A New York minute is no way for the Mets to do business

A “New York minute” is a phrase to describe an incredibly brief moment of time. Or as Johnny Carson once explained, it’s the interval between a Manhattan traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn. Right now, Mets fans are wondering why Sandy Alderson doesn’t fix all of the team’s problems in a New York minute.

Of course, Alderson brought some of this on himself, speculating that he could get contract extensions done for R.A. Dickey and David Wright by the end of the World Series. If he had kept to that timetable, the logic goes, he could have addressed the outfield at the Winter Meetings and the 2013 team would be in place by now.

But it’s way past time for the Mets to be less concerned with winning in early December than winning in August. The last four years the Mets are 44-67 in the eighth month of the year. I don’t think you can point to just one thing and make that the culprit for the team’s lousy record in August. But it does seem like the Mets have been way too preoccupied with getting things done in a New York minute during the offseason.

As mentioned yesterday, the previous two years that Alderson’s been in charge, he’s come back from the Winter Meetings with D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, Frank Francisco, Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch and Andres Torres. And while they looked like good deals at the time, in hindsight they were all failures of varying degrees. Francisco still has a chance to prove his worth, but 98 percent of the fan base wishes he was gone.

Currently the handwringing is all about how Alderson is handling contract negotiations with Dickey. It’s hard to accurately describe how much the fan base loves him but right now the overwhelming sentiment is anger at how the club is handling contract negotiations with their star pitcher. Dickey has asked for a two-year contract extension at what appears to be below-average rates for a pitcher of his caliber and the fans are shocked and dismayed that the Mets have not locked up their Cy Young Award winner through the 2015 season.

Alderson is working two different angles in regards to Dickey. He’s shopping him around the league, figuring the demand for front-end pitchers should bring back a big haul. Reportedly, Alderson is holding out for two top prospects for Dickey while other clubs are only offering one.

Yet while he’s trying to trade him, Alderson is also negotiating an extension with Dickey. While it seems like a no-brainer to sign him for the money he’s asking, the issue is that some potential trading partners may actually prefer Dickey on a one-year deal at an insane bargain than a three-year deal at a good price.

The other thing slowing negotiations is that while Dickey was the best pitcher in 2012, his advanced age and lack of success before joining the Mets made many wary of dealing for him, especially when other options were available. But now that Zack Greinke has signed, the pitching market has become clearer. It would help if Josh Hamilton, not a pitcher but a very desirable free agent nonetheless, would agree to terms with a team.

Rumor has it that if the Rangers re-sign Hamilton, they will then meet Alderson’s demands and trade for Dickey. The Blue Jays and Red Sox are the other teams mentioned most often in regards to deals with the Mets, although Toronto prefers the younger Jonathon Niese.

Hopefully for everyone involved, the Mets can resolve things with Dickey sooner rather than later. But the goal of the process is not expedience, but rather to assemble the best team possible for the future. Maybe that future team includes Dickey, maybe not. While it would be great to have Dickey through 2015, it might be even better to have two more guys to team up with Zack Wheeler in years way beyond 2015.

Either way – in the meantime – relax and have a cream soda. It will be over before Spring Training starts, which is all that really matters.

The whole scene reminds me of an old saying. There are two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: “Hey pop, let’s run down the hill and boink one of those cows!” The older one says: “No son, let’s walk down and boink ‘em all.”

So, be like the smarter, older bull and realize that not everything good happens in a New York minute.

16 comments for “A New York minute is no way for the Mets to do business

  1. December 13, 2012 at 11:26 am

    What’s the rush to trade Dickey? Let’s wait and see. We can always field a better offer at the trading deadline with a team that’s vying for a playoff spot rather than settle for an upgrade in personnel. How many teams have starters go down with season ending injuries? By waiting we could have OUR choice of players and continue building towards 2014.

    • David Groveman
      December 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      Let us wait and see? WAIT AND SEE?!?

      Okay… here is how that plays out.

      1. Mets do dismally because we still have no outfielders worth starting on 95% of major league teams.

      2. R.A. Dickey holds his value but would be a 2.5 month rental, R.A. Dickey is shadow of himself in 2013 or R.A. Dickey gets hurt.

      3. Mets trade Dickey for a single prospect, a questionable bunch of prospects or hold onto him and get compensation picks (MAYBE).

      Were you not paying attention when the Mets played the “Wait and See” game with Jose Reyes?

  2. December 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

    It was considered a stroke of genius when Sandy Alderson got one top prospect at the deadline for Carlos Beltran, who could not be offered arbitration. Now, Alderson is holding out for two top prospects. The idea in trading him now is that the Mets should be able to get more back for him when the other team can have him for a full year, rather than 2.5 months.

  3. Name
    December 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I think Sandy’s negotiating tactics have actually made teams shy away. Teams must be thinking, “Why should we give up 2 top prospects for someone that they won’t even give a very reasonable 2 year extention? There must be something wrong with him.”

    So basically it seems like Sandy is valuing Dickey at X dollars in a trade, yet during a contract extension, only Y dollars, which is significantly less than X. And other teams are taking notice and wondering why.

    • December 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Perhaps fans of other teams feel like that but there’s no way that other GMs do. They know full well that Alderson holds all of the leverage in this situation. No one likes to be the one without power, which is where Dickey stands in this.

      • Name
        December 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

        But as his leverage increases, his approval ratings decrease. :)

        • December 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm

          And if he was Dayton Moore, he might have to worry about his approval rating. Sandy Alderson does not.

  4. Chris F
    December 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Respectfully, I completely disagree with this article too. “The waiting game” is all Alderson does. So far it has netted us very little. The waiting game got the Mets exactly zero for Jose Reyes, which was another classless negotiation just like this. We waited through the summer break to shore up some holes and waited and waited…and got nothing. And the winter meetings went by and, surprise surprise, nothing again. Nothing is what Alderson is best at doing. To offer up that the ’13 Mets will look like the second half ’12 Mets, as I read elsewhere, sizes up to a 100 L season. Citi field will be a morgue for a lot more than 30 games.

    I disagree he holds the cards. Sure he holds some cards, so does RA, and so do the other GMs, who by the way clearly dont see things as Alderson does. Every day the shift of power moves to others.

    The Alderson way of negotiating with the reigning Cy Young winner is simply reprehensible, and totally classless. I understand he has trade value, and not even completely against that. However, dragging an accomplished individual though preposterous offers simply to bide time shows no respect for RA as a person, the Cy Young award, and baseball in general. He would have been far better off to tell RAs agent after the end of the season, we are investigating all trade opportunities through January and plan to begin extension negotiations then. Instead what Alderson delivered is a PR, and actual, nightmare for this team who’s management is can be considered as inept. Actually expecting the reigning CY winner to reply to an offer of 7M$/yr when junk pitchers are getting 10-15M$ exposes the petty and miserable side of this ownership/management team. I have lost all respect for Alderson. I already had none for the Wilpon’s.

    I cant wait to see Jon Niese as the staff “ace” next year with all his worldly wisdom of baseball. Even better when Olt is being moved from a native position to roaming around in some OF position lost as a lamb, no doubt effecting his confidence at the plate. Perhaps Duda, the pride of the Mo’s Zone, can give him the “down low” on the successes of moving to the OF.

    Getting better? Hardly. This team is getting worse.

    • December 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Taking injuries off the table, the worst thing that happens to Alderson by waiting to pull the trigger is that Dickey comes back for one year, pitches well and refuses to sign with the Mets. In that case they get a great deal on him in 2013 and they make a qualifying offer and get a draft pick. That’s a pretty good worst-case scenario and I put the odds of it happening at less than five percent.

      The upside is that, just like he did with Beltran, he waits and gets what he wants – what few thought he could get. The Mets end up with two players who help for the next seven years, possibly more.

      And I just don’t think Dickey is going to refuse to sign a contract with the Mets if a month from now, Alderson agrees to the 2/$26 Dickey wants.

      Meanwhile, the worst-case scenario for Dickey is that he turns back into a pumpkin and no one offers him the 2/$20 that the Mets have. While I don’t think that’s very realistic either, I do think we can’t be so quick to rule out an injury for him. Guys in their upper 30s tend to get hurt – that’s just life.

      I fully believe that this is going to work out for all parties. I think Dickey is going to get the contract he wants before the start of the 2013 season, whether it’s with the Mets or whichever club he’s dealt to. The Mets will either have Dickey, or two badly-needed young players to provide offense.

      If you want to say that this should have been done outside of the public eye – I would agree with you. But Alderson needs to explore the trade value of all of his players and he’s doing that with Dickey. And he’s not making a trade now just to show the fans he’s alive. Alderson is waiting to get his price and I think odds are he gets it.

      Of course, his price may not be enough. But if after a month of everyone in the business saying that he was asking too much for an old knuckleball pitcher – if Alderson does get two top prospects, I believe most insiders will congratulate him, much like they did when he got Wheeler.

    • Metsense
      December 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Well said Chris. I respect all who post that want two prospects for Dickey but it just isn’t appealing to me. The object is to put the best team on the field. The best team in 2013 would have Dickey on it. If the scouting reports on the minor league pitcher are correct, there will be plenty of pitching to trade in 2014 to improve the team.

      • Chris F
        December 14, 2012 at 8:59 am

        Thanks Metsense. My preference for baseball reasons is to keep RA (trading him for prospects, now that there aren’t any of real interest thanks to Alderson being reactive not proactive, looks increasingly like a bad direction), but I do understand that he has trade value that needs to be explored. I don’t fault the Mets for that. I think the way Alderson has conducted affairs is far below professional expectations and standards, which has muddied RAs trade value, and sent a lousy message to Mets fans. I didn’t cry about losing Reyes, but that this team let him walk and got nothing in return for a 100M$ premium position player tells me he is over his head now. RA is just the next epic blunder. I guess when you play in Ebbets field, that “back to the future” strategy makes sense. It’ll be great when the Washington Senators come to town.

        • Name
          December 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

          Not that i want to spark another debate about Reyes, but some tidbits.
          He was injured from July3-18, so that was a major factor in him not being traded.
          From after the injury to the trading deadline, he only hit .206
          Mets were thinking they could get a compensation pick, so any trade would have to bring back some greater than they could have got in the draft.
          Reyes had a chance for the batting title
          And the Mets were still 2 games above .500, so they had fringe playoff hopes.

          Even in hindsight, i don’t think that not trading him was a obvious mistake.

  5. Name
    December 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    We got some shockers today. Hamilton to Angels and Sanchez to Cubbies. Dominoes are falling quickly now. I expect a move by Alderson by the end of the weekend.

    • Chris F
      December 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Dempster to Red Sox for 2/26.

      Maybe an Angels trade?

      • Name
        December 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

        Looks like Sanchez deal not quite done yet. Tigers have a chance to match Cubs offer. Also, Acosta signed with a Japan team :( But i guess no team here was going to give him anything near 1.65 million.

  6. December 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Couldn’t agree with you ore Metsense. If you know you are not going to offer Jose Reyes a contract why didn’t they trade him and at least and get something in return? I feel bad for R.A. knowing the team has talked to just about everyone just to gauge his market value. Hasn’t Sandy been around long enough to know what value Dickey has in the trade market? Where is the plan to sign some outfielders who can play defense and maybe get on base once in a while. I don’t think the Mets will re-sign Scott Hairston(too expensive). So what are they… no WHEN are they planning on doing something? I guess the Mets will be the first team in baseball history to platoon all three out field positions.

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