Mets Merized Online http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 11 Dec 2016 03:12:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Lagares Leaves Winter League Game With Possible Injury http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/lagares-leaves-winter-league-game-with-possible-injury.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/lagares-leaves-winter-league-game-with-possible-injury.html/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2016 03:07:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227902 juan lagares

Juan Lagares made a diving catch with the bases loaded in the fifth inning of a Dominican Winter League matchup between the Aguilas Cibaenas and the Tigres del Licey tonight. Lagares was seen wincing in pain as he ran off the field, and was removed in the top of the seventh inning with a possible injury.

Lagares was 0 for 2 on the night before leaving the game with what is still an unknown injury. He has played in 14 winter ball games for the Aguilas and has struggled at the plate with a .170 average and .439 OPS.

The 27-year old New York Mets outfielder missed significant time during the 2016 regular season after having surgery on his left thumb in July.

Lagares surprisingly returned to the Mets on September 18, but was used mainly as a defensive replacement and received only five plate appearances the rest of the season.

We will have more details for you as they become available….

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Nats Deal Danny Espinosa To The Angels http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nats-deal-danny-espinosa-to-the-angels.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nats-deal-danny-espinosa-to-the-angels.html/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2016 02:52:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227898 danny-espinosa-nats

A day after he skipped the the team’s annual Winterfest, citing he was unhappy with the trade for Adam Eaton, the Washington Nationals have traded infielder Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels according to a tweet by Josh Norris of Baseball America.

No other details available yet, but Norris says the Nats will be getting two prospects back.

By the way, Bryce Harper also missed the team event, citing a prior commitment.

Espinosa believed that the trade for Eaton would likely shift super prospect Trea Turner to shortstop and likely cost him his job as the club’s starting shortstop.

Espinosa, 29, batted .209 last season for the Nats with a .684 OPS, but hit 24 home runs while amassing 174 strikeouts. He is eligible for arbitration and is a free agent after the 2017 season.

One of our readers pointed out something interesting:

Espinosa was worth 8 DRS at shortstop in 2016, and 10 DRS at second base in 2015. If he plays at 2B next to Andrelton Simmons, that’s one hell of a defensive middle infield.

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Mets Report Cards: Asdrubal Cabrera, SS http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-report-cards-asdrubal-cabrera-ss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-report-cards-asdrubal-cabrera-ss.html/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2016 00:45:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225746 asdrubal-cabrera

 ASDRUBAL CABRERA, SS

Player Data: Age: 31, Bats: S, Throws: R, Contract: Signed for 2017 at $8.25 million

2016 Primary Stats: .280/.336/.474, 30 2B, 23 HR, 62 RBI

2016 Review:

It was a tale of two seasons for Asdrubal Cabrera in 2016.  Prior to landing on the disabled list on August 2, Asdrubal was having a fairly unremarkable year.  He was certainly not a bust, hitting .262 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs in 317 at-bats while playing smooth defense prior to the All Star break.  But his most unsightly achievement of the year had been a horrendous 0-for-32 streak with runners in scoring position that symbolized the entire team’s failings with runners in scoring position.

But things changed dramatically for the better when Asdrubal returned from the disabled list on August 19.  He became a mainstay in the number two hole in the order while batting .345 the rest of the way with a .406 on-base and 1.041 OPS in 165 plate appearances. In September, as we fought to clinch a Wild Card spot, he hit .321 with 6 home runs and 18 RBIs.  The Mets, who had looked like they were thinking about 2017, went on a 22-12 run in his first 34 games back to get themselves right back in the hunt.

Asdrubal showed success from both sides of the plate, for the year hitting 20 of his home runs from the left side but hitting .321 from the right.  He also played a steady (if unspectacular) defense, committing only seven errors from the shortstop position in 135 games.  Overall it was a solid signing by Sandy.

And Asdrubal gets an extra plus by giving us the most exciting moment (and bat flip) of the year, when on September 22 he hit a three-run homer against the Phillies in the bottom of the 10th to give the Mets a 9-8 lead.

Grade: B+

2017 Outlook:

While it might be unfair to expect Cabrera to hit like he did in September for a 162 game season, he seems to have found a home in the two hole in the Mets lineup. Another .275 season with 20 home runs should be achievable next season coupled with more solid defense.

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Hoping That Tomas Nido Gets The Amed Rosario Treatment http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/hoping-that-tomas-nido-gets-the-amed-rosario-treatment.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/hoping-that-tomas-nido-gets-the-amed-rosario-treatment.html/#comments Sat, 10 Dec 2016 17:31:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227882 tomas nido

According to what a source told Marc Carig of Newsday, three Mets prospects whose names were kicked around at the Winter Meetings included 2011 first rounder – outfielder Brandon Nimmo, 2012 first rounder – catcher Kevin Plawecki, and currently the team’s top catching prospect Tomas Nido.

Carig believes those prospects could come into play as the Mets evaluate their options in the relief market. It had been reported previously that Sandy Alderson was very open to dealing prospects to acquire that late-inning reliever he is committed to acquiring, especially if trading Jay Bruce fails to bring that caliber of a reliever in trade.

While I have no issues at all in using Nimmo, Plawecki, or even Gavin Cecchini for that matter, to garner us the reliever our bullpen desperately needs with Jeurys Familia looking at a suspension to begin the year, I have some significant reservations about giving up Tomas Nido, who we’ve lauded extensively on MMO over the last 24 months.

It came as no surprise to me and my incredible minor league analysts, to see Nido enjoy one of the best breakthrough performances in the entire Mets system in 2016. We projected him for a breakout performance prior to the season, and he certainly delivered in a most spectacular way.

If you were to ask me for a comp, my response to you would be imagine the offensive profile of a young Paul Lo Duca coupled with the defensive profile of longtime Met Jerry Grote. That’s what Nido could potentially be for the Mets – and thanks to Sandy Alderson’s infinite wisdom, Nido was added to the 40 man roster in November to prevent from losing him in the Rule 5 Draft.

It’s not often that a franchise can produce a catcher who has a mid to high level offensive ceiling while also being equipped with a highly extensive defensive skillset. Two-way catchers like Nido are indeed a rare commodity in today’s game, and to have someone who can potentially be that kind of player in the major leagues in the near future is quite an exciting cogitation.

tomas-nido-ed-delany

Nido, only 22, was the Florida State League batting champion this past season, batting .320 and beating out his next closest competitor by 15 points. Nido achieved career highs across several offensive categories in a league that is heralded for being very pitching rich and extremely tough on hitters.

An 8th round pick for the Mets in the 2012 draft, Nido posted a .829 OPS and collected 23 doubles, two triples and seven home runs in just 370 plate appearances, and in addition to his batting title and all-star selection, Nido was also named our MMN Defensive Player of the Year. And guess what? Two months later, Baseball America agreed with us and named him Best Defensive Catcher. He threw out a stunning 42 percent of would-be base stealers in 2016.

So let me conclude by saying that just because a players name often comes up in trade talks, like Nido apparently has, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mets would trade him. In fact, and this is just my opinion, I bet when teams ask Sandy Alderson about Nido, they get about the same response as when they ask about shortstop prospect Amed Rosario.

Thankfully, we have a GM who knows all about the value of high level prospects who play a position of scarcity, and I have a sneaky suspicion that Sandy Alderson values Tomas Nido just as much as I do. So don’t be shocked when the stories surface that teams wanted Nido this offseason and that Alderson told them he was off limits. You heard that here first.

You can read more on Nido in an MMO Prospect Pulse that Teddy did on him back in August.

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Rockies In Discussions With Mark Trumbo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/rockies-in-discussions-with-mark-trumbo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/rockies-in-discussions-with-mark-trumbo.html/#comments Sat, 10 Dec 2016 15:32:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227862 mark-trumbo

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Colorado Rockies remain interested in signing 1B/OF Mark Trumbo despite having recently signed Ian Desmond to a five year, $70 million dollar deal to play first base next season.

Should the Rockies sign Trumbo, the team may ultimately trade one of their outfielders.  Last season, the Rockies outfield was primarily comprised of Gerardo Parra, Charlie Blackmon, and Carlos Gonzalez.  Parra has two years and $18 million remaining on his contract with a $12 million team option for 2019.  Blackmon is second year arbitration eligible and is scheduled to be a free agent in 2019.  Gonzalez will earn $20 million in the last year of a six year deal he has with the Rockies.

If the Rockies put their outfielders on the market, it could further complicate the Mets chances to move Jay Bruce this offseason.  At the moment, there have not been any rumors with respect to Bruce.

Earlier in the offseason, it had been reported the Orioles had some interest in Bruce but were more interested in Curtis Granderson. They are also still in the mix for Trumbo, reportedly. 

Ultimately, a deal between the Mets and Orioles fell apart.  However, it is possible that if Trumbo signs with a new team, the Mets and Orioles could rekindle their trade discussions. At the time, the Mets were interested in O’s reliever Brad Brach.

Brach posted a 2.05 ERA and recorded 24 holds in 71 games. The 29-year-old righty had 92 strikeouts in 79 innings.

 

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Reed Should Have Continued Success Closing http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/reed-should-have-continued-success-closing.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/reed-should-have-continued-success-closing.html/#comments Sat, 10 Dec 2016 13:30:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227868 addison-reed

While Sandy Alderson and the front office continue to scour the market for bullpen help via free agency and through trades, the Mets feel confident in their closer heading into 2017.

No, not Jeurys Familia, who will likely be suspended to begin the 2017 season due to his arrest for his role in a domestic violence dispute on Halloween in Fort Lee, NJ. Instead, the Mets intend to slide setup man Addison Reed into the closer’s role, one he’s familiar with from his time with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Reed, 28 on December 27, had a brilliant 2016 season as the Mets’ setup man, posting career highs in games pitched (80), ERA (1.97), IP (77.2), strikeouts (91), WHIP (0.94), and OPS against (.536). His 2.6 fWAR was tied for fifth among all relievers in ’16, with only names like Jansen, Miller, Betances, and Chapman ahead of him.

Before the trade that sent Reed to the Mets in late August of 2015 for minor league pitchers Matt Koch and Miller Diaz, Reed was the closer for both the White Sox and Diamondbacks, compiling 101 saves from 2012-14, posting a 4.22 ERA with 9.5 SO/9 during that period. While the 101 saves was good for ninth among relievers, his ERA was the 16th worst among qualifying arms. Although, his FIP was 3.58, indicating that he might’ve been subjected to some bad luck and/or poor fielding or defensive alignments.

So why did it take so long for Reed to blossom into the dominating force he’s been for the Mets? Taking a closer look at Reed’s velocity and pitch selection, per Brooks Baseball, Reed’s four-seam fastball velocity in 2011-12 was over 95 MPH. Over the next four seasons, Reed watched his velocity dip to 93.22 MPH this year, however, Reed’s whiff percentage has risen since 2015, registering 9.09 followed by a 10.75 this past season, the highest it’s been since 2014. Reed’s also seen his slugging percentage against shrink over the past three years, from .423 in 2014, to .421 in ’15, to a career low .319 in ’16.

Reed’s slider has also been a useful weapon for the right-hander, as he’s using it more as a put away pitch than he has in years past. In 2014, Reed went to the slider 236 times, then saw a huge hike in ’15 with 321 times, followed by 329 in ’16. In 2012 and ’13, Reed’s whiff percentage on his slider was at 12.88 and 18.81 respectively, in ’16, Reed had a 20.97 whiff percentage on the slider, another career best. His .185 batting average against on his slider was also a career best for Reed in ’16, resulting in a 60.78 ground ball percentage.

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Another important aspect to Reed’s success with the Mets is the mechanical adjustments he’s made on his leg kick, or should I say, lack thereof. As early as mid 2015, Reed pitched with a pronounced leg kick, bringing his knee up to his belt before delivering to the plate. But while Reed was stationed in Triple A Reno in 2015, as the Diamondbacks demoted their closer due to inconsistencies in the majors and watched as his ERA ballooned to 7.20 by mid May, Reed and the Diamondbacks’ staff made a compromise.

“We kind of met in the middle,” Reed said. “Not the high leg kick, not the slide step but lifting it quick and just going. That kind of got me a little bit more going into my delivery and going as opposed to the slide step, you’re just falling forward. This kind of got me to gather everything on my back leg and then shoot toward home plate.” (Beyond the Boxscore)

The change in Reed’s mechanics allow him to gather momentum on his back leg and fire towards home plate. The change in mechanics have also given Reed better control, as he posted a 1.51 BB/9, the lowest it’s been since his brief cup of coffee with the White Sox in 2011. Reed posted his best first pitch strike percentage in ’16, at 70.1%, according to FanGraphs.

Mechanics, pitch selection, and change of scenery have all helped Reed regain his form and be a dominating reliever in baseball. Because of this, the Mets should enter 2017 with peace of mind in the ninth, as his turnaround over the last year and change signals that the Mets have rolled the dice and won in their low risk/high reward gamble with Reed. Terry Collins spoke to MLB Network this past Tuesday and offered similar sentiments when it comes to Reed in the ninth, saying he was confident Reed can handle the ninth and get the job done.

Of course, the off-season is far from over, as the team needs to add additional relievers along with looking to re-sign Jerry Blevins. Adding a trusted arm to take Reed’s spot setting up is still a priority for the club, and it will only strengthen the team as Familia comes back from his likely suspension, giving the Mets a potentially dynamic back end of the pen.

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White Sox Still Have Pieces That Could Help The Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/white-sox-still-have-pieces-that-could-help-the-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/white-sox-still-have-pieces-that-could-help-the-mets.html/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:30:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227670 todd frazier

If there was any doubt the White Sox were selling after the Chris Sale trade, those doubts were alleviated once the White Sox obtained yet another impressive haul of prospects in exchange for Adam Eaton. With those deals, the White Sox have unofficially announced they are willing to trade away anyone if they can get back a significant haul in return.

What is surprising is that a White Sox team that was under .500 last season still has a number of good pieces remaining even after trading Sale and Eaton. In fact, they have a number of pieces that would be quite enticing for the New York Mets.

For starters, the White Sox have David Robertson. Robertson is enticing not just because he is a good closer, and the Mets face the possibility of losing Jeurys Familia to a lengthy suspension in 2017. He is also enticing because he pitched very well for Yankees, and has pitched well for the Yankees in the postseason too. A pitcher who can pitch well in pressure situations in New York should always be of interest to the Mets.

The White Sox also have a very good left-handed reliever in Dan Jennings. In 2016, left-handed batters only hit .217/.316/.337 off of him. Overall, Jennings was 4-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 64 appearances. He’s even more attractive as a trade target when you consider he’s under team control until 2020.

Perhaps the most impressive reliever in the White Sox bullpen last year was Nate Jones. Jones made 71 appearances in 2016 going 5-3 with a 2.29 ERA, 0.892 WHIP, and a 10.2 K/9. He is a sinker/slider pitcher that can throw the ball over 97 MPH that would thrive in the Mets organization. He has a reasonable contract going forward with provisions in the deal that protects his team against arm injuries. Overall, he will make $3.95 million in 2017, and he is under contract until 2021.

Because everyone is interested in the Toms River, NJ native, the White Sox also have Todd Frazier. On a positive note, Frazier has proven that he is able to hit for power away from the Great American Ballpark. In fact, Frazier’s 40 home runs this season were a career high. These home run totals to mask the fact that Frazier is a career .250/.317/.464 hitter who has seen a steady decline in his batting average and OBP over the past three seasons.

Defensively, Frazier has been a good third baseman, but he did have a slight dropoff this season as per UZR and DRS. In addition to third base, Frazier has played some first making him a versatile infielder. That would be important for a Mets team that arguably has injury concerns at every position in the infield. Frazier is third year arbitration eligible, and he will be a free agent in 2018.

jose abreu

Another name that will arise in trade rumors will be Jose Abreu. The soon to be 30-year old Abreu is a classic clean-up hitter who has hit .299/.360/.515 while averaging 30 homers and 103 RBI in his brief major league career. However, there are some issues with Abreu. For a team looking to reduce payroll, Abreu is coming off a season where he made over $11 million, and he will likely earn a raise in his first year of arbitration. Second, Abreu really is best suited to DH. Finally, Abreu has seen his power and OPS+ numbers go down each season in the majors.

Finally, there is Brett Lawrie, who is a versatile infielder the Mets could add to the equation. In his major league career, Lawrie has played both second and third. While he has rated as a poor defender at both positions, he versatility would be welcome on a Mets team that has injury concerns all across the infield.  However, there should be concern that Lawrie is unnecessarily on a Mets team that already has Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes.

Additionally, Lawrie has largely been disappointing in his major league career with him hitting .261/.315/.419 while averaging just 12 homers and 42 RBI. Still, Lawrie might be worth a gamble as he will be free agent after this season, and he is entering the prime years of his career.

Understandably, Mets fans covet one if not all of these players. The issue becomes what are you going to be willing to give up for anyone of these players who not only suits a need for the Mets, but is also cost controlled? Judging from the haul the White Sox obtained in the Sale trade, the team is wisely extracting the most possible value for its players.

While nothing has been reported, it is likely the White Sox would look to obtain young controllable players like Michael Conforto, Justin Dunn, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz, Tomas Nido, Dominic Smith in exchange for any combination of the aforementioned White Sox players.

And who could blame the White Sox from asking for players like that considering the impressive hauls they have received for their two biggest trade assets?

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Neil Walker Willing To Play Multiple Positions http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/neil-walker-willing-to-play-multiple-positions.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/neil-walker-willing-to-play-multiple-positions.html/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:30:51 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227824 neil-walker-2

New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker has expressed a willingness to play other positions if it would help the Mets according to Anthony DiComo on Twitter.

Walker, 31, is coming off from a great offensive first season with the Mets in which he slashed .282/.347/.476 with nine doubles, 23 home runs (tied career high) and 55 runs batted in. He also had a fine year defensively as he posted a career best 9.3 UZR in 111 games at second for the Mets.

The switch-hitting veteran had his 2016 season cut short though, because he needed surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. He would get, and accept the qualifying offer of $17.2 million to return to the Mets for the 2017 season.

Walker was originally drafted as a catcher in 2004 and played that position exclusively until 2007. Over this next three seasons he would play third base only in the minor leagues for the Pirates and he would make his major league debut with nine games at third in 2009.

In 2010 for Triple-A Indianapolis, Walker played third base, first base, left field and got his first professional exposure to second. That same 2010 season he would make his major league debut at second base, where he would play 105 games. Since 2011, Walker has played nothing but second base.

Overall in his professional career, Walker has played 439 games at third, ten at first, 942 at second, 14 in left field, and 202 behind the plate.

Walker never played any third base last year for the Mets despite the season-ending injury to David Wright. Many wondered if he could shift to third which would also allow the Mets to promote Dilson Herrera to play second base.

In the end, the Mets signed Jose Reyes to play third base and traded away Herrera. The Mets also have Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera, Ty Kelly and Matt Reynolds on their 40-man roster that are capable of playing third.

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What’s Next For The New York Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/whats-next-for-the-new-york-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/whats-next-for-the-new-york-mets.html/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:09:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227847 sandy alderson

At least as far as Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets are concerned, the Winter Meetings ended without so much as a whimper. Yes, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. But fret not my friends,  because unlike the Colorado Rockies, the Washington Nationals, the New York Yankees, and a few other teams, our Metropolitans didn’t make any god awful trades or horrific signings. Alas, no nightmares before Christmas for the Boys in Orange and Blue.

So “what happens next,” seems to be the question on everyone’s mind as we head into what’s shaping up to be a cold and blustery weekend. Look, we all know what the team’s offseason goals are, in fact I’m a little surprised at how transparent the usual stealthy Mets GM has been this month. But I guess they need him to provide some relevancy during his nightly appearances on SNY… I mean would anyone watch Mets Hot Stove if they knew Sandy wasn’t coming on as a guest? Exactly…

Nobody knows the day or the hour, but what we do know is as follows:

Mets Will Trade Bruce

As I’ve said since the last out of the wild card game, Jay Bruce is as good as gone. The Mets aren’t even fielding calls on Curtis Granderson anymore… or Michael Conforto for that matter. It’s a slow developing market for Bruce and other power hitters that still remain in ample supply.

If Alderson wanted to just give Bruce away he had at least three opportunities to do so for some irrelevant low minors prospect – or suspect as I like to call them.

Playing the waiting game and maximizing his return has always been Sandy’s calling card. So he’ll just wait it out and at some point over the next 4-6 weeks, a team craving a 30 homer bat will come down the chimney with care, and with a twinkle in his eyes, Sandy Alderson will be there.

Mets Looking For Relief

It’s a certifiable fact that the Mets will add a top-shelf reliever who will lockdown the 7th inning role and even get a few save opportunities as well in 2017. There’s a lot of great arms available in the free agent market and a few solid options that are on the trade block. This is one of the most robust markets for quality relievers that we’ve seen in quite some time.

But here’s the rub… Due to payroll constraints the Mets will need to unload Bruce and his $13 million dollar contract before adding and new players on major league deals. According to Alderson, payroll is at $150 million currently and the goal is to get that number down to roughly $135 million before they invest in a quality reliever. As Sandy put it, “You don’t buy a new house until you sell your old one first.”

One arm I was hoping to see the Mets get was Koji Uehara, but it looks like the Chicago Cubs just snatched him up on the cheap. That is one heck of a bullpen Theo has assembled over there.

The Mets have been connected to David Robertson of the White Sox, Brad Brach of the Orioles, and free agents Brad Ziegler, Fernando Salas, Greg Holland and Jerry Blevins. However, Alderson has made his aversion to multi-year deals for relievers very apparent, and I don’t see any of those relievers settling on a one year deal. Other relievers who could help the Mets are Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell, Joe Smith, Tommy Hunter, Neftali Feliz and Matt Belisle.

Anything Else?

The Mets seem to be set in the infield so I don’t foresee any changes there. Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera and David Wright will man their positions around the diamond, and the team is set with Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes filling the two utility spots.

Wth a renewed commitment to Travis d’Arnaud, and Rene Rivera signed to a $1.7 million dollar deal, last season’s catching tandem will return anew in 2017. Hopefully, this time the Mets will get better offensive production from the catching position.

Without Jay Bruce in the family photo, the outfield is also set with Yoenis Cespedes in left, Granderson and Juan Lagares in center, and Conforto taking over in right field. The fifth outfielder figures to be Brandon Nimmo for now, but that could change by the end of spring training.

The rotation has some questions to be sure as Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are all coming back from varying degrees of surgery. Harvey is probably the biggest question mark and everyone is anxious to see how he returns from his Thoracic Outlet surgery. Wheeler is also another one to keep an eye on as he’s two years removed from Tommy John surgery, but has endured several setbacks since then. Noah Syndergaard is now the undisputed ace and primed for a huge season. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo give the team some quality depth.

The bullpen is the one area that remains unsettled, but once the Mets add an arm or two, much of the makeup will be sorted out in spring training. For now, Addison Reed and Hansel Robles are the only locks and the team expects that Jeurys Familia will be serving out a suspension to begin the season.

In Closing…

The 2017 Mets will not look that different from the team we saw last season. And to hear Sandy Alderson address that at the Winter Meetings is worth considering.

“I think the team last year was pretty good,” Alderson said. “If we get the pitching back we lost over the course of the season we should be very competitive. That’s not to say we’re not looking to improve. Obviously there were some flaws, we didn’t score that many runs, we didn’t hit with men in scoring position, those kind of things. Some of that may be random.”

“We’re not trying to duplicate last year, we’re trying to improve it, but I do think a lot of the improvement is going to come internally from growth from some players and the return from injury of some others.”

The two players Sandy is counting on the most for some significant improvement next season, are Michael Conforto and Travis d’Arnaud. The team is hoping Conforto can be their number three hitter for years to come, and thy are keeping their fingers crossed that d’Arnaud could become a fixture as a number five hitter.

This is a very talent laden team with a great mix of proven and productive veterans as well as good young players that are oozing with potential. It’s going to be an exciting season and I’m looking forward to an epic battle for a division title.

So Sandy Alderson and his staff are back in New York, having left the Winter Meetings empty-handed. But I believe they laid the groundwork for some potential trades and that they reached out to a number of quality relievers they have targeted.

And I heard Sandy exclaim, as he flew out of sight – “We have more moves to make so hang on and sit tight.”

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Mets Minors: Top 5 Third Base Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-third-base-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-third-base-prospects.html/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:00:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227864 philip-evans

We have voted on our Top 5 prospects at each position in the Mets minor league system and today we look at third base. We have already covered shortstopsecond base, and catcher.

Third base is a thin part of the Mets farm system despite breakout seasons from our #5 and #1 prospects on this list.

#5 Phillip Evans

Ht: 5’9”     Wt: 220 lb     B/T: R/R    Age: 9/10/92 (24)

2016 Level: Binghamton Mets/St. Lucie Mets

Stats: 105 games, 389 AB, 53 runs, 125 hits, 30 doubles, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 24 BB, 60 K, 1 SB (1 CS) .321/.366/.460

Evans won the batting title on the final day of the Eastern League season in 2016. He had a solid season for the Binghamton Mets hitting .335/.374/.485 in 96 of his 105 games this season.

The 24-year old, had a good season hitting wise, but still struggled to  In 105 games he walked just 24 times.

In his career Evans, is a .255 hitter with a .318 on base percentage which is not great. This season in Binghamton was a breakout season for Evans, as he hit over .300 for the first time in his career (over a full season). Personally I don’t think this approach will be successful on the long run for Evans, but would like to see him proving me wrong.

I expected him to be a part of the talented Las Vegas 51s infield that could include Amed RosarioDominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini.

#4 Blake Tiberi

Ht: 5’11”     Wt: 205 lb     B/T: L/R    Age: 2/16/95 (21)

2016 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 56 games, 196 AB, 21 runs, 46 hits, 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 22 BB, 32 K, 2 SB (6 CS) .235/.316/.316

The Mets drafted the third baseman in the third round (100th overall) of this years draft out of the University of Louisville. When the Mets drafted Tiberi BA editor John Manuel said this:

The main thing for him is he’s a left-handed power bat, and you’re really buying the bat, and it’s a matter of, do you think he can play third base? I guess it’s more of an all-field bat than a power bat. He hit in the Cape (Cod League) last summer, and he has enough home run power, you wonder if those type of guys will develop more home run power over the course of their career. He’s a bigger guy. You wonder if he has the requisite athleticism and agility for big league third base. 

Tiberi struggled to start his pro career with the Cyclones this season. After 17 games with the Cyclones Tiberi was hitting just .177 and didn’t hit his first home run until his 41st game with the Cyclones.

Overall, Tiberi had an up and down season as he hit just .160 in June, .261 in July, .218 in August and .333 in four games in September. Biggest surprise to me was his ability to hit lefties as he hit .333 against the southpaws.

I don’t think we have seen the best of Tiberi and expect his bat to be much better in his second year in the organization. I expect Tiberi to play third with the Columbia Fireflies in 2017.

#3 Eudor Garcia

Ht: 6’0”     Wt: 240 lb     B/T: L/R    Age: 5/17/94 (22)

2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies/GCL Mets

Stats: 57 games, 211 AB, 27 runs, 59 hits, 14 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 18 BB, 45 K, 1 SB (0 CS) .280/.335/.427

Garcia missed the first 80 games due to a PED suspension. He came back playing most of his games for the Columbia Fireflies this season and showed off his good bat in 2016.

He didn’t put up the same power numbers as 2015 but he still showed decent power with 20 of his 59 hits for extra bases. The big third baseman played 31 of his 57 games at third. He also played some first and designated hitter to get his bat in the lineup.

Garcia won’t impress you in the field and he showed that with a .932 fielding percentage in 29 games with the Fireflies. Garcia doesn’t have good range or smooth hands at third base which could get him eventually shifted to first base.

His bat on the other hand is promising. His quick swing and ability to hit for power and average is a promising tool for the young third baseman. I expect him to play for the St. Lucie Mets in 2017. Garcia his biggest issue is his lack of walks and high amount of strikeouts. He needs to work on that to become a better all-around hitter.

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#2 Jhoan Urena

Ht: 6’1”     Wt: 230 lb     B/T: S/R    Age: 9/1/94 (22)

2016 Level: St. Lucie Mets

Stats: 115 games, 383 AB, 52 runs, 86 hits, 17 doubles, 2 triples, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 42 BB, 75 K, 0 SB (1 CS) .225/.301/.350

Urena had his second straight down season, but we still have him at second in our list. Urena played the entire season for the St. Lucie Mets. He started the season as the regular third baseman then moved to first when David Thompson got promoted to the St. Lucie.

Urena struggled in the first half hitting just .197/.266/.303 to go with four home runs and 18 RBI in 61 games. He was much better in the second half .257/.340/.406 with five home runs and 35 RBI.

Urena hit nine home runs in 2016, the team leader for St. Lucie. in a very tough hitters league. Urena ended the season strong as he posted a .380 on base percentage in August.

The talent is there for Urena now he needs to show it. Urena was rushed to High-A ball after his All-Star season with the Cyclones in 2014. Don’t give up on Urena just yet, as he is still just 22 years of age and still has some raw talent.

#1 David Thompson

Ht: 6’0”     Wt: 220 lb     B/T: R/R    Age: 8/28/93 (23)

2016 Level: Columbia Fireflies/St. Lucie Mets

Stats: 116 games, 432 AB, 74 runs, 121 hits, 34 doubles, 2 triples, 11 HR, 95 RBI, 29 BB, 90 K, 6 SB (0 CS) .280/.333/.444

It was a breakout season for the 23-year old. The former fourth round pick of the 2014 draft proved himself as an RBI machine this season. Thompson drove in 95 runs in 116 games. To put that in perspective, that’s a 132 RBI season over 162 games.

Most of his damage Thompson did was with the Fireflies where he drove in 58 in 61 games before his promotion to the Florida State League.

Thompson is seen as a powerful third baseman with a good idea at the plate. This year in 55 games in St. Lucie he hit six home runs. and had 34 doubles overall this year.

Thompson excelled when the pressure was one. He hit .296/.358/.507 with runners in scoring position. To put in perspective, Thompson hit .229 with the bases empty. This is the main reason why he had so many runs batted in, plus he had Vinny Siena in front of him in Columbia. In Columbia, Siena had a .435 on base percentage.

It’s interesting to see where Urena and Thompson will start the 2017 season and if they will both play third base? For now it seems like the Mets prefer Thompson at third and given his age the Mets could be aggressive and start him in Binghamton.

Honorable mention:

Jeff McNeil, 24, was also mentioned but made our top 5 list at second base. McNeil was limited to just three games with Binghamton this season hitting .250/.357/.583 before going down. McNeil had a great 2015 season were he hit .308/.369/.377 between the St. Lucie Mets and Binghamton Mets.

Other players we discussed were Kenny Hernandez (GCL Mets, Hansel Moreno (DSL Mets), Franklin Correa (Brooklyn Cyclones) and Reed Gamache (Kingsport Mets).

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Amed Rosario has Become an Untouchable http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/amed-rosario-has-become-an-untouchable.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/amed-rosario-has-become-an-untouchable.html/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:00:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227844 amed-rosario

The New York Mets shortstop of the future, Amed Rosario, will be going nowhere anytime soon. Mets General Manager, Sandy Alderson has let it be known to prospective trade partners that Rosario is untouchable.

“We’ve made that clear before and continue to make it clear when his name is mentioned,” Alderson said. “So I think clubs have gotten the message.” (MLB.com)

Baseball America has ranked the 21-year-old Rosario as the team’s 2017 top prospect. The Mets signed Rosario back in 2012 for $1.75 million, a franchise record for an international amateur. He has had a quick rise through the minors and continues to impress more and more each year.

Rosario started his 2016 season in high Class-A St Lucie. before earning a promotion to Binghamton where he combined to hit to a .324/.376/.462 batting line with five homers and 71 RBI.

The smooth fielding Rosario is also believed to have Gold Glove potential as he has been considered the best defensive player in both the Florida State and Eastern Leagues while playing in each. Rosario has quickly become a possible cornerstone franchise player.

“He can be an outstanding player, I think that’s why he’s considered our No. 1 prospect at a premium position,” Alderson said.

Possibly the most surprising news to come out about Rosario recently is the team’s desire to have him field at other positions in order to expand his versatility. There though has not been any news as to where else the team may look to use him at this point.

“He’s athletic enough. We’re not going to harm him by playing him somewhere else. We know what he can do at shortstop,” Alderson said.

“So, if we want to move him around while he’s still in the minor leagues in order to fill a role potentially more than shortstop at the major league level, even if on a temporary basis, then I think that’s important for him to be able to do that.”

It is an interesting thing to do with a developing player at this stage of his career. There is belief around the league that although Rosario may start the season in Double-A, we may still see him by the end of 2017 at Citi Field if all goes right for the team’s top prospect.

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Cardinals Agree To Deal With Dexter Fowler http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/cardinals-agree-to-deal-with-dexter-fowler.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/cardinals-agree-to-deal-with-dexter-fowler.html/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2016 01:35:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227831 dexter-fowler

Update, 9:15 p.m.

The deal has been agreed to, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The exact details are yet to come, but Heyman’s sources say it’s at least five years at $16 million per season ($80 million total).

Original Post, 8:35 p.m.

Free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler will be in St. Louis for a physical with the Cardinals tomorrow, indicating a deal is close, reports Frank Cusumano of KFNS 560 The Fan.  While no details of a contract are public, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Cardinals made an “over the top” offer to Fowler.

Fowler had one of his finest seasons of his nine-year career, slashing .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, and 85 runs scored in 125 games played. Fowler set career highs in OBP, BB% (14.3), wRC+ (129), and fWAR (4.7). In terms of National League outfielders, Fowler ranked second on FanGraphs in fWAR behind only teammate Kris Bryant (ranked as both third baseman and outfielder).

Fowler also posted positive numbers in center field this season, the first time he’s done so over a full season, according to FanGraphs. Fowler posted a 1.0 UZR/150 while manning center, with one defensive run saved, and also posted a 2.7 defensive rating on FanGraphs as well, which was a career high.

Fowler was once thought to be the backup plan for the Mets before they re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal, which remains the biggest contract signed by a free agent this offseason.

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Talkin’ Mets: Live Winter Meetings Call-In Show http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/talkin-mets-live-winter-meetings-call-in-show.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/talkin-mets-live-winter-meetings-call-in-show.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:36:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227716 screenshot-1

On Thursday December 8th between 9-10pm, I will be doing our first Talkin’ Mets Live Podcast.

I will recap the Mets week at the Winter Meetings in National Harbor, MD and hear what is on your mind.

The show is unfiltered, unscripted and no comments are unwelcome.

Call-in Number is

646-716-8187

You will be able to listen to the show and wait for me to say your area code and last 4-digits of your phone #.  At that point you will be live on the Talkin’ Mets podcast!

After a brief monologue to open the program the floor is yours. I want to hear what your thoughts are about the Mets, me or the show.

Thursday at 9:00 PM

If you can’t make the call-in, email your questions or thoughts about the Mets to Joe D at MMO and I will read most of them on the show to discuss.

JoeD@MetsmerizedOnline.com

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

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Cubs Close To Signing Reliever Koji Uehara http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/cubs-close-to-signing-reliever-koji-uehara.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/cubs-close-to-signing-reliever-koji-uehara.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:57:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227826 koji-uehara-jim-davis-globe-2013-09-03

According to Evan Drellich on Twitter, the Chicago Cubs are close to signing former Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. The deal is reportedly for one year, $6 million.

Uehara, 41, had a 3.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, seven saves and a 5.73 SO/W ratio for the Red Sox in 2016. He did miss time during the season with a pectoral strain and saw diminished velocity on his fastball.

During his eight season major league career, the dominant right-hander has 93 saves, 2.53 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and has struck out 522 batters in 437.2 innings compared to only 66 walks.

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Mets Minors: Top 5 Second Base Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-second-base-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-minors-top-5-second-base-prospects.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:00:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227408 t-j-rivera

We have voted for the Top 5 Mets second base prospects here at MMN. This is the third position we’ve ranked after doing so with shortstops and catchers previously.

The Mets second base prospects have not reached the heights of the shortstop position within the Mets farm system.  Accordingly, there have been discussions about moving some of the well regarded shortstop prospects, like Gavin Cecchini, over to second base.

This is not a sign the Mets farm system is bereft of second base talent. Rather, it is an indication the Mets second base talent is located in the lower levels of the Mets farm system, and it is also reflective of the fact some of the Mets top second base prospects dealt with serious injuries last year.

#5 Michael Paez

Ht: 5’8″    Wt: 175 lbs.    Age: 12/8/94 (21)

2016 Level: Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 46 G, 201 PA, 179 AB, 18 R, 34 H, 11 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 8 SB, 6 CS, .190/.270/.285

The diminutive Paez was the Mets fourth round selection from the College World Series Champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

Paez was a shortstop in college, but due to both his size and the sheer volume of shortstops drafted by the Mets in 2016, Paez was quickly shifted to second base with the Cyclones. He had some difficulty fielding the position as indicated by his .956 fielding percentage. However, he did show enough that he could handle the position.

Ultimately, when discussing Paez, the focus should be on his bat. Despite his size, Paez does have power hitting ability as evidenced by his 15 home runs for Coastal Carolina and his 2015 stint in the Cape Cod League. That power did not immediately translate to the New York Penn League. However, it should be noted Paez finished the season with a flurry hitting .421/.476/.526 in the final month of the season.

Paez should expect to be the second baseman for the Columbia Fireflies to start next season.

#4 Walter Rasquin

Ht: 5’9″     Wt: 200 lbs.     Age: 3/21/96 (20)

2016 Level: Kingsport Mets

Stats: 49 G, 204 PA, 187 AB, 24 R, 55 H, 3 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 8 SB, 3 CS, .294/.353/.374

Rasquin was signed as a catcher out of the Dominican Republic, and in his short professional career he has seemingly played every position on the diamond. It was not until this year the Mets determined his position should be second base.

Like Paez, Rasquin is a player making the full time transition to the position, and he has promise offensively. While Rasquin may not have the pop Paez does, he certainly has shown the ability to get on base. In fact, this was Rasquin’s third straight impressive offensive season, and people are beginning to take notice. He was named the Appalachian League Player of the Week (7/17/16), and he was named as MiLB’s Second Base Organizational All-Star for the New York Mets farm system.

Given his career trajectory, Rasquin is likely to begin the 2016 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. If he continues hitting the way he has, he may very well find himself playing for a full season minor league affiliate before the end of 2017.

#3 Jeff McNeil

Ht: 6’1″     Wt: 165 lbs.     Age: 4/8/92 (24)

2016 Level: Binghamton Mets

Stats: 3 G, 14 PA, 12 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB, .250/.357/.583

McNeil seemed poised to build upon his breakout 2015 season. Unfortunately, McNeil would miss the majority of the 2016 season after needing sports hernia surgery.

McNeil has shown the ability to play well at both middle infield positions and third base. However, given his relative lack of power and the sheer depth of shortstop talent in the Mets farm system, McNeil should find himself playing second base for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies next season.

luis carpio

#2 Luis Carpio

Ht: 6’0″     Wt: 165 lbs.     Age: 7/11/97 (19)

2016 Level: GCL Mets & Brooklyn Cyclones

Stats: 20 G, 86 PA, 74 AB, 7 R, 15 H, 3 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, .203/.314/.270

Carpio was a star on the rise, and he was starting to draw some Amed Rosario comparisons after his terrific stint with Kingsport last year. However, Carpio’s rise took a brief hiatus as he needed surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

While he was widely expected to miss the entire 2016 season, Carpio did surprise many by being able to return in August. Carpio’s work ethic in returning early as well as his ability to heal quickly were about the only positives to take away from his 2016 season. It will be interesting to see if Carpio returns to his 2015 form or if he continues to struggle with a surgically repaired shoulder in 2017.

It will also be interesting to see if Carpio begins the year with Columbia or if the Mets are conservative with one of their top prospects, and they have him begin the year with Brooklyn.

#1 T.J. Rivera

Ht: 6’1″     Wt: 205 lb.     Age: 10/27/88 (28)

2016 Level: Las Vegas 51s & New York Mets

MiLB Stats: 105 G, 442 PA, 405 AB, 67 R, 143 H, 31 2B, 3B, 11 HR, 85 RBI, 3 SB, 3 CS, .353/.393/.516

MLB Stats: 33 G, 113 PA, 105 AB, 10 R, 35 H, 4 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, .333/.345/.476

Rivera’s year is a testament to perseverance. Not only did Rivera have to wait almost six years before getting his shot in the major leagues, he also had to watch as other teammates were called-up ahead of him. Instead of pouting, Rivera rededicated himself learning new positions and by improving at the plate. Ultimately, he would pass Brandon Nimmo to claim the Pacific League batting crown on the last day of the AAA regular season.

Rivera’s real chance to play in the majors came due to Neil Walker‘s and Wilmer Flores‘ season ending injuries.  When it was finally Rivera’s turn he took over the second base position, and he gave Terry Collins no reason to take it away from him.  Rivera would actually start the Wild Card Game, and he was the only Mets player to get an extra base hit that night.

During the season, we saw exactly what Rivera was. He was a gap-to-gap line drive hitter who was aggressive at the plate. While Rivera has no true position, he is not going to hurt you at second base with his defense. He established that the Mets should consider him a part of their future. Where that is in 2017 is unclear especially with Walker accepting the Mets qualifying offer. Likely, Rivera will find himself battling with Ty Kelly in Spring Training for the last spot on the bench.

Honorable Mentions

In addition to the aforementioned players, there are some other Mets second base prospects who have earned some praise. Vinny Siena has continued to show the ability to consistently get on base posting a .391 OBP during his time between Columbia and St. Lucie this season. Finally, the 17-year old Luis Santana, who was one of the Mets top signings out of the Dominican Republic this year, hit .293/.354/.400 in his first professional season in the Dominican Summer Leagues.

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Lucas Duda Will Not Be Traded http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/lucas-duda-will-not-be-traded.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/lucas-duda-will-not-be-traded.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:31:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227802 lucas duda

With the Mets apparently having difficulty in moving Jay Bruce during the Winter Meetings, some have been left to speculate whether the Mets would look to trade Lucas Duda and move one of their outfielders like Bruce or Michael Conforto to first base.

According to Matt Ehalt of the The Record, the Mets are not contemplating such a move. In fact, the Mets are still planning on Duda being the team’s Opening Day first baseman.

Duda will be a free agent after the 2017 season. He is coming off an injury plagued season that limited him to only 47 games with him hitting .229/.302/.412 with seven homers and 23 RBI.

In the two prior seasons Duda was the Mets first baseman and he hit .249/.350/.483 while averaging 28 homers and 82 RBI.

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Mets Haven’t Ruled Out Trade For David Robertson http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-havent-ruled-out-trade-for-david-robertson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-havent-ruled-out-trade-for-david-robertson.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 17:03:11 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227790 david-robertson

As the Chicago White Sox presumably continue their fire sale, the Mets could have some interest in closer David Robertson according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

While it seems unlikely given the Mets current payroll, a source told Carig that the Mets have not ruled out exploring a trade for Robertson.

Robertson, 31, is coming off a down year in 2016 in which he had his worst BB/9 (4.6) since 2011, highest ERA (3.47) since 2010 and tied his career worst FIP at 3.58. He did pick up 37 saves and still struck out 75 batters in 62.1 innings.

Since becoming a closer in 2014, Robertson has a 110 saves with a 3.32 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Over those 190 innings he has struck out 257, walked 68 and only allowed 144 hits.

One of the obvious obstacles to acquiring the right-hander is that he’s making $25 million over the next two seasons. Not to mention the price of closers on the trade market right now.

He has a limited five team no-trade clause that includes the Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Phillies.

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Alderson Laid Groundwork For Future Deals At Winter Meetings http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/alderson-laid-groundwork-for-future-deals-at-winter-meetings.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/alderson-laid-groundwork-for-future-deals-at-winter-meetings.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:00:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227800 sandy-alderson

Before departing the Winter Meetings, Sandy Alderson met with reporters to discuss what has been seen as a relative week of inactivity for the Mets.

Alderson assured everyone the Mets have been in discussions with teams to try to make a couple of moves. However, he noted that the team has a crowded outfield that the team needs to address before moving onto other deals. Alderson did note some difficulty in resolving the situation as, “Clubs are trying to sort out priorities. When there is that type of supply, things are slower initially until someone makes an initial move.”

There has been some movement on that front during the Winter Meetings. The Houston Astros signed OF/DH Carlos Beltran, the Colorado Rockies signed IF/OF Ian Desmond, the Washington Nationals traded for OF Adam Eaton, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have recently announced Andrew McCutchen is off the trading block.

Still, a lot more movement is needed on that front as Jose Bautista, Dexter Fowler, Mark Trumbo, and even Edwin Encarnacion remain free agents. Once those situations are resolved, it is likely Alderson will be able to get to work on the deals he has laid the groundwork.

The closer market awaits just one more shoe to drop as Kenley Jansen is last elite reliever standing. Once he is signed, the movement on secondary pieces like Brad Ziegler, Joe Smith and Koji Uehara is sure to pick up.

While the Winter Meetings are coming to an end, the offseason is far from over, and the Mets roster has yet to be finalized. It should be an entertaining couple of months as the Mets continue to try to build another World Series contender.

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Blue Jays, Rangers Have Little Interest in Bruce http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-met-with-rangers-about-bullpen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-met-with-rangers-about-bullpen.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:05:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227747 jay-bruce

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays have minimal interest in trading for New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce. 

The Mets continue to struggle finding a taker for the left-handed hitting Bruce and his $13 million contract for the 2017 season.

Original Report – Dec 7

According to MLB.com Texas Rangers beat writer TR Sullivan on Twitter, the Mets and Rangers met today to discuss possible trades. The Mets are still trying to trade Jay Bruce who the Rangers seem to be interested in.

The Rangers have four relievers that would be phenomenal additions to the Mets bullpen, two lefties and two righties. The first lefty is former Philly Jake Diekman.

Diekman, 29, is under team control via arbitration through 2018. He has averaged 96 mph on his fastball in his career, topping out at 100.3 mph. He was very wild with the Phillies, however after being traded to the Rangers in 2015, he has pitched much better.

In 2016, Diekman went 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA. In 53 innings he struck out 59 batters and walked 26, also saving four games. His slider, which averages at 84.2 mph, would greatly benefit from Dan Warthen‘s influence.

The second Ranger lefty the Mets should check in on is 24 year-old Alex Claudio. Claudio, under team control through 2021, has been phenomenal since his call-up in 2014, posting a 2.82 ERA.

He does not strike out many batters, only 34 in 51.2 innings in 2016, however he has tremendous control as he only walked 10 batters in that span (1.7 BB/9). One big reason he doesn’t strike out many batters is that his sinker averaged only 85.4 mph on the gun and topped out at 88.7 mph in 2016. Opposing batters had a .301 BAA off that pitch, however he threw it only 55% of the time.

Batters had a much harder time squaring up his other pitches, his best of which being his changeup. He threw it 27% of the time and batters managed a mere .196 average against it. He also features a slurve which he threw 18% of the time which batters hit to a .227 clip.

With Jerry Blevins becoming expensive asking for a three-year deal, acquiring Diekman or Claudio would provide a cheap and effective alternative.

sam dyson rangers

The first righty in the Rangers bullpen is acting closer Sam Dyson. The 28 year-old righty had a great year for the Rangers, saving 38 games and recording a 2.43 ERA. In 70.1 innings he struck out 55 batters and walked 23. Mets fans might recognize him as he was traded to the Rangers by the Miami Marlins during the 2015 season.

Dyson is particularly enticing because he is under team control via arbitration through the 2020 season. He has touched 100 mph on the gun in his career, and while he has a mediocre slider, Dan Warthen‘s influence would again be beneficial to him.

Last but not least is former Brewer, Blue Jay, and Royal Jeremy Jeffress. Under team control through 2019, the 29 year-old has been extremely effective of late. Since 2013 he has saved 27 games while pitching to a 2.46 ERA, striking out 150 batters in 160.1 innings and walking 55.

He is a very consistent, effective reliever that can toss flames, averaging 95.5 mph on his fastball in his career, touching 100 mph on many occasions. His curveball is his best pitch though, as batters have hit only .168 off it in his 7-year career.

All four of these pitchers would immediately upgrade the Mets bullpen and are relatively cheap. The Rangers seem interested in Bruce, but it seems unlikely they would give up more than one of those relievers for just him. If the Mets want to acquire two of these pitchers, they might have to throw a prospect or two into the mix which they’ve said they are willing to do.

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No Mets Taken In Major League Rule 5 Draft Portion http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/no-mets-taken-in-major-league-rule-5-draft-portion.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/no-mets-taken-in-major-league-rule-5-draft-portion.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:38:45 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227764 philip-evans

 

The Major League portion of the Rule 5 has concluded and the New York Mets didn’t have an unprotected player drafted and didn’t select a player.

The Mets also passed in the Triple-A portion of the draft. They had two players taken from their minor leagues, lefty reliever Paul Paez was drafted by the Seattle Mariners and lefty reliever Adrian Almeida was taken by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Original Report – Dec 7

The Rule 5 Draft takes place Thursday morning as the culmination of the 2016 Winter Meetings in Maryland. It will be streamed live on MLB.com at 9:00 a.m. ET.

The New York Mets currently have a full 40-man roster so they will not be able to draft a player. However, there is a good chance of them losing one player and possibly more after deciding to protect high ceiling players instead of those close to being major league ready. They added Amed Rosario, Wuilmer Becerra, Tomas Nido, Marcos Molina and Chris Flexen to their 40-man roster to protect them from the draft.

Before we get into the players the Mets could lose, let’s go over the rules of the draft because they’ve changed in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Under the new CBA, Major League Rule 5 picks will cost the selecting team $100,000, which is double the $50,000 that had previously been the amount. Triple-A Rule 5 picks will cost the selecting team $24,000, again double the previous amount.

In brief, the drafted player must stay on the team’s 25 man roster he is drafted by (or traded to) for the entire season, or must be on the active roster for 90 days if they serve time on the disabled list. If the drafting team decides they don’t wish to keep the player on the 25-man roster they have to put him on waivers and then offer him back to his original team for $50,000 if he passes through.

As mentioned above, the Mets currently have a 40-man roster and Sandy Alderson said during his press conference on Wednesday night that it’s unlikely that they take a player in the Major League portion. However, the Mets were also said to be discussing players they could take in the Triple-A phase on Wednesday night. The Double-A portion of the draft was eliminated in the recently finished CBA.

The Triple-A portion of the draft doesn’t have the same roster restrictions. Once the player is taken, they become the property of that organization. One of the most notable picks the Mets have made in the AAA phase is right-handed pitcher Henry Owens in 2003. The most recent example of success in the minor league Rule 5 is when the Miami Marlins selected Justin Bour in 2013.

Now let’s take a look at some players the Mets have left vulnerable to being selected on Thursday morning:

Phillip Evans INF – The utility infielder continues to get the most buzz among Mets players left unprotected including being a part of Baseball America’s ”Cream of the Crop”. He had a breakout 2016 season when he hit .335/.374/.485 and won the Eastern League batting title for the Double-A Binghamton Mets.

The 24-year old is also hitting .311/.386/.446 in the Puerto Rico Winter League. Prior to 2016, Evans had four straight seasons with an OPS lower than .700. He can play shortstop, second base and third base.

Paul Sewald RHP - The reliever with a nasty slider that has dominated his entire minor league career with a 2.20 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 66 saves in 72 chances. The 26-year old continues to post strong strikeout numbers, 80 in 65.2 innings this year for the Las Vegas 51s, despite a fastball that tops out in the low 90′s. He is mentioned in BA’s Rule 5 preview under the Enough Stuff, Good Control category, similar to former Mets’ prospect and 2015 draftee Matt Bowman.

Sewald admitted during an interview with me that he went to pitch in the Mexican Winter League in hopes of opening eyes in other organizations. He pitched to a 3.32 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 11 saves in 19 innings for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

Other players that could intrigue teams include right-handed starter Ricky Knapp (2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP over 3 levels in 2016), right-handed reliever Kevin McGowan (95-97 MPH fastball, successful move to bullpen), outfielder Champ Stuart (two plus tools in speed/defense), right-handed starter Nabil Crismatt (2.47 ERA in 2016, plus changeup) and right-handed reliever Tyler Bashlor (Heavy upper 90′s fastball).

Ultimately, I think there is a good chance that Evans gets taken while the buzz for Sewald has died down some recently. Knapp would be a similar pick to Bowman when talking about stuff and upside, but doesn’t have the upper level experience that Matt had.

Some names to keep an eye on from around the league that could get drafted are shortstop Zach Vincej, right-handed pitcher Aaron Slegers, outfielder Andrew Pullin, right-handed pitcher Justin Haley, infielder Eric Wood, and left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff.

The Minnesota Twins kick off the draft since they finished with Major League Baseball’s worst record. Expect the San Diego Padres to be active as they’ve been the past few years and have the third pick. The Baltimore Orioles are another team that have a recent history of drafting players and they currently have four open spots on their 40-man roster.

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Winter Ball Update: Lagares Struggling, Montero Roughed Up http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/winter-ball-update-lagares-struggling-montero-roughed-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/winter-ball-update-lagares-struggling-montero-roughed-up.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:42:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227795 rafael-montero

In winter ball action last night, Juan Lagares went 1 for 4 with a triple, run batted in and scored a run for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League.

Lagares is now slashing .195/.209/.293 with two doubles, triple and nine RBI in 41 at-bats. He has one stolen base and has struck out four times compared to only one walk.

Mets right-hander Rafael Montero made his second appearance of winter ball and it was ugly. He faced four batters, allowing three runs on three hits and recorded just one out for the Leones del Escogido. One of the hits given up by Montero was an RBI triple to Lagares.

In Montero’s first outing on Monday he didn’t give up any runs, but walked two and allowed a walk in two thirds of an inning.

Infield prospect Phillip Evans has continued his great 2016 regular season right into winter ball for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican League. In 19 games, the 24-year old is hitting .311/.386/.446 with five doubles, triple, home run and 13 runs knocked in.

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