Mets Merized Online Sun, 23 Nov 2014 01:36:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rays Sign Allan Dykstra To Minor League Contract Sun, 23 Nov 2014 01:36:55 +0000 Dykstra

The Tampa Bay Rays signed minor league free agent Allan Dykstra to a minor league contract on Saturday.

Originally a first round pick for the San Diego Padres in 2007, the Mets acquired him in 2011 for fellow first rounder and reliever Eddie Kunz.

Dykstra spent four seasons with the Mets and always maintained an on-base percentage north of .400 at every level. Last season he batted .280/.426./504 for Triple-A Las Vegas where he made the Pacific Coast League All-Star team.

I was surprised he never got a cup of coffee with the Mets, considering how often the front office and player development people praised his approach at the plate.

“I was in San Diego when he was drafted,” said Sandy Alderson last season. “A couple of us were involved in trading for him from San Diego to bring him here. He has had a great season, and he has approached the game, offensively, the way the organization hopes to approach the game at the major-league level.”

Dykstra, 27, played mostly first base and should get an opportunity to win a job on the bench this Spring for the Rays.


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Dillon Gee vs. Jonathon Niese: Who Should Be Traded? Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:13:34 +0000 dillon gee jonathon niese

I love watching Dillon Gee pitch.  Similarly, I am a fan of Jon Niese.

Although the Mets have been under .500 every season Gee has pitched in the majors, Gee himself has a won-loss record that is six games over .500 and he has never been more than one game under the break-even mark over a full season.  Jonathon Niese, on the other hand, is one of the few Mets left on the team who played at Shea Stadium (David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell are the others, although Murphy and Parnell may not be on this list much longer).  Niese is also the team’s only southpaw on a staff filled with right-handed pitchers.

As much as I enjoy having Gee and Niese on the team, I understand that the starting rotation currently has Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom taking up four spots, with Noah Syndergaard waiting in the wings.  Assuming Colon is traded at some point during the 2015 season (if not sooner), Syndergaard would be the obvious choice to replace him in the rotation.  That would leave one of the members of the Gee-Niese duo out of luck and perhaps out of a job in New York.

Knowing full well that either Gee or Niese will not be a Met by this time next year, I decided to see which player the Mets would be better off keeping.  One or both pitchers might be traded if the right deal comes along, but I think one of the two would be better off staying in the Mets’ starting rotation.  Here’s my reasoning for the player I would like to stick around.

Although he has a 3.91 ERA for his career, Dillon Gee has had only one full season in the majors in which he posted an ERA under 4.00.  Advanced metrics also have his lifetime FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) at 4.23.  For all you kids out there, FIP measures how effective a pitcher is at limiting home runs, walks and hit batsmen while causing strikeouts.  Basically, those are the four categories in which fielders do not determine an outcome.  Therefore, Gee’s 4.23 FIP is considered a little higher than what is expected from an average pitcher.

Jonathon Niese has a 3.87 career ERA, but has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in each of his last three seasons, going under 3.50 in two of the last three campaigns.  But on the FIP side, Niese has a lifetime 3.72 FIP and has posted a FIP under 4.00 in each of his last four seasons.  Niese has walked more batters than Gee, but has hit fewer batters and allowed fewer home runs per nine innings than Gee.  And when it comes to strikeouts, Niese is far superior to Gee, as Niese has surpassed 130 strikeouts in a season four times, while Gee has done it just once.

Speaking of strikeouts, although Niese is just 28 years old (he’s actually six months younger than Dillon Gee), he’s already in the Mets’ all-time top ten in career strikeouts.  Niese’s 713 Ks are tenth on the team’s lifetime leaderboard and he is just one strikeout behind Bobby Jones for ninth place.  Once he passes Jones, the only pitchers in front of him will be Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Ron Darling, Al Leiter and Jon Matlack.  You may also know that octet as arguably the eight best pitchers in the history of the franchise.   Niese’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.69; 713 K/265 BB) is also far better than Gee’s ratio (2.26; 464 K/205 BB).

Let’s look at another new metric to determine a pitcher’s effectiveness – ERA+.  This metric compares a pitcher’s earned run average to the league average and also accounts for park factors, with 100 being considered an average ERA+.  For example, Citi Field is generally considered a pitcher’s park.  However, Dillon Gee has never posted an ERA+ of 100 in any of his four full seasons.  From 2011 to 2014, Gee has posted a 90 ERA+, with a career-best 98 ERA+ in 2013, which is still 2% worse than the average pitcher.  Meanwhile, Jonathon Niese has a 97 ERA+ since he became a regular in the rotation in 2010.  But since 2012, Niese has a 104 ERA+, making him 4% better than the average pitcher over the last three seasons.  Niese’s career-best performance in this metric came in 2012, when he posted a 112 ERA+.

WAR (wins above replacement) is all the rage in this sabermetric era of baseball.  The higher the WAR, the better the player.  It’s that simple.  Looking at the WAR posted by Gee and Niese since 2011 (the year both pitchers were rotation-mates for the first time), it’s clear which pitcher has been more valuable to the team.  Gee has a 4.5 WAR since 2011, going above 1.0 just once in the four years (2013, when he posted a 2.2 WAR).  In the same time period, Niese has a 6.2 WAR, posting a 3.4 WAR in 2012 and a 1.7 WAR this past season.

WAR.  What is it good for?  For Niese, it might be good for keeping him in New York.

WAR. What is it good for?  For Niese, it might be good for keeping him in NY.

Finally, let’s look at one overlooked, but still important, part of the pitcher’s game – his offense.  When a pitcher comes to bat, he’s not expected to do much.  If there’s a runner on base, he’s expected to bunt him over.  If there’s no one on base, the best a pitcher is expected to do is not get hurt swinging the bat and maybe make the opposing pitcher throw a few extra pitches.  When it comes to proficiency with the bat, there’s no contest between Gee and Niese.

Since becoming a regular in the rotation in 2011, Dillon Gee has a .154 on-base percentage, reaching base 27 times (18 hits, nine walks) in 206 plate appearances.  Meanwhile, since Niese joined the rotation for good in 2010, he has reached base an incredible 66 times (38 hits, 28 walks) in 304 plate appearances, which is a .237 on-base percentage.  Of all pitchers with at least 200 plate appearances since 2010, only Zack Greinke (.274 OBP in 245 PA) and Mike Leake (.261 OBP in 338 PA) have a higher on-base percentage than Jonathon Niese and only Ian Kennedy has drawn more walks (32 BB in 342 PA) than Niese.  Kennedy and Niese are the only pitchers who have walked more than 20 times since 2010.

So let’s review.  Jonathon Niese has a better ERA, ERA+, FIP and WAR than Dillon Gee.  Niese is also much more adept at recording strikeouts than Gee and has a better K/BB ratio.  And while Gee is almost an automatic out with the bat, Niese gives the Mets a ninth hitter in the lineup, reaching base just under a quarter of the time.  Niese isn’t going to break into a home run trot any time soon, but he has proven to be one of the better handlers of the bat among National League pitchers.

Dillon Gee will blow out 29 candles during the first month of the 2015 campaign.  Jonathon Niese will be 28 all season.  Niese has more experience than Gee, having pitched at Shea Stadium.  Niese is also left-handed, something no other starting pitcher on the Mets can claim.  Although Gee is still arbitration eligible and will likely not command more than $5 million in 2015, Niese is due $7 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016, hardly amounts that would break the Wilpon family piggy bank.

If the Mets are going to trade one of their veteran homegrown pitchers before the curtains rise on the 2015 season, it should be clear which one should go.  Although I’ve always enjoyed watching him pitch and still believe he can be successful in New York, Dillon Gee will probably be the victim of an overcrowded starting rotation.  Jonathon Niese, despite all the question marks surrounding his health, has still made at least 24 starts in each of his five full seasons in the majors.  Gee has surpassed 22 starts just twice in his four full seasons with the Mets.  Also, Niese may not always utter the most politically correct statements, especially when it comes to Mets fans’ loyalty, but you can’t say he was pulling things out of his posterior.  If the Mets are going to draw the crowds Niese was used to seeing when he was a neophyte, then the team has to play better.  And right now, I believe the team will perform better with Niese on the team instead of Gee.

Of course, trading Gee or Niese will depend on the package the Mets would receive in return, but if each package was similar and the Mets had an option of trading either player, then that player should be Gee.  The future of the team would look a lot brighter if it held on to Niese.

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How Will Mets Shortstop Situation Play Out? Sat, 22 Nov 2014 16:36:13 +0000 wilmer flores

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

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

The Mets are reluctant to part with a top prospect like Noah Syndergaard for the likes of a Didi Gregorius or Brad Miller, and rightfully so.

Alexei Ramirez now appears to be a lot less available than what was initially reported, and White Sox GM Rick Hahn said he’s not pursuing a trade.

The Mets can’t afford to take on the contract of Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, and don’t have the bat they want anyway.

As for the Cubs, Theo Epstein wants to be blown away for All Star shortstop Starlin Castro and top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. We’re talking Jacob deGrom and probably Kevin Plawecki too.

Adam Rubin of ESPN NY speculated that the Mets could just wait until January to see if free agent shortstops like Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew can be had at a lower price, and that makes a lot of sense.

But in the end, I still believe that Wilmer Flores will be our Opening Day shortstop. I’d put the odds at 75/25.

The bottom line is the Mets do not have the money for some of the big name shortstops, and are unwilling to part with any of their young pitching for shortstops who may not even offer more offensively than what they already have in Flores.

(Joe D.)

November 16 – Steamer Projections for Shortstop Market

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

jed lowrie

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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Mets Want To Acquire A Lefty Reliever Sooner Rather Than Later Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:47:43 +0000 MLB: San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners

The Mets expect to sign or trade for a left-handed reliever by the end of the Winter Meetings, a team source told Mike Puma of the New York Post.

With Josh Edgin already assured of a bullpen role, the Mets are looking for a second lefty to pair with him next season. Reportedly, they are targeting a low cost reliever on a one-year deal and Puma named Phil Coke, Joe Beimel and Craig Breslow as likely options.

Beimel, 37, has been on the Mets radar in the past. Last season, he went 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 56 appearances for the Mariners. Of the three, I think he’d be the best option.

Adam Rubin also reported that the Mets could consider re-signing Dana Eveland if his elbow proves healthy. Eveland, 31, had a 2.63 ERA in 30 relief appearances for the Mets, striking out 27 and walking six in 27.1 innings pitched. He was released in October to make room on the 40-man roster after being shutdown in September with inflammation in his elbow.

On Thursday, the Mets added Jack Leathersich to the 40 man roster and he is expected to compete for a job in the bullpen this Spring.

There’s always the possibility that the Mets trade for a left-handed reliever as they look to move one of Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee.

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Braves Shopping Right-Handed Slugger Justin Upton Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:00:16 +0000 justin-upton

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Braves are “very much shopping” outfielder Justin Upton and are looking for “a higher return” than they received for Jason Heyward, who they traded to St. Louis earlier this week.

In exchange for Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden, Atlanta received 24-year old righthander Shelby Miller plus right-handed pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins.

Upton is a free agent after the 2015 season and is due $14.5 million. What makes him more valuable than Heyward whom he out-homered 29 to 11. Sherman also points out that the only right-handed hitter who had more homers than Upton in the National League was Giancarlo Stanton.

Interest in Upton is described as as significant with the Astros, Mariners and Rangers among interested teams.

MLB Trade Rumors likes what the Braves are trying to do, moving Heyward and Upton for top shelf young pitching and then signing Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas to pair with Evan Gattis and give the Braves a pair of powerful right-handed bats to surround Freddie Freeman.

I strongly doubt that Sandy Alderson will look into Upton, who turned 27 in August, despite reported interest back when he was being shopped by the D’backs. The cost in prospects would be beyond what he’d be willing to move, plus they already made their big outfield move by signing Michael Cuddyer for $21 million.

The Mets could still be in the market for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder, but at a much smaller scale such as for free-agents Jonny Gomes or Ryan Ludwick. That would allow the team the flexibility to shift Cuddyer to first base against tough lefties in place of Lucas Duda.

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Mets Killer Adam LaRoche Signs 2-Year Deal With White Sox Sat, 22 Nov 2014 07:10:24 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals

The Chicago White Sox have signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He reportedly turned down a two-year, $20 million offer from the Marlins.

LaRoche, 35, owns a solid .264/.340/.472 slash line over a span of eleven major league seasons, hitting 20+ home runs in all but two of them. He has averaged 26 homers in the last three seasons, however, he owns a meager .204/.284/.336 career slash line against southpaws.

LaRoche will provide a solid platoon option with Jose Abreu at first base where he’s an excellent defender, and will project to see plenty of time at DH as well.


Well, I’m just glad that Adam LaRoche is finally out of the NL East. I always hated facing him as a Brave, and even more so as a National because this dude absolutely demolished Mets pitchers throughout his career. It seemed like every time he faced the Mets, he would make Citi Field look like a band box, launching home runs into the Pepsi Porch.

LaRoche batted .321 with six homers and 18 RBI in 53 at-bats against the Mets in 2014 with a 1.226 OPS. Over his career, he’s hit 29 homers in 139 games against the Mets. The good news for us is we don’t even face the White Sox in 2015… Woohoo!

As for the contract, I think the White Sox made a nice pickup by signing LaRoche. He will be taking his talents to the hitter friendly park that is U.S. Cellular Field, and will provide some solid production in the middle of the White Sox lineup and plus-defense at first when he spells Abreu.

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Pirates Designate Ike Davis For Assignment Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:50:30 +0000 Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates designated former Mets first basemen Ike Davis for assignment yesterday.  Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters, “As we sit here right now, we’ve essentially committed to Pedro over Ike Davis”.

The organization feels the position must be cleared for resident third basemen Pedro Alvarez, who packs an outstanding power bat, but lacks the defensive prowess to stick at the hot corner.  As of now, Davis is searching for his third team in less than a year’s time.

Ike’s fall from grace has been flat out cataclysmic, no?  Look, I’m fully on board with Lucas Duda, but I still hoped Davis would have a good run at it once he got a fresh start.  It just still baffles me to this day every time I see his name in the papers, it’s another step back for him.  This from a player that flashed a glimpse of rare, once in a generation power, and it was gone in the blink of a collision.   Seriously, that’s what it comes down to.  There’s Ike Davis pre-collision and then there’s Ike Davis post-collision.

Suppose I’ll always have a soft spot for Ike because he made the time when he first came up so special to watch.  He hit home runs and made diving catches over the railing at a time when the team was entering it’s darkest hours.  Now, he’s struggling to stay in the major leagues.

I’m sure someone will pick him up, maybe give him a platoon/DH role somewhere in the American League.  He still managed to compile a .343 OBP during his time in Pittsburgh and he has good skills with the glove.

Sandy Alderson, good call on this one.


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Latest On SS Alexei Ramirez: White Sox GM Not Pursuing A Trade Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:33:32 +0000 alexei ramirez

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

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

As for the Mets, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin believes that the Mets and White Sox have yet to have any conversations about Ramirez, disputing an earlier report by Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago.

Adding to the mixed messages is White Sox GM Rick Hahn, who doesn’t sound very motivated in trading Ramirez unless a team was willing to overpay. “It’s certainly not something we’re pursuing on our end.”

November 18

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

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

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

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

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

(Updated 11/18)


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Pitching Or Hitting? Assigning Post-Steroid Era Value Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:41:39 +0000 jacob degrom

There’s been a lot of talk these days about value. Many Mets fans wonder whether stockpiling valuable pitching assets will prove advantageous in an era when scarcity dictates that quality hitters possess the most value.

Value metrics have become the go-to statistic among many fans in this discussion as they provide a practical tool for defining a player’s contribution. But it’s hard to assign a win-value to a player completely exclusive of contextual influences such as lineup, quality of competition, difficulty of position, and even effectiveness of coaching … to assign a definitive value judgment when comparing similar players based on WAR is dubious. WAR is a broad stroke metric. On any given leader-board you can find multiple instances of  players falling behind clearly less valuable counterparts. Jhonny Peralta is not more valuable than Miguel Cabrera, likewise Josh Donaldson is not more valuable than Giancarlo Stanton.

WAR is more useful in grouping players. You can, for instance, be confident that a 4 WAR player will be categorically superior to a 2 WAR player. WAR only becomes problematic when comparing players separated by smaller increments.

Now if we want to assign a relative value to offense in today’s game we can look at WAR over time. In the charts below you can see that there is a spike of 6+ WAR players right around 1998 (24) with a spike in 8+ WAR players occurring in 2004.


8 war

Interestingly, in 1994, at the height of the steroid era, there were only five 6+ WAR players and no 8+ WAR players. There is definitely a dip in number of high value players in recent years, but there have been other dips over the years and the correlation between the steroid era and numerous high WAR players isn’t as strong as you might think. Part of this might be whatever value is placed on a player’s defense and the possibility that steroids didn’t factor in as much on the defensive side of the game.

A statistic that I do like is OPS. It is the sum of a player’s on-base percentage and their slugging percentage. OPS is the only widely used statistic that incorporates all the elements of offense: patience, power, and contact.  It is a relatively simple stat that gives us a good solid offensive performance indicator. OPS over time yields a much more pronounced pattern as you can see below (I also included a wOBA comparison for good measure).

ops by year



As you can see, the spike at right around 1998 in both OPS and wOBA is significant and the decline from about 2002 on is steep. This correlates heavily with increases in numerous other offensive categories during the steroid era. The subsequent decline is considerable and in many ways trends all the way back to standards set back in the early 60’s.

The question nevertheless remains … how does this precipitous decline in offense translate in terms of here-and-now value? Clearly there are fewer high level offensive players than there were only a few years ago … scarcity dictates that their monetary value should increase accordingly. Why have good hitters become so hard to come by? Steroids certainly had something to do with the insane number of 900 and 1000 OPS players in the late 90’s, but as the wave of PED’s subsided, like water finding its level, pitching has slowly begun to ascend to pre-steroid norms. The reason why hitters have become so scarce is because they are increasingly overmatched by pitching, which may have benefited less from steroids than hitting did.

So where do you assign greater baseball value in today’s market, hitting or pitching? 900 OPS players are fewer and further between … so from a monetary standpoint elite hitters will be expensive, probably more expensive than pitching. On the other hand, in this great contest of pitchers vs. batters, the pitchers have been absolutely destroying the batters. Good pitching is in fact beating good hitting all over the place. Tough question.

If you have the money and resources, securing an elite hitter or two will give you a rare advantage because there are so few of them available. I took the top three salaries from every team in the league and split the money between pitching and hitting and sure enough in 2014, teams spent $520,008,647 on “top 3 in salary” pitchers, while they spent a whopping $818,182,379 on “top 3” team hitting. So there is quite a difference.

If you are on a tight budget it becomes difficult to field a balanced team when you apportion a huge percentage of your payroll to 1 or 2 hitters (availability is also a major consideration), and you may be better off cultivating a pitching heavy system (since it’s clearly pitching that is carrying the day anyhow). Ideally you’d want to augment with a host of young cost-controlled home grown offensive players as well … Sound familiar?

This goes back to an earlier discussion that compared Sandy Alderson’s approach with the Mets to Theo Epstein’s strategy with the Cubs. The Mets are going to have a lot of pitching coming up in the next few seasons and the Cubs are brimming with young position players. Theo’s premise goes something like, “Since hitters are so scarce, teams will trade more than their pitching equivalent in value to obtain them.”  According to Theo (and a lot of Cubs fans) because there are so few quality hitters Sandy Alderson should be willing to part with deGrom or Syndergaard and Herrera and Plawecki for a single Starlin Castro … but that’s money talking, and increasingly expensive hitters haven’t been winning on the field, cheap young pitching has.

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Braves Enter Yasmani Tomas Sweepstakes Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:51:10 +0000 yasmani tomas cuba

The Atlanta Braves have jumped into the mix for 24-year-old Cuban free agent Yasmani Tomas, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He is scheduled to hold a private workout for Braves scouts and officials in the coming days

Heyman says that the Braves could qualify as a surprise team and that they recently made room in the outfield by trading Jason Heyward. New Braves president of baseball operations John Hart has long loved power hitters, as folks may recall from his Cleveland and Texas days, adds Heyman.

The Padres have also ramped up interest in Tomas, while the Phillies have backed off until they can clear enough room on their payroll to sign him. Only a week ago, several reports suggested that a deal was imminent.

November 13

Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas is flying to the United States on Friday to meet with his agent, Jay Alou Jr., reports Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports, who believes a deal now appears imminent and could come as soon as this weekend. He adds that Alou is still planning to meet with four GMs in the next two days as the very active pursuit for Tomas comes to its conclusion.

Peter Gammons of MLB Network also reported that the San Francisco Giants are being urged by special assistant Felipe Alou to sign Tomas as a third baseman. The Phillies are still in the hunt and are trying to clear some money to get a deal done. The Royals are also considered to be in the picture.

November 9

Joel Sherman of the New York Post makes the case that the Mets should sign Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas.

Sherman says that signing Tomas would instantly energize the fan base and would show that ownership is indeed willing to spend when the time is right.

The Mets have been asking their fans to be patient for four years while a slew of prized young arms worked their way to the majors. That time is now.

He also points out that while Tomas could be a risk, it’s a risk worth taking given that the recent track record of righty Cuban power hitters — Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu — has been excellent. One scout who watched his workout likened Tomas to Albert Belle.

If it were possible to sign him, and I’m not saying it is, an added benefit would be pulling the rug out from under the Phillies who are the favorites to sign Tomas.

So what do you think, should the Mets sign him?

November 5

Confirming what has been a growing buzz, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is hearing from more and more sources that the Philadelphia Phillies are still extremely interested in signing free-agent Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas.

The Phillies sent one of the larger contingents to see Tomas during his first showcase, and they were the first MLB team to have him attend a private workout.

It seems pretty clear that given his young age and the state of the team, the Phillies are looking at his 70 rated power and seeing Tomas as not only a youth infusion but potentially a 30 homer bat as well. And after years and years of a sold out ballpark, they’ve got the money to spend.

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

It was interesting to note that multiple executives with teams interested in Tomas say that, if he were a free agent, he would be a $15 million per year player, making a 5-year, $75 million contract for 23-year-old reasonable. However, because he is not attached to a draft pick, and will be the subject of a bidding war, Tomas could easily top that.

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

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


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Andrew Miller Has Multiple Offers, Mets Have “No Shot” Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:26:01 +0000 miller andrew

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that reliever Andrew Miller has multiple three-year offers already in hand, making it increasingly likely that he will end up with a four-year deal.

Additionally, Morosi states that Miller’s current offers would give him the highest annual value ever for a reliever without closing experience. The high water mark is currently at $6 million.

Miller, 29, had a career year in 2014 between the Red Sox and Orioles. Through 42.1 innings in Boston, Miller held a 2.35 ERA before being dealt for minor league pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. Down the stretch for Baltimore, he was even more impressive, posting a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings. His strikeout, home run, and hit rates were all at career-bests.

Several sources have indicated that Miller will not sign for less than four years, and isn’t listening to any other offers unless the average annual value is “astounding.”

The Red Sox and Blue Jays are among over a dozen teams that are interested in signing Miller, however the Mets are not in the mix.

Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that while the Mets are looking to add a lefty reliever at the Winter Meetings, there’s “no shot” they sign Miller.

Earlier this week, Sandy Alderson said there’s a possibility that pitching prospect Steven Matz can make his debut in 2015 as a left-handed reliever in the Mets bullpen. Read more here.

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ESPN Predicts Mets Trade For Seattle’s Brad Miller or Chris Taylor Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:56:53 +0000 chris talor bat

Jim Bowden of predicts that the Mets and Mariners will eventually get together on a trade this offseason that will send one of infielders Brad Miller or Chris Taylor to New York in exchange for one of their back-end starters – namely Dillon Gee, Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon.

Last week, an MLB executive told Adam Rubin that the two teams matched up well for a trade. And while Sandy Alderson has spoken very positively about Wilmer Flores at shortstop, there’s still a sense that he’d prefer a better defender at the position.

Rubin also noted that the Mets would have no problem sacrificing another draft pick and signing another free agent if the price is right. That would mean waiting the market out through January and seeing which players have been shutout. I don’t see the Mets taking this route, but others do.

November 12

Adam Rubin tweeted that the Mets and Mariners matched up well for a trade, according to a front office person and an agent. These two teams have reportedly been a good match for some time now, and we’ve reportedly scouted them a few times and they’ve scouted us. So this is not entirely new.

But who do they have that we would want?

We can throw away the earlier Michael Saunders rumors from last week now that the Mets opted for Michael Cuddyer. And we can also forget Nick Franklin, who was traded to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.

Shortstop Brad Miller has often been mentioned, but he regressed in 2014, batting just .228 with a .289 OBP while striking out 95 times in 367 at-bats. One player that is seldom mentioned is the other M’s shortstop Chris Taylor.

chris-taylor-Taylor has always been considered a better overall defensive shortstop than Brad Miller and Nick Franklin, and after he was promoted he dazzled in the field showing superior range, soft hands and an above average arm. Scouts initially tabbed Taylor as glove-only utility infielder because he had no plus tools on offense aside from some speed.

However, Taylor confounded the experts and hit his way to a major league debut last July, and eventually he wrestled the everyday shortstop job away from Miller.

A 5th round pick from the 2012 draft, he batted .287/.347/.346 in his first 151 plate appearances in the big leagues. He has no power to speak of, but the 23-year old is a grinder who gets good wood on the ball according to observers.

The latest buzz from the Mariners is that they will make a big push for free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez and that could make both Taylor and Miller expendable. The Mariners are desperate for a power bat and we can’t help them there, but they could be interested in a Niese or a Gee for the back of their rotation which is also a concern for them. It’s certainly worth looking into it.


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Alderson Is Optimistic About Conforto’s Defense Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:31:27 +0000 michael conforto Patrick E. McCarthy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pitchers (23)

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

Catchers (2)

Travis d’Arnaud
Anthony Recker

Infielders (8)

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

Outfielders (7)

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

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

November 20

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Updated 11/20)


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

Darren asks…

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

Daniel replies…

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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