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January 5, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Adam Rubin

Adam Rubin
  (10:59 AM)

Thanks for joining me. Let's see what's on everybody's mind ...

Rob Patterson (Gainesville, VA)

Whats the plan if Johan Santana can't go..or when the first starting pitcher goes down to injury? Please don't say D.J. Carrasco...

Adam Rubin
  (11:01 AM)

If Johan cannot pitch, it would be catastrophic. Sandy Alderson said last month he was stil in the market for a "swing" pitcher who could go to the bullpen or Triple-A if Santana, Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey and Gee are all healthy. Right now, aside from D.J. Carrasco -- who is going to have an uphill battle to make the team, despite a $1.2 million salary -- there's Jeremy Hefner who was claimed off waivers as well as Garrett Olson and Chris Schwinden.

Jack (West Side)

If you had to come up with an out of the box plan to fix the Mets given current payroll, what would you do? Thanks.

Adam Rubin
  (11:02 AM)

Just sell anything anyone would buy, tank the season, get the top pick in the draft.

funkdoc (ny)

i have a bad feeling this is gonna be a long summer. Please tell me we have something to look forward to. Maybe some questions about young guys answered at least? Murphy? Mejia? anything?

Adam Rubin
  (11:04 AM)

I don't think you'll really see major contributions from the farm system until 2013 with potentially Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey. Certainly Jeurys Familia should start in Triple-A and would be on a slightly faster track, so this summer is not out of the question. Jenrry Mejia had Tommy John surgery in May 2011, so we're talking about this May before he's really healthy enough to pitch in all likelihood. He'll need a little more minor league time under his belt in all likelihood, so best-case scenario for the majors is probably late summer, like August.

Jason (NJ)

In the past you have been critical of the backloaded contracts concept. I am wondering if you feel the same now with how heavily backloaded Reyes and Buerhle's contracts are.

Adam Rubin
  (11:06 AM)

I certainly think the Marlins are setting themselves up for a rough time down the road, especially since they cannot guarantee their revenue will be at the level it should be at in 2012 with their new ballpark. It's not like New York, where even in lean years there's a certain constancy to the revenue because of the market size, TV package, etc. There's been speculation around baseball that Jeffrey Loria may sell in a few years. He would derive the benefit of the new ballpark and the early, cheaper year of contracts, then someone else would deal with the back end. But that's just speculation. You remember when they beat the Mets for Carlos Delgado then had a fire sale the following winter? Delgado was heavily, heavily backloaded -- like only $4 million or so the first year if my memory serves correctly. Florida had to subsidize somewhat the Mets' acquisition to offset the Marlins having him so cheap the first year and the other years very pricey.

Christian (Arlington, VA)

Since the Mets are going to be bad, isn't it better to trade Wright now and get maximum value instead of worring about attendance? With or without Wright, fans are not going to show up to see a 100 loss team.

Adam Rubin
  (11:08 AM)

I'd suggest that makes sense. I suppose the counter, outside of the attendance argument, is that perhaps the new dimensions increase Wright's value. And, it's worth noting: If Wright is traded now, he can get out of the option for 2013, whereas he can't as a Met. So if the Mets have his services for a year and then trade him next offseason, essentially the new team is getting him for a year either way. So you're not necessarily diminishing what you can get for him by waiting for a year, and perhaps enhancing his value.

Adam Rubin
  (11:08 AM)

I'd suggest that makes sense. I suppose the counter, outside of the attendance argument, is that perhaps the new dimensions increase Wright's value. And, it's worth noting: If Wright is traded now, he can get out of the option for 2013, whereas he can't as a Met. So if the Mets have his services for a year and then trade him next offseason, essentially the new team is getting him for a year either way. So you're not necessarily diminishing what you can get for him by waiting for a year, and perhaps enhancing his value.

Jason (NJ)

The bench so far is Nickeas/Turner/Hairston. The names being discussed for the utility infielder (Theriot,Cedeno, Wilson) are all righties as well. Rick Ankiel makes the most sense to round out the bench, no?

Adam Rubin
  (11:10 AM)

Nickeas and Hairston I would say are the solid ones. I'm not convinced of Justin Turner on team just yet. One of the remaining five slots has to go to a backup infielder who can play shortstop (probably someone else, but at the very least Omar Quintanilla). Then you need a lefty-hitting outfielder, as you alluded to (whether that's outside or at the least Mike Baxter or Adam Loewen). That leaves just one slot for Turner to fight for with someone else who can play 1b/3b and would be productive off the bench.

Mothman McFluff (Moth's Nest, Brooklyn Bridge)

I saw Moneyball the other night, and it reinvigorated some hope that this team might have some sort of obscure plan that might work this year...is that unfounded?

Adam Rubin
  (11:11 AM)

Completely unfounded. The movie failed to mention Hudson, Zito and Mulder. That's a little better than diminished Santana, Niese and Dickey.

Dave (Brooklyn)

Hey Adam, with the signing of Scott Hairston, are the Mets basically going with league minimum guys to fill out the roster? Are they even trying to be competitive?

Adam Rubin
  (11:12 AM)

Well, if they're in the market for a backup middle infielder, lefty-hitting 5th outfielder and "swing" pitcher capable of starting, I don't think you'll see any seven-figure deals.

Steve S. (Ithaca, NY)

Chances that Niese will be traded this winter?

Adam Rubin
  (11:13 AM)

Not seeing a capable left-handed pitcher under the Mets' control for four seasons and still making about $500,000 getting traded.

Ed (uniondale)

Adam: Do you see any more moves of significance, or are we stuck with what looks like a team that will battle Houston for worst in the league?

Adam Rubin
  (11:13 AM)

Would you definte Jack Wilson as significant? The Mets and Astros will be the two worst teams in the National League next season.

Andrew (Hoboken)

Adam, let's face it, the real compelling aspect of the Mets right now is what is going on with Madoff. Any new pieces of information come out the past couple weeks? Minority investors, etc? Citi did get their bonds downgraded...

Adam Rubin
  (11:17 AM)

The Madoff-related trial is still set for March 19. The judge has yet to rule whether he will allow an appeal at this point related to his decision to limit the amount the trustee can recover from the Wilpons to two years (vs. six years). That's the different between a $1 billion lawsuit and a $386 million lawsuit. ... I'd give you info on the Mets investors, but I cannot trust the organization on that subject. I was led to believe a month or so ago that they had commitments for seven shares at $20 million. I subsequently read in the Times that the Mets share purchase "commitments" include Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz buying shares. Really? Buying shares from yourself to inflate the perception of interest? Sandy Alderson did say at the winter meetings that there some ownership shares could close in January and the Mets would have that money to plug debts. But, remember, the first $40 million may just go to pay back that recent "bridge" loan from Bank of America that got them into the new year.

CC (Atlanta)

With Philly & Atlanta already solid and the improvements in FL and WASH (if they get Fielder), the Mets are almost sure to lose 100 games. Can't see anyway around it.

Adam Rubin
  (11:18 AM)

I've been on the record, while reserving my right to adjust pending moves, that they'll be 70-92. But I'm trying to be nice/upbeat.

Rick (Concord, NH)

Do you think the Mets could trade Johan Santana near the trade deadline if he is pitching at All-Star form for prospects?

Adam Rubin
  (11:20 AM)

There is virtually ZERO chance Johan Santana gets traded. In addition to making $24.5 million this season, he is owed $31 million in 2012 with the 2013 buyout. No one is going to touch that. I can't even imagine anyone would touch that if the Mets subsidized $20 million in 2013. The Cubs are paying all but $2.5 million for Carlos Zambrano to pitch in Miami for a frame of reference.

Harry (Babylon, NY)

Adam - why wouldn't the Mets gamble on Roy Oswalt for a 1 year contract with the potential to trade him for a prospect(s) at the deadline? Seems like it would be low risk if Oswalt was willing.

Adam Rubin
  (11:20 AM)

Does Oswalt want money?

phil (ny)

could the mets inquire about pudge to help manage the young pitchers and help thole with his defense....and could the mets show interest in a zumaya...coming off surgery still throws mid to high 90s and is still 27

Adam Rubin
  (11:20 AM)

Don't know about the latter, but they've certainly led me to believe Mike Nickeas is the projected backup to Josh Thole.

Steve S. (Ithaca, NY)

Will the Wilpons will be forced to sell the team this year? Best guess on when, if they have to?

Adam Rubin
  (11:22 AM)

Only way I see for this year is a catastrophic defeat in the court case. Otherwise, whatever new investments they have -- those $20 million blocks -- combined with working under austerity should allow them to limp through 2012. The big loans are due in 2014 and 2015 ($430 million and $450 million), although undoubtedly those can be refinanced, too.

Adam Rubin
  (11:23 AM)

Someone asked about the bond rating on Citi Field. The outlook was changed from stable to negative, but the actual rating did not chance. And I don't believe it has any impact on the Mets at this point, although the underlying reasons about stadium revenue declining are alarming.

Harry (Babylon, NY)

Have the Wilpons effectively handcuffed Alderson & team way more than was originally thought when the new front office was assembled and do you think they have 2nd thoughts now?

Adam Rubin
  (11:26 AM)

I can't fathom Sandy Alderson knew he would be working on a shoestring budget (in terms of available dollars to spend). He knew the payroll would decline, but he initially made it sound like it would go from $143 million to $120 million or so. The projections have since gone from that to $100 million to $110 million, and then to under $100 million and drifting into that higher range, and now it's looking like $90 million to $95 million. In retrospect, the $5 million the Mets are spending on its star-studded front office probably would have been better spent on players. You could have dangled the job to Josh Byrnes and seen if he'd take it cheap when he was the finalist with Alderson at the time. He probably would have, since he would have still been receiving Diamondbacks money anyway.

Brian (Cincinnati, OH)

There's a good chance that the moving in of the Citi Field walls will help Jason Bay's power numbers and therefore his confidence & approach at the plate. If Bay finds a way to put up 1st half numbers similar to his Pittsburgh/Boston days, is it a logical option to try to see if we can get a quality prospect or two back for him towards the deadline, even if we have to foot part of the bill for his remaining year and a half? Does he have a no-trade clause? It doesn't make much sense to be a paying a veteran corner OF $17 mil per year if you are not contending for a playoff spot, which I realistically don't see us doing anytime soon.

Adam Rubin
  (11:28 AM)

I don't believe Bay has a no-trade clause, but his production would have to be exceptional given his salary for a team to be enticed to acquire him. He's owed $16 million in 2012 and 2013 and his contract would vest at $17 million for 2014 if he has 600 PAs in 2013 or 500 apiece in '12 and '13.

Christian (Arlington, VA)

I guess the bright side is that with presumably high draft choices the next couple of years plus not losing picks due to F/A signing, the Mets should have their best farm system in years post 2013. Try to look at the positive since it will be dark for the next couple of years.

Adam Rubin
  (11:29 AM)

Wake me in 2015.

phil (ny)

would the mets possibly trade a duda....right handed hitter has pop...to a cleveland who needs a right handed power hitter for an outfield prospect and a back end rotation guy

Adam Rubin
  (11:30 AM)

Duda is a lefty. And the Mets need cheap players with pop.

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

bullpen- beato, bucholtz, mejia, herrera, byrdak, parnell, stinson... they were all in-house, all either did a nice job or could grow into that, were cheap to free up money for other things, etc- WHY did this take on such a priority of money in a year we have so many issues and no money/nor chance to be competitive. thoughts?

Adam Rubin
  (11:31 AM)

How many of those people did a nice job?

Matt (CT)

As a Mets fan, can you give me a good reason to want to watch the team this year? Can/will the Wilpon's sell this team before they become the "LA Dodgers" of the East?

Adam Rubin
  (11:32 AM)

No line at Shake Shack?

Spiro (Astoria)

Do you think it's possible that the long-term plan of the Wilpons is to transform the Mets into a sub-$50M payroll team of pre-arbitration young guys making at or near the league minimum. Once Wright, Santana and Bay are off the books, I can't see this team ever signing a player to a long term contract of more than $10M per year. Would the commissioner ever step in if the team actually did that?

Adam Rubin
  (11:34 AM)

I would be virtually impossible to have that low a payroll. And it is impossible the next two seasons anyway, since Santana, Bay and Wright make $66 million combined in 2013 with buyouts. If the owners' financial situation hasn't eased by 2014, they won't still own the team. I've often said fans won't boycott, but I would adjust that thinking if your hypothetical about a payroll at that level ever materialized.

Concerned Fan (Roslyn NY)

With the Nats pushing for fielder each of their divisional rivals has at least 2 hitting superstars and quality pitching (phillies:howard,utley,victorino-halladay,hamels) (marlins:reyes,stanton,hanley-buerhle johnson) (nationals:fielder,zimmerman,werth-strasberg,zimmerman)(braves:mccann, freeman-jurrjens kimbrell)....how do the mets plan on competing and do u think the mets bring in a pudge to back up thole and help with young pitching staff and tholes defense?

Adam Rubin
  (11:35 AM)

How do the Mets plan on competing? Not sure.

Bill (Syracuse, NY)

Adam,If you had to guess, what would you say the chances are of the Wilpons still owning the Mets by this time next year?

Adam Rubin
  (11:36 AM)

I'd certainly adjust if you said 2015. But in 12 months, I'd say 85-15 that they're still owners. Even a catastrophic lawsuit defeat could be appealed and delay what may be inevitable.

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

So rotation sets up same as last year- sub Gee for Capuano- true? 6th guy would be Carrasco? What are odds Harvey has real shot if rockstar in Spring Training??

Adam Rubin
  (11:37 AM)

They may very well add one more middling arm, but you would have to consider Jeremy Hefner and Garrett Olson as candidates more so than Carrasco, I imagine. Harvey is not ready for the majors. I don't think you'll see him at all in 2012. He's had a half-season of Double-A and elevated too many pitches when he reached the Eastern League.

Pablo (Bronx, NY)

Do you get the sense from the Wilpons that they understand how badly most Mets fans want them to sell the team, and how little trust we have in their ability to effectively run this franchise?

Adam Rubin
  (11:38 AM)

People of that stature live in their bubbles. But if it's any consolation, Mets executives do get a daily email with everything in newspapers written about them.

Joey (Long Island)

Gee Adam I thought maybe you would join RA to climb that mountain :)

Adam Rubin
  (11:38 AM)

Dave Racaniello was invited. I wasn't.

Marv (NY)

Was the rug pulled out from Sandy? He made public statement that payroll would be between $100M and $110M this year but here we are at about $90M and they appear to have trouble adding a backup Catcher, much less rotation depth and a bench. Did the Wilpons cut him off??

Adam Rubin
  (11:39 AM)

I'd say so. And he's gingerly alluded to expecting more money at his disposal.

Pablo (Bronx, NY)

Will Reese Havens and Matt Harvey get major league invites to spring training this year?

Adam Rubin
  (11:39 AM)

I haven't seen the list, but I would be very surprised if both are not there.

Peter Barrett (New York)

Do you think the Mets are going to trade Wright during the season? Can they do that to a NY fan base, take away the two best farm grown products since Seaver, and not retain either of them?

Adam Rubin
  (11:41 AM)

It's certainly possible. Remember, though, a team trading for him next offseason gets him for one year -- whereas a team trading for him in July gets him conceivably for a half-season since Wright's 2013 option doesn't transfer to the new club unless he allows it to. Plus, the new collective bargaining agreement states that there is no draft pick compensation for the new team if Wright is traded midseason and then departs as a free agent. So you'd for two reasons get more for Wright trading him a year from now -- because the team would get him for a full year, then get draft picks if he left after that full season as a free agent.

Andrew (Hoboken)

Back in October, Selig said he wasn't concerned about the Wilpons. But now that we have even more info about their cash flow and incompetency, has anyone been able to get him on record about what he thinks now?

Adam Rubin
  (11:42 AM)

I'm going to try. He won't tell the truth anyway. He and Fred Wilpon are close friends.

Adam Rubin
  (11:43 AM)

Anyway, a full month after they signed them, the Mets are putting Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch on a conference call in 15 minutes with reporters. So I need to run. Thanks for the time. It's going to be a long year for all of us.