Chat with Adam Rubin
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Tuesday, New York Mets writer Adam Rubin will stop by to take your baseball questions.
Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
Send your questions now and join Rubin Tuesday at noon ET!
Adam Rubin (11:57 AM)
Thanks for joining me. Let's get started ...
Tommy Crimmins (Conneticut)
Adam do you think the Mets should use Josh Thole at the 2 spot in the order because of his great contact or the 6 or 7 because he will drive in more runs
Adam Rubin (11:59 AM)
Bless you for a baseball question to kick it off. Josh Thole in the No. 2 hole would be along the same lines as when Paul LoDuca did that -- a guy who could put the ball in the whole between first and second base while Jose Reyes is being held on base. But that's not the direction Terry Collins has said he's going. Collins says his order, barring injuries, which is a big if, will be: Reyes, Pagan, Wright, Beltran, Bay, Davis, Thole, 2B, pitcher.
Hey Adam,During your last chat, you mentioned that you were uncertain if Ike Davis would reach 20 homers this year. Considering the fact that he hit 19 homers as a rookie, that he'll likely have a better lineup around him, and that most of his homers aren't wallscrapers, what makes you doubt his power potential?
Adam Rubin (12:01 PM)
I just think 19 is about his max. Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but I'm not alone in that assessment. His father, if I remember correctly, likened his production to John Olerud, who typically ranged between 18-22. Maybe I'm cheating Ike of a few homers and he'll finish at the high end of that range, but that's in a peak performance year I believe.
The consensus seems to be that Wilmer Flores could be a major Bat but isn't a SS. Has the new regime decided what position Wilmer will play in 2011?
Adam Rubin (12:02 PM)
I'll be interested in seeing when they decide to move his position, which has to be coming. I plan to watch for that when I get down to Port St. Lucie, Fla. The old regime believed you keep shortstops and center fielders at those positions as long as you can to maximize their trade value, etc. But they waited too long on occasion. I'm not sure if a position change is coming this year, but it's definitely coming because of Flores' poor foot speed. We'll see if that means corner infield or corner outfield.
Do you have any feel for how quickly all this ownership shuffling could move? Could a transaction take place during the season, or would it take longer?
Adam Rubin (12:04 PM)
It certainly seems like it should take a while, certainly after the season. How can someone responsibily invest now knowing the final amount the Wilpons will need to pay back in the Madoff affair and how that will affect the Wilpons' stability as majority owner? And, as has been reported, The New York Times Co. has been trying to sell a minority share in the Red Sox for a while and has been unsuccesful parting with all of its holdings.
Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)
IF you could handpick the new minority stake owner for the Mets, would you pick a Mets fan with baseball savvy OR someone with deep pockets that was simply in it to own and shut up/stay out of the way?
Adam Rubin (12:05 PM)
Well, if it's a minority owner who has no say, deep pockets would probably be better. You would hope a successful businessperson who has little knowledge of baseball would provide the funds and then put the right decision-makers in place to execute the baseball decisions (whether he's already there in Sandy Alderson or otherwise).
Silver Lining (Fort Myers)
Adam - Could Sandy's comments about the $140MM payroll being lower just be a sign that they will overslot in future drafts plus spend more internationally with some of that cash coming from the major league payroll number? I can sure live with that.
Adam Rubin (12:06 PM)
They've been on the record saying they now will go over slot. Whether some of that spending is being borrowed from future payrolls or the decision is independent isn't clear, I suppose.
Silver Lining (Fort Myers)
Adam - From a legal perspective, I would think the Wilpon/Madoff situation totally prevents them from selling a portion or the entire team because of the unknown liabilities associated with this means they would get alot less than book value. Do you think thye will hold onto the team and then go the bankruptcy route like the Rangers? I would love to see you do a story on that with a legal expert. Thanks, enjoy your work.
Adam Rubin (12:08 PM)
I'll be fascinating if a judge unseals the lawsuit after the Feb. 9 hearing and we can see exactly the sum we're talking about. I will say this: the Wilpons have consistently said they want the Mets to remain in their family for generations, and I know Jeff has eyes on being COO or higher for the next 20-30 years plus. So in order for them to relinquish control, the financial situation would have to be dire (which it may end up being).
Who would you put money on to be the Mets starting second baseman coming out of spring training and why?
Adam Rubin (12:10 PM)
I can certainly see some combination of Emaus and Murphy emerging -- with both on the roster in any case. Emaus bats righty, Murphy lefty. Justin Turner has the deck stacked against him because he has minor league options remaining. And Luis Castillo has the deck stacked against him because of past performance and future projections about what he would produce.
I know it depends on health and where Mets are in standings but If Beltran is dealt do we see Kirk Neuenhas (I know I am spelling his name wrong)
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis probably isn't first in the pecking order as a fill-in. You would then have Jason Bay in left field and Angel Pagan in center field if Beltran were unavailable. On the major league roster you may already have Scott Hairston and Willie Harris available as options, and even potentially Nick Evans. And then Lucas Duda might be a more logical first call-up for a starting role. Nieuwenhuis, while promising, struggled a little in Triple-A and probably still needs a little more development time. And let's not forget Fernando Martinez still exists too.
John (Patchogue )
How is it the mets think having a payroll less then 140 million while have the 2nd highest ticket prices in baseball makes any sense? When will they lower ticket prices? Will they even do that or do they think the fans are their own personal atm machine?
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
I take it you just want to put that on the record.
Adam, can you see the Mets trading KRod mid season to a team with a established closer for a couple of grade C prospects?
Adam Rubin (12:13 PM)
If the Mets traded K-Rod, any team would likely be accepting a $17.5 million contract vesting for 2012 -- which is out of line. So either the Mets would have to kick in money or a team would really need to be desperate for a closer.
Chris (Pereira Colombia)
What do you think are the chances David Wright stays long term with the mets due to the fact of the now financial straits of ownership and also the new regime's method of assessing players.
Adam Rubin (12:16 PM)
Toward the tail end of the last regime, I was starting to become convinced that it was very possible because of all the dysfunction David Wright could ultimately finish his career elsewhere -- that he'd just become fed up with it. I ran it by someone close to David, and he got the same sense. Once Sandy Alderson took over and things stabilized, I backed off that assessment a little. Now I don't know again. I do think Wright has a far better chance long term to remain a Met than Jose Reyes. And I do think ownership and Alderson recognize what a blow it would be PR-wise if nothing else if Wright defects. My gut is that the Mets will always pay Wright like Jeter gets paid -- a lot on ability, but also because of what it means to the franchise -- and for that reason he will remain a Met long term. Then again, let's see how dire the financial restraints become. He is under control for three more years, so there's plenty of time.
Why do you think the Mets weren't in on Justin Duchscherer? he signed for just a $750K g'tee.
Adam Rubin (12:20 PM)
Sorry. Lost internet connection for a moment:They apparently were in on Rodrigo Lopez. I guess there's a limit to how many of the guys you can assemble. Really, Chris Young and Chris Capuano should round out the rotation, and someone will get pushed out then anyway once Johan Santana returns. So the safety nets are Dillon Gee, D.J. Carrasco, Pat Misch, Oliver Perez, etc.
Joe B (Trumbull, CT)
Realistically, who do you see in the bullpen in 2011? is using Ike Davis as a lefty specialist even somewhat realistic? this could be really handy to use him during games and keep other right handed picthers in the game
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
If Ike throws a pitch, it will be after begging Terry Collins in a 19-1 blowout in the eighth inning. There's a little difference between pitching and college and stepping into a major league game. Plus the injury risk. The bullpen should include K-Rod, Parnell, Carrasco, Buchholz, a lefty specialist (Byrdak or Tankersley), a long man (maybe Pat Misch) and one spot for everyone else: Rule 5 pick Pedro Beato, Manny Acosta, the Byrdak-Misch loser, Blaine Boyer ...
If Young and Capuano are both healthy, could you see the rotation being Pelfrey, Dickey, Niese, Young and Capuano?
Adam Rubin (12:24 PM)
Exactly. And may I refer you to this rotation assessment we posted today at ESPNNY? http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/columns/story?columnist=rubin_adam&id=6075618
Adam, are all these financial issues related solely to this lawsuit? I think I remember reading last year speculation that the Wilpons were interested in the NY Islanders, and making a new stadium next to Citi Field creating a sort of "sports superplex" in Flushing. That seems inconsistent with the current assumptions about the Wilpons' financials. Thoughts?
Adam Rubin (12:28 PM)
If you believe the Wilpons, the money issues are related to the lawsuit filed in December, not any money they "lost" in the lawsuit. (I put "lost" in quotes because the trustee views them as net-gainers, although the Wilpons obviously thought they had much more money than they obviously had because of fictious statements from Madoff.) The Mets hope Wang moves the Islanders to the Citi Field area and created a synergy. They ideally did not want to be the ones buying the Islanders. But privately, someone close to Fred Wilpon told me last year he might be willing if needed to outright buy the Islanders if necessary to get them there. Obviously, that's out the window now. So maybe they didn't foresee the lawsuit and thought they'd be OK if they didn't have to return any money. That begs the question, though: How did they now know they would have to return money? The Times reported they had to pay back several million dollars in a near-identical lawsuit two years earlier from another Ponzi scheme they got tied up in, in which they made out OK relative to other investors.
Why are you so negative about EVERYTHING concerning the Mets. Even your response that Ike Davis has reached his peak power potential@ 23 years old and during his rookie season. are you kidding us.....
Adam Rubin (12:28 PM)
Just trying honesty. If you want my opinion, great. Ike himself has consistently said he does not envision himself as a big home run hitter.
Craig Lerner (New York)
Hi Adam, do you envision Willie Harris actually making the team? Does this mean Lucas Duda is out? How do you view Duda as a prospect?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
Terry Collins has said he expects Lucas Duda, along with Ruben Tejada and Jenrry Mejia, to open the season at Buffalo. He wants Duda to play every day if he's not going to be a starter. Scott Hairston got a major league deal, while Harris got a minor league deal. But I have to believe Harris' chances are pretty good of making the team. Would be excellent glove to have on bench, and his lefty hitting complements Hairston's righty hitting as backup outfielders.
Joe (Spencerport, NY)
Adam, do you think this whole Madoff mess will ultimately affect the team's development and future free agent pursuit? How long do you think this will hang over the team?
Adam Rubin (12:32 PM)
Obviously calls for a ton of speculation, and is highly contingent upon how much the Wilpons ultimately have to pay back to the trustee recovering funds for Madoff victims. What was fascinating yesterday is that nonwithstanding the Madoff mess, he expected the payroll to be "signficantly" -- his word -- less in future years than this year's $140 million to $150 million. As the conference call went on, perhaps cognizant that word wouldn't play well, he eased the language. But it certainly seems like he took the job recognizing the payroll would be in the $120 million or less range in future seasons anyway. Everyone can define "significantly" differently, but I would say that means the Mets' payroll will be no more than $120 million in 2012.
The Optimist (Fantasyland)
Adam..paint a scenario where the Mets are 'playing meaningful games in September (heck I'd take July..but I'm shooting for the moon...)
Adam Rubin (12:34 PM)
Meaningful games doesn't mean catching the Phillies. It means being in the wild card race. If things break right -- Beltran healthy, Santana returns in some semblance of his former self, Dickey and Pelfrey duplicate last year's performances (Pelfrey's summer swoon aside), Young and Capuano rediscover past form, Bay bounces back, Tankersley or Byrdak can duplicate what Feliciano did, Parnell or Carrasco steps up and performs well in the eighth inning -- they'll be fine.
After this year are Pelfrey and Pagan free agents or still arbitration-eligible?
Adam Rubin (12:35 PM)
That's why people's fascination in players filing for arbitraion is unfounded. Dickey would have been a free agent next offseason. Pagan won't be a free agent until after 2012. Pelfrey not until after 2013.
Great job as always Adam, enjoyed the piece on the Ps this morning. I still think Gee is going to play a large role with the club this year, something tells me either Cap or Young are not going to cut it. Would you say it will be fair to assess how dire the straits are by what becomes of Reyes at the trading deadline, if he gets off to a hot start?
Adam Rubin (12:38 PM)
I agree. If the Mets are out of it and Reyes is producing, Alderson will have to ask himself: Is he willing to give a Jayson Werth-type contract to Reyes if someone else will? If he's not, wouldn't it be irresponsible to not maximize what you get in return rather than settle for two draft picks if he departs as a free agent? Now, the question at that point would be: Did Alderson trade him because of the dire finances? Or did Alderson not intend to re-sign him anyway because it's not prudent to give a seven-year deal to a guy in his late 20s who relies on his speed? The better indicator will come next offseason when the Mets have $60 million or more potentially coming off the payroll. As I mentioned earlier, Alderson sounds like he's taking the payroll down anyway. But let's say they only reinvest $20 million of the hypothetical $60 million coming off. Then you'll really know how bad things are.
xBigNick (Jersey City, NJ)
I personally think Dickey would have won his arbitration case for the amount he suggested. What do you think of his 2+1 year deal?
Adam Rubin (12:40 PM)
It could turn out to be a big bargain. Dickey said he hoped he would be the biggest bargain in baseball. I suppose the front office is sold on Dickey duplicating last year's performance. But the track record is a little short for me. I think Dickey will be fine. But if Alderson's mantra was to maintain flexibility for future offseasons, it's interesting that the first commitment he made (other than $1.2 million for Carrasco in 2012) is for Dickey.
xBigNick (Jersey City, NJ)
You've been at ESPN New York for over a year now (I think). Differences between your current and former job?
Adam Rubin (12:41 PM)
We launched on eve of regular season last year, so not quite. But almost a year. At the Daily News, I'd need to do the blogging and online writing and then need to repackage it for the next day's paper. Now, I don't have to worry about that latter step, which certainly helps me expend more energy just getting the info as thorough as possible on the internet as quickly as possible. Both great places to work, though. I went from Bill Madden as a colleague to Buster, Tim, Jayson, etc. Quality people both places.
If the Mets were to trade Krod to setup on a team with an established closer wouldn't that prevent his option from vesting? Wouldn't he have some trade value in that case?
Adam Rubin (12:43 PM)
Yes. But his agent would scream bloody murder, K-Rod would be miserable and probably a negative clubhouse influence, future free agents would re-evaluate whether the Mets are a good destination if they'd pull something like that and they'd actually need to identify another closer without spending any money.
Is there any truth to the rumor that Oliver Perez is looking to buy the team?
Adam Rubin (12:44 PM)
I know you're joking, but I've always found it fascinating. Basically, players like Johan Santana ($137.5 million over seven years) and Carlos Beltran ($119 million over seven years) could pool their resources -- at least academically -- and buy a 25% of the Mets. (I know that's simplistic. They lose 40% or whatever off the top in taxes.)
jacob (brooklyb ny)
how many wins do you think the mets will have this year
Adam Rubin (12:45 PM)
80 max. ... Cue the "I'm being negative." Nope. It's realistic. And people I know in the organization don't disgree. It's the combination of all the "ifs" I identified regarding the team at assorted positions and the strength of the division.
xBigNick (Jersey City, NJ)
Hey Adam. Will you be down in PSL this spring and will there be coverage (hopefully videos) of Collins' training camp?
Adam Rubin (12:45 PM)
I hope to be down at some point next week. Definitely video. Thanks.
adam, will alderson have a say on the day to day decisions of this ballclub? ie the lineup and the bullpen
Adam Rubin (12:46 PM)
GMs always have input, but he seems like he's comfortable having Terry Collins make lineup calls, etc. Clearly a decision like whether Emaus should be on the roster or be offered back to the Blue Jays falls to the front office with input from the manager.
what did the wilpons gain from coming public with the statement that they are looking to sell a minority share of the mets?
Adam Rubin (12:48 PM)
Buyers then know to approach them, so it widens the pool. Would Martin Luther King III have known otherwise? And I suppose it would have seeped out anyway as they approached people. And it would have looked really bad if the Wilpons were secretly trying to sell part of the team and it leaked out that way, instead of them getting ahead of the news. That said, there are reports they approached a handful of real estate people in the past year and tried unsuccessfully to enlist them as minority partners.
So in your response above there are only about 20-30 things that need to break the Mets way! Thats hope for me, We Can Build On This!!!
Adam Rubin (12:49 PM)
I've found, in all seriousness, over the past few years that the longer your list of "ifs" and things that need to break right, the less likely you will be ultimately successful. I don't know the Phillies as well as if I were on that beat, but I have to imagine their list is a little shorter.
Hi Adam, just want to say I'm a local sports writer online, covering high school basketball at Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham, your neck of the woods...stop by sometime. Also, I just bought the Mets and wanted you to be the first to know.
Adam Rubin (12:51 PM)
I'll be at Plainview-JFK tonight. MacArthur of Levittown, which my brother coaches, looking to clinch a playoff berth. We're not in the same league as any of the Bellmore schools this year. Consider this fair warning to all, by the way, that you may be getting a few MacArthur tweets this evening.
I didnt realize Jeff Wilpon ran your internet service provider.
Adam Rubin (12:51 PM)
xBigNick (Jersey City, NJ)
The Mets' bench figures to be Hu, one of Murphy/Emaus (winner plays 2B, loser is on bench, Turner has options for AAA), Paulino, and the rest might be up in the air. Who figures to take the last spot/last two spots? I'm guessing Evans, Duda, Harris, Hairston, and others are in the mix.
Adam Rubin (12:53 PM)
I've long presumed a five-man bench, because you likely need a seven-man bullpen to offset the potential of starting pitchers not going deep given their recent history. You almost definitely have Paulino, Hu and Scott Hairston, who signed a major league deal. I would project, as you, the non-starter from Murphy and Emaus is No. 4. The final spot probably goes to Willie Harris, and puts Nick Evans on waivers. But if Emaus is not good and is offered back to the Jays, and Murphy emerges as the second baseman, perhaps Evans can sneak on that way. Also, remember, injuries happen and can open up spots. We were talking late in spring training last year about whether Mike Jacobs or Frank Catalanotto makes the team. When Murphy got injured, they both made it. And Jacobs actually ended up starting at first base.
Williw (Lincoln, NE)
How had is the Mets farm system and what will it take to build it up?
Adam Rubin (12:55 PM)
Sandy Alderson called it middle of the pack, which he said was unacceptable, at his initial press conference. Keith Law recently wasn't as kind, ranking it 26th, I believe. If they start going over slot, that will help. If they have a miserable season and draft high, that would help too. Let's face it, though, they have to draft better. Go back and look at that draft where the top two picks were college relievers.
Kyle (Charlotte, NC)
few easy questions for you:1) Odds that the Mets are sold? 2) Odds that Reyes is a Met next year? 3) Odds that Castillo/Perez are on this years team
Adam Rubin (12:56 PM)
Yikes. That's easy?Entirely sold? 20 percent. And it would take a few years and the Wilpons in dire, dire straits.Reyes met in 2012? I'll cop out and say 50-50.Castillo and Perez on team on Opening Day? 1Ętillo or Perez on team on Opening Day? 10% -- at least allowing for injury possibility sneaking one of them on.
Nick (Jersey City, NJ)
The Mets' payroll next year (after arbitration estimates and without K-Rod's contract vesting) looks to still be around 45m less than 2011's. How much of that do you think the Mets will spend on a limited free agent class? I know we'd have to know how things turn out with the Wilpons and their situation but...an estimate.
Adam Rubin (12:58 PM)
I really hadn't sorted it out, taking into account raises for Wright, Santana and now Dickey, etc. But you have Beltran, Perez and Catillo at the least at a combined $36.5 million. But let's say they take the payroll down $20 million. With those raises, just re-signing Reyes would swallow up the rest without doing anything else. That's particularly what now gives me pause about whether Reyes is a Met beyond this year.
Adam, if Reyes,Beltran,Wright and Bay have "healthy" seasons (on par with their respective bests) the offense will be top 5 in NL, True or False??
Adam Rubin (12:59 PM)
Maybe. I'd have to give it more thought. The offense won't be the problem though. It'll be about the pitching, I firmly believe, unless injuries to starting position players come up again.
Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)
One of my gripes as a Met fan has been how frequently the Met players get hurt compared to other teams... Did they hire a new Strength and Conditioning guy and what difference do you expect at this level and down through the ranks9if any)?
Adam Rubin (1:00 PM)
They brought in a consultant from the University of Michigan yesterday to go over things. As of a week ago, Alderson said he had yet to hire a replacement for Rick Slate as strength and conditioning coach.
doug (monte nido)
We hold pro athletes to the standard of role models for our children when in reality the chances are far greater of them growing up to own a company than a professional athlete. Shouldn't the owners of teams be to the same moral and ethical standards? The Wilpons have shown they believe they are entitled to the profits gained by Madoff's criminal actions. Is that something to teach our children?
Adam Rubin (1:02 PM)
Let's see how the lawsuit plays out before I commit to an answer. In one sense, they may have been victims, even if they did not lose their principal. They clearly thought they had more than existed. ... I have a hard time believing the Wilpons knew it was a Ponzi scheme. But were they complicit in that they were neglectful in turning a blind eye to exorbitant returns as a time when the stock market was tanking? That's a different question.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
After Big Pelf do any of the remaining starters have achance to win 15+ this season?
Adam Rubin (1:02 PM)
Sure. If Dickey can duplicate what he did last year, he'd have a chance. Remember, he got 11 wins coming up in May last season. He made only 22 starts, not 30-plus, I believe.
Pitching was the "problem" last year going into February, but kept us somewhat afloat, whats the "problem" area this year?? The pitching again??
Adam Rubin (1:04 PM)
You're correct that people thought the pitching would be the problem and it wasn't. But I'm not sold. You're now missing Santana for a half-season at least, and he should be diminished when he returns. And I don't know how the Mets are going to duplicate Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi's contributions -- including in the durability/workhorse category.
I think your view that the Mets' "max" win total this year is 80 is absurd. The team won 79 games last year with an absolute imbecile making decisions in the dugout. Even if you want to counter with the fact that Johan will miss the first half, I'll respond to that with the fact that the 2010 Mets got basically nothing from Bay and Beltran, had Reyes miss 30 games, got almost zero production from second base, etc. It's ridiculous to say that a team that won 79 games last year (despite having a fool in the dugout who cost them games with his idiotic decisions), can win 80 games "max" this year.
Adam Rubin (1:05 PM)
OK. You have your opinion. I picked 78 last year, and they finished at 79.
why all of a sudden is Wilpon now willing to 'go over slot' and really, why is there 'a slot' when just about everyone 'goes over' it?
Adam Rubin (1:06 PM)
They said they're willing to go over slot at Alderson's introductory press conference, probably because Alderson sold that to them as vital during his GM interview process. The Mets haven't in the past because of their allegiance to Bud Selig -- a loyalty that's probably now being reciprocated the other way with plenty of rope in this Madoff mess.
Not really a Mets question but I read this morning about a Yankee clause in Crawford's contract basically saying if the Sox trade him, he cant then be traded to the Yankees. a) how is this allowed/. b) how could that possibly be enforced?
Adam Rubin (1:08 PM)
Agents a lot of times put DESIRABLE places on their no-trade list. It's hard to envision a Yankees-Red Sox deal, but say it materialized. Crawford could demand an extension from the Yankees and hold up a potential trade otherwise. So it's actually a prudent business strategy, if that's the reason.
Adam Rubin (1:09 PM)
Anyway, we've been at it for more than an hour. Thanks for joining me. If you don't see a tweet about MacArthur basketball tonight, it probably means bad news for the Generals. But the magic number is one with five to play. No Mets-like collapses coming, I suspect.