Mets Merized Online » Brian Devine http://metsmerizedonline.com Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Featured Post: Can Mets Trust Addison Reed In Setup Role? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/featured-post-can-mets-trust-addison-reed-in-setup-role.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/featured-post-can-mets-trust-addison-reed-in-setup-role.html/#comments Sun, 17 Jan 2016 15:59:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204203 addison reed

In a recent article by Mike Puma of the NY Post, he outlines the case against Addison Reed in the set up role. While Reed has saved over 100 games in his career, Puma points out that his reliability and consistency are legitimate concerns.

Reed posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 40.2 innings before being traded to the Mets last summer. He also struggled in the postseason where he allowed five runs in seven innings, despite having a strong finish in the regular season in New York.

Puma asked a talent evaluator about what he thought about Reed in the setup role, and said the Mets should not be content with him.

“Definitely no,” the evaluator said.

“He throws too flat a breaking ball, throws hard but straight. He needs a splitter — not a changeup. You can tell he’s not confident against lefties. Plus, he’s tight in late-and-close situations.”

However, another evaluator had a much more promising outlook:

“With a little tweaking, I think he can be highly effective again,” the evaluator said.

Reed, 27, has a career 4.01 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 3.41 FIP in five major league seasons. I have to agree more with the second analyst, who said he can get back to performing at a high level like he did a few years ago as closer for Chicago and Arizona.

Reed showed flashes of this potential down the stretch in the second half  as he allowed only two runs in fifteen innings with the Mets. His 2.74 FIP and 10 K/9 in this span are also good signs, and suggest he’s headed in the right direction.

But even with these improved numbers, the Mets could still benefit from adding a reliever like Antonio Bastardo to the mix.  Bastardo had a 2.98 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 66 appearances last season, and Puma says that he’s unlikely to sign with Mets unless he’s willing to accept a one year deal. However, getting Bastardo would  surely deepen the entire bullpen, and provide insurance just in case Reed doesn’t live up to the team’s expectations.

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Wright Weighs In On Sandy, Cespedes and Health http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/wright-weighs-in-on-sandy-cespedes-and-health.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/wright-weighs-in-on-sandy-cespedes-and-health.html/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2016 12:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204290 David, Wright

Despite the Mets’ slow offseason, David Wright is optimistic about what the team has done over the winter. While they haven’t acquired any big names, he believes the additions of Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera and Alejandro De Aza were solid moves that have flown under the radar. (Mike Puma, NY Post)

“There hasn’t been that kind of blockbuster, sexy deal, but I think all of the moves have been excellent baseball moves,” Wright said. “At the end of last year we had Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe and we were interchangeable as far as being versatile and being able to give guys a blow here and there.”

Wright says that he fully supports Sandy Alderson and the Front Office, and believes they will do what’s right even though it might be unpopular.

“I’ve learned, don’t ever doubt Sandy,” David Wright told The Post on Thursday, referring to general manager Sandy Alderson. “Sandy comes in with a plan and sticks to his guns, and although sometimes it might be unpopular, he is going to stick with what he believes in.”

Wright was also asked about what he thought about the Yoenis Cespedes situation. He says that Alderson’s track record gives him confidence that the Mets will end up making the right decision about the 30-year old slugger.

“I don’t know what the situation is with Cespedes and the Mets, but I do know that Sandy has earned the right to make these type of decisions,” Wright said. “You can’t argue with the success he’s had in turning this organization from the bottom of the NL East to National League champs last year, so I have all the confidence in the world that he will make the correct decisions.”

A lot of people seem to be downplaying what Wright can do this year, but the Mets’ captain can still make a major impact. While he was limited to just 38 games last season, he still posted a solid .289/.374/.434 triple slash line with five home runs and a 128 OPS+ in 174 plate appearances. This type of production shows that he’s still capable of producing at a high level, and could be a valuable piece even if his playing time is somewhat limited.

Terry Collins has suggested that Wright could be kept on a 135 game schedule, but the Mets third-sacker says that he’s going to wait to see how he feels before making any decisions.

“I can try to guess,” Wright said. “But until I get into the grind of things and see how my body responds, my goal is to go out there and play as much as I possibly can, assuming my back feels OK.”

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Mets Are Interested In Tommy Hunter http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-are-interested-in-tommy-hunter.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-are-interested-in-tommy-hunter.html/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:30:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204212 Tommy+Hunter+Baltimore+Orioles+v+Tampa+Bay+xa9GcsJgkLFl

Mike Puma of the NY Post says that the Mets are keeping tabs on reliever Tommy Hunter. Puma says Hunter is seeking a multi year contract, but the Mets only want to sign relievers to one year deals.

Hunter, 29, posted a 4.18 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 60.1 innings pitched last season for the Cubs and Orioles. However, he was previously coming off two solid seasons in 2013 and 2014 where he thrived in the late innings of Baltimore’s bullpen. He had a solid 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 3.46 FIP and a 4.35 K/BB ratio in this span.

Hunter seems like a good bet for a bounce back season, and could also be a nice value if the Mets can lower his demands to a one year contract. . He can still throw over 95 MPH and has excellent command as his career  2.0 BB/9 shows.

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Collins Has Moved On From Decision To Leave Harvey In http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/collins-has-moved-on-from-decision-to-leave-harvey-im.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/collins-has-moved-on-from-decision-to-leave-harvey-im.html/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:00:54 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204073 matt harvey terry collins

Following the Mets’ agonizing World Series defeat, Terry Collins‘ decision to leave Matt Harvey in the game haunted him for days. However, in an interview that airs tonight on MLB Network, Collins now says that he feels better about it and has moved on.

” I had my bad three days. You’ve got to move on,” Collins says in the show. (Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News.)

Collins explains his decision in depth during the interview, and said that Harvey’s passion was the main reasons behind it.

“I saw the passion in his eyes — ‘I want this game,’ ” Collins says. “That’s why I think he’s great and that’s what’s going to make him great is that he wants to compete and he wants to compete on the biggest stage in the biggest moment, so I gave him that chance.”

Even after Harvey allowed the first runner to reach base via a walk, Collins left him in and stood by his call.

“No. I’m not a big believer in, if you send the guy out there and the first guy gets on, you go get him. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t have sent him out there to begin with. I just said, ‘OK, we’ll get the next guy, because he had pitched (Eric) Hosmer great the entire game.

“I still felt pretty good until he hit the ball over the left fielder’s head.”

I still can’t blame Collins for what happened that night. Harvey was the team’s ace, and he was absolutely dominant all game. Collins never would have heard the end of it from the fans and the media if he would have taken him out. Plus, a lot of credit has to be given to the Royals, who were an excellent team in the clutch and never gave up.

That being said, Collins definitely has the right mindset about it now. He can’t do anything to change what happened, so he just needs to focus on 2016 and hope for another chance to get back to the World Series.

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Mets’ Hardest Throwing Rotation Ranked MLB’s Best http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-hardest-throwing-rotation-ranked-mlbs-best.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-hardest-throwing-rotation-ranked-mlbs-best.html/#comments Mon, 11 Jan 2016 21:59:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203569 degrom harvey syndergaard

We wanted to update this article with a quote by ESPN’s Buster Olney who ranked the Mets rotation as the best in baseball today.

“Of the National League’s top five hardest-throwing starters with at least 140 big league innings in 2015, the Mets have three of them: Noah Syndergaard, whose fastball averaged 97.1 mph; Matt Harvey at 95.9 mph; and Jacob deGrom at 95 mph. No. 4 starter Steven Matz, who has less time in the majors and is the least developed of the New York starters, generally checks in at 94-96 mph as well.”

Olney also points out that Zack Wheeler was MLB’s fifth-hardest throwing starter in 2014, and is expected back mid-season.

“They’re all young, could be together for at least three more seasons and seemingly have a chance to be remembered as one of the best rotations of this generation. The Mets have the best rotation in baseball now, and there really isn’t a close second.”

No argument from us, Buster…

Original Post – January 5

Despite the Mets’ tremendous postseason run, I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers and writers are still reluctant to call their rotation the best in the majors. Instead teams like the Cubs and Nationals are edging them out in preseason rankings, but are they really any better?

One of these rankings is from Victor Barbosa of Cheatsheet.com. He put the Mets at number two overall, and surprisingly ranked the Nationals as number one. Barbosa believed that their excellent duo of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, in addition to their solid depth, made them the best staff in baseball.

While they are clearly a talented group, it’s one that falls short of the Mets. It’s important to note that in spite of Scherzer’s excellence, he stumbled in the team’s biggest game of the season against the Mets in early September. He allowed five runs and three home runs during that outing, which all but ended the Nationals’ postseason hopes. Strasburg also struggled to find consistency all year as he was limited to only 127 innings pitched due to injury.

But that’s not what truly sets the Mets apart from their division foes. Not only do the Mets have two elite pitchers like the Nationals do, they have five pitchers who can perform like number ones.

Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are all extremely talented and can dominate the opposition whenever they get the ball. No other team has this amount of firepower in their rotation, and the back-end of Washington’s rotation with Joe Ross, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark isn’t nearly as gifted.

This is the main reason why the Mets out-pitched them all year long in 2015, New York’s starters finished fourth in the MLB in ERA, third in WHIP and first in Strikeout to Walk Ratio. Meanwhile, Washington ended up seventh, fifth and second in these same categories.

The best part about these numbers is that they will be even stronger in 2016. The Mets no longer have to worry about strict innings limits for Harvey and deGrom. They will both be able to pitch over 200 innings without fear, and Syndergaard and Matz will also be starting in the majors for the entire season.

Essentially, they will be replacing the 36 mediocre starts from Jon Niese and Dillon Gee with two of the best young pitchers in baseball. Syndergaard posted an outstanding 3.24 ERA, 3.25 FIP and 10 K/9 in 24 starts last year, and Matz had a solid  2.27 ERA, 3.61 FIP and 8.6 K/9 in six outings.

This kind of impact is arguably even better than what the Giants got by signing Johnny Cueto and the Cubs got with John Lackey. Having these two pitchers for the full year improves the staff significantly from where it was a year ago.

And don’t forget there’s Bartolo Colon, who won 14 games with a 4.16 ERA and 3.84 FIP last season as the team’s fifth starter. He will reprise the same role this season until Wheeler returns.  At one point, Wheeler was considered to be the best Mets’ prospect of them all, and seemed poised for a breakout campaign before Tommy John surgery derailed his season.

It’s frustrating to see the Mets’ rotation not get the respect it deserves.They are incredibly talented, and will be the best staff in the league this year and beyond.

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Mets Notes: Ricciardi, Cespedes and Uribe http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-notes-ricciardi-cespedes-and-uribe.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/mets-notes-ricciardi-cespedes-and-uribe.html/#comments Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:00:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203982 ricciardi

With Paul DePodesta leaving for the Cleveland Browns, will J.P Ricciardi now take on a bigger role? Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Ricciardi is open to it, even though he enjoys his current job as special assistant. Ricciardi has worked mostly with the minors and player development during his time with the Mets.

Formerly the GM of the Blue Jays from 2001 to 2009, Ricciardi has been with the Mets’ organization since 2010, and has a long history with both Sandy Alderson and DePodesta going back to his days in Oakland.

I’m very happy for Paul,” Ricciardi said. “He’s so unique in what he brought to the table for us. He’s a big loss, but we feel we have good people in place and some younger kids in our front office that can step in.”

Ricciardi says that Alderson will have a meeting this week with the Front Office to outline their new roles. He also defended the Mets’ offseason strategy, and hinted that there could be one more surprise before it’s all said and done.

“They weren’t sexy moves, but I think very effective moves,” Ricciardi said. “I think we’ve lengthened our lineup. We have a shortstop [Asdrubal Cabrera] who can hit right-handed pitching. We brought [Bartolo] Colon back. There are still guys out there. Who knows what could happen?”

Of course, one of the guys still out there is Yoenis Cespedes. At this point, it seems unlikely that he’ll come back, but Cafardo believes it’s still a possibility. The market for him, as well as Justin Upton, has been extremely soft and nobody appears to be willing to offer them the massive contracts they initially wanted. If their markets don’t start to pick up soon, it’s possible they could be had for bargains.

Speaking of players who are unlikely to return, Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports that Juan Uribe is discussing a one year deal with the Indians. Uribe was a nice piece for the Mets during the second half, hitting .219/.301/.430 in 128 plate appearances with six homeruns. However, he’s no longer a fit due to the recent additions of Cabrera and Neil Walker.

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Murphy Thankful For His Time With Mets, Excited To Join Nats http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/murphy-thankful-for-his-time-with-mets-excited-to-join-nats.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/murphy-thankful-for-his-time-with-mets-excited-to-join-nats.html/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 12:00:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203855 daniel murphy

After spending his entire seven year career with the Mets, Daniel Murphy has officially joined their biggest rival. Yesterday, he was formally introduced as a member of the Washington Nationals, and was excited about joining his new team.

“They have laid the foundation of a very competitive team here,” Murphy said. “I have gotten to experience that competitiveness over the last six or seven years being in New York. It is always a tough place to come in here and play. This is the place we wanted to be. I am excited about what the 2016 team has to offer. To be on this side of it is really exciting.” (David Driver, Newsday)

Murphy said he knew his days with the Mets were over when he heard they were targeting second baseman Ben Zobrist in free agency. They eventually settled for Neil Walker, but it was clear to Murphy that there was no longer an opening for for him on the team.  (Adam Rubin, ESPN NY)

However, Murphy doesn’t appear to be bitter about how the situation unfolded. He stated that he enjoyed his time in New York, and said he will miss his teammates most of all.

“It would be the relationships you built,” said Murphy, noting that he came up through the minors with Lucas Duda. “I got a lot of congratulatory texts with guys I used to play with [including Jacob deGrom]. The manager, Terry Collins, reached out to me. I enjoyed my time in New York; some great relationships were made.”

It’s going to be hard to root against him now, especially since he was always a fan favorite. Murphy’s greatest moment with the Mets happened in October where he homered in six consecutive postseason games, which set a new record.  While he made several costly mistakes in the World Series, they never would have even gotten to that point without his heroics.

Murphy finished his Mets’ career with a .288/.331/.423 batting line with a 110+ OPS. He has the second most doubles in franchise history, is a one time All-Star and won the NLCS MVP award.

“He never takes an at-bat off,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He is a player who plays the game the right way. We love his attitude, his grit. I have seen plenty of Daniel Murphy in my career, believe me. When the bright lights of not only New York City but of the major-league playoffs come, he shines the brightest.”

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2016 Could Be A Telling Season For Brandon Nimmo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/2016-could-be-a-telling-season-for-brandon-nimmo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/2016-could-be-a-telling-season-for-brandon-nimmo.html/#comments Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:00:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203723 brandon nimmo

Ever since he was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft, fans have been waiting patiently for the arrival of Brandon Nimmo. While he’s made progress every season, he’s yet to have that big breakout that everyone has been hoping for. This has caused some to start to losing faith in the 22-year old outfielder, but this upcoming season is what will likely be a critical one in determining what his future role is with the organization.

Nimmo is coming off one of the worst statistical seasons of his career while playing for Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas in 2015. He slashed .269/.362/.372 in 434 plate appearances with only five home runs and 16 doubles. His .734 OPS was his lowest mark in any minor league season, but it looked as if he started to figure things out towards the end of the year.

In August and September, he caught fire and posted an excellent .421 OBP and .873 OPS. He also homered during the last two games of the season while driving in three runs. This resurgence grabbed the attention of his coaches, who are still believers in his ability.

“I’ve seen this kid make some adjustments. So far, he’s responded real well to different suggestions,” Las Vegas manager Wally Backman said. “He struggled at first but we’ve seen some real improvement in the last few days. Brandon’s got a bright future ahead of him.” (Josh Jackson, Milb.com)

However, not everyone is as ecstatic about his late season production and his prospect status has taken a big hit. John Sickels of Minor League Ball says that he’s beginning to look more like a platoon player despite his ability to get on base. This has a lot to do with the fact that he has struggled immensely against lefties, but also because he has yet to hit for much power. Nimmo has just a .391 slugging percentage over his five minor league seasons.

Speaking to some scouts last week, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote that Nimmo could wind up being an upgrade over Kirk Nieuwenhuis as a lefty-hitting outfielder in the system, but that there are serious doubts over whether he can become an everyday major leaguer.

The one thing to remember about Nimmo is that he’s no stranger to overcoming adversity. His high school did not have a baseball team, and he is one of the few players ever drafted from  he state of Wyoming. Despite this, he became one of the nations’ top talents and was the 13 overall pick in the draft.

While it’s been a challenging road to get to this point, Nimmo says that his unique experience growing up has also helped him succeed and to remain focused.

“The advantages were I didn’t get burned out playing baseball,” said Nimmo, who was ranked No. 48 on Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects list heading into last season. “I think that not being burned out on baseball has allowed me to really have no regrets about the business that I go and do each and every day, and I try to leave it all out on the field.”  (Evan Korn, Newsday)

Looking ahead, Antony DiComo of MLB.com says it’s doubtful that Nimmo can make a major impact in the big leagues this season. It’s rare for a rookie to produce at the sensational level that Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard did last year, he writes, but could he be in line for a huge season in Las Vegas?

This might be the year where Nimmo finally puts it all together, especially if he could avoid the nagging injuries that have plagued him the past few years. He will play a full season in an extremely favorable hitting environment after spending so most of his time playing in extreme pitchers’ parks like those at Savannah and St.Lucie, which are notorious for suppressing power.

Nimmo has always had  a great eye as well as a sound approach at the plate, which is proven by his career .381 OBP. Combine that with his athleticism and determination, and it’s easy to see why most people in the Mets’ organization are still so high on him and still believe he has a bright future ahead.

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Tommy Tanous Will Likely Replace DePodesta http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/tommy-tanous-will-likely-replace-depodesta.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/tommy-tanous-will-likely-replace-depodesta.html/#comments Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:28:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203664 tommy-tanous-2013

Following Paul DePodesta’s departure, John Harper of the NY Post says that Tommy Tanous will likely take over his role as the head of player development. Tanous originally joined the organization as a professional scout in 2010, and he was named the Director of Amateur Scouting the following year.

This decision seems to make the most sense as he was heavily involved in the draft the past several seasons with DePodesta. He has done a great job helping build the Mets minors, and should be able to adjust to the new role just fine.

“Whatever Sandy decides, I think it will be a seamless transition,” J.P. Ricciardi said yesterday. “We have enough people in place. Even though Sandy wasn’t at the Winter Meetings, this has been business as usual for us this winter. It’s always a team effort, with Sandy listening to everyone’s opinions and making decisions from there.”

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Braves Looking To Trade Swisher And Bourn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/braves-looking-to-trade-swisher-and-bourn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/braves-looking-to-trade-swisher-and-bourn.html/#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2016 13:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203474 michael bourn

With the Atlanta Braves in full rebuilding mode, veteran outfielders Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher are on the trading block. Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that they hope to trade one of them prior to the season, and are willing to take on a significant portion of their salaries.

Bowman says that since the Braves are set in center field with Ender Inciarte and Emilio Bonifacio as his backup, it would make more sense to keep Swisher. However, he also notes that there’s serious concerns about Swisher because he underwent two knee surgeries in 2014.

Bourn, 33, batted .238/.310/.282 with a 64 OPS+ and 17 steals in 482 plate appearances during the 2015 season. Meanwhile, Swisher, 35, hit .196/.312/.320 with six home runs and posted a 75 OPS+ in 260 plate appearances.

While both players have severely declined in recent years, I can see someone taking a gamble on them as a bench pieces. They both were solid players in their primes, and may have something still left in the tank.

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Is The Mets’ Rotation Worth A Billion Dollars? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/is-the-mets-rotation-worth-a-billion-dollars.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/is-the-mets-rotation-worth-a-billion-dollars.html/#comments Tue, 22 Dec 2015 12:00:13 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202941 harvey degrom syndergaard matz

That’s what Joel Sherman of the NY Post says they are worth in his latest article. He asked a group of six major league executives about how much they would cost if they were available as free agents, and five of them agreed that one billion was a realistic number.

The amount seems ludicrous at first glance, but it’s not when you take a closer look. Sherman points out if Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard all receive $250 million dollar deals, and Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler sign for $150 and $100 million, that adds up to one billion.

These numbers aren’t unrealistic given the expensive deals pitchers are getting this offseason. They are now receiving bigger contracts than ever with David Price getting  $217 million over seven years, and even a mediocre pitcher like Jeff Samardzija still got $90 million despite having a 4.96 ERA.

As one NL head of baseball operations said: “I do think $1 billion is a reasonable estimate. Certainly, their top four [all but Wheeler] would be more appealing than most, if not all, of the pitchers who changed teams this offseason.”

An AL head of pro scouting said: “We could argue specifics on each player, but I would have to think you’d get to a billion one way or another.”

Certainly their youth and upside is what makes them such an extremely valuable group. All of them are under 30, and have the ability to preform like number one starters. As one NL player-personnel head described, the Mets are blessed with  “a unique, amazing rotation.”

With this outstanding group of pitchers, the Mets are clearly in a fantastic position this year and in the near future to dominate in the National League. The only question is can the Mets add the right pieces around them in order to achieve greatness? They came so close to pulling it off last season,  and they will be more determined than ever to make it back to the World Series in 2016.

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Mets Have Venable And De Aza On Their Radar http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-have-venable-and-de-aza-on-their-radar.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-have-venable-and-de-aza-on-their-radar.html/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 18:20:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202902 will venable

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Mets have left handed outfielders Will Venable and Alejandro De Aza on their radar in addition to Denard Span. Both players are potential options to platoon with Juan Lagares in center field, but Crasnick says the Mets are slow-playing the market.

Venable, 33, batted .244/.320/.350  with six home runs and 16 steals in 349 plate appearances for the Padres and Rangers in 2015. He’s an appealing target for the Mets due to his solid .745 OPS against right handed pitching in his career, and he’s also an asset on defense.. He is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and had a +1 UZR rating this year,

Meanwhile, De Aza posted a .262/.333.422 triple slash line with the Giants, Orioles and Red Sox this year. He crushed seven home runs with a 104 OPS + in 365 plate appearances, and he also hit well against right handed pitching with an .800 OPS.

However,  the 31 year old outfielder has declined defensively in recent years according to advanced metrics. He had a -1.1 UZR rating in 2015, and was also rated negatively the last three seasons.

The Mets appear to be patiently waiting out the market, but both players seem like decent fallback options if they are unable to land a top hitter.  It’s worth noting that Venable has strong ties to the Mets’ Front Office since he played for Sandy Alderson and Paul Depodesta during his time in San Diego.

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Nationals Are Discussing Brandon Phillips Trade http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/nationals-are-discussing-brandon-phillips-trade.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/nationals-are-discussing-brandon-phillips-trade.html/#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2015 13:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202615 brandon-phillips

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Nationals and Reds are discussing a deal for second baseman Brandon Phillips. Phillips has a no trade clause in his contract, but he could waive it to join Washington if a trade were to go through.

He is owed $13 million dollars in 2016 and $14 million in 2017, which are the two finals years of his contract.

With the Nationals looking for upgrades at second, Phillips is a certainly an appealing target. Phillips, 34, remains a solid player at his position despite being in the later stages of his career.  He batted .294/.328/.395 with 12 homeruns and 70 RBI in 623 plate appearances this year, and had a 2.6 WAR according to Fangraphs. He is also still a good defender on defense as his +2 UZR rating shows.

Rosenthal also reports that another possibility for the Nationals is former Met Kelly Johnson. Johnson slashed .250/,304/.414 in 138 plate appearances with the Mets in 2015, and posted a .750 OPS in 335 plate appearances overall.

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Granderson Excited About Offseason Acquisitions, Says Thumb Is Fine http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/granderson-excited-about-offseason-acquisitions-says-thumb-is-fine.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/granderson-excited-about-offseason-acquisitions-says-thumb-is-fine.html/#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2015 04:55:22 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202622 curtis granderson hr

After a fantastic season in 2015, Curtis Granderson is already excited about next year.  Granderson knows there will be a lot of pressure on the team to perform, but says that he’s prepared for the challenge.

“The target will definitely be on our back,” Granderson said. “Case in point, you look at what Washington has done the last couple of years. You come into a season knowing that you could potentially be one of the favorites to win your division. You definitely can’t take it lightly or for granted.” (Brian Heyman, Newsday)

While the Mets will likely be missing the powerful bat of Yoenis Cespedes, Granderson thinks the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera were great moves,

“He always beat us, especially in Pittsburgh,” Granderson said. “I’m excited to have another versatile player that he brings to us, both offensively and defensively. And then with Cabrera, another guy I’ve gotten a chance to play against a lot that’s been very good on so many different aspects, from hitting and defense . . . ”

In 682 plate appearances in 2015, Granderson blasted 27 homeruns with 70 RBI. He was arguably the team’s most consistent performer as he posted an excellent 129 OPS+ and 5.1 WAR

Granderson played even better in the postseason where he crushed three homeruns and had a .866 OPS in 14 games. Amazingly, he achieved this despite playing with a torn ligament in his thumb, but says that it didn’t hinder his performance since it was his top hand.

He underwent surgery following the World Series, and is expected to be at full strength for the upcoming season.

“We’re good to go,” Granderson said. “Offseason workouts have already begun.”

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Red Sox Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Isn’t Available In Trade http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/red-sox-outfielder-jackie-bradley-jr-isnt-available-in-trade.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/red-sox-outfielder-jackie-bradley-jr-isnt-available-in-trade.html/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 18:59:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202511 jackie bradley jr

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t available in a trade. Several teams expressed interest in him at the winter meetings, but they were all told by the Red Sox that he wasn’t available.

Bradley batted .249/.335/.498 in 255 plate appearances this season with ten homeruns and 43 RBI for Boston. Everything seemed to click for the 25 year old in the second half as he posted an .891 OPS after the all-star break.

Bradley is also a premier defender in the outfield with  a 10.1 UZR this year and had a  13.8 rating in 2014. He has played all three outfield positions in his three seasons in the major leagues.

This news is certainly a let down for teams who are still looking for outfielders like the Mets. Bradley’s combination of youth, athleticism and upside would make him an exciting addition for any team, but he’s a player the Red Sox understandably don’t want to trade.

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Mets Won’t Go More Than 3 Years On Cespedes, Could Sign Ryan Raburn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-wont-go-more-than-3-years-on-cespedes-could-sign-ryan-raburn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-wont-go-more-than-3-years-on-cespedes-could-sign-ryan-raburn.html/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 14:39:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202440 raburn ryan

Despite saving  $12.5 million dollars from Michael Cuddyer‘s contract, Joel Sherman of the NY Post says the Mets have no intention of bringing back Yoenis Cespedes unless he lowers his demands. Mike Puma adds that the Mets only like Cespedes on a 2-3 year deal.

Sherman writes that they will instead look to add quality veteran depth instead of making a big splash. While this certainly comes as disappointing news fans, the Front Office believes that building solid depth and flexibility is crucial to their success.

The Mets learned this lesson the hard way this season when fringe players such as Eric Campbell, Daniel Muno, Darrell Ceciliani, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Johnny Monell and John Mayberry Jr. were given a substantial amount of playing time early in the season.  Sherman calculates that this group of  players had taken 17 percent of the Mets position player at-bats, or about one out of every six.

However, this issue was resolved later in the year when the team acquired veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to fill out the roster. The team’s significantly improved depth was one of the main reasons for their mid-season turnaround, and they want to replicate that success once again in 2016.

The Mets already took steps to achieve this with Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera,  but what other available players could the Mets look to sign? Sherman says utility man Ryan Raburn would be a great target for the bench. 

The 34-year old free agent batted .303/.393/.543 in 201 plate appearances for Cleveland this year, and crushes left-handed pitching. As Sherman points out, he posted a  1.004 OPS against them this year and has a .827 mark for his career.

He also brings some versatility to the club as he can play both corner outfield spots as well as first base. This means he can be a great platoon option for Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson or Lucas Duda who aren’t as prolific against southpaws.

I’m not sure why the Mets can’t sign a player of Cespedes’ caliber and also add proven veteran depth like Raburn at the same time. Is the payroll still that much of an issue for the Wilpons, or is the team really just reluctant to commit to Cespedes on a 5-6 year deal? Still, Raburn looks like he’d be a solid addition.

(Updated 12/14)

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Jason Heyward Agrees to 8-Year, $184 Million Deal with Cubs http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/jason-heyward-agrees-to-deal-with-chicago-cubs.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/jason-heyward-agrees-to-deal-with-chicago-cubs.html/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 18:55:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202296 jason heyward

Jason Heyward has agreed to sign with the Cubs, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bob Nightengale reports the deal is for eight years and $184 million dollars, or an average annual value of $23 million.

Heyward reportedly turned down higher offers of $200 million dollars from the Nationals and Cardinals before deciding on the Cubs.

Cubs strike again…

Previous Report

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals are making a strong push to sign free agent outfielder Jason Heyward. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported yesterday that they are the mystery team pursuing him, and have joined the Cubs and Cardinals as the main teams bidding for his services. Heyman also says that Heyward already has a $200 million dollar a deal on the table.

Furthermore, a source told Bill Landson of MLB.com that Washington is  “heavily involved” and that their interest is “legit”.

Heyward, 26, is arguably the top position player in this year’s market. He slashed .293/.359/.439  in 610 plate appearances this season with 13 homeruns and 23 steals. He is also a tremendous defender in right field as his 22.6 UZR shows.  Overall, he’s one of the most complete players in the game, which is reflected in his 6.0 WAR that ranks 11th among position players in the major leagues.

The Nationals haven’t shied away from mega free agent deals in the past, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them win the bidding war here. Heyward would give Washington one of the best outfields in majors as he would join MVP Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in what was an already talented group.

Some have speculated that Heyward could be a target for the Mets, but they are not in the running as he appears to be too far out of their price range.

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Walker and Cabrera Give Mets Excellent Depth and Flexibility http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/walker-and-cabrera-give-mets-excellent-depth-and-flexibility.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/walker-and-cabrera-give-mets-excellent-depth-and-flexibility.html/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:17:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202253 asdrubal cabrera

With the Mets looking to add more versatility to their infield, they acquired Neil Walker from Pittsburgh and signed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as a free agent, both of whom are switch-hitters. They provide the Mets with much needed depth and flexibility, and give Terry Collins a lot of creative options to consider.

“That’s what we are doing and we are going to continue to do that. … We are trying to acquire pieces that give us depth,” said assistant GM John Ricco. ”We think we have some good players. Giving them more rest, ways to get them at-bats in situations where they will thrive, that’s the goal.”

One idea is to platoon Walker with Wilmer Flores at second base. Walker, a switch hitter, has a career .801 OPS against right handed pitchers, but only has a .656 OPS against lefties. Meanwhile, Flores crushed lefties with a .955 OPS in 107 plate appearances in 2015.

Walker, who batted .269 with 16 homeruns and 32 doubles this year, can also play third base if David Wright needs time off or goes down due to injury.

Cabrera can also start at both middle infield positions, and gives the Mets insurance in case Ruben Tejada and Flores aren’t ready for opening day. Cabrera batted .265 with 15 homeruns and had a 105 OPS+ in 551 plate appearances for Tampa this season. However, there is some concern that the 30 year old has is declining in the field.

“He’s lost range,” an AL scout said Wednesday night. “Because of that he’s probably a little below average defensively, but overall I’d say he’ll make the plays he’s supposed to make. You could do worse there.” (John Harper NY Daily News)

His numbers have also fallen off since breakout campaign in 2011 when hit hit 25 home runs and had 92 RBI, but he was still a solid player this year with a 2.2 WAR.

It looks like Cabrera and Walker will give the Mets just as much versatility as Ben Zobrist would have, but without the long term commitment. They are good stop gaps for the team until talented young players like  Dilson Herrera and Amed Rosario are ready to take over a full time role in the future.

(Updated 12/11)

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Rockies Are Shopping Carlos Gonzalez, But He’s Not A Good Fit For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/rockies-are-shopping-carlos-gonzalez-but-hes-not-a-good-fit-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/rockies-are-shopping-carlos-gonzalez-but-hes-not-a-good-fit-for-mets.html/#comments Wed, 09 Dec 2015 18:55:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202127 carlos Gonzalez

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Rockies are receiving a lot interest in Carlos Gonzalez. Crasnick says they have had a flurry of talks about him and are getting plenty of hits.

Gonzalez, 30, slashed .271/.325/.540 in 608 plate appearances with 40 homeruns and 97 RBI this season for Colorado. It’s not a surprise to hear that a lot of teams are interested as he’s been a very good hitter for his entire career. In eight major league seasons, he has a solid .290 average with an excellent .870 OPS.

However, it doesn’t seem like he’s a good fit at all for the Mets. There’s no room for the corner outfielder in New York with Michael Conforto in left and Curtis Granderson in right. Additionally, CarGo’s home and road splits show that he has benefited a great deal from playing half his games at Coors Field where he posted a .617 slugging percentage and .972 OPS compared to batting .243 on the road with a .758 OPS.

Another concern is that he’s missed a lot of time in recent seasons due to injuries. In 2014, he was limited to just 70 games due to a knee injury and played in only 110 in 2013.

He’s a player the Mets should stay away from, especially since he will likely cost several top prospects in return.

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Zobrist Turned Down More Money From Nationals and Giants http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/zobrist-turned-down-more-money-from-nationals-and-giants.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/zobrist-turned-down-more-money-from-nationals-and-giants.html/#comments Wed, 09 Dec 2015 18:08:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202115 Zobrist ben

James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that Ben Zobrist turned down more money from the Nationals and Giants in order to sign with the Cubs. The Giants and Nationals each offered $60 million over four years, but Zobrist decided to sign with Chicago for $56 million over four years.

Zobrist turned down the Nationals offer because he didn’t feel as comfortable in Washington’s clubhouse. He felt Chicago was a much better fit since he will play for a contending team and will reunite with his former manager Joe Maddon.

The Mets reportedly made a three year offer, but said they would be willing to offer four years. Now with Zobrist off the market, both the Mets and Nationals will turn to plan B and will look at options such as Neil Walker and Daniel Murphy.

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