Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Add Ike Davis to NL East's night of the rookies

On a night when two highly-touted rookies made great MLB debuts for NL East rivals, the Mets won on a walkoff homer by their own rookie star.

Ike Davis may not have the impact of the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, who had a first game for the ages, striking out 14 Pirates in seven innings. 20-year-old Marlins phenom Mike Stanton, with 21 homers already this year in the minors, went 3 for 5 in his debut. But if the Mets are going to keep pace with their division rivals (the other highly-hyped rookie this year, Jason Heyward, is on the Braves) they need their own young stars. Tonight, Davis delivered.

Mike Pelfrey, another Met first-round amateur draft choice, also came through, going nine innings, but leaving in a 1-1 tie.

Mike and Ike's performances tonight make you wonder about the wisdom of signing free agents when it makes you lose your first-round picks. The Mets had no first-rounder in 2006, 2007 and 2009 as a result of signing Billy Wagner, Moises Alou and Francisco Rodriguez. This picks would have been in the lower half of the first round, but Davis was picked 18th.

At the time, I thought the signings of Wagner and K-Rod were good ones, since the Mets appeared to be a closer away from contending for the World Series. But after two volatile free-agent closers in four seasons, I really hope the Mets can figure out the closing situation in-house next time.

There was never a justification for signing the aging, injury-prone Alou.

This year, the Mets kept their first-rounder despite signing Jason Bay because the pick was protected due to their poor record in 2009. The Mets lost their second-rounder instead.

The Boston Red Sox had the 20th and 39th picks for losing Type A free agent Wagner, who was with the Red Sox for only a few games. The Mets traded Wagner to save money, so instead of those picks, they ended up with Chris Carter.

At least the Mets were willing to go over slot in drafting Matt Harvey, a Scott Boras client, with their first 2010 pick. Let's hope that they did not cut corners on their other picks, unlike in recent years.

I watched some of the Strasburg game, and I'm afraid the NL East just got a lot tougher, and for the long term. The Mets' priority needs to be developing their own young talent, not sacrificing it for short-term fixes.


Uncle Mike said...

It's ironic that, on a night when the one New York baseball team actually playing in New York -- regardless of how many Yankee Fans showed up in Baltimore -- won an extra-inning game on a tremendous blast by their rookie sensation, all that media was focused on Washington where a kid who hadn't seen, let alone thrown, a pitch in the majors yet was taking the mound.

Where's the attention? Where's ESPN and the MLB Network? Maybe the Mets should start complaining that Queens is a "small market."

Anonymous said...

Right on Jon! The Mets need to develop their own players through their farm system, instead of playing "Yanker ball" and buying their way into the World Series. Guys like Pelfrey, Davis, Wright and Reyes should be the example that management uses to justify focusing more on drafting and development, rather than check writing.

All of the attention focused on Washington was rightly deserved. Strasburg is a phenomenal pitcher and gave a phenomenal performance, so in this case, the hype was justified. But remember, it takes a TEAM to win enough games to reach the WS, one star player is not enough.

All the Mets need to do is get to the World Series and they will get all the attention they deserve. Go Mets!

Uncle Mike said...

Right, all the Mets need to do is get into the World Series. Worked in 2000, didn't it?

All right, I'll take the issue seriously: The problem with building a team through your farm system is that, eventually, they won't be your team's top prospects anymore. If they turn out to be what you hope they will, by that point, their contracts will run out or have to be renewed, and those players will have to be paid the big bucks, or they will leave and find someone who will pay it. That's what happened when Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera and Bernie Williams were no longer hot prospects but veteran stars. It will happen to homegrown Yankees Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes.

If Wright, Reyes, Pelfrey, Niese, Ike Davis and whoever else actually do become the great players you think they'll become, someone will pay the piper. Whether that's the Wilpons or someone else remains to be seen, but, eventually, if these players get to be that good, they'll be high-priced talent.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the Mets got to the World Series in 2000, and they got plenty of attention. Never mind that they got bought out by that corporate entity across town, the Mets got everyone's attention.

Mikey, you just proved my point about how baseball's financial structure is seriously broken.

"...those players will have to be paid the big bucks, or they will leave and find someone who will pay it."

Only the rich teams can afford the best talent, so right away at least 2/3 of the league has no chance of winning a World Series. You can't win without great players, so where is the competitive balance when only the rich teams can afford the great players? Uh, there is none.

Uncle Mike said...

They are ALL rich teams. All of them. Kansas City is owned by a Wal-Mart heir. And the Mets didn't get bought out by the Yankees, they got beat. They did help, with their fool baserunning, but they were the most expensive team in NL history, and they still lost in 5 games, all close, because money can't buy character, which the Yankees had and the Mets didn't.

Now, they have a little character. What they don't have is enough talent or enough health. And if they spent twice as much money as the Yankees, it wouldn't buy them enough on-field performance or health. It's not about money, it's about brains and character, and the Mets haven't had enough of both since 1969. (They didn't need character in '86, because they were facing the pre-Theo Red sox.)

Anonymous said...

Suppose YOU were the owner of the Royals, with all of your Wal-mart money, would you spend it all on a team in a small market that would struggle to reach .500 each year? And even if the Royals did reach the playoffs regularly, what would YOU do when the injury bug hits early in the season, and the fans KNOW that the team is going to suck that year, and attendance drops? Would YOU be happy about losing that Wal-mart money? Remember, once it's gone, it's gone for good.

Too many teams are hanging on by a thread, in small markets with fickle fan bases. To truly be a competitive league, there needs to be total revenue sharing, and a salary cap as well as a salary floor. 30 evenly matched, evenly paid teams is the only way to solve the current nightmare in baseball.

Now if some of the 30 teams don't want to play that way, then it's up to Mr. Selig to deal with it - did I hear someone say "contraction"?

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