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 (11:55 AM)
Thanks for joining me. Let's get started a few minutes early ...
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
What is the exact contract status of Nick Evans? I know he has no more options, so does that mean the Mets must sign and keep him in the majors for good or risk losing him on waivers? Can he choose not to sign with the team after this season?
Adam Rubin (11:58 AM)
As long as Nick Evans remains on the 40-man roster, which I imagine he will going into spring training, he remains Mets property, like any player with less than six years of major league service time who is on the 40-man roster. He also does not have the major league service time to be arbitration-eligible, so essentially the Mets can set any salary they want for him above the major league minimum. If Nick did not make the team next year -- or if he did make the team but then eventually needed to be sent to the minors -- he again would have to pass through waivers. If another team were to claim him, he would become that team's property at the major league level. If he cleared waivers, he would have the option to declare himself a free agent or to report to Triple-A Buffalo. Twice this year Evans could have opted out after clearing waivers but decided to report to Buffalo.
Do you think the fans should take some of the blame for the Mets cutting payroll after this season? Most Mets fans like a lot of the players, the tea has hustled and attendance, while not great, is certainly acceptable. Your thoughts?
Adam Rubin (12:00 PM)
There is definitely a tie between attendance, team revenue and payroll, but I would never suggest to a fan that it's his/her fault that the payroll is being slashed because the person did not support the team enough through attendance or whatever. You'd like uniform attendance through good and bad times, but that's not realistic.
We haven't heard from Sandy since he told the Buffalo media that the 2012 Mets payroll will be between 100 and 110 million. Is it typical for an executive to be this inaccessible late in a non-playoff season? Will the next time we hear from Sandy about the 2012 Plan be September 29th?
Adam Rubin (12:01 PM)
I imagine if I tried to reach him he would probably answer, or return the call. I'd hope so at least. Maybe no one is asking anything right now.
Ron Davis (Rockaway NJ)
IF the Mets do not sign Reyes will they spend the money that they want to sign Reyes for to upgrade pitching? mainly bullpen.
Adam Rubin (12:02 PM)
I was actually speaking with someone with the Mets yesterday about the tight offseason payroll's impact on improving the team. He explicitly said that if Reyes did leave, at least it would afford the opportunity to try to improve several positions. I can see more money spent on a starting pitcher and particuarly bullpen help if Reyes walks.
You constantly question people who say you're too negative towards the Mets. Yet this hat issue is the perfect example. I actually AGREE with you that Mets should have just worn it. But you go out of your way to make them look bad with posts about fines not being excessive enough to keep them from doing it, calling Dickey (who said it on Twitter) basically a liar about having the hats taken away. People can read between the lines with your work. Not all Mets fans are that dumb.
Adam Rubin (12:05 PM)
The hats were not taken away. There was an MLB authenticator there -- like any game -- collecting and documenting their use. Hats were willingly handed to the person. If the Mets had resolve to wear the hats, they could have done it. They chose not to. It is and continues to be disingenuous based upon what I know for anyone to suggest hats were confiscated. David Wright explicitly said the hat he wore was not taken. And does MLB not have a right to express it's side that there were no fines threatened? There is a discrepancy there, but that doesn't mean their side doesn't have a right to offer its point of view/stance.
In the past you have been critical of backloading contracts. Would backloading the Reyes contract be an exception to the rule? With Santana and possibly Bay expiring after 2013, the Mets could keep Jose's salary down in 2012 and 2013 and then 2014 onward would have much higher salaries but much easier to fit into the payroll as well.
Adam Rubin (12:06 PM)
I would not backload it substantially, because then in five-six years you'll be asking about backloading Brandon Nimmo's contract until Reyes' clears. But I could see a moderately lower amount in Year 1 and Year 2, maybe $14 million or $15 million, at least to provide limited extra flexibility.
ira (long island)
Hi Adam. Wright sure looks like he has taken a major step backward defensively. Is his back hurting him again? The kid just puts too much pressure on himself to be the "man" I think.
Adam Rubin (12:08 PM)
Maybe it's just a rut, but six in seven games is a ton. It was the most by a Met since Jeff Kent in a seven-game stretch, which is a ways back. I think even when David Wright won Gold Gloves, there was a little extra hype over the reality of the situation.
Some places are suggesting the Mets want to sign a slugger in the offseason. Obviously, they don't have much money to work with, but have you been hearing this as well?
Adam Rubin (12:09 PM)
If they can fit a slugger in a $100-$110 million payroll, with Johan Santana, David Wright and Jason Bay already combining to earn $55 million next year, I would be fascinated to hear how that works.
li met fan (shirley ny)
Hi Adam with Mike Nickeas getting alot of starts and praises for his defense are the Mets thinking about not having Thole behind the dish in '12?
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
Terry Collins said there was serious debate to having three catchers this year in order take advantage of Mike Nickeas' defense and, say, having Ronny Paulino's bat available as a pinch-hitter without hesitation. There just wasn't room at most points during the year to carry the three catchers. But it may be a consideration again in 2012. Josh Thole is a catcher going forward for good or bad in my estimation. The only other position he has experience at is first base, and with Ike, Duda, Murphy, etc., that's not realistic anyway. My forecast is that the Mets primarily again use Thole and Paulino as catchers in 2012, then reevaluate. I'm sure they would like to upgrade, but Thole will be making close to the major league minimum and Paulino would get only a modest arbitration-eligible raise off this year's $1.3 million. That's a cheap catching combo at a time when there will be payroll constraints.
Do you think Dan Warthen will be back as PC in 2012? if not, have you heard any names for the job?
Adam Rubin (12:14 PM)
Terry Collins has explicity endorsed the entire coaching staff's return. I would not bet the house, but I suppose that indicates a reasonable likelihood the staff remains intact. Really, it comes down to talent. One Mets person was lamenting to me how other teams are inserting flamethrowers even in the sixth and seventh innings, and the Mets don't have the weapons to counter. It comes down to talent.
Adam, can all this non tender Pelfrey stuff stop? You don't non tender a pitcher who is 25th in IP since 2008 (his first full season) for 5M even if his ERA over that time is 4.24. There is a good amount of value in having 200 IP every year.
Adam Rubin (12:16 PM)
I'm sure the Mets will entertain offers for Mike Pelfrey, but people who want to kneejerk dump Pelfrey by nontendering him have not reasonably considered what the alternative would be. Pelfrey's salary should be about $5 million next season off these numbers. You're not going to find a $5 million, one-year commitment on the free-agent market that is going to do any better. Heck, when all is said and done, Chris Capuano is probably going to make about $5 million this year with bonuses. So that's the type of alternative you would be talking about. (And that's because he was an injury risk.) Someone like a Jason Marquis would be tremendously more expensive with a multi-year commitment.
steve (queens college)
I think Angel Pagan's defense has been awful this year. How come he doesn't sit in favor of other younger players getting a chance? I don't think he should be a regular at this point in the season.
Adam Rubin (12:19 PM)
The organization is definitely not high on Angel Pagan. The view is that he may even be a very quality fourth-outfielder type whose salary is now drifting into more of a frontline starter range. The question would be, who else would you be using in center field right now? Jason Pridie is not a prospect. He's a known quantity. Had Kirk Nieuwenhuis not been injured in Buffalo this season and required shoulder surgery, he very well may have been up now and getting opportunities. But there's not an obvious candidate otherwise right now. Matt den Dekker, the fifth-round pick in 2010 from the University of Florida, has only spent a half-season at Double-A. And he has some development still to go, with shortening his swing and also reacting to balls in front of him (as opposed to fly balls in the gaps, which he's stellar at running down).
Any news on Mets 2012 schedule???
Adam Rubin (12:20 PM)
It's done but not yet released. It should be soon. Honestly, I haven't tried to get it leaked to me. Not that big a deal. The Boston Red Sox are coming to Citi Field. And it should primarily be AL East opponents, although based on years' past it never lines up cleanly with one AL division.
Has Pagan's inability to draw walks and below average defense in CF convinced the front office that he should either be traded or non-tendered this winter?
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
I do believe the Mets will definitely be willing to trade Pagan, but the question again is, what is better? That has to be identified first. Nontender is an option, I suppose, if the payroll is so tight that fitting Pagan in at $5 million or so doesn't work.
DW (Brooklyn, New York)
What's the latest on the Mets' financial status? MLB still picking up the slack? Any news on the investors who the Wilpons' flunkies say are lining up to purchase?
Adam Rubin (12:24 PM)
The judge's decision on whether to toss all or part of the $1 billion lawsuit against the owners is supposed to be released by the end of the month, so we should know more within a couple of week. But Sandy Alderson acknowledged the payroll would likely fall in the $100 million to $110 million range. The plan on geting the $200 million infusion to offset the loss of David Einhorn's investment is supposed to be in $15 million, $20 million pieces, or thereabouts. As I've mentioned before, it that were that easy, it would have been Plan A. I have not heard if they have had any takers yet. They were supposedly going to begin with friends and family.
Why does Collins like to bunt so much? Using Pagan to sacrifice yesterday was an especially glaring example of a wasted out.
Adam Rubin (12:26 PM)
I would suggest that players do it on their own sometimes, thinking it's a smart baseball decision. I did not ask about last night's decision. We're kind of at the point of the season where it frankly doesn't really matter. More generally, I am surprised Terry Collins' players bunt as much as they do in the sense that the front-office Moneyball philosophy contradicts that practice. But I guess they're letting Terry do what he wants as a manager in that sense, which I suppose is admirable.
Do you think if the Mets sign Reyes, they should listen to offers for Wright? I think they need more young pitching to go with Wheeler and Harvey and I have no idea where Murphy would play unless it's an infield corner.
Adam Rubin (12:29 PM)
They should listen to any offers. I still have my doubts that Jeff Wilpon and the owners would allow the trade of David Wright. And I do think some team is going to offer Reyes a monster contract, so the Wright issue may end up being moot. Something seems to have to give though. If the payroll is going to be $100 million to $110 million in 2012, and say Reyes makes only $15 million the first year, that's still a commitment of $70 million to four players before you start (Reyes, Bay, Santana and Wright). Throw in Pelfrey, Pagan and Dickey at a combined, say, $15 million and that's $85 million for seven players. That would leave an average of less than $1.5 million per player for everyone else on the roster under simple math. And that's not even correct since you pay more than 25 players during the season ... DL'd guys, call-ups for those DL'd guys, etc.
If the Mets lose out on Reyes would they rather bring the payroll down to 80m and declare FULL rebuild mode or would they use that money and attempt to get Prince to create some kind of excitement so attendance doesn't completely tank?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
I believe the $100 million to $110 million range is credible and the money would be reallocated. Probably on the lower end of the range, though, minus Reyes.
You've echoed what may be the official team line about having more money to spend should they not be able to re-sign Reyes, which I still think they'll try hard to do (unless a rogue team makes a ridiculous offer)... but where are the Mets going to spend that $20M? Unless you really believe they'll be serious on EdJax or CJ Wilson, I don't see them spending big for a pen arm, do you?There just aren't the kinds of players available this winter in FA that they're likely to spend a lot of money on...
Adam Rubin (12:32 PM)
That's the rub. I felt like asking the person with the team I was speaking with yesterday how exactly the money could be reinvested because it's not like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder would come in instead, but ran out of time. But if you get a few $2-3 million bullpen pieces instead, a center fielder, etc., it will mitigate it somewhat.
li met fan (shirley ny)
People seem to think the Mets will make changes with the left field wall perhaps lowering it..Will they consider changes in Right center and RF as well to help Wright who isnt a pull hitter and make it easier for Duda defensively?
Adam Rubin (12:33 PM)
My latest understanding is that the left field wall is all but resolved to be a homer over an eight-foot line, while right field was unresolved as far as whether to erect a fence where the "Mo Zone" crevice is.
Who do you think gets the next Save chance with all the bullpen chaos? Parnell has not been solid...
Adam Rubin (12:34 PM)
Jason Isringhausen was supposed to get a shot yesterday for his herniated disc and nerve issue, so I can't imagine he'd be available for a little bit. It's going to have to alternate between Acosta and Parnell, unless I'm missing something. Byrdak could be asked to close a game if lefties are lined up. Dale Thayer did exceed 20 saves at Buffalo, but placing him in that role here would be a stretch, I believe.
Can the performance of Herrera and Stinson be taken as any indication that they are viable options for the bullpen in 2012?
Adam Rubin (12:35 PM)
Stinson is definitely a viable option for the bullpen next year. And when I say bullpen, I'm not saying ninth inning. I would take Herrera'a initial success with a grain of salt. The feedback from people who watched him at Triple-A was not glowing.
Adam, What are the Mets deciding on for next year at second base? I say put Turner there and try to deal Murphy to an AL team (so he doesn't need to play the field and can DH) and play Duda in Right field. Also, Pagan has looked atrocious playing defense in centerfield this year. Are the Mets looking to keep him there next year, or are looking elsewhere in the centerfield position?
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
Lucas Duda plans to play winter ball in Venezuela to further hone his right-field skills, so it certainly would seem that's the intent for him in 2012. Ike Davis should be back. Which means you virtually have to put Daniel Murphy at second base. I refuse to believe the Mets would consider a 2012 outfield alignment of Murphy-Bay-Duda ... in Citi Field or anywhere.
jack (West side)
Any propsects of moving Bay in the offseason to clear a spot for one of Murphy/Evans (allowing Tejada to be 2B and Turner super-sub)? What about Pagan? Time to trade or non-tender him?
Adam Rubin (12:38 PM)
I don't believe Bay is tradeable, barring a swap for a similarly bad deal. You might as well just ride it out and hope the past couple of weeks' performance persists into next year. His deal actually may end up being five years, $80 million wish a vesting option based on plate appearances. And there's only two years completed in that deal now.
What would happen if mets DONT resign jose reyes for whatever reason? Tejada at SS (rey ordonez) murphy/turner 2b? Duda at RF, ike if "healthy" 1b, bay would be back next season but what about pagan and our catcher situation.? Your thoughts on 2012?
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
I believe your analysis is correct.
I know that Chien Ming Wang took 2 years to recover from the same shoulder surgery that Johan has had. Should the Mets plan for 2012 without counting him into the equation and if he returns then that's great, or just pencil him into opening day?
Adam Rubin (12:41 PM)
There is certainly the possibility of more hiccups with Johan during his comeback, but at this point there is a reasonably good chance Santana is a stable part of the 2012 rotation. That does not mean he will ever return to vintage Santana again. I do have faith, though, that Santana can will himself to a certain level even with diminished physical ability, if that's the case. I always go back to his performance against the Marlins pitching on short rest with a torn meniscus off a career-high pitch count with the Mets' season on the line in Game No. 161 three years ago.
Chris (syracuse NY)
do you knoiw exactly how much money the mets have tied up for next yr?
Adam Rubin (12:44 PM)
That's always misleading, because technically they have no current commitment to Mike Pelfrey, Angel Pagan, etc., because they're arbitration eligible and there's no firm commitment to tender them contracts. But if they're cut loose, you have to pay a comparable amount for another piece anyway. But firm commitments: Santana $24M, Bay $16M, Wright $15M, Dickey $4.25M, Carrasco $1.2M. That's $60.45 million or so already allocated.
Besfort (again) (CT)
Do you think that our pitching will remain the same as next year? do you think Chris Young can come back and return healthy as did Capuano. Well i would like to believe that Matt Harvey and mejia would play in Spring Training of 2012, would Mets consider keeping mejia as a starter? Will Gee remain on the pitching staff next season? or will we go back down to triple A? also whats the status niese and his recovery.
Adam Rubin (12:47 PM)
Chris Young underwent Johan Santana/Chien-Ming Wang surgery during this season. There's no chance he's a factor at the start of next year. And he's a free agent anyway. Chris Capuano is a free agent as well, and he could get a two-year offer somewhere. Regardless, the commitment would probably have to be $5 million or more next year--not this year's incentive-based deal so that he could reestablish his health. So you could have a scenario with Pelfrey, Dickey, Niese, Gee and Santana, with some veteran brought in to provide competition as well. And then those AAA types we saw last year, comparables to Boof Bonser, etc.
Doesn't Tejada deserve to be playing full time in 2012, be it at second or short? Really, Turner's offensive numbers aren't spectacular. If the offensive #s aren't great, I'd rather have the guy who plays better defense.
Adam Rubin (12:48 PM)
I think Tejada would start over Turner at 2B if it were either or. I do think there's a fairly good chance Tejada is the starting shortstop next year. But if Reyes is back, and Duda is in RF with Ike at 1B, I suppose there's a decent chance Tejada opens the season in AAA, with Murphy/Turner at 2B.
Has it been officially decided that the walls will be moved in next year?
Adam Rubin (12:50 PM)
There has been no announcement. And what has been said is that the left-field wall is structural, so it can't be moved in--only the homer designation being eight feet instead of 16.
flanster (middle island)
What percentage likelihood do you think as far as Wright and Reyes still being on the team in 2014?
Adam Rubin (12:51 PM)
2014? That's difficult, because Wright's current contract will have expired and Reyes will obviously be in the midst of whatever he signs this offseason. The odds Reyes AND Wright are still teammates with the Mets in 2014. I'd have to put it at no better than 35 or 40 percent. Heck, I think it may be better than 50-50 that Reyes is not a Met in 2012 alone.
In the Line of Fyhrie (District of Columbia)
On one hand, I'm a fan of the Mets' team's initial response to the attack on New York in 2001. On the other, I dislike conformity in professional sports, coerced or otherwise. Anything that makes teams more different from one another makes the games more interesting and more meaningful.On both hands, I'm kind of really angry about the current Mets team being apparently prevented from wearing the hats of the service agencies this year (as well as to mark the anniversary in recent years, as they had initially done the first few years after the attack).I find further disappointment that the facts of this story aren't coming out in one aggressively pursued in-depth story, but in drips and drabs and bites and tweets, as so much journalism is delivered these days. That's just the way of things, I know, but we're left with a lot of information, some of it conflicting, and little satisfaction.As someone who is not prepared to let go of this, who should I be directing my disappointment at --- the current team? the management? MLB? the commissioner? Joe Torre? I'm committed to being proactive here.
Adam Rubin (12:55 PM)
I'm going to end with this answer. You can fault any number of people. (1) Major League Baseball should have just said go ahead and wear them, but they have contracts with hat companies, etc., and didn't do the right thing. (2) The ownership/front office of the Mets could have instructed the players to wear it anyway, but they're literally indebted to MLB and didn't feel emboldened to rock the boat too much. (3) The players could have worn it anyway. But there are a lot of factors there. The current players didn't know the history of what Todd Zeile did, not until late Sunday anyway. And the union rep, Josh Thole, was put in an awful position. He's 24 years old and really just was drafted to be player rep because no one else was interested. A veteran could have stood up in the clubhouse and told the team they're going ahead and doing this. But that leadership wasn't there.
Adam Rubin (12:55 PM)
Thanks for joining me. We're sticking with the noon ET chats on Tuesdays for the most part. Next week I'll be doing it live from St. Louis, is the plan.