Hey Howard. Thanks for joining us. Let's get going...
1. Judging that there is a new television deal in place and the fact that the New York real estate market has rebounded, can we assume that the Mets can’t deal up the ‘we are broke’ card again in future drafts and off-seasons?
If only. The Mets have a 320 million debt against the team due in 2014. Their 450 million debt against their SNY stake, due in 2015, jumped significantly this offseason, thanks to a further 160 million they borrowed against it. How they manage either, let alone both, is hard to envision. The trustee in the Bernie Madoff case, for example, didn't think they could, and gave the Wilpon group a hardship settlement.
They are grateful for the approximately 50 million more they'll get in 2014 and beyond in national TV revenue, but they are cannibalizing the jump in local TV revenue to stave off financial reckoning, while other teams are spending (Hello, Cleveland!), and that means prices are also going up for free agents.
2. No one has been more perplexed at the under-slotting and lack of drafting power names early on in the drafts. Do you see any chance in this come June by Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta?
Hard to say, though it would certainly take chutzpah to avoid Michael Bourn to preserve a full draft allocation pool, then not spend it.
3. I was lucky to spend a couple of years in the clubhouse during spring training. The team has lost a handful of real nice guys this past off-season. In your opinion, how important is team chemistry off the field and what happens when some wild card (like Kelly Shoppach orJordany Valdespin) shows up?
Consider me a team chemistry skeptic, with many examples throughout baseball history.
4. The 2015 rotation looks like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Noah Syndergaard, and ??? Care to make a guess who the SP5 will be?
Projecting pitchers a month ahead is a fool's errand. Wouldn't dream of doing two years. So I guess: Reid Cornelius.
5. Queens wise, in your opinion, when do we see our next Mets playoff game?
Tell me when ownership is in solvent hands again, and I'll tell you roughly when that happens.