Mets Merized Online » free agent Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:46:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The One Mets Pitcher Who Should Receive an Extension Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:42:49 +0000 jeurys familia

Last year, the Mets were carried by their pitching. It helped them sustain an anemic offense until the Mets got healthy and made some key trades. It helped carry them to the World Series. It’s the promise for the future.

That future first comes into question around 2019. That is the year that Matt Harvey becomes a free agent. Zack Wheeler could become a free agent the same year or the subsequent year. Two years later Jacob deGrom becomes a free agent. After that, the Mets will have to address the free agent case of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Naturally, this prompts the discussion of who the Mets should extend and when they should do it.

When these discussions take place, I find everyone to be extremely short-sighted. Yes, it’s important to make a decision on the Mets starters, especially on Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard. However, I find that these discussions ignore Jeurys Familia. Like Harvey, Familia will be a free agent in 2019.

Familia was an exceedingly important part of the 2015 Mets. He was the stabilizing force at the back-end of a beleaguered bullpen.  During 2015, Familia had the fifth most appearances. Of players who were strictly relievers, he had the third most innings pitched. He led the league in games finished. He tied the Mets single season record for saves with 43.

Advanced statistics also loved Familia’s 2015 season. He had an ERA+ of 200, which is astounding. It was the best amongst Mets pitchers. In fact, it’s a tick below Mariano Rivera‘s career 205 mark, which is the best in major league history. Familia’s FIP was 2.74, which, unsurprisingly, rates him as an excellent pitcher. Mariano’s career mark was 2.76. In essence, Familia’s 2015 was Rivera-esque.

Keep in mind, Collins initially deployed Familia like Rivera. When it came time to close out the NLDS, Familia pitched two shutout innings. In the whole postseason, Familia had 12 appearances, and of those 12 appearances, he pitched more than one inning five times, tossing 14.2 innings in those 12 appearances. Yes, he blew three saves in the World Series, but he only allowed one earned run the entire postseason. In reality, the blown saves were not on Familia but the Mets team as a whole.

Yes, it’s important to lock-up some starting pitchers. If Harvey, deGrom, or Syndergaard leave, the Mets have other starters to continue having a strong rotation. If Familia were to leave, the Mets do not appear to have another elite reliever to take his spot. This makes extending Familia absolutely imperative. So when it comes down to which Mets pitcher I would extend first, my answer is Jeurys Familia.


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David Wright Says Mets Are Now A Destination Team For Top Players Fri, 29 Jan 2016 13:54:34 +0000 David, Wright

Adam Schein of CBS Sports spoke with Mets third baseman David Wright, who weighed in on the Yoenis Cespedes signing and pointed out that the Mets are now a team that has become attractive to the game’s top players.

“Until this Yoenis signing, we didn’t have that big splash, sexy free agent signing. We made good baseball moves this offseason, I believe. And then you come in at the end and get an impact bat like Cespedes definitely makes our team better going into this year. We are, I feel, a much better team than what we were going into 2015.”

“Obviously you want the good players to come play for you instead of going to your division rival. We’ve proven that players want to come play for us. You have to prove that you can be a winning team, a winning organization, an organization that is willing to be aggressive and pull triggers on trades in the middle of the year, or make those free agent signings. And once you prove that you can stabilize that, and hopefully become a perennial winner, big time impact players want to come play for you. That was the case here.”

The Mets’ captain also talks about Sandy Alderson and his impact on the team, expectations for the 2016 season, and why it’s important for the Mets to be on top of their game now that they’ve become targets.

When David Wright re-signed with the club back in 2012, he took a leap of faith in Sandy Alderson’s plan and now he’s seen the team grow into a very desired destination after years of struggles. The team is on the rise and on the verge of a dynasty-type run thanks to the patience, player development, and stability that Sandy has provided. As long as the team continues to trend upwards, being a destination team should remain the norm.


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Cespedes Will Be Eligible For Qualifying Offer If He Opts Out Sun, 24 Jan 2016 02:55:15 +0000 Cespedes Yoenis

I’ve yet to come across one contrarian Met fan or blogger who didn’t absolutely love the three year, $75 million dollar deal that will bring Yoenis Cespedes back to Flushing in 2016.

As was reported initially by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Cespedes will have the ability to opt out of the contract after the first year while receiving a $27.5 million salary for the season.

It was this very ability to opt out that convinced Cespedes to spurn the five-year, $100 million dollar from the Washington Nationals and play at least one more year for the Amazins before hitting the free agent market again next Winter as the top outfielder in an otherwise sparse and lacking market.

Rosenthal also provided some clarity this afternoon, on the question of whether or not Cespedes would be eligible for a qualifying offer from the Mets in the event he exercises his opt-out clause. The question arose because Cespedes doesn’t have the typical MLB service time after just four years in the majors – five counting next season.

And the good news is that the Mets will indeed get a compensation draft pick if they make him a Qualifying Offer and Cespedes signs with a new team next Winter.

In other words, this deal keeps looking better and better for our New York Mets. Couple the QO to Cespedes with a potential QO to Neil Walker and the Mets are looking at three top picks in the 2017 MLB Draft.

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Mets Closing In On Three-Year Deal With Cespedes Sat, 23 Jan 2016 04:00:15 +0000 yoenis cespedes

Latest update, 11 p.m.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is now reporting that the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes are “closing in” on a deal

According to Rosenthal, the deal will be in the range of three years and $70 million with an opt-out after year one.

10 p.m. update:

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the infamous “mystery team” has reappeared. As Heyman reports, the Mets and Nationals are not the only teams still in play for Cespedes.

The Angels, White Sox, and Braves have been linked to Cespedes in the past. The Astros have as well, but’s Brian McTaggart says they are not one of the “mystery teams.”

This is far from over.

Afternoon Update

Here’s the latest on what is becoming an intriguing ever-evolving news cycle on the Yoenis Cespedes front. Let’s cut straight to the chase.

As you know, the Mets and Roc Nation are currently engaged in negotiations this morning and afternoon after learning that Cespedes strongly desires to remain with the Mets. Two sources said the Cuban slugger is “torn” between choosing the Nationals and their five-year, $100 million deal or the Mets and a three year deal.

Buster Olney of ESPN then heard that Cespedes and the Mets are discussing a three-year deal with an opt-out clause after the first year. Interesting in that it would allow Cespedes to become a free agent again next season when the market for outfielders will not be as robust as it was this Winter. It also keeps the Mets from tying Cespedes up longterm.

However, John Harper of the Daily News is reporting that the Mets are even considering increasing their offer to more than three years.

It’s all pointing to a desire from both sides to be reunited again which makes the odds of that happening very good.

By the way, how do you think the Nationals feel that they have a five year offer to Cespedes and that they’re being left hanging because Yo loves the Mets so much he might be willing to leave two years and $40 million or more on the table?

It says a lot about Nats, but it also says a lot more about the Mets. We are a team on the rise that everyone wants to play for. We’ve been seeing this all Winter long. Flushing has become a hot spot destination and the Mets are back in fashion.

Original AM Report

If you thought this Yoenis Cespedes drama was closing in on the final act with the Cuban slugger taking his notable talents to the Washington Nationals…. Think again.

According to a report by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, two sources with knowledge of what Cespedes is thinking say he prefers to stay with the Mets.

The Nationals do in fact have a five year offer to Cespedes according to multiple sources, with the value being north of $100 million according to Jon Heyman.

However, Cespedes is torn between taking the Nationals’ five-year offer or going back to the team he loved playing for on a three year deal or less.

Rosenthal adds that the lead agent for Cespedes, CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen, remains in touch with the Mets, and the two sides are scheduled to speak again on Friday.

Meanwhile Mets manager Terry Collins continued to push his feelings on the matter. “He works very hard to be a good teammate,” Collins said. “His pre-game routine is off the charts . . . off the charts. He has things that he does right before a game in the batting cage . . . When he walks on to that field, he’s legit.”

As you know, the Mets have yet to make a formal offer, but all that could change on Friday when the two sides meet again, perhaps in a last ditch effort to keep Cespedes in Flushing.

Mets fans torched the team on Thursday on social media, slamming ownership and the front office for failing to keep to their promise to spend this offseason after record attendance, revenues, viewership and profits. And while payroll has gone up about $10 million to $115 million – many feel that is nowhere near enough for a team in the game’s biggest market and coming off a gut-wrenching World Series loss. And they’re right.

While things got heated on Twitter – so much so that it picked up national attention – one ultra popular Mets Blogger chose to berate the fan base and suggested they go root for another team if they were unhappy with ownership and their handling of the team. That was a big mistake and eventually he was forced to duck for cover and delete all his tweets while all hell broke loose against him.

Here’s the question. Let’s say the report is true and the Nationals do indeed have a five-year, $100 million dollar on the table, should the Mets stick to their guns and hold fast to that three-year, $60 million stance?

Or should they just concede the fourth and fifth years, or perhaps raise the three-year offer to let’s say $75 million? Would that work?

Bottom Line… This is far from over. For a very welcomed change, the game’s best players actually want to play for the Mets – and that’s awesome to see. If Cespedes listens to his heart, the Mets could have him signed, sealed and delivered by the end of this weekend. How huge would that be?!?!

Site Note: I apologize for my lack of posts, but the truth is I’m dealing with some heavy duty health issues and I’m confined to the hospital. The only time I have to myself is during light’s out when I can get on my phone and write something late at night – assuming I have the energy. I miss you guys. Thanks for understanding.


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Tigers Sign Justin Upton To Six-Year, $132 Million Deal Tue, 19 Jan 2016 04:10:18 +0000 justin upton

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, the Detroit Tigers and free agent outfielder Justin Upton are in agreement on a six-year, $132 million deal pending a physical.

The deal also includes an opt-out clause after the second year, so Upton could potentially hit the free agent market again before his age 30 season.

Upton, 28, spent the first six years of his career in the desert with the Arizona Diamondbacks before bouncing around between the Atlanta Braves and the San Diego Padres the last three seasons.

A three-time all-star, Upton had a very solid walk year for the Friars this past season, hitting at a .251/.336/.454 clip, with 26 home runs and 81 runs batted in.

For his career the veteran outfielder owns a .271/.352/.473 slash line, and will now be joining the Tigers for his prime years.

It seemed as though a guy like Upton, who is still on the younger side and with loads of talent, would have been snatched up by now, but after the Cubs handed out a monster deal to Jason Heyward, the rest of the market has been slow to develop.

Upton got almost exactly the same deal as Yoenis Cespedes has been hoping to get, with approximately $22 million annually for six years.

So, now that this domino has fallen, this leaves the aforementioned Cespedes as the most appealing free agent outfielder on the market.

I’m predicting it’s only a matter of time before a team doles out a very similar contract to the Cuban phenom. Only time will tell.


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Marlins Sign Dee Gordon To Five-Year Extension Thu, 14 Jan 2016 04:10:56 +0000 dee gordon

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Twitter, the Miami Marlins and second baseman Dee Gordon are in agreement on a five year, $50 million dollar extension, with a $14 million vesting option for a sixth season.

Gordon, 28 on Opening Day, was acquired last offseason by the Marlins in a blockbuster trade along with Dan Haren and Miguel Rojas from the Dodgers in exchange for top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, Enrique Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Chris Hatcher.

Gordon enjoyed his first and best season in Miami, earning the National League batting title, hitting at a .333/.359/.418 clip, with 58 stolen bases and cementing himself as one of the league’s top second basemen.

Gordon made his first all-star game in 2015, as well as earning the Silver Slugger award and a Gold Glove for his tremendous 4.9 WAR, and .992 fielding percentage, to go along with a +6.4 UZR and a +13 defensive runs saved.

With his new deal, the Marlins will buy out Gordon’s three remaining arbitration seasons, as well as his first two free agent seasons, and possibly a third if his option vests.

What a bargain for Miami, as they now have Gordon for his prime years, as he can hit the free agent market at age 32 the earliest.

Gordon is a guy that I would have loved the Mets traded for when he was on the Dodgers, as he would have given us the lead-off hitter we’ve so desperately missed since Jose Reyes left after the 2011 season.

Just a little food for thought, but Gordon is making less annually ($10 million) in 2016 than Neil Walker will likely get in arbitration ($11 million). I’m looking at you, Fred and Jeff. Extend some of our young pitching staff. Now.

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Did Mets Bail Too Soon On Outfield Market Mon, 04 Jan 2016 14:00:00 +0000 alejandro de aza 2

As we go deeper into the offseason, there still remains several star outfielders. Whether a team wants a leadoff man, power hitter, or 5-tool player – they are available. But on December 22nd, the Mets seemingly dropped out of the saturated market when they agreed to terms with new fan favorite, Alejandro De Aza.

The signing of De Aza is reminiscent of when the Mets acquired Chris Young. They threw seven million dollars on a player with limited talent, when there were many better options available. However, this signing might be worse. Why? It is simple – this team is not a basement dwelling team anymore where this would be acceptable – we’re the defending National League champions coming off a World Series appearance.

Why did they decide to bail when Denard Span. Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, and Gerardo Parra were all still available and according to reports, their prices are all creeping down because of the glut? Not to mention trade options like Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez are also available on the trade market. Why would the team object to the notion of signing any of these guys? Any one of the players that I mentioned above would make the Mets significantly better.

Now, I understand why the Mets may not be interested in signing Gordon or Upton. Each player was extended a qualifying offer, meaning the team would have to surrender a first round pick, and additionally they would not fit well defensively in center field. But the fact that they are available helps lower the price of guys like Fowler, Cespedes, Span, and Parra – at least if you subscribe to the Law of Supply and Demand. Too many options and too few teams interested, should have been a perfect environment for the Mets.

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According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the White Sox want to sign free agent outfielders, Alex Gordon or Yoenis Cespedes, but at no more than three years. The Mets beat writers had also reported that the Mets would also be willing to sign Cespedes at no more than three years. But after they signed De Aza, the Mets went into shutdown mode and the those same reporters all said the Mets had moved on from Cespedes and Span altogether. In fact they cancelled plans to attend his showcase this week. Word now is that he’ll only get a one-year pillow contract and re-test free agency next offseason after he wows the league in 2016.

As mentioned previously, baseball insiders and team beat reporters have all confirmed that the Mets are out of the free agent outfield market. But, how could they not be interested in any of these players if the prices continue to fall? If Cespedes ends up signing for 3-4 years at roughly $13-16 million dollars annually, would they still be happy that they had moved on from him? Or how about if Span or Parra sign for one or two years, would they still be confident in what they have, or would they be dealing with some regret?

Bottom line, the Mets should not opted out of this significant and still undefined market. I would have liked to see the Mets’ front office do their due diligence and remain in contact with each player’s agent. In my opinion, the Mets can ill-afford to deplete their farm system any further at the trade deadline as they did last year. It took years for them to build it up, it would be discouraging to see them tear it down this quickly. The Mets used to be known as the team that liked to wait for the market to develop before acting. That philosophy might have served them well this offseason, especially in assessing the outfield market.

Anyway, I thought this was a good topic of discussion. How did the Mets go from having significant interest in Span and Parra to doing an about-face a few days later and picking up a journeyman outfielder like De Aza? What were the motivating factors? Should they have waited out the market to see if they could get one of the more ideal and productive options at a better than expected price?


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Maybe The Mets Were Being The Adults In The Room Sat, 02 Jan 2016 00:25:38 +0000 Yoenis , Cespedes

When last we checked, free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes not only had appeared on the radar of the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles according to Jesse Sanchez of, but both teams had emerged as the frontrunners to sign the former New York Met juggernaut. That was three days ago.

However, we have a little more clarity on the Cespedes front as the calendar flips to 2016, and none of it is particularly good news for the free agent who bellowed his demands for a six-year deal three months ago.

To begin, it turns out that the Orioles – while interested – never had any intentions of coming close to the $150 million Cespedes and his representatives at Roc Nation had set their sights on. The two sides are reportedly not even in the same zip code.

And as for the other frontrunner on the south side of Chicago, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported today that their interest in Cespedes is limited to a deal for no more than three years.

Sound familiar? It should. Three years was the most Sandy Alderson and the Mets were willing to offer Cespedes according to what team sources told Jon Heyman, and that firm stance ultimately led to the end of any negotiations with Roc Nation. In fact, the conversation between the two sides never even advanced to the point of discussing dollars.

Now, I’m never one to defend the Mets’ frugal ways, however last week I raised the possibility that perhaps this was not a case of the Mets being cheap, but simply a smart baseball decision by a general manager who has never taken kindly to handing out second generation contracts to players on the wrong side of thirty. It’s possible isn’t it?

Those of you who have followed this site since its inception 12 years ago, know all too well that I am not the least bit squeamish about hammering the Wilpons every chance I get. But this feels different to me.

Oh. I’m sure there’s no doubt Fred and Jeff were doing Ralph Kramden’s version of the Watusi when they heard about Sandy’s stance on Cespedes. I’m just saying that this wasn’t a case of them pressuring their GM to back off, or applying those well-polished fiscal handcuffs. Maybe giving Cespedes a six year deal is just a terrible baseball decision for the Mets or any other MLB team.

Still, our poor Mets took a lot of flak upon the news of their three-year or nothing posture, with most of the incoming fire coming from their own fan base itself. Perhaps the Mets front office was being judged a little too harshly based on today’s rumblings on the Cespedes front. Perhaps the Mets may have even been a little ahead of the curve?

In an offseason fraught with spending madness and vast ungodly sums of dollars being thrown about with such reckless abandon, maybe on this one occasion Sandy Alderson and John Ricco were being the adults in the room? It’s possible, isn’t it?

Anyway, there it is… My first article of 2016 is in the books and whether you agree or not, I hope I gave you something to think about. Happy New Year, my friends.

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Dodgers Sign Scott Kazmir To Three-Year Deal Wed, 30 Dec 2015 20:58:17 +0000 Scott-Kazmir

The Los Angeles Dodgers just announced via Twitter that they have signed free agent LHP Scott Kazmir to a three-year contract. The deal is worth $48 million dollars in total for an average annual value of $16 million.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also adds that the deal includes an opt-out clause for Kazmir, allowing him to re-enter the free agent market again after just one season.

Kazmir, 31, is certainly no Zack Greinke, but he should lessen the blow quite a bit for the Dodgers. He will join a rotation that includes Clayton KershawBrett AndersonAlex Wood and Mike Bolsinger.

In 31 starts for the Athletics and Astros, the former Met went 7-11 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.208 WHIP in 183 innings pitched last season.

We are seeing more and more of these opt-out clauses in recent years. I hate them. In my opinion they have absolutely no benefit to a team. How about if teams got opt-out clauses on deals too, so we can cut bait when players have an awful season?

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10 Players Who Rejected Qualifying Offers Remain Unsigned Mon, 21 Dec 2015 15:17:07 +0000 alex gordon

Of the 16 free agents who rejected their qualifying offers this winter, 10 of them still remain unsigned as December draws to a close.

Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles

Chris Davis, Orioles

Ian Desmond, Nationals

Dexter Fowler, Cubs

Yovani Gallardo, Rangers

Alex Gordon, Royals

Howie Kendrick, Dodgers

Ian Kennedy, Padres

Daniel Murphy, Mets

Justin Upton, Padres

Any new team signing these players will forfeit their first-round pick in next June’s First Year Player Draft. Should a team have a protected pick in the top 10, they would forfeit their next-highest pick. The former team gains a supplemental draft pick as compensation, in between the first and second rounds.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports cited a couple of reasons as to why the market for these players have been so slow to develop. For one, the usual big spenders like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels are taking a very fiscal approach now. Also, there are an extraordinarily high number of teams that are tanking like the Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves to name a few.

Additionally, there are a lot of strong options still available in trade, especially for outfielders and starting pitchers.

One factor that might be overlooked is just how reluctant teams now are in giving up their first round draft picks as compared to just two seasons ago.

Sure, there’s always been some hesitancy in forfeiting that pick, but it appears to me that more and more teams are now putting a greater emphasis in keeping their minor league systems stocked with the high-upside talent typically found in those first two rounds of the draft.

While teams that see themselves as a player or two away from a championship will always be willing to roll the dice on a difference-maker, that may not be the case for complimentary players like Dexter Fowler or Daniel Murphy.

It will be interesting to see how this ultimately plays out.  Will players like Ian Desmond and Alex Gordon end up signing for far less than initial projections? I wonder if this current Qualifying Offer system will continue beyond the current Collective Bargaining Agreement which expires after the 2016 season.


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Astros Re-Sign Reliever Tony Sipp Thu, 10 Dec 2015 15:36:43 +0000 tony-sipp-211dbb559ada997b

According to MLB Network, free agent reliever Tony Sipp will be heading back to Houston and has agreed to a deal with the Astros. No contract details were disclosed, and the deal is pending a physical. I’m sure Johnny-On-The-Spot Heyman will announce details soon.

Update: Ken Rosenthal reports it’s a three-year, $18 million deal.

Sipp has long been an effective major league reliever, pitching for the Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks, before really coming into his own in the last two seasons for the Houston Astros. Pitching since 2009, he has a career 21-16 record with a 3.50 ERA and 1.201 WHIP in 363.0 innings, striking out 392 batters and walking 165 (9.7 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9).

Last season, was by far his best, posting a 3-4 record with a pristine 1.99 ERA and 1.010 WHIP. Sipp exhibited an improved K/9 (10.3) and a much improved BB/9 (2.5) in 54.1 innings, sporting a 2.93 FIP.

Sipp, 32, had been considered a target for the Mets who are seeking to add a setup-type reliever and lefty specialist.

Beat ya! Take that MLBTR…. :)


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Under The Microscope: Jason Heyward vs. Yoenis Cespedes Wed, 09 Dec 2015 14:00:45 +0000 heyward cespedes

Now that the Mets have struck out in their pursuit of Ben Zobrist, it is possible that they could now turn their attention to one of the premier outfielders on the market. Leading that group are Jason Heyward and Yoenis Cespedes.

If the Mets choose to go after one of those high-priced outfielders available in free agency, it will be important for them to have two characteristics. For one, they need to be well above average at the plate, with perhaps a little bit (if not a lot of) power. Second, they must be able to handle center field.

Keeping that criteria in mind, let’s take a look at how Cespedes and Heyward compare.

Heyward is a much better defender

Heyward is arguably the best defensive corner outfield in baseball. FanGraphs had Heyward at 16.4 runs above average this past season and 17.3 in 2014. His career UZR/150 is an outstanding 18.3 runs above average. Over the last five seasons, he’s tied with Juan Lagares for second among all position players in UZR/150. Defensive Runs Saved puts him at 24, 32, and 16 runs above average the last three seasons, compared to 11, 11, and zero for Cespedes. No matter how you slice it, he’s elite.

Cespedes was actually a Gold Glove finalist in the American League and has a cannon for an arm, but the numbers point to a rather inconsistent defender. His numbers are all over the place in fact, including one season where he was almost 15 runs below average in the field. With Michael Conforto cementing himself in left field and Granderson settling in at right field, it doesn’t seem likely Cespedes will take to center very well. In fact, over his career, Cespedes has been 17 runs below average according to Defensive Runs Saved, and has his defense prorating out to 17.6 runs below average, according to UZR/150.

Heyward has a good arm himself in addition to great range and instincts. It’s also important to note that, at least for the first few seasons, Heyward will be in his defensive prime. And if you are concerned about either playing center field, keep this in mind: Curtis Granderson has just two years left on his contract. Once that expires, right field opens up again. That’s Jason Heyward’s natural position, but not Cespedes’. Cespedes would have to remain in center for the duration of his contract unless Michael Conforto is moved.

Heyward will be the better defender, and it isn’t even close.

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Over their careers, Heyward and Cespedes have been equally productive hitters

Mets fans will never forget the August and September that Yoenis Cespedes had this past season. In just 57 regular season games with the Mets, he smashed 17 home runs with a .287/.337/.604 line, including 14 doubles and four triples. While it’s hard to argue that a single baseball player can carry a team, he was as close to doing it as I’ve ever seen.

It will be hard for many Mets fans to accept the fact that what we saw wasn’t the real Cespedes.

Coming into this year, Cespedes was coming off two pretty lackluster seasons. In 2014, he hit .260/.301/.450, amounting to just a 109 wRC+. That’s Daniel Murphy type production. The season before was even worse, as Cespedes hit just .240/.294/.442 for a barely-above-average 102 wRC+. That’s approaching Michael Cuddyer territory.

Meanwhile, Heyward has had a fine offensive career, boosted by a sky-high On-Base-Percentage. This year, he slashed .293/.359/.439, a 121 wRC+ line. That’s around where he’s been his entire career. He won’t hit a ton of home runs (he’s hit more than 20 home runs just once), but as we know, players can be just as productive in different ways. Heck, even Cespedes wasn’t more than a 25 home run-type slugger until this year.

Cespedes and Heyward are both very different hitters. Cespedes does the flashy thing by hitting home runs, while Heyward “grinds out” at bats, and gets on base at a very high rate.

For their careers, their production levels, although gone about in very different ways, are just about the same. Cespedes owns a career 121 wRC+, just three percentage points above Heyward’s 118.

Some will argue that the Mets need a bona fide home run threat in the middle of their lineup, but the truth is if a team can put together a lineup full of Jason Heyward-types, they will win championships.

The Royals didn’t have anyone slug over .500 this season or hit 25 home runs. Keep that in mind.

Believe it or not, speedy players age better

The traditional belief is that players who rely on their legs and defense age and decline faster than power hitters. However, the data doesn’t back that up. The truth is that players like Heyward age as well as any player.

Take a look at this chart from Beyond the Box Score, measuring how certain types of players declined using wRAA:

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Heyward is not the type of player who is likely to suddenly decline at 32 or 33, making him a smarter bet long-term. Cespedes’ production stems from his outstanding bat speed, which could go quicker.

Comparing the contracts

The one definite edge Cespedes has over Heyward in this comparison is the contract. Heyward will likely get an eight to ten year deal worth north of $180 million, while Cespedes is looking at possibly five years and around $120 million. However, there’s a reason Heyward is getting such a long deal: he’s 26 years old.

Heyward came up at 19, starting his service clock incredibly early and positioning him for a massive free agent deal. In comparison, Cespedes is 30 years old. For Heyward, an eight-year contract would take him to 33, while a five year pact with Cespedes will take him to 34. Luckily, in neither case are we talking about holding onto someone into their late 30s or early 40s.

The average annual value of each deal will be just about the same, somewhere between $20-25 million However, Cespedes gets the edge because his deal would simply be less risky. Even if Heyward is the type of player who will decline gracefully, you never know when a freak injury is going to strike. I’d rather have my team handcuffed with dead weight for three or four years instead of six or seven.

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The Verdict: Heyward is the clear choice

Cespedes was amazing this summer. He energized a fanbase more than any player in a decade. However, he isn’t the right choice between him and Heyward, especially given the circumstances.

Cespedes would have to play a position he hasn’t been able to handle, significantly eating into whatever offensive value he provides. And at the plate, although they are different style hitters, they are both equally productive.

If Michael Conforto weren’t in the picture and Cespedes could play left field every day, perhaps this would be different. Perhaps Cespedes would be seen as a better value over Heyward. However, under the current circumstances, he doesn’t fit with this team.

Heyward is a great bet to be a 5-6 fWAR player for many years to come, which can’t be said about Cespedes, especially moving to a position he can’t really play. Coming into this year, Cespedes had never posted an fWAR greater than 3.3.

Heyward will cost more in total dollars and length of contract, but he’s also the type of player you can rely on for consistent, high-level production year in and year out. The same cannot be said for Yoenis Cespedes.

Yoenis, it was fun while it lasted, but it’s time for the Mets to go after Jason Heyward.

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Three Things We Learned From Asisstant GM John Ricco Today Tue, 08 Dec 2015 21:42:13 +0000 john Ricco

Assistant GM John Ricco spoke with reporters on Tuesday and said:

1. The Mets met again with Ben Zobrist’s agents and while they have not  a final offer they discussed the parameters for a potential deal and will negotiate further if needed. “Not quite that close but each know the general parameters, but not at the point where we’re engaged at that level,” Ricco said. The sense is that a decision could come real soon.

2. The Mets are still trying to gauge the market for relief pitchers on the free agent market but there have not been any substantial talks with anyone. They are not concerned about the relievers who have already signed and are confident they will be able to effectively fill their needs.

3. On the outfield front there has not been any substantial progress other than touching base with some of the agents representing the outfielders they have some interest in. ”Nothing has progressed further than gauging interest and what it might take to sign them or trade for them.”

My guess is that everything is being held up until the Zobrist situation is resolved. Sandy Alderson is constant communication with Ricco and is fully engaged with everything that is going on. The Washington Nationals did not meet with Zobrist face-to-face as was first thought, but GM Mike Rizzo said he made a “nice, hard push” for him to his agents this afternoon.

Zobrist has a four-year offer in hand from an unknown team.


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MMO Free Agent Profile: Gerardo Parra, OF Tue, 08 Dec 2015 14:07:52 +0000 gerardo parra

Gerardo Parra
Position: Outfielder
Bats: Left – Throws: Left
Born: May 6, 1987 (Age 28)

With the winter meetings well underway, the New York Mets are in the market for an outfielder, and as assistant GM said Monday, “not an everyday outfielder.” The team is looking for a player who can share time with Juan Lagares in center field, preferably a lefty-swinging platoon mate.

The Mets have often been linked to Gerardo Parra by many outlets this offseason, and on Monday they met with the representatives for the veteran player. Not to mention the team was hot on Parra at the trade deadline before he was eventually dealt to the Baltimore Orioles.

The interesting thing about Parra is that he actually would be able to provide the Mets with a little bit of everything they need. He is able to man all three outfield positions, something not too many free agents out there are able to do, while providing solid defense. Parra is very capable at the plate, he offers some power and speed, and he certainly fits a platoon role with Lagares like a glove.

Parra put up respectable numbers last year, splitting time between the Milwaukee Brewers and Baltimore. He posted a combined .291/.328/.452 line in his 2015 campaign with 14 home runs, 51 RBI, 83 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

He only walked 28 times this past season and had a 4.8 walk rate, but that may have been an outlier as in his previous four seasons Parra averaged 7.3. Plus, his 15.6 K/9 was the best mark of his career.

Defensively, Parra is quite a defender who can handle himself nicely in the field. He’s won two Gold Gloves in right field, but has played a fair share of games in left field and center as well where he’s logged 186 games. He committed just two errors last year, both while playing in center for Milwaukee. Parra also picked up 9 outfield assists in 2015.

It is worth noting that Parra was not eligible for a qualifying offer from Baltimore, making him even more attractive to the Mets as they wouldn’t have to forfeit a draft pick.

Parra, 28, could be a perfect fit in New York. He has good splits versus right-handed pitching, which makes him an optimal candidate to platoon in center field with Juan Lagares. He has a career .289 average against righties with a .432 slugging percentage.

Contract: Parra could land a three-year deal worth about $27 million. This would pay him through his age 31 season. In addition to the Mets, the Royals, Giants and Mariners have been connected to Parra.

Recommendation: Parra could fit into this line-up well at the top of the order while platooning in center field. He can also spell  Curtis Granderson or Michael Conforto when they need a day off. I believe this is a good opportunity for the Mets to pick up a solid outfielder on an affordable deal.


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Orioles and Darren O’Day Resolve Issues and Agree to 4-Year Deal Tue, 08 Dec 2015 02:20:15 +0000 Darren , O'Day

December 7

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports confirms that the Baltimore Orioles and Darren O’Day have resolved the issues that prompted O’Day to take to Twitter on Sunday to say there was no deal with the O’s.

The two sides ironed out a few obstacles and officially agreed on a four-year, $31 million dollar contract on Monday night.

December 6

Although it has yet to be finalized, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Darren O’Day and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $31 million dollars.

The deal for the veteran side-armer is pending a physical, but is clearly agreed to by both parties Heyman says.

On Friday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that the Orioles had made O’Day an aggressive offer, but that the Washington Nationals were also a top suitor for the right-hander and still in the picture.

The Mets initially expressed interest in O’Day early in the offseason, but interest in him has waned as it became apparent that the cost would be too prohibitive for them.

Along with Ryan Madson, who signed with the Oakland A’s Sunday morning, that’s two big relievers that are now off the table as the Winter Meetings kickoff in Nashville.

December 2

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have made a “competitive” offer to free agent reliever Darren O’Day.

The Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers are also among the more serious teams bidding for O’Day’s talents.

An industry source told Connolly that O’Day is weighing his offers and there is a possibility he could agree to a contract with a team before the winter meetings start Monday in Nashville, Tenn.

Over the last four seasons, O’Day has gone 23-8 with a 1.92 ERA, 214 ERA+ and 0.939 WHIP. In 263.0 innings pitched, he has struck out 283 batters for a 9.7 strikeout rate, while posting a 2.1 walk rate and a 4.56 BB/SO ratio.

This past season was his best season yet, as O’Day went 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 82 batters in 65.1 innings, while walking only 14 and allowing just five home runs. He also picked up six saves.

The Mets were initially targeting O’Day when the free agency period began according to reports by Anthony DiComo. However, they backed off upon realizing his price was too costly for them.

O’Day is expected to get a four-year deal worth $32-$36 million dollars, putting him in the same salary range as an average MLB closer.


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Royals Sign Joakim Soria To Three-Year Deal Mon, 07 Dec 2015 08:29:16 +0000 Joakim_Soria_DET

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick via Twitterthe Kansas City Royals and free agent reliever Joakim Soria have agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal, with a mutual option for a fourth season. 

Soria, 31, split last season between the Tigers and Pirates appearing in 72 games overall, recording 24 saves and posting a 2.53 ERA with a 8.5 K/9.

The Mets had preliminary interest in Soria, but were not looking to spend big dollars for the setup reliever they are looking to add this offseason. The Mets will focus instead on sifting through the second-tier relief market.

With the losses this offseason of Ryan Madson and Greg Holland from their bullpen, the Royals patched things up quite nicely with Soria, an established veteran who will now reunite with the team he started his career with in 2007.

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Hot Stove: Jeff Samardzija Lands 5-Year, $90 Million Deal with Giants Sun, 06 Dec 2015 06:25:35 +0000 jeff  samardzija

Mothers don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Let them grow up to be below average starting pitchers with mediocre stuff instead. The San Francisco Giants have signed free agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $90 million contract on Saturday.

Samardzija, 30. went 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA last season which ranked third-highest among all qualified American League pitchers. He has seen his strikeout rate decline from 8.7 to 8.0 to 6.9 over the last three seasons and his home run rate has climbed from 0.6 to to 1.0 to a career high 1.2 as a starting pitcher in 2015. His 0.2 WAR is also the lowest of his career and a far cry from the 3.7 he posted in 2014, the only good season of his career.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but to see a pitcher like this coming off such an awful year and getting a five year deal that will pay him $18 million dollars a year – a hefty raise from the $9 million he earned last season – is just mind-boggling to me.

Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz will combine to earn less than $6 million in 2016. Damn, if that doesn’t bring a smile to Met fan’s face, nothing will. Now if we can only a win a championship or two during the 3-4 year window when they’ll all be under cost-controlled contracts.

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Oakland Signs Reliever Ryan Madson To 3-Year Deal Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:52:35 +0000 PI-MLB-Royals-Ryan-Madson-062415.vadapt.955.high.94

The Oakland Athletics have agreed to terms with free agent reliever Ryan Madson on a three-year deal worth $22 million dollars reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

Madson, 35, came back with a solid season after missing three years with various injuries including Tommy John surgery. The Kansas City Royals rolled the dice on him last offseason and he rewarded them with a 2.13 ERA and 0.963 WHIP in 63.1 dominant innings. He posted a 8.2 strikeout rate while throwing his fastball in the 94-96 mph range.

The veteran righty is expected to serve as the setup man for A’s closer Sean Doolittle. There had been no rumors connecting Madson to the Mets.

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Cesar Ramos Could Be The Cheap Lefty Mets Are Looking For Thu, 03 Dec 2015 14:00:29 +0000 Cesar-  Ramos

Another bullpen option hit the free agent market last night as the Angels non-tendered left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos.

Ramos, 31, had an excellent season with Los Angeles this past year, posting a 2.75 ERA in 52.1 innings spread over 65 appearances. He struck out 43 batters (7.4 K/9) and walked 15 (2.6 BB/9). His 3.02 FIP and 3.79 xFIP weren’t as strong, but neither have ever been particularly bullish on him.

Ramos was set to earn about $1.75 million this winter in arbitration before the Angels released him, and he should cost about the same on the open market. He presents a cheaper alternative to Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo, each of whom will likely receive multi-year deals worth between $10 and $15 million.

As someone whose two multi-year bullpen signings have been D.J. Carrasco and Frank Francisco, perhaps Sandy Alderson doesn’t want to invest so much in free agent relievers, especially when payroll is presumably tight.

There are some caveats to Ramos that should be considered. As’s Alden Gonzalez wrote recently, Ramos was mostly on mop-up duty for the Angels this year, routinely serving as one of the last options for Mike Scioscia. The numbers really back this up. Ramos faced a total of 40 batters in medium or high-leverage situations while he faced 178 in low leverage spots. In his career, batters have a .752 OPS in high-leverage spots, .749 in medium leverage, and .659 in low-leverage situations. Those sample sizes are all pretty small though, so things could change.

He also may have gotten lucky on some fly balls this year. Just 4.4% of the fly balls Ramos allowed in 2015 left the park, which is less than both his career ratio (7.6%) and the league ratio (11.4%). Odds point to that regressing and Ramos giving up more home runs in the future.

That being said, Ramos could serve as somewhat of a lefty specialist alongside Sean Gilmartin. In his career, lefties are hitting just .247/.310/.323 against Ramos, compared to .254/.336/.378 for righties.

If he can prove he can pitch in tight situations, Ramos could be one of the best bang-for-buck buys on the relief pitching market this winter.


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Top Prospect Jose Miguel Fernandez Defects From Cuba Thu, 03 Dec 2015 12:30:53 +0000 Jose Miguel Fernandez

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Jose Miguel Fernandez has defected from Cuba in hopes of pursuing a MLB contract. Fernandez was rated as the number three overall Cuban prospect by Badler prior to the season, and he’s expected to be in high demand around the league.

While he’s not a huge homerun threat, Badler says he’s a major league ready infielder with a quick bat and has outstanding plate discipline. Fernandez hit .326/.482/.456  in 2014 with only ten strikeouts and 65 walks during 315 plate appearances.

The 27 year old second baseman did not play during the entire 2015 season due to a suspension for trying to leave the country. However, his upside is clearly there and he always hits whenever he’s on the field. In the World Baseball Classic in 2013, he hit over .500 with a .545 OBP and had no strikeouts in 21 at bats.

Scouts have considered him as a respectable fielder at second base, but Balder says his speed and range have declined as he’s filled out over the years.

Given his skill set, I wonder if he’s a player the Mets will look at closely over the next several months. His tremendous approach at the plate makes him a perfect fit for the team’s hitting philosophy, and he would also give the team some talent and depth in the infield.

It’s going to be interesting to see what type of contract he’ll receive on the open market, but the Mets and the rest of the league will have to wait before finding out. Badler says that it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready to sign prior to opening day since he still needs to establish residence in another country and be declared a free agent before being eligible to sign.


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