March 2013

On the record: My 2013 MLB picks

Posting these here so you all can wave them in my face in September:

AL East
1. Toronto Blue Jays
2. New York Yankees
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Minnesota Twins

AL West
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
5. Houston Astros

NL East
1. Washington Nationals
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. New York Mets
5. Florida Marlins

NL Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Chicago Cubs

NL West
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Arizona D-backs
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

AL Wild Card: Yankees over Athletics
AL Divisional: Blue Jays over Angels; Tigers over Yankees
AL Championship: Tigers over Blue Jays

NL Wild Card: Reds over Braves
NL Divisional: Nationals over Reds; Cardinals over Giants
NL Championship: Nationals over Cardinals

World Series: Tigers over Nationals

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
AL Rookie of the Year: Brad Peacock

NL MVP: Joey Votto
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg
NL Rookie of the Year: Wily Peralta

As for the Mets, I see them going 70-92, fourth in the NL East. Let’s see if they prove me wrong.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Jay Horwitz, David Wright star in “The Citi Field Shake”

The Indians did it earlier this spring, now it’s the Mets’ turn:

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Jay Horwitz, professional butt-dialer

Never thought I’d see Mets PR director Jay Horwitz receive this much publicity for pocket-dialing the hundreds of contacts in his phone. But alas, click here for video of Matt Lauer and The Today Show gang profiling Horwitz’s odd communications issue.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets set Opening Day rotation

It’s official: here’s who’s pitching for the Mets next week:

April 1 vs. Padres: LHP Jon Niese
April 2: Off Day
April 3 vs. Padres: RHP Matt Harvey
April 4 vs. Padres: RHP Dillon Gee
April 5. vs. Marlins: RHP Jeremy Hefner
April 6. vs. Marlins: LHP Jon Niese
April 7 vs. Marlins: RHP Shaun Marcum

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Forbes values Mets at $811 million, sixth in MLB

Forbes released its annual valuations of Major League teams today, with the Mets clocking in sixth at $811 million. Forbes estimated that the Mets brought in $232 million in revenue, 11th-most in baseball, during the most recent fiscal period, and lost $2.4 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

fredandjeff

The top eight most valuable MLB teams, according to Forbes:

  1. New York Yankees, $2.30 billion
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers, $1.62 billion
  3. Boston Red Sox, $1.31 billion
  4. Chicago Cubs, $1.00 billion
  5. Philadelphia Phillies, $893 million
  6. New York Mets, $811 million
  7. San Francisco Giants, $786 million
  8. Texas Rangers, $764 million

The rest of the list, including trends, revenue, debt and income information, is available here.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Why Zack Wheeler will not pitch for the Mets in April

Mets manager Terry Collins reiterated Tuesday that despite all the injuries to the rotation, Zack Wheeler is not a consideration to slide into the Opening Day rotation.

“There’s a reason why we sent him out,” Collins said. “He needs to go to Triple-A. He needs to face hitters in Triple-A. … He needs to go work on his stuff, and he needs to be able to do what he did toward midseason [last year], and that is pound the strike zone. Thus far, in the games he’s thrown over there, they said he’s been a little wild.”

IMG_2132

The unspoken reason, of course, is service time. Should Wheeler accrue enough of it to become a Super Two player after the 2015 season, he would suddenly become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season as opposed to 2019 — at a time when the Mets could be highly competitive.

What’s more, Super Two status would give Wheeler four years of arbitration eligibility as opposed to the usual three. Should he develop into the type of ace that everyone expects, that would ultimately cost the Mets million of dollars and increase their starting point for free agency negotiations (which, of course, would begin a full year sooner). It’s an escalating factor, because arbitration salaries are based heavily upon what players made the previous year.

A prime example is Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, who made $4.2 million as a Super Two player in 2009. By his fourth year of arbitration eligibility he was up to $15 million, blowing away MLB’s previous arbitration record. He and the Phillies then had a higher number to use as a reference when Hamels signed a $144-million megadeal last summer.

In other words, starting Wheeler in April as opposed to June could damage the team’s future payroll flexibility, at a time when they might otherwise be highly competitive in the free-agent market. The counterargument is that increased ticket sales in April and May would make up some of that money. The reality is that they would not come close.

It’s an awfully high cost for a team projected to lose close to 100 games, just for a few extra starts from Wheeler — who may not be 100 percent big league-ready anyway — in 2013. So criticize the Mets for being cheap on numerous occasions over the past few years if you want, but do not blame them for it here. This move is not cheap; it’s simply prudent.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster, 3/26

Just one change with Pedro Feliciano officially off the roster. The only remaining competition is between Greg Burke and Jeurys Familia for the final bullpen spot.

C : John Buck
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
OF: Lucas Duda
OF: Collin Cowgill
OF: Marlon Byrd
Bench: Mike Baxter
Bench: Jordany Valdespin
Bench: Justin Turner
Bench: Omar Quintanilla
Bench: Anthony Recker

SP: Jon Niese
SP: Shaun Marcum
SP: Matt Harvey
SP: Dillon Gee
SP: Jeremy Hefner
RHP: Bobby Parnell (CL)
RHP: Brandon Lyon
RHP: Scott Atchison
RHP: LaTroy Hawkins
RHP: Greg Burke
LHP: Josh Edgin
LHP: Rob Carson

DL: Frank Francisco, Johan Santana

In the running: INF Zach Lutz, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Jeurys Familia.

Analysis: Lutz makes the team only if Wright or Murphy is not healed from injury. Nieuwenhuis has little shot unless one of the other five outfielders are injured, or perhaps if the Mets DL Murphy and use Valdespin at second base. Familia is still a legitimate consideration to make the team over Burke. Other than that, the roster appears set.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: special edition

Today’s roster cuts made a lot of things clear. Without further ado, here’s what figures to be an extremely accurate projection of the Opening Day roster:

C : John Buck
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
OF: Lucas Duda
OF: Collin Cowgill
OF: Marlon Byrd
Bench: Mike Baxter
Bench: Jordany Valdespin
Bench: Justin Turner
Bench: Omar Quintanilla
Bench: Anthony Recker

SP: Jon Niese
SP: Shaun Marcum
SP: Matt Harvey
SP: Dillon Gee
SP: Jeremy Hefner
RHP: Bobby Parnell (CL)
RHP: Brandon Lyon
RHP: Scott Atchison
RHP: LaTroy Hawkins
RHP: Greg Burke
LHP: Josh Edgin
LHP: Pedro Feliciano

DL: Frank Francisco, Johan Santana

In the running: C Landon Powell, INF Zach Lutz, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, RHP Jeurys Familia, LHP Robert Carson.

Analysis: Powell’s demotion appears merely a formality at this point. Lutz makes the team only if Wright or Murphy is not fully healed from injury. Nieuwenhuis has almost no shot unless one of the other five outfielders are injured. Carson could still supplant Feliciano in the bullpen, particularly if 40-man roster issues vex the Mets, while Familia could still make the team over Burke. Other than that, the roster appears set.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Jeter on Wright: “They named him captain for a reason”

Yankees captain Derek Jeter had some very complimentary things to say today about the newest member of MLB’s captain club, David Wright:

Your thoughts on the Mets naming Wright captain?
“Good for him. I’ve played with him in the WBC and played against him a lot. Good for him. He’s represented that organization as well as anyone throughout the years. I know he takes a big part of the responsibility over there. I’m happy for him.”

Will his responsibilities change?
“First of all, just because you’re named captain doesn’t mean that you’ve got to do something that you don’t normally do. He should continue to do what he’s doing. They named him captain for a reason, so it’s not now all of a sudden that you turn into someone that you’re not. I think he’ll do just fine. He just needs to continue to do the things that made him successful up until this point.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster, 3/19

I’m not ready to place David Wright and Daniel Murphy on the disabled list to start the season, though there’s a good chance that will happen. We should have a much better idea on both of them after this weekend.

I am, however, ready to give Omar Quintanilla a roster spot over the struggling Brandon Hicks. The result:

C : John Buck
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
OF: Lucas Duda
OF: Collin Cowgill
OF: Marlon Byrd
Bench: Mike Baxter
Bench: Jordany Valdespin
Bench: Justin Turner
Bench: Omar Quintanilla
Bench: Anthony Recker

SP: Jon Niese
SP: Shaun Marcum
SP: Matt Harvey
SP: Dillon Gee
SP: Jeremy Hefner
RHP: Bobby Parnell (CL)
RHP: Brandon Lyon
RHP: Scott Atchison
RHP: LaTroy Hawkins
RHP: Greg Burke
LHP: Josh Edgin
LHP: Pedro Feliciano

DL: Frank Francisco, Johan Santana

In the running: C Landon Powell, INF Brandon Hicks, INF Zach Lutz, INF Brian Bixler, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF Andrew Brown, OF Matt den Dekker, RHP Jenrry Mejia, RHP Jeurys Familia, LHP Aaron Laffey, LHP Robert Carson.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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