Mets Merized Online » platoon Sat, 03 Dec 2016 04:14:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Fan Shot: Right-Handed Platoon Options Mets Should Consider Fri, 04 Nov 2016 17:00:21 +0000 yoenis-cespedes-550

An MMO Fan Shot by Travis (T Boogy)

Believe it or not, money may be an issue this off-season for the Mets. Yes, sarcasm. Seriously, though, if Yoenis Cespedes re-signs then there will not be much money to go around for other free agents given that several young Mets are due for substantial raises in arbitration. But, we all want Cespedes to stay because of the impact he has on the lineup.

Even if Cespedes leaves it’s possible that money may not be so abundant. It’s possible Neil Walker gets and accepts a Qualifying Offer, or signs a long-term contract with the Mets. Additionally, Sandy Alderson may have to spend more than expected to beef up the bullpen with Familia’s uncertainty. I’m actually hoping the rest of the teams over-bid for Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen and that Sandy makes a run at Mark Melancon instead. He is every bit as good as his high-strikeout, flashier counterparts but doesn’t get the attention, and hopefully not as much money. But, that’s for another article.

For now, I’d like to look at the scenario if Cespedes leaves. Assuming Sandy doesn’t want to go after Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond, or Dexter Fowler, then he may want to rely on the current crop of Met outfielders. The problem is that 4 of the top 5 remaining are LHB and without a RHB the Mets would be vulnerable to left-handed starters. I love Juan Lagares but he’s having trouble staying on the field and, when he is healthy, he’s having trouble being consistent.  In addition, it would be great if the Mets had a RHB who could play first base also since Duda may need a platoon partner. That would free up to Flores to play elsewhere if needed.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Here are some options for right-handed batters that have the ability to play outfield and first base as platoon options:

Steve Pearce: Free Agent; .852 OPS against lefties (1.028 last year). He has long been sought after for his versatility and favorable splits. He plays against every lefty starter but also is solid enough to earn some starts against some righties.

Sean Rodriguez: Free Agent; .755 OPS against lefties (.934 last year). Had a huge year last year and the Pirates will likely want to keep him, especially if they consider trading McCutchen. He has tremendous defensive versatility, with experience last year at every position except for pitcher and catcher. After a disappointing year in 2015, he re-signed with the Pirates for $2.5 million. He won’t be that cheap this off-season.

Scott Van Slyke: Two years left of control (estimated $1.3 million in arbitration); .845 OPS against lefties (.739 last year). Many fans were clamoring to trade for him after his solid 2014 season but injuries and inconsistencies have slowed him down. Last year he battled back and wrist injuries and only played in 52 games. If he’s healthy, then his versatility and bat against lefties are exactly what the Mets will need.

Danny Valencia: One year left of control (estimated $5.3 million in arbitration); .873 OPS against lefties (.924 last year). Billy Beane doesn’t seem to love this guy despite his solid production since coming to Oakland. A’s prospect Ryon Healy impressed in his debut this past season and appears to have third base locked down. Ditto for left field where Khris Davis had a huge year. He was shopped at the trade deadline and likely will be shopped again this off-season.

There is a low probability of prying a Tyler White or David Freese away from their clubs. I thought about Mark Reynolds, who is a free agent, but last year he had reverse splits (although his career splits are fairly even).

One thing is for sure, Met fans don’t want to see anymore Eric Campbell. They also don’t want a retread like John Mayberry, Casey McGehee, or Chris Johnson.

A player of interest: Chris Colabello. I know, I know, his big 2015 season was likely due to steroids and he flamed out last year after returning from suspension. But, if the Jays non-tender him then he likely will come cheap and may be worth a $1 million risk.

Lots of scenarios and variables out there. Let me know what you think. Did I miss anyone? Any of these guys appeal to you?

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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Travis (T Boogy). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.

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Mets Activate James Loney, Demote Eric Campbell To Triple-A Tue, 31 May 2016 19:58:15 +0000 james loney

Eric Campbell has been demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas so that the Mets could open up a roster spot for newly acquired James Loney.

To make room on the 40 man roster, the Mets designated RHP Jeff Walters for assignment.

Loney, 32, was batting .342 with a .373 OBP and .424 slugging in 43 games with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate. He had nine doubles, two homers and 28 RBIs in 158 at-bats.

A career .285 major league hitter, Loney doesn’t have that prototypical first baseman’s power, but he owns a career .303 average with runners in scoring position.

Loney is in the lineup tonight, playing first base and batting sixth.

He figures to be in a platoon at first with Wilmer Flores, with Loney getting the bulk of the playing time against right-handed pitching. Although, Loney will play everyday as long as David Wright is out of the lineup.

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When Lagares Plays, Granderson Should Sit Not Conforto Sat, 09 Apr 2016 13:35:04 +0000 lagares conforto

I was afraid this was going to be the case as I wrote right after the New York Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes to that three year deal with the opt-out.

“Not only does the signing squash literally any substantial playing time for Alejandro De Aza, it may have just placed him squarely on the trading block. And then there’s Michael Conforto, does he go back to a straight platoon and sit against left-handed starters? I sure hope not.”

After today’s exciting 7-2 win against the Phillies, Terry Collins made it crystal clear. Asked about playing time for Juan Lagares, the Mets manager responded that he will be in a straight platoon with Michael Conforto.

Asked for his reasoning, Collins responded: “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to win games. This is not a time to develop players.”

Marc Carig of Newsday pondered if this was simply a matter of “shoehorning Lagares’ glove” in the outfield configuration, but Collins said, “I want his bat in there against lefties.”

It’s really a tough situation. I love Lagares and he showed up to camp in terrific physical condition and then went out and had a great Spring Training.

Then on the other hand, you have quite possibly the best home grown hitting prospect since David Wright in Michael Conforto – and he is way too young to pigeon-hole into a platoon role during his very critical development years.

It’s quite the Metsian conundrum. But here’s my big question… I know he’s a veteran and all but why does Curtis Granderson get a free pass here? Granderson has no business being in the lineup against lefty starters with his .558 OS. He’s a dead out – especially at the top of the order.

I love the idea of getting Lagares in the lineup against LHP, Collins is right, Lagares is solid against them and plus you upgrade defensively. 

But Michael Conforto shouldn’t be the one that’s benched with Lagares in center field, that distinction should fall on Curtis Granderson. You go with Cespedes in LF, Lagares in CF and Conforto in RF. That makes the most sense.

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2016 Season Preview: Alejandro De Aza, OF Wed, 23 Mar 2016 13:02:17 +0000 alejandro de aza

Alejandro De Aza, OF
DOB – April 11, 1984 (31 on Opening Day)
Bats/Throws: L/L
Contract Status: One-year, $5.75 million with $2M incentives

2015 Recap

Alejandro De Aza had his best season at the plate since 2012, posting a .262/.333/.422 line (104 wRC+) between three teams last year. The outfielder had a weak first month with the Orioles, hitting just .214/.277/.359 in 30 games, but had success in both Boston and San Francisco.

As a left-handed hitter, De Aza has had continued success against right-handed pitching throughout his career, and 2015 was no exception. De Aza hit .278/.351/.448 with seven homers in 314 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last year. That .799 OPS against righties was well above the league average of .723.

De Aza had a so-so year defensively, posting a -4 DRS and -1.1 UZR. Overall, he was worth about 1.2 Wins Above Replacement according to Fangraphs and 0.9 according to Baseball-Reference.

2016 Projections

Marcel – 435 PAs, .256/.319/.399, 9 HR

Steamer – 413 PAs, .241/.304/.364, 7 HR

ZiPS – 479 PAs, .257/.319/.401, 9 HR, 103 OPS+

The Mets signed Alejandro De Aza purely to face right-handed pitching which should immediately boost his numbers. I think you’ll see Juan Lagares get significant at-bats against right-handed pitching simply to have his glove on the field.

That being said, De Aza has been effective at what the Mets signed him for. Over his career, he has a .274/.338/.418 line against right-handed pitching, which is slightly above average.

In terms of indicators, there is nothing to point to that says De Aza’s 2015 season was a fluke. His BABIP was right around his career average, his line drive rate didn’t change very much, nor did his hard hit ball rate. And keep in mind he is still 31 years old, so he’s not old either.

The real question with De Aza is not how well he is going to hit right-handed pitching, because he is well-established as above average against them. The real question is whether or not he can handle center field. He hasn’t played much center field of late because he’s simply been on rosters with some great center fielders like Jackie Bradley, Adam Jones, and Adam Eaton.

However, the defensive stats are a bit strange for De Aza. UZR pegs him as a tick above average over his career in center while Defensive Runs Saved has him at -18 runs. Still, that DRS number was fueled by just one season. While he certainly isn’t an above average defender De Aza’s awful season in center a few years ago could have very well been a fluke or a flaw with the DRS statistic.

This is certainly not a Yoenis Cespedes situation where all the defensive metrics say the defense is bad. This is just an example of a situation where a defensive metric may not work perfectly for certain players. We’ll have to see how De Aza handles center field this year to know for sure.

If De Aza sticks around and actually gets significant playing time against righties, we can expect a slightly above average hitter (his career slash line against righties is .274/.338/.418). De Aza is by no means a flashy player, but he will do the job. Having Cespedes in center certainly makes the signing more palatable, no matter your opinion of him.

NOTE: This was written before the Cespedes signing, with slight modifications made.


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Six Teams Are Interested In Outfielder Alejandro De Aza Mon, 14 Mar 2016 03:39:55 +0000 alejandro de aza 2

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN on Twitter, six teams are reportedly interested in trading for Alejandro De Aza, however, the Mets are still trying to find the right match.

The Mets signed De Aza to a one-year, $5.75 million deal in December, with the intent that him and Juan Lagares would platoon in center field. The Mets reportedly want to move his entire contract.

Yoenis Cespedes then became available and changed everything when he signed with the Mets, relegating De Aza to a reserve role.

De Aza split the 2015 season between the Orioles, Red Sox and Giants and hit at a .261/.319/.436 clip with seven home runs and 32 runs batted in over the span of 90 games.

The teams that are reportedly interested in acquiring the veteran outfielder according to MLB Trade Rumors are the Indians, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Angels, and Royals.

So far this spring for the Mets, De Aza is 7-for-16.

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Platooning From A Position of Strength Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:25:10 +0000 2 granderson darnaud

I was watching MLB Network this morning as they did a replay of yesterday’s episode of ‘MLB Now’ with Brian Kenny. Dick Scott, the Mets new bench coach, was on the phone. The questions were about prospects and was there anyone he considered able to assist the major league team this season.

The former Director of Player Development made a great point. While farmhands like Matt Reynolds and Dilson Herrera might be called up this season, someone like Amed Rosario or Gavin Cecchini could get a September callup and Dominic Smith is a year or two away…there’s just no room in Queens.

This is the first time I can remember when the Amazin’s head into Port St. Lucie with just about everything already locked up. There are no position battles on the horizon and the only true question is who will support Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed and Antonio Bastardo in the bullpen.

But even as I write that, I realize that there’s maybe two spots available between Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker, Dario Alvarez and Rafael Montero. And that’s not mentioning the fact that roster spots will eventually be needed for Zack Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia and Josh Edgin.

Face it Mets fans, we’re rooting for a team with a plethora of major league talent and with more quality position pieces on the horizon.

It’s a roster that’s been assembled to get the best for what’s been paid for it. I’ve willingly altered my opinion on Juan Lagares and his role, accepting that the former Gold Glover will be an exceptional 4th OF in a platoon with Yoenis Cesdepes. But it’s not really a platoon with our big-ticket big bat.

michael conforto 2

The platoon is really with Michael Conforto since he’s projected to sit against LHP, moving Cespedes to his natural position in LF. According to August Fagerstrom’s recent article on FanGraphs, the duo of Lagares and Conforto is the fifth most promising projected platoon.

With Conforto playing 2/3 of the time against righties and Lagares the other 1/3 against lefties, they combine to project a WAR of 2.9, a Defensive Runs Above Average (Def) of 2.0 and a weighted runs created plus (wRC+) of 107, or seven points above league average.

Now while that 107 is one point less than what Gerardo Parra put up last year, his WAR was a 0.4 and his Def was -22.1. It’s equal to the Braves’ Nick Markakis and while his WAR was 1.6, his Def was -10.8. Long story short, the Mets are getting a better than average outfield with good defense to boot.

Of course, if you read what Sandy Alderson said yesterday on this subject, nothing is written in stone yet on the outfield alignment and both Conforto and Lagares can shift to right field, rendering Curtis Granderson as the one who shifts to the bench against LHP and not the kid. It’s a good problem to have.

But like I said, they were the fifth best projected platoon. Want to guess which pair was No. 1?

Here’s a hint – One is a Pittsburgh native, the other proved last year that he lives and cries for the Orange and Blue.

The newly-acquired Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores are likely to share at-bats at second base this year since according to Fagersrom, Walker “has been 40% better against righties (123 wRC+) than lefties (83) throughout his career”. Between his plummet last year to a 58 wRC+ against LHP and Flores’ .310 batting average and .955 OPS against southpaws, it makes sense we’ll see Wilmer when Walker sits.

Whether Wilmer is playing second at the time is a different matter. He’s going to be asked to play the entire infield and against LHP, Terry Collins might want to sit Lucas Duda since Ruben Tejada has a better glove up the middle.

And while David Wright has a career .340 average with a 1.005 OPS against lefties, he’s going to sit at times in 2016. So Flores at third, Duda at 1st, Cabrera and Tejada up the middle? And I’ve failed to mention if Dilson Herrera comes north with the team. A .400 hitter in 115 ABs against LHP at Las Vegas, maybe he starts at 2nd?

These are the types of problems Collins will have to deal with. Problems from a position of strength, where the wrong answer may only go 1-for-3 instead of 2-for-3. That’s the kind of season we’re optimistically in store for and I can’t wait.


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Wilmer Flores Needs to be Ready for Anything in 2016 Wed, 27 Jan 2016 13:09:57 +0000 wilmer flores

While everyone is trying to decipher the outfield configuration after the Yoenis Cespedes signing, there is the issue of how the rest of the Mets’ offseason has put added importance on Wilmer Flores‘ ability to be a super utility infielder.

Third Base

Make no mistake. The Mets need Flores to be able to handle the role and handle it well. For starters, we do not know David Wright‘s ability to withstand a full 162 game schedule. Last year, Wright had difficulty playing three days in a row. It impacted his offense and defense. With a full offseason to continue the extra work needed due to his spinal stenosis, that could change for Wright. It also may be a new reality.

Flores has to be ready, willing, and able to play third at a moment’s notice. In his major league career, Flores has only played 209 innings at third base. During that limited time, he did show the ability to handle the position. The problem is he has to work on his third base instincts and footwork while addressing his second base defense.

Second Base

When the Mets acquired Neil Walker to replace Daniel Murphy, the Mets obtained a switch-hitting second baseman who has hit .272/.338/.427 over the course of his career. That’s with him coming off the worst year of his career last season when he hit .269/.328/.427 with 16 homers and 71 RBI. One of Walker’s issues last year was left-handed pitching. Walker hit a dreadful .237/.284/.290 in 62 games against lefties. That’s a .575 OPS compared to .793 against RHP. Effectively, it screams that Walker is a platoon player.

Ideally, the best platoon partner would be Flores. However, Flores has to be able to hit lefties himself and last year, Flores did that with aplomb. In 57 games, Flores hit .310/.355/.600 with 7 of his 16 homers against lefties last year. However, for his career, Flores has only hit .230/.288/.403 against lefties, so was last season ab outlier? Overall, for the Walker trade to work Flores needs to be the 2015 version of himself against lefties as opposed to what he’s done against them in his entire career.

ruben tejada wilmer flores

First Base

First base is where it starts to get dicey for Flores. With the Cespedes signing, Lucas Duda became the only player on the roster with any major league experience at first base. This forces Flores to learn a new position in addition to keeping prepared for his other backup roles.

How much Flores is needed will depend on Duda. Last year, Duda hit a respectable .285/.333/.545 with seven homers and 21 RBI in 82 games against LHP. However, much of that was fueled by an extraordinarily high BABIP of .385. For his career, Duda has hit .229/.301/.369 with a .321 BABIP. In short, Duda is due for a regression against lefties. It will be Flores’ job to cushion the fall back to earth while hoping his numbers against lefties don’t regress either.


The Mets signed Asdrubal Cabrera to be the new everyday shortstop. A role that used to belong to Flores. Cabrera’s backup to open the season should be Ruben Tejada, who actually wrestled the shortstop job away from Flores last year.

Here’s the issue. The one spot Flores isn’t backing up is the one spot where he was most needed in 2015. Last year, Cabrera had a -6.0 UZR and a -7 DRS at shortstop. For his career, he has a -55.5 UZR and a -29 DRS at short. Tejada had a -5.6 UZR and a -15 DRS at short last year. For his career, he has a -1.5 UZR and a -20 DRS there. Flores had a -2.5 UZR and a -10 DRS at short last year with a 1.5 UZR and a -13 DRS for his career.

So defensively, at least according to all the advanced metrics, Flores is the best defensive shortstop option. In fact, it became apparent during the postseason the great strides Flores had made as a shortstop. However, the Mets are going with Cabrera in the hopes that his .328/.372/.544 second half will carry forward because otherwise the Mets signed a shortstop who has hit .249/.307/.405 in the three years since his last All Star appearance.


Surprisingly, much of the Mets’ new mantra of versatility and flexibility will lie squarely on Flores’ shoulders this season. He has to platoon at second. He has to hit against tough left-handers while playing first. He has to be available at a moment’s notice to spell Wright at third base. And he’s also the top right-handed bat off the bench,.

Flores is still only 24 years old. He works hard, and he will do everything he can do to improve and help the team. He’s going to need to be proficient in three to four infield positions because the Mets really need his help. He’s suddenly become one of the more important pieces in that Mets dugout and even Sandy Alderson recently said he expects a minimum of 400 at-bats for last year’s folk hero. 


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Giants Agree To 3-Year Deal With Denard Span Thu, 07 Jan 2016 23:18:35 +0000 denatd span

According to Jon Heyman via Twitter, the San Francisco Giants have agreed on a three-year deal with free agent outfielder Denard Span. The deal is worth $31 million guaranteed, includes $5 million in incentives, and is pending a physical.

Span had an injury plagued 2015, playing in only 61 games for the Nationals. However, he was effective when healthy and batted .301 with a .365 OBP and .431 slugging in 275 plate appearances with five home runs and 22 RBI in the leadoff spot. He also stole 11 bases without being caught.

Averaging 119 games a year, Span is a .287/.352/.395 career hitter. He has stolen 152 bases, averaging 19 a year. His best year was 2014, in which he hit .302/.355/.416 with 39 doubles, eight triples, five home runs, and 31 stolen bases. He was tied with Ben Revere for most hits in the National League with 184.

Span’s career .352 on base percentage, as well as his speed, made him a great option for the leadoff spot, and until the Mets signed Alejandro De Aza, they were firmly fixed on him as their center fielder. However, interest evaporated when they learned Span wanted more than a one-year deal.


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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 To Attend Denard Span Workout After New Year Sat, 19 Dec 2015 12:40:30 +0000 denatd span

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post has confirmed that the New York Mets are among the teams that will be on hand for the special workout Denard Span has planned  in Tampa after the New Year.

The free agent center fielder says he fully recovered from his hip surgery and his agent Scott Boras says Span is running at full speed. Boras planned the workout so that teams won’t be apprehensive about offering a 3-4 year deal.

Previous Report – 12/17

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that free agent Denard Span will hold a workout for interested teams in early January according to his agent Scott Boras. During the Winter Meetings, Boras said that Span was running at full speed with no ill-effects from the hip surgery that ended his season.

“Leadoff hitters are in demand, they’re hard to find, and a guy who plays center field on top of it,” Boras said of his client while in Nashville. “He offers teams a very unique skill set. And I think the only thing they need to see is just the fact that he’s back at 100 percent.”

Span had an injury plagued 2015, playing in only 61 games for the Nationals. However, he was effective when healthy and batted .301 with a .365 OBP and .431 slugging in 275 plate appearances with five home runs and 22 RBI in the leadoff spot. He also stole 11 bases without being caught.

A former first-rounder, Span has a career .293 average and .760 OPS against right-handed pitching and he certainly would make a strong platoon with Juan Lagares in center field.

However, it doesn’t sound like Boras is looking for anything less than a situation where Span will continue to be an everyday center fielder.

Averaging 119 games a year, Span is a .287/.352/.395 career hitter. He has stolen 152 bases, averaging 19 a year. His best year was 2014, in which he hit .302/.355/.416 with 39 doubles, eight triples, five home runs, and 31 stolen bases. He was tied with Ben Revere for most hits in the National League with 184.

Span’s career .352 on base percentage, as well as his speed, make him a great option for the leadoff spot if he’s healthy. The Mets lacked a legitimate stolen base threat last season, and Span could give them a weapon they haven’t really had in a few years.  But are they willing to give Span more than a one or two year deal?

FanGraphs projects Span to get a three year deal valued at $36 million, paying him through his age 34 season. How would you like to see the Mets approach this?


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Mets Checked In With 1B/OF Ryan Raburn Thu, 17 Dec 2015 04:16:27 +0000 raburn ryan

According to Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record, the Mets have checked in on free agent outfielder Ryan Raburn.

I wrote about Raburn last week as a potential option for the Mets as a bench player who could give Terry Collins some valuable flexibility as a player who can play both corner outfield spots as well as first base.

Raburn, 34, batted .303/.393/.543 in 201 plate appearances for the Cleveland Indians this year, and he absolutely crushed left-handed pitching. He posted a 1.004 OPS against them this season and has a .827 mark against LHP for his career.

He could be a great platoon option for Michael ConfortoCurtis Granderson or Lucas Duda who aren’t nearly as prolific against southpaws.

Raburn has also played some second base and third base in his career and could probably contribute there in a pinch, making him a potentially excellent super-utility player for the Mets. 

On Tuesday, Terry Collins tossed out the idea that Wilmer Flores could see some time as Lucas Duda’s primary backup unless the front office added a more experienced option. So this does make perfect sense.

And you know what, my friends? The Mets have been making perfect sense since the offseason started.

I’m thinking the they could probably get him for “Carl Crawford money” Heh Heh… Raburn will likely fetch a deal for roughly $2 million.

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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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Mets Still Open To Full-Time Center Fielder Fri, 11 Dec 2015 03:17:30 +0000 juan lagares

While it seems ever more likely that the Mets will be looking for a platoon player in center field in the coming weeks, Assistant GM John Ricco won’t rule out the possibility of acquiring a full-time center fielder.

It appears likely that Juan Lagares will enter next season as part of a platoon, but there are certainly a good deal of full-time options available in free agency and on the trade market.

“If it were somebody to replace [Lagares], I’m not going to say no to that,” Ricco told reporters at the Winter Meetings, “But that’s just another one of the options we’re looking at.”

Among the potential acquisitions are Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, George Springer, Denard Span, and Dexter Fowler.

However, there are also plenty of platoon options out there, such as Will Venable, Gerardo Parra, and others.

Lagares hit .273/.333/.438 this past year against lefties, but struggled to a .253/.271/.328 line against right-handed pitching.


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Latest Mets Buzz: Talked To Reps For Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra, Asdrubal Cabrera Mon, 07 Dec 2015 21:00:37 +0000 zobrist ben

Afternoon Updates

1. The Mets met with the reps for Ben Zobrist this afternoon, but as Assistant GM pointed out on Sunday, they represent other clients the team is interested in including Gerardo Parra and Asdrubal Cabrera. That said, Mets had nothing new to add on the Zobrist front after the meeting.

2. Apparently, Ben Zobrist is not interested in being a utility player and prefers to stay put at one position or at the very least a semi-regular position. That would mean second base for the Mets and a good chance Dilson Herrera heads back to Triple-A. Also, he’s not a fan of playing left field, so Giants could have a strike against them. That leaves Mets and Nats as the final two.

3. Rumors running around that Jeff Wilpon is heading to the Winter Meetings and that it could mean the Mets have something major to announce. But if there is any truth to that, it won’t be to announce a Zobrist deal because he has yet to meet with the Nationals on Tuesday. Additionally, his reps say no decision until Thursday. Maybe Jeff just wanted a good pulled pork sandwich.

4. In case you needed to hear it, John Ricco told reporters that they were never in on Joakim Soria for the same reasons as Darren O’Day and Ryan Madson – too expensive. Also it means a few Mets beat writers need to find better sources. By the way, the Mets are telling prospective relief targets there will be late game opportunities as an enticement.

It’s all about Zobrist, folks…. More updates this evening…

Morning Updates

1. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, teams that have inquired on LHP Tony Sipp say he’s looking for a Zach Duke-Boone Logan type contract. Three years, $5-6 million per year. Sipp was 3-4 last season with a 1.99 ERA and 1.010 WHIP. He exhibited an improved K/9 (10.3) and a much improved BB/9 (2.5) in 54.1 innings, sporting a 2.93 FIP. Mets have him on their radar.

2. Jim Duquette of MLB Network spoke to Mets assistant GM John Ricco this morning who told him: that signing Ben Zobrist is not an either or proposition. If they sign do sign Zobrist, they still fully intend to fill their other stated needs to acquire a setup reliever and lefty swinging center fielder to platoon with Juan Lagares. Ricco expects to make at least one deal before leaving the Winter Meetings.

3. John Ricco also told Duquette that with the price of pitching on the market escalating, it makes Mets pitchers even more valuable, but the team would consider trading Jon Niese if something beneficial to the Mets materialized.

4. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the Kansas City Royals are interested in signing Gerardo Parra who is also considered a top target for the Mets. Parra slashed .291/.328/.452 with a 108 wRC+ in 589 plate appearances for the Brewers and Orioles this season. He also hit well against right handed pitching, sporting a .345 wOBA, which makes him a great option to platoon with Juan Lagares.

5. Jon Heyman appeared on MLB Network and said he’s confirmed from various sources that Ben Zobrist has narrowed down his decision to three teams: the New York Mets, Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants. Decision expected before Thursday. Nats slated to meet with Zobrist tomorrow.

More updates to come…

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Pondering The Future Of Juan Lagares Sun, 06 Dec 2015 13:00:41 +0000 juan lagares

Is it too soon to call Juan Lagares a bust? As of now, that appears to be the call on the 5-year, $23-million the Mets gave to the flashy center fielder after his 2014 Gold Glove Award winning season.

He might get a pass because of a bad elbow that allowed base runners to take liberties on him. However, after a summer in which he regressed at the plate and balls were consistently hit over his head, he lost his starting job after the Yoenis Cespedes trade. Now the Mets go to the Winter Meetings with a plan of obtaining a center fielder to platoon with Lagares. What does that say?

We know the Mets won’t re-sign Cespedes or move Curtis Granderson to center. And, we also know Lagares has a lot of room for improvement at the plate and must stop his defensive regression if he’s to remain in the organization’s plans.

Working in Lagares’ favor is his age and the contract that will pay him $2.5 million in 2016. But then he will get $4.5 million in 2017, $6.5 million in 2018 and $9 million in 2019. While that might not be a lot of money for a full time center fielder, it is far too much for a platoon player, and definitely a lot for late-inning defense.

The primary free-agent targets to platoon with the .259-hitting Lagares are Denard Span and Dexter Fowler, both of whom will command large salaries, and most likely would not accept a platoon situation. That leaves Gerardo Parra who is a corner outfielder, but the Mets already have Michael Conforto, Michael Cuddyer and Granderson. And, if you go further down the options to David Murphy and Will Venable, the Mets might as well stick with Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Lagares, 27, has the Mets in a very awkward position. He has not played to the level they expected when they handed him that 5-year extension. A year ago Lagares was looked upon as the center fielder of the present as well as the future.

But much has changed in ten months and all the team can do at this point is hope for the best – even in his projected platoon role. The limitations of the market don’t give the Mets that ideal left-handed center fielder they really need to platoon with Lagares.

They’ll keep their fingers crossed and hope that Parra can capably handle center and be that guy, but nobody knows for sure. Still, it’s a risk worth taking because after Parra the other choices are not very ideal at all. Span and Fowler don’t see themselves as platoon guys and will want to get paid as starting center fielders rendering Lagares to a bench role and defensive replacement.

The Mets head to Nashville on Sunday for the start of the Winter Meetings. And while all eyes will be centered on Ben Zobrist and if the Mets did enough to convince him to come to Flushing for four years, solving center field is no less important. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fly back to New York on Thursday with Gerardo Parra signed, sealed and delivered. But getting back to Juan Lagares, nobody could have predicted a year ago that center field would be one of the top priorities for the Mets this offseason. It’s a disappointing turn of events.


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Kelly Johnson: You Hit Or You Sit? Tue, 11 Aug 2015 16:30:20 +0000 kelly Johnson

By now most of you have heard all about Terry Collins and his mantra of “either you hit or you sit,” and I don’t think there’s anyone among us who doesn’t applaud this.

But as I said at the time, I wonder if Collins will really stick to it, especially knowing his affinity for giving MLB veterans an extra-long leash even when they are severely underperforming.

Kelly Johnson seems to be getting the lion’s share of playing time between himself and Wilmer Flores. But when I look at what he’s done since joining the Mets, I wonder if Johnson merits all the starts he’s been getting.

Since July 25, Johnson has started 10 games while Flores has started just seven.

Johnson is hitless in his last nine at-bats, and overall he is batting .158 with a .463 OPS in 40 plate appearances with the Mets.

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In that same span, Flores is batting .290 with a .796 OPS in 32 plate appearances.

While the trade for Johnson and Juan Uribe from Atlanta was a big and bold move for the Mets, it’s easy to forget that Johnson is just a .231 hitter since 2012. Certainly a nice addition to the bench, but definitely not the near-everyday player Collins thinks he is at this stage of his career.

I get the whole lefty/righty thing between Johnson and Flores, but I think it’s way too early at 24 to relegate Flores to a platoon player. Sorry I’m not buying that.

And given Wilmer’s significant improvement offensively since the switch to his more natural second base (.303/.327/.505) I want to see more of him not less.

Anyway, all I’m saying is if this is really a “you hit and you play” kind of a team, then Flores should be playing more and Johnson should be playing less.

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Collins Insists Duda Not In A Platoon, But Will Sit Against Lefty In Atlanta Fri, 10 Apr 2015 11:58:26 +0000 lucas duda

During spring training, Mets manager Terry Collins said that starting 1st baseman, Lucas Duda would not platoon at first base during the regular season. However that could be subject to change this weekend.

The Mets will head into Atlanta to face another division rival, the Braves this weekend, who are set to start lefty, Eric Stults on Friday and another southpaw, Alex Wood on Sunday.

Collins announced on Thursday that Duda will likely sit in one of those games. If Duda sits, Michael Cuddyer will move to first base while reserve John Mayberry Jr will get to start in the outfield.

One of the factors is that Lucas struggled mightily vs lefties last season. He hit .180 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs in 111 at bats vs southpaws.

However, a refocused Duda came to camp and performed very well during spring training against left-handers, even demanding he play against.some of the best like David Price. He batted .304/.385/.552 in 23 at-bats against lefties this spring.

“It gets a little bit overplayed, I guess. It’s monotonous to hear about it,” Duda said last March about him being unable to hit lefties. “It is what it is. I’m comfortable facing them on a daily basis. That’s all that really matters.”

Nevertheless Duda will probably sit out in one of those games started by a left this weekend. He is 0 for 6 with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks in his career vs Wood, and against Stults, he is 1 for 4 with 2 Ks.


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Ike Davis Still Has Dirty Taste In His Mouth Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:54:34 +0000 ike-davis-mlb-oakland-athletics-workout-850x560

In an exclusive interview with Andy Martino of the Daily News, former Mets first baseman Ike Davis still has a bad taste in his mouth from his time in New York.

Nearly a year removed from New York, he can now acknowledge several hard truths: His Valley Fever returned last spring, which was not previously known (Davis feels much better now, he says, but his 2014 Mets physical revealed the issue had once again appeared on his lungs). The ankle injury in 2011 altered the course of his career. And he was deeply hurt by a 2012 report suggesting that the Mets took issue with his nightlife habits.

“That’s really the only thing that I still have a dirty taste in my mouth about. Because everything else, you could see it in numbers. What, am I going to argue? I didn’t play well. But as far as calling me out for drinking problems, and being a bad influence — that was a joke. It’s ridiculous. But you can use it as a learning experience: You can’t trust people.”

The perception followed Davis when the Pirates acquired him last April, and his manager Clint Hurdle raised the issue.

“Clint asked me about it when I first got over there,” Davis says. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, but a guy made up an article.’

“He was like, ‘I heard you’ve had issues.” And I was like, ‘Issues with what? I’ve never gotten in trouble. I’ve never gotten in a fight. I’ve never done anything to anyone. Yeah, I’ve gone out and had beers and stuff, but who hasn’t done that?’ I don’t know why I got singled out.”

Davis, 28, is expected to get the majority of playing time in a first base platoon for the Oakland A’s this season. The former first round draft pick says he’s healthy now and is hoping to resurrect his career as a power-hitting middle of the order hitter.


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Lucas Duda Is Willing To Platoon At First Base Thu, 04 Dec 2014 20:56:58 +0000 lucas duda hr

While Lucas Duda applauded the addition of Michael Cuddyer, he understands that he could lose playing time to him against lefthanded pitching.

And despite struggling against lefties in the last two seasons, batting just .180 off them in 2014, Duda believes he can still be proficient against southpaws. That said, Duda, who is coming off a breakthrough season, is perfectly fine if Terry Collins decides to platoon him.

“I feel like in the past I’ve hit lefties a little bit better than I’ve shown or I’ve had the confidence to,” Duda said. “But again if he has to spell me at first base against lefties then whatever is good for the team. Whatever will help us win, I’m all for. I’ll come off the bench or come in late in the game. Whatever it is. Anything to help us win, I think, that’s our main goal and we’ve got to accomplish it this year.”

First off, I am a huge fan of Lucas Duda.  When considering the question about platooning Duda, I have to ask myself a different question: Do the Mets have a better chance of winning with Duda in the lineup against left-handed pitching?

As much as I want to see him get as many at-bats as possible, the answer to that question is still an overwhelming, NO.  Even if Duda becomes serviceable versus lefties, he will never be the same hitter that he is against righties.

Duda hit 30 home runs this past season, and did virtually nothing against southpaws, just two in 125 plate appearances. It also looked like it negatively impacted his production against right-handed pitching when Terry Collins started to give him more playing time against later in the season. He was so focused on trying to go the other way against LHP, that he went into a month long slump against righties.  Additionally, he seemed to wear down a bit playing everyday and looked like he benefited with those occasional nights off.

What is the advantage of playing Duda against lefties?  So he can hit 32 homers instead of 30 but at the expense of about 130 unproductive at-bats? Wouldn’t the team be much better off having a RH batter that crushes lefties playing those games instead? What if we find a platoon partner that hits 10 or more home runs in those at-bats with a .300 or better batting average?  Suddenly we have 40 homer, 40 double, 125 RBI  production from our first base position. You think that could put more of those one-run losses into our win column?

Having a platoon partner with Duda would not only improve the lineup against guys like Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Mike Minor, but just think of match-up problems it would cause when the opposing manager goes to the bullpen? We have Lucas Duda chomping at the bit to get in the batters box as soon as a right handed reliever enters the game. Even if the opposing manager immediately takes out the righty and brings in a lefty specialist, you still made them burn two relief pitchers to get one guy out. So it’s not like Duda wouldn’t play during most of those games he starts on the bench.

Duda turns 29 in February, at this age you are what you are…

This is not about the name on the back of the jersey, it’s about the name on the front. And all the evidence points to increased production from first base with Lucas Duda in a platoon.

(Updated 12/4)


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Featured Post: Keith Lays Down The Law On Cuddyer Sat, 15 Nov 2014 15:38:26 +0000 Michael-Cuddyer-Okay-but-Bullpen-Is-Ailing-Rockies-Rundown

Some of you may remember that Michael Cuddyer article we ran a few days ago that featured the different media reactions – mostly positive – to his signing and how mixed in with all of them we had this one:

Keith Law, ESPN – LOL Mets

Since then, I’ve been anxiously awaiting a full article from him after that two word response on Twitter, and here it is – from ESPN Insider – and it’s not for the squeamish.

Michael Cuddyer was just 48th in my ranking of the top 50 free agents; he’s a broken-down 35-year-old (36 in March) outfielder who can no longer play that position and is probably just suited for platoon duty.

The Rockies shocked most of the industry by making him a qualifying offer, running the risk of paying him $15.3 million when his production was extremely likely to be worth less than half that.

The Mets, undaunted, decided to double-down on this insanity by giving Cuddyer a two-year, $20 million contract and giving up the 15th pick in the 2015 draft, in effect paying Cuddyer about four times any reasonable estimate of his value while totally misunderstanding where their roster is.

That was just for starters, he then goes on to bullet pointing each of Cuddyer’s shortcomings in greater detail while establishing his case that Cuddy is finished as an outfielder and the Mets got themselves a high-priced platoon first baseman.

Cuddyer’s list of problems as a player is lengthy, but the biggest one is that he’s no longer an outfielder in anything but name. Between the age, injuries and the fact that he was never that good on defense to begin with, he’s the worst outfielder to spend any significant time out there in the majors over the past two years.

He has become extremely injury-prone, qualifying for the batting title just once in the three years …He went to Denver, and he’s probably going to leave most of that success behind when he heads for Queens. What Cuddyer really is at this point is a platoon first baseman, a partner for Lucas Duda, but not a $10 million player and certainly not worth giving up a mid-first round draft pick, let alone doing all of that in one deal.

This Cuddyer signing has sparked some incredible reactions and overreactions from all levels of the game ranging from fans, players, management, bloggers, and media alike. You have many now talking about the playoffs for the Mets, and even the World Series, all because of this one signing. You also have just as many others like Keith Law who see nothing but doom and gloom. It’s been amazing to see how signing a player who was ranked 50th on most free agent lists has generated so much emotion, so much negative reaction, and so much euphoric reaction.


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How Should Mets Handle Duda’s Struggles Against LHP? Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:09:23 +0000 lucas duda

Coming off an incredible breakthrough season in 2014 that saw him hit 30 home runs while driving in 92 runs, Lucas Duda may participate in the MLB All-Star tour of Japan, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

While a final decision hasn’t been made yet, it’s quite an honor that Major League Baseball is looking at Duda to represent the best of the best for their team.

Duda prospered after the Mets traded Ike Davis and decided to stick with him as their regular first baseman. He posted an .830 OPS in 153 games and was one of the few bright spots for the Mets this season.

After he was finally moved up in the batting order, Duda stabilized the lineup from the cleanup spot and at times carried the team.

If there’s a knock on Duda, it’s that he needs to improve against lefties. He batted just .180 with two homers and a .516 OPS in 125 plate appearances against southpaws. But I’ll also point out he seemed to be improving in that regard during the final month of the season which included a clutch walk-off home run in the last series of the season off Astros lefty Tony Sipp.

On Sunday, I asked a few of our writers about Duda moving forward and here’s what they had to say:

Matt Balasis – He’s got to show he can do more against lefties, a .180 average just isn’t going to cut it. That being said he looked a little better as the year progressed and he needs to have the chance to be the everyday guy. Give him 6 weeks out of spring training and if he’s still under the Mendoza line pull the plug and platoon him.

Connor O’Brien – Duda is a really good hitter – against righties. As good as he is against RHP, he still shouldn’t be played against lefties. I don’t care what his final home run total is, a .180/.264/.252 line against lefties is unacceptable. Eric Campbell is already on the roster. Why not get more production out of first base if Campbell is already on the team anyway? Good overall numbers by Duda against righties should not force the Mets to just give up getting maximum production out of the position.

XtreemIcon – This is the first winter in Duda’s career he knows he’s the starter. While he can’t continue playing everyday hitting LHP the way he does, I think he deserves one offseason of being able to solely focus on improving against LHP because he doesn’t have to focus on winning a starting job. The Mets should give him three months into the season playing every day. If he’s still struggling against LHP, then get Campbell in there for now and next offseason look for a strict platoon partner if Campbell doesn’t grow capably into that role.

We’ll be hearing a lot more about Duda’s needed improvement against southpaws this offseason as both Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson pointed to it as an opportunity in their end of the season press conferences.


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