BOCA RATON, Fla.
In his annual attempt to give the New York Mets some food for thought, agent Scott Boras followed their first World Series appearance in 15 years with an upgrade in his metaphors.
Ridiculing the Mets in recent years for having a small payroll in a large market, Boras has used both supermarket and astronaut analogies when taking digs at the team.
Asked Wednesday at the general managers' meetings what aisle of the supermarket the Mets are shopping in, Boras responded: "Well, obviously, the Mets have a pennant at the end of their aisle, so that kind of allows them to go where they want to go. So I'm sure that with where they're at and where they're headed and having a core of pitching like they do, they have an opportunity to fill many holes and be a very competitive team for a long time."
Three years ago, he said the Mets shopped in the frozen-food section of the supermarket.
Now he says "I think they've kind of used their microwave lately. They've kind of ascended to being someone who can serve a meal rather quickly these days."
One of Boras' top clients, pitcher Matt Harvey, is one of the four young starting pitchers the Mets rebuilt around. And Boras has long poked fun of the Mets, prodding them to spend more.
At the winter meetings in December 2011, Boras said of then-financially troubled Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets: "Normally, they're in the steaks section, and I found them in the fruits-and-nuts category a lot."
At the GM meetings the following November, he opined of the Mets: "The best you can say is that they might be in the freezer section. But there's a lot of good, longstanding products that they can acquire there."
As it became clear the Mets were rebuilding around David Wright and the young arms, Boras said at the 2013 GM meetings "the Mets are like NASA. They have big rockets, a lot of platforms and very few astronauts. Astronauts are hard to find. They've got one guy with the `Wright' stuff, that's for sure. And they've got a lot of Arm-strongs, too. But they're certainly a club that I'm sure that's in pursuit of a higher level of talent."
And then in December 2013 he said "they are a very successful franchise. I think that rocket ship has got room for about six astronauts rather than a couple."
On a more serious note, Boras said he wasn't concerned Harvey pitched 216 innings this year in his return from Tommy John surgery, including 26 2-3 innings in the playoffs. With a month to go in the regular season, Boras said Dr. James Andrews had recommended a 180-inning cap.
New York skipped Harvey's turn in the rotation once in late August and again in mid-September, and twice in September limited him to fewer than 80 pitches.
"Frankly, the Mets came out with a very good plan for that after discussion, and the doctor agreed with it, and it allowed Matt really long periods of rest in September," Boras said. "It allowed him to perform at probably his best levels."
Boras wouldn't give an opinion on Harvey arguing with Mets manager Terry Collins, who planned to replace him with closer Jeurys Famlia in the ninth inning of World Series Game 5, with the Mets leading Kansas City 2-0. Harvey stayed in and gave up a walk and an RBI double, and the Royals rallied to take the title.
"Every player I've ever known, that's what they do. They're in the heat of the battle," Boras said. "I wouldn't want to be a manager, `cause you really want to side with the confidence of your player and you want to go with it, and yet you know that you'd like your closer to pitch a clean inning. There are such complicated and emotional decisions to be made. All I know is that if you don't make the right one and you don't win the game, the manager's always wrong. And if you win the game and it turns out as you suspect, the manager's always right."