Friday Q&A, pt. 1: Baseball stuff

Via email, Nick writes:

Ted, what about Matt Diaz?

I assume he means what about Matt Diaz as an option for the Mets, not just what about Matt Diaz in general. Diaz, you probably remember, was one of the preeminent Major League lefty-mashers in the latter part of the last decade, one of the few players who manage to hang around the league as the right-handed side of an outfield platoon.

But Diaz is hardly the player now that he was in 2009, when he rocked an 1.103 OPS against southpaws. He’ll be 35 by Opening Day, he hasn’t hit lefties all that well since 2010, he’s now utterly useless against righties, and he’s not much in the field. I’d rather take my chances with Andrew Brown or an Andrew Brown type, or just play Mike Baxter everyday.

Via email, Chris writes:

Ted, how do you think the 2013 Mets will be?  Will they contend for the second playoff spot or will it be a year to punt and wait for 2014.

I don’t think “punt” is the right word, because I don’t think teams should ever entirely give up on seasons before they even get started. If there are ways to improve the team around the margins with relatively inexpensive short-term deals and such, they’re worth doing because almost anything can happen in a baseball season and there’s no sense not entering the year with the best team you can put together.

But there are years when teams should go all in and jeopardize their future payroll or roster to compete in the present, and this is not that type of year for the Mets. The Nats look too strong, and there’s too much uncertainty up and down the lineup for them to target 2013 as a year for contending and act accordingly. Again: That doesn’t rule out contending, so it’s not punting the season. It just means you don’t sign older free agents to big contracts or trade away prospects for established players.

83-79. I think they’ll start moving in the right direction.

Wait, they don’t allow tailgating at baseball games? I definitely tailgated at several Mets games this year. Saw some pretty impressive spreads, too. You just need to pour your definitely-not-beer into a cup.

Totally depends on what it’d take to extend Dickey’s contract, and I’m not sure which reports I believe on that one. If Dickey’s actually available for as little as two years and $26 million on top of his $5 million 2013 option, then it’s Dickey. If it’s significantly more than that, it’s Niese. And though I’ve been discussing trades quite a bit in this space, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping both of them if there’s no worthy package on the table. There are a bunch of ways to win baseball games, and having a deep starting rotation is certainly one of them.

I don’t think the Rangers hate Michael Young nearly as much as the Internet hates Michael Young, and the Internet hates Michael Young because he has been bad at pretty much every position according to defensive metrics, his offensive numbers are a bit inflated by the park in which he plays, and, like many high batting-average guys, he earns a ton of praise from those who limit themselves to the stats on the back of baseball cards. Plus, though his leadership is frequently trumpeted, he complained when the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre and moved Young off third base. But despite all that, I suspect the Rangers are looking to part ways with him mostly because they’ve got so many position players who merit playing time. And I’d bet Young enjoys something of a bounceback season on offense.

I think I am still biased by my faith in him and his administration, and I suspect if Omar Minaya made some of the same moves Alderson has I’d be killing him for them. But I do think Alderson’s still working towards the appropriate goal, creating a sustainable winner with young players developed from within. Whether or not he’s going about that the right way is yet to be determined. Next offseason, when all the payroll money frees up, should be a pretty good test for him.

I’ve read a bunch of people kill Alderson for the Mets’ 2011 and 2012 drafts, and I think that’s extraordinarily silly for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it’s way, way too early to judge the outcome of the 2011 and 2012 drafts.

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