Mets Merized Online » outfield http://metsmerizedonline.com Wed, 11 Jan 2017 05:40:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.16 Orioles Pessimistic On Trumbo, Interested In Bourn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/orioles-pessimistic-on-trumbo-interested-in-bourn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/orioles-pessimistic-on-trumbo-interested-in-bourn.html/#comments Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:27:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229121 mark-trumbo

According to Roch Kubato of MASN, the Orioles and Mark Trumbo have not made any progress in their contract discussions.  While it was noted the Orioles remain interested in re-signing Trumbo, it is believed the two sides are not going to be able to reach a deal.

In a separate report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Orioles are interested in signing free agent outfielder Michael Bourn to address the team’s outfield defense.

The Orioles signing either player could have an impact on the Jay Bruce market.  Earlier in the offseason, it was reported the Mets were interested in trading Bruce for Orioles reliever Brad Brach.  According to reports, the Orioles were more interested in Curtis Granderson, and they wanted the Mets to pay part of the salary of either outfielder that would have been traded in a potential deal.

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Ron Darling Compares Michael Conforto To Don Mattingly http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ron-darling-compares-michael-conforto-to-don-mattingly.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/ron-darling-compares-michael-conforto-to-don-mattingly.html/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 15:24:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228934 michael-conforto

In a recent TV appearance on MLB Network, former Mets pitcher and current SNY color commentator Ron Darling compared the swing of Michael Conforto to Don Mattingly.

Darling goes on to talk about playing against Mattingly in 1983 in the minor leagues when he was more of a gap-to-gap hitter (and still playing some outfield).

Here is part of the quote from Darling,

“He was one of the best hitters (for) average that I had ever seen. He ended up of course reaching incredible power numbers when he reached the Yankees. Conforto’s swing reminds me of a lot of that swing that Mattingly had in ’83.”

“So, in my estimation, I think he’s a bonafide big-leaguer. He should be given that chance to play every day and see what happens. The Mets have developed a lot of pitching. They haven’t developed a lot of everyday players. This should be a guy they give a chance to.”

Conforto seemingly hit a sophomore wall during the 2016 season hitting only .220/.310/.414 in 348 plate appearances and an even worse .145/.223/.241 in the months of June and July. This coming after bursting onto the scene in 2015 with a .841 OPS just a year after being drafted in the first round.

The 23-year old Conforto did show some positive signs towards the end of the season after receiving his second recall from Triple-A Las Vegas. In September/October, Conforto posted a .396 OBP and only struck out 22.1% of the time (30.1% from May-August).

It still remains to be seen what role Conforto will play in 2017, as the Mets still have a crowded outfield with too many left-handed hitters best suited playing corner spots.

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Justin Ruggiano Signs Minor League Deal With Giants http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/justin-ruggiano-signs-minor-league-deal-with-giants.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/justin-ruggiano-signs-minor-league-deal-with-giants.html/#comments Sat, 24 Dec 2016 16:13:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228417 justin ruggiano

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the San Francisco Giants signed veterans Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano to minor-league deals on Friday night. For Ruggiano, this will be the eighth organization he’s played for heading into his ninth professional season in 2017.

Ruggiano, 34, was drafted in the 25th round of the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and made his major league debut three years later in 2007 as a member of the formerly named Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The right-handed hitting outfielder has made a career for himself with his solid splits against left-handed pitching, where he owns a lifetime .275/.338/.527 slash line, with 27 of his career 51 homers coming off of southpaws.

His advanced statistics also speak volumes about how well he performs versus lefties, as he’s posted a career .371 wOBA along with an impressive 137 wRC+.

The New York Mets signed the right-handed hitting Ruggiano on July 30 after he was released from the Texas Rangers’ Triple A affiliate, the Round Rock Express earlier in the week. With the Mets placing center fielder Juan Lagares on the DL due to a torn ligament in his left thumb, which would cost him nearly two months of the season, Ruggiano was brought aboard for veteran outfield depth. He was immediately placed in the starting lineup for the Mets that night against the Colorado Rockies, where he went 1-for-3 while patrolling centerfield.

Ruggiano flexed his muscle in the August 18, 10-7 Mets loss at AT&T Park in San Francisco against one of the best lefties in the game, Madison Bumgarner. Ruggiano went 2-for-2 off of Bumgarner, including a fourth inning grand slam that gave the Mets an early 4-0 lead. Ruggiano added another single in the sixth off reliever Cory Gearrin to go a combined 3-for-5 on the night with four RBI and two runs scored.

Unfortunately for the Mets and Ruggiano, he was placed on the DL twice in August, the second time (left shoulder injury) closing the book on his 2016 season, as he was transferred to the 60-day DL on August 31. On November 4, the Mets out-righted Ruggiano off the 40-man roster, as he then cleared waivers and elected for free agency.

He would’ve been solid minor league depth for the Mets, and a potential weapon off the bench against left-handed pitching late in games. With a logjam in the outfield as it is, the Mets decided to not pursue Ruggiano this offseason.

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Best I Ever Had: All-Time Mets Outfield http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/best-i-ever-had-all-time-mets-outfield.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/best-i-ever-had-all-time-mets-outfield.html/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2016 17:00:36 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=218975 tommie agee

As you read this, please think of the hit ballad “The Best I Ever Had” whether the version by Drake, Gary Allan or Grey Sky Morning, while mulling over who they consider the best Mets outfield of all time. Using the baseballreference.com database for Mets outfielders and running pivot table in excel, and sorting all players by bWAR, which is the WAR calculation provided by baseballreference.com, provided some outfields that were clearly better than others.

Most Mets fans of a certain age, when quizzed about which was the best outfield the Mets have ever had, will automatically think of the 1969 Mets. That outfield had Cleon Jones, who hit .340 in left field while accumulating a .904 OPS, and Tommie Agee who smacked 26 homers in center. Right fielder Ron Swoboda, despite his great catches in the World Series, hit only .235 during the regular season.

Using traditional statistics the three combined for 47 home runs and 203 RBIs. By bWAR, Cleon Jones had 7.0, Agee had 5.2, and Swoboda added .5 for a total of 12.7 bWAR accumulated by the regular outfield in 1969. Using bWAR, the 1969 Mets outfield was the third best the team has fielded.

The 1988 Mets outfield had Darryl Strawberry in right field, hitting 39 bombs and driving in 101 while batting .269, stealing 29 bases (just missing becoming a 30/30 man) and accumulating a 5.4 bWAR. Kevin McReynolds was in left field, and in that season he batted .288 with 27 homers, 99 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases, good for 4.5 bWAR. Lenny Dykstra patrolled center, hitting .270 with 8 home runs, 33 RBIs and 30 stolen bases, good for a total bWAR of 3.5.

Together, the 1988 Mets outfield accumulated a 13.4 bWAR with 74 home runs, 233 RBIs and 80 stolen bases and a combined batting average of .276. Despite their lofty numbers, as measured by bWAR, which combined both offense and defensive value into one number, the 1988 Mets outfield was only the second best outfield the team has ever fielded.

The best outfield, as measured by bWAR, was the 1996 Mets outfield. The otherwise forgettable team had Bernard Gilkey in left field, who in a career season, batted .317 with 30 home runs, 117 RBIs, 44 doubles (a Mets record), and 17 stolen bases. In 1996, Gilkey had a .955 OPS, 55% better than the league average. His superior defense, which included recording a Mets record 18 outfield assists and a range factor well above league average, saved 23 runs defensively. Gilkey had an 8.0 bWAR, which happens to be the highest single season bWAR ever accumulated by a Mets outfielder.

bernard gilkey

Lance Johnson patrolled center in 1996, and in that year he had a 7.2 bWAR accumulated from a .333 batting average, 9 home runs, 69 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. Johnson led the league in hits with 227, setting a Mets club record. He also knocked 21 triples, also a club record, and scored 117 runs, a Mets record at the time. Defensively, Johnson had 9 outfield assists and a better than average range, resulting in 17 runs saved defensively. The third main outfielder on the team that season was Alex Ochoa.

In 1996 Ochoa added 2.4 bWAR with a .294 batting average with 4 home runs and 33 RBIs with an OPS of .761, good for an OPS+ of 104. Ochoa saved 12 runs defensively, thanks primarily to a strong arm that recorded 8 outfield assists. Combined, the three Mets outfielders had 17.6 bWAR thanks to their combined .320 batting average, the highest average ever recorded by a Mets outfield, and despite not winning any gold glove awards that season, their defense was superior, as measured by over 50 runs saved defensively and a record number of assists.

While the 1969 Mets won the World Series, and the 1988 Mets won the National League East before succumbing to the Dodgers in the playoffs, the 1996 Mets finished a distant 4th in the National League East with a 71 – 91 record. Proof that, regardless of which version you were thinking of, the best I ever had – may not be satisfying.

With Yoenis Cespedes in left field, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in center, and Michael Conforto in right, the 2017 Mets have the potential to rival the above teams. If Conforto hits close to his potential, Cespedes keeps doing what he’s been doing, and the Granderson/Lagares platoon works its magic, it could happen. And hopefully, like the 1969 Mets, they will be World Champions!

homer the dog

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Nationals Acquire White Sox Outfielder Adam Eaton http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nationals-acquire-white-sox-outfielder-adam-eaton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/nationals-acquire-white-sox-outfielder-adam-eaton.html/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:08:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227754 adam eaton

Per Jon Heyman on Twitter, the Nationals have acquired the services of Adam Eaton. The White Sox will get Lucas Giolito and minor leaguers Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez according to Dan Hayes.

This deal sends the Nationals’ #1, #3 and #6 prospects to Chicago.

Original Post — 4:45

The Washington Nationals are close to a deal for White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton according to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter.

Eaton, 27, has been a very consistent player in his career. After being a backup outfielder in Arizona from 2012 to 2013, he went to Chicago and hit the ground running. In his three years with the White Sox, he has hit .290/.362/.422 with 29 home runs, 28 triples, and 47 stolen bases.

He finished 19th in MVP voting this season, after he hit .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, nine triples (most in the AL), and 91 runs scored while providing solid defense in the outfield. This season he played mostly right field, but still logged over 300 innings in center.

Eaton is owed $4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018, and $8.4 million in 2019. He has options of $9.5 and $10.5 million in 2020 and 2021 respectively, each with $1.5 million buyouts.

The Nationals continue to be aggressive this offseason after previously missing out on Chris Sale and Wade Davis.

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Terry Collins Looks Ahead To Spring Training and 2017 Season http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/terry-collins-looks-ahead-to-spring-training-and-2017-season.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/terry-collins-looks-ahead-to-spring-training-and-2017-season.html/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:04:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227666 terry collins

Mets manager Terry Collins made an appearance on MLB Network on Tuesday, and he shared his thoughts on the team for Spring Training and the 2017 season.

1.  With Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz all coming off varying levels of surgery he will go slow with them in Spring Training and the challenge in 2017 will be keeping them all healthy. He will be creative as far as keeping their innings in check.

2.  While Sandy Alderson said Zack Wheeler will likely work out of the bullpen as a reliever to begin the year, Collins seemed to dispel that notion and said as far as he’s concerned Wheeler will begin the year as a starter to see how he performs more than two years removed from Tommy John Surgery. Collins added that perhaps Wheeler pitches out of the bullpen later in the season to preserve his innings.

3.  Like everyone else, Collins was disappointed and surprised by the Jeurys Familia domestic assault news. However he is not worried about any potential suspension as he’s very confident that Addison Reed can take over as closer and get the job done. I agree with him.

4.  With regard to the outfield configuration, Curtis Granderson could likely see significant time as the center fielder again with Juan Lagares expected to take over when the team faces a left-handed pitcher. That sounds like Michael Conforto will get his shot in right field to begin the season, and of course Yoenis Cespedes is in left field.

5.  Terry Collins says David Wright will be in Port St. Lucie beginning in January. Wright is due to begin baseball activity shortly. Collins hopes Wright will play, maybe, four days in a row and then have a day off during the season.

I may add to this article after his media briefing at 3:00 PM.

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Mets To Test Reyes In The Outfield During Spring Training http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-to-test-reyes-in-the-outfield-during-spring-training.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/mets-to-test-reyes-in-the-outfield-during-spring-training.html/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:51:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227601 jose-reyes

Sandy Alderson met with reporters today at the Winter Meetings and told them that he plans to test Jose Reyes in the outfield during 2017 Spring Training.

Per Adam Rubin of ESPN, Sandy said the Mets plan on doing the same with their minor leaguers so they are more flexible when they reach the bigs.

Reyes absolutely has the tools to succeed in the outfield. His great speed and a strong arm should help his transition, however at 33 years old, the Mets will try and teach an old dog new tricks. While his speed is typical of a left or center fielder, his arm can slot well in right field so it remains to be seen which outfield position he is exposed to.

After being acquired in the middle of the 2016 season, Reyes hit .267/.326/.443 with eight home runs, 24 RBIs, four triples, and nine stolen bases for the Mets. He was exactly the spark plug the Mets hoped he would be when they brought him back.

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White Sox Likely To Deal Adam Eaton http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/white-sox-likely-to-deal-adam-eaton.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/white-sox-likely-to-deal-adam-eaton.html/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:09:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227413 adam eaton

According to Jon Morosi on Twitter, the White Sox could be dealing center fielder Adam Eaton during the Winter Meetings. The tweet was in the context that he was more likely to be dealt than 1B/DH Jose Abreu, however both have been said to be on the trade block.

Eaton, 27, has been a very consistent player in his career. After being a backup outfielder in Arizona from 2012 to 2013, he went to Chicago and hit the ground running. In his three years with the White Sox, he has hit .290/.362/.422 with 29 home runs, 28 triples, and 47 stolen bases.

He finished 19th in MVP voting this season, after he hit .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, nine triples (most in the AL), and 91 runs scored while providing solid defense in the outfield. This season he played mostly right field, but still logged over 300 innings in center.

He is a left handed hitter, however the handedness of the pitcher doesn’t make much of a difference to him. Since 2014, he has hit .282/.354/.343 against lefties and .293/.364/.450 against righties. His batting average and on-base percentage are very comparable, but he clearly has more power against righties as you can see in his slugging percentage.

Eaton is owed $4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018, and $8.4 million in 2019. He has options of $9.5 and $10.5 million in 2020 and 2021 respectively, each with $1.5 million buyouts.

The Mets currently have an overflowing outfield, but that is destined to change once the Mets trade Jay Bruce and/or Curtis Granderson. They have Gold Glovers Yoenis Cespedes in left field and Juan Lagares in center field, however the addition of Eaton couldn’t hurt, especially if they trade both Bruce and Granderson.

Adam Eaton is a remarkably consistent player who would improve any team he plays for. His acquisition, though, would further curtail the playing time of both Juan Lagares, who is a vastly better player when he gets consistent playing time, and Michael Conforto.

Acquiring Eaton would take a fair number of prospects as well, and knowing how Sandy Alderson operates, I don’t see him coughing up young talent when he already has the option for a solid center field platoon with Lagares and Conforto. If both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson get dealt, Eaton would give Terry Collins some good flexibility in the outfield.

Against righties, Adam Eaton could play center field and Michael Conforto would play in right. Conversely, against lefties, Juan Lagares would play center field and Eaton could play in right.

We will, of course, keep you posted on any developments.

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Curtis Granderson Drawing More Interest Than Jay Bruce http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/curtis-granderson-drawing-more-interest-than-jay-bruce.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/curtis-granderson-drawing-more-interest-than-jay-bruce.html/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:41:09 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227279 curtis-granderson

According to Jon Heyman on Twitter, versatile outfielder Curtis Granderson is drawing more interest on the trade market than right fielder Jay Bruce.

He goes on to say that the Mets would prefer to trade Bruce and keep Granderson.

The Mets will probably bring in a better haul for Granderson, so they will be weighing their options carefully.

It is entirely possible the Mets could trade both, however it seems they would prefer not to. An outfield without either of them would have Yoenis Cespedes in left, Juan Lagares in center, and Michael Conforto in right with Brandon Nimmo as the fourth man.

Original Post: 10 am

As I wrote back in October, the Mets could trade Curtis Granderson instead of Jay Bruce this offseason. However that now seems like it could come to fruition, as Adam Rubin of ESPN writes the Mets are considering it.

The Mets will listen to offers for both outfielders during the Winter Meetings (if they happen) and find out who would bring in the better haul.

In 2016, Bruce hit .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs and 99 RBIs while Granderson hit .237/.335/.464 with 30 home runs and 59 RBIs.

The difference maker between the two is Granderson’s versatility. He can play any outfield position well while Bruce can only play in right. Granderson is also versatile offensively, as he can bat leadoff if need be.

Another thing to consider is Granderson’s leadership ability in both the clubhouse and his community. The future Mayor of Chicago (yes, that’s an official prediction) won the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award for his efforts both on and off the field. Teams in need of true veteran leadership would love to acquire a player like him.

If the Mets were to trade Granderson and keep Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes would be the every day left fielder, Bruce would start every day in right with Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto likely splitting time in center field.

Jay is owed $13 million and Curtis is owed $15 million, so money would not be the difference maker.

The Mets will be looking for a return involving possibly a late-inning reliever, but would be fine with some top-level prospects to replenish the farm system.

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Nationals Willing To Reconfigure Outfield For Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/nationals-willing-to-reconfigure-outfield-for-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/nationals-willing-to-reconfigure-outfield-for-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:14:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227221 yoenis-cespedes-550

Last offseason, the Washington Nationals were one of the few teams in on Yoenis Cespedes until Cespedes signed a deal to return to the Mets.  With Cespedes having opted out of his contract with the Mets, the Nationals are once again interested in signing Cespedes, and they are willing to do what is necessary to make their team more appealing to him.

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, the Nationals are willing to reconfigure their outfield to permit Cespedes to play left field like he prefers.

The new outfield alignment would move Bryce Harper to center field and Jayson Werth to right field, a position he played when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Trea Turner would move back to his natural shortstop position to take over Danny Espinosa, who the Nationals view as a trade piece.

What is unknown is how much the Nationals will be willing to offer Cespedes.  It was reported the Nationals offered Cespedes a five year $110 million deal last offseason. However, Cespedes ultimately rejected the deal because of the amount of deferred payments in the contract.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Carlos Gomez, OF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-carlos-gomez-of.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-carlos-gomez-of.html/#comments Sat, 26 Nov 2016 17:00:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227049 carlos gomez

Carlos Gomez
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: December 4, 1985 (Turning Age 31)

Since the 2015 Trade Deadline, it seems the New York Mets have tried to make a reunion happen with Carlos Gomez, their former amateur free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2002. Gomez was on GM Sandy Alderson’s radar prior to the July 31 deadline, as the team was looking to add an impact bat for their postseason push. The proposed trade of Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores to the Milwaukee Brewers for Gomez fell through due to lingering concerns over Gomez’ hip, and of course, the rest is history, as the Mets circled back to the Detroit Tigers and pulled off a trade for Yoenis Cespedes, a trade that propelled the team all the way to the 2015 World Series.

There was talk of Gomez signing with the Mets this past season too, after he was designated for assignment by the Houston Astros in early August. The Mets ended up taking a pass on Gomez, relying on the injured Justin Ruggiano to return only to end up back on the disabled list due to a left shoulder injury at the end of August. The Texas Rangers signed Gomez to a minor league deal, with the Astros responsible for the bulk of his $9 million ’16 salary.

Gomez revived his season with the Rangers, after slashing .210/.272/.322 in 85 games with the Astros in ’16, with a 6.5% walk rate and career worst 31% strikeout percentage. He also posted negatives in DRS, UZR, and UZR/150 in 677 innings in the outfield with the Astros.

However, moving from Houston to Arlington reignited the spark plug outfielder, as he went on to play in 33 games for the AL West Champion Texas Rangers, posting a line of .284/.362/.543 with eight home runs, 18 RBI, a 139 wRC+, and a 1.2 fWAR. His defensive metrics also improved as he manned mainly left field (213 out of 275 total innings), posting a 1.3 UZR and 6.4 UZR/150. Combining his overall outfield metrics with Texas, Gomez posted a 3.7 UZR and 11.7 UZR/150, according to FanGraphs.

Gomez pointed to adjustments at the plate that aided in his turnaround with the Rangers, explaining in September that he was trying to keep the weight on his back leg, which allows him to stay back and recognize the pitch better, allowing him to drive the ball with more relative ease.

Between 2012-14, Gomez was one of the game’s premier outfielders, posting a 16.2 fWAR (4th among MLB outfielders), 111 stolen bases (2nd), 247 runs scored (12th), 18 triples (10th), and registering the 6th best UZR/150 (14.7) among all outfielders during that span. Gomez made both of his All Star appearances in 2013 and 2014, the two years he posted above an .800 OPS. Gomez also won his only Gold Glove Award in ’13, the same year he received a share of MVP votes, placing ninth in the NL.

High strikeouts and low walks have always been a bugaboo for Gomez, however, it was less noticeable when he was hitting 20 plus home runs and stealing over 30 bases in a season. Gomez posted the 9th highest strikeout percentage in baseball this past season (30%) among all players with at least 400 plate appearances. While he did lower his strikeout percentage once he signed with the Rangers, it was still down only a few percentage points, from 31 to 27.7%. Since 2015, Gomez has trended negatively in average, OBP, SLG, fWAR, wRC+, and runs scored.

Gomez has posted close to neutral splits for his career, posting a .722 OPS against RHP and .738 OPS against LHP. While Gomez struggled during his time in Houston, he did post solid numbers in RISP with both Houston and Texas, posting a .792 OPS with the Astros, and a 1.145 OPS with the Rangers.

Contract:

If Gomez continued to struggle with the Rangers, he’d be lucky to land a one-year deal with incentives on the open market this winter. His strong final six weeks of the season helped Gomez potentially land a multi-year contract, with the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mets, Athletics, Giants, and Cardinals all possible fits for the soon to be 31-year-old. Of course, you can’t rule out the Rangers wanting to keep Gomez, as they’re set to lose both Gomez and Ian Desmond to free agency. I can envision Gomez receiving a two-three year deal, for roughly $10-12 million annually, similar to the deal Denard Span signed with the San Francisco Giants last year for three-years and $31 million.

Recommendation:

Cespedes remains priority number one for the Mets, however, Gomez offers some intriguing athleticism and speed for a Mets team that has been void of that for some time. While he’s hit leadoff for the bulk of his career, his lifetime OBP of .315 leaves a lot to be desired, although in 17 games batting first for the Rangers he did post a .386 OBP. At this point for the Mets, if Cespedes can’t be retained, the Mets should set their sights on someone that could hit leadoff and get on base at a higher clip than Gomez does, Dexter Fowler is a prime example.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Rajai Davis, OF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-rajai-davis-of.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-rajai-davis-of.html/#comments Sat, 19 Nov 2016 15:30:06 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226758 rajai davis

Rajai Davis
Position: Outfield
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Born: October 19, 1980 (Age 36)

Rajai Davis hits free agency this winter after he and his Cleveland Indians’ teammates made a run to Game 7 of the World Series, in which the Indians lost to the Chicago Cubs to end their 108-year World Series drought. Davis did his best to keep the Indians’ hopes alive, as he tied the game up in the bottom of the eighth against flame throwing lefty Aroldis Chapman, with a two-run homer into left. He then came to bat in the bottom of the tenth, with one on and two out, as the Indians were down 8-6. Davis singled back up the middle on the second pitch thrown by Cubs RHP Carl Edwards, making it a one-run game at 8-7.

Davis didn’t back down in these pressure situations, instead, coming through in the clutch twice in late innings of what turned out to be a thrilling Game 7 for the ages. Davis enters free agency with that lasting memory, hoping to cash in after he signed a one-year deal with the Tribe in December 2015, for $5.25 million. The Indians were in need of outfield depth, as they lost their star left fielder Michael Brantley to offseason arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. Brantley ultimately came back too soon from the surgery, and only played in 11 games before being shut down for the remainder of the ’16 season. The Indians also lost Abraham Almonte for 80 games and Marlon Byrd for 162 for their respective PED suspensions, so Davis found himself playing in far more games than likely expected upon signing.

On the year, Davis slashed .249/.306/.388 with a career high 12 home runs, 48 RBI, and a league leading 43 stolen bases out of 49 attempts. He played in 134 games, 107 of them starts, and mainly batted leadoff, sixth, or seventh in Terry Francona‘s lineup. Davis found his best results when leading off though, posting a line of .253/.312/.434, with 11 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Although his OBP was rather low for a leadoff hitter, he had superior numbers when facing a pitcher’s first pitch, slashing .361/.349/.508 with two homers and 11 RBI in 61 at-bats. He also enjoyed success when runners were in scoring position, slashing .283/.360/.475 with three homers and 36 RBI in 99 at-bats.

On the defensive side, Davis is capable of manning all three outfield spots, as he did in ’16. The bulk of his playing time was spent in left and center field, where he posted a -3 defensive runs saved (DRS) and -5 DRS respectively. He ultimately posted league average or just below league average numbers in both outfield spots in 2016, with an overall range factor per nine innings of 2.22 when the league average was 2.15, and a range factor per game of 1.91, when the league average was 2.12.

What many teams will be intrigued by with Davis is his speed, where he’s posted seven seasons of at least 30 stolen bases, eclipsing the 40 mark five times including last season. Another area that hasn’t always been discussed is taking extra bases, which calculates the times a runner advances more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double. The Indians finished second in all of baseball last year in extra bases taken (XBT%), at a 45% clip. The Mets were tied for last with the Detroit Tigers at 34%. Davis alone had a 58% XBT in 2016, and to put that in context, none of the Mets starting position players had a higher XBT than 48% (Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto).

Contract:

I could see Davis signing a one or two year deal this winter, similar to his two-year, $10 million contract he signed with the Tigers in December 2013. The Indians’ front office has expressed interest in re-signing Davis as depth, however, the Tribe has options with Tyler Naquin, Brandon Guyer, Lonnie Chisenhall, and a healthy Brantley to start the 2017 season. The Indians, Athletics, Giants, Mets, and Angels could all show interest.

Recommendation:

I really like Davis for his speed and being proactive on the bases, something the Mets could use as they were ranked 28th overall in ’16 in team stolen bases with 42. The team’s outfield is still a bit unclear, as fans await word of whether the team will re-sign Cespedes. With Granderson, Bruce, Conforto, and Lagares also in the mix, the Mets might not have room to carry another outfielder. Lagares could be viewed as a less speedy Davis, with good splits against lefties, better defense in center, and nine years younger.

However, Davis’ speed element is very intriguing, so if the Mets in fact re-sign Cespedes and can trade Bruce, they could circle back and check in with Davis’ camp if he’s still available. I’d expect Davis and his agents are looking for more guaranteed playing time though, something the Mets won’t be able to offer with a crowded outfield.

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MMO Free Agent Profile: Brandon Moss, 1B/OF http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-brandon-moss-1bof.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mmo-free-agent-profile-brandon-moss-1bof.html/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2016 12:00:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226578 brandon moss

Brandon Moss
Position: First Base / Outfield
Bats: Left – Throws: Right 
Born: September 16, 1983 (Age 33)

Brandon Moss enters the offseason in enviable fashion; with no qualifying offer attached to the 33-year-old and coming off a season where he posted his second highest home run total (28) of his career, highest OPS (.784) since 2013 with Oakland, and offers versatility in the field, as he plays both first base and the corner outfield spots.

Moss spent the entire 2016 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, putting up a slash line of .225/.300/.484 with the aforementioned 28 homers, and 67 RBI in 128 games played. Moss had a solid year in the power department, posting a slugging percentage of .484, the highest it’s been since 2013, while posting a .259 ISO, 14th best among players with at least 400 at-bats in 2016.

Just as Jay Bruce intrigued the Mets with his superior numbers with RISP, Moss too had an excellent year in that department, slashing .258/.383/.573 with seven home runs and 42 RBI. And in high leverage situations, according to Baseball-Reference, Moss has an .826 OPS in 64 at-bats in 2016, indicating that he excelled in high pressure situations.

At the conclusion of August, Moss had a stat line of .261/.333/.562, good for an .895 OPS. However, a prolonged slump in September/October but a damper on that gaudy stat line, as Moss went 9-for-91 to close out the 2016 season.

Moss does come with some warts though. As a lefty hitter, Moss had his issues against southpaws in ’16, putting up an OPS of .664 and hitting only three of his 28 homers against left-handed pitching. He hit much better against lefties in 2014-15 however, posting a .792 OPS in ’14 and .721 in ’15, both better marks than he put up against righties in both those years.

His defense is also a bit suspect, as he posted a -10.1 UZR/150 at first base this past season according to Fangraphs, and a -3 in defensive runs saved. He fared much better in the outfield, where he posted a combined 14.1 UZR/150 between left and right field in 507.1 innings, with three defensive runs saved.

Contract: 

Moss earned $8.25 million this past year, after the Cardinals tendered him a contract last winter. He’ll be looking for at least a two-year deal, and could find multiple suitors for his skill set, including the Nationals, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Angels. Best guess, Moss secures a two-year $16-18 million contract in the offseason and continues to play both in the outfield and at first. Similar contracts include Mike Morse in the 2014 offseason signing a two-year $16 million deal with the Miami Marlins, and Michael Cuddyer signing his two-year $21 million deal with the Mets prior to the 2015 season, before retiring at the conclusion of the year.

Recommendation:

The Mets should pass on Moss. The team already has many left-handed hitting options in the positions Moss plays, particularly in the outfield with Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, and Bruce already in place, and then Lucas Duda manning first. A few other areas of worry about Moss include his declining OBP since 2012, his rising K% since 2014, and his diminishing BB% the last three seasons. The team should allocate its finances towards bringing in several bullpen arms, bringing in a right-handed bench player who kills lefties (Justin Ruggiano comes to mind), and of course, re-signing Yoenis Cespedes.

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Bautista or Fowler Could Be Mets Plan B To Yoenis Cespedes http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/bautista-or-fowler-could-be-mets-plan-b-to-yoenis-cespedes.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/bautista-or-fowler-could-be-mets-plan-b-to-yoenis-cespedes.html/#comments Fri, 11 Nov 2016 16:00:42 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=226329 Jose Bautista

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets are resolved in seeking common ground with Yoenis Cespedes before the end of the Winter Meetings, which are scheduled for December 4th – 8th. At the moment, it’s believed the Mets would be willing to offer a four year deal in the range of $100 million.

The issue is when other teams become engaged on Cespedes, the market could increase his price tag to a number the Mets would be unable or unwilling to meet. The Giants, Nationals, Blue Jays, and Yankees have all been linked to Cespedes, and if any combination of these teams, in addition to some other teams who may have interest, start a bidding war, the Mets are going to have to look for a Plan B.

As Sandy Alderson said, “I think anybody who is being prudent under the circumstances would line up different scenarios as options and alternatives. We have some quality in our outfield now, it’s just a little left-handed.”

Should Cespedes leave for another team in free agency, the Mets have already been linked to outfielders Jose Bautista and Dexter FowlerBoth players were given qualifying offers and are expected to reject them by Monday’s deadline. This means, should the Mets sign either player, they would forfeit their first round draft pick. It should be noted that they would recoup a compensatory first round pick or two should Cespedes or Neil Walker sign with another team in free agency.

Bautista, 36, is coming off a season where he hit .234/.366/.452 with 22 homers and 69 RBI in 116 games. In the prior six seasons, Bautista was an All Star who hit .268/.390/.555 while averaging 38 homers and 97 RBI. Bautista is a right fielder who is coming off two poor seasons defensively. Over the last two years, he has averaged a -7.8 UZR and a -6 DRS.  Prior to the 2016 season, Bautista told the Blue Jays he wanted a five year $150 million deal.

Fowler, 30, surprisingly spurned a more lucrative offer with the Orioles to return to the Cubs, and as a result, he is now a World Series champion. In 2016, Fowler had a career year hitting .276/.393/.447 with 25 doubles, seven triples, 13 homers, 48 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. Over the last couple of seasons, Fowler has improved significantly in center field, which many attribute to him playing deeper in the outfield. Fowler rejected a $9 million mutual option to become a free agent.

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Mets And Yoenis Cespedes Haven’t Spoken About Contract http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mets-and-yoenis-cespedes-havent-spoken-about-contract.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/11/mets-and-yoenis-cespedes-havent-spoken-about-contract.html/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2016 17:00:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225706 yoenis-cespedes-2-550

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, the Mets have yet to speak to Yoenis Cespedes or his representatives regarding a contract past the 2016 season. Cespedes, who is expected to opt out of his current contract by Saturday, will be the premier outfield free agent this offseason at the age of 31. In 2016, he made the All Star team while hitting to the tune of a .280/.354/.530 slash line, blasting 31 homers and driving in 86 runs.

The Mets brass are skeptical that he will want to return to New York as they believe he will seek to maximize his paycheck. He will be looking for a five-year deal, and Sandy Alderson is known for his aversion to long-term contracts for veterans. In his case, though, many are worried about the effort he will put in once locked up in a long-term guaranteed contract.

If he departs for good, the Mets will pursue another source of offense, preferably a right-handed outfielder/first baseman. The name that immediately comes to mind is Mark Trumbo, however that might be a little much to ask for. The Mets have a plethora of left-handed-hitting outfielders including the likes of Curtis Granderson, Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto, so having another right-handed bat to compliment Juan Lagares against lefties would be prudent.

The Mets will be able to extend a $17.2M qualifying offer to Yoenis Cespedes, which he will accept once pigs fly through a frozen-over hell. If he signs elsewhere after declining that offer, the Mets would be compensated with a high-round draft pick in the 2017 draft.

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If Not Cespedes Then Who? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/if-not-cespedes-then-who.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/if-not-cespedes-then-who.html/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2016 11:00:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225419 ian desmond

With reports that the Mets do not expect they will be able to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, the question is how do you replace the irreplaceable? Here are some options:

FREE AGENTS

Carlos Gomez

As explained in an earlier MMO article, a rejuvenated Gomez could help the Mets by continuing to play a good center field and by providing another right-handed bat in what protects to be a heavy left-handed Mets lineup.

Ian Desmond

After not getting a significant contract offer with a qualifying offer attached to him, he bet on himself taking a one year $8 million deal from the Texas Rangers.

Desmond was an All Star who hit .285/.335/.446 with 29 doubles, 22 homers, and 85 RBI. However, Desmond does have some red flags:

  1. He rated below average defensively in center field (-4.5 UZR)
  2. He hit only .269/.324/.429 off right-handed pitching
  3. He fell apart in the second half hitting .237/.283/.347
  4. He hit .330/.368/.497 at hitter friendly Ballpark at Arlington and .241/.305/.398 in the road; and
  5. He may get a qualifying offer.

Matt Holliday

Infamously, the Mets chose Jason Bay over him heading in the 2009 offseason. Bay would struggle immensely at Citi Field while Holliday would win a World Series with the Cardinals.

While Holliday has been injury prone the past few years, he has still hit. He has always been an average to below average left fielder, and the 37 year old is coming off his worst year out there. It is part of the reason he began transitioning to first base with the Cardinals. If the Mets were to sign him, he could fulfill the role the Mets envisioned Michael Cuddyer would have.

Jose Bautista

Of all the available free agents, Bautista is the one who is best suited to replicate the offensive production Cespedes provided the Mets. Over the past three seasons, Bautista has hit .259/.383/.508 while averaging 32 homers and 95 RBI. If you are looking for a difference maker in the lineup, Bautista fits the bill.

However, there are some reason to be hesitant to sign Bautista. First, he is a 36 year old coming off his worst season since 2009 (as per OPS+). Second, he has been in decline as an outfielder over the past three seasons. Third and most imporantly, he is going to be expensive. It is anticipated Bautista will received a qualifying offer, and he reportedly wants 5 years $150 million in free agency.

Mark Trumbo

Trumbo certainly enjoyed hitting at Camden Yards for a full season. Trumbo went from a career .251/.301/.460 hitter who averaged 26 homers to a .256/.316/.533 hitter who led the majors with 47 homers. Naturally, when there is a jump like that with a player, there are a number of reasons why a team like the Mets should shy away.

Throughout his career, Trumbo has struggled against left-handed pitching. This isn’t exactly appealing when you consider he would be joining an outfield with three other left-handed hitters. Furthermore, he did most of his damage this past season at Camden Yards showing much of his career year was generated by his home ballpark. Lastly, Trumbo is really a 1B/DH masquerading as an outfielder.

carlos beltran

Carlos Beltran

Reuniting with Beltran certainly seems like it would be a stretch considering he has already stated his intentions that he wants to DH next year, and he wants to return to the Texas Rangers. It is certainly understandable considering he will be 40 next season, and he has been a below average right fielder the past three years.

Still, Beltran can his positive attributes. Over the past three years, Beltran has hit .271/.327/.468 while averaging 21 homers and 70 RBI. We know from his time with the Mets, he is great in the clubhouse, and he helps younger players with the preparation and conditioning aspect of the game. It is something Beltran did with both David Wright and Jose Reyes immediately upon joining the Mets. Finally, Beltran is one of the greatest postseason hitters of all time. For a team with World Series aspirations, Beltran could help on that front.

THE TIGERS

Cameron Maybin

Assuming a Tigers team who wants to cut payroll picks up a fairly reasonable $9 million option for Maybin, the question becomes what is he worth?

Maybin is coming off an injury riddled year that also coupled as his best ever year offensively. In 94 games, Maybin hit .315/.383/.418 with 14 doubles, five homers, and 43 RBI. Extrapolating that over the course of a 162 game season, Maybin would’ve hit 24 doubles, eight homers, and 74 RBI. These are solid if not outstanding offensive numbers. However, these are not the type of numbers that necessarily offset someone who has been a weak center fielder in his career.

Another issue is while Maybin’s poor defensive year wasn’t an outlier, his bat was. From 2011 – 2015, the years in which he was a starting major league outfielder, Maybin was a .252/.312/.362 hitter who averaged six homers and 33 RBI. Frankly, Juan Lagares could put up those numbers while playing a Gold Glove outfield.

Justin Upton

As luck would have it, the Padres rejected the Mets offer of Michael Fulmer for Upton leading the Mets to offer him in exchange for Cespedes. Once again, the Tigers are looking to trade an outfielder, and the Mets may have interest in a player like Upton.

Upton has always been a good hitter in his major league career. In his nine years as a starter, he is a .270/.349/.476 hitter who averages 24 homers and 77 RBI in his nine years as a starter. Between his offense, his defense, and his friendship with Wright, you could make a very good case why the Mets should purse Upton.

There is also over $110 million reasons why you would want to avoid Upton. If Upton were not to exercise he opt out clause, which he would use after the 2017 season, the Mets would be on the hook for the full amount of the remaining $110.625 million remaining on his contract. Typically speaking, the Mets have not shown the interest in adding contract like that to the payroll.

Now, Upton could also opt out of his contract, which would put the Mets in the same position as they are this offseason. They will likely be unable to re-sign him, and in return, all they can recoup for him is a compensatory first round draft pick.

J.D. Martinez

Over the last three seasons, Martinez has blossomed into a terrific hitter. In Detroit, he has hit .299/.357/.540 while averaging 28 homers and 82 RBI. Up until this year, he has also been a solid outfielder. You can do a lot worse than Martinez in trying to replace Cespedes.

That’s part of the reason why he will be difficult to obtain. Next year is the final year of his contract that pays him $11.75 million. While the Tigers are looking to shed payroll, they will likely seek a king’s ransom in exchange for a player that has a very favorable contract for next season. With the Mets having traded away some many big pieces over the past two seasons, and with them being reluctant to trade players like Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, it is hard to see them pulling off a trade for a cheap outfielder who has terrific production.

curtis-granderson

INTERNAL OPTIONS

As it stands right now, the Mets have two corner outfielders in Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson who are coming off 30 home run seasons. With them at the corners, it is possible the Mets feel as if they are already set in left and right field even with one of them having to change positions.

The Mets may even have more faith in their outfield as is with Michael Conforto. In his young career, he has shown the Mets glimpses of his being a brilliant hitter. He was undaunted as a rookie in 2015. He was perhaps the best hitter in baseball in April 2016. He responded to a demotion after a wrist injury and his slumping by hitting .493/.541/.821 with six homers and 13 RBI in 17 August games in AAA. With Conforto having shown glimpses of what his true talent level is, and with him showing the willingness to put in the work, the Mets may very well gamble on Conforto in 2017.

The fact that Granderson and Conforto can also play center field gives the Mets options on a game to game basis. It allows them to put all three out there, and it allows them to sit one for rest or to avoid a tough left-handed pitcher to get Lagares’ glove in the outfield.

Overall, the Mets may very well stay internal to replace Cespedes’ production. It’s a gamble, and that gamble may be the difference between going to the postseason or staying home in 2017.

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Should The Mets Trade Curtis Granderson? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-the-mets-trade-curtis-granderson.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-the-mets-trade-curtis-granderson.html/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:17:49 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225284 curtis-granderson

I want to start off by saying that I love Curtis Granderson. He plays with hustle and his off-field endeavors are admirable and laudable. He’s willing to do whatever is necessary to help the team, and is seen as a leader in the clubhouse. That being said, the Mets might want to consider the possibility of trading him this offseason.

Grandy is entering the fourth and final year of a 4 year, $60 million contract, and will make $15 million in 2017. Granderson hit .237/.335/.464 with 30 home runs and 59 RBIs in 2017, so his trade value is pretty high right now. That home run total and solid on-base percentage would surely catch some interest, however he greatly increased his value in another way this season as well. When Juan Lagares went down with a thumb injury, Granderson slid over to play center field in his absence.

He played a more than adequate center field, culminating in that brilliant catch against the wall in the Wild Card game. He made no errors this season while tallying 8 outfield assists in 1209.2 innings (905 in RF, 251 in CF, 53.2 in LF). Even at age 35, he has shown that he can still put up good power numbers while playing a solid outfield. Pair that with his leadership skills and his $15M salary seems to be reasonable.

conforto-michael

So, why trade him? Assuming the Mets keep Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce, the outfield would most likely consist of those two All Stars at the corners with Juan Lagares patrolling center field. That would be a phenomenal defensive outfield. Yoenis Cespedes is a Gold-Glover with easily one of the best arms in the game.

Jay Bruce makes up for his slight lack of range with a plus arm, accounting for an impressive 86 outfield assists in only 9 seasons. Lastly, Juan Lagares is, well, the best. He’s worthy of a 1(-5) rating in Strat-O-Matic (If you’re under the age of 30, ask your father).

If Michael Conforto returns to his 2015 and early 2016 form, he would be an incredibly valuable asset as well that will certainly figure into the outfield equation.  $15 million is a lot to be paying a 4th or 5th outfielder if Curtis Granderson remains on the team. There are many teams that would love to add a player like Curtis Granderson, too many to name. He can play any of the outfield positions and put up decent offensive numbers.

One of the most important reasons the Mets could trade him, though, can not be quantified. Every inning he would play in the outfield, every at-bat in 2017, he takes an inning or an at bat away from Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, or Brandon Nimmo. These guys have tremendous upside, but they need consistent innings. From a developmental standpoint, trading Granderson could certainly be a viable choice.

The Mets need upgrades in many areas this offseason, including but not limited to the bullpen, catcher, and second base. Creating a package including Curtis Granderson might help fill those needs, and the Mets would still be left with a very good outfield. I’d hate to see him go, but that $15M could be spent on one or two difference-makers that can get the Mets back to the World Series.

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]]> http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-the-mets-trade-curtis-granderson.html/feed/ 0 Should the Mets Bring Back Carlos Gomez? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-the-mets-bring-back-carlos-gomez.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/should-the-mets-bring-back-carlos-gomez.html/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:00:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=225184 carlos gomez

Last year, the Mets quickly moved on from Yoenis Cespedes by agreeing to a one year deal with Alejandro De Aza so he could platoon with Juan Lagares in center field. At the time, the Mets had indicated they were willing to go two to three years for Cespedes, which was aligned with the Sandy Alderson concept of no second generation contracts. This was far short of the six year $132 million contract Cespedes was seeking in free agency.

Due to a number of circumstances, Cespedes never got the contract he wanted. This allowed the Mets a rare opportunity to sign a superstar caliber player on their own terms. Without Jason Heyward or Justin Upton on the free agent market, or really any star outfielders on the free agent market, it does not appear the stars will once again align for the Mets. If they want to retain Cespedes, they are going to have to offer him that big contract he wanted last offseason.

Aside from David Wright, this is not how the Mets do business. Other than Wright, no player entering their age 30+ season has received a five year plus contract offer. With the way the Wright contract has gone, it does not appear the Mets would be willing to change that policy. With that in mind, it appears as if Cespedes will be signing elsewhere this offseason leaving the Mets to once again try to figure out how best to build the team so it can return to the postseason.

One player that could be a potential fit is former Met Carlos Gomez. Ironically, Cespedes was only a Met because Gomez had a hip issue. If not for that, Gomez would be the player entering free agency with the Mets wondering how far they should go to re-sign him.

Cespedes Yoenis

Now, Gomez doesn’t appear to be an obvious fit at the moment. Even if Cespedes does not return, the Mets already have a lot of quality major league outfield depth. Heading into the season, the Mets have, Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson, Lagares, Brandon Nimmo, and possibly Jay Bruce. It’s going to require a lot of mixing and matching to make sure everyone gets enough playing time to be productive. Why add an outfielder to this mix to further complicate matters?

The easy answer is you want to make the team better, and Gomez does that.

After Gomez seemed lost in Houston, he was released, and he was rejuvenated with the Texas Rangers. In 33 games, Gomez hit .284/.362/.543 with six doubles, eight homers, and 24 RBI. Naturally, many will note not to trust the small sample size. It’s a fair point, but why should you trust the small sample size of Gomez’s time in Houston where he hit .221/.277/.342 with 25 doubles, nine homers, and 42 RBI in 126 games? With that in mind, we should take a broader look at Gomez.

Over the last five seasons, Gomez was a .265/.326/.453 hitter who averaged 26 doubles, 18 homers, and 61 RBI. This is probably a good indication as to where his true talent level is at this point. Still, there is the possibility Gomez is capable of more. He has shown the capacity to hit over 20 homers a season, and he has shown the ability to draw walks.

Gomez

Then there is the matter of defense. Gomez is still a solid defender despite possibly losing a step in center field. The former Gold Glover has averaged an 8.2 UZR and a 7 DRS in center field. When you couple that with Gomez having a much better bat than Lagares, you have a possible upgrade in center field. With Gomez having experience in both left and right field, the Mets can put out a phenomenal outfield defense late in games to help them protect leads. Keep in mind, that was one of the things the Mets did extremely well in 2015 when they went all the way to the World Series.

As for the rest of the outfield, a Gomez (or Cespedes) signing would force the Mets to put Nimmo in AAA for another season, which isn’t a bad thing for a developing player. Lagares would once again become the late inning defensive option. From there, it gets a little trickier with Bruce, Conforto, and Granderson. One could get traded, one could move to first base, and in the worst case scenario, the Conforto could start the year in AAA until someone gets injured, which as we have seen with the Mets, is likely.

Overall, we know the Mets are too left-handed in the outfield, and they need another right-handed bat. Ideally, that is Cespedes. However, in the event that Cespedes gets that massive contract the Mets aren’t likely to match, the player could be Gomez.

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MLB Exec Thinks Mets Could Deal Jay Bruce http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mlb-exec-thinks-mets-could-deal-jay-bruce.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/mlb-exec-thinks-mets-could-deal-jay-bruce.html/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 11:00:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224987 jay-bruce

There’s absolutely no question that the New York Mets will exercise the $13 million dollar option on outfielder Jay Bruce as soon as the World Series comes to an end. That much is clear. What isn’t so clear is what happens next.

Clearly, Bruce had a rough go of it in New York, a city he hoped the Reds wouldn’t trade him to. “Yes, New York wasn’t on my list initially. Definitely I wasn’t as comfortable with New York as I was the other places, but I’m happy to be here.”

One look at his numbers before and after the trade, and you can see why so many Mets fans get squeamish at the mere mention of his name. And yes, Bruce finished the season strong, but we’re talking about eight games, and it happened right after he was embarrassed by Terry Collins who pinch hit Eric Campbell for him in a huge spot.

Over the final eight games of the season, Bruce batted .480 (12-for-25) with four homers and eight RBIs. However, in his 42 games before that hot streak, he batted .174/.252/.285 with four homers, 11 RBI a team worst .536 OPS in that span.

So if you’re Sandy Alderson do you bank on Bruce as your everyday right fielder next season, or do you trade him and try to recoup as much value as you can from a team looking to add some power?

According to Jon Heyman of Knuckleball, a rival executive thinks that picking up that option on Bruce could be precursor to a trade this offseason.

Yesterday, I wrote that if the Mets were to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, it would likely mean that Michael Conforto starts the season in Triple-A. There’s no way the Mets will stunt his development by having him languish on the bench as a fifth outfielder. That’s no way to treat a first-round talent who has flashed some exciting potential in a few short spurts over parts of two seasons. The Mets are still very high on him.

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But – and that’s a big but – if the Mets were to deal Bruce it changes everything. You could pencil Conforto in as your right fielder, with Cespedes in left field and a platoon of Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in center. It may even open up the fifth outfielder spot for Brandon Nimmo – who many scouts view as a highly productive part-time player anyway. Everything fits neatly into a tidy configuration with Jay Bruce out of the picture.

While I won’t cry you a river if the Mets were to hang onto Bruce and Conforto would have to wait another year to take over in right field, it would be a little scary to gamble on which Jay Bruce the Mets will get in 2017.

Look, we have never hesitated to hand precious rotation spots to our many talented pitching prospects over the last three years, and injuries aside, they’ve all been phenomenal. Maybe it’s time to start putting our confidence in some of the team’s top hitting prospects. Let Michael Conforto get a full shot as an everyday player – and that means leaving him in there against left-handed pitchers who he annihilated in the Minors.

I’d love to see Sandy Alderson show up at the Winter Meetings with Jay Bruce on the block and a half-dozen or more teams all competing for his power bat. I see this as an excellent opportunity for the team to recoup some value and perhaps swing themselves a solid reliever for the pen and a prospect we can stow away for the future.

Anyway, that/s what I’m thinking we should do and I look forward to reading your thoughts on trading Bruce or keeping him.

By the way, Mathew Brownstein wrote a nice piece last week that highlights some of the potential trade targets for Bruce. You can check it out here.

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Here Are the Mets’ Options if Cespedes Opts Out http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/here-are-the-mets-options-if-cespedes-opts-out.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/here-are-the-mets-options-if-cespedes-opts-out.html/#comments Fri, 07 Oct 2016 13:00:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224532 yoenis cespedes

It looks as though the Mets’ offseason plans will be largely contingent on whether Yoenis Cespedes opts in or out of the two remaining years of his contract.

If he opts in, then the Mets retain their best hitter for at least another season. But if he opts out, he will become one of the most sought-after free agents in an otherwise weak class– virtually guaranteeing a nine-figure multiyear deal.GM Sandy Alderson’s reluctance to ink players to big deals likely means that Cespedes is a gonner if he opts out– which ESPN’s Adam Rubin said the team expects him to do.

Cespedes said in August that he was not planning on opting out He has made very clear that he loves playing in New York– something the Mets undoubtedly have going for them– but it makes little sense from a financial standpoint. Cespedes could be walking away from at least $100 million– and possibly up to $200 million– if he decides against free agency.

The Mets already seem to have two of their outfield spots locked up. Curtis Granderson is under contract for next year and Jay Bruce has a $13 million team option for 2017. So to fill that final spot, Mets seem to have three of courses of action they can take this offseason if Cespedes signs elsewhere. They can sign an immediate replacement in the outfield, stay internal and start Michael Conforto in left field, or do a mixture of both. Here’s a rundown of the three options:

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Free agent replacements: If the team is emphasizing winning and improving the team for 2017 over long-term player development, they have a few solid shorter term options on the market.

The biggest name in this category is Jose Bautista. “Joey Bats” missed 46 games this season with a knee injury and had a down year by his own lofty standards– batting  .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBIs. Given these factors and Bautista’s 36 years of age, a four-year deal of about $80-100 million seems to be fair for him. He’d essentially be a more expensive version of what Curtis Granderson was when he signed with the Mets three years ago.

Matt Holliday also makes sense in this situation. He’ll be 37 in January and has missed 141 games over the last two years, so it’s unlikely he’ll get more than three years from anyone. But he has still hit effectively when he has been healthy; he hit 20 home runs in 381 at-bats this season and was an All-Star in 2015. He still looks like he has some good baseball in the tank on a team-friendly deal.

Rajai Davis could work here too. The 35-year-old outfielder led the AL in stolen bases this year with 43– one more than the Mets had all season. For a team that needs a natural center fielder and able runners on the basepaths, an aging Davis would be someone who can provide both. And given his age, probably won’t demand a huge contract either.

Other outfielders that could work on short-term deals include Brandon Moss (28 home runs), Michael Saunders (24 home runs), and Carlos Gomez (.284/.362/.543 in 33 games with the Rangers).

michael conforto

Internal: The Mets could simply put all of their faith into Michael Conforto and give him a starting job in either left or center. To say this is a gamble would be an understatement.

Conforto has shown promise in the minor leagues and during his time in the majors in 2015, but had a nightmarish 2016. He batted .174/.267/.330 in 230 at-bats after May 1. He may have shown flashes of potential in the past, but it would be unwise to hand him a starting job given how he played this year.

They could also presumably use Juan Lagares in center if they wanted to, and hope he returns to the form that made him a Gold Glove winner and tolerable hitter in 2014. But that seems to be a stretch for a lineup that desperately needs to produce more runs.

The mix: 

Another option that could possibly work is to sign a middle-of-the-road veteran to a one or two-year deal to compete for the final outfield spot, and act as a safety net should Conforto struggle. This seems sensible if the Mets have strict budgetary constraints this year, or want to develop Conforto.

Austin Jackson is one player who fits this bill. He signed a one-year deal with the White Sox before the season, and will likely be looking at a one-year (or minor league) deal this year since he played in just 54 games in 2016. He is unlikely to cost more than a few million dollars, and has periodically shown flashes of talent in the majors.

Matt Joyce is another player who could be at play here. He was impressive as a part-time player with the Pirates this year, batting .242/.403/.463 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs in 231 at-bats. Joyce also has pennant race and playoff experience from his years with the Rays, and his high on-base percentage is something that Alderson seems to like.

Other free agents who are of this description include Franklin Gutierrez (14 home runs in 248 at-bats for the Mariners), Seth Smith (16 home runs in 378 at-bats for the Mariners), and Gregor Blanco (.344 lifetime on-base percentage with the Giants).

Cespedes has until five days after the end of the World Series to opt out of his contract. Let’s hope he doesn’t pull a LeBron and decide on ESPN.

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Ambiguous Cespedes, Will He Come Back? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/ambiguous-cespedes-will-he-come-back.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/10/ambiguous-cespedes-will-he-come-back.html/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:51:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=224558 cespedes
“Yo, will you come back??”

After going 0-4 against Madison Bumgarner Wednesday night, Yoenis Cespedes‘ 2016 season came to a close. He slashed .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBIs in only 132 games. Most fans say we can not win without him, however we just might have to.

Last offseason, Cespedes signed a 3-year $75M deal with an opt-out clause after one year. That means, if he chooses to do so, the 30 year-old left fielder can become a free agent this offseason. Financially, it makes a ton of sense for him to do just that.

Cespedes would likely be at the top of this year’s outfield market, which would also include (barring any last-minute extensions) Matt Holliday, Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, and Ian Desmond. The fact that he is 30 years old benefits him as well, as he could probably fetch a large contract in the 4-6 year range.

He has been publicly ambiguous as to whether or not he will exercise that option. He has said publicly and to many people in the organization that he loves playing in New York, however, the fact remains he might be more financially secure elsewhere.

Thursday morning, one Mets source told the NY Daily News, “You have to believe he will. It makes no financial sense for him not to, but we don’t know. He told some people (in the organization) he loves it here and will definitely be back. He said good bye to some people and told them he won’t be back.”

That last sentence there, if true, might be the least ambiguous thing said so far regarding this situation. Should he become a free agent, there will be many teams vying for his services, teams that might have much deeper pockets than the Mets’.

Follow me on Twitter @LBarer32

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