Mack - The Morning Report – 1-13 – New Schedule, Mets Finances 2006-2010, Chris Carter, Defensive Runs Saved


Effective this weekend, we are going to drop the Morning Report on Saturday and Sunday We’ll do this until the season starts when, hopefully, there will be more Mets information out there.

In its place, we’ll start off with one of Tom Brennan’s prospect ranking (8am), followed by one of mine (10:30 am).

Also, I’m going to stop comparing the bullpens. It was a suggestion by one of the readers and it hasn’t generated much interest.

What I am going to do this morning is review the Mets operation over the years 2006-2010 (a mere nine to four years ago) and tell you a funny story about the strangest Met I ever met in camp.

Let’s face it. We’ve been told a thousand times that the Mets refuse to spend enough money to build a winner, and yet, during a span of five years, from 2006-2010… which ended with being less than five years ago… the Mets spent more than any other team in the entire National League.

            Here are the team salaries plus the win-loss records for these years:

                        2006:             97-65             $101,084,963         1st in salaries
                        2007:             88-74             115,231.663          1st
                        2008:             89-73             137,793,376                       1st
                        2009:             70-92             149,373,987                       1st
                        2010:             79-93             132,701,445                       3rd

Ironically, it was 2008, halfway through this run, that Bernie Madoff turned himself in. And thank God the Mets did settle for a $162mil settlement… otherwise they would have had to pay back, before interest, anywhere from $300mil to $1bil.

Still, as the chart shows above, there was a decent amount of money poured into the salaries of this team, which results in three seasons of 88+ wins. No playoff seasons, but it does say a lot for the mindset if this Ponzi crap was still going on.

Thor asked –

            Mack, do you think that the extension to Sandy Alderson’s contract takes the heat off him a little?

                        Mack – Thanks, Thor,

Oh, hell yeah. The ‘future’ Mets that we write about all the time here have a bunch of positions that just haven’t firms up yet… catcher… SP4… SP5… closer… 2ndLHRP… 2B… SS… a 2017 starting outfielder.

The extension to his contract gives him a ‘push’ on making critical decisions. A perfect example would be Wilmer Flores at SS. Under pressure, Flores could have lost him job in 2015. Instead, he probably will get a season to prove to us what he can do.

Yes, in my opinion, the extension to Alderson will make the Mets a better team in the long run, though 2015 may once again be a bumpy ride.

I had the pleasure of attending the New York Mets spring training facilities in 2010 for Morris Publishing, the owners of the newspapers I wrote for here in the Savannah metro.

The Mets were looking for a backup first baseman to backup Ike Davis and, on the on the first day of pitchers/catchers reporting, I hung around and saw three players emerge from the clubhouse… Mike Jacobs, Daniel Murphy, and Chris Carter.

Early on that day, what every day players that just happened to be in town (or were called in early for a first base tryout like this one) managed to get some BP in at the cage facing the minor league clubhouse. The winds were very gusty, heading out towards right, and I heard a few people talking about ‘this kid Carter’ that was putting on a show in the cage. I walked behind it and saw him standing with around eight bats in his hand (???).

I looked over to who I think was Rick Waits, a roving pitching coach I had gotten to know and pointed at Carter’s bats and gave Waits the ole ‘WTF’ look.
Waits turned to me and said that he won’t let anyone tough his bats. Anyone. In the clubhouse. On the field. Anyone.

Then, it was his time to hit… and I watched him one bounce two shots into the minor league clubhouse building. Player, coaches, and reporters were all running for cover.

Folks, the kid was nuts. I never saw anyone wired so tight. Jacobs came over to me at Duffy’s a few nights later and said he wouldn’t even talk to him and Murphy.

I took around 40 pictures of them on the field that day and one of them is on the top of this post.

Wally Backman is never a man with a loss for words and a place like the Queens Baseball Convention was the perfect place for fans to ask him questions that Backman could get in trouble with answering.

Two answers stool out to me.

One, he said the OF Cesar Puello was “not a complete player at this point”. You’ve played eight years in the minors and the coach that coached you the entire season last year says this.

And two, that Steven Matz was the best pitching prospect in the system. You have to wonder, after all the time Backman spent with Noah Syndergaard last season, why Thor’s name didn’t roll off the end of his tongue.

Puello’s career is far from over at 24-years old, but I hope the Mets would just designate him so he can tag on with an organization that wants to give him a fair chance to succeed.

Defensive analytics have grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade. At Baseball Info Solutions (BIS), we eat, sleep and breathe defense, but there is always more to learn. A recent research project uncovered some remarkable new information. One of the public perceptions has been that a player needs three full seasons before his defensive metrics provide a true indication of his defensive abilities. That has been my own personal rule of thumb, though I’ve known there is some reliability to sample sizes smaller than three years. Based on the new research, BIS has found that Defensive Runs Saved[i] based on as small a sample size as 350 innings in the field (about a quarter of the season) produces reliable results. This is a very significant finding 

Talks On Baseball, a new speaker series about baseball, is swinging into New York City on January 14, 2015 at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. Launched in Toronto in 2014, PITCH: Talks On Baseball is now set to debut in the U.S. next year with its first stop here in Times Square. PITCH connects die hard baseball fans with sports insiders by hosting informed and entertaining discussionson all aspects of the game. Pete Abraham, Red Sox beat writer for the Boston Globe, and formerly the Mets and Yankees beat writer for The Journal News, will be acting as moderator for the NY event with an exciting full lineup of speakers to be announced later in November. "It's always baseball season in New York and Pitch Talks will add fuel to the hot stove," says Abraham. "Come hear from the experts."


Thomas Brennan said...

Puello is a complete player, but perhaps never in the same game. 2015 may be his "complete" year.

Look at Matz's stats vs. Thor's stats, and it is not hard to agree with Wally on Matz. I still love that Matz has given up 8 homers as a lefty throwing to mostly righties in over 300 innings, including playoffs. That is unique and special.

Chris Carter, minus being a head case, might have been a solid major leaguer. Sounds like he spooked people away. He's as touchy about his bats as some people are about cartoons, n'est pas?

Ernest Dove said...

I guess im done having issues with money being spent by ownership. They've tried that before and it didn't work....
However as I've stated before in the past im just confused about what direction organization has tried going in past few years. Again why sign guys like Byrd, CY, EY, cuddyer and Grandy while at the same time seemingly trying to rebuild and develop young team controlled talent?
If course im not in the know here, and maybe Sandy has had master plan of signing all these one year veterans in order to flip them yearly for more team controlled talent, which worked to perfection with Byrd, but not with CY or Colon (yet) etc.......
Either way im still planning to watch my favorite team win more games then lose, and take it from there.

Zozo said...

Anyone else going to this Talk on Baseball tonight at BB kings in Manhattan? I am going if anyone wants to meet up for a drink? They have quite a lineup with ken Rosenthal, buster olney, Adam Rubin and a few others. I think us baseball nuts will love it.

TP said...

I agree with Bob Gregory that we as fans shouldn't have to or choose to focus on finances...I'd much rather talk/blog baseball, but thanks for the financial mention. I'd just like to add that the Madoff "settlement" of $162 million is now down to $75 million and shrinking. This is because the Wilpons were also victims, so for all money clawed back, they get their share, offsetting the fake profits that they owe. Additionally, they haven't actually "settled" yet, as payments aren't scheduled until a year or two down the road. So, the total Madoff mess was basically the evaporation of $500 million of fake balances the Wilpons thought they had (not much money they gave to Madoff but mostly phoney interest/earnings), plus the $70 million or so payback, plus attorney fees. That's big money to you and me, but to guys owning the ballpark, 65% of SNY, and the ballpark, with their hundreds of millions of debt very likely less than 50% of the value of their holdings, this is not a huge hit. They most certainly can afford Tulo or to have a $125 million payroll like most other teams in baseball with smaller revenue streams and valuations. The payroll limitations are a choice of ownership, and Alderson, making millions a year himself, carries out the plan. Anything else coming from their mouths is a bunch of nonsense. Again, big payroll doesn't guarantee a good team, but how about a few million in salary for a real MLB quality lefty for the pen, and some more Wilmer insurance?

Zozo said...

This is the link for the event, tickets are about $35 each

Reese Kaplan said...

I hope anyone going to tonight's shindig shows up in a Piazza jersey to send a message to the clowns in the media.

Zozo said...

I agree we shouldn't as well.
1)They still charge us fans most in the league to attend the games
2)scream they are losing money, but have money to build a big Mall next door to citi field
3)teams are making SO MUCH MONEY from there own TV rights, they have to be killing it at SNY
4)this Madoff Mess they were involved in is A Wilpon Mess not a Mets Mess, meaning all there other businesses should take on some of this burden. The last time I looked the Real Estate market has been trending upwards not down. So us fans shouldn't be burden to pick up the whole Madoff tab. MLB needs to step up and #selltheteam.

Zozo said...

It's actually tomorrow night, oops

Thomas Brennan said...

Great line up, Zozo, but can't make it on short notice.

"Give 'em Mack" while you're there!

If you disagree with what you hear there, no Kevin Garnett head butts are allowed. Stay calm!

Anonymous said...

Going on 24 and not a complete player is not a total indictment, even with all of those years in the minors playing below league age. I am not ready to give up on the tools, especially since he is already on 40 man, would only be taking the last spot on the team and his skills sets profile well with need of good defense, his LH and has speed. Who knows about the real state of the finances, but I hope the depressed oayroll is a function of saving for future raises and headroom for the difference making acquisition.
Anon Joe F

James Preller said...

I don't know what the deal is with Puello, though I suspect the criticism is an arrow intended for his head.

In terms of tools, speed, power, he seems more "complete" than guys we've been rolling out there for years.

But the truth is, there's very few "complete" players. Wally Backman himself surely wasn't complete.

One thing that I believe about building a roster is that maybe you've got a few complete, all-around, solid players. Then you are finishing up with guys who can help you win. My approach when selecting all-star teams (and such) was that rather than focusing on the next-best, semi-complete player, the team is better served by obtaining an outstanding single-tool player. (Which is why MLB All-Star are not necessarily the best teams, IMO.)

That is: Give me the guy with outstanding speed & defense, even if he can't hit for power. Then give me the guy who can come off the bench and mash it over the wall, even though he can't run. Then give me a guy who can play multiple positions, etc.

If Puello isn't complete, it certainly doesn't suggest to me that he can't be useful. That said, it sounds like Wally is speaking in code. He sat Puello an awful lot. I don't think he cares for the guy.

Mack Ade said...

James -

Maybe Wally and everyone else that says things about Puello are trying to tell us that he NEVER naturally was or will be the guy we were told he was going to be. Maybe his PED connection go back to prior to when they were all turned in.

Either way, if you're manager says the kind of things he said about him at the QVC than maybe we all should move on with him

bob gregory said...


Here is a thought that might be good to include in your morning reports.

What if it isn't the Wilpons?

What I mean by this is, perhaps there is more that went on when the Mets/Wilpons were hit with the Ponzi Scheme. More than what has been discussed anywhere before.

Before the Ponzi Scheme, as you pointed out, the Wilpons did spend money to win. They realized that even though money does not buy wins, if spent wisely, it can sure increase the chances.
The Wilpons were never thought of as foolish business men in their real estate dealings.

Perhaps, the Wilpons were much closer to being in the same boat as McCourt and his Dodgers.
Maybe, just maybe, the Wilpons were given a choice;

1) no $25 million loan to help the team meet its operational cost at that time. Fend for yourselves even if that means having to sell the team.

2) $25 million loan and additional help as might be reasonably needed if and only IF they would agree to have their new GM picked by the League and operate with autonomy. This GM would not answer to the Wilpons.

What would the League/other owners/Commissioner get out of this?

In a time when salaries were/are skyrocketing, the Mets had been contributing to the inflation rate.
This autonomous GM would have the mission to cut spending and try to create a new model in team construction that would counter the focus on highly priced free agents.
Selig and the other owners would then benefit by coming to the Mets aid financially.

Perhaps McCourt was given the same options, chose option # 1 by refusing the appointed autonomous gm?
Crazy? maybe.....
but if could explain some of the incongruencies that have occured between what the Wilpons have said about Alderson not being held back in his payroll and Alderson actions.

Remember two off seasons ago when Jeff Wilpon thought Peralta was definitely going to be signed by the Mets and then Alderson made a comment that basically stated that Jeff shouldn't be speaking he doesn't know what he is talking about.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

A guy you've known for years is a CEO of a mid-range corporation. You take the LIRR everyday together and he's sitting to you opening is mail from the past week.

All of a sudden he opens an envelope and laughs out loud. You ask why and he tells you about an investment guru he has found that has taken his money and produced a 25-30% return year to year.

You wouldn't ask for an introduction?

This investment might have looked a little too good, but I've seen better in the real estate business, especially in the east side of Manhattan.

Another analogy?

Wilpon did coke.

He gave all his friends a taste.

Then they all bought a kilo together...

from a fed.

bob gregory said...


remember, Selig answers to all the other owners.

not that I believe all I typed,

Just fun conspiracy theory given the slowness of this off season

Lew Rhodes said...

RE Puello - I read Wally's comment as an indictment of Puello's focus and work ethic.

That's my take anyway - especially Wally - I think he would take major issue with a player who didn't give 110% all the time - especially one with Puello's tool set.

RE Matz - He gets bonus points for being a lefty - when you evaluate two otherwise equal pitchers, the lefty gets the nod because there are simply less of them and less dominant ones.

What a nice problem to have debating whether Thor or Matz is a better prospect - it wasn't too long ago when we were pinning our hopes on Tobi Stoner.

Thomas Brennan said...

stoner's minor league #s were really weak...amazing he even got a few innings to pitch with the Mets. It is a different day, fellas.

Lew Rhodes said...

As far as the salary and money issue - I still think the driving factor over the past few years was putting a foundation in place to build a sustainable winner - now is the time to go spend money.

I believe if Tulo or another game changing SS / LF was available on the FA market, we would have been in on them.

I just don't see the type of FA available at a position of need to make it worth spending the big dollars on.

Also, over the past few years there have simply been too many holes to fill in FA - there was no way we could sign the number of players (if they were even available) to make the team competitive.

Now we have a solid mostly home grown staff and bullpen with more pieces about ready - a gold glove CFer, a (hopefully) true slugger at 1b, and a stud young catcher all to go with Wright and Murphy.

That makes it easy to target players in need positions.

Of course, it is fair to criticize the past few years for trying to patch holes with crap (Frank Frank, CY, etc.) and low level signings instead of just tanking, giving all the young players a shot and getting better draft picks.

That last point is a different issue.

Jeff Roland said...

1) puello is 23 not 24
2) puello has 7 minor league years not 8 (and 2 of those were short season)
3) how many players are "complete players"? (Whatever that means). Yeah, not many

Mack Ade said...

Jeff -

welcome to the site -

many of us talk "in the year" we're writing about

I know the '8 year' reference was mine, meaning this year.

The other, my bad

One question back... why is there a limited group of people like you that I only hear from when I write something that isn't accurate?

Mack's Mets © 2012