WBC & other baseball thoughts @ MLBRT 3/9

 

The Crew talks about the WBC, David Wright and more this week… including the catch of the week (maybe the year)… in the MLB Roundtable…

1) Since David Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in May 2015, he has played just 75 games over the past two seasons and just 16 percent of the Mets’ games. He is now out for at least a couple of weeks with an impingement in his right shoulder that prevents him from throwing a baseball. Given the 34-year old Wright’s age, this injury must be viewed with a full measure of concern by the Mets.

(A) Is it time for Wright to face facts… yes, he has a contract for four more years but it’s all guaranteed. (And, the Mets are insured for 75% of its worth.) Yes, he wants to continue with his career as a MLB ballplayer and play ball for the Mets but is his attempting to play causing the Mets undue roster problems? Is it time for Wright to “retire” gracefully?

(B) Some sportswriters are saying the Mets it to David Wright to give him every chance to come back… Do the Mets owe Wright (or any player) anything more than a fair chance to come back and at what point do the Mets not owe Wright anything but the salary they already paid him and what they still owe him?

Dan: I don’t think it’s time for Wright to retire yet. But, if he struggles to play over half the games this season, then there needs to be options to look at with him.

This is a business and while it might be nice to see the Mets giving Wright an opportunity to try to get healthy again and be a contributor to the squad, they can’t wait around for four years while he misses 80+ games a year. It’s time to move on. Give him this year. If, it doesn’t work out, it’s time to move on. Either he can go to a different team and try to make it work or he can retire. But the Mets need to move on.

Earl: I joke that the only reason I like David Wright is because we share the same birth date (I’m exactly a year older.) But,that isn’t the only reason why I feel bad for him. I feel bad for him because his career should be over. I understand that he wants to continue but he is not able to play with spinal stenosis. That injury ends careers because he’s now straining other parts of his body in order to just play, and, that is a foolish thing to do in the long run.

However, the Mets do owe it to him to let Wright come to that conclusion on his own. He’s done enough for the franchise to get to that point on his own, but, I do hope he gets there. He just cannot play anymore.

Steve: As for question (A): It may very well be time for David Wright to start thinking about his long term health as he has been injury prone for the past several years. I don’t know if he has a family to think about, but I’m guessing he does. If, he continues at this pace, he may be laid up in a hospital bed, or his life will be full of surgeries, and constantly in pain. I wish him the best, and he can only do what is best for him.

As for (B): No the Mets are a franchise and a business, and, they owe nothing to anyone. The team has to do what is best for business and put the best chance of them winning a championship on the field. Sometimes in business you are forced to make difficult decisions. This would be one of those decisions. I would not blame the Mets one bit if they decide to move on from David Wright.

2) In announcing that he would forgo playing in the WBC to dedicate himself to preparing to be the best pitcher he can be for the NY Mets in 2017, Noah Syndergaard said (What probably a lot of baseball front office people feel but can’t/don’t say): “Ain’t nobody made it to the Hall of Fame or win a World Series playing in the WBC.” 

Is it time for MLB to seriously rethink their “encouraging” MLB teams to allow their players (investments) playing in the WBC? And, if that is not a possibility… is it time for the WBC to be moved to the offseason, so it doesn’t interfere with Spring Training?  

Dan: It’s a tough situation for the MLB in this situation since a lot of countries are very competitive in the WBC and take it very serious. Just look at Korea and Japan, for two examples in the games already. Their fans are enamored by it. They care. The players have an extreme passion for the games. These players wouldn’t miss the WBC if their lives depended on it.

“Ain’t nobody made it to the Hall of Fame or win a World Series playing in the WBC.” (Noah Syndergaard)

In the USA, however, a lot of players in MLB are gearing up to begin their season and they don’t want to play competitive baseball. Teams are paying these players millions upon millions of dollars to perform and the players don’t want to let their teams down by focusing on an irrelevant tournament that will only get them a gold if they win. If, all the top players played for USA, they’d be the favorites every year.

I do think, if there was any other time to play, it’d be in the off-season. But, how many players would bow out then? Would it be even more since they only get 3 months to relax and will take full advantage of that? Who knows, it’s not perfect, but, I wouldn’t move it at this rate.

Earl: I do not understand why the WBC is even a thing. The World Baseball Classic is useless, and the American audience doesn’t even care who wins. Do we care? Really?

I would not be in favor of moving it to the offseason, because what I am in favor of, is ending this useless competition entirely.

Steve: I was never a fan of the World Baseball Classic, even when it originated years ago. I never watch it, and, I cringe when I see that my favorite player or good players from my favorite team are involved. It just takes that much more out of them and it prevents them from getting the full rest that they need to start the season. Hopefully, if my team makes the playoffs, I want that player to be at his fullest and not be worn down.

3) ESPN.com headlined an article, “Is Jacoby Ellsbury the Yankees’ worst free-agent signing ever?” 

Thinking about the team that you root for most fervently… what was that team’s worst signing and why? 

Dan: The worst signing off my recent memory would be the signing of Jeff Suppan. He was absolutely horrible for the Brewers and just a waste of time all together. I’m sure there’s more that would come to mind, but, he’s the top of my recent memory list.

Alfonso Soriano: Worst signing ever by the Cubs?

Earl: I have to go with Jason Bay. The Mets handing him 4 years and $66 million was so bad that the contract had to end a year early just for the two sides to part with one another. He wasn’t a good personality fit, but, he was also a bad fit with the ballpark. His numbers from the Red Sox never transferred over.

Steve: The only one that really comes to mind is Alfonso Soriano when he joined the Cubs. He had a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 million dollars, which was a substantial contract that the time. He was a liability in the field, and, while he could hit the long ball, he would routinely disappoint in the clutch and had more strikeouts than anything. This guy was a nice move at the time, and got me excited, but his on the field play made me sick every time he came to the plate.

Every year the “experts’ project how each MLB season will shake out… 

FanGraphs’ Projected Wins For 2017
AL TEAM W L NL TEAM W L
Red Sox 93 69 Cubs 95 67
Indians 92 70 Dodgers 94 68
Astros 91 71 Nationals 91 71
Blue Jays 86 76 Giants 87 75
Angels 83 79 Mets 85 77
Mariners 83 79 Cardinals 83 79
Rangers 83 79 Pirates 82 80
Rays 82 80 Rockies 78 84
Orioles 81 81 Marlins 78 84
Yankees 81 81 Diamondbacks 77 85
Tigers 81 81 Braves 73 89
Athletics 79 83 Phillies 71 91
Royals 75 87 Reds 70 92
Twins 74 88 Brewers 69 93
White Sox 69 93 Padres 65 97

 4) If you had to guess… which of those team being projected as a playoff contender will not even be in the mix and why? 

Dan: I think it’d be the Angels. I don’t think they made enough improvements this off-season to put them that high. They had a terrible season last year, didn’t improve that much this off-season, and are now expected to make the playoffs? I don’t see it happening. Not this year at least.

Earl: I claim two teams.

Angels retooling, can they still compete in 2017?

One of them is the Mets and I think they will be even better than the FanGraphs’ projection.

It’s my second team that I think will be worse. The Toronto Blue Jays won’t be 86-76 in my opinion. I’m of the opinion that their window has closed and they are closer to an 80 win team than a team that will be pushing 90 wins.

Steve: Judging by the numbers, I think the National League is pretty spot on. In the American League I don’t see the Angels or the Rays over .500.

The Rays were one of the worst teams in baseball last year, and the Angels were not much better. The bright spot for the Rays is Longoria and Archer, but the loss of Logan Forsythe is going to hurt them more than help them.

The Angels are a strange team to follow. On paper they seem to have a pretty decent squad and should contend, but they lack pitching, and in a loaded AL West with the Astros, Rangers, and even Mariners. I don’t see the Angels near the .500 mark.

5) If, you had to guess which team being projected as being a .500 team or worse will surprise and maybe even make the playoffs and more? Why? 

Dan: While, I don’t really think any of these teams have a great shot at making the playoffs or running towards the playoffs, there’s one team that strikes my eye. It’s the Orioles. While, their pitching is still lacking a little bit, their offense is still one of the best in the majors. And, like last season, I think their offense can carry them into playoff contention and a possible playoff slot as a Wild Card.

Earl: I’ll say the Royals. I’m not even convinced when I say that but I think they are better than FanGraphs’ are giving them credit for. 75-87 just feels too low for a team that not too long ago won a World Series.

Tigers looking to be a surprise in 2017?

Steve: This one is easy. The Tigers and the Royals representing the AL Central. While the Indians are a notch above the rest in the AL Central, and I think they run away with the division.

The Royals are two years removed from a World Series championship and still have some key pieces to that team. Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer can lead this team to another post season berth, albeit a wild-card berth.

The Tigers still have the ace(s) in the hole with Justin Verlander, who some say should have won the Cy Young Award last season, and, perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera. With these two superstars, there is no way I count the Tigers out, especially considering they were in the wild-card hunt the last weekend of the season last year. They are still going to have a solid team, and, will again give the wild-card a sniff, and could even surprise the Indians and give them a run.

 Extra Innings…

Prospect Luis Guillorme hasn’t made it past High-A St. Lucie in the Mets’ system, but he still is the epitome of cool.

With the Marlins’ Adeiny Hechavarria at the plate, a swing-and-miss sent the bat soaring towards the Mets’ dugout. The entire team took cover at the sight of the flying bat. Everyone except for Guillorme. The 22-year-old shortstop stared down the bat and made a sensational one-handed grab.

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