Dickey the CY Young Award winner and Reyes gone in a fire sale

The R.A. Dickey story continues with his National League CY Young Award that was announced Wednesday evening. The New York Mets pitcher and first knuckle ball recipient of the award, third pitcher in Mets history with that distinction, gets a well deserved honor.

Some will say a knuckle ball thrower is not deserving of CY Young Award status. However, a 20-win season, to go along with taking the ball for a struggling team, is enough to vouch for the landslide first ballot among voters with the baseball Writers of America.

It is a success story. Dickey was on the verge of leaving the game of baseball, adversity on his side, now in an elite group of a few with the distinction of becoming the best at what he does.

The game of baseball is made for a story like this even if the knuckle ball has been made to prolong the career of a 38-year old pitcher. For the Mets, and their fans, a team of disappointment, the award is also for them

Dickey was the first to say, “This is for the Mets organization and for the fans.” In reality, the award is for Dickey who is never one to say “I” and always refers to accomplishments as, “We.”

Tom Seaver and Doc Gooden were previous CY Young Award recipients for the New York Mets. The fastball, curve, and a variety of other pitches were a part of their image. So, it is not unusual for the skeptics to claim that the knuckle ball is not a regular pitch.

Perhaps, to a certain degree the knuckler is not in the class of a fastball or curve, the slider, or changeup. Dickey, as often stated so many times says, “It’s a pitch like a butterfly, coming at you and trying to catch it.”

So forget the notion that Dickey and the knuckle ball are not deserving of the award. That, Geo Gonzalez, and his 21-wins with the Washington Nationals were more deserving. Or that Dodgers’ left hander Clayton Kershaw and his NL leading ERA should have gave him two straight CY Young Award seasons.

Dickey with three shutouts, leader in NL quality starts, (27) with only four poor outings, said his storybook season can also be attributed to what was behind him. The catcher Josh Thole handling the knuckle ball so effectively, the third baseman David Wright handling the plays at third, but leading the league in strikeouts, 230, and innings pitched, 233, are something that should not go unnoticed.

Yes, this is a success story that deserves attention, for a pitcher who left spring training in 2010 without a team. And then, the Mets offered him a contract as he perfected the knuckler to overcome the adversity,

“It brings a real degree of legitimacy to the knuckleball fraternity,” said Dickey Wednesday evening from his home in Nashville Tennessee. “I’m glad to represent them,” he said about Phil Niekro, Tim Wakefield and Charlie Huff.

He may not be able to duplicate the season that was, as it becomes more difficult for a pitcher to do so, even if the knuckle ball works to Dickey’s advantage. And there is that distinct possibility, now that he is a good trade commodity, that the Mets could get some value in return with a proper offer.

But, Dickey is not thinking about that, neither are the Mets for the moment. They will make every attempt to re-sign him, an incentive for fans to attend Mets games at Citi Field in 2013.

JOSE REYES AND THE MARLINS FIRE SALE:  An immediate question is, should Jose Reyes have stayed in New York and took the initial  deal of less money and a shorter stint of time instead of opting to take the deal with the Marlins?

Yes and no, because it is sports “Ego-Nomics” as the Miami Marlins have discovered after their last place finish and 69 wins, in a lost 2012 season of spending, a new ballpark and now a fire sale.

There is no guarantee that spending will buy a championship. The Marlins are well aware, the owner Jeffrey Loria is under fire for buying and selling off $163.75 million in contracts with a multi-player deal involving the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto becomes an immediate favorite to overtake the New York Yankees in the AL East acquiring the contracts of Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrie and Josh Johnson, plus the Jays get some cash with other players in the deal.

But the trade brings up any number of questions, one being does this send a message to owners that spending and offering long term deals may be a thing of the past? Ask the Yankees, who may not be able to trade away an aging and declining Alex Rodriguez with five years remaining on a $250 million dollar contract.

As for Reyes, who did his part with the Marlins, is this, his last stop? Probably not, as a player of his value in the game is worthy for any team that is willing to pick up pieces of a contract.

There is a factor for Reyes, who played in 161 games for Miami. He goes to a new league and will play on artificial turf, something that could hinder his hamstrings which caused numerous problems during his tenure in New York.

It is baseball and sports “Ego-Nomics.”  And next to the Dodgers-Red Sox mega trade in September, this one could be sending the message. The era of a huge and long term deal with the players and owners may be over.

E-Mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com  Listen and watch Rich Thursday evening live 8-10pm www.inthemixxradio.com or log on Facebook.com/Keep it in the Ring

Posted under Award Recipients, Baseball Writers, Changeup, Cy Young, Cy Young Award, Cy Young Award Winner, Deserved Honor, Doc Gooden, Elite Group, Fastball, Fire Sale, Knuckle Ball, Landslide, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Tom Seaver, Top Story, Washington Nationals, Wednesday Evening

Sportsbeat – 5/28/11

You have to say this for Mets owner Fred Wilpon; he’s a standup guy. When news leaked of Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker article on the Mets in which Wilpon got in digs at Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright, he did not wimp out and say that he was misquoted. “Frustrated Fred” was merely channeling his inner Steinbrenner.

While the Toobin piece generated the buzz, the more troublesome article on the Mets owner was penned by Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated. The piece was fairly sympathetic to Wilpon but he made it clear that he expects his team to lose $70 million (don’t ask me if that is actually a true cash loss or it that figure includes such items as depreciation and other big asset amortizations and write-offs) and that he wants the Mets 2012 payroll to be around $100 million.

The SI article means that Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez are certain to be dealt by the July 31 trade deadline. Mets GM Sandy Alderson tried to minimize the damage by saying that he has not ruled out making Reyes a long-term offer but you get the feeling that was just window dressing so that other teams wont’ make him a bottom-of-the-barrel trade offer.

A few years ago the knock on the Mets was that they were imitating the Yankees by trying to sign high-priced free agents. I have a feeling that the Mets will now be copying the way the Pirates and the Royals do business. I can barely wait for the Mets’ inevitable fire sale and Sandy Alderson’s comments after it takes place. You can be sure that he’ll be claiming that Mets fans will soon fall in love with the young, hungry players that he acquired. I wonder if he’ll have the temerity to use that hoary baseball “five-tool player” cliche.

While Fred Wilpon did find his white knight minority owner in David Einhorn (it’s good to see that he hasn’t lost faith in hedge fund operators) it’s unlikely that cash infusion will be used for players salaries. This looks like a straight equity for debt reduction swap.

Depressed Mets who want something to divert their interests might want to try following the Red Bulls of Major League Soccer who play their home games in beautiful Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey just outside of Newark and easily accessible via PATH. The team is led by prolific goal scorer Thierry Henry.

Even if soccer is your least favorite sport it is worth going to a Red Bulls game for the sheer entertainment value. The spectators who fill the seats behind the visiting goalie never stop singing and dancing. Two weeks ago when the Red Bulls were playing the Colorado Rapids these talented folks broke into soccer versions of “Walking In A Winter Wonderland” and the Peggy March oldie “I Will Follow Him.” They were better than most Broadway casts! Like hockey, soccer is infinitely more enjoyable in person than on television.

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber, who is an alumnus of Bayside High School was the featured speaker at the Sports Business Journal Franchises & Facilities conference last month. He indicated that he would like to put an expansion MLS team into Queens as soon as possible. A syndicate is trying to revive the New York Cosmos name and is hoping to get awarded the team. Garber is hoping to get a $75 to $ 100 million MLS entry fee from any New York team buyer.

The third week in May is always when the big television networks introduce their fall programming at ritual known as “The Upfront.” Nearly every network head expressed hope that the NFL labor situation would be resolved. Ironically the network that will get hurt the most if there aren’t NFL games is the one with the fewest NFL broadcasts–NBC. “Football Night in America” is NBC’s highest rated program and its new entertainment chief, Bob Greenblatt, is counting on FNIA as a promotional platform for his new shows.

Dick Ebersol, who has been running NBC Sports for well over a generation, shocked a lot of folks when he announced his resignation three days after his network’s upfront. I had an inkling that something was amiss when the usually dapper Dick showed up on stage disheveled and gave a rambling speech in which he ignored one of his network’s few sports properties, the National Hockey League.

Ebersol’s resignation, combined with Comcast’s (NBC’s new owner) traditional reluctance to spend big bucks, means that ESPN becomes the frontrunner with respect to acquiring future Olympic broadcast rights.

ESPN VP John Skipper dismissed the notion that ESPN will automatically seek higher fees from cable operators who will pass them on to subscribers. “Yes, we have been tough negotiators when it comes to revenue but it’s not true that we’ll tie the Olympics to another rate hike,” said Skipper. An ESPN public relations exec also wondered aloud to me about why other networks don’t get the same grief as ESPN even though they all make economic demands on cable and satellite providers.

Best of luck to former Islanders captain Doug Weight who announced his retirement just before Memorial Day. Weight, one of the classiest guys to ever lace up the skates, will become an assistant coach and a special assistant to Isles GM Garth Snow.

If you are looking for a good Father’s Day gift, pick up a copy of David Barrett’s Golfing With Dad (Skyhorse Publishing). Barrett gets such great PGA and LPGA pros as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd, and Christina Kim to share their recollections of being on the links as kids with the man most responsible for shaping their lives.

Chris Jericho has been one of the WWE’s wittiest and best in-in-ring performers for years. Jericho reveals more behind-the-scenes stuff about life in the pro wrestling biz in his second book, Undisputed (Grand Central Publishing).

All wrestling fans were saddened by the death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Along with such comedic and talented grapplers as Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase , Roddy Piper, Savage helped make the ‘80s and early ‘90s a golden age for the WWE.

The feds are really starting to crack down on Internet gaming. They recently took down the website, www.bookmaker.com, which posted not only traditional sports book odds but gave the odds on such non-traditional wagering action as which film would be the highest grossing of the summer and which TV show would be the first cancellation of the fall season.

One of my all-time favorite columnists is Stanley Bing who I first read when I was an economics major back in the day at Columbia University and was subscribing to Esquire. Now a columnist with Fortune, Bing has written about the major leaguers of big business with an on-the-money sense of humor. His latest book, Bingsop’s Fables (Harper), are short stories written in the style of Aesop that tickle the funny bone but whose message is quite accurate.

If you are looking for premium water that tastes great (better than Evian and is eco-friendly, check out H2O Spring Water (yes, that is what it’s called) that comes in a tetra box package.

Internet radio is becoming a terrific hotbed for sports programming. Two shows that are worth catching on the Sports Talk Network (www.sportstalknetwork.com) are The Hockey Beat with Mr. Hockey himself, Ashley Scharge, which can be heard Monday nights at 7 PM EDT, while on the following night at 7PM EDT, Rick Morris hosts the FDH Lounge where celebrities, athletes, and media types can talk about a variety of topics and very little is off the table. This is exactly the kind of show that should be on Sirius XM.

ESPN Deportes will be getting some competition. During Upfront Week, Univision announced that it would be starting a 24-hour sports network.

Posted under Amortizations, Beltran Jose, Bottom Of The Barrel, Carlos Beltran, Cash Infusion, Equit, Fire Sale, Jose Reyes, Lloyd Carroll, Mets Fans, Mets Gm, New York Mets, Rod Rodriguez, Sandy Alderson, Standup Guy, Tom Verducci, Top Story, True Cash, Yorker Article

This post was written by Lloyd Carroll on May 28, 2011

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Mets Don’t Look Good Despite Changes At Top

Sandy Alderson is the new General Manager and Terry Collins shortly followed as the new manager. A new regime is in command of the New York Mets amid a financial mess that may eventually force owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon to sell a portion of the team or their entire interests.

The Wilpon financial mess is just one of the issues that await the New York Mets as they begin the 2011 season Friday night down in Miami with the Florida Marlins. Gone are pitcher Oliver Perez and infielder Luis Castillo, two holdovers of previous GM Omar Minaya. Some payroll will eventually be free, and there are two less popular Mets at Citi Field when the team has their home opener.

So what should be expected from the 2011 New York Mets? They can be competitive if their starting pitching and bullpen steps up. They will be without their injured ace Johan Santana who may throw his first pitch in early July. And how far the Mets can go will depend on how long they stay injury free. In particular there is concern for outfielders Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran.

Yes, questions again for the team and fans, even with a new regime, a fan has to be patient. There is optimism for the future but not winning expectations this year even with a manager like Collins. He is different than previous manager Jerry Manuel, knows the game and will tell it like it is without hesitation.

The team is capable of winning 80 games, coming off a dismal fourth place finish at 79-83, finishing 18 games behind the division winning Philadelphia Phillies. And the Phillies on paper look like the team that will dominate, and the Atlanta Braves will be in the hunt.

If pitching and key players stay away from the disabled list the Mets could be in the wildcard race. But the first month, April, where the Mets will have many home games is important. They need to have a good start or for sure there will be nothing to play for and a fire sale will come in late July.

Beltran will start in right field assuming his left knee is healthy. In the last year of his contract he could be traded. And so could Jose Reyes, though the Mets shortstop came to camp healthy and had an outstanding spring. It is realistic to assume that ownership, with all of their financial issues won’t be able to afford Reyes who is also in a walk year of his contract.

If the Mets get off to a good start there is reason for optimism. And if Reyes and Beltran are performing to expectations, and if the team is still in contention, then by late July you can expect Reyes and Beltran to finish out the season in New York. Reyes hit .282 last season drove in 54 runs and still had a .321 on base percentage which shows he can get on base when in the lineup.

Beltran in 2010 once again had limited playing time, 64 games, with the bad right knee. Now it is the left side that is hurting. His production in the lineup is vital if the Mets want to contend, and the .254 average of last year, 7 home runs and 27 RBI reflects one of the reasons why the Mets were 13th in hitting and third to last in the National League when driving in runs.

But Mets fans will come to expect that by the end of the season, and going into 2012 the team payroll will go from $150 million to $75 million or less, and in New York sometimes that is not acceptable. Minus Reyes and Beltran it could be less however every game the Mets play they will have, viable MVP candidates in Reyes and David Wright.

Other important factors to consider are David Wright, Angel Pagan and Ike Davis. Wright showed an adjustment to hitting the ball out of Citi Field. 29 home runs and 103 RBI, but he has to cut down on the strike outs, 151. Pagan had a comeback year and proved how important he has become and will take over center. He adds speed to the position and on the bases. Can Pagan again hit around .290 and increase his numbers of 11 home runs and 69 RBI?

Davis had an outstanding rookie season, 19 home runs, 71 RBI and developed as an outstanding big league first baseman. Josh Thole is the starting catcher and has to play a bulk of games. Backup Ronnie Paulino starts the season with a suspension stemming from abusing illegal body enhancing drugs and he has come down with a blood condition. So the backup will be Michael Nickeas who tasted a cup of coffee with the team in September and the second base job, at least for now goes to Brad Emaus a Rule 5 player who impressed Collins. If Reyes should get traded then expect youngster Ruben Tejada to be recalled form Buffalo and take control of his natural position,

And the cog in the lineup to how far the Mets will go in 2011 is Jason Bay The left fielder, with a huge contract, went down with a concussion in mid season and was limited to 95 games, 6 home runs and drove in 47. The Mets had to use a variety of players to fill the void using Nick Evans and Lucas Duda. Bay will probably start the long campaign on the DL after sustaining an injury to his rib cage Tuesday so Duda or Evans could be on the opening day roster.

In fact, some baseball experts are picking the Mets to finish last because they don’t expect Beltran, Wright and Bay to play 95 games apiece because of injuries that have plagued this team the past three years.

The pitching staff that had a combined 3.70 ERA last season, surprisingly sixth in the league and perhaps that was due to the emergence of knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey who finished 11-9 coming off a spring training contract. Though one can’t expect the 35-year old Dickey to have similar numbers and if he does than the pitching will be that much better,

The ace, until Santana returns is right hander Mike Pelfrey, 15-9, .366 ERA and with a much improved slider.  Jonathon Niese will follow after a full year under his belt and hopefully will improve on his 9-10 record and 4.20 ERA. Chris Young pitched two games with San Diego last year, was shut down and now the Mets see some arm strength and a good fastball to provide some spark in the rotation as another minor investment.

And the surprise could be Chris Capuano, 2-0 this spring. He is another of the “cheap” investments that Alderson made when taking over and the former Milwaukee Brewer provides insurance as a fifth starter and long reliever out of the pen.

If the starters can go deep, then what will the suspect Mets pen do? They were next to last in saves last season. The Mets can only hope that Frankie Rodriguez is back to form, that his shoulder has recovered, and most of all that his anger management issues are a thing of the past. K-Rod is not expected to save 62 games, but if the Mets want to make anything interesting, if they are in close games, then K-Rod needs to close the door.

If not, Collins has to work with a revolving door of arms out of the pen which was what Manuel had to do last season. The key loss was Pedro Feliciano now with the cross-town Yankees, and for the past three years Feliciano was the most used pitcher in baseball coming out of the pen.

Bobby Parnell has been groomed to be the set up man, D.J. Carasco, another minor investment can assist with a good fastball, and as it appears, a replacement for Feliciano.

The Mets will miss the versatility of Chris Carter off the bench, now with Tampa Bay. But their bench also minor investments made by Alderson is vastly improved Willie Harris for the outfield, a veteran who was with the Washington Nationals, Scott Hairston, once with San Diego, an infielder and outfielder Yes Daniel Murphy, who until last week was in the running for the start at second base.

The 2011 New York Mets full of questions as to how far they will go. Can they contend and will Citi Field be an interesting place to visit by August?  Surprises do happen often in baseball and with the Mets they will have to do the unexpected to make it an interesting 2011.

E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

 

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Bullpen, Carlos Beltran, Financial Mess, Fire Sale, Florida Marlins, Hesitation, Home Games, Home Opener, Infielder, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Luis Castillo, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Optimism, Outfielders, Philadelphia Phillies, Sandy Alderson, Top Story, Wildcard Race

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on April 1, 2011