Mets Merized Online » Andre Ethier Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:23:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Trade Deadline Primer: All The Names You Need To Know Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:30:09 +0000 Sandy Alderson

It’s officially trade season, ladies and gentlemen. The All-Star break has come and gone, which means that soon it’s time for teams to truthfully evaluate where they are this season. Sandy Alderson was right in saying that the trade market is only beginning to materialize at this point in the season, because no matter how badly a front office pursues a player in June, it’s unlikely that anything will become of it immediately.

Backing off until the deadline looms larger is a helpful strategy to more effectively assess a team’s needs. Not every team is able to figure out whether buyers or sellers until just about this point in the year, where the team has already played roughly 90 games, and it becomes clearer who should be in contention at the end of the year. It also helps to ensure that both sides receive roughly equal value for the assets they are trading away. The longer teams wait, the more “fair” a trade will be.

In case you haven’t heard this said at least five times a day over the past month and a half, the Mets need a bat. The return of David Wright isn’t necessarily a guarantee, which means that unless Dilson Herrera looking markedly better in his latest stint in Vegas, Ruben Tejada will be playing shortstop for a team with playoff aspirations.

Lucas Duda has been a catastrophe for a while, throwing up a highly upsetting slash line of .166/.279/.287 in his last 43 games. Juan Lagares has never been a very good hitter, but this year he’s even worse than expected. Kevin Plawecki has been great recently, but Travis d’Arnaud looked primed for an All-Star season if he weren’t stopped by two separate injuries.

And now for everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Michael Cuddyer. I liked the deal at the time, because it was clear that the Mets needed a corner outfielder, and he was one of the only options out there. Sure, the contract was a little pricey, but I thought he’d be worth at least most of it. I preferred him to Melky Cabrera because the Melk Man’s performance has been hard to predict, and the Mets couldn’t afford a down year from him. There was also talk about Nelson Cruz, despite the fact that his second half was significantly worse than his first half. Without allowing hindsight to affect my view, all things considered, Cuddyer was the guy.

Unfortunately, he’s been an abject failure to this point. He’s having the worst season of his career, which is to be expected at age 36, but the extent of his decline is the surprising part. He’s certainly earned his new names, Michael Cruddyer, as well as my favorite, Michael Cadaver.

I do think that the pitching is good enough that technically, the Mets can sustain this level of hitting and make the postseason, so they don’t need a hitter. Not trading for a bat will not kill the season. But it makes all the sense in the world, and it could be the thing that pushes them over the top. Whether or not that last sentence is equal to need, well that’s a semantic debate.

First off, we need to look at the trade assets before diving into the trade market. Dillon Gee has absolutely no trade value at this point. Sandy blew it with him. His value was highest in the middle of last season, when he was outperforming his talent, and Alderson kept holding out to find the perfect trade for Gee. A combination of overvaluing Gee and hoping some other team overvalues Gee, has led to a pitcher who has little value to his own team and none to anyone else.

Bartolo Colon could entice some other teams, especially if the Mets eat some of his salary, but it’s very likely that any team gets offered Colon will hold out for a better pitcher from another team, or his own teammate, Jon Niese. Niese has been pitching great after a slow start to the season, and the fact that he’s a 28 year old lefty, with three years on a manageable contract after this season (with two of them being team options), makes him an ideal trade candidate. I know that the injury to Steven Matz complicates things, but the Mets can cover for the fifth spot in their rotation for the time being.

Rafael Montero has supposedly resurfaced, and Logan Verrett is back to starting in Las Vegas. Between the time Niese is traded, which will presumably be near the end of the month, and when Matz is cleared to return, the Mets won’t be any worse for giving Verrett a couple of spot starts. Worst case scenario, the other number 35, the aforementioned Dillon Gee comes back and makes two terrible starts while we wait for the Long Island kid to return to the mound.

Now that he’s rehabbing from a shoulder injury suffered in April, Rafael Montero will attract some other teams. The Mets may consider him expendable because they can field a five man rotation over the next few years without him, but the other 29 teams in the league still see him as one of New York’s top prospects, and someone who could be a part of their rotation for years to come.

Michael Fulmer and Gabriel Ynoa are Double-A pitchers who would be more highly regarded if they were on a team that didn’t already have so many young, MLB-ready pitching. With the sheer numbers at the major league level, it’s hard to imagine Fulmer or Ynoa cracking the rotation next year, so it makes sense to see what possible return he could garner.

Niese, Montero, and Fulmer/Ynoa are, in that order, the most likely to be traded. One of them, or some combination of them could net a pretty good position player to help the team chase the playoffs. However, there are some other options who could be dealt in the right deal for a possible star player.

The front office will be, and rightfully so, reluctant to trade any of the young star pitchers. We know this already, but I think everybody has a price. There are a few scenarios where I would consider trading away one of them, but it would really take a lot. But which of the young studs could be moved?

Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are established as untouchable, and while he’s the most replaceable of Generation K-Prime (that’s a math joke for all of you who have tried to forget the trauma of calculus), I don’t know how likely it is that another team would want to take on Zack Wheeler as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. While the success rate of the procedure is high, there is always risk involved with any injury.

That leaves Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Matz has a very simple advantage, which will make him more likely to stay in Flushing for the long haul: he’s left-handed. Being able to trot out a rotation that includes at least one lefty in Matz is important, so if any of the five were to be dealt, it would likely be Thor however all of them have been deemed off limits.

I wouldn’t rule out one of the two catchers being traded. If the Mets are confident that Travis d’Arnaud can actually stay on the field, citing the fact that a lot of his injuries are simply freak accidents, then Kevin Plawecki could be dangled out there. If the opposite is true, and Mets management is tired of TdA’s constant trips to the Disabled List, while believing that since Plawecki has gotten over his illness, he’s done enough to show that he can hit on the Major League level, d’Arnaud could be on the block.

With Conforto being more of a sure thing at this stage, Brandon Nimmo should be made available as well.

As much as I’d love for the Mets to trade Daniel Murphy, they just can’t with the current state of the offense. It’s very unfortunate, because I don’t see him returning after this year unless David Wright’s career could legitimately be over, but they can’t trade him away.

To recap, the most available assets would have to be Colon, Niese, Montero, Fulmer, and Ynoa, while Wheeler, either Plawecki or d’Arnaud (I would prefer to deal Plawecki), Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini could potentially move in the perfect deal.

You probably knew all of that already, so let’s get to the juicier part of this article, all the potential trade targets – reported or rumored. The players have been divided into the following subsections: Very Unlikely, Somewhat Likely and Very Likely. Enjoy…

aramis ramirez

Very Unlikely

Aramis Ramirez

He’s been in the league nearly as long as I’ve been alive, and he’s just not good enough anymore. He may he a slight upgrade over Ruben Tejada, but the difference is not large enough to waste any time or money attempting to pursue him. However, it’s very possible that he could to come as a throw in from Milwaukee in a trade package, which is fine if the Brewers eat some of his remaining salary, but I doubt that happens anyway. He definitely shouldn’t be the centerpiece of any trade involving the Brewers.

Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion

It’s possible that the Blue Jays will be willing to trade away either, but don’t take that as a sign that they’ll be coming to the Mets. The Jays have a scary offense, but they could use pitching help. Of course, it didn’t help that two and a half years ago, they traded away a right handed pitcher with curly blonde hair for a man currently sporting a 4.87 ERA for them. But I digress.

Both Bautista and Encarnacion can be free agents after 2016, and neither makes sense for the Mets. Bautista, while he’s still a great hitter, is just old. At 34 years old, and only a year and a half left on his contract, he’s not worth the short term gamble. As for Encarnacion, he’ll be coming to New York to either platoon with Lucas Duda at first base, or Terry Collins will have to shove one of them to left field on a regular basis, which will be a calamity that no fan should ever have to suffer. And you think Cuddyer has no range out there…

I also could have avoided that last paragraph by saying that neither Bautista nor Encarnacion will be traded anywhere. There are ways for Toronto to improve their rotation without dealing one of their two mashers, which I will get to later.

Now that’s what I call a tease.

Troy Tulowitzki

End the charade, this trade is never going to happen. Between concerns about Tulo’s durability, the fact that he’s 30 years old (remember, he was the next big thing back when the Rockies made the World Series…eight years ago), and the fact that he’s spent his entire career at Coors Field, the Mets simply can’t afford to give up Noah Syndergaard for Tulowitzki. Unfortunately, if the Mets were to offer anything less, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich hangs up the phone.

Andre Ethier

First of all, I don’t think the Dodgers will be trading Ethier, but even if they were, the Mets won’t be able to get him for financial reasons. Assuming that his main role on the Mets (aside from occasionally starting against right handed pitching in center) will be playing left field over Michael Cuddyer, it’ll mean that the Wilpons will be paying $30.5 million to left fielders next year between the two. It’s possible that the Dodgers will think about covering some of his remaining contract, but it would be better for them to swallow Ethier’s $18 million than pay him $9 million or so and lose his production entirely.

Brock Holt

Plain and simple, he’s much more valuable to the Red Sox than he would be in a trade. Despite Boston’s desperate need for reliable Major League pitching, their only All-Star is probably the least likely candidate to be traded this season. He’s able to be plugged in at pretty much any position, spending a lot of time this year at second base while Dustin Pedroia was injured, but will find himself starting over Shane Victorino in the outfield or Mike Napoli at first now that Pedroia is back. On top of his well-known versatility, he’s also hitting very well. He’s not worth Syndergaard, but at this point in time, a trade involving Montero or Fulmer/Ynoa won’t be too enticing for the Red Sox either.

Yasiel Puig

By all accounts, Puig is a very hard man to deal with. Fortunately for him, his bank account, and his future in baseball, he’s an incredibly talented player. There are a lot of reasons to dislike him personally, but the Dodgers sure appreciate the production he provides them when he’s on. Would I trade Syndergaard straight up for Puig? In a heartbeat. I’m sure the Dodgers would heavily consider that, but they wouldn’t want to make that deal right now.

Starlin Castro, Addison RussellJavier Baez

There is no dream win-win deal to be had here. The sides just don’t match up right now as well as they did this time a year ago. It’s possible that the clubs can strike a deal in the offseason, but there isn’t a mutually beneficial trade that will help both teams in their Wild Card chase.

Starlin Castro is currently in the midst of his second disastrous year out of the last three, and even when he’s going well, he’s quite overrated. A lot of his value has always been rooted in the fact that the shortstop position is generally weak, and he’s one of the few players who is able to provide above average offensive production at the position. While this is somewhat true (again, even with his good 2014 season taken into account, he’s overall been below average for two and a half years) I take that to mean that it’s not worth selling off too many assets to get an above average but not great hitter simply because he’s a relative star at his position, and would rather live with below average production at short because most of the league is in the same boat. It also hurts Castro that he’s a bad defender at the most important defensive position outside of the battery. Epstein will value Castro more than he should, and he’s simply not worth the asking price.

Addison Russell isn’t good enough at this moment for the Mets to worry about trading for him. Sure, he’ll be very good in a year or two, and a trade involving him and Wheeler could very much be on the table, but he’s not what the Mets need in July 2015.

Javier Baez had a disappointing trail run with the big club last year, where the aggressiveness which suited him so well in the minors quickly became a problem against higher quality pitching. Currently, he’s sidelined with an injury, but was tearing up AAA again, and was able to reduce his strikeout rate in the 37 games he’s played so far. He’s not necessarily a sure thing, which is why he’s not coming to the Mets this month. The team is looking for polished offensive players who can provide a boost to the lineup as the postseason draws clear. Baez and polished don’t belong in the same sentence yet.

Speaking of unpolished, Arismendy Alcantara would be a bad trade target at this stage. Much like Baez, a deal involving him may make sense in a year or two, but right now, Alcantara is not an offensive upgrade anywhere except maybe shortstop. Maybe.

If I burst your bubble with any of those, I’m sorry. But now here’s the most juicy part of this article, all the people the Mets could actually trade for, along with a potential deal for each. I get to play Baseball Maverick for a few minutes here, and boy does it feel good. I am Sandy, hear me roar. I went through the rosters of almost every team in the league (I didn’t bother looking at the Phillies for two reasons that are interconnected. First, the mere sight of their roster is bad for one’s vision, which also means they have no players who could be useful for the Mets.), and picked out all of the players whose acquisition could help the Mets. I will order them from the least to most desirable option. You may look at some of these names and groan, but all of these guys are upgrades over what we’re dealing with currently, whether it be in the lineup or off the bench. One of these guys will likely be a Met by August 1:

Jean Segura

What is Jean Segura exactly? Ruben Tejada with offensive upside?

He had a great first half two years ago which earned him an All-Star spot, but has been a train wreck at the plate since then. However, he’s a very good defender, and he’s still young. There’s reason to believe in him, because not just anyone can post an .849 OPS in half a season at age 23. The case against him, though: literally his entire career otherwise.

I happen to be a believer, and we’ll see how he looks when he reaches his offensive peak years, but in the short term, he’s not much of an upgrade. But, he’s a useful asset, just in case he gets his offensive form back.

I’ll get to the tangible trade later, because it’ll involve one of his teammates.

yoenis Cespedes

Somewhat Likely

Danny Valencia or Chris Colabello

Okay, so I sort of lied when I said that the Mets won’t be getting a slugger from Toronto. They very much could get one of their less heralded bats, Danny Valencia or Chris Colabello. I know exactly what you’re doing right now. You’re smirking, shaking your head, and thinking, “he can’t be serious. This is what’s going to get us over the hump?”

My response: yep.

The pitching is great enough, that the smallest boost to the offense could mean the difference between making the Wild Card game, or sitting at home and watching the playoffs.

I’m combining Colabello and Valencia because they are essentially the same player.

Valencia is 30 years old, and under team control through 2018. He’s a third baseman by trade, but with Josh Donaldson manning the position in Toronto, he’s been playing a lot of left field. He’s mostly known for owning left-handed pitching, but this year he’s hitting .299/.331/.526 overall, and his numbers are relatively similar no matter what type of pitcher he’s facing.

(Random nugget while I was looking through Valencia’s page on FanGraphs, supposedly he hasn’t hit a single pop out in 146 plate appearances this season. Inconsequential, but interesting nontheless. I’m sure by the time you’re reading this, he will have popped out to third base five minutes earlier.)

Chris Colabello is a former independent baseball player who’s in the middle of his first full season in the big leagues. At 31 years old, he won’t even be hitting arbitration until 2017, so if the Mets acquired him, they’d expect him to at least be a bench piece for the next few years. His 140 wRC+ will certainly drop, even if he has a higher line drive percentage than Mike Trout (25.8% to Trout’s 24.8%), but he’s been great this year, and if his production the rest of the year is anywhere close to what he’s already shown, he could be the best hitter on the Mets down the stretch.

The reason why they’re so low on my list is because the fluke potential is off the charts with these guys. Neither is an everyday player on their current team, and there’s a very good chance that they each had great first halves, and are poised to fall off as the season wears on.

However, if all else fails, it won’t be the end of the world if the Mets have to settle for one of these guys.

So how would an actual deal between these two look? The Blue Jays need a pitcher, there’s no secret about that, so Jon Niese will be shipped North of the border. The Mets won’t be getting great value for Niese if they only get Colabello or Valencia, so the Jays should throw in a mid to low level prospect or two who the Mets can potentially develop. The Alderson regime has certainly had an eye for prospects who weren’t very highly regarded, picking up Dilson Herrera and Vic Black in what should have been a throwaway deal with Pittsburgh, and even snagging Wuilmer Becerra from these very Jays in the Dickey trade. After looking through Toronto’s prospect list, there are a few guys who caught my attention. Be warned, however, that I don’t know which of these guys the Blue Jays value highly, so while I may be off on which players they’d be willing to trade, it’ll be guys generally in that range. Here’s something that feels fair for both sides:

Mets Get: Chris Colabello or Danny Valencia, Andy Burns, Rowdy Tellez

Blue Jays Get: Jon Niese, Player to be Named Later

Ben Paulsen

His stats look good on the surface, but, I’m only stating the obvious when I say these five letters: Coors.

He’s essentially an average hitter away from home, but he’s on this list because that would be an upgrade somewhere on the team. If acquiring Paulsen were the only move made at the deadline, I would be very upset. However, he’ll be a nice piece to have. He’s mainly a first baseman, but has a decent amount of experience in the corner outfield positions, which makes him a less versatile, but offensively superior version to Eric Campbell, and less Soup in our lives is best for everyone involved.

As for the deal, Paulsen doesn’t really have all that much value, and the Rockies aren’t looking to contend right now, so I’m going to go with some damaged goods, as well as a decent pitcher, because everyone knows the Rockies are always for looking less terrible pitching options.

Mets Get: Ben Paulsen

Rockies Get: Dillon Gee, Cesar Puello, Seth Lugo

David Murphy or Ryan Raburn

Here are two more players who are virtually interchangeable, Cleveland’s David Murphy and Ryan Raburn. Murphy’s a lefty, and Raburn is a righty, but otherwise they’re similar. Both are bad defensive players who ideally would be limited to DHing, but can be forced into a corner outfield if need be.

Need exists in Flushing.

Much like the guys in Toronto, it would be silly to expect either of them to continue their current performance through the end of the season. Murphy is hitting .307/.357/.458 while Raburn is hitting .287/.371/.508. Impossible for these guys to continue that level of play. However, both of these guys have pretty long track records of being very useful. Murphy has more experience as an everyday player, going back to his days with the Texas Rangers, but Raburn was a regular in Detroit for a while as well.

The issue here is their age, and in turn, the sustainability of their stats. Raburn was abysmal in 2014, while you have to go back to 2012 to find a year in which Murphy was above average for a full season. One of these guys will certainly be an upgrade on the bench, but what version of them appears if pushed into an everyday role is a question.

Also, they’ve each pitched this season, so they could be a boost to the bullpen if needed. I’m looking at you Alex Torres.

The Indians actually need offensive help, if they want to contend this season. However, it’s possible that they fall further back in the race over the next couple of weeks, making both Murphy and Raburn potentially available. Each has a team option for next season, which does increase their value a bit, but neither will demand a great return.

Mets Get: David Murphy/Ryan Raburn

Indians Get: Matt Bowman, Seth Lugo

Alex Guerrero

After tearing up the Cuban National Series prior to being signed by the Dodgers, as well as Triple-A last year, Guerrero has been good this year in LA. He has a super aggressive approach at the plate, and his .267 OBP is certainly a major issue, but the Mets just have to take what they can get at this point. The good part is, he has a lot of pop in his bat when he gets a pitch to drive. That sort of approach is probably better suited for a bench role, but again, with the current state of the Mets, I’m okay with putting him in the starting lineup. He swings at pitches outside of the zone 8% more than average, and makes contact on outside pitches 10% less than the average hitter. He showed a lot more patience when he was in Cuba, so maybe that’s something which can be fixed.

So what’s so enticing about him?

That .490 slugging percentage.

By the way, the Dodgers need a starter. If they strike out on Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, Jon Niese is a decent option.

Mets Get: Alex Guerrero, Scott Schleber

Dodgers Get: Jon Niese, Matt Bowman

Will Venable

Venable has recovered nicely from his fiasco of a 2014, to a slightly lesser version of what he’s always been. Venable is an okay defender in center, and has always hit fairly well. He won’t blow anybody away, but he’s a very solid player. He will be able to provide some power and speed to any lineup. For the Mets, he’d essentially be Curtis Granderson with a lower OBP. I’ll take it.

He won’t cost much by way of assets nor cash. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, but it won’t be difficult to retain him especially given his age. The Padres will be pawning off pieces at the deadline to fix all the mistakes they made during the offseason, so they’re just looking to get some sort of value out of Venable.

Mets Get: Will Venable

Padres Get: Casey Meisner

Ender Inciarte

The Diamondbacks need to deal one of their outfielders. Whether it’s Inciarte or a teammate of his who I’ll mention later, a trade will help their rotation which is in desperate need of some solid pieces. Playing Yasmany Tomas in right full time opens up a regular spot in the lineup for Jake Lamb, which he deserves.

Inciarte is in short, a lefty Juan Lagares who isn’t quite the defensive superstar, but light years more polished offensively than Lagares at this point. If I see Lagares at the top of the lineup once again simply because he’s fast, I’m going to cry. He’s not a good hitter, and right now, he’s even worse than expected. He’s so bad at the plate that no matter how good he is defensively, he’s a net loss. He certainly has the potential of being a league average hitter, which is what he was in 2014, but he has a lot to work on.

Inciarte, however, is already an average offensive player. Much like Lagares, he doesn’t walk very much, but his .287 batting average recovers a lot of the value lost by his aggressive approach. He’s shown a lot more patience and power in the minors than he has in just over a full season in the big leagues, so there’s certainly reason to believe that he’ll develop into an even better hitter.

He’s currently an immediate upgrade at a corner outfield spot and at the top of the order, and assuming there are other moves made either at the deadline or in the offseason, the Mets could greatly benefit from platooning Lagares and Inciarte, or even dangling Lagares on the trade market to see how highly other teams value him. Lagares has a higher offensive ceiling, but the Mets don’t need to wait around to see him maybe get there if they have Inciarte.

He won’t solve the current offensive woes by himself, but if they were able to get another player along with Inciarte, I’d love it. They’d be building for now, but with an eye towards the future as well.

He’s under team control through the 2020 season, which should drive up his value, but I think he’s worth it.

Mets Get: Ender Inciarte, Domingo Leyba

Diamondbacks Get: Rafael Montero, Gabriel Ynoa/Michael Fulmer

Scott Van Slyke

If the Dodgers planned to trade one of their bench pieces and a prospect for a pitcher, it’ll probably be between Guerrero and Van Slyke. Van Slyke is clearly the more desirable of the two.

He’s been a part time player for the Dodgers his whole career, being stuck on a team which seems to always have more outfielders than they need. but he’s been great in his role as a backup and pinch hitter. He’s in the midst of his worst season, and he’s still having a much better year than most Mets. I’ve always wanted to see how he’d do starting for some team in the league, because I think he’s earned that right. If the Mets aren’t comfortable with that experiment yet, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t be, he’s a more than capable bat off the bench. In his career, he’s 15-for-46 as a pinch hitter with three home runs, so at the very least, he can be expected to fill John Mayberry’s role, except he’ll actually produce.

Mets Get: Scott Van Slyke, Austin Barnes, Jacob Rhame

Dodgers Get: Jon Niese, Rafael Montero

Yoenis Cespedes

Reports surfaced last night that the Tigers would be willing to listen to offers for David Price and Cespedes, which surprised me because the owner turned 86 years old yesterday, so I didn’t think they’d want to rebuild.

I think Cespedes is overrated. He burst onto the scene in 2012, but has yet to reach those heights since. His walks are down, which greatly affects his OBP. His raw power is amazing, and his throwing arm is very impressive, but he’s not advanced enough as a hitter to justify giving up the farm and giving him a huge contract.

However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s better than what the Mets have now. He’s a free agent after this year, and while I wouldn’t pay him a ridiculous amount of money, I could see the Wilpons being willing to dole out $15 million a year for him. They would have to re-sign him in order for this trade to make sense, but trading a prospect for an above average major leaguer at the same position is fine.

The thing with Cespedes is, the Mets can easily give up less in a trade and get similar, if not better overall production in return. The player won’t be as flashy as Cespedes, but a lot of the hype around Cespedes is hot air.

Mets Get: Yoenis Cespedes

Tigers Get: Brandon Nimmo

Colby Rasmus

Rasmus’s career has always been a little bit disappointing, but not terrible. He never fully developed into the star player he was expected to be when he was rising through the minor leagues in St. Louis, but he’s turned into a good three true outcomes hitter. His batting average is not pretty, but he’ll get the job done. It also happens to be a great time to buy on Rasmus because he’s entering his offensive prime. Maybe he can finally put it all together. Even if he doesn’t he’s an upgrade over what the Mets are running out there currently. He’s a free agent after this season, but I don’t expect him to command a ridiculous amount of money.

The ‘Stros will be looking for a starter at the deadline. With George Springer out, they might be reluctant to trade Rasmus, but in the long run, it might make sense because once Springer returns, they’ll have three capable outfielders alongside Preston Tucker and Jake Marisnick. Houston will be in the market for other starting pitchers, and have been linked to Scott Kazmir, but Niese is a good fallback option.

Mets Get: Colby Rasmus

Astros Get: Jon Niese

justin upton

Very Likely

Ben Zobrist

Offensive production and defensive versatility is what Ben Zobrist is all about. It’s unclear how much longer he’ll be this good, because he’s well into his thirties, but for now at least, he’ll be a great addition to the Mets. He’d probably be best playing shortstop over Ruben Tejada, but Terry Collins may also decide to stick him at second base while moving Wilmer Flores back to short. Being a switch hitter, he could start in right against a right-handed pitcher if Michael Cuddyer is in an extended slump (so, all the time), and shifting Curtis Granderson and his noodle arm to left field. The options are really endless for Zobrist, and there’s a lot to love about that. Not to mention the fact that he’s reliably above average at the dish every year.

The deadline will be a major success if the Mets were able to acquire Zobrist along with this next guy.

Josh Reddick

Throw out his bad 2013, and you’ll see that Reddick has been very good each year that he has gotten regular playing time. He had that 32 home run 2012 season which got him noticed for the first time, but while he’s only on pace for 24 dingers this year, the power numbers are overall the same, and he’s getting on base a lot more, thanks to a simple change in his approach. He doesn’t strikeout as much as he used to, because he’s stopped hacking at pitches low and away. That conscious change bodes well for his future. He’s a good player with a year left on his contract who’s about to get to the best years of career.

The Athletics will seemingly always be looking to contend very soon, so they would like a prospect or two who is in position to help the team next year. Alderson calls up the man he mentored, and we have a great trade on our hands. Whoever Billy Beane prefers out of Fulmer, Montero, and Ynoa will go. Niese gives Oakland a good lefty starter entering his prime, which will be important especially if they trade away Scott Kazmir. It’s also possible that they don’t want Niese, which is okay with me, so they can take two of the three young pitchers.

Mets Get: Josh Reddick, Ben Zobrist

Athletics Get: Jon Niese, Brandon Nimmo, Gabriel Ynoa/Michael Fulmer/Rafael Montero OR Brandon Nimmo, Rafael Montero, Gabriel Ynoa/Michael Fulmer

David Peralta

If I were in the Arizona braintrust, I would look harder at trading Peralta, because he has higher trade value, and therefore should bring back a better return than Inciarte. The difference in offensive talent between the two shouldn’t matter to a team that’s already one of the best offenses in baseball.

Peralta was pretty good last year in 88 games, but is absolutely tearing it up this season, hitting .275/.348/.502 with 7 triples on the year to date. The lack of publicity surrounding him may make it look like this is a fluke, but at his age, and with his track record in the minor leagues, no one should be shocked by this. I don’t think he’s going to be quite this good for so many years to come, but even a diminished version of what he’s doing at the moment will make him a staple in the middle of any order.

Mets Get: David Peralta, Player to be Named Later

Diamondbacks Get: Jon Niese, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Montero

Gerardo Parra

I’ve always been a huge fan of Parra’s, and now that he’s having by far his best offensive season, other people are taking notice. Always known for his great outfield defense, he’d been a pretty average to below average hitter, never posting a wRC+ above 106. But this year, he’s been great, hitting .313/.348/.500. There’s some cause for concern, as his home run to fly ball ratio is far better than his career average, which may be a sign of some luck, but his hard hit ball percentage is also up, so there may be something to it. As I’ve mentioned with a few other guys already, the fact that he’s entering his prime now at age 28 means that there’s a chance this is sustainable.

Now here’s where the aforementioned Jean Segura comes back into the fold. If the Mets were able to get both Segura and Parra, the deadline will have been a success. Parra’s in a contract year, which depresses some of the trade value he otherwise would have had, but the upside of both is what teams will pay for.

Mets Get: Gerardo Parra, Jean Segura

Brewers Get: Rafael Montero, Matt Reynolds, Michael Fulmer/Gabriel Ynoa

Jay Bruce

His awful 2014 made me forget how good he was prior to that. He’s a much better and more consistent version of Rasmus in that they’re both three true outcome guys, but Bruce had career averages of .257/.330/.482 prior to last year. Mind you, he’s playing in a left handed hitter’s heaven in Cincinnati, but even when adjusted for park effects, his track record is very good. I’m comfortable ignoring what he did last year because he’s right back to his normal self in 2015. It’s unclear what caused his drop off, but it seems to be a non-factor anymore. He’s signed through 2016 with a team option for the ’17 season at a pretty good price. He has an absolute cannon out in right field, and he’s also deceptively quick. What’s not to love about him.

Mets Get: Jay Bruce

Reds Get: Brandon Nimmo

Carlos Gomez

Ah, our former prospect could return seven years after being one of the main pieces of the Johan Santana trade. I was sad to see him go at the time, but of course I was fine with it. Since then, he’s developed into one of the top center fielders in the game. He fully broke out a couple of years ago, hitting for more power than he ever had in his major league career. I actually picked him to be NL MVP this year because I thought the Brewers would be able to snag the second Wild Card spot (I was wrong). Overall he’s having a down year thanks to a slow April and an injury, but he’s turned it around, and has hit .279/.352/.462 since May 11. He’s a free agent after next season, and he’ll be in very high demand if the Mets don’t lock him up beforehand, so they really need to be proactive in keeping him around.

Much like the trade with Parra, I’d expect Segura to be involved as well. I would include Juan Lagares in this deal, but he’s such an offensive zero right now that I don’t think another team would be comfortable making him their center fielder of the future. However, Brandon Nimmo…

Mets Get: Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura

Brewers Get: Brandon Nimmo, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Montero

Justin Upton

Upton’s name has always been bigger than his production, and I say that as a longtime Upton believer. At the same time, he’s still very good. Grantland contributor Rany Jazayerli put it best: Justin Upton’s career has always been “simultaneously valuable and a little disappointing.” His impending free agency kills some of his trade value, but he will be able to help any team who he joins in their playoff hunt. And who knows, maybe now that he’s about to peak, he can finally become the All-Star who he’s supposed to have been this whole time.

Mets Get: Justin Upton

Padres Get: Brandon Nimmo, Rafael Montero, Marcos Molina

So those are all the options the Mets have been reportedly linked to in recent weeks. Hopefully Sandy can find a way to bring one or two to the Mets as we bolster the team for a playoff run.


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Mets Offseason Hitting Trade Targets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 00:00:06 +0000 The days of power hitters are over. Those that do remain are in such high demand that the thought of acquiring one will cost you an arm or a leg. If the Mets want a realistic shot to upgrade on offense, they will have to explore all options and alternatives available in the market.

Here are four types of hitters the Mets can consider trading for this offseason.

  • Top Tier Stars
  • Buy Low Former Stars
  • Elite Prospects
  • Under The Radar Players

But before we dive into available players from each category, let’s look at the trade chips the Mets have available, broken down into three groups. For this discussion, we will define “prospects” as players with under two years of major league service time.

Group A – Cost controlled starters with experience

Group B – Major league ready top prospects

Group C – Other top prospects

The Mets have no shortage of pieces to work with. This organization has arguably the best combination of young players and prospects to intrigue other teams. We should also note that it is reasonable to assume that the Mets will be a better team without making any significant moves at all. There is no rule of thumb that dictates that we have to make a big trade this offseason but it is certainly worth our time to review all of our options.

Group 1 – Top Tier Stars

San Francisco Giants v Miami MarlinsThe two biggest names that are rumored to be available are Giancarlo Stanton and Troy Tulowitzki. Stanton is said to be available due to the Marlins non competitive nature at the moment and Loria’s unwillingness to invest his own money into the team. Tulowitzki is rumored to be unhappy with Colorado’s inability to compete and the club’s lack of direction. So what will it cost to attain each one and would they be worth the hefty haul?

Here are a few points to note on Stanton vs Tulowitzki.

  • Stanton is younger and hitting his prime
  • Tulowitzki is the better defender, an elite one at a premium position
  • Tulowitzki has missed about 25% of games due to injury since his rookie year and will miss the rest of 2015.
  • Tulowitzki has 6 years/$118 mil guaranteed on his contract spanning to his age 35 season
  • Trading for Stanton will likely mean an extension starting at age 26. This could be a 10 year/$250-$300 mil deal or a short term 4 year/$120 mil deal with player opt outs.

Let’s pretend for a minute that we are in an alternate universe where the Mets are capable of taking on a large contract. From the list above, I believe the Mets would be willing to part with two players from group A, B and C as well as another one or two non top prospects for an elite player.

Before Tulowitzki’s season ending surgery, I could see the Mets willing to part with DeGrom (Colorado must be salivating at his ability to keep the ball down) and Nimmo for the elite shortstop. But with Tulo showing us another way to get on the disabled list, this thought can be classified in the “what if” section.

As for Stanton, I believe a fair return would be along the lines of Wheeler, Plawecki and Herrera. However, I expect Miami to ask for one player from group A and three or four prospects from groups B and/or C. Additionally, if Stanton gets dealt, it will not be to a team within the division. Add this thought to the “what if” section as well.

Trading for a big time slugger is one option and the Mets have more than enough trade chips to get it done. But considering all the factors necessary to make this blockbuster deal, I see next to no chance of either trade happening.

Group 2 – Buy Low Former Stars

matt kempThe second type of hitter that can be acquired is a former all-star that has struggled and/or dealt with injuries in recent years but still have potential to regain their previous forms. The Dodgers have two outfielders that fit this mold, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Despite the posing that GM Ned Colletti has done, we know that LA would be quick to move either or both. The Dodger outfield will be quite crowded in 2015 with Joc Pederson (more on him later) and Yasiel Puig slated in center and right field. Even if they go with a four man outfield rotation as they did this year, it will leave them with Crawford, Kemp, Ethier and Van Slyke (more on him later as well) fighting for two spots.

An acquisition for either Kemp or Ethier will require the Dodgers to eat at least half of their salaries. Kemp could probably fetch one player from groups A, B or C as well as a couple of lesser prospects. Ethier is probably not worth any of the players listed at this point but for a couple of lower level prospects, I would gladly take a risk with him if his cost will only be 3 years/$15 million.

A less damaged option (update* Cargo may miss the rest of the season as well) is the much talked about Carlos Gonzalez. As Connor O’Brien has pointed out already, Cargo appears to be a league average hitter away from Coors Field. His contract is not long, at 3 years/$53 million ending at his age 31 season so the package for Cargo would likely be in the range of Degrom or Montero plus a few lesser prospects. Any demand higher than this should signal Alderson to hang up the phone.

We know the risks that come with this group of players and they are available for a reason. All three can end up being nothing but a live body with a large contract. Yet, with a dearth of impact bats in the market, it is intriguing to consider picking up a .275 – 20 – 75 player for a single top prospect.

Group 3 – Elite Prospects

javier-baez-mlb-all-star-game-futures-game-850x560This is the group that is most financially realistic for the Mets to explore but for some inexplicable reason, general managers have always hesitated to exchange prospects. Hopefully, the chances of striking a deal are slightly improved when working with a new school GM such as the Chicago Cub’s Theo Epstein.

The Cubs have two major league ready shortstops in Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara. Baez is the can’t miss prospect with projected plus power and hit tools and he will be ranked higher than any prospect on the Mets list. It would likely cost Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard plus another lower level top prospect to heat up conversations.

While Baez is the big prize, I would actually prefer to acquire the lead off hitter Alcantara. You can start him at short or second and reevaluate during the 2015 season as Matt Reynolds and Dilson Herrera progresses in triple A or you can use him to compete with Tejada or Flores for a position. Scouting reports indicate he has a plus arm, plus footwork and a decent glove so he has the tools to stick at short but is prone to rushing and committing errors. He has also logged time in center field and has looked solid in limited action out there. Would there be interest in Alcantara for either Murphy, Flores or Montero?

The Cubs and Mets are perfect trade partners. There are dozens of scenarios and names that can be discussed. Do the Cubs want to compete in 2015 and acquire Murphy? Would they be interested in established starters such as Niese and Gee or prospects such as Syndergaard and Montero? At the same time, I can see Theo Epstein taking a big chunk of the winter to gauge the market before deciding to trade or keep Baez. With time being a factor, it may be wiser to strike a quick deal for Alcantara as opposed to the presumed back and forth it would take to acquire Baez.

In the outfield market, there are two major league ready OF prospects that would make an impact on the Mets next season. They are Joc Pederson of the Dodgers and Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals. Both are ranked in the same elite class as Baez and unfortunately, neither of them are likely to be available. Pederson, a California native, slots right in as the true center fielder that LA has been missing while Taveras should also find himself starting everyday for the Cardinals now that Allen Craig has been traded to Boston.

Group 4 – Under The Radar Players

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles DodgersThese are the group of players that are overlooked by most teams and turn out extremely valuable for the one that give them a chance. I only have one name to offer in this group so allow me to re-introduce a favorite of mine, first baseman/outfielder Scott Van Slyke of the LA Dodgers. The son of former Pittsburgh all-star Andy Van Slyke, Scott is a solid defender in the outfield and at first base. At 6’5″, 220 lbs, he comes with plus power and even splits against both righties and lefties.

In three seasons with the Dodgers, he has been limited to part time duty due to a crowded outfield and Adrian Gonzalez at first base. This won’t change as long as he is in LA but I believe he is as deserving of a shot to start as any player in the league. Van Slyke projects to be a .250/.350/.500 type of hitter, capable of 25 HRs a year.

Last season, I suggested Van Slyke, Dee Gordon, Jordany Valdespin and Josh Satin as names the Mets and Dodgers could discuss. While Gordon and Valdespin are no longer relevant to this year’s conversation and Van Slyke and Satin’s stocks have traveled in opposite directions, I think a package of Vic Black and Juan Centeno would get the two sides pretty close. If the Dodgers choose not to re-sign Hanley Ramirez, could they possibly entertain Van Slyke for Tejada and Centeno? This allows them to start last year’s Cuban signing, Alex Guerrero at shortstop with Tejada backing up both Guerrero and Dee Gordon.

The Mets don’t have to hand Van Slyke a starting spot but he would be a perfect option to fill in as a fourth outfielder and platoon first baseman who can earn his way to more playing time. This is one unheralded name that I believe can be a game changer for the Mets.

Baseball fans have been treated to longballs and gaudy home run totals for two decades while general managers dreamed of landing that big slugger in the middle of their lineups. But as the game changes, strategy in acquiring and maintaining players must change too. We have already seen early adopters such as the Braves adjusting to the new CBA rules by extending their younger players much earlier than past years.

I believe the next shift will be in teams replacing power with other skill sets, whether it is the ability to draw walks, hit line drives, play defense or the very underrated skill of flexibility. This is the ability to play multiple positions, to hit in different spots in the lineup and reduce the impact of the loss of a starter to injury.

The Mets are finally in a position where their foundation is set. In the past, trading for a star would have meant the need to fill in other positions or risk not having adequate depth. Our circumstances are different now, we have the personnel to absorb the loss of 4-5 players and have those slots fill right in without missing a beat. Personally, I don’t believe the Mets have to acquire a power bat and that we would be better served with a high potential lead off hitter. While I would love to see the name Tulowitzki or Stanton in our lineup, I believe the Mets are going in the right direction and will be a better team regardless whether a star is acquired.

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Hits & Misses: Johan Close To Deal, Ya Gotta Have Hart, Kemp Could Still Go Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:42:26 +0000 matt kemp

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes:

Matt KempAndre EthierCarl Crawford — The Dodgers may still deal one of them before the start of the season. As teams see where Kemp’s rehab is after shoulder and ankle surgeries, that could heat up in spring training. Ethier could also be in demand, but the Dodgers want to see what they have in Kemp before trading away their excess. Still, the Dodgers will be an intriguing trade partner for some team before all is said and done.

Johan Santana — Santana is getting closer to making a decision on a minor league deal with a team. There’s been some speculation about the Twins since Santana still resides in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Twins have spring training. The Red Sox, who also train in Fort Myers, passed. But a small-market team such as the Astros could also have some interest. Santana is just trying to get back pitching and prove himself again.

The ship has passed the Mets on either of the Dodgers’ outfielders. They are now locked in with Chris Young and Curtis Granderson, and even if L.A. were to kick in some Benjamins, the Mets still couldn’t fit either of them into their payroll budget.

As for Santana, I never once got the sense that the Mets ever wanted him back and by that I mean “seriously” wanted him back. I’m not so sure Johan would want to come back anyway.

Anthony DiComo of writes:

David Wright — When Wright signed a new eight-year, $138-million deal with the Mets last winter, he did so expecting to compete for playoff spots over the life of the contract. For the Mets, however, it’s a race against the clock. Few expect Wright to remain an elite player deep into his 30s, meaning the Mets must become contenders before their best player’s skill set begins to erode. For now, Wright remains a top-flight (albeit increasingly injury-prone) player entering his age-31 season, capable of carrying the Mets more than anyone else on the roster.

The Mets have about 2-3 years to make their move before Wright goes from great to not-so-great. It doesn’t matter how good you are, age always catches up with you.

My Morning Musing:

Corey Hart - I really loved that deal Hart signed with the Mariners. The outfielder/first baseman signed a one-year deal worth $6 million that could go up to $13 million with incentives. Hart, 31, missed the 2013 season after suffering a meniscus tear in his right knee and is now full recovered and held showcases for teams in early December. Hart hit .270 with and .841 OPS, 30 homers and 83 RBI in 149 games in 2012 and between ’10-’12, seasons he hit 87 home runs – sixth most in the National League and had a fifth best .514 slugging percentage.

Presented By Diehards


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Why Andre Ethier Is A Better Choice Than Shin-Soo Choo Wed, 04 Dec 2013 23:09:44 +0000 Andre-Ethier

A Fan Shot By Terence Farley

When thinking of an outfield bat for the Mets, the one player I knew I didn’t want was Andre Ethier. He doesn’t have enough power, he can’t hit lefties and he makes a lot of money. The player I wanted was Shin-Soo Choo Then it came out that he probably is out of the Mets financial parameters. When I heard that Choo doesn’t hit lefties particularly well, I wondered how similar they were. I was shocked to see the following lifetime stats:

Slash Lines

Ethier .288/.362/.470/.832

Choo  .288/.389/.465/.853

How could this be? I then decided to look a bit deeper.

vs Lefties

2013    HR  RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
Choo    0   8    .215  .347  .265  .612
Ethier  3   11   .221  .275  .338  .613


Choo    2   13   .199  .318  .286  .604
Ethier  4   29   .222  .276  .330  .606


Choo    1   7    .268  .336  .352  .688
Ethier  1   13   .220  .258  .305  .563

Neither of these players should be playing vs left handed pitching. They BOTH need to be platooned. The 100 million dollar question is how do you sell your fans on the face of your franchise if he has to be platooned? The obvious answer is you can’t. He has to play everyday.

What about their stats vs righties?

vs Righties

2013    HR  RBI   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
Choo    21  46   .317  .457  .554  1.011
Ethier  9   41   .294  .394  .460  .854


Choo    14  54   .327  .403  .523  .926
Ethier  16  60   .325  .398  .546  .944


Choo    7   29   .254  .347  .410  .757
Ethier  10  49   .321  .410  .468  .878

Three year OPS avg. for Choo is .896 vs Ethier’s .892

I concede that Choo is a better player due to his speed (3 year avg. almost 18 steals per game) but he ain’t Lou Brock. Also he is a better outfielder though both need to be corners.

The thing is the Mets CAN platoon Ethier while Choo CAN”T. Offensively to platoon a righty who crushes left-handers would be a much better alternative. Heck, Josh Satin hit .317 with an OPS of .880 against lefties last year. I’m not saying Satin is the answer in the outfield, just and example (wait didn’t Satin say Byrd was gonna teach him to play outfield over the winter? I digress).

Now comes the fun part, money. Both players are 31 years old. Ethier signed a five-year extension for $85 million. One year is off of his contract leaving $71.5 owed. The Dodgers have made it known that they would give back some of that salary. He is due $15.5 mil in 2014. Take that and the Wilpon’s won’t pay a cent this year and his contract is down to three years and $56 mil.

What will Choo get? Could he get $150 million like Ellsbury? It’s possible. But my guess would be five years for $120 million. Choo is seemingly the shiny new toy, the new kid in town. Ethier is yesterday’s news. In reality they are 31 year old brothers. Granted one is a little faster, but can’t hit lefties or be platooned. What would you do? For the money I’ll take Ethier.

* * * * * * * *

This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, Terence Farley. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 22,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Jordany Valdespin’s Trade Value Mon, 02 Dec 2013 03:17:27 +0000 jordany valdespin

We are a few weeks away from the winter meetings and while the talk around the Mets have revolved around who we should be acquiring, it is equally important to make quick and effective decisions on the players that will better serve us with another team’s uniform.

The player at the top of this list would be Jordany Valdespin, a potentially useful part but currently the outcast of the organization. There is no secret that he has irked many of his teammates and members of the front office on multiple occasions, which is why, no matter how much he may hit next year, it would not be worth the stress of forcing your manager and teammates to work with a landmine.

This brings me to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who signed Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero to be their second baseman for the next four seasons. If they are willing to give Valdespin a chance to redeem himself, he could conceivably become a quality backup at both middle infield positions.

On the LA roster are two names that I believe should be available (this is just purely my intuition). The first is 2B/SS Dee Gordon, whose name has been bought up before and the second would be 1B/OF Scott Van Slyke.

Gordon has fallen out of favor with the Dodgers as he has not hit much over the past two seasons in part time duty. He has great footwork and a strong arm but has played poorly in the field as well and was most recently demoted to be primarily a pinch runner during the Dodgers playoff run. He has one minor league option remaining.

Scott Van Slyke is a power right handed hitter who has arguably put up the best numbers in all of Triple A for the last three seasons, yet most sources from last year listed him as a C/C+ prospect. I am perplexed at how low his value is and how he is labeled as an AAAA player based on a sample size of 180 ABs over irregular playing time and two call ups. Van Slyke also has one minor league option remaining. Here is an interesting piece detailing Van Slyke’s career from Hardball Times.

Gordon can compete with Ruben Tejada and provide Collins with an option against tougher right handed starters while Van Slyke could do the same for Ike Davis or Duda against the tougher lefties while playing some outfield as well. Both players have elite potential in one specific tool (Gordon – speed, Van Slyke – power) and both are areas that the Mets can use help in.

Finally, I would also like to throw Josh Satin‘s name into the mix. I could see the Dodgers being very interested in doing a one for one, Van Slyke for Satin swap. The reasons being that their OF is full and 1B is manned by Adrian Gonzalez so their ability to effectively use Van Slyke is greatly reduced. However, Josh Satin, who is a Los Angeles native, has shown the ability to be useful off the bench, not only as a pinch hitter but also at multiple positions. Based on what we saw from Satin last year, I think he will have a fruitful career where he is most valuable as an utility player with potential to be a serviceable every day second baseman.

I am crossing my fingers that even if the Mets cannot work out a deal with Los Angeles for Andre Ethier, that they can at least work together to swap some players that both sides can use more effectively.

*Also, giving credit where due. A quick search shows that user Captain America previously suggested a Valdespin for Gordon trade.

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Sandy’s Conundrum and Surviving In Baseball’s New Market Thu, 28 Nov 2013 19:17:21 +0000 Sandy Alderson is suffering from sticker shock. He’s so shocked you could slam a baseball bat against a wall he’s sitting by and he wouldn’t even flinch. He’s so shocked you have to tazer him just to get him to blink. He’s so shocked … eh, you get the idea.


Lets see…  $75 million for Nelson Cruz? Jhonny Peralta for $50 million? Both coming off of PED suspensions? Mind blowing.

MLB’s new TV contract (a $50 million dollar windfall per franchise) may certainly prompt teams to splurge a little, but what’s boggling Sandy’s marbles are the prices for what appear to be mediocre performers. These guys aren’t superstars, they are flawed and risky players getting paid like superstars. What are these second rate cantaloupes doing in the organic bin?

So Alderson stands his ground and doesn’t overpay. OK, I concede the argument on principle, but how do you compete then? This is a competitive league right? It’s not like like T-ball where all the kids get a trophy. Do you curl up in the fetal position with your Mets blankie and hope the Scott Boras zingers will just go away?

Holding true to your value estimates only works if it somehow gives you a competitive edge. The hope is that other teams will make bad spending decisions down the road at which point your patience will pay off like an ant with plenty of crumbs for the winter.

The only problem is that baseball is a summer sport that exists in the perpetual here and now world of endless sunny days, ice cold beer, and instant gratification. Also, there are way too many crumbs to go around, so you’ve got to go for it, you’ve got to believe, and you’ve got to give the people a reason to go to the ballpark, no?

You can’t just keep kicking the can down the road hoping you’ll eventually come out ahead right? Wrong, you can certainly try, especially when MLB keeps coming up with new ways of generating absurd amounts of revenue while your ownership keeps falling deeper into debt. Which brings us back to Sandy Alderson and his sticker shock.

Fred WilponSandy is so shocked he needs a defibrillator to calm his nerves. He’s in so much shock you could slap a couple of electrodes to his bald head and power East Elmhurst.

But seriously, I think New York fans are smart enough to understand that the money may simply not be there with the banks and the massive debt payments and whatnot. That doesn’t mean management can’t take steps to ignite the fan base.

Sandy needs to shake it off, remind himself what got him here, pat down his formidable cranium and get to work. If $22 million or whatever is still left in the coffers, it is still a nice chunk of change.

Ervin Santana would be a fantastic outside the box sign that could pay huge dividends. Yeah that wouldn’t leave much for a bat you say, but pitching is what wins in the NL East and hitting is really overpriced at the moment (as are shortstops). Trading Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis would also free up another $9 million or so, add that to the $5 million that’s left and you could conceivably sign or trade for one more impact player — perhaps an Andre Ethier (sure would be nice to have someone who could hit for average), and maybe one decent reliever.

It’s not like this can’t be done Mr. Alderson! I fell for your “We’re not trading Buck,” spiel in Minnesota so I know you sometimes bend the truth, but surely you understand you’ve got to make it happen already. It’s been three years for crying out loud. You can’t keep promising something, never deliver, and think you’ll remain competitive, I mean this is still New York right?

Here’s to a great holiday season and to hoping that the Mets can finally turn a corner beginning this offseason and culminating in meaningful games again in September.

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Granderson Rejects Qualifying Offer, Mets To Meet With Agent This Week Mon, 11 Nov 2013 20:54:30 +0000 Curtis+Granderson

Mets Showing Genuine Interest In Granderson

Update 3:45 PM - The Mets plans to meet with the agent for free-agent Curtis Granderson this week according to Mike Puma.

Update 3:30 PM – Granderson will reject his $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Yankees and become a free agent according to Joel Sherman.

Original Post 1:15 PM: Several beat writers who are in Orlando, Florida for baseball’s GM Meetings are reporting that the Mets interest in free-agent Curtis Granderson is genuine and that there’s real buzz surrounding the former Yankees outfielder.

On Friday, Andy Martino of the Daily News, spoke to two people familiar with the Mets’ thinking who said that the Mets have expressed preliminary interest in Granderson, however their level of seriousness will all depend on how the market develops.

Granderson, 32, will have plenty of teams in hot pursuit because he’s only seeking a 3-4 year deal. Both the Cubs and the White Sox have already expressed interest in Granderson who would give the Mets the power they are looking for. The Chicago native as always expressed a desire to play for his hometown.

Martino compares him to Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier in that both will likely cost the same amount in dollars and years and are very similar players, but Granderson wouldn’t cost the Mets any prospects.

Granderson represents the next tier of free agent outfielders just below top targets like Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, both of whom will net a deal worth $100 million or more.

After solid campaigns in 2011 and 2012 in which he clubbed 40+ home runs consecutively, Granderson slashed at .220/.317/.407 in 61 games last season with a 97 wRC+, .319 wOBA, and a 1.4 fWAR.

What appeals to me about Granderson is his team-first attitude which would fit right in with the rest of the Mets clubhouse. But he is coming off an injury plagued season and that represents a big risk for the near $50 million he could end up getting. That said, the home run power potential is definitely there.

(Updated 11/11)

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Cafardo: Mets Could Be In Hunt For Kemp Or Ethier Mon, 11 Nov 2013 00:56:40 +0000 matt kemp

The Dodgers were apparently open to dealing any of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier — who are each under contract with some serious money attached to them. However, Jon Heyman wrote “…a Mets person suggested that trio isn’t at the forefront of their internal talks, at least at the moment.”

However, Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe thinks otherwise and wrote on Sunday that the Mets are in search of a big-name player and could be in the hunt for Kemp or Ethier. The Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, and Blue Jays could also be interested.

The Mets have been linked to Ethier in the past as part of their pursuit of outfield help, but nothing really came from it. Kemp is owed $128 million over the next six years, Crawford $81.5 million over the next four, Ethier $69 million over the next four.

For what it’s worth, Andy Martino wrote a day or two ago that there was no chance that the Mets would move Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard for Ethier, though Martino speculates that the team could be more open to moving right-handed pitching prospect Rafael Montero.

Of course, the Mets are to have shown their most interest in Shin-Soo Choo, so we’ll see what happens on that front. Here’s the kicker, however — according to the same Heyman piece, the Mets view Robinson Cano as the only player worth $100 MM, but they won’t be in the running for him. Many other sources, including Anthony DiComo, have expressed their belief that the Mets will not be in running for players like Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury that will command large contracts.

For the Mets to even consider one of the trio from Los Angeles, the Dodgers would have to pay a solid chunk of any of those contracts. I’d probably stray away from both Ethier and Crawford for different reasons, and although I’d pursue Matt Kemp, I doubt his contract is one that ownership is willing to take on.

Not much to see here, unfortunately.

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Mets Shouldn’t Overpay For Middling Talent Sat, 09 Nov 2013 13:45:45 +0000 The Mets are at a crossroads right now, and we know what the giant elephant in the room is: Matt Harvey is out for the entirety of 2014.

With that being the case, the Mets’ brass really needs to be smart this offseason. It begs the question: Do we go all-in right now or wait until next offseason to really make a big splash?

Look who’s available in free agency. Do any of these names really get you super excited?

We really don't need another Jason Bay-type contract!

We really don’t need another Jason Bay-type contract!

Maybe a name like Robinson Cano, but we know that’s not happening. And now that it seems the Mets won’t commit $100 million to a player, that eliminates the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury and potentially Shin-Soo Choo. (In other news, it’s absolutely crazy to think that Choo is poised to earn a $100 million deal, but that’s a completely different story.)

There are a few intriguing names out there right now, but it seems each has a drawback.

Curtis Granderson would be a nice addition, maybe even to play right field if the team is committed to keeping Juan Lagares in center for his defense. Granderson was once a Gold Glove caliber center fielder – and probably still is – but imagine that outfield defense with he Lagares roaming out there.

But Granderson strikes out so much, and we already have guys who strike out a ton. Let’s move on.

Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta have some baggage, but both have proven to be solid offensive performers. Would the fanbase accept these guys? Probably yes, simply based on need.

But do we cant to commit multiple years and millions of dollars to these two aging players coming off suspensions? It’s a good question to consider.

Believe me, I want the Mets to add a few pieces. If they somehow work out the finances to be able to sign Granderson (for right field), Cruz (for left field) and Peralta (for shortstop), as well as a back-end rotation starter and a few bullpen arms, that would be a very good offseason.

But I really don’t want to see them overspend, or even worse bid against themselves, in order to bring these guys in.

Granderson will undoubtedly receive interest elsewhere and likely as a center fielder. So if the Mets are committed to Lagares – which we don’t know right now – then Grandy is out.

All reports indicate that the Mets have money to spend, but they need to spend it wisely.

Think about it, would you rather see the team spend frivolously this offseason just to say they did something by bringing in guys like Granderson and Cruz?

Or do you want the team to be patient, bring in some filler type players like Rafael Furcal and Corey Hart that would only command one-year deals, wait for Harvey to return for 2015, and start with a clean slate then?

It’s such a tough dilemma, because we’ve been waiting for 2014 ever since Sandy Alderson took over. Now it’s here and we have the money to spend, so why not spend it?

Trades for Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki or Giancarlo Stanton really were the key to this team’s improvement, but all those ideas have been quelled. So unless Alderson can pry Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, it’s looking like free agency will be the route to add players.

Like we’ve established, the free-agent class right now does not blow anyone away. We really can’t afford to have another Jason Bay-type crippling contract.

With all the pitching talent, this team is eventually going to be good. The old saying goes, “Develop pitching and buy hitting.”

Developing the pitching seems to be going well, and the team finally has the money to buy the hitting, but it’s unfortunate that now that the team finally has money, the available offensive weapons don’t get us too excited.

So the takeaway from all of this: If you can get Granderson to agree to a manageable deal and Cruz and Peralta will take one-year (maybe two-year) contracts, then let’s do it.

But please Sandy, do not overpay for middling talent, as has become synonymous with the Mets for too long.

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Why The Mets Won’t Invest $100 Million On Any Player… Fri, 08 Nov 2013 19:03:47 +0000 wilpon alderson sandy

Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog weighed in on the $100 million dollar player issue and explains why the Mets won’t go there.

There are revenue reasons, I’m sure, no question. But, also, regardless of budget size and your team’s financial situation, I just don’t think Sandy Alderson believes in those sort of commitments when building a baseball team. What’s more, thanks to some of Omar Minaya‘s handy work, ownership sounds skeptical of getting bogged down in those sort of deals again. So, I think when you add these three things together (less revenue, Alderson’s principals and ownership’s fear), it makes sense.

So there you have it… Blame 3M – Money, Methodology, Minaya

Class dismissed…

Original Post 11/7

Rather than draw up another post on something I already touched on yesterday, I wanted to update this with something that Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo reported.

Hitting on something I’ve been saying for nearly two months now, I don’t believe the Mets are in a position to offer any player a $100 million contract – even if it was “hypothetically” for players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Giancarlo Stanton.

Here is what DiComo said:

Speaking this month with a number of people both inside and outside the Mets organization, I came away with the impression that no one really expects general manager Sandy Alderson to commit a $100 million contract to any one player.

Looking at the current free agent crop, that would eliminate players like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and if the bidding gets out of hand, Brian McCann and Curtis Granderson too.

It would also take potential trade targets like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and others out of the equation too…

You can read my reply to a mailbag question below…

Andrew asks…

Well now that the Mets say they will be willing to give up a draft pick to sign a free agent who received a qualifying offer, do you feel more confident that we will have a good offseason and play meaningful games next September?

Joe D. replies…

The fact that Sandy Alderson said a draft pick wouldn’t prevent him from signing one of those free agents doesn’t sway my opinion of this upcoming offseason one bit. It was said in a vacuum and he was appealing to those fans who needed to hear him say that. I operate at a different level.

The real question is will the Mets be able to win a bidding war for any of those top tier free agents that will require big dollars in addition to the loss of a draft pick?

Remember that all of those players who will become free agents are walking away from a guaranteed $14.1 annual salary. Consider that the starting point for most of those players and then multiply that by the 3-7 year deals they will all get. That is the starting point in any bidding.

Also consider the flood of revenue all the teams will be getting from the new National TV deal. To most teams that is found money and they will spend it. Even the lowly Astros have said as much. The Mets on the other hand, will be using that money to pay down mounting debt.

The way I figure it, the Mets will likely spend $25 million of the $40 million coming off the books. Assuming that’s correct, do you think they will spend more than half of that budget on just one free agent? I don’t.

I’d expect them to spread that $25 million around to sign or acquire 4-5 players. The Mets have stated needs at shortstop, two outfield spots, at least one starter if not two, two bullpen pieces, and a backup catcher. This is what general manager Sandy Alderson outlined in an interview with WFAN after the season ended.

Realistically, with all those needs and so little money to fill them all, how can Sandy target and sign any top tier free agent this offseason?

The answer is he can’t.

So of course it’s safe to say he won’t let a draft pick stop him from signing any free agent. That’s because it will never come to that.

This is still about money and financial flexibility… Or a lack of it…


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Expect Some Wild Spending This Hot Stove Season Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:04:41 +0000 matt kemp

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that all three Dodger outfielders – Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford – are available, but a rival GM told him that none were desirable.

For comparison’s sake, the three Dodgers outfielders on the trade market combined for a 5.4 WAR (Crawford 2.9, Ethier 2.9, Kemp -0.4) while earning a combined $53.5 million. Kemp, who appeared in only 73 games, recently underwent surgery on his left ankle. His value obviously is down. But some rival officials say the Dodgers are more eager to move him than Ethier or Crawford.

Not that any of it will be easy. Kemp is owed $128 million over the next six years, Crawford $81.5 million over the next four, Ethier $69 million over the next four.

“None of those contracts can be moved without (the Dodgers) taking on salary,” one rival exec announced.

Which player is the most desirable?

“None,” the exec said.

The thing of it is that the Dodgers are swimming in money so this won’t prevent them from doing whatever they want to get back to the postseason in 2014.

By the way, Rosenthal also reports that RHP Ervin Santana is seeking $100 million and RHP Ricky Nolasco is looking for $80 million on the free-agent market.

That’s pure insanity…

This is all pointing to something I wrote about last month…

All MLB teams are getting an infusion of $30-40 million in new National TV money and many teams will look to spend it and invest it in their team’s roster, including the lowly Houston Astros.

I read a report that in 2014 almost two-thirds of all baseball teams will have payrolls that eclipse $100 million.

Think about that for a minute Met fans…

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Where The 2014 Mets Are Heading… Fri, 08 Nov 2013 13:20:13 +0000 aoki

If you want to get a better sense of where the Mets are heading, here’s what Joel Sherman of the New York Post sees as the Mets 2014 Opening Day Lineup after meeting with team officials, rival executives and agents over the last few days.

  1. Norichika Aoki, LF
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Andre Ethier, RF
  5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  6. Lucas Duda, 1B
  7. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  8. Juan Lagares, CF

Now that’s different…

L.A. Times beat writer recently wrote this about Ethier, who is entering the second year of his 5-year, $85 million dollar deal…

The Good: Had 30 or more doubles for his seventh consecutive year, a first for a Dodger. He was tied for third on the team in RBI and fourth in homers. Hit .311 on the road and .294 vs. right-handers. Led the club with 61 walks. Made himself more valuable by playing all three outfield positions, moving from right to center when Matt Kemp went down to injury, and playing it extremely well.

The Bad: His home run and RBI numbers were down for him. Was hitting just .229 on June 8 before turning his season around offensively (.320 over his next 74 games). Hit .229 at home and .221 against left-handers. Season went downhill after injuring ankle in Colorado on Sept. 4. Was 4-for-28 in his last nine games, missed most of the division series against Atlanta and went 3-for-20 in league championship series vs. St. Louis. Also suffered a calf injury in early August.

Getting back to Sherman, he says to forget Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, says that Ike Davis is as good as gone, and that the Mets really like Peralta.

Sherman also says the Mets could go after a lot of depth players that could include: Jose Molina as a backup for d’Arnaud, utility player Nick Punto, and take a gamble on first baseman Corey Hart. If Mets fail to re-sign LaTroy Hawkins, they could target an Edward Mujica or Kevin Gregg.

Just another take, but an interesting one at that…

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Does 2015 Free Agent Market Influence Mets 2014 Offseason Strategy? Tue, 29 Oct 2013 02:16:59 +0000 sandy alderson

An MMO Fan Shot By Andrew Doris

The two-year plan

The past two seasons, the Mets have finished 74-88. Over that time, they’ve dumped all their albatross contracts (except Bobby Bonilla…) and resolved the Bernie Madoff lawsuit, such that management finally appears capable of investing in the team. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, but Sandy Alderson has said the team has about $30 million to spend this off-season if he chooses. This post assumes they are serious, and aims to shed light on the wisest way to invest that money.

It’s reasonable to assume that without any major off-season additions, the Mets might finish 74-88 again in 2014. That might even be optimistic, because they’ve lost two key producers from last season already: Matt Harvey and Marlon Byrd. Perhaps young players will develop and improve enough to replace those losses, but even if that’s the case, they would still just be treading water to match last year’s output. It’s safe to say the current roster is no better than a 74 win team.

With that in mind, it is highly unlikely the Mets will win the World Series next season – there are just too many holes to fill in one off-season with the money and trade chips at Alderson’s disposal. A more realistic approach is to view the next two off-seasons as stepping stones to serious contention – a sort of “two-year plan” to get this team among the league’s elite.

Phase one of this plan should be to improve the team by enough that the fans take notice and tune in for 2014. The piqued interest would increase ticket sales and TV revenue, and ideally enable additional payroll expansions (read: player acquisitions) in phase two – next off-season and beyond.

However, doing this will require a team that, as Fred Wilpon famously put it back in 2004, is “playing meaningful games in September”, and a 74 win team does not match that criteria. How much does Alderson need to improve the roster to make that team a reality?

In a division with the Braves and Nationals, I suspect the Mets will need to win at least 85 games to even compete for the playoffs. Last year the Nationals won 86 and still finished 4 games out of the wildcard race. To actually make the playoffs, they may need to win 90, but I think Mets fans would be satisfied with 85 if it meant they stayed in the hunt until late in the season.

The question Alderson must answer, therefore, is this: how can he improve the team by 10 wins or more this off-season, without impeding his flexibility to make even more acquisitions next year? If the Mets are to navigate this question successfully, it behooves them to consider what options might be at their disposal next off-season. This foresight is particularly necessary at their positions of need, because those are the spots at which the greatest improvement can be made.

As I see it, the Mets’ greatest positions of need are OF, SS, 1B and SP, in that order. I put SP last because it is the only one of those holes that exists only in the short term. With the return of Harvey and the ascent of Syndergaard, Mejia, Montero, DeGrom and even Robles all expected by 2015, pitching shouldn’t be a problem over the long term (unless some of those names get traded filling one of the other three holes). By the time we’re seriously contending for a world series, that hole will ideally have filled itself. Neither OF, SS, nor 1B, however, have any promising minor leaguers nearing an MLB arrival date, so it makes the most sense to target external additions at those positions.

The options at shortstop:

Let’s start at SS. As Mets fans know, this was one of our biggest areas of need last year, with Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla combining for a woeful -1.7 WAR on the season. The 2014 free agent class has two primary options at SS: Stephen Drew, and Jhonny Peralta. Although these are good players, both are on the wrong side of 30 with health concerns, and both may cost around $12 million a year on a multi-year contract. The 2015 class, by contrast, features a whole host of interesting names: Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Hanley Ramirez, and Jed Lowrie. Furthermore, each of those players play on teams that are often open to trading players in contract years, such that Sandy might be able to land them in a deadline deal this upcoming summer depending on where everyone is in the standings.

For this reason, I recommend the Mets hold off on signing a big-name SS this winter, when the market is thin and prices are high. This has the added benefit of giving Ruben Tejada a few more months to turn things around. Even if the Mets don’t view Tejada as their SS of the future, it is unwise to sell low, and Tejada’s value has never been lower. A solid start to 2014 might improve his trade value and net them something better in return than they could get right now.

The options in the outfield:

Next up is OF. Even if we assume that light-hitting Juan Lagares is the answer in CF, the Mets have only one MLB caliber starting outfielder on their roster, with no help from the minors in sight (short of Cesar Puello, who has some questions to answer). If they are to get away with Lagares in CF, they desperately need some offense from the corner OF spots. Thankfully, the 2014 free agent class has several big name outfielders that could serve as the power-hitting cleanup hitter Terry Collins needs. Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Beltran, and Nelson Cruz could all fit that mold, while Jacoby Ellsbury could busy our competition on the market and make those other names more affordable (higher supply of marquee OF’s = lower price for each one). Additionally, there are several big name outfielders rumored to be on the trading block this winter, from Jose Bautista to Giancarlo Stanton to Matt Kemp to Andre Ethier. 2015, by contrast, has very few exciting names under 35 years old. Colby Rasmus is pretty good, but after that it goes downhill fast: Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Jonny Gomes, Emilio Bonifacio, Nate Schierholtz, Norichika Aoki, Chris Denorfia…you get the picture.

Curtis+GrandersonFor these reasons, it’s imperative that the Mets land at least one marquee, power-hitting outfielder this offseason, even if they have to sign him to a long term deal. Ellsbury and Choo may be outside our price range, but I think Curtis Granderson could be an excellent fit. He’s certainly comfortable in New York; in his first three years with the Yankees, Granderson was a superstar, averaging 36 homers per season with an 11% walk rate. Before you argue that was inflated by Yankee stadium, realize that Granderson averaged 18.5 road home runs from 2011-2012, which is more than any current Mets OF could provide in an entire season.

The 2013 season was lost to fluke injuries stemming from two stray fastballs, but before that Granderson was extremely durable, averaging 153 games a season from 2010-2012. His speed and defense will decline with age, but keep in mind what it’s declining from: a speedy, gold-glove caliber centerfielder. If the Mets shift him to LF to accommodate Lagares, he’d still offer plus defense and base-running in the short term, without being anything close to a liability in the long run. Granderson also has a reputation for being one of the most amiable players in the game, making him a fan favorite and a great locker room presence. He does strike out a lot, but that’s nitpicking, especially when you consider the much larger flaws of any 2015 option. In a deep market, Granderson could probably be had on a 3-4 year deal at $14-15 million per year, which still leaves Alderson enough flexibility to sign a SP and some role players for 2014. If they miss out on Granderson, I’d suggest Carlos Beltran or Nelson Cruz as high-ceiling fallbacks. If we felt like signing two outfielders, Nate McLouth might warrant consideration.

The options at first base:

Finally, we have 1B. With Jose Abreu gone to the White Sox, this year’s free agent class features interesting options like Mike Napoli, Kendrys Morales, and Corey Hart. 2015, by contrast, has very few good options under the age of 35 (assuming the Royals use their club option to pick up Billy Butler’s contract). Using the above logic, this would seem to imply that if the Mets are to get an external option to man 1B, this is the offseason to do it. If Sandy chooses to go that route, I’d support the decision.

However, I don’t think first base is such a dire necessity as is the outfield, for the simple reason that the Mets have better in-house options to man the former than they do the latter. Between Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin, Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy, the Mets have five candidates for one position. With the exception of Flores, none of those candidates have a career OPS below .746. Even if only one or two of those options work out, Terry Collins could probably cobble together moderate levels of production by riding the hot hand. The options in the OF, by contrast, inspire much less confidence: Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, and Matt den Dekker. None of those guys have a career OPS over .672 – none have a track record to prove they are major league caliber hitters. Until Cesar Puello (who has his own question marks) gets called up, these four AAAA guys would be competing for two vacancies, and the result would be woeful even if nobody got hurt.


The bottom line is this: if the Mets are serious on improving the team in 2014 while maintaining the flexibility to make additional improvements next winter, they should devote this off-season to acquiring at least one marquee OF, either via a trade or via free agency. Then, they should sign a high-upside veteran starting pitcher to a short, cheap, incentive laden deal, as well as a backup catcher and some affordable bullpen arms. However, they should hold off on acquiring a SS upgrade until the market thickens, and if money’s tight, they should also hold off on committing to an external 1B until they have more information on the viability of their internal options.

By following this blueprint and getting a little lucky, the Mets should be able to plug all their holes with capable and exciting players in a cost efficient way before the 2015 season, while still improving enough in the short term to make 2014 exciting. Only time will tell if Sandy Alderson agrees.

bleed orange & blue  button

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Changes, Changes: My Offseason Plan For The New York Mets Sun, 27 Oct 2013 13:00:44 +0000 Sandy Alderson 2The Mets have a few glaring needs going into this offseason. Despite the numerous promising young players rising through the minor leagues and onto the 40-man roster, there are a few positions that will need to be filled for the team to be competitive in 2014 and beyond. The foundation seems to be there, with an emphasis on young pitching. Third base is locked up, catcher and center field look promising, and the bullpen has young hard-throwing arms that could minimize the amount the team needs to spend in that area going forward.

For my plan, I limited myself to a payroll of about $90 million, give or take a little bit. The Mets had a payroll of $93 million last season, which means they would technically be cutting payroll. It’s actually unclear whether they will actually get to $90 million, but for the purposes of discussion, we will set it at that. Frankly, despite a valuation putting the Mets at $2 billion, I am still not convinced the Wilpons are going to fork over enough money to fill the Mets’ holes.

Current Obligations

Here is a breakdown of the money the Mets owe to current and former players next season.

current obligaions

Arbitration Eligibles

The Mets face a few tough choices to make in terms of arbitration. There are quite a few players that are teetering on the edge of being non-tendered. Here is a breakdown of who I would tender a contract to, before making any trades.

arb players

Scott Atchison: The Mets did not quite get what they wanted out of Atchison. After a dominant season with the Red Sox, he posted a 4.37 ERA, 3.75 FIP, and 4.02 xFIP. With his age, he just isn’t worth the $1.3 million he is projected to get through arbitration.

Justin Turner: Turner puts up a decent batting average but not much else. He has served his purpose, but a .260/.323/.361 line isn’t good enough for a significant bat bench getting 200 plate appearances per season, even if he only makes $800,000.


1. Trade Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada to the Tampa Bay Rays for Yunel Escobar
Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox - Game Two

On the Mets’ side, they get a solid shortstop at a good price. He put upleague average production last year, hitting .256/.332/.366 with a 97 OPS+ and 100 wRC+. That isn’t great (although it’s above average for a shortstop) but the real value comes from Escobar’s stellar defense. He has played ten runs or more above average three out of the last four seasons, including 17.5 runs above average in 2013. At best, Escobar is a four-win player and at worst he is worth 1.5 wins. Either way, his two $5 million club options over the next few years make him a very attractive option.

Net Salary Change: +$2.2 million

2. Trade Wilmer Flores, Gabriel Ynoa, and Hansel Robles to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Andre Ethier (Dodgers pay half of contract)

The Dodgers will reportedly be shopping both Ethier and Matt Kemp this winter, and it makes sense for the Dodgers to eat at least a portion of both of their salaries. Enter the Mets, who have prospects to spare. Given the right situation, giving up Wilmer Flores makes sense, and this is definitely one of them. Ethier is signed for the next four years at $71.5 million. However, if the Dodgers pay half to ship him off, suddenly the contract is a good value for the Mets, with Ethier’s salary ranging from $7.75 million in 2014 to just $9 million in 2017. Not bad for a three-win player.

Net salary change: +7.25 million

3. Trade Ike Davis to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later

Sorry Ike, but you’re time is up here. The Mets should tender him a contract to at least get something out of him, however much that may be. His value is rather unknown at this point, but he doesn’t fit into the plan.

Net salary change: -$3.5 mm

Free Agency

1. Sign Mike Napoli to a three-year, $39 million deal
Napoli originally got this very same contract from the Red Sox last offseason, but due to health concerns, it was negotiated down to just a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million. While he strikes out at a high rate, he can handle first base better than Kendrys Morales, who would just be a more expensive version of Lucas Duda. A three year deal worth $13 million per year would be more than fair for Napoli, who will turn 32 at the end of the month.

2. Sign Corey Hart for one-year worth $5 million, with $3 million in possible incentives
When healthy, Hart is a 25 to 30 home run hitter who can get on base at a decent clip. His health concerns will lower his price, but the Mets could score big by signing him to an incentive-laden contract with a low base salary to man right field. In 2012, Hart hit .270/.334/.507 with 30 home runs with the Brewers.

3. Sign Tim Stauffer for one-year and $1.5 million

Tim Stauffer is another player who, when healthy, is worth far more than what he might get as a free agent. The 32 year-old could be effective either in the rotation or out of the bullpen, depending on who steps up. Last year for the Padres he put up a 3.75 ERA in 69.2 innings.

4. Re-Sign LaTroy Hawkins for one-year, $2 million

Hawkins definitely earned a spot on the 2014 Mets, posting a 2.93 ERA over 70.2 innings. Soon to be 41, Hawkins still has the velocity to pitch a few more years.

Minor League Contracts

Scott Rice- You’d have to be crazy to not offer Rice a minor league contract at minimum after the year he had last season.

John Lannan- Lannon had been a solid rock in the Nationals rotation until 2012 when he was unexpectedly pushed aside to the minor leagues due to the plethora of depth the Nationals had. Lannan had a 4.00 ERA in 128 starts for the Nats in 2007 through 2012. Since then, he has been on an off in the minors, but could be a steal if he returns to old form.

Aaron Harang- Aaron Harang may have struggled badly last year, but he is still a bounce-back candidate for 2014. In 2011 and 2012, he combined for a 3.62 ERA in 350.1 innings.

James McDonald- Another bounce-back candidate who could provide depth for the Met rotation is James McDonald. McDonald, 29, had a 4.10 ERA coming into this year in over 120 appearances until the wheels fell of in spectacular fashion this year. Nonetheless, McDoonald, unlike some of these other signings, is still relatively young and could easily bounce back.

Yorvit Torrealba- The Mets need a backup catcher, and Torrealba fits what they need: a cheap veteran. This isn’t where the Mets need to spend any more than the minimum, as Juan Centeno may make the team over any veteran that is signed.

Clint Barmes- Barmes would provide a solid backup up the middle.


Here is a breakdown of the proposed roster:

total plan salaries

In the end, I was able to put together a team with a total salary of $88.1 million, slightly below my original self-imposed cap. Under this plan, with major upgrades at shortstop, first base, and both corner outfield positions, as well as added depth to the starting rotation, the Mets could certainly compete for a playoff spot. In addition, keeping all but two significant prospects would still have the organization in good shape going forward, with the possibility of continued improvement after the debuts of Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. Hopefully it will be a busy offseason for the Mets as they look to build on the foundation of young players currently in the organization.

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MMO Roundtable: Who Are The Mets’ Biggest Trade Chips? Fri, 18 Oct 2013 17:09:54 +0000 rafael montero travis d'arnaud

With so much work to do this offseason and many different areas that need to be addressed, it’s almost impossible to imagine that the Mets won’t make one or two significant trades this Winter to fill a couple of those needs.

Of course the follow-up to that is, which of our players would be most appealing to other teams that we would be willing to trade?

I threw this question to some of our staff:

Which players or prospects are the Mets’ biggest trade chips?

Kirk Cahill - The Mets three best trade chips, or more importantly, the three best chips that I’d be willing to deal would be Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese, and Rafael Montero. Teams are always going to target pitching, and I think Niese is an established pitcher signed to a team-friendly contract, while Montero offers upside and longterm team control. Murphy can provide a contending team with offense from a traditionally weak offensive spot, as well as a good clubhouse guy with a great work ethic.

Tommy RothmanZack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, and Noah Syndergaard. The Mets can’t really trade Wheeler at this point unless they can trade him and not much else for a superstar bat. D’Arnaud should be treated similarly, because his value is lower right now than the Mets would like, and he is still an elite prospect who the team hopes can become an elite player. Syndergaard has been dominant, but he can be moved if we get a great hitter. I would NOT feel comfortable trading two of these three no matter who we get (with the possible exception of Mike Trout, which would never happen). The three guys the Mets should LOOK to trade are Rafael Montero, Wilmer Flores, and Dillon Gee. Trading these guys might bring in a bat or two, and Gee can always be replaced by signing somebody like Tim Lincecum.

Barry Duchan – Since everyone wants prospects over decent but unspectacular major leaguers, the top 3 chips are probably Wheeler, Syndergaard, and d’Arnaud, but I wouldn’t trade any of them except in multi-player deals where the Mets get at least one established (overpaid?) star e.g. Andre Ethier as well as other players.

DrDooby – I believe that in the Mets current situation, free agency is by far the best way to go. There´s plenty of payroll space. There´s a somewhat deep free agent class – in terms of at least average major leaguers, something the Mets have lacked. I´d be very hesitant to trade any of Syndergaard, Wheeler, d’Arnaud or Montero – as that´d be robbing Paul to pay Peter. I also believe that a prospect like Cesar Puello has more value to the Mets than other organizations for now. And a prospect package for a significant player is never headed by an A-Ball prospect, so forget about those as anchors. So, in terms of trade chips that – realistically – can be moved, I´d say either Duda or Davis; either Jake DeGrom or Cory Mazzoni as a 2nd tier upper level power arm and then as a throw-in Ruben Tejada if the Mets get a real starting SS. That obviously doesn´t get you any stars. But it fits the Mets current situation better.

XtreemIcon – It would be Syndergaard, Flores and D’Arnaud, though the players I’d trade them for is on a very short list. I’d only trade Syndergaard and TDA for David Price or Jurickson Profar.

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Pie In The Sky Mets Rumors: Lincecum, Napoli, Kemp, Ellsbury… Mon, 14 Oct 2013 15:05:24 +0000 As the post season crawls to a close, thus ushering in the hot stove season, there seems to be a growing tide of great and unrealistic expectations for players the Mets could or should target.

Over at MetsBlog, they’ve spent this weekend writing multiple times about Tim Lincecum as well as other potential free agents or players presumed to be on the block like Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.

Readers here should already be conditioned to understand that these are all mostly pie in the sky Met rumors with no basis in any fundamental belief that any deal is forthcoming.

Let me spend this beautiful Columbus Day morning by running down these players and giving you my quick take on their situations as it pertains to the Mets.

Jacoby Ellsbury – There’s no doubt that Ellsbury would fill a void for the Mets, but seriously, do you believe the Mets are in a position to make him the team’s new $100 million dollar man? I seriously doubt the Mets would entertain paying the oft-injured Ellsbury through his age 35 or 36 season especially when the team seems committed to the further development of Juan Lagares in center field.

Mike Napoli – This might be one of the worst possibilities for the Mets on this list. Already 32, and seeking a 3-year deal that will pay him more annually than the $13 million he earned this season, Napoli would only add to the logjam that already exists at first base for the Mets. And there’s good reason to believe that he may not even represent an upgrade. Essentially we’re talking about a career .259 hitter who is entering his declining years. Jose Abreu would be cheaper and six years younger with more power and upside to go with it. Oh, and Abreu won’t cost the Mets their second round pick like Napoli would.

Tim Lincecum – After earning $22 million in 2013, Lincecum went 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 197.2 innings for the Giants in spacious AT&T Park. It was the second straight season of pedestrian results for the 29-year old righty, but the Giants want to keep him and he wants to stay. They are at the negotiating table as we speak and are reportedly making progress. It’s been two years since he last touched 95 mph on the radar gun, and he makes zero sense for the Mets anyway.

Matt Kemp – Kemp just had shoulder surgery on Wednesday in addition to the career-threatening, micro-fractured ankle he still suffers from. It’s ridiculous to entertain the notion that the Mets would take on the $130 million he still has remaining on his contract with all of that risk. They wouldn’t do it even if he were 100% healthy – which he’s not. And if the Dodgers agreed to eat any portion of that contract, they’ll want the Mets to kick in Noah Syndergaard on top of the big package it will take to acquire him. Let’s get real…

Andre Ethier – He’ll be 32 and is owed an average of $17.5 million through 2017 with one of those Bay-esque vesting options for 2018. He’s averaged 14 home runs per season over the last three years and he peaked seven years ago. Ethier has no speed, never scored 100 runs in a season, and only had one 100 RBI season back in 2009 and has never come close to duplicating that. In fact, he’s averaged 67 RBI’s over the last three seasons. Do you really want to pay him superstar money for that kind of production?

Many of the names on this list represent a reckless spending era that we’ve been trying to distance ourselves from. Don’t buy into everything you read. The Mets want you to think they are interested, it’s great for season ticket sales. Or at the very least it can’t hurt, but really they’re not targeting players like this.

If the front office were going to spend this offseason, something that has yet to be proven, it would be for someone younger and with more upside, and not for players whose best seasons are clearly behind them.

This isn’t a Moneyball thing or the Wilpons being cheap… This is just a common sense approach…

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Giants and Hunter Pence Agree To Five-Year Deal Worth $90 Million Sat, 28 Sep 2013 17:48:14 +0000 hunter-pence

According to several reports, the Giants and Hunter Pence have reached a deal on a new contract to keep the would-be free agent outfielder in San Francisco.

Jon Heyman reported that the deal could be worth $90 million dollars over five years – an average annual value of $18 million per season, topping Andre Ethier‘s five-year, $85 million extension from last year.

This deal will likely set the bar for a free agent like Shin-Soo Choo this winter, Heyman says. (Hi Sandy)

Pence, 30, acknowledged last night that negotiations were gaining traction, and that the Giants were close to getting back to him with a serious offer.

The righthanded slugger is wrapping up a tremendous 2013 campaign in which he hit .282/.339/.481 with 26 homers, 90 runs, 94 RBI and 22 stolen bases.

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Mets Blow Late Lead In Dodgers 5-4 Walkoff Win Thu, 15 Aug 2013 07:15:39 +0000

Well this loss wasn’t pretty…

Maybe we just caught them at the wrong time… but we just came so close to wining every game in this entire damn series that it frustrates me. They say good teams find a way to win ball games no matter what — and the Dodgers are certainly a good ball club right now. On the heels of five unanswered runs, the Dodgers slid by the Mets tonight by the score of 5-4.

Yasiel Puig turned a slow bouncer past the Mets’ diving shortstop into a one-out double in the 12th inning then scored on Adrian Gonzalez‘s two-base hit, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-4 victory over New York on Wednesday night that extended their winning streak to eight games.

Dillon Gee was, yet again, effective as he fired six innings of two-run ball. Both of the earned runs against him scored in the sixth, after the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out. Mark Ellis hit a soft grounder that the Mets couldn’t turn two on — and Hairston followed that up with an RBI single.  The Mets backed up Gee with four runs early, mostly on the strength of a three-run bomb by Marlon Byrd. After he hit that jack in the top of the second, the Mets would be held scoreless the entire rest of the game.

Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier tied the game with a two-run homer off LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth. Ethier returned after sitting out a day earlier with tightness in his left calf.

Puig legged out a double that glanced off Omar Quintanilla‘s glove and into center field after going hitless in his first five at-bats. Gonzalez hit the next pitch off Pedro Feliciano (0-1) down the left field line to win the game. Puig also sparkled on a bang-bang play in the second when Justin Turner singled to right field. Puig raced to pick up the ball and fired to third base to nail Marlon Byrd.

The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Mets with their sixth walk-off win of the season. Los Angeles is 40-8 since June 22, the best 48-game run in the major leagues since the 1942 Cardinals went 41-7.

Tomorrow at 10:10 pm ET, the Mets begin a 4-game series against the San Diego Padres, with Zack Wheeler (5-2, 3.63 ERA) facing Tyson Ross (3-5, 2.75 ERA).

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Why The Mets Shouldn’t Sign Shin-Soo Choo Wed, 14 Aug 2013 19:04:56 +0000 Shin-Soo Choo

I know this probably isn’t going to be a popular opinion around here, so let me preface it by saying this — I think Shin-Soo Choo is pretty good. However, I don’t think he’s the type of player the Mets should be allocating their available funds to. I know Mets fans are clamoring to root for a winner. I don’t, however, think the Mets need to go out and spend money this offseason. Some fans seem to want the Wilpon’s to spend just for the sake of spending. Because for two plus years we’ve been told that this would be the offseason that we took a big step forward. But if you’re looking at the names available objectively, I think you’ll see there isn’t a player worth breaking the bank for.

A quick glance would suggest that Choo is a perfect fit. First, he’s an outfielder– a real need for the Mets. Secondly, he’s an on-base machine with pop and speed. What team couldn’t use that? Let’s examine.

A good place to start would be trying to figure out just how much it would take to sign Choo. Let’s compare Choo over a three year period (2011-2013) to Andre Ethier and B.J. Upton – two players who are of similar age, play the outfield and have recently signed long term contracts:

choo ethier upton

As you can see, each player has his advantages, but overall they’re very close in WAR. Choo is clearly the superior player when it comes to reaching base. Upton is the best defender of the three, and also has the better power/speed combination. Ethier is likely the most consistent player across the board; he doesn’t stand out in any category, but doesn’t kill you in any of them either. Now let’s look at the contracts signed by Ethier and Upton (according to Cot’s Contracts):

In 2012 Andre Ethier signed a 5-year, $85 million dollar contract extension. The contract runs from 2013-2017 and will pay him an average annual salary of $17MM. Ethier is currently 31-years old and his contract will run through his age 35 season. Now onto Upton.

Prior to the 2013 season BJ Upton signed a 5-year, $75.25 million dollar contract. Obviously his contract also runs from 2013-2017. BJ’s annual salary comes to $15.05MM. He will turn 33 towards the end of his contract with the Braves, making him slightly younger than Choo.

I’m feeling generous, so lets say we split the difference (almost) and go with 5-years and $80MM. That’s $16 million dollars per season. I say “generous” because I think there’s a chance Choo tops both deals. My reasons for that are because agents usually look to surpass contracts from previous seasons. Also because Choo has gotten overhyped by many baseball analysts who think that on-base percentage is what “moneyball” is.

So the question is whether Choo is an $80 million dollar player. Many will answer “yes”, since that appears to be the going rate. But go ahead and ask the Dodgers or Braves how many teams are knocking down their doors to take on those contracts. It’s also more than just a question of money. If you dig just a little deeper you’ll see that Choo is not without his flaws.

The first thing that stands out is that Choo is essentially a platoon player. Solid walk-rate aside, his numbers against left-handed pitchers have spiraled downward at an alarming rate. Here’s a look at his numbers over the past three seasons:

Shoo LHP

As you can see, Choo is hitting a meager .175 against southpaws this season. Even more unsettling is that he’s slugged just .204 without a single homerun in 169 plate appearances. To put those numbers in perspective– Choo would rank 6th in batting average and 10th in slugging AMONG NL PITCHERS (min. 50 PA). If this were one outlier season I could overlook it, but it’s been a steady decline that cannot be ignored. Essentially you’d be paying $16MM per season for a player who would hit like a second pitcher in your lineup when there’s a lefty on the mound. In a division that already features lefties like Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez and Mike Minor.

Another red flag is his defense. Choo has played center field almost exclusively this year. Problem is– he’s not a center fielder. The only way I can explain that is with two simple words: Dusty Baker. But that’s a whole other blog post. Let’s take a look at Choo’s defense from the sabermetric side:


In 2011, playing right field exclusively, Choo had the metrics of a league average outfielder. Playing the same position in 2012 in the same ballpark, his numbers dropped dramatically. His UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) fell from 2.1 to -16.7 and his DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) nose-dived from +3 to -12. So far in 2013 the trend has continued. He’s on pace to surpass his lowly UZR from 2012, and his -13 DRS thus far ranks dead last amongst qualified outfielders.

I know the skeptics will say that defensive metrics are a work in progress and often flawed themselves– and they’re right. However I think they’re a reasonably reliable indicator of defensive performance. Certainly a good outfielder isn’t going to put up metrics that terrible. Not for two consecutive seasons. The sample size at this point is large enough.

In summation, I’m going to reiterate what I said to start this — Shin-Soo Choo is a pretty good player. You have to like a guy getting on base at a 40% clip regardless of his aforementioned flaws. I just don’t think he’s the right player for the Mets. He’s a great complimentary player for a team that’s a player away. He’s not a building block for a team looking to find it’s identity. Choo doesn’t posses the impact tools that the Mets need. At least not at that price. What’s a .400 OBP if you don’t have the players behind him to bring him in? I think the money could be better spent on a few players that could help in multiple spots, or even *gasp* saved for another time. There’s a great feeling around this team right now, and I don’t want to rush to sign a player who will cripple us financially in the future. We’ve been through that before. We’re finally about to get out from under that rock. Better days are nearing. Let’s get it right this time.

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Making The Case For Trading Marlon Byrd Sat, 20 Jul 2013 02:45:16 +0000 I want to welcome our newest writer to the MMO family; Jacob Resnick. Jacob was the 2011 SNY Mets Kidcaster and in 2012 was a correspondent for the show Kid’s Clubhouse on SNY and has now brought his talents to the Mets blogosphere here on MMO. Be sure to say hello and give him a MetsMerized welcome as well as a follow at @Jacob_Resnick. Without further ado, here is Jacob’s post on the case for trading Marlon Byrd, which you can also find on his personal blog, Mets Mumblings. – Clayton Collier

byrd  hr 2

On July 31st, 2012, Sandy Alderson made the decision to keep outfielder Scott Hairston in New York. The pros were obvious. Hairston was a monster against left handers, with a BABIP around .300 and an OPS just near .870. When he wasn’t starting (in fact he started 32 more games against southpaws than righties), Hairston emerged as one of the more reliable bats off the bench, hitting .255 with the same amount of pinch-hit home runs (5) as Jordany Valdespin. It was obvious that Hairston was a part of Alderson’s future due to the fact he wasn’t moved, even though the Amazins found themselves 12 games out and all their playoff hopes all but washed away.

Hairston ended up with eight homers in the second half compared to 12 in the first. He also managed 11 less RBI though he did see his AVG rise from .249 to .276. The Mets ultimately let Hairston walk after the year as Hairston took two years and $5 million from the Chicago Cubs.

byrd catch

The Mets inked veteran Marlon Byrd to a one year, $400K contract on the 1st of February to possibly be Hairston’s replacement. If Byrd happened to make the team, he would play his first games since June 8th with Boston. He had been suspended on June 25, 2012 because of testing positive for a banned substance. Byrd’s best days arguably came with the Texas Rangers where he hit 40 home runs and drove in 212 runs over three seasons.

Not only did Marlon make the Opening Day roster, but he found himself roaming right field during game number one. Byrd got off to an average start in April but has since kicked it up hitting six homers in June while driving in 16 runs. He’s also hitting .319 in just 47 at-bats in July. Byrd has been one of the top offensive Mets this season but is also getting it done in the field with six outfield assists on the campaign.

byrd hr

Marlon has been talked about as a potential candidate to be moved by the end of the month and I find that a completely logistical move that the Mets can make, and here are 5 reasons why:

1.  The Mets currently find themselves 10.5 games out of 1st place, so playoff chances don’t look too great. This means the Mets can pretty much qualify as a team who can trade away expiring talent and come away with young talent

2.   Only two current division leaders have right fielders who are hitting above .300 and only one of them have over 10 home runs. An example of a team with dismal right field production are the Atlanta Braves whose Jason Heyward is struggling to stay above .220 and is getting by with 21 RBI and 7 HR. The Dodgers are another contender whose Andre Ethier only has 5 HR at the midpoint.

3.   The Braves have the 18th best farm system in baseball which is as low as it is due to call ups from  2012. The Dodgers are not hesitant to move minor leaguers as they acquired Ricky Nolasco for three prospects this past week.

4.    Byrd is open. Marlon in a recent interview with Mets Merized Online said he would love to stay with the Mets but is going to go with whatever Sandy Alderson thinks is right.

5.   Sandy obviously learned that Scott Hairston should have been moved at the deadline and I think he will jump at the opportunity this time around.

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Expect A Very Quiet Trade Deadline For The Mets Sun, 07 Jul 2013 20:27:13 +0000 sandy aldersonAccording to what a team insider told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, with the July 31 trade deadline three weeks away, they may not be buyers or sellers and will instead stand pat.

Rubin says that Mets officials are expected to keep tabs with the Colorado Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez and the Los Angeles Dodgers about Andre Ethier. But given the tight nature of the NL West standings, those players very well won’t get traded anywhere, much less to the Mets. And there is no indication Giancarlo Stanton gets traded, either.

He also likens the Marlon Byrd situation to how the Mets handled Scott Hairston last season, preferring to keep him and stay somewhat competitive despite demand from other teams.

There’s been blog speculated rumors of trading Daniel Murphy or Bobby Parnell, but there’s no indication at all that the Mets would move either of them. Shaun Marcum doesn’t seem like an attractive option for a team trying to bolster a post season run. Plus his incentive bonuses worth $4 million doesn’t help his case as does a bum back and shoulder that leads to numbness and tingling in his fingers.

At a ticket holder event at the end of June, Sandy Alderson practically promised a big move before the All Star Game – but it’s looking more and more like he was referring to picking up Eric Young off waivers which he did three days later.

I think it will be a quiet trade deadline for the Mets and that their big move will come in the offseason when teams are more amenable to trading what the team covets most – a young, proven power hitter with 2-3 years of team control.

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