Mets Merized Online » outfield Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:29:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Can This Year’s Outfield Be The Best In Team History? Fri, 29 Jan 2016 18:37:48 +0000 granderson catch

So the big ticket purchases of the off-season are done, the core of the team is set and as fans, we have three things to focus on.

All of these are admirable ways to whittle down the days until they raise the flag for the 2015 National League Championship. With the added pieces to the infield, a full season on Matt Harvey’s arm and Steven Matz starting the season in Queens, the foundation is in place for a great team.

But how good is the outfield?

That’s been the big question for the better part of a decade, one that’s seen luminaries like Victor Diaz, Jay Payton, Ryan Church, Andres Torres and Jason Bay roam around in Orange and Blue…he wrote with heavy sarcasm. The fact is, the Amazin’s have never featured a great outfield…and here are the stats to prove it.

Using Baseball-Reference, I’ve complied some numbers to determine which year in franchise history posted the best 7-8-9. Since DRS or Defensive Runs Saved, as defined by FanGraphs, was only created in 2002, I’ve added Rtz, or Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average; basically the equivalent of DRS pre-2002 according to FanGraphs.

But since offense rules the day, I’ve used the combined oRAR or Offensive Runs above Replacement Level for the total. I’ve also included other stats so you can get a good feel for just how bad this group has been for more than 50 years.

I didn’t look up numbers from the really pathetic years, so you’re not going to see the WAR for a 36-year-old Duke Snider back in 1963 (It was 1.2). Instead, you’ll see a collection of winning seasons like the first one in…

1969 mets

1969 Mets (100 W – 62 L) - Total OF oRAR = 94









LF – Cleon Jones 52 11 7.0 .340 .904 12 75
CF – Tommie Agee 37 10 5.2 .271 .806 26 76
RF – Ron Swoboda 5 2 0.5 .235 .687 9 52

Let this be the first sign that our beloved franchise is founding on pitching. Cleon Jones clearly had an amazing year with a top 5 WAR for position players, but his OPS was only good enough for ninth in the league and he finished a distant 7th for the NL MVP behind teammates Tommie Agee and The Franchise, who finished second.

willie mays

1973 Mets (82 W – 79 L) - Total OF oRAR = 34

With Willie Mays in CF. with Don Hahn who started 93 games, it’s 31.









LF – Cleon Jones 6 0 -0.4 .260 .710 11 48
CF – Don Hahn -3 -3 -1 .229 .575 2 11
RF – Rusty Staub 28 -2 2.1 .279 .781 15 76
Willie Mays 0 4 -0.0 .211 .647 6 25

Sadly, this is Willie’s worst season as a professional. Granted, he was 42 at the time and showcased his age on the grandest stage of them all. But just a year earlier when he was traded back to New York, he hit .267 with a .848 OPS with a 1.6 WAR.

I could bore you with numbers from the rest of the 1970s, but the less said about Del Unser in center field, the better.

Basically, you have to fast forward to the next time Shea sparkles in October…

darryl strawberry

1986: Team Record (108 W – 54 L) - Total OF oRAR = 103

With Mookie Wilson in LF, who started 80 games and appeared in 123 games. The number drops to 88 with George Foster, who started 62, but only finished 38 and was eventually released in August.









LF – Mookie Wilson 23 2 3.0 .289 .775 9 45
CF – Lenny Dykstra 41 2 4.7 .295 .822 8 45
RF – Darryl Strawberry 39 -7 3.4 .259 .865 27 93
George Foster 8 -3 0.4 .227 .718 13 38

Upon first glance, this would seem to be the gold standard, especially since they won the World Series. But as Nick Bakay once said, the numbers never lie.

kevin mcreynolds

1987 Mets (92 W – 70 L) - Total OF oRAR = 142









LF – Kevin McReynolds 33 -3 2.6 .288 .832 27 99
CF – Lenny Dykstra 29 4 3.8 .270 .706 8 33
RF – Darryl Strawberry 57 -6 6.4 .269 .911 39 101

While this trio returned in 1988 with similar numbers (Total WAR 13.4, Total oRAR 136), they had a better oRAR in 1987 when the team fell three games short of the NL East champion St. Louis Cardinals and Strawberry finished sixth in the NL MVP voting. They clearly weren’t the best defenders, but that’s another trend since defense only seemed to matter in 1969.

roger cedeno

1999 Mets (97 W – 66 L) - Total OF oRAR = 79

With Darryl Hamilton, who was traded for on July 31 to replace Brian McRae, who the team had a total of oRAR of 64 with.









LF – Rickey Henderson 36 -11 1.8 .315 .889 12 42
CF – Brian McRae -0 -19 2.2 .221 .669 8 36
RF – Roger Cedeno 28 -7 1.5 .313 .804 4 36
OF – Darryl Hamilton 15 -1 1.2 .339 .898 5 21

Hamilton hit .315 with a .808 OPS for the year in what could have been the best deadline deal (Hamilton and Chuck McElroy for Thomas Johns (minors), Rigo Beltran and McRae) before Cespedes. Especially since he hit .280 (7-for-25) before watching Kenny Rogers throw a full-count ball four to Andruw Jones with the bases loaded.

A year later, they may have reached the World Series, but the outfield of Derek Bell, Jay Payton and immortal Benny Agbayani had little to do with it, posting a Total oRAR of 59 with a combined WAR of 5.8. The next time the outfield makes a difference is…


2006 Mets (97 W – 65 L) - Total OF oRAR = 83

But it’s 89 if you replace Xavier Nady with Endy Chavez who starts 79 games, finishes 73 of them and makes one of the greatest catches to be forgotten by everyone except Met fans.

Position & Name








LF – Cliff Floyd 3 3 -.4 .244 .731 11 44
CF – Carlos Beltran 73 7 8.2 .275 .982 41 116
RF – Xavier Nady 7 -6 .6 .264 .813 14 40
OF – Endy Chavez 13 11 1.8 .306 .814 4 40

In 2005, the outfield featured Victor Diaz and the experiment of Mike Cameron in left field. The total oRAR that year was 85 with a four-man total WAR of 9.9. But sadly, the numbers trended a little downward in the following seasons.

2007 – Total oRAR 82, Total WAR 7.9 (Beltran, Moises Alou and Shawn Green)

2008 – Total oRAR 84, Total WAR 9.6 (Beltran, Fernando Tatis and Ryan Church)

On a side note, if you’ve got a few moments take a look at Beltran’s numbers in a Met uniform. I never understood why so many people wanted to put him down. Clearly a very under-appreciated Met.

I’ve gone on long enough, especially since the next and final group worth mentioning took the field last year.

michael conforto 2

2015 Mets (92 W – 70 L) - Total OF oRAR = 91









LF – Michael Cuddyer 11 2 .5 .259 .699 10 41
CF – Juan Lagares 6 6 .6 .259 .647 6 41
RF – Curtis Granderson 40 -1 5.1 .259 .821 26 70
Yoenis Cespedes 23 -1 in CF, 6 in LF 2.3 .287 .841 17 44
Michael Conforto 11 5 2.1 .270 .841 9 26

So last year’s Total WAR of 10.6 makes them a little better than the 2006 team, but you have to go back 20 more years for the best offensive group after that. I will admit after digging through all these numbers and reading New York Post columnist Kevin Kernan’s report about how Collins believes Cespedes will easily handle center field, with a full spring training at the position, I’m willing to accept the best OF is Conforto, Cespedes and Granderson.

This year’s group, which also includes Lagares and De Aza, has a very good chance of becoming the most productive outfield we’ve ever seen in Flushing. Now if we can only get Lucas Duda ahead of Cespedes in the lineup so pitchers have to throw him fastballs…

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Rays Agree On One-Year Deal With Steve Pearce Thu, 21 Jan 2016 19:28:18 +0000 MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

According to Marc Topkin of Tampa Bay Times the Tampa Bay Rays have an agreement in place on a one-year deal with Steve Pearce, pending a physical. He says that Pearce will DH some while playing the first base and a little outfield against left-handed pitching.

Pearce struggled with the bat last year, hitting only .218/.289/.422 with 15 homeruns and 40 RBI while playing first base, second base, left field, and right field. Jon Heyman reported earlier this offseason that the Mets were looking at Pearce as a potential piece of the bench to compliment their left-hand heavy outfield. He is a career .262/.343/.481 hitter in 522 at bats vs. left handed pitching.

He had a career year in 2014 with the Baltimore Orioles hitting .293/.373/.556 with 26 doubles, 21 homeruns, and knocked in 49 runs. He also had a good year defensively making dim worth 1.5 dWAR and a career high 5.9 WAR overall.

Right-handed hitting bench options are now down to Ryan Raburn, Chris Denorfia, Marlon Byrd, and Austin Jackson if the Mets decide they need to add some more depth.

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Rockies Sign Gerardo Parra To Three-Year Deal Tue, 12 Jan 2016 19:23:37 +0000 gerardo parra

The Colorado Rockies have signed outfielder Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5 million contract, according to multiple reports.

The deal will pay Parra $26 million in salary over the three years and includes a fourth-year option at $12 million with a $1.5 million buyout.

Parra, 28, has been linked to the Mets for months, including at the trade deadline in July, but nothing ever materialized. He hit .291/.328/.452 with 14 home runs between Milwaukee and Baltimore last season. However, he struggled after being dealt to Baltimore, hitting just .237/.268/.357 with five homers in 55 games.

Parra brings experience at all three outfield positions and he has hit right-handed pitching very well throughout his career. With Corey Dickerson, Carlos Gonzalez, and Charlie Blackmon on the Colorado roster right now, it seems possible that the club will be looking to trade one of them in the coming weeks.

The Mets have been linked with the Rockies in trade rumors for years at both the shortstop and outfield positions. However, with the recent signing of Alejandro De Aza, Sandy Alderson may be looking for one more low-cost outfielder rather than orchestrate a blockbuster trade.

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Wuilmer Becerra Hitting Over .400, Asdrubal Cabrera With Walkoff Hit Wed, 30 Dec 2015 15:04:48 +0000 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 where we also had our latest installment in the Top Minor League Performances of the Year.

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis Claimed Off Waivers By Brewers Wed, 23 Dec 2015 19:38:43 +0000 kirk Nieuwenhuis

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Brewers have acquired Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis off the waiver wire.

Nieuwenhuis, 28, has been with the Mets almost his entire career (the exception being a brief stint with the Angels this season), including the last four years on the major league club. In 693 plate appearances, he has slashed .232/.306/.389 with 40 doubles, three triples, 20 home runs, and 12 stolen bases.

This past season, Nieuwenhuis hit .195/.270/.375 between the Angels and Mets.

Nieuwenhuis spent time at all three outfield positions in his career with the Mets, providing solid defense. However, with the acquisition of Alejandro De Aza, the left-handed bat of Nieuwenhuis was no longer needed. This move now clears a spot for De Aza on the 40-man roster.

Farewell, Kirk… The writing was on the wall when you were asked to dress as an elf and then did that Twitter Q&A last week. You’ll always have that three homer game.

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Mets Sign Alejandro De Aza To $5.75 Million Guaranteed Deal Tue, 22 Dec 2015 21:48:40 +0000 alejandro de aza 2

Wow, deal is for much more than initially reported. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza will get a guaranteed $5.75 million plus incentives that could make the total deal worth $7 million.

That some believe De Aza is getting that kind of money to replace Kirk Nieuwenhuis is way off base. This is your Opening Day center fielder.

Joe D.

Original Report

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mets have signed free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a one-year deal. The amount of the deal has yet to be announced but sources told Buster Olney of ESPN that the deal is worth $4.5 million.

De Aza, 32, has played for five teams over his eight-year career, most of which was spent manning the outfield for the White Sox. He is a left-handed hitter who has spent time at all three outfield positions in his career. He owns a .267/.331/.401 batting line, amounting to a career 101 wRC+. He has also shown a bit of speed, compiling 30 triples and 86 stolen bases (although he’s been caught 41 times) over his career.

However, the Mets will presumably use him as the platoon partner for Juan Lagares in center field. De Aza had an impressive .278/.351/.448 (117 wRC+) against right-handed this past season, and has historically hit them pretty well. That will go well with Lagares’ 112 career wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

De Aza does not come without some significant concerns, however. Although he used to play center field full-time in Chicago, he was pushed out of his position by Adam Eaton and hasn’t been able to play much there over the last two seasons. Meanwhile, defensive metrics are decidedly inconclusive on him.

All that said, if De Aza can just provide average defense in center field, the platoon with Lagares will likely be quite productive.

Thoughts from Joe D.

As I reported last week, the Mets became less interested in Gerardo Parra when it became clear he wanted a 3-4 year deal, and the Mets reportedly balked when Scott Boras told them he was looking for a two-year deal for Denard Span.

De Aza began to emerge as a candidate about a week ago once they cooled on Parra and Span, and yesterday we reported the news from Jerry Crasnick that the two sides had talked. So today’s news should come as no surprise. And as Connor pointed out, as far as a platoon goes, it could end up being quite productive. The Mets will be De Aza’s sixth different team.

This could pretty much signal the end of the Mets offseason for adding position players. They could still add a right-handed 1B/OF type, but I’m also hearing they could just stick with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and use Wilmer Flores to backup first base, Whether this offseason adequately replaces the thump lost by former Mets Yoenis Cespedes, Daniel Murphy, Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, I guess we’ll soon find out.


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Mets Have Venable And De Aza On Their Radar Mon, 21 Dec 2015 18:20:16 +0000 will venable

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Mets have left handed outfielders Will Venable and Alejandro De Aza on their radar in addition to Denard Span. Both players are potential options to platoon with Juan Lagares in center field, but Crasnick says the Mets are slow-playing the market.

Venable, 33, batted .244/.320/.350  with six home runs and 16 steals in 349 plate appearances for the Padres and Rangers in 2015. He’s an appealing target for the Mets due to his solid .745 OPS against right handed pitching in his career, and he’s also an asset on defense.. He is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and had a +1 UZR rating this year,

Meanwhile, De Aza posted a .262/.333.422 triple slash line with the Giants, Orioles and Red Sox this year. He crushed seven home runs with a 104 OPS + in 365 plate appearances, and he also hit well against right handed pitching with an .800 OPS.

However,  the 31 year old outfielder has declined defensively in recent years according to advanced metrics. He had a -1.1 UZR rating in 2015, and was also rated negatively the last three seasons.

The Mets appear to be patiently waiting out the market, but both players seem like decent fallback options if they are unable to land a top hitter.  It’s worth noting that Venable has strong ties to the Mets’ Front Office since he played for Sandy Alderson and Paul Depodesta during his time in San Diego.

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Mets Thoughts On Harvey, Conforto, Duda, Wright Mon, 21 Dec 2015 12:25:15 +0000 MLB: Winter Meetings

There’s no concrete breaking news on the Mets these days, but more than a few things are racing through my mind:

  1. Proving they have a sense of humor, the Mets included a $50,000 bonus in Bartolo Colon‘s contract if he wins the Silver Slugger Award for the best hitter at his position. It would be great to see Colon hit a homer or even draw a walk this year, something he’s never done during his 18-year career.
  2. One bat I’m concerned about is Lucas Duda. He’s extremely streaky and that’s something I don’t see changing. Last season, his monthly batting averages beginning with April were .325, .276, .187, .178, .304 and .227. His monthly home run totals were 2, 7, 1, 8, 3, 6.
  3. As well as he performed in the leadoff spot this summer, I still prefer Curtis Granderson hitting in run-producing spots in the middle of the order, especially if they don’t land an outfield bat. Then again, they really don’t have many other options in the leadoff spot.
  4. David Wright’s back will continue to be an issue for the duration of his contract. He might eventually have to consider a position change. But to where? Still unclear who his primary backup will be at third. Walker and Cabrera said they were willing but it’s been a while for both. Looks like Flores and Tejada will get some PT there if needed.
  5. Some people think I don’t like Matt Harvey. Not true. What I don’t care for is his attitude and still think a trade might be something to seriously consider next offseason. Braves got quite a haul for Shelby Miller and he isn’t the elite pitcher Harvey is.
  6. This will be the season the Mets will likely choose between Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. I don’t think they’ll keep both. Not sure how serious they are about giving TDA some playing time at first or in the outfield, but Collins continues to raise the issue.
  7. I’m very curious to see how Michael Conforto will produce in his first full year in the bigs. Collins has pledged that this impressive and talented young man will play everyday in 2016 and not ride the bench vs LHP. The Mets could have themselves a franchise type player here.
  8. Among the big four, the Mets’ starter I think will be the first to win 20 games is Jacob deGrom. I think Noah Syndergaard can toss the next Mets no-hitter. Steven Matz is going to miss a lot of bats with his hook – could win ROY this season.

Of course, I’ll go into greater depth on all of these topics in the coming days, but for now just think of this as an appetizer, or in the spirit of the season, just a stocking stuffer.


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Nationals Have Set Their Sights On Daniel Murphy Thu, 17 Dec 2015 03:52:39 +0000 daniel murphy

According to William Ladson of, the Washington Nationals have expressed interest in signing free-agent second baseman Daniel Murphy.

The Nationals have their fingers in a lot of pots since missing out Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, both of whom spurned higher offers from the Nats.

They have been connected to free agents and former Mets Kelly Johnson and Yoenis Cespedes in addition to Murphy, and are even exploring a trade for Brandon Phillips after going nowhere in talks for Todd Frazier who was dealt to the White Sox. 

Signing Murphy would cost the Nationals their upcoming first-round draft pick, and presumably he would take over at third base where Yunel Escobar resided last season before he was traded last month.

It all depends on what they decide to do with Anthony Rendon. Manager Dusty Baker has hinted that Rendon could be the everyday third baseman in 2016 which would mean a return to second base for Murphy if they were to sign him.

Murphy, 30, slashed at .281/.322.449 this past season for the Mets with 38 doubles, 14 home runs and 73 RBI. And of course you’re all well aware of his exploits in the playoffs and World Series.

I’d rather see them shell out the big bucks for Murphy than to see Cespedes roaming in their outfield. I have this image in my head of Nats GM Mike Rizzo running around with a boatload of cash and no clue as to how to spend it. Reminds me of someone we used to know.

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Red Sox Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Isn’t Available In Trade Mon, 14 Dec 2015 18:59:51 +0000 jackie bradley jr

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t available in a trade. Several teams expressed interest in him at the winter meetings, but they were all told by the Red Sox that he wasn’t available.

Bradley batted .249/.335/.498 in 255 plate appearances this season with ten homeruns and 43 RBI for Boston. Everything seemed to click for the 25 year old in the second half as he posted an .891 OPS after the all-star break.

Bradley is also a premier defender in the outfield with  a 10.1 UZR this year and had a  13.8 rating in 2014. He has played all three outfield positions in his three seasons in the major leagues.

This news is certainly a let down for teams who are still looking for outfielders like the Mets. Bradley’s combination of youth, athleticism and upside would make him an exciting addition for any team, but he’s a player the Red Sox understandably don’t want to trade.


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Cuddyer Retirement Raises Questions and Reactions Sat, 12 Dec 2015 12:30:55 +0000 michael Cuddyer

When our own Michael Mayer discovered that Michael Cuddyer was no longer listed on the 40 man roster and then crosschecked it with and he surmised that the Wilpons may have just received a very Happy Hanukkah present and that the veteran outfielder had retired.

Within minutes social media was buzzing with the news as Mets beat writers scrambled to try and confirm the story. It was true, and while most Mets beat writers and very-well-paid former and current SNY bloggers chose to be douche bags and ignore Michael’s discovery, at least a couple of guys like Rich Couthino of 98.7 ESPN acted with integrity and credited Mike for his find.

It looks like Mets payroll is now sitting at roughly $89 million – give or take a million. The question now is, could this open the door for the Mets to change their stance on ruling out a big bat for the outfield, or will they continue to pursue Gerardo Parra to platoon with Juan Lagares?

Is there a chance for Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton to re-enter the conversation? Will the Mets fire a shot at the broadside of the USS Chicago Cubs battleship with a mega-star of their own?

By the way, you can assume that Cuddyer will receive some sort of buyout, but so far that’s being kept under wraps. Maybe we’ll know by Monday. Also, a good chance Cuddy sticks with Mets in some capacity.

I ran a poll on Friday asking Mets Twitter which outfielder they’s like to see the Mets go after and here is how they responded:

While you let that marinate, here are some reactions to Cuddyer’s surprising retirement:

I love that last one!

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Rockies Are Shopping Carlos Gonzalez, But He’s Not A Good Fit For Mets Wed, 09 Dec 2015 18:55:45 +0000 carlos Gonzalez

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Rockies are receiving a lot interest in Carlos Gonzalez. Crasnick says they have had a flurry of talks about him and are getting plenty of hits.

Gonzalez, 30, slashed .271/.325/.540 in 608 plate appearances with 40 homeruns and 97 RBI this season for Colorado. It’s not a surprise to hear that a lot of teams are interested as he’s been a very good hitter for his entire career. In eight major league seasons, he has a solid .290 average with an excellent .870 OPS.

However, it doesn’t seem like he’s a good fit at all for the Mets. There’s no room for the corner outfielder in New York with Michael Conforto in left and Curtis Granderson in right. Additionally, CarGo’s home and road splits show that he has benefited a great deal from playing half his games at Coors Field where he posted a .617 slugging percentage and .972 OPS compared to batting .243 on the road with a .758 OPS.

Another concern is that he’s missed a lot of time in recent seasons due to injuries. In 2014, he was limited to just 70 games due to a knee injury and played in only 110 in 2013.

He’s a player the Mets should stay away from, especially since he will likely cost several top prospects in return.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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MMO Roundtable: Are These The Final Days For Daniel Murphy As A Met? Tue, 20 Oct 2015 13:49:17 +0000 daniel murphy nlds 4

Daniel Murphy is all the rage in the last 48 hours whether on the baseball blogosphere, sports talk radio and even on the National circuit where everyone on MLB Network and ESPN are all asking whether the Mets are really going to let Daniel Murphy go after the season. Reports by Joel Sherman, Jon Heyman and Kristie Ackert all said “no chance” on Monday. I had posed this question to our writers last week in an MMO Roundtable, that seems all the more relevant today.

Should the Mets make Murphy a $15.8 million qualifying offer, sign him to an extension, or just let him walk?

Brian Greenzang – Giving Daniel Murphy a qualifying offer of $15.8 million is a tough pill to swallow. That is a lot of money for a player who more than likely on the open market may make $10-12 million a year tops and that may be a little high. You can’t fault his intensity though and he is a pure hitter. I would absolutely hate to see him go, but the qualifying offer is just too high. Ideally it would be nice if the team could sign Murphy to a more team friendly 3 year, $24 million type deal – that I could see him accepting. If it came down to the qualifying offer though, I would rather the Mets not tender Murphy a contract myself and use that money to attempt to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes. Murphy would be almost sure to accept that qualifying offer if the opportunity presented itself.

Robert Piersall – I think not bringing back Daniel Murphy would be a big mistake for the Mets. Yes, we all know Murphy will make silly mistakes defensively, as well as committing the occasional base running blunder, but his offense more than makes up for it. He’s a gamer, works his butt off and has been the most consistent hitter in the Mets lineup year after year. With David Wright‘s long term health still a big question mark, having Murphy will soften the blow in case Wright has to miss an extended amount of time again.

Joe Spector – I wouldn’t give him a qualifying offer however I would make him an offer of 4 years at $36 million. Take it or leave it. Unfortunately Murphy may end up being this team’s Ray Knight.

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Tommy Rothman – They should extend a qualifying offer, then offer him a fair extension as well and hope he takes that. Murphy is a very solid MLB hitter who has proven himself over and over again, something that cannot be said about Dilson Herrera or anybody else the Mets would fill his place with. He is worth a pretty good amount of money, and if the team has as much flexibility as the front office has claimed — if we have not been lied to — there is no reason not to lock him up for a few years. As for the qualifying offer, no player has ever accepted one. If he walks, you might get a first-round pick out of it. If he accepts the qualifying offer, you keep a good hitter for just a few million dollars above his annual market value. This is not a team with a surplus of hitting. With Cespedes, Murphy, Uribe, and Johnson all free agents, the team must spend some money to avoid going back to the putrid offense we saw in June.

XtreemIcon – The Mets should under no circumstances offer him a multi-year extension. I used to be dead set against making him a QO, as well, but I’ve come off that and think it may actually be a good idea. Conventional wisdom says he’d probably make around $12 million AAV in a multiyear deal. So if the Mets offer a QO and he accepts, it’s only about a $4 million overpay. I think that’s a fair premium to insure Wright at third and give Herrera or Flores a blow against the tough RHP at second base. And if he declines, the Mets get a draft pick. The Mes would pay $15.8 million, he’d probably get $12 million on the open market, and he’s only worth maybe $8 million, but the risk is worth the reward.

Paul Myron – I’d go with a multi-year offer. While Murphy has his flaws, he is a valuable member of the team. He can play three different positions (not perfectly, but adequately), is a lock to hit .280 every year, and has good pop for a second baseman. He doesn’t get into many prolonged slumps and when he gets hot, he is extremely difficult to get out. He is a constant extra-base threat and has proven multiple times that he can deliver in the clutch. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, he will be very difficult to replace, as there are not many second basemen that are the kind of hitter Murphy is.

William Botchway – Bye bye Daniel. I was always in favor of trading him away before his contract expired to get some value out of him, but he has no place on this roster after this season. The first problem I have with him is he simply isn’t that good. In his career, he’s posted a wRC+ above 110 only once: in 2011. Someone who is at best 10% better than league average at the plate isn’t worth $15.8 million, especially when combined with sub-par defense. Giving him a multi-year deal is pointless because the Mets have replacements for him available, in the form of Wilmer Flores, or possibly Dilson Herrera if he’s ready to contribute at the major league level next season. Even with the concerns about David Wright’s durability, I wouldn’t keep him around. If anything, Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe can be a stopgap if needed, but Murphy has no business remaining on this roster when his role will soon be reduced to that of an overrated utility player who can’t defend any position (other than third) very well.

Spencer Barnes – Let me preface this answer by saying that I am fully devoted to enjoying the rest of the postseason, and the upcoming offseason is a very distant afterthought at the moment. That being said, I am quite torn on the future of the Mets at second base. The plan coming into this year was to prepare Dilson Herrera to take over the position for the long haul, beginning in 2016. While, I have been impressed with Herrera’s potential, and I love the consistency at the plate that Daniel “I Only Hit Doubles” Murphy provides, I would like to cast my vote for Wilmer Flores. Without having to deal with unending questions about his defense, and now a full season under his belt, Flores could really develop into a solid, reliable 6 or 7 hole hitter for years to come.

Matt Fritz – I would love for the Mets to make a qualifying offer to Daniel Murphy after the season. I think most would be in favor of him walking, and I can see why to some extent, but I really believe Murphy is the heart of this team. Sure, David Wright is the Captain and the face of the Mets, but Murphy is truly a special type of baseball player who plays the game with fire, passion, and lays it all out on the field. He may in fact be a better fit for an American League team where he can DH the majority of the time, due to some of his defensive liabilities, but I think most teams would sign up to have an infielder who can hit .281 with 14 HR. 73 RBI and a .770 OPS.

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Logan Barer – The Mets must keep Daniel Murphy. The team has a few uncertainties in the infield. With David Wright’s spinal stenosis, having Murphy would give the Mets an average defensive third baseman who, of course, is a fantastic hitter as a backup plan. Also, nobody can say for sure if Dilson Herrera is ready to take over the bulk of the duties at second base. I personally think he might be, but I can’t be certain. Having Murphy would also allow Terry Collins to have great flexibility as he can play first, second, or third. He can give others players a rest if he wants and put Murphy where he please. There are plenty of reasons to let him go as well, but in the end, I believe the pros of Murphy outweigh the cons. Keep him.

Joe D. – Most of you already know my sentiments on this matter by virtue of the 11 articles I’ve written this season about hanging on to the heart and soul of this team, Daniel Murphy. With nobody viewing the Mets as the grand prize winner in the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes this offseason, the thought of replacing not one, but both players who carried this team in August and September is quite a scary thought at that.

Who is going to replace those 50 homers and 190 RBI once Murphy and Cespedes walk?

Getting back to Murphy specifically, who replaces his fire, his passion, his leadership and tenure in that clubhouse?

Dilson Herrera, great little prospect, but will he replace those 38 doubles and 14 home runs? How many second basemen have done that this season in the National League? Try none. Murphy led all second basemen in doubles, extra-base hits, and RBI – even while batting mostly in the two-spot.

Here we have a player whose value is not only in his intangible qualities, which are many, but also statistically, and not only in the traditional sense. As MLB’s toughest batter to strikeout, Murphy even makes things happen with his league leading productive outs. He is seemingly a part of every Mets rally or delivering unassisted in the clutch.

I think Sandy Alderson understands the inherent value Murphy brings to this team, has already scanned the possible options if he were to bolt – finding none to his appeal, and his logical forward-thinking self will sign Murphy to a multi-year deal to remain with the Mets before the Winter Meetings.


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Heyman: Mets Will Look A Lot Different Without Murphy and Cespedes Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:20:17 +0000 yoenis cespedes daniel murphy

While the New York Mets are absolutely pleased with how Yoenis Cespedes has worked out for the team, one rival executive who has talked with Mets brass told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he would be “shocked” if the Mets retained him.

“Yoenis Cespedes carried the Mets through August, and Daniel Murphy is carrying them now, when it counts most, in October”, writes Heyman. “They are the Mets’ No. 3 and 4 hitters in their lineup, the key guys. But they both could easily be gone by next year.”

Cespedes could be in line for a five year deal worth between $100 and $150 million dollars, while Murphy is looking at a four year deal worth about $40 million according to Heyman’s projections which are backed up by MLB Trade Rumors.

Even though his stock is trending upwards, one rival GM said he still thinks the Mets will pass on extending Murphy the $15.8 million qualifying offer, and of course Cespedes is ineligible for a QO which means the Mets could lose both players with nothing to show for it. A complete net loss.

Heyman points out, the cost-conscious Mets, whose payroll is down to just over $100 million from $140 million only a few years ago, haven’t signed many big deals in recent years. So it’s not crazy to think the heart of the current Mets order could be ripped away.

One rival scout posed a fair question: “You lose your 3 and 4 hitters, what are you replacing them with?” ”Murphy’s made himself millions,” said one scout, referring to his play this postseason.

For now, I’m too focused on the Mets making a run for the World Series to worry about signing Cespedes – and I’ve always regarded him as a two month rental anyway. Murphy is the more realistic option but given how the Mets kept scuttling any talk of an extension, I do believe we are seeing his last days as a Met. I hope I’m wrong though.

But again, we can talk about this in November, I wish Heyman didn’t have to bring this up now. Bad timing and bad form by him. Mets are two wins away from the World Series! That’s all I want to talk about right now. Mets Baby!

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Conforto Will Be Everyday Player in 2016 Tue, 13 Oct 2015 21:55:16 +0000 michael ConfortoIn his pre-game press conference this afternoon, Terry Collins expressed his support for Michael Conforto, saying the young outfielder will be an everyday player starting next year.

Although Collins has hesitated to use Conforto against left-handed pitching in big games this year, he does believe he can hit left-handed pitching, saying, “I think he can hit lefties. I think he’s going to be an outstanding player, but this is what we’ve been doing since he came here and we said you know what, it gives us our best defense.”

“Michael Conforto is going to be a very good player, and next year he’s going to be an everyday player,” said Collins.

Things are, of course, still very much up in the air for the outfield next year with Yoenis Cespedes set to hit free agency. However, Conforto, who hit .270/.335/.506 with nine homers in 56 regular season games, did just about everything he could to earn a spot for next year and is certainly deserving.

This does, though, put Michael Cuddyer‘s future into question. Cuddyer hit .259/.301/.391 in 110 games this season, failing to live up to his deal so far. That being said, he still is only two seasons removed from a National League batting title, so the Mets may want to keep him for next year as a bat off the bench.

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Yoenis Cespedes Erupts With Three Homer, Seven RBI Night Sat, 22 Aug 2015 13:04:48 +0000 yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes had his best game as a Met on Friday night, and quite possibly the best game of his career, exploding for a 5-for-6 performance including a single, a double, and three home runs.

The first of those three home runs was a grand slam, and he finished the night with seven RBIs, five runs scored and a stolen base.

It was the third time this season that a Mets player had a three-homer game as Cespedes joins Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda.

Cespedes’ 15 total bases were the second-most in franchise history, behind only Edgardo Alfonzo who had 16 on Aug. 30, 1999.

“I’ve been feeling great all this time,” Cespedes said through an interpreter. “But it’s like any other good hitter — they find a night they can lock themselves in and they won’t miss the ball and they hit it hard.” (ESPN New York)

Cespedes actually came close to collecting his sixth hit of the game when came to bat in the top of the 9th inning, but gold glover Carlos Gonzalez ranged over to make a great play on a ball that was crushed into the gap. Edgardo Alfonzo remains the only Met to ever have a 6-hit game.

“I haven’t seen anything like that,” manager Terry Collins said about Cespedes. “He just continues to display some of the things that everybody says he can do. When you see it, you just shake your head. Now, you just can’t wait to see what he’s going to do tomorrow.”

In addition to providing stellar outfield defense, Cespedes is now hitting .297 with 23 HRs and 76 RBIs on the season. He has now hit 5 home runs as a Met, and is approaching his career high in home runs (26).

He continues to be a fantastic acquisition for the Mets, who now lead the Washington Nationals by 5.0 games. That ties them with the Cardinals for the largest division lead in the National League, and second-largest in MLB behind the Royals.

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Mets Release Former Top Prospect Cesar Puello Wed, 19 Aug 2015 22:57:27 +0000 cesar puello john munson

The Mets have announced they have released former outfield prospect Cesar Puello.

Puello, 24, has been on the disabled list since April due to a stress reaction in his back which only surfaced after the team outrighted him to Triple-A Las Vegas.  That assignment was rescinded and he was added back to the 40-man roster.

Since a suspension for performance enhancing drugs in 2013,  it’s been all downhill for the once promising five tool prospect.

He finishes his Mets career with a .288 batting average, .352 OBP and .748 OPS with 175 extra-base hits and 148 stolen bases in 578 minor league games.

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Curtis Granderson Remains Red Hot, Blasts 20th Homer Of Season Thu, 13 Aug 2015 20:26:25 +0000 curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson continues to rip the cover off the ball, blasting his 20th home run of the season in the fourth inning of Thursday’s 12-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.

The two-run shot matched Granderson’s home run total from last year and now gives him eighth seasons of 20 or more home runs in his career.

He remains red hot and has now reached base safely in 25 of his last 27 games dating back to July 12. He is hitting .287 (31-108) with seven doubles, seven home runs, 20 RBI and 20 runs scored during that span.

He has been the team’s most consistent and most valuable player on offense.

August 11

Don’t look now, but Curtis Granderson‘s “albatross” contract isn’t looking so bad after all.

Granderson certainly had a season to forget last year, batting .227/.326/.388 with 20 home runs in 654 plate appearances. Even worse, his defensive numbers were about as bad as they’ve ever been. Overall, his production amounted to a meager 1.2 fWAR, even worse than the year before, in which he only played 61 games.

Boy, how things have changed in a year’s time. With a productive weekend series, Granderson now owns a batting line of .259/.349/.454 line with 19 home runs. Notice the big increase in power. Granderson’s ISO has gone from .161 last season, the lowest of his career, to .195.

It took a while, but Granderson has finally become the big power threat that Sandy Alderson wanted when he signed him. What’s changed? It’s complicated, but basically, Granderson has been even more disciplined at the plate.

Ironically, Granderson’s strikeout rate is slightly up and his walk rate slightly down, but he is swinging at better pitches. His swing rate has dropped from 42.4 percent a year ago to 39.7 percent this year. The big change has been his swing rate on pitches outside of the strike zone, which has dropped from 26.2 percent to 21.5, his lowest since 2008. His swinging strike rate has dropped from 9.7 percent to 7.7 percent. Perhaps pitchers have taken notice of this, because he’s getting more pitches thrown to him in the zone, up five percentage points from last season. He’s seeing more pitches in the zone than he’s seen in any season since 2009.

The result? Granderson has been able to drive the ball much more effectively. Through 110 games, he’s already hit more line drives (83) than he did all of last season (80). His line drive percentage has risen from just 18.9 percent to 27.7 percent, a career-best by quite a lot. His hard hit ball rate has gone up significantly as well. I could go on, but I think it’s pretty clear now.

This all translates into a pretty massive rise in offensive production. With his bad defense in the outfield last year, Granderson’s 107 wRC+ was nowhere near what the Mets were hoping for. This year, it’s 127, second on the team only to Lucas Duda.

Granderson’s defensive metrics have improved dramatically as well, although I tend to take his with a grain of salt. Defensive Runs Saved has him 14 runs better than last year, while Fangraphs has him around 20 runs better.

Put it all together, and Granderson’s overall value is finally back where it needs to be. fWAR has him at 3.6 wins above replacement this season, while rWAR has him at 3.2 wins.

Either way, Granderson is finally living up to his contract, at least for now. Based on the amount of money per win above replacement teams are spending on the free agent market, Granderson has already been worth $28.5 million this season, and that will only surely go up.

Now, that doesn’t mean he would (or should) get that if he hit the market today (because he wouldn’t), but it goes to show you that maybe the Mets are getting their money’s worth.

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David Wright Fields Grounders At Citi Field Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:00:05 +0000 david wright

David Wright participated in infield practice and fielded grounders at third base before Tuesday’s game at Citi Field.

Wright, 32, has missed all but eight games this season while working to comeback and avoid surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

This is the first real sign that Wright has returned to doing at least some baseball activities. However, there is still no timetable for his return.

Sandy Alderson has often said that Wright would require 3 to 4 weeks of spring training type preparation after he began baseball activities.

Still, this is great news for the Mets and a sign that his potential return to the team is now in sight.

July 23

Sandy Alderson was finally able to shed some light on the condition of Mets’ captain David Wright today when we spoke to the media after Terry Collins‘ press conference.

He noted that while Wright has done limited baseball activities in L.A. already, he is set to return to New York early next week to begin full baseball activities as reported by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

This can be seen in a few different lights. Obviously, we all want the captain to be healthy and be able to return to the Mets lineup.

However, the timing of this announcement is interesting. While it is only my personal speculation, it seems that this is a viable excuse to not add payroll in the form of an infielder such as Ben Zobrist.

Alderson did note that the Mets are looking into outfield options but didn’t mention bolstering the infield.

Thoughts from Joe D.

My biggest takeaway from Sandy Alderson was that he told reporters at Citi Field, that the insurance money the Mets have recouped from David Wright’s deal, won’t allow them more financial flexibility in trades.

The Mets received roughly $15 million dollars of the $20 million Wright was owed for 2015.

But then almost in the same breath he says he can trade for a big contract. ” We can take on a big contract, even if you don’t believe me.”

As for Wright, even if he does begin baseball activities, Alderson said it would be about a month from that point that he could be ready to join the team. That means late August.

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