MMO Q&A With SNY’s Robert Brender: Part 1 – Positives and Negatives

robert brender

Today and tomorrow I will be posting two parts of a Q&A I did with the up-and-coming Robert Brender, who does outstanding work covering the Mets major league team and their minor league system for

Rob (@RobertBrender) is truly one of the must-follows on Mets Twitter where he shares his vast knowledge and passion for the team with other Met fans on Twitter everyday.

Enjoy our little exchange…

On Sunday you speculated that if the Mets were to fall out of the race this season, you wouldn’t be shocked to see them trade Daniel Murphy. Were you talking at the trade deadline or after the season? Could that be viewed as a sign that 2015 is yet another year of moving the goal posts and an extension of a rebuilding process that began when Sandy took over in late 2010?

daniel murphyI’ve never gotten the feeling the Mets are enamored with Murphy. I assume they appreciate his skills and, like the rest of us, think he’s a solid player who has the ability to get very hot with the lumber and drive singles and doubles regularly.

He’s become a decent defender, at least good enough to justify throwing him out there everyday and get his bat in the lineup. That said, he’s 2nd year arb eligible in 2015 and will get a nice raise, especially if he hits .300 with 40 doubles this season (or something close to it). He’s making $5.7 million this year, so I would guess he’ll get around $7 million in 2015. It’s not Brandon Phillips money but it’s still a hefty chunk for a team not spending a lot overall.

Conversely, it’s another year of team control for any ballclub that trades for him and there are several who would love to add him for the playoff push and another guaranteed season in 2015. The Blue Jays specifically have been very vocal about their desire to add a second baseman soon and we know they have a trade history with the Mets as well as many more prospect to deal. The Dodgers might not feel completely sold with Dee Gordon long term? There are more but the point being, Murphy’s price, value, team control, the Mets desire to have him going forward and other factors might all add up to a trade in my opinion. I don’t think it’s necessarily moving the goal posts. It might just be changing the formula.

As we wrap up the second month of the season, what has been the biggest positive so far in your opinion?

jacob degrom smilesThere are a few positives I take from the early part of this season. The obvious top choice is the development of the young pitching. They’ve been able to incorporate Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero into the big league rotation and they’re having success so far. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch both of them pitch regularly for the last year and think they have the ability to be outstanding.

On the young pitching theme, moving Jenrry Mejia to the closers role and the success he’s having is tremendous. I have no doubt he can dominate in that role for years to come. That’s also good for the organization’s budget, since we know what a shut-down closer costs on the open market. A back end of the bullpen with Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black sounds pretty good for the next 5-7 years. Not to mention Bobby Parnell, who should be back in 2015.

Conversely, if you had to pick one disappointment thus far, please explain what or who it is?

Regarding the biggest negative: I was talking to Toby Hyde about this early this week. The offense has obviously been abysmal. The problem I have with the construction of this roster is they entered the season with so many question marks. Too many things need to go right for this offense to be successful. David Wright is a mainstay and will perform equivalent to the back of his baseball card. Curtis Granderson will likely do the same, although there were questions about his ability to hit at Citi Field. I think his performance in May has quieted those concerns. But aside from those two, there are so many factors that can sway their ability to score runs consistently.

chris young

There isn’t nearly enough offensive talent overall. To start the season with Ruben Tejada as the shortstop was unfair to the fans and the rest of the players on the roster. He’s not a starting shortstop and the organization knew that, yet they couldn’t find a way to replace him.

The first base situation is a complete mess. I’ve never thought Lucas Duda was the answer. I’m doubtful Ike Davis was either. Chris Young has been regressing for the last four years and has been terrible so far. They’re also playing two rookies who have to develop and contribute.

What’s most upsetting is seeing teams like the Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs, White Sox and Yankees signing premium International talent and the Mets not ever being mentioned in the conversation. Why would the Mets not consider signing Jose Abreu? Either the budget is too constrained or management didn’t have the foresight to see his ability to hit in the big leagues. Either way, it’s a problem. It certainly can’t be because they had Ike, Duda and Satin on the roster. One has since been traded, one in AAA and the other hitting .220. They never tried to bid on Yasiel Puig, Alexander Guerrero and Jorge Soler. Why not? They don’t cost prospects in trade.

Look out for Part 2 of my interview with Robert on Wednesday.


About Joe D 7945 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.