Mets Merized Online » Joe D http://metsmerizedonline.com Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:10:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Cuddyer At Two Years Fits Sandy’s Plan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/cuddyer-at-two-years-fits-sandys-plan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/cuddyer-at-two-years-fits-sandys-plan.html/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:13:21 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168450 michael-cuddyer-rockies

Andy Martino of the Daily News sees free agent Michael Cuddyer as the exact sort of piece that fits the Mets offense and that people familiar with the Mets’ thinking say that they consider him attractive on a two-year deal.

With the Mets highly reluctant to trade any of their young pitchers this winter, coupled with a lack of money to add a more significant player, Cuddyer makes sense for them Martino says.

One executive said that it was hard to imagine Cuddyer getting more than two years, but free agency can be so unpredictable.

Cuddyer, who turns 36 years next Spring, played just 49 games in 2014 after being plagued by a shoulder fracture and two other DL stints for hamstring injuries, which could be a big concern for interested teams, especially at his age. Since 2011, which was his final season with the Twins, Cuddyer has missed more than one-third of his team’s games.

That said, Cuddyer is a versatile player who could slot in at left, right and first base, and when he was healthy he won a batting champion in 2013 with a .331 average. He batted .332 with 10 homers in his limited play last season.

As Martino points out, two years of control at a rate that will not bust the Mets’ tight budget makes Cuddyer better than many other choices. He could get anywhere between $20-25 million for two years and as much as $30 million for three.

There are huge risks here, but this is what the Mets have become, always looking for value in flawed or advanced age players with injury concerns. In that regard, Cuddyer is the cream of the crop. 

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I’ll Take “Worst Owners In Baseball” For $500, Alex… http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/ill-take-worst-owners-in-baseball-for-500-alex.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/ill-take-worst-owners-in-baseball-for-500-alex.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:41:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168416 alex trebek jeopardy

Alex – The answer is… Because the Wilpons had no money after becoming embroiled in a second Ponzi Scheme with arch criminal Bernie Madoff.

Joe D. – Why didn’t the Mets sign Jose Reyes?

DING, DING, DING, DING, DING….

It looks like I missed out on all the fun this morning where various Mets Twitter celebs battled over why we didn’t sign Jose Reyes or why we don’t try and get him back.

jose-reyesWe can debate the pros and cons of bringing Jose Reyes back all we want, but the fact is the Blue Jays have no intentions of trading him. But that’s not the point of this post anyway.

As to why we didn’t sign him, Matt Cerrone lays out his case on MetsBlog and concludes:

“My understanding is that Sandy Alderson simply didn’t want to be paying $22 million a year to Reyes when, in his mid 30s, Jose’s legs and body would not likely be able to do the things that made him great on the Mets.”

I’m sorry, Matt, but that’s not even close to why we didn’t sign Reyes. You are asserting that if Alderson did want to sign him he could have. That’s undeniably wrong and misses the mark completely.

The Mets didn’t sign Reyes because the financial state of the team was in such distress that they could not afford him.

When the truth finally came out Sandy Alderson himself admitted that the Mets never even made him an offer.

Additionally, they didn’t even bother negotiating with Reyes when they had their exclusive window and long before the Miami Marlins were even allowed to mention his name and enter the picture.

This had nothing to do with Alderson and not wanting to invest big dollars on a player whose game relied mostly on his speed.

This was all about the Wilpons and Saul Katz putting their own franchise in a dangerously precarious position due to their utter incompetence and open-eyed involvement with the notorious criminal Bernie Madoff.

The Wilpons were still teetering on bankruptcy that offseason, and there was never any chance that Jose Reyes was getting signed at the time.

In fact, David Wright would not have been signed to that exorbitant $138 million dollar deal either had his free agency come at the same time as Reyes. This was never an either-or situation.

These facts are material and undeniable.

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Mets Won’t Be Players For Yasmani Tomas http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-wont-be-players-for-yasmani-tomas.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-wont-be-players-for-yasmani-tomas.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:44:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168409 yasmani tomas cuba

Here is the latest on Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas as reported by Andy Martino of the Daily News.

Tomas has been linked to with varying degrees of seriousness to the Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Twins, Rangers, Giants and Tigers.

Martino says that people involved in the process now identify the Phillies as strong contenders for Tomas, and the Padres and Dodgers as far less likely. “And don’t count out the Tigers,” one source said.

The Yankees and Mets are not expected to be players for Tomas, league insiders say — the former due to a glut of outfielders (which assumes that Carlos Beltran can still contribute), and the latter because when was the last time the Mets gave $100 million to someone not named David Wright?

I’m reading and hearing the same things about the Phillies potentially ending up the winner in the Yasmani Tomas sweepstakes. Martino adds more on that:

“He makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia,” said one rival executive, noting that that the Phillies have money, a thin farm system, and a desire to reverse their fortunes as quickly as possible. Plus, people around the game took note when GM Ruben Amaro Jr. flew to the Dominican Republic to personally scout Tomas.

It was interesting to note that multiple executives with teams interested in Tomas say that, if he were a free agent, he would be a $15 million per year player, making a 5-year, $75 million contract for 23-year-old reasonable.

However, because he is not attached to a draft pick, and will be the subject of a bidding war, Tomas could easily end up with a $100 million deal, executives told Martino.

“Tomas’ best attribute is his power, a trait that is in short supply in today’s game. Only 14 players hit 30 or more home runs in 2013, and fewer might reach that threshold this year.  Tomas has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale,” wrote Baseball America’s Ben Badler, “So he profiles as one of those rare 30+ home run bats.”

I don’t like this year’s free agent class one bit, but Tomas is someone that the Mets should be looking at. And by looking I mean more than just a passing glance. The experts endorse him, scouts are impressed, and executives and GMs are in hot pursuit. That’s quite telling.

What’s also quite telling is that the lack of interest by the Mets probably best illustrates that payroll is not rising anytime soon. The more Sandy, Fred, and Jeff keep saying that there are no financial limitations to the team’s payroll, the more their actions scream otherwise.

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Mets and Ricciardi Could Have Extension Completed Within A Week http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-and-ricciardi-could-have-extension-completed-within-a-week.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-and-ricciardi-could-have-extension-completed-within-a-week.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:13:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168222 ricciardi

Andy Martino of the Daily News reports that the Mets and J.P. Ricciardi could have a new extension wrapped up within a week.

The Mets, who extended Sandy Alderson in September, could wrap up a new deal for assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi within week, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Ricciardi, a respected baseball man who oversees the pro scouting department and advises Alderson, arrived with the GM in late 2010.

That’s the first confirmation of what Nick Cafardo originally reported.

Ricciardi is under contract until the end of the 2015 season, so that they would seek to extend him now as opposed to later is quite telling to me.

First of all, Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson have been joined at the hip for three decades, and any GM should be able to choose his own assistants. But adding to that, I see Ricciardi as the heir apparent to Alderson once Sandy steps down or retires at the end of his newly signed contract.

I’ve been told that Ricciardi has worked very hard on polishing his image that was heavily tarnished during his tenure as the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays. He dealt with many trust issues with management, the players and the fans.

Ricciardi received heavy criticism for the mega deals he gave to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. Sports Illustrated tabbed the Wells deal as one of the worst contracts in MLB history. 

People change and I’m sure that in retrospect Ricciardi wishes he could have handled some things much better than he did, especially the B.J. Ryan and Adam Dunn incidents. Nobody’s offered Ricciardi a GM position since then and he seems better suited to being a second wheel rather than a head honcho. 

October 19

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Mets are working on an extension deal to keep J.P. Ricciardi as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson. The two worked together for 12 years with the Oakland Athletics.

Prior to joining the Mets, Ricciardi previously served as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001 until he was fired in 2009 and replaced by Alex Anthopoulos.

Ricciardi is considered by most to be the heir apparent to Alderson once he retires or steps down.

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World Series Thread: Giants vs Royals, 8:00 PM http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/world-series-thread-giants-vs-royals-800-pm.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/world-series-thread-giants-vs-royals-800-pm.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:46:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168428 peavy ventura

San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals

Game 2: Wednesday, 8:00 PM ET on FOX

Jake Peavy (1-0, 1.86) vs. Yordano Ventura (0-0, 4.85)

Here are the lineups for Game 2 of the World Series in Kansas City:

Giants:

  1. CF Gregor Blanco
  2. 2B Joe Panik
  3. C Buster Posey
  4. 3B Pablo Sandoval
  5. RF Hunter Pence
  6. 1B Brandon Belt
  7. DH Michael Morse
  8. LF Travis Ishikawa
  9. SS Brandon Crawford

Royals:

  1. SS Alcides Escobar
  2. RF Norichika Aoki
  3. CF Lorenzo Cain
  4. 1B Eric Hosmer
  5. DH Billy Butler
  6. LF Alex Gordon
  7. C Salvador Perez
  8. 2B Omar Infante
  9. 3B Mike Moustakas

Giants right-hander Jake Peavy gets the ball as San Francisco tries to take a 2-0 Series lead against the Royals in Kansas City. Rookie righty Yordano Ventura will try to gain the Royals a split at home with first pitch at 8:07 PM.

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Mets To Formally Interview Kevin Long On Wednesday http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-to-formally-interview-kevin-long-on-wednesday.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-to-formally-interview-kevin-long-on-wednesday.html/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:12:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167893 Kevin long cage

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Mets will formally interview former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long on Wednesday, for the vacant hitting coach position created when Lamar Johnson was relieved of his duties.

Long was the hitting coach for the Yankees for seven seasons before being fired by Brian Cashman two weeks ago.

In addition to the Mets, he is drawing interest from the Blue Jays, brewers, Pirates, D’Backs  and Braves.

October 15 – Who is Kevin Long

With all the talk about the Mets considering Kevin Long to fill the Mets vacant hitting coach position, I decided to spend an hour researching him and learning what this former Yankee is all about. I learned some things along the way and thought I’d share some of them with you.

Long Is Very Confident

“If you’re going to fix somebody’s swing, you better know what you’re doing because you’re putting your name and reputation on the line. One of the criticisms I heard was how I could teach this caliber of player when I never played at this level. That doesn’t matter. It matters what kind of educator and teacher I am that I can get these guys to compete at an optimal level.”

Long Is A Hard Worker

“There’s always three things that I think are going to put you above anybody else as a coach. First of all, work ethic. No one is going to outwork me. No one is going to put in more time. That’s number one because the players see that.

Number two is knowledge. I’ve got to be very knowledgeable about what I do. Drill work, what adjustments I make with these guys… I have to know what makes good hitters good. I’ve done my homework. I’ve studied. I’ve taken Barry Bonds’ swing and broken it down into the finest details. And that’s how I started with my philosophy.

The third part—and if you don’t have this, you might as well pack it in as a hitting coach— is you’d better be personable. You’d better have people skills.”

About the Home Run Drill

“You never know if it’s going to catch on,” Long said. “You’re trying to help players become as consistent as possible. When you see guys have a lot of success with a certain drill, you keep it around. And it’s just one of those drills where I’ve seen numerous people throughout my career get better and better with it.”

The drill is intended to build muscle memory and teach players to consistently pull the ball for power.

Long Goes Above and Beyond

“I went to the Dominican Republic to work with Robinson Cano. Did the Yankees pay for that? Did Robinson Cano pay for that? You know who paid for that? Kevin Long paid for that….It wasn’t the Yankees saying go. I went in order for me to be a good instructor. You know what Robinson Cano thinks of me? He thinks I’m the greatest guy in the world…And as I do that, and as we go through a season where there’s struggles and this and that, he now feels he can lean on me, and we can lean on each other and that part can get you over the hump.”

Carlos Pena on Kevin Long

“You can know it all, but if you don’t know how to share it with your players, then the knowledge is lost. His strength is not actually all he knows, but how he teaches, how he can relate to a single player and make the player comfortable and confident and make the player trust him. Regardless of the stage or the level of the hitter, they start to feel they are the best in the world without ever even realizing it.”

Hope you enjoyed this and that you learned a little bit more about Kevin Long that you didn’t know already. These quotes were courtesy of ESPN, the New York Times, Hardball Magazine and Fox Sports.

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Familia Replacing Mejia As The Mets Closer? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/familia-replacing-mejia-as-the-mets-closer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/familia-replacing-mejia-as-the-mets-closer.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:59:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168337 jeurys familia

Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com ponders if the Mets should just go with Jeurys Familia as the team’s closer next season.

He argues that as as impressive as Jenrry Mejia was last season in his first stint as closer, Familia was far more consistent than him.

“While Mejia’s saves could sometimes feel like he was walking a tight-rope (A 1.50 WHIP in save situations), Familia was more stable. So it’s worth asking: Should Familia be the closer next season?”

I love Familia and before the season I predicted that he would be one of the most valuable arms in our bullpen. He finished the season with a pristine 2.21 ERA and he became our eighth inning setup man, a job he did very well.

I just don’t understand why we have to screw around with something that we finally fixed. After five years of struggling with an awful bullpen – including three doomed attempts to revamp the bullpen by Sandy Alderson – we ended the season with an incredibly strong and with a very bright outlook. Roles were set and established and several relievers shined.

Everyone seems to be on a mission to usurp Mejia from the closer role, be it for Bobby Parnell who may or may not be ready by Opening Day, and even doing something as drastic as not naming a closer at all and simply going with a committee as was asserted on MetsBlog last week.

Just when we seem to finally have everything set and looking good, give me one good reason why we should blow all that up on some whim?

Who can ensure me that Familia would be just as effective closing games as he was as a setup man? There’s an incredible amount of pressure to come out with the game on the line and secure those final three outs. It takes a special swagger. You not only need the stuff you need the mindset.

While not perfect, and let’s face it who is, Mejia quickly took to his new role as closer and ran with it. As a reliever, he posted a 2.72 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 56.1 innings and he saved 28 games. Only the Marlins’ Steve Cishek saved more games in the second half last season than Mejia who had 18 to his 19.

We’ve all seen how big a role confidence plays in the performance of Familia and Mejia over the years. How do you think that plays out if you yank Mejia out of the closer role after he thrived in it? Don’t we have enough issues on this team without having to manufacture some new ones?

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Nimmo and Mazzilli Off To Solid Starts In AFL http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/nimmo-and-mazzilli-off-to-solid-starts-in-afl.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/nimmo-and-mazzilli-off-to-solid-starts-in-afl.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:17:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168318 Jessica Quiroli of Minor League Ball is reviewing many of the prospects currently competing in this year’s Arizona Fall League. She had some interesting things to say about a pair of Mets prospects who have impressed her.

Brandon Nimmo

brandon nimmoBrandon Nimmo is that rare breed of focused aggression and intensity, mixed with patience and teachability. His story is legend at this point: with no high school baseball program in Wyoming, he played the showcase circuit. Scouts noticed and he was drafted in 1st round in 2011 He came to the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York Penn League as poised as a ten-year veteran. By the end of the season, however, the inexperience showed. Fatigue affected what was otherwise a highly successful debut.

He entered Spring Training in 2013 ten pounds heavier and talked about the noticeable difference in getting to balls in the outfield. He made the jump to Double-A Binghamton in 2014. He showcased more power, with a smooth swing path (it looked wobbly at times in 2012), and good hip rotation. He simply looked like a more solid version of the guy that played 69 games in Short-A ball in 2012. The selection to the fall league wasn’t a surprise.

Nimmo is the top outfield prospect in the organization, and one of the top outfield prospects in all the minor leagues. In tough fall league competition, he can work on developing more power and improve already very good plate approach. After the struggles with consistency that he exhibited down the stretch in his first professional season , he showed more ability to perform at the level he’s capable of in 2014. He ended the season hitting .278/.394/.426 in 127 games. He’s had a good fall league debut, hitting .393/.476/.571 in his first seven games.

L.J. Mazzilli

L.J._MazzilliSimilarly, Mets second base prospect L.J. Mazzilli is developing more power at the plate. His ability for gap-power was on display in 2013 with the Brooklyn Cyclones.And while Mazzilli has the same kind of professionalism and maturity as Nimmo, Mazzilli’s is all pedigree, as the son of former major leaguer Lee.

The younger Mazzilli also remained unfazed by the super-hype of his introduction to the New York media at Citi-Bank Field. That kind of laser-focus helped him adjust quickly to pro- ball. He exhibited rock-solid maturity off the field, and a consistent approach at the plate, also proving to be a strong defender with good speed. He hit .301/.361/.440 in 131 games between the Florida State and South Atlantic Leagues this year.

He spoke about his goals this off-season, working on strengthening and agility, with a focus on further improving his speed. Putting those elements together in fall league, and continuing that program through the winter, could lead to him seeing Double-A time in 2015. While not highly ranked in the system by some sources, he can play himself into a more valuable role with the Mets.

* * * * * * * *

I took a quick look at their stats this morning and both seem to be off to a solid start in Arizona where Nimmo is slashing at .323/.447/.419 in 31 at-bats, and Mazzilli is posting a .250/.400/.400 line in 20 at-bats.

Last night was only the sixth game for Mazzilli, who lined a triple into the gap and scored two runs during Scottsdale’s 7-3 victory over Glendale on Monday night. Nimmo added an RBI single in the game.

“I’m still trying to get in that groove offensively,” said Mazzilli after the game. “I feel I did well this year. I learned a lot in the first month-and-a-half of the season when I was struggling a little bit. I figured out what it takes for me to be the best I possibly can be, and I stuck with that plan and approach.”

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Hitting Coach Update: Yankees Tell Magadan He Didn’t Get The Job http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/hitting-coach-update-yankees-tell-magadan-he-didnt-get-the-job.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/hitting-coach-update-yankees-tell-magadan-he-didnt-get-the-job.html/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 01:04:01 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167977 dave magadan

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, reports that Dave Magadan, who was a finalist for the Yankees’ hitting coach job, was informed he did not get the position and that the Yankees and are looking elsewhere.

That makes Magadan the frontrunner for Oakland’s open hitting coach job, Slusser says, particularly with Chili Davis having accepted the Red Sox position and leaving the A’s with the vacancy. Magadan told Slusser he has “had some conversations” with A’s general manager Billy Beane.

The Mets also have talked to Magadan, but as I pointed out last week and you can read below, there’s no chance of that happening given the history between Magadan and Alderson.

Kevin Long is still a possibility, but since last week several more teams have joined the hunt for his services including the Braves, Blue Jays, Brewers, Pirates and Diamondbacks.

October 16

According to what Dave Magadan told NJ.com, he got the sense that neither the Yankees or Mets are in any rush to fill their vacant hitting coach positions. ”I don’t think either one of them is in a huge hurry to make any choices.”

George King and Joel Sherman of the New York Post, first reported that the former Met had been contacted by the Mets, telling them that talks were very preliminary.

This evening a reader emailed me to say that Magadan and Sandy Alderson actually have a history, and not particularly a good one. Sandy fired Magadan when the two were together in San Diego.

After a stint as the Padres’ minor league hitting instructor, Magadan was promoted to the big-league staff a year later as hitting coach for manager Bruce Bochy.

“I’d met with Sandy two weeks before, and he was like, ‘You’re doing a great job. Whatever you need — videotape, whatever it is you need that you feel will enhance what you want to do — let us know, we’ll get it for you.’

“Two weeks later, I was driving home…I don’t even remember what I said. I was in such shock.”

Manager Bruce Bochy was upset and angered by the move. He stormed into the team clubhouse to tell his players that Magadan had just been fired and that he had no part in the decision. That didn’t sit well with team brass.

After being granted permission to look for another opportunity, Bochy left the Padres with one year remaining on his contract to become the manager of the San Francisco Giants.

At the time Magadan was fired, the Padres, played in pitching-friendly Petco Park, were just one game out of first place in the NL West.

Merv Rettenmund replaced Magadan as the Padres hitting coach, but he too was fired mid-season just under a year later. Wally Joyner took over as the new hitting coach, but resigned 14 months later citing a difference in hitting philosophy with Sandy Alderson.

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(Updated) Red Sox Likely Trading Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/updated-red-sox-likely-trading-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/updated-red-sox-likely-trading-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:23:19 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168271 yoenis cespedes

Updated at 1:00 PM

MLBTR reports that  Yoenis Cespedes has switched agencies and is now being represented by Roc Nation Sports.  Cespedes had previously been represented by Adam Katz of WMG.

As I said, there’s little chance that Cespedes signs an extension with any team and rest assured he’ll be a free agent after the 2015 season.

Original Post 10:00 AM

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears that the Red Sox will likely make Yoenis Cespedes available this offseason.

Cespedes is in the final year of his deal and will earn $10.2 million in 2015. He appears intent on becoming a free agent and was standoffish on engaging in long-term talks with the Red Sox.

Cafardo adds that Cespedes has no desire to play right field or work on his defense, which is likely fueling Boston’s desire to deal him, especially with a glut of outfielders and Mookie Betts close to an everyday outfield job.

cespedes stats

Hey, I don’t have a problem with Cespedes, but I live in the real world. I’m not buying the buzz that there’s any Mets interest here, especially when you consider the prospects we’d have to give up for what’s essentially a one-year rental.

And in the extremely remote possibility that Cespedes would sign an extension, in what alternate universe will the Mets have the resources to add another $100 million dollar player when they already have David Wright and Curtis Granderson set to earn $36 million combined annually for the next three years?

I just don’t see it.

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Mets Have Drafted Highest Percentage Of High School Players http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-have-drafted-highest-percentage-of-high-school-players.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mets-have-drafted-highest-percentage-of-high-school-players.html/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:07:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168218 brandon-nimmo-2

According to a new report by Baseball America, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and its bonus pools have created incentives for teams to select high school players early in the draft before spending less in the back half of the top 10 rounds.

They write that 2014 was the most aggressive use of that strategy in the three years under the current CBA.

Nearly half of the high school players drafted in the top 10 rounds (47.1 percent) went in the top two rounds. Leading this trend are the New York Mets.

“No team had high school players comprise a higher percentage of their draft signings than the Mets (35.7 percent), who signed the second-most high school players of any team (10).”

“While more than half of the (57.7 percent) of all high school players that signed were drafted in the top 10 rounds, the Mets drafted all but two of their prep players after the 10th round (third-round shortstop Milton Ramos and eighth-round first baseman Dash Winningham), signing many of them to bonuses exceeding $100,000 such as righthanders Erik Manoah and Gabe Llanes, outfielder Raphael Ramirez and shortstop Dale Burdick. There were 60 prep players who signed after the 10th round, and the Mets drafted eight of them (13.3 percent).”

Actually, the Mets have concentrated most of their top selections on high school players over their last four drafts under Sandy Alderson. And unlike other teams, they have yet to see any of their draft selections debut yet in the majors. However, many of them are highly regarded as prospects.

That should change in 2015 with the expected debut of college catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, and Adam Rubin believes that if everything breaks right, we could see the first high school prospect selected by the Mets, Brandon Nimmo, in September.

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Should Mets Pursue Nick Markakis? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/should-mets-pursue-nick-markakis.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/should-mets-pursue-nick-markakis.html/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:30:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168243 markakis

Devin asks…

What do you think about signing Nick Markakis for the outfield? I know we’re not signing anyone big, but he shouldn’t cost that much.

Joe D. replies…

First of all, I’m not entirely sure that Markakis will hit free agency. Sure his $17.5 million option was declined by the Orioles, but he’s very popular with the fans and a few Baltimore writers think the two sides are busy working out a new deal.

I’m betting he’ll get something in the range of three years and $30 million whether it’s with the O’s or if he does hit free agency. In my opinion, Markakis’ market will plummet if the O’s make him a qualifying offer. Him and his agent have to know that.

Markakis turns 31 next month and he’s a decent ballplayer who can get on base, doesn’t strikeout a lot, passable on defense, and he’s intense. However he has no speed to speak of, and the last time he topped 15 home runs was six years ago.

Call me crazy, but I’d bet we can get better production from Matt den Dekker and a right-handed platoon mate. Oh and did I mention MDD is five years younger and had a higher on-base than Markakis? Small sample size yes, but is Markakis really worth $10 million a year more than den Dekker? And please consider the huge disparity on defense and speed…

I don’t get the fascination with Markakis. He’s not a difference maker and he’ll get too much money for what I think is a pedestrian skill set that will only decline from this point on.

Thanks and keep those questions coming in.

ask mmo 2

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MMO Mailbag: Adding A Big Power Bat This Offseason http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-mailbag-adding-a-big-power-bat-this-offseason.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-mailbag-adding-a-big-power-bat-this-offseason.html/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:00:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168195 matt kemp

Stephen H. asks…

Joe, why are you always so against the Mets adding a big power hitter in the outfield? This team needs to score a lot more runs and a Matt Kemp,  Jose Bautista or a Nelson Cruz could be the one piece this team needs to get us into the postseason. Imagine if we had one of them this season instead of Chris Young who was a complete waste of money? I usually agree with you but lately you’re always knocking down any suggestions to do what it takes to add that big bat this team desperately needs. Please reply back.

Joe D. replies…

Actually there is one slugger I’d love to see the Mets go after and that’s Yasmani Tomas, so it’s not entirely true that I’m against adding a big bat. What I am against is going after players like the ones you mentioned. I am tired of continuously giving up draft picks, top prospects and huge amounts of money for players whose best seasons are behind them. I’m tired of the Mets getting stuck paying these players exorbitant sums of money and in return getting the worst seasons of their careers instead of their best. This is why I was against the Curtis Granderson deal last season.

In the case of Tomas I’m more open because one – we don’t have to give up any prospects to get him, two – we don’t forfeit a first round pick, and three – he’s only 24 years old. A team in a market as big as New York shouldn’t be on the sidelines for a young talent like this who could fill several needs. But it’s not happening, so enough on him.

While in the right circumstances it would be nice, I don’t agree that we need a 30-homer bat to get into the postseason in 2015.

I’m impressed by the Kansas City Royals and how they’ve come as far as they have while hitting the fewest home runs in the majors and being the only team with less than a hundred longballs this season.

The Mets hit 30 more home runs than the Royals this season, and yet Kansas City scored far more runs and had the higher slugging percentage. They also had 279 fewer strikeouts than the Mets and therein lies the big problem.

As I stressed on Friday, we need to make more contact. We need to reduce these alarmingly high strikeouts and put the ball in play. We leave too many runners on base and suffer from a severe lack productive outs. Putting balls in play puts pressure on the opposing team’s defense and advances runners.

This isn’t to say that power isn’t important, only that it isn’t as vital as everyone is making it out to be. Hopefully the new hitting coach can get this team back to basics and the Mets can again start using contact and speed to manufacture more runs. 

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How Valuable Is Juan Lagares? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/how-valuable-is-juan-lagares.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/how-valuable-is-juan-lagares.html/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167896 juan lagares scores b&w

Mark Simon of ESPN New York, does a very nice job of analyzing the first full season of center fielder Juan Lagares, who he says was arguably the Mets’ most valuable player or at the very least one of their top three. I agree.

Offensively, Lagares’ progression was a product of two things: increasing his line-drive rate from 19 percent to 22 percent and spraying the ball across the whole field. But adds that there’s still plenty of room for growth and improvement, particularly with his strike zone judgement.

I was very excited with how Lagares progressed in 2014, and was most impressed to see him finally using his speed to steal 13 bases, 11 of them in the second half when he was finally given the green light.

Something I think gets very little attention is just how tremendous Lagares is against left-handed pitching, who he torched with a .349 batting average, .488 slugging percentage, and an incredible .875 OPS.

Defensively, what can you say about Lagares that hasn’t been said already. According to Simon, you could make the case that Lagares is the most impactful outfielder in the game, already amassing 56 Defensive Runs Saved in his first season and a half in the majors. Wow…

“Lagares has garnered such a good reputation that opponents are now afraid to challenge him. Even Ben Revere, one of the fastest players in the majors, declined to try to score from second base on a base hit to deep center.”

“For anyone who underestimates the value of his defense, just ask his starting pitchers what they think,” said one major league scout. “Anyone who doesn’t think he’s terrific isn’t paying attention.”

juan lagares

My favorite part of his article was when he and his colleagues tackled the issue of Lagares’ WAR as compared to MVP candidates Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. God knows that has been hotly debated on MMO many times.

Here is just a small sampling:

Jeff Gold: ”Lagares is one of the most unique players in baseball. He doesn’t hit for power, doesn’t walk, doesn’t steal that many bases (13), and yet he’s one of the best players in the game. His defense is a game-changer.”

Paul Hembekides: “Where does Juan Lagares rank among center fielders? Not in the top five [so not an All-Star], but still in the second tier of players above [or well above] league average. And in terms of all position players? I could name 50 I’d rather have than Juan Lagares.”

Mark Simon is one of the best baseball analysts and writers in the game today. And this particular piece is packed with so much more information that you should really read the full article here.

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Lucas Duda Was Among The Best Batting Cleanup http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/lucas-duda-was-among-the-best-batting-cleanup.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/lucas-duda-was-among-the-best-batting-cleanup.html/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 17:50:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167140 lucas duda hr

It’s been an exciting postseason so far, one packed with plenty of memorable moments including dramatic comebacks, some thrilling clutch at-bats, and no lack of phenomenal pitching performances. This is what baseball is all about. All of that said, I’m still bored out of my mind with the Mets on the sidelines for yet another October.

One of our readers brought something to my attention last week that got me thinking. He pointed out how well Lucas Duda stacked up against the cleanup hitters of the four teams who competed in the AL and NL Championship series. It was worth checking out.

Cleanup Hitter OPS (Min. 275 AB)

1. Lucas Duda, New York – .838

2. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco – .798

3. Nelson Cruz, Baltimore – .781

4. Billy Butler, Kansas City – .758

5. Matt Adams, St. Louis – .726

Actually, Duda still stacks up very well when I included all ten postseason teams. I discovered that only Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers (.984) had a higher OPS. Adam LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez and Neil Walker were all behind the Mets’ cleanup hitter. Amazing…

One more shot before I go… Can you guess which three cleanup hitters posted the worst OPS in the majors? At a combined 2014 salary of $63.125 million dollars, they are Adam Dunn (.721), Ryan Howard (.695) and Mark Teixeira (.676). Unsurprisingly, neither of their teams made the postseason and were a combined 52 games out of first place. You read it here first!

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Working The Count vs. Looking To Make Contact http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/working-the-count-vs-looking-to-make-contact.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/working-the-count-vs-looking-to-make-contact.html/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 14:45:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168008 bruce bochy

“If there is anything underrated about the Giants,” John Harper of the Daily News writes. “It’s the pressure they put on defenses with an old-school offensive approach that is more about attacking aggressively than working counts. Partly as a result, they’ve managed to score 10 runs in this postseason on plays where they didn’t produce a hit.”

“Not striking out, putting the ball in play,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy explained. “You try to put pressure on the other club and that’s how it happens, with good baserunning and doing the little things.”

Harper spoke to an NL scout before the game who was more blunt about the Giants’ approach:

“They don’t go up there looking to take pitches, they go up there looking to make contact. Everybody says it’s OK to strike out now, but the Giants are a perfect example of what a team can do when it puts the ball in play, especially at this time of year when there is pressure on the defense.”

“It’s quite the opposite of the patient, work-the-count-philosophy that GM Sandy Alderson preaches with the Mets.” Harper maintains. “One that baseball people say needs to be updated.”

“The strategy of working the count and driving up the starter’s pitch count is definitely outdated,” the NL scout said. “Bullpens are too good now. Every guy throws 98 and has something else he can throw for a strike.”

On Wednesday, I actually touched on this:

While the Mets are on the hunt to increase home run output at home and overall, I hope they don’t forget that what they need most is disciplined contact hitters who can hit the ball with authority and to all fields.

They also need a communicator who can teach the basics of situational hitting. Our players need to understand the importance of advancing runners and getting them home from third. Strikeouts are never productive, but a well placed grounder or a deep fly with a runner on third and less than two outs is. Hopefully our next hitting coach will be able to do a better job of delivering that message and getting the team to buy in.

By the way, what I wouldn’t give for a manager like Bruce Bochy.

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Astros Name Dave Hudgens New Hitting Coach http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/astros-name-dave-hudgens-new-hitting-coach.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/astros-name-dave-hudgens-new-hitting-coach.html/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 06:13:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168140 dave hudgensAccording to beat writer Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Houston Astros have hired Dave Hudgens as the team’s hitting coach. He joins Gary Pettis as third base coach, and Rich Dauer as first base coach as part of new manager A.J. Hinch’s coaching staff.

Hudgens was fired as the Mets’ hitting coach in the middle of this season and was replaced by Lamar Johnson, who was also relieved of his duties by the Mets after the season.

After Hudgens was told he was out, he didn’t go quietly,  heavily criticizing Mets ownership, low payroll, and even the SNY broadcast team of Gary, Keith and Ron.

He insinuated that the lack of results on offense wasn’t him but not having the payroll to afford better hitters.

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MMO Mailbag: Will Mets Strikeout At Hitting Coach? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-mailbag-will-mets-strikeout-at-hitting-coach.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-mailbag-will-mets-strikeout-at-hitting-coach.html/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 04:00:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167967 travis d'arnaud hr

Alex asks…

Do you have a personal favorite for the next Mets hitting coach and who do you think they’ll ultimately go with?

Joe D. replies…

I don’t really have a favorite to be quite honest. I’ve shared my pros and cons on Bobby Abreu, Kevin Long and most recently Dave Magadan. But the fact of the matter is I don’t really care which way Sandy Alderson goes. In the grand scheme of things, a hitting coach is item number 150 on things that really matter this offseason.

The Mets already have an organizational hitting philosophy and regardless of whom they choose as their next hitting coach, rest assured that he’ll be on board and lockstep with that philosophy.

The philosophy is a sound one based on a fundamental approach that many of the game’s best hitters have always used. Being selective at the plate, making good contact, and understanding that you’ll do more damage hitting pitches in the zone is nothing new. It’s common sense.

The problem for the Mets has been a failure to deliver that message. Dave Hudgens over-complicated everything and never connected with the players who just wanted to go to the plate and hit. He was unable to reach most of them and eventually they all just tuned him out.

Perhaps Travis d’Arnaud was the one who helped usher in Hudgens’ ouster. When asked to explain his turnaround after a demotion to the minors, he said he needed to get all the noise out of his head and go back to basics.

What the Mets need is someone personable who can connect with the team. Someone who could simplify the organizational philosophy and not burden the hitters with weekly spray charts and tons of scientific data. It’s not a science to them, it’s a game.

While the Mets are on the hunt to increase home run output at home and overall, I hope they don’t forget that what they need most is disciplined contact hitters who can hit the ball with authority and to all fields.

They also need a communicator who can teach the basics of situational hitting. Our players need to understand the importance of advancing runners and getting them home from third. Strikeouts are never productive, but a well placed grounder or a deep fly with a runner on third and less than two outs is. Hopefully our next hitting coach will be able to do a better job of delivering that message and getting the team to buy in.

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MMO Hits & Misses: So What’s The Plan? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-hits-misses-so-whats-the-plan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/mmo-hits-misses-so-whats-the-plan.html/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:30:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167886 HITS N MISSES

Oh, Omar!

We had a reunion of sorts on MMO on Tuesday. I think it’s absolutely amazing how the mere mention of Omar Minaya sends a beacon out to long forgotten readers who come scurrying back for a one night only performance. And the things you hear. my God, it’s incredible. For example we had one reader who says Minaya is a moron because he had no idea who Lucas Duda was when a reporter asked about him last summer. Oh, and did you know, that apparently Omar Minaya had no input whatsoever in drafting Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom because he was only in charge of drafting college relievers not college starting pitchers. Hilarious. :-D

So What’s The Plan?

The number one question I’m always asked is what will the Mets do this offseason. It all depends on how much money they could free up by trading one or more of Daniel Murphy, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee. Right now there is no spending money, none. With payroll remaining around the same $85 million or perhaps a slight uptick to $90 million, the Mets will need to create some flexibility before determining who they can target.

One thing is certain, and regular MMO readers should already know this, we’re not bringing in any significant players like a Yasmani Tomas or Jose Bautista or anyone else that will demand a huge monetary outlay. Enjoy Curtis Granderson while you can because you won’t see the Mets make another financial commitment similar to that this offseason. When you’re operating with a $85-90 million payroll, you can’t concentrate $50-55 million of it on three players, it’s unheard of.

Hitting Coaches Are More Important?

Raise your hand if you wish the Mets had handled the manager position with as much due diligence as they seem to be attacking the hitting coach position. Apparently the Mets had no qualms firing Lamar Johnson even though they had no replacement in mind. But that’s a good thing. Now the Mets have the luxury of interviewing all the available options like Kevin Long and Dave Magadan. There’s a lot of great choices to choose from.

Meanwhile, they committed to Terry Collins long before the season ended, not even waiting to see which managers became available. I guess it’s not like the manager is as important as a hitting coach though, right? 

Disgruntled Blue Jays Fan?

I read something interesting on the comment threads of MLB Trade Rumors last weekend. ”Let’s see how Met fans gloat now that Sandy Alderson has to actually go after some real major league pieces to try and contend. That’s assuming he has the balls to do it.” It could have also been a Pirates fan I guess.

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Tejada, Young, Carlyle Could Each Be Non-Tendered http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/tejada-young-carlyle-could-each-be-non-tendered.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/tejada-young-carlyle-could-each-be-non-tendered.html/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:30:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=167932 ruben tejada

MLB Trade Rumors posted their offseason outlook for the Mets including projected arbitration awards for nine eligible players.

Arbitration Eligible Player Projections

That totals $30.5 million in arbitration eligible players. They project that Buddy Carlyle, Ruben Tejada and Eric Young Jr. will be non-tendered this winter. If that happens each will become a free agent and be able to sign with a new team or with the Mets for less money. Everyone but Parnell, who will likely earn the same salary after spending the season on the disabled list, is getting a sizable raise with Murphy topping the list.

MLBTR concludes that after a long time, 2015 could finally represent the start of a period of contention for the Mets, but it will still require some careful handling to actually get there with the little wiggle room they have to address remaining concerns. They add that Sandy Alderson now has many of the cards that he set out to find; but all that remains is for him to actually play them. In other words use the team’s strength in pitching depth to address the underlying issues on offense.

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