Monday, July 18, 2011

My Full interview with Andy Martino

As you can view on, I was fortunate enough to have an E-Mail conversation with Andy Martino of the Daily News. Since Andy gave me such thorough and interesting answers, I found it difficult to narrow down the questions from roughly 25 to the usual 10-12 questions I will publish in an interview article so I decided to post the interview in its entirety here on MaybeNextYearMets:

-Andy, after returning to the Mets after writing for the Phillies, which team have you enjoyed reporting on the most in your career?
Both provided unique and rewarding experiences, but I have to say--covering losing and dysfunction last year in New York, and the transition that it led to, provided richer material than covering a World Series run in 2009. Plus, after being a transplanted New Yorker living in Philly for a year, it was nice to get home to family and friends in New York.

-What was it like to return to the Daily News after beginning your career there as an intern?
It felt more like a continuation than a new beginning.  Because I knew nearly all my colleagues well, it was an easy transition. The only difficult part was staying in a buddy's extra bedroom in Brooklyn while my wife and I looked for somewhere to live on short notice (the offer from the Daily News came rather suddenly, and left us scrambling).

-In your Midseason report card, you gave both Chris Capuano and Daniel Murphy a B, the same grade given to Joba Chamberlain by Mark Feinsand, given that Murphy is batting over .300 and has 19 doubles and Capuano has been the victim of bad defense on numerous occasions, do you think that grade was a bit low for them?

I suppose it depends on your rubric and standards, which we did not articulate in our midseason report cards. So the end result comes out pretty much all over the place and based on gut feel.

-As a BBWAA writer, who do you believe is a Hall of Famer that is on the 2012 ballot?
I am a BBWAA member, but I don't support the idea of journalists voting for the Hall of Fame. I think it's a conflict of interest, and I also think the questions of "who is a Hall of Famer" is impossible to answer, because there is no set standard. I am not eligible to vote yet (you have to be a BBWAA member for 10 years), but will not vote once I able to.  To be honest, I don't think about the HOF much, and don't really know who is on the 2012 ballot.

-Do you think Pete Rose should be allowed onto the ballot for the Hall? If he is permitted, would you vote for him?
See my above answer about the HOF, but I will say this: It is good to ban gamblers from the game for life. If gambling were in any way acceptable, the sport would become untenable.  You have to take a hard line.

-Would you ever vote a baseball player into the Hall who has been proven to take steroids? Someone like Clemens or Ortiz who were accused but deny the accusations?
This is one of the issues that I have with the Hall of Fame. How are they going to deal with this? There is no good answer.  It would probably be better if it were just a museum, rather than something that involves elections.  Then we could focus not on issues like "do steroid cheats belong in the Hall of Fame," but on questions more relevant to society like, "should the MLB All-Stars who spoke out last year about Arizona's immigration law have boycotted the game?"

Wherever one stands on that issue, we should be talking about stuff like that more often, when we talk about sports.

-In you opinion, is Mike Piazza a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2013? When he ultimately does make the Hall, does he go in as a Met or a Dodger?

He probably does go in. Not sure when, but he seems more identified with the Mets, and he wore a Mets hat last week when he managed the Futures Game.

-Out of Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and Mike Piazza, do you believe any of them should have their numbers retired by the Mets?

Those are three of the most important players in franchise history, so if anyone deserves it, they do.

-What was your take on the K-Rod trade? Was it just a salary dump? Who is the winner in this deal?
It was a good deal for both teams. A total salary dump for the Mets, who had to get out from under that $17.5 million vesting option for next year.  So they found a taker for much of the contract, and the Brewers--who were a championship caliber team except for their middle relief--get bullpen depth during a year that they're going for it. 

The Mets were worried that the market for K-Rod would drop later in July, as more closer became available, so this really was the right time for both teams to make the move.

-Does the moving of K-Rod increase the chances of re-signing Reyes? If so, by how much have their chances increased?

It certainly doesn't hurt, but that is still going to be a tall order for the Mets. Reyes will be seeking close to top dollar, and the Mets have budget constraints.  But moving K-Rod does clear payroll space, and probably slightly increases their chances of resigning Reyes.

-Was the K-Rod trade a waiving of the white flag on Alderson's part for the 2011 season?
He claims it wasn't. If you ask me, Beltran represents the white flag. But I would hope that, in a division with Atlanta and Philly playing so well, the Mets front office understands that this is not s playoff year, and that they plan accordingly.

-After the July 31st deadline, where do you believe Carlos Beltran will go or stay? Mets? Giants? Redsox?
I think the Mets will shop him aggressively, but hold out for a favorable deal.  Let's say it's 65-35 he is dealt. Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers, Indians--there are a lot of places he would fit.

-The Phillies have interest in acquiring a right fielder with a power bat and the Mets have just that on the market in that of Carlos Beltran. Do you think that Alderson, a GM who traded Jose Canseco to the Rangers during a pennant race back in his Oakland days, would deal Beltran to the rival, first-place Phillies? 
If Alderson judged that a deal with the Phils was right for the Mets from a baseball standpoint, I do not believe that the "rivalry" would in any way hold him back.

-Have you heard anything about Mets rental players on the market other than Beltran that could be dealt before July 31st such as Capuano or Byrdak? Any rumblings about Pelfrey as a possible trade candidate?
Byrdak and Isringhausen could go.  Capuano makes sense, although there haven't been a whole lot of rumblings there yet.  As for Pelfrey, the Mets would be selling low now, after a spotty first half, but maybe this winter.

-Who is more likely to remain a Met in 2012, David Wright or Jose Reyes? Which of the two are more valueable to the Mets as far as building a team around?

Wright is far more likely to remain a Met next year. Reyes has taken his game to such a high level this year, it's hard to call almost anyone more valuable

-Who is more likely to return from injury in 2011, Ike Davis or Johan Santana?
Tough one. We'll know more about Davis soon. If he has surgery,he's done, so I'll go with Santana.

-Out of the top Mets prospects, who do you think will have the biggest impact on the 2012 Mets? The Mets in years to come?
Matt Harvey.

-Based on the age of current players, financial situations and farm systems, who do you think has the brightest future 5-10 years down the road, Mets or Phillies?
Wow. The Mets' financial situation makes them a wild card, but assuming the franchise finds a way to stabilize, I'll choose them.  There is a cyclical nature to contending in baseball, and the Phillies are on the backside of their run.

-Is Domonic Brown the next Fernando Martinez? A prospect who so far has yet to pull it together at the major league level?

He has struggled to live up to the hype so far.  There is a lot of talent there, though, so

-Will the Phillies eventually regret the Roy Oswalt trade because of the young talent they gave up in that of J.A. Happ?
Happ is a solid pitcher, but at the time that was the trade they needed to make. It didn't work out last year for the Phillies, of course, but that's the risk you run with deadline deals. Ruben Amaro Jr. is not the kind of guy to express regrets.

-What was it like, from a reporter's standpoint, to lay witness to Terry Collins' now infamous post-game tirade in late May? Were you hesitant to ask a question to the Mets skipper in that post-game?
Collins is an emotional guy, but it's always controlled. The few times he has gotten angry publicly, he hasn't pointed it at reporters.

-You have been accused of being too critical of the Mets in comparison to other writers and overly praising of the Phillies by some readers, what is your response to that?
Many readers in Philly accused me of being a Mets fan. Many readers in New York accuse me of being a Phillies fan.  Both are, of course, ridiculous.  I'm a reporter.

-Finally, Do you think Brian Wilson's spandex tuxedo at the ESPY's out-did Lady Gaga's egg arrival at the Grammy awards?
Ha.  I'd have to say so. You expect it from Lady Gaga, but from an athlete? Good for Wilson, for always being an interesting character.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Francisco Rodriguez has been traded to the Brewers for 2 players to be named later. There is apparently a list of 5 prospects the Mets will chose from, but don't expect much as the Brewers farm system ranks 28th in all of baseball. This trade was more of  salary dump than anything else. It also increases the likeliness that Beltran gets traded.

Here is what K-Rod said on his twitter account in regard to the trade, translated into English:

"I want to thank all the Mets fans for their great support during these 2 ½ years he wore his shirt

And to all my fans I would say that I continue to support this new phase of my life and as he says the war cry of my team"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pelfrey Pic:

Mike Pelfrey has been unhittable lately, most recently in his complete game 5-hitter in tonight's 6-1 Mets win. His recent stretch of dominance has inspired me to make a picture you might get a kick out of:

Uh-Oh: Reyes Meets With Scott Boras

According to Ken Rosenthal, Mets free-agent-to-be Jose Reyes met with super-agent Scott Boras. This meeting does not break any contractual agreements to Reyes' current agent Peter Greenberg, nor does it violate any rules in the player's union, so long as Boras discloses all contact with the Mets shortstop.
If Reyes ultimately does become a client of Scott Boras, that will greatly decrease the chances that the Mets retain the 28-year old speedster. Boras is infamous for getting top dollar for his clients, in most cases exponentially more than the player's true worth. Boras rarely allows for his players to give their former teams "home-town discounts", which is what the Mets are counting on to keep Reyes past 2011. Boras creates situations to get the most money out of any team interested, many times going into bidding wars, which the Mets in no way can afford to do.

The action of becoming a Scott Boras client, is a move for someone NOT looking to stay with their current team. Reyes has stated several times that he wants to be here, yet a move like this would prove to be the exact opposite of his statements. Scott Boras tends to have his clients hit the open market to go to the highest bidder. His clients very rarely return to their former teams, unless their old teams have the cash to retain his clients, which the Mets do not.

Not to mention, the Mets probably do not want to have to deal with Boras. After deals such as Oliver Perez's and Carlos Beltran's huge, overpriced contracts that were at the hands of Boras, the Wilpons will likely prefer not to deal with him.

Maybe Reyes is starting to see cash symbols now that he is on pace for such a monstrous year. Maybe he is starting to see the incredible amount of money he can command. If this is the case, Reyes knows that in order to squeeze the most money out of whatever ballclub he ultimately signs with, going to Scott Boras is the best way to do so.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

June 3rd, 2011 "Don't Trade Jose Reyes Day" at Citi Field

In an effort to show the Mets Front Office that we do not want to see Reyes gone, Mets fans have agreed to make "Don't Trade Jose Reyes Day" on June 3rd 2011 in the series opener against the Braves.


To attend it on facebook Click Here

To Buy Tickets to the game Click Here

Be sure to buy tickets to that game and bring your favorite Reyes attire and signs against him being traded.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Killed By American Forces

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with baseball but who cares! Osama Bin Laden has finally been killed by U.S. forces. US officials reportedly have the body. They are awaiting test results to be 100% sure that it is indeed the monster who planned the 9/11 attacks. It is hard to believe but America has finally gotten our guy. It took us nearly 10 years, but we have finally found the one low-life who almost got away.
Barrack Obama received a tip on Osama Bin Laden’s possible location in Pakistan. After verifying this report, the U.S. went into action, sending in a special team in Pakistan and killing Bin Laden in an incredible showdown. No US forces or civilians were harmed in the assault.
This is not only the killing of leader of Al Qaeda, but a symbol of American triumph and will no doubt create an overwhelming sense of patriotism in the hearts of every American. As I write this article in complete and utter shock, all I can think is: Justice has finally been served.
To associate this with baseball somewhat, during the Mets vs. Phillies finale, the broadcasters had trouble keeping up with the game as they kept trying to give updates to viewers. When the fans slowly began to hear the news through texts and mobile updates, they spontaneously broke out into chants of USA USA USA! I personally got chills, as I am sure anyone else watching did aswell.
Think of all the closure the families devastated after 9/11 must feel right now. Although the loss of their loved ones can never be filled, this must be such a boost to their morale that we finally got the sick person responsible for this.
Think of where you were when you heard this news, on this day, America won.
This is truly an incredible symbol to the world and a message: Don’t mess with America.
God Bless America!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mets 2011 Rotation: A Force To Be Reckoned With. Part II

By: Clayton Collier

   After taking a look at the three pitchers who will be the immediate impact at the front of the 2011 rotation, we will now look into the back end of the rotation and Johan Santana who will return in the later part of the season. These guys can keep a hot streak going or stop a losing stretch from continuing when the premier guys in the rotation can not get the job done. With some newly acquired arms, the back of the Mets 2011 rotation looks pretty formidable.

  The back end of the Mets rotation will feature Chris Young and either Chris Capuano or Dillon Gee in 2011. These three arms have come from utter insignificance to key pieces of the 2011 staff. While the front three arms had breakout seasons in 2010, they aren't bonafide top-tier pitchers. That said, depth is a crucial factor to the 2011 season, something these three must provide.

  Almost certain to fill the 4th spot of the rotation is RHP Chris Young. Young is the perfect example of Alderson's under-the-radar signings that have a very high reward situation. Although I would not classify Young as a low risk situation, when healthy, Young is a top of the rotation quality pitcher. He has battled injury the past few seasons, failing to complete 20 starts each of the past three season. but when he is healthy, he is locked in. Young has a career 48-34 record with a 3.80 ERA. He pitches best with little run support, a pattern he will become very accustomed to on the Mets. He has posted a 2.61 ERA when his own team scores two or fewer runs for him. Young, coming from the Padres is already used to little run support and large ballparks, if he stays healthy, could be the best off season signing of the Mets this winter.

  Chris Capuano and Dillon Gee appear to be the two major contenders for the 5th spot in the 2011 rotation.

  Capuano before 2010 had not pitched since 2007 due to injury. He came back healthy with the Brewers in 2010 and pitched to a respectable 4-4 record and a 3.95 ERA.

  Gee has never been considered a blue-chip prospect for the Mets, but with little options down the stretch in 2010, Omar Minaya decided to give him a chance. Gee flourished in his 5 major league starts going 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA. Gee had a quality start in every single one of his outings including his major league debut in which he no-hit the Nationals through his first 5 innings en route to a 7 inning gem in which he only allowed one run and 2 hits.

  Alderson and Collins may want to give Capuano the job to allow Gee to further develop, but if Gee can continue the success he had in September 2010, he would likely win the starting role.

  The best pitcher on the team is without a doubt 2-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana. The 31-year old Venezuelan native has been the ace of the staff since he was acquired from the Twins before the start of the 2008 season. Now going into 2011, Santana will start the year in Port St. Lucie rehabbing, following the surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder that sidelined him since September. Santana has since begun to rehab, starting with playing catch and soft tossing.

  The question is, is when he returns, estimated somewhere from June to July, will he still be the Johan Santana of old? Shoulder injuries like this have proven detrimental to pitchers' careers in the past, and with Santana being the highest payed player on the team, his full recovery is crucial. These questions will just have to wait until mid-season when Santana takes the the mound in orange and blue once again.

  With low expectations at an all-time high, the Mets could be looking at a few bottom-of-the-barrel arms with hidden potential, possibly catching lightning in a bottle in 2011.