Mets Merized Online » Trades Mon, 05 Dec 2016 01:32:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mets Front Office and Ownership Deserve Some Praise Sun, 04 Dec 2016 15:00:01 +0000 sandy-alderson

When the New York Mets entered the offseason after a disappointing Wild Card Game loss to the San Francisco Giants, fans and media alike pondered what type of moves and money the Mets’ front office would make and spend this winter. After all, the team has held a stigma of being “cheap” over the last several years, even though the claim is just not true. The Mets have seen some steady and significant payroll increases over the last three seasons since coming out of their rebuild.

While the Mets have spent the a few seasons ridding themselves of onerous contracts held over from the previous regime and develop talent from within, they started to form a chemistry and cohesion, resulting in back-to-back postseason trips in 2015-16, only the second time that’s occurred in franchise history (1999-00). With the team relying on an inexpensive group of young, top of the rotation starters, that gives them some wiggle room when it comes to doling out contracts in other areas of specific need.

And so far, GM Sandy Alderson and the front office have responded. Fans and beat reporters thought there was a chance that Neil Walker wouldn’t be tendered a qualifying offer, as the price tag of $17.2 million along with Walker’s season-ending back surgery gave some pause as to whether allocating that type of money would make the most financial sense. However, the Mets made the QO to Walker, who accepted minutes before the 5 PM deadline on November 14.

As fans remember, Walker had a career year of sorts in 2016, matching a career high in home runs (23), setting a career high in SLG (.476), OPS (.823), BB% (9.2), and fWAR (3.7). The switch-hitting second baseman also set a career high in his splits against left-handed pitchers in 2016, slashing .330/.391/.610 in 100 at-bats against southpaws, compared to his career line of .269/.327/.373.

rene rivera

The Mets were also unlikely to tender a contract to backup catcher Rene Rivera, according to multiple media reports. The thought process was the $2.2 million price tag Rivera was projected to earn was too pricey for a backup catcher, as the team still has underachieving Kevin Plawecki to back up Travis d’Arnaud at the league minimum.

However, the team came to a one-year $1.75 million deal with Rivera on Friday, keeping Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher in the fold for 2017. It appears the front office realized the impact he had on Syndergaard and controlling the running game, as he threw out 30% of would be base stealers last season.

Also keeping a veteran backstop on a team with youthful catchers is a smart choice, as Rivera can act as a second coach to Glenn Sherlock, who was hired as the new third base coach and catching instructor in November. That too, was a shrewd move, as the front office realized that former third base coach Tim Teufel made some questionable decisions with runners on the base paths, while also operating last season without a full time catching instructor on the roster. The hope is Sherlock can work with d’Arnaud and Plawecki, and get them back on track after rocky 2016 seasons for both catchers.

And of course, there’s the matter of Yoenis Cespedes. As soon as Cespedes inked his three-year, $75 million deal last winter with the opt-out after the first season, fans wondered what it would take to retain La Potencia, and if he would just sell himself to the highest bidder on the open market this offseason.

Varying reports about Cespedes’ intentions were spread across the internet: would the Nationals be interested again as they were last season? Could the Dodgers join the fray and add him to an already expensive roster? Would the crosstown rival Yankees swoop in, after shedding payroll with their trades of Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova, and Brian McCann?

cespedes press conference

Our editor in chief Joe D. offered his take throughout the month of November, calmly reminding fans that Cespedes’ first choice was always in Queens and that something was brewing between both sides. Sure enough, the Mets announced on Wednesday that they had come to an agreement with the 31-year-old Cuban slugger, agreeing to a four-year, $110 million deal with a full no-trade clause, making him the highest paid outfielder in the game.

The front office and ownership should be applauded for their hard work and dedication moving forward. They too realize the window for winning is now, with all their young arms controlled for the next few years before they have some serious decisions to make on extensions. Retaining the players that made them successful the past two seasons illustrates the level of seriousness they’re taking into each year, and not just standing pat and waiting for the scrapheap free agents to sift through in January and February.

A big part of ownership’s willingness to go out and spend money is the increased gate attendance the team has seen over the past three seasons. In 2014, the Mets totaled 2,148,808, good for 21st in baseball. The following season the Mets were sitting at 12th in attendance, with 2,569,753 fans going through the turnstiles. And in 2016, the Mets made it into the top 10, the first time since 2009, as they were 9th with 2,789,602 in attendance. Alderson did say at a season ticket holder’s event back in 2014 that ownership will spend more money if they’re supported at the gates by fans. So far it seems as if Alderson and ownership have kept their word.

Of course, there is more work to be done, as the team is in need of adding a left-handed reliever and a late inning arm to pair with Addison Reed, as it appears Jeurys Familia might face a suspension for his domestic violence arrest in October. The Mets also need to decide on moving one (or both) of Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, depending on who fetches them the greatest return. If the Mets continue working dutifully as they have when it comes to their own free agents, I have faith that Alderson and Co. have a game plan for who they will target at this week’s Winter Meetings in Maryland. Stay tuned…

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Trade Bruce For The Right Reasons Wed, 19 Oct 2016 12:55:52 +0000 jay bruce

Jon Heyman recently reported that a rival executive thinks the Mets might consider trading Jay Bruce once they pick up his 13 million dollar contract option after the season. This news really isn’t all that shocking. Mets fans have been speculating for months that this might be a possibility depending on the outcome of the Yoenis Cespedes contract situation.

I want to make one thing clear though. A trade of Bruce for a pitcher or position player that improves the major league roster is completely acceptable. A trade of Bruce for a prospect that improves the overall depth in our farm system is also acceptable provided that the Mets make corresponding moves to enhance the quality of the major league roster in significant ways. But the Mets cannot trade Bruce if they are purely being motivated by financial reasons and plan to just hand the job to Michael Conforto.

I refuse to accept the narrative that many fans are citing which is “the Mets can use the Jay Bruce money to pay for Yoenis Cespedes“. The focus of the offseason should be on improving the overall roster relative to last season in an effort to win a championship. I realize every team has payroll limits, but I don’t want those limits to be the running theme that dominates the Mets offseason headlines. And so far, it has already been headline news in the form of the Cespedes opt-out discussion and the Neil Walker qualifying offer debate.

The NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers have incredibly talented farm systems and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. But it’s no coincidence that they were the highest spending teams in the NL at the end of the season.

MLB: Chicago Cubs-Spring Training Media Day

The Cubs “won” the 2015/16 offseason when they signed Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and John Lackey and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. When the Cubs retained Dexter Fowler their organization didn’t worry about finding enough playing time for Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Jorge Soler. And the Mets shouldn’t worry either if they wind up retaining Bruce and Conforto.

The Dodgers brought in a plethora of starting pitchers Scott Kazmir (3 years $48 million), Kenta Maeda (8 years $25 million), Brett Anderson (accepted $15.8 million qualifying offer) before the season started to replace Zack Greinke, and they certainly made use of their starting pitching depth over the course of the year. They re-signed second basemen Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley and turned the former into a utility player. Despite having the most regular season injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their unrivaled depth.

Spending big money on payroll doesn’t always equate to success in baseball. But in 2016, the NL teams that flexed their financial muscle in the offseason and assembled deep rosters made it to the NLCS. That can’t be ignored.

Please don’t read this post and confuse me for a member of the Jay Bruce fan club. I don’t think Bruce has to be on the 2017 team for the Mets to have success. And I certainly don’t want the Mets to spend money for the sake of spending money or to “make a splash”. But the days of the Mets making a purely financially motivated roster decision should be over.

They appeared to be over last offseason when the Mets raised payroll and retained Cespedes. But the Mets must continue on that track if they want to win it all. Otherwise they will be at a real disadvantage when trying to overtake the Dodgers and Cubs going forward. Because those teams certainly aren’t going to stop spending like big market clubs any time soon.

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Jay Bruce Offers the Mets Trade Options Thu, 13 Oct 2016 13:30:16 +0000 jay bruce 2

With the offseason underway early for the New York Mets, decisions loom for the team as they look to get healthy and back into the postseason for the third year in a row, something the club has never done in their 55-year history.

One such decision is whether or not to pick up Jay Bruce’s option for $13 million for next year, which was one of the intriguing factors in the front office’s decision to trade for the 29-year-old slugger at this year’s deadline. Looked upon as insurance in case Yoenis Cespedes opts out and signs on with a new team, Bruce is considered a backup plan to make up for the lost power and contributions that Cespedes would take with him to his new squad.

I believe the Mets should pick up Bruce’s option, rather than declining it and paying him a $1 million buyout. Bruce, despite his faults and rough beginning with the Mets, still offers 30 home run power and the ability to drive in 90 plus runs, all for a relatively cheap cost heading into 2017. Fans can also point to the fact the Bruce was heating up at the plate, going 12-for-25 with four homers and eight RBI from September 24 to the end of the season, as a sign that perhaps Bruce was starting to break out of his month and a half long slump.

The Mets also have another option at hand: picking up his option and exploring trade possibilities with other clubs. Teams are always in the hunt for power and obtaining it as cheaply as possible. On the free agent market, names like Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, and Yoenis Cespedes (assuming he opts out) offer said power, but will all earn more than $13 million either by the qualifying offer ($16.7 million) or signing a long-term deal. The free agent market is also pretty bare this year, with few impactful bats available. Obtaining a legitimate slugger on the cheap, who also is entering his walk year, could be a shrewd move for many teams, and surely the hot stove rumors will start to make their rounds once the World Series concludes.

One such team that looks to be in need of a power bat in their lineup is the Baltimore Orioles, who stand to lose Matt Wieters, Mark Trumbo, and Pedro Alvarez to free agency. Those three-combined hit 86 homers and drove in 223 runs in 2016, a ton of production to replace. The club could look to bring back Trumbo, who hits 47 of those 86 homers and drove in 108 RBI. However, Trumbo might find suitors who are willing to give him multiple years, something the Orioles might be reluctant to do. The Orioles have gotten lucky in the past few seasons, getting contributions from Nelson Cruz, Trumbo, and Alvarez, all while paying them under $25 million combined.


Which brings us back to Bruce. He falls in line with Orioles looking to replace production while not overpaying for it. It’s worth noting that in a small sample size of four games played at Camden Yards, Bruce has gone 5-for-18 (.278), with a homer, four RBI, and an .871 OPS, nice success but in a very limited amount.

With the Mets looking to add bullpen arms in the off-season, could a trade be in the mix for one of the Orioles’ young arms? The Orioles featured a fearsome bullpen in 2016, and for the season the Orioles ranked third in bullpen ERA (3.40), second in LOB% (78.2), and fifth in WAR (5.5).

One intriguing arm is RHP Mychal Givens, the Orioles’ number five prospect heading into 2016. Givens, 26, is a hard tossing (averaging almost 95-mph with his four-seam fastball), side-armer, who is a converted middle infielder, after being drafted by the Orioles in 2009 as a shortstop in the second round of the draft. His offensive struggles in his first few minor league seasons prompted the Orioles to begin the conversion to bullpen arm in 2013. Givens was a two-way prospect from the beginning, who had a mid-90s fastball as a pitcher, which gave the Orioles hope that he’d have a better chance of succeeding as a pitcher. By 2015, Givens would be in Double A Bowie, going 4-2 in 35 games, with a sparkljng 1.73 ERA, and 0.94 WHIP in 57.1 innings.

Givens had a fantastic rookie season out of the pen this season for Buck Showalter, appearing in 66 games with a 3.13 ERA, and an 8-2 record. In 74.2 innings, Givens struck out 96 batters, ninth in baseball among relievers. Givens absolutely owned right-handed hitters, holding them to a .154 average and 2.26 ERA in 55.2 innings. On the flip side, Givens’ kryptonite during the season was facing lefty hitters though, as they crushed him to a slash line of .361/.464/.561 with 15 walks in 19 innings.

Givens started the season off strong, posting a 2.32 ERA while striking out 33 batters in 23 innings between April and May. A rough stretch ensued in June, where his ERA ballooned to an even 6.00, while giving up eight earned runs in 12 innings of work. However, after the All-Star break, Givens tossed 34.1 innings, holding batters to a .188 average, with a 2.88 ERA.

Givens pitched in the American League Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays, relieving Chris Tillman in the fifth, tossing 2.1 innings while striking out three, not allowing a batter to reach base. He was the first man up for Showalter, an impressive display of trust and reliance on the rookie right-hander.

Bruce alone won’t bring back Givens, as the Orioles wouldn’t give up a rising bullpen arm for a year rental of Bruce. Perhaps if the Mets entice the O’s with one or two upper level prospects, a deal could be reached. Or if the Mets were to take back Ubaldo Jimenez in the deal, who’s making $13.5 million in his final year with Baltimore after signing a four-year $50 million deal in 2014, that could help sweeten the pot for a deal to be made between the two clubs.

Of course that’s just one suggestion, as there will be plenty of suitors looking for outfield help, so the Mets can engage with a number of teams looking to add a slugging left-handed hitter to their team. Teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, and San Francisco Giants could all be looking for a power bat in the outfield in the offseason. Needless to say, there will be plenty of hot stove rumors permeating throughout the offseason, some far-fetched, others rooted in a sense of realistic possibilities.

For the Mets, picking up Bruce’s option for $13 million should be a no-brainer, as he offers them a fall back option but also an intriguing trade candidate, who could help bolster their roster heading into 2017 and beyond.

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Alderson Discusses His Process On Rebuilding The Mets Sat, 08 Feb 2014 04:55:43 +0000 sandy alderson

In an interview with’s Keith Law, Mets GM Sandy Alderson discussed the processes he implemented since taking over the club and how it has led to a system with improved depth and several players being looked at as top 100 prospects.

On building through the draft:

“With respect to the draft, we have taken a more aggressive posture with regard to higher ceiling players coming out of the draft. All of our first round picks since I’ve been with the Mets have been high school players. We haven’t done that intentionally, but I think we’ve had a tendency to go with those higher ceiling players.”

“And by the way, we’ve actually had those first round picks because we didn’t sign any free agent players like the Mets have done previously.”

Being More Systematic:

“Paul DePodesta oversees scouting and player development and he’s done a terrific job not just by the selections we’ve made, but approaching it all in a very systematic way. That means using the information, but doing it in a way that gives us some leverage and using less traditional means of player evaluation.”

On building through International arena:

“We’ve had some luck and signed some guys who have been over age for the International market. Rafael Montero who we signed at age 20 has come on rather quickly. So we’ve tried to do some nontraditional things in the International market as well.”

Building Via Trades:

“Talent acquisition has been important to us. We’ve made some trades involving high quality players like Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey and most recently Marlon Byrd, so we picked up some prospects in that way as well. We’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made and hopefully those prospects will emerge soon at the major league level.”

On Organizational Patience:

Sandy credited the success of International players to the fact the Mets have not one, but two teams in the Dominican Republic at the Mets Academy. He pointed out how critical it was to have the diversified staff in place to work with these players who are rough around the edges and help them to their ultimate transition to the United States.

“Development today is far more sophisticated than it was 20 or 25 years ago.”

You can listen to Keith Law’s entire interview with Sandy here.

Presented By Diehards

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Sometimes The Best Trades You Make… Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:56:40 +0000 Ike DavisDespite the seemingly non-stop buzz surrounding the Mets’ attempts to trade Ike Davis, something tells me that if they fail to consummate a swap, it may turn out to be the best overall result. Power, as we have been reminded repeatedly, has become a progressively scarcer resource throughout baseball since the tide of steroid use has receded.

The Met organization has never been a particularly plentiful source of longball threats in the course of its draft history, so when events conspire to produce an actual 30+ homer threat of the home-grown variety, you would think that the managerial mind trust would be loathe to part with that asset, ugly stretches of non-production or not.

And yet, here we are with Ike Davis being basically hawked to all comers like a Sham-Wow despite representing what a team like the Mets generally looks for: a relatively young power threat coming into his prime years, under team control, and looking to prove that he belongs. Wildly inconsistent or not, based on the additional factor of defense and the likely in-house alternatives, doesn’t Ike represent the best chance for this team to field the type of power threat generally associated with his position?

A few other factors suggest to me that selling low on Ike at this point could be a major mistake. One would be his almost extreme selectivity last season upon returning to the big club from his Vegas exile. While many decried his seeming transformation into a high OBP, low power type as evidence of a lack of aggressiveness, we can certainly contrast it with the early-season version of Ike who swung at nearly everything and see it as a stage in the evolution of a more polished hitter. Lest we forget, Ted Williams always emphasized the importance of getting a good pitch to hit, and while I am not suggesting that Ike is about to morph into the second coming of the Splinter, I would say that we should take his emphasis on improving his pitch recognition as a good sign.

Another factor that should enter into this picture is the addition of Curtis Granderson to the lineup and the clubhouse. While Granderson’s high strikeout totals are nothing to look to emulate, his consistent ability to produce hard-hit, long fly balls (which will likely clear the fences with less regularity in Citi Field), still reflects the approach of a hitter with a plan, something that could very well rub off on the Met first-sacker. Add in Curtis’ sunny disposition and you have a formula for a mentor that may be able to get through to the notoriously stubborn Davis.

Finally, with Ike entering his age 27 season this year, he will be at the age when many players begin to hit their stride and hopefully enter a period of peak production. With the Mets showing signs of emerging from their long dark tunnel, but still perceived to have a ways to go to achieving something other than purely Dark Horse status, rolling the dice one more time on Ike and his frustration-producing “potential” would seem a reasonable thing to do. I’m actually rooting for it.

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Mets’ Trades Of The Past – Mazzilli Goes To Texas Sun, 15 Dec 2013 14:00:20 +0000 While Mets’ fans wait to see if Ike Davis or Daniel Murphy will be traded and what they might bring back, here’s a look at a trade that was unpopular with many fans at the time, but turned out to be a great move for the Mets in every way possible.

mazz_kissDuring the dismal years of the late 1970’s, Lee Mazzilli was the Mets’ centerpiece player. A first-round draft pick out of Brooklyn, and incidentally, one of the Mets‘ very best first round picks, especially when you consider the players drafted ahead of him*.

Mazzilli quickly rose through the farm system, displaying an exceptional ability to get on base, steal bases, play centerfield, and also hit with consistency and power from both sides of the plate.

Once Mazz reached the big club, he quickly became a fan favorite. He had the look and swagger and put up some nice numbers on otherwise terrible teams. His one glaring weakness was his arm. Ironically, Lee was ambidextrous and his left arm was considered stronger, but once he signed with the Mets, he was instructed to throw righthanded only.

Whether Mazzilli was a legitimate all-star major league centerfielder, he was certainly the best one the Mets had, at least until Mookie Wilson came along. Once Wilson came up, Mazz moved over to left and also played some at first base.

Then, in February of 1982, GM Frank Cashen made what we all thought was a great move for the Mets, acquiring slugging left fielder George Foster from the Reds for a package of spare parts. With Wilson in center and Dave Kingman at first, Mazzilli was destined for a utility role, something that didn’t sit well with him, especially since his mentor, Joe Torre had been replaced as manager by George Bamberger.

In the spring of 1982, Cashen sent Mazzilli to the Texas Rangers for two minor league pitchers, a return that Mazzilli himself saw as an insult and many of his fans agreed.

ron darling

Ron Darling was the Rangers’ #1 draft pick the previous year, a talented pitcher out of Yale who started out in Double-A where his numbers were just fair and his control disappointing. Walt Terrell was considered a fringe prospect at best, a low-round draft pick who put up decent minor league numbers.

Although the Mets didn’t reap any immediate results and had another awful season in 1982 as Foster proved to be a major disappointment, by the following year, Terrell was in the Mets’ rotation with Darling joining him in 1984. Darling went on to put up excellent numbers as a quality starter for seven years and Terrell, after a couple of solid, if unspectacular years with the Mets was traded even-up to Detroit for Howard Johnson, who became the Mets’ top home run hitter and a solid contributor for almost a decade. Terrell, meanwhile was a workhorse for Detroit, so that trade helped both teams.

To top it off, after drifting from Texas to the Yankees to Pittsburgh, Mazzilli returned to the Mets for the 1986 stretch run, replacing the released George Foster, and was part of the World Championship team serving mostly as an effective pinch-hitter. So, this was undeniably, a trade that worked out about as well as possible. We can only hope Sandy Alderson can come up with something similar before the 2014 season.

* Mazzilli was the #14 pick. Between #4 pick Dave Winfield and Mazzilli, the other players selected were Glen Tufts, Johnnie Lemaster, Billy Taylor, Gary Roenicke, Lew Olsen, Pat Rockett, Ed Bane, Joe Edelen, and Doug Heinold.. The only player selected in the first round after Mazzilli to have any kind of career in the big leagues was catcher Steve Swisher.

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Mets Were Spooked, Not Close On Any Potential Trades Wed, 27 Nov 2013 18:47:14 +0000 sandy aldersonAndy Martino’s latest post for the Daily News does a nice job of surveying the current landscape for the Mets’ front office and the mounting pressure on them to appease a frustrated fan base.

Chris Young technically counts as doing something, but it’s not the kind of something that the Mets need, in order to solidify the offense, or placate a nervous fan base…Even among some Mets people yesterday, there was a sense of, well, another reclamation project is fine, but can we please have someone who is a better bet to drive in runs?”

Martino says that Mets people were “spooked” by Marlon Byrd’s two-year, $16 million deal with Philadelphia, and from then on, he heard that they were working on trades.

However, a source told him yesterday that “nothing was close, or even hot.”

Finally, he reports that the he team has decided to “hold a hard line on trading young pitchers like Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard.” This was something Alderson also said during an interview on WFAN.

Yesterday, the Mets GM insisted that he’s still in hot pursuit of a cleanup hitter, and while he maintained the team is still interested in Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz, their exorbitant contract demands make a match with the Mets unlikely.

So the big question that Martino poses is: How will the Mets acquire an impact power hitter via a trade, without trading a top pitcher?

Hmm… Good question…

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Mets Mailbag: Trading For Bautista and Hosmer Sun, 17 Nov 2013 05:59:09 +0000 Blue-Jays-Bautista

Doug asks…

How about the following moves?

3 team deal

Royals get: Dillon Gee, Lucas Duda and Ike Davis

Blue Jays get: Royals prospect RHP Miguel Almonte and Rafael Montero.

Mets get: Jose Bautista & Eric Hosmer

You are taking Gee & Montero out, but you will still have Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Noah Syndergaard and potential experienced arms like Bronson Arroyo until Matt Harvey returns in 2015.

By trading for Bautista and Hosmer you add power without committing crazy money to long-term deals. Bautista will be the biggest and it’s still not over the top crazy.

Sign Peralta for 2 years $8/per year.

1. Eric Young (RF)
2. Eric Hosmer (1B)
3. David Wright (3B)
4. Jose Bautista (LF)
5. Daniel Murphy (2B)
6. Jhonny Peralta (SS)
7. Travis d’Arnaud (C)
8. Juan Lagares (CF)

Joe D. replies…

The best part of the offseason is playing Armchair GM and while some hate it, I love it and it has been part of the allure of being a baseball fan for over one hundred years…

I like what you did there and it makes sense for all three teams. Toronto is on record for wanting to unload Bautista for pitching and they end up with two solid pitching prospects one of whom is MLB ready.

The Royals get the mid rotation starter they are looking for and Davis could replace Hosmer and have a resurgence in Kansas City.

I believe you are off on your valuation of Peralta at two years and $16 million, but would love to see the Mets go hard after him even if it means overpaying somewhat.

You’ve put together a team that would contend for Wild Card there. I wonder if Sandy could do the same…

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Mets Trades of the Past: Amazins’ Get Frank Viola Sun, 09 Dec 2012 15:15:58 +0000 While we wait to see if the Mets trade R.A. Dickey and if so, what they get in return, I thought it would be interesting to look back at a trade where the Mets acquired the previous season’s A.L. Cy Young Award winner.

Of course, we know R.A. Dickey is unique because of his age, his specialty pitch, and his back story, but all along I assumed if the Mets did trade him, they could hope to come up with a package of similarly rated players as those they once gave up for Viola, although the emphasis would be on position players, rather than pitchers coming back.

The 1988 Mets had won 100 games and their loss to the Dodgers in the league championship series was unexpected and greatly disappointing for a team that fans thought was going to be a powerhouse for years. In 1989, Dwight Gooden began to experience shoulder trouble and the Mets were hovering just above the .500 mark at the July 31 trade deadline. They had already made one questionable trade during the season sending Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to the Phillies for Juan Samuel of whom manager Davey Johnson told GM Frank Cashen “get me Samuel and we’ll win the pennant”. Now they were looking to add a starting pitcher to replace Gooden in the rotation that was otherwise still very strong with David Cone, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and Bob Ojeda.

Viola was the Twins’ ace, but had gotten off to a rough start with an 8-12 record and an ERA  close to 4.00, over a run a game over his previous season. What did it take to get Viola ? A package of 5 pitchers :

Rick Aguilera, an established, but still young major leaguer who had been used by the Mets exclusively in relief in 1989, mostly as a setup man for closer Randy Myers.

David West, a lefty who was once considered the best young pitcher in the Mets’ farm system, but who had been found wanting on the major league level.

Kevin Tapani, a young pitcher who had been acquired by the Mets along with Wally Whitehurst when the Mets sent Jesse Orosco to the Dodgers. Tapani had been the Mets’ most effective AAA pitcher, but had no place in the Mets’ rotation.

Jack Savage and Tim Drummond, two mid-level prospects with AAA experience.

Although Viola only went 5-5 for the Mets in ’89 and the team finished second, he did win 20 games a year later as the Mets again finished second in the division. In 1991, Viola was 13-15 for the Mets before leaving as a free agent. Meanwhile, Aguilera established himself as one of the best closers in baseball, saving over 300 games after leaving the Mets, after a brief trial as a starter when he first went to the Twins. Tapani became a dependable starter for the Twins for the next 6 years and won 143 games  in a 13-year major league career.

West was basically a disappointment based on his initial promise, but he still managed to appear in over 200 major league games in a career that lasted until 1998. He had one particularly solid year with the Phillies as a lefty specialist.

Neither Savage nor Drummond made any impact in the major leagues, so their value in the trade as throw-ins was negligible.

So, in summary, the Mets did get a Cy Young winner who gave them 2 1/2 years of quality pitching, but in the long term, they certainly gave up more than they got. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a bad gamble at the time, because the Mets felt that a “pro” like Viola could lead them to a pennant and weren’t about to turn over a starting spot to a rookie like Tapani.

Now, all these years later, the Mets find themselves in an opposite position, where they are looking for young, potential impact players for a proven Cy Young winner. When I hear rumors that other teams won’t even give up one top prospect for someone like Dickey who can put them over the top, I can’t understand it and the Viola deal is a pretty good example of why I feel that way.

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From Left Field: This Offseason Has Been Confusing Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:41:58 +0000

Heading into this offseason, Sandy Alderson was bound to make some changes to the Mets’ roster.

Even with a limited supply of funds, how long can a team deal with mediocrity before making a change?

That same limited supply of funds virtually made it hard to think the Mets would pursue free agents, so Alderson came out and said that he’d be creative in exploring trade possibilities.

We’re only in late November, and already it seems the Mets are changing their course. ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin recently reported that Mets don’t expect to be making trades and will instead sign free agents.

So basically Alderson made one claim, now he’s making another claim, and by the time the Winter Meetings roll around, there may be a completely different story.

Pretty confusing, huh?

Luckily, it’s not even December yet, and the Mets right now are solely focused on contract negotiations with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. And rightfully so, since they are two huge pieces to the puzzle, even if that puzzle means trading one or both for younger talent.

So if Alderson sticks to his guns this times and says he will pursue free agents, let’s see who he might be talking about.

The Mets seem content heading into the season with a starting pitching rotation of Dickey (assuming he’s here), Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee. They may bring in a few insurance arms, but that’s looking pretty set.

As for the infield, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada and Wright (assuming he’s here) are likely the starters.

The bullpen this year will probably be a combination of what we have (Bobby Parnell, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Josh Edgin) and some cheap options that the Mets hope can produce.

So likely we’ve been saying all along, the Mets will look for help in the outfield and at catcher. And preferably, the Mets seek a right-handed hitter at both those positions.

At catcher, the really only viable options that the Mets can afford are Kelly Shoppach, Miguel Olivo or Chris Snyder. Mike Napoli is way out of their price range, and the rest of the crop of catchers has seen better days.

In terms of outfielders, Scott Hairston is looking more and more like a possibility to return, especially now that B.J. Upton signed with the Braves. It’s not like the Mets were in on Upton, but now the market for right-handed hitting outfielders may pick up.

An intriguing name could be Matt Diaz as part of a left or right field platoon with Mike Baxter. Diaz crushes left-handed pitching and especially Mets’ lefties over the years.

Ryan Raburn or Juan Rivera would come cheap and could also be platoon partners.

The bigger names in the outfield like Cody Ross and Delmon Young (more of a DH anyway) are likely seeking multi-year deals, and the Mets are likely to stay away there.

No one really knows how the rest of this offseason will play out. It would be nice as fans to have some sort of clear path on the direction of the team, but I guess that’s just the nature of the business these days.

The first priority is to take care of the Wright and Dickey situations, however they might play out, and then worry about the rest of the roster.

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The Armchair GM: Is Justin Upton Worth A Look? Mon, 13 Aug 2012 21:43:00 +0000

How would Upton look as a Met?

The trade deadline came and went without Arizona moving their best player who is still a couple of weeks shy of 25 years old. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. But the real surprise is that a player like Justin Upton was actually available. Upton went number one overall back in the unreal 2005 draft, ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, MVP Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, likely MVP Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce and Jacoby Ellsbury. By the way, those last three players were taken after the Mets drafted Mike Pelfrey. But at least the Mets have a shot to make up for that now.

Upton came up at 19 and took a couple years to start producing. Trout and Harper didn’t set the world on fire in their first seasons either. But once he did he became a top asset in baseball. Starting from his breakout 2009 to this season Upton’s OPS has been: .899 , .799, .898, .765. Obviously this is a special talent, but he’s also still putting it together. However he’s also signed until 2015, so he has time to work with coaches and figure it out before he cashes in on a big free agency pay day. For his career he hasn’t hit as well away as he has at home, but his OBP is always high. So yeah he will hit better in Chase Field, who doesn’t? I’ll still take a guy who hits .275 if he can still produce a .850+ OPS. And he’s a power/speed guy. Guys like that are perfect in CitiField. Upton also has the power to clear the Citi fences. If you look at this chart here, you’ll see Upton’s homers clear Citi’s dimensions.

What’s another great selling point is that Justin, and his brother B.J., are friends with David Wright. They grew up playing AAU ball together. Imagine a 2013 lineup that features both Upton brothers and Wright. A group of friends playing ball every day, keeping each other in check, and providing the Mets with some star power. B.J. is a free agent and always has had untapped potential, the lights of Broadway could bring the best out of him. And even if it’s only Justin the Mets go for, Wright finally gets some protection behind him again.

The best part is the Diamondbacks reportedly aren’t looking for prospects, they want players that can contribute now. So the Mets can hold onto Wheeler/Harvey and be able to make a deal for Upton. Justin isn’t having that great of a year, but he’s been hot lately going .283/.391/.435 the last 30 days. Sometimes you just have a bad start or a bad year.

Verdict: Players of Upton’s caliber don’t come around too many trade blocks. Make a deal for Upton that allows you to hold onto Wheeler/Harvey, send along Duda/Flores plus other pieces that are ready to help Arizona compete. Work with him and watch Upton blossom into that stud player everyone expected him to be. By not surrendering tons of key prospects you can take a shot here and not set your franchise back. And by taking this shot here you have a chance to land a 20/20 threat and a positive future for the franchise.

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Grading the Omar Regime: The 2004-2005 Off-Season Wed, 08 Feb 2012 02:57:49 +0000 The look back at the in depth career of general manager Omar Minaya continues with his first off-season in charge.

To see the full effects of the changes made in the off-season by Omar we must first take a quick look at the 2004 New York Mets. In 2004 the Mets GM was Jim Duquette, the manager was Art Howe, and the team finished 4th in the NL East with a 71-91 record.

Opening Day Lineup: Kaz Matsui (SS), Ricky Gutierrez (2B), Cliff Floyd (LF), Mike Piazza (C), Mike Cameron (CF), Jason Phillips (1B), Karim Garcia (RF), Ty Wigginton (3B), and had Tom Glavine on the mound.

Season Finale Lineup: Jose Reyes (SS), Kaz Matsui (2B), David Wright (3B), Piazza (1B), Cameron (CF), Eric Valent (LF), Victor Diaz (RF), and Todd Zeile (C).

List of Pitchers to Make a Start on the Team: Tom Glavine (33), Steve Trachsel (33), Al Leiter (30), Jae Seo (21), Matt Ginter (14), Kris Benson (11), Tyler Yates (7), Aaron Heilman (5), Victor Zambrano (3), James Baldwin (2), Scott Erickson (2), Dan Wheeler (1).

List of Pitchers to Make a Relief Appearance (min. 5): Mike Stanton (83), Braden Looper (71), Ricky Bottalico (60), John Franco (52), Orber Moreno (33), David Weather (32), Dan Wheeler (31), Pedro Feliciano (22), Heath Bell (17), Mike DeJean (17), Bartolome Fortunato (15), Tyler Yates (14), Jose Parra (13), Vic Darensbourg (5).

Offensive Leaders (min. 150 at-bats): AVG – D. Wright (.293); SLG – D. Wright (.525), OBP – M. Piazza (.362), HR – M. Cameron (30), RBI – M. Cameron (76), SB – M. Cameron (22), R – M. Cameron (76).

Pitching Leaders (min 50 IP): IP – T. Glavine (212.1), ERA – B. Looper (2.70), W – S. Trachsel (12), L – T. Glavine (14), SV –  B. Looper (29), SO – S. Trachsel & A. Leiter (117), CG/SHO – K. Benson & T. Glavine (1)

Wow. If there is one word to sum up this team it would be sorry—despite the fact they had a payroll of $96.7 million. The team was cluttered with aging veterans and marginal role players, while the starting rotation was being anchored by a 39-year-old on his last leg and a 33-year-old No. 5 starter who was known more for his ability to make a game last forever above all else.

If I was to point out any bright spots I would say the bullpen looks like it wasn’t awful and by the end of the year things looked pretty exciting with the emergence of two young kids named Reyes and Wright, who you may have heard of.

Other than those two, it looks like is Omar did not have much to work with when taking over this team. Duquette had shipped away the team’s top prospect for a bad pitcher(the Mets were just six games back of the division lead at the time), the outfield was a mess outside of Cameron, there were questions about where Piazza could play defensively, and the starting rotation needed help in the worst way possible.

I will be grading all of the moves individually on their long term value and then grading Omar on how well he did to help the Mets for the 2005 season alone. Now onto the off-season…

Off-Season Moves:

  • The Mets changed the whole coaching staff (except Rick Peterson) and hired Willie Randolph, Manny Acta, Jerry Manuel, Sandy Alomar, Guy Conti, Rick Down, and Tom Nieto.
  • Minaya declined the $10 million dollar option on Al Leiter.
  • Signed Juan Padilla (league minimum).
  • Re-signed Kris Benson to a three-year, $22.5 million contract.
  • Traded Mike Stanton to the New York Yankees for Felix Heredia.
  • Signed Mike DeJean to a one-year, $1.15 million contract.
  • Signed Ramon Castro to a minor league contract.
  • Signed a 33-year-old Pedro Martinez to a four-year, $53 million contract.
  • Signed Chris Woodward to a two-year, $1.525 million contract.
  • Traded Vance Wilson to the Detroit Tigers for Anderson Hernandez.
  • Signed Marlon Anderson.
  • Signed Miguel Cairo to a one-year, $900,000 contract.
  • Singed Dae-Sung Koo to a one-year, $425,000 contract.
  • Signed a 27-year-old Carlos Beltran to a seven-year and $119 million contract.
  • Signed Roberto Hernandez to a one-year, $600,000 contract.
  • Traded Ian Baldergroen to the Boston Red Sox for Doug Mientkiwicz and cash.
  • Traded Jason Phillips to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Kaz Ishii.


The Good:

  • Ian Baldergroen for Doug Mientkiwicz: After losing out on the Carlos Delgado sweepstakes the Mets were left with a hole at first base and Mientkiwicz was a respectable option because of his defensive wizadry. Although he wasn’t great with the Mets, and ultimately got replaced by a rookie Mike Jacobs, Mientkiwicz was a cheap stop gap for the Mets and Baldergroen never made it past HiA so it would be hard to consider this a loss.

The Bad:

  • Mike Stanton for Felix Heredia: Stanton wasn’t very effective for the Yankees, but following his release and signing with the Nationals he was a very effective reliever, while Heredia made three appearances and then went on the disabled list for the rest of the year.

The Meh:

  • Vance Wilson for Anderon Hernandez: Neither player made very many appearances for their new team and neither were very effective in those appearances.
  • Jason Phillips for Kaz Ishii: Phillips posted a -0.9 WAR and Ishii posted a -0.2 WAR. So I guess technically the Mets got the lesser of two evils.

Grade: C+

Omar didn’t make any crippling trades, but also only made the Mets insignificantly better. Essentially a push.

Minor Free Agents

The Good:

  • (Declining) Al Leiter: Leiter jumped over to the Marlins on a one-year $8 million dollar deal and turned into a complete bust. He was DFA in the middle of the year and picked up by the Yankees. Leiter wound up finishing the year 7-12 with a 6.13 ERA.
  • Juan Padilla: Had an outstanding year in 2005 while playing for the league minimum, unfortunately he needed Tommy John surgery and never rebounded.
  • Ramon Castro: Omar took a shot on the former top prospect who had some off the field issues, wasn’t expected to even make the team, and then he went on to become the Mets long time backup catcher.
  • Marlon Anderson: Did a terrific job to hit over .300 as a pinch hitter. Anytime you can get that kind of production off the bench you take it.
  • Miguel Cairo: If you go solely by the numbers his season was subpar. However, Cairo does so many things well for a ballclub that cannot be judged on a scoresheet.
  • Dae-Sung Koo: Although he walked too many, he was a respectable lefty reliever and will forever be immortalized for the only hit and run scored in his career.
  • Roberto Hernandez: No one expected anything from Hernandez and he went on to have one of the best years of his career at 40-years-old. Biggest shock/bargain of the season.

The Bad:

  • Mike DeJean: The Mets tossed a million dollars his way and released him by June because of ineffectiveness.

The Meh:

  • Kris Benson: His career with Mets only lasted through 2005, but the Mets were the recipients of Benson’s most effective seasons. If the Mets held onto beyond 2005, there is a great chance I would have in “the bad” section which made me unsure where to place this signing.
  • Chris Woodward: His 2005 was very good, his 2006 not so good. Could say he earned every penny by being an average super utility man.

Grade: A-

2005 was a terrific year for Omar in finding role players. As the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link so the ability to find contributing guys off the bench and in the bullpen cannot be overstated.

Blockbuster Moves

Pedro Martinez: This one is so hard for me too grade objectively. Pedro is my favorite player of all-time and from the minute he agreed to a deal he could do no wrong in my eyes.

Martinez delivered in 2005 and was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He carried that success over into 2006 and it wasn’t until that flukey incident against the Marlins when he was asked to go change his shirt because “his sleeves were too shiny” that he slipped in the dugout and injured his hip, which contributed to a series of injuries and Martinez making just 45 starts over the next two and a half years.

Statistically speaking Martinez only earned $33.3 million of the $53 million based on sabermetrics. He had shoulder injuries before signing the contract and the Mets best competition for his services was a three-year $40.5 million offer from the Red Sox so they did overpay a little for him. For those reasons I cannot give Omar anything above a B for this signing.

As much as fans like to refute this idea, the signing of Pedro did have an affect on the culture of the Mets. When Beltran signed with the Mets there were reports that Pedro coming to the Mets (along with $117 million) influenced Beltran to go to the Mets and it increased the Mets’ presence with international free agent in the Dominican Republic. Anyone who was a Mets fan at this time cannot deny the excitement Martinez brought back to the franchise after a few down years the 2000 Subway Series. Mike Steffanos noted following the 2005 season, “Martinez proved to be worth every penny, putting fannies in the seats and creating a buzz every time he took the hill.” That cannot be stated enough.

He was a bit of a disappointment and his health could have had an effected on the outcome on a few heartbreaking memories from this era, but I just can’t bring myself to call the signing of Pedro a complete bust.

Over the four-year contract Martinez went 32–23 in 79 starts, with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.

Grade: C+

Carlos Beltran: Things got off to a rocky start with Beltran in a Mets uniform. The reports said that he “allegedly” offered himself to the Yankees for a discount and settled for the Mets, which obviously did not sit well with fans. He then added on to the disdain with a mediocre season after being awarded all that money and it left a sour taste the mouth of the fans.

Beltran responded with one of the all-time great Mets seasons in 2006 that helped carry them all the way to the NLCS. Unfortunately Beltran will be remembered by all Mets fans for that flinch and freeze on an Adam Wainright curveball to end the season. It was a legacy defining moment, but outside of that moment Beltran’s Mets career was a success.

By the numbers he was worth $127.4 million so the Mets got their money’s worth out of him, despite Beltran battling with chronic injuries for the better part of two years. Ed Leyro did a marvelous job proving that Beltran was one of the best players in the history 0f the Mets franchise. Definitely worth the read to understand how great of a signing this was.

Beltran batted .280/.369/.500 with 149 homeruns, 550 RBIs, and 100 stolen bases over the seven years with the Mets, while earning five All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers.

Grade: A-


The Mets improved by 12 games in 2005 to finish with a record over .500 at 83-79. They finished 3rd in the NL East and were just six games back of the Wild Card. It was a dramatic turn around from 21 games back of the wild card in 2004.

Opening Day Lineup: Jose Reyes (SS), Kaz Matsui (2B), Carlos Beltran (CF), Mike Piazza (C), Cliff Floyd (LF), Doug Mientkiewicz (1B), David Wright (3B), Eric Valent (RF), and had Pedro Martinez on the mound.

List of Pitchers to Make a Start on the Team: Tom Glavine (33), Pedro Martinez (31), Kris Benson (28), Victor Zambrano (27), Kaz Ishii (16), Jae Seo (14), Aaron Heilman (7), Steve Trachsel (6).

List of Pitchers to Make a Relief Appearance (min. 5): Roberto Hernandez (67), Braden Looper (60), Aaron Heilman (46), Heath Bell (42), Dae-Sung Koo (33), Mike DeJean (28), Juan Padilla (24), Manny Aybar (22), Danny Graves (20), Royce Ring (15), Shingo Takatsu (9), Tim Hamulack (6), Mike Matthews (6).

Offensive Leaders (min. 150 at-bats): AVG - D. Wright (.306); SLG - D. Wright (.523), OBP - D. Wright (.388), HR - C. Floyd (34), RBI - D. Wright (102), SB - J. Reyes (60), R - D. Wright & J. Reyes (99).

Pitching Leaders (min 50 IP): IP - P. Martinez (217.0), ERA - R. Hernandez (2.58), W -P. Martinez (15), L - T. Glavine (13), SV -  B. Looper (28), SO - P. Martinez (208), CG - P. Martinez (4), SHO – P. Martinez, T. Glavine, & A. Heilman (1).

While Willie Randolph wore out his welcome fast, I don’t think he was necessarily a terrible manager and if there was one mistake I think Omar made with the coaching staff it was keeping Rick Peterson around. I am sorry, but I think he did more harm than good when he was trying to “fix” young pitchers.

Thinking back to my time as a fan during 2005, I was extremely excited by the future of the team. Omar did a terrific job during his first off-season to bring in marquee names to compliment the young, upcoming players already on the roster who were ready breakout. It was perfect timing to try and start something bigger.

The starting pitching was a major issue in 2004 and he went out and brought in a first ballot Hall of Fame pitcher who served as a Cy Young candidate in 2005.

Seeing the moves he made I think he deserves more credit for the Mets’ success in 2005 than I originally thought he would.

Grade: B+

It was a great off-season for the Mets franchise.

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Sandy Alderson: No Big Trades, No Big Spending, Johan Okay, Needs To Fill Two Bench Spots Thu, 05 Jan 2012 17:42:18 +0000 Sandy Alderson talks to the media

Sandy Alderson talks to the media

Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters this afternoon and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York was kind enough to transcribe most of the details.

  • Sandy Alderson said it’s “fair” to say Mets won’t sign anyone who commands more than $1.5 million. Still, Alderson said free agent market should still be “robust” since players who made more than $1.5 million in past now may command less.
  • Sandy Alderson on adding more starting pitcher: Our problem is we’ve got 5 guys that we like, five guys that deserve to pitch in a rotation.
  • At this point, Sandy Alderson says he is looking to fill out the bench and a last spot in the bullpen. He’s looking at right-handed hitting outfielders and a shortstop who can fill in on a stop-gap basis, in the event someone like Ruben Tejada got injured. “Basically we’re looking to fill out the bench as well as the last spot in the bullpen.”
  • Sandy Alderson declines to speak about Mets minority ownership sales, except to say nothing has changed since Christmas party. Alderson said at Christmas party that he expected Mets would have minority investors on board in January.
  • Sandy Alderson said Santana should have normal spring training, but you never know until he tries to bounce back from repetitive pitching. Alderson said trainer Ray Ramirez spent 10 days with Johan Santana in Venezuela. Santana about 3 weeks into throwing program.
  • Alderson said Mets doing full physicals, including internal medicine, on free-agent signings so there’s longer gap from deal to announcement.

Well, feast on that everybody. Plenty here to discuss.

All in all this was a successful offseason under very extreme circumstances. I give a lot of credit to Alderson who set out to revamp the bullpen and brought in some terrific pieces who have all had some success in the past.

Getting back a healthy Johan Santana will be the key to how the season progresses past March and into April. One thing is certain and that is that the front office are being very cautious which is a departure from how things used to be around here.

I’m glad to see we are finally doing “FULL” physicals before we hand millions to a free agent.

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Could Mike Pelfrey be the First Met on the Move? Wed, 27 Apr 2011 19:30:01 +0000 The trade winds have been swirling around New York recently. Rumors that both Jose Reyes and David Wright may be traded have been discussed ad nauseam. However, these two may not be the first Mets that would be traded this year.

There is a possibility that the Mets could look to trade Mike Pelfrey. Yes, Pelfrey has struggled to begin the season, but that does not mean that he does not mean that he has lost that much trade value.

Last year, Pelfrey went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA. However, it has become obvious through Pelfrey’s time in the Majors that he is not the number one or two starter that the Mets were expecting him to develop into.

Pelfrey has struggled this early on this season as he has gone 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA. Some of his issues can be chalked up to bad luck. He has a .356 BABIP this year, well above his career average of .310. In addition, he only has only left 58.8% of runners on base, which is off from his career average of 70.6%. The third thing that has caused Pelfrey’s struggles is the fact that he is only inducing ground balls 40.4% of the time. Compare this with his career average of 49% and it is easy to see some of the reasons for his struggles. If you take a deeper look at the numbers and look at Pelfrey’s 4.69 FIP, it is obvious that Pelfrey has been unlucky this year.

With that being said, Pelfrey is still nothing more than a good number three or number four starter. He is currently the number one pitcher on the Mets staff as a result of the injury to Johan Santana. This should be a sign of concern for the Mets since it is clear that Pelfrey should not be the rotation’s ace.

The team appears likely to enter a rebuilding stage after this year. They will need good, talented young players that can develop with the team. They way to acquire these players is through trades.

With the Mets likely to be sellers at the trade deadline, they will be looking to move pieces that have some value. If he can regain the form that he has shown in the past, then Pelfrey certainly has a decent amount of trade value.

Pelfrey is just 27 years old and will not be eligible for free agency until 2014. At the trade deadline, there will certainly be teams that are looking for help for the middle or back end of their rotation. Mike Pelfrey could be the answer for one of these teams. Pelfrey will not bring the Mets back an elite prospect, but he could net them one top 100 prospect in addition to another decent prospect or two.

If and when the rebuilding process starts, the Mets need to take a long, deep look at who can provide them with substantial value in the future. Jose Reyes and David Wright are players that can. Mike Pelfrey is a big question mark. As a result of this, he should be traded out of New York to bring back players who can help the team moving forward.

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Where Are They Now? The Johan Santana Trade Edition Tue, 29 Jun 2010 12:57:49 +0000 On January 29, 2008, Mets fans everywhere rejoiced over the formerly-rumored-now-true stories about Johan Santana, a pitching force that many teams coveted from the Minnesota Twins, was coming to our team in a blockbuster trade.  We were not only parting with prospects that we could handle losing (especially in a trade like this one), the Mets were able to negotiate an extension right off the bat with the Venezuelan lefty.

The irony was, last year, as Carlos Gomez scored the winning run in the Twins’ one-game-playoff victory against the Detroit Tigers, many wondered if the trade was more of a favorable one to the Twins than the Mets.  After all, the Twins were going to the American League Divisional Series, and the Mets were simply making reservations at their closest golf course.  I think most of us non-Johnny-Come-Lately fans know that the Twins winning the one-game playoff and making the divisional series in 2009 had more to do with Joe Mauer carrying the team on his back than Carlos Gomez who scored one *measly* (though important) run against the Tigers.

After all, on November 6, 2009, the Twins traded Gomez to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy. So far for 2010, Gomez has played in 49 games, has hit 5 HRs, 18 RBIs, and is sporting a line of .239/.280/.381. A player who is considered a “speedster”, Gomez has an incredibly low career OBP of .290.

This isn’t an article on Johan Santana or Carlos Gomez, however.  In fact, my inspiration for this post is something I overheard on WFAN as I was walking around Citi Field on Sunday afternoon.  Howie Rose was talking about the Johan Santana trade with the weekend opponent the Twins to see how the respective parties benefited from it.  I believe that although Santana is having a lackluster year thus far, the Mets have done just fine without the four parts the Mets traded for him, including Gomez who was the only position player involved in the trade, and three pitchers, Kevin Mulvey (R), Philip Humber (R) and Deolis Guerra (R).

Kevin Mulvey is a former second round draft pick with the Mets, having signed on August 9, 2006.  Mulvey was later the “player to be named later” in a late-2009 deal the Twins consummated with the Arizona Diamondbacks, sending pitcher Jon Rauch to the Twins.  For the Diamondbacks, Mulvey is currently on the 40-man roster, having appeared in two games for them this season. His stats are abysmal, but he’s still young so he can certainly work out the kinks as he matures.

When the trade occurred, if there was someone I had to be “upset” about potentially losing was Philip Humber, an injury-prone prospect but had a lot of upside to counteract it.  At one point, I remember some rumblings that Humber could potentially have a higher ceiling than Mike Pelfrey, who was considered more “major league ready” than Humber was in 2007.  Perhaps most Mets fans remember Humber being underused towards the end of 2007, as he was thrust into a start in the last week of the season in critical games the Mets absolutely had to win.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see what Humber could have brought to the table, since he was traded to Minny for Santana just a few months after the season’s end.

Humber is another member of the “I Was Traded For Johan Santana and All I Have Is This Stupid T-Shirt” club, but is no longer affiliated with the Minnesota Twins.  You see, he was granted free agency after the 2009 season, and is now a Kansas City Royal.  However, on June 10, 2010, Humber was hit with a line drive while pitching in a game for the AAA Omaha Royals.  He was able to walk off the field on his own and was taken to the hospital for observation.  No other information has been found at this time on the extent of his injury.

Deolis Guerra is an interesting case, having never pitched a game in the major leagues of yet, still the last representative of the trade who is still involved in the Twins organization.  The 6’5″ righthander is working as a starter in the Twins AAA Rochester affiliate, but his stats are nondescript: 0-3, 6.84 ERA and 1.720 WHIP.  Yuck.  However, starting the year in AA New Britain, he was 1-3, 3.20 ERA and 1.207 WHIP.  A bit better, so perhaps he’s just green.  At barely 21 years old, I may have to agree.  We’ll have to keep our eye on him to see how he turns out, since the Twins found him valuable enough to keep him around.

It is perhaps too soon to analyze how well the Mets will make off with Johan Santana in their pitching rotation and not hanging onto the likes of Mulvey, Humber and Guerra.  The fact is, prospects are prospects for a reason: they stay that way for awhile and some pan out, some do not.  While we have the feel-good stories of Stephen Strasberg and “The Other” Mike Stanton, they are exceptions rather than the rule of break-out stars. These could also be cautionary tales of trading prospects before giving them a chance, in instances of half-year rentals or those without long-term contracts.

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Braves Officially Ink Troy Glaus To 1 Year Deal Thu, 07 Jan 2010 05:22:07 +0000 According to Yahoo! Sports Troy Glaus and the Atlanta Braves have both agreed to a $1.75 million, one year contract Tuesday that will allow Glaus to earn an additional $2.25 million in roster bonuses and performance.

After missing most of the 2009 season with the St. Louis Cardinals following right shoulder surgery, Glaus says that he is now ready to return to the field and move from third base to first for Atlanta.

“I have no concerns about being able to go out there and play, I’ve been able to get myself this winter in the quality of shape I wasn’t able to the winter before. I foresee continuing on where I left off.”

Glaus is a four-time All-Star and the 2002 World Series MVP with the Anaheim Angels. The soon to be 34-year-old Glaus has played third base for most of his career. He said he placed a higher priority on signing with a competitive team than finding one that would keep him at third base.

“I think this affords me an opportunity to play on a team I think is very, very close to going back to the playoffs.” “I’ve been a fan of the organization for a long, long time.”

Glaus hit 27 homers with 99 RBIs for St. Louis in 2008 and had 30 or more homers in five of seven seasons from 2000 to 2006 with the Angels, Arizona and Toronto. He currently has 304 career homers.

The Braves are very eager to see Glaus provide at the plate in which he will add much needed power behind third baseman Chipper Jones and catcher Brian McCann. Last year the Atlanta Braves ranked 22nd in the major leagues with 149 homeruns.

Glaus has played at least 149 games in a season seven times in his career and in those seven seasons he averaged 36 homers, 100 RBIs and 94 runs.

With the Braves, Glaus is expected to replace first baseman Adam La Roche who became a free agent this off-season.

The Braves might view Glaus as a short term answer at first base while another talked about prospect, Freddie Freeman, progresses through the minor leagues.

The Atlanta Braves are really turning into a team that you can count on seeing in the post season. With the signing of Melky Cabrera earlier in the off-season, the Braves outfield is definitely up there.

General manager Frank Wren said that he doesn’t expect any more major moves this off season, which is good for the Mets because it looks like the Braves are snagging semi key free agents. I wouldn’t say that Troy Glaus is the answer to the Braves woes, but it could shape them as a powerful defensive and offensive team for the 2010 season.

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