10/14/19

OPEN THREAD - Position Developing: Shortstop

7 comments


We don't have a tremendous amount of depth in our chain.

Starting pitching, relievers, a catcher, and an additional power outfielder are all needed to make the Mets into a world class team.

What we do have is a bunch of shortstops.

As an extension of the Open Thread question this past Sunday...

Amed Rosario is becoming a star of this game. He will play 2020 at the ripe old age of 24 and hit .287, with 15 home runs.

Ronny Mauricio played Columbia last year as an 18-year old and hit .268 in 470 at-bats. Many, including me, think he is the top shortstop prospect in the chain.

And then there is what many consider the other top prospect in the organization... Andres Gimenez. The 2020 22/yr. old Gimenez is tearing up the Arizona Fall League as I write (.333) and is earning the promotion to Syracuse that he will get on opening day next spring.

Three top athletes all playing short and the Mets haven't tried to covert any of them to another position (that's the Mets way).

So, I ask you...

Whivh one of these can we trade off and for what equal value at what position?
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Reese Kaplan -- Free Agent Relievers to Target

3 comments


It’s oft been said that the pen is mightier than the sword.  In baseball terms, the pen is often the margin of error between preserving victories or giving away leads in games that should easily have been won.  By now you’re all aware that in the 2019 season the Mets had the ignominious distinction of leading the league in blown saves with a not-so-sweet 16 of them between the triumvirate of Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia and Seth Lugo.  Job number one (once a manager is selected) is fixing the pen.  Haven’t we seen this movie before?  Come to think of it, didn’t we see it almost every year under Sandy Alderson as well?

There are a number of pending free agents worth exploring, but you have to go into the exercise recognizing that they are not trading closer Edwin Diaz and it’s highly unlikely they will trade Jeurys Familia off the season he just produced.  Consequently, get the idea of closers out of your head like the Giants’ Will Smith or the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman.  They will be in the market for more Justin Wilson setup types.  Fortunately, there are quite a few decent options out there.

On the major league deal-worthy group, there are a few familiar faces.  Joe Smith, the sidearmer who was once a Met, has put together a terrific career in that role and is now doing the same for the Houston Astros.  He commands big money -- $8 million during 2019 – so, moving right along…

Yusmeiro Petit is another former Met who seemingly does it with mirrors, but has turned in year after year of respectable pitching.  He’s also on the upper tier of the setup payroll spectrum, so I don’t think he’s probably what they’re seeking either.

Another one I've always coveted is the Cubs' Steve Cishek.  He's been a closer in the past and even managed to notch 7 saves this past season.  The sidearmer set a Marlins record with 33 saves in a row at one point.  He earned $6.25 million this past year and despite turning 35 during 2020 he's likely to command a similar salary which may be too rich for the Mets' blood (though they did throw $10 million AAV for three years to Jeurys Familia).  

That brings me to the three pitchers I think need to get some primary focus.  Just as there’s a conventional wisdom about selling high, there’s a parallel axiom about buying low.  Look at pitchers who have had credible careers but hit a misstep in 2019.  They might be ripe for the discounted picking and we know how well that will resonate with the Mets.  


The first is lefty Tony Watson.  He’s pitched effectively for the Pirates, Dodgers and one out of two years for the Giants.  Despite a career ERA of just 2.81, he only earned $2.5 million this past season and has a player option to get that same salary again.  His maximum saves number was 15 as he’s always been more of a complementary piece rather than “the” guy.  2019 was not kind to him, with his ERA shooting up to 4.17 and his customarily impressive WHIP becoming a bit more pedestrian at 1.259, but he still exhibited his excellent control.  With Will Smith probably looking for greener pastures, Watson may want to stay in SF with the hopes of becoming a more prominent part of their pen, but dangling a modest $3.5 million contract at him might lure him into switching coasts.  At age 35 during 2020 you won’t have to lock him up long term. 


A similar situation exists with longtime Chicago Cub Pedro Strop.  His 2019 was forgettable with a 4.97 ERA, but in the six full seasons prior to that his HIGHEST recorded ERA was just 2.91.  He’s another buy-low candidate who, at age 35 during the 2020 season is not going to get closer money.  His ending salary in Chicago was a somewhat hefty $6.25 million, but between his last season’s output and his age, it’s likely he can be had for quite a bit less for the upcoming season.


The third candidate is like the Energizer Bunny.  He just keeps chugging along and at age 37 during 2020 he probably has at least one more good year in the tank.  Sergio Romo has a career 2.92 ERA primarily as a setup guy since giving up the closer’s job after a three-year run from 2012 to 2014 for the Giants.  This past year for the Twins and Marlins he did rack up 20 saves, but he’s not primary closer material anymore.  His career record is over 10 Ks per 9 IP and just 2.1 BBs.  He earned just $2.5 million last year.


There’s another group of guys who have been good in the past and either are coming off injury or a terrible season but should be worth minor league invitations.  This group would include three familiar faces in Luis Avilan, Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed.  There’s also one former short-time Met, Darren O’Day, who is definitely worth a look.  In addition, I would also look to see if some more time off to heal was beneficial to Trevor Rosenthal and I’d also look to invite Seunghwan Oh who has had just this one bad year after several very good ones. 

Then there’s always the trade route…


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10/13/19

OPEN THREAD - The Chance of Trading for a New, Young Starter.

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Here's what I'm thinking..

Andres Gimenez is kicking arse in the winter league, Ronny Mauricio is right behind him and is supposed to be more talented, and Amed Rosario is close to being an all-star... all at shortstop.

If we are looking for a new starter, why not trade Gimenez for a top AAA starter prospect?

According to http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2019/?list=prospects, here are fibe examples of top starters from various teams. There are more ranked in the Top 100, but these are the top five:

San Diego - MacKenzie Gore:

ETA: 2020   Position: LHP      Age: 20 DOB: 02/24/1999  Bats: L Throws: L     Height: 6' 3" Weight: 195 lb.

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 65

Gore is lauded for his competitiveness and overall aptitude on the mound. Those qualities, along with his potential for four above-average-or-better offerings, could make the young lefty a future front-of-the-rotation piece. Already on his way toward achieving that projection, Gore stands to rise quickly through the Minors compared to his Draft-class peers, as long as he stays healthy.

Toronto - Nate Pearson:

ETA: 2020  Position: RHP Age: 23 DOB: 08/20/1996 Bats: R Throws: R      Height: 6' 6" Weight: 245 lb.

Scouting grades: Fastball: 75 | Slider: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 60

Pearson uses his height to his advantage, creating a downhill angle to the plate so as to pound his fastball and slider down in the zone, and he's athletic enough to believe that both his control and command will improve as he gains experience. Few pitching prospects in the Minors can match Pearson's high ceiling, and he can move closer to reaching it with a healthy campaign in 2019.

Detroit -  Casey Mise:

ETA: 2020  Position: RHP Age: 22 DOB: 05/01/1997  Bats: R Throws: R      Height: 6' 3" Weight: 220 lb.

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Splitter: 70 | Control: 60 | Overall: 65

That Mize was shut down in 2017 at Auburn and again in the summer with Team USA due to a tired arm and flexor strain in his forearm raises concerns about his durability. However, he did his part by staying healthy throughout his 2018 campaign, and neither his athletic frame nor his clean delivery have a glaring flaw. With his plus stuff and plus command, it should surprise no one to see him move quickly through the Tigers' system.

Houston – Forrest Whitley:

ETA: 2020  Position: RHP Age: 22 DOB: 09/15/1997  Bats: R Throws: R      Height: 6' 7" Weight: 195 lb.

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 |
 Slider: 60 | Changeup: 65 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60

Whitley has endured a puzzling 2019 season during which the quality of his stuff has fluctuated at times, and even so he got hit much harder than he should have in his first taste of Triple-A. His command has never been particularly sharp and has regressed this year, with scouts from other organizations raising questions about his focus and maturity. He still has the upside of a dominant No. 1 starter but hasn't looked like one as often as he had in the past.

Oakland -  Jesus Luzardo:

ETA: 2019   Position: LHP   Age: 22   DOB: 09/30/1997  Bats: L Throws: L      Height: 6' 0" Weight: 209 lb.

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 55

With his stuff, command and plus presence on the mound, there isn't much more for Luzardo to prove in the Minors. He'll spend the 2019 season at age 21 with the chance to pitch at, or near, the top of a big league rotation soon, though his chance to make that rotation on Opening Day ended with a left shoulder strain during Spring Training.


Ya think?

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Mack – A Look Ahead to the 2020 Affiliates – Binghamton Mets

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Good morning.


Predicting what minor player will be assigned to what team is not an exact science, but you can rely on two things:

1.    Players that play well at one level will start the season at the next level up the ladder.

and…

2.    Projected prospect stars, even if they card out above par, will get another shot at either the same level they played, or one up if management believes they can handle the promotion.

This post is  the fourth in a series of predicted roster leaders for the start of 2020. There will be plenty of other players. Some that didn’t fare that well in 2019. Some that haven’t been drafted yet. But these guys are the meat and potatoes of our system right now.

We have two teams left to project.

Next up… the 2020 Binghamton Mets.



LHSP Thomas Szapucki – (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) – Okay, let’s get all this Rule 5 chatter put away. Injuries or not, Szapucki is currently the top Mets starter in the chain and should be ready for a Flushing debut on opening day 2021. He will be protected with an invite to the 40-man squad. I expect him to be healthy and part of the 2021 Mets rotation.


LHSP Kevin Smith – Smith only throws in the low 90s, but his premier spin rate, funky delivery, and 6-5 lefty deliveries offset any velocity deficiencies. His combines St. Lucie/Binghamton stat line included 130-K in 117-IP. I’m going to keep him in the Binghamton for now, but he could easily become a future lefty specialist.


RHSP Austin McGeorge - (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5) -   The 26/yr. old is a former 7th round pick in the 2016 draft. Bumps and bruises limited him to only 16 appearances in 2019, 14 of which were for Binghamton (3.55-ERA). I don’t expect him to be taken in the Rule 5, so I will start him off again in the B-Met pen and promote him to Syracuse later on in the year if he excels.


RHRP Allan Winans – Winans had a stat line of 30-apps, 2.74, 1.08, 42.2-IP, 40K for Columbia last year. Because he will play 2020 as a 25/yr. old, I’m bumping him past St. Lucie and placing him in the B-Met pen.


RHRP Darwin Ramos – The Venezuelan native will play 2020 as a 24/yr. old. Pitched for three teams last season (Columbia, St. Lucie, Binghamton) went 42-apps, 2.20, 1.29 last season. Only one of those games were at this level so I’m bringing him back here to work on his control (23-BB in 64-iP).


RHRP Thomas McIlraith - (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) – Thomas will pitch 2020 as a 26/yr. old. He had a few outings here last season (3-apps, 3.60) but spend the majority of the season coming out of the St. Lucie pen (20-apps, 2.79).


RHRP Danny Hrbek – Hrbek was a 24/yr. old un-drafted pitcher that came out of the Kansas City chain and rewarded us with a 20-app, 4-0, 3.12 40-IP, 50-K stat line for Columbia. I’m going to go all ‘John From Albany’ here and bump Hrbek 2 levels, mainly because of his age.


RHRP Tylor Megill – Tom Brennon thinks this is a future Mets rotation piece. He will pitch 2020 as a 25/yr. old. He did fine as a reliever last season for Columbia (14-apps, 3-ST, 2.61. but went 7-ST, 4.04 for St. Lucie and 1-ST, 5.40 for the B-Mets. I’ll keep him here but I’m returning him to the pen where he has done his best work.


RHRP Briam Campusano - (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) – Campy will pitch 2020 as a 24/yr. old. He pitched very well in St. Lucie last season, going 3.24, 1.11 in 19 games. I expect this is enough to promote this ground ball maker.


LHRP Andrew Mitchell – Mitchell will pitch 2020 as a 25/yr. old. I really like Mitchell. He pitched in 34 games last year, including 18 for St. Lucie (3.14, 1.15, 30-K, 28.2-IP. He followed his up after striking out 32 in 19.2-IP for Columbia.  I predict that Mitchell may wind up to lead our bullpen someday.


1B Jeremy Vasquez - Vasquez is showing flashes of being a possible major league first baseman, even though the team doesn’t seem to need one. Still, he needs to continue to develop because you are always one injury away from a phone call.


2B Luis Carpio – (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) – Carpio started out the 2019 season hitting .330 in 94 at-bats for St. Lucie. This got him an invite to Binghamton where he hit .263 in another 243 at-bats. It looks like he lost his starting second base slot to Carlos Cortes, Time may be running out for the 22/yr. old.


2B Carlos Cortes – I’m very happy to be proven wrong about Cortes. I saw a lot of him down here in South Carolina and, frankly, I wasn’t impressed. I was wrong. Cortes will continue to move up the chain and could end the 2020 season in Syracuse.


SS Edgardo Fermin - (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) – Fermin will play 2020 as a 22/yr. old. He’s a talented organizational piece that fits in well between the Mets two super prospects, Andres Gimenez and Ronny Mauricio. Fermin will fill the slot left open when Gimenez is bumped to Syracuse next spring.


OF Wagner Lagrange - (eligible for the 2020 Rule 5 Draft) – Lagrange will play 2020 as a 25/yr. old. Lagrange had 385 at-bats last season for the combined Columbia (.282) and St. Lucie (.293) teams. Not much power here (6-HR, 48-RBI), but plenty of speed. He’s fun to watch too!


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Tom Brennan - THE IMPACT OF SUBS AND SCRUBS ON METS' SUCCESS

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Subs - YUMMY!!


In case ya didn't notice:

The Mets just missed the playoffs in 2019.

I am not telling you anything you don't already know.

In 2018, they were further back.

Both seasons led me to a conclusion:

SCRUBS ON HEALTH CARE PROS READY TO DO TRIAGE ON THE METS


I blame the Mets owner/leader team... 
for allowing subs and scrubs to help ruin the seasons.

Every team in any given season will have guys do surprisingly well (Alonso) and surprisingly poorly (Diaz).

For instance, on the Mets World Series win team in 1969, Duffy Dyer, Ed Charles, and some Edwin-Diaz-like bum named Amos Otis (maybe you heard of him) hit .196 in 437 combined at bats.

And on the 108 win Mets World Series win team in 1986, George Foster hit just .227 in 233 at bats.

Anticipating injuries, a certain number of key players' sub-par seasons, etc. and building a strong foundation is paramount to counteract such occurrences.

The Yankees did that astoundingly well in 2019 - lots of injuries, and the depth kept them dominant almost the entire year.  Why, in 2018, Judge, Stanton and Andujar had 1,603 at bats with 103 doubles and 92 HRs.  In 2019, those same 3 had just 1,166 fewer at bats - 437 at bats - with just 21 doubles and 30 HRs.  And thrived.  I'd say their substitutes filled in for those 3 key players PRETTY DARNED WELL

Two things about the Mets' subs and scrubs (guys I would not have expected a lot out of) - they:

1) got into games far too much

and 

2) did very poorly when they got into games.

Not everyone who did poorly as a Met is what I'd consider a "sub and scrub" - for instance, I thought Travis d'Arnaud would have a bounce back year once healthy.  So the fact that he was 2 for 23 as a Met before dazzling with the Rays is not factored into my subs and scrubs.  I did not see TDA as a scrub.  I saw him as a legit # 2 catcher and #1 if Ramos had gotten hurt - and he proved to be terrific with the Rays.

Offensive subs and scrubs - guys when going into the season who I thought would under-perform, or guys added during the year who would do the same, included:

8 such subby/scrubby guys: 

Rene Rivera (age), Juan Lagares (tendency to under-hit, and frequently get hurt), Carlos Gomez (age), Rajai Davis (age), Adeiny Hecchavaria (career light hitter), Tomas Nido (very weak OBP), Keon Broxton (KKKKKK), Aaron Altherr (has not hit in recent years).  

I left Luis Guillorme out of this list, because going into the season, I thought he would find a way to be serviceable, and not be a scrub sub, and it turned out he did just that in limited use.

Combined, the above 8 guys had 744 at bats, hitting .197.  Hardly pitcher-worthy-hitting.

The pitchers in 311 at bats were not far behind at .167.  The rest of the Mets' hitters?  They hit a commendable .273.

Those 744 subs and scrubs at bats were 14% of all non-pitcher at bats for the Mets. And, at .197, hit 76 points lower than the regulars.


Pitcher subs and scrubs - guys who, if you asked me to be truly objective, I would have guessed prior to the season they'd under-perform (or I would have reached the same conclusion if added during the season):

There were 14 such pitchers in 2019: Brach (who actually did well); Rhame; Sewald; Peterson; Font; Zamora; Mazza; Pounders; Flexen; Santiago; Bashlor; Lockett; Gagnon; and Oswalt.

Those 14 threw 194 innings and surrendered 139 earned runs….Combined ERA?  6.59.

Those 194 innings are 13.3% of all Mets innings.  Almost one of every 7 Mets innings.  

The regular non-scrub pitchers (including substandard performers like Diaz, Familia, and Avilan) had a far better combined ERA of 3.89.

In 2018, perhaps due to being further out of the race almost all of 2018, those subs and scrub #s were higher in at bats and innings.  I wrote about this last year, too.

As I recall, off the top of my head (see links to those articles at the end of this article),  .198 for 20% of the non-pitcher at bats (compared to 14% this year), and 15 subs and scrubs pitchers allowing 7 total runs per 9 innings (since the 6.59 ERA for 2019 above is "earned" runs, results in Scrub Land in 2018 and 2019 were similarly poor.)

My guess is ownership would agree that if they saw the list of these 8 hitters and 14 pitchers pre-season, they would have very little optimism of solid performance from them.

Owners have to realize the magnitude of "subs and scrubs" under-performance and, if they really want the Mets to win, set real acceptable targets for usage of these guys - such as:

No more than 6% of at bats taken by subs and scrubs hitters (rather than this years 14%).

No more than 100 innings thrown by subs and scrubs pitchers (rather than this year's 194).

Because:

If utilization rates of subs and scrubs stay at 2019 levels, the Mets will miss the playoffs again in 2020.  

At least, that is how I see it.

After all, the Mets got within 3 games of a wild card DESPITE the magnitude of subs and scrubs poor performance outlined above.

My intent is not to name the names I named.  

My intent here is to demonstrate linkage between the excessive tolerance of ownership to such a large amount of non-performance and the missing of playoffs.  

I highlight this in hopes something more will be done by the leadership team to prevent the same from occurring in 2020.

My intent also is to point out this excessive use of subs and scrubs flaw (as I see it) so that our favorites (All Stars Jake, Pete, Jeff, etc.) can get to where they deserve to more frequently be - the playoffs.

P.S.

Here are my article links from last fall on this same subject, should you care to peruse them and give yourself a detailed look at the failing fringes of the Mets 25 man roster over a 2 year period:


http://macksmets.blogspot.com/2019/01/tom-brennan-subs-and-scrubs-mets.html

http://macksmets.blogspot.com/search/?q=bullpen+subs+and+scrubs

http://macksmets.blogspot.com/2019/01/tom-brennan-subs-and-scrubs-mets_9.html








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10/12/19

Mike Freire - ALCS Preview and Prediction

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Good Afternoon, Mets' fans!

In a previous article, I posted the 2019 MLB playoff field and I also explained how I prefer to break the different matchups down (refer to the same if you have any questions about what the factors listed below mean).  I will continue to do so as the playoffs move along, while also predicting who I think will ultimately win each series the rest of the way.

Yesterday, I took a stab at the NLCS, so today we will take a deeper look at the ALCS (I meant to post this a bit sooner today, but I actually got out of the house and went to see the new movie Joker......entertaining, but VERY dark).

Saturday, October 12th @ 808 PM in Houston, TX (Seven Game Series)

New York Yankees (106-59) versus Houston Astros (110-57)
Masahiro Tanaka                               Zack Greinke

1. LAST 30 - New York (21-9), Houston (20-10) 

2. RUN DIFF - New York (+3), Houston (-3)

3. FUNDAMENTALS (all);

 a. DEFENSE - New York (.983%, 95 E), Houston (.988%, 71 E)

 b. BASERUNNING - New York (55 SB, 63 SBA), Houston (65 SB, 75 SBA)

 c. BULLPEN - New York (50/78 SV = 64%), Houston (45/65 SV = 69%)

4. ROAD % - New York (47-35), Houston (47-36)

5.  HEAD 2 HEAD - Houston won four out of the seven games during the regular season, which included a three game sweep at home in April, but they lost three out of four to the Yankees in New York in late June.  Based on the June series, the Astros have to be stoked to have home field advantage (although these two juggernauts have not seen each other in four months).

ANALYSIS/PICK - Well, this is pretty much what everyone wanted to see in the American League, isn't it?  A modern day "Clash of the Titans", I suppose. Based on the regular season series and MOST of the listed metrics, these two are evenly matched and this series is likely to go the distance.  IF that is the case, then it will be the "little things" that end up deciding who advances to the World Series and who does not. 

Both teams can absolutely RAKE at the plate and they are both have effective pitching staffs (giving the nod to the Astros rotation, but perhaps the Yankees are a bit better in the bullpen).  Houston is one of the best defensive teams in baseball, while the Yankees are merely average with the glove, so keep an eye on this as the series progresses.  

However, the key to the series in my humble opinion will be how Game One unfolds (much like the NLCS).  Due to the extended series that the Astros had with the Rays, they had to burn their two best starters just to advance, while the Yankees have been resting for the past week after sweeping the Twins.  Unless the Yankees "have gone a bit rusty" in the interim, they are well rested and they have the pitching staff set up the way the want.  Houston is countering with Zack Grienke, who is arguably their third or fourth best starter.  

If the Astros win Game One, they can follow up with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, which is a huge advantage.  If not, then they are behind the proverbial eight ball with the pressure shifting to the Astros aces and the Yankees taking over home field advantage in the series.  I know, if's and but's..........in the end, the Astros have a bit more starting pitching which is helpful in a long series. I like them to knock out the Yankees in seven games, much like the regular season series between these two teams.


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OPEN THREAD - 2020 Free Agent Catchers

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According to www.MLBTR.com ,  the following are the catchers available in the upcoming free agent season:

Alex Avila (33)

Welington Castillo (33) – $8MM club option with a $500K buyout

Jason Castro (33)

Francisco Cervelli (34)

Robinson Chirinos (36)

Travis d’Arnaud (31)

Tyler Flowers (34) — $6MM club option with a $2MM buyout

Yan Gomes (32) — $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout

Yasmani Grandal (31) — $16MM mutual option with a $2.25MM buyout

Nick Hundley (36)

Chris Iannetta (37)

Jonathan Lucroy (34)

Martin Maldonado (33)

Russell Martin (37)

Brian McCann (36)

Austin Romine (31)

Stephen Vogt (35)

Matt Wieters (34)

See anybody you like here either as a starter or in a backup role?

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Reese Kaplan -- All I Want for Xmas May Be Leaving DC...

9 comments


Christmas may be two months away but there’s a shiny new toy Mack and I would like to see under the NY Mets’ tree this year.  When I was a child I was told not to ask for anything advertised on TV as my parents were poor and their theory was that highly advertised products came at a premium price.  This toy, unfortunately, will as well, but if we get creative it’s possible the Mets can afford it.

Right now there are a few big ticket players on the Mets’ roster who are not destined to be here for very long.  The obvious one is Yoenis Cespedes who, between his heels and the holes on the ground on his ranch, has rendered himself into a very expensive non-entity during the surprisingly competitive 2019 team.

Another similar red mark in the ledger book belongs to Jed Lowrie, that surprising late addition to the NY Mets’ roster which was going to force Todd Frazier across the diamond to play 1B.  How nice for the Mets that those plans didn’t work and Pete Alonso got a chance to play every day. 

The reason I bring up these two players is that their contracts are expiring at the end of this upcoming 2020 season.  Yo is going to be paid handsomely to the tune of $29.5 million.  The man named Jed is going to receive $10 million. 

Theoretically departing this year are the salaries of Juan Lagares and Todd Frazier as well.  Each of them were due $9 million, so that’s another $18 million in the kitty with which to spend.


Now, before you get too excited, remember that in addition to the usual salary bumps and arbitration cases, you have a monster jump in pay for Jacob deGrom who goes from $9 million to $25 million.  There goes $16 million of that money right there. 

Remember, too, that Jeurys Familia accepted a backloaded contract that only paid him $6.66 million in 2019 and he jumps $5 million more to $11.66 million in 2020.  So now you’ve already spent $21 million on those two salary increases alone.   Wilson Ramos’ backloaded contract calls for a $3 million jump in 2020 as well, so you’re up to $24 million.

When the season began in 2019 the Mets were at a $178 million payroll which fell $27 million below the luxury tax threshold for the season.  That number is inclusive of the 40-man roster, by the way. 

OK, so let’s assume we start at a similar number for 2020.  The shiny toy we want is Anthony Rendon who is likely to command close to what Manny Machado and Bryce Harper got last season, though perhaps for a shorter term since he’s already turning 30.  Figure $30 million per year would do it. 

So you have $39.5 tied up in expiring contracts for Yo and Jed.  Ramos is expiring as well, though you have an option.  Justin Wilson is also expiring. 

The question is can BVW convince the Wilpons to approach that $205 number for a single year now with the understanding it should drop significantly in 2021 when these folks are no longer on the payroll?  If so, then Rendon patrolling 3B is indeed a reality and it renders Lowrie into the supersub for which he’s more likely suited at this stage of his career. 

There’s a problem with this scenario, however.  You still need to address the 5th starter void assuming Zack Wheeler and Scott Boras want to see what he’s worth.  Then comes the 2021 crew of Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz who will need more money.  Towards that end you’re going to need a low-cost starter and I can foresee them grabbing a Bartolo Colon type on a one-year deal with an option that gives Thomas Szapucki, Jordan Humphries and Franklyn Kilome some time to develop to fill that void.  Rich Hill, for example, will be 40 and no longer commanding the type of money the Dodgers have been paying him.  He might be the type with whom to tread water until the kids are ready. 

Landing Rendon can be done.  It means swallowing hard on payroll for one year.  Whether or not the Wilpons will do that is Brodie’s job. 

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10/11/19

Mike Freire - NLCS Preview and Prediction

1 comments
Good Afternoon, Mets' fans!

In a previous article, I posted the 2019 MLB playoff field and I also explained how I prefer to break the different matchups down (refer to the same if you have any questions about what the factors listed below mean).  I will continue to do so as the playoffs move along, while also predicting who I think will ultimately win each series the rest of the way.

Before we get to the League Championship series, I wanted to take a quick look on how my "picks" have fared.  I managed to get both Wild Card picks right (2-0), even though the games didn't unfold according to the "plan", if you will.  Moving on to the Division Series, I didn't fare as well. OK, I flat out stunk!  I picked the Dodgers and Braves in the National League, so naturally, the Nationals and Cardinals moved on to the NLCS.  I also (stupidly) picked the Twins and Astros to move on in the American League. Instead the Twins basically swapped bodies with this year's Tigers once the playoffs began which led to them getting swept by the Yankees.  At least the Astros  (barely) held up their end of the bargain, although it was not without a HUGE scare from a very scrappy Rays team so I am 3-3 so far, with three series left.

Let's get started by taking a look at the National League Championship Series, first.

Friday, October 11th @ 808 PM (Busch Stadium, St Louis - Best of Seven)

Washington (97-71) against St Louis (94-72)
Anibal Sanchez                    Miles Mikolas

1. LAST 30 - Washington (19-11), St Louis (19-11)

2. RUN DIFF - Washington (-3), St Louis (-1)

3. FUNDAMENTALS (all);

 a. DEFENSE - Washington (.985%, 84 E), St Louis (.989%, 66 E)

 b. BASERUNNING - Washington (111 SB, 86 SBA), St Louis (115 SB, 33 SBA)

 c. BULLPEN - Washington (40/69 SV = 58%), St Louis (52/73 SV = 71%)

4. ROAD % - Washington (46-39), St Louis (43-41)

5.  HEAD 2 HEAD - St Louis won five of the seven matchups with Washington during
the regular season.   That included taking three out of four in Washington towards the end of April, as well as taking two out of three in St Louis in the middle of September.

ANALYSIS/PICK - So, how many of you picked a Nationals/Cardinals NLCS?  I suppose it shouldn't be a huge surprise since the Nationals are very talented and were likely the best team in the NL East (especially if you take away their horrible 19-31 start to the year). The Cardinals are simply a fundamentally sound squad that refuses to quit, which usually helps in the high profile atmosphere of playoff baseball (sorry Atlanta....OK, not really).

We can hash out all of the little details in this series and probably talk ourselves into favoring one squad over the other, only to change our mind when we look at a different data set.  What is telling is that the Cardinals had some success (5-2) against the Nationals in the regular season, so will that carry over?  Both teams are coming off emotional Game 5's on the road, although you could argue the Cardinals had an easier time of it after a ten run first inning in Atlanta.  Will the extended series and the emotional toll that it took on each team play a role in this series?

Both teams are very sound defensively and both teams can create offense with their running games ("small ball", if you will).  Both team have average bullpens (although I would be a bit worried about the Cardinals closer moving forward) that don't get as much work as other teams due to deep and talented starting pitching depth.  So, what will separate these two squads? Game One is my answer.

IF the Nationals can take the first game in St Louis with Anibal Sanchez on the hill, they would take over home field advantage in the series AND they can follow up with some combination of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin in the next three games.  As much as I like the Cardinals starting pitching, that scenario would be VERY difficult to overcome.  I would almost rate the first game as a must win situation for the Cardinals, as crazy as that sounds.

I think this will be another back and forth affair, much like the rest of the 2019 playoffs to date. When all is said and done, I am picking the Nationals to win the NLCS in six games.

***Even though I loathe to see a divisional opponent have any sort of success, this would be worth it because it will be WITHOUT Bryce Harper!  Couldn't happen to a "nicer" guy.
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OPEN THREAD: 2020 FA Relievers

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According to www.MLBTR.com ,  the following are the relievers  available in the upcoming free agent season (don’t hate me if the list isn’t updated):

Right-Handed Relievers

Matt Albers (37)

Cody Allen (31)

Tony Barnette (36) — $3MM club option

Dellin Betances (32)

Brad Brach (34)

Steve Cishek (34)

Tyler Clippard (35)

Cory Gearrin (34)

Luke Gregerson (36)

Will Harris (35)

David Hernandez (35)

Yoshihisa Hirano (36)

Greg Holland (34)

Daniel Hudson (32)

Jared Hughes (34) — $3MM club option with a $250K buyout

Tommy Hunter (33)

Kenley Jansen (32) — can opt out of remaining two years and $38MM

Jeremy Jeffress (32) — $4.3MM club option

Nate Jones (34) — $5.15MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout

Shawn Kelley (36) — $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout.

Brandon Kintzler (35)

Chris Martin (34)

Collin McHugh (33)

Brandon Morrow (35) — $12MM vesting option with a $3MM buyout

Pat Neshek (39) — $7MM club option with a $750K buyout

Juan Nicasio (33)

Darren O’Day (37)

Seung-hwan Oh (37)

Dan Otero (35) — $1.5MM club option with a $100K buyout

Wily Peralta (31)

Yusmeiro Petit (35) — $5.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout

David Phelps (33) — $1MM club option (value to increase based on number of 2019 appearances)

Neil Ramirez (31)

Addison Reed (31)

Fernando Rodney (43)

Sergio Romo (37)

Hector Rondon (32)

Trevor Rosenthal (30)

Joe Smith (36)

Craig Stammen (36)

Pedro Strop (35)

Anthony Swarzak (34)

Tyler Thornburg (31)

Josh Tomlin (35)

Arodys Vizcaino (29)

Adam Warren (32) – $2.5MM club option with a $500K buyout


Left-Handed Relievers

Luis Avilan (30)

Jerry Blevins (36)

Aroldis Chapman (32) — can opt out of remaining two years and $30MM

Tony Cingrani (30)

Jake Diekman (33) — Mutual option with $500K buyout

Sean Doolittle (33) — $6.5MM club option with a $500K buyout

Zach Duke (37)

Mike Dunn (35) — $6MM club option with a $1MM buyout

Derek Holland (33)

Wade LeBlanc (35) — $5MM club option with a $450K buyout

Francisco Liriano (36)

Aaron Loup (32) — $2MM club option

Tommy Milone (33)

Hector Santiago (32)

Tony Sipp (36)

Will Smith (30)

Jonny Venters (35)

Tony Watson (35) — $2.5MM player option with a $500K buyout


Anyone? Any two? Any three?

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