Mets Merized Online » Tigers Sat, 14 Jan 2017 00:40:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Should Mets Make A Play For Miguel Cabrera? Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:30:38 +0000 miguel-cabrera-1

I’m not totally crazy, I promise. Why would the Tigers trade an 11-time All Star, 4-time AL Batting Champion, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years — Basically, a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer? Well, I can’t speak for Tigers GM Al Avila. However, I can at least try and convince him, and you, to have an open mind.

Why would the Tigers trade him?

The first question that needs to be addressed is why in the world should the Tigers even consider trading Miguel Cabrera? Speaking to local reporters, Avila said, “We want to get younger. We want to get leaner. We want to run the organization without having to go over our means. We want to stay competitive, but at the same time, this organization has been working way above its means for some time.”

The exigence of the Tigers’ organization can benefit the Mets. Cabrera, who will celebrate his 34th birthday in April next year, has eight years left on his contract. He will be paid $28M in 2017, $30M annually through 2021, then $32M through 2023. He has options for 2024 and 2025, but they only vest if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting the year prior, but if they do vest, they include an $8M buyout. He fits the description of the aging, highly paid player the Tigers are looking to shed, but at the same time, he still has value. Why would the Tigers trade him and not some of their other huge contracts?

Let’s look at the other huge contracts the Tigers currently have. Justin Verlander, 33, has four years and $106M left on his contract. He had a great year this year (16-9, 3.04 ERA, 254 Ks), which is exactly why the Tigers won’t trade him yet. After him, Jordan Zimmermann, and Michael Fulmer, they don’t really have much of a starting rotation. Mike Pelfrey started 22 games for them last year, and that says a lot. They do have prospect Daniel Norris who saw some time in the Show this past season, but he is still relatively unproven.

The Tigers will probably be looking to add a starting pitcher this offseason, not trade one. This will probably mean they also retain Jordan Zimmermann, who is only 30 years old and is still under contract for 4 years and $92M. Another huge contract they have is Anibal Sanchez, who still has 2 years and $32.8M on his contract, however it would be very difficult for them to trade him because of his ineffectiveness. From 2015-16, he went 17-23 with a 5.42 ERA and a 1.369 WHIP.

I don’t see the Tigers trading outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is only 29 and is under contract for one year and $11.7M. 29 year-old outfielder Justin Upton still has 4 years and $88M on his contract, but again, he is young. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, 34, just had a phenomenal year, and they still owe him only 2 years and $21M. The only other huge contract they have is 37 year-old Victor Martinez (2 years, $36M), and the trade market for him would be limited to the American League because he can only DH.

So, that eliminates all of the Tigers’ huge contracts other than Miggy, the biggest of all. With those other big bats in their lineup, their offense would be just fine without his production. It seems like if they realistically want to unload a lot of money while bringing in a good haul in return, and remaining serious contenders, trading Miggy would be the way to go.

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What would it take?

So, what would it take to bring him to New York? The Tigers have what is widely considered one of the worst farm systems in baseball. More specifically, they don’t have many if any first base prospects to replace Miggy. If the Mets put together a package with prospect Dominic Smith as the centerpiece, it might get their attention. Smith, 21, is a .296 career minor league hitter and had a phenomenal 2016 in Binghamton, slashing .302/.367/.457 with 14 home runs and 93 RBIs in 130 games.

Just Dominic Smith is obviously not even close to enough. As he might not be totally ready for the bigs, the Tigers might want a stop gap at first base. Enter Lucas Duda, who is only under contract for one more year and will be paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $8M. There has been speculation that Michael Conforto will try his hand at first base this coming spring, and Miggy or not, that would spell less playing time for Duda anyways.

Duda, who hit 57 home runs in 2014-15 but missed most of last season with an injury, could be attractive to the Tigers. All of their starters are right handed (except switch-hitter Victor Martinez), so having Duda’s lefty bat in the lineup would be beneficial to them. He’s only under contract for one year, so he would be a Tiger until Dominic Smith, also a lefty, is ready, either after the 2017 season or, perhaps, at the trade deadline.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Tigers would be in the market for a young starting pitcher. Barring any setbacks, the Mets should come into the spring with a bunch of young healthy starters including Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman. Many fans, including myself, also would love to see Bartolo Colon return to the Mets for 2017. There’s a saying that you can never have enough pitching, however there’s also a saying that you deal from your strengths.

The Mets would certainly love to avoid trading Thor, deGrom, or Matz. Wheeler’s trade value is greatly diminished right now, and Harvey’s is practically non-existent. However, adding 26 year-old Seth Lugo (5-2, 2.67 ERA) or 23 year-old Robert Gsellman (4-2, 2.42 ERA) to the trade package would peak the Tigers’ interest a little more. They both showed that they can be very effective at the Major League level, especially during a Wild Card race. The Tigers have a strong top of their rotation as I mentioned earlier, with Verlander, Zimmermann, Fulmer, and maybe young Daniel Norris, however the fifth spot in that rotation could use a serious upgrade. Again, Mike Pelfrey? Really?

So far, we have a package including Dominic Smith, Lucas Duda, and either Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman. If the Mets were to take on Miggy’s entire contract, the Tigers might ask for less in return because, as Al Avila said, they’re spending too much money. That being said, however, I still don’t think those three players will be enough.

The Tigers could also be in the market for a catcher. Their catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and James McCann hit .171 and .221 respectively in 2016. Travis d’Arnaud, who made only $542k in 2016 and is not in line for a major pay raise, would sweeten the deal some more. While he has seemingly underperformed, his current numbers are better than the Tigers’ 2016 catchers, and his potential would make him more attractive to the Tigers.

So, to recap, the Tigers get Lucas Duda, Dominic Smith, Travis d’Arnaud, Seth Lugo / Robert Gsellman, and most likely a mix of some other prospects. In return, the Mets get Miguel Cabrera and take on most if not all of his contract, and possibly some low-level prospects. This frees up $20M for the Tigers in 2017 and $30M from 2018-2020 While bolstering their farm system some.


Why would the Mets want to do this?

The dude can hit. Like, he’s really good. If you don’t know just how good he is, let me try and articulate it. He is an 11-time All Star and 6-time Silver Slugger. He is a 4-time batting champion and has hit over .300 in all 13 of his full seasons except 2008 when he hit .292. Since 2004, he has averaged 187 hits, 33 home runs, and 115 RBIs a season. He is a career .321/.399/.563 hitter, good for a career .961 OPS, with 446 home runs. In 2012, he hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, winning the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. The list goes on and on.

He would make a fantastic addition to the Mets lineup, or any lineup for that matter. He would provide the consistent offense the Mets need while deepening the lineup. Assuming Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce return, the top of the Mets lineup would be quite formidable with Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera at the top with Miggy, Yo, and Bruce behind them. Without considering the financial aspect, the reasons for trading for Miguel Cabrera are obvious. Unfortunately, though, consider the financials we must.

As was stated already, Miggy has 8 years and $212M remaining on his contract. The Mets have been increasing their payroll each season in recent years, so it is logical to assume they could add his contract. If they were to trade Duda and d’Arnaud in this deal, the Mets would “only” be adding $20M for 2017. To relieve that, they could trade Jay Bruce, who is in line to make $13M, assuming the Mets pick up his 2017 option.

The money would obviously be there if Yoenis Cespedes walks and the Mets don’t resign him, however if the Mets were to tell him that he could be hitting behind Miguel Cabrera, that would be an attractive prospect to him. There would be many times that other teams pitch around Cabrera to pitch to Cespedes, creating a lot of RBI opportunities for him.

As for 2018-2020, that’s a different story. 2017 is the last season Curtis Granderson is under contract, so after next year, the $15M he’s being paid will finally be off the books. Asdrubal Cabrera will be paid $8.25M in 2017 and has a $8.5M option for 2018, but that has a $2M buyout. By then, the Mets could have a cheaper option for shortstop, possibly Matt Reynolds or Gavin Cecchini.

As a Mets fan, I don’t like confronting this possibility, but there is also the possibility that David Wright‘s injuries become too much to play through, forcing his retirement. From 2017-20, he is slated to make $20M, $20M, $15M, and $12M. If he opts to retire before the completion of that contract, that would free up a lot of money.

That addresses a bunch of money coming off the books, but there will also be a lot of money coming onto them. The Mets have a lot of home grown pitchers that will eventually have to get paid a lot of money, some sooner than others. Jacob deGrom should see a significant pay raise this year, with Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler eventually following suit. However, we’re talking about a long period of time and pitchers with vast injury histories and major trade value, it’s tough to say exactly what will happen.

Obviously $30M a season is a ton of money. However, Miguel Cabrera is an incredibly durable and consistent hitter who is also widely known to be a fantastic clubhouse personality. Having him around would almost certainly help the development of the Mets’ young hitters, as well as bolster the lineup on a daily basis.

Now, I’m not saying this should happen, per se. However, the fact remains that the Mets want to win now, and the Tigers need to cut commitments. 2015 saw a great deadline deal that worked out very well for both of these teams, when Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Fulmer were swapped. This trade would bring a hitter to New York who would immediately go down as one of the best to ever wear the orange and blue, right up there with Mike Piazza and Willie Mays. Would I do this if I were the Mets GM? Probably not. Will it happen? Probably not — But it’s fun to think about.

Follow me on Twitter @LBarer32

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MMO Game Thread: Mets @ Tigers, 1:10 PM Sun, 07 Aug 2016 14:59:19 +0000 jacob degrom

Sunday, August 7, 2016 • 1:10 p.m.
Comerica Park • Detroit, MI
RHP Jacob deGrom (7-5, 2.41) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (6-11, 6.26)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets and Tigers finally conclude their series this afternoon as Jacob deGrom takes on Anibal Sanchez. Jacob deGrom is 15-3 with a 1.57 ERA in 28 career daytime starts, best daytime ERA among qualified MLB pitchers over the last three years.

Mets Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – RF
  2. Alejandro De Aza – CF
  3. Neil Walker – 2B
  4. Jay Bruce – DH
  5. James Loney – 1B
  6. Michael Conforto – LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  8. Kelly Johnson – 3B
  9. Matt Reynolds – SS

Tigers Lineup

  1. Tyler Collins – CF
  2. Jose Iglesias – SS
  3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B
  4. Victor Martinez – DH
  5. J.D. Martinez – RF
  6. Justin Upton – LF
  7. Casey McGehee – 3B
  8. James McCann – C
  9. Andrew Romine – 2B

Before we get to our old friend in Sanchez, let’s take a look at deGrom. Jacob is 7-5 on the season over 19 starts and 119.2 innings with a 2.41 ERA. After allowing 5 ER over 10 hits in 3.2 innings against the Marlins, he has tossed 14.0 innings of shutout ball allowing 9 hits and two walks while striking out 14 against the Rockies and the Yankees. The last time the Mets faced the Tigers was in 2013, and deGrom broke into the majors into 2014, so this will be his first time seeing the Tigers, but he has seen three batters before:

  • Upton 2-12, 6 K
  • Saltalamacchia 1-11, 2B, 5 K
  • Maybin 0-6

The Mets will get a look at Anibal Sanchez who broke into the league in 2006 as a member of the Marlins and was with them until 2012 when he was traded mid-season to the Tigers. This year he has pitched 25 games with 17 starts and 100.2 innings with a 6.26 ERA and a 6-11 record, his worst season since 2008. That being said, he’s coming off of a solid start against the White Sox where he held them to 1 ER over 6.0 innings. The last time he faced the Mets was back in 2011 where he went 0-1 over two starts allowing 18 hits and 6 ER over 13.0 innings of work. The Mets have the following numbers on Anibal:

  • K Johnson 5-29, 2B, 3B, HR
  • Cespedes 4-18
  • Walker 4-17, 2B, HR
  • Loney 5-15, 3B
  • De Aza 4-12, 2 2B
  • Bruce 2-8
  • Granderson 2-7, HR

Let’s Go Mets!

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Tigers, 7:10 PM Sat, 06 Aug 2016 19:38:26 +0000 logan verrett

Saturday, August 6, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Comerica Park • Detroit, MI
RHP Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.20) vs. LHP Matt Boyd (2-2, 4.71)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets and Tigers continue their three game set tonight as Logan Verrett takes on Matt Boyd. The Mets have lost five straight games to the Tigers dating back to 2011. They are 9-12 since the All-Star break and  27-27 on the road this year.

Mets Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – CF
  2. Ty Kelly – LF
  3. Neil Walker – 2B
  4. Jay Bruce – RF
  5. Wilmer Flores – 1B
  6. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  7. Kelly Johnson – 3B
  8. Rene Rivera – DH
  9. Matt Reynolds – SS

Tigers Lineup

  1. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  2. Tyler Collins – CF
  3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B
  4. Victor Martinez – DH
  5. J.D. Martinez – RF
  6. Nick Castellanos – 3B
  7. Justin Upton – LF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – C
  9. Jose Iglesias – SS

Verrett is coming off of his first start in the Subway Series where he allowed 3 ER over 5.0 innings. In his last four starts in total he has pitched 23.1 innings with a 3.86 ERA (compared to his season stats which include 28 games and 10 starts of 79.1 innings of work and a 4.20 ERA). Even though he started in the league as a member of the Rangers last year, he has never faced the Tigers and the only person on their roster who has seen him is Maybin who is 0-1 with an RBI.

The Mets bats will get a look at Matt Boyd who is 2-2 over 10 games and 9 starts this year totaling 49.2 innings of work with a 4.71 ERA. Boyd was part of the trade the Blue Jays made with the Tigers to get David Price last season. Boyd has never faced the Mets and hasn’t faced any of the players the Mets have acquired from other places over the last two years.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets @ Tigers, 7:10 PM Fri, 05 Aug 2016 19:33:08 +0000 Syndergaard Noah

Friday, August 5, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Comerica Park • Detroit, MI
RHP Noah Syndergaard (9-5, 2.48) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (11-6, 3.54)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets head to Detroit! The Mets are coming off of a season split with the Yankees where they picked up the win last night after a good Colon start, a solid 3-run homer by Bruce and close save by Familia, now they head to the midwest!

Noah Syndergaard is 9-5 over 21 games and 20 starts this season totaling 123.1 innings with a 2.48 ERA. He is coming off back to back average starts allowing a total of 6 runs, 4 earned over 12.0 innings with 14 K’s. Not surprisingly, this will be Noah Syndergaard’s first time facing the Tigers but two Tigers have seen him as members of other clubs. Justin Upton is 0-6 with 4 K’s while Maybin is 0-2.

Mets Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson – DH
  2. Alejandro De Aza – CF
  3. Neil Walker – 2B
  4. Jay Bruce – RF
  5. James Loney – 1B
  6. Kelly Johnson – 3B
  7. Brandon Nimmo – LF
  8. Rene Rivera – C
  9. Matt Reynolds – SS

Tigers Lineup

  1. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  2. Tyler Collins – CF
  3. Miguel Cabrera – 1B
  4. Victor Martinez – DH
  5. J.D. Martinez – RF
  6. Nick Castellanos – 3B
  7. Justin Upton – LF
  8. James McCann – C
  9. Jose Iglesias – SS

The Mets bats draw Justin Verlander who is 11-6 over 22 starts and 147.1 innings with a 3.54 ERA. He is coming off of what may be his best start of the season allowing only 2 ER over 9.0 innings while striking out 11 and in general July was fantastic for him as he made six starts going 4-0 over 42.2 innings with a 1.69 ERA and 48 K’s. He faced the Mets way back in 2010 where he allowed 5 ER over 2.0 innings of work. The Mets have the following numbers on Justin:

  • De Aza 9-40, 2B, 3B, 2 HR
  • Granderson 5-25, 2 2B, 3B, HR
  • Cespedes 7-21, 2 2B
  • Walker 2-12, 2B, 3B
  • K Johnson 0-14
  • Loney 3-7
  • Bruce 1-3, 2B

Let’s Go Mets!

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NL East News: Max Scherzer Strikes Out 20 Tigers Thu, 12 May 2016 04:48:34 +0000 maz scherzer

Nationals righty Max Scherzer struck out 20 Tigers wednesday night in D.C. in an epic performance. Here is how the Tigers’ lineup fared individually:

Ian Kinsler: 3 Ks

J.D. Martinez: 3 Ks

Miguel Cabrera: 3 Ks

Victor Martinez: 0 Ks

Justin Upton: 2 Ks

James McCann: 3 Ks

Anthony Gose: 3 Ks

Jose Iglesias: 1 K

Jordan Zimmermann: 1 K

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: 1 K

Entering the 9th inning with 18 strikeouts, he served up a first pitch home run to J.D. Martinez to make it a 3-2 game. He then settled down and struck out Miguel Cabrera before surrendering a base hit to Victor Martinez. He then struck out Justin Upton for his 20th of the game. James McCann grounded out to third to end the game.

So far this season, Scherzer is 4-2 with a 4.15 ERA. In 52 innings he has struck out 66 batters and walked 15, while holding opposing batters to a .237 BAA.

This ties the MLB record for strikeouts in a 9-inning game. He shares the record with Roger Clemens (twice), Randy Johnson, and Kerry Wood.

Tom Seaver and David Cone both came close in Mets uniforms, each of them striking out 19 batters in games.


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2016 Season Preview: Yoenis Cespedes, OF Wed, 30 Mar 2016 11:00:12 +0000 cespedes yoenis

Yoenis Cespedes, OF
DOB: October 18, 1985 (30 years old on Opening Day)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Contract Status: First year of three-year, $75 million deal ($27.5 million salary)

2015 Recap

If I could sum up Yoenis Cespedes‘ 2015 season in one word, it would be this: thrilling. After being dealt to the Tigers during the 2014-2015 offseason, Cespedes got off to a very good start. He saw significant bumps to his batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage. Before being dealt again at the trade deadline, Cespedes had smacked 18 home runs and posted an impressive .293/.323/.506 line (123 wRC+). That line was his best since 2012.  A free agent to be, Cespedes fell victim to the Tigers’ fire sale, netting them Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

As we saw, Cespedes became a monster the minute he put on a Mets uniform. In just two months of play (57 games), Cespedes hit 17 home runs and slashed .287/.337/.604 (157 wRC+). While the Mets acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson and added David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Conforto to the roster, Cespedes was unquestionably one of the driving forces behind the Mets’ second half offensive turnaround.

For the year, Cespedes hit .291/.328/.542 (135 wRC+), finally matching what he did in his rookie campaign, at least offensively. All that, plus Gold Glove defense in left field, mostly with the Tigers, Cespedes earned himself 6.7 Wins Above Replacement from Fangraphs and 6.3 from Baseball-Reference.

2016 Projections

Marcel – 603 PA, .265/.309/.480, 26 HR

Steamer – 595 PA, .259/.305/.464 (112 wRC+), 26 HR

ZiPS – 629 PA, .270/.312/.498 (125 OPS+), 30 HR

Projecting what Cespedes will do is an incredibly difficult task. In 2012 and 2015, he was a monster of a hitter and a true multi-dimensional threat at the plate. However, in both 2013 and 2014, he wasn’t able to do much outside of hitting some home runs. In those years, he posted wRC+ ratings of 102 and 109, only a bit above average.

Here’s what’s perplexing in this situation: Cespedes did not undergo a major swing change from 2014 to 2015. Unlike with Curtis Granderson, there is nothing you can point to and say “here is why he turned things around.”

If Cespedes somehow manages to repeat what he did in 2015, he’s the best hitter on the team and will more than make up for his defense in center field, no matter how bad it is. However, if he reverts to the Cespedes of 2013 and 2014, he will likely only be the fourth or fifth best hitter on the team, which would be a real disappointment considering how much he’s getting paid.

Do I think Cespedes’ 2015 results are going to be the new norm? No. He isn’t going to be a dynamic, lineup-changing force going forward. In fact, he has never really been that player, outside a few months last year. But if he can just perform somewhere near his career averages (.271/.319/.486, 121 wRC+), he will make an already good lineup even deeper. It’s unfair to expect Cespedes to be the game-changing player he was in the final weeks of 2015, but he should be a solid hitter.

Cespedes’ defense in center field is also a concern of mine, given his -17 DRS and -17.6 UZR/150 at the position. Defensive statistics are far from perfect, so we won’t really know for sure what will happen this season. However, I would expect Terry Collins to often do what he did in quite a few postseason games: take out Conforto, move Cespedes to left field, and put Juan Lagares in center field for defensive purposes. While having Lagares in center for high leverage situations will help, it remains to be seen whether the Mets will be able to tolerate playing Cespedes there. If not, thankfully Cespedes’ deal is essentially a one-year contract.

I still maintain that Cespedes is a massive long-term risk, but for now he should be a net positive. If I had to predict what he’ll do, I’d say somewhere between ZiPS and Marcel. Neither are the out-of-this-world production that many people expect, but they would give the Mets average or above average offense at every single position. With our pitching staff, that’s a scary thought.


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Lazaro Armenteros: Will Mets Continue To Ignore Premium International Free Agents Mon, 18 Jan 2016 13:30:42 +0000 Lazarito2

Latest Cuban Phenom Lazaro Armenteros Declared A Free Agent

Last week the question was posed here on MMO as to whether or not the Mets should trade LHP Steven Matz and another player to the Red Sox for shortstop prospect Yoan Moncada. The trade was proposed by Baseball America and I have a huge problem with this, let me tell you why.

Since 2010, the Mets ownership and front office have been negligent and unresponsive among other things, when it comes to taking advantage of international free agency.

Of course after the wonderful Kaz Matsui experience I can almost understand why they always seem to show absolutely no interest in the best international free agents every year. But smart teams utilize it as a means to infuse blue chip talent into their farm systems, just ask the Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers.

Over a year ago during the 2014 Winter Meetings, Sandy Alderson acknowledged that the Mets haven’t engaged in premium international players during his tenure, but vowed that would soon be a thing of the past.

“We haven’t been in that category, but I expect we will be in that category, soon. We don’t know when “soon” is, but there are encouraging signs that “soon” might be as close as the next few weeks.”

The next few weeks? Needless to say, Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani, and Cuban second baseman Yoan Moncada ended up on the Mets. Promises, promises.

Now I wonder will Sandy sit on his hands and do nothing again while more newly minted Cuban free agents are hitting the market?

And believe me, I am fully aware that it’s the Wilpons who may be holding Sandy back. But whatever the truth is, our team suffers because they are denied an opportunity to take advantage of this emerging pipeline of premium players.

There’s a Cuban outfielder who is a free agent right now by the name of Lazaro Armenteros, better known as “Lazarito” and recognized as one of the most intriguing and exciting Cuban prospects in international scouting circles.

Armenteros, who is only 16 years-old was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and is subject to the international signing guidelines because of his age and experience. He will be eligible to sign with a major league team starting February 10.

The Mets as we all know have a serious situation in center field and Lazarito is the real deal. Consider him this years’ Yoan Moncada. Lazarito hits and hits with power, he runs and is an excellent base-stealer and should have no trouble becoming a plus defender in center field.

Did I forget to mention his cannon for an arm? And at only 16 the sky is literally the limit with this kid. He is just what the Mets need, and don’t already have in their farm system.

Do you honestly think the Mets will be serious players for Lazarito? Guess again. They don’t have the stomach or the fortitude to sign this guy. I’m so sure of this that I’m willing to pledge:

“If the Mets sign Lazarito: I Petey Pete will sing the national anthem at Citi Field in the buff. That’s right, in the raw, buck naked, bare-assed, au naturel, unclad, without a stitch, sans leaf, in my birthday suit!” Now, how’s that for certainty?

Exactly a year ago this excerpt was part of a piece on Cuban free agents published on

“Moncada has yet to receive a formal offer, Sanchez writes, but he’s worked out privately for the Cubs, D-backs, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rangers, Rays, Tigers and Brewers.”

Now correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t the Mets in need of a shortstop this time last year? Yet they are one of the only teams that didn’t even work him out. They were so busy conducting their biz that they couldn’t even be bothered to kick the tires on Moncada a year ago.

And now we should wonder if it’s a good idea to trade a talented and controllable left-handed pitcher like Matz for someone we could have simply signed a year ago and gave up nothing for except cash? Now you are beginning to see why this whole trade idea seems so ludicrous to me.

Despite the Mets current need for a lead-off hitter and a real center fielder, I think we can safely assume that the Mets owners and their lackeys are too busy focusing on looking good, saying the right things and putting spin on everything, than they are of making the team better.

If it costs any money they simply aren’t interested. That’s the one constant with the Wilpons, they’re unwilling to invest in the team even after a banner year and record revenue and profits. This is why I am certain I will not have to do any singing naked on national television, aren’t you relieved?

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Alderson Was Wrong About Cespedes… In July Sat, 09 Jan 2016 13:41:37 +0000 yoenis cespedes muff

When assessing what’s left of this offseason, Sandy Alderson has given fair critiques on what remains. He has stated Yoenis Cespedes was a square peg for a round hole. In essence, Alderson was saying Cespedes’ bat doesn’t justify his poor defense.

Last year, Cespedes’ UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) in center field was -3.2, which is also his career average. UZR tells us he’s a below average center fielder. DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) paints an uglier picture. Cespedes was a -17 in center last year, which is about as bad as it gets. His career average in his prior years in center is -4, which suggests he’s below average. Therefore, no matter what stat you want to use, Cespedes is a poor defensive center fielder in a spacious Citi Field outfield.

Mets fans seem to feel differently because Cespedes hit extraordinarily well when he came to the Mets. When he was hitting like that you could justify his poor defense in a key defensive position. Problem is Cespedes just doesn’t hit like that. He’s a low OBP with good power (or potencia). He is a career .261/.319/.486 hitter. He is a career .236/.302/.491 hitter at Citi Field. I know I expected that to be a lot higher too. Thing is if Cespedes reverts back to these numbers, you can’t justify playing him in center field everyday.

Understandably, Mets fans remember him more for his insane hot streak. They overly correlate winning the division with Cespedes’ arrival. Some will dismiss the statistics and point to the eye test. With respect to the eye test, all I can say is Cespedes gave up not one, but two, Little League homeruns last year. How many center fielders do that?

Overall, the Cespedes’ situation leaves me irritated. No, I’m not irritated because the Mets aren’t going to re-sign him. I’m irritated because of what they gave up to get him.

The Mets gave up Michael Fulmer for three months of Cespedes. At the time of the trade, the industry believed Fulmer was an unbelievable get for the Tigers. Yes, baseball people said the Tigers won the deal; not the Mets. Part of the reason might be the fact the Tigers most likely couldn’t re-sign him due to the language in his contract. Cespedes wouldn’t and most likely couldn’t re-sign with the Tigers, and they got Fulmer in the deal? It just wasn’t a good trade. The Tigers were the more desperate team, and the Mets still gave up too much value for a player they knew they weren’t going to re-sign.

Fulmer could be a potential ace. Last year in AA, he was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. He’s a guy who can get his fastball up to 97 MPH with a full repertoire. He can probably help a big league team in 2016. He will be bringing that talent to the Tigers instead of the Mets.

Usually, it’s at this point I hear how you have to give up something to get something. That’s fine, but that doesn’t change the fact the Mets have up too much for a player they had no intentions of re-signing. I’ll also hear how it was worth it because the Mets won the NL East and made the postseason.  That’s a stretch considering the Nationals imploded, and the Mets won the division by seven games.

Furthermore, this trade ignores the John Smoltz trade. In 1987, the Tigers traded Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander was terrific for the Tigers going 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA. He helped the Tigers win the AL East. I’m sure Tigers fans were elated. The problem is the Tigers didn’t win the World Series, and oh yeah, they traded away a future Hall of Famer.  Do you think the Tigers and their fans would want a do-over on that trade?

Is Fulmer a Hall of Famer?  We don’t know that yet. We don’t know if he’ll be an ineffective starter and have to go to the bullpen. The thing is his value as a potential ace was much higher than a rental.

Here’s what we do know:

  1. The Mets lost 15 pitchers over the last year;
  2. The Mets had to sign a fifth stater this offseason; and
  3. The Mets didn’t win the World Series.

That’s it in a nutshell. The Mets tout all this pitching depth, and yet they’re signing guys like Bartolo Colon because they didn’t have a fifth starter. Furthermore, the Mets don’t have a World Series title to show for losing all that pitching. In fact, they don’t even have a Cespedes. So while I agree with Sandy Alderson that Cespedes isn’t a center fielder, I can’t agree with him giving up a potential ace to a  desperate team for someone he saw as a square peg to a round hole.

Just like most Mets fans, I’m irritated over the Cespedes situation. However, I’m irritated because they gave up a lot to bring him to New York. I’m alright with them admitting he wasn’t a center fielder. I just wish they realized that before sacrificing a part of their future. A part of their future that will come all the more important when the Mets may not have the money to re-sign any of Matt HarveyJacob deGrom, or Noah Syndergaard.

When that times comes, what will you be thinking?  Will you be thinking the three months of Cespedes was worth it, or will you be wondering about how the Mets really could’ve used Fulmer to cushion the blow?  My bet’s on the latter.

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Maybe The Mets Were Being The Adults In The Room Sat, 02 Jan 2016 00:25:38 +0000 Yoenis , Cespedes

When last we checked, free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes not only had appeared on the radar of the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles according to Jesse Sanchez of, but both teams had emerged as the frontrunners to sign the former New York Met juggernaut. That was three days ago.

However, we have a little more clarity on the Cespedes front as the calendar flips to 2016, and none of it is particularly good news for the free agent who bellowed his demands for a six-year deal three months ago.

To begin, it turns out that the Orioles – while interested – never had any intentions of coming close to the $150 million Cespedes and his representatives at Roc Nation had set their sights on. The two sides are reportedly not even in the same zip code.

And as for the other frontrunner on the south side of Chicago, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported today that their interest in Cespedes is limited to a deal for no more than three years.

Sound familiar? It should. Three years was the most Sandy Alderson and the Mets were willing to offer Cespedes according to what team sources told Jon Heyman, and that firm stance ultimately led to the end of any negotiations with Roc Nation. In fact, the conversation between the two sides never even advanced to the point of discussing dollars.

Now, I’m never one to defend the Mets’ frugal ways, however last week I raised the possibility that perhaps this was not a case of the Mets being cheap, but simply a smart baseball decision by a general manager who has never taken kindly to handing out second generation contracts to players on the wrong side of thirty. It’s possible isn’t it?

Those of you who have followed this site since its inception 12 years ago, know all too well that I am not the least bit squeamish about hammering the Wilpons every chance I get. But this feels different to me.

Oh. I’m sure there’s no doubt Fred and Jeff were doing Ralph Kramden’s version of the Watusi when they heard about Sandy’s stance on Cespedes. I’m just saying that this wasn’t a case of them pressuring their GM to back off, or applying those well-polished fiscal handcuffs. Maybe giving Cespedes a six year deal is just a terrible baseball decision for the Mets or any other MLB team.

Still, our poor Mets took a lot of flak upon the news of their three-year or nothing posture, with most of the incoming fire coming from their own fan base itself. Perhaps the Mets front office was being judged a little too harshly based on today’s rumblings on the Cespedes front. Perhaps the Mets may have even been a little ahead of the curve?

In an offseason fraught with spending madness and vast ungodly sums of dollars being thrown about with such reckless abandon, maybe on this one occasion Sandy Alderson and John Ricco were being the adults in the room? It’s possible, isn’t it?

Anyway, there it is… My first article of 2016 is in the books and whether you agree or not, I hope I gave you something to think about. Happy New Year, my friends.

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Market For Reliever Joakim Soria Is Getting Robust Thu, 03 Dec 2015 15:55:12 +0000 Joakim_Soria_DET

Joakim Soria, who is one of the top relief pitchers on the market along with Darren O’Day, is looking for a contract worth approximately $27 million over three years according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.

The Mets, who are in need of another shutdown pitcher to pair with Jeurys Familia, are reportedly interested in Soria who would seem to be a perfect fit for a Mets bullpen in search of a setup reliever.

The two-time All Star is a very consistent lock down reliever who has a lot of closing experience over the course of his career, logging 202 saves, including 24 last season.

In his career pitching for the Royals, Rangers, Tigers, and Pirates, he has appeared in 444 games, striking out 481 batters while walking 126 in 461 innings, while posting a solid 2.57 ERA and 1.062 WHIP.

Last season for the Tigers and Pirates, Soria pitched 67.2 innings, striking out 64 batters and walking 19 while logging 24 saves to go with a 2.53 ERA and 1.0941 WHIP. He held batters to a .219 batting average.

Soria features a four-pitch arsenal including a fastball (90-93 mph), changeup (84-86 mph), curveball (69-72 mph), and slider (77-80 mph). In the last three years (2013-2015), Soria has been effective against both left and right handed batters.

LHB: .230/.270/.367 — 271 AB, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 7 HR, 14 BB, 1 HBP

RHB: .209/.293/.308 — 234 AB, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HR, 25 BB, 4 HBP

At 31 years old, he isn’t quite as super dominating as he was in his days as the Royals’ All-Star closer. However, he still is an extremely effective reliever and has recovered just fine since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.

The market for Soria is becoming robust of late with two more teams in the hunt according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The Royals and Blue Jays are now monitoring Soria, joining the Giants, Rangers, Twins and of course the Mets as teams with reported interest.

The $9 million a year for a reliever of his caliber doesn’t seem too unreasonable and he would certainly fill a critical void for the Mets, giving them three relievers along with Familia and Addison Reed with the ability to close games. Soria might even provide a better value than O’Day who is reportedly close to inking a four-year deal.


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Intrasquad and Grapefruit League Pitching Assignments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:01:02 +0000 degrom matz harvey

The Mets will have an intrasquad game on Tuesday before beginning their Grapefruit League games on Wednesday.

Here’s the pitchers slated to go for Tuesday’s noon intrasquad game:

Team Blue
Jonathon Niese
Rafael Montero
Sean Gilmartin
Carlos Torres
Vic Black

Team Orange
Zack Wheeler
Jenrry Mejia
Buddy Carlyle
Jeurys Familia

The Mets also announced the pitching assignments for week one of the Grapefruit League season.

March 4: Dillon Gee, Jon Velasquez in relief

March 5: Bartolo ColonGabriel Ynoa in relief

March 6: Matt HarveyNoah Syndergaard in relief

March 7 (SS): Jacob deGromMatt Bowman in relief

March 7 (SS): Steven MatzRafael Montero in relief

March 8: Jon NieseTyler Pill in relief

March 9: Zack WheelerCarlos Torres in relief

Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

All of the televised Mets games will be in Port St. Lucie and begin at 1:10 p.m.

6 Tigers, SNY
7 Braves, PIX11
8 Red Sox, PIX11
9 Marlins, SNY
12 Nationals, SNY
13 Braves, SNY
14 Nationals, PIX11
17 Marlins, SNY
19 Astros, SNY
20 Cardinals, SNY
22 Yankees, SNY
24 Astros, SNY
28 Nationals, PIX11
30 Marlins, SNY

1 Cardinals, SNY

Let the games begin!


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Jose Iglesias Could Give Mets Some Defense and Speed Wed, 21 Jan 2015 05:47:09 +0000 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

The Mets shortstop trade rumors have been endless this offseason. The Troy Tulowitzki rumors went from being reported that there were rigorous talks occurring for weeks, to learning there was never any extensive talks at all. At this point in the offseason, all signs point to Wilmer Flores beginning the season as our everyday shortstop. Best-case scenario, with him, you’re looking at average defense with solid offense.

However, many people, including Sandy Alderson, would prefer a better glove out there at shortstop than Wilmer. However, the shortstop market is thin with true shortstops being at such a premium nowadays. We have a perennial Gold-Glove-winner-to-be in center field, Juan Lagares. We also have a two-time Gold Glover at third base in captain David Wright. With our premium pitching staff, we should have more standout defenders like them to compliment our arms.

There is a player out there in the baseball universe that I believe can help us not named Tulowitzki, and someone the Wilpons can afford.

Cut back to 2013, when Miguel Cabrera won his third consecutive batting title and second consecutive MVP. Max Scherzer won a Cy Young award, and teammate Anibal Sanchez finished 4th in voting. All around, the Tigers were a fun team to watch. But when I tuned in to watch them play, it was not the Verlander curveballs or Victor Martinez plate discipline that caught my eye… It was 24 year old shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Iglesias, now 25, did not play in the major leagues in 2014 due to stress fractures in both shins diagnosed during 2014 spring training. However, recently, Tigers’ head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told the Detroit News that Iglesias is on track to be completely healthy for spring training.

So why am I suggesting we trade for a 25 year old with only 424 major league at-bats and bum shins? Because that man can field his position as well as anyone. He has incredibly quick hands and exhibits a kind of athleticism only shared on the Mets by Juan Lagares. Those clips are just the beginning. Like Juan, he makes the easiest of plays look simple.

Is he a good hitter, you ask? In those career 424 major league at-bats, he sports a .274/.325/.354 slash line with 4 home runs and 6 stolen bases. However, in 2013, his first “full” season, he had an impressive .303/.349/.386 line split between the Red Sox and Tigers. During that season he was not a starter because of higher profile shortstops on his teams (Stephen Drew on the Red Sox and Jhonny Peralta on the Tigers).

Iglesias is someone who would be perfect to have on the bench. He is capable of playing gold glove shortstop and second base, so during close games, Terry Collins can slot him at either position for a defensive upgrade. He’s also no slouch with the bat, as I pointed out in 2013 he batted .303.

Mets fans are not concerned with Wilmer Flores or Daniel Murphy because of their bats; it’s their gloves that unnerve us. The Mets have this amazing pitching staff, but their defense in the middle infield leaves a lot to be desired. There will likely be a lot of 1-0 or 2-1 games this season, and while I would like to have Flores in the lineup for most of the game to drive in runs, when Mejia/Parnell/Familia come in to close it out in the ninth, I want a gold glover out there.

Also, with Eric Young Jr. seemingly not coming back, Iglesias would provide some decent speed off the bench. He is not the speedster EY is, very few are, but he is definitely capable of stealing a base and wreaking some havoc.

Why shouldn’t we go trade for him right now? For one thing, he is still injured. He is still recovering from his dual fractured shins. However, he is expected to be ready for spring training and the prognosis and reports have all been good.

The fact of the matter is that the Wilpons are unwilling to spend big bucks as we all know too well, which is why Ian Desmond at $11.5 million doesn’t appear to be a realistic option in addition to the cost in prospects.

However, going after a .300 hitting gold-glove caliber middle infielder poised to make only $1.65 million this season seems well within reason for them. As a fan, I would be a lot more comfortable with Flores at short and Murph at second knowing that Iglesias is on the bench, ready to provide a major upgrade late in the game.

What do you think? And, as always, LET’S GO METS!!

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Red Sox Deal Cespedes To Detroit For Porcello Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:57:02 +0000 yoenis cespedes

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Red Sox have traded Yoenis Cespedes and two other players to the Tigers for Rick Porcello and a minor leaguer.

Porcello gives the Red Sox the starter they’ve been looking for. The 26 year old went 15-13 last season with a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP  in 204.2 innings with 129 strikeouts and 41 walks.

The Red Sox also acquired left-hander Wade Miley from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster last night.

Once considered a potential prime trading partner for Mets starting pitchers, their rotation is now complete.

Cespedes, 29, gives the Tigers another big bat in the middle of their lineup that already includes Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez. He batted .260 last season with 36 doubles, 22 home runs and 100 RBI in what was a down season for him.

The Mets were linked to Cespedes early in the offseason, but later said they were never interested in him.


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Featured Post: A Puzzling Asking Price and Return for Gregorius Mon, 08 Dec 2014 01:33:37 +0000 Didi+Gregorius

The Yankees decided to swoop in and get themselves a shortstop this week, something that seems impossible for the New York Mets.

What is confusing is the return for Didi Gregorius. As David Lennon tweeted out, the asking price to the Mets centered on Noah Syndergaard.

That was confirmed tonight when Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters at the Winter Meetings in San Diego and said the Mets were never in play for Gregorius.

“There’s some young pitching we weren’t prepared to trade,” said Alderson who added that the two clubs “never had extensive conversations.”

The Mets were wise saying no to these demands, causing Arizona to look elsewhere and eventually secure prospects Robbie Ray and Domingo Leyba from the Tigers’ system.For the Diamondbacks, Ray and Leyba were greater than or equal to Noah Syndergaard.

The Yankees, in turn, gave up 26 year-old Shane Greene, who surprised many with his solid performance in 2014 (3.78 ERA / 3.73 FIP).

So what gives?

First, Shane Greene. The Tigers were looking for an inexpensive back-end starter to fill out their rotation in 2015 and beyond. Greene fits that mold. But by no means is he the type of young pitcher you would usually acquire for a combination of top prospects. Coming into the 2014 season, Greene ranked 27th on a composite list of Yankee prospects. At 25, he is a late bloomer, and despite his solid pitching last season, looking at his history throughout the minors, it is hard to believe that he will turn into anything above a fourth or fifth starter.

I don’t think the Tigers are expecting much more from Greene, which is why it is quite clear that they don’t place very high value on either Ray or Leyba.

Which brings us back to the original question. Why would Arizona refuse to engage with the Mets on any prospect below Syndergaard, who is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, when they were willing to take less of a package from Detroit?

For the Mets, it means that Sandy Alderson was wise not to overpay for Gregorius, who is a solid defensive shortstop, but at a projected 1.2 fWAR next season per Steamer, not necessarily a huge upgrade in comparison to the offensive value of in-house talent such as Wilmer Flores.

(Updated 12/7)


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Yankees Acquire Didi Gregorius In Three-Team Deal With D-Backs, Tigers Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:55:38 +0000 digi gregorius

The Yankees, Diamondbacks and Tigers have completed a three-team trade that will send Didi Gregorius to the Yankees, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. LHP Robbie Ray will be heading to the Diamondbacks from the Tigers, while Detroit nets RHP Shane Greene from the Yanks. The Yankees will get five years of team  control with Gregorius.

Gregorius, 25, batted .226/.290/.363 with six homers and three steals in 299 plate appearances last season and has often come up as a potential option for the Mets at shortstop.But GM Dave Stewart made it very clear he had no interest in the trio of starters the Mets were looking to trade. Reportedly, Arizona wanted Noah Syndergaard from the Mets.

Greene, 26, is expected to slot right into the Tigers’ rotation behind David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello. In 15 appearances (14 starts) for the Yankees last season, he posted a 3.78 ERA with a 9.3 K/9 in 78.2 innings.

Ray, 23, was ranked 97 in MLB’s Top 100 Prospects. The left-hander made his major league debut in 2014, posting a 8.16 ERA in six starts. The D-Backs will also get prized shortstop prospect Domingo Leyba from the Tigers.

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Braves Enter Yasmani Tomas Sweepstakes Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:51:10 +0000 yasmani tomas cuba

The Atlanta Braves have jumped into the mix for 24-year-old Cuban free agent Yasmani Tomas, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He is scheduled to hold a private workout for Braves scouts and officials in the coming days

Heyman says that the Braves could qualify as a surprise team and that they recently made room in the outfield by trading Jason Heyward. New Braves president of baseball operations John Hart has long loved power hitters, as folks may recall from his Cleveland and Texas days, adds Heyman.

The Padres have also ramped up interest in Tomas, while the Phillies have backed off until they can clear enough room on their payroll to sign him. Only a week ago, several reports suggested that a deal was imminent.

November 13

Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas is flying to the United States on Friday to meet with his agent, Jay Alou Jr., reports Jorge Arangure of Vice Sports, who believes a deal now appears imminent and could come as soon as this weekend. He adds that Alou is still planning to meet with four GMs in the next two days as the very active pursuit for Tomas comes to its conclusion.

Peter Gammons of MLB Network also reported that the San Francisco Giants are being urged by special assistant Felipe Alou to sign Tomas as a third baseman. The Phillies are still in the hunt and are trying to clear some money to get a deal done. The Royals are also considered to be in the picture.

November 9

Joel Sherman of the New York Post makes the case that the Mets should sign Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas.

Sherman says that signing Tomas would instantly energize the fan base and would show that ownership is indeed willing to spend when the time is right.

The Mets have been asking their fans to be patient for four years while a slew of prized young arms worked their way to the majors. That time is now.

He also points out that while Tomas could be a risk, it’s a risk worth taking given that the recent track record of righty Cuban power hitters — Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu — has been excellent. One scout who watched his workout likened Tomas to Albert Belle.

If it were possible to sign him, and I’m not saying it is, an added benefit would be pulling the rug out from under the Phillies who are the favorites to sign Tomas.

So what do you think, should the Mets sign him?

November 5

Confirming what has been a growing buzz, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is hearing from more and more sources that the Philadelphia Phillies are still extremely interested in signing free-agent Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas.

The Phillies sent one of the larger contingents to see Tomas during his first showcase, and they were the first MLB team to have him attend a private workout.

It seems pretty clear that given his young age and the state of the team, the Phillies are looking at his 70 rated power and seeing Tomas as not only a youth infusion but potentially a 30 homer bat as well. And after years and years of a sold out ballpark, they’ve got the money to spend.

Tomas has been linked to with varying degrees of seriousness to the Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Twins, Rangers, Giants and Tigers.

It was interesting to note that multiple executives with teams interested in Tomas say that, if he were a free agent, he would be a $15 million per year player, making a 5-year, $75 million contract for 23-year-old reasonable. However, because he is not attached to a draft pick, and will be the subject of a bidding war, Tomas could easily top that.

“Tomas’ best attribute is his power, a trait that is in short supply in today’s game. Only 14 players hit 30 or more home runs in 2013, and fewer might reach that threshold this year.  Tomas has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale,” wrote Baseball America’s Ben Badler, “So he profiles as one of those rare 30+ home run bats.”

I don’t like this year’s free agent class one bit, but Tomas is someone that the Mets should be looking at. And by looking I mean more than just a passing glance. The experts endorse him, scouts are impressed, and executives and GMs are in hot pursuit. That’s quite telling.


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Mets Not The Only Ones Seeking A Power Bat Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:38:48 +0000 jed lowrie

With two key areas of need for the Mets, they will have plenty of competition for free agents this offseason according to ESPN New York’s Mark Simon.

At shortstop, the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics will both also be in the market after Derek Jeter‘s retirement, and Jed Lowrie reaching free agency. On the top of their list could be Hanley Ramirez, although ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand thinks they will likely re-sign Stephen Drew on a buy-low deal. “…that’s good news for the Mets if they want to be in the hunt for Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie” Simon said.

Obviously the Mets will have the edge over the Yankees if it comes to trading for a shortstop with their incredibly deep farm system. Aside from lefty Dellin Betances, the Yankees have little to offer in a trade.

After trading prospect Addison Russell in the Jeff Samardzija trade and with Lowrie’s free agency looming, the A’s will have to make a move, but Billy Beane‘s buy low strategy should keep them out of the way on guys like Ramirez and Lowrie. Finally, the Dodgers will be looking to replace Ramirez but if their new General Manager Andrew Friedman wants to lower the payroll, they might have to buy low on someone.

Hanley Ramirez

Another need for the Mets is a power hitter. As Simon points out, the Mariners, Reds, Tigers and White Sox will all be in the market for someone to drive in runs. The Mariners need a guy to hit with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager and the White Sox need the same with the departures of Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza.

The Tigers and Reds will be in slightly different situations. Both are coming off disappointing seasons. The Reds had their worst season since 2008 while the Tigers have regressed from their American League Championship Series and World Series appearances in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This year they were bounced in the Division Series.

Unlike the Reds who will have to spend on guys like Johnny Cueto, the Tigers will have a ton of money coming off the books with Max Scherzer, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter. “Given owner Mike Ilitch’s seemingly bottomless pockets and general manager Dave Dombrowski’s history of spending, we’d expect the Tigers to go after the biggest names and also prioritize re-signing David Price and adding to their bullpen. But if a big bat became available, we’d expect them to pursue it” Simon said.

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Thoughts On Mets Signing Jose Valverde Thu, 13 Feb 2014 13:07:16 +0000 Jose -Valverde

The Mets announced that they have signed free-agent reliever Jose Valverde to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.

Jon Heyman reports that he can earn $1 million if he makes the team.

Valverde, who turns 36 next month, has recorded 286 saves during his 11-year career.

After a successful run with the Detroit Tigers from 2010 to 2012 in which he saved 110 games and posted a 3.00 ERA, he went downhill and was eventually released by Detroit last season after posting a 5.59 ERA in 20 appearances.

“We were looking for a veteran presence in the bullpen, he does have some experience closing, but this is not a move to displace Bobby Parnell,” Sandy Alderson said after the signing was announced. “We signed him to a minor league contract and we’ll see how he throws in spring training.”


One day after Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets were looking to add experienced relievers, the Mets inked the veteran closer to a minor league contract. Valverde is a three time all-star and along with his 286 career saves owns an excellent career ERA of 3.19 and a 1.18 WHIP during 11 major league seasons. His most recent success came with Detroit in 2011, where he was perfect in all 49 of his save opportunities.

While Valverde has been a a top flight closer at times in his career, I do not believe he will make much of an impact on the Mets other than to add some competition to the other bullpen candidates in camp. He is now past his prime and has seen the velocity in his fastball slide from a high of 95-96 in his prime to a career low of 92-93 mph.

During his short stint with Detroit last season, Valverde posted a dreadful 5.59 ERA and was hammered for six home runs in just 19.0 innings. Valverde had also showed significant signs of decline in 2012 when he posted his worst ERA, WHIP and K/9 totals since 2006. He also proved to be very ineffective in post season play that season, and yielded 9 earned runs in 2.2 innings for the Tigers in 2012.

Given his recent history, it is clear Valverde has severely declined. While he used to be a solid closer, he is simply not the same pitcher anymore and can no longer overpower the opposition as he once did.  It’s only a minor league contract, but there’s not much upside with this move.  

Presented By Diehards


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Fact or Fiction: Team Building 2007-2011 Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:43:21 +0000 Quick confession. I am not going to try and hide my biases simply to preserve some sense of false objectivity. After all, I’m not a journalist. Outside of lying or fabricating data, I have no such pristine burden. What follows are merely opinions, extrapolations, ideas, personal conclusions. I was, however, determined to keep an open mind once I began exploring the data, to go wherever the data led me. I will leave it in your capable hands to decide whether I have been successful or not in this regard.

Another caveat: I am not by nature a numbers cruncher, and from my writing days, not the greatest editor on the planet either. But I have tried to be faithful to the data, and if I’ve missed something, I am certain it will be pointed out. It is, after all, a debate on successful modern team building, not a pedantic lecture.

I’ve written a few articles previously since joining MMO leaving no doubt as to my opinion about the direction of the Mets this off-season. Sadly as a fan, much as I want to jump on the band wagon as the 2014 season nears, it still feels too much like jumping back into the same surreal rabbit hole.

Before we get into the nitty gritty let me give the bulk of credit for the graphs below to an article I recently read, by Matt Swartz at The Hardball Times, dated April 3, 2012, titled ‘Free agent value and building teams from within’. It’s a terrific article, and I highly recommend a read of it to enhance some of the extrapolations of this one. I’ve taken the data he’s assembled, reformatted it a bit, and put it into an informal top ten of my own, which I based more heavily on the statistic I find most relevant in sports, wins and losses per season.

The foundational premise is that wins and loses are reflected in others statistics, like WAR, and by empirically applying the data a pathway to more wins can be reasonably established. I will not replicate the wonderful insights gleaned from this raw data by Mr. Swartz but rather borrow the data for a bit to draw some of my own conclusions.

Here’s a direct quote from his article: “The idea is simple: if you fill a team with fringe players available on the free agent market for the league minimum salary, you would win about 43 games and spend about $12 million. Therefore, a team should not be evaluated only on how many wins it can get beyond that baseline of 43, but on how efficiently it can use its resources to exceed that number.”


Consider this: from 2007 to 2011, nine of the top ten teams in terms of winning baseball games spent more for fWAR wins via free agency. As well, this group won four of those five World Series, had the top ten W/L records in baseball during that time, and made up 65 percent of the teams that made the playoffs. They also won 63 percent of the division championships during that time. Or to paraphrase one of Mr. Swartz’s conclusions, relying on a farm system is a good thing if winning isn’t the goal.

Before the off-season started, the GM admitted to needing to have the courage to pull the trigger, presumably on a game changer. His words—made a big deal of finally having to make his mark, put his imprint on this team, now three years out, so far, he’s flinched, at best. He didn’t make a significant trade with prospects for an established major league star—the kind of trade that takes guts and team building vision. He passed on both long term free agents that certainly would have helped (please, spare me the tears about years five, six and seven; win a World Series, and all that crap goes away instantly).

Again, it takes some guts to make a move like that. He did sign Granderson and his 1.1 WAR for $15 million, and another $27 million on two players that are hardly part of anyone’s team building plan, though Colon’s WAR is respectable if we are to base it on the one somewhat aberrational year he had last year, at age 40, which makes replication a stretch. Of course, it fails to replace Harvey’s 5.2 WAR of last year, but in fairness, if bridging to Harvey’s return is the only goal of this signing, it probably will accomplish a large part of that (and feels a lot like treading water to me).

Despite the rhetoric, the Yankees don’t appear to spend as recklessly on free agents as some MMO posters would have us believe. The Yankees averaged 96 wins per season from 2007-2011, and won one World Series. As a Mets fan, who watches just about every game, I think I can point out this fact without having my loyalty questioned that in prospective to the Yankee’s success over this time period alone, the Mets have only four 96 plus win seasons in their entire history, and only one more championship.

The Phillies, the Tigers, and the Cardinals, who it should be pointed out averaged 24.9 WAR wins from free agents, also spent big during the 2007-2011 seasons. The big bad Yankees, who are to some the polar opposite of the Cardinals, averaged 32.2 wins per season from the WAR of free agents they acquired. Even more importantly, the Yankees wins from the farm system was only 62, and yet they averaged 96 wins per season. The Rays had the lowest free agent WAR of 4.7, and of course, no World Championship. But shouldn’t that be the case when you pick in the top 6 every year between 2000-2008, with 3 top picks thrown in for good measure (turning into Price and Longoria)?


Let’s agree on this much, if possible. A top 10 farm system is good, up to a point—and that point on average is 69 wins per season from players not eligible for free agency. To get to 90 plus wins its going to take acquiring free agents, and making good trades with prospects under team control for established major league stars. Here’s what this data tells me: the teams that do well in the free agent arena, win more games, win championships. The teams that don’t, who fail here despite how well they control players from the farm system, don’t win. Wild free agent spending is bad, too, up to a point—and that point is when it costs almost $10 for each WAR win, which is where the Mets have unfortunately been too many times.

Here’s the top ten teams ranked in terms of wins / losses for 2007-2011 seasons.

1 Yankees 96-66
2 Phillies 95-67
3 Red Sox 93-69
4 Angels 91-71
5 Rays 86-76
6 Cardinals 86-76
7 Dodgers 85-77
8 Tigers 85-77
9 Rangers 85-77
10 Braves 84-78

Now here’s Team Dollars per WAR from Free Agents for Top Ten Winning teams:

Rk Team FA fWAR FA $/fWAR
1 Cardinals 24.9 $3.30
2 Braves 14.2 $3.60
3 Rays 4.7 $3.80
4 Rangers 12.7 $4.00
5 Red Sox 22.8 $4.90
6 Phillies 18.9 $5.40
7 Tigers 15.1 $5.40
8 Yankees 32.2 $5.6
9 Dodgers 13.8 $6.30
10 Angels 14.3 $6.90

Here’s the Non-Market Players ranking of Top Ten Winning Teams without FA WAR:

Non-Market Players

1 Rays 81-81
2 Angels 77-85
3 Phillies 76-66
4 Rangers 75-87
5 Tigers 70-92
6 Red Sox 68-94
7 Dodgers 67-95
8 Braves 67-95
9 Cardinals 63-99
10 Yankees 62-100

The World Series Winners from 2007-2011, with their FA fWAR:

Red Sox 22.8
Phillies 18.9
Yankees 32.2
Giants 12.4
Cardinals 24.9

What does this tell me? That four of the teams with the most wins in this time period spent heavily on free agents … to augment WAR from players under team control from the minors. The Giants, by the way, were no slouches themselves in spending on free agency. The A’s, for what its worth, spent the least in baseball, 3.5 for FA fWAR, at the worst cost of $13.20 (which to me indicates that tentatively dipping your toe into free agency, and not adequately committing payroll to it, or being bold and aggressive in free agency spending leads to very lousy differentials / results.

Obviously, Mr. Swartz digs a little deeper, and makes much more of a statistical science out of it. What I found fascinating, and why I went by top ten in wins as the standard, is that there is clearly evidence to suggest, as logic would have it, that building a strong farm system, and being bold and aggressive in the free agent market are crucial components in modern team building.

To me, this analysis strongly suggests the lie that Moneyball is today. The data also supports that poorly managed farm systems can be outspent through free agency—see the Yankees, and surprisingly, the Cardinals, who were just a tick ahead of the Yankees in lowest WAR from controlled (farm system produced) players. It also seems fair to say that the Rays, while the standard for building farm systems, is significantly lacking in its ability to participate in a meaningful way in the free agent market, as no World Championships might attest.

As for the Mets, they actually spent 13.2 on FA fWAR, but did so at the 27th worse cost of $8.10 (which is part of the horror for Mets fans = a legacy of spending on the wrong free agents at the wrong times, with a few notable exceptions). So wiser free agent spending is definitely in order, and in some cases extending out contract years (taking some risk for greater reward) for the right free agent will be required. Rather than damn the process because of previous incompetence, the Mets need to get financially to the point where they can aggressively pursue free agent spending again, at the level the data suggests brings a successful championship outcome. Of course, I think we all agree they need to do a much better job of it, on all accounts.

Now agreeing on the right GM to get us there, well, that might be a trickier business but should continue to provide sufficient fodder for MMO debate.


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Hit The Ground Running: A Page From The Detroit Tigers Fri, 03 Jan 2014 18:58:25 +0000 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

Jonathan Bernhardt, perhaps a distant relative many times removed, did a piece called “Time To Shine” for “Sports on Earth.” In the column, Bernhardt highlights prospects he predicts may be on a fast track to reach the bright lights and fame of major league baseball.

It wasn’t the prospects themselves but what Bernhardt had to say about the organizational philosophy of the Detroit Tigers that should serve notice to New York Met fans. Bernhardt was talking about a Tiger infield prospect, Nick Castellanos that Detroit General manager Dave Dombrowski and new manager Brad Ausmus project as the team’s everyday third baseman when Miguel Cabrera is shifted back to first base heading into the 2014 season.

Castellanos will turn 22 in March and played for Triple-A Toledo last summer hitting .276,  slugging 18 HR’s and driving in 76 runs. The Tigers acknowledge that he is less than adequate defensively at third base, but are willing to live with their rookie prospect’s defensive deficiencies if he can make up the difference with the bat.

In explaining the Tigers plans, Bernhardt cites his impression of how the Tigers conduct business as it relates to promising young talent. Here’s what Bernhardt had to say, “The Tigers don’t coddle prospects, and they very rarely play service time games. When they have impact prospects Detroit puts them on a rocket ship through the organization, builds their value and either trades them for major league pieces or throws them right into the fire.”

In this corner, I’m hoping Sandy Alderson and the Met brass take a page from the Tiger organization when rounding out the starting rotation and filling slots in the bullpen this spring. The free agent signings this winter have bolstered the previously depleted hope and energy of a shattered Met fan base. For the first time in three years, Met fans are wondering whether management may be making moves for today, and not simply positioning for a better tomorrow.

A true competition where the youngest and perhaps most talented Met pitching prospects merit realistic chances to make the roster going north would continue to build on the momentum gained during the Hot Stove. In selecting the best candidates to do the job on day one, rather than playing service time games, the Met front office would send a message to Met fans that we are serious about competing in 2014 from Opening Day forward.

Met fans are too smart not to know their team lacks roster depth and can ill afford to put less than their best talent on the field for the first ten weeks of the season while a service time clock ticks, that is, if we are to have any chance of competing for a wild card spot. Let’s throw caution to the wind, hit the ground running, and live with the satisfaction that no matter where we land, we hit them with our best shot.

bleed orange & blue  button

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A Healthy Harvey Would Give Mets A Top 5 Starting Rotation Mon, 30 Dec 2013 20:00:13 +0000 Justin_Verlander

ESPN’s Buster Olney continued his Top 10 Feature and posted the Top 10 Starting Rotations. Leading the pack was the Detroit Tigers, but the Mets failed to make the cut.

1. Detroit Tigers

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Washington Nationals

4. St. Louis Cardinals

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

6. Oakland Athletics

7. Texas Rangers

8. Atlanta Braves

9. Cincinnati Reds

10. Tampa Bay Rays (for now)

Honorable mentions went to the Miami Marlins, Boston Red Sox, and the Seattle Mariners, if they happen to land Masahiro Tanaka.

The Mets didn’t make the list, but when asked by Matt Cerrone how they would rank with a healthy Matt HarveyOlney tweeted that the Mets would definitely be a Top 10, and probably Top 5 rotation. 

matt harvey

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