Mets Merized Online » offseason http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:21:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.13 Market For LHP Antonio Bastardo “Heating Up” http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/market-for-lhp-antonio-bastardo-heating-up.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/market-for-lhp-antonio-bastardo-heating-up.html/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2016 18:51:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204587 MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks

According to Robert Murray of Baseball Essential, the market for top remaining relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo is “heating up,” and four teams are rumored to be interested, including the Blue Jays, Orioles, Dodgers and Mets.

The Cubs also met with Bastardo’s agents during the Winter Meetings, but it is unclear whether they are still considering the southpaw for their bullpen.

The Mets have been connected to Bastardo at different points during the offseason, but have made it known that they are unwilling to give him the three-year deal he is currently seeking.

Bastardo can very well be looking to get a deal in the same range as fellow reliever Tony Sipp, who returned to the Astros on a three-year, $18 million pact earlier in the winter.

Mike Puma of the New York Post also added earlier this month that the Mets are prepared to wait out the market for as long as it takes until they can sign a reliever on a one year deal – even if it means watching the remaining proven options come off the board as so many have already.

A long time Phillie, Bastardo spent last season with the Pirates and pitched to a 4-1 record with a solid 2.98 ERA in 57.1 innings over 66 appearances.

Additionally, Bastardo was effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, who hit at a .138/.233/.215 and a .210/.311/.315 clip against him, respectively.

Unless Bastardo is willing to take a one-year deal, I doubt the Mets sign him. I don’t see the Mets bending and doling out a three-year deal to get him. However, Bastardo could be the LOOGY the Mets have been seeking for their bullpen for quite sometime.

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/market-for-lhp-antonio-bastardo-heating-up.html/feed/ 0
Wright Weighs In On Sandy, Cespedes and Health http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/wright-weighs-in-on-sandy-cespedes-and-health.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/wright-weighs-in-on-sandy-cespedes-and-health.html/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2016 12:00:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=204290 David, Wright

Despite the Mets’ slow offseason, David Wright is optimistic about what the team has done over the winter. While they haven’t acquired any big names, he believes the additions of Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera and Alejandro De Aza were solid moves that have flown under the radar. (Mike Puma, NY Post)

“There hasn’t been that kind of blockbuster, sexy deal, but I think all of the moves have been excellent baseball moves,” Wright said. “At the end of last year we had Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe and we were interchangeable as far as being versatile and being able to give guys a blow here and there.”

Wright says that he fully supports Sandy Alderson and the Front Office, and believes they will do what’s right even though it might be unpopular.

“I’ve learned, don’t ever doubt Sandy,” David Wright told The Post on Thursday, referring to general manager Sandy Alderson. “Sandy comes in with a plan and sticks to his guns, and although sometimes it might be unpopular, he is going to stick with what he believes in.”

Wright was also asked about what he thought about the Yoenis Cespedes situation. He says that Alderson’s track record gives him confidence that the Mets will end up making the right decision about the 30-year old slugger.

“I don’t know what the situation is with Cespedes and the Mets, but I do know that Sandy has earned the right to make these type of decisions,” Wright said. “You can’t argue with the success he’s had in turning this organization from the bottom of the NL East to National League champs last year, so I have all the confidence in the world that he will make the correct decisions.”

A lot of people seem to be downplaying what Wright can do this year, but the Mets’ captain can still make a major impact. While he was limited to just 38 games last season, he still posted a solid .289/.374/.434 triple slash line with five home runs and a 128 OPS+ in 174 plate appearances. This type of production shows that he’s still capable of producing at a high level, and could be a valuable piece even if his playing time is somewhat limited.

Terry Collins has suggested that Wright could be kept on a 135 game schedule, but the Mets third-sacker says that he’s going to wait to see how he feels before making any decisions.

“I can try to guess,” Wright said. “But until I get into the grind of things and see how my body responds, my goal is to go out there and play as much as I possibly can, assuming my back feels OK.”

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/wright-weighs-in-on-sandy-cespedes-and-health.html/feed/ 0
Sandy Alderson Addresses Payroll Questions and Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/sandy-alderson-addresses-payroll-questions-and-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/sandy-alderson-addresses-payroll-questions-and-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 00:17:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203818 sandy alderson

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was on hand at the New York Athletic Club for Thursday’s Hall of Fame press conference for Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. After the event, spoke to reporters and fielded some questions about the state of the Mets.

First and foremost, I was happy to learn that Sandy was looking good and has been working from his office at Citi Field as he continues undergoing chemotherapy to battle an unknown form of cancer.

“Really since the Winter Meetings, I’ve been in the office virtually every day and feel good. The treatments are going well. So I’m very much encouraged. It’s nice to be back to a routine and working toward the 2016 season.” (MLB.com)

Sandy’s a good guy and we wish him continued progress and a speedy recovery.

He spoke somewhat about payroll, telling reporters that he expects to end 2015 with a payroll around $115-125 million, or roughly $35 million more than where the team was after 2014. Sandy didn’t address the current payroll but said, ”The idea we’re not investing in the team I think is really misplaced and sort of tied up in the populism involving Cespedes.”

Regarding Yoenis Cespedes, Alderson reiterated that the two sides simply do not match up either in dollars, years, and even his position.

“Look, we know Cespedes was instrumental to us getting to the World Series,” Alderson said. “But, I think along the way we learned a few things about ourselves and about the team and I think they way we’ve approached the offseason put some of those lessons in to play.”

For the first time since he initially acquired Cespedes at the trade deadline, Sandy admitted that he was not an adequate enough center fielder, saying you could get away with plugging a square peg into a round hole for 2-3 months, but that’s not a longterm strategy for success.

“How do we improve even if it’s not the perfect fit. And, for three months, four months, it might make sense. For five years? Six years? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to try and do that.”

As for acquiring a reliever, the Mets aren’t ruling high cost options out of hand as many perceive, but it’s simply a matter of not giving a 2-3 year contract to someone when you are confident you have similar or better options already on the team.

He’s right… Whatever you choose to believe, you can’t fault Sandy on his approach to this offseason especially when he plainly explains his position and thought process which is hard to argue with.

As long as we are saddled with such dysfunctional ownership, a GM like Alderson is the perfect tonic because he can still function successfully within his limited parameters. He’s focused on the job at hand but stays mindful of the future as well.

The Mets are still exploring the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder as well as a late-game reliever, but clearly they are not going to overpay so they will wait this out as long as it takes.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/01/sandy-alderson-addresses-payroll-questions-and-yoenis-cespedes.html/feed/ 0
Wuilmer Becerra Hitting Over .400, Asdrubal Cabrera With Walkoff Hit http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/wuilmer-becerra-hitting-over-400-asdrubal-cabrera-with-walkoff-hit.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/wuilmer-becerra-hitting-over-400-asdrubal-cabrera-with-walkoff-hit.html/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2015 15:04:48 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203283 CXelIORWEAEmuTT

Earlier this offseason there was a chance that the Mets could have lost outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra in the Rule 5 draft but thankfully teams decided to take a pass on the opportunity. Becerra extended his hitting streak last night to seven games with a 4 for 4 night. He knocked in his 11th run, was hit by a pitch, and scored twice for the Tigres de Aragua.

Wuilmer is 13 for 29 during his hitting streak with a homerun which you can see here. Overall during the Venezuelan Winter League he is batting .405/.416/.500 with a double, two homeruns, and 13 runs scored while playing right and left field.

New Met shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was the hero for the Leones del Caracas last night hitting a walkoff single to right field in the Venezuelan Winter League. You can watch the hit here. He was 1 for 3 last night with the RBI and two walks as the designated hitter. In three games Cabrera is now 2 for 11 with two RBI, two walks, and five strikeouts. The hit sends the Caracas into a one game playoff today for the right to play in the postseason.

In his third game for the Toros del Este in the Dominican League playoffs Alejandro De Aza was 1 for 3 with a walk while playing right field. He is now 1 for 10 with two strikeouts since being added to the roster last week.

Johnny Monell has struggled of late going 5 for 32 over his last ten games dropping his slash line down to .269/.392/.420. He was 1 for 4 with a strikeout last night for the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican League. He has walked 22 times compared to 20 strikeouts and has stolen four bases.

Last night was the final day of the regular season in the Mexican and Venezuelan League.

For more winter ball cover head over to MetsMinors.net where we also had our latest installment in the Top Minor League Performances of the Year.

MMN 280 banner

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/wuilmer-becerra-hitting-over-400-asdrubal-cabrera-with-walkoff-hit.html/feed/ 0
Neil Walker Primed For A Big Season In 2016 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/neil-walker-primed-for-a-big-season-in-2016.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/neil-walker-primed-for-a-big-season-in-2016.html/#comments Tue, 29 Dec 2015 03:26:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203185 neil walker

Mark Simon of ESPN New York has been very busy lately examining where each Mets player ranks position by position in the major leagues. He’s already analyzed and ranked David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, and most recently the Mets’ center field platoon of Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares.

This is really good out of the box stuff you’ll want to read. In addition to uncovering some interesting stats and factoids – something Simon excels at – he also includes some great insights from scouts around the league as well as projections for 2016 using Dan Szymborski’s ZiPs system.

The installment he did on second baseman Neil Walker was one of my favorites and for those of you who remain concerned about the loss of Daniel Murphy, I promise you Simon will ease and eliminate any anxiety.

He begins by pointing out the stark difference between their Wins Above Replacement over the last four seasons in which Walker nearly doubled Murphy’s production 12.3 to 6.6.

“Walker’s offensive strength is his power. He out-homered Murphy 69-42 over the last four seasons and his slugging percentage was almost 20 points better (.435 to .416). On defense, Walker is considerably better. Though both came through the minors as third basemen, Walker was more adequate upon converting to second. He’s at +1 defensive runs saved the last four seasons. Murphy is at -40.”

walker neil

I had already made up my mind that Walker was a significant upgrade over Murphy both offensively and defensively and kept my fingers crossed all offseason that eventually the Mets would try to acquire him. But it’s amazing to see just how much better Walker is once you peer into the numbers like this. It really drives that point home.

Walker, 30, just misses the top ten based on last season’s production, but Simon raises the very good possibility that the former Pirate can really surprise in 2016 as he plays with a sizable chip on his shoulder and looks to prove that he’s worth a long-term contract when he hits free agency next Winter.

“He’s the kind of player you have to see every day to appreciate,” one MLB scout said. “I’d definitely have rated him in or just outside the top 10.”

While he may not exceed his career high in home runs, I can certainly see him producing at a 125 OPS+ level this season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him bat .285 with 35 doubles and 18 home runs. And depending on where Terry Collins bats him in the lineup, he could potentially drive in 80 runs for the Mets – something he last did in 2011 when he had 83 RBI.

Anyway, I’d encourage all of you to check out all the other installments by Simon in this very insightful and enjoyable offseason feature.

we are original 280 footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/neil-walker-primed-for-a-big-season-in-2016.html/feed/ 0
Smart Baseball Moves Or More Cost-Cutting? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/smart-baseball-moves-or-more-cost-cutting.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/smart-baseball-moves-or-more-cost-cutting.html/#comments Sat, 26 Dec 2015 14:18:14 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=203111 new-york-mets collins alderson Wilpon

Joel Sherman of the New York Post, asks if the Mets lack of aggressiveness is just a series of good baseball decisions by the front office or evidence that they are still feeling the fallout of the Madoff debacle and simply don’t have the dough?

Don’t you just hate it when the media concocts these false paradigms and narratives? Why is it an either/or situation? Why can’t it be both, which is evidently – and sometimes painfully – obvious to anyone with half a brain?

I wanted Yoenis Cespedes back as much as the next guy. Ditto on Jason Heyward. But at what cost in years and dollars? After six years of trying to dig out from under the weight of some financially crippling and flexibility killing second generation contracts, did we really want to venture into those dangerous waters again?

Do you really want to see the Mets make a terrible financial commitment that would have hog-tied the franchise in the latter half of a six-year deal to Cespedes or a an eight-year deal to Heyward? Is that what you want? Do we really need the Mets to make a God-awful commitment just to prove whether or not the team has moved past the financial quagmire?

Or would you rather an intelligence guided approach that keeps the future in mind and is unwilling to perilously put the team in a compromising state that could risk their longterm viability?

I imagine that most of you would opt for the latter.

Sherman accuses the front office of suffering from paralysis by analysis to the detriment of the team. Really? Is that what the last five years have shown you, Joel? How did you ever get the moniker of baseball insider?

Here’s my take on this and it’s pretty much the same thing I’ve been saying since last Winter only now I feel even more confident saying it. It’s apparent that we are heading into the new season with an Opening Day lineup that is superior to the one we had last year. Sandy Alderson has earned the benefit of the doubt based on how he went about constructing last year’s roster and then bolstering it when the timing was right as he guided the Mets to their first World Series in 15 years. Excuse me for not ignoring that ever happened as so many are choosing to do.

Would I have liked to see some more robust spending on better acquisitions this Winter – especially for a team that is coming off a year that saw revenue increases of 30 percent or more across various streams? Of course, but I also understand that we are stuck with an ownership that only spent big when they were playing with Monopoly money reaped from ill-gotten gains. It’s easy to spend big when you’re duped into thinking that all your accounts are outpacing the S&P 500 by 15 percent or more for ten straight years.

I believe we have the perfect GM to guide this team under the intense financial stranglehold that has been placed on them from day one. I look at next season knowing full well that we’ll have Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Michael Conforto right from the get-go and locked in for the long haul. I’m excited to see our five starting pitchers go full throttle with no innings limits and lessening the stress on our bullpen.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera who not only boost last year’s middle infield production offensively and defensively, but also instantly upgrades the bench with Wilmer Flores replacing Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe as the quasi-super utility guy if you will.

I expect big sophomore campaigns from Hansel Robles who’s stuff is every bit as filthy as anyone else in that bullpen. Having a healthy Jerry Blevins for an entire year as opposed to just two weeks, instantly gives us that reliable left-hander the team lacked all last season. If Addison Reed can pitch as well as he did during 2012-2014 when he saved 101 games, the Mets may just have themselves one of the best 1-2 punches in the league fronting the back of the pen. Reed turns 27 tomorrow and is well-positioned for a comeback season.

Could we have done better than an Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares platoon in center field this offseason? No doubt about it, but if it fails to produce I know we can count on Sandy to address the situation just as he did last season.

The number one thing to remember and always keep in mind is the division the Mets play in. I may have been the first person to point out last January that the Mets could win the division simply because the Washington Nationals were overrated and not as good as the team that ended the year in 2013. They proved to be worse than even I imagined. And now they are worse still in my opinion. The Braves have already moved onto 2017, and as for the Phillies and Marlins – well, they’re the Phillies and Marlins.

I have the Mets pegged for a 92+ win season in 2016, and I believe they will end the first half firmly entrenched in first place with a team that is thoroughly the class of the division and National League powerhouse.

I know that no matter what there will always be that contingent that loves to worry and complain about the team no matter what. I still remember that Chicken Little crap I saw by one prominent Mets blogger last September – September can you believe it!?!

But I’m hoping that even that small “Oh Woe Is Me” minority are astute enough to see how substantially better this team is than last April’s model, and that our divisional competition have all taken steps backwards.

The cold hard truth is that while the Mets could have made one or two more substantial moves that befitted a team that plays in the largest market it the game, I understand the reality of the situation with our dysfunctional ownership who have turned over their financial say to the banks and lenders they owe $880 million to.

The debt financiers call the shots now and all Sandy can do is use his know-how to override the shitty hand he’s been dealt. So far, Alderson’s rebuild plan and his responsiveness to team needs have been staggeringly impressive. And still, the best is yet to come. LGM

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/smart-baseball-moves-or-more-cost-cutting.html/feed/ 0
Noah Syndergaard Hoping Mets Bring Back Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/noah-syndergaard-hoping-mets-bring-back-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/noah-syndergaard-hoping-mets-bring-back-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Sat, 19 Dec 2015 12:19:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202810 noah syndergaard

During a Citibank sponsored event, Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard spread some holiday cheer serving coffee and giving away Mets hats from a food truck near Union Square.

He spoke about the team’s offseason moves and expressed his hope that the Mets find a way to re-sign outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who remains a free agent.

“Of course we’re hoping,” Syndergaard said Friday. “We all saw the tear he went on from July through the end of the season. We’d love to have that bat back in the lineup, so as long as he’s out there, we’re hoping for that.” (Mike Puma, NY Post)

The Mets have always maintained publicly that Cespedes is not considered an option – not unless he’s willing to take a 3-4 year deal and not the six-year contract worth $20-25 million annually his agents have been touting.

The outspoken Syndergaard does like the moves the front office has made thus far and does believe the team is well constructed as-is.

“I like how the team is coming along so far,” Syndergaard said. “I think it’s gonna be another fun year for us and the fans. I think we’re pretty solid as it stands right now.”

“I’m excited to meet the new guys. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Walker. I don’t know much about Cabrera, but he’s a great athlete and ballplayer.”

What Syndergaard was most excited about was the return of Bartolo Colon.

“That’s a huge deal,” Syndergaard said. “He’s the Godfather out there. He’s an unbelievable leader, even though there’s a little bit of a language barrier. Just watching him pitch and have fun is the best.”

So there you have it. Thor speaks.

we are original 280

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/noah-syndergaard-hoping-mets-bring-back-yoenis-cespedes.html/feed/ 0
Bullpen Notes: Mets Checked In On Jake McGee, Could Look At Matt Albers http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/bullpen-notes-mets-checked-in-on-jake-mcgee-could-look-at-matt-albers.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/bullpen-notes-mets-checked-in-on-jake-mcgee-could-look-at-matt-albers.html/#comments Tue, 15 Dec 2015 16:24:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202525 matt albers

Latest Reports

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York brings up right-handed reliever Matt Albers as a potential target the Mets will look at as they seek to upgrade their bullpen. The Mets have shown serious interest in Albers in the past, and are expected to do so again this offseason.

Albers, 32, went 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 30 appearances for the Chicago White Sox in 2015. He missed three months of the season with a broken pinkie on his right hand, however, he did not allow an earned run after July 31 – his last 22 1/3 innings, 20 appearances.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets checked with the Tampa Bay asked Rays about left-hander Jake McGee, who they have been aggressively shopping. Talks between the Mets and Rays never intensified.

The Rays closer is expected to earn $6 million in arbitration for 2016 and still has two years of team control.  McGee has gone 6-4 with  25 saves over the last two seasons with a 2.07 ERA  and 0.911 WHIP in 108.2 innings pitched. He also has a 11.4 strikeouts per 9 innings rate in that span.

Previous Reports

After struggling to find an effective left-handed specialist in 2015, acquiring one this offseason was reportedly one of the Mets’ top priorities.

jerry blevins

One option is reuniting with free agent Jerry Blevins, who appeared in just seven games this year. He broke his arm twice during the season, but he made a strong impression in his short time in New York.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets would like to re-sign Blevins, as well as one other reliever, perhaps a setup type reliever to pair with closer Jeurys Familia.

Blevins didn’t allow a single base runner in five innings this past season, and has held lefties to a .206 average during his career. Blevins has expressed a mutual interest in rejoining the Mets. He earned $2.4 million in 2015 and is looking for a multi-year deal.

Two other options the Mets had expressed some interest in this offseason were free agents Antonio Bastardo and Tony Sipp - who is now off the table after signing a three-year, %18 million deal to remain with the Houston Astros. That leaves Bastardo…

Lefties batted .138 (9-65) against Bastardo in 2015, with one home run and three RBI, while he was equally proficient against righties, whom he held to a .207 average. In his career, lefties have batted .176 against Bastardo.

If the Mets do not acquire someone outside the organization, their internal options would include Sean GilmartinDario Alvarez and Josh Edgin when he returns from injury. Gilmartin was solid in 2015, but he actually had reverse splits. While Edgin is planning on an April return.

One overlooked candidate is 26 year old lefty Josh Smoker, who was added to the team’s 40-man roster. Smoker posted a 3.12 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 49 innings across three minor league levels this season.

The Mets took a pass on relievers Joakim Soria and Darren O’Day after expressing interest during the GM Meetings in early November. They admitted that they were not looking to spend big for a setup reliever.

Lastly, assistant GM John Ricco said during the Winter Meetings that the club has not ruled out bringing back RHP Tyler Clippard.

“There’s a lengthy group,” Ricco said about relievers Mets are considering. “We are still kind of going through and meeting and trying to gather information on that list of right-handed relievers.”

Clippard, 31, went 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.052 WHIP in 32 relief appearances for the Mets last season with a 7.2 K/9. He was nearly light’s out his first month with the Mets, but things fell apart in September/October when he posted a 6.14 ERA and an opposing OPS of .858, causing him to lose the setup role to Addison Reed.  He allowed 4 home runs in his final 14.2 innings pitched.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/bullpen-notes-mets-checked-in-on-jake-mcgee-could-look-at-matt-albers.html/feed/ 0
Yoenis Cespedes Is Still Not The Answer http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/yoenis-cespedes-is-still-not-the-answer.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/yoenis-cespedes-is-still-not-the-answer.html/#comments Sat, 12 Dec 2015 20:30:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202404 Cespedes YoenisWith Michael Cuddyer‘s sudden and shocking retirement this weekend, the Mets 2016 payroll is right around where it was at the beginning of the offseason. With two holes filled essentially for free, many Mets fans are now calling for Sandy Alderson to sign Yoenis Cespedes to play center field.

As exciting as it would be to blow the rest of the offseason budget on Cespedes instead of three or four players, it would be an impulsive decision that would not help the team as much as other “non-flashy” moves would.

The Mets clearly have a set budget this year, and when a team has a set budget, its objective should be to get the most production per dollar as possible. Bringing back Yoenis Cespedes will not do that.

Cespedes had a season for the ages this year. With just a few swings, it appeared as though he turned around the struggling Mets all by himself. But he wouldn’t be the first 25 home run hitter to have a great season and then return to his normal levels of production, and he certainly won’t be the last.

In all the excitement surrounding the prospect of re-signing him, people have ignored what he did in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013, Cespedes hit .240/.290/.442, owning a 102 wRC+. He also hit 26 home runs. The home run number looks pretty good, but he was basically a league average hitter. Daniel Murphy, who had a 107 wRC+, put together a better season at the plate than Cespedes.

In 2014, Cespedes hit .260/.301/.450 with 22 home runs. That amounted to a slightly-better 109 wRC+, but that’s hardly a difference-making batting line, especially when you consider the fact that he plays a premium offensive position. In 2014, Daniel Murphy once again bested Cespedes with a 110 wRC+.

Now, let’s look at his defense. Cespedes often plays Gold Glove caliber defense in left field, but with Michael Conforto there for the foreseeable future, Cespedes will be forced to play center field.

In left field, Cespedes has a career 32 Defensive Runs saved and 32.3 UZR. That measures out to a 13.9 UZR/150 over his career. That’s outstanding.

However, center field is an entirely different story. There, Cespedes, in about a season’s worth of work, has -17 Defensive Runs Saved and a -17.6 UZR/150, both of which are horrendous. Only one center fielder– Angel Pagan — was worse than that defensively this past season.

Moving Cespedes from left to center could be a thirty run swing (3.0 WAR) in his production. How can you ignore this? Don’t forget to take into account the fact that he is likely to heavily regress on offense next season. Steamer projects a .266/.312/.473 (111 wRC+) line next season. Baseball-Reference projects a .265/.309/.480 line. Neither project him hitting 30 home runs again.

Is there a chance he permanently becomes something close to what we saw this year? Sure, that could happen. Anything can happen in baseball. But you don’t invest $120 million based on a chance. You base it on certainty, which Cespedes doesn’t bring.

Bringing in Denard Span, a bench bat, a few quality relievers, and perhaps a fifth starter is not as flashy or as exciting as bringing in Yoenis Cespedes, but it does more for the team. Span will easily bring you 2.5 to 3.0 fWAR for roughly half the yearly cost of Cespedes, and probably a quarter of his total commitment. A few relievers could easily bring you way past what Cespedes will. This scenario also leaves flexibility to address multiple needs, rather than just one. Signing Cespedes will likely mean inadequate solutions on the bench and in the bullpen.

If it’s power you’re looking for, think of it this way: the Mets are likely to approach or exceed 15 home runs from seven out of eight positions next season. The lineup looks like it will already be deep and balanced.

The obsession with bringing in a star or a big name is a great thing for a fanbase to have. It constantly holds the front office accountable. However, it doesn’t always push for the more sensible moves.

I’d much rather take a chance on other pieces that are likely to bring more production than count on Cespedes to suddenly become a fundamentally different player.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/yoenis-cespedes-is-still-not-the-answer.html/feed/ 0
Walker and Cabrera Give Mets Excellent Depth and Flexibility http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/walker-and-cabrera-give-mets-excellent-depth-and-flexibility.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/walker-and-cabrera-give-mets-excellent-depth-and-flexibility.html/#comments Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:17:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=202253 asdrubal cabrera

With the Mets looking to add more versatility to their infield, they acquired Neil Walker from Pittsburgh and signed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as a free agent, both of whom are switch-hitters. They provide the Mets with much needed depth and flexibility, and give Terry Collins a lot of creative options to consider.

“That’s what we are doing and we are going to continue to do that. … We are trying to acquire pieces that give us depth,” said assistant GM John Ricco. ”We think we have some good players. Giving them more rest, ways to get them at-bats in situations where they will thrive, that’s the goal.”

One idea is to platoon Walker with Wilmer Flores at second base. Walker, a switch hitter, has a career .801 OPS against right handed pitchers, but only has a .656 OPS against lefties. Meanwhile, Flores crushed lefties with a .955 OPS in 107 plate appearances in 2015.

Walker, who batted .269 with 16 homeruns and 32 doubles this year, can also play third base if David Wright needs time off or goes down due to injury.

Cabrera can also start at both middle infield positions, and gives the Mets insurance in case Ruben Tejada and Flores aren’t ready for opening day. Cabrera batted .265 with 15 homeruns and had a 105 OPS+ in 551 plate appearances for Tampa this season. However, there is some concern that the 30 year old has is declining in the field.

“He’s lost range,” an AL scout said Wednesday night. “Because of that he’s probably a little below average defensively, but overall I’d say he’ll make the plays he’s supposed to make. You could do worse there.” (John Harper NY Daily News)

His numbers have also fallen off since breakout campaign in 2011 when hit hit 25 home runs and had 92 RBI, but he was still a solid player this year with a 2.2 WAR.

It looks like Cabrera and Walker will give the Mets just as much versatility as Ben Zobrist would have, but without the long term commitment. They are good stop gaps for the team until talented young players like  Dilson Herrera and Amed Rosario are ready to take over a full time role in the future.

(Updated 12/11)

Storm footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/walker-and-cabrera-give-mets-excellent-depth-and-flexibility.html/feed/ 0
Mets Say It’s Unlikely They Sign Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-say-its-unlikely-they-sign-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-say-its-unlikely-they-sign-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2015 04:31:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201692 Cespedes Yoenis

December 6, 8:00 PM

Assistant GM spoke to reporters at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday and said that there’s little chance that Yoenis Cespedes would be returning to the Mets.

“It’s unlikely right now that he ends up a Met,” Ricco said. “I still think he’s looking at a deal that would be north of what we would consider.”

Ricco said that the Mets have have been in contact with Cespedes’ representatives as recently as a week ago and expect to speak with his agents at Roc Nation at some point during the Winter Meetings, but added they have other players the Mets might have interest in. (ESPN New York)

“Whether we have a specific meeting to talk about Cespedes, I’m not sure,” Ricco said. “They have other players. I imagine we’ll meet with them, and as part of that conversation his name will come up.”

“I would view it as pretty unlikely that we do anything with him (Cespedes). But you never know how the market is going to develop. So I wouldn’t rule it out completely.”

And that’s exactly what I tried to point out earlier today. There’s a good chance that Cespedes’ price could drop to a point that could have the Mets reevaluating their stance and making a play for him.

All I’m saying is that it’s still early and a lot of things could still change as markets evolve one way or another.

December 6, 2:00 PM

For those of you still holding out hope that the Mets will sign Yoenis Cespedes, here are a few things to consider.

First, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out some of the factors that may not get Cespedes that huge $180 million dollar contract he was reportedly looking for.

“He brings power, defense and flair, plus showed he could carry a contender for an extended period. But his poor postseason raised questions if he is just a guy who feasts on poor pitching. Also — justified or not — there is worry about Cespedes, the person.”

“Will he listen to coaching? Will long-term security lower his motivation? These are not things being heard about the other big outfielders in the market, such as Jason Heyward and Alex Gordon. It is one reason you keep hearing from some executives that he will be challenged to top $100 million. I think he will do that — by quite a bit. But it will have to be with a team that has gained comfort with not just the player, but the man.”

There have been some reports that the market for Cespedes could dip so much that it could allow the Mets to get back into the mix.

One National League GM told Jim Bowden of ESPN, “When you look at him now maybe the worst thing that could have happened was how much he raised his stock after he got to New York. Everyone was talking about $150 million, and I don’t see that now. So it’s almost like he lost money he never had.”

If the process continues to drag on and let’s say Cespedes is looking more at a deal worth $100 million, should the Mets jump on it? I’d say that would be an emphatic yes on my part.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Angels may make a run at Cespedes, but the only other team with reported interest has been the Giants and even those rumors have died down.

Cespedes, 30, is still one of the premier power hitters in the league and if you’re the Mets, you would have to strongly consider bringing him back.

The Mets saw first hand what an impact he made on the team as he literally carried them to the postseason. It’s hard to ignore the numbers he posted last season – a .291/.328/.542 slash with 42 doubles, 9 triples, 35 home runs and 105 RBI along with a 6.3 WAR.

I understand the concerns Sherman raises, but I could hardly see that as a deal-breaker if you can get a player of Cespedes’ caliber for around $100 million give or take a few. At least that’s my take of the situation. What’s yours?

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/mets-say-its-unlikely-they-sign-yoenis-cespedes.html/feed/ 0
Oakland Signs Reliever Ryan Madson To 3-Year Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/oakland-signs-reliever-ryan-madson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/oakland-signs-reliever-ryan-madson.html/#comments Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:52:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201740 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.

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/oakland-signs-reliever-ryan-madson.html/feed/ 0
Diamondbacks Sign Zack Greinke For Six Years, $206 Million http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/diamondbacks-sign-zack-greinke-for-six-years-195-million.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/diamondbacks-sign-zack-greinke-for-six-years-195-million.html/#comments Sat, 05 Dec 2015 01:43:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201640 Zack Greinke

According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, the Diamondbacks and ace Zack Greinke have agreed to a six-year deal, pending a physical. Greinke will receive $206 million (with deferrals) over the life of the contract, according to Rosenthal, putting the average annual value at an MLB-record  $34.3 million.

Greinke, 32, was one of the most sought after free agents this offseason, after going 19-3, with a 1.66 ERA in 32 games this past season for the Dodgers.

A three time All Star, Greinke has spent the last three seasons with the Dodgers, and has established himself as one of the game’s top starting pitchers.

This deal comes as a bit of a shock, as it developed so quickly. It was reported earlier this week that Greinke was set to sign with the Dodgers or the Giants by the end of the week.

However, Rosenthal had tweeted earlier this evening that the Diamondbacks were in pursuit of the right-hander, and now it looks like Arizona has made a huge splash by signing Greinke.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/diamondbacks-sign-zack-greinke-for-six-years-195-million.html/feed/ 0
Ben Zobrist Deal Could Eclipse Four Years, $60 Million http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/ben-zobrist-deal-could-eclipse-four-years-60-million.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/ben-zobrist-deal-could-eclipse-four-years-60-million.html/#comments Wed, 02 Dec 2015 05:04:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201192 zobrist ben

Yahoo Sports‘ Jeff Passan is hearing from clubs involved in the Ben Zobrist pursuit that the high demand now has his price tag sitting at four years and $60 million dollars and that it will likely go even higher than that.

As many as 20 teams have engaged Zobrist according to a report by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, so it’s no big surprise that his deal could blow away all the earlier projections.

While several reports have connected Zobrist to the New York Mets, with Ken Rosenthal going as far as saying he is the the No. 1 priority for the Amazins, Adam Rubin says a four-year commitment from Sandy and Co. is very unlikely.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post echoed Rubin’s report on Tuesday writing, “the Mets don’t appear inclined to offer a fourth guaranteed year despite their affection for Zobrist, who will turn 35 next May 26.”

He also hears that Zobrist will likely decide on his new team before the Winter Meetings conclude in Nashville on December 10.

Where do you think Zobrist ends up when it’s all over?

November 30

As many as 20 teams all have varying degrees of interest in free agent infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist and because of the high demand, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe believes Zobrist will likely get that four-year deal he’s looking for.

Before the weekend, Tom Verducci appeared on the MLB Network and reported that the New York Mets and Washington Nationals are expected to be the high bidders for the 35-year old Zobrist, and Ken Rosenthal added that Zobrist was the Mets’ top target.

I question whether Sandy Alderson would actually dole out a four-year deal for the versatile player given his philosophy on second generation contracts, and also how his two-year deal for Michael Cuddyer last offseason backfired on the the team.

The Mets have long been interested in Zobrist going back to the trading deadline when they tried hard to acquire him before he was dealt to the Kansas City Royals.

The team now views him as someone who could replace Daniel Murphy while also playing some third base and corner outfield. Zobrist is a career .265/.355/.431 hitter with 127 home runs, 567 RBIs, and 105 stolen bases.

Last season in 126 games with the Athletics and Royals, Zobrist hit .276/.359/.450 with 13 home runs, 36 doubles and 56 RBIs. He also had a strong postseason, batting .303 with two home runs and six RBIs.

Struggling to come back from an injury in April and May, Zobrist had a down year in 2015. But his .349 wOBA and 123 wRC+ were still better than Murphy who had his best season and produced a .325 wOBA and 110 wRC+.

Additionally, Zobrist batted a respectable .253 with a .753 OPS against right-handed pitching last season. But he absolutely torched left-handers with a .329 average against them with a .409 on-base and .926 OPS.

There are so many differing reports on how the Mets will actually address second base this offseason. Everyone seems to be hearing something different ranging from sticking with Dilson Herrera, sliding Wilmer Flores to second, going hard after Zobrist, and even bringing back Murphy.

I’m not sure what the Mets will ultimately do, but guaranteeing Zobrist $16 million a year through his age 38 season sounds like a potential disaster to me.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/ben-zobrist-deal-could-eclipse-four-years-60-million.html/feed/ 0
Has Anything Changed Financially For The Mets After A 2015 Windfall? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/has-anything-changed-financially-for-the-mets-after-a-2015-windfall.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/has-anything-changed-financially-for-the-mets-after-a-2015-windfall.html/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:17:02 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201333 Zobrist ben

It certainly appears as though the Mets do not plan to do anything significant if they fail to land free agent infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, who is expected to sign with a team by the end of next week’s Winter Meetings.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, the Mets don’t appear inclined to offer Zobrist the four-year deal he’s looking for despite their affection for Zobrist, who will turn 35 next May 26. Sherman is not alone on this as various Mets sources have told Adam Rubin, Mike Puma, Anthony DiComo and Andy Martino the same exact thing.

However, what is a little more concerning is this new narrative floating around that if the Mets fail to sign Zobrist, they are unlikely to pursue any other free agents of similar caliber and will instead look to bring back Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe, and focus their effort on adding a left-handed hitter who can play center field and platoon with Juan Lagares.

Adam Rubin also ran with this “Zobrist or Bust” narrative on Monday when he wrote:

“If the Mets whiff in upgrading the middle infield with a bona fide starter, they alternatively would be more active in pursuing a lefty-hitting complement to Juan Lagares in center field. They then would sign a backup infielder — whether that’s Kelly Johnson or someone else of that stature.”

To put it more concisely, the Mets are looking to sign Ben Zobrist OR Gerardo Parra, not Ben Zobrist AND Gerardo Parra.

Now whether adding one or the other would be enough to offset the losses of both Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes is unknown. Maybe just adding a Kelly Johnson and Gerardo Parra is enough, nobody knows for sure.

But the bigger issue for me is that this certainly flies in the face of the rhetoric we’ve heard for years that the Mets would spend accordingly when the fans returned to Citi Field.

For a team that is going into next season with a big target on their back as the defending National League Champions, I expected them to attack the offseason with a little more oomph and gusto, especially given the losses of Murphy and Cespedes.

The company line that kept trumpeting payroll would go up once revenues increased seems more and more like poppycock as the offseason progresses, despite huge gains in profit margins across various streams including attendance, merchandising, advertising and cable and TV operations.

I’m not advocating a spend for spending sake approach, but I never expected such a frugally guided approach to defending their NL title this offseason after such a financial windfall as the 2015 season was for the organization.

It’s still early and things could change, but for weeks all we keep hearing about this offseason is not which players can be difference makers for the team, but instead incessant leaks of what the team can or cannot afford. It suggests that not much has changed within the financial realm of the Mets and that yesterday’s adversities are still today’s adversities.

As much as the Wilpons want you to think they are out of the woods, the tea leaves say otherwise, and Sandy Alderson will need to find a way to replace a ton of offense, build a bench, and bolster a weakened bullpen on the same exact dime he had last year.

Only this time it will be infinitely more challenging given the $20 million in raises coming to Cuddyer, Niese, Duda, Harvey and others. Sandy has his work cut out for him and only has about $10-12 million in wiggle room to get the Mets back into the postseason. I hope that’s enough. Shame on you Wilpons.

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/12/has-anything-changed-financially-for-the-mets-after-a-2015-windfall.html/feed/ 0
MMO Mailbag: What Does The Future Hold For Sean Gilmartin? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-mailbag-what-does-the-future-hold-for-sean-gilmartin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-mailbag-what-does-the-future-hold-for-sean-gilmartin.html/#comments Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:02:47 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201261 sean gilmartin

Dave in Spain asks…

Do you know what the Mets long-term plans are for Sean Gilmartin? Is it definite that he´ll be in the pen in 2016, or could he possibly go back to being a starter in Vegas? Thanks!

Joe D. replies…

Ah… Sean Gilmartin, what a fantastic story he was this season. The young left-hander became the first Rule 5 selection to officially remain on the Mets 25-man roster for the entire season since Pedro Beato, who was selected in December 2010.

A former Atlanta Braves first-round draft pick in 2011, Gilmartin was traded to the Minnesota Twins four years later to acquire catcher Ryan Doumit in December 2013. A year later he is left unprotected and scooped up by the Mets for the bargain price of $50,000.

Gilmartin, 25, rewarded the Mets with an outstanding rookie season that saw him post a 2.67 ERA, 139 ERA+, 2.75 FIP and 1.186 WHIP in 50 appearances last season. In 57.1 innings pitched, he struck out 54 batters while walking just 18, and he allowed just two homers all year long. Nice…

Let me try to answer your question based on what I know and the limited information out there right now.

As you already know, Gilmartin was exclusively a starting pitcher throughout his professional career having started in 79 of his 80 minor league appearances.

The Mets were initially attracted to Gilmartin because of his 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and his low walk rate as a starter.

After the Mets lost Josh Edgin and the opportunity to make the team out of the bullpen arose in Spring Training last March, the Mets made the right call transitioning Gilmartin to a lefty reliever role. Still, there have been whispers from time to time about stretching Gilmartin out this Spring for a potential role as a starting pitcher.

It wasn’t a coincidence that his final appearance of the season was a start against the Phillies in place of Steven Matz. Gilmartin pitched well, allowing just three hits and one walk in his 5.0 innings of work. Unfortunately for him, one of those hits was a Citizen Bank Park home run by Darin Ruf, but the team was very pleased with his outing.

Here’s my take on the situation… I think it will all boil down to what happens with Jon Niese this offseason. If he does get dealt as many are expecting, I could certainly see Gilmartin transitioning into a starting pitcher role for the Mets or at least as a spot starter/long reliever.

However, given the team’s concerns with the bullpen, I don’t believe they will be too quick to pull Gilmartin out of a role he was so effective in last season. Especially given the room for even more improvement after his first taste of a relief role. That’s my opinion anyway.

mmo footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-mailbag-what-does-the-future-hold-for-sean-gilmartin.html/feed/ 0
A’s Could Deal Infielders Brett Lawrie or Danny Valencia http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/as-could-deal-infielders-brett-lawrie-or-danny-valencia.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/as-could-deal-infielders-brett-lawrie-or-danny-valencia.html/#comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 15:14:08 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201150 lawrie valencia

Trying to recapture some of their lost luster from 2014, the Oakland A’s reacquired infielder Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros on Wednesday for minor-league reliever Brendan McCurry.

Lowrie’s return all but ensures that the A’s will move either second baseman Brett Lawrie or third baseman Danny Valencia says Bay Area reporter Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Both right-handed hitting infielders are drawing interest from American League teams, according to big-league sources, but could the Mets potentially have some interest as well? Perhaps as a Plan C if nothing materializes with second baseman Daniel Murphy or the versatile Ben Zobrist?

In many respects, you could say Valencia is a poor man’s Zobrist, having played first base, second base, third base and left field while slashing at .290/.345/.519 with 23 doubles, 18 home runs and 66 RBI in 378 plate appearances. It was a breakout season for the 31-year old Valencia, who split time between the A’s and Toronto Blue Jays. He earned $1.7 million in 2015 and will likely double that as he heads into his second year of arbitration.

Lawrie 26, could also pique the Mets interest although he will certainly cost them at least one young arm. The former top-five MLB prospect was acquired in the much-maligned trade that sent MVP Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Originally a first round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, Lawrie set career highs with 29 doubles 16 home runs and 60 RBI last season, but has not met the lofty expectations many scouts projected for him having batted just .263 with a .736 OPS in 2,033 career plate appearances. Lawrie doesn’t walk much and struck out 144 times last season which may take him out of the equation for a Mets front office who may frown on his poor plate approach and his below average on-base skills.

Additionally, Lawrie’s defense leaves much to be desired as he combined for -6 Defensive Runs Saved last season between second and third, and his UZR was -4.0 and -10. 3 respectively. Pass.

MMO-footer 

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/as-could-deal-infielders-brett-lawrie-or-danny-valencia.html/feed/ 0
Featured Article: Does Cuban Righthander Yaisel Sierra Make Sense For Mets? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/featured-article-does-cuban-righthander-yaisel-sierra-make-sense-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/featured-article-does-cuban-righthander-yaisel-sierra-make-sense-for-mets.html/#comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 14:38:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=201114 yaisel sierra

One International free agent who is garnering some attention this offseason is Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra. He is considered the top unrestricted free agent from Cuba this offseason according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, who also adds that Sierra is not subject to the July 2 international signing guidelines and limits.

Sierra, 24, consistently clocks in at 94-97 mph on his fastball and he hit 98 mph in a showcase in front of 100 scouts last August in the Dominican Republic. He has also been throwing for teams each week for the past two months, writes Sanchez.

Some scouts think Sierra can be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, while others think he might be best suited for the middle of the rotation or even in a relief role potentially as a closer.

Sanchez speculates that Sierra could get a deal ranging from $27 million to a four-year, $32 million contract similar to what the Yankees gave starter Jose Contreras in 2002.

While scouts are impressed with his fastball velocity and movement, most believe he still needs to refine his slider and would benefit by adding a changeup into the mix. However, the big thing holding Sierra back has been an apparent lack of command and control.

In his last 163 innings pitched, spanning two seasons, Sierra has walked 95 batters and his career walk rate stands at 5.0 per nine innings.

Additionally, despite throwing in the mid to high 90s, his strikeout rate is just 6.6 per nine with an unimpressive 1.33 SO/BB.

In his last full season with the Cuban National Team in 2014, he posted a 6.10 ERA and 1.629 WHIP in 36 appearances – all in relief.

Given his uncertainty and whether or not he’d be able to slot right into a major league rotation or bullpen, Sierra appears to be a poor candidate for the Mets at $33 million – which they could put to much better use on a proven commodity like Joakim Soria, Tony Sipp or Antonio Bastardo.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/featured-article-does-cuban-righthander-yaisel-sierra-make-sense-for-mets.html/feed/ 0
Acquiring Lefty Specialist Will Be A Top Priority For Mets http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/acquiring-a-lefty-specialist-will-be-top-priority-for-mets.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/acquiring-a-lefty-specialist-will-be-top-priority-for-mets.html/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200867 jerry blevins

After struggling to find an effective left handed specialist in 2015, acquiring one this offseason will be one of the Mets’ top priorities. While the Mets have limited options on their current roster, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com explains that there are several possibilities internally or on the free agent market.

One option is reuniting with Jerry Blevins, who appeared in just seven games this year. He broke his arm twice during the season, but he made a strong impression in his short time in New York. He didn’t allow a single base runner in five innings, and has held lefties to a .206 average during his career. DiComo reports that the two sides have expressed mutual interest and that he could fit into the team’s budget since he made only $2.4 million in 2015

Two other interesting options are Antonio Bastardo and Tony Sipp. Sipp had an excellent year for the Astros with a 1.99 ERA, but he actually held right-handed hitters to a lower average. Meanwhile, Bastardo excels against southpaws, which our very own Logan Barer covered on MMO yesterday.

“Lefties batted a mere .138 (9-65) against Bastardo in 2015, with one home run and three RBIs (righties batted .207). In his career, lefties have batted .176 against him, so this season was not an outlier. When it comes to relievers on the free agent market, there are no surer bets than Bastardo in terms of getting left-handed sluggers out.”

If the Mets do not acquire someone outside the organization, their internal options would include Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez and Josh Edgin when he returns from injury. Gilmartin was solid in 2015, but he actually had reverse splits much like Sipp.

However, one overlooked candidate is 26 year old lefty Josh Smoker, who was just added to the team’s 40-man roster. Smoker posted a 3.12 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 49 innings across three minor league levels this season. Hopefully the Mets will give him a chance to prove himself during spring training even if they acquire a pitcher like Bastardo.

MMO-footer

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/acquiring-a-lefty-specialist-will-be-top-priority-for-mets.html/feed/ 0
MMO Exclusive: Talkin’ Baseball With Mets Pitching Prospect Seth Lugo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-exclusive-talkin-baseball-with-mets-pitching-prospect-seth-lugo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-exclusive-talkin-baseball-with-mets-pitching-prospect-seth-lugo.html/#comments Sun, 22 Nov 2015 14:00:39 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=200657 SethLugo_Binghamton_7j2ycxo1_r39gro0z

Yesterday the Mets added four players to their 40-man roster to protect them from the December 10th Rule 5 draft and one of them was starting pitcher Seth Lugo. The right-hander started a career high 24 games this year combined between the Binghamton Mets and Las Vegas 51′s.

He went 8-7 with 3.84 ERA and 1.250 WHIP while leading all Mets minor league pitchers with 127 strikeouts in 136 innings. His 8.01 K/9 in AA was good for fifth in the Eastern League for starting pitchers with at least 100 innings and he got even better with a 10.0 K/9 in AAA (27 innings).

The Mets drafted Lugo in the 34th round of the 2011 draft from the Centenary College of Louisiana. He caught the eye of Mets associate scout Jimmy Nelson who suggested Lugo to Tommy Jackson who is the Mets amateur scout in the deep south area. Jackson was able to see Lugo who struggled during his senior year (3-7, 5.57 ERA) two weeks before the draft according to an interview done by Mets beat writer Mike Vorkunov.

He had a solid pro debut with the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League making 11 appearances (10 starts) pitching to a 3.66 ERA when the league run average was 5.21. That offseason his career took a turn for the worse when he found out after numerous MRI’s that he had spondylolisthesis which is the forward displacement of a vertebra.

Doctors told Seth that he might never pitch again he underwent a lumbar fusion and surgery that lasted nearly ten hours. The surgery took him out of the entire 2012 season as he stayed bedridden for three months.

Somehow he beat the long odds to return to the mound in 2013 making 12 starts between the Brooklyn Cyclones and Savannah Sand Gnats. In 2014, Lugo pitched a career high 105 innings in 27 games including four starts and picked up three saves.

This year when I saw Lugo pitch in person I was struck by hhis ability to get batters out without the necessity of a blazing fastball. All the contact against him was weak, the opposing hitters were unable to square up any of his pitches. I talked to two American League scouts the day after his start and they both said they liked Lugos’ pitchability. They also both said they had him labeled with 4/5 starter potential in the big leagues.

MMO – First off just want to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions and congrats on being added to the Mets 40-man roster.

Seth – Thank you.

MMO - What was it like to make it to AAA this year and play for a manager like Wally?

Seth - It was pretty awesome. It was great to play with a bunch of older guys with a ton of experience. I felt like everyday I was able to bring in some new information and just see the game a little differently. Play for Wally was pretty cool. I could definitely tell he was an old school type coach and it made me feel more mature and professional playing for a guy like that. Wally was great.

MMO - For people that haven’t seen you pitch before can you tell me a little bit about what you throw and how you like to attack hitters/lineup?

Seth - Well I think I’m a lot different than a lot of pitchers. I like to try to induce a lot of early contact with a 2 seamer and my slider/change up. If I do get ahead in the count, I like to turn my stuff up a notch and bring my 4 seamer about 4-7 mph faster than my 2 seamer and I mix my curveball in for a swing and miss in the dirt or freeze them with it in the zone. I’ve always relied on my curveball in the dirt and my fastball up out of the zone for strikeout situations.

MMO - The first time I saw you (in Portland) I was impressed with your ability to stay away from the barrel of bats. And you weren’t afraid to throw any pitch in any count. What do you think you need to improve on to be able to pitch at the Major League level?

Seth - That’s come with maturity and my control of mechanics. I think I need to just keep perfecting my mechanics and work on my control with my secondary pitches. Also, I plan to really work on my 2 seamer movement this offseason… I’m really hitting the gym hard this offseason so hopefully I can bring in a little more velocity next year. Confidence is always a must so I also have to just keep my head up and stay confident that everything I’m doing is going to put me in the position I want to be in.

MMO - You are participating in the Barwis program, is it your first time?

Seth – Yes, I am in Florida right now for the program.

MMO - What is a normal day like in the program, do you have a specialized workout being a pitcher?

Seth - Well, we start with a pretty intense warm up and by the time were finished with it, everyone is sweating heavily and out of breath. Then we go into our workout, and yes the pitchers have a separate routine than the position players. It usual lasts about an hour and a half and its full of heavy lifting, explosive movements, and then core/flexibility/balance exercises, in a superset order. We’re constantly moving and there are no breaks until we’re finished. It is definitely the most rigorous workout I’ve ever been put through. After we finish with the weight and resistance stuff we go into sprints for about 10 minutes which is the most exhausting part in my opinion. It usually takes us about 3 hours nonstop to complete the workouts.

MMO - When the Mets drafted you were you surprised?

Seth - I was actually pretty confident that I would get drafted. My head coach hooked me up with a workout for a Mets scout and I knew that I threw very well when I went to it so I had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder as the draft was going on.

MMO - When you found out about the severe nature of your back injury do you think you could have thrown a baseball for the last time and what was it like for you to have to experience something like that early in your career?

Seth – It was rough for me. The doctors and trainers told me that the odds coming back from the surgery weren’t the greatest but other people had come back from it and had full careers. After that I didn’t care about odds, I knew I could do it if someone else already had. It was very hard mentally on me though, not being able to play and having to basically lay around doing nothing for a few months. But at the same time I think it helped drive me and pushed me to come back better than ever. Do I think the surgery set me back some? Yea I do but it also showed me what it was like to miss a season and watch everyone else progress while I sat at home. So I think in the long run, having the surgery at an early point in my career helped me more than it hurt me.

MMO - How close did you follow the Mets playoff run and have you talked to any of those guys to congratulate them?

Seth - Oh, I was watching every pitch of it. No I haven’t talked to any of the guys. I figured everyone they’ve ever known has been trying to get in touch with them. If I was in their shoes I think I’d like some peace and quiet so I figured I’d wait until I see them in spring training to congratulate their season.

MMO – Who were your favorite teams/players to watch when your were growing up?

Seth - It’s funny, I never caught once in my life but Pudge was always my favorite player. I grew up going to Rangers games and watching him so I was always a big Rangers and Ivan Rodriguez fan.

MMO - Thank you for answering my questions and hope to see you at Citi Field soon!

Seth - You’re welcome and thank you very much.

For more Mets minor league coverage head over to MetsMinors.net

mmn logo 270 banner

]]>
http://metsmerizedonline.com/2015/11/mmo-exclusive-talkin-baseball-with-mets-pitching-prospect-seth-lugo.html/feed/ 0