Morning Report – September 17 – Steven Matz, Javier Baez, Dilson Herrera, Atlanta Braves,


I read yesterday that Sandy Alderson made a special trip to see Steven Matz pitch in the championship game in Binghmanton. He had the pleasure of watching Matz throw 7.1 hitless innings on the way to the victory and was even seen leading the standing ovation when a hit was finally given up in the eighth inning.

Matz is not your normal AA pitcher. He never pitched pro-ball in 2009 (signed at the August deadline) after being drafted (a 2nd round pick; the Mets lost their 1st round pick that year as compensation for signing RP Francisco Rodriguez), and he had to sit out for both the entire 2010 and 2011 season due to Tommy John Surgery (80% tear in is UCL), Since then, he’s basically blew through A/A+/AA ball with a combined 2.21-ERA.  He will play 2015 at 24-years old so this kid is ready, but where do you put him? I just finished writing the other day about the glut of starters that will be in camp come spring… do we really need another one?

We’ve discussed this a number of times lately. The Mets want to keep all their younger, cheaper, team controlled starters like Matz, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. What they would also like to do is deal off their veterans… pitchers like Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, and Jon Niese.

The 'Super 2' situation does create a situation where two of these guys (Matz, Thor) can be held back until the all-star break so the Mets get one more arbitration year out of them. This gives the Mets additional time to trade their current rotation assets.

I hope this works out for them because, the guys they want to trade, have done a pretty decent job for them up to now.

Bud Selig on The New York Mets –

“As far as I’m concerned, from my perspective, I think the way the Mets are doing this thing is correct. There are a lot of teams in life that spend a lot of money that don’t do well, either. And I’m not trying to be facetious saying that. I’m going to see Sandy Alderson, whom of course I have great personal affection and respect for. And I often talk to Sandy, as I do all the general managers and people all over baseball about what they’re doing. I went to Houston early in the year and they were all exorcised about, ‘Oh my goodness, this is a bad team. This is this. This is that.’ And all of a sudden now they’re playing remarkably and so on and so forth.

Do I have any problem with the Mets’ finances? None. I tell the owners all the time, and I tell myself: In my judgment -- my judgment -- Branch Rickey was right. Mr. Rickey used to say it takes three to five years before you can analyze a trade. And that’s even more so relative to a franchise.

In Chicago there’s been a lot of criticism. I happen to think Cubs GM  Theo Epstein is doing it the right way. And I think lately the Cubs are starting to play that way. Yet there was a lot of criticism. There’s been criticism of Houston. I’ve watched this over the years.

I’m always sort of baffled by this, ‘If you spend X and this and so on and so forth. You just look at who’s winning. Unless I read the standings wrong on the way over here today, it looks to me like the Baltimore Orioles may win the American League East this year. Anybody here predict that on April 1? I don’t think so. I rest my case. I’m telling you that I talk to people all the time. I also do a lot of rating of farm systems. You have no idea the work that I do privately, quietly. And I’m satisfied that this Mets franchise is doing it the right way, in my baseball judgment.

Look, I’m a fan at heart. No one was more impatient, nobody had more temper tantrums as the Brewers owner. It’s difficult to draw conclusions. You know, you go to St. Louis. It’s a smaller market and they don’t spend money like, as my father used to say, ‘drunken sailors.’ But they’re very competitive every year. But it takes time. It takes time to build. Yes, I understand fan frustration. I do. I do understand. I read every paper every day. … But the fact of the matter is I do monitor every team. And honestly, if I felt, and I mean this very sincerely, that there was a team really not doing what I thought they should do in the best interest of the sport, they’d hear from me.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again: I don’t have any problem with the Mets’ financing, with what’s going on as far as all of our economic rules, and we have a myriad of them. They are in compliance with them. They’re doing fine. The Dodgers were not in compliance with any of them.”

            Mack – Blah, blah, blah…

Lucy van Pelt might say that strikeouts for the Cubs are real up. How far up are they? The team record — if that’s the best word to use — for strikeouts in a single season was 1,269 before the 2014 season began. That record fell a few days ago, and the Cubs have now flown past 1,300 for the season, sitting at 1,341 strikeouts with 13 games remaining. Each additional strikeout adds to the total, and 1,500 is within the realm of possibility. Much of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of Javier Baez, who strikes out at a rate approaching twice per game. It may not sound like much, but the all-time strikeout king, Reggie Jackson, struck out an average of 0.92 times per game during his career. Javier Baez is doubling that pace. The modern gold standard for whiffing is Adam Dunn, who strikes out an average of 1.2 times each game over his career. Javier Baez’ rate is 50 percent higher than this abominable number, and suggests that he needs to get something figured out at the plate, and soon.   http://throughthefencebaseball.com/javier-baez-helping-cubs-approach-unprecedented-low/43915#ex83YDRBKeTROAwk.99

Statistical King: Dilson Herrera, 2B: Herrera's meteoric assent through the minors started in St. Lucie and ended in Queens, something that even he didn't see coming. When it was all said and done, he hit .323/.379/.479 combined between High and Double-A. That's not an accurate depiction of the kind of player Herrera can be in the majors, but he has established himself as a player the Mets can consider for their future, possibly as their everyday second baseman. He could probably still use some time in Triple-A, but needs forced a major league call-up. Expectations are through the roof for Herrera, so he's bound to disappoint a little, but he should be a quality major leaguer and fill a role on the Mets roster in some regard. 

We move on to the NL East in our search for a possible trade partner for a SS or LF in 2015.

First up… the Atlanta Braves.

According to Cot[i], The Braves 2014 payroll is $112,008,731.

The Braves are becoming quite committed to players via long term contracts. CF B.J. Upton (.206), RHP Craig Kimbrel. 1B Freddie Freeman, SS Andrelton Simmons (.242), and RHP Julio Teheran are all locked up through at least 2017.
LF Justin Upton (.284) has one more year left at $14.708/mil and Jason Heyward (.274) also only has 2015 left (at $8.3mil).

There have only been 83 at-bats by other outfielders in 2014, 80 by Jordan Schafer (.163). That’s okay… according to the Braves website, no one had a single at-bat while playing short other than Simmons.

Prospect wise, the Braves #1 prospect is 2B-SS Jose Peraza, who just finished playing at the AA-level (.335). He projected very similar to the Mets Dilson Herrera.
OF Braxton Davidson’s ETA isn’t until 2018 and then the pipeline dries up pretty quickly.

Mack’s Observation – I think the Braves are in trouble and could be the future last place team in this division. Their payroll is already swollen ($74.769mil in 2017) and it’s going to take a considerable amount of money to resign Heyward.

Remember… these contracts can quickly bite you up the ass. Remember that they still have to pay ex-2B Dan Uggla $13.2mil in 2015.

There’s no one here. Simmons is the best young shortstop in baseball and the Braves have their own problems in their future 2015 outfield. You may find them competing with the same players the Mets will be going out in the market to secure. 


Anonymous said...

I think that all of the Vets mentioned above have value in the first part of the season for the Mets and will have increased value for other teams next July. Keeping Colon, Niese, Gee and Murphy allows this team the best chance for a good start next year and additional time for Harvey to come back without inning limits, Thor and Matz to pass Super 2 and a half of a season for Herrara to continue to take steps. Coincidentally, the Vets will have increased value next June/July when someone might be willing to take Tolo at $5M, Niese/Gee/Murphy at short term commitments and return some decent prospects. I don't expect any of them will bring back an AS bat, but there should be takers willing to part with some decent upper level minor prospects, which could help replenish the upper minors when the above listed players graduate. Sandy is in a good position to replace players with young, high ceiling prospects, clear over $30M in payroll and get something decent in return. I posted for 3 months of additional patience the other day and I think that Sandy will go this route despite the criticism he will face for essentially standing pat. Who knows, maybe Nimmo comes out hot next year and is ready to join the others in Queens

James Preller said...

However, the Braves have demonstrated a consistent willingness to compete -- to do what it takes -- which separates them from the Wilpon/Alderson Mets.

They may have problems, but they will work toward answers.

In the past year, Alderson has made only one trade, moving Ike Davis (finally). Contentment. I believe the Braves will make moves.

Thomas Brennan said...

Anonymous, what you say makes a lot of sense. We'll have to see how it plays out. The downside is with all those moving parts, 2015 may be another miss-the-playoffs year...seems hard to expect the team to win a lot while still transitioning.

The alternative is to do something with real impact this off season. And have a more ready-to-go team Day 1. It would cost more - but the stands were filled with invisible people last night and invisible people do not pay for tickets, concessions, etc.

If they can figure out a way to be both exciting and win in 2015, a lot more fans would come and fill the Wilpon coffers - and might make them less stingy when an Abreu comes along.

Either way, it will be a mighty interesting off season. And before we even get there, (the inexpensive) Wilmer Flores took a huge step towards being next season's 2B or SS last night, so how this season plays out could impact off-season plans.

Anonymous said...

Making moves for the sake of making moves is how they ended up being saddled with the Uggla and BJ Upton disasterous contracts, which ended up providing them with a two game lead over the Mets. It will be interesting to see what the Braves do this off season because both Justin Upton and Jason Heyward will be in their walk years and looking at big pay days in 2016, so if they want to keep one or both, they will have to conserve payroll in 2015. The Brave formula for success has mainly been predicated on developing talent from within, not necessarily going whole hog in the FA market

Mack Ade said...

Anon - I truly believe the Braves are in trouble.

Tom - I also truly don't know how to approach SS this off season. Is Flores now for real?

Anonymous said...

it is likely to be a transition year any way you look at it and I don't discount the possibility of making the playoffs with the patient approach I suggested. Consider that Harvey, deGrom, Thor and Matz will all face inning limits regardless of where they are pitching and it seems likely that Herrara will be taking 2B at some point, so there are going to be changes any way you slice it. That is why I am suggesting keeping the Vets for the 1st half, because in addition to granting more time to the prospects, I think keeping them on the team to start provides the best opportunity to have a good 1st half and transition the new players in July. I don't think that any of them profiles as a downgrade to what they have now, so it would not represent a step back. Also, Wright and Grandy have to provide more next year regardless of any other moves. I am not against adding other pieces (my preference would be for Tomas) but if Grandy and Wright don't deliver more, than this team will not move forward

Reese Kaplan said...

Later today I'll cover some thoughts on Flores, Tomás and a dark horse candidate for LF.

Yes, by holding players back you give up a year of control down the road but the CURRENT cost of Bartolo Colon is $11 million. Will that extra year cost you nearly that much? Highly unlikely. Trade him now.

Even if you wanted to play that game, then you still have Montero available to assume a spot in the rotation if needed.

John Zozo said...

One thing the Braves have going them is the new ball park/ naming rights and new tv contract they just got. So they will have more $$$ at their disposal.

I think our team might need to make a trade this winter to shed some of the money to pay for pay raises. I believe the only contracts coming off the books are CY and maybe JayBay $$$.
I hope they do go for lefty reliever Andrew Miller this offseason as well because he will fill out the rest of the bullpen perfectly.
I really think Wilmer will be fine at shortstop next year, just send him to michigan again for that fitness course he took last winter. We just need to trade for an outfielder like Kemp or Braun. I think a Plawecki, Murphy, Colon and Montero trade would suffice for a Kemp deal to happen?

Christopher Soto said...


Paying for free agent relievers has not worked out well for us in the past.

I believe Sandy will go into next season with edgin as the primary lefty and an open competition for the second lefty spot.

Maybe chase hutchingson makes an appearance

Lew Rhodes said...

I don't get the bashing on Alderson for taking things slow - trying to rush a rebuild is what had this team as a disaster.

When Sandy came in, the Mets had one of the worst farm systems in the league - today they have one of the best. Our bull pen was a perpetual disaster, and while it took a few years, it is now anchored by a group of young, home grown power arms with more on the way.

The Mets have the deepest pool of stud young pitchers in the MLB - Alderson gets credit for half of them.

Just like a house, a franchise has to be built on a solid foundation (just like the 69, 86 and 99-00 teams).

Alderson has built that foundation and now is set to have this team take a leap.

Look at it this way - if Wright and Granderson put up average years, this team would definitely been over .500 and within a few games of a play-off spot.

I believe right now this team is really only one big LF bat away from serious contention next year (I think Wilmer is showing enough to be next year's SS).

I think Sandy gets a big plus for having this team where it is and in position to make one big move that pushes them over the top (think the 1984 trade for Gary Carter as a reference).

Steve from Norfolk said...

Steve from Norfolk said...
One thing we do have going for us is our flexibility as far as contracts. Other than Wright, Niese and Granderson, no one on the team is under contract past 2015.The only FA we have is Dice-K. Actually everybody except the above mentioned and Colon are still under team control. As has been stated here many times, we're only one or two players away from being right in the thick of things. If Wright hadn't been injured for half of the year, with the resulting loss of production, we would have had a good shot at a Wild Card spot this year. With Harvey back, it just feels like we will make some waves next year. I can already smell the postseason.

Lew Rhodes said...

Of course, I would like Sandy a lot more if he let Collins go - Collins did his job, but this team needs a better manager to take the next step

Anonymous said...

I agree on TC. I have not been the big basher on him, but I do think that a new voice will have a more positive impact on the new faces coming in.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Mack

I'm all in on Wilmer at SS for 2015. I think we are seeing glimpses of what might be a highly potent bat in the line up. All broken in and ready to go. And with all the horror stories I heard of him in the field, and I talked to my brother about this last night who agreed, the fielding had really been OK. Not Ozzie Smith, but OK.

Strong bat (possibly a future lethal bat) and OK fielding? Sign me up.

You mention Javier Baez and his extreme K's. As I noted yesterday, Wilmer is extreme in the other direction - he might lead the league next year in fewest K's.

Move the fences in (the fences kept him from a 3rd homer last night) and he will be a star hitter with power. No one can doubt his power after last night - it is not "Las Vegas" power.

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

It would greatly surprise me if the Mets did any long term deal, especially one for Kemp

Mack Ade said...

Thomas - everyone else

We're going to have to get used to solving our own problems from within our organization.

If Thomas, as you say, Flores will bed our 2015 SS, then we send Thor and Matz back to Vegas undtil the Super 2 dates, leave Montero in the pen, and market one of Gee, Niese, or Colon for a 2015 SS

bob gregory said...

Do you mean
market Gee, Niese, or Colon for a LF?
you mention Flores at SS earlier.

Anonymous said...

Honestly Mack, I think that almost all teams will have to first look internally for solutions. The Yankee way of shelling out as much money as possible has not worked out and if it were any other team, they would be financially destroyed. It is not just the Met model, but an emerging model across the league and thankfully, the Mets are ahead of the curve with the farm construction and are set up to play within this model for several years to come

John Zozo said...

I wouldn't consider him a long term contract, I believe he has 3-4 more years left on it. He is still young and his contract would be offset next year by them taking Colon and Murphy back in the trade. So basically it would be another Granderson type deal like Sandy did last year.
The dodgers could put Murphy at third, Plawecki behind the plate and Colon in the rotation with Montero as his backup.

John Zozo said...

Also in our favor of Kemp being dealt is that he has been feuding with Puig and they have to make some room for Pederson.

bob gregory said...

Keep in mind with all of the should/shouldn't trade talk, the 40 man & 25 man roster.

It may be in the team's best interest to maximize it's major league roster/ minor league development to make trade(s)

If everyone is kept, and no one is traded away, the team may end up losing players that have value for absolutely nothing.

Sometimes this is an acceptable cost, but it can not be over-looked as needing to be considered.

Mack Ade said...

Yes Bob -

I get confused...

IF Flores is the 2015 shortstop, then market ONLY Gee, Colon and/or Niese for a left fielder.

Let the organization handle the rest of the changes and let Thor/Matz come up after the all-star break for the Dream Rotation

Need one more quality bat if d'Arnaud and Flores are for real

Mack Ade said...


The Yankees are the definition of insanity. They will keep making the same mistakes by feeding the money to the monster.

They currently have the lowest runs scored in the AL... all that for that payroll

bob gregory said...

Outside of the box thinking.
Combine the Gee, Niese, Colon, & others that may be expendable from 25 & 40 man rosters.

find some combination that can be paired with Granderson in order to upgrade 1 OF position.

Then also go out and sign Tomas.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mack,

You're close with the Sand Gnats, any word on the affiliation going forward? I had read the lease expires at the end of this year and may have already done so. Possible replacements, if a new stadium isn't constructed?

Reese Kaplan said...

If you really want to work from within the organization, then there's an outside-the-box way to go.

Have David Wright do his best Chipper Jones impression and move to LF. He's got the speed for it, though coming off shoulder problems may not be the right time to ask him to make longer throws.

This change would enable you to keep Murphy, Flores and either Herrera or Reynolds playing on the infield. Then if one of them tanks, you can look to make deals later.

Of course, towards that end you could have Herrera start to work out in the OF in AAA.

The idea would, of course, have to come from the Captain since they handle him as if he is the one making the lineup decisions. A stronger manager would have benched him or sent him to the DL long before they did.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Mack

A desperate Yankee team may want to pick up a slugger who can handle the pressures of Yankee Stadium - how about Granderson!!

Gary Seagren said...

sorry guys but all this LF power bat stuff leaves me cold. If the pitching is what we think it is then a line up of Laguares-Murphy-Wright-Duda-d'Arnaud-Flores-Grandy-Nimmo/Cuddeyer should work to at least get to meaningful games in Sept. If say 4 of Wright,Duda,Travis,Grandy and Flores hit 25+ HR's it could get very interesting. Look a 30/100 guy for LF would be great but where are you gonna get him from? Beside I want to see Nimmo and or Conforto in LF. The wild card would be Plawecki who if he has a good year in Vegas will be worth his weight in gold because how many 2 way catchers are there.

bob gregory said...

you can start looking at Yasmani Tomas, the Cuban defector.

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

I'm a big d'Arnaud fan, but he's had big problems this year throwing out runners stealing 2B -

14 of 68. 20.6%

Michael S. said...

Do you think he has the chops to play LF?

Mack Ade said...

Michael -

If a shortstop that led the Sally League in errors (2007) can become the best defensive centerfielder in baseball (Juan Lagares)... yes, he could, but he would need a year to learn it and that time may have passed

Michael S. said...

Gotcha ... I'd love to see him sent to the instructionals and play this winter. Then you get a full year of him, less injuries, and you can hit him higher in the batting order. We get to keep TDA and Plawecki.

Oh well, one can dream.

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