Archive for January, 2015

By Steven Inman

Photo by NBC Sports

Photo by NBC Sports

With the upcoming switch from Bud Selig to his hand-picked successor, Rob Manfred, as MLB’s commissioner, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon has not lost his standing within baseball.

The elder Wilpon will be the new chairman of the MLB’s Finance Committee, according to the Daily News. This is not a joke.
Selig, the biggest supporter of Wilpon, is retiring at the end of this week. It seemed like conventional wisdom to Met fans that once Selig left the new commissioner would put some pressure on the Wilpon’s to spend money on the Mets payroll. That no longer seems to be the case and the chances of the Mets payroll going up in upcoming seasons looks unlikely.

The Mets 2014 payroll was around $92 million which was the lowest for the franchise since the 2000 season. The 2014 payroll also ranked 21st in baseball and won’t be more than a few million dollars more in 2015.

Should baseball step in and force the Mets to spend money?

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By Steven Inman Spring 2013 014

In what was considered to be one of the greatest hall of fame ballots in modern baseball history, four players were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz will all be inducted in a momentous celebration in Cooperstown on July 26th as part of the 2015 Hall of Fame class.

Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz each got into the Hall on their first try. Biggio was elected on his third attempt after falling just two votes shy last January. Biggio, who spent his entire career all over the diamond with the Houston Astros admitted he was worried about the verdict after getting so close last year. “I was a nervous dog this morning. I haven’t been this anxious in a long time,” Biggio said. “Maybe it does mean a little bit more this year.” Biggio said to the Buffalo News.

Randy Johnson goes into the Hall as the tallest player to ever get into Cooperstown, shattering the old benchmark made by the 6-foot-6 Dave Winfield. “I don’t think people quite understand how difficult it is to be 6-foot-10 and be throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches away,” Johnson said in an article by the Buffalo News. “In order to do that, you have to be consistent with your release point and where you’re landing and your arm slot and all that. For someone 6-1, 6-2, there’s less body to keep under control, so it’s a lot easier.”

It’s ironic that Johnson will go into the Hall the same year that 5-foot-11 Pedro Martinez will. Martinez was told constantly as a young flame throwing prospect that he was too small and frail to handle the workload of a starting pitcher. After 18 big league seasons, all as a starter, it’s safe to assume the doubters were incorrect.

Martinez is only the second Dominican born player to ever get into the Hall of Fame. Only the great Juan Marichal hailed from the Dominican Republic and got into Cooperstown before Pedro.

John Smoltz will be reunited with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine when he joins the two former Braves in the Hall this July. Atlanta’s former “Big 3” helped form one of the most dynamic starting rotations of all time and were vital to the Braves 1995 World Championship over the Cleveland Indians.

The last time four players were inducted in one year was the class of 1955, headlined by Joe DiMaggio. This baseball story evolved throughout the day amongst fans, going from joy and excitement for these four players to anger and confusion on who didn’t make the cut.

The closest player who did not get in was former catcher Mike Piazza. Piazza, 46, was denied entrance into the Hall of Fame for the third straight year despite getting 69.9 percent of votes. To get into Cooperstown a player needs 75% of votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Piazza played in 16 big league seasons and hit the most home runs by a catcher in baseball history with 427 long balls. The former 62nd round pick also leads all catchers with a .545 SLG %.

Piazza needs at least 28 voters to change their mind on him if he wants to get in on next year’s ballot. Piazza’s chances have suffered due to allegations of performance enhancing drug use during his career.

Piazza isn’t the only player with Hall Of Fame numbers not to get in due to PED Allegations. Elite players such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s chances to enter the Hall of Fame look very slim. First time vote getter Gary Sheffield, who hit over 500 homers in his career also received just 11.7% of votes due to allegations of PED use. Sheffield, a 9-time All Star, was listed in the Mitchell Report in 2007, which will cost him along with most alleged steroid users any chance to get into the Hall someday.

Despite an incredible career, Carlos Delgado did get much consideration for the Hall Of Fame

Despite an incredible career, Carlos Delgado did get much consideration for the Hall Of Fame

The most notable player to be exiled off the ballot for future years would be Carlos Delgado. Delgado, 42, enjoyed a strong career where he hit 473 dingers and drove in 1512 RBI across 17 seasons as a big leaguer. There weren’t allegations that the former first basemen took illegal substances. Delgado made just two All-Star teams in his career and only received 3.8% of votes. A player must get at least 5% of votes to stay on the following years ballot.

The class of 2016 should also be exciting as former stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman enter the ballot for the first time.

By Steven Inman

Ian Desmond has had no trouble driving in runs at Citi Field in his career (Photo by Getty Images)

Ian Desmond has had no trouble driving in runs at Citi Field in his career (Photo by Getty Images)

According to various media reports the Mets were engaged in three team dialogue with the Rays and Nationals that would have sent All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond to New York. Desmond, 29, has hit 44 homers over the past two seasons and would bring much needed pop to this Met lineup but a deal is now seen as very unlikely. Desmond has nine homers and 27 RBI in his career at Citi Field, both career highs in any visiting ballpark.

In the proposed deal the Mets would send two top prospects to the Rays, one of which would be Noah Syndergaard. The Mets deemed that package two valuable to give up because Desmond is under club control for just one more season.

Desmond has been the NL silver slugger in each of the past three seasons but giving up two top prospects is too much for a guy who is likely to hit the open market in November. The Nationals who have much more money to spend than the Mets, are willing to trade him because they don’t believe they can sign him.

Desmond would have been a one-year rental for the Mets as according to the Washington Post, the shortstop turned down a seven year contract worth $107 million last winter from the Nationals, thinking he could get significantly more as a free agent.

Desmond will make $11 million in 2015. Mike Rizzo and the Nationals have made it no secret that he is available for the right package.

The Mets were also interested in acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Rays, who instead went to the Athletics last weekend but the package the Rays wanted was very similar to what they were asking for in the three team deal for Desmond.

The Mets continue to try and get creative in finding a shortstop but the most likely scenario is the Mets give Wilmer Flores the first crack at being the starting shortstop with Ruben Tejada entering the season as the backup middle infielder. If Flores struggles offensively the club will likely continue to search for a long term shortstop.

By Steven Inman 

While Mike Piazza did gain a few more votes, it will be until at least 2016 until the former catcher gets into Cooperstown

While Mike Piazza did gain a few more votes, it will be until at least 2016 until the former catcher gets into Cooperstown

Former Met catcher Mike Piazza was not admitted into the Hall Of Fame again when the final ballots were released Tuesday. Piazza earned just 69.9 percent of votes. To get in to the Hall of Fame, a candidate must appear on 75 percent of the 571 ballots from Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza got 62.2 percent in 2014, up from his debut year (57.8 percent).

There are many reasons Piazza didn’t get in. For starters many writers won’t vote for a player even if there is the smallest hint of doubt that he may have used steroids. Secondly but perhaps just as importantly some writers use their ballots as a way of getting themselves publicity which is just a shame.There were some voters that didn’t even vote for All-Time greats such as Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez for some reason.

As long as there isn’t any proof that Piazza did steroids than I think it is ridiculous that some of these writers chose not to vote for him. It’s disappointing for Mets fans as the Mets don’t plan on retiring Piazza’s number at Citi Field until they know for sure that #31 is getting into the Hall as a Met. Piazza won’t get into Cooperstown in July and it looks like he may not get in for the foreseeable future.