12/11/17

Hot Stove - 12-11-17

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The Boston Red Sox has made CF Jackie Bradley Jr. available for a trade.

    2017:  27/yrs - 482/AB, .245/.322/.402/724, 17-HR, 63-RBI

    I know Jackie very well... in fact, we followed each other when he was a Gamecock. The good news... he's stayed relatively healthy the past two seasons. The bad news... I don't see numbers that much more than Juan Lagares.

The Mets are looking at RP Alex Colome; however, St. Louis and Colorado are reported to be early favorites in the chase.

    2017:  28/yrs - 65 appearances, 2-3, 3.24, 1.20, 66.2-IP, 58-K

    Hadn't heard this name before on the Sandy radar. I look at this as a feeble attempt to keep busy during the meetings.

The Cubs signed RP Brandon Morrow.

    Blah, blah, blah...

Kristie Ackert reports that the Mets are approachable for a trade for SP Matt Harvey.

    My guess, if this happens, it will be Baltimore. Maybe part of a deal for Manny Machado??? (don't go too far here, Mack)


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Mike - Roster Construction Possibilities - Part One

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I am going to present my thoughts on this topic over the course of several articles, since each section requires some explanation and things would become a bit lengthy if it was presented as one piece.

The idea for this series of articles came about while listening to fellow Mets fans discuss what the Mets "need to do" in the off season in order to return to relevance.  Some would argue that a complete roster overhaul is necessary, while others feel that only a healthy season from our pitching staff will be the key to success.  Like most topics, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

So, in order to figure out what our favorite team needs to do, it makes sense to take stock of what is on hand first.  Sort of like grocery shopping......you take a look in the pantry before you make a list to take to the store.   Additionally, you also need to have a general framework with which to work.  Using our grocery store analogy, you likely have a series of meals planned out ahead of time and you craft your list based upon what you are trying to accomplish.

The alternative is to go shopping on a whim without any consideration for what you are trying to accomplish.  A cart full of random, expensive ingredients that don't accomplish your goal may look nice at the checkout counter, but it won't work out when the time comes to execute your plan.

Most teams employ a similar framework for roster construction, like so;

Starters - C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF

Bench - C2, MI, CI, OF4, OF5

Rotation - SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5

Bullpen - LR-R, LR-L, S-R, S-L, SET-R, SET-L, CL1

***I will explain the roster designations further as we move along, in case the letters don't make sense.

***I also understand that we may be moving towards an eight man bullpen, so you would swap one of the bench pieces for the extra arm.  For now, I am going to proceed as though we are constructing a more traditional roster.

Now that we know what positions need to be filled, we can take a closer look at what the current team has "in the pantry", so to speak.

You can break the current roster down into three subsections;

1.  Foundation Pieces

2.  Support Pieces

3.  Replacement Pieces and/or Voids

For Part One, let's take a look at who the Foundation Pieces are.   In my book, a player in this category is someone that the team is counting on to perform at an above average level and to serve as a leader.  You are happy to have this player on your roster and you don't spend any additional time trying to upgrade or replace this player for the coming season.  Most successful teams have a collection of this type of player, but they do not usually comprise a majority of a team's roster.

Some would argue that you can't really write an article on the list of Foundation Pieces that exist on the Mets' roster.  Why?  Because it would be so short that it would be better served as a "tweet".   Joking aside, after reviewing the current state of the roster, I count FIVE Foundation Pieces, as stated below;

LF -  Yoenis Cespedes

RF -  Michael Conforto

SP1 - Noah Syndergaard

SP2-  Jacob DeGrom

CL1-  Jeurys Familia       

By my count, that is 25% of our roster, which would seem to be a bit on the light side (especially for a "large market club", but that's an article for a different day).   I suppose you could argue that David Wright would qualify as the sixth Foundation Piece, if he was reasonably healthy and able to play a significant amount of the time.  However, I think that ship has sailed and I am not going to include his name in this section.

I think there may be a few more Foundation Pieces on the roster, but they need more time to develop and to navigate the learning curve that exists between AAA and MLB.

Looking at the list above and the overall roster framework, it is apparent that Sandy has some work to do.  What we have in this section amounts to a nice start.  Not many teams have two "aces", two power hitting corner outfielders and a dominant closer as a starting point for their roster, so the pantry is definitely NOT bare.  However, due to injuries or "other issues", four of the five names on that list delivered less then what was expected from them, last season, so there is an element of uncertainty moving forward.

In the next few sections, we will review who fits as a Support Piece and as a Replacement Piece.  I will close the series with any outright Voids that exist on the roster and a quick summary that will include one possible plan or a list for Sandy to "take to the store".

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12/8 - 12/10 Winter League Results | Carrillo Slumping in Mexico, Albaladejo Leads Venezuela League with Win #5

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December 8th

Arizona Fall League

- Completed on November 18th
(Recap can be found here.) 



Mexican Pacific League
- Caneros de los Mochis 7 - 6 Charros de Jalisco
- Venados de Mazatlan 5 - 11 Mayos de Navojoa
- Yaquis de Obregon 3 - 4 Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Aguilas de Mexicali 0 - 1 Tomateros de Culiacan
  • C Xorge Carrillo: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 2 K

Venezuelan Winter League
- Aguilas del Zulia 5 - 8 Caribes de Anzoategui [12 innings]
- Bravos de Margarita 10 - 1 Navegantes del Magallanes
- Cardenales de Lara 4 - 9 Leones del Caracas
- Tiburones de la Guaira 2 - 3 Tigres de Aragua
  • LHP Kevin Canelon: 0.1 IP, 1 K

Dominican Winter League
Toros del Este 4 - 9 Leones del Escogido
Gigantes del Cibao 5 - 2 Estrellas Orientales
Tigres del Licey 1 - 5 Aguilas Cibaenas


December 9th

Arizona Fall League
- Completed on November 18th
(Recap can be found here.) 


Mexican Pacific League
- Caneros de los Mochis 1 - 5 Charros de Jalisco
- Venados de Mazatlan 4 - 7 Mayos de Navojoa
- Yaquis de Obregon 3 - 2 Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Aguilas de Mexicali 1 - 3 Tomateros de Culiacan
  • C Xorge Carrillo: 0 for 4, K, 3 SB Allowed, Error(5 | Attempted Pickoff) [Batting .188 over his last 10 games]

Venezuelan Winter League
- Cardenales de Lara 11 - 5 Caribes de Anzoategui [Doubleheader- 7 innings]
- Cardenales de Lara 10 - 0 Caribes de Anzoategui [Doubleheader- 7 innings]
- Navegantes del Magallanes 11 - 1 Bravos de Margarita
- Tiburones de la Guaira 8 - 5 Leones del Caracas
  • RHP Jonathan Albaladejo: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 K, Win(5-3)
- Aguilas del Zulia 8 - 2 Tigres de Aragua
  • LHP Alberto Baldonado: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 K

Dominican Winter League
- No Games Scheduled



December 10th

Arizona Fall League
- Completed on November 18th
(Recap can be found here.) 


Mexican Pacific League
- Caneros de los Mochis 2 - 8 Charros de Jalisco
- Venados de Mazatlan 0 - 5 Mayos de Navojoa
- Yaquis de Obregon 5 - 6 Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Aguilas de Mexicali 4 - 2 Tomateros de Culiacan


Venezuelan Winter League
- No Games Scheduled


Dominican Winter League
- No Games Scheduled
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Reese Kaplan -- A Dark Night for the Dark Knight?

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So the words coming out of con man Sandy Alderson’s mouth had better be a smokescreen because he’s already stated to the press that he is not going after starting pitching, not planning to be aggressive in obtaining relievers, doesn’t have any high value prospects to deal and is once again waiting for the market to come to him.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  Apparently his marching orders from the owners are to put a product on the field and they will come...everyone talks about staying away and not fattening the Wilpons’ wallets but they still continue to draw.  When the current front office (and deposed field manager) took over in 2011 they drew 2.379 million fans.  Last year they drew 2.4 million.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


About the only interesting nugget to come out of the Winter Meetings press coverage was the rumor that the Mets already hurting for starting pitching are open to trading Matt Harvey to get one.  In fact, they would prefer to trade Harvey rather than Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman.  Hmmn…on the surface that would hardly seem to make sense, but there are probably $6 million reasons why they expressed that inclination.  The younger duo makes close to major league minimum and Harvey earned $5.125 last year and despite his horrific performance is likely going to become the new $6 million man.

While I often (and justifiably) give both Alderson and the WIlpons a lot of grief for making decisions more about money than about winning, the more I thought about this one, the more I can see how it could make sense.  Hear me out.

Matt Harvey is an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2018. Given both his rocky relationship with the team and his representation by Steve Boras, the likelihood of him returning to the Mets is minimal (even if the Mets could/would pay for it).  Furthermore, after being burned by Neil Walker you’re not going to see many Qualified Offers made to free agents lest they accept them and put the team on the hook for potentially $17.6 million of salary in 2019.  So if you agree he’s a goner, hanging onto him makes little sense.

The question that arises is what’s the best case scenario?  Suppose Matt Harvey rediscovers his mojo and pitches like it was 2012 again.  You’re still in the same boat, facing him walking away for absolutely nothing at year end (without the draft pick compensation which only comes with a QO that the player has turned down).  No, your play here is to trade a Cy Young type of pitcher in July to a team that wants to win and try to restock your upper farm system with highly rated prospects (not middling relievers as was done in the great sell-off of 2017). 

The other option is to get a young, controllable reliever right now in exchange for a guy you’re going to lose anyway.  Furthermore, that hypothetical reliever (let’s call him Alex Colome for the sake of argument) is available at significantly less money and not set to hit free agency until 2021.  Now Tampa is not likely stupid enough to do that deal for Harvey alone (particularly coming off his past two years of ineffectiveness) but that’s the concept in play here.  Find a young bullpen arm who is healthy, productive and inexpensive and let someone else gamble on the final half to one year of Matt Harvey before Boras insists he test the free agency waters. 

As much as I hate to give credit to Sandy Alderson for anything, this one actually seems like a shrewd move assuming you are getting a major league pitcher with 3.50 or less ERA who don’t walk the ballpark, not guys with unsightly WHIPs and high ERAs (but “live arms”).  Colome is a pipe dream but what about a setup guy like Matt Bush of the Texas Rangers?  The Mets have recently turned a blind eye to people with off-the-field issues and the 31 year old Bush is not a free agent until 2023.  In his late start to his MLB career after jail time he has delivered on his promise with a 2-year record of 10-6, 3.08 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 9.4 Ks per 9 IP and he’s done it over a total of 115 games.  If the Rangers (likely losing Yu Darvish) would bite on that deal I’d do it in a heartbeat. 

Thoughts? 
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12/10/17

While Alderson Keeps Waiting for the Phone to Ring...

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Right hander Brandon Morrow gets signed by the Cubs for 2 years in the $10-$11 million range.

Right hander Luke Gregerson gets signed by the Cardinals to an almost identical deal.

Do you see how that works?  Clubs that want to win actively try to make deals instead of "waiting for the market to come to" them?

If I'm Bryan Shaw's agent I'm drooling right now as the number of available resources starts to dwindle, thus raising the price of the ones still left.  Remind me again who is the smartest guy in the room?
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Mack – Mets Fans Unite!

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Good morning.


I write this kind of post once a year around this time in the off-season. I think it is time again.

I spend a fair amount of time on Twitter, reading what my 700+ Mets followers say about the team they love and follow. Frankly, there isn’t much being said nicely.
The hate level is getting close to what I used to see when the fan base targeted their venom on the Wilpon family, demanding them to sell the team. Remember that billboard that was taken out behind CitiField Stadium? 

Teams like the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Yankees just seem to be playing in a completely different league than we do. Others are scooping up those released International prospects that were set free from Atlanta. And all we have done is sign a career minor league outfielder and a damaged ex-prospect pitcher.

I understand the fans pain, but I never understand how they channel it. And, I try to remind them every year that the only way they can influence this team as to how they operate in the future is to take the steps necessary to let the Mets front office know that they want more bang for their buck.

And we are talking bucks here. That’s the only thing the Wilpons understand and I’m sure they chuckle in their offices about how much money the fans spend on parking, tickets, food, and merchandise while they bitch and moan about how the team is run.

I try to remind everyone how successful the guys over at 7-Line are, creating a Mets following. It took time, but they got it done. Well, what about the reverse of this? 

Why can’t someone begin to create a rally outside CitiField to protest how this team is operated? Why not lead a ban on the sale of merchandise at both the stadium and online, plus tickets to the games? A half-filled stadium at home games will create a two-fold result. One, it will give the press cameras a chance to show the baseball world that the fans have had enough of this family, and secondly, it will immediately take bucks out of the pockets of the family.

It’s too late to do anything about this Hot Stove season. The Mets will not participate at any level that will satisfy the Mets Twitter family and the projected team that they will put on the Flushing field come spring will not be competitive enough to make it to the World Series. In addition, it doesn’t look like they are going to do enough to make this team a playoff contender in 2018.

That’s fine. Set your goals for the 2019 season. There is going to be a very talented group of free agents after the 2018 season and now is the time to begin the process of emptying both the seats and the cash registers of the Mets stores and kiosks (sorry 7-Line).

And don’t expect the 7-Line Army to join in with you here. They are now joined at hip with the front office, with official promotional events and clothes rights inside the stadium. They can’t play on both sides of the fence which is fine.

But… if one of you gets that billboard back up… and another posts a picture on Twitter… bring in a third to find 10 friends to march back and forth on the Shea Bridge (prepare to be asked to leave) with protest signs, calling for a boycott of this team until the front office invests the kind of money a team should do in the media’s number one market... then those 10 people could grow to 20, then 50, and so on... and the organized protest is on.

I’m telling you.


You and your fellow Mets fans can make the difference here.
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Mack's Apples - Minny/Mets Trade Proposals, Dave Howard, Miami Fire Sale, Shane McClanahan, Negro League Stadium

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Good morning.


 Puckett’s Pond’s suggested trades between the Mets and the Twins:

           
Possible Trade Interest -

Mets may want: 2B, 3B, relief pitching, veteran starting pitching, center fielder, leadoff hitter

Twins may want: A power bat for the DH position, starting pitching, relief pitching

Trade proposals

With those needs how could the Twins and Mets match up? Here are three ideas:

Trade proposal #1: Twins trade IF Eduardo Escobar and OF Zack Granite to the Mets for RHP Marcos Molina and IF Mark Vientos. Vientos was one of my favorite players in the 2017 draft, and he can truly be a guy to jump up the system in a hurry in 2018 as the “prize” of this deal. However, moving a quality player like Escobar that could really solve a ton of needs for the Mets along with a guy like Granite should bring a high quality arm as well. Molina might be a swing-for-the-fences arm, especially paired with Vientos, but he’d be an excellent target for the Twins.

Trade proposal #2: Twins trade LHP Tyler Jay and RHP Jake Reed for IF Gregory Guerrero and RHP Gerson Bautista. The Twins would be giving up two near-ready bullpen arms for a high-ceiling young infielder and a high-velocity young arm that’s not gotten out of A-ball thus far.

            Thoughts?

Brightline CEO Finds Inspiration In The New York Mets And Henry Flagler Henry Flagler -

Dave Howard's background is in sports. He ran business operations for the company behind Madison Square Garden, and spent more than 20 years as an executive with the New York Mets, overseeing the design and development of the team's Citi Field.

So when he was offered the CEO job at Brightline, the high-speed rail service set to run from West Palm Beach to Miami, Howard says he was a little skeptical. But only briefly. He soon discovered lessons from the business of baseball apply to the business of Brightline.

I made a proposal, in writing, to the Wilpons to create, set-up, and manager a new web site that would combine key bloggers, beat reporters, and direct links to the Mets organization. It was turned down, but I did receive a telephone call from Dave with a gracious ‘thanks but no thanks. He didn’t have to do that. He could have either ignored it or have a secretary send off a form letter. He is a class act.

How the New York Mets can benefit from the Miami Marlins  fire sale -

                   
    The Miami Marlins firesale this offseason needs to attract interest from the New York Mets. They aren’t in on the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes, and it must be difficult for Mets fans to see the proposed offer from the San Francisco Giants and not cringe. If the Mets weren’t the stingy organization that they are, they could have made a competitive offer at Stanton who clearly loves hitting at Citi Field. Usually teams don’t trade superstars within the same division, but I don’t think that’s a factor for Miami. They are trying to unload payroll and they will trade Stanton to whoever he will waive his no-trade clause and take on the bulk of his contract.

If money was no object, trading for Stanton would be a no brainer. They could get a deal done without mortgaging the farm, and he would plug into right field and be a lynchpin in the middle of the lineup. Since the Mets clearly cannot afford that contract, it’s not even worth dreaming. That is not to say that the Marlins don’t have something to offer the Mets. I’ve already called for the Mets to make a play at Dee Gordon, but the Marlins have even more than Gordon to entertain the Mets with.

An update on my mock drafts…

                  
     Five more mocks have come in, less than needed for a full mock update, but enough to recognize some movement near the top of the draft, especially the Mets pick.

                       We had OF Jarred Kelenic as the Mets pick at six, but the top lefty in the draft has moved up nine slots -

1.                   (1.)     RHP    Brady Singer           Florida
2.                   (2.)     SS        Brice Turang           Santiago HS (CA)
3.                   (7.)     RHP    Ethan Hankins        Forsyth Central HS (GA)
4.                   (4.)     RHP    Kumar Rocker         N. Oconee HS (GA)
5.                   (3.)     2B       Nick Madrigal        Oregon State
6.                   (15.)   LHP     Shane McClanahan   USF

The 6-1 McClanahan went 15-starts, 3.20, 76-IP, 104-K ofr USF last season.
From Perfect Game –

Shane McClanahan is a 2015 LHP/ with a 6-2 165 lb. frame from Cape Coral, FL who attends Cape Coral. McClanahan has a long lean build with room to fill out and add strength. Short arm action to a mid 3/4 slot. Slight pause after rocker step, stays balanced and online with delivery. Repeats delivery well. Pitches to both sides of plate with fastball, fastball has good life when down in zone. Has good arm speed on fastball, will slow it a bit on developing change up with run. Slider shows tight spin and good tilt to it. Gets good extension and creates a down hill angle to plate. There is more velocity to come.

Plans to rehab old  Negro League baseball park  taking shape –
                   
    Officials are making moves toward a plan to renovate the historic Hamtramck Stadium (MI), a still-standing relic from a past when sports were segregated by race.

Hamtramck hired Smith Group JJR for $76,900-plus to create a pre-development plan as a precursor to any construction, city planners announced Monday.


Hamtramck received a $50,000 National Parks Service African American Civil Rights grant to offset the bulk of the cost. 
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12/9/17

Hot Stove - 12-9-17

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Marc Carig writes that the Mets are having talked with the Tigers about 2B Ian Kinsler and the Indians about 2B Jason Kipnis. In addition, Carig writes that the Mets may pursue the Pirates 2B Josh Harrison

    Kinsler:   35/yrs - 551/AB,  .236/.312/.412/724, 22/HR, 52/RBI

    Kipnis:  30/yrs - 336/AB, .232/.295/.414/709, 12/HR, 35/RBI

    Harrison:  29/yrs -  486/AB, .272/.340/.432/772, 16/HR, 47/RBI


The New York Yankees and Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton have agreed to a deal for Starlin Castro and 'mid-level' prospects.


The Twins have signed former Braves International prospect, Yunior Severino, for a $2.5mil bonus.


Colorado signs a 2-year, $8.5mil, deal for catcher Chris Iannetta.




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Reese Kaplan -- What We Want vs. What We'll Get

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With the Winter Meetings beginning in warm and sunny Florida tomorrow, a great many Mets fans have their holiday wish lists running to a length of a Tolstoy novel on what Sandy Alderson and company should do to propel the team back into contention.  On a position by position basis, let’s take a look at the Wish List, the Smart Play, and the Grim Reality:

First Base
  • Wish List:  Atop most fans’ collective wish list is Eric Hosmer or Carlos Santana, both of whom requiring only money and a sales pitch to obtain (well, draft pick compensation, but that’s a given for anyone receiving and turning down a QO). 
  • Smart Play:  I’m not completely sure why, but the rumors abound that Jose Abreu is available in trade.  Considering he’s slated for two more years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent.  He’s projected to get close to $18 million in arbitration this year and probably a bump next year – say $22 million.  That’s not pocket change, but it is just $40 million versus a figure well north of $100 in commitment for one of the FAs.  You would have a truly consistent slugger in his prime and then decide long term if you want to lock him up or let someone else pay for his declining years.  The White Sox have been robber barons in the past few years in the deals for Adam Eaton, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, so it’s going to take quite a haul to land him.
  • Grim Reality:  Expect a platoon of Dom Smith and Wilmer Flores unless they choose to go low end for someone like Adam Lind who can fill in for Michael Conforto until he’s ready, then for Dom Smith if he doesn’t show marked improvement.  



Second Base
  • Wish List:  Dee Gordon is now off the table, having been dealt to Seattle. Other high profile people rumored to be in play are Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier, Jason Kipnis, Neil Walker and Cesar Hernandez.
  • Smart Get:  Jae-Gyun Hwang, Korean 3rd baseman who hits for power, average and plays an outstanding 3rd base.  Check out a report here.  Why is he listed in the 2B area?  You can move Asdrubal Cabrera to second.
  • Grim Reality: Expect a return of the once and future Met, Jose Reyes.  His surge to finish the season with near replacement level numbers on the year will overshadow his abysmal start. He provides the speed and positional flexibility the club wants, with enough experience to help mentor Amed Rosario. 



Shortstop
  • Wish List:  While everyone is giving a pass to Amed Rosario’s dismal debut (myself included), he still is one of the few desirable trade chips the Mets have to address other areas.  With Andres Gimenez and others in the shortstop pipeline the Mets might look for a 3 year or so solution in the form of Zack Cozart and open up Rosario to offers.  Cozart is coming off a 4.9 WAR season, is terrific with the glove and had a breakout year at the plate for power and discipline.
  • Smart Play:  Keep Rosario where he is as he has the tools to be an upper echelon player at minimal cost.
  • Grim Reality:  Figuring Jose Reyes would be a good option if Cozart is too rich for their blood.



Third Base
  • Wish List:  Mike Moustakas is the name heard most often when the Mets are questioned about solving their post-David Wright 3B woes, but it’s also projected based upon his contract year outlier season he’s going to command a contract of five years and $100 million.  He batted .272 with an unprecedented 38 HRs and 85 RBIs, yet was worth just 1.8 WAR.  That seems fairly minimal for a guy who showed that much pop. Tood Frazier and his Mendoza-line average was worth 3.4 WAR with 27 HRs.  The local boy has already played in New York, would be less expensive than Moustakas and actually has a longer track record of providing power.  Evan Longoria is rumored to be on the block but his salary for the next five years may make him undesirable unless Tampa kicks in quite a bit. 
  • Smart Play:  See my Korean recommendation above as he is a natural third baseman, but the other name that jumps out is Eduardo Nunez.  Like Wilmer Flores, he is paid for what he can do offensively but is defensively challenged.  Aside from his hitting and baserunning abilities, he adds positional versatility, having played pretty much every position at one time or another but pitcher and catcher.  He would cost perhaps $7 million per year over 3 years and could slot in at leadoff. 
  • Grim Reality:  Asdrubal Cabrera is here and it’s his job.  Sandy Alderson pretty much guaranteed that by picking up his $8.5 million option.  If they had decided to go with either Jae-Gyun Hwang or Eduardo Nunez then Cabrera would still be a viable option to play 2B. 



Catcher
  • Wish List:  Surprisingly there are a great many people clamoring for Jonathan Lucroy.  He’s coming off his worst-ever season and could perhaps be a buy-low candidate.  In 2017 he combined between Texas and Colorado to hit .265 with 6 HRs and 40 RBIs.  For that effort he was paid $5.25 million.  He’s also likely a 3 year, $21 million deal based upon a more typical year of .281/16/76.  Wellington Castillo already signed a contract while Sandy Alderson slept, providing the White Sox with two years at just $7.5 million per year after delivering .282/20/53 in just 341 ABs. 
  • Smart Play:  Stand pat.  Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki combined for .246/19/70 in 448 ABs.  Both showed signs of improvement and given their modest cost, any improvement from another option not named Buster Posey or Salvador Perez or Gary Sanchez would be marginal for big bucks. 
  • Grim Reality:  Others may have seen the improvement in Travis d’Arnaud’s hitting and bite if Sandy Alderson put him up on the trading block.  In this cash-starved franchise, the $3.5 million or so d’Arnaud will make could help finance a Joe Smith.  They would then hand the job to Kevin Plawecki and look for a defensive specialist a’la Rene Rivera to handle backup duties on a one-year deal while waiting for Tomas Nido to continue his development. 



Left Field
  • Yoenis Cespedes – no discussion here



Center Field
  • Wish List:  It begins and ends with Lorenzo Cain, a somewhat underappreciated small ball player who has shown excellent defense, baserunning, high OBP, decent average and moderate power.  He could slot in at leadoff and anchor the spot for the duration of a deal between slugging bookends Joenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto.  MLBTR suggests he will get anywhere between 6/$85 and 5/$100.  The way to approach it with a guy who relies on his legs coming into his age 32 season.  I could see the Mets potentially going higher on the AAV for his services but cutting off the deal at 3 years.  That probably wouldn’t get it done even if they were inclined to spend more than 67% of their available payroll budget on one resource.
  • Smart Play:  Hand the job to Juan Lagares with the hope that his off-season boutique batting coaching will lead to a marked improvement in his hitting.  If so, he either becomes a strong asset moving forward or a valuable trade chip mid-season making his 2019 salary obligation of $9 million someone else’s responsibility.  His defense alone is worth 1.8 WAR in just 252 ABs despite hitting a paltry .250 with 3/15.  For a refresher, Mike Moustakas is looking at multi-years at $20 million per season after his career best 1.8 WAR season. 
  • Grim Reality:  Juan Lagares’ injury history (and the balsa-wood left handed partner, Brandon Nimmo) may be penciled in to lose large chunks of the season to their DL stints.  The club need another outfielder but investing in one is probably not a high priority. 



Right Field
  • Michael Conforto (whenever he’s available to play again).



Starting Rotation
  • Wish List:  Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb would lead this list, but they’re going to command many years and many dollars to secure their services.
  • Smart Play:  The proverbial innings-eater, someone who will keep you in the game and who has a long track record of health would take some of the pressure off the injury-plagued Mets staff and open up the prospect of dealing away guys like Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo or Rafael Montero.  It could even include Zach Wheeler.  The question here is who is the best bet in this category.  I’ve long advocated Jhulys Chacin who delivered a 13-10 record for the Padres for just $1.75 million with a 3.89 ERA and 180 IP worth 2.8 WAR.  For his career he pitched to a 3.93 ERA which is more impressive than it sounds since most of it was spent in Coors Field. 
  • Grim Reality:  Stories abound this week that after being kicked off the list of suitors for Shohei Ohtani, the Mets are not planning on adding a starter.  That means “the plan” once again is that everyone on the staff will miraculously last the entire season in perfect health and pitch the way they envisioned.  Nevermind that the 1962 Mets looked like Cy Young Award winners next to the 2017 rotation. 



Bullpen
  • Wish List:  Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Addison Reed and Steve Cishek. 
  • Smart Play:  Joe Smith has always been undervalued for what he delivers and has a connection to Mickey Callaway.  The sidearm delivery is a decidedly different look from the other relievers which might make him doubly effective.  Pat Neshek would fit the bill as well.  American expatriate Dennis Sarfarte and various Japanese relievers are also worth considering. 
  • Grim Reality:  The Mets will overpay for Bryan Shaw who has logged a LOT of innings on his arm over the past several years.  It’s not a bad way to go, but they could use multiple options and not put all their eggs in just one basket.  They may try Addison Reed again who imploded in Boston but his stats have been trending the wrong way and I’d be wary of a long term deal.  

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12/8/17

Hot Stove - 12-8-17

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Oakland signed P Yusmiero Petit to a 2-year contract.

Seattle has trade with the Marlins for 2B Dee Gordon plus $1mil in International pool money. In exchange, Seattle sends three prospects to Miami... RHP Nick Neidert, IF Christopher Torres, and P Robert Dugger.

(Since July, the Mariners have acquired Gordon, Mike Leake, Marco Gonzales, Erasmo Ramirez, Andrew Albers, Nick Rumbelow, Sam Moll, Ryon Healy, and Andrew Romine. That’s 25% of the 36 players currently on their 40-man roster.)

C Wilin Rosario has signed to play with the Hansin Tigers in Japan.

Detroit is signing P Mike Fiers to a two year deal.

The Mets are now taking a look see at 1B Mitch Moreland and 1B-OF Adam Lind.

    Moreland:  31/yrs: LHH - 508-AB, .246/.323/.446/769, 22-HR, 79-RBI

    Lind:  33/yrs - LHH - 267/AB, .303/.363/.513/876, 14-HR, 59-RBI

    (it is obvious that, since both of these guys hit from the same side of the plate as Dominic Smith, that neither is being looked at to become a platoon partner to Smith)
    



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