Mets Merized Online » depth http://metsmerizedonline.com Thu, 04 Feb 2016 21:14:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Should The Mets Deal Or Keep Alejandro De Aza http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/should-the-mets-deal-or-keep-alejandro-de-aza.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/02/should-the-mets-deal-or-keep-alejandro-de-aza.html/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:36:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=205703 alejandro de aza 2

At the press conference on Wednesday, re-introducing Yoenis Cespedes to the masses to make his new contract official, the issue of what Alejandro De Aza‘s role will be came up when Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters afterward. Naturally, he’s expected to be on the bench ready, willing, and able to play all three outfield positions. But perhaps, that is jumping the gun a bit:

This really just confirms what every Mets fan thought when De Aza came aboard. De Aza signed with the Mets to share center field duties with Juan Lagares, mostly because Sandy Alderson admittedly didn’t believe they would be able to sign Cespedes. Yet, somehow, Cespedes’ strong desire to remain with the Mets changed everything and the stars aligned for both sides to get a deal done, essentially relegating Lagares and De Aza to 4th and 5th outfielder roles.

Now, we are not privy to what, if any, promises were made to De Aza.  We do know at the time De Aza was signed to his $5.75 million deal, at worst he would serve as the team’s fourth outfielder, but it was far more likely he was going to have a legitimate shot to get the bulk of the at-bats in center field. Now, he’s the team’s fifth outfielder. I’m sure he’s not happy with being pushed down the depth chart without even playing one game, especially when he could’ve signed elsewhere.

Now, De Aza can’t be traded until June 15th unless he consents to a deal, which he very well might. While every player wants to win, every player also wants to play. Right now, De Aza’s at-bats will be few and far between as he’s the left-handed option off the bench, and our corner outfielders both hit left-handed as well. He could be buried on the bench for a while. It’s not exactly an exciting proposition for a 31 year old utility outfielder.

So yes, we understand why De Aza would want to be traded, but why would the Mets want to trade him?  With the Brandon Nimmo injury and the Darrell Ceciliani trade, De Aza is it when it comes to organizational center field depth. Well, there are a few good reasons.

First, De Aza may not be happy on the bench for long stretches, especially after he signed believing that he could be a starter with the Mets. Could that grow into a bigger concern once the season begins? No, I’m not suggesting De Aza is a bad guy. Rather, I’m saying any player not getting sufficient playing time is an issue that could eventually come to a head.

On the plus side Terry Collins has always had a good grasp of running the clubhouse and he handled the Michael Cuddyer situation quite well when the veteran lost his everyday job to Michael Conforto.

Another reason you trade De Aza now is this might be the time when he has the most value. As teams look to fill out their rosters for Spring Training and/or the regular season, De Aza may be a very attractive option. The Mets aren’t likely to get much in return, but whatever they do get is most likely to be better than what they get around the trade deadline.

And who knows, maybe after they deal De Aza, they can fill his roster spot with a right-handed bat who can play the corner outfield and first base – that was the plan before the Mets signed Cespedes. A power bat to spell Granderson or Duda against left-handed pitching.

Whether or not the Mets trade De Aza, we should be able to agree on one thing. De Aza is here because the Mets never expected Cespedes to be here. Now the Mets need to find playing time for FIVE major league caliber outfielders.

This really is a nice problem to have especially when you think back to a few years ago when the Mets general manager famously quipped, “Outfield? What outfield?”  Sometimes, it’s not so bad when a plan doesn’t come together.

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Should Mets Trade Wilmer Flores http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/should-mets-trade-wilmer-flores.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/should-mets-trade-wilmer-flores.html/#comments Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:10:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204133 wilmer flores

MLB.com reporter Phil Rogers speculates that if the Mets were to consider dealing infielder Wilmer Flores, they may have a couple of willing trade partners in the San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He writes:

“Remember when no one thought the Mets had one shortstop? They’ve got three now, since signing Asdrubal Cabrera a few days after Terry Collins said Tejada and Flores would compete for the everyday job. Teams like the Padres and White Sox are still exploring shortstop options, so maybe there’s a deal to be made for Flores, who raised his stock after Chase Utley took Tejada down in the National League Division Series.”

Here’s the thing. Whether you believe or agree with the strategy, the Mets have spent the entire offseason dodging questions about adding a significant star-quality bat by professing a philosophy of depth and versatility.

When the Mets signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year deal right after they traded for Neil Walker, it put Wilmer Flores in exactly the position the Mets have always envisioned for him. – that is becoming the team’s super utility player who can cover all four infield positions, and give them a potent bat against left-handed pitching.

The other important factor to note is that for now, Flores may be the only insurance the Mets have at third base to cover David Wright when he’s going to need a game or two off. While both Walker and Cabrera said they’d play third in a pinch if needed, it’s been years since either of them fielded the position, and they’ve played just 16 games combined at third base in their big-league careers.

What exactly is Flores’ trade value? In my opinion it’s not more than the value he currently gives the Mets. In other words, I don’t believe there’s a team who who view Flores with as much value as we do.

Apparently Phil Rogers believes there are teams out there who view Flores as an everyday shortstop, and particularly the White Sox who are still in play for bringing back Alexei Ramirez, and the Padres. It’s a bold statement considering the team that knows Flores best have never viewed him like that. Although, I felt Flores did make some great strides defensively

Flores, 24, batted .263 with a .403 slugging percentage last season, with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 59 RBI in 510 plate appearances.

Let’s say you could deal Flores for a right-handed reliever, what happens next? Are we back to Eric Campbell (who continues to occupy space on the 40 man roster) and Ruben Tejada as our bench guys? There goes that whole “we’re not cheap, we’re just focused on depth” argument.

Unless Flores is part of a bigger deal for a significant addition – a difference maker – I don’t see the logic in dealing him now while his value is greater to us than anything we’d likely get back in return.

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Which Players Could Get Traded To Address Team Needs In 2016? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/which-players-could-get-traded-to-address-team-needs-in-2016.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/which-players-could-get-traded-to-address-team-needs-in-2016.html/#comments Sun, 03 Jan 2016 18:03:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203437 brandon nimmo

Frank asks…

Last season the Mets almost traded Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores and then did trade a bunch of prospects including Michael Fulmer, Robert Whalen and Luis Cessa. If the Mets find themselves needing significant help again at the trade deadline, who are some of the names that could be trade chips?

Joe D. replies…

That’s a great question and I needed the week to respond to it. While the Mets were all too willing to deal Wheeler last July, I’m no so sure that’s the case any longer. A lot has transpired since then including the passage of six months with no setbacks and the 26-year old right-hander reportedly feeling great based on his comments last week. With the Mets’ quality pitching depth not what it was a year ago, I’m betting Wheeler stays put. Remember, he was supposed to be the best of the Mets pitching prospects two years ago.

As for Flores, because he doesn’t have a true position he could call home there’s always a chance he could be dealt, but I think the Mets will stick with him as well. Flores does fill a vital utility role and is probably an upgrade over Juan Uribe or Kelly Johnson just based on youth, potential, and upside. All teams need a player to fill this role and the Mets might be able to get some solid production if Flores continues to develop.

Don’t expect the Mets to unload 6-8 prospects in one fell swoop as they did last trade deadline. You can get away with something like that once and not really denigrate your minor league pipeline, but twice in successive seasons and you start doing some serious harm to your farm system and depth. Nobody knows that better than Sandy Alderson who has devoted a great deal of time and resources to building up the Mets’ minor league system.

Still there are some top names that may have lost some of their shine and could be dealt to fill a future major league need for the Mets. Chief among those is Brandon Nimmo who has seen his stock tumble in successive years. He’s still young and possesses a good eye at the plate, but nobody views him as the multi-tool star the Mets envisioned when they drafted him with their first round pick in 2011.

Other players on the 40-man roster who could be dangled as trade chips are left-handed relievers Dario Alvarez and Josh Smoker, and right-handers Seth Lugo, Gabriel Ynoa and Erik Goeddel. Regardless of what the front office says, I’m sure they would move Kevin Plawecki in the right deal, especially if Travis d’Arnaud proves healthy and steps up. Matt Reynolds is viewed more as a utility player than a future everyday shortstop or second baseman so he could go too. Rafael Montero has a long way to go to rebuild his value so he won’t be a key piece or headline any deal until that happens.

One player the Mets are very high on and won’t deal is right-hander Robert Gsellman who has steadily seen his stock rise since he was selected in the 13th round of the 2011 draft. You could tell a lot about a player by what his coaches and managers say about him, and they do a lot of raving about this 22-year old’s heavy and deceptive sinker. You could put shortstop Gavin Cecchini on the safe list too, another prospect the Mets love.

Anyway, that’s my view of things at this early point of the year. Things could change dramatically once the season starts, but I feel pretty confident with what I’ve put forth here.

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Mets Won’t Go More Than 3 Years On Cespedes, Could Sign Ryan Raburn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-wont-go-more-than-3-years-on-cespedes-could-sign-ryan-raburn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-wont-go-more-than-3-years-on-cespedes-could-sign-ryan-raburn.html/#comments Mon, 14 Dec 2015 14:39:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202440 raburn ryan

Despite saving  $12.5 million dollars from Michael Cuddyer‘s contract, Joel Sherman of the NY Post says the Mets have no intention of bringing back Yoenis Cespedes unless he lowers his demands. Mike Puma adds that the Mets only like Cespedes on a 2-3 year deal.

Sherman writes that they will instead look to add quality veteran depth instead of making a big splash. While this certainly comes as disappointing news fans, the Front Office believes that building solid depth and flexibility is crucial to their success.

The Mets learned this lesson the hard way this season when fringe players such as Eric Campbell, Daniel Muno, Darrell Ceciliani, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Johnny Monell and John Mayberry Jr. were given a substantial amount of playing time early in the season.  Sherman calculates that this group of  players had taken 17 percent of the Mets position player at-bats, or about one out of every six.

However, this issue was resolved later in the year when the team acquired veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson to fill out the roster. The team’s significantly improved depth was one of the main reasons for their mid-season turnaround, and they want to replicate that success once again in 2016.

The Mets already took steps to achieve this with Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera,  but what other available players could the Mets look to sign? Sherman says utility man Ryan Raburn would be a great target for the bench. 

The 34-year old free agent batted .303/.393/.543 in 201 plate appearances for Cleveland this year, and crushes left-handed pitching. As Sherman points out, he posted a  1.004 OPS against them this year and has a .827 mark for his career.

He also brings some versatility to the club as he can play both corner outfield spots as well as first base. This means he can be a great platoon option for Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson or Lucas Duda who aren’t as prolific against southpaws.

I’m not sure why the Mets can’t sign a player of Cespedes’ caliber and also add proven veteran depth like Raburn at the same time. Is the payroll still that much of an issue for the Wilpons, or is the team really just reluctant to commit to Cespedes on a 5-6 year deal? Still, Raburn looks like he’d be a solid addition.

(Updated 12/14)

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MMO Mailbag: Should The Mets Trade Jon Niese? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mmo-mailbag-should-the-mets-trade-jon-niese.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mmo-mailbag-should-the-mets-trade-jon-niese.html/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2015 16:53:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201359 niese jon

Tyler asks…

Why is Jon Niese still on this team? They should have traded him two years ago but now it’s even more important to get rid of him and put that $9 million dollars to better use. Thoughts?

Dr. Dooby replies…

The frequent calls to trade Mets left-hander Jon Niese to pick up some payroll flexibility are somewhat perplexing and even misguided. Most teams need 9 or 10 starting pitchers to make it through an entire season. That´s why all the “let’s trade Jon Niese” talk seems rather weird to me.

Niese started 29 games for the Mets in 2015 and allowed three or less runs in 19 of those starts. His peripherals all took a hit from his fine season in 2014, but Niese still had prolonged periods of effectiveness this past season.

Right now, Niese will be needed as the Mets’ number five starter for the 2016 season. Zack Wheeler will be an option by July in all likelihood, but odds are the Mets will still have to use 3 to 4 more starters to make it through the season. One as an emergency starter / long reliever on the major league roster and a couple of more at Triple-A who can come up and fill in when needed.

For now, the only three realistic and major league ready candidates for this role are Logan Verrett, Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero (if healthy). Eventually, Gabriel Ynoa, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo may emerge as candidates – but almost certainly not before July.

J.A. Happ – a pitcher who has put up nearly identical numbers to Jon Niese – just received a three-year, $36 million contract, so I don´t think you can get an adequate replacement for Niese at less cost. Maybe you can re-sign Bartolo Colon to a 1-year, $9 million type deal, but that’s merely replacing Niese at the same cost.

You will only be able to land lesser pitchers at lower cost. Sure, you can probably get Ryan Vogelsong, Aaron Harang or Kyle Kendrick for less than $5 million. But that’s a significant downgrade from Niese. Or you can look to sign someone like Justin Masterson, Mat Latos or Doug Fister to a one-year deal in a similar range to Niese and hope for a bounce-back. But I wouldn’t bet on any of them outpitching Niese either.

Niese is signed to a very modest and quite team friendly deal due to the club options. And his trade value isn’t really huge either as he’s getting paid pretty close to market value. So, why trade him? He won’t bring back a major piece. And replacing him would cost the Mets a similar amount of money.

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Sickels Top 20 Mets Prospects: Nimmo Stock Tumbles, Becerra and Lindsay On The Rise http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/sickels-top-20-mets-prospects-nimmo-tumbles-becerra-and-lindsay-on-the-rise.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/sickels-top-20-mets-prospects-nimmo-tumbles-becerra-and-lindsay-on-the-rise.html/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:53:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200911 Dominic_Smith_27nu1kzw_of4zataz

John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked the top twenty Mets prospects yesterday. While the system isn’t quite as strong after calling up top prospects like Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets still have a solid amount of quality and depth in the farm and a lot of exciting players on the way.

Here is how Sickels stacks up the top ten:

  1. Steven Matz, LHP - A great story, hometown boy who overcame injuries, major league ready. Only question really is durability but most recent injury was not arm-related.
  2. Dominic Smith, 1B - Strong feel for hitting with good defensive reviews, main doubt remains power projection but has made some progress. Still draws James Loney comps.
  3. Amed Rosario, SS - Bat is not very good right now but he is quite young, glove looks very strong, will need to boost OBP skills and/or increase power but young enough for that to happen.
  4. Gavin Cecchini, SS – Bat is improving but defense has stagnated and there’s some talk now he may have to switch to second base. Interesting how his reputation has changed from good-field-no-hit to good-hit-?-field over the last two years.
  5. Brandon Nimmo, OF - Power is not developing but he gets on base. Looking more and more like a platoon/role player but that can still have value.
  6. Wuilmer Becerra, OF - Solid right field tool set and growing into his power, I think he is a breakout candidate for 2016.
  7. Desmond Lindsay, OF – Hit .263/.364/.386 in 114 at-bats between rookie ball and New York-Penn League. High-ceiling player with raw power, speed, strong overall tools, another right field candidate who will need time to develop but could be a multi-category regular.
  8. Marcos Molina, RHP – Missed much of 2015 with injuries, posted 4.57 ERA with 36/11 K/BB in 41 innings in High-A. Second-best pitching arm in the system behind Matz but questions about durability, long-term role preclude a higher grade at this time.
  9. Milton Ramos, SS – Third round pick in 2014, superior defensive ability at shortstop and hit for average this year, lacks distance power, part of Mets focus to stay strong up the middle with gloves.
  10. Luis Carpio, SS – Another defense-oriented player though likely to wind up at second base eventually. Another contact hitter lacking present power but young enough to get better.

Read full comments and entire article here.

brandon nimmo

The most surprising part of Sickles analysis was saying that Nimmo is looking more and more like a platoon player. Nimmo batted .175 against lefties in Triple-A Las Vegas in 27 at-bats and only had a .288 slugging percentage against them in 59 at-bats in Double-A Binghamton.  For a player the Mets selected in the first round of the draft, if Nimmo becomes a part time player it will certainly be a huge disappointment.

However, there was a lot of exciting news in this report, especially about Becerra who Sickels believes will be a breakout player in 2016. He also spoke highly about Lindsay’s immense upside, and it’s great to see Smith, Cecchini and Rosario continuing to make progress.

Two players that I was surprised didn’t make the cut for the top 20 were Gabriel Ynoa and Robert Gsellman, who were included as players of note.  Ynoa posted a 3.90 ERA in 152 innings for Double-A Binghamton and walked just 31 batters. Meanwhile, Gsellman had a breakout season in 2015 as he dominated Single-A St.Lucie with a 1.76 ERA and continued to thrive in Double-A with a 3.51 ERA in 92 innings. 

Despite some pessimistic appraisals by Sickels, many of which were arguable in my estimation, this still shows how deep the farm system still is even after all the pieces we dealt in all those deadline deals this season. It looks like this new wave of prospects are an exciting group that will provide he Mets with a solid foundation for years to come.

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Collins On Grandy’s Catch, Beating Arrieta, Syndergaard, Bullpen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/collins-on-grandys-catch-beating-arrieta-syndergaard-bullpen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/10/collins-on-grandys-catch-beating-arrieta-syndergaard-bullpen.html/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 04:53:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=197133 Terry  . Collins

You’re heading to Chicago with a 2-0 series lead, what’s that say about your starters?

“Well, we’ve pretty much haven’t hid the fact that we think we have pretty good pitching. They’re young, they’re inexperienced. They don’t have the credentials that Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke and Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta have, but they’re going to be good pitchers. They’re going to be really, really good, and we’re really proud of as fast as they’ve come and the way they’ve handled themselves this summer.”

“But they’re going to we think we can stack up with anybody. And with Jake going, we’ve just got to go in there. They play great in Chicago. It’s a park built for them, so it should be a great series continued.”

daniel murphy

You’re beating some pretty incredible pitchers in this postseason.

“We’ve gotten big hits. Again, because of the pitching we’re facing, we’re not crushing the ball, but we’re getting big hits. We’re getting guys on base, and it seems like somebody will come up with a big hit or a big play, or a stolen base when you need it. I mean, Grandy tonight, another good game for Daniel Murphy, another big game. I was excited to see David swing the bat better. Both balls he hit were hit hard. So we’re coming, maybe it’s coming.”

addison reed

You’ve used starters and relievers out of your bullpen and they’ve come through for you.

“Our bullpen went unnoticed because of the job Noah did, but they were outstanding tonight. I wasn’t a pitcher, so I was never one that thought to have a particular role outside of the guy pitching the 9th inning was that big. But at this level, it is big.”

“Our guys have done a great job. But they’re all caught up in it right now. They’re all caught up in the success of what’s going on. As I said before, the one thing that’s really helped us is those guys walk through those clubhouse doors and they hang those egos on a coat rack, and there are no egos in that clubhouse. Everybody wants to win.”

“So just like tonight, I haven’t used Jon Niese, really, as a primary to get a lefty out. Came in tonight and got a huge out for us. I got Steven Matz up, if Rizzo got up in the 8th, and Steven Matz was going to face him. He was what we thought was the perfect guy. So you just kind of feel good that everybody’s buying into what’s happening down there.”

david wright

You stuck with David Wright and he came through for you tonight.

“It’s huge. He’s so important to the club. I told you we had a little laugh last night when I asked him how he was feeling physically and he said he was fine, and he said, “Outside of the fact that I suck right now, I’m doing good.” But that’s the mentality.”

“We need his presence in the lineup. He’s still dangerous, and every time he walks in that batter’s box, you just feel good like he’s going to get something good to hit, and hit it over the fence or against the fence. That leadership, you’ve got to have it on the field.”

noah syndergaard

You’re going up against all these Cy Young candidates on the other teams, but your depth in quality arms is he the job done.

“Well, it’s huge. That’s why we thought if we could get to postseason, we could match up with a lot of teams, everybody, because we have depth. Everybody’s got real good this is Big League pitching, everybody’s got them.”

“But we’ve got some talented guys. We all look at Noah and Jake and Matt as the big three, but I’m telling you, Steve Matz is really good, too. And we’ve got two starters in that bullpen that I wouldn’t be afraid to start at any time.”

“So we’re very, very lucky that we have the pitching we have. It’s going to make the difference because in these kind of games, these kind of series, we’re going to face good pitching. So whoever pitches best wins, and that’s why I think we’ve got a good shot.”

USATSI_8871092_154511658_lowres

How huge was the quick 3-0 lead off Arrieta?

“It certainly was a big lift for the guys on the bench because it was Jake Arrieta who, I mean, this guy there’s some good candidates for the Cy Young, but he’s one of the legit ones. When you can jump out to the lead on him, you’ve got to feel pretty good where you’re sitting, and I think it helped Noah relax a little bit. Hey, I’m just going to go out and pitch.”

granderson catch

How about that catch by Curtis Granderson in right?

“Yeah, it was huge. It was a great catch by Grandy. Both sides of the ball, you’ve got to play this game on both sides. Even in the ninth inning, it hurt us, but not covering first base, boy, it can come back and really bite you. Fortunately we got away and it didn’t matter, but Grandy made a great play on that ball.”

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Featured Post: Team Responds After Collins Puts Them All On Notice http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/featured-post-team-responds-after-collins-puts-them-all-on-notice.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/07/featured-post-team-responds-after-collins-puts-them-all-on-notice.html/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 03:55:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=188224 New York Mets v Arizona Diamondbacks

Prior to Saturday’s 15-2 Mets blowout victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mets manager Terry Collins put all Mets position players “on notice” especially the underperforming hitters.

Collins message was fairly simple. Play well and you’ll keep playing. Play badly and you will be benched.

“Whoever’s swinging the bat’s going to play,” said Collins. “It’s about scoring runs right now. The message has been sent: ’Listen, we’ve got to start scoring.”

“They’ve been put on notice,” added Collins. “It’s time to pick it up.”

“We have not scored. We have not hit. We went out and got two guys who we think have added some offense to us. I’m not going to leave them sitting on the bench. If they’re going to bring more offense than what we’ve got, they’re going to get in there somewhere.”

Call it a coincidence, call it the fact they faced two pitchers who were demoted to the minors after the game, call it the addition of three new players to the offense, whatever it was, it looked like the team responded.

They got off to a great start on Saturday, scoring four runs on five hits in the first inning on their way to a 15 run and 21 hit barrage.

After a horrific two-month slump for Lucas Duda, he responded with a two-homer game, his 13th and 14th homeruns of the season.

Newly acquired Kelly Johnson was  alsoone of the many offensive heroes in the game with two hits and a home run. Johnson is a hitter who can play the infield (1st, 2nd and 3rd base) or both corner outfield positions.

“Hopefully this creates some depth, creates some different opportunities and different matchups,” said Johnson. “Obviously (Uribe and I) have both been in the league a little while, both swinging the bats pretty good this year, so that’s going to help.”

Johnson is on a tear and is now batting .341 (15-44) since July 4 in his time with Atlanta (13 games) and New York (one game).

Juan Uribe, who was also acquired in the trade with Johnson, picked up a single after he came into the game late, and also made a spectacular play at third base, showing off a strong arm narrowly beating a runner to first.

Uribe is also another player who can  play multiple infield positions, but for now he will be asked to man third base until David Wright can return.

“I want to help the team and help us make it to the playoffs<” said Uribe. “I’m just here to do my job. If I do good, I’m going to play. If I’m not doing good, maybe I won’t play.”

Kirk Nieuwenhuis started in center field over Juan Lagares and drove in four runs to match a season-high and finished the game with a career high-tying four hits. He’s been red hot and is now hitting .375 (12-32) since being recalled two weeks ago.

Kirk also recorded his first outfield assist of the season when he nailed Joc Pederson trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning.

So all in all it was a tremendous game for the Mets, with all hands on deck offensively including Matt Harvey, who not only pitched a gem but also contributed two hits as well.

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MMO Special Feature: Mets Starters Are The Best In The NL East http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/mmo-special-feature-mets-starters-are-the-best-in-the-nl-east.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/mmo-special-feature-mets-starters-are-the-best-in-the-nl-east.html/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 18:38:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180684 matt harvey

We’re five weeks into the regular season and even though the Mets offense has been struggling lately, the pitching has been strong. So how good has the Mets starting five been? Let’s compare the Mets rotation to the top five starters throughout the rest of the National League East.

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Mets starters have been the best thus far and have gone deepest into games. But as expected, Nationals starters aren’t too far behind. Spots three, four, and five are pretty much what was expected at the start of the season.

The Mets rank 1st in ERA, K/BB Ratio, and IP/S and are second behind the Marlins in WHIP.

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Matt Harvey leads all Mets starters with a perfect 5-0 record. He tossed 7.0 scoreless innings on Friday to earn the only Mets win against the Nationals this past weekend. He is now 3-1 with a 0.68 ERA in six career starts against Washington.

Bartolo Colon has been a rock in the rotation, Jacob deGrom is building on last season, Jon Niese has pitched extraordinarily well, and on Sunday, Pedro Martinez called Dillon Gee the best No. 5 starter in the game.

It’s a long season and as they say it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But from the early returns, it looks like the Mets starting pitching has been better than anyone could have imagined, and that would account for the Amazins’ first place standing atop the NL East.

These results are amazing to say the least, and with continued good health there’s no reason not to expect them to keep producing at this level – or perhaps even better.

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Aces High at Citi Tonight http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/aces-high-at-citi-tonight.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/05/aces-high-at-citi-tonight.html/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 16:24:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=180488 matt harvey 2

You’ve gotta love National League pitching. Especially when you get to see a marquee matchup like Madison Bumgarner vs. Clayton Kershaw twice in a week.

Divisional rivalries are one thing, but when you’ve got two verifiable aces going head to head in a division matchup, is there anything better than that?

mmo feature original footerTonight, the Mets get to give Max Scherzer their own National League introduction to Citi Field, and what better “host” to do it with than Matt Harvey?

Looking to go 5-0 on the season, Harvey takes his rejuvenated arm to the mound against a Cy Young award winner in Scherzer. The one solace Scherzer can bring with him into Citi is his reverting back to the deep expansive outfield he fortuitously pitched in all those years as a Detroit Tiger.

While Citi isn’t 420 feet to straightaway center, it’s still vast. Detroit Tigers broadcaster Dan Dickerson said the high fastball pitchers loved Comerica because they felt comfortable pitching there and knowing they can get away with a pitch or two because of its depth.

One thing Scherzer shouldn’t take comfort in is the Mets propensity to hit for extra bases. I’m predicting a few early runs of support for Harvey, especially with Scherzer battling a slight injury.

Given the Mets upstart success early this season, tonight might be as good a time as any to prove they can contend with the high expectations by winning against their NL East rival Washington Nationals not only in early May but late September as well.

Reeling from a beatdown by Stephen Strasburg and the Nats yesterday, I’m thinking rebound, and, with Matt Harvey on the mound, dI o so quite confidently. Look for the Mets to even this four game weekend series and Scherzer to only make it through five.

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Featured Post: Are These Mets For Real? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/featured-post-are-these-mets-for-real.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/featured-post-are-these-mets-for-real.html/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:42:57 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=179716 mets win

The Mets are off to one of the best starts in their history. At 13 and 3 they currently possess the best record in baseball. Beyond the euphoria, however, there are questions that inevitably arise from this start. Mets fans can be guarded given their recent history, but at some point the confidence becomes infectious and reciprocal, benefiting both the team and its fans.

mmo feature original footerLets not underestimate the impact of that alone — coming into a raucous NY venue can be intimidating. But how does a team that was as uninspired as the 2014 Mets come out gangbusters in 2015 with only a few marginal off-season upgrades? Well, there are two explanations, you could argue that the 2014 Mets weren’t that bad, and you could also caution that the 2015 Mets might not be this good.

At some point, however, the record has to sprout legs and walk on its own and speak for itself. If the Mets can win one more game, they will be 10 games over .500. At that point you can go ahead and ask, are they at least a .500 team going forward? Because at 10 games over,  a .500 record the rest of the way gets them to 86 wins putting them in the conversation for a wild-card spot. Should they push it to 4 games over .500 the rest of the way it gets them to 90 wins.

You can’t argue that a run of bad luck will invariably follow because that’s not how regression analyses work … you regress back to a mean (not some karmic over-correction) and In this case, a mean of break even baseball would get the Mets into playoffs. Anything above .500 from here on and we’re talking a possible division title.

Am I worried about a regression? Not really. Why? Because the first assertion above, that the 2014 Mets perhaps weren’t as bad as we thought, is almost certainly true. Their Pythagorean win totals bear this out, their run differential does also. They should have won 3 or 4 more games than they did, which would put them at right around .500. So that was essentially the Mets’ baseline at the conclusion of 2014. Have Cuddyer and Mayberry and a couple of bullpen arms turned them into a powerhouse? In and of themselves no, which normally would warn of impending regression, but I don’t think these upgrades are why this team appears vastly improved.

For years Paul DePodesta has been harping on this “critical mass” term when describing pitching assets. The theory was that if the Mets could accumulate a sizable enough stockpile of quality arms it would inoculate the team from the inevitable losses that occur through injuries, a redoubtable advantage … I think this is precisely what we’re looking at here.

We’ve already witnessed the ascent of multiple front line starters, but consider for a moment that the Mets are in the midst of weathering the loss of their #2 starter, their closer, a valuable lefty specialist, their starting catcher, and their all-star captain. Travis d’Arnaud was hitting in the two hole sporting a .537 SLG and .892 OPS. His replacement Kevin Plawecki in hit the ground running going 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored in his first game. Eric Campbell has hit .278 with a .400 OBP, 7 runs, 3 RBI, and a stolen base, and Jeurys Familia is a perfect 7 for 7 in save opportunities.

The Mets cannot possibly sustain this level of winning, they’d end up with like 130 wins or something, so some regression is inevitable. However, unlike so many easy pre-season picks that went conservative when projecting the Mets, they might be better than people realize because they were really already a .500 team at the end of last season.

Cuddyer, Mayberry, Torres, Gilmartin and Blevins make them better, but 10 wins better three weeks into the season?

What tips the balance is this “critical mass” of talent percolating up from a brimming minor league system. The reason this rebuild took as long as it did is the same reason the Mets have been able to weather an initial rash of injuries, and, it is also behind this 13 and 3 start … pervasive organizational depth. The holy grail of baseball. In a game without guarantees, depth will give you an advantage like nothing else. The ability to plug in better than league average players will give you a better than league average team, it’s that simple.

The Mets, as currently constituted, may not even be sporting their most formidable (or dynamic) roster. Herrera and his 7 straight multi-hit games in Vegas is looking like an upgrade at second. Certainly there’s an argument that between Montero, Matz, and Syndergaard the Mets are looking at some significant upgrades to the back-end of their rotation.

Then there was this from Adam Rubin yesterday on twitter: Text from scout: “Conforto just hit another bomb! Get him out of this league. The kid has been incredible.”

Yes he is still in high A, but for me it’s all about that short smooth swing and the remarkably advanced approach. Conforto is already probably the best hitting prospect in the system. Is he an upgrade over Granderson or Cuddyer? Probably not yet, but I don’t think he’s far off. He certainly held his own in spring training.

As good as the 2015 Mets appear to be right now, this is still just the beginning. Yes the return of Matt Harvey has been the single greatest factor in terms of generating a winning buzz, but the team is only going to continue to get better. As giddy as Mets fans are over this remarkable start, it is, in the end, just that – a start … perhaps the start of something quite significant. The Mets system is stacked with upgrades that will not only serve to free up major league assets in trade, they protect the team from the inevitable attrition of a 162 game slog.

That’s got to be a daunting revelation to the rest of the National League East. For Mets fans who have already watched their team propel itself into the playoff conversation, it may end up amounting to an embarrassment of riches –  especially when you consider that gate proceeds may finally support spending increases. A perfect storm of winning essentials … overkill if you will — moneyball with money.

I think Mets fans can stop pinching themselves … the signs are very real, the organization is indeed a pitching powerhouse. The team? This team is definitely for real.

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Despite Loss Of Blevins, Alderson Remains Confident In Bullpen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/despite-loss-of-blevins-alderson-remains-confident-in-bullpen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/04/despite-loss-of-blevins-alderson-remains-confident-in-bullpen.html/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:59:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=179546 Travis d'Arnaud, Terry Collins, Sean Barber, Jerry Blevins

After another Mets win on Sunday, the Mets took a big hit when Mets lefty reliever Jerry Blevins got hit by a line drive in his left forearm and the result was a fracture. He will be in the DL and out for 6-8 weeks.

“I saw the X-rays this morning at Hospital for Special Surgery and his fracture was a little more complicated. It wasn’t displaced, but looked more like a broken teacup, and that takes a little longer to heal. And, obviously, that’s his stress arm.”

Yet Mets GM Sandy Alderson is not too worried about it cause he’s comfortable with the Mets pitching depth, due to the development of several pitchers and also the presence of lefty Alex Torres who they also acquired right before the season along with Blevins.

“Blevins has been great for the first couple of weeks of the season, and we’ll expect he’ll be great when he comes back,” Alderson said, “In the meantime somebody else has to step up. Although we’ve lost Jerry, we still have far more depth than we had say mid-spring training, just because of the development of a couple of the guys and the fact that we also have Alex Torres.”

The Mets bullpen has an ERA of 3.38 so far this season. Opposing hitter are batting only .174 vs the Mets pen which is 3rd best in majors.

The Mets have called up Hansel Robles as a replacement. He has struck out 10 batters, while tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Las Vegas.

With Blevins out, the Mets have to rely even more on Alex Torres as well as their other lefty Sean Gilmartin. The Mets also have lefty Jack Leathersich in the minors, who they can also bring up if a lefty is needed.

The Mets have already lost Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin to TJ surgery in spring training. They also lost closer Jenrry Mejia to a PED suspension. But the Mets have still been winning and overcoming these losses. Now they hope to overcome Blevin’s absence.

Alderson believes the team will be fine and will continue to overcome the adversity. He may be right. Keep in mind that Bobby Parnell is expected to be back before too long and one estimate put his return at a week.

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Featured Post: Does Johnny Monell Have Chance To Be Backup Catcher? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/featured-post-does-johnny-monell-have-chance-to-be-backup-catcher.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/03/featured-post-does-johnny-monell-have-chance-to-be-backup-catcher.html/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:37:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=176765 johnny monell

Dave in Spain asks…

“What are the chances of Monell getting the backup C job instead of Recker? He’s hitting much better in ST, and has more power. With Edgin and Wheeler going to the 60-day DL there will be a 40-man roster spot open.”

Daniel McCarthy replies…

Johnny Monell has been tearing the cover off the ball this spring with an impressive 1.321 OPS. At age 28, he’s a little long in the tooth to be a ‘prospect’, but the Mets are usually good for one reclamation project a year and a power hitting catcher could certainly lengthen the organization’s trade depth.

Once camp breaks, I still see Anthony Recker returning as the team’s backup catcher for the start of the 2015 season. Recker serves a very specific purpose. Pound for pound, he’s one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. He started 43 games last year and generated a 3.15 cERA with an outstanding 37% caught-stealing rate (ESPN). So, while it’s easy to look at Monell’s spring training numbers at the plate, the Mets will look to TDA to produce big with the bat, with Recker ready to provide situational defense and pinch hit off the bench.

Regardless of how well Monell does in March, we all know the backup role is basically being kept warm until top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki has earned a promotion and the battle begins. Regardless of the first half performance of Travis d’Arnaud, the team’s current starter and former top catching prospect in all of baseball, Plawecki will have a shot alongside d’Arnaud at some point this year. Should those two players underwhelm, Monell may find an opportunity, but his main role is to provide legitimate depth (which he certainly does) over a season filled with question marks.

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Opinion: Parlaying Pitching Depth For Outfield Depth http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/opinion-parlaying-pitching-depth-for-outfield-depth.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/opinion-parlaying-pitching-depth-for-outfield-depth.html/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 18:42:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174749 wheeler harvey

Someone the other day brought up the fact that in a little over a year’s time we could see a rotation of Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz. With that tantalizing projection comes the realization that Colon, Niese, Gee, and Montero, are expendable. That’s three serviceable veteran starters and a top 100 prospect, all essentially excess baggage. When you add all-star second baseman Daniel Murphy to that list, that’s an awful lot of value up for grabs. It occurs to me that there is almost no way to screw this up. Any team that can afford to unload this many pitchers should get something in return, and we don’t need much, one or two decent hitters could put us over the top.

The Mets can’t possibly use all the starters they have and so they will have to find a way to get rid of some of them. They can’t move all of them to the bullpen and they’re not just going to release them. They have to find some trade partners. Other teams know this and the Mets may be at a disadvantage if their potential trade partners know they have to get rid of so and so.

The question becomes who? Who do we target?

I don’t see this front office unloading any prospects for established players. When you look at their history acquiring major leaguers it isn’t pretty. They should stick to what they know. Swapping major league veterans for prospects. We are more likely to see the sort of trade recently completed for Wil Myers, or, an even better example would be the Cubs landing Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner — that rare trade that appears to have helped both clubs.

The Mets will be looking for emerging hitters who are close but but not established. It’s a risk to be sure, but it’s less of a risk if you have the scouting apparatus in place to make informed determinations.

The Mets have an excellent record scouting the minors as demonstrated by the Byrd, Beltran, and Dickey trades.  In fact they’ve done so well over the past few years they’ve all of a sudden found it difficult (as Joe D. pointed out in a couple of pieces a few weeks ago) to unload the likes of Gee and / or Niese or Colon. Teams are hesitant when they look at a roster infused with players like Wheeler and d’Arnaud (products of previous such trades) and are asking for the moon.

Nevertheless, the Mets should stick to their guns. Attrition is our friend, and eventually teams will need pitching and they will trade unproven up and comers to get it. All the Mets need to do is make sure they trade for the right ones, how hard could that be?

The Mets of course on their end need to figure out what their needs are. Flores may very well play a passable shortstop (he was by and large serviceable last year – never mind what the bandwagon “didn’t actually watch the games”  consensus concludes). He had one horrible game and a couple of flubs but was otherwise just fine.

Second base looks like it will eventually belong to a kid named Herrera … first base is Duda’s to lose and third is locked up by The David. So the infield looks set with a possible exception at shortstop, and even there we’ll know soon enough what we have. I suspect Wilmer will hit and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the job and runs with it.

The outfield is a different story. We’ve got Conforto and Nimmo on the way but they may not be ready just yet and they may yet hit snags along the way. Lagares looks like he’s entrenched in center, but our corner outfield spots are manned by aging stopgaps.

By all accounts it would appear that this Mets team would benefit most by trading for corner outfielders … there’s really no question.  Corner outfield is problematic in a more immediate sense because should Granderson or Cuddyer get hurt, the Mets really don’t have a ready replacement. You can’t say that about 3B (Flores – move Tejada to short), shortstop (Tejada), 2B (Herrera/ Flores), 1B (Cuddyer), or CF (den Dekker). Sure some of the replacements aren’t ideal, but injuries at these spots are not insurmountable.

The corner outfield spots on the other hand would present the Mets with legitimate holes in the event of an injury. I like den Dekker and Nieuwenhuis as bench players, but as regulars? I have my doubts. MDD in center is a different proposal because his defense would play well, but the corner outfield spots are worrisome.

So who do we go after given our Gee, Niese, Colon, Montero surplus? Montero is under control for quite a while and his value is yet undetermined. We’d be selling low if we traded Montero as I believe (in a piece I penned a few weeks back) that he was injured for a good part of last year. I’d be hesitant to trade him unless we clearly were to receive fair value.

The other available Mets pitchers are all veterans who promise to be more expensive to the receiving teams and therefore may not land a top organizational prospect, but they could net us a corner outfielder who might be ranked outside an organizational top 10 threshold.  A team with good depth in the outfield might be able to offer us a decent return, especially if they are on the margins of contention and have that need for a starter.

You probably won’t get a player without some blemishes, but if you look hard enough there are diamonds in the rough out there who may warrant a further look. Guys like Steven Moya come to mind … Moya has great power, decent speed, and he’s a good fielder.  He is “on the outside looking in”  as a 23-year old corner outfielder in the Detroit system. His only blemish is his plate discipline which unfortunately runs afoul of our organizational dictum for patience. He strikes out a lot and hardly ever walks … oh well.

Another guy is a 150‘s-ish ranked MiLB Shortstop who is #15 overall in the Mariners system, Ketel Marte. The Mariners have a lot of depth at short and should they find themselves with a need for a starter this is the guy I’d go after. Switch hitter, good contact, potential 2-hole type hitter, who is fairly advanced with his full season debut in AAA at the age of 20.

Teams on the cusp of contention with stacked outfields like the Orioles could very well come into play as a source of MLB ready prospects (Dariel Alvarez would be tremendous although it might take Montero and then some), however their rotation looks deep at the moment so they don’t quite profile as a partner with the Mets. I might have also included a guy like Steven Souza (the other end of the Myers swap) but the Rays already snatched him up. Souza is precisely the sort of player the Mets need to target … in fact that Rays deal is an excellent blueprint in principle for the Mets.

Some other names are Lane Adams of the Royals, James Ramsey of the Indians, Carlos Asuaje of the Red Sox, Peter O’Brien and Nick Ahmed of the Diamondbacks, and Jason Rogers of the Brewers.

Granted some of these guys are risky and might need to be packaged with longer term higher upside prospects, but there’s lots of talent out there and I have a feeling the Mets are going to need to address depth in the outfield if they are truly to have a shot in 2015. There is definitely a class of close to the show prospects that the Mets could exploit if they can ever find a team desperate enough for a starter. It’s a waiting game to some extent. Right now everyone’s rotation is stacked and healthy … that probably won’t be the case come opening day.

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The Make Or Break Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-make-or-break-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/the-make-or-break-mets.html/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:48:12 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174745 wright dugout harvey degrom

Mike Puma of the New York Post questions just how big of a window the Mets have to compete given the makeup of the team.

“In one sense, they are a team built on exciting young talent — think the power arms of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler and Juan Lagares’ explosive legs.

But in another sense, these are the Mets of David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer, all of whom already may have played the best baseball and could continue a downward trend in 2015.”

Puma points out that roughly 47 percent of the Mets’ projected Opening Day payroll will be allocated to Wright, Granderson and Cuddyer.

“Wright, 32, has another six years and $107 million remaining on the contract extension he signed before the 2013 season. Granderson, who will turn 34 next month, has three years and $47 million remaining on his deal. Cuddyer, who will turn 36 before Opening Day, signed in November for two years and $21 million.”

He tabs the Mets as a team that is only partly rebuilt from within and partly  veteran-laden with expensive players past their prime. In other words, he says, Alderson recreated the same team he inherited upon his arrival.

I think Puma misses the mark on a couple of things. First, the core strength of this team is still the young power pitching which he seems to gloss over. Harvey, deGrom, Matz, Syndergaard, Wheeler – this is the foundation upon which this team is built. Not Wright, Granderson and Cuddyer.

Also, there’s the positional depth that we hadn’t had before. Behind Cuddyer you have Nimmo, behind Granderson you have Conforto. There’s a plan here.

Look, I get that the scant resources Alderson has had to work with could have been spent or allocated better. I won’t deny that. But the overall body of his work was centered on rebuilding the farm and developing a pipeline of high upside talent to the majors, all while navigating through some choppy financial waters.

This is the year when we should be able to start reaping the rewards of this long rebuild. I like where this team is and I believe we are well positioned for a nice run of success.

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Rockies Sign Free Agent RHP Kyle Kendrick http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/rockies-sign-free-agent-rhp-kyle-kendrick.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/02/rockies-sign-free-agent-rhp-kyle-kendrick.html/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 22:54:17 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=174249 kendrick
Free agent RHP Kyle Kendrick has agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million with the Colorado Rockies, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Only a two hours ago, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported that Colorado was looking to add another starting pitcher, and indicated Kendrick and Dillon Gee as possibilities.

Original Post 3:30 PM

The Rockies are still in the market for a starting pitcher according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. He says Colorado still maintains interest in Kyle Kendrick and that Dillon Gee is still an option.

It was believed that the Rockies’ pursuit for a starter ended last week when they acquired right-hander David Hale from the Atlanta Braves, so not sure what to make of this rumor. But where there’s smoke there’s fire, right?

On Monday, a team source told Anthony DiComo that the Mets have nothing in the works and are nowhere close to trading Gee or any other starting pitcher. But obviously, that could change quickly as long as there’s a team with a need.

Yesterday, during an appearance on MLB Network, Sandy Alderson said that “things will probably work themselves out in spring training” and I’m of the belief that a deal for Gee can still materialize before the season begins.

Sandy also repeated that “if somebody has to move to the pen for a period of time, that would be acceptable to us.” I don’t think that it will get to that point, and I believe our GM was merely posturing.

The Mets had discussed a deal for Gee with the Rockies during the Winter Meetings but talks never gained momentum.

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Law: Mets Have 4th Best Farm System http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/law-mets-have-4th-best-farm-system.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/law-mets-have-4th-best-farm-system.html/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:57:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173926 noah syndergaard

Keith Law of ESPN ranked the best and worst farm systems today. Law says the Cubs (No. 1) and Twins (No. 2) are among the most stacked farm systems, but the Mets were not far behind at No. 4.

“They’re deep in arms and bats, especially guys who might play in the middle of the diamond or pitch in the top three spots of a major league rotation. They’ve kept all their prospects while patiently building, but this is probably the year to swap some of their starting pitching prospect depth for a bat.”

The Braves (No. 6) and Nationals (No. 9) also ranked in the top ten.

Law points out that it’s time to use some of the depth to improve the team and bring the major league team back to relevancy. He lashed out at the Michael Cuddyer signing and ridiculed sacrificing this June’s first round pick.

Mets affiliates combined to have the best overall record of all 30 minor league systems in 2014, with Double-A Binghamton winning the Eastern League championship.

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Syndergaard Says He Didn’t Deserve A Promotion Last Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/syndergaard-says-he-didnt-deserve-a-promotion-last-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/01/syndergaard-says-he-didnt-deserve-a-promotion-last-season.html/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 14:45:52 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=173354 Rob Foldy Getty Images noah syndergaard

In an article by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets top prospect Noah Syndergaard talked in depth about his struggles last season at Triple-A Las Vegas where he posted a 4.60 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 133 innings pitched. The number one prospect in the Mets system told Rubin his performance was not good enough to earn a call-up to the majors.

“I was a little disappointed in myself,” Syndergaard said. “Quite frankly, I didn’t think I deserved it.

“I had innings left,” he added about a potential September call-up that never materialized. “I wasn’t at my innings mark. But I didn’t feel like I pitched to the best of my abilities. Therefore, I didn’t deserve a chance to pitch in the big leagues. There were still some things I needed to work on. I’m working on those this offseason right now, and I’m going to camp fighting for a job.”

Despite having a disappointing season, Syndergaard believes he has made some progress on the mound.

“I feel like I really matured,” Syndergaard said. “My stuff got a little better as the season went on because I started using it more, started trusting it. For example, I was having a little bit of trouble with my curveball last year, mainly at the beginning of games. Then, somehow, in the third or fourth inning it started to really work for me.

Frank Viola worked with me. He was like, ‘I want you to throw a curveball the first pitch of the game.’ Sure enough, I did that. The hitter kind of looked at me funny, like, ‘What the hell was that?’ I actually threw it for a strike, and I had it from pitch No. 1.”

Syndergaard thinks he can compete for a spot on the Mets Opening Day roster, but realizes it will be a challenge given the team’s deep rotation.

“I understand that,” Syndergaard said. “I know we have a very solid starting rotation. I can only do what’s in my control, and that’s train my body in the offseason, get off the mound as soon as possible, and start working on my craft and go into camp being the best that I can be.”

On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports spoke to some rival scouts and executives who expressed concerns about Syndergaard, saying that “his fastball lacks movement and that he ultimately might project as a power reliever.”

However, Rosenthal talked to another scout who said that moving him to the bullpen would be the easy way out.

“He’s still young and has aptitude and work ethic,” the scout said. “Because his numbers weren’t great in the Pacific Coast League, people want to come off him some. But I think he has a chance to be a No. 2 and at worst a good No. 3.”

It’s strange to hear scouts questioning his stuff since most analysts often praise his ability. Additionally, rival teams (and rival scouts?) continue to ask for Syndergaard as the centerpiece to any major deal with the Mets.

Thoughts from Joe D.

That a couple of scouts who talked to Rosenthal view Syndergaard as a reliever is absolutely preposterous. No scout worth his salt would look at Thor’s fastball velocity, advanced secondary pitches, delivery and build, and then make such a ridiculous claim like that about a 21-year old pitching in Triple-A. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed that Rosenthal would give such an ignorant and baseless assessment as that any credence.

The concern about Syndergaard’s fastball movement seems overblown to me as well, especially given the fact that altitude can greatly affect trajectory and movement. Any coach or scout  who has logged significant time in the PCL will tell you that.

There have been many great pitchers in the game who have struggled with command at 21-years old, and let’s also not forget that Syndergaard was six years younger than the average player in the league.

Amazing what some people will do for attention, and meanwhile a day doesn’t go by this Winter where we don’t hear teams want Syndergaard as the headliner to any deal. I guess I didn’t realize they were all so hard up for a reliever.

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Featured Post: Where’s the Boldness and Creativity? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/featured-post-wheres-the-boldness-and-creativity.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/featured-post-wheres-the-boldness-and-creativity.html/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 22:13:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=172052 sandy-alderson-mlb-winter-meetings-850x560

John Harper of the Daily News wonders if Sandy Alderson could learn a few things from San Diego GM A.J. Preller, who took over a franchise with a similar losing history and a weak-hitting roster with depth in young pitching and transformed the team in about five minutes.

“I’m thinking the majority of Mets fans would have been willing to take some risk to add firepower to an offense that has been nothing short of anemic in recent years.”

Alderson, he says, moved quickly to sign Michael Cuddyer, who will be 36 next season, is injury-prone, and cost a first round draft pick.

“In any case, weren’t the trades the Padres made exactly the type of deals Alderson was expected to make at some point, utilizing his surplus of young pitching to obtain a big bat?”

“Instead it seems that Alderson at some point became more cautious about the idea of trading the likes of Noah Syndergaard, the type of high-end arm that other teams want if they’re giving up an impact hitter.”

It looks like the Matt Kemp deal finally became official. In the second half of the season he hit .309 with 17 home runs and a .971 OPS. The deal for Wil Myers is still pending physicals.

Harper says that for most of the last two years, people in the Mets’ front office have admitted that with payroll more of an issue than they expected, they were going to be “creative’’ in upgrading this team’s offense. He wonders where that creativity is and if we’ll ever get to see any of it.

He concludes that for the second offseason in a row Sandy Alderson preferred to hold onto all of his young, power pitchers rather than take the risk of making a trade for a potentially difference-making hitter.

Do you agree or disagree with Harper?

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DePodesta Excited About Mets Shortstop Prospects http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/depodesta-excited-about-mets-shortstop-prospects.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/10/depodesta-excited-about-mets-shortstop-prospects.html/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 05:37:25 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=168118 Cecchini gavin

If there’s one thing that’s missing from the Mets it’s impact positional prospects. Since the days of David Wright and Jose Reyes, the Mets have produced several impact pitchers like Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and even Mike Pelfrey to an extent. What they haven’t been able to do is find major league caliber hitters in their own system. According to Mets vice president of player development Paul DePodesta, that might be ready to change.

Specifically, Mets shortstops are currently on display at the Florida Instructional League. Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini and Milton Ramos are the #6, #10 and #11 ranked prospects in the Mets system and they are part of a bright future for the infield.

“Those are three pretty good-looking kids, all of whom are still college age,” DePodesta told MLB.com’s Teddy Cahill. “It’s a pretty exciting group of shortstops.”

It’s interesting to see so much talent, at such a low level of the farm system, all at the same position. Having too much weight at one position is something DePodesta is very aware of. Here’s what he had to say about that:

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s something we need to manage. I don’t think it’s ever a problem when we have a shortstop playing both shortstop and second base. It becomes a problem if someone’s not getting everyday at-bats. We don’t want to get to that point.”

“But we’re thrilled with the depth we have at shortstop, second base and even at third base in the lower levels. It’s a really good group and, at least right now, there’s no end in sight.”

Cecchini is the veteran of the group coming in at age 21 (as of opening day 2015). The other two will turn 19 before opening day. Cecchini is also the only one that has played a game above Single-A – literally one game for Binghamton. There’s no doubt that these kids are still years away. Still DePodesta is happy with the situation.

Three shortstops like this all coming up together and playing well is something the Mets front office can hang their hat on. They’ve done a good job of retooling the minor league system and now are hoping a few of these kids can make an impact in Queens…eventually.

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