12/8/16

Reese Kaplan -- While Sandy Caught 40 More Winks...

3 comments
The Cubs lost Aroldis Chapman so they traded for Wade Davis and now have inked Koji Uehara, a pitcher I've long advocated the Mets pursue.  His CAREER numbers include a 2.53 ERA and a WHIP of below 0.9.  Please don't tell me his $4.5 million one-year contract was too rich for their blood.

I know the officially company line...that they cannot do anything until they straighten out their outfield situation.  Do you buy it?  I sure don't.  Did you see how a winning ballclub operates?  They actively seek to improve the roster.  They don't set arbitrary constraints on how and when to do so.  They pursue players who will help them secure a pennant, not just await what scraps are leftover.
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TOM BRENNAN - TEBOW WITH THE GLASS FULL

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TOM BRENNAN - TEBOW WITH THE GLASS FULL

I saw yet another negative Tim Tebow article recently. Yawn.

In it, the writer referred to Keith Law's October 14 comments that were quite unfavorable to Tebow as part of his article's support.  I fully respect Law's perspectives, this is not about him...the quote from Law was essentially before the AFL season really got rolling.  Why not, using the same reasoning, quote a writer after the 2016 season about something he said about Rob Gsellman before the 2016 season?   That would be most likely an out-of-date viewpoint.  Results count.

The AFL season has now come and gone, and Tebow, as that author simply noted, hit just .192...the inference was "why waste your time, Timmy boy, when is the circus gonna leave town?"

Donald Trump got trashed by so many in the media as a buffoon, an idiot, etc.  Then he won the primary, more bashing followed, then he won the election (and then the Dow jumped 2000 points - whee!)

I could write my support of Tebow like the relatively few political pundits that actually didn't bash but instead tentatively supported Trump did.  I read many such articles with lead-ins like "well despite his flaws, he"..."we all know he has shortcomings but"...etc.   A very rare few were like Ann Coulter, a full throated, unapologetic supporter of Trump from the start, who liked what he was saying and felt very strongly that TRUMP WOULD WIN.  She was gutsy, unwavering...and right.

So I will go Ann Coulter's approach here by saying it is slack journalism to keep pointing out he hit just .192 in the AFL  - yeah, OK, but was there progress?  In fact yes - he started out 0-13 but hit .245 afterwards.  Also unmentioned was that his OBP after the initial 0-13 was a solid .362, and a truly commendable .405 in his last 10 games.  So...he had a higher batting average than several AFL dudes, and a higher on base % (despite the 0-13 start) than 19 of them - all guys playing for years who were hand-picked for the AFL because of their talent. Hmmm?

He did what he did against mid to high minors quality pitching when, by comparison, literally NO ONE that is drafted in the first round is put up initially against pitchers anywhere near that quality.  He also did what he did despite not having played baseball in 10 years.

So put down the half empty glass for a second, and at least pick up the half full one.  What does a familiar-to-Mets-fans MLB hitting expert have to say about Tebow?

"He’s put together like no other athlete I’ve ever seen,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said recently. “He’s got a lot of work to do, he understands that. He knows it’s not going to be easy, but having seen his swing now and worked with him a little bit, I’m not so sure that he can’t break through maybe give himself a chance to get (to the majors).”

Long is not ruling out him getting to the majors - neither am I.

Most MLB prospects haven't ever accomplished much under extreme pressure. All have experienced some level of pressure, but which have succeeded before 70,000 screaming fans and million on TV?  "None" is the correct answer.  Many players will falter as the spotlight grows brighter and hotter. Some MLB players - take your pick - can frustrate you when you see them perform below the level of their talent, perhaps due to choking when the pressure is on.

Tebow, though, has overperformed throughout his sports life - it's in his DNA to succeed. From what I read, he was most likely the hardest working player in the recent AFL season, taking ceaseless, focused BP, and it showed in his progress.

I looked at the AFL player page for Tim and it listed the following accomplishments for a QB who did not have a true NFL QB arm, but maximized his talents nonetheless to accomplish a lot in football.  Read this killer resume and tell me this guy lacks the internal make up to make it to the majors - my estimate is you could well see him in Queens by mid-2018:

Signed by the New York Mets on Sept. 8, 2016... selected by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round (No. 25 overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft... led Florida to BCS National Championships in 2006 and 2008... won the Heisman Trophy as the top player in college football in 2007 and was a Heisman finalist in 2008 and '09... SEC Player of the Year in 2008 and '09... spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos and another with the New York Jets in the NFL... works as a college football analyst for ESPN on the SEC Network... in the NFL, Tebow had 17 career touchdowns, threw for 2,422 yards and rushed for 989 while scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. 

Off the field: Contributes to a variety of ESPN platforms including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and the network's Heisman Trophy coverage... a published author, Tebow released "Through My Eyes," which was named the No. 1 sports book of 2011 and the best-selling religion book of 2011... created the Tim Tebow Foundation, which aims to "bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need." ... the foundation also helps provide surgeries to children of the Philippines through the Tebow CURE Hospital... co-authored the book "Shaken." ... born in the Philippines and grew up the son of missionaries... worked with a charity to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children... appears mainly on the SEC Network as co-host of SEC Nation, a traveling pre-game show... spokesperson for Nike, Jockey, FRS Health Energy and TiVO... was the subject of the 2011 ESPN documentary Tim Tebow: Everything in Between and the 2012 NFL Network documentary The Faces of Tebow... was designated a "Great Floridian" by Florida Governor Rick Scott in recognition of his "major contributions to the progress and welfare" of Florida in 2013.

NCAA career: At Florida from 2006-09, Tebow appeared in 55 games, completing 661 of 985 passes for 9,286 yards, 88 touchdowns and 15 interceptions... he rushed 692 times for 2,947 yards and 57 touchdowns... was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2006... in 2007, he was a First-team Academic All-American, a Manning Award finalist, the Rivals.com National Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Offensive Player of the Year, a First-team All-American, the Roy Kramer SEC Male Athlete of the Year and won an ESPY for Best Male College Athlete... in 2008, he was again a Heisman finalist, won his second ESPY, was named the SEC Championship Game's MVP and was a SEC Scholar-Athlete... in 2009, he won the Senior CLASS Award, was a Heisman finalist, First-team All-SEC, named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and was selected by Sports Illustrated as the College football Player of the Decade... in 2010, the NCAA instituted the so-called "Tebow Rule" which banned messages on eye paint, a rule not specifically named for Tebow but which many believed was influenced by him.

NFL career: NFL career was highlighted by his 2011 season in Denver when he won the team's starting QB role and led the Broncos to their first AFC West title and first playoff appearance since 2005... was traded by the Broncos to the New York Jets after the 2011 season when Denver opted to sign Peyton Manning.

College football awards:
  • BCS national champion with Florida (2006, 2008)
  • SEC champion (2006, 2008)
  • William V. Campbell Trophy (2009)
  • SEC Player of the Year (2008, 2009)
  • Manning Award (2008)
  • Wuerffel Trophy (2008)
  • Maxwell Award (2007, 2008)
  • Heisman Trophy (2007)
  • Davey O'Brien Award (2007)
  • Chic Harley Award (2007)
  • AP Player of the Year (2007)
  • Sporting News Player of the Year (2007)
  • First-team All-American (2007, 2008)
  • Second-team All-American (2009)
  • First-team All-SEC (2007-2009)

I see in a resume like this a winner who won't let obstacles like age or lack of experience keep him from his goal.  

When it comes to Tebow and baseball, my glass is FULL.

Trump confounded almost everyone and made it, and I think Tebow will provide an encore. I for one am on board until he proves he's not up to the task. I think he is up to it.  After all, it's only a kid's game, right?



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FLASH - Rule 5 Draft

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The Mets did not select nor lose anyone in this year's Rule 5 Draft.

The Winter Meetings are officially over. Mets made zero transactions.
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Mack Ade – Adam Eaton

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Good morning.


The Chicago White Sox have traded outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals in a deal that brings two top prospects, RHSP Lucas Giolito and RHSP Reynaldo Lopez, to Chicago. In addition, the White Sox get Washington’s 2016 first round pick, RHSP Dane Dunning,

As we have discussed on other posts this week, only teams with deep, talented minor league systems can pull off a trade like this and not hurt their overall ranking of talent in this game.

Let’s get this over with… I’m in love with Giolito and still don’t forgive Sandy Alderson for not picking him with the Mets with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft. I also think that Lucas will turn out to be one of the premier starters in this game. That being said, I stand by my beliefs that a bird in hand is worth more than a prospect in the bush… you know… bush leagues… get it?

The recently turned 28-year old Eaton has really turned into one of the stars of the game. He hit .284/.362/.428 last season with 14-HRs, 6.0-WAR, and 14-SB. He’s also considered one of the top defensive right fielders in baseball.

He’s also already locked up for the next three years at only a total of $19.9mil over the length of the contract (+ two options).

The only downside here for the Mets is the fact that Eaton hits from the left side of the plate, but are you telling me that this guy wouldn’t be a better corner outfield option than Michael Conforto, who could be the lead chip in a package to the White Sox?

The White Sox seem to be interested this week (see Chris Sale trade) in securing team controlled prospects and targeted pitching in this deal.

Fine, throw in two Mets prospect pitchers like Robert Gsellman and Chris Flexen.

Would the White Sox be interested?


Well, how the hell would I know unless the offer was made!
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12/7/16

Mack Ade – Wade Davis

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Good afternoon.

The Kansas City Royals have traded 31-year old closer/reliever Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs for third year outfielder Jorge Soler.

Let me ask you a question (s)…

            -isn’t the Mets looking for a back-end reliever to help them get off to the right start while Jeurys Familia does his community service thing? Yes, due to a forearm strain, his fastball speed dropped last year from 95.7-mph to 94.9-mph, but the Cubs said they did a very thorough check on Davis’ medical records and believe a $10mil investment for one year is worth, well, the investment.

            -doesn’t a one year contract fit into the template that Sandy Alderson uses for relief pitchers for this team?

            -and lastly, couldn’t you insert the name of Michael Conforto where Soler’s name is and have a similar kind of sophomore jinxed outfielder? Soler debuted in 2014 with an impressive 89-AB, .292-BA, but seems to have leveled off since (2015: 366-AB, .262-AB… 2016: 227-AB, .238). Couldn’t one make a case that Conforto (2015: 174-AB, .270… 2016: 304-AB, .220) would also tickle the Royal’s fancy.

Look, I can’t speak for the Royal’s front office, but both these guys are young and Conforto comes even cheaper that Soler. Wouldn’t you think that the Mets could have, at least, make a run for something like this trade thought?

Would you for one year of Davis?


The Cubs had a zillion prospect outfielders and could afford to deal off Soler. Could the Mets do the same with Conforto, who really, right now, is the only outfielder in the system that seems like he belongs here. 
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Mack Ade – Chris Sale

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Good morning.

The Boston Red Sox trade yesterday of receiving all-star starter Chris Sale for four untested minor leaguers is the kind of trade that frosts my ass as a Mets fan. Sure, Yoan Moncada is the top prospect in baseball and baseball pundits rave about the potential of Michael Kopech, but that’s all they are right now. Neither is a time tested all-star that has already delivered 74 wins in seven seasons and will still pitch 2017 only as a 28-year old.

The Red Sox just added 223 strikeouts to their pitching staff.

The Mets don’t make trades like this. We always tell other clubs that our top prospects are untouchable, rather than tell them come at me and tell me what you are offering for them. There are clubs out there that just want to rid themselves of committed long-term contracts and want an organization of mostly minimum paid minor leaguers. Look at San Diego. They don’t have a single ballplayer left in their organization that has a contract past their ARB-1 (currently undetermined) commitment.

Plus, if the Mets traded for another front end starter like Sale, you would have guys like Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and yes, even Steven Matz, immediately become available for future deals.

Yes, we do sign quality free agents. Yoesnes Cespedes speaks of this. But teams like Boston wouldn’t let their prospects stand in their way of strengthening an already strong rotation. I remember when the Washington Nationals had what was considered one of the strongest rotations in baseball. Did that stop them from securing the service of Max Scherzer? I think not.

If Boston didn’t want Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce in their outfield, they wouldn’t be there. Both would be long gone by now in deals for the best prospects they could get at the time.

If Boston wanted to replace the loss of Granderson and Bruce with one quality right hand hitting outfielder, they would package a couple of these newly secured prospects, along with guys like Amed Rosario and Tomas Nido (I’m holding onto Michael Conforto and starting him this upcoming season in Queens).

And if Boston needed a quality relief pitcher to add to the back end of their pen, I would have plenty more prospects to throw at a team that wanted a couple of quality, minimum salaried prospects.

(There’s a couple more things that I do need to say. Our system is quite depleted right now. It’s from a combination of all the pitchers we gave up to teams to build a team two years ago to get us to the playoffs and, two (as we discussed yesterday) we just don’t draft as well as other teams do. We just don’t.

Another thing the Mets don’t do properly is sign International prospects. Yes, we have signed what seems like 5,345 shortstops, none of which have still turned into anything of any quality.)


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Reese Kaplan -- The Third LH Slugging Trade Chip

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Very early in the off-season there was speculation that the Mets might non-tender 1st baseman Lucas Duda rather than pay him the perhaps $7 million or so he will be awarded in arbitration.  Some people embraced this idea but no one seemed to indicate how they would fill this void short of signing a much more expensive option such as Edwin Encarnacion or converting Matt Holliday to the position.

Since then the Mets have gone ahead and locked up Yoenis Cespedes for the next four years which assures them of some right handed power.  On the left side, however, they’re somewhat overloaded with Duda, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto.  Some have suggested that Conforto learn 1st base in order to get him into the lineup on a regular basis,, but if Duda is here then that’s not a solution either.

Early indications are that there is interest in both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce as the Mets begin to gauge other teams’ interest in their available chips.  What I’m wondering is whether or not they should throw Lucas Duda’s name into the bowl as well?

Large market teams wouldn’t think twice about paying the $15 million salary of Curtis Granderson or the $13 million salary of Jay Bruce.  For what they deliver by today’s baseball standards they are actually somewhat underpaid.

Small market teams, however, may say those numbers are too rich for their blood.  However, a $7 million investment in a guy capable of 30 HRs may be more to their liking.  That expands your base of potential trade partners beyond the well healed franchises and includes others not normally in the big dollar arena such as Minnesota, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, San Diego and others.

Why would the Mets consider it?  Well, in Duda, Bruce and Granderson you have three virtual clones of one another – high power, high strikeout, all-or-nothing types of left handed hitters.  All are streaky and hurt the team badly when slumping, yet can carry a team when hot.  Granderson has an edge in that he draws a lot of walks and still has some speed and defense in his game.  Duda has made himself into a passable 1st baseman, but no one will confuse him with Keith Hernandez.  Bruce has a better arm than Granderson and is a better outfielder than Duda (though that bar is set at limbo championship height).

Given that surplus it behooves Sandy Alderson to look at all possibilities, not just the obvious ones.  Duda may be more appealing due to his salary and then if you strike a deal you could move Bruce to 1st base or convert Conforto or platoon him with Wilmer Flores.  I’m still on board with trading two lefty sluggers but think they should add Duda into the mix of options.  Next year Bruce, Granderson and Walker all come off the books.  Dom Smith is knocking at the door for promotion in 2018.  You’d still maintain payroll flexibility if you feel Smith is for real.  In fact, if they kept Conforto and Smith as part of the near future then you’ll recoup quite a bit of money to help pay for the starting rotation.

Looking over Duda’s contract he’s eligible to become a free agent in 2018.  That timing should coincide with the arrival of Dom Smith.  If you think they would likely not look to keep Duda beyond this year (and not extend a QO), isn’t it better to trade him a year too soon than lose him for nothing?
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12/6/16

Will Kay - It's Time for the Mets to Move an Outfielder

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The New York Mets recently announced the signing of Yoenis Cespedes to the highest contract in MLB history for an outfielder. While the move drastically improved New York's chances of competing in the NL East division this year, it left them with an abundance of outfielders on the roster right now. With five players capable of providing solid production as a starting outfield, it is time for the Mets to make a trade very soon.

The New York Mets seem to know that they have to make a trade before the season starts because they have been aggressively shopping outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson to other teams in the league. The Mets seem unwilling to trade Michael Conforto because of his huge upside. The team also loves the versatility and great defense of Juan Lagares. Trading either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson should bring back one or two solid players that can help the team this year and in the future. A trade will also free up some money to help the team go sign a big free agent this offseason.

The biggest problem for the Mets is that every team in the league knows they desperately need to trade an outfielder before spring training. This simply gives New York very little leverage in the trade negotiations. The market for Bruce and Granderson may also pose a problem for the Mets. New York would prefer to trade Jay Bruce, but far more teams are showing an interest in Curtis Granderson than Bruce. If the Mets want to get a trade done soon, then they may be forced to lower their asking price on both players.

While any team in the need of an outfielder power hitting outfielder would be a good trade partner for the New York Mets, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are showing the most interest in Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson. Since closer Jeurys Familia is likely to be suspended for part of the 2017 season, the Mets are looking to get a solid reliever in any trade. The depth of their bullpen makes the Orioles a much better trade partner for the Mets than the Blue Jays.

The Mets will save at least $13 million by trading one of their extra outfielders. This payroll savings will allow the team to add even more depth to their weak bullpen. Adding two big names to the bullpen will put the Mets in great shape to compete for the National League pennant in 2017, but they must trade an outfielder before they can do anything else.

Since there are a lot of solid free agent outfielders on the market right now, the Mets may have to wait awhile to make a trade. The Orioles are not going to be willing to trade Brad Brach for Granderson if they think they can sign Mark Trumbo or Dexter Fowler. If a team fails to sign their desired outfielder and is left without any other options, then they will be much more willing to trade with the Mets.

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Mack Ade – Bryce Harper, Transparency

15 comments


Good morning.


Is it too early to discuss the possibility of the Mets signing OF Bryce Harper to a long-term contract in the $400mil range, beginning in the 2019 season?

Yeah, I know $40mil a year for 10 years seems kind of crazy, but someday some baseball player is going to be paid this much and it might as well be the best hitter in the game (sorry Mike Trout fans… he is).

Can you imagine the benefits of having Harper in the same outfield for two years with Yoenes Cespedes?

My guess is that the final two years of the David Wright contract will be off the books by then. I share with Wright his neck problems and, trust me, you can’t play a 162-game schedule without future complications. That would save the Mets $15mil in 2019 and $12mil in 2020, which could help offset the cost of the first two years of a Harper contract.

Additionally, Juan Lagares’ 2019 $9mil contract could be eliminated via a trade and the third outfield starter slot could be either Michael Conforto (arbitration-1) or Desmond Lindsay (minimum).

Folks, you all know that Mack’s Mets started, and has the reputation as, a premier Mets minor league blog, but I have always been a proponent of filling your 25-man squad with players (especially your starters) that already have success at the major-league level. Baseball is like the pro basketball adage, where you need three great players to make a championship team. In the case of baseball, it takes three great bats, two great starters, and a killer closer. The Mets have the current pitching talent to add to this equation, but they fall two bats short of fulfilling this scenario beginning in 2018.

Maybe Conforto develops into a great bat. Maybe Amed Rosario becomes the all-star shortstop they have been looking for since Jose Reyes exited the team years ago for free agency. Maybe… well, Harper isn’t a maybe. He’s a killer bat and the fans will take to him as quick as they hate him now.

Will something happen during this Hot Stove season that could signal a move someday in this direction? No, baseball doesn’t work that way. If it did, I would trade both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce for top prospects and sign someone like Carlos Gomez to join Harper and Cespedes in the starting outfield.

But what the hell do I know?



For the sake of full transparency, four readers have stepped up so far in December and donated $315.00 to Mack’s Mets. I thank these four from the bottom of my heart. As I have mentioned before, this donation push will end on New Year’s Eve, though we will keep the Paypal donation icon up on the site throughout the year.
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Reese Kaplan -- Jealous of Others' Shiny New Toys

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Sometimes it’s frustrating being a Mets fan.  Scratch that.  Rarely it’s not frustrating being a Mets fan.  The Hot Stove time of the year at least gives a reprieve to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th guessing of lineup and in-game managerial decisions.  Now the focus is on the GM and the owners who always seem either content with the status quo or unwilling to embrace the realities that people get hurt. 

Going into this season they’re banking on 5 starters, all of whom missed time with injuries last year.  The only healthy one is now going to be pitching in Atlanta.  Behind them you have two pitchers in Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who shined when it counted most, but in Lugo’s case there’s not much of a pedigree behind the stellar performance.  The bullpen is without Jerry Blevins, Fernando Salas and likely a month or more without Jeurys Familia. Even with them the innings allocated to others in the pen were often a crap shoot.    

Yes, the club has retained the services of Yoenis Cespedes and Rene Rivera.  Kudos for that.  However, as they evidently field calls about their left handed hitting surplus, other teams are inking players to free agent contracts to improve their roster and they’re making trades.  Resources are scarce and the longer you wait, the more likely you’ll find fuzzy hot dogs rather than filet mignon when you open the fridge. 

Take, for example, the Washington Nationals.   A few years ago they had arguably the best starting rotation in baseball and they chose to add Max Scherzer.  How’d that work out for them? 

Last year the Chicago Cubs already had enviable hitting and still added Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler (FA who returned on a one-year deal) and Jason Heyward.  All they did was win the World Series.

Now spending isn’t a guarantee of success.  After all, look at the Yankees for the past several years where they haven’t finished at the top of their division since 2012.  The Angels and Tigers are two other franchises that bought into the spend-to-win philosophy but it has pretty much backfired. 

However, if you look at the top payrolls in MLB right now you see names like the Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants and Rangers, teams that are indeed contending for the top. 

Consequently when you see the Mets say things like they won’t be players for the best available bullpen arms – Chapman, Jansen and Melancon – you have to wonder about the commitment to winning.  In their haste to lower payroll they are going to trade one or both of Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson.  What happens if, for example, Yoenis Cespedes gets hit by a golf cart?  Do we seriously think Brandon Nimmo or Ty Kelly is going to replace him?

I have no problem with trading both of these players if the return makes sense.  Can you get some top prospects to fill in the fairly barren minor league cupboard?  Can you find a relief pitcher or leadoff hitter or catcher who can help immediately?  The spin, however, is about payroll exclusively and that fuels the fire of people who refer to the Wilpons as cheap.

Hey, when you just forked over $110 million for Yoenis Cespedes, I don’t think you can properly call them cheap.  Misguided perhaps – like paying David Wright when his numbers were in decline at Citifield and Madoff had bankrupted the franchise – or failing to be in on foreign players who could help the club.  My criticism is more about banking too heavily on health when 2016 should have demonstrated to everyone that people do indeed get hurt and miss significant amounts of time.  Even Ron Darling went on record recently saying that you have to plan as if you will get nothing whatsoever from David Wright.  Granted, Jose Reyes is a better alternative than Eric Campbell, but you could certainly make the case that Evan Longoria or Todd Frazier would be better still.  

I’m frankly tired of the club preparing for a marathon each year and then thinking the Modell’s off-brand shoes will hold up for the duration.  
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