Mets Merized Online » Shin Soo Choo Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:21:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2014 Free Agent Review: The Long Term Deals (Part 1 of 3) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:35:38 +0000 robinson-cano

Baseball is a game that is constantly evolving and the team’s that successfully navigate the natural growth of the sport are identifying their strengths and maximizing the results.  The traditional format of growing pitching and buying bats is transitioning into an all organic format.  

The majority of playoff quality teams are rounding out their lineups of homegrown talent with one or two well chosen external pieces that hurdle the club to the top. There are exceptions to every rule for spending in the free agent market, but examining the results of last year’s class may provide some insight as to how the Mets should proceed this winter.

The type of signing that brings the most risk to reward ratio is a long term contract, ranging 7-10 years with over $100 million in guaranteed salary. In the first of five installments, let’s take a look at 2014’s long term free agent signings and identify which two contracts represent the best and worst deals inked over the long haul.

Long term signings are becoming a rarity in today’s game.  Most MLB teams hedge on their young talent with front loaded, team friendly deals, in order to maximize the return on their productivity. There are still exceptions, particularly for players in their prime who possess multiple plus tools. Last year’s headliners were Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo.

Cano, formerly of the New York Yankees, was signed to a 10 year, $240 million contract by the Seattle Mariners last offseason.  It’s ironic that there was ever a deal too rich for the Yankees’ blood, but the former Bomber transitioned to the West Coast nicely. His 14 home runs was nearly half his total from the previous season, but there’s little difference in his overall statistics aside from that.

His .314/.382/.836 slash line had a plus-minus margin of 0.00/(.001)/(.063) when compared to last year’s production in the Bronx. Critics may argue that the slugger was paid $24 million to do just that, hit home runs, but the majority of MLB teams would pay his contract if they could guarantee his 2014 numbers that included 187 hits, 82 RBI, 77 runs and a 1.108 OPS with runners in scoring position. Cano also stayed healthy all season and played gold glove caliber defense over a stretch of 157 games. His unique range and strong arm gave the Mariner’s an upgrade in run prevention, but the back end of his contract also holds less risk in the American League since the Mariners can transition him to a DH role later on past his prime.

Seattle made a bold decision when they agreed to pay Cano $24 million a year for 10 years, but the contract is a direct reflection of the impact that aggressive bidding has on the free agent market.  The team that signs a premium candidate is sacrificing payroll on the back end of the deal in order to secure high caliber production on the front end.  The Mariners found themselves in a position to contend with the addition of a top end player and felt that their window of opportunity to make the playoffs coincided with the prime years of Cano’s productivity.  Overall, Seattle missed the post-season, but the team improved their 2013 campaign by 16 wins, finishing at 87-75.  If they can get half that improvement heading into the 2015 season, they’ll be a lock for October baseball.

Shin-Soo Choo

Shin-Soo Choo was regarded for his high OBP and efficiency on the base paths, registering 107 runs scored in 2013 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.  In 2014, with the Texas Rangers, he played in 31 less games, registered 52 less hits, 49 less runs scored and drew 54 less walks.  His slash line had a plus-minus differential of (.043)/(.083)/(.171) compared to last year and his wRC+ dropped by 34% down to an even 100. That metric has a median focal point of 100, where every point above that number is a point above standard production.  So the Rangers were, by definition, paying $14 million for a league average player.

Choo could very well bounce back, but an interesting piece by FanGraphs points out that his .309 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in 2014, was drastically lower than his .346 career mark that spans over eight years and 4,000 plate appearances.  While .309 is still above league average, he would have to make contact at an unrealistic rate in order to generate the same results he had in 2013.

The deal becomes further complicated since, unlike Cano, Choo’s projected value stemmed entirely from his offensive production. His defense is not strong enough to offset his struggles at the plate, so his contract inherently carries more risk, gambling on a skill set that only contributes to one side of the ball. The Rangers appeared to have signed the albatross contract of 2014, especially when you consider that Choo’s deal increases to $21 million per year in the final two seasons.

Every free agent is signed with the intention of filling a void in a playoff team’s post-season narrative. There’s risk that comes with paying eight figures to an athlete on the wrong side of thirty, but Robinson Cano provided the type of output that kept Seattle in the playoff hunt all season.

Hypothetically, had the Mets signed Cano last offseason, it would have immediately upgraded the lineup. The Amazins’ had their own All-Star second baseman in Daniel Murphy, but Cano is an elite level talent compared to Murphy, whose defense negatively impacts is overall value.

The Mets found themselves on the outside looking in as the teams operating model discourages lengthy deals that are pricey and driven by a player’s past performance, not future.  Cano’s output would still be a welcomed addition to the Mets offense, but in retrospect, his deal now makes even less sense in Flushing since the emergence of Wilmer Flores and Dilson Herrera.  Both of those young players have a long road to travel before they reach a level similar to Cano’s, but their futures are bright and New York has other positions in need of attention.

Choo was considered by many baseball writers and experts as a great fit for the Mets last Winter, but it’s clear that New York dodged a bullet by passing on the former Reds standout.  The stadium in Arlington doesn’t have a suffocating effect on hitters, so it’s reasonable to assume that Choo’s drop off would have been exponentially worse in Citi Field.


The Mets will almost certainly avoid any long term deals in the near future.  The only other long term deal (7-10 years) was the Yankees signing of Jacoby Ellsbury at seven years and $153 million. However, at a cost of around $500,000 through the next several years, Juan Lagares is clearly the better option in my opinion.

As a left-handed hitter in Yankee stadium, Ellsbury turned in 16 home runs, 70 RBI’s and 39 stolen bases.  Whether that production is worth $21 million per year is debatable, but unlike the Mets, many teams are willing to pay elite salaries for above average offense.  The orange and blue got to watch their own star grow in center while the biggest deals from 2014 played elsewhere.

Given the current needs of the team,  I believe the front office made the right decision by passing on these three players and this offseason, the results should be the same.  None of the free agent position players warrant a deal longer than 7 years, so the focus should be on shorter, more team friendly deals that can improve the team.  .

Up next, mid level contracts ranging anywhere from 4 to 6 years.  There were several names within this group that many believed the Mets should have pursued, so I’m expecting some heated debate on this one.

Lets! Go! Mets!


]]> 0
Rangers Agree To Seven Year, $130 Million Deal With Choo Sat, 21 Dec 2013 17:48:33 +0000 Shin-Soo Choo

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, that the Texas Rangers have agreed to a seven-year deal with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo worth a reported $130 million dollars.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Choo turned down a seven-year, $140 million offer from the Yankees before they signed Carlos Beltran, so this is not in the least bit surprising.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels reportedly offered Choo a seven-year deal at the Winter Meetings, but no dollar amount was specified.

The former Reds center fielder will take his career .389 on-base percentage to Texas where he’ll provide plenty of RBI opportunities for newly acquired first baseman, Prince Fielder.

Choo, 31, batted .285/.423/.462 last season with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

]]> 0
Granderson Won’t Solve All Mets Problems, But He’s A Step In Right Direction Tue, 03 Dec 2013 12:00:34 +0000 curtis-granderson-op4e-6644With the Winter Meetings approaching, the time is now for the Mets to make a big splash. While building through the system is vital to the organization, completely ignoring the Mets present day needs is unacceptable. The Mets cannot stand pat again and let their fans suffer through another painful season. Mets fans are the best fans and baseball, and we deserve better than that.

One free agent who instantly improves the Mets is outfielder Curtis Granderson, and there is a report that Sandy Alderson has met with him. Granderson’s bat adds depth to the lineup, and he gives the Mets the cleanup hitter they desperately need. In two out of the past three seasons, Granderson has crushed over 40 home runs and collected over 100 RBI. He also adds the dimensions of speed and defense. He is a fast runner, and has stolen over 20 bases three times during his career. Defensively, he is regarded as a solid defender in centerfield.

Since Granderson is coming off a down season, he is a tremendous buy low candidate. Granderson did not produce his usual numbers because he suffered two fluke injuries. He was hit by two pitches, which caused him to miss significant time. This has made his price compared to other free agents like Shin Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury significantly less. With all the Mets recent finical issues, an opportunity to land a potential star at a relative discount is a chance the Mets have to pounce on.

While many people will diminish Granderson’s production because he played half his games at Yankee Stadium, I don’t believe this is much of an issue. Granderson doesn’t have to hit 40+ home runs to be an asset to the Mets. Even if you cut out half of his home runs in 2012 and 2011, that total is still higher than any current Met hit last year. Granderson is also a complete player, so his value is not totally dependent on the long ball.

Granderson fills a need and improves the Mets offensively, defensively and on the base paths. While Granderson will not solve all the Mets problems, he is a step in the right direction. To passively wait for 2015 before 2014 even starts is not a viable option. The Mets need to be aggressive and must make an attempt to improve the major league team this offseason.

]]> 0
MMO Free Agent Prediction Contest: Win Free Tickets To See The Mets In April! Wed, 20 Nov 2013 17:45:59 +0000 jacoby ellsbury

I was taking a look at a month old post from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who enlisted the services of one unbiased agent and one unbiased GM to put together their free agent predictions for this 2013-2014 offseason.

I was curious to see where they had LaTroy Hawkins, Marlon Byrd and Josh Johnson pegged and surprising all three signed for far less than what many expected.

Here is what they came up with:


Hawkins got literally half of what the consensus had projected, Johnson got 20% less than what they predicted, and Byrd they came closest to, but still less than what they expected on average.

I’m a little late on this, but we had a little Free Agent Prediction contest among our staff and wanted to share our predictions with you. We decided to go with what we believed were the top twelve available free agents and predict their ultimate destinations.

Johnson was included in our Top 12 and not one of us had him going to the Padres although many of us saw him going to the West Coast.

Here are the rest of our predictions including DrDooby who included projected deals as well…


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees, 8-years, $200 million

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Mariners, 6-years, $120 million

3. Brian McCann – Rangers, 5-years, $90 million

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Mets, 5-years, $95 million ;-)

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees, $70 million posting fee and 5-year, $55 million contract

6. Carlos Beltran – Red Sox, 2-years, $35 million contract

7. Ervin Santana – Cubs, 4-years, $54 million

8. Matt Garza – Phillies, 5-years, $75 million

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees, 1-year, $16 million

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox, 2-years, $28 million

11. Josh Johnson - Rangers, 2-years, $21 million

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies, 3-years, $36 million


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Yankees

3. Brian McCann – Rangers

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Rangers

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Red Sox

7. Ervin Santana – Cubs

8. Matt Garza – Yankees

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Japan

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Padres

12. Nelson Cruz – Mariners


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Mariners

3. Brian McCann – Rangers

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Reds

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – Royals

8. Matt Garza – Mets

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Nationals

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Phillies

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Dodgers

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – Pirates

8. Matt Garza – Orioles

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Blue Jays

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Mariners

3. Brian McCann – Angels

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Pirates

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Royals

7. Ervin Santana – Twins

8. Matt Garza – Giants

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Dodgers

12. Nelson Cruz – Rangers


1. Robinson Cano – Nationals

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Mets

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Yankees

7. Ervin Santana – Indians

8. Matt Garza – Angels

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Phillies

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Cubs

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Reds

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Dodgers

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – Royals

8. Matt Garza – Yankees

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Mets

12. Nelson Cruz – Philiels

Joe D.

1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Cubs

3. Brian McCann – Rangers

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Tigers

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Orioles

7. Ervin Santana – Royals

8. Matt Garza – Giants

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – A’s

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Mariners

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Cubs

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – White Sox

8. Matt Garza – Reds

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Rangers

11. Josh Johnson – Jays

12. Nelson Cruz – Mets (why not)


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Rangers

3. Brian McCann – Rangers

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Yankees

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Dodgers

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – Cubs

8. Matt Garza – Angels

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – A’s

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies

Joe S.

1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox

3. Brian McCann – Dodgers

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Cardinals

5. Masahiro Tanaka -

6. Carlos Beltran – Red Sox

7. Ervin Santana – Rockies

8. Matt Garza – Rockies

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Mets

12. Nelson Cruz – Mets


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Red Sox

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Phillies

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – Cubs

8. Matt Garza – Rangers

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Angels

10. Mike Napoli – Pirates

11. Josh Johnson – White Sox

12. Nelson Cruz – Indians

Peter K.

1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Mariners

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Mets

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Angels

6. Carlos Beltran – Yankees

7. Ervin Santana – White Sox

8. Matt Garza – Rangers

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Dodgers

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Mets

12. Nelson Cruz – Rangers


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Rangers

3. Brian McCann – Yankees

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Mariners

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Cubs

6. Carlos Beltran – Phillies

7. Ervin Santana – Pirates

8. Matt Garza – Giants

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Cubs

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – White Sox

12. Nelson Cruz – Orioles


1. Robinson Cano – Yankees

2. Jacoby Ellsbury – Mariners

3. Brian McCann – White Sox

4. Shin-Soo Choo – Rangers

5. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees

6. Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

7. Ervin Santana – Orioles

8. Matt Garza – Pirates

9. Hiroki Kuroda – Yankees

10. Mike Napoli – Red Sox

11. Josh Johnson – Cubs

12. Nelson Cruz – Phillies

I am going to giveaway a free pair of Mets tickets to an April game to the writer who comes the closest. But I also want to engage our readers as well and treat them to a free pair of tickets to see the Mets next season as well.

mets tickets

So leave your predictions for the remaining 11 players below in the contest and the readers who correctly guesses the most destinations will win. In the event of a tie, here is the tie breaker. The one who comes closest to guessing the total guaranteed deal for free agent Robinson Cano. How much will he get? This is for guaranteed money only. Option years don’t count but buyouts do as they are guaranteed.

Met fans who finish in second and third place will get a free Metsmerized T-Shirt!

I need all ballots/responses by Midnight on Friday night.

Good luck to all of you!


]]> 0
The Mets Aren’t Big Enough For Two $17.5 Million A Year Commitments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 14:03:02 +0000 alderson

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson arrived in Orlando for the GM Meetings tonight and got things started with his usual deadpan humor.

“Well, I was upstairs stacking our money. Don’t get too excited. They were all fives.”

When asked how high the stack of five dollar bills go, he responded: ”Not as high as some people expect.”

Responding to a direct question, Alderson said he is unlikely to sign any player to a $100 million contract this winter although he intends to be aggressive.

ESPN’s Adam Rubin expanded on this and writes:

The GM said it is simply not practical for a team to have two players with $100 million-plus contracts, although that assertion is debatable given the Mets do play in New York. Regardless, Alderson said, the Mets’ big-ticket contract is David Wright (eight years, $138 million). And that’s it.

So essentially this is not just about whether any player in the current market is worth $100 million as much as it is a philosophical and organizational view that the Mets will not have two players who make as much as Wright does. I thought that was quite an admission to make by Alderson.

“We’ve been in that stratosphere once recently with David Wright,” Alderson said. “Those were special circumstances. I think it would be difficult to duplicate that again — not from a financial standpoint, just in terms of team-building. I think it’s difficult to concentrate those kinds of resources into very few players. It’s not really the way you build a quality, sustainable, winning team, I don’t think.”

This kind of thinking suggests that even lets say a CarGo or Tulo were available, the Mets could not sustain that kind of commitment as long as they have already have an $18 million dollar a year player in Wright.

So it’s not just the totality of $100 million, it’s the $17-18 million average annual value that is the key number. That is Wright Territory and what was said is that the Mets don’t have room for two players making that kind of coin.

Let me break that down further. If Player A wants a $54 million three year deal, that too is a no-go for the Mets. It’s the AAV that Sandy was talking about and not so much the overall size of the deal. So were is the tipping point? Is it $16 million a year or $15 million a year? What is that magic number? Maybe we’ll find out by the time this process is over and we get to see some of the numbers the Mets back away from.

Alderson also shared his thoughts about pursuing any of the 13 free agents that would cost them their second round pick.

He insisted the Mets having a protected first-round pick would allow them to be more active in pursuing free agents who received qualifying offers. However, team insiders told ESPN it’s not likely the Mets will land such a player.

“A second-round pick is still valuable. Many quality major league players come out of that round. So I’m not discounting that at all. But in terms of where we are and balancing the continued growth of our player-development system with the desire to win at the major league level, right now we have the ability to balance those things.”

Day one of the GM Meetings has come and gone, and I’m none the wiser as to this myth that the Mets will spend enough this offseason either in dollars, or prospects, or draft picks.

Lets see what day two brings…

]]> 0
Brewers Unlikely To Trade Norichika Aoki Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:18:39 +0000 Norichika+Aoki

Andy Martino reports that the Milwaukee Brewers are unlikely to trade outfielder Norichika Aoki, according to a major-league executive familiar with the situation.

This disputes what Joel Sherman reported on Friday and actually makes a lot more sense to me…

Worse yet was the notion that if they would trade him, they’d do it for Ike Davis…

Cough, cough, cough… Ain’t happening…

Original Post 11/9

Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculated that Norichika Aoki could be available from the Milwaukee Brewers considering the emergence of Khris Davis and the return of Ryan Braun from his suspension. Milwaukee has openly stated that they would like to add a left-handed power bat at the first base position — which of course brings to mind the disappointing Ike Davis.

Enter all the incredulous ponderings and meanderings of how the Mets should jump all over this purely hypothetical musing from Joel Sherman.

“Mets have got to do this trade!”

“I’ll drive Ike to the airport!”

“He’s a poor mans Choo, do it!”

“This is a win-win for the Mets!”

The funny thing about this apparent Davis-for-Aoki swap at is that the Mets are also looking for a left-handed power bat at first base, and the front office has already decided that Ike Davis is not that guy.

But somehow we’ll be able to convince the Brewers to trade a player who can bat leadoff and who’s set to earn less than half of what we owe Davis, purely out of the goodness of their hearts? Gimme a freaking break…

The Mets have been trying to pawn Ike Davis since two trade deadlines and one offseason ago entering this one. Guess what? No takers…

Do you think any team would have interest in Davis now that he’s set to earn $4 million after the worst season in his career and quite possibly the most disastrous season by any starting first baseman in the major leagues this year?

What I find hilarious about this nonsense is that Aoki actually has a higher slugging percentage than Davis. Aoki also has a 6.5 fWAR over the last two seasons compared to a 1.0 fWar for Ike.

Trading Davis for Aoki saves the Mets about $1.5 million in 2014 and he provides a .350 on-base percentage leadoff man,” Sherman writes.

Great, but what exactly do the Brewers get out of it? What’s their incentive?

The other thing to consider is Aoki himself and what exactly he does to improve the Mets assuming the Brewers would jump all over Ike Davis…

Do we really need to lock down another position with a player who will give this team literally no power and is a god awful base stealer?

Aoki, who turns 32 in January, hit .286 with a .356 on-base, 20 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 37 RBI last season while stealing 20 bases and getting caught 12 times. He accumulated those 31 extra-base hits over 674 plate appearances. Is your mouth watering?

What are the odds we get 15 home runs and 120 RBI from an outfield of Eric Young Jr, Juan Lagares and Aoki?

What this team needs is a corner outfielder of the likes of Curtis Granderson or Nelson Cruz… We don’t need Aoki… And even if we did, the last thing the Brewers would want in return is a first round bust like Ike Davis who couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag.

not typical metsmerized

]]> 0
Mets Have Inquired About Free Agent Shin-Soo Choo Fri, 08 Nov 2013 00:45:30 +0000 Shin-Soo Choo

The Mets have reached out to super agent Scott Boras to express interest in free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. No dollars or parameters for a deal were discussed according to a team official.

That same team official also told Puma that other than Cano, there are no players the Mets will not be in play on.

Choo is expected to draw interest from 8-10 teams and projections have him netting as much as $90 million dollars which is exactly where Boras places his value.

My guess is that he’ll get slightly less than that and sign a five-year deal for $80 million.

Mark Simon of ESPN made a compelling case for Choo which we posted earlier and you can read below.

Original Post

Here’s a great list of ten free agents the Mets should target as compiled by Mark Simon of ESPN New York. He includes a capsule for all ten players and even mentions some new names not often bandied about like David Murphy and J.P. Howell.

As always, Mark’s posts are chock full of great insights and interesting nuggets of statistical information. I wanted to point out what he had to say about Shin-Soo Choo, but you really should check out and read his entire column.

Here’s the argument for signing him: The Mets had a .236/.306/.366 slashline (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) against right-handed pitching. Those ranked 28th, 24th and 28th in the majors respectively. But for one exception (2011), Choo has been a ferocious hitter against right-handers. His slashline against them over the last five seasons is .311/.416/.521 with a large chunk of that coming in Cleveland (as opposed to hitter-favorable Cincinnati).  A typical team will get about 70 percent of its plate appearances against righties (as the Mets did in 2013). The Mets need to improve their performance against that 70 percent. Choo would do that in a big way.

I wish I had a tiny bit of confidence that the Mets had real dollars to spend this offseason because if they did, Choo would be my number one target this offseason.

Over the last five years going back to 2009, Choo has averaged a 4.14 WAR and this season he performed to a 4.2 level. Based on WAR, Choo has performed at the exact same level as David Wright during the last five seasons and both players are the same age.

Looking at their career numbers, Choo has a 134 OPS+ vs a 137 OPS+ for Wright, and Choo has a slight edge with a .389 OBP compared to .382 for Wright.

Choo will likely get a 4-5 year deal that will average about $15-17 million per season. That would mean a deal that ranges anywhere between $70-$85 million in total guaranteed dollars.

For a front office and ownership that keeps squawking that they can spend as they once did, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Defensively, Choo has no business being in center field, but his range, speed and instincts would make him an above average defender in left field.

The Mets need to add some credibility. Signing Choo isn’t the end-all, be-all, but it would bring them one step closer to achieving that credibility.

It also gives them the outfield upgrade they claim they are looking for as well as giving them one of the best on-base performers in the game to bat leadoff.

]]> 0
Mets Offseason ’13-’14: Anything Beats The Bargain Bin Wed, 06 Nov 2013 17:46:51 +0000 Citi Filed and Homerun Apple Beautiful Citi Field - Photo by Clayton Collier

Photo By Clayton Collier

The Mets can spend this offseason.

That has been the overall message conveyed for the past several months, however will they spend and to what degree remains the begging question.

The “Red Sox Model” has been mentioned a great deal, meaning the Amazin’s would avoid the top-tier free agents, instead finding the Shane Victorinos and Mike Napolis on the market and signing them to lesser deals. Staying true to the theme of this mid-level shopping method, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors listed Curtis Granderson, Stephen Drew, Bronson Arroyo and Roy Halladay among those headed to Flushing in his pre-winter predictions; all possibilities.

Those of a more optimistic and perhaps unrealistic nature float names such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo around. New York has been reported to have significant interest in the latter of those two, although as has been a consistent theme for the Aldersonian era of Mets baseball, the price tag is likely too rich for their orange-and-blue blood.


Then there are those in the mindset of’s Anthony DiComo, who in responding to a question for his regular Mets Inbox segment, lists David Murphy, Nate McLouth or even Carlos Beltran as the type of players that fans should come to expect to see considered this offseason, although Beltran would command a substantially larger contract.

But whether it’s Ellsbury or McLouth, Adam Wainwright or Jason Hammel; anything is better than the bargain-bin raiding we have witnessed out of Sandy Alderson and the Mets over the past three winters.

The plan called for severe cutting of payroll while replenishing the farm system. That is understandable; rebuild, reload and in the meantime get by with the most cost-effective free agents until the Zack Wheelers and Wilmer Flores‘ are ready to make an impact.

Now that the youth movement is in full swing, the time has come for the acquisition of some real, substantial talent; not a D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Cedeno, or Collin Cowgill, but actual major league players with the capability of being difference-makers.

latroy hawkins 2

The front office did a nice job bringing in LaTroy Hawkins and catching lightning in a bottle with Marlon Byrd last season, but if this team is legitimately looking to contend, there needs to be more than one or two solid pick-ups.

In the winter of 2011, super-agent Scott Boras stated that the Mets are typically in the “steak section” however are now found in the “fruits and nuts category” in reference to their offseason spending habits. The Amazin’s remain far from the ‘steak section’, but that doesn’t mean they are picking through pistachios either.

The Mets have the money to spend significantly, and if they are looking to put their long-followed plan into action, the time to spend is now. Whether that means a top-flight free agent or a lesser-known name; anything beats the stopgap, bargain bin, fruits-and-nuts acquisitions that have entered the mix since the rebuilding process began on October 29th, 2010.

]]> 0
Are the Mets Snakebit? Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:13:36 +0000 sad mets benchIt has been no surprise that after five straight losing seasons, any optimism that coincided with the arrival of Sandy Alderson and team Moneyball has now subsided into a cynicism and even a resentment of the current power brokers at the helm.

Second and Third guessing any decisions made by the current front office reflect the dismay which the current fandom, including many of us in the blogosphere, who are sick to death of the losing, the lack of spending, and the seeming lack of concern by the team charged with fixing it.

Of course, this is all understandable, fans have the right to complain when their teams lose. But sometimes, the odds just seem as though they have been stacked against this franchise for the past five years. Changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, and the surplus of media revenue available this year are two factors that have either already contributed to the Mets current milieu or will continue to affect their attempts to build a competitive team in 2014.

Lets take a closer look at how each of these external factors have affected the rebuilding of the farm and team via free agency.

The new front office took charge in November 2010, with a vow to bring the same principles employed (with some success) when they were in charge in Oakland and San Diego. That meant using money more effectively in the draft, and possibly go “overslot” on some high draft picks, something the previous regime (often thought to be at the request of ownership) were criticized for not doing. Then, in 2011, a new CBA agreement between the owners and players put an end to teams who used the largest percentage of their revenues on their youth. The Mets new front office had only one year under the old rules. Additionally, the fixed money pool also applied to international amateur players, although with the caveat that this money could be “traded.” From the 2011 draft on, teams were “forced” into a cap on their draft spending, with severe penalties for any team that went overslot.

Although the new draft rules, which one report alleged that the players; “threw the youngsters under the bus,” were impediments to the speed of the Mets rebuilding process, the changes in the amount of money teams have to spend this year in the free agent market could have the biggest affect on the Mets attempt to build a contender.

jason bayWe’ve all heard the story many times over now, the $40M that was taking up space in the form of Johan Santana and Jason Bay has now been freed and the Mets can spend, spend, spend, and when they’re done, spend some more. It seems it will be as easy as just splashing some green, and watch the instant playoff team take roots and show shoots of hope (too corny? Nah). Easy? Hmmm, not so fast. First, consider that the Mets payroll last year was approximately $90M; and (it is estimated) that the franchise lost $10M last year. If you can do math, and read tea leaves, one can come up with the theory that the Mets payroll in 2014 will be somewhere around $85M.

Ok, so thats not so bad, it means that the team can add $30M to the payroll this year. They can add a premier free agent, perhaps a Shin-Soo Choo at an affordable $70M over 5 years. Perfect, right?

This is where the new media money comes into play, all teams now have an increased revenue stream, and all indications are that they are willing to spend to improve this year. Now whether they are going into debt to supply this spending, is not known. But early reports, and the extensions that have already been done, point to a wild free agent signing period, and you can guarantee that some of these players will be overpaid. The San Francisco Giants just doled out $120M on Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum, who would’ve thought that a few months ago? No one, that’s who. There are also reports that the Astros, who’s entire team payroll was a notch above Johan’s, will be big players for Choo this year.

For a front office that has made all indications that 2014 was the year they were going to start competing and spending again, fate has stepped in to temper the Mets fan expectations. I am optimistic and believe that Alderson and co. will use a combination of trades and free agent signings to build a contender in 2014, or at least a team that plays meaningful games in September.

]]> 0
Jimenez Declines Option, Arroyo Would Pitch For Mets, Tanaka Could Be Priciest Import Ever Fri, 01 Nov 2013 20:39:24 +0000 Masahiro -Tanaka

The level of uncertainty surrounding Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka, considered by far the best free agent pitcher this offseason, continues to confound the entire baseball industry, from the agents trying to represent him to the teams wanting to sign him to the system that will determine where he ultimately lands, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. All parties agree on only one thing: Tanaka is going to be the most expensive import in baseball history.

The 25-year-old right-hander went 24-0 this season with a 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.

One high-ranking NL exec told Passan that he thinks the posting fee alone could reach $100 million which is mind-boggling when you think about it and certainly removes the Mets from the equation. My guess is he ends up with either the New York Yankees or the San Francisco Giants.

In other pitching news…

There were plenty of players who became free agents today either because teams declined their options or they were voided by the players.

One such player who may interest the Mets is righthanded starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who voided his $8 million option after the Indians exercised it yesterday.

Jimenez, 29, went 13-9 this season with a 3.30 ERA and a 9.6 K9 in 32 starts for the Tribe. He’s likely looking for a minimum of a two-year deal and possibly three. My guess is that three-year deal for $36 million would be the magic number. I’m not so sure the Mets are looking to commit to anyone for more than one season though.

Dan Martin of the New York Post spoke to the agent for free agent Bronson Arroyo, who says that the 37-year old righthander would consider signing with the Mets.

“Bronson is an East Coast guy and would definitely consider the Mets,” Arroyo’s agent, Terry Bross, said. “But we’re going to take our time with this.”

The Mets are in the market for one if not two innings eaters for the back end of the rotation to reduce the workload on Zack Wheeler and not be forced into rushing Rafael Montero to the majors.

Arroyo fits that bill as he has logged at least 199 innings each season since 2005. In September, he told The Post, “I definitely think the Mets are a team that I would look at.”

The longtime veteran would be aided by pitching a full season at Citi Field, but it’s not clear as of yet if he’s willing to sign a one-year deal or what his price would be. Ultimately I put his value at one year and $10 million tops.

]]> 0
Choo Would Give The Mets Some Credibility Wed, 30 Oct 2013 22:07:18 +0000 shin-soo choo

Andrew asks…

Why are you always pushing Shin-Soo Choo so much on your site? He’s just an average player cashing in on his walk year and in obvious decline. He sucks as a center fielder and I’d rather stick with Juan Lagares.

Joe D. replies…

Thanks for the question, but let me first correct you and say that I’m not pushing any particular player. When there is an update on a particular player who the Mets have reported interest in either directly or via team sources, we report it.

As to your own personal assessment on Choo, I’d ask you to do some fact checking because you are way off base and he is much more than an average player in decline that you say he is.

Over the last five years going back to 2009, Choo has averaged a 4.14 WAR and this season he performed to a 4.2 level which disputes that he is in decline or that he’s an average player.

Offensively, based on WAR, Choo has performed at the exact same level as David Wright during the same five-year span and both players are the same age.

Looking at their career numbers, Choo has a 134 OPS+ vs a 137 OPS+ for Wright, and Choo has a slight edge with a .389 OBP compared to .382 for Wright.

Choo will likely get a 4-5 year deal that will average about $15-17 million per season. That would mean a deal that ranges anywhere between $70-$85 million in total guaranteed dollars.

For a front office and ownership that keeps squawking that they can spend as they once did, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Defensively, Choo has no business being in center field, but his range, speed and instincts would make him an above average defender in left field.

The Mets need to add some credibility. Signing Choo isn’t the end-all, be-all, but it would bring them one step closer to achieving that credibility.

It also gives them the outfield upgrade they claim they are looking for as well as give them one of the top on-base performers in the game to bat leadoff.

]]> 0
Does 2015 Free Agent Market Influence Mets 2014 Offseason Strategy? Tue, 29 Oct 2013 02:16:59 +0000 sandy alderson

An MMO Fan Shot By Andrew Doris

The two-year plan

The past two seasons, the Mets have finished 74-88. Over that time, they’ve dumped all their albatross contracts (except Bobby Bonilla…) and resolved the Bernie Madoff lawsuit, such that management finally appears capable of investing in the team. Whether they will or not remains to be seen, but Sandy Alderson has said the team has about $30 million to spend this off-season if he chooses. This post assumes they are serious, and aims to shed light on the wisest way to invest that money.

It’s reasonable to assume that without any major off-season additions, the Mets might finish 74-88 again in 2014. That might even be optimistic, because they’ve lost two key producers from last season already: Matt Harvey and Marlon Byrd. Perhaps young players will develop and improve enough to replace those losses, but even if that’s the case, they would still just be treading water to match last year’s output. It’s safe to say the current roster is no better than a 74 win team.

With that in mind, it is highly unlikely the Mets will win the World Series next season – there are just too many holes to fill in one off-season with the money and trade chips at Alderson’s disposal. A more realistic approach is to view the next two off-seasons as stepping stones to serious contention – a sort of “two-year plan” to get this team among the league’s elite.

Phase one of this plan should be to improve the team by enough that the fans take notice and tune in for 2014. The piqued interest would increase ticket sales and TV revenue, and ideally enable additional payroll expansions (read: player acquisitions) in phase two – next off-season and beyond.

However, doing this will require a team that, as Fred Wilpon famously put it back in 2004, is “playing meaningful games in September”, and a 74 win team does not match that criteria. How much does Alderson need to improve the roster to make that team a reality?

In a division with the Braves and Nationals, I suspect the Mets will need to win at least 85 games to even compete for the playoffs. Last year the Nationals won 86 and still finished 4 games out of the wildcard race. To actually make the playoffs, they may need to win 90, but I think Mets fans would be satisfied with 85 if it meant they stayed in the hunt until late in the season.

The question Alderson must answer, therefore, is this: how can he improve the team by 10 wins or more this off-season, without impeding his flexibility to make even more acquisitions next year? If the Mets are to navigate this question successfully, it behooves them to consider what options might be at their disposal next off-season. This foresight is particularly necessary at their positions of need, because those are the spots at which the greatest improvement can be made.

As I see it, the Mets’ greatest positions of need are OF, SS, 1B and SP, in that order. I put SP last because it is the only one of those holes that exists only in the short term. With the return of Harvey and the ascent of Syndergaard, Mejia, Montero, DeGrom and even Robles all expected by 2015, pitching shouldn’t be a problem over the long term (unless some of those names get traded filling one of the other three holes). By the time we’re seriously contending for a world series, that hole will ideally have filled itself. Neither OF, SS, nor 1B, however, have any promising minor leaguers nearing an MLB arrival date, so it makes the most sense to target external additions at those positions.

The options at shortstop:

Let’s start at SS. As Mets fans know, this was one of our biggest areas of need last year, with Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla combining for a woeful -1.7 WAR on the season. The 2014 free agent class has two primary options at SS: Stephen Drew, and Jhonny Peralta. Although these are good players, both are on the wrong side of 30 with health concerns, and both may cost around $12 million a year on a multi-year contract. The 2015 class, by contrast, features a whole host of interesting names: Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Hanley Ramirez, and Jed Lowrie. Furthermore, each of those players play on teams that are often open to trading players in contract years, such that Sandy might be able to land them in a deadline deal this upcoming summer depending on where everyone is in the standings.

For this reason, I recommend the Mets hold off on signing a big-name SS this winter, when the market is thin and prices are high. This has the added benefit of giving Ruben Tejada a few more months to turn things around. Even if the Mets don’t view Tejada as their SS of the future, it is unwise to sell low, and Tejada’s value has never been lower. A solid start to 2014 might improve his trade value and net them something better in return than they could get right now.

The options in the outfield:

Next up is OF. Even if we assume that light-hitting Juan Lagares is the answer in CF, the Mets have only one MLB caliber starting outfielder on their roster, with no help from the minors in sight (short of Cesar Puello, who has some questions to answer). If they are to get away with Lagares in CF, they desperately need some offense from the corner OF spots. Thankfully, the 2014 free agent class has several big name outfielders that could serve as the power-hitting cleanup hitter Terry Collins needs. Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Beltran, and Nelson Cruz could all fit that mold, while Jacoby Ellsbury could busy our competition on the market and make those other names more affordable (higher supply of marquee OF’s = lower price for each one). Additionally, there are several big name outfielders rumored to be on the trading block this winter, from Jose Bautista to Giancarlo Stanton to Matt Kemp to Andre Ethier. 2015, by contrast, has very few exciting names under 35 years old. Colby Rasmus is pretty good, but after that it goes downhill fast: Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Jonny Gomes, Emilio Bonifacio, Nate Schierholtz, Norichika Aoki, Chris Denorfia…you get the picture.

Curtis+GrandersonFor these reasons, it’s imperative that the Mets land at least one marquee, power-hitting outfielder this offseason, even if they have to sign him to a long term deal. Ellsbury and Choo may be outside our price range, but I think Curtis Granderson could be an excellent fit. He’s certainly comfortable in New York; in his first three years with the Yankees, Granderson was a superstar, averaging 36 homers per season with an 11% walk rate. Before you argue that was inflated by Yankee stadium, realize that Granderson averaged 18.5 road home runs from 2011-2012, which is more than any current Mets OF could provide in an entire season.

The 2013 season was lost to fluke injuries stemming from two stray fastballs, but before that Granderson was extremely durable, averaging 153 games a season from 2010-2012. His speed and defense will decline with age, but keep in mind what it’s declining from: a speedy, gold-glove caliber centerfielder. If the Mets shift him to LF to accommodate Lagares, he’d still offer plus defense and base-running in the short term, without being anything close to a liability in the long run. Granderson also has a reputation for being one of the most amiable players in the game, making him a fan favorite and a great locker room presence. He does strike out a lot, but that’s nitpicking, especially when you consider the much larger flaws of any 2015 option. In a deep market, Granderson could probably be had on a 3-4 year deal at $14-15 million per year, which still leaves Alderson enough flexibility to sign a SP and some role players for 2014. If they miss out on Granderson, I’d suggest Carlos Beltran or Nelson Cruz as high-ceiling fallbacks. If we felt like signing two outfielders, Nate McLouth might warrant consideration.

The options at first base:

Finally, we have 1B. With Jose Abreu gone to the White Sox, this year’s free agent class features interesting options like Mike Napoli, Kendrys Morales, and Corey Hart. 2015, by contrast, has very few good options under the age of 35 (assuming the Royals use their club option to pick up Billy Butler’s contract). Using the above logic, this would seem to imply that if the Mets are to get an external option to man 1B, this is the offseason to do it. If Sandy chooses to go that route, I’d support the decision.

However, I don’t think first base is such a dire necessity as is the outfield, for the simple reason that the Mets have better in-house options to man the former than they do the latter. Between Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin, Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy, the Mets have five candidates for one position. With the exception of Flores, none of those candidates have a career OPS below .746. Even if only one or two of those options work out, Terry Collins could probably cobble together moderate levels of production by riding the hot hand. The options in the OF, by contrast, inspire much less confidence: Eric Young Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jordany Valdespin, and Matt den Dekker. None of those guys have a career OPS over .672 – none have a track record to prove they are major league caliber hitters. Until Cesar Puello (who has his own question marks) gets called up, these four AAAA guys would be competing for two vacancies, and the result would be woeful even if nobody got hurt.


The bottom line is this: if the Mets are serious on improving the team in 2014 while maintaining the flexibility to make additional improvements next winter, they should devote this off-season to acquiring at least one marquee OF, either via a trade or via free agency. Then, they should sign a high-upside veteran starting pitcher to a short, cheap, incentive laden deal, as well as a backup catcher and some affordable bullpen arms. However, they should hold off on acquiring a SS upgrade until the market thickens, and if money’s tight, they should also hold off on committing to an external 1B until they have more information on the viability of their internal options.

By following this blueprint and getting a little lucky, the Mets should be able to plug all their holes with capable and exciting players in a cost efficient way before the 2015 season, while still improving enough in the short term to make 2014 exciting. Only time will tell if Sandy Alderson agrees.

bleed orange & blue  button

]]> 0
If Yankees Are In On Choo, Odds Are The Mets Are Out Fri, 25 Oct 2013 17:13:40 +0000 shin-soo chooThe New York Yankees are apparently targeting soon to be free agent Shin-Soo Choo, reports Jon Heyman, though outfield is not their top priority according to what multiple sources have told him.

Choo was reportedly the “only” elite free agent the Mets were expected to pursue this offseason, according to what team sources said to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.

If there was any chance that the Mets could get Choo, it probably will go by the wayside once Scott Boras gets the Yankees involved in the bidding war that will ensue. Reportedly, at least eight other teams see Choo as a fit and are prepared to make aggressive offers for the Reds center fielder.

I like Choo, and I have no doubt that he’d be an upgrade over Eric Young Jr. in left field. Choo’s .423 on-base this season was over 100 points higher than Young and the dominance doesn’t stop there. Compare Choo’s 4.2 WAR to Young’s 0.8 WAR and the disparity between the two becomes even more prevalent.

Defensively, when you put Choo in left field rather than center, he also becomes a defensive upgrade over Young.

david wright homersWhile Young offers a tiny bit more speed than Choo, his career .389 OBP and .854 OBP completely blow Young away.

Put Choo hitting in front of David Wright and most likely you’ll see a 100+ RBI season from the captain.

The best thing about Choo in context to the Mets is that he’s just as good on the road as he is at Great American Ballpark, something to keep in mind for you home/road splits worry warts.

But as I told one reader in a mailbag question last week, while I have no doubt that the Mets will target a player like Choo, if only to drum up fan interest and create a little buzz this offseason, there’s literally very little chance that Sandy Alderson will go to $100 million to get him.

And make no mistake, that’s what it will take especially with Boras driving the auction and the Yankees and two other AL East teams also interested.

So yes, the Mets will most likely target Choo this Winter as their “only” elite free agent option, but targeting him is probably as close as they’ll get to signing him. They’ll never get past the kicking the tires phase…

Just remember that while we “assume” the Mets have $25-30 million to spend this offseason, we “know” that the Yankees have $75-85 million to spend.

]]> 0
Will The Mets Sign Free Agent Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo This Winter? Sun, 20 Oct 2013 15:14:28 +0000 Shin-Soo Choo

NYBenzGirl asks…

Is there any chance that the Mets will target and sign Shin-Soo Choo this offseason?

Joe D. replies…

That’s actually a two part question. I have no doubt that the Mets will target a player like Choo, if only to drum up fan interest and create a little buzz this offseason. So yes they will most likely target Choo this Winter and they will leak and source out plenty of interest to their media minions. They may even treat Choo to a nice meal at a four star restaurant in New York City to keep up appearances. He’ll definitely be targeted by the New York Mets as long as he remains unsigned.

That said, the Mets have to be considered long shots to actually win what will be a 6-8 team bidding war for his services. While the Mets keep inferring that they will spend this offseason, you’ll notice they never say how much they’ll spend – only how much payroll has been cleared. It’s a big number and it sounds nice to say we’ve cleared $45 million dollars and the handcuffs are off.

It’s no different than saying the team would be buyers at the trade deadline from May through mid July, only to see them become sellers once again and pulling the rug out from those who took the front office at their word.

While nobody knows the exact situation with regard to the team’s financial wherewithal, they certainly have done nothing to support the notion that everything is okay.

I can give you the typical canned response you’ll read elsewhere and say, “Choo would be a great fit for the Mets” and that “he’s the primary offensive weapon they will sign this offseason.” But reading the tea leaves I see no evidence to support that, only evidence to the contrary.

Even the Houston Astros and their $30 million budgeted payroll will be in on Choo according to Jon Heyman, which should tell you just how much interest the Reds’ free agent will attract.

Scott Boras, who represents Choo, is looking for a $100 million dollar or more deal for his client, and given the dearth of quality outfielders in this year’s free agent crop, he’ll likely get close to $125 million when all is said and done.

What do you think?

Will the Mets sign Shin-Soo Choo this Winter and for how much?

]]> 0
Hits & Misses: Tron Has Become Mythical, Chasing Unicorns, Fix My Team Sat, 12 Oct 2013 13:49:14 +0000 Carlos = Beltran

Last night, Carlos Beltran continued to cement his status as one of the greatest post season players of all time with yet another incredible performance. Having already delivered a two-run double to tie Game 1 of the NLCS at 2-2, the former Met would hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning to clinch a dramatic 3-2 win over the Dodgers for the Cardinals.

Beltran also kept the game alive for the Cards earlier in the game, when he unleashed a tremendous throw from right field to nail a runner at the plate in the 10th to keep the game even.

The walk-off single ended the longest playoff game in Cardinals history and the sold out crowd had Busch Stadium shaking from its foundation as Cardinals poured out of the dugout to meet Beltran and celebrate the huge win.

“I’ve got to give the glory and honor to God. He’s the one to give me the opportunity to be able to play in October, and this is what it’s all about,” Beltran said after the game. “You work so hard during the offseason, Spring Training, the regular season to get to this point, and we’re fortunate to be here.”

Wow… If Homer were still alive, he’d probably pen a glorious epic about Tron…


I got not one, but two emails yesterday,asking me what I meant two days ago when I wrote that the Mets were in the market for a unicorn. It was just my way of saying that the front office and even a great deal of fans find fault with any quality player that doesn’t fit into their price point.

I actually alluded to it somewhat on Twitter the other day:

I’m tired of holding every player to this imaginary “he’s not a difference maker” standard as well. Sandy Alderson first used the term after he retreated from his stance that he wouldn’t trade R.A. Dickey and then a week before trading him said “I won’t trade Dickey unless it’s for a difference maker.”

As we all sit back and wait for the front office to deliver this run of sustainable championships they keep talking about, we’ve not added one difference maker to this team at the major league level. The fact is we’ve traded those difference makers away for minor leaguers and never anyone who could make that same kind of an impact on the team.

So here we are chasing unicorns – looking for the most perfect offensive difference maker we can find at the lowest rock-bottom price.

It feels like I’m rooting for a front office who isn’t grounded in reality and has no idea how to navigate in today’s market. And yes, I’m well aware that the offseason hasn’t even started yet, but I’m still hearing them say the kinds of things I’d expect from my 10-year old nephew rather then a front office that is among the most highly compensated regimes in the game.

To improve this team, the Mets require many upgrades in over a half dozen different areas. They don’t have to be difference makers, they only have to be better than what we’ve been trotting out there for the last three seasons under Sandy.

But instead of getting excited about the available players in this market, you instead hear or read things like Carlos Beltran is too old… Mike Napoli is too expensive… Shin-Soo Choo wants a four year deal… Jose Abreu is one-dimensional… And so on and so on…

I got an idea… Let’s do nothing… Let’s just stay awful… There’s plenty of teams that don’t mind staying awful, so let’s be like them…

This team needs quality players that will either cost us money or prospects. Get that through your skulls.

And this front office needs a quality season in 2014 which will require cunning, resources and risk, but mostly guts, which I’ve yet to see from this front office.

Stop looking for flaws in every quality player and start taking notice of the myriad of gaping holes this team has accumulated over the last three seasons. The New York Mets are in tatters right now… Fix My Team!

bleed orange & blue  button

]]> 0
Mets Organizational Depth Chart: Catcher Thu, 03 Oct 2013 23:57:51 +0000 Welcome to the first installment of our offseason Mets Organizational Depth Charts. Each week, we’ll take a look at the top players at each position in the Mets organization. We hope to provide our readers with some insight into what the Mets currently have at the major-league level, as well as some players they can expect to hear about from the minor-leagues in the coming years.

We’ll start things off with the backstops.


Travis d’Arnaud

From the time the Mets acquired d’Arnaud from Toronto in the R.A. Dickey trade, he was immediately considered the catcher of the future in Queens. Considered by some to be the best catching prospect in baseball, d’Arnaud opened the year in Las Vegas with the expectation that he’d be called up before the All-Star break. However,  just 12 games into the season, d’Arnaud broke a bone in his foot– adding yet another injury to a growing list. Travis would miss more than three months before his eventual return. In mid-August, he finally got the call to the majors. d’Arnaud would struggle with the big club, hitting just .202/.286/ .263 with a single homer in 112 plate appearances.

Surely, you would have loved to see Travis come right up and mash — but I wouldn’t consider this alarming. It’s rare to see a catcher come up and hit immediately due to the incredible amount of work that goes into being a big-league backstop. Learning new pitchers and studying batter and baserunner tendencies can leave little time to work on your offensive game. d’Arnaud will hit, and his great walk rates in the minors as well as his 10.7% walk rate in the majors tells you he has an idea at the dish. The future is still bright for d’Arnaud, who could be a .270/.350/.400 hitter with 20+ homeruns while providing solid defense behind the plate.

On the Farm

1. Kevin Plawecki

Plawecki started the 2013 season in Savannah where it didn’t take long to realize he was a class above the Sally league. In 65 games for the Sand Gnats, he hit .314/.390/.494 with 6 homers and  24 doubles, earning him a promotion to St. Lucie. Plawecki would pick up right where he left off with Savannah, hitting .294/.391/.392 with two homers and 14 doubles for the High-A Mets. At the plate, Plawecki is a solid hitter with a very good eye (8.1 BB% in ’13) to go along with plus contact skills (10.2 K%). He uses the entire field and shows some pop when pitchers challenge him inside. Behind the plate, he’s an average receiver with a fringy arm. He does, however, have the reputation as a catcher pitchers love to throw to, and someone who works hard to improve. With a dearth of high-end catching in baseball, Plawecki could be a solid-average starting catcher who will get on base and hit 10+ homers with a lot of doubles. However, unless the Mets trade d’Arnaud or decide his bat is too valuable to keep behind the plate, Plawecki won’t be putting up those numbers in a Mets uniform.

ETA: 2015

2. Juan Centeno

Centeno started the season in Double-A Binghamton, but when d’Arnaud fell to injury, he was called up to Las Vegas after just six games. He didn’t disappoint, hitting .305/.346/.371 in 67 games for the 51s. He would get a late season call-up to the Mets, and would hit .300 in a handful of at-bats (3 for 10). If there’s one thing we know about Centeno — it’s that he can hit for average. Since 2010 he’s hit at least .285 in every season– hitting .300 in all but one (2012). He’s got solid contact skills, striking out at a low rate, but posts only pedestrian walk rates — possibly preferring to make contact in-lieu of taking borderline pitches. Centeno possesses almost no power, hitting just two homers in over 1,100 minor league plate appearances. He’ll hold his own behind the plate, showing solid-average skills both receiving and fielding his position. Centeno recently made headlines by throwing out Reds speedster Billy Hamiltonbut in all reality his arm is average at best. In the end, he could end up being a solid back-up catcher who could produce like a starter in small bursts.

ETA: 2014

3. Cam Maron

After posting slash lines of .290/.400/.400 or above in every season since being drafted, Maron stumbled against the stiffer competition in St. Lucie this season. In 84 games, Cam hit just .235/.327/.295, failing to hit a ball out of the ballpark. While that line is certainly alarming, I think it will prove to be more of an outlier than the norm for Maron. As he progresses through the minors, Cam figures to return closer to his usual .300 level using his contact-oriented approach. He’s got a short swing and stays inside the ball, allowing him to use the entire field. Maron’s approach seems to limit his power, instead focusing on making contact. He also shows an advanced eye at the plate, leading to great walk totals. Defensively, Maron is a solid receiver and blocks balls in the dirt well. He’s got a solid-average arm, but poor footwork has hampered his ability to throw runners out at a respectable rate — although he is improving. Maron is considered a hard worker who refuses to give up at-bats and always working on his craft, earning him Josh Thole comps. If everything clicks for Maron, he could be a backup catcher in the majors.

ETA: 2016

4. Tomas Nido

Nido struggled mightily in his second season as a pro, hitting just .185/.218/.261 in just 33 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the New York-Penn league. More surprisingly, Nido hit just one home run despite what some scouts call plus raw power. However all is not lost for Tomas, as he spent the entire year playing as a teenager (19) in a league that often gets filled with college-aged players after June’s MLB Draft. That, coupled with having to deal with the workload and physical rigors of being a catcher can take time to adjust to. Offensively the power is the tool to dream on, but whether that power will ever make it into games remains to be seen. Nido has a swing that involves far too many moving parts, including an exaggerated load where his hands drop nearly to his belt, and a leg-kick that often leaves him too off balance to make solid contact. There are also questions about his defense, where his arm is considered solid to above average, but his mechanics are a mess. Scouts don’t seem to believe he’ll stay behind the plate, lacking the athleticism to become an average backstop. The power is tantalizing, so perhaps some major tweaks to his swing mechanics will allow his bat to play anywhere on the diamond. Otherwise, Nido is nothing more than a dream with a high probability of a flame-out.

ETA: 2018 

5. Albert Cordero

Cordero isn’t going to make these lists because of his prowess with the bat. In 2013 he hit just .227/.294/.270 in 64 games across two levels– including beginning the season in Savannah for the third straight season. Putting up numbers like that as a 23-year old won’t open any eyes. Scouts projected him to have some pop, but his lack of solid contact in games hasn’t allowed it to show. He does, however, draw a favorable amount of walks while putting the ball in play at a high rate. Where Cordero earns his paycheck is defensively. He’s slick behind the plate, earning plus grades both receiving and blocking pitches in the dirt. His arm is only solid-average, but he makes up for it with excellent footwork and accuracy– leading to a 45% caught stealing rate for his career, and a 46% mark in 2013 (29 CS out of 63 attempts). However, I’m not sure that alone is enough to make Cordero even a backup in the majors. The bat has to improve for him to be more than an org player.


Honorable Mention: Ali Sanchez.  

The Mets signed Sanchez as an international free agent this July out of Venezuela. Baseball America had Sanchez ranked 25th out of all international free agents prior to his signing. Scouts like his ability with the bat because he makes solid contacts to all fields despite lacking real power. Defensively, he has excellent footwork and good hands behind the dish. He’s also been described as an intelligent, high energy player.

Other names to watch: Francisco PenaJose GarciaBlake Forsythe.

(Photo Credit: Gordon Donovan)

]]> 0
A Mets Penultimatum Sun, 29 Sep 2013 12:30:53 +0000 METS FANS STRESSED SADPhew, the protected pick is safe! That’s some great managing by Terry Collins – now the Mets won’t lose a draft choice when they make the big run on free agents and true major league talent that has always been promised for the historic winter of 2013-14.

Scott Atchison, who I still maintain looks great for 57, helped assuage the fears of those fans who still have faith in what this front actually says. They know that this is go time for Sandy Alderson, the moment for him unveil the big missing pieces in “The Plan” and with the green light from ownership, finally work to lead the league in the most important advanced statistic of them all, WOL.

Wins over losses.

Also known in certain scouting circles as VAD – victories against defeats – this crucial statistic shows with incredible arithmetic certitude a baseball team’s improvement year over year and provides a precise and measurable metric of a management group’s performance. If we hone in on this season’s performance and run some advanced regression analysis in Metsmerized’s famed sabermetrics lab (based in Corona, I’ve heard – but that’s just a rumor – I’m new in these precincts and some secrets are understandably closely guarded) we get this incredible result:

Mets after 161 games in 2012: 73-88

Mets after 161 games in 2013: 73-88

The formula is complicated and you’ll have to trust our analysts (but I will tell you that it’s been confirmed by Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing, which says a lot), but those results yields a WOL/VAD result that looks like this after 161 games for each of the last two seasons:

2012 WOL/VAD: minus-15

2013 WOL/VAD: minus-15

Alderson and his lieutenants (otherwise known as the “dream team” just three years ago) will undoubtedly be parsing these critical numbers in the coming weeks, performing more of their famed “evaluation” of these remarkably consistent numbers – right after handing a two-year extension to their field general, Mr. Collins.

Only one more game for the three-year evaluation portion of the Alderson Era, of course. We’ve heard that this off-season, it all changes. A massive infusion of talent, spending on free agents, and a return to the pursuit of winning would key the cooler months, leading to a team transformed in Port St Lucie come late February. All the big contracts are off the books – and heck, one wasn’t even offered to the greatest shortstop in team history, a crucial spot not surprisingly that remains a gaping maw on the Mets two years after the infamous “box of chocolates” negotiation.

But letting bygones be bygones – hey did you see R.A. Dickey won his 14th game, two more than any Mets pitcher? – the front office is clearly set to make runs at multiple major upgrades through free agency and clever trades. You know the names: Shin-Soo Choo, Hunter Pence (oh, wait a minute), Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Bronson Arroyo, Carlos Beltran (only the greatest offensive tenure in Mets history), Stephen DrewJacoby Ellsbury, Curtis Granderson – heck maybe even a run at Robinson Cano, or Cuban defector Jose Abreu. Somewhere between two and four proven bats for the everyday lineup and a veteran arm to help bridge the gap till the youngsters are fully ready – or Matt Harvey returns from the eventual Tommy John surgery all the arm chair medicos seem to insist he’ll need, contra the ignorant and ill informed Dr. James Andrews.

Mix those proven players with keepers David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Juan Lagares and hopers like Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores – along with the young starters – and you might be able to turn that WOL/VAD from -15 (or more accurately, the -14 or -16 it will be after Piazza Day) to a +15 and post-season berth. As Joe D. pointed out, it’s all about “acquiring and developing talent” and “managing payroll.”

Today is the penultimate game in Sandy Alderson’s contractual penultimate year. There are big things on the way.

And if not, there are some other key metrics to study – like these.

]]> 0
Cuban Slugger Jose Abreu Officially Declared A Free Agent Sat, 28 Sep 2013 18:40:14 +0000 JoseAbreuWBC

Updating this Fan Shot by by Long Suffering Met Fan with this breaking news…

Jesse Sanchez of is reporting that Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu has officially been declared a free agent and is now eligible to sign with any Major League club.

MLB Trade Rumors adds that Abreu “promises to become one of the most sought-after right-handed bats” on the free agent market.

The San Francisco Giants are considered to be the heavy favorites as they look to power themselves back into the post season in 2014. The Mets were initially considered to be one of the teams interested, but those rumors have since petered out.


  1. He is only 26, so unlike the other free agents, Abreu will still be relatively young in year five of his contract.
  2. He is not going to cost the Mets a first or second round draft pick, because he’s not coming off another team’s roster.
  3. He can hit the cover off the ball, unlike any current Met, current prospect, or the current free agent class.
  4. He will permanently resolve our first base issue, leaving Ike Davis or Lucas Duda to trade or compete for a LF/RF spot.
  5. He will not cost quite as much, because he brings no major league experience. Hunter Pence, Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury will be high-priced tickets.
  6. He won’t cost us any of our best prospects, best pitchers, or and player for that matter.
  7. With over $50 million coming off the books, the Mets can sign Abreu for around $10-$12 million a year and still have plenty left over for other Free Agents.
  8. Wilpon has claimed that, with the Madoff mess cleared up, he is going to let Sandy Alderson spend some money this year. (Here’s there chance to prove it.)
  9. It would really suck if the Phillies, Yankees, or Red Sox sign Abreu, and he hits 30 Home Runs and has 90 RBI next season.
  10. We’re not going to find a shortstop who can hit like him, so you might as well spend the money at first base.
  11. There are no guarantees that anybody will succeed in New York (aka Jason Bay), so you might as well sign the guy with the highest ceiling AND who will cost the least.
  12. Everything else that the Met’s have tried (for the past 10 years) has failed, so why not go out and get him? I hereby nominate José Dariel Abreu as the Mets Opening Day first baseman in 2014.

Need I say more?


]]> 0
Giants and Hunter Pence Agree To Five-Year Deal Worth $90 Million Sat, 28 Sep 2013 17:48:14 +0000 hunter-pence

According to several reports, the Giants and Hunter Pence have reached a deal on a new contract to keep the would-be free agent outfielder in San Francisco.

Jon Heyman reported that the deal could be worth $90 million dollars over five years – an average annual value of $18 million per season, topping Andre Ethier‘s five-year, $85 million extension from last year.

This deal will likely set the bar for a free agent like Shin-Soo Choo this winter, Heyman says. (Hi Sandy)

Pence, 30, acknowledged last night that negotiations were gaining traction, and that the Giants were close to getting back to him with a serious offer.

The righthanded slugger is wrapping up a tremendous 2013 campaign in which he hit .282/.339/.481 with 26 homers, 90 runs, 94 RBI and 22 stolen bases.

]]> 0
Mets Will Not Go After Any Free Agent That Costs A First or Second Round Pick Fri, 27 Sep 2013 19:50:48 +0000 alderson wilpon

Validating what I’ve been saying almost all year long, a team insider told Adam Rubin of ESPN that the New York Mets are not expected to vigorously pursue any free agents with draft-pick compensation attached — whether the pick is protected or not.

This nullifies any concern over the protected pick as the Mets will hold a second round pick in the same regard as a first round pick.

This wipes out virtually all of the top names in free agency, which I never believed they would pursue anyway.

The same source told Rubin that the lone exception is Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. But the Mets will not give him more than what Michael Bourn got last offseason. The Indians signed Bourn to a four year, $48 million deal.

I think that’s hilarious if they think they have any chance at Choo who will have about 8-10 teams chasing him this Winter assuming he doesn’t re-sign with the Reds.

This is why I kept telling everyone not to buy into the whole “we’re gonna spend this offseason” murmurings from Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons. They never said how much they were gonna spend. They would never admit the $50 million coming of the books would be reinvested in the team. Never.

I’d be shocked if payroll is more than $89 million next season.

]]> 0
For Better Or Worse, Mets Win 4-2 In Cincy Wed, 25 Sep 2013 05:59:05 +0000 nieselit

The Mets (72-85) beat the Reds (90-68) by a score of 4-2 on Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark.

Jon Niese took the ball for the Mets and was terrific in what may have been his final outing of the year. Niese gave up 8 hits in 7 innings, but only allowed 2 runs and struck out 6 (issuing one free pass to Brandon Phillips).

Each team managed to put together a few hits in the first, but neither team got a run across (thanks in large part to a strike from Juan Lagares in Center to nab Shin-Soo Choo at the plate).

The Mets struck first in the top of the 2nd against Mike Leake, getting a run on an RBI single from Wilfredo Tovar and then 3 more on a 3-run shot by Daniel Murphy (Murph’s 13th, a career high).

Niese would give up 2 runs (both of them coming on RBI groundouts), but the Reds never managed to put together a serious rally and tie the game. Vic Black shut the door in the 9th to earn his first career save, evening the series at 1 apiece.

Tonight was frustrating. Why? Because the Mets won. At this point, wins do nothing to help us… we have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Each win hurts us at this point… the Mets need a protected draft pick, badly. It is important to get rid of any possible excuse for not signing a big free agent this winter.

Yes, ownership & management have told the fans that moves will be made this winter, but those words mean nothing. My biggest knock on the Wilpons (aside from their tight budgets) has always been their atrocious level of communication with the fanbase. The owners seldom speak to the fans and when they do, their words are usually empty promises that are never fulfilled. I do not think that I am alone in saying that finishing with the 11th worst record is much worse than finishing with the 9th worst record if it means that the Mets will once again sit on their hands while the teams around above them improve. Hopefully, the Mets will have a protected draft pick. And if they do not, hopefully they will sign a big free agent or two anyway… Draft picks are not as valuable as proven stars… especially if we waste our draft picks by drafting guys like Brandon Nimmo over José Fernandez…

But hey, the Mets won, so let’s look on the bright side. First of all, Niese was once again fantastic. He has been pitching at such a high level since coming back from the DL; he is yet another reason for Mets fans to feel very good about the rotation going forward… if everybody (or almost everybody) can stay healthy. The best part? Niese is locked in for the foreseeable future thanks to a team-friendly contract extension.

Daniel Murphy has been raking lately. Unless we sign Robinson Cano (spoiler alert: we won’t. He costs money. Our team won’t spend money. Connect the dots), Murphy has to be back next season (and going forward). If things break right for Murph, he could potentially hit .290-.310, with 15-20 homers and 15-20 steals while playing decent defense… not too shabby for somebody playing one of the shallowest positions in the league.

Travis d’Arnaud went hitless today, but he did drive one ball that would have easily gone for extra bases had Shin-Soo Choo not made a nice play to flag it down.

Wilfredo Tovar is racking up the RBIs in a Wilmer Flores-esque manner. Speaking of Wilmer… what the heck happened to him? Is he still a prospect? Is he still on the team? Is he still alive? He has seemingly disappeared off of the face of the earth, which is odd because— even if his ankle is a bit shaky— the Mets should at least be getting him some pinch-hit at-bats in an effort to develop him (and to raise his trade value). But back to Tovar… I am impressed. The bat is seemingly good, and the fielding is definitely very solid. Begone, Quintanilla…

I love seeing Vic Black close out games. LaTroy Hawkins is 40 years old, and Vic Black is a prospect. Why not let the younger player pitch in the bigger role, and find out what he’s got?

David Wright had 2 more hits tonight. Having him in the lineup changes everything… and having another star behind him would change even more…

One more observation: Gary Cohen really brought his A-game tonight. The guys in the booth have been pretty energetic lately… did somebody talk to them and tell them to avoid falling into the end-of-season monotone that befalls most of the play-by-play guys for miserable teams? In a game that it actually would have benefited us to lose, you could almost here Gary jumping up and down in the booth all night long. I like it.

The Mets will attempt to take the rubber game of their series with the Reds tomorrow. Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-3, 5.52 ERA) will take on Greg Reynolds (1-2, 5.55 ERA). Gametime is at 12:35 PM, for some reason…

]]> 0