It’s a perfect time on this snowy afternoon in the Northeast to pause for a few thoughts on the Mets and Yankees from the outside looking in…
**** The reported divide in the arbitration case between the Yankees and Luis Severino of a mere $850,000 reminds of a similar situation two seasons ago with Dellin Betances when the Yankees ended up with egg on their face in a public relations disaster.
But this is different, and I believe it’s not a question of the money, which is probably beer sales at the Stadium for one game. Instead, the Yankees are making a point to Severino, which is that as the so-called ace of the staff, he needs to pitch – and win – like an ace in the playoffs. If so, good for the Yankees.
Severino remains the only unsigned Yankee for 2019.
**** Last winter, Mike Moustakas remained on the open market until returning to the Royals in March on a one-year, $6.5 million contract.
Once again, Moustakas is a free agent. Once again, his search for a new deal has stretched for more than two months after the final out of the World Series. If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect he is afflicted with leprosy.
A two-time All-Star at third base, Moustakas could be a good fit for the Mets. Not expensive and capable of 25-30 home runs and 85-90 RBI, he could be a complement to Todd Frazier, who didn’t have the year the Mets expected from him in 2018.
**** In 2018, eleven pitchers tied for the lead in complete games with just two. As recently as 1998, Scott Erickson had 11 to lead the AL, and Curt Schilling had 15 with the Phillies.
Which team, the Mets or Yankees (if either) is going to be the first to pull the plug by going deep into their farm system to allow their starting pitchers to extend themselves so they can build arm strength? These pitchers are bigger and stronger than ever, and yet they are coddled and cradled as though the seventh inning stands there as the entrance to hell. Just saying…
**** If the Mets are still having second thoughts about giving up on Lucas Duda, not to worry. Peter Alonso has all the right stuff, and if the Mets don’t panic if he gets off to a rough start, Alonso will more than justify his existence in the Mets lineup. Prediction: Alonso will finish in the top three in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
**** The Yankees, and in particular Brian Cashman, have brought in some talent that surely will make them a better team, at least on paper, in 2019. But I can’t help but have reservations as to whether or not it’s enough to overtake the Red Sox, who remain the complete team in the major leagues, with or without Craig Kimball.
If the Yankees are going to make up those eight games on the Red Sox, all 25 players in their dugout have to fire on all cylinders. There can be any repeats of another Greg Bird debacle, Gary Sanchez struggling to find the Mendoza Line, or Severino fading when it counts the most.
No matter how you rationalize it, the team did not gel last season. Aaron Boone received a pass last year, his first as manager, but his hold on the team has to improve in 2019 – dare I say – or else?
**** The Mets and Yankees will play each other twice in a home and away series comprising four games June 10 & 11 at the Stadium, and then again on July 2 & 3 at Citi Field.
Hopefully, Mickey Callaway will be able to line up Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard back to back to face the Yankees in each series, and Boone will be able to do the same with Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, thus creating added excitement and competition on and off the field.
**** I’m taking bets. Will the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes or the Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury have more at-bats for their team in 2019? And you can take a pass because you don’t care and it hardly matters to either team.
Signing off till the next time…