Mets Merized Online » Mets Thoughts Sat, 28 Nov 2015 18:29:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Free Agent Profile: Howie Kendrick, 2B Sat, 28 Nov 2015 18:29:13 +0000 061115-MLB-LA-Dodgers-Howie-Kendrick-PI-JE.vresize.1200.675.high.49

Howie Kendrick
Bats: Right — Throws: Right
Position: Second Base
Born: July 12, 1983 (Age 32)

I have heard many people say that former Angels and Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick is the right-handed Daniel Murphy. While I disagree on some levels, I can absolutely see where they are coming from.

Kendrick has been one of the most consistent hitters in the majors, and at second base, that is a very valuable commodity.  In 10 years (2006-2015), he has a solid  .293/.333/.423 slash line, as well as a .329 wOBA and 108 wRC+.

This past season was more of the same form the 32 year old, as he slashed .295/.336/.409 with nine home runs, 22 doubles, six stolen bases, and 54 RBI. He produced a 2.4 fWAR playing second for the Dodgers this season and is projected for the same production by Steamer in 2016.

Once a top tier defender at second base, he’s regressed over the years and in 2015 he had an appalling -12 DRS and -4.5 UZR, his worst season ever.

There’s not much else to say about this guy, what you see is what you get. He rarely gets injured and often gets on base. Of course, the question is, “Do the Mets need him?” That depends on the shortstop situation.

If the Mets opt to go with Wilmer Flores at short and Murphy walks, that leaves Dilson Herrera as the in-house solution at second base. Whether or not the Mets go after Kendrick depends on how invested they are in Herrera.

However, if the Mets pursue an outside solution at shortstop, Flores will probably slide over to second base and share some playing time with Herrera, leaving no room for Kendrick.

Contract: Kendrick will probably receive something in the range of a four-year deal worth $48 million. He will be 32 for the entirety of next season, so this contract would take him through his age 35 campaign. He turned down a qualifying offer earlier in November, so the Mets would need to forfeit their first round draft pick for the second consecutive year.

Recommendation: Pass. We have plenty of other options that satisfy our infield needs that won’t cost $12M per year plus a pick. He is a great player, but I don’t want to be paying a 35-year old Kendrick when current organizational top prospects will be ready.

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Juan Lagares Plates Winning Run In Winter Ball Debut Sat, 28 Nov 2015 17:30:52 +0000  

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Last night Juan Lagares made his winter ball debut with the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican League and what a game he had. He batted third in the lineup while playing the entire game in center field. He is returning to Aguilas for the fifth winter league season, he hit .342/.379/.412 for the them the last time he played in 2013.

Lagares started his night off by walking in the first inning after being down in the count 0-2. He would later come around to score on what is possibly the shortest wild pitch allowing a runner to score from third I have ever seen. Here it is courtesy of the twitter account @LIDOMRD.

In the third inning Lagares showed off some of his 2014 Gold Glove defense with one of his patented lungy catches which you can watch here. He came up in the bottom of the 8th inning with one out and the go-ahead run on third base capping his great debut with a game-winning RBI line drive single to right field. You can see the hit here.

With the help from Lagares the Aguilas beat the Leones del Escogido by a final score of 3-2, the first time they have beaten them this season. Juan also stole second base after his game-winning hit, he was 1 for 3 with a walk, RBI, run scored, and two strikeouts.

Update on Wilmer Flores: He left his debut game on Thursday for a pinch runner in the 8th inning after getting hit by a pitch in the left heel/ankle area. The Bravos de Margarita said it is minor and he is day-to-day. Flores said this to a local news outlet after the game ”These are things that happen in any league these at the risk of a pitch, but it was nothing serious “.

For more winter ball coverage from last night including Jenrry Mejia’s start and T.J. Rivera’s night at the plate read here. Head over to for full winter league coverage.

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MMO Fan Shot: Who Says Cespedes Can’t Hit Good Pitching? Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:02:06 +0000 Cespedes Yoenis

An MMO Fan Shot by Peter S.

I have to admit, I can’t believe how many fans are buying into the “Yoenis Cespedes can’t hit good pitching” rhetoric. We are playing right into the Front Office’s hands by believing he is not good and isn’t worth a contract this offseason. Well, I don’t fall into that category. We are letting the Front Office let the best player we’ve ever had (besides Beltran) walk. Ok, Wright in his heyday was better – but you get my point.

So, I decided to do a little bit of research. I didn’t go into OPS as I believe it is not a good stat in small samples as a couple of homeruns can really weigh it in a players favor. Here goes:

The Question:

How would the top nine free agent hitters fare vs the last 10 winners of the Cy Young Award over the previous six seasons from both leagues?

The Cy Young Award Winners:

  1. Jake Arrieta
  2. R.A. Dickey
  3. Felix Hernandez
  4. Zack Greinke
  5. Clayton Kershaw
  6. Dallas Keuchel
  7. Corey Kluber
  8. David Price
  9. Max Scherzer
  10. Justin Verlander

The Top 9 Free Agent Hitters:

Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy, Chris Davis, Ian Desmond, Alex Gordon and Denard Span

So I pondered…what would these guys do, over 600 at-bats, vs the top pitchers in the game from the last 6 years? I mean, surely, the Cy Young winners is a good and fair barometer, right? So let’s start with the actual AB vs these pitchers:

Cumulative Numbers:
Cespedes 41 147 .279 8 20
Upton 23 114 .202 5 13
Heyward 23 86 .267 1 5
Zobrist 40 214 .187 5 15
Murphy 22 74 .297 5 10
Davis 40 153 .261 4 17
Desmond 18 103 .175 3 4
Gordon 52 231 .225 8 25
Span 44 167 .263 1 10

Now, let’s look at each player’s career numbers over 162 games:

Career 162 Game Average:
Cespedes 172 634 .271 30 103
Upton 161 592 .272 26 84
Heyward 156 583 .268 19 68
Zobrist 156 588 .265 17 77
Murphy 173 602 .287 11 72
Davis 146 574 .254 37 101
Desmond 160 608 .263 19 75
Gordon 163 605 .269 19 75
Span 187 651 .287 6 57

And finally, what would those guys’ numbers look like if they each faced this group of pitchers over 600 at-bats, to me, the best way to judge what that small sample really means:

Numbers over 600 AB
Cespedes 167 600 .279 33 82
Upton 121 600 .202 26 68
Heyward 160 600 .267 7 35
Zobrist 112 600 .187 14 42
Murphy 178 600 .297 41 81
Davis 157 600 .261 16 67
Desmond 105 600 .175 17 23
Gordon 135 600 .225 21 65
Span 158 600 .263 4 36

I never thought I’d see Murphy’s numbers pop out like this, but it shows how well he fares vs good pitching. Of course, that is nowhere near his regular career home run numbers. So perhaps it’s just an outlier.

Cespedes, on the other hand, came in at .279 – 33 – 82 even though all we’ve been hearing is that he cannot hit good pitching. Obviously, these numbers prove otherwise. In fact, these numbers show that just about half of these guys can’t hit good pitching  consistently (Desmond, Zobrist, Gordon & Upton hit .225 or worse). Power wise, Cespedes is ahead of every free agent OF on this list, and well ahead of prodigious home run hitter Chris Davis.

Denard Span, who is reportedly a Met target, had a woeful showing so how is he going to help replace Cespedes? You want Zobrist over Murphy? I hope you see the difference in consistency vs good pitching.

But of course, this is a very small sample, and does not mean anything. But, can we stop saying that Cespedes can’t hit good pitching? Can we please stop talking like Zobrist is the answer? Judging either of these guys based on 150 AB or so makes a lot more sense than judging them based on playoff numbers. But, just in case people are wondering, career numbers for each player in the playoffs:

Postseason Career:
Cespedes 26 94 .277 3 14
Upton 11 48 .229 2 4
Heyward 11 53 .208 2 6
Zobrist 34 132 .258 4 9
Murphy 19 58 .328 7 11
Davis 5 24 .208 0 2
Desmond 10 37 .270 0 0
Gordon 24 108 .222 3 17
Span 12 47 .255 0 1

And if you extrapolate their postseason performance over 600 ABs:

Numbers over 600 ABs:
Cespedes 166 600 .277 19 89
Upton 138 600 .229 25 50
Heyward 125 600 .208 23 68
Zobrist 155 600 .258 18 41
Murphy 197 600 .328 72 114
Davis 125 600 .208 0 50
Desmond 162 600 .270 0 0
Gordon 133 600 .222 17 94
Span 153 600 .255 0 13

To be fair, Cespedes’ power numbers are cut in a 1/3 off his career, but in terms of batting average, he is right on par with his career numbers. Ben Zobrist can’t shine Murphy’s shoes over 600 playoff AB. Alex Gordon, Mr. “KC Royals approach” – he has a career .222 BA in the playoffs. Not exactly consistent.

And of course, the one guy who will likely get the biggest contract this offseason is Jason Heyward. Please review his numbers above, and think to yourself… Is this guy really getting a better deal than Cespedes? Please, he is not a great player. He is not in Cespedes’ class offensively.

OK, so this argument has major flaws. I get it, there are more overall stats and the old “eye test” to consider. I mean, the NL figured out Cespedes, he can’t possibly make adjustments because he is a head case. I know, I know. He is not worth $20 million a year. I get it. People are scared. Just please, don’t tell me he can’t hit good pitching. It’s just not true. In fact, statistically speaking, he is the second best free agent hitter available vs good pitching. Of course, Sir Murphy is No. 1.

Thanks for giving me a few minutes to vent.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Peter S.. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily.

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MMO Mailbag: Should the Mets Target Jason Heyward? Thu, 26 Nov 2015 16:00:28 +0000 jason heyward

Henry asks…

If the Mets play this right, they could conceivably sign Jason Heyward, and then trade Curtis Granderson to the highest bidders amongst teams that lost out on Heyward. They end up with a Gold Glove right fielder with speed and great offensive upside who is nine years younger than Grandy. And we can get a solid shortstop, second basemen or center fielder for Grandy. Thoughts MMO??

Mike replies…

First off, I must say that this is a phenomenal question. Not only would the Mets upgrade by signing Heyward, but they could flip Grandy for a starter at a position of Mets weakness.

Heyward will be demanding a contract of roughly 7-8 years at around $20 million dollars annually. This would be a tough pill to swallow for the stingy Wilpons. But, if the Mets find someone to take Granderson, the money would be minimized.  Grandy is owed $16 million for 2016 and $15 million for 2017.

My short answer to this question is that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Throughout the Mets’ 2015 season, the Grandy Man was essential to the team’s success. In 157 games for the Amazins, Grandy had 33 doubles, 26 homers, 98 runs, 70 RBI, and accumulated a .259 average. More importantly Granderson drew 91 walks and had a .364 OBP as the Mets leadoff man.

Granderson, 35, also set the Mets record for leadoff homers at  seven this past year. With the injuries to Travis d’Arnaud and David Wright, Granderson did exactly what the team needed from him and kept Mets in the hunt. His power numbers are also much higher than Heyward’s, and that should not go unnoticed. With Yoenis Cespedes most likely departing for greener pastures, Grandy’s power stroke becomes even more imperative to the club’s success offensively.

Jason Heyward would certainly add speed to the lineup and gold glove defense to the right field position, and he is surely the better player at this point in their careers. Jason had 160 hits, 33 doubles, 13 homers, 60 RBI, 56 walks and 23 stolen bases for the Cardinals last season. He batted .293 with a .359 OBP and .797 OPS.

At just 26, obviously Heyward’s best years are still in front of him. However, I am not sure that Mets ownership is in the position to make such an extreme financial commitment to him. In my opinion, it would have to be a SIGNIFICANT upgrade for the Mets to even consider such a move. Instead, the Mets will most likely target second tier free agents to fulfill their specified needs.

I know that a lot of people would say “it’s the same old cheap Wilpons.” But in all fairness, this move would not really help the team get over the hump. If the Mets signed Heyward and kept Grandy, then yes, the team would be much better. However, could Heyward play center field full time? I am not sure the club would want to find that out only after giving him a $200 million contract.

If the Mets did sign Heyward and traded Grandy, I am not so sure they would get the starting shortstop, center fielder, or second basemen you think given his age and $31 million commitment. It is something that I am sure they might ponder, I just find it hard to see anything like this coming to fruition. Thanks for the question.


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Mets Minors: Herrera, Smith, Cecchini Lead Our All Star Lineup Wed, 25 Nov 2015 20:12:59 +0000 Dominic_Smith_27nu1kzw_of4zataz

Here is our All Star Lineup featuring the top performers this season by position. These players are chosen strictly on their numbers and not on their prospect rankings. It’s the first of a four part series with the bench, starting rotation, and bullpen still to come.

Here is who we have chosen for the best player at each position in 2015:

CatcherPatrick Mazeika (Kingsport Mets) The Mets 2015 8th round pick tore up the Appalachian League hitting .354/.451/.540 while leading the league with 27 doubles in his first taste of pro ball. The 22-year old lefty hitter also played 11 games at first base this year and hails from Stetson University like Mets ace Jacob deGrom. He was the co-winner of the Mets Sterling Award for the Kingsport Mets and was a postseason all-star in the Appy.

First BaseDominic Smith (St. Lucie) The Florida State League Player of the Year led the league with 33 doubles and 79 RBI while slashing .305/.354/.417 in his breakout season. He was a FSL postseason All-Star and a the Mets Sterling Award winner for the St. Lucie Mets as well. According to a poll done by Baseball America he was also the best defensive first basemen in the league as voted by coaches and managers. He has continued his great year in the Arizona Fall League hitting .385/.519/.564 before his recent oblique injury.

Second Base - Dilson Herrera (Las Vegas) The Mets future cornerstone at second base crushed the ball at Triple-A this year batting .327/.382/.511 with 23 doubles, 11 homeruns and 50 RBI for Las Vegas. He did struggle a little slashing just .211/.311/.367 in only 90 at bats in the Majors this year for the Mets. However, his defense looked much better in his short stint in the big leagues.

ShortstopGavin Cecchini (Binghamton) It was a breakout offensive year for the former 2012 first round pick who hit .317/.377/.442 with 37 extra base hits while striking out only 55 times in 439 Double-A at-bats. He was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year and played in the All-Star game too. Recently played in four games for the Rafters in the AFL going 5 for 13 with four walks before being scratched from the roster with a shoulder injury.

Third Base - Eudor Garcia (Savannah) The Mets drafted the 21-year old left-handed hitting Garcia in the 4th round in 2014. He slashed .296/.340/.442 with 23 doubles, four triples, nine homeruns, and 59 RBI in 398 at bats. He only walked 23 times all year but 13 of them came against lefties in 130 plate appearances.

Outfield - Wuilmer Becerra (Savannah) After the 2015 season everyone should know that Becerra was part of the tremendous haul that Sandy Alderson got from the Blue Jays in return for R.A. Dickey. Becerra had a great offensive season hitting .290/.342/.423 with 27 doubles, three triples, nine homeruns, 16 stolen bases, and knocked in 63 runs. The 21-year old right fielder had a .444 SLG at home in Grayson Stadium which is known fir being a tough place for power hitters.

OutfieldKevin Kaczmarski (Kingsport) The Mets 2015 9th round pick led the Appalachian League with his .355 average, 91 hits, and was second with his 20 stolen bases. The 23-year old left-handed hitting outfielder hit .355/.415/.512 with 18 doubles, five triples, four homeruns, and 34 RBI. He played 50 games in left field, 11 in center field, and two in right field. He was a postseason all-star as well as sharing the Mets Sterling Award for Kingsport with Mazeika.

OutfieldTravis Taijeron (Las Vegas) The 26-year old outfielder hit a career high 25 homeruns, 71 RBI, and 65 walks. He hit .274/.393/.536 in 478 plate appearances while playing ten game in left field and 112 games in right field this year in Triple-A. He was a mid-season all-star in the Pacific Coast League for the third time in his career (NYPL in 2011, SAL in 2012).

For more Mets minor league coverage including Winter Ball stats head over to

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Featured Post: Would You Rather Sign Daniel Murphy or Ben Zobrist? Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:04:13 +0000 daniel murphy nlds 4

Throughout the playoffs, Mets fans were in awe with Daniel Murphy‘s incredible play. Quite frankly, they had ample reason to. Whether it was the seven home runs, the timely base knocks, head’s up base running, and even some rare stellar defense, there was a lot to be excited about.

Then the World Series began, and the home runs were were gone, the hits were limited, and the fielding plummeted. The feeling around the fan base went from elation to pure humiliation. However, it is vital that the Mets keep a level-headed approach when it comes to re-signing Daniel Murphy or letting him walk via free agency.

On the other side of the field, we saw a fantastic ball player in Ben Zobrist. His glove was adequate, but more importantly he had countless timely hits. But, management cannot and will not make a decision based on five games. Zobrist, who will turn 35 in May, comes with a few risks – the most worrisome being his age.

Despite his recent success, giving Zobrist four years at roughly $12-15 million dollars per season screams disaster. Throughout his career, Zobrist has rarely been bitten by the injury bug. However, Zobrist did have surgery to repair a torn meniscus which forced him to miss the first month of last season.

ben zobrist

Having said that, the Mets should be diligent in their hot pursuit for Zobrist. His stats don’t jump off the page, and that is perfectly fine. As a career .265 hitter, he certainly does not make or break a team. The versatile utility man is primarily a second basemen, but he can also play shortstop and even both corner outfield spots. If the Mets do end up opting for Zobrist instead of Murphy, it will most likely have to do with his capable glove since Murphy slightly edges him in every other category.

But to be fair, Zobrist had a down year in 2015 and could certainly return to previous production levels. If you look at more advanced metrics, Zobrist’s .349 wOBA and 123 wRC+ were still better than Daniel Murphy who had his best season and produced a .325 wOBA and 110 wRC+.

And also, if you sign Zobrist instead of Murphy the Mets get the compensatory draft pick between the first and second round of next year’s draft.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, Daniel Murphy is not a goner quite yet and the Mets have not yet turned the page on him. Since taking over at second base in 2013, Murph has arguably been the team’s best hitter. He established career highs with 14 home runs and 78 RBI this season. He’ll never lead the league in those categories, but he puts the ball in play and forces the defense to throw him out. Sound familiar?

Murphy’s approach at the plate is similar to each of the gritty Royals hitters. He hardly strikes out, seems to always hit in the clutch, and can certainly drive the baseball. Murphy will be 31 at the start of the 2016 season, and still has plenty left in the tank. A four-year contract worth about $12-13 million dollars per year would be less risky given to Murphy rather than a few million more for Zobrist.

If the Mets do decide to let Murphy walk, I hope that they have a good backup plan. Leaving the second base duties to Dilson Herrera might hurt this Mets team which is now in win-now mode. I am not denying the fact that Herrera could be a solid second basemen in the future, but I am not sure that future is now or that he could adequately replace Murphy’s offensive production at second base.

Let’s remember Murphy led all NL second basemen in doubles, extra-base hits and RBI, and ranked second with a .770 OPS.

While I am not in love with signing Murphy to four years I believe Zobrist would be more problematic. What do you say? If you could sign one of Daniel Murphy or Ben Zobrist, who would you prefer?

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MMO Mailbag: Trading For Todd Frazier, Moving Wright To First Base Mon, 23 Nov 2015 15:00:18 +0000 todd frazier

Tom K. asks…

I am not a big Lucas Duda fan mostly because his cold streaks drive me nuts. He has like four hot weeks spread out over a six month season. If David Wright is eventually going to be moved to 1B for health and durability issues, why not do it now and trade Duda for a third baseman, maybe Todd Frazier? Isn’t he on the block?

Connor replies…

First of all, the “Lucas Duda is only good four weeks a year” narrative has gotten old really fast. It’s just not true.

Sure, Duda hit his home runs in bunches this year, but there’s certainly more to hitting than just home runs. The truth is he’s been about as erratic as any other hitter. I’ll show you a stat called tOPS+, a version of OPS+. Essentially, instead of 100 being league average, it’s set to his season total OPS+. For example, a 90 OPS+ means the player hit ten percent worse than he usually does. Here’s Duda’s month by month tOPS+ this year:

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.00.22 PM

That’s four very good months and two bad months. How does that compare with Daniel Murphy, who some fans are ready to anoint as the most consistent, most “pure” (whatever that means) hitter in baseball history?

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 12.02.01 PM

Isn’t it amazing what perception can do?

Even if you think those lows are bad, they weren’t nearly as bad last season, with his lowest tOPS+ in a month being 70. The fact that Duda went cold in the playoffs was a result of the fact that a) players slump and b) he was facing some of the best pitchers in the game.

Now, on to the main point of the question.

Yes, Wright will likely have to change positions eventually to lessen his back pain. However, if he can hit like he did after coming back in August and September, he is worth keeping in the lineup. Obviously he isn’t going to pt up Duda-like numbers (130-140 wRC+) at the plate, but the chance of Wright getting dealt is nonexistent. It’s Duda that would be traded, and he would have decent trade value, especially since he’s under team control for two more years.

As for Todd Frazier, I actually wrote about the prospect of bringing him to the Mets in June. A Duda-Frazier trade is not going to happen because Joey Votto isn’t going anywhere for the Reds, but separate deals is a possibility.

At the time of my article, Frazier was having an incredible season at the time and through June was batting a robust .287/.348/.614 with 25 home runs on the year. However, from July onward, he hit .225/.270/.386 with ten home runs. So while his final batting line of .255/.309/.498 and 35 homers look pretty good, it was mostly from an outstanding first half.

In 2014, Frazier hit .273/.336/.459 with 29 home runs, which is probably more along the lines of what we can expect from him going forward. He will never even approach the .300/.400/.500 lines David Wright was putting up in his 20s, but the point around this proposal is that whatever is lost on offense will be saved on defense and keeping Wright off the DL.

Defensive metrics rate Frazier has significantly above average. Fangraphs had his defense 9.6 runs above average this past year, 3.4 in 2014, and 11.7 in 2013. He’s averaged six Defensive Runs Saved the last three seasons at third base. For his career, he owns an 8.6 UZR/150. If you assume that Wright’s defense is going to regress to either bad or terrible, bringing in Frazier could mean a difference of 20 or more runs.

Financially, Frazier is entering the second year of a two-year deal, and is set to make $7.5 million next season. After that, he’s up for arbitration one more time before becoming a free agent. Duda is also under team control for two more seasons, only he will make $6.7 million in 2016.

Of course, the big cost with Frazier would not be how much he’s paid, but how much in prospects and talent the Mets would have to give up to get him. According to Jayson Stark, the Reds are looking for “big-league ready young players” for Frazier. His very weak second half will lower his cost, but any Mets-Reds deal would probably start with Zack Wheeler and go from there.

While Wright could likely survive at third base for perhaps another year or two, he’s eventually going to have to move somewhere, and first is his most likely destination. Sandy Alderson may hold off on making the move right now (because again, there’d be a loss of offense) but if the organization and Wright decided that now is the time, Tom’s scenario makes a lot of sense for the Mets.


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MMO Fan Shot: What Should Mets Do This Offseason? Sun, 22 Nov 2015 19:46:31 +0000 nlcs citi field dugout

An MMO Fan Shot by Dave in Spain

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Mets and how they can improve for 2016. I don´t think they need to make a lot of changes, as the core of the team is pretty good. But here are my thoughts on what they should do.

Team Strengths

Starting PitchingMatt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz make a great first four, and Zack Wheeler will be coming back in June or July. They´ll need a stopgap, but more on that later.

Closer - Jeurys Familia.

Corner OutfieldMichael Conforto in LF and Curtis Granderson in RF

CatcherTravis d’Arnaud is solid as long as he stays healthy. Kevin Plawecki is a good backup.

First BaseLucas Duda is maddeningly streaky, but is patient, gets on base, and can hit with unusual power. Worth keeping, unless you could get Edwin Encarnación or Paul Goldschmidt, but that´s not happening. And Duda is under team control for two more seasons, which dovetails nicely with the arrival of Dominic Smith.

Question Marks

Second Base – The Mets are clearly planning on having Dilson Herrera man the keystone. As with any rookie, you never know, but based on his numbers in the minors and all the comments I´ve read about him, it’s worth giving him a shot. If he succeeds, he could match Daniel Murphy´s numbers, more or less, with better D. If he fails, slide Wilmer Flores over to 2B.

Shortstop – Wilmer Flores will never be Ozzie Smith or Rey Ordonez, but he´s improved in the field and gives you unusual power for a SS. He´s still very young (24), and works hard on improving. You’d like to see a higher OBP, but he can hold the fort until Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario challenge him. And if he has to move to 2B, Tejada can back him up.

Third Base – Which David Wright will show up in 2016? Will he play a full season? Will he still be able to hit for average? Has he lost his power? The team clearly needs a backup option just in case.

Center Field  - Ah, Juan Lagares. The million-dollar question… Will his arm be healed by the spring? Was 2014 an offseason outlier? This is a potential area for improvement – see below.

Bullpen – There are some promising arms, but we might need somebody from the outside. Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin (Will he stay as a reliever, or will they stretch him out in Vegas to be a starter?) have all been pretty reliable, and with another year under their belts they could be even better. Parnell, Carlyle, Blevins, and Clippard are gone, and I can´t see Mejia getting another chance.

denatd span

Offseason Plan

1. The Mets need a leadoff hitter. Grandy has done an admirable job there, but his power could be put to better use somewhere in the middle of the lineup. I would target one of either Dexter Fowler or Denard Span to play CF. Both are leadoff hitters. Fowler has more power, and is a switch hitter, while Span (if recovered from his hip surgery) is a lefty bat with a higher BA and OBP. Both can steal around 20-25 bases per year. Having either a LH or SW batter will balance the lineup. Both will be in demand, but will not command an Upton, Cespedes or Heyward sized contract.

2. I would trade Jon Niese for a solid utility/backup 3B, a strong setup reliever, and/or prospects. The acquiring team would get a solid lefty with one more guaranteed year at a reasonable price and two team option years.

3. I would re-sign Bartolo Colon. He could be a starter until Wheeler comes back, then transition to the pen. He’s older than the hills in baseball terms, but he can still pitch, and has been a great influence on all the Mets younger pitchers. If you don´t re-sign him, you still have Verrett, who has pitched pretty well this year as a starter, to be the stopgap starter for the first half.

4. I would get a solid utility player for 3B, either as a free agent or via a trade. While Juan Uribe is getting old, his overall numbers in 2015 were good, and he was great in the clubhouse.

Starting Lineup

I know that there are a lot of possible variations here, and it would change over the course of the year anyway, but this is a starting point.

  1. Dexter Fowler (S) or Denard Span (L) – CF
  2. David Wright (R) – 3B
  3. Curtis Granderson (L) – RF
  4. Travis d’Arnaud (R) – C
  5. Lucas Duda (L) – 1B
  6. Wilmer Flores (R) – SS
  7. Michael Conforto (L) – LF
  8. Dilson Herrera (R) – 2B


  1. Kevin Plawecki
  2. Ruben Tejada
  3. Juan Lagares
  4. Michael Cuddyer
  5. Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe

Starting Rotation

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Noah Syndergaard
  4. Steven Matz
  5. Bartolo Colon / Zack Wheeler


  1. Jeurys Familia
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Hansel Robles
  4. Erik Goeddel
  5. Logan Verrett or Carlos Torres
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Josh Smoker


This team would come in at around $105-108 million. Colon would probably get around what Niese would have been paid. Murphy, Parnell, Clippard will all be gone. There are some arbitration raises, but the Fowler/Span signing would probably be in the $12-15 million range for three years. Very do-able, and it leaves open the flexibility to sign one or more of our young pitchers to extensions when the time comes.

It´s time to get to work on 2016, and I don´t see the front office making sweeping changes to the team. But a few key additions, combined with good health (and a backup plan just in case), should put us right back the hunt next year. Let´s Go Mets!

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by Dave in Spain. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily.

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Why Did Mets Leave Top Prospect Wuilmer Becerra Exposed To Rule 5 Draft Sun, 22 Nov 2015 03:11:38 +0000 becerra

I woke up to three emails this morning, all asking me why the Mets failed to protect outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft in December. The Mets instead chose to add outfielder Brandon Nimmo and right-handers Seth Lugo, Jeff Walters, and Robert Gsellman to the 40-man roster.

Becerra, 21, was the third prospect the Mets received from the Toronto Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade that also garnered Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. He is currently the Mets’ No. 12 ranked prospect by, No. 10 by Baseball America, and in our MMO Midseason Update we had the promising youngster at No. 8.

All Becerra did in 2015 was show why scouts love him so much and how he could emerge at the organization’s top prospect as soon as 2016. Blessed with a powerful throwing arm, the right fielder batted .290 last season with a .342 on-base percentage and .423 slugging while playing at the cavernous Grayson Stadium – the toughest hitting environment in minor league baseball.

In 118 games for Single-A Savannah, Becerra stroked 27 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, scoring 67 runs, driving in 68 and stealing 16 bases. By all accounts it was his breakthrough season as a pro.

As I mentioned a few times in the threads last night, the Mets are gambling that no team would scoop Becerra up in the Rule 5 Draft for $50,000 given his age and that he’s still at least a year away.

Any team that selects Becerra must keep him on their major league 25-man roster for the entire season or sell him back to the Mets for $25,000. An unlikely prospect from the Mets point of view.

It’s a risky play for the Mets, for sure, but they obviously don’t see any team snatching him up under the current rules.

But what if a bad team like Phillies, Reds or Marlins just bit the bullet and decided Becerra’s future was so bright. that it would be worth stashing him on the 25 for the season while giving the future slugger some on-the-job-training in the major leagues? It’s possible.

After considering the matter overnight, I’m left asking myself why even take the risk? Especially when you could have given him Eric Campbell‘s spot on the 40 man roster or Johnny Monell for crying out loud? I think that’s the part that makes the least amount of sense to me – that Campbell is on the 40 and Becerra isn’t. That’s the part I can’t wrap my brain around.


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Amazin’ Moments: The Magic Is Back, If Only For One Night Sat, 21 Nov 2015 18:05:18 +0000 steve henderson

“Home runs are over-rated. You don’t have to hit home runs to win. If I don’t get a home run all year, and the team wins, I’ll be more than satisfied.” – Steve Henderson

The Reccoppa family piled into Dad’s burnt orange 1970 Plymouth Duster for the short ride across the bridge on Route 37 to Seaside Heights. A visit to grandma’s summer house, a sure sign school would be out soon.

Anthony, 10, the youngest of three boys and the lone New York Met fan, suffered through his share of summers. “In school, in New Jersey, there were three teams: Mets, Yankee and Phillies,” Reccoppa remembers. “In the late-70’s, early 80’s there weren’t many Met fans and here I was with my Lee Mazzilli t-shirt.”

But this was the summer when the misery and suffering would end. This was 1980, the year the Magic was Back in Flushing.

The season lived up to its catch phrase on the night of June 14, 1980, when Pete Falcone hooked up with John Montefusco at Shea Stadium. Playing in front of 22,918, the Mets were in mid-summer form, falling behind early and often. Falcone couldn’t finish the second inning, allowing five runs, five hits and two walks. He retired four batters. By the sixth inning, the Giants had built a 6-0 lead and the Mets were held hitless through 5 1/3 innings when light-hitting second baseman Doug Flynn singled.

Anthony and his father kept one eye on the game as they wandered “in and out of the house” through the evening, preparing for the trip to Seaside. The Mets scratched out two runs to cut the Giants lead to 6-2 as the Reccoppa family climbed into the Duster at sunset.

“It was the first new car my father ever bought,” remembers Anthony Reccoppa. “It was red-orange, black interior, no air conditioning and an AM radio,” but good enough to pick up the Mets flagship station WMCA-AM, where sports director Art Rust Jr. boldly guaranteed the 1980 Mets would be playing October baseball at “Flushing by the Bay.”

Any hope for magic was almost snuffed out, when Mets outfielder Elliott Maddox grounded to short to lead off the ninth. Then, Doug Flynn delivered a bunt single but Jose Cardenal grounded out, advancing Flynn to second base. The Mets were down to their final out, trailing by four runs.

Then, Lee Mazzilli singled, scoring Flynn. Frank Taveras walked. Claudell Washington singled, scoring Mazzilli. With the Giants white-knuckling a 6-4 lead, manager Dave Bristol relieved Greg Minton with Allen Ripley, needing one … more … out.


Steve Henderson, two years and 364 days removed from the day he was tagged as “the guy the Mets got in the Seaver trade,” represented the winning run for the Mets.

Henderson had a flair for the dramatic.

Six days after the Seaver deal, on June 21, Mets chairman M. Donald Grant made his first Shea Stadium appearance since his infamous Midnight Massacre. He was greeted by a custom-designed banner that read GRANT’S TOMB.

Henderson bailed out Grant for the moment, smacking his first major league home run in the 11th inning, giving the Mets a 5-2 walk-off win over the Atlanta Braves. The longball became a long-term problem for Henderson.

The Mets adjusted Henderson’s batting style to meet their needs. The team needed power and when Henderson delivered a pair of game-winning home runs against the Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates (a grand slam off Kent Tekulve), the Mets saw an opportunity.

“After my first season [1977], the Mets changed my batting stance, to make me hit more home runs,” said Henderson. “But [in 1980] I went back to my old stance. I was more relaxed at the plate.”

By mid-June 1980 Henderson was, again, feeling comfortable with his new-old closed batting stance. Coming into the night, he was batting .340 including 17 multi-hit games. On June 8, Henderson went 6-for-8 in a doubleheader against the Pirates.

Henderson, who struck out in his first three at-bats of the night, was now facing Allen Ripley. He took the first pitch. He remembers feeling “tight” and “unable to concentrate,” so he walked back to the on-deck circle loaded his bat with pine tar, took a deep breath and cleared his mind.


Ripley delivered the next pitch under Henderson’s chin, causing him to “jack knife out of the way,” in the words of legendary Mets announcer Bob Murphy.

“I try to keep my temper, but when someone does something like that to me, throwing too close, I sort of turn into a monster,” Henderson would tell the New York Times after the game.

He took the next pitch for strike two. The Mets were down to their final strike. The following is pure speculation, but it would be fair to suggest that a burst of wind stimulated the magic dust surrounding homeplate, landing squarely on the barrel of Henderson’s bat.

Henderson turned Ripley’s 1-2 fastball from improbable, to maybe, to probably and ultimately magic. The ball cleared the right field fence and was caught on the fly by Mets reliever Tom Hausman.

Final score: Mets 7, Giants 6

The Shea Stadium scoreboard in right field began flashing, HENDU CAN DO! then HENDU DID DO! Fans coaxed Henderson out of the clubhouse for a curtain call before parading down the exit ramps chanting “Lets Go Mets!”

Reccoppa’s father begand pounding the dashboard in excitement

“We’re going to get in an accident,” screamed Reccoppa’s mother, in fear and anger, from the passenger seat

It was Henderson’s first home run of the season and his first home run since July 13, 1979 (226 at-bats). One month after losing 15-4 to the Cincinnati Reds, the Mets were 9-18. Now, the Mets were 27-28, one game under .500.

“The ones over the Pirates and Dodgers were nice, but this one was unbelievable,” said Doug Flynn later. “You keep busting and busting, then Henderson hits his first home run, and it’s a three-run game winner.”

The Reccoppa family arrived, greeted Grandma with a quick hug and turned on WOR in time to catch Henderson and then Mets manager Joe Torre on Kiner’s Korner.

The Mets would follow that magical night with seven straight losses, followed by an August swoon, losing 14 of 17 games.

The 1980 Mets were better remembered for a magic moment.

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The 2015 Mets: A Journey To Remember Sat, 21 Nov 2015 16:48:19 +0000 mets win nlcs

Mets fan Drew Palazzo wrote in to MMO this morning to share his thrilling tribute video dedicated to the 2015 Mets.

He writes:

“Looking back on 2015, I personally believe that the New York Mets proved to us that a story doesn’t necessarily require a happy ending in order to be truly memorable. The season ended up being all about the journey, an exhilarating one that we’ll never forget! ”

Enjoy the show…

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Mets Season Ticket Sales Soaring, Which Begs The Question… Sat, 21 Nov 2015 03:20:21 +0000 mets thank fans 162

This is what winning does to an organization. After a season which saw the New York Mets win their first NL Pennant since 2000, the revenue is pouring in.

According to Neil Best of Newsday, s of Thursday, the Mets have already sold close to 8,500 new full and partial season ticket plans for the 2016 season since they went on sale after the World Series and the holiday buying rush hasn’t even hit yet.

“Obviously there was a lot of interest in the team throughout the season,” said Mets Chief Revenue Officer Lou DePaoli. “It doubles down on the intensity level given the postseason run, and a lot of people are still talking Mets. We went right from the end of the season into the hot stove and it really hasn’t slowed down at all.”

Previous season-ticket holders were invited to Citi Field on Friday to pick new seats, upgrade, or add seats to their plans.

Meanwhile, the 8,500 new season ticket subscribers will get to pick their seats on Saturday and Sunday. DePaoli declined to do a breakdown of exactly how many new season subscribers chose partial plans vs full plans, due to the fact that some could upgrade their plan or add seats to it.

The Mets initially began selling season plans for next season back in mid-summer with an average overall price increase of 2.86%. According to DePaoli, even with their World Series run, the Mets did not increase their prices further. Rather they focused on increasing the number of season tickets holders.

“There are some teams that once they have some success, they go back and raise the prices mainstream,” DePaoli said. “We decided not to do that. We’re locking people in on those prices. We felt it was fair.”

However prices for individual games are expected to increase by more than the season-ticket percentage on average. Individual tickets will go on sale starting on November 30.

The Mets drew 2,569,753 in paid attendance in 2015, their best such figure since the opening of Citi Field in 2009. “We had a nice increase of 18.11 percent, and we’re still working on our models to project out what next year’s growth will look like,” DePaoli said.

Much of the increased attendance in 2015 was clearly due to the team’s winning ways and the sold-out crowds really took off after the Mets bolstered the team at the trade deadline and brought in Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard, and of course Yoenis Cespedes.

They now have more sponsors than ever jockeying for a piece of the Mets’ success which is also generating new revenue streams. Next season, the expectations will be higher and DePaoli knows it. “While it’s quote-unquote ‘easier’ to sell your product now, there also are much higher expectations.”

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Thoughts from Joe D.

This is great news for those of us holding out hope that part of this revenue will be reinvested in the team. We’ve been keeping our fingers crossed for years, hoping that the team’s fortunes would turn around and we can at least get back to a budget befitting the market we play in.

All these positive reports on record ratings, huge revenue increases, MLB’s best marketing ranking, and now this. It begs the question, is it safe to go back into the water again? Are we ready to put the Madoff mess behind us? Will we behave like a mid-to-top market team again?

However, over the last three weeks we’ve learned the Mets couldn’t afford to retain Yoenis Cespedes, never tried to sign Daniel Murphy to an extension, have no plans to extend any of their young elite pitchers like other progressive teams do to buy out their arbitration years and maybe a year or two of free agency.

Just this week Marc Carig, Adam Rubin and Anthony DiComo all reported that relievers Darren O’Day and Joakim Soria will likely be out of the Mets price range. Rubin and Mike Puma reported Ruben Tejada will be non-tendered because $2.8 million is too much for a backup shortstop. And we learned there will be no everyday outfielder, just a platoon outfielder to pair with Juan Lagares.

Now some of these may just be good baseball moves. But you have to be naive if you can’t see what it says in its totality.

And that’s a sad statement on a team looking to defend their NL Championship and an indictment on Mets ownership. Sorry, but somebody had to say it.

It’s still early, so I will reserve full judgement until January. But these weren’t the kinds of things I wanted to hear this offseason… Especially after years of hearing all those “If you come, we will spend” drum beats.

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Mets Add Nimmo, Lugo, Walters, Gsellman To 40-Man Roster Fri, 20 Nov 2015 19:58:31 +0000 brandon nimmo

The Mets have added outfielder Brandon Nimmo, RHP Seth Lugo, RHP Jeff Walters, and RHP Robert Gsellman to the 40-man roster.

Each will be protected from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft and automatically receive invites to major league spring training.

November 19

The Mets have until 11:59 PM on November 20th to decide which of their Rule 5 eligible players they will add to the 40-man roster to protect them from being drafted.

Last year, was a very active Rule 5 draft for the Mets as they took Sean Gilmartin out of the Minnesota Twins system and they lost Logan Verrett (briefly). They also lost Cam Maron, Greg Peavey, Juan Carlos Gamboa, and Randy Fontanez in the minor league portion.

Right now the Mets 40-man roster is sitting at 35 players after losing Jack Leathersich to the Cubs with expected movement including the possible non-tendering of Ruben Tejada. Other players with their roster spot on the line I think are Eric Campbell, Darrell Ceciliani, and possibly Carlos Torres.

In order for a player to be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, they must not be on the team’s 40-man roster and they must have in the minor leagues for at least 4 years if he was signed after age 19 or in the minor leagues for at least 5 years if he was signed before age 19.

The Mets have a couple of no-brainers this year with Brandon Nimmo and Robert Gsellman. Nimmo is still one of the Mets best position player prospects and will be added. Likewise with Gsellman who is one of their top pitching prospects after a good year combined with St. Lucie and Binghamton. He went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.137 WHIP in 24 starts this season.

Paul Sewald is another one that I would protect but not 100% sure the Mets feel the same way. He has been spectacular since the Mets drafted him in 10th round in 2012 pitching to a career 1.83 ERA and 0.974 WHIP. Last year he saved 24 games for Binghamton while striking out 56 batters in 51.1 innings and was an Eastern League All-Star.


To me the other guy they will add without a doubt is outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra who came over in the R.A. Dickey trade alongside Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. Becerra hit .290/.342/.423 with 16 stolen bases while playing good defense in right field for the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2015. Despite being only 21 and have played just in low-A ball I don’t think the Mets can risk a team like the Phillies scooping him up one of their Top 10 prospects.

Next we have the group of guys that the Mets could possibly add and could possibly lose if they don’t:

  • Seth Lugo- The former 34th round pick opened some eyes this year going 8-7 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.250 WHIP while leading all Mets minor league pitchers with his 127 strikeouts in 136 innings. The 26-year old right-hander made 19 starts for Binghamton and five for Las Vegas.
  • Mickey Jannis- What a story for the 27-year old knuckleballer, as he started the 2015 campaign playing for the Long Island Ducks and is currently having success in the Arizona Fall League which is traditionally for teams top hitting prospects. He has a 2.88 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in the AFL which has certainly boosted his chances of being protected and being drafted.
  • Beck Wheeler- Another guy who is having a strong AFL season and combine that with the strong year he had in Binghamton there is certainly a chance he gets protected. He had a 3.38 ERA and 1.227 WHIP in 58.2 AA innings while allowing only two homeruns in that span.
  • Travis Taijeron- The 26-year old outfielder hit a career high 25 homeruns this season and slashed .274/.393/.536 in 394 at bats for the Las Vegas 51′s this year. However, he did strikeout 147 times in 127 games this year and has been limited to mainly just right field the last two seasons.
  • T.J. Rivera- As many of you already know all the infielder does is hit, he is a career .318/.366/.418 in five Minor League seasons. So why hasn’t he got a chance? Really is a great question after the Mets continued to run Campbell and Danny Muno on the field last year. The biggest knocks on Rivera is that he doesn’t have a position he plays well defensively and the lack of power. He doesn’t have a strong enough arm for shortstop or third base limiting him to second really where the Mets are strong. He did show off some power last year boasting a .455 SLG with Binghamton and .443 with Las Vegas in 2015.
  • Victor Cruzado- The former infielder finished the 2015 season with 15 at bats for the B’Mets after a strong season with St. Lucie where he hit .272/.359/.401. The 23-year old played the field 86 times last year with 83 of them being in right field. He is a solid player with his only plus attribute being his ability to get on base, has a career .375 OBP and has just 233 strikeouts compared to 177 walks.
  • Zack Thornton- The right-handed reliever came over to the Mets from the Pirates in the Ike Davis trade. The 27-year old pitched to a 3.94 ERA and 1.334 WHIP as he spent the entire year in AAA with Las Vegas. Thornton is a groundball pitcher that somehow only allowed two homeruns in 61.2 innings in the Pacific Coast League last season.
  • Matthew Bowman- After having a nice showing for the Mets during Spring Training, Matt really struggled this season with the 51′s going 7-16 with a 5.53 ERA and 1.679 WHIP. I still think that with his sinker and solid changeup that he can be a useful piece in someone’s bullpen.
  • Jeff Walters- The right-handed reliever was thought of a guy who could help the Mets bullpen coming into spring training in 2014 before struggles at AAA and Tommy John Surgery derailed his career. He came back strong at the end of last season posting a 1.96 ERA and 1.091 WHIP while striking out 21 batters in 18.1 innings for Binghamton last year. He had a B’Mets franchise record 38 saves in 2013 and was hitting 94-95 MPH with his fastball last season.

Other notable names on the list of players that would need to be added to protect them from the draft include Binghamton catcher Xorge Carrillo, former highly touted arm Luis Mateo, and Jayce Boyd who showed he couldn’t handle the outfield. Here is the full list of all players that are Rule 5 eligible.

Last season the Mets added six players: Noah Syndergaard, Gabriel Ynoa, Cory Mazzoni, Akeel Morris, Hansel Robles, and Jack Leathersich in preparation for the Rule 5 draft.

This year I think they add five players with them being Nimmo, Sewald, Gsellman, Becerra, and Lugo. Sewald has been very good in the Minors despite not having a blazing fastball and could help Mets bullpen soon. Lugo had the best year of the other starters on the maybe list and the Mets minors starting pitching depth was depleted by mid-season trades.

I think there is a slight possibility of someone taking a guy like Taijeron who has plus power or Rivera who has shown extreme consistency with the bat. Walters, Thornton, and Wheeler could probably be a useful stash for a bad team in the backend of the bullpen. Jannis is a great story but I don’t think he has mastered the knuckleball completely yet.

For more Mets minor league coverage head over to

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Cubs Claim LHP Jack Leathersich On Waivers From Mets Thu, 19 Nov 2015 21:31:34 +0000 jack leathersich

The Chicago Cubs have claimed lefty reliever Jack Leathersich off waivers from the Mets, he underwent Tommy John surgery for his left arm on July 30th this year.

The Mets tried to slip him through waivers as they try to trim the 40-man roster down in preparation for tomorrow’s 3:00 PM deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft. The Mets 40-man roster now sits at 35 players.

Leathersich appeared in 17 games for the Mets this year posting a 2.31 ERA and 1.629 WHIP in 11.2 innings. He has an outstanding 356 strikeouts in 210.2 minor league innings but also has 115 walks in that span.

The Mets sent Leathersich down to the Las Vegas 51′s on June 28th and one day later he gave up six runs in two innings of work while throwing a season high 57 pitches. Leathersich was diagnosed with a torn UCL the next day by team doctors. He was the Mets fifth round pick in 2011 and made his Major League debut on April 29th of this year.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Denard Span, CF Thu, 19 Nov 2015 18:17:56 +0000 denatd span

Denard Span
Position: Center Field
Bats: Left — Throws: Left
Born: February 27th, 1984 (Age 31)

Last season was not a good year for Juan Lagares, who underperformed defensively and offensively in 2015. Specifically, his struggles against right-handed pitching lost him his starting job in center field. The offseason plan for the Mets front office is to acquire a player that could form a formidable platoon with Lagares in center next season. Ideally, he would be a left-handed batter, which is one reason why the Mets have been linked to Gerardo Parra recently. However, another player the Mets could pursue is Denard Span.

Span had an injury plagued 2015, playing in only 61 games for the Nationals. However, he was effective when healthy and batted .301 with a .365 OBP and .431 slugging in 275 plate appearances with five home runs and 22 RBI in the leadoff spot. He also stole 11 bases without being caught.

A former first-rounder, Span has a career .293 average and .760 OPS against right-handed pitching and he certainly would make a strong platoon with Lagares in center field.

It’s a season-ending hip injury that required surgery that raises a red flag with Span, who will be 32 when the season opens. It’s uncertain how this will affect his speed or impact his overall game.

Averaging 119 games a year, Span is a .287/.352/.395 career hitter. He has stolen 152 bases, averaging 19 a year. His best year was 2014, in which he hit .302/.355/.416 with 39 doubles, eight triples, five home runs, and 31 stolen bases. He was tied with Ben Revere for most hits in the National League with 184. 

Span’s career .352 on base percentage, as well as his speed, make him a great option for the leadoff spot if he’s healthy. The Mets lacked a legitimate stolen base threat last season, and Span could give them a weapon they haven’t really had in a few years. Furthermore, if he were to bat atop the Mets lineup, it would allow Curtis Granderson to bat in the middle of the order where he could drive in more runs.

Contract: FanGraphs projects his contract to be in the range of three years and $36 million, which would have him signed through his age 34 season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to get a fourth year either guaranteed or as an option.

My Recommendation: Sign Him. Personally, I think Juan Lagares is going to bounce back and will produce offensively and defensively as he did in 2014, maybe even better. However, Span and Lagares would be a very effective platoon. Because he can play any outfield position effectively, Span would also provide insurance in case of injuries or poor performance in left or right field. Bottom line, if the Mets can get him for no more than $12 million a year, I’m confident he would be a good signing.


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Featured Post: The Philosophy Of Flexibility (Part I) Wed, 18 Nov 2015 13:52:36 +0000 mets win

Some teams build around pitching, some around contact hitting and others around youth and player control. Allow me to introduce another philosophy into the construction of a baseball team and this is the philosophy of flexibility, one that Sandy Alderson appears to partially be utilizing.

The philosophy of flexibility stems from what I believe is the most predictable aspect of a baseball season and that is that some players will get injured, some players will perform below expectations and others will perform above expectations.

Injuries and poor performance lead to holes in the field as well as in the lineup. An injury may force you to play a replacement level player for an extended period of time and poor performance may lead a manager to keep sending out a former star in the hopes that he regains his previous productivity.

Here are the four components that make up the flexibility of a team.

Positional Flexibility

The most obvious piece of flexibility is finding players who can play multiple positions in case a starter goes down. This not only includes bench players stepping up and filling various roles but also starters shifting around as needed by the team. Currently, this is the most valued and acknowledged component of flexibility in the majors as we are seeing utility players such as Ben Zobrist, Brock Holt and Marwin Gonzalez play some significant roles for their teams. This factor is a major reason in favor of signing a Zobrist or as well as possibly targeting Holt or Gonzalez or even Jed Lowrie as trade candidates.

Lineup Flexibility

The best way to evaluate lineup flexibility is to look at who your insurance plans are for the top 5-6 guys in your expected opening day lineup. The Kansas City Royals are a great example of a team with lineup flexibility not only because they all share an offensive philosophy focused on contact, getting on base and speed, but because their lineup can sustain losses over the course of a season. Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain can both lead off while Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Kendrys Morales can bat anywhere in the middle of that lineup.

Here is the Mets projected lineup as the current roster stands:

1. Curtis Granderson

2. Dilson Herrera

3. David Wright

4. Lucas Duda

5. Travis d’Arnaud

6. Michael Conforto

7. Wilmer Flores

8. Juan Lagares

This is not a strong lineup to start with, but there is decent flexibility in the order. If Herrera or Wright goes down, you can shift d’Arnaud and Flores up. If Duda misses time, you can shift Conforto up. But there is a glaring lack of insurance if Granderson goes down. Who do you use to leadoff? Lagares? Herrera? Darrell Ceciliani?

Thankfully, there are a few names being tossed around such as Dexter Fowler and Denard Span that would serve as leadoff options. I would also like to submit the Rangers Leonys Martin as a trade target to monitor. Like Lagares, he is an excellent defender but hits poorly against same-sided pitching. A left-handed hitter, his career line against RHP is .263/.317/.386. Look for him to rebound with another team after an injury plagued season and losing his job to Delino DeShields Jr.

Pitching Flexibility (Depth)

This portion of the team differs a little from the lineup as an injury to a starter who plays the field can be supplemented by two or three players. For example, if Conforto gets hurt, we are likely to see Nieuwenhuis, Cuddyer and perhaps Ceciliani fill in here and there – as our current roster stands.

Pitching flexibility matters when you need a pitcher to transition between starting and relieving and having players that you can option back and forth between the big leagues and minors without losing them to waivers. Otherwise, the existing term to describe a team’s ability to replace pitchers would simply be “depth”.

Our rotation is as good as it gets and we will only get stronger as Zack Wheeler returns. Our bullpen is also filled with great insurance options as well.

Logan Verrett

Sean Gilmartin

Erik Goeddel

Hansel Robles

Addison Reed (If Mets offer arbitration)

Darren O’Day or Tyler Clippard (Potential free agent signings?)

Jeurys Familia

Verrett provides great flexibility as a spot starter and long reliever and we can add Colon or Niese to the same role once Wheeler returns in the summer. Furthermore, Rafael Montero, Akeel Morris, Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin (summer return) and Dario Alvarez can all potentially contribute at a significant level at some point in the season.

However, I do have concerns with the back of the bullpen. We were blessed to have a horse in Jeurys Familia closing games for us the whole season but baseball is a cruel sport and injuries do happen. In that case, who replaces him? I like Darren O’Day as an addition to our bullpen, I believe it is crucial for us to obtain a potential closer as our 8th inning man.

My personal preference would be to non-tender Reed, sign O’Day and if possible, trade for Tampa’s Jake McGee who is a hard throwing lefty reliever that can be just as good as Familia. The only reason he is possibly available is because Tampa may not want to pay his expected arbitration salary of $5 million to setup for Brad Boxberger.

Financial Flexibility

Finally, perhaps the most important factor the equation of flexibility is the ability to maintain financial options. This means, avoiding large average annual value contracts to your primary players and long term commitments to your secondary players.

The St. Louis Cardinals are an excellent example of a team that has tactfully balanced spending when appropriate with financial flexibility. In the past 10 seasons, they have consistently ranked between 9th and 13th in total payroll.

2015: $121M

2014: $111M

2013: $115M

2012: $110M

2011: $105M

2010: $94M

2009: $89M

2008: $100M

2007: $90M

2006: $89M

They handed out extensions to Chris Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina yet did not handicap themselves by splurging on top tier free agents. Most importantly, they made the difficult decision to walk away from Albert Pujols when he demanded over $200 million. The result is 7 division titles, 3 second place finishes, 4 World Series appearances and 2 championships in 12 years.   

In stark contrast, we have the Phillies who had a nice run at the top but is now suffering the consequences of trading away their farm and handing out too many large contracts. The Blue Jays are a team that also went all in and seems to be a few years away from where the Phillies are now and the Padres are already stuck in between competing and rebuilding after a single season of “going for it”.

Fans care about next year, they care about now. But it is the GM’s job to look beyond the present. The Mets are a big market team but that doesn’t mean we should max out on our capabilities each year. There is no rule that says you must spend your whole paycheck when you get it and it makes more sense for us to invest what we need and keep an eye out for a future rainy day.

The Cardinals lost top prospect Oscar Taveras to a tragic car accident last year and Jason Heyward was acquired to make up for that loss. Now Lance Lynn goes down with Tommy John surgery. This may be the Cardinals rainy day that they actually make an exception and sign Heyward to a long term deal but that wouldn’t be possible if they had tried to fill every hole with a premium free agent signing in the past.

Spend what you need to but do not spend just because you are “supposed to” as a big market ballclub.


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The Case for Collins Tue, 17 Nov 2015 16:47:33 +0000 Terry  Collins

Allow me to begin with a common stipulation for pieces such as this: I am not predicting here who will win NL Manager of the Year later today, but opining on who should win it.

Joe Maddon blew into Chicago, changed the culture of the Cubs and made them relevant in short order and ahead of schedule. Mike Matheny took a Cardinals team that, on paper, would have done well to win 90 games, and managed them to 100 wins and yet another division title.

But do either of them deserve the honor more than Terry Collins?

Since many or most will stipulate that TC held the fort – and the clubhouse – admirably if not perfectly for the first four months of the season, the BC (Before Cespedes) portion of the schedule, let’s focus on what he did in the AD (After Deadline) part. Because we all know that the last two months really were the season.

The challenge to him as the calendar turned to August is laid out here. He was finally given a team that could win in the present rather than the future.

So, given a virtual treasure trove of new or recaptured resources over the last two months, how much of a role did he play in the team’s success?

That is ordinarily a subjective judgment, but not so much in this case.

Because virtually everything TC did, virtually every move he made from August 1 to the end of the regular season, turned to gold. And it didn’t hurt to observe the stark contrast to Matt Williams, the manager of the team he was chasing, whose every move seemed to fail.

Was luck, pure dumb luck, involved? For example, did he know Captain Kirk and Kelly Johnson would hit crucial pinch hit HR’s late in two critical games in September in DC? Did he know Dario Alvarez, for heaven’s sake, would strike out Bryce Harper in a crucial situation earlier in that series? Or that Yoenis Cespedes would hit so many timely homers over an unforgettable six week stretch?

Of course not. But if you blame him for many of his moves over the years that didn’t work out, then he deserves just as much credit when things do work out.

How would the Mets have done with a different manager? Perhaps someone should concoct a Manager WAR (Wins Above Replacement) to determine how many more or less wins a team might have had with, for example, Matt Williams at one end and Bruce Bochy at the other.

Could another manager have handled the delicate situation with the team’s young pitchers, especially Harvey, any better? TC managed to express the frustration of the team, the front office and the fans at the Boras-induced crisis without losing control, not an easy task given that the Harvey bombshell was dropped in his lap right before the most critical series of the season in DC.

And yet, the Mets swept that series to all but clinch the division.

Should TC get any more or less credit for managing this rebuild over five years, as opposed to Maddon bursting on to the scene in Chicago and Matheny continuing to excel as the young but experienced skipper in the long-established winning culture of St. Louis?

It seems some credit is due TC for perseverance, a steady hand at the wheel and getting his team to play hard even during the dog days of July, the days of Mayberry and Campbell in the heart of the order, when TC had to be saying to himself this is all the offense I’m going to have to work with?

This is a hard call to make. Arguing against Joe Maddon as Manager of the Year is difficult. And what makes it more difficult is proximity. We saw all the moves TC made, but few of those made by Maddon. We do not have nearly the intimate knowledge of Maddon’s managing style as we do of TC.

And much as we might like to, we can’t be influenced by post-season. This award is for the regular season so the Mets sweep of the Cubs in the NLCS can not be taken into account….but that’s like saying don’t think about a pink elephant. That assures you will think about it.

Yes, I’m not objective. Yes, I didn’t see Maddon manage nearly as much as TC. And yes, 100 wins is an impressive overachievement for Matheny.

But when you consider the almost unprecedented night-and-day contrast between the LOL, laughingstock Mets on July 31, and the feared team they became over the next six weeks, that transformation is enough to justify National League Manager of the Year honors for Terry Collins.


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Mets “Very Serious” About Dilson Herrera As Their Second Baseman Next Season Mon, 16 Nov 2015 19:50:18 +0000 dilson hererra hr

(Updated 11/16)

With Daniel Murphy having played his last game with the New York Mets, it appears the team is “very serious” about Dilson Herrera being the starting second baseman next season, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Rubin adds that the plan this offseason for the Mets is to find a backup infielder who can cover second base, but that Herrera has the everyday job.

VP of Player Development Paul DePodesta gave Rubin a quick assessment of Herrera while at the GM Meetings in Boca Raton.

“He always hit,” DePodesta said. “He’s got excellent bat speed. He’s shown some control of the strike zone. For a smaller guy, he does a lot of damage. And he also plays with a lot of life. This is a guy with a lot of energy, both offensively and defensively. I think it rubs off on his teammates.”

DePodesta stopped short of anointing Herrera the Opening Day second baseman. ”It’s still a long way from now until April, and we don’t know all the different opportunities that may present themselves between now and then. It’s certainly an option for us.”

Last week, Sandy Alderson called Herrera “a viable alternative” to replace Murphy, and that it’s very likely they will open the season with a middle-infield combination of Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and the 21-year old Herrera.

The Mets have regarded Herrera as their second baseman of the future ever since he was acquired in 2013 from the Pirates in a deal that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh for Herrera and reliever Vic Black.

Herrera, batted .327 with a .382 OBP and .511 slugging in 364 plate appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas last season. He collected 23 doubles, 11 home runs, 50 RBI, 60 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases as the youngest player in the Pacific Coast League.

While he’s been a little overwhelmed at times in his two cups of coffee in the majors, he has shown some flashes of power hitting six home runs in 149 at-bats, and his short compact swing has drawn the praise of his manager at Las Vegas, Wally Backman.

“For Dilson, it’s just a matter of working in all aspects of the game. He shows lots and lots of promise. Just the energy he brings to the game, the way he plays the game, the nice swing. He’s just a kid still. I know other people have said it — and I believe it, too — I think the kid, at some point in time, can be an All-Star.”

It looks like Herrera will get a full shot next season, so not sure about the rumors that Mets are making a strong push for Ben Zobrist or any other everyday alternatives out there.


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MMO Free Agent Profile: Ben Zobrist, IF/OF Sun, 15 Nov 2015 13:00:07 +0000 Zobrist ben

Ben Zobrist
Position: 2B/3B/SS/LF/RF
Bats: Switch — Throws: Right
Born: May 26, 1981 (Age 34)

To sum him up quickly, Ben Zobrist is a switch-hitting, two-time All Star and World Series champion who can play a variety of positions. He is a career .265/.355/.431 hitter with 127 home runs, 567 RBIs, and 105 stolen bases.

Last season in 126 games with the Athletics and Royals, the 34-year old Zobrist hit .276/.359/.450 with 13 home runs, 36 doubles and 56 RBIs. He had a strong postseason, batting .303 with two home runs and six RBIs.

Struggling to come back from an injury in April and May, Zobrist had a down year in 2015. But his .349 wOBA and 123 wRC+ were still better than Daniel Murphy who had his best season and produced a .325 wOBA and 110 wRC+.

Zobrist batted a respectable .253 with a .753 OPS against right-handed pitching last season. But he absolutely torched left-handers with a .329 average against them with a .409 on-base and .926 OPS.

This is the kind of player that any team should be interested in at least a little bit. His experience, talent, and versatility are all qualities that make him attractive as a free agent. The Cubs, White Sox, Braves, Yankees, and Royals have all shown some sort of interest. The Mets are reportedly meeting with the agents for Zobrist in the near future.

For the most part, Zobrist is an infielder. His best position is second base, but he also plays an adequate third base, all three outfield positions, and shortstop.

The Mets are expected to replace Murphy with Dilson Herrera, but if he isn’t ready or doesn’t pan out they could slide Wilmer Flores over to second base and turn to Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Matt Reynolds could also be in the mix.

The switch-hitting Zobrist would obviously be more of a sure thing at second base for the Mets and he could even spell David Wright at third base whenever he needs to be rested.

Contract: Zobrist will likely get a 3-4-year deal worth $15-17 million annually.

Recommendation: Pass. While Zobrist is obviously a great player and would help the Mets in 2016, it’s 2017-2019 I’m worried about. With some solid prospects expected to be ready by late 2016 and 2017, I don’t want to see the Mets paying a 36-38 year old Zobrist upwards of $15 million a year when they could be paying a younger player a lot less for better production.


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Alderson and the Mets Should Follow Their Blueprint Fri, 13 Nov 2015 21:00:51 +0000 collins alderson

After more than a week to let the World Series, yes, World Series dust settle, it is safe to say that this season was indeed a huge success for the New York Mets.

The Mets went from a 79-83 team a year ago, to National League champions, at least a year ahead of schedule, according to most experts.

The World Series champion Kansas City Royals were simply a better team than the Mets. They were better defensively, had a deeper bullpen, and a lot more experience and hunger than the upstarts from Queens.

The Royals understood what it would take to be World Champions, having been runner-ups the previous season and they came into 2015 spring training with the singular goal necessary to fulfill their dreams.

The Mets will enter the 2016 season under similar circumstances.

“We’re starting from a higher level of expectation,” General Manager Sandy Alderson said, stating the obvious. “It doesn’t guarantee anything, but at the same time, we feel comfortable with those expectations, but now we have to go out and figure out a way to meet them.”

The question, of course, is what the Mets must do in order to have similar or greater success next year and beyond.

harvey degrom syndergaard matz

Do not touch ANY of the young stud starting pitchers

Alderson has been quoted as saying they do not plan on moving any of their four top young pitchers, referring to the four that pitched for them this past season: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz.

I would hope Alderson puts Zach Wheeler in that category as well.

The Mets are in a position to roll out a starting rotation filled with formidable young and reasonably proven arms the likes of which have not been seen in many years, if ever.

Alderson and the Mets dodged a bullet at the trade deadline when their attempt to acquire Carlos Gomez from Milwaukee fell through. That trade famously would have sent Wilmer Flores packing, but also inexplicably included Wheeler. The baseball Gods protected the Mets’ present and their future, as it is unlikely Gomez could have carried the Mets a la Yoenis Cespedes.

Here’s to hoping Alderson recognizes the second chance he was given and holds on as tight to Wheeler as he says he will to the other four.

Remember, the 25-year-old Wheeler pitched to a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts in 2014 (his first full season) and struck out 187 batters in 185 innings. He was considered the Mets’ second rated pitching prospect after Harvey.

daniel murphy game over

Don’t be afraid to let Murphy and Cespedes walk

Yes, Cespedes carried the Mets through much of their late-season push. Yes, Murphy had a historic showing throughout the National League Division and Championship series.

But, they both are not without faults and burdensome price tags.

Cespedes, while a legitimate 5-tool player and middle of the line-up stud, is not a great center fielder, is 30-years-old and is sure to ask for huge money over too many years.

His production will be impossible to replace in the short term, but the Mets have a burgeoning young offensive star in left field, Michael Conforto, who will get a chance to play everyday in 2016. His swing and potential power has been compared to the likes of Don Mattingly and Carlos Gonzalez, so 30 home runs and 90 RBIs should not be out of the question.

Center field will be a bit of a question mark. However, the Mets could look to free agency to find a platoon for Juan Lagares, or hand the position back to Lagares full time. It was just a year ago that Lagares was coming off a Gold Glove season and being lauded as the Mets’ center fielder of the future.

He struggled with injuries this season and eventually lost his starting job, but he came on late in the regular season and postseason, providing a glimpse of what he could be next season.

As for Daniel Murphy, his postseason extreme highs and lows were actually a fitting end to his Mets career.

He was the ultimate conundrum. You loved his hitting, hated his fielding. He could win games with his bat, but just as easily (or more easily) lose games with his glove and lack of defensive instincts.

In the end, the Mets will likely determine that you cannot expect to win a championship with a (high priced) starting player who cannot field his position. You can get close, perhaps, as the Mets did this season, but you are unlikely to win it all without a solid defense, especially up the middle.

jeurys familia

Spend money on the bullpen and follow the new blueprint

Along with the dreadful Mets’ offense pre-trade deadline, the weakest part of the team was the bullpen, save closer Jeurys Familia. Not only did the lack of a seventh or eighth inning reliever lose many a game for the Mets, it also unnecessarily taxed the young starting pitchers the organization is so invested in protecting.

Mets’ starters felt the pressure from the fans, teammates, coaching staff and themselves to go at least seven innings, if not eight. Adding a late inning reliever or two would do wonders in the win column as well as for their most valuable assets.

Based on the current free agent market, the Mets would be wise to look for insurance at the center field, second and third base positions. They would also be smart to upgrade the speed on the roster. The Mets were 29th in Major League Baseball in stolen bases in 2015. With the pitching they possess, a few more manufactured runs would come in handy.

Many fans and media may call this approach “resting on your laurels” because there is no call to frantically upgrade the roster via free agency. But, it pays to be smart, as Alderson and the Mets surely were last season.

With the Mets’ starting pitching and an improved bullpen, they should be quite formidable with an opening day lineup of:

  1. Curtis Granderson
  2. Dilson Herrera/Kelly Johnson
  3. David Wright
  4. Lucas Duda
  5. Michael Conforto
  6. Travis d’Arnaud
  7. Wilmer Flores/Ruben Tejada
  8. Juan Lagares

And, of course, the Mets can and will likely follow the 2015 blueprint of adding the additional pieces necessary at the trading deadline to ensure another successful postseason run. This time, maybe even more successful.


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