- Posted: 3:33 PM, June 5, 2012
Anyway, the amateur draft began yesterday, and as a New York baseball reporter, I’ve often regarded the draft the way Frank Sinatra presumably viewed Joe Girardi’s hometown of Peoria, Ill. -- with a degree of pompous contempt. Many New York fans don’t seem to get very caught up in the draft because they’re too focused on the here and now.
Of course, we know that every team, even the Yankees, needs to draft and develop well to be a perennial contender, and the larger size of the media as a whole has intensified focus on the draft. I still can’t believe they televise the damn thing.
Two simple points to make from this year:
1.Mets fans should pay particular attention to Kevin Plawecki, a catcher from Purdue, and Matt Reynolds, a third baseman from Arkansas -- selected 35th and 71st, respectively. Those are the two picks the Mets received as compensation for losing Jose Reyes to Miami in free agency.
If you’re going to analyze the Mets’ decision to NOT trade Reyes last July, then you should also count the two or so extra months’ production they received him from him. Except that Reyes gave the Mets very little in that time. He was on the disabled list twice, the Mets fell apart and you’d have a hard time arguing that the team received an attendance bump from the fact that Reyes hung around and won the National League batting title.
So…let’s see. Baseball America, which makes a living off this stuff, compares Plawecki to veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and it projects Reynolds as a middle infielder due to his lack of third-base power. The success of these two men, either as Mets players or as trade chips, will determine whether the Mets were right to hold onto Reyes.
2.There has been much discussion, understandably, of the spending cap imposed on teams in this year’s draft. They’re foolish, of course – the product of a few cheap owners (the White Sox’s Jerry Reinsdorf most of all) successfully lobbying commissioner Bud Selig to push for this. Many bad teams turned into better organizations thanks to generous spending; you can put Washington, Pittsburgh and Kansas City on that list.
The most interesting sign from yesterday was Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, represented by Scott Boras, dropping from possibly first all the way to eighth, where the Pirates grabbed him. That’s characteristic of past years, when a guy would drop due to signability concerns and, ultimately, would make more money than the players drafted above him.
We’ll have to wait until the signing deadline, next month, to fully evaluate what these changes mean. Will there be more unsigned high picks because teams are unwilling to pay the penalty next year (with fewer picks or dollars)?
--With all of the Johan Santana fury, I forgot to check in on the David Wright news from over the weekend, making me even a day later. But I do think it’s worth mentioning: With Mets management playing silly semantics games about whether or not they’d extend a long-term offer to Wright during this season, Wright cut them off at the pass, figuratively putting his hand up and saying, “Nope, no in-season talks.”
Well played by Wright. Now we’ll wait until the winter for the Mets to make Wright an offer. If Wright winds up compiling an MVP-caliber season, then it’ll have to be a heck of an offer for Wright to forego free agency.
--Have a great rest of the day.