is there, despite them being a year or two from having a real impact at the big-league level. How Sandy Alderson handles this is the big question, especially if the Mets are winning and, say, Troy Tulowitzki is healthy and available this summer…
Baseball Prospectus projects the Mets to finish 82-80 and in second place in the NL East this season (BP, Jan. 28).
They project the second Wild Card team to be the Padres at 83-79.
Matthew Cerrone: For most people, it’s all about the record at the finish. However, for me, as a fan of a team ending their rebuild, like the Mets, success is about momentum. In the above scenario, for instance, we will have watched 162 Mets games, all of which had playoff implications.
Sure, they fell short, but the above means being on the edge of our seats, a packed Citi Field up until the last day of the season and a ton of compelling action. There will be momentum and an exciting feeling about 2016. I’d prefer the Mets win 85-90 games and have there be no race, because the Wild Card or division was locked up in advance. But, short of that, a thrilling, wall-to-wall pennant race and confidence heading in to the offseason will be another step in the right direction.
Brian P. Mangan: This is just a projection model, so everyone is regressed toward finishing around .500 or so. What is more important is that the Mets 82 win projection is sixth-best in the NL and two wins from being fourth-best, according to PECOTA. In reality, each of these teams are +/- 7 wins based on luck, injuries, etc., so a few teams will get up to 85+ wins or more. The Mets are well positioned to be one of those teams. So, while 82 would be a disappointment, being the sixth-best team in the model is very good.
Here is is MLB.com Top 20 Mets Prospect List for 2014, which was published roughly one year ago…
MLB.com is expected to release their 2015 list during the next few weeks, site editor Jim Callis recently told SNY’s Mostly Mets Podcast.
According to Callis, MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects List will include Mets pitchers Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.
To listen to Callis talk with hosts Toby Hyde and Rob Brender about his list, click play here:
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