The Morning Report – 1-27 – Tom Gamboa, Sandy Alderson, Wally Murphy, Cesar Puello


69 days until opening day.

The Brooklyn Cyclones staff is beginning to be formed. Tom Gamboa will return as the Manager, Tom Signore will return as the pitching coach, and Edgardo Alfonzo will return as the roving infield instructor/1B coach. Not returning are the 2014 hitting coach, Benny DiStefano, and Dave LaRoche, who filled in for Signore while he recovered from a concussion after being hit in the head during batting practice.

We continue here at Mack’s Mets to try and find someone that will post up the results and highlights of each Las Vegas and St. Lucie game they attend. Obviously, we’re looking for a season ticket holder and we can work out the details on where the post will fit in. Currently, we have Savannah and Binghamton in great shape and Brooklyn will be covered when their season starts (we also eventually need someone in Kingsport… we thought we had that solved but the guy disappeared). Email me at: macksmets@gmail.com and we’ll go from there.

Sandy Alderson chose the BBWAA writers dinner this past Saturday night to once again take a jab at Mets fans with one of his wise-ass one liners (aw come on, Mack… lighten up). "This is a big night for Mets fans”, said Alderson. “Who have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop." I hope Wilmer Flores wasn’t in the ballroom, but does that matter? I’m sure someone passed on the comment via some form of electronic devise as soon as they could find Wilmer. What’s the matter Sandy. You couldn’t take this opportunity to change the ending of that sentence to a compliment about your rookie pitcher (Jacob deGrom) that was receiving his ROY award at the same dinner. I’m the first to defend Alderson, but this was a no class move. 

Our special thoughts go out to our Savannah reporter, Wally Murphy, who finds himself down for the count in Candler Hospital (Savannah, Georgia). Please say a few prayers for a special friend.

Someone contacted me last month with some real disturbing news about the New York Mets, Wally Backman, Sandy Alderson, and Cesar Puello. I wrote a post on the information given to me and sent an advance copy to the person that started this whole thing and he asked me to kill the story because he had all the information wrong.

He said that, in rethinking about the events, he had it ass-backwards. He seemed more concerned with varnishing his relationship with the people he listed above. It seemed almost impossible for one person to relay a story so one-sided, than switch to a new version that was a complete reversal of the original version, but the guy seemed shaken if I was going to pursue the original story line, so I just killed it and moved on.  

It’s not like Mack’s Mets is Deadspin, but I couldn't shake the 180 this non-story went. It was juicy news, involved a direct conversation with one of the Mets parties mentioned above, and then, as soon as I was about to possibly tarnish a relationship that never was going to go anywhere anyway, everything was changed.

(it amazes me how some Mets fans think that members of the Mets family that they meet and talk to once are even remembered ten minutes after that conversation)

Since then, I have talked to a number of people  that have an opinion on why Puello didn’t get the game time he needed to prove that he was both drug free and 100% and I can’t find two people telling the same story. Some will tell you that Puello was out of shape and did not have his head in the game. Others blame a disconnect between Backman and Puello. And lastly, others say that you need to turn to the guys in the home office that instruct Backman how to fill out the lineup card. I even had one person tell me that Puello did not have the permission from the Mets to play winter ball this year.

I don’t have an opinion here other than agreeing with Stephen Guilbert… you just don’t start Anthony Seratelli if you have this guy on your bench.

As for the 'non-story', I have one source on a story that he now says didn't happen. That's nowhere near printing, but I'll tell you this... this whole Mets-Puello thing just stinks, folks. It just stinks.

Is the villain Backman? Alderson? One of Alderson’s VPs? Do we blame Beltran? I can’t seem to figure it out, but I will tell you this… I am sure that a very nice, very talented young baseball player can’t wait until he is cut loose so he can take his God-given talent to a team that will support him through his bad times rather than turn their back on him when they are needed the most..


Anonymous said...

My take on Puello:

* Backman smeared him pretty badly at the QBC, perhaps in defense of criticism for not playing him regularly;

* The GM has direct input into playing time in the minor leagues, sets general guidelines, etc. Whatever happened with Puello, happened on Sandy's watch.

It doesn't seem like they like him, though I don't believe for a second that PED use has anything to do with it.

James Preller

Ernest Dove said...

(Frustration comment coming in 3.....2.....1.....)

This entire front office needs a damn wakeup call. No matter how u try and spin it, Alderson latest smartass comments seemed more directed at Mets fans then anyone else (he usually attempts humor geared towards outsiders)
Regarding Puello, RELEASE HIM ALREADY. Let him succeed elsewhere. Why is he still on the damn roster when they don't seem to want him???
Same goes for Tejada and Wilmer. All this leaked bitching about work ethic on one, while continually giving half ass praise and commitment to the other. ....
Meanwhile, reigning gold glover Lagares could barely get on the field to start his career. Den dekker hits like .400 in vegas and then plays once a week.
But a guy like Ike Davis gets to stay out there for YEARS to try and put it together.
I can go on and on (maybe suggest a little racial bias at this point) with more examples of Montero being shoved back forth between leagues, starting and relieving, while deGrom has like 2 solid starts and immediately gets supplanted as permanent stay in rotation.
Ok im tired of venting.
Long story short (too late for that I guess) I'll spend a few bucks in st lucie, but ain't buyin any mets gear, and the only team I'll technically be supporting with ticket sales is the Marlins when I see a mets game there.

eraff said...

Maybe this is "Valdespin II". A young, talentented guy who demonstrates a level of production and promise, but never really "shows up" to finish his own development.

Unexplainable???...or Never explained.....

bob gregory said...

I just don't get it.

"What outfield?"


"This is a big night for Mets fans, who have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop." Alderson quoted as he introduces Cal Ripken Jr. at the BBWAA awards dinner.


numerous "jokes" regarding the Mets money situation over the past few years.

I just don't understand why more Met fans are not disgusted with Alderson.  I always hear how Alderson is so "classy".  

What is "classy" or even respectful about these comments when it comes to Met fans?

This behavior reeks of an authoritarian, whose arrogance is pompously directed at all those "mere subjects" that might dare to question his superiority.

Met fans should be disgusted.  If not with many of the "superior decisions" he has made as the Met GM (ex.- C. Young, etc....), then definitely with the callousness he treats Met fans with.

Granted, I don't read the home town papers of every team in the majors, but I have never heard of other GMs "joking" about their own team like this.
What other employers allow their employees to make fun of them/their product in such a way?

The Wilpons however sit impotently quiet out of reach for comment. This seems so strange and out of character for owners that have reportedly found character as an important quality they look for in players.

Thomas Brennan said...

Puello should have played EVERY DAY last year. Duda had a miserable 2013, then a fine 2014. Other guys have bad years, then good ones. Puello was off last year, but not all that bad. How would his year have looked with another 225 plate appearances.

You win with athletes. Puello is an athlete. Why they did not play him more in 2014? NO EXCUSE IS GOOD ENOUGH.

It is not inconceivable that if he started for the Mets in 2015, he'd not be as good as Granderson.

I heard EVERYONE say Lagares would be no good. But...he was young, athletic, hit .350 in minors and followed it with a mediocre year. How'd that work out. Given the chance, we're all smiling.

Puello had a .350 on base in his off 2014, then tore up winter ball in the one week they let him hit. Let him go, and regret it. He's no Valdespin.

Mack Ade said...

I wish I could go further with this Puello story but I choose not to

Reese Kaplan said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. In El Paso when the 51s came to town Cesar Puello was the nicest ballplayer of the bunch, chatting amiably with fans, posing for pictures with kids at the rail, and he could run like the wind...we're talking Eric Young/Mookie Wilson type of speed. Give the man a chance.

bob gregory said...

A classy decision by you.

Lew Rhodes said...

I generally follow the premise of Occam's Razor - the simplest explanation is usually the correct answer.

Let's apply that to Puello and abandon all of the hyperbole, etc.

There is absolutely no doubt that Puello has the talent to be a fantastic baseball player.

The Mets as a professional baseball team is all about developing talent to help them win or to trade for peak value.

Puello cannot develop his skills on the bench.

Thus, the Mets do not benefit AT ALL from sitting Puello - they benefit from playing him.

Which means, that they need to have a legitimate business reason to sit him - they gain ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from sitting him over a grudge, personal hurt feelings, etc.

I think Wally's comments about his work ethic give a clue to why he sat - maybe Puello told his coaches to go F - off, maybe he was late to meetings, BP, work outs, etc. Who knows.

Basically we have two possible outcomes - there was a baseball related / discipline reason Puello didn't get more playing time, or there is a grandiose agenda involving Backman and the Mets front office that wanted to put Puello on the bench and deprive him of the opportunity to prove he is a drug-free stud and drive up his value.

Really, what makes more sense? Why on Earth would the organization drive down Puello's value? There is no logical reason outside of the lack of discipline / focus area.

In my opinion, the team kept benching him hoping he would learn a lesson, catch fire and live up to his potential - a win for everyone. Instead, it seems he most likely sulked his way through the year.

And, I like the Valdespin comp - there was another guy with worlds of talent who never had the dedication or the head to use it.

Maybe Puello learned enough to grow up and come to spring ready to be the monster he can be

Lew Rhodes said...

Earnest - Your comment about racial bias is beneath you and a pretty lazy comment.

Really? deGrom got a shot and Monterro didn't out of "racial bias"?

Maybe instead the front office saw the potential of a guy who went out and won ROY?

Monterro, even at his highest projection, does not sniff at the type of dominance deGrom showed last year.

Monterro's peak ceiling (in my opinion) is a solid #3 starter

And Tejada was handed the starting SS job, and he blew it - he was asked to come to camp early, he didn't and when he showed up, he was terribly out of shape. No one needed to make veiled comments about his work ethic - it was there for everyone to see.

Then he was given every opportunity to turn it around, and he failed.

joshapiro said...

I, for one, was not bothered in the least by Sandy's comments. It was only a joke, and a pretty decent one at that, no reason to get the panties in a bunch. The way I see it, we have and excellent farm system and our big league club is improving. When was the last time we could say we had a good farm and pro club? It's been a long time. Keep the club heading in the right direction and he can do a half-hour on how bad airline food is, for all I care.

Puello...that is a mystery for the ages. Though to honest Mack, I wish you wouldn't have brought it up at all if you weren't going to divulge the details. Too curious now...

joshapiro said...

Well said Lew, on all accounts.

It would have been nice to hear from someone connected to the Mets that Puello was dogging it and that's why he's wasn't playing. But, to be fair, what's the incentive to knock your own prospect, and potential trade piece, in public? You got to hope he get's his shit together and this was just a learning experiance.

Dallas said...

If Puello leaves and succeeds there is going to be some serious egg on faces and some finger pointing as well I think and the truth will come out. If he never makes it then it will become a non story and we will never know. At this point I dont see how he ever succeeds for the Mets unless they are ravaged by injuries in Spring training and it forces him onto the roster. I just cant see any conceivable way with the way he has been played so far that they would keep in on the roster over MDD and Kirk and Campbell. I guess we will see.

As for Sandys joke people take this stuff way too seriously. Sandy is a human being as well, not just some robot. Lighten up people, just realize the media is there to hype up every comment for pageviews and eye balls. Just look at how the biggest storm ever just played out...we got a few inches except in Boston.

Ernest Dove said...

Hey Lew
im just a guy who felt like ranting and i never accused anyone of being racist. I said "maybe suggest a little racial bias..........".

U can't play Monday morning QB and believe Mets knew degrom would succeed. Same organization as pointed out in earlier post/comment mentioned team not playing Lagares consistently etc etc.

Its all love by me for the Mets. But its a free country and I can randomly get upset on a social media site however I want ;)

bob gregory said...


We still haven't had a good pro club.
Maybe this year.
But then again. .....
Maybe not......
There are a lot of important questions that involve injured and/or older players rebounding.

I wonder, how would opinions of Alderson change if 2015 results in another losing season?
And 2016?
Would it change if the losing seasons stretch into 2017? Or 2018?
Will there always be the excuse of blaming the Wilpons?
Or a consolation that at least the farm system is stronger?

bob gregory said...

That's the spirit Ernest.

joshapiro said...

@bob gregory

I'm not ready to make this year a referendum on Sandy's performance, but certainly he has to give the team the pieces to make the playoffs consistently, or he's a failure and has to go. I think I'm probably 2 years of non-contendership away from that point though. Like it or not, when you operate as a small market team and you start with the mess he was left with, it takes time to dig out and build back up. I have not heard a realistic, potential move this off-season that I thought would put us over the top, and so, I'm content for now. For now, I'm confident that when those moves prevent themselves, Sandy will be ready to strike and have a strong trade arsenal (maybe even a few $$) at his disposal, with which to do so.
I don't consider myself to be a Mets/Sandy/Wilpon apologist in any way, just being realistic with the evidence in front of us.

Lew Rhodes said...

All good Ernest!

I hate when people bring race into consideration to any degree.

And, why exactly can you say that the organization had no idea that deGrom was special?

They flew him up the system two years ago - they don't do that unless they knew the kid had the stuff to succeed

As far as Lagares - let's remember two things:

1) He didn't start playing CF regularly until AA (70 games in 2012); and there were no crazy accolades of his defense back then - MDD was the gold standard of defensive CFers 3 years ago and Lagares only got his shot because MDD broke his wrist making a crazy ST catch.

2) Lagares, as much as we all love him, was an offensive liability two years ago (his OPS was .630) - we can't ignore that. Plus, while he showed flashes here and there, his minor league offensive numbers were not steller - a career minor .717 OPS does not scream "future star"

Let's not rewrite history on Lagares - there was nothing forecasting him as something special - I am glad he broke the mold, but you cannot knock the organization for not starting him every day back in 2013

Ernest Dove said...

Hey Lew,
Montero was also rushed through system ;)

Gotta love baseball, like all sports, because its the PLAYERS who ultimately have the biggest say in their professional future and success (unless injuries unfortunately occur).

Hey Mack I wish I could use my newly purchased prius to take extra trips to st Lucie but I've given myself enough work to do as it is ;)
I still plan on going march 7 and write about spring game.

Lew Rhodes said...

Bob - You continue to say that the 2015 Mets are "not a good club"?

What metric are you using?

Most predictions I see have them winning around 85 games with upside.

You know how many NL teams won more than 85 games last year? FIVE - yep, a whopping FIVE.

And, 88 wins got into the play-offs.

I would say that 85 wins is a "good" club.

Are the 2015 Mets great? Probably not, not unless everything comes together positively, and that hardly ever happens.

But they are definitely good - and while they likely won't win the Division, they have a strong shot at the play-offs.

Your continued mantra of the pro club being "bad" really has no basis in fact.

Anonymous said...

Cannot figure out the Puello thing and would love to hear the Mack story, but understand. He may have struggled to start, but finished strong and had a pretty good winter, so I would be shocked if they simply let him walk. My outlandish prediction is that he gets the last spot over Soup and when Cuddyer goes down in April, Puello gets his ABs and turns into a crowd favorite that can't be displaced in RF. Man can dream can't he? I'm still convinced he is a productive major leaguer who eventually figures out all of the tools
Anon Joe F

bob gregory said...

Check again.
I did NOT say the Mets are definitely not a good club this coming year.

I pointed out "we still have not had a good pro club"..... so I guess my metrics are the season records.

I also pointed out how good the 2015 Mets will be balances on too many "key" players that are older and/or returning from injury.

Just saying.

Reese Kaplan said...

When you consider that there is just one offensive player in the lineup about whom there are no questions (except when he'll be traded -- Murphy), it's fair to say the club has some question marks. On the pitching side it's a nice problem to have 9 or so starters. However, you have "Can he do it again and against lefties?" at 1B, "Can he hit enough to make up for his fielding?" at SS, "Can he regain his previous form?" at 3B, "Can the fences and new hitting coach help him rediscover his mojo?" at one corner OF position, "Can he stay off the DL?" at the other, "Can he hit enough to keep his glove/arm in the lineup?" in CF and "Which hitter is the real one?" behind the plate.

Adam Smith said...

I remember a comment that TC made after Flores had a huge game (the 6 RBI game?) something like "it's not like he hit em against Cole Hamels." There is a culture in this organization of tearing down young players - not all of them, and not all the time, but enough to be noticed, and it sure doesn't come off as either classy or helpful. But when you have an owner who is apparently willing to tear down one of his senior staff - and the only female exec in the place - for her life choices or her sexuality in front of her colleagues, you have to say that the culture starts at the top.

Mack Ade said...

Very well put, Adam

Thomas Brennan said...

"The culture starts at the top" - or the lack thereof. If I were Sandy, I'd leave stand up to the comedians.

Terry Collins was a buffoon that day. Best day of the kid's life, celebrate it with him and encourage him.

eraff said...

Yeah... Terry Pulled a MR. BIG LEAGUE on Flores...as if!

Anonymous said...

These are the quotes I think about when assessing Puello.

"If you cheat, I hope you get caught, and I hope you get punished." - David Wright

"Everything special about you came out of a bottle." -Iron Man

"Loudly for truth will liars plead." -e.e. Cummings

Jacob Falk said...

Maybe we should consider if Sandy just really believes in Flores. He might feel comfortable joking about it because the biggest, continually perpetuated storyline of the off-season could be one that he considers a non issue.

bob gregory said...

Good thought. That doesn't explain away the previous comments regarding the OF and "jokes" about the payroll.
Alderson is just insensitive toward the fans.

Mack Ade said...

Jacob -

Hey buddy.

The problem with Sandy's jokes is two-fold.

1. He knows how these rub the fan base wrong...


2. the beat press have a field day turning these into a negative even if Alderson was just telling a joke

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