The Phillies are better than the Mets because they are arrogant and condescending


Not my words! Those are the words of the Daily News’ Andy Martino, who believes that the biggest thing separating the Phillies and Mets is that the Mets lack “swagger” and lack “arrogance and condescension toward opponents” like the Phillies have:

While the roster is not the deepest, the Mets have never wanted for championship-level talent. The team has, however, lacked the swagger that, to hear those who were there tell it, defined the 1986 Mets, and has defined the 2007-2010 Phillies. Utley will slide spikes-up into any second baseman, and Rollins will publicly bash his opponents. When Colorado manager Jim Tracy this spring complained that the Phillies kept binoculars in their bullpen in an apparent attempt to steal signs, Charlie Manuel told him to “quit crying.” The Phillies manager then, without provocation, accused the Mets of stealing signs.

It all adds up to a “(expletive) you” edge that the Mets lack. From the general manager to the coaching staff to the star players to Chris Carter and Jesus Feliciano, they are almost all nice people. Maybe too nice.

Must be getting close to college football season, because that’s about the only other time you hear people talking b.s. about “swagger” being a cause of on-the-field success as opposed to an effect of it.

At the heart of this article — like so many other article analyzing the Mets’ recent failures — is a fallacy: that the Mets are as talented as the Phillies have been over the past few years.  They’re simply not.

The Phillies have not gone into any season over the past three years with the kinds of black holes in the lineup like the Mets have had in right field and second base or the kinds of nearly season-long injuries like those to Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes last year (and into this year). At the same time, the Mets don’t have a single pitcher close to Roy Halladay’s quality (sorry Johan) or a position player as good as Chase Utley (sorry David Wright).  Add in the fact that their manager can’t hold a candle to Charlie Manuel and the notion that all that separates these two teams is likability or swagger is laughable in the extreme.

It’s a comforting idea I suppose — we’d win if only we weren’t so nice! — but it’s hogwash.  Baseball rewards intensity and emotional demeanor less so than any other sport. The games are too long. The season is too long. Calm calculation is just too important.  Attitude can only take you so far.

Ultimately, winning baseball is about talent and execution.  The Mets could fill a wagon with swagger and it wouldn’t do them a damn bit of good. Because the Phillies are just better.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.