The Mets are overplaying their hand with R.A. Dickey

14 Comments

R.A. Dickey was the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner. And yet he’s reportedly willing to accept Ryan Dempster money in a contract extension with the Mets: $13 million per season for two years.

The Mets, however, are not willing to give him Ryan Dempster money, according to the New York Daily News. That’s simply too much. And yet they’re asking teams for two top prospects in return for him in trade talks.

“We’re in the process now,” COO Jeff Wilpon said. “It’s a negotiation. They want more than we’re willing to give right now. We want to do it for less than they want to accept right now. Somewhere in between there’s probably a deal to be done. If not, he’ll be a great bargain at $5 million playing out next season for us.”

Again, the Mets don’t think Dickey is worth Ryan Dempster/Dan Haren money, yet they think another team should be willing to fork over two of their best young talents for him, when they could, you know, just sign Ryan Dempster instead.

At this point, Dickey should really just tell the Mets to keep their money and that he’s going to test the open market. He’d be doing them a big favor by signing a two-year, $26 million extension. If he were a free agent right now, he’d have his pick of three-year, $45 million-$48 million offers, and it hardly be a shock if some team went to $20 million per year. He has a realistic shot of outperforming Zack Greinke over the next three years.

The crazy thing is that Dickey may well be worth Wil Myers from the Royals. He’s not worth the Mets’ request of shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from the Red Sox, but he could be worth one of the two and a lesser prospect. The Angels, Dodgers, Orioles, Rangers and Tigers should all be interested, too, especially if he’s still willing to take $13 million per year from his new team. But if the Mets were going to get that return they wanted, it likely would have happened already. They should just extend him and be done with it.

UPDATE: Donald Trump declines Nats offer to throw out the first pitch

Getty Images
68 Comments

UPDATE: Welp, we wont’ get to see that:

Sad!

8:53 AM: It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.

2017 Preview: Texas Rangers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Texas Rangers.

The Rangers somehow won the AL West last year despite not being super great at any one aspect of the game. There are stars here — Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish and Rougned Odor are all spiffy players — but the Rangers won the division by being greater than the sum of their parts. They scored a decent number of runs despite some bad collective peripheral numbers and they allowed more runs than anyone in the AL except the Twins and Athletics. Yet they had a great record in one-run games and outperformed their pythagorean record by a WHOLE lot. Luck shined brightly on the 2016 Rangers.

It’s hard to expect luck to hold in any instance, but that’s especially the case when there have been some pretty significant changes. Changes like the loss of Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland. In their place: A full season, the Rangers hope, from Shin-Soo Choo, a converted-to-outfield Jurickson Profar and Mike Napoli. That may wash out OK, especially if Choo is healthy, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see some regression in two of those offensive slots.

Starting pitching is also a big question mark. Cole Hamels at the top is not a problem, obviously, and if Yu Darvish is healthy and durable the Rangers have an outstanding 1-2 punch. Martin Perez in the third spot presents promise, but he’s been exactly average so far in five major league seasons. The back end of the rotation has some real problems. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are hurt at the moment and even if healthy, Cashner seems to be a shell of his once-promising self. A.J. Griffin is looking to pitch in his first full season since 2013. If the Rangers are strong contenders all year it’s gonna be on the “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain” model, but I have no idea what rhymes with “Darvish” and that’s sort of a problem.

The bullpen is going to look a lot like it did last year. Sam Dyson will close, but manager Jeff Banister has shown in the past that he’s not a slave to keeping guys in any one role down there. Jeremy Jeffress will likely set up but he’s closed before. Some think Matt Bush or Keone Kela could close. We’ll see Tanner Scheppers and lefty Alex Claudio. Banister has a Manager of the Year Award on his mantle and while that often doesn’t mean anything, it usually suggests that a guy knows how to deal with his pen. Banister will do OK with what he has.

Really, though, the rotation is a concern, as is hoping that a 35-year-old Mike Napoli and a soon-to-be 38-year-old Adrian Beltre can continue to be the types of players who can form the offensive core of a playoff team. There’s talent and a track record here, but there’s a lot of uncertainty. For that reason, I suspect the Rangers will fall back a smidge this year, even if they’re a playoff contender.

Prediction: Second Place, American League West.