Over the past few weeks I have wondered if the Mets are a big or small market team. This question is not a new question, heck it dates back to when the whole Madoff scandal started and the Mets were brought into it all. Has it wiped out the Mets of being a big market team? Are the days of signing free agents like Santana (after trade new contract), Bay (Ouch!), Beltran, Cameron, etc.. all gone. Will we be a team that makes smaller moves or one “big ticket” move per offseason (Cuddyer). Below is a case for saying the Mets are Big market and case for Small market. You decide as I have already.
Big Market: Do these notes prove the Mets are a big market team?
- Signed their franchise face and home grown star David Wright to a mega contract
- Gave up draft choice to sign Michael Cuddyer in off season
- Signed Curtis Granderson in 2013 to 4 year deal
- New baseball Commissioner has no issue with how franchise is run and spending based upon market size
Small Market: Found it easier to place notes in this section.
- New commissioner asked to questions on the state of the franchise. I don’t recall the commissioner commenting on any other big market teams and their lack of spending
- While the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and even Braves/Diamondbacks all sign highly touted Cuban players, Mets say these players are out of their reach
- I didn’t see the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers or that fact any other team have to answer why their best pitcher is being held back to pitch 2nd game of first home series to help with ticket sales. (Yes TJ surgery played a part, but we have all read the quotes and blogs on how it did factor in)
- Mets search for left hander continues with 1 week left of Spring Training after Edgin is out for the season. Mets wavering on paying Matusz 3.2 million this year. Seems like a big market team with a HUGE need who is expected to compete would easily absorb 3.2 million
- The Mets were the team to nix the 3 team trade that would have brought Ian Desmond to the Mets. Yes the Mets would have given up top talent, but in return adding Desmond would have instantly put them in the playoff hunt in terms of offense upgrade. Was the small market concern of resigning him to blame?
I could go on and on about this, now it is for you to decide. Are the Mets Big or Small Market?
Even before the news of Josh Edgin having total arm discomfort, the 2015 Mets never addressed their left bullpen need during the offseason. Now that Edgin is in trouble both via his velocity and now arm pain, the collective Mets forum is calling for Steve Matz to be the lefty out of the pen. Right now Scott Rice is the best option we have based on past experience and spring training results. How does this make you sleep at night? Ok moving on, I too woke up this morning and said “Why not Matz”. Then I thought about it some more and decided to see what other top lefties have done before they became FT starters in the MLB. Full disclosure, Matz is my favorite prospect the Mets have had since a young SS names Jose Reyes. Matz is a New York kid who is on the verge of being a star in the league. Only time will tell if he could be as good as the pitchers I researched below, but even if he comes up and has a “good” MLB career I am still getting my Matz jersey when it is all said and done.
Now I agree with Michael Baron (Justmets.net) when he tweeted “Like to see him complete AAA 1st” about Matz. Over the last three minor league seasons (remember Matz was hurt after drafted) Matz put up 29 (2012), 106.1 (2013) and 140.2 (2014) innings in the minors. 2014 was the last year Matz was above A ball. So with that I am 100% on board with Matz starting the year in AAA and starting not in the BP. If Matz can get in a good 160 + innings this year in AAA and possible the majors as a starter 2016 should be a banner year for the prospect.
If you are still not convinced and say “Start in AAA then come up to the pen come July/August if team need LH reliever”. I am ok with this, and I looked back to see what the top LH starters have done in relief to start their career:
- David Price (2008) – 109.2 innings as starter in minors, then made 4 relief appearances in 2008 with the Rays. Became FT starter in 2009.
- Clayton Kershaw (2008) – 61.1 innings as a starter in minors, then made 1 relief appearance in 2008 with Dodgers. Became FT starter in 2009.
- Madison Bumgarner (2009) – 131.1 innings as starter in minors, then made 3 relief appearances in 2009 with Giants. Became FT Starter in 2010.
- Chris Sale in 2010 with White Sox – 10.1 innings in minors, then made 21 relief appearances in 2010 with White Sox. Pitched 2011 exclusively as a reliever and didn’t start FT until 2012.
Finally John Lester, Cole Hamels and Jon Niese never made a relief appearance in the majors before becoming a starter. Based on the above we will all have different opinions of what the Mets should do with Matz and the LH reliever position going forward, but now at least we have a little more information to discuss over the old water cooler at work.