Mets Merized Online » Mets Related Posts Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:31:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alderson Is Optimistic About Conforto’s Defense Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:31:27 +0000 michael conforto Patrick E. McCarthy

When the Mets selected Michael Conforto 10th overall in this year’s draft, the main criticism about Conforto was his defense. As an outfielder in Oregon State, Conforto earned a reputation as a liability in the outfield. Since many analysts felt his defense was an issue, he was viewed as a one dimensional player.

However, it appears that Conforto’s defense is better than initially anticipated. Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke positively about his defense as well as his offense in a recent interview with MMO’s John Bernhardt. Here’s what Alderson had to say:

“Since I arrived in New York, he’s the first first-round pick out of college that we’ve drafted. Our other three had been high school players. So I do expect that he’ll move a little more quickly. We did get him to Savannah for the playoffs late in the season this year. So I would expect that he’ll move more quickly than some of our other top draft picks have certainly.

“Michael comes from a very athletic and competitive family. His father, I think, was a linebacker at Penn State. He played football there. His mother is a former Olympic athlete — a medalist in synchronized swimming. So he comes from a very athletic family. He’s a great kid, very humble and committed to the game and has interacted with fans — I think a terrific individual, and an outstanding hitter.

“A left-handed hitter, power is probably not his foremost quality. He’s got some, but he’s more of a gap-to-gap guy — high average, high on-base percentage — and a pretty good defender, which was not his reputation coming into the draft. But based on the time he spent in Brooklyn and then Savannah, our guys were very pleased with him defensively. He’s kind of an all-around player, and we do expect that he’ll move very quickly.”

If Confoto can provide solid defense from left field, it will be a great boost to his value. He was regarded as one of the best college hitters in the draft and batted .345 with an impressive 1.050 OPS during his final season in Oregon State. In his first season at the professional level, Conforto hit .330 with three home runs and a .403 OBP for the Low-A Brooklyn Cyclones.

mmo footer

]]> 0
Mets’ 40 Man Roster After Additions and Subtractions Fri, 21 Nov 2014 03:47:33 +0000 noah syndergaard

The Mets announced that right-handers Noah Syndergaard, Cory Mazzoni, Hansel Robles, Gabriel Ynoa and Akeel Morris plus lefty reliever Jack Leathersich have been added to the 40 man roster. Additionally, Jeff Walters, who underwent Tommy John surgery last June, was removed from the roster.

Here is what the Mets 40 Man Roster looks like after all is sad and done:

Pitchers (23)

Dario Alvarez
Vic Black
Bartolo Colon
Jacob deGrom
Josh Edgin
Jeurys Familia
Dillon Gee
Gonzalez Germen
Erik Goeddel
Matt Harvey
Jack Leathersich
Steven Matz
Cory Mazzoni
Jenrry Mejia
Rafael Montero
Akeel Morris
Jon Niese
Bobby Parnell
Hansel Robles
Noah Syndergaard
Carlos Torres
Zack Wheeler
Gabriel Ynoa

Catchers (2)

Travis d’Arnaud
Anthony Recker

Infielders (8)

Eric Campbell
Lucas Duda
Wilmer Flores
Dilson Herrera
Daniel Murphy
Ruben Tejada
Wilfredo Tovar
David Wright

Outfielders (7)

Michael Cuddyer
Matt den Dekker
Curtis Granderson
Juan Lagares
Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Cesar Puello
Eric Young Jr.

The Rule 5 Draft will be held on December 11 during the Winter Meetings. If the Mets acquire any player with a major league contract between now and the draft, they’ll have to make room for him and remove a player the roster.

November 20

All MLB teams must decide by today which minor league players they will add to their 40-man rosters to protect them from this upcoming Rule 5 Draft to be conducted in December.

On Tuesday, Sandy Alderson told reporters that he expects to add 5-6 prospects to the 40-man roster and that it will be heavily dominated by right-handed pitchers.

Noah Syndergaard will head the list of players and right-handers Cory Mazzoni, Logan Verrett and Akeel Morris could all be protected as well. That leaves one or two more spots and I’m betting it will be two from a group that includes Gabe Ynoa, Jack Leathersich, T.J. RiveraDaniel Muno, and Dustin Lawley.

Remember that anyone selected in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on the new team’s 25 man roster all year or be returned to the original team. So the strategy is to try and protect those players who could help an MLB team right now.


]]> 0
Wheeler Has A Chip On His Shoulder, Wants To Win With Mets Fri, 21 Nov 2014 03:23:00 +0000 zack wheeler

While taking time out of his schedule to hand out packages of food to needy families for Thanksgiving today at Citi Field, Zack Wheeler was bursting with optimism about the Mets’ 2015 season.

“We’re going to win,” said the young righthander who also hopes he’ll be a part of the Mets renaissance.

“I’d rather not get traded but I’ve been through it before,” he said. “I know how it goes. I know it’s the business. So I’d rather not get traded and stay here because I know what’s about to happen here.”

“If you’re human you can only look at our staff and be like yeah they’re going to make it to the playoffs,” he said.

Wheeler couldn’t help thinking about how the San Francisco Giants traded him to the Mets and went on to win their third World Series in five years. After all, he was selected sixth overall by San Francisco and was supposed to be their future star.

“I came from the Giants. I saw it happen over there — a lot of homegrown talent, young guys coming up and stuff. They’ve won three World Series in five years. It sort of puts a bitter taste in my mouth.”

“Now I want to do it over here with these guys and show them a little bit. Obviously you look at them and you’re like, ‘Man, I could have won a World Series this year.’ But now it makes me want to work that much harder and do it over here with this group of guys.”

First Collins, then Sandy, now Wheeler… I think this playoffs talk is getting rather contagious… It’s good to hear Wheeler talk like this – he has a chip on his shoulder… Nothing wrong with that.


]]> 0
Beltran’s Deal With Mets Was The Gift That Keeps On Giving Fri, 21 Nov 2014 02:51:34 +0000 tron carlos beltran

Paul Casella of Sports on Earth analyzed 15 years of data and ranked the top producing $100+ million dollar deals in baseball history. Coming in second was the seven year deal Carlos Beltran signed with the Mets in 2005. Casella considered every deal since 1999 when Kevin Brown became the first player to land a $100 million contract. Alex Rodriguez’ first 10-year mega deal with the Texas Rangers came in first.

2. Carlos Beltran, Mets (2005-11)
Contract details: Seven years, $119 million
Total/Projected WAR: 32.3
WAR/million: 0.27

Beltran was traded to the Giants during the final year of this deal, but that didn’t stop the Mets from getting their money’s worth. Not only did Beltran put up a .280/.369/.500 line to go with 149 home runs over his six and a half seasons with the Mets, but the return in that eventual trade was 2009 first-round pick Zack Wheeler.

In just his second year of the seven-year deal, Beltran racked up 41 homers and 116 RBIs, while helping the Mets come within a game of the 2006 World Series. He then exceeded 100 RBIs in each of the next two seasons, as well. That production is still paying off to this day as it ultimately helped the Mets bring in Wheeler, an integral part of the Mets’ highly-regarded starting rotation.

Always good to read something like this – it keeps the haters in check… Beltran was my favorite Met during his time with the team. It’s a shame he was so under-appreciated.


]]> 0
Mets Hire Pat Roessler As Assistant Hitting Coach Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:30:59 +0000 Alex Rodriuez, Pat RoesslerThe Mets have hired former Yankees director of player development Pat Roessler as their new assistant hitting coach. He had been with the Yankees franchise for nine seasons before being fired last month.

Roessler, who has a strong relationship with new Mets hitting coach Kevin Long – who was also fired by the Yankees during the offseason – will have other duties with the team as well, according to Mike Puma.

The Mets introduced the assistant hitting coach job prior to the 2014 season with Luis Natera the first to fill the position. However, the position remained vacant after Natera and hitting coach Dave Hudgens were fired in May.


]]> 0
Did Mets Wait Too Long To Trade Niese? Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:14:46 +0000 jon niese

Andy Martino of the Daily News wonders if the Mets blew it and waited too long to trade starting pitcher Jon Niese.

That there’s so little interest in him is a “striking contrast from two winters ago,” when many rivals were hotter for Niese than for the pitcher the Mets ultimately did move, R.A. Dickey, Martino writes.

“This winter, the Mets would argue that a talented, 28-year-old lefty with a team-friendly contract — $7, $9, $10, $11 million annually through 2018, with the final two years as club options — should bring value. And that might ultimately prove true, as the offseason progresses and trading partners lower their demands.”

“But as one official with a team who could be a fit with the Mets put it, ‘I think they underestimate the impact his injuries have had on perception. It’s not a team-friendly contract if he is on the D.L.’”

A team source told Mike Puma of the New York Post on Tuesday, “So far, very few inquiries from other teams about Colon, Niese and Gee, I was told. And “very few” might be overstating it.”

And when Arizona’s GM Dave Stewart was asked for his take on Niese, Dillon Gee, or Bartolo Colon, he bluntly replied:

“We don’t have any interest in those kind of guys. If we’re going to get something back for Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings, it’s going to be young, controllable pitching. Guys that aren’t making any money right now, who have a chance to grow within our organization.”

Martino concludes that despite Niese pitching 187 innings last year, teams are worried about a potential breakdown and that is the perception around baseball.

I think it’s still too early to worry… Everything may change in a month or two after Lester and Scherzer sign and the available pitching market shrinks.

(Updated 11/20)


]]> 0
MMO Mailbag: Does Collins’ Job Depend On A Hot Start? Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:49:50 +0000 Terry-Collins-New-York-Mets-Manager

Darren asks…

How important is it for Terry Collins that this team gets off to a great start in April? Considering how most fans including me disagreed with the decision to (bringing) him back, you have to think that he’s on an incredibly short leash, right?

Daniel replies…

To be honest, I don’t think Terry Collins is as big a part of the problem as some critics claim he is.  However, I don’t think he’s part of the solution either.  When asked about their manager, no Mets player has ever had anything bad to say, but the response is never what you’d consider a ringing endorsement either.  I see Collins as a faithful field general who acts as a voice for the front office.  I think his job is to defer to GM Sandy Alderson on all clubhouse issues and in the process, I think that is where players lose the mutual respect that comes from having a close personal relationship with their manager

This is very similar to how Alderson runs the organization, rarely getting close to players in order to preserve the best interest of the business.  From the viewpoint of a shareholder, I would have a wealth of respect for how this team has maximized it’s assets over the years and is now poised to take over NYC with a young, talented core of stars.  Those who trusted the GM’s vision and bought low on minority shares when the club wanted to raise capital a few years back must now be giddy.  Collins is an essential cog in the wheel that turns this machine and effectively renders a successful business model.

From the standpoint of a fan though, I want to feel close to the manager.  I want him to symbolize stability, discipline and a winning culture.  I want the players to respect him and trust his leadership so that they give their best effort day in and day out.  Right now, I’m still a little skeptical that this team fits that mold.

Where these two sides meet is at the corner of cash and flow.  If this team does get off to a bad start and it has a bad impact on ticket sales, than Collins may find himself in hot water and the team may give the fans what they want in an act to preserve the best interest of the business.  Yes, I mean Wally Backman.

Regardless, there’s a lot be excited about.  There’s a wealth of young talent and a healthy mix of veteran leadership to go with it.  The NL East is going to be competitive, but as long as everyone does their job, I think Terry Collins will do his just fine.


]]> 0
Mets Considering Re-Signing LHP Dana Eveland Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:32:02 +0000 dana-eveland-mlb-philadelphia-phillies-new-york-mets-850x560

Yesterday we learned the Mets were interested in bringing back right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle, which you can read here.

Today, Adam Rubin of ESPN NY reports that Sandy Alderson also has interest in re-signing left-hander Dana Eveland.

Eveland, 31, had a 2.63 ERA in 30 relief appearances for the Mets, striking out 27 and walking six in 27.1 innings pitched. Eveland had a career best 1.09 WHIP after last pitching in the majors in 2012. Over nine major league seasons his WHIP is 1.629 with a 5.27 ERA.

It’s not known how Eveland has progressed since after being shutdown with inflammation in his pitching elbow in early September and being subsequently released after the season. If healthy, he’s worth bringing back on a one year deal.

mmo footer

]]> 0
Top Minor League Performers: Matt den Dekker, AAA Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:09:21 +0000 matt den dekker

For the second year in a row, the Las Vegas 51’s clinched a division title under manager Wally Backman. They posted a strong 81-63 record this season, and they finished 9.5 games ahead of second place. The 51’s lineup crushed the competition with a league leading average of over six runs a game. However, the 51’s season came to a disappointing end with a 3-1 series loss in the semifinal round.

The 51’s received a lot of impressive individual performances this year, but I think Matt den Dekker’s season stands out the most. He was one of the main contributors to the 51’s lethal offense and led the team in hits, doubles and triples. His .334 averaged ranked second on the team behind only Eric Campbell. His .947 OPS was also third on the team among players with at least 100 at bats. Additionally, he provided plus defense in center field with his excellent range and glove.

I strongly considered top prospect Noah Syndergaard, but his performance was too uneven and inconsistent. Syndergaard is obviously the superior prospect, but based purely on statistical production in 2014, den Dekker had the clear edge.

2015 Role

With the acquisition of Michael Cuddyer, den Dekker will likely compete for the Mets fourth outfielder role this Spring. He should be a valuable piece off the bench as a late inning defensive replacement and a solid option as a left-handed pinch hitter. He also provides some insurance for Cuddyer, who has missed considerable time to the disabled list the past several seasons.

mmo footer

]]> 0
The Impact Of Granderson’s Nine Missed Home Runs Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:38:42 +0000 curtis granderson

Marc Carig of Newsday illustrated the impact that the new dimensions of Citi Field would of had on Curtis Granderson last season.

According to Sandy Alderson, the Mets would have hit 17 more home runs with these new dimensions, and Granderson would have accounted for nine of those homers. This would have given the veteran outfielder a total of 29 home runs on the season.


Granderson’s nine additional home runs would have given him twelve more RBIs, raising his total on the season to 78.  His batting line would have gone from .227/.326/.388 to .236/.333/.436. Four of the nine at-bats resulted in three doubles and a triple, therefore, the net impact would have left Granderson with five additional hits.

His total number of runs scored would have gone up by seven.  In two extra base hit situations, Curtis was driven home after getting on, so I had to account for the fact that he made it all the way around the diamond as he would have in a home run situation.  With the seven additional trips across home plate, Granderson would have scored a total of 80 runs on the season.

What’s interesting is that these additional home runs would have had absolutely no impact on the Mets overall record.  The team won eight of those nine games without the need for Granderson’s homers.  In the lone loss, which was to the Washington Nationals on September 14, Granderson hit a fly out that would have been a solo shot. The caveat is that the Mets lost 3-0, so it would not have shifted the result to a win.

How would have these new dimensions impacted the Mets as far as the standings? Well, in the case of Granderson, bringing in the fences would have boosted his individual statistics, however, it wouldn’t have translated to any additional wins for the team.

New hitting coach Kevin Long believes Granderson will produce better in 2015 regardless, and believes the Mets right fielder was putting too much pressure on himself.

“The first time you come into an organization and you signed a big contract, I think it’s a little more difficult than it might seem,” said Long. “That probably played into it.”

Long also said he has spotted several minor adjustments that will help Granderson, such as reducing excess hand movement in his swing and the two will work together this offseason to fix his swing. David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud will also be joining Long to work. not just on their mechanics but their psychological approach.

“We’re going to have to change the culture a little bit,” Long said. “But, I think, the main thing is to believe that a line-drive swing and a good line-drive swing can work in any ballpark against any pitcher in any conditions. So we’ll start there and see how that goes.”


]]> 0
Sandy Alderson Is Impressed With Wilmer Flores Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:02:58 +0000 wilmer flores

According to Andy Martino of the Daily News, Wilmer Flores is impressing Mets brass with how hard he’s working on his agility and fitness during the team’s off-season conditioning program in Port St. Lucie.

Sandy Alderson has been very outspoken about how pleased he is with Flores, and recently told Mike Vorkunov of, “I’m one of those people that says put him out there and see what can happen, which is why we played him so much last year.”

“He did a nice job for us last year. Can he do that on a whole season basis? Offensively he got much better as time went on. I hope it works. I like Wilmer.”

While it’s widely reported that Alderson is monitoring the shortstop market and has checked in with some teams on the trade front, nothing appears imminent. But the Mets GM isn’t ruling out that Flores will be his Opening Day shortstop and says his defense is not a disqualifier.

“I think the issue has always been whether he can play defensively adequately or better,” Alderson said. “And a lot of us think he has the ability or the potential to do that.”

Last week, Sandy said Flores compared favorably to any shortstop that is currently available in free agency or trade.

“Wilmer at shortstop is one of those guys that doesn’t pass the eye test but if you start to look at his matrix a little bit you realize there’s maybe a little more there than we give him credit. And offensively there’s as much potential with him as probably anybody that’s available.”

Given the exorbitant demands from teams with shortstops to trade, I’d be shocked if Wilmer Flores was not the Opening Day shortstop.

November 12

While Sandy Alderson is prepared to engage a few teams to try and upgrade the shortstop position, he pretty much ruled out the possibility that the Mets would turn to free agency.

“We all know what’s available in the free-agent market. And there are a few teams that have middle infielders to trade,” Alderson said Wednesday at the GM Meetings. “But I’d say there are few of those clubs. So it may take us awhile to really figure out what’s available and what’s not and what fits and what doesn’t.”

Sandy is referring to the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Cubs and White Sox, who the Mets have reportedly checked in with in recent weeks. Most of those teams are looking for team-controlled young starting pitching, but the Mets would prefer to move Colon, Gee or Niese rather than give up one of their prized young arms and the odds that any deal gets done are not promising.

So while it may not be his first choice, Alderson said he has no problem if Wilmer Flores ends up being the Mets Opening Day shortstop.

“I know there are fans out there that don’t want to hear it, but if we had to go into the season with Flores as our shortstop, I’m certainly not in a panic mode at that point,” Alderson said. “Wilmer at shortstop is one of those guys that doesn’t pass the eye test. But if you start to look at his metrics a little bit, you realize there’s maybe a little more there than we give him credit. And, offensively, there’s as much potential with him as probably anybody that’s available.”

At the end of the season, Alderson praised how far Flores had come in the eyes of the organization. “Wilmer’s done a very nice job at shortstop and he’s made all the routine plays,” the GM said. “He’s got the arm, he turns the double play. He’s probably not Andrelton Simmons but not many are. So I think for a young guy who came in under a real microscope at that position I think he’s done an outstanding job.”

However, it’s what Flores can do offensively that makes him such a valuable asset.

“I think he’s beginning to show he can hit at this level to the same or similar level that he did in the minor leagues,” Alderson said. “He needs to be a little more selective at the plate, but he’s gradually ascending to that level. I think it’s largely a result of the playing time and getting comfortable. But for a young guy, he’s not fazed by much.”

Flores, 23, struggled with sporadic playing time after he was initially promoted. But once he was instilled as an everyday player he displayed his power potential, posting a .489 slugging percentage and .791 OPS in his last 96 plate appearances with 11 extra base hits including four home runs.

MMO footer

]]> 0
Can Matz Be That Second Lefty In The Bullpen? Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:17:51 +0000 steve matz

Echoing what I wrote last Thursday and again this Monday, general manager Sandy Alderson said there’s a possibility that pitching prospect Steve Matz can make his debut in 2015 as a left-handed reliever in the Mets bullpen.

Alderson is very high on Matz, recently telling MMO, “”I would say Steven is probably one of the top handful of left-handed pitching prospects in the game right now.”

“He’s got an excellent fastball for a lefty, at 93, 94 mph. It can get a little bit higher than that. His breaking ball has gotten much better. And he threw some excellent changeups that night in Binghamton in that championship game.”

As for making his way to the majors as a reliever, Alderson said yesterday, “It might be a way for him to break in.”

Matz may also get the call when the Mets opt to skip a turn for Matt Harvey to conserve his innings. Along with Matz, Alderson said Noah Syndergaard and Cory Mazzoni were also options.

Given what Zach Duke (3 years, $15M) just signed for and the numbers being tossed around for Andrew Miller, it would behoove the Mets to explore Matz as that second lefty in the bullpen. If anyone can pull it off it’s him, and it’s only until we can open up a spot in the rotation for him..


]]> 0
Mets May Wait Out Shotstop Market Into January Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:37:13 +0000 alexei ramirez

Sandy Alderson told reporters on Tuesday, that he is continuing to monitor the market for shortstops although nothing is imminent for now.

“We have several options internally and maybe not all of them are perfect,” Alderson said. “There aren’t a lot of free agent shortstops out there that check all the boxes. There aren’t that many trade possibilities, frankly, that check all the boxes.”

The Mets are reluctant to part with a top prospect for the likes of a Didi Gregorius or Brad Miller. However, Adam Rubin of ESPN NY speculates that the Mets could just wait until January to see if free agent shortstops like Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew can be had at a lower price.

A few days ago, our newest writer Michael Mayer took a look at the shortstop market and compiled all of their Steamer projections for 2015.

November 16 – Steamer Projections for Shortstop Market

Lets look at the free agent market first because it is very weak and probably not even an option at this point. All the projections shown here are from Steamer Projections. They are all prorated for a 600 at-bat season.

  • Jed Lowrie32 2B 12 HR, 61 RBI, 88 K, .261/.327/.396, -7.7 FLD, 2.1 WAR
  • Asdrubal Cabrera29 2B, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 108 K, .251/.316/.397, -13.0 FLD, 1.4 WAR
  • Stephen Drew: 26 2B, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 144 K, .218/.294/.352, -2.9 FLD, 0.9 WAR

I don’t see any of these players as options for the Mets, but if I had to choose one it would be Lowrie, he seems like the best all around choice. Cabrera is not a SS anymore and Drew doesn’t put the ball in play enough. Only thing making Drew attractive is he is the best defender of the bunch and might come cheap after a dreadful year.

wilmer flores

Now lets take a look at the in-house options we have at SS

  • Wilmer Flores28 2B, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 79 K,  -1.2 FLD, .255/.296/.401, 2.4 WAR
  • Matt Reynolds: 22 2B, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 105 K, 0.0 FLD, .238/.290/.330, 1.1 WAR
  • Ruben Tejada26 2B, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 87 K, -0.4 FLD, .246/.318/.323, 1.5 WAR

Flores is the most likely to happen and he really is the best option despite his defensive issues (which I think are overblown). Take Reynolds’ numbers with a grain of salt because it is tough to project someone with no MLB experience. The ship has obviously sailed but I included him on here to show he could be a useful backup.


Lastly lets look at the vast options the Mets have on the trade market.

  • Brad Miller24 2B, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 112K, 0.0 FLD, .252/.314/.395, 3.2 WAR
  • Chris Taylor27 2B, 5 HR, 62 RBI, 117 K, 1.8 FLD, .261/.323/.354, 2.9 WAR
  • Alexei Ramirez29 2B, 11 HR, 64 RBI, 72 K, 0.8 FLD, .265/.300/.379, 2.2 WAR
  • Starlin Castro: 33 2B, 12 HR, 63 RBI, 96 K, -4.6 FLD, .274/.320/.409, 2.2 WAR
  • Didi Gregorius23 2B, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 84 K, 0.5 FLD, .250/.311/.370, 1.8 WAR

I think its very surprising to see Miller at the top with the highest WAR but he had big Minor League slugging numbers and a good 2nd half last year. Taylor is definitely the best fielder of the group, has some speed and walks a good amount. Ramirez is probably the safest bet of them all given his consistency and strong defense, but his low walk totals and age scare me. Castro still has the most potential out of everyone, but will also cost the most in a trade. Didi is good defensively and has the prototypical body for a shortstop, but no one knows if he is going to ever hit at the MLB level.

Projections aren’t an end-all, but its cool to get a basis to work with from some smart baseball people. However, these projections didn’t really change my mind on what I think the Mets should do. I like Flores and think he will be a productive player, but pairing him and Murphy up the middle seems like a bad idea for our pitchers.

When it comes down to cost/risk/potential for me Chris Taylor is the best fit for the Mets. Is he the sexy name like Castro or Ramirez? No, but I think his combination of good defense, speed, and on-base skills make him the best option among free agents. Now the question is what would he cost? How about a package of Jon Niese and Ruben Tejada (Miller stinks against lefties) for Taylor and Charlie Furbush?


]]> 0
Alderson Wants To Trade A Starting Pitcher Before Spring Training Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:37:52 +0000 sandy alderson

Sandy Alderson expressed some urgency on Tuesday, regarding his attempts in trying to trade a starting pitcher sooner rather than later.

“I think we’d prefer to sort it out before spring training,” Alderson said on Tuesday. “Spring-training trades don’t happen frequently.”

Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, and Jon Niese are the three arms that Sandy prefers to deal, but the problem is that so far, nobody is even nibbling. At least two different beat reporters have learned from team sources that there’s been little to no interest in either of the three Mets veterans.

Maybe that will change at the Winter Meetings when the Mets will aggressively try to shop all three in hopes of not only opening a spot for returning Matt Harvey, but also to gain some salary relief and bring the payroll back under $100 million and closer to $90 million.

Colon is set to make $11 million, followed by Niese who will earn $7 million, and Gee heads to arbitration and is projected to earn $5 million in 2015.

mmo footer

]]> 0
Harvey Will Give Mets The Best 1-2-3 Punch In Baseball Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:11:34 +0000 matt harvey

Timing is everything.  Matt Harvey is returning to lead the New York Mets rotation, now bolstered with a matured Zack Wheeler and 2014 NL ROY winner Jacob deGrom.  All three have experienced their own setbacks this year, but their talent is in another stratosphere and they’ve each grown from their own experiences.  There may be a lot of question marks still surrounding the Mets in 2015, but one thing is for certain, Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom will be one of the most formidable front lines in all of baseball.

In three combined individual seasons (Harvey 2013, Wheeler and deGrom 2014), the three right-handers played a total of 39 divisional games,  went 16-8 (.667 W%) against the NL East, owned a 2.49 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and accumulated 286 strikeouts.  That strikeout total was good for 10.48 SO/9 innings.  Now, I want to be clear, these numbers are comprised using Matt Harvey’s 2013 metrics. For the die-hard analysts, I’ll admit there’s an element of inconsistency by combining his 2013 data with the 2014 data of the other two. But considering that the 2013 version of Harvey is the pitcher most are expecting to retake the mound next season, this analysis is based on that premise. I wanted to see how the Mets stacked up against other teams with Harvey in the rotation.

I placed heavy emphasis on the divisional statistics for two reasons.  One, if the goal is the postseason, then we need to play well in our division. Two, the NL East is going to be tough. The Marlins get the return of their ace Jose Fernandez, the Braves recently added Shelby Miller, and the Nationals will return with a similar cast.  It’s important the Mets front line sends a message to the NL East.

Harvey is simply an ace in every sense of the word, it’s in his demeanor but more importantly it’s in his top tier performance on the mound. In his 11 divisional games in 2013, he went 5-1, owned a 1.88 ERA and 0.90 WHIP and churned out 11.13 strikeouts per 9 innings.  In the 72 innings he pitched against the division, he only gave up one home run and 14 walks. Oddly enough, his toughest opponent that year was Miami, who found a way to get to him early on.  Still, he gritted his way through the best and worst of his outings and the Mets will look for him to set that tone again in 2015. He is the undisputed ace of the team.

jacob degrom

Jacob deGrom exploded onto the scene late in the season, but still managed to compile 22 starts in his first stint in the majors.  He held opposing hitters to a .225 average and posted a 2.69 ERA en route to the Rookie Of The Year award.  His 11.61 SO/9 innings against divisional opponents was better than Harvey in 2013 (11.13) and Wheeler in 2014 (9.38).  He owned a 1.29 ERA against the NL East at home and even tied the major league record for most strikeouts to start a game with eight against the Miami Marlins on September 15th.  Jacob put up numbers that are indicative of a true ace and by all reasonable accounts, should be slotted behind Harvey for the number two spot in the rotation next season.

Zack Wheeler made his case for the best and most consistent starter on the staff this year with his team leading 21 quality starts, although he admits there is a lot of room for improvement. A quality start translates to a 4.50 ERA (6 innings of 3 earned run ball) and Wheeler recognized that far too often, he found himself removed from games because his pitch count was too high.  It translated to more stress on an already overworked bullpen.

However, Wheeler still found ways to bear down and win big games for the team, and 21 quality starts is still 21 games you gave your team a shot to win.  Wheeler was especially better on the road, where he locked down NL East opponents.  Against divisional opponents away from Citi Field, Wheeler owned a 2.69 ERA in 2014, with a 1.18 WHIP and 9.54 SO/9.  His complete game shutout against Miami in Marlins Park was brilliant, going nine innings, allowing zero runs and still touching 97 mph on the gun in the final frame.  There’s a lot of room for improvement, but it stems from maturity and experience.  My bold prediction for the future, keep an eye on Zack, he has a good chance to be the Mets’ most valuable pitcher over the course of his career.

The Mets will be much more competitive against the NL East with those three power arms manning the front of the rotation next season. Having a triad like that, can put a stop to any extended losing streaks or even keep them from starting. The next questions is, does this bode well for the Mets and gets them into the postseason?  I found the answer to be yes.

Using xFIP and SIERA (FanGraphs explains both here: xFIP and SIERA) I wanted to see what they could tell me about the Mets’ top three compared to the rest of the league when you add Matt Harvey into the mix. What’s significant about these two statistics is that they’re weighted for such factors as defense and ballpark factors and it makes for a better team by team comparison. Using my own calculations, I determined who the top 3-man rotations of the 2014 season were.

Not surprisingly, I found that of all 30 MLB teams, the ones with the best 1-2-3 punches all made it to the postseason in 2014. Those teams include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had the best 3-man rotation, led by NL MVP Clayton Kershaw,   Zack Greinke and Dan Haren. Together as one unit, they put together an outstanding 2014 campaign, compiling an ERA of 2.83 (2nd).  More importantly, they ranked 1st in xFIP (2.83) and SIERA (2.90). The Washington Nationals came in second in xFIP (3.17) and SIERA (3.24), but had the best 3-man ERA of 2.74.

In between those two teams are the New York Mets. Combining the most recent single season performance for Harvey, deGrom and Wheeler, their ERA is a dead match with the Dodgers at 2.83. Their xFIP (3.05) and SIERA (3.12) ranks second only to the Dodgers, but ahead of everyone else. Below is the full Top 10 rankings I put together, using xFIP and SIERA as the common evaluators. It was easy for me, since all ten units rank the same in both metrics, which does reaffirm the accuracy of both stats.

Top 10 xFIP / SIERA

  1.   Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren (2.83/2.90)
  2.   Mets: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler (3.05/3.12)
  3.   Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister (3.17/3.24)
  4.   Tigers: Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price (3.36/3.29)
  5.   A’s: Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Scott Kazmir (3.42/3.41)
  6.   Giants: Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Hudson (3.51/3.54)
  7.   Mariners: Felix Hernandez, Chris Young, Hisashi Iwakuma (3.53/3.58)
  8.   Reds: Johnny Cueto, Alfredo Simon, Mike Leake (3.58/3.61)
  9.   Braves: Julio Teheran, Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana (3.74/3.83)
  10.   Marlins: Tom Koehler, Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi (3.83/3.92)

Just a few things, I included all of David Price’s 2014 as a Tiger, if anything, I wanted the analysis to be tougher on the Mets to see just how good these three were. Same thing goes for Jeff Samardzija, who was originally with the Chicago Cubs to begin the season. The best part of all this for me, was seeing the Mets finish right at the top and above Washington.

The Mets ranked first in SO/9 (9.32), HR/9 (.49), BAA (.223) and FIP (2.74).  FIP is the original version of xFIP, but only removes defensive biases and does not account for ballpark factors. Those stats all tell the story of a high octane strikeout machine parked in Flushing and offering little hope to opposing hitters next season.

I’ll conclude with this. Hats off to the Mets organization for their handling of Harvey during his rehabilitation process. Both sides made it through unscathed and Harvey’s final bullpen session in Queens went great, hitting 95 mph on the gun consistently.  Preserving the opportunity to add Harvey to deGrom and Wheeler was an important objective for the franchise this season, and by all accounts they did just that. The Mets handled everything brilliantly and this team enters next season with a legitimate shot at contending because of it.

You notice anything in particular about the teams with the top five 3-man rotations, not including the Mets?  They all went to the playoffs.

mmo footer

]]> 0
Mets Discussing Bringing Back Reliever Buddy Carlyle Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:56:49 +0000 buddy carlyle

Marc Carig of Newsday reports that the Mets have discussed bringing back reliever Buddy Carlyle, who was outrighted by the team two weeks ago.

For a reliever who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, the 36-year old righthander stepped right into the Mets bullpen and delivered the best performance of his career.

In 27 appearances, Carlyle posted a pristine 1.45 ERA with an equally impressive 0.904 WHIP to match, both career bests.

General manager Sandy Alderson commended Carlyle at the end of the season while discussing the second half success of the bullpen.

“The bullpen has come around,” Alderson said.”I can’t say enough, not only about Familia and Mejia but all the other guys who performed so well in the bullpen this year including guys like Buddy Carlyle.”

Carlye came on strong during the final two months of the season, using a four-seamer, sinker, and cutter with great effectiveness and posting a 8.1 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 31.0 innings pitched. He’s definitely someone worth bringing back.

mmo footer

]]> 0
Sandy Alderson On New Citi Field Dimensions Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:19:39 +0000 citi field 2014 wall construction

The New York Mets announced the new changes to the outfield wall at Citi Field with a media tour on Tuesday led by Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson. The changes affected are located in center to right field ranging from three to 11 feet. All other dimensions will remain the same.

“These modifications are a refinement of previous changes made to the Citi Field fences and continue to be fair to both pitchers and hitters,” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson.

“A lot of analysis went into this decision. We believe these modifications will increase the number of home runs without adversely affecting our pitchers.”


Alderson told reporters that the new dimensions at Citi Field should closely resemble those of Shea Stadium and that appears to be the case.

Team research showed that had the new dimensions existed last season, the Mets would have hit an additional 17 home runs, while opponents would have hit an extra 10. A net gain of seven home runs.

“The big issue for me really is the differential: How many homers are we hitting and how many are they hitting?” Alderson said. “Last year the differential was [minus-16], and that is significant in terms of wins and losses. We want to change that and we think we can change it with personnel and to some extent these changes in dimensions without really adversely affecting much of our pitching.”

Alderson acknowledged that these new changes will be good for team and make Citi more fan friendly in terms of seeing more home runs.

“It’s not about tailoring the ballpark to a particular player or a particular composition of team, it’s about making Citi Field as fan-friendly and as exciting as we can make it. I think they’ll be good for the game, good for the fans. I’m sure that one or two of our players will benefit as well.”

When asked by The Post on Tuesday if moving in the fences in right-center and right field is a psychological advantage for his hitters as much as a physical one, Alderson, the Mets general manger, said:

“I think so. Trying to take the dimensions of the park out of the conversation so it’s not something that’s discussed in the clubhouse, it’s not discussed in the media, it’s not something our fans have to talk about.’’

“We want the ballpark to be fair, but a few more home runs for us wouldn’t be a bad thing,’’ Alderson said. “A little more scoring is something that most fans enjoy, not all, not baseball purists by any means but there aren’t a lot of baseball purists left.’’

(Updated 11/19)


]]> 0
Harvey Will Start Season In Rotation, But Is His Relationship With Team Taking A Hit? Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:25:18 +0000 matt-harvey-3

Speaking to reporters at Citi Field, Sandy Alderson said that Matt Harvey will be in the rotation “from the get-go,” and not start the season late to try and conserve innings.

According to Adam Rubin, Alderson says the goal is to have Matt Harvey “pitching through entire postseason,” so any innings that will be conserved would be shaved during the season.

Meanwhile, over at MetsBlog, Matt Cerrone raises the alarm.

This morning, Cerrone reported that according to several people in the organization, “prominent Mets players, coaches and people in the front office were not happy,” when Harvey was at Yankee Stadium for Jeter’s last game, despite what they said in public.

“I wouldn’t say they were angry” Cerrone writes. “But they didn’t like that it happened.”

“They had a similar reaction when he requested time off from his rehab, then turned up in New England hanging out with friends. The same can be said about how they’ve reacted to his rogue magazine features, his endorsements, use of social media and how he’s expressed dissatisfaction in public about his rehab.”

If Cerrone’s sources are accurate, it’s clear that the relationship between the Mets and Matt Harvey is definitely in some serious need of repair.

November 17

Sandy Alderson was a guest of WNBC’s Bruce Beck on Sunday night and briefly discussed how the team will manage innings limits for Matt Harvey in 2015 as he makes his way back from Tommy John Surgery.

“The key for us is figuring out a way to manage his innings this season so that he’s available to us if or when we get to the postseason.”

Alderson is looking to avoid a repeat of the Stephen Strasburg fiasco in 2012, when the Nationals opted to shutdown their young star in early September and made him unavailable for their first post season since rebooting the franchise in Washington. The Nats were eliminated in the NLDS, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets could find themselves in a similar predicament and I imagine that it’d be near impossible to convince Harvey to miss the playoffs.

Adam Rubin reported last week, that Alderson is engaged in talks with Harvey and his agent Scott Boras to create a plan for next season to keep that from happening.

Alderson acknowledged there has to be “some restrictions on Harvey” with Alderson himself stating that the real deal’s “capacity over the season might be more limited than it would have been otherwise”.

Among the options the Mets are tossing around are holding Harvey back a couple of weeks in extended Spring Training, limiting his innings per start early on, and a mid-season two week break.

Rest assured that whatever they decide, all parties are on the same page as far as making sure Harvey is available to pitch in October if the Mets make it that far.


]]> 0
Dodgers Aggressively Pursuing White Sox Shortstop Alexei Ramirez Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:16:32 +0000 alexei ramirez

The Los Angeles Dodgers are are aggressively pursuing White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in trade talks, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

The Dodgers certainly have outfielders to move in any trade but have high a price tag on Matt Kemp, Nightengale adds.

Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reported last week, that the White Sox have heard from numerous major league clubs about the availability of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, and the Mets, Yankees and Dodgers are among the teams that have checked in.

Levine added that the Mets have been “the most aggressive in their pursuit of a shortstop over the past 12 months.”

“General manager Sandy Alderson has had his top scouts looking at shortstops such as Ramirez, the Cubs’ Starlin Castro and free agents Asdrubal Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez extensively this past season. The Mets also have exactly what the White Sox are looking for if they agree to move Ramirez.”

The White Sox covet right-handed power pitchers and Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are reportedly at the top of that list, says Levine.

Ramirez, 33, is owed $10 million in both 2015 and 2016 (club option) and batted .273/.305/.408 last season. In 158 games he hit 15 home runs with 74 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He leads all American League shortstops in base hits and RBIs since 2009.

(Updated 11/18)


]]> 0
Mets In Enviable Position To Break Starting Pitching Mold Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:00:33 +0000 wheeler harvey

The issue of innings caps for Met starting pitchers in 2015 would be mitigated if the Mets thought forward and initiated a six-man starting pitching rotation.  For many, the idea of a six man starting pitching rotation is too revolutionary and defies what is believed to be standard protocol in most baseball circles.

Yet, the number of starting pitchers major league teams employ has gradually grown over the years.  In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s pitchers sometimes started 50 games in a season needing only two days of rest between starts.  When rest days increased to three days an additional pitcher was added to the starting rotation.  Four-man pitching rotations were vogue as baseball headed into its expansion years in the 1960’s. Then due in great part to Mets pitching coach Rube Walker, the rotation stretched again, this time to five, as innings pitched replaced games started in the definition of a starting pitchers workload.

A six-man rotation might rankle baseball traditionalists, but with the depth of potential starting pitching in the Mets system, they are perfectly positioned to start the 2015 season with six starters.

Why use six starters?  With a stockpile of young pitching talent, 2015 is the year the Mets should challenge for a spot in the postseason. Baseball is tipping toward strong power pitching, exactly where the Mets rebuild is centered. Rather than speculate all season long about pitch counts and the potential of shutting down young starters in the rotation, guys like Matt Harvey, returning from elbow surgery, or Jacob deGrom, who faced limited innings in the just finished season, or perhaps even Noah Syndergaard, who might be transitioning from a minor league innings count to a major league workload, Mets starting pitchers could pitch uninterrupted from the start of the season to the finish.

An added day of rest would also help the aging Bartolo Colon, and Jon Niese – who often suffers from tired arm syndrome – would benefit as well. It couldn’t hurt Dillon Gee, who has dealt with his share of injuries throughout his career. There’s a good chance that one or two of these veterans won’t even be here next season, but that brings Rafael Montero into the picture – another youngster whose innings will be limited.

Conceivably, moving to a six man rotation might allow the Mets to amp up the expectation that pitchers regularly work into the seventh or eighth inning of games. This would lessen the load on the bullpen and allow Terry Colons the luxury of mixing and matching his relief pitchers.

Detractors will emphasize the fact that the best pitchers in your rotation will actually have five or six less starts a year.  Who would you rather see pitch, Matt Harvey or Dillon Gee (?) they will counter. That’s a valid argument.

In fact, it would be foolhardy to consider stretching a starting pitching rotation from five to six, if you didn’t feel you had a wealth of quality starting pitching.  Evaluating the Mets, I do believe they have that kind of starting pitching depth.  In using a six man rotation, the Mets can keep someone like Syndergaard on the big league roster rather than return him for another round of pitching at Triple-A, a less than motivating outlook for a promising young pitching prospect.

An additional benefit would be a pitching-rich starting rotation that could easily transition to a five man plan should a starter suffer an injury or simply under-perform.  Using a six-man rotation gives the Mets an advantage and  positions the team with the flexibility to adjust and adapt to the changing events that impact a 162 game regular baseball season.


]]> 0