Here is Alexander Hyacinthe’s exclusive Q&A with Mets assistant GM John Ricco, who talks about the team’s goals for 2013, their thought process on promoting prospects, and if he ever plans to leave the Mets…
Question: Is this a transition year for the Mets?
John Ricco: Well, we’ve got to see the continued development of the young pitching. .. The young kids that we’ve gotten in the draft the last couple years – as well as the ones everyone’s talking about that we’ve acquired via trade – so we want to see the development. Obviously, we’re anxious to see Travis d’Arnaud, who’s going to be a key guy for us over the next few years. …
I think it’s time for the guys who’ve been around – Tejada, Murph, Davis, Duda, Parnell, Gee, Niese – to kind of graduate. They’ve come up through the system. They’ve always been the younger guys, they’ve been respectful and looking up to the veterans that we’ve had. They’ve been in the big leagues a couple of years. And it’s time – the message from us has been, ‘It’s time for you guys to step up and take some ownership of this team because this is your team.’ David Wright is still here and he’s been kind of like the big brother. He’s kind of led the way. It’s time for that core group to step up and it’s our job to supplement them with the pieces to get to where we need to be and we’re starting to do that.”
I think this is – as you said – a transitional year, but if we can get to a point to where we have a better sense as to which of those guys are pieces for a championship team – and so next year when we have some more flexibility, we can add key pieces that can put us over the top – we can come out of this season knowing where we want to spend that money.
Question: Is free agency and Super 2 status a concern when deciding whether to add d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler to the big league roster?
John Ricco: We really haven’t focused on that financial side. Certainly it’s part of the equation, but I think we’re more interested in doing what’s best for them as players and what’s best for them developmentally. I think they’re both on a similar time frame. D’Arnaud got to Triple-A, performed, but then had the knee injury. So, the question is, has he had enough Triple-A at bats to come up here and not only compete – which we know he can do – but also get up here and succeed.
Wheeler, similarly, is actually a little bit farther behind. He just got a taste last year. He really could probably use some more developmental time in the minors, even though his stuff right now plays at the major-league level. But, that’s not all this game is about. To be a winning player you have to be able to do all the little things as well, and that’s what development is about as a pitcher. In terms of command, but also holding on runners, handling the bat, and all those things. But, ultimately, the decision will be made on the field and what we think is best for them as players.
Question: Do you see yourself ever leaving the Mets for a higher profile job in baseball?
John Ricco: I’ve been here, this is my ninth season. I love it here. I was born and raised in the New York area. There is no where I’d rather be. I’m here to see us get multiple rings.
Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com:
I’m glad Ricco essentially admits to this being a transition year, because it is, and everyone knows it. And it’s OK that it is. That’s fine. I actually think that if the pitching staff pitches to it’s potential and the infield does what it has historically done, these team can be better than most people are predicting – all while continuing to do what’s in the best interest of the farm system. It can be a grueling and frustrating process, no question, but it’s the right way to build a franchise in this new baseball economy.
Alexander Hyacinthe is a graduate student at Boston University majoring in Broadcast Journalism.