I’ve been sick for most of this week, so I’m probably a bit grumpier than usual today. (Or maybe it’s just because I’m a Mets fan dealing with yet another uninspired off-season.)
Earlier this week, ESPN released its preliminary schedule for Sunday Night Baseball. Surprisingly, the Mets will be making an appearance (mainly because the network wants to showcase the Atlanta Braves, I’m sure.) The date? May 26th, which is an issue because that’s when the Mets had scheduled Banner Day.
Certain bloggers have proclaimed that this will be the death knell for the recently-revived tradition.
I get it: no one likes going to 8:10 p.m. games, and you’re not going to plan a family outing to a game that starts that late if you have to get kids to school the next day. Except May 27th is Memorial Day – no school, and many adults will have the day off from work.
It would probably be a good idea for the Mets to move the promotion to a different afternoon. Very young kids aren’t going to be able to stay awake that late regardless of the calendar. (Though I doubt parents were going to be able to get two- and three-year-olds through the Banner Day festivities and a full nine inning game no matter when it started.)
I think it would be fun if the team worked something out to move the Binghamton Mets vs. Portland Sea Dogs game from NYSEG Stadium to Citi Field to turn the day into a twi-night doubleheader with Banner Day held between the games. (If the pitching rotations worked out, how great would it be if Noah Syndergaard got to make his first big impression on the New York media and fans at Citi Field on Banner Day?)
But the Mets aren’t showing any indication that they’re going to reschedule Banner Day and moving minor league games costs money, so I don’t really expect the team to do either.
Of far more concern is Sandy Alderson‘s apparent lack of interest in the 2013 Mets team. Less than two weeks ago, Jon Heyman reported that the “mets have quite a bit of $ to spend.” So far, all Alderson has done is look at players and express interest in some of them.
Over the weekend, Mets officials watched former All-Star closer Brian Wilson throw, but the New York Post’s Brian Puma reports that they weren’t impressed. Wilson is recovering from Tommy John surgery and may not be ready to contribute at the major league level to start the season, so it’s understandable that Alderson wouldn’t be eager to commit dollars or a roster spot to a question mark. And Marc Carig says the Mets haven’t ruled out signing Wilson.
But while I’d welcome Wilson for the entertainment value he provides, I’m not worried about the Mets bullpen. With the lineup the Mets are likely to field, how often are they going to have save situations anyway?
Scott Hairston, easily the Mets best outfielder in 2012 and likely to be their best in 2013 should he return, is reportedly seeking a two-year, $8 million contract. Now that is a big commitment - even in the Monopoly-money world of Major League Baseball economics – for someone you view as a bench player. Alderson balked at that asking price, according to Heyman. Puma reports that the Mets GM countered with a one-year deal for $2 million.
Look at the outfielders currently on the Mets roster: Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill and a second baseman playing out of position (either Jordany Valdespin or Justin Turner.) Hairston would not be a bench player for the Mets.
“Outfield? What outfield? We’re probably gonna have to bring the fences in another 150 feet!” Alderson joked at the beginning of baseball’s general managers meetings in November. Since then, he’s made a trade to acquire Cowgill and signed Andrew Brown to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. There’s not much time and not many players still available for Alderson to make more moves before the Mets report to Florida next month.
Austin Kearns, one of the best right-handed hitting outfielders remaining on the free agent market, took a minor league deal from the Miami Marlins this week. Now I never saw any indication that the Mets were interested in Kearns, and he hasn’t really been a difference-maker in years. But seeing a potentially useful player take a minor league deal from the Marlins still irritates me.
I understand and agree with the idea that the Mets need to focus on the future, but I’d like Alderson to have a little more interest in today. And at some point, if there is any money in the Mets coffers, Alderson is going to have to spend it on some baseball players.