Morning Report – September 22 – Minor Leagues, Wally Backman, Jon Niese, Brandon Nimmo, New York Yankees
Posted by Mack Ade at 8:00 AM
Major League Baseball stars routinely command eight-figure annual salaries; even journeymen with a few years’ major-league experience bring home millions every year. And every summer, the top high-school and college players receive multimillion-dollar bonuses when they sign with the teams that picked them in the annual June amateur draft.But the majority of professional players don’t get huge signing bonuses and spend the bulk of their careers in the minor leagues. Only about 17% of players drafted and signed from 1987 through 2008 played at least one game in the major leagues, according to a 2013 survey by trade magazine Baseball America. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/09/19/minor-league-players-allege-illegal-work-conditions/
Did you know that minor league baseball is suing the industry for being paid wages before the minimum standard? This is a good primer article on that suit and disparity between the stars of the game and folks like the ones we write about here on Mack’s Mets. And we’re not talking $500,000 per year minimum salary either. That’s the lowest one is paid in the majors, not the minors.
Read the story. It’s a good one.
Wally Backman begins his September callup today. John Harper and I have both opined that Backman, a great baseball man, should be on Terry Collins’ coaching staff next year, but here’s the reality: It is nearly impossible to imagine Alderson wanting that, as the two are not philosophically aligned. If it happens, it will likely mean either that the GM did not want to choose that battle, or that he feels he can keep a better eye on Backman in New York. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/derek-jeter-yankees-fans-lucky-team-mediocre-ny-mets-payroll-wally-backman-question-blog-entry-1.1945416
Mack – Look, it’s no big secret in Met-land that Wally and TC are not on the same table. It even surprises me that they go through this annual ‘sit next to each other’ fiasco in the dugout.
The Mets players love both these guys, but for different reasons, and I can’t see Backman ever becoming manager under Alderson/Wilpon. There simply would be a clash of personalities here that wouldn’t create a lasting situation.
Jon Niese, more-so than Gee, has been subject of trade talks in recent winters. The Toronto Blue Jays have targeted Niese for several years, and clubs value consistency from a left-handed pitcher. His club-friendly contract makes him an ideal candidate for a large return, and his performance has remained in-line with his career averages in 2014. He has tossed 175 innings this season, the second most in his big league career. In addition, his 2.26 BB/9 is the lowest mark he has posted in the bigs. Niese’s peripherals indicate he has not been adversely subjected to luck, as his 3.55 ERA is slightly lower than his 3.79 FIP (He tips his cap to Juan Lagares). - http://aroundciti.com/will-dillon-gee-or-jonathon-niese-be-on-the-2015-new-york-mets/
Mack – I expect trade talks to heat up for Niese once the other General Managers come to realize that there is nothing they can do in talking Sandy Alderson into trading either Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, or Jacob deGrom. Successful left handers are rare to find and ones with team-friendly contracts are even rarer. This guy alone can get you the left fielder you need in 2015.
Brandon Nimmo - Alderson’s initial first round pick, Nimmo did not initially impress scouts, but took a step forward this year -- and gained 26 pounds of muscle while training this offseason with Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez at the IMG Academy in Florida. He credits the confidence gained by hanging with those big leaguers, and doing well with the Mets in spring training, for propelling him forward this year. “Andrew was very, very personable,” Nimmo said of McCutchen. “Very easy to talk to. And I did not expect that from a National League MVP. Any questions that I had about the game, about any situation in the game, he would answer at length. So I learned a lot.” Said Alderson: “He has made a lot of progress this year, also. We saw the foreshadowing of that in spring training, when he came in physically, and looked very different. No longer a young kid, and more of an adult physically.” http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/kevin-plawecki-travis-arnaud-steven-matz-ready-matt-reynolds-ss-blog-entry-1.1941095
We stay in the AL East and take the train up to the Bronx to take a peek at the New York Yankees.
According to Cot[i], the 2014 Yankee payroll is… $197,230,609
Shortstop is, well, interesting. We know that Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of this season. Stephen Drew was signed to help out in 2014 and was paid a prorated $10.083433mil figure based on the $14.1mil that was determined to be the cost of signing him before the holdout. Drew, who mostly played at second for the Yankees, will once again become a free agent, unless the Yankees want to throw some new money around… or… did anyone remember that there is still three years left on 3B/SS Alex Rodriguez’s contract?
Outfield wise, CF Jacoby Ellsbury is locked up through 2020… and LF Brett Gardner is signed through a team option in 2019. RF Martin Prado is signed for $15mil a year for 2015 and 2016. In addition, Carlos Beltran ($15mil through 2016) mostly played DH now and 2015 FA include Chris Young and Ichiro Suzuki.
Prospect wise, the Yankees top outfield prospect is Aaron Judge, who is at least two years away. The closest thing they have to a shortstop prospect would be Jorge Mateo, with an ETA of 2017.
Mack Observation – Obviously, the Yankees don’t need another outfielder in 2015, but that never stopped them before in signing anyone they want. They are going to have find themselves a shortstop which, I assume, will not be A-Rod. Don’t be surprised they don’t make a run at J.J. Hardy before sitting down with Drew’s agent, err, what’s his name.
I not only don’t see anybody here, I also expect to lose a potential free agent signing or two to them also.