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. Obviously a lull for the Mets before the offseason activity, so let's see what's on everyone's minds ...
Adam - what's your take on the new ticket pricing system the Mets have put in place? It seems to me like this would only work if they were putting a winning product on the field that would be in high demand to go see. Unless I'm missing something, what's the point of buying a ticket in advance, when in all likelihood, the prices will decrease the closer we get to game days?
Adam Rubin (12:01 PM)
I asked experts who studied the 2010 Giants, which went on to win the World Series while using dynamic pricing, how that model might impact the Mets. On the one hand, if you expect the team to fall apart in 2012, you should wait to buy late-season tickets, since the price inevitably would go down. But the price variability on other than premium seats for the Giants really was only about $7 if I remember correctly on the extreme going up. And the Mets will set a floor at what season ticket holders paid for equivalent seats, so there's a limit to the percentage the price would go down. If the Mets' 2012 season mirrors 2011, because of the team-imposed floor, StubHub, etc., would still offer less expensive late-season seats. That said, the Mets may entice more people to buy directly from them at that point if there is a downward trend to ticket prices. And perhaps there are enough premium games such as against the Yankees that the price on those tickets will rise and net the Mets extra income.
Are the fences definitely coming in? I know they're talking about it but I haven't heard anything definitively. If so, what will the new dimensions be?
Adam Rubin (12:03 PM)
There has been no official announcement, but every team official I've spoken with has spoken about it as definitely occurring. Late in the season, one pointed to the "Mo's Zone" and suggested Lucas Duda would have an easier time because of its elimination. My understanding is the wall should be uniform eight feet. There has to be a new fence in left field because the old one is structural. Perhaps a row of seats between the old and new fences. The Mo's Zone should be gone, as mentioned. And then the 415-foot depth in right-center would be eased, which should aid David Wright particularly.
Hey Adam, there seems to be a decent amount of closers available in free agency this year. If the Mets sign Reyes and have a 90-100 mil payroll, do you think any of them will be in their price range?
Adam Rubin (12:05 PM)
Well, your premise has a payroll between $90 million and $100 million. The Mets' plan, from what they've articulated, sounds more like $100 million to $110 million. And I imagine it would be on the high side of that range if Reyes returns. There's not a ton of wiggle room, not if you want to see other additions, but there's some. My understanding of the Mets' closing plan is to take advantage of the glut available (and downward trend in their contracts in the past couple of winters) and sign one available to a reasonable cost.
Mike S. (Philadelphia)
What effect would Wally Backman leaving the organization have on future plans? (I always assumed he was the next guy and just waiting out Terry's Contract)
Adam Rubin (12:06 PM)
Everyone seems to think the Mets need to have a manager in waiting. I never got the sense Terry Collins is a short-timer, unless you're predicting he'll be unsuccessful as measured against the talent he has. TC is 62. He could easily manage five years, eight years, 10 years more ... although I'm not forecasting that longevity for anyone in NY.
Is Alderson open minded about signing a Type A closer (Bell/Madson/Papelbon) since only the 2nd round pick would need to be given up? Or is Alderson only interested in non Type A closer options for 2012 (Lidge/Nathan types)?
Adam Rubin (12:08 PM)
The Mets will draft 12th, so the first-round pick is protected, as you alluded. I'm sure the Mets want to amass as many draft picks as possible in order to rebuild the farm system. (They would get two for Jose Reyes.) I would think giving up a second-round pick to sign a closer, while not ideal, would not be a major impediment. The impediment, as I see it, is the Type A free agents are the ones who would cost the most money. I really cannot foresee a return of Heath Bell, for instance. I think they'll find an affordable but competent closer, as I've mentioned.
What are the odds that Nickeas is the 2012 backup C and Paulino is non-tendered?
Adam Rubin (12:10 PM)
I wrote as the season was concluding that the Mets were dissatisfied with Ronny Paulino's disregard for following game plans and that I do not expect him back. He is arbitration-eligble, so non-tender would be the route if he weren't traded before Dec. 12 (the non-tender date this year). If Jose Reyes signs elsewhere, there would be money to invest in a catcher of some ilk, I suppose, to pair with Josh Thole. But I was told point-blank not to rule out Mike Nickeas serving as the righty-hitting catcher in 2012 (with only two catchers on the roster). The feeling is they just need to get him slightly more productive at the plate, even if part of that is productive outs.
Alex (East Hanover)
Is there any way Kershaw doesn't win the CY Young?
Adam Rubin (12:11 PM)
Not my department. My ballot this year was for NL Manager of the Year, actually. (We rotate who votes for what among NY writers each year.) But I presume he's safe.
Bullpen needs to be re-tooled, obviously. A successful pen is not made up, however, by signing relievers to multi-year deals outside of a closer. But with that being said, I get the feeling Alderson goes the low-money/high upside route for a closer a la Broxton rather than signing someone like Madson to a multi-year deal. Your thoughts?
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
You may be on to something. Certainly that was the route he took with starting pitchers last offseason. He signed Chris Young and Chris Capuano to incentive laden deals with reasonable base salaries. Capuano paid off and upped his earnings to $3.925 million (if I remember correctly). Young got hurt and the liability was "only" $1.1 million -- the base.
Judging from Alderson's response about CF in his post season comments, we can safely assume Pagan will not be the 2012 CF. What external CF do you see the Mets targeting? Crisp?
Adam Rubin (12:14 PM)
I would never say things in absolutes at this point, but given the discouragement about Pagan I heard from team insiders, and an inevitable arbitration raise from this year's $3.5 million if he were to stay, I suspect Pagan will either be traded or non-tendered at that Dec. 12 deadline. I really have not studied the free-agent center fielders yet. And we're getting to the point where I need to. Here's a list from MLB Trade Rumors: Center fieldersRick Ankiel (32)Carlos Beltran (35)Willie Bloomquist (34) - $1.1MM mutual option with a $150K buyoutMike Cameron (39)Coco Crisp (32)David DeJesus (32)Scott Hairston (32)Andruw Jones (35)Nate McLouth (30) - $10.65MM club option with a $1.25MM buyoutCorey Patterson (32)Cody Ross (31)Grady Sizemore (29) - $8.5MM club option with a $500K buyoutDewayne Wise (34)
Andrew (Centereach, NY)
how many spots will be available in the bullpen? If parnell, beato, byrdak and acosta is back will they just bring in MiL FA (outside of the closer) to battle with Stinson and Herrea or do you think they have bigger plans
Adam Rubin (12:17 PM)
Byrdak is signed, so he's clearly one. Acosta's strong performance and low salary mean he should be No. 2. I have a hard time believing that Bobby Parnell won't be in the pen, even though not as the closer. Otherwise, it would require signing five relievers better than him, which ain't happening. As for Pedro Beato, he'll need a good spring training. As a Rule 5 pick, he had to stay at the major league level last season to become Mets property. But now he has three option years, I believe. If he does not perform, he can freely be sent to minors. Certainly Josh Stinson is a contender. I know they want to bring in some hard throwers. Closer is one outside signing. Even though Daniel Herrera did OK in a small sample size, I do believe they want a second outside lefty to pair with Byrdak. They certainly could use a hard-throwing eighth-inning type too from outside.
Alex (East Hanover)
Not sure I've gotten your thoughts on the situation but... thoughts on Reyes taking himself out of the game to seal the batting crown? I liked the emotion Terry showed -- definitely genuine.
Adam Rubin (12:19 PM)
Most people's objection -- if they objected -- was about sanctity of the batting title and how he owed it to baseball to win by playing. That's not my quibble at all. He amassed enough ABs to win and is entitled to depart once he feels the achievement is secure, in my opinion. My objection was that this wasn't 2010 or 2009 or 2008. It was potentially his final game as a Met. To deny the fans the opportunity to see him the final day -- at least for a little longer -- was wrong. That said, I believe Terry Collins' heart was in the right place. He worked hard to earn Reyes and the other players' respect and did not want to erode any of that by disregarding Jose's wishes. At least that's how he portrayed it, which I believe was sincere.
Ira (Long Island)
HI Adam. IF he stays healthy and picks up where he left off last year, what do you think the odds are of Reese Havens being the starting 2bman by mid July 2012? Also, is Reese considered a plus defender?
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
Well, if Jose Reyes stays, there's virtually no chance, since you would have Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner presumably capable of playing second base. Even if Reyes leaves and Tejada slides over to shortstop, it's really difficult to forecast that. I think it would require Murphy not being available for whatever reason, and Turner having an issue too. ... Reese needs to demonstrate his own health by playing a full season in the minors. He's an offensive second baseman too. He was moved from shortstop a few years ago, and really hasn't gotten a ton of reps for the number of seasons he's been reassigned because of injuries.
Duda, Murphy, Thole, Ike... lot of lefties in that lineup. Good idea to move the Mo's Zone in
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
Sounds like a plan.
Will there be more soccer games at Citi in 2012? It ruins the aesthetics of the field for like a week afterward.
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
No idea. But the attendance was pretty good -- especially for the first one, which I think drew 39,000+. That tells me there will be more.
Why wouldn't the Mets trade Capuano for anything during that last week? It would have been just one start for Boston, so it's not like Capuano would have had to move his whole life there, and I don't think it would have changed his attitude about re-signing.
Adam Rubin (12:25 PM)
Funny thing is it would have saved them about $350,000 I think -- a $200,000 kicker for reaching 180 innings and $75,000 apiece for two late-season starts. Sandy Alderson would not directly addressed it, but he spoke in a general sense about why such a deal would not materialize, and seemed to be speaking directly about Capuano. (1) In his estimation, there was a better chance to re-signing Capuano if he remained. (2) The Red Sox weren't offering enough. ... It wasn't like there was a draft pick at stake. Capuano would not qualify for even Type B status by the Mets' estimation.
Speaking of other events at Citi... any idea if the NHL has any plans to put a winter classic game there? Yankee Stadium is unavailable due to the Pinstripe Bowl being under contract for the next few years
Adam Rubin (12:26 PM)
Philadephia this year against the Rangers, I believe. Do they have the same team involved two years in a row? If so, I can see it. If the Rangers need to wait to be involved, then perhaps it's a few years off. Can't imagine they'd pick NY and use the Islanders or Devils over the Rangers, but I'm not an NHL guy. Not anymore. Grew up with partial season tickets to the Islanders. Section 210. Row E. Seats 7 & 8.
what do you think the timing is for Harvey, Wheeler and our other starting pitching prospects to be in New York?
Adam Rubin (12:27 PM)
It would be a cop out to say it depends on their performance, but it really does. Paul DePodesta told me in-season that 2013 is realistic. Certainly Harvey, if performance dictates, has a head start since he logged time in Double-A this year.
Pablo (Bronx, NY)
The catching situation is one the Mets really need to address. I'm not sold on Josh Thole as the catcher of the future. What do you think are the chances of Sandy Alderson trying to make a prospect for prospect trade? Maybe Wilmer Flores to the Reds for their AA catcher Yasmani Grandal? He was the #12 pick in the draft in 2010. He could conceivably be ready for the bigs with Matt Harvey during the second half of 2012.
Adam Rubin (12:29 PM)
They definitely need to address the catching long term. They signed a 16-year-old switch-hitting Venezuelan catcher this year, but they can't wait that long. Not sure about the exact pieces you mentioned, but a trade in general is plausible for a catcher. Just don't think you see young promising catchers moved all that often. Seems to me the Twins must regret trading Wilson Ramos in-season a few years back for Matt Capps.
Andrew (Centereach, NY)
When will all the coaching openings be filled? is this something that is usually done before or after the WS?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
No urgency. But they're moving pretty quickly if Jim Riggleman will be in Wednesday and Bob Geren that day as well or soon thereafter. Once that's filled, it's only first base coach that remains. Dan Warthen and Dave Hudgens are staying, and Tim Teufel and Ricky Bones have been promoted from Triple-A for the third base and bullpen coaching positions.
Do you think Dillon Gee is the real deal and what is the view of him inside the organization?
Adam Rubin (12:31 PM)
Not as great as the 7-0 start. Not as bad as the finish (when he must've gotten worn down). He's a control pitcher in the Rick Reed mold, we've been told many times. If Chris Capuano re-signs, and Johan Santana and everyone else is healthy, Gee and Capuano would battle for one rotation spot I believe, with the other going to long relief/spot starter.
John (New Jersey)
So does that mean when the Islanders start winning again you're going to want to come back?
Adam Rubin (12:32 PM)
When I stop covering baseball. I don't watch sports except for MacArthur (Levittown, Long Island) High School basketball in the winter. ... Shameless plug. My brother coaches that team.
what is the organizations view about the health of Ike Davis?
Adam Rubin (12:34 PM)
Ike did not have surgery, so the organization's view is that whatever ankle crankiness arises in 2012 will be modest enough that he can play through. I'm sure everyone hopes they're correct. It would be a travesty if the trouble rises to a level that Ike needs surgery upon resuming game-type action and it compromises 2012 as well.
If the Isles moved next to Citi Field, they'd draw a lot more fans. I'm a diehard in Queens, but never go to games because it's such a pain to get out there (and the arena is a dump)
Adam Rubin (12:34 PM)
Sounds like Belmont Park area with gambling at the track is the latest model.
Any idea how the sales of "small" shares of the team are going, now that it's become clear that no sucker exists willing to buy a 49% share of the franchise (without demanding a route to majority control)?
Adam Rubin (12:35 PM)
Asked that very question on Monday of someone very well placed in organization. Answer: "The organization is not commenting on anything with the new investors. Sorry to be of no help on this one." At least they were polite.
I can't believe I'm asking this question about a multiple Cy Young winner, but is Johan going to be on an innings limit next year?
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
I'm sure they have to treat him with some caution, although they have not articulated it. The days of 120-pitch games have to be over. So hopefully he's efficient with his pitches.
Roy Demeo (Gemini Lounge)
Gut feeling.. Will Reyes be a Met in 2012?
Adam Rubin (12:37 PM)
I believe, just gut, that there will be one big offer out there that will comforably exceed the Mets' bid and that Reyes will be elsewhere.
simon (Broooklyn, Ny)
we all know the Mets need pitching is there any chance that they can trade wright to Baltimore for britten and arrita
Adam Rubin (12:38 PM)
The Mets owe it to themselves to listen to offers on David Wright, but I don't envision him being traded at this point ... especially if Jose Reyes is not back. That would be too much of a double-whammy to sell to fans, even if it would be responsible.
despite still being relatively young is Fernando Martinez past the point of being considered a top prospect still
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
Past that point by a wide margin. Fernando Martinez does not move well anymore in the outfield because of ailments, even when he's healthy by his standards. Unfortunate, but that's the reality of prospects. Not all work out. That said, unless he's included in a trade, he does have a minor league option remaining. So it's not like the Mets can't place him in Buffalo again in 2012.
John (New Jersey)
Doesn't the fact that A) Pagan was injured at the beginning of the year and B) now that we all know he has this stomach issue give him an extra year to prove himself?
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
Are you familiar with the Willets Point project at all? How soon before all of those chop shops across the street get closed up?
Adam Rubin (12:40 PM)
Should be more well-versed on that, but do not know.
If the Mets lose Reyes, do you think it makes sense to trade Wright as well, given that draft pick compensation is likely done after this current offseason?
Adam Rubin (12:41 PM)
From a purely analytical standpoint, particularly if you forecast the Mets are not going to be very good, then it makes sense. But that's not the reality of the situation. They need to sell tickets. And they're not officially writing off 2012. So while what you mention makes sense, don't foresee it.
Ron Davis (Rockaway NJ )
Wally should stay and given a Bench coach or 1st base position here forget Rigglequiter or anybody else . Maybe they should of put Obbie to first base but we should not allowed Mookie to go but why on earth does Teflon Dan Warthan keeps his job but Mookie and Obbie go something is not kosher here.
Adam Rubin (12:43 PM)
Lot there. I'll leave it as the next bench coach is going to be someone with major league managing experience in all likelihood (more than a couple of days). It would be a nice gesture to put Wally Backman at first base, but I had heard in-season about the Nats being a logical landing spot for Wally. If you put Wally at first base, I'm not sure who coaches outfielders. Both he and Tim Teufel would have expertise in infield. Sandy Alderson all but indicated the intent is/was to put Wally at Triple-A as manager. I believe that's the offer that's staying there for him.
If the Mets aren't going to trade Wright, wouldn't it make sense to try to extend him? Worse case scenario is that he walks next year for nothing
Adam Rubin (12:44 PM)
He's under the Mets' control for 2013 as well. There's a team option at $16 or $17 million. The issue is the option does not extend to another team if Wright were traded. So if he's dealt this winter hypothetically, the team option is gone and he's a free agent next winter.
Adam Rubin (12:44 PM)
Anyway, we did 45 minutes today. Thanks so much for joining me. Definitely enough topical stuff, even this time of year.