NL East Links: Mets Payroll, Phillies, Harper, Nats

The Mets‘ relatively low payroll has left them with the ability to make additions that will boost the payroll on the trade market this summer, GM Sandy Alderson told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times yesterday. We have the authority to go higher if it’s necessary at the trade deadline,” Alderson told Kepner. “I’m not worried about that at all.” Alderson, who somewhat controversially stated a goal of 90 wins for the Mets prior to the season, said he’s optimistic about his team’s chances, knowing that the rotation can continue to compete and the offense is bound to improve.

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. participated in a Q&A with Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News and discussed a host of Phillies-related topics. Asked if he was concerned that every right-hander who opened the season in the bullpen (with the exception of Jonathan Papelbon) had been demoted to Triple-A, Amaro replied: We’ve already started looking outside with other teams and also with possible free agents. We’ve touched base with a couple of them to see if they’re fits.” Asked if the team had the money to spend on a free agent reliever (i.e. Joel Hanrahan), Amaro said, If there’s money to spend and we feel it’s something we should do, then we’ll have to address it.”
  • Also within that piece, Amaro discussed his lack of production at third base from Cody Asche. Amaro noted that Asche has typically been a slow starter at every level and preached patience in Asche. Of course, if his struggles continue, the Phillies do have top prospect Maikel Franco waiting in the wings. Franco, however, is hitting just .172/.234/.253 in 94 Triple-A plate appearances after his monstrous .339/.363/.563 line at Double-A in 2013.
  • FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that there’s too much scrutiny on Bryce Harper, who, at 21 years of age, would be the youngest player on the Nationals‘ Triple-A affiliate and even the youngest on their Double-A affiliate. He praises Nats manager Matt Williams for pulling Harper following a lack of a hustle just two days after a team meeting in which he mandated such behavior. However, Rosenthal questions Williams’ willingness to discuss the situation at length with the media.
  • In a blog from earlier this week, ESPN’s Keith Law took a more critical view regarding the Nationals‘ handling of Harper (ESPN Insider required and recommended). Law feels that Williams singled Harper out with his public reprimand, pointing to the fact that veteran Jayson Werth gave a similarly half-hearted effort on a check-swing grounder a day after Harper’s benching and received no public criticism. Law writes that the Nats made a mistake in hiring a manager with zero experience.
  • Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan analyzes the curious way that pitchers are pitching to Anthony Rendon and wonders why the league hasn’t adjusted to him yet. Rendon, Sullivan writes, has seen more in-zone fastballs than all but two hitters over the past year, and he’s tattooed those pitches accordingly, yet the rate of in-zone fastballs he’s seeing is actually increasing. Sullivan points out that players who see a comparable amount of fastballs are names like Jeff Keppinger and Jamey Carroll, but Rendon possesses significantly more power than either, leading to his great success thus far in 2014.

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11 Comments on "NL East Links: Mets Payroll, Phillies, Harper, Nats"

1 year 4 months ago

I think that’s Tyler Kepner of the New York Times

1 year 4 months ago

Don’t make excuses for Harper. I thought he was one of the best players? It’s sad how people compared him to Trout.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 4 months ago

Hindsight is always 20/20. Now it seems a lil silly to compare Harper and Trout but when they first came up it was justified. Harper was actually better in his first 130 PA than Trout, granted Trouts first 130 PA were in 2011 not 2012. Trout first 135 PA: .220/.280/.390 Harper first 129 PA: .271/.355/.505.

Now its easy to say Trout was the better player but in the first half of 2012 there was no reason to think Trout would sustain his superstar performance or that Harper wouldn’t have a Trout like break out after his first 130 PA.

Context is everything.

1 year 4 months ago

There is too much scrutiny on Harper, though his attitude hasn’t helped matters. The media made a big deal about a player who obviously needs time to find his stride. Most players do.

1 year 4 months ago

He has a fantastic attitude. He’s usually trying to run through walls or stretching singles to doubles like no one else, making times when he isn’t hustling look worse. He’s pleasant, good with the media, and teammates seem to really like him. And… He’s 21.

1 year 4 months ago

He had a combined 8.3 WAR in his first two seasons at an age of most players in single-A. The only people knocking him are reaching at best. He’s a very good player and is 5-6 years away from his prime.

1 year 4 months ago

Harper gets too much scrutiny because a lot of people are really sick of so much of the media hyping him up too much too early. Example, a huge majority of ESPN writers picked him to win the MVP award in a piece they released towards the end of spring training. The friggin’ MVP! With over half the votes! That’s not Harper’s fault, but it will make some viewers royally ticked when Harper doesn’t meet those expectations right away thinking “What’s the big deal with this guy?”

I think Harper’s fantastic. Love the way he plays the game. And he’s had a very impressive start to his career especially considering his age. But it’s really annoying to watch some of the media get hopped up on predicting the next step instead of letting it actually happen and then celebrating it. He’s great, so let’s call him great. But let’s wait until he’s actually an MVP before we start calling him that too.

1 year 4 months ago

Harper is #16 in all-time wRC+ from ages 19-21, give him time. Trout is in a class of his own, but Harper still has great potential.

1 year 4 months ago

Williams has to establish that he is the manager otherwise his stay in Washington will be shorter than his contract was written for. FWIW, he is old school so expect more of the same with other players who fail to play the way Matt wants them to play on the field. As for the Mets it is so nice to see them get off to a competitive start. Lets hope they can keep it up.

1 year 4 months ago

Saying the nats “made a mistake hiring a manager with zero experience” is risky for Law. I would say Law made a mistake by making such comment. Also, there will be a point in time when all these excuses of “Harper is still the youngest player that ever lived” or “He should be a sophomore in college at his age”, etc. will cease to exist and we will really see what kind of player he is.