Meet the Mets
So the Mets are in the news! Did they sign another bench bat or some starting pitching depth? No. Are the new walls finished? Uh, no. Did they pull the credential of a writer because he wrote something they didn't like? Of course! Mets PR to the rescue! Well at least no one in the national media going to pay too much attention to this, I mean it's just some blogger, right?
Okay, I am going to editorialize for a second here. I know Howard isn't necessarily the most popular person around AA, and I personally will never forgive him for sponsoring Oliver Perez's baseball-reference page. Also, in the interest of full disclosure I have had him on my podcast to talk about the Mets finances and found his arguments both reasonable and compelling. I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of his work or anything, but I have never seen anything he wrote about the Mets that was more obnoxious than the stuff that regularly comes out of the pens of the NYC media.
This is just a terrible precedent to set. Essentially you have to write what the Mets want you to write in exchange for access unless you have the backing of the trade union. Adam Rubin basically kills the Mets on twitter all the time, but his credential will never be at risk, because the Mets need ESPN. And If this can happen to Howard Megdal, I wonder if Eno will get the same flack for breaking the CRG story, which was nothing more than good boots on the ground reporting. Regardless of whether the Mets *can* do this (clearly they can), or whether you think access is important, this was another PR blunder for an organization that can ill-afford one. The Mets have made a point to embrace the internet community in the past year with Social Media Days and blogger calls, but apparently that access comes with a price.
Speaking of Eno, he has an excellent piece on the kerfuffle over at NotGraphs.
Onto better news! Okay, not really. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Jay Jaffe takes a look at the Mets precipitous payroll drop in 2012 (a chunk of it is subscription only, but you can get the idea). There is some hope in the long term, as teams with big payroll drops tend to bounce back strong a couple seasons down the road. In the short term? Well, Binghamton should be pretty good this year!
Now, actual good news! The Mets are World Series Champions! Okay, not really.
WFAN listeners will hear a new voice in the booth in 2012 as Josh Lewin replaces the lamented and lamentable Wayne Hagin as Howie Rose's broadcast partner. Lewin was previously with the Rangers TV team and also does San Diego Charges games. I haven't heard enough of him to comment on his abilities, but he seemed well liked among Rangers fans. It's only a one year deal, but that is likely due to WFAN's broadcast agreement with the Mets expiring at the end of the season.
Cuban outfielder and awesome internet video maker Yoenis Cespedes is apparently not unblocked by OFAC, according to his agent, even though he can still negotiate with MLB teams. I had heard from Kevin Goldstein that he was cleared, since MLB now does their own OFAC clearances in-house, but maybe that still has to be rubber stamped by the bureaucracy. Anyways, expect him to sign with a team before Spring Training. The Cubs are probably the current favorite. But as we have learned, never count out the mystery team.
Look, we are going to spend the next couple months pouring over Spring Training boxscores and debating whether Adam Loewen or Mike Baxter should be our fifth outfielder/LH pinch-hitter. This will be excruciating, but at least our lefty bench bat won't be Raul Ibanez.
There was a TRAID yesterday as the Orioles shipped Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for Jason Hammel and former Mets farmhand Matt Lindstrom. This is kind of a nothing trade, Guthrie is probably a hair better than Hammel, but Lindstrom is a decent power arm, and the Orioles gain a couple seasons of team control. It's not exciting, but it is a better move than eliminating your professional scouting department. It's probably also a better move than signing Manny Ramirez. From the Rockies end of it, Grant Brisbee looks at how the Rox are reshaping their pitching staff for Coors Field. Again.
Rob Neyer writes about Jason Varitek who is currently unemployed. Tek could be very useful on a major lague bench, but I think only as a coach, not as a catcher.
And Now, Your Mets Highlight of the Day to Tide You Over Until Spring Training: Dillon Gee flashes the leather
I was probably unecessarily harsh to Dillon Gee. He's a prefectly cromulent fifth starter type.
And Your Non-Baseball Link of the Day: DFW on Roger Federer
Outside of baseball, tennis is quite possibly my favorite sport. I was actually quite good at it once upon a time, too. That said, I can't even imagine being as good at tennis as Roger Federer, nor can I imagine writing a piece as good as this David Foster Wallace profile.