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 (12:00 PM)
Thanks for joining me, live from Phoenix. Let's get started ...
Why didn't the Mets deal for bullpen help weeks ago? Now it is too late and the season is over. It's not like the bullpen has only been struggling recently. Waiting too long has cost this team the season. It seems that teams that care more about winning fix a problem quickly.
Adam Rubin (12:01 PM)
Dealing for bullpen help is easier said than done. Players are starting to move now. If you did it three weeks ago, it would have required a huge overpay. And clearly this front office has 2014, 2015 in mind -- and is determined not to compromise that. No matter what they say publicly, I'm sure they made a critical of analysis of where they were this season even as they were winning games. It's not an "all-in" kind of year. Never was.
Daniel (Long Island)
How is Santana's ankle progressing?
Adam Rubin (12:03 PM)
He is supposed to throw off a mound next week. The Mets are eyeing the Marlins series, Aug. 8 or 9, for his return to games. That means two starts for Jeremy Hefner, in all likelihood, on the three-city road trip before Santana rejoins the rotation.
What's the long term plan with Duda? He's going to be lousy in LF too, no? Don't the Mets at some point have to choose between Duda and Davis at 1st? Which would you choose?
Adam Rubin (12:04 PM)
The left field/first base thing at Triple-A is designed for comfort level so that he can concentrate on improving at the plate. Clearly, though, once Jason Bay has run his course in NY, left field will be open.
Drew (New York)
Do the Mets have a backup plan if (when?) Wheeler, Harvey, and the rest turn into a Generation K-esque disaster?
Adam Rubin (12:05 PM)
You are a Mets fan.
Drew (New York)
Any chance of any sort of significant (i.e. bigger than Hairston) off-season signing besides Wright to show the fans that the Mets are willing to spend?
Adam Rubin (12:06 PM)
I don't see the financial coffers being loosened until the offseason after 2013. I can't foresee the payroll going up dramatically entering next season. And the available dollars must be channeled toward longer-term commitments for Wright and Dickey, who will be entering option years. After 2013, Bay and Santana are off the books, so money is freed up.
Who is the odd man out next rotation: Santan, Gee, Niese, Wheeler, Harvey, Dickey
Adam Rubin (12:07 PM)
We've got a long way to go for that, no? The Mets already have gone through Pelfrey and Gee (and Santana is on the DL). So it's not like the Opening Day rotation is the wire-to-wire rotation anyway.
Can Byrdak or Hairston fetch the Mets anything decent in a trade?
Adam Rubin (12:09 PM)
The Mets really ought to be in sell mode right now, and Hairston particularly would draw significant interest because he's making $1.1 million (I think) and is solid against lefties. You're not talking Zack Wheeler in return. You're probably talking about a prospect of the caliber of Matt den Dekker or such being returned. Sandy Alderson is on the record, though, saying he wants to keep the club competitive and intact this year, unless there's a trade that makes sense for the now -- meaning the remainder of this year and 2013. So I believe the likelihood is Tuesday's trading deadline passes with inaction from the Mets.
Why are the Mets playing Torres in Center when the should be grooming either Newy or spin for the future CF role
Adam Rubin (12:11 PM)
I'm sure you'll see going forward a move toward youth playing as the season drifts away. Torres is making $2.7 million this year and is arbitration-eligible one final time next offseason. He'd definitely be a non-tender candidate in December.
What do scouts say about Hefner? What's his potential?
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
Just a serviceable "4A" guy you call up when you need someone to plug the rotation, whom you then return to Triple-A afterward. A better version of Chris Schiwnden, at least in terms of usage.
any chance the mets kick around the idea of centering a trade for justin upton around wilmer flores in the off season, upton still has potential and flores does not truly have a fit for the big league squad
Adam Rubin (12:14 PM)
The Diamondbacks don't want to build around him, which would be a red flag to me. The salary commitments are manageable. But everything the Mets have done is centered on not parting with core prospects. I'm not sure they deviate from that. Arizona likely will be looking for young talent for the left side of its infield.
Is there any chance Bay just gets released this year or before next? It's tough to watch.
Adam Rubin (12:16 PM)
They ate a huge amount on Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, so it's not unprecedented. But I have no sense that's imminent. I would think the earliest would be out of spring training, and I'm not forecasting that. You need someone up and coming to force the decision. That person has not emerged yet.
Do the Mets have plans to call up McHugh at some point this season? It actually appears as though he's more ready to pitch in the majors right now than Harvey or Wheeler, even if the ceiling is lower.
Adam Rubin (12:18 PM)
McHugh has to be added to the 40-man roster this winter or the Mets will lose him, so a September call-up at the least is foreseeable. Before that, it's going to be based on need. The best shot was probably if Hefner struggled yesterday and the Mets needed a couple of West Coast starts until Santana returned. But Hefner's performance yesterday justifies him continuing in the rotation for the time being. McHugh is a Dillon Gee-type pitcher. No one is forecasting him as an ace. Just a quality No. 5-type guy.
In reference to your answer to Jason's question above, does that mean Flores' stock has risen again this year? I know some have suggested his success was just an ability to master the level after repetition.
Adam Rubin (12:19 PM)
He's not viewed as an elite prospect. You're not trading him for Justin Upton straight up, or anything like that. Jury is still out.
honestly, I think the Met fan base would say cutting all ties with Jason Bay is one of the most important moves Sandy has to make this year.
Adam Rubin (12:19 PM)
They took a cue from fan disdain in releasing Ollie and Castillo. But it's too soon. I can't imagine they're considering it during the 2012 season.
What do you see next years outfield looking like between-Duda,Spin,Newy, Bay and Den Deker
Adam Rubin (12:20 PM)
There has to be some outside acquisition, whether that's re-signing Scott Hairston or someone. Other than Bay, you're talking all lefties there. And people want Bay out. Outfield needs a little more lefty-righty balance.
On David Wright's option, it was widely discussed that he would be perfect trade bait next year to score some very needed talent in other key areas. Given his performance thus far, and assuming he continues on the same path, does that expectation still stand? What would the focus of a trade of Wright entail?
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
I'm sure there will be conversations during the offseason about an extension with Wright's agents. If there is a complete impasse on dollars, and if the team tanks next year, I suppose there's always a chance of a July 2013 trade. But I still believe the Mets need to pony up and pay the man. Otherwise, you might as well relocate the franchise from New York. My curiosity for a while has much more been whether Wright wants to stay, money aside. He looked like he was having more fun this year surrounded by young, enthusiastic players. But as the reality has set in and the team again nosedives, how many years does he really want to put up with this?
Does the newest Madoff news (you reported this morning) affect team spending at all?
Adam Rubin (12:24 PM)
No. People associated the Madoff settlement with financial prosperity for the Mets. That's not the case. There is a mountain of existing debt, including stadium payments, irrespective of the Madoff settlement. Some of that was paid down by the minority ownership shares. But the attendance/revenue I'm sure will nosedive for the remainder of the season and cash flow, I'm sure, remains an issue for the organization.
What is the future of Valdespin?
Adam Rubin (12:25 PM)
You're trying to get me in trouble, because I'm on the record downplaying him. If he's a major league starter, it's likely in the outfield. The people I trust long have forecast him as a major leaguer, but as a major league bench player.
I am from Brooklyn and have been a Mets fan my entire life (40 now). How many years (1, 3, 10???) do you think it will be before we are actual contenders again?
Adam Rubin (12:27 PM)
They could open up the purse strings and be competitive next year, but I don't believe that will be the case. So you're probably talking 2014 as a best-case scenario, when whatever the Harvey/Wheeler/Mejia/Familia set is going to be is clear and they can return to some free agent spending with Santana and Bay off the books. I would caution, though, that this is going to be a short Nationals era. Most of the major players on their team are Scott Boras clients, though. So they'll hit free agency in four years or so (Harper slightly longer). And that window will close on them.
Adam, The Tigers traded Jacob Turner for a pither who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Shouldn't the Mets dangle R.A. Dickey to see what he would bring. I would have loved to get a package centered around Jacob Turner for Dickey. What do you think?
Adam Rubin (12:28 PM)
The Mets do not want to write off 2013. And by trading Dickey you're doing that. Would I pursue trades, particularly with how cost-effective Dickey will be next year with the option? Perhaps. But I don't think the Mets have any intention of telling their fans this is an absolute rebuild with an eye toward 2014 or 2015 or such.
Damon (New Paltz)
Is there any thought that perhaps the Dave Hudgens philosophy is just not the right philosophy for some of these players.. Kirk, Ike, Duda namely take to many pitches and end up behind in the count. It obvious the book is out on the Mets... Throw first pitch strikes.. Once you get behind in the count especially when you are a young player you are more likely to fish at bad pitches once behind.
Adam Rubin (12:29 PM)
It's a delicate balance. They want to drive up pitch counts, and then TC at points during the year expressed frustration with taking too many strikes. I suppose the object is to only swing at strikes, which at its root would be any organization's mantra.
Adam (Tennessee) [via mobile]
Johans a great pitcher and got the Mets their first no no...but other than that he's struggled a bit. How many years left does he have in him?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
It's really, really hard to tell. No one foresee the first-half performance coming off shoulder surgery. Let's see when he returns if this was a blip related to the ankle that caused shoulder fatigue or it's something more.
What kind of pitcher do scouts expect Matt Harvey to turn into? Back-end guy? No.2 or 3 starter?
Adam Rubin (12:31 PM)
No. 3 seems to be the consensus.
Given blow up between Thole and bullpen, and his overall lack of power, what are the Mets thinking of doing at the catcher position long-term?
Adam Rubin (12:33 PM)
Thole is cheap. I suppose he'll be a "Super Two" and arbitration-eligible for the first time (of four times) this offseason. Before you run Thole out of town, you probably ought to focus the attention in the offseason on acquiring a righty-hitting complement. I imagine the interest has died down as the Mets faded, but Ramon Hernandez -- who would is under control for next season -- definitely was a consideration earlier this month in a potential deal with the Rockies. There were specific names Colorado was looking at in the Mets' system.
Harrison (New York)
I assume if we decide to quickly pack it in we can get a decent return for Wright correct?
Adam Rubin (12:35 PM)
Definitely. But that's more an offseason trade, if it were to materialize. Remember, Wright can become a free agent during the winter if he's traded now. The option only belongs to the Mets. And the acquiring team would not get draft-pick compensation if they lost him as a free agent during the winter. ... A winter trade would mean Wright has a full year with the new team, and then I believe that team would be entitled to the draft-pick compensation if they lost him after the 2013 season. ... Either way, I'm not predicting a trade.
Adam (Englewood, NJ )
Like most Mets fan, I was very ecstatic and pleased with how the Mets performed during the first half of the year. However, in the back of my mind I always believed the Mets were playing far better than their numbers indicated. This team is very flawed. Outside of David Wright, Daniel Murphy, the resurgence of Ike Davis, and Reuben Tejada, the Mets do not have many players on this roster who would be valuable players on a winning ball club. The bullpen from day one wasn't much improved even with the acquisitons from the offseason. It never made sense to me why the Mets picked up John Rauch AND Frank Francisco from the Blue Jays when their bullpen was putrid last year. I am big fan of Sandy Alderson and what he is doing, but at the same time it seems that he is not paying attention to the details. We could have had Fernando Rodney and Juan Cruz for less than half the money and they are having superior seasons. I know finding bullpen help is a crap shoot, but I am still puzzled. This, along with getting rid of the entire bullpen expect Parnell, needs to find three new outfielders for next season, a capable catcher who is more than a singles hitter, and two new starting pitches. This team has a long way to go to compete. Matt Den Dekker is no savior nor is Kirk Nieuwenheis. This team needs to spend some money on capable players or the outlook of being in the playoffs in 2014 is not realistic.
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
You're on the record.
Christian (Arlington, VA)
As a life long and realistic Met fan isn't the past two weeks the best thing that could have happened to the Mets long term? Obviously winning is better then losing, but why trade any assets for a maybe 5% chance to get lightning in a bottle when now the Mets can develop Harvey in the Majors and give Santana the rest he needs (if not his ankle at least his arm). Thanks
Adam Rubin (12:37 PM)
I didn't believe they ever had any intention of trading core assets for a run this year. I was told point-blank by a team official that they were not going after other teams' closers, despite the reports linking them. The person didn't completely rule it out, but painted it as an unlikely scenario.
Will Duda be back up to the Mets soon?
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
He has to be down at least 10 days. With Mike Baxter returning as soon as Monday, I suppose he could be down until rosters expand Sept. 1. Regardless, if he's not producing with Buffalo, he's not coming back shortly.
Was Alderson in the market for another catcher in the offseason? It really seemed like they wanted to give the job to Nickeas, despite his horrendous offensive abilities.
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
They weighed guys like Ivan Rodriguez, but their determination was that whatever was available wasn't better than what they had. That's why it's so vital to develop your own.
Adam Rubin (12:40 PM)
Anyway, thanks for the spirited questions in spite of the Mets' freefall. I'll see you again next week.