Morning Report – September 21 – Wilmer Flores, Ali Sanchez, Steven Matz, Eno-Chat, Baltimore Orioles


Considering their desperate need for offensive firepower, the Mets will find a place for Wilmer Flores somewhere if he continues to hit. Scouts insist that he possesses the talent to develop into a 20-home run threat—a rare and valuable asset for his position. Flores's five homers since Aug. 27 entering Wednesday lead all major-league shortstops - http://online.wsj.com/articles/in-flores-mets-hope-they-have-found-their-shortstop-1411004463

There’s only so many Mets the writers can write about this time of the year and Flores is one of them. The fact that he leads all catchers in home runs since August 27th is quite impressive. And, as we learned Wednesday night, even his outs are at the border of the fence.

Flores is simply coming to the game each night now knowing he’s going to be slotted in to the lineup, in the 2-6 batter range. I can’t tell you how much this does for the confidence of a ballplayer.

Flores no longer has to worry if he goes 0-4 in one game. He will play the following day.
I’ve highlighted the best part of this article.

The Mets had their Sterling Award hoopla this past week and all the winners were hosted in New York at various games and festivities. I do want to spend a few sentences on the two guys that won this award for the DSL teams. There’s usually very little written by them and, interesting enough, both are catchers this year.

Ali Sanchez (DSL Mets1 – 175-AB, .303/.406/.394/.800, 31-SB) was a 17-year old right hand hitting catcher that was originally signed as the 25th overall international prospect in 2013. He signed for a $690,000 bonus.

The other was C-3B Walter Rasquin (DSL Mets 2 – 165-AB, .321/.429/.430/.860, 25-BB, 22-SO, 12-SB) who played this season as an 18-year old.
Obviously, both should come stateside next season and I expect one to play for the GCL Mets while the other will eventually report to Kingsport.

Steven Matz - The lefty has overcome several years marred by Tommy John surgery and setbacks, and has become one of the organization’s best pitching prospects. When could we see him in the big leagues? “What we do is look at our starting rotation not in terms of five, but in terms of eight or nine,” Alderson said. “He is certainly well within that grouping, and has moved up into that group. He is close. He had an excellent season. That’s two in a row. He’s healthy. He’ll come to camp, and he will compete.” (And you know what else? The closer Matz is, the easier it will be to trade Jon Niese, as the manager wants at least one lefty in the rotation.) Matz said that he is still working on learning game situations. “Just a little bit more consistency in everything. Thinking for myself out there, setting hitters up, staying in the zone.” http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/kevin-plawecki-travis-arnaud-steven-matz-ready-matt-reynolds-ss-blog-entry-1.1941095

Eno-Chat –

Comment From Ceetar - With deGrom, Wheeler and Harvey, will the Mets even yield enough balls in play to worry about fielding a shortstop?

Eno Sarris: I did think about that the other day. If Flores can be routine, keep his K% good and show above league average power… why sign Jed Lowrie to do that without the upside.

Comment From Jake deBomb - gun to head, who do Mets add at SS (assuming they do)? and OF corner?

Eno Sarris: Do what they can to sell Colon and Murphy to buy a corner OF with that money. Fudge it at SS, maybe with Flores. Amazingly. And someone asked why the Mets would sell Murphy, it’s because he’ll cost $10 million next year, and Dilson could get pretty close maybe and be way cheaper.

Comment From Josh - Eno, assume the Mets FO gives SS to Flores full time next year. What are the realistic expectations? His pro-rated line actually looks pretty acceptable to me

Eno Sarris: I think you could see a bit more power growth. maybe .250/.300/.400?

Comment From Jake deBomb - can you try answering the question next time?! WHO do you think the Mets end up adding as OF corner and SS? Names please.
Eno Sarris: They are not going to add a shortstop, is what I said. As for names, can’t see it being Cruz, and only a maybe on Melky… I don’t think their pick will be protected so Melky will cost them there. So it could be a Gomes/Willingham platoon. Cuddyer is the best ‘name’ that might be possible, but he’s a bit old.

Comment From Marty – The Original - Mets will trade for Giancarlo stanton and sign Hanley for SS. There ya go. Eno, you’re welcome. Let’s all move on.

            Eno Sarris: Luded.

Mack – The Mets chatter online continues to revolve around the future of Wilmer Flores playing SS in Queens. I have no problem if this happens but I really still the team will never have enough to get to the playoffs without another 25HR/70RBI hitter to place in their lineup along side Wright, Duda, d’Arnaud, and frankly, the potential of Flores. You do this, bring in right center, keep your dream rotation happy and you just may get there.

 According to Cot[i], the 2014 Orioles payroll is $107,466,.653.

Mets can’t help but target their first look at the free-agent departing, 31-year old SS J.J. Hardy. Yes, he has been oft-injured this year and has wound up on the DL a couple of times, but this is a former all-star that also is a perennial Gold Glove fiddler. He is making Daniel Murphy/Chris Young money ($7.916677mil) in 2014 and has a 2014 stat line of 480-AB, .281/.322/.392/.714. Home runs are way down this year, probably due to his injuries.

There really isn’t another shortstop on the 2014 Orioles. They fill in with Ryan Flaherty (237-AB, .207) when needed.

Outfield wise, the Orioles have a $17,35mil team option for Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones is locked up through 2018. The steal of the year turned out to be ex-free agent Nelson Cruz ($8mil-2014, 543-AB, 39-HR, 101-RBI). Alejandro De Aja (415-AB, .251) has been a good 4th outfielder.

Prospect wise, there is no shortstop in the system that could step in, for at least two or three more years. Outfield wise, the best top level one available next season would be their 14th ranked (sic) prospect, Francisco Peguero (AAA: 304-AB, 3-HR, .273).

Mack Observation – The Orioles have the best record in baseball and two of the reasons are Hardy and Cruz. It’s hard for me to believe that they won’t make a run at one or both of them to resign a new contract; however, there is speculation out there that the cost for Cruz will be too high and the Orioles would rather go for the draft pick instead.

Cruz is going to cost someone big money this time, so I don’t see the Mets making a run for him. My guess is Sandy Alderson will take a good run at Hardy and offer a two-year contract with a three-year team option (remember his age and injury history). He would fit perfectly on the team for the next couple of years.

[i] http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/al-east/baltimore-orioles/


Anonymous said...

I still think the Of ,to look for in trade is on Boston's roster? Unless you stay the coarse and use MDD and Campbell till Nimmo is ready

Steve from Norfolk said...


What happens to Flores if we sign Hardy? Do we play him at second, where he plays pretty darn good, and push back Herrera? Do we make him a supersub, and shortchange him on AB's? Do we pull a Murphy/Duda and try to make him an OF? Or do we just trade him for the best we can get?

My personal opinion is Sandy is going to play him at SS and take the money he saves and throw it at that 25/70 outfielder we need to make the playoffs. I'm not sure if 2015 starts the push or will be the push, but we have to start turning the corner then, or we are going to miss our best window to win repeatedly for a while. As Steve Miller said, "Time keeps on slipping, into the future." (Not sure if that applies, but it sounds philosophical)

Thomas Brennan said...

Flores' career line is ascending, Hardy's is descending. When do they intersect? Get a LF, keep Wilmer at SS. In 2 years, .285, 25, 85. Maybe better.

Christopher Soto said...

Yes it is Anonymous.

The Sox already have their starters for next season with Victorino in LF, Rusney Castillo in CF, and Yeonis Cespedes in RF

They have youngsters Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz waiting in the wings.

They also have the very under-rated Daniel Nava and Allen Craig, who's having a really down year, both being arbitration eligible.

If we aren't going to sign Cuddyer, I'd go after Craig. Before this season he was posting monster numbers in St. Louis.

2011: .315 Avg, .917 OPS, 11 HR
2012: .307 Avg, .876 OPS, 22 HR
2013: .315 AVG, .830 OPS, 13 HR

Christopher Soto said...

@Steve from Norfolk,

I think regardless of what the Mets do, they will push Herrera back to AAA next season to get him a little more grooming. Plus is saves them on the service time.

Personally, I still don't think Murphy is going anywhere this off-season. The money we need to make some moves will come from us trading Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee as well as non-tendering EYJ and Tejada.

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

One of the reasons I like reviewing each team is to continue to prove to myself that there isn't that many clear options out there.

Mack Ade said...

Steve -

Hardy, Flores, Murphy, and Herrera are all tied into each other.

I always go with the best if I can get it and I would then like Hardy at short with Murphy at 2B for 2015...

but.. you bring in Hardy and you take SS away from Flores one more time and you mentally lose him

Charles said...

The Mets will have numerous options. Their starting pitching depth alone gives them great maneuverability and a chance to fix a few holes or add to the system.

One thing is certain, they need to clear payroll. If they simply stand pat, it'll jump up close to 100 million. That means a few guys need to go. I also think they won't have the ability to wait for the best offer like they did with Ike Davis.

I believe Colon and Murphy will end up traded and possibly even Jon Niese. That'll give them close to 30 million off next years tab and it'll likely give them a new left fielder, plus a few high ceiling, but lower level prospects.

This is what they need. They have too many good starters and the Veterans aren't as good as the youngsters. That said, their veterans, Gee, Niese, and Colon are all really good starting pitchers.

Ultimately, Flores has proven he could take over SS and save them a bundle. I think though, they'll look to deal the pitchers first, hope to clear enough payroll that they'll be able to keep Murph at second until he reaches FA.

Unfortunately, I don't think they'll have a choice. Murphy may need to be moved because their three veteran starters, all have some type of issue. Age, or injury history.

Robb said...

As for the O's. i think they will qualify Hardy, meaning youd lose the first round pick, which i dont see the mets doing, but Muchado is their shortstop of the future. So at 15mm for the year you never know. Murphy is the kind of player the the O's would want in a trade. He's a showalter type player, considering he can play 2nd and 3rd. they have previously had discussions.

i think Dilson should start next year in the minors. regardless of service time. I think he just needs that little bit more seasoning, and the vegas bounce for offensive players certainly never hurt anyone. If they sign a SS, Flores can play 2nd.

I am currently very confused as to what the value for a Gee is in the market. He's 4th starter but is team controlled and will make 5 mm next year with is below replacement level, making him a very good value. Maybe for a team like the Angels, the royals, cleveland? I just dont know.

Mack Ade said...

Charles -

I agree.

All I care about going into this off-season is to keep the potential of a rotation of Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Syndergaard,and Matz. ll the rest are tradeable in my book (is 'tradeable a word?)

Mack Ade said...

Hardy will be a qualified pick, so frankly, I'd pass now that Flores is emerging.

Play Flores at SS in 2015.

Re: 2B, we know Herrera is the future guy here... market Murphy for a quality LF in the off-season. If you can't get one, play Murphy through the all-start break and keep marketing him.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Something I don't remember seeing discussed anywhere about Murphy -

Murph will be 30 next year. He's going into the end of his prime. His hitting may not be affected that much, but his defense might. He may be at the point in a couple of years where his bat can't justify his defense. I'm sure this is part of the internal debate on trading him as opposed to extending him. Any other thoughts?

Reese Kaplan said...

Just as the highest priority internally is to find a left fielder, the highest trading priority is Bartolo Colon who is an expensive luxury at this point. If they had one more year of Murphy while waiting for Herrera to develop at AAA, it wouldn't be a bad thing at all. However, trying to free all $11 million of Colon's salary is virtually impossible.

Assuming Flores is the shortstop then expect a modest upgrade in LF -- a 20 HR slugger not a true bopper. Still, 20 HRs there plus 20 from SS plus hopefully better years from Wright and Granderson might be enough and still keep the team within the 3rd world budget.

Christopher Soto said...

Say what you want about COlon.....but acccording to FanGraphs....he was worth $11.6 million this season compared to his $9 million salary.

He was a slight bargain for us.

Reese Kaplan said...

By expensive luxury I simply meant we have several lower cost alternatives to fill one of the slots in the rotation, including Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz and Montero.

bob gregory said...

All of these 20 hr hitters people are referring to will not exist unless the fences are moved in sufficiently

Michael S. said...

Mack, thanks for going through the MLB teams and what each May offer the Mets...which is almost nothing there aren't many attractive options out there and I'm really coming around to the idea of completely building this team internally, save a few roster spots.

It's been rumored, debated, and shot down, but I've really come around to the idea of solving one of our OF bats with d'Arnaud and playing KP at catcher. The only moves I would make in the offseason would be to send Travis to instructionals to learn LF, sell off the vets we don't need, sign Murphy to a mid extension, extended whatever youngsters we can to team-friendly deals, and do whatever we can to pry Seager from LAD.

I'd start off the year with:

CF Lagares
2B Murphy
3B Wright
LF d'Arnaud
1B Duda
SS Flores
RF Granderson
Ca Plawecki

When Seager and Nimmo are ready, I'd trade Murphy, slide Flores into 2B, and install Seager at SS. Nimmo gets RF and Granderson rides the pine. The lineup would look like:

CF Lagares
RF Nimmo
3B Wright
LF d'Arnaud
1B Duda
2B Flores
SS Seager
Ca Plawecki

Duda, Lagares, d'Arnaud, and Flores have really made me a believer in the youth movement. That lineup plus a young and cheap pitching staff would provide enough offense to go with our dominating pitching. AND, it would be so cheap that the Mets could absorb the last two years of Granderson's contract to release him... Or at least eat enough to trade him off.

Not to mention, we'd still have our talent in the minors as well as whatever players are returned by dealing Colon, Gee, Niese, and Murphy. The major league team could be a group of exciting young winners and the minor league pipeline would be intact and strengthened.

Finally, if the group produces, I would expect the FO to follow the trend (and Cleveland Indians' model of the 90's) and spend those NY dollars on extending their own players to team-friendly contracts to keep them together as long as possible.

Michael S. said...

That should improve his market value too.

Thomas Brennan said...

Michael S,
What happens to Conforto and Hererra?

Michael S. said...

In this case the Mets have options.

Eventually, I think Conforto will be handed a 1B glove and replace Duda long-term.

Herrera could also play 2B, but if he does he replaces Flores. One of them gets traded.

Steve from Norfolk said...

We end up with extra players no matter which way we go, even if we stay with internal options. Dominic Smith is only at most a year or two behind Conforto, and is projected to have similar power. And then what about Jayce Boyd?

I would just try to pick up Cuddyer to platoon with Den Dekker, whse fielding is just a hair below or equal to Lagares, and has been getting on base very well and has REAL speed. Cuddyer also gives us an experienced 3rd baseman to fill in for Wright when he rests, which I hope he will do a little more of. If we can get Cuddyer 400 AB's, he'll give us those 15 HR's that Sandy is looking for. That, even with bringing in just the right field fence behind the Mo Zoneand the improvement that will make in Wright and Grandy's HR numbers, will give us the extra HR's Sandy is looking for. I trust our rotation to keep the opposition's offense contained.

Michael S. said...

Steve, you're absolutely correct, we're going to have excess no matter what direction the team takes. That's a great problem to have, too many talented players and not enough spots for them. Then, the team is in a position of strength and can deal whomever isn't part of the solution and maybe bring back higher ceiling players that are a few years away.

I could get on board with Cuddyer as a super sub.

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