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. I'm in Philly, as Mets wrap up series and look for the sweep.
Who do you think will start next year in the rotation with Dickey, Santana, Harvey, Niese, Gee, Young, and possibly McHugh and Wheeler competeing for spots?
Adam Rubin (12:03 PM)
You would certainly expect the rotation to open the season next year would be, assuming everyone is healthy: R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Matt Harvey -- with Zack Wheeler and Collin McHugh in Triple-A as safety nets. I was speaking with some people today, though, who wondered if the Mets might try to trade Dickey. Not suggesting that will happen. But if the Mets are looking to improve other areas, starting pitching is a relative strength for them, at least in terms of depth, so it's plausible.
Has Shoppach made a strong impression on the coaching staff? Do you see him back as the starting C next year or will he be too expensive for the current regime?
Adam Rubin (12:04 PM)
Terry Collins has been complimentary. Shoppach is not more than a $1.5 million player or so, so I imagine he's in the right price range to be re-signed. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he's the righty-hitting catcher next season.
Who are the likely candidates other teams would target in the offseason? Parnell and Davis would have to be the two names on the current roster correct?
Adam Rubin (12:05 PM)
I can certainly see Bobby Parnell traded. He's under control for three more seasons. The Mets were approached by the Tigers, I heard, last winter meetings and seriously debated trading him.
john (new york)
i read a lot the mets project mejia as a reliever and not a starter. how are such projections made and do the mets need to reconsider in mejia's case?
Adam Rubin (12:06 PM)
Terry Collins and Dan Warthen, particularly the latter, sound in the reliever camp too -- so it's not idle speculation. TC has mentioned Mejia is basically a two-pitch pitcher, although it sounds like he's worked on a two-seamer (sinker) in Triple-A. I believe Warthen's conclusion is based as much on the delivery being a high-effort motion and therefore as a starter he'd be more susceptible to injury with longer outings.
What will the Mets outfield look like next year? Between Bay, Valdespin, Hairston, Baxter, Torres, Kirk, Duda...will TC continue to platoon or will we start seeing a more consistent group out there every day?
Adam Rubin (12:09 PM)
That is a really tough call, and I expect some new faces, since they desperately need power there. You can definitely see Lucas Duda playing left field, either full time or at the least against RHP. Scott Hairston is a free agent. I imagine they try to re-sign him, but we'll see. Jason Bay is making $19 million next season with his 2014 buyout, but you certainly can see him released in spring training, just like Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez the spring training after Sandy Alderson took over. Andres Torres is arbitration eligible one more time, but he's making $2.7 million. It's hard to conceive the Mets paying him close to $3 million next season, so I certainly can see him non-tendered in December.
Barring anything unforeseen, will Bay suffer the same fate as Perez and Castillo in that he will be cut towards the end of spring training?
Adam Rubin (12:09 PM)
Certainly a plausible scenario.
HI, Adam what do you think the mets can do to get rid of either johan santana or jason bay's contract for next year?
Adam Rubin (12:12 PM)
Really cannot foresee either. In Johan's case, he'll be coming off a season he finished with a string of outings that he allowed 6+ runs and then was shut down. And he's owed $31 million with a 2014 buyout. So notwithstanding the no-trade clause, the Mets would have to eat $25 million or more to watch him pitch somewhere else. Can't foresee that happening. In Bay's case, he's owed $19 million with 2014 buyout. I suppose you can always try to match up for an equally bad contract. But he's not like Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez, whom the Red Sox moved. They had mega-deals, but are productive (or have the prospect of being productive). In Bay's case, it's hard to project anything but his career nearing its end.
Would the Mets really trade Ike or is that just speculation?
Adam Rubin (12:14 PM)
In the sense that you'd need to try something to get something of value, I suppose he's not untouchable. But Ike is under the team's control for four more seasons (and is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter). So he'll be affordable. He gives power your team lacks. And he gives above-average fielding, on a team not exceptional in that. Given the Mets' finances, I wouldn't expect them to trade an effective, low-cost player unless it were an equally compelling player coming back.
Patrick from Germany (Germany)
Should Wrights latest statement about "winning" concern Mets Fans about a possible extention for him?
Adam Rubin (12:15 PM)
I don't think that comment came as a surprise. He's going to get paid handsomely whether he re-signs or goes elsewhere, so it's not money that's the issue. The money will be there. And I do believe he likes New York. So the question he'll have to answer is whether he thinks the Mets can be competitive. I'm not projecting him leaving, although I know people close to him who do. I'm on the fence though.
Is Thole expendable at this point in the eyes of the front office?
Adam Rubin (12:17 PM)
Tough question. I'm sure they'd like to upgrade. But catchers are tough to come by. And he's cheap. He, like Ike, will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and is under the control for four more seasons. He'd probably make $800K or so next year. I think the most likely scenario is they sign/re-sign a righty-hitting catcher, with Kelly Shoppach the most obvious option, and that person assumes the primary catching responsibility, with Thole's starts lessened to maybe 30-40 percent of games.
Is there anyone outisde of Harvey and Wheeler that is untouchable this offseason?
Adam Rubin (12:18 PM)
In terms of prospects? Can't imagine anyone. I don't think they want to dismantle the farm system. And I don't think trading prospects for established players really works for them anyway, because that means you're taking on contracts -- and they don't sound like they're in position to add to payroll.
As part of a search for a right handed outfield bat for next year, do you think that either Upton represents a possibility?
Adam Rubin (12:18 PM)
I just don't see the Mets taking on significant payroll this winter.
Is Francisco still slated to be the closer in 2013 or you believe a move will be made?
Adam Rubin (12:19 PM)
He's making $6.5 million next season. He's the closer. ... On a bullpen note: Jon Rauch is a free agent. And so is Ramon Ramirez.
What position do you think Wilmar Flores plays in the majors? Since he is on the 40, is there any chance he gets called-up in September? What about Puello? Is there any draw back to have these kids come up as a September Call-up?
Adam Rubin (12:21 PM)
Don't know. Certainly the most viable positions would be third base (especially if David Wright leaves) and second base, where he has played a fair amount with Binghamton. Those are the positions he again should play in winter ball in Venezuela with Margarita. Not expecting a September call-up, but haven't asked particularly about him. Despite his success this year, he's only spent a half-season in Double-A.
Mason (Akron, OH)
Do you dislike the phillies as much as fans do?
Adam Rubin (12:22 PM)
I went to college at Penn. I like my visits to this ballpark. Actually, Citi Field borrowed significant aspects from the Phillies' stadium. It's a shame both teams have faded. Those team-to-beat proclaims, etc., made it entertaining.
Barry (Denville NJ)
Are we stuck with F squared for our closer next year? Any other options that we have? Is it time to give up on the Parnell experiment?
Adam Rubin (12:23 PM)
Do believe Frank Francisco will be the closer. That was a two-year commitment to him last offseason.
Can we compete for a playoff berth next season without adding signifcant payroll?
Adam Rubin (12:25 PM)
Without adding payroll, I would expect the Mets to potentially be worse next season. They had a very fortunate start to this year. Yes, you get a full year of Matt Harvey and probably avoid a duplication of Ike's slow start. But the Mets were very fortunate with the ridiculously high level of production from Dickey and what they got from Johan Santana in the first half. And, any players' contacts coming off the books (Rauch, Pelfrey, Torres potentially) are offset by raises to current players. So without spending anything, you have a comparable payroll to last year before you start.
Anything to say to your 71 win haters from a few months ago?
Adam Rubin (12:26 PM)
Nope. Just that I believe we accurately projected that win total and stuck with it. Also accurately projected Jordany Valdespin not being a shortstop and not sustaining his level of play because of plate discipline issues and head movement during swing. And also were telling people about Collin McHugh two years before it was fashionable.
ED (Flushing, NY)
To your knowledge, have the Mets ever speculated on what is wrong with Jason Bay? For example: his hitting mechanics or his concussions?
Adam Rubin (12:27 PM)
I've never seen someone just hit an absolute wall in their career like this. Some scouts wonder if there is a concussion component to it -- that maybe, even if he feels fine, there is something neurological that just doesn't allow for pitch recognition as quickly at the plate.
Danny A. (Brooklyn)
What do you see happening with Wally Backman after this year? Teufel has left a lot to be desired as the 3B coach. Could Backman potentially take that spot, with Teufel shifting somewhere else on the staff?
Adam Rubin (12:28 PM)
I don't know the fate of the coaches. I certainly can see Wally on TC's staff next year. Otherwise, I imagine he'd be managing in Las Vegas next year, where the Mets' Triple-A affiliate will be.
Is McHugh slated to be a starter in the bigs next year?
Adam Rubin (12:30 PM)
He's scheduled to start Monday in St. Louis, followed by Harvey on Tuesday and Dickey on Wednesday. Barring injury, it's hard to project him in the major league rotation on Opening Day next year. But if you recall how Dillon Gee stepped into the rotation in mid-April 2011 after being exposed the previous September to the majors, I can certainly foresee something comparable. First time someone goes to the DL, he gets the call-up.
Is it time to part ways with Daniel Murphy?
Adam Rubin (12:31 PM)
Why? You make trades if they offer attractive proposals. Part ways for the sake of parting ways? For what purpose?
Starting pitching over the next few years is going to be strong (hopefully) with Niese and Dickey providing a strong base and then Harvey, McHugh, Mejia, and Wheeler hopefully developing into the great pitchers they have projected to become. And if Sandy manages to resign Shoppach, the other side of the battery (at least in the short term) will be able to provide the lineup with production. The infield as well, will be able to produce with the almost surprising performance of Ruben Tejada at short, Murph at second, David at third (hopefully in the long term), and Ike who has turned his season around and can possibly become the power bat the Mets have been lacking at 1st. This leaves the outfield. With Bay gone after spring training and Hariston and Torres most likely not to sign another contract with the Mets that leaves Valdespin, Kirk, Duda, and Baxter essentially as the only major-league caliber out fielders in the organization. I love to watch these guy play, but (especially if Duda doesn't pan out the way many once hoped) none of them really provide significant production in the lineup. At least not significant enough for a contender (I'm not saying the Mets are going to be contenders in 2013, but these guys are not your every day players you'd see on playoff teams barring a career year scenario). So can the Mets do about the outfield?
Adam Rubin (12:32 PM)
The outfield is where trades are going to have to come in -- or really astute free-agent signings, such as the Hairston-type deal for the past couple of years.
In hindsight, did the Mets make the right move in letting Reyes walk? His numbers this year don't validate the contract he got in my eyes.
Adam Rubin (12:33 PM)
He's certainly come on this season after a slow start. And he's stayed healthy. Look, if the Marlins would have kept bidding higher and higher, you have to stop counter-offering at some point. But I still believe the Mets would be a better team this year with Jose Reyes. It's not like Ruben Tejada wouldn't have played. He would have been the second baseman.
Bullpen, pitching coaches fault or some other factor?
Adam Rubin (12:33 PM)
Well, they got rid of Jon Debus as bullpen coach last year and nothing changed. So it wasn't his fault. It's about talent. It usually is.
Does Gee have any potential in the bullpen if McHugh or Wheeler out performs him in spring training (assuming Harvey's in and Young's gone).
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
Sandy Alderson is on the record as saying the preference is for Wheeler to open next season at Triple-A. And McHugh is in the Gee mold, so it's hard to imagine he so out-pitches him to displace someone with a track record like Gee.
When will the Coupons sell the team
Adam Rubin (12:36 PM)
Not sure to whom you're referring.
What do you think of the way TC & Warthen run a bullpen?
Adam Rubin (12:38 PM)
Not a fan of the Edgin use, if you follow my tweets, which I believe you do. I had a long chat with TC after yesterday's game. I disagree with having Edgin enter a game, say, to face Fernando Martinez with two out and none on when Rauch is doing fine. TC sort of acknowledged you have to manage differently in New York -- that he'd get run out of town if he didn't play to win every game. I'm not saying to play not to win, but just have a bigger picture in mind to ensure the players are healthy when the games are more meaningful, hopefully, in 2013.
What exactly is the payroll for next year gonna be? After your report on it going down it seemed the Mets were outspoken to shoot you down or as i call it turn on the spin cycle.
Adam Rubin (12:39 PM)
Well, if you read closely what Sandy Alderson said to season ticket holders on Sunday, his projection was pretty much dead-on with what I reported 10 days or so earlier. He said he expected it to be the same or slightly less, but hoped it would be higher. It's hard to foresee less because the raises offset any contracts coming off the books.
What do you make of the play of Nimmo? What does the Mets brass think of him?
Adam Rubin (12:40 PM)
Really too early for me to tell. Brooklyn is a long way from the majors. And the scouts I know typically don't dip down to the New York-Penn League.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will the New York Mets add when the Roster Expands to 40 on Saturday?
Adam Rubin (12:42 PM)
Not guaranteed, but my projection is catcher Mike Nickeas (Rob Johnson is injured and done for year), Collin McHugh (obvious), Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, Jordany Valdespin, Elvin Ramirez and Zach Lutz. After that, I can see one more sneaking on -- a veteran to be rewarded, perhaps, like Matt Tuiasosopo and/or Fred Lewis.
Will there be any surprise September call-ups?
Adam Rubin (12:42 PM)
Hopefully that last response covered that. Not sure there are any real surprises there. Lutz is hitting .300 and was supposed to be a call-up last year before his second concussion.
Does Shane Victorino have enough left to get a three-year deal from the Mets or some other team?
Adam Rubin (12:44 PM)
Was talking to someone with ties to Phillies earlier this series and they said they got rid of Victorino at the right time -- his skills were diminishing. He's only turning 32 this winter, but looking older these days.
I saw an item that mentioned the Las Vegas PCL minor interests are interested in selling. Here's an idea. Have a Mets affiliated guy have at least a partial stake in the new ownership so the thing could be moved to Montreal. I guess the stadium is still there and the Dodgers once played minor league ball there. Maybe they miss baseball now?
Adam Rubin (12:45 PM)
People ask me about just picking a market for a Triple-A team. As you sound aware, you cannot just go anywhere you want. The one way that can be achieved is by buying an actual Triple-A team and moving it. I don't think the Mets have the financial means to do so -- I don't remember what Triple-A teams are worth, but they've got to be $10M plus, I would think. But your scenario in general should not be dismissed.
I know David Wright (like Jose Reyes) is a fan favorite. But with Mr. Money Ball as GM, why wouldn't Alderson pick up Wright's option, trade him before the 2013 season and then use the money saved to get 2-3 good players on the open market (free agents).
Adam Rubin (12:45 PM)
Don't think owners want to trade David Wright.
Despite the Bisons not winning this year. It should be clear to everyone that Backman is an asset to the Mets. Do they still feel that way or are they ready to let him walk?
Adam Rubin (12:46 PM)
I don't know their true feelings, but Terry Collins has enough respect for Wally that they talk frequently and he relies on his opinion for call-ups in terms of who is ready/best choice.
Just to confirm what you wrote on Twitter on Sunday, Sandy Alderson looks at Santana and Bay as 50 million for 2013 and not 41.5 in 2013 and 8.5 in 2014?
Adam Rubin (12:48 PM)
I didn't ask specifically about that. But I've asked in the past with other players and he said it was allocated to the final year the player has guaranteed money, not the buyout year. That said, there is such a disparity between the Mets' payroll commitment in 2013 and 2014, perhaps that can be fudged this time.
Adam Rubin (12:48 PM)
Anyway, thanks for joining me for the past 50 minutes or so.
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