Mets Merized Online » Mailbag Sat, 13 Feb 2016 03:39:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Mailbag: Would You Trade Montero For Franklin? Tue, 25 Feb 2014 21:13:30 +0000 nick franklin

Jordan asks…

I read that the Mets might be talking to Seattle about getting Nick Franklin. Do you think we could get him and should we?

Joe D. replies…

Let me answer it like this…

Surely the Mets must know it’s going to cost them someone like Rafael Montero to snag Franklin from the M’s, as Adam Rubin speculated earlier in the week. It’s already widely reported that the Mariners are looking for a young pitching prospect in return, and I’m not so sure that someone like Jenrry Mejia, Dillon GeeCory Mazzoni or Jacob deGrom alone would be able to get a deal done.

The other thing is that we don’t know how many other teams are also looking at Franklin for shortstop or second base. Given how he’s not that far removed from top prospect status (Franklin was ranked in Top 50 going into 2013), I would imagine that there would be more than just the Mets in the hunt for his talents – even this late in the game.

One of the beat writers supposed that this could be another way of the Mets trying to apply more pressure on Stephen Drew to lower his price to the one year, $9.5 million deal the team already offered him. But who really knows.

The question is just how good is Franklin and are you prepared to give up the number two pitching prospect in your system to get him? And let’s not forget that Montero is also a Top 100 Prospect according to and Baseball America.

Last season, the 22-year old Franklin batted .225/.303/.382 with 12 home runs, 20 doubles, 42 walks, 45 RBI and a 2.5 WAR in 102 games played. Obviously that’s quite an offensive upgrade over anything that Tejada or Quintanilla could produce and it’s also not that far removed from Drew’s norms. And Franklin has a lot of upside.

So what’s worse, giving up a third round pick and a boatload of money for Drew – or trading a top prospect like Montero for Franklin?

It’s a tough decision, but I’m leaning toward saying no on trading Montero.

If we’re going to consider Franklin’s upside than we must also consider Montero’s as well. I have no problem trading Montero in the right deal, but I’m not convinced that this is that deal. 

Gun to my head, I keep Montero, sign Drew and hope we squeeze two good years out of him.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Mailbag: Is Aledmys Diaz Holding Up Free Agent Shortstop Market? Thu, 13 Feb 2014 15:07:37 +0000 Kevin F. asks…

I have a question, do you think the Mets are waiting for Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz to be available next week before deciding on signing Stephen Drew. Thanks look forward to your opinion.

Danny asks…

Is it possible that there are other unreported teams holding up a Drew signing and will the Yankees now jump into the pool after yesterday’s announcement from Jeter?

Joe D. replies…

aledmys diaz

Thanks for the questions.

The latest news on Aledmys Diaz according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN is that the Cuban shortstop will be holding his showcase today and will be seeking a quick signing.

Diaz, 23, will be eligible to sign with any team after Feb. 19, when his punishment for age falsification comes to an end.

The Twins, Yankees, Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox have all shown an interest in Diaz. There has been little to no buzz surrounding Diaz and the Mets.

Diaz could be the holdup in the Drew sweepstakes, but I’m not so sure it will affect his market either way.

Scouts love his offensive potential, but few see him as a shortstop in the majors and he may need a stint in the minors before becoming major league ready.

As for the Yankees jumping in on Drew now. Why? Derek Jeter didn’t retire effective immediately.

Do you think the Yankees will bump him from shortstop for Drew as the future Hall of Famer makes his farewell tour?

Barring injuries, that’s never going to happen.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Mailbag: Should Mets Pursue Aledmys Diaz? Tue, 28 Jan 2014 23:03:40 +0000 images

We’ve received a dozen emails lately asking about Cuban shortstop Aledyms Diaz who will soon be eligible to sign with any MLB team. After falsifying his age, Diaz had been prevented from signing with any team, but his punishment is up Feb. 19.

There has been plenty of interest in him and he’s considered one of the top international players available, especially now with Masahiro Tanaka signed, sealed and delivered.

I’ll leave the rest of this to our MMO Senior Editor and Minor League Analyst, Mitch… Joe D.

(Pretend drum roll)

Thoughts from Mitch Petanick…

There will be no shortage of teams that are interested in Diaz. An offensive-minded shortstop, Diaz’s swing is compact and powerful. He’s well rounded offensively—patient, and hits for average and power. Defensively, he has a tendency to make errors, but has solid range and a cannon of an arm. If he doesn’t clean up the defense he could always survive in an outfield role due to his bat and his strong arm.

I would expect that whatever team signs Diaz could start him in Double-A due to his advanced bat. If the Mets signed him, he could be in a position to help the team as early as this season. A short stint in the minors to acclimate Diaz would be all that is necessary.

When the Athletics signed Yoeonis Cespedes, he was 26 years-old, so the team felt comfortable throwing him into the major-league mix immediately. Diaz is a slightly different case—he’s a little bit younger, and due to the defensive question mark, the team that signs him will probably opt to start him in the minors to give him a little bit of polish before promoting him. Make no bones about it, I think this guy can be a very solid major league ball player and he should definitely be on the Mets’ radar.

Below is a brief but excellent clip of Diaz showing off his arm strength. Notice how he chases the slow roller into the hole to his right, throws off his back foot, and has enough arm strength and accuracy to nail the runner with about three steps to spare. That is a major league play.

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Mets Avoid Arbitration With Parnell, Agree To $3.7 Million Deal Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:43:53 +0000 bobby parnell

January 17, 2014

The Mets have avoided arbitration with Bobby Parnell, and agreed to a one-year, $3.7 million deal with him according to Joel Sherman. He can earn a $50,000 bonus if he appears in 60 games.

Parnell had 22 saves last season and posted a 2.16 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in an injury shortened season.

Yesterday during a conference call from St. Lucie, Parnell had this to say about his role in 2014:

“In my head, I feel like I’m still the closer,” he said. “I’ll go with that until told otherwise.”

That’s about as confident as one could get.

I answered a Mailbag Question on him earlier this week:

Ann Marie asks…

Are there any updates regarding Bobby Parnell and whether he will be able to close for us when the season starts?

Joe D. replies…

Parnell has been throwing since the start of January, according to general manager Sandy Alderson, who says that the Mets closer is on track to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

“Everything looks good. No restrictions. His weight is back. His muscle tone is there. The surgery is progressing nicely, so we’re very much reassured.”

He has been cleared to begin normal spring training preparation and has reported to the club’s spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla to begin workouts, according to the Mets.

I’m sure we’ll hear more on how Parnell is progressing once he gets on a mound and starts throwing for Mets coaches and trainers.

But for now it appears that all the arrows are pointing up, and that Parnell will likely be in the bullpen come Opening Day and be ready to close.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Mailbag: Harvey vs Kershaw, Moving Murphy To First Base Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:50:43 +0000 matt harvey

TerriLoves28 asks…

How do you think the Clayton Kershaw deal will impact Matt Harvey when his time comes? Should we say our goodbyes now?

Joe D. replies…

I would hold off on saying goodbye for now. I think it’s way too early for anyone to speculate on Harvey when the Mets won’t have to make that decision until 2017. Harvey has just 36 starts under his belt and while he’s been phenomenal, it doesn’t even begin to compare with what two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw has done. In 186 starts over the last six years, Kershaw in 77-46 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.

Harvey will also miss all of the 2014 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and while we all remain hopeful, he needs to comeback and show that he can pitch at the same level he did for two-thirds of the 2013 season. I think it’s a bit silly to put Matt Harvey and $216 million in the same sentence right now.


Alex in CT asks…

Do you think we could just drop Ike Davis, play Eric Young at second base and move Daniel Murphy to first base?

Joe D. replies…

While it’s a very real possibility that the Mets release Ike before the end of spring training to avoid paying him $3.5 million and just giving him his $600K severance pay, it likely won’t mean that Murphy slides over to first base.

With Davis out of the picture, the plan would probably be to have Duda and Josh Satin platoon at first base and leaving Murph exactly where he is. The platoon at first will mean more production at first base than Murphy alone could provide, and leaving him at second makes Mutphy more valuable as a trade chip down the road.

As for Young, he’ll serve the Mets better as the fourth outfielder and backup second baseman. The Mets will find a way to ensure he gets at least 350 at-bats this season.

Presented By Diehards

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A Satin and Davis Platoon At First Base Could Prove Very Productive Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:46:53 +0000 New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

Kenny asks…

Let’s say the Mets don’t trade Ike Davis and he’s with the team come Spring Training, does it mean that Josh Satin is out of a job?

Joe D. replies…

There’s still plenty of time for the Mets to trade Davis, but let’s assume they end up keeping him. My hunch is that unless he hits the living daylights out of the ball this Spring, he’ll likely end up as part of a platoon with (Hail) Satin.

Given their lefty/righty splits, there’s some potential for tremendous production from first base for the Mets this season. Here are their career splits:

Satin vs LHP:   .862 OPS – .152 ISO – .376 wOBA – .467 SLG – 145 wRC+

Davis vs RHP:  .827 OPS – .215 ISO – .357 wOBA – .471 SLG – 127 wRC+ 

In my opinion, if Davis gets all the starts at first base against right-handed pitching, it will be Lucas Duda who stands to lose the most playing time.

It will make for a very unorthodox bench to carry two left-handed hitting first basemen in Davis and Duda, especially when you consider that neither can play any other infield positions.

Satin, on the other hand, can play third base to backup Wright and even play second base in a pinch. Additionally, he’s been putting in a lot of work in the outfield this offseason to increase his versatility and thus his value to the Mets.

I doubt the Mets will ever entertain the thought of Duda in the outfield again after a failed experiment that really shook his confidence and degraded his production at the plate. His role in 2014 is very cloudy to say the least.

But to answer your question, no matter how first base ultimately shakes out, rest assured that Satin is a lock for at least a bench spot if not a more significant role.

Presented By Diehards

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Scouts Are Raving About Jeurys Familia Tue, 31 Dec 2013 14:16:45 +0000 New York Mets starting pitcher Jeurys Familia

Jeurys Familia hasn’t thrown a lot this winter, but when he has, he’s been lights out, missing a ton of bats and flashing the mid-to-upper-90s velocity that has scouts raving, writes Baseball Prospectus. You can’t put a lot of stock in winter league performances, but you can put a ton of stock in young pitchers returning from injury and regaining velocity and missing bats.

I alluded to that in a recent mailbag I posted, based on what one scout told me last week. Yesterday, our own Pete Anselmo ranked Familia as his top Mets closing prospect.

You shouldn’t look too much into winter league stats, but last night, Familia was hitting triple digits on the radar gun.

Original Post 12/28

Jonathan asks…

What is the deal with Jeurys Familia? He seems to have fallen through the cracks which is odd being he was one of our top pitching prospects two years ago. Is he still in the Mets’ plans?

Joe D. replies….

That’s an interesting question. While Familia may have lost some of his luster he is still highly regarded by the Mets.

2013 was a lost year for the big righthander and he’s only pitched a grand total of 23 innings in the majors in the last two years. But it looks like the Dominican Republic native is just now starting to regain his full strength since a non-structural elbow injury wiped out his season this year.

In six relief appearances for Los Gigantes in the DWL, Familia has a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched, allowing three walks and striking out twelve.

But it’s what some scouts noted about Familia during his play in the Arizona Fall League that should have us intrigued about this once highly regarded prospect. The hard-throwing righty was clocking in regularly at 95 mph and exhibiting the same velocity prior to his injury. That’s very significant for Familia who needs that plus-fastball to be effective.

Familia, 24,  was ranked No. 5 among Mets prospects by entering the 2013 season and was ranked No. 90 by Baseball America in their Top 100 entering the 2012 campaign. While you won’t see Familia appearing on any top prospects lists for the 2014 season, there is still reason to be excited about this young arm.

Don’t count Familia out this Spring, as he could very well break camp with the Mets and secure a key role in what should be a much improved bullpen this season.

The Mets have always had a severe lack of power arms in their pen over the last 3-4 seasons, but that should all change in 2014. Good things are coming our way.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Mailbag: Can Puello Challenge For A Spot In The Outfield? Fri, 20 Dec 2013 15:38:10 +0000 cesar_puello_480x270_w6a5hjni_exa1mnnr

Hitman asks…

Should the Mets fail to acquire another power bat in the OF, what are the chances of Cesar Puello challenging (and winning) a spot come Spring Training? For now, lets say that the Mets retain Ike Davis. Should Davis get his head on straight, I believe another slugger around Davis like Puello in the lineup might benefit Davis just like the presence of Puello benefited another struggling hitter this past season, Cory Vaughn.

Brian replies…

While Puello is an excellent prospect, there are two reasons why he won’t win a job out of spring training. The first reason is the Mets do not have enough space for him in the outfield. The amount of money spent on Curtis Granderson and Chris Young guarantees them significant playing time, and Juan Lagares is the favorite in centerfield due to his performance last year. The front office also appears to be high on Eric Young Jr. as well.

The other reason is that under Sandy Alderson, the Mets generally promote prospects at a very slow pace. So, it would be uncharacteristic for the Mets to have Puello skip Triple-A, and advance straight to the majors. The Mets are going to want him to get more at-bats and experience with Las Vegas before they promote him to the big leagues.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Mailbag: Does D’Arnaud Have Enough Power To Justify A Move To First Base? Wed, 18 Dec 2013 12:00:19 +0000 travis-d'arnaud

NickCant12 asks…

Let’s be honest, there is major concern with Travis d’Arnaud‘s ability to stay healthy, and although his defense isn’t necessarily a concern, it’s not a strength either. With high praise from the Mets brain trust for catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, does TDA have enough pop in his bat to justify a switch to 1B in the future?

Kirk Cahill replies…

This is an excellent question. I think it’s also a question that we don’t necessarily have an answer to just yet. D’Arnaud has just 112 major-league plate appearances under his belt, so it’s difficult to know just what type of offensive player he’s going to be. That said, I’m always a little uncomfortable moving catchers off of the position.

Having a catcher who can hit and hit for power is so rare that you’d hate to negate his value by moving him — especially to first base. In some rare cases like those of Buster Posey and Joe Mauer, players who are so offensively gifted that their offense will play above-average no matter where you put them I’m okay with it. Especially later in their careers. I’m just not so sure that Travis is that type of offensive force.

Scouts project TDA to be somewhere in the .270-.280 range with 20+ homers and an above-average walk total. That’s a top catcher, but probably a league average first basemen. I would keep him behind the plate until absolutely necessary and enjoy the spoils of getting that type of production out of my catcher, and enjoy the luxury of filling my first base spot with a prototypical middle of the order masher.

As for d’Arnaud’s injury history, it’s certainly a concern. However not all of his injuries have been directly connected to catching. He suffered a knee injury breaking up a doubleplay in 2012. His most recent injury was due to a foul ball hitting him in the foot, and while that’s obviously directly related to being a catcher it’s a fluky type of injury.

The most worrisome injury would have to be the back problems that popped up in 2010, but with said injury almost four years in the past, perhaps it isn’t something that we can expect to be chronic. The recent ruling to end home plate collisions will certainly help. So when taking all of that into consideration I still maintain that keeping him at catcher until something or someone forces your hand is the best plan of action.

mmo mailbag

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MMO Mailbag: What If Mets Find Cash In Stocking? Thu, 12 Dec 2013 15:30:21 +0000 MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers

Adam asks…

Let’s just say the Mets move Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, because for whatever reason they seem to believe Lucas Duda can be the long term answer at first base. (That’s a complaint for a whole other time) This should clear up some cash, but what do the Mets do with that cash?

Do you think the Mets would actually pursue Stephen Drew if his price comes down? I’d love to see another big splash, but I’m hesitant to have another big-ish contract along side Wright’s 138, and Granderson’s 60. What would you do with that extra cash (say 13-18m if they can flip both players and potentially Ruben Tejada if need be)

Jessep replies…

I always find it amazing when fans involve themselves in the salaries of players to the extent that you mention with Stephen Drew. I get the concern with spending too much on players – but there are two different sides to that. You have to spend money if you want to utilize free agency for what it’s purpose is – to fill holes on a roster. You’re not supposed to build your franchise around free agents, at least not anymore.

Here’s a secret, almost every free agent is overpaid. Why? Because almost every free agent is beginning the decline of their career – but they are being paid for what they did in the past.

Contracts that are “bad ideas” are the ones that stop a team from being able to make moves in the future. So, if you believe Stephen Drew can be an every day SS for the Mets over 3-4 years, then his actual salary shouldn’t matter to you so long as it’s over the time period you want him to be your starting SS.

Who is the better SS that the Mets can get rather than have Drew at SS this year or next year? It’s a question with no right or wrong answer – so if you want a guy who is an every day SS caliber player, then you don’t worry about how much his paycheck is, so long as it doesn’t stop you from making other improvements in the future.

Now, to your point. I think the Mets current roster composition is more of an issue than the team payroll to be honest. Let’s say they want Drew, and they know they can get Drew.

The Mets have Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada plus Wilmer Flores and Joe D’s favorite, Josh Satin. That’s 6 guys who all should be on this major league roster, but realistically you can’t have them all. So, Daniel Murphy has the most value and so they will see what they can get on the trade market for him. Why not? Look, I like Murphy but I’m not going to pretend he’s anything but above average.

ike davisDavis, Duda, and Tejada are three players that the Mets gave every opportunity to over the last two years – and they failed. I think in reality, the Mets misjudged the trade market – especially for Ike Davis. If you trade him last year, you can use the change of scenery excuse – but two years in a row isn’t a fluke, it’s a trend.

So, do I think they need to trade these guys to free up cash to spend? No. I think they need to trade these guys to unclog their roster which in turn frees up the $. If you’re telling me they cannot sign Drew without trading one of these guys – then yeah that is the move I make.

But, if they can sign Drew regardless and find a willing (and gullible) trade partner for Davis, then I would use that money to find more relief help, or a guy like Michael Young who can play 3 infield positions (including a platoon 1B option).

It seems like since this off-season started, everybody who doubted the Mets off-season intentions has been proven wrong. They clearly are trying to field the most competitive 2014 team they can.

I hope money isn’t the real factor for holding back on a starting SS possibility.

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MMO Mailbag: Any Chance That Murphy Moves To First Base? Wed, 11 Dec 2013 21:42:38 +0000 flores bat

Adam asks…

What do you think of trading Ike Davis and Lucas Duda and moving Daniel Murphy to first base so we can play Wilmer Flores at second base? The way I see it Murphy is far more productive than Duda or Davis and is a doubles machine who can drive in runs plus throw in his stolen bases, I also have this fear that Wilmer Flores is getting dismissed when it’s obvious he’s our best offensive prospect right now. Shouldn’t we give 400 at-bats to see what we’ve got? Thanks.

Tommy replies…

It sounds like you want to give Flores a shot while making sure Murphy’s bat remains in the lineup. That’s not a bad idea, although it really depends what we can get in return for Davis and Duda. I would be more willing to part with Duda. Davis has had his struggles but hit 32 home runs in 2012, so he is not somebody we should just toss to the curb.

Now for a bit of a tangent… The Mets need a shortstop, a solid starting pitcher (especially with Harvey out), and some bullpen help. They might be able to keep using Davis at first if he can regain his form, but I imagine they will be seeking an upgrade there as well.

It seems like they have committed to Chris Young in the outfield, so a move for a big-time outfielder seems unlikely. To fill their holes, the Mets supposedly have a bit of money (not a lot, but enough to target some useful players) and some trade chips (Davis, Duda, Gee, prospects, and Murphy). From what I’ve heard and read, it seems as if they are interested in trading Murphy for a cheap player, then signing Stephen Drew.

Their willingness to salary-dump Murphy concerns me, because they should already have some money to spend (if the $87 Million estimate is correct). Drew is a worse player than Murphy by a solid margin, and I really don’t see the purpose of filling a hole at short by creating a bigger hole at second, so I’m hoping, as are you, that Murphy is still in the lineup next season. Perhaps they want to dump salary in order to clear the way for somebody like Drew AND another signing? I don’t know.

But anyway, your idea isn’t a bad one, but, for better or worse, it seems far more likely that Murphy will be at second base on another team than at first base in Queens.

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MMO Mailbag: Add Zobrist to the Fold? Wed, 11 Dec 2013 14:47:10 +0000 ben zobrist

David asks: The Rays are looking for a first baseman. Do you think they could consider trading Ben Zobrist, who would be a real upgrade, for a package like Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy and a pitching prospect?

I’m not sure how this makes sense right now, David. Sure, Zobrist is better than Murphy, but the Mets’ needs are deeper at other areas. Second base is low on the list of priorities for the Mets. If they can get a return for Murphy and/or Ike, they should be looking for a shortstop or a legit first baseman, neither of which are on Zobrist’s résumé.

Daniel  Murphy pointAnother factor going against this is the relative lack of interest in both Ike and Murphy. There have been rumblings from Orlando that there’s not much buzz surrounding either player. In Ike’s case, that may be due to an unrealistic price tag, but the fact does remain.

Now, Zobrist is a terrific ball player. He’s a two-time All Star and has a top-10 and two other top-20 MVP finishes. He’s a career .263/.354/.435 hitter with a 75% stolen base success rate and he plays great defense at both second base and right field.

So it makes me wonder how strong the pitching prospect has to be to pry him away from a competitive team. Since the prospect isn’t going to contribute this season, or at least contribute minimally later in the season, he must have one heck of a ceiling for the Rays to unload an All Star for him and two guys that aren’t really generating any interest. It would be a significant downgrade for this season. And if it’s going to take a top prospect, is it worth it to use him for a guy that’s going to free agency after this season at a position that’s not dire?

I could see taking the chance if the Mets were a strong contender and second base was a big weakness for them, but they’re not and it’s not. If the two teams want to discuss a trade, the Mets should inquire about shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee. Wilmer Flores, Wilfredo Tovar and Ruben Tejada would be more than adequate second basemen in the event that the Mets acquire Lee (or any other legit shortstop) and Murphy has been traded for another area of need. I feel Zobrist is a poor allocation of resources at this time.

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MMO Mailbag: Checking In With D-Backs On Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings Wed, 27 Nov 2013 17:28:17 +0000 digi gregorius

Mike asks…

Just wondering what you think it would take to get one of Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings from the Arizona Diamondbacks? They seem to have a surplus at shortstop as well as outfield. So what kind of a package would you hope the Mets could work out?

Teddy replies…

To Sir Mike,

I don’t think it should be a package. If it were me, I’d go after Chris Owings for shortstop. Many have soured over Didi as of late especially because his numbers over minor league time as a hitter aren’t exactly pretty. However, Owings might be their guy.

To make matters worse, they have to put one of Chris Pennington, Owings, or Gregorius at second on top of their problems, and it is almost certain Gregorius will be the casualty in this debacle. It will likely cost too much to get Owings, who would be my priority, he would likely cost someone like Rafael Montero, or Jon Niese.

One of the things they’re looking for is starting pitching, and I’d expect them to ask for Thor, which anyone would balk at in regards to Owings, rightfully so.

What I would do is look to the Texas Rangers who have their middle infield locked up, and Luis Sardinas on the way. Since Jacob deGrom is nearly MLB ready, but the odd man out when it comes to the highly optimistic rotation, I’d dangle him, and if they don’t bite, offer Domingo Tapia, whose arm is, to paraphrase Bull Durham “touched by the gods”. But like Nuke, he has no control.

Not sure if that would be enough to to pry Sardinas away, who looks like a shortstop stud, and likely ready for a September call up next season, but I’d certainly try.

Sandy Alderson acknowledged to reporters Tuesday afternoon on a conference call that he has worked the phones and inquired about shortstops available for trade. It’s possible that he may have reached out to the D-Backs already.

David Wright also said yesterday that Alderson “has some tricks up his sleeve for the Winter Meetings.” Maybe one of them is trading for a shortstop. Although as Joe D. wrote yesterday, Alderson also said “it’s conceivable that Ruben Tejada or someone within the organization is playing shortstop on Opening Day.”

Keep sending in those questions Met fans…

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Mailbag: Are Mets Losing Faith In D’Arnaud? Tue, 26 Nov 2013 14:00:08 +0000 travis d'arnaud single

Raymond asks…

Did you happen to read the report on MetsBlog that the Mets are still looking for a veteran backup and that John Buck and Ramon Hernandez are options for them? Do you think that deep down inside they don’t believe in Travis d’Arnaud anymore and have lost faith in him?

Joe D. replies…

Absolutely not. The front office is still very high on d’Arnaud (as they should be) and are anxious to see him as their everyday catcher in 2014. Like us, they hope that the TDA we saw in 2013 was simply a player who was worn down and fighting the rust of two years of limited playing time. D’Arnaud should be fine next season and I’d expect to see him come bursting out of the gate with a hot start. I don’t like to project numbers, but I’d say 20 home runs and 65 RBI are not out of the question.

As to your first question, I hadn’t seen that report, but I’ll assume it’s legit. From what I’ve been hearing, the Mets are not looking for a backup catcher at this time. While they did say it would be a priority as far back as September, they have since backed off that stance.

Sandy Alderson told reporters just last week that a backup catcher was “not a high priority.” Given the Mets’ limited resources – they have a bout $22 million left to spend – the Mets have enough problems trying to find a starting pitcher, a reliever, and most importantly a bonafide cleanup hitter, before they’d even entertain a backup catcher.

Alderson is very happy going with the tandem of Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Recker next season, and having Juan Centeno waiting in Las Vegas if needed.

“First of all, we like Anthony Recker as a backup,” Alderson said. ”So the backup veteran backup catcher is not really a high priority for us. I mean, it’s nice to have, but we’ve got some other need-to-have holes to fill.”

“Ultimately if we have to go with Recker and d’Arnaud, we’re happy with that,” Alderson said.

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MMO Mailbag: More On Chris Young, Who’s Who At Shortstop Mon, 25 Nov 2013 15:42:13 +0000 chris-young

Kevin D. asks…

It seems that you are the only one among your writers that didn’t like the Chris Young signing. He is an all star who took less money to come to the Mets and is still young with a lot of upside. I don’t understand what you don’t like about him and even FanGraphs said it will be the best baseball signing of the entire offseason.

Joe D. replies…

That’s quite a mouthful Kevin. First of all, he has one All Star appearance and it was about four years ago and they chose him because the next best player on the D-Backs that season was Mark Reynolds and his 32 homers and .199 batting average. I don’t have a problem with Chris Young if he had been picked up on the cheap and only as a platoon player. Young can’t hit righthanded pitching and is getting paid like an above average everyday player. More so, he may have blew the Mets budget and could be their biggest signing of the offseason. Not sure if I would have bit that hard on a player who has four straight years of decline in OBP, OPS and SLG. As for FanGraphs, great site, but lets just say we disagree. We can revisit who was the best signing of the 2013/2014 offseason in July and I’m sure Young won’t be in the discussion. Thanks for reading.

Joe (Yonkers) asks…

So who do you think the Mets will sign now for shortstop? Don’t tell me it will be Omar Quintanilla again?

Joe D. replies…

Love your name. I’ve believed all along that Ruben Tejada would be the Mets opening day shortstop or second baseman in 2014. As much as some make him out to be on the outside looking in, that’s not what I’m hearing. The Mets have him doing strength training and conditioning right now and are trying to get him to lose a few pounds in hopes that it will give him more range and make him more agile and flexible. Despite what his agent said, Tejada has no intentions of carrying through with that grievance against the Mets. He is still very much in the Mets’ plans and I don’t see Sandy Alderson pursuing any other shortstops via free agency or trade unless they do something with Murphy and it creates a void. However, when all is said and done, I still believe that Murphy and Tejada will both be on the team come the Spring.

You know one of the reasons the Cards signed Peralta was because GM John Moseliak tried trading for a shortstop and the prices were staggering. If trading for a shortstop was too high for the Cards, imagine how the Mets would feel?

mmo mailbag

]]> 0 MMO Mailbag: Do You Believe The Mets Will Spend This Offseason? Mon, 09 Sep 2013 15:07:09 +0000 sandy alderson

John B. asks…

Do you really believe the Mets will spend this offseason or that they will contend in 2014?

Joe D. replies…

In a word, yes. I do believe they will spend as they do have many areas they need to address, and they are fresh out of All Star caliber players to trade as well as top performing players like a Marlon Byrd. They will add many players through free agency.

However, I don’t believe they will spend what it will take to land some of the names that are being bandied about like Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and others.

Alderson insisted he has money to spend in free agency during a radio interview this weekend with ESPN. He said he will seek improvements in that market throughout the winter. He also said he is intent on adding a veteran starter regardless of the news on Matt Harvey. In fact, he said he was already planning on pursuing a veteran starter before Harvey was injured and that the only thing that will change now is whether if it’s a number five type starter or a number one or two type.

Despite, what’s been said or reported, I’m not convinced that the Mets will go into next season with a payroll that exceeds $90 million dollars. I just don’t see it.

For three straight offseasons, none of the payroll that was cleared has been reinvested into the team and that’s largely why we’ve seen declining win totals during that span on the major league level. With the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts coming off the books, a great deal of that money will go toward raises for current players.

David Wright‘s salary nearly doubles going from $11 million to $ 20 million. Jon Niese also gets a nice boost to $5.5 million. There are also some significant increases expected by players who are due arbitration and chief among them are Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Eric Young Jr. and Daniel Murphy, to name a few. Many of them are coming off solid seasons and will get hefty awards or settlements.

The last time he was asked, Sandy Alderson said he had not been given a payroll budget for the 2014 season so even he doesn’t know at this point what his limitations are and how much he has to spend.

One reader brought up an excellent point this weekend and in the comment threads. Although we haven’t heard anything official yet, it’s presumed that the Mets will likely announce that the team had estimated losses of nearly $20 million dollars this season. It’s not bad after two straight seasons of $50 million losses, but it’s still an indication that the hemorrhaging hasn’t stopped. So why would the banks and lenders whom the Mets owners owe so much to, allow the team to take that approximate $45 million dollar windfall from the Bay/Santana contracts and reinvest it back into the team?

Why do you think the money from Beltran, Rodriguez, Reyes, Castillo and Perez was never invested?

When you’re in debt up to your knees like the Wilpons are, those lenders don’t care about the product on the field only that the team stops losing money which puts their loans and investments in great jeopardy. You also have all those investors and owners they brought on when they sold all those shares in the team. They haven’t seen a dime yet on their huge outlays and they too will have a say.

So… do I think they will spend?

Yes, but only as much as it would take to field a somewhat respectable 25-man roster. And much of that money, which I suspect will be between $15-$20 million in total, wont be nearly enough to go after any of the top names in free agency.

As to whether or not they will contend, consider that they probably lost their ace in Matt Harvey, they have questions at first base, shortstop, and two outfield positions. Questions also remain in the bullpen and the bottom of the rotation, and David Wright is another year older. Plus it looks like Travis d’Arnaud, who the team is committed to, may take at least 400-500 at-bats until he’s where this team expects him to be offensively. That was the number being suggested back when he was still injured, and so far it looks like they were right. There’s a great deal to overcome for this team, but there’s no accounting for luck which always comes into play.

As a die-hard Met fan I go into every Spring Training believing we will contend for a postseason spot regardless of how good or bad the team looks on paper.

It oftentimes leads to disappointment, but I love the team and I’ve always taken Tug’s mantra (Ya Gotta Believe) to heart. There’s still a lot that needs fixing on this team – more now than three years ago – so while my brain says no, they won’t contend, my heart says otherwise.

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Featured Post: What Shortstops Are On The Market For The Mets? Tue, 09 Jul 2013 17:20:02 +0000 This mailbag question comes from Alex:

Anyone watching this team would notice that we are in dire need of a shortstop. With no one in the minors close to the majors, and Tejada and Quintanilla not getting the job done, are there any quality shortstops that the Mets can realistically acquire?

Alex is right about what we have now. While I wouldn’t be so quick to give up on the 23 year-old Ruben Tejada (I would let him play the season out), neither him nor Omar Quintanilla have provided much in the way of offense. Even when they’re hitting for a high batting average, it’s a pretty empty average, with little in the way of power and neither of their On-Base Percentages are very high either. Even in the Mets’ lineup, they are limited to the seventh or eighth spots.

If the Mets are going to make a deal, it’s going to be for someone significantly better than Tejada. However the market for shortstops is very thin at the moment and could get thinner as teams who were looking like sellers early on may now become buyers. Here is an overview of some of the big-name trade candidates.

  • Hanley Ramirez- Ramirez was a much more likely trade candidate a few weeks ago, but the Dodgers have caught fire and are now right back int eh thick of the NL West race, so Ramirez is likely to stay in Los Angeles. He has also been arguably their best player this month (even better than Yasiel Puig), hitting .406/.448/.729 in 31 games after returning from a hamstring injury, which had sidelined him for the first two months of the season. Ramirez has knocked seven home runs and stolen four bases during that span. Ramirez would give the Mets a rare power threat at shortstop. He is owed almost $24 million (about $8 million left this season and $16 million next year) through the end of the 2014 season.
  • Alexei Ramirez- This Ramirez is far more likely to be traded than Hanley, as the White Sox are in all-out sell mode, ready to deal just about anybody on their roster. Alexei Ramirez is having a down year, so his price will be far less than what it was three years ago. The 31 year-old’s power has dropped dramatically over the past two seasons. He was once a perennial 15 to 20 home run hitter, but has just one in 84 games this year. His slash line is a very empty .280/.309/.346 with a .286 wOBA, which is five points below average for shortstops, and 30 points below average for non-pitchers. He is owed about $24 million over the next three years, so he could be a potential salary dump for the White Sox.
  • Starlin Castro- A few years ago, Castro looked like a cornerstone piece,so the Cubs paid him handsomely, locking him up to a seven-year, $60 million deal. That doesn’t seem like a ton of money, but Castro hasn’t even been worth that this season. Hitting just .234/.269/.327 this season, Castro has seen his whiff rate increase and his walk rate drop, always a bad sign. The Cubs, too, are in all-out sell mode as a part of Theo Epstein’s rebuilding process, so Castro could definitely be moved.
  • Elvis Andrus- The Rangers have a logjam in the middle infield, with Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar locking up second base and shortstop. Elvis Andrus looks like the odd man out. Although Profar has been practicing in left field and could move there eventually, the Rangers might be more comfortable just trading Andrus and allowing Profar to play his natural position. Andrus is a solid shortstop with some speed with an average walk rate. He has had a down year, hitting just .243/.296/.284 in 84 games. Here is the issue: the Rangers extended Andrus to a monster eight-year $118 million contract in April. Frankly, I didn’t see the reasoning behind it then, and I still don’t see it now. Andrus is only a slightly above average shortstop offensively. Although he does bring solid defensive skills to the table (7.1 career UZR/150), he probably amounts to nothing more than a 3-3.5 win player, not at all worth that contract. Unless the Rangers are willing to absorb, I wouldn’t even think about a deal, and I doubt the Mets would either.

That’s it for the big candidates. I only included these four names because as I said earlier, if the Mets are going to upgrade at shortstop, it only makes sense to upgrade significantly, which these four players would be.

Have any other suggestions? Tell me in the comments section!

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Mets Minor League Mailbag: When Will Zack Wheeler Debut? Wed, 08 May 2013 12:00:35 +0000

Zack Wheeler has 40 strikeouts this season (in 36 IP), tied for second in the Pacific Coast League. However, he has also walked 17, tied for fourth-worst in the PCL.

This one comes from Jay via email:

When do you think Wheeler will get the major league call up and how large of an impact do you see him having on this season?

If Zack Wheeler continues to mix his pitches and keep hitters guessing, which made him so devastating last year, he will be with the Mets sooner rather than later. According to all accounts, he failed to mix up his pitches over his first few starts, becoming predictable and hittable, something he has reportedly improved on in his last few starts. There is no question about talent. This guy’s got it. He has the pure stuff to match up against most major league pitchers right now. It will be control of those deadly pitches that will determine the path of his career.

As for the immediate future, my best guess is Wheeler makes his debut in late June or early July, for a few reasons, the first being his MLB-readiness. After his struggles early on, it’s clear that Wheeler isn’t quite ready for the majors yet. The staff in Triple-A 9s still tinkering and perfecting his mechanics, which may have been a contributing factor to his control problems in early April. Once he gets those last few kinks out, he will be ready, but he isn’t ready yet.

The second and probably most significant reason long-term for the Mets, is the cost of bringing Wheeler up too early. You see, if he’s brought up any time before mid-June, he may be eligible for Super Two status. That means he gets an extra year of arbitration. That doesn’t mean the Mets keep him for another year, it just means that one of his pre-arb years in which the Mets would determine his salary would be eliminated and replaced with an etra year of arbitration. Why is that significant? Well, the cost adds up. If he is a success like the Mets hope he will be, his fourth (and last) arbitration year could be very costly. Overall, Super Two players cost their organizations an average of $12 million more than a non-Super Two player, according to Amazin’ Avenue. In an organization where value is very important, the Mets aren’t going to rush Wheeler, especially in a year where the playoffs are probably out of reach regardless of what the Mets do with him.

To answer the second part of your question, his impact could be significant. Once he comes up, he will certainly jump into the rotation full-time, so he will have a big impact whether he is a success or not. How good will he be? That, however, is the most important question and unfortunately, the only one that can’t be answered.

Have a question about the Mets minor league system? Send them in to


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MMO Mailbag: Trade For Cubs Centerfielder Tony Campana? Wed, 30 Jan 2013 16:15:19 +0000 Tony Campana

Jerome asks:

Is there a chance that the Mets could check in on Cubs centerfielder Tony Campana? With Scott Hairston joining a crowded outfield situation in Chicago, Campana seems to be the odd man out now. Given the latest on the Michael Bourn front it seems unlikely that the Mets will sign him so why not go after Campana and add some speed and defense to the team via that route? Thoughts on a few hypothetical trades would be appreciated.

Sean Kenny replies:

Tony Campana is a very interesting case in that he is a true centerfielder, has great speed and has experienced moderate success at the major league level. From the Mets standpoint, it makes sense if you view Campana, who also hits left handed as an upgrade in CF to Kirk to at least inquire. Tony exhibits awkward splits (strikes out more against righties, walks more against lefties) but that may be a product of small sample size. However, the downside in getting Campana is he has ZERO power. Tony has 10 XBH in 317 career MLB at-bats, and profiles decently at the top of the order, but anywhere else he could be a liability for easier outs.

The Cubs have a very good farm system in terms of offensive potential and high-impact bats who may be ready within the next year or two, but very few pitchers who profile as anything more than 4/5 starters. The Cubs right now are penciling in Garza/Jackson/Samardzija in the rotation with the rest being up for grabs. The Mets could offer a guy like Colin McHugh, Darin Gorski or a package with Schwinden and a lower-level prospect since Campana at 26 doesn’t seem to fit into the Cubs future plans as anything but a fourth outfielder.

Another possible package which could interest the Mets would be grabbing Campana and SS Junior Lake, who is a toolsy-but-unrefined SS with some athleticism and trading Mejia/Familia and someone like Zach Lutz. Zach, who is closer to the MLB could provide an insurance plan in case Josh Vitters doesn’t pan out.

While the trade would be unlikely for a few reasons since the best Cubs OF prospects just recently finished playing A ball and insurance at CF is important, it is an avenue the Mets should explore if they see fit. Campana could add legitimate speed as he was on base 57 times last season and stole 30 bases while only getting caught 3 times – offering another option in the OF.

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MMO Mailbag: Trading For Promising Outfielders? Fri, 04 Jan 2013 17:00:44 +0000 Andrew asks:

I know there is no way the Marlins would trade Stanton to us, but I see a few other solid young outfielders that could help the Mets in a big way. What about Mark Trumbo of the Angels, A.J. Pollock from the Dbacks, or Gary Brown from the Giants? Trumbo would be the most ideal, but the other two could be good pieces too. Brown could be an ideal leadoff hitter with speed which we lack. Thoughts?

Sean Kenny replies:

The Stanton debate will keep on raging until he is traded for a systems promising starter, two top prospects and possibly another position player – something I don’t see the Mets doing. However, the other options you propose are interesting at the least, and the likelihood of each varies from “could happen” to “Not tonight, boss”.

Mark Trumbo was held on to by the Angels, and despite the fact they signed Josh Hamilton to a lucrative contract Trumbo will see plenty of starts from the DH position as well as LF/RF. While the power in his bat in real – his outfield defense is pretty bad using both the eye test and advanced metrics. The soon-to-be 27 year old is hitting his peak in terms of offensive approach but defensively will always be a rough outfielder. However, the Angels seem reluctant to trade with Josh Hamilton’s injury history, an aging Albert Pujols and the fact that teams in the AL West can never have too much offense. The hypothetical return would be a young, cost controlled starter at the higher end of the spectrum and a settling package would seem to be a package of an MLB arm/MiLB arm and another prospect.

A.J. Pollock is an interesting name who I have rarely heard in trade rumors involving outfielders which is surprising despite his advanced prospect age (25) and the fact he can play all three outfield positions. Pollock has good size and moved through the Dbacks system in three years. The downside of Pollock is he profiles as a center fielder with his numbers, but may not with his range as he ages. If the Dbacks see him as a true CF, his value becomes much higher. The hypothetical return for Pollock could be a league-average MLB starter and an MiLB starter who may be at the A/AA level at the higher end of the spectrum, and the low end of the spectrum would involve an MLB reliever, but for a team like the Dbacks who aren’t competing right now it seems about restocking.

Gary Brown was the rumored player to be going to the Mets in the Beltran-Wheeler deal with the San Francisco Giants, and hindsight makes it seem like a good idea the Mets got their best pitching prospect as opposed to Gary Brown. Gary profiles as a true CF, with some pop, some solid defense and some great speed. While his CS rate has been respectable, 2012 saw him fall to around 66% success, which points towards lack of baserunning instincts, an anomaly of a season or the dreaded slowing down. Brown is still the fourth-best prospect as per John Sickels at, so seeing the Giants trade their top offensive prospect would seem to require a power bat at 1B who was either MLB-ready or an MLB regular.

If I had to guess the likeliest of the three to be moved? Pollock. He offers a similar skillset to Adam Eaton and if the Dbacks aren’t competing this year or even next, an outfielder like Pollock offers more in a trade to build for the future. Least likely? Brown – top prospects who can play a true CF don’t get traded frequently.

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