Chat with Adam Rubin
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Thursday, New York Mets writer Adam Rubin will stop by to take your baseball questions.
Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
Send your questions now and join Rubin Thursday at noon ET!
Adam Rubin (11:59 AM)
Thanks for joining me. Let's get started ...
Joe D. (NY)
Is Mets want a center fielder, is it safe to say Angel Pagan will be non-tendered?
Adam Rubin (12:02 PM)
Team officials are definitely down on him. They feel like he's a very solid backup who has now priced himself out of his optimal role. He made $3.5 million this past season and is arbitration-eligible, meaning he could be at $4.5 million or more in 2012 if they tendered him a contract. I would look for the Mets to shop Pagan over the next month and non-tender him on Dec. 12 if it came to that. That said, that means they have to go outside the organization for a center fielder. And when all is said and done, we'll see what they can find. Grady Sizemore is the top center fielder, but his injury history and price probably scares them away. Coco Crisp had a low on-base percentage, and his agent told the San Francisco Chronicle he preferred the West Coast. There are reports the Rays may non-tender Upton. He and David Wright grew up together.
Danny A. (Brooklyn)
Dombrowski recently hinted that the Tigers won't make a run at Reyes. Thoughts?
Adam Rubin (12:04 PM)
On the Mets blog at ESPNNewYork.com, I quoted writers who cover different teams regarding the chances of landing Reyes (http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/36355/opposing-views-on-reyes). John Lowe of the Detroit Free-Press echoed what Dave Dombrowski said, that they already have two $20 million players. That said, I would take with a grain of salt what any team says publicly at this point. I think when all is said and done Detroit will be an interested party.
Does re signing Reyes keep the Mets from getting other veterans like Sizemore and Nathan?
Adam Rubin (12:07 PM)
Sandy Alderson has said on several occasions now that the payroll should be in the $100 million to $110 million range. And he said on Monday it could start the season slightly below that range and move into it in-season. So if Jason Bay, David Wright, Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey are a combined $65 million, certainly adding Reyes -- even if slighly backloaded, really reduces that flexibility. They need a closer and to retool the bullpen overall regardless. I asked Alderson on Monday if Reyes leaving/staying affects the amount spent on a closer. He did not indicate they were precisely related.
Do scouts think that Dillon Gee can hold a spot in a major league rotation? I like the way he works and guts it out, and I'd be pleased if he turned out to be an innings-eating #5 starter, but is he?
Adam Rubin (12:09 PM)
I believe the Mets' plan, to answer it slightly different, is to bring in one competent starting pitcher and then a few other people who could end up in the bullpen/AAA as insurance. Let's say, for instance, they re-sign Chris Capuano. Assuming everyone is healthy, you have Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey as four-fifths of the rotation. Then you'd have Gee and Capuano battling for the fifth spot, with the other in the pen in long relief/spot starter duty.
Let's say Reyes is gone...are there even any free agents worth considering that are in the Mets' price range?
Adam Rubin (12:10 PM)
At shortstop? The plan if Reyes leaves is for Ruben Tejada to be the Mets' shortstop, with Daniel Murphy then presumably getting the bulk of the second-base activity.
Whats the compensations if Reyes leaves for the mets? How is the talent in next years draft rated?
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
Assuming the signing team finished with one of the better 15 records this season, the Mets would get the signing team's first-round pick, and a sandwich pick between the first and second round. If the team had one of the worst 15 records in 2011, the Mets get their second-round pick instead, plus the sandwich pick. The draft order is here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/35673/mets-will-draft-12th-in-2012 The Mets pick 12th with their own pick. Basically, if you look at that list, any team from pick No. 16 (Washington) to No. 31 (Philadelphia), the Mets would get that team's first-round pick if Reyes left for that team.
If they do not sign a speedy CF, will Ruben Tejada bat leadoff next year? Perhaps his one offensive advantage over Reyes was that he does work deep into counts.
Adam Rubin (12:14 PM)
I don't really see Tejada as a leadoff hitter. The center fielder optimally would bat leadoff, I suppose. But if the center fielder is not a leadoff hitter, I can't identify anyone better than Tejada in the projected lineup. Certainly none of the following are leadoff hitters: Thole, Davis, Murphy, Wright, Bay, Duda. ... Pagan would be the leadoff hitter, I suppose, if he were to stay, which is not what I'm projecting.
Do you think the changes to Citi Field will really help Wright and Bay?
Adam Rubin (12:15 PM)
It has to. Wright's power is to right-center, and that's going from 415 feet to 395 feet or so. Plus, that wall in left, even if it weren't moving in, is going to be eight feet instead of 16 feet. My friends at hittrackeronline.com are preparing data on individual players for me right now. We should have it prepared and posted in the next few days.
Enzo Fernandez (Queens)
If reyes leaves and Tejada at SS with Murphy getting bulk of 2nd base work, where does that leave Turner?
Adam Rubin (12:16 PM)
I would think Turner most likely is a bench player/spot starter regardless of whether Reyes stays/goes, although certainly Reyes leaving puts Tejada at shortstop and gives some opportunity for playing time at 2B with Murphy since Murphy bats lefty and Turner righty.
Wheeler, Harvey, Familia...... I like the future, but I hear Familia is a reliever....... what have you heard Adam............
Adam Rubin (12:17 PM)
The organization is not resolved to Familia being a reliever, but I know plenty of scouts who project Familia and Mejia in the bullpen. You can check out Baseball America's top 10 prospect list here, by the way: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/36346/wheeler-named-top-mets-prospect
Do you expect the Mets to sign multiple free agent relievers? Is it crazy to think maybe Nathan and Broxton to low base deals?
Adam Rubin (12:19 PM)
Not sure where everything will end up, but I have to believe you're talking the Nathan, Broxton, Lidge level for the Mets' next closer. They may have to sign as many as five relievers overall this offseason. Beyond Tim Byrdak, there are no sure things for making the 2012 team currently there. Certainly, you would figure, Bobby Parnell appears somewhere in the bullpen mix, although not at the back end. Pedro Beato now can be sent to the minors, so he has to earn a spot. And Daniel Herrera is assured of nothing. I believe the Mets will go find a second lefty reliever to pair with Byrdak. Alderson was quite clear that very few relievers under their control right now are at the level the organization wants.
how good will santana be do you think? Starting pitching sure seems thin.
Adam Rubin (12:21 PM)
They desperately need him to contribute, since he's making $55 million over the next two seasons (with 2014 buyout). On pure will, Santana can get himself to a certain level. But I think given the gravity of the shoulder surgery that even those closest to Santana don't believe he'll ever regain vintage level again. Any diminishment of the fastball, remember, can affect the quality of his changeup as well.
Enzo Fernandez (Queens)
When do you see you us as being real contenders? 3, 4, 5 years?
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
Keep going. ... Kidding. ... The Santana and Bay contracts (if Bay doesn't very for 2014) come off the books after 2013. At that point, you'll know what the pitching prospects Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia will be. If a few of those arms turn out to be the real deal and that money is again available to spend via free agency, that's when the Mets regain legitimate competitiveness again.
Chances David Wright is on the team Opening Day?
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
What are the chances BJ Upton gets non-tendered? What money would it take for the Mets to get him?
Adam Rubin (12:23 PM)
Only know what I'm reading. Mark Zuckerman, who covers the Nationals, portrayed it as a very real possibility that Upton gets non-tendered. Not sure what the free-agent cost would be at that point.
Do the mets realize they are playing in NY and there are demands that come with that-I mean do they really? They are now really acting like a scendary market team-Don't they know that people will pay more for a winner than less for a loser?
Adam Rubin (12:24 PM)
It would be nice, while growing a farm system, if the Mets could spend like a New York team to make them more competitive in the interim. I'm not saying go out and commit to six- and seven-year deals. But get some real players on two-year contracts until the farm system is ready. Pretty sad. The Mets have not had a $100 million payroll since 2004, when it was $83 million (when subtracting Mo Vaughn's fully insured contract).
David Wright to Balitomore for Wieters and one of their young pitchers, yes?
Adam Rubin (12:25 PM)
Once Baltimore hires a GM, I'll work on it.
All of the writers you interviewed didn't think that Reyes was going to the teams they covered. So where do you think he is going?
Adam Rubin (12:27 PM)
I'd say this about that sentiment: If the Detroit writer thinks there's a 10 percent chance, and the Milwaukee writer thinks there's a 15 percent chance, and the Nats writer thinks there's a 8 percent chance, they're all individually rightfully pessimistic. And yet the likelihood is someone steps up and he signs somewhere else. The team may not even know they're going to land Reyes yet. People get impulsive in open bidding, like if you were sitting at an auction.
Harris Mevorah (New Jersey)
Is there a chance the mets get BJ Upton
Adam Rubin (12:28 PM)
Don't know how to assess it ... haven't even asked anyone ... but the Mets likely will need a CF.
Jim (Levittown, NY)
Besides possibly Reyes do you think the Mets sign any offensive player that will have a chance to start or are we possibly looking at - pagan, tejada, murph, wright, davis, bay, duda, thole?
Adam Rubin (12:29 PM)
The focus clearly is going to be on pitching, with the exception of redoing CF. Duda should be in RF. Tejada at SS and Murphy at 2B, if Reyes departs, I believe. I hear Ronny Paulino is likely out. They could look for a righty-hitting catcher to pair with Josh Thole, or simply go with Mike Nickeas.
Should we lose out on Reyes, any chance of Prince Fielder and moving Ike to right field?
Adam Rubin (12:29 PM)
Not very likely.
Matty P (Parsippany, NJ)
What are the chances that Jose Reyes does not sign with the Mets and instead becomes the first key free agent for the Cubs?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
Assuming Reyes returns, Murphy, Lucas, and Ike are healthy, the NYM will have the best offense in the NL East next year?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
Lots of speculation about Upton. Although his injury history is an issue, wouldn't a shorter term contract, worth less money, be more beneficial to signing Sizemore? In addition, his character and motivation wouldn't be in question like Upton's is from time to time.
Adam Rubin (12:31 PM)
As I mentioned, I'm really not overly familiar with Upton at this point. I rarely see the American League beyond the Mets' interleague opponents.
If Ryes leaves, and Tejada stays at 2b, what about a Yuniesky Bentancourt. Caesar Itsturis or Alex Gonzalez???
Adam Rubin (12:31 PM)
I believe they're pretty firmly resolved to go with Tejada at SS if Reyes leaves.
Glenn (Staten Island)
Who leads off if Reyes leaves? Assuming Pagan stays, he proved he couldn't handle the job last year when jose was hurt and Tejada isn't ready for that role. If Nieuwenhuis is called up early in 2012, could he be the guy? He's bat first for most of his minor league career I think.
Adam Rubin (12:32 PM)
Covered this a little, but Pagan if he's here (which I don't believe). It would need to be center fielder, or Tejada -- but Tejada is not optimal.
Nick (Clinton, NY)
I really like how Sandy Alderson has let the Reyes situation play out. After reading your post on the reactions from the different beat writers, is there a chance that Mets could resign Reyes for 5-6 years at 15-16 mil per year?
Adam Rubin (12:33 PM)
I can't imagine the Mets going to six years, and I'm not convinced they'd even guarantee five. And I think it'll be more like $16 million to $18 million per year than $15 million to $16 million. I still refuse to believe when all is said and done that Reyes does not get a six-year guarantee from some team. His agents need to deliver that for him.
BT (East Hills)
Hey Adam, Love what you do! In the outfueld, other than Bay in left, do you think the Mets CF and RF are on their roster right now? Are they going to stick with Pagan and Duda, or can we see perhaps an upgrade via free agency? Thanks! BT
Adam Rubin (12:34 PM)
Thanks. I certainly foresee Duda in RF. If Reyes were to return and Tejada gets pushed to second base, to get Murphy's bat in the lineup, I suppose he would need to play at least limited outfield as well.
Thanks for answering this Adam. With Sandy Alderson saying the Mets have major issues in the bullpen, and saying he wants more of a sense of reliability with the 8th/9th inning do you see the Mets signing two closer types? I think Joe Nathan should be the closer, he turned it on after July 8th being 11/11 in saves with a sub-3 ERA. Then for set up could they sign someone like Brad Lidge or Frank Francisco?
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
I can see a scenario where they sign two people who formerly were closers -- maybe not Nathan and Lidge, since that would be pricey -- but two guys who have accumulated saves in their careers and just see how it plays out in spring training. ESPN Stats & Information did an analysis of closers. You can check out their write-up here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/36307/closer-look
Do you think Mike Pelfry is capable having 2-3 great years (15+ wins, -3.5 ERA) in his career? If you do, can it be pitching for the Mets. He is the must frustrating pitching the Mets have had in a long time.
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
I would not write off Pelfrey yet. Dan Warthen really does believe in him. Ace? No. But he's won 15 games before, and can do that again.
MKelm (Fairfax, VA)
Well, I have a feeling I'm not the only one asking about Jose Reyes, but realistically is he going to get a better deal than the one I think the Mets would give him. I think the Mets would probably give him 5 years @ $15M with some opt out clauses and performance bonuses. I just don't see any of the other big clubs signing him. He'd never work out as a Philly, the Yankees are high on Nunez for whenever, the Angels have a bloated budget already, St. Louis will focus on resigning Pujols, and the Red Sox, Rangers and White Sox all seem happy with what they have. Who does that leave? Milwaukee? Cubs? Does Reyes return to the Mets more or less by default?
Adam Rubin (12:38 PM)
I'd refer you back to the poll of beat writers from the beginning of the chat. Certainly the Yankees and Red Sox (who locked up Marco Scutaro) are not going to be factors.
Hey Adam, what do you think the Mets will spend on a closer? Can they afford the $5 million per year range, or will they wait it out to the end and try to get someone for about what they gave Capuano & Young last year?
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
It makes sense to structure it like Capuano or Young with low base salary if it's doable, but they have to land a competent closer and they know it. If they need to spend $5 million, or $8 million, for that next level beyond Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon, K-Rod and Ryan Madson, so be it. It's got to be done, because obviously internally the options are not there,
I know Pagan had an awful year in 2011, but guys like Sizemore and Crips are huge injury risks with an upside similar to Pagan's 2010. Does the front office hate Pagan that much, or do they think those guys could come cheaper?
Adam Rubin (12:40 PM)
It could be cheaper options as well. In fact, it might be. They love to show how smart they are (like the Brad Emaus Rule 5 pick). They're very down on Pagan, especially as a starter. The baserunning gaffes were not as frequent of late, but the poor decisions returning the ball to the infield were glaring and frequent.
Hi Adam,How much of these stadium renovations are costing the Mets? I find it indicative of the their incompetence as an organization that they are constantly re-doing their stadium ie. very little Mets tribute in the beginning, a giant rotunda devoted to a BK Dodger, and now this.
Adam Rubin (12:41 PM)
They would not say the cost. They did portray it as relatively insignificant, since they're just adding fencing/padding in front of the existing wall and adding some seating. Not like there's a major demolition project going on.
Is it still to early to rate Sandy? or do you wait until after 2012 to see if he is making progress?
Adam Rubin (12:42 PM)
I have my opinion, but it's probably too early. You have to see how they develop the farm and spend money when they actually have some flexibility.
If the Mets aren't going to be giving major players 6-7 year contracts (especially for their homegrown players) how can fans expect them to get or retain these caliber of players? Every competing team has a couple big contract players
Adam Rubin (12:43 PM)
Do you think the change in lft field from 371 to 358 is a bit drastic? That is about 20 feet more shallow than Shea Stadium in approximately the same are of field.
Adam Rubin (12:45 PM)
We haven't posted the hittrackeronline.com study yet about the chances -- they're still researching some individual players -- but I will say that left-center should be the easiest place to homer at Citi Field from what the study has revealed so far.
Robert (Houston, Tx)
Who do you think the Mets will protect from the rule 5 draft? would i be correct in assuming havens, niuwenhuis, familia and legares are locks? has the organization given up on brad holt?
Adam Rubin (12:46 PM)
I really haven't looked at it yet. Assuming you're corect that all four need to be protected, then they are pretty much assured of landing on the 40-man roster.
If the Mets don't re-sign Reyes, I'd like to see him go to Detroit. I have a sinking feeling that the Nationals are going to overpay. He can't stay in the division
Adam Rubin (12:47 PM)
And yet you can't really rule out any NL East team definitively. So we'll see.
Given Thole's poor offensive production, are the Mets really considering Mike Nickeas as his back-up when he can't hit a lick?
Adam Rubin (12:48 PM)
Who said backup? Playing time could be more equitable than that -- recognizing there are more right-handed than left-handed pitchers.
Does it appear the Wilpons are out from under the Madoff lawsuit?
Adam Rubin (12:52 PM)
"Out" is a relative term. The second lawsuit, brought by employees of Wilpon-owned Sterling Equities, was "only" for $16 million and is being settled. The Picard lawsuit originally was for $1 billion. If this judge's ruling stands, and it may not, the maximum liabilty would be $386 million. And the actual amount owed might be as little as $83 million -- the profit from the two years immediately before Madoff was shut down. Picard has asked for an "interlocutory" appeal. That means, having a judge's ruling sent to the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court before the case in district court is resolved. Picard wants a six-year clawback period on profits, which would up the profit total to $300 million from $83 million. This judge is only giving them two years. Complicated, but hopefully that's a relatively simple explanation.
Adam, do you think Mets will have any interest in Ryan Doumit for catcher, his option was not picked up this week by the Pirates.
Adam Rubin (12:54 PM)
It really is too early for me to give an educated opinion on individual catchers. He is a switch-hitter, which keeps him in the consideration set, I imagine. The only catchers I would exclude are lefty-hitting catchers.
Has any reporter ever asked the Wilpons if they feel any civic obligation to sell the team if they can not operate it as a major market franchise?
Adam Rubin (12:55 PM)
I need to ask Wally Matthews to come to a Mets press conference, I suppose.
Wheeler and Harvey will be heading the rotation by 2013.... True or False ??
Adam Rubin (12:56 PM)
Heading? That's too much to ask. Wheeler is a legitimate frontline candidate, but he's yet to reach Double-A. Harvey may very well be a No. 3 or 4. There's no shame in that. I worry the Mets are hyping this class of pitchers and people are going to judge them against unrealistic expectations.
Danny A. (Brooklyn)
If Sandy Alderson didn't plan to make a strong effort to re-sign Reyes (as many claim), why didn't he trade him in July? Fan perception certainly didn't stop him from dealing Beltran.
Adam Rubin (12:58 PM)
Fan perception certainly had to be a factor. If they traded Beltran, K-Rod and Reyes, Citi Field would have been more of a ghost town in the second half, and the owners need revenue. But there had to be some belief that there was at least some chance to sign him, or else it really made no sense.
Have you heard which of the B Level closer options (Capps/Nathan/Lidge/Cordero) Alderson prefers?
Adam Rubin (12:58 PM)
No. We'll just have to keep checking with agents/other front offices/scouts and see what the buzz is as the process goes along.
Jim (Levittown, NY)
Are CF/C the only two positions the mets would even entertain bringing in a starting level offensive player?
Adam Rubin (12:59 PM)
I keep reading about 2B as well, but that makes little sense to me. They have Tejada, Murphy and Turner there. The limited money is going to primarily go to pitching.
Enzo Fernandez (Queens)
Do you think moving in the fences will give Wright and Bay a few more HR's to give them the added confidence at the plate that's needed for them to be the hitters we need them to be? Bullpen needs to be addressed if we want them to hold the lead to win those games, no point in losing 12-9 with fences in, thoughts?
Adam Rubin (1:00 PM)
The other factor with the fences, aside from shorter automatically means more homers, is that this will improve Wright and Bay's mindset. They'll be able to relax a little more at the plate, which translates to better production.
David Wright for Matt Cain.... who says no first????
Adam Rubin (1:00 PM)
Adam Rubin (1:01 PM)
We've been at it for an hour. Thanks for joining me. I'm on Twitter at @AdamRubinESPN. We constantly update the blog here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets
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