<span class="vcard">Craig Calcaterra</span>

Sandy Alderson Citi Field

Sandy Alderson zings Scott Boras

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For several years Scott Boras has made a sport of mocking the Mets’ low-spending ways with supermarket analogies.

It started in 2011 when he said that the Mets shop “in the fruits and nuts aisle.” He updated that in 2012 to “the freezer section.” Yesterday at the GM meetings Boras said the Mets “went to more of the ready food section.”

Mets GM Sandy Alderson shot back. From Marc Carig of Newsday:

Consider it printed.

The Mets’ tradition of throwing players under the bus before trading them continues apace

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Last year the Mets didn’t want to bring Justin Turner back and they non-tendered him. They had the right to do so, of course. It says so right in the rules! There’s a thing that happens on certain teams, however, that somehow prevents them from merely parting ways with a player. Some teams, and the Mets are one of them, like to anonymously trash a player to reporters first.

So the Mets trashed Justin Turner to the press when he was non-tendered, telling Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that “Turner’s propensity for not running hard irked the front office, which had finally seen enough.” Turner, of course, joined the Dodgers where he hit .340/.404/.493 in 322 plate appearances while playing four different positions. We didn’t hear about his lack of hustle all year to my recollection.

They, of course, did this with R.A. Dickey, whose climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was deemed “selfish,” and they did with Carlos Beltran like it was their job.  They’re doing it again, this time with Jon Niese, who they are likely looking to trade. The story, as reported by the Daily News:

In the third inning of that Friday night home game against the Astros, after Ruben Tejada had drawn a walk, Collins signaled for his pitcher to bunt. With the corner infielders charging, however, Niese decided to swing away and flied out, thereby angering his manager.

According to players and coaches who were there, Collins jumped Niese as he came back to the dugout:

“What the f— was that?’’ the manager demanded.

“They were coming down my throat so I tried to slash,” Niese said.

“Next time get the bunt down like we told you,” Collins continued.

“F— you,” Niese said to Collins. “Take me out if you don’t like it.”

Is that interesting? Sure, on some level it is because we as fans like to gawk at things. But it’s also the case that exchanges like that happen a lot during the course of a long season. And that this particular exchange was not terribly notable. We know this because (a) it didn’t come up in the month and a half since it occurred; and (b) Collins himself tells the Daily News that he has no problem with Niese and that this particular exchange wasn’t a big deal. He actually takes some issue that it went down the way it was stated above, but his overall sense is “eh, it’s baseball and it’s not a big deal.”

But it’s out now, likely because Niese is a good candidate to be traded and someone in the Mets front office, for whatever reason, can’t seem to just let a player go without talking smack about him first.

Seems like a lovely place to work.

Cole Hamels “would love to be traded” this offseason

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that Cole Hamels would “love to be traded this winter.”

Hamels knows he can’t say a word.

Yet, if his world could possibly be a little more perfect, he’d love to be traded this winter.

He won’t demand a trade, or even complain, but four years ago when he signed his extension, he believed the Phillies would be a perennial power for the life of the contract.

The Phillies are certainly going to shop him. And if Ruben Amaro is realistic about it (i.e. realizes that you’re not getting four blue chip prospects for a guy owed nearly $100 million) he should be moved. Like I mentioned in the Braves post earlier this morning, if you’re going to rebuild, move your most valuable guys and get the most you can. Maybe that’s just one prospect and some role players, but clearing the salary and committing to the future requires you to part with things you love.

The proof of Nightengale’s premise, however, will come if and when Amaro can make a deal. Hamels has a pretty expansive no-trade clause — it’s thought to include 20 teams — but that shouldn’t be an impediment if Hamels truly does want to move on to a better situation.

The Braves are rebuilding, apparently

evan gattis getty
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Recent days have featured several Braves rumors. Some involving trading Jason Heyward and shopping any number of other players like Evan Gattis and/or Justin Upton. Last night Joel Sherman of the Post reported that the Braves intended to make Gattis their everyday left fielder which, gah, let me get my medication before I watch that 100 times next year. Less viscerally, that suggests a trade of at least one outfielder.

All of this taken together suggests to David O’Brien of the AJC that the Braves are punting the next year or two and doing a rebuild of sorts in anticipation of moving into their new ballpark in 2017. And new vice president of baseball operations John Hart seems to be leaning that way if the Braves can’t get some immediate help with their starting pitching:

“We obviously have all options open, and I think a lot of it’s going to be dictated by what we’re able to do in the starting-pitching market . . . What we’re able to do in the starting pitching market, that is going to, I think, fully engage us as to what we do in 2015, if we want to come back with a somewhat intact ballclub. And then obviously if we can’t do that, there’s other options that we’ll certainly examine.”

It seems off to me that a team one year removed from a 96-win season and with several young players under team control for an extended period of time would choose a wholesale rebuild right now. Which isn’t to say things are wonderful and changes shouldn’t be made. Injuries and uncertainty with starting pitching does mean that the Braves could use a starter or two. Trying to find some way to get rid of B.J. Upton or to at least work around him is important. There are issues here that need to be solved.

I guess I’d just say that, if you’re going to rebuild, freakin’ rebuild and do so in a way that maximizes return. That means just understanding that B.J. Upton is an utter lost cause and sunk cost and not trying to bundle him in some deal because doing so necessarily lessens the return. That means trading what may your most valuable asset — Craig Kimbrel — rather than hoping he’s still dominant three years from now. It also means making sure the parts you keep for 2017 are still likely to be good and useful in 2017. Which, in my mind, does not include Evan Gattis as a left fielder, even if he can wrestle the position to a draw for a year or two in the meantime.

Lots of uncertainty with this team. And, hopefully, some seriously open minds in the Braves front office, focused on maximizing the return and shooting for true contention, not some piecemeal deals that solve one problem only to create another.