Category Archives: free agency


At the Winter Meetings following the World Series, major league teams must decide on the 40 players they want to protect in a special draft that is commonly referred to as the Rule Five Draft.

The rule is basically a good idea as it prevents teamsimages (25) from stockpiling players in their farm systems and it gives hope to minor league players who may be languishing behind a all star major leaguer playing the same position. Depending on age when they signed, players become eligible after three or four years

Historically, players such as Roberto Clemente (above) who as we know turned into the steal of the Century for the Pirates, R A Dickey (left),download (9) Dan Uggla, and Jose Bautista (below) revitalized their careers after being taken in this draft. Last year, the Rangers caught lightning in a bottle when they selected images (26)Delino Deshields who became the Texas Rookie Of The Year. For major league teams, the price of a selection is a mere $50,000…….but there’s a catch……
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A quick look at the Transaction Wire over the past few days reveals that general managers are picking the low hanging fruit of the free agent market in an attempt to either bolster the depth of their team, or (more likely) hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by signing a player who underperformed or was injured last season.

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I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up. Today, just one day after holding court in the Mets dugout with his woe is me act and indicating that he sided more with his agent than his team, Matt The Brat published one of those “I take it back” statements on Derek Jeter’s website (how ironic is that) telling all of Metland and baseball that all is well and “I’ll be pitching in October – no matter what”.

Except it does matter. In fact it matters a lot. They say that timing is everything. For the Mets, this Harvey/Boras fiasco couldn’t have come at a worse time. images-48Beginning today, the Mets begin a critical four game series against the Nationals – in Washington. Their lead has been cut to 4 games including the all important loss column by the (finally) resurgent Nats. Met fans are blinking and wondering… this the beginning of yet another late season collapse……..and if the team blinks…… could easily happen.

For Terry Collins, who is fighting for his baseball life, everything hangs in the balance over the next few weeks. Like the Mets Brass, he has to be images-32images-23scratching his head and saying to himself……..”Do I/we really need this now, Matt?” (photo above). But in fact and being the man that he is, what he actually told Harvey is “Just go out there Tuesday night and pitch like you are capable of doing”. Significantly, it was also no coincidence that David Wright made a point of sitting with Harvey in the dugout during last night’s painful loss to the lowly Marlins.

In 2019, Matt Harvey will become a free agent entering the market with the potential to sign a Scherzer like contract at nearly 30 years of age. Hopefully, by that time owners and general managers will have come to their senses about long term contracts (Note: Scherzer is a mere .500 pitcher this year). Nevertheless, he will be in for a significant pay day. 

It can be said that the only thing holding Matt Harvey back from that is Matt Harvey. With fame that he seems to thrive on and fortune comes responsibility.

This is especially true in New York where the spotlight shines brightly. Sometime soon, he will need to grasp that concept and grow up and into it. He boldly associates himself with Derek Jeter every chance he gets….fine……no problem……but how about BEING like Derek…..and not the immature person you were when you thought it was funny to pose (below) giving the finger from your hospital bed. New York City doesn’t give itself away easily and that’s a lesson Mr. Harvey needs to learn quickly. His image already has been tarnished, but it is repairable IF he performs on the mound. Because with that (think Alex Rodriguez), New York can also be a very forgiving town.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey

Note: In case you missed Episode One, here’s a link………


Major League ballclubs have always invested heavily in their farm systems as a means of developing new talent. Not so  much for the Mets and Yankees though. With big money to spend, they have traditionally used their their “bonus babies” as a lure to trade for or sign marquee players in the free agent market. This strategy has often saddled them with long term contracts that leaves talent in the minors with nowhere to go because positions on the roster – let alone starting lineups – are not available. Case in point…….consider this….the New York Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla (the poster child of bad signings in New York) 1.2 million dollars a year…..and they will continue to do so for several years more…….until 2035! When was the last time he had an at bat for the Mets? ( I looked it up…..14 years ago) .

In The early stages of July, New York media were screaming for both teams to “do something” before the trade deadline. The Yankees just had to have David Price or Cole Hamels…..or what the hell…..images-25.images-29why not both. The Mets needed a couple of run producers in their sluggish lineup. Like old times, it was time to sell the farm. Instead, they did virtually nothing in the trade markets (although Cespedes was a nice grab by the Mets) while promoting promising rookies like Greg Bird (left) and Michael Conforto (right) who are making significant contributions to both teams.

For the Yankees, this is a relatively new strategy in team building since they hit the jackpot with the Core Four who leveraged The Run in the late Nineties.images-34 images-42In addition to Bird who is already proving to be a run producing machine, others like Luis Severino (left) and Rob Resnyder (right), and Gary Sanchez (a catcher rounding his skills at AAA) have scouts and Yankees coaches salivating. In the case of Severino, he too has already made the step up and is fast becoming a vital part of the starting rotation while Refsnyder only needs to improve his defensive skills at second base.

For the Mets, they have been in a rebuilding mode for some time now. Their strategy of stockpiling starting pitchers is now paying off. images-38 images-33So much so that the biggest problem they face right now is who gets dropped from the rotation and goes to the bullpen for the playoffs. Jacob DeGrom (left) is proving that he is the real thing following his Rookie Of The Year season last year while Steven Matz (right) has looked brilliant and unflappable in his starts to date.

New York teams are not the only ones adopting this approach to team building. In fact, it can be said that they are relatively late coming to the dance. Both the Royals and Cardinals model this strategy and look where they sit today. For this writer though, it’s refreshing and energizing to see my New York teams make the leap while teams like the Blue Jays (David Price) and Texas (Cole Hamels) continue down the road we used to travel. As the Yankees have proven in the past, both strategies can and do work. It’s just more fun to watch these kids play a boys game with a future ahead of them – instead of behind them.