Bleacher Nation on Starlin Castro -
Starlin Castro finishes 2014 with a .292/.339/.438 line and a 2.9 WAR. His .341 wOBA is third best among all shortstops, and ditto to his 115 wRC+. Each figure was also the highest season mark of Castro’s career. Defensively, Castro’s errors were down, and his overall defensive performance was in line with recent years. Couple that with his position and his offensive break-back-out? It cannot be overemphasized just how good Castro was this year. We’ll see what happens in the offseason, but if he’s locked in as the Cubs’ starting shortstop next April, there should be nothing but smiles about that. For whatever reason – well, combination of reasons – Castro gets a disproportionate amount of disaffection from those who follow the Cubs, but the guy is just good. And he’s 24. http://www.bleachernation.com/2014/09/24/starlin-castro-wont-return-this-year-but-it-was-a-hell-of-a-good-one/
Mack – Not everyone that read’s Mack’s Mets likes this guy. I simply don’t understand how they can tolerate the defensive limitations of someone like Wilmer Flores and, at the same time, don’t recognize that this guy is an all-star.
Dave Cameron on Mookie Betts –
Maybe Betts won't ever be quite as good defensively as Zobrist, but even if you think he might end up as Zobrist-lite, that's a pretty easy +4 WAR player. Right now, at age 21, the Steamer projection system projects Betts as a +3.3 WAR player, and that's with an assumption of average defensive value in center field. If you include the potential for above-average defense at second base, the forecasts think Betts is already in that +4 WAR range right now, and he's nowhere near normal prime age for a hitter. Given a few more years of development, Zobrist's level of performance is an entirely realistic outcome for Betts. And while the idea of having a #1 starter in 2014 might be appealing, you don't want to give up six years of club control of a player with that kind of potential, especially when he's already a valuable big leaguer. No one should ever be completely untouchable in a trade, but Betts has demonstrated significant value not only in the future but also in the present, and the Red Sox should be very cautious before shipping him out for a pitcher. http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/mookie-betts-boston-red-sox-trade-092414
Mack – The 2015 Red Sox are not going to be able to put Betts, Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, and Rusney Castillo on the field at the same time. One of these guys has to go via a trade.
From Adam Rubin –
Alderson indicated the coaching staff would be addressed shortly after the season, but confirmed Tim Teufel will remain the third-base coach. Minimal turnover is expected. The exception is hitting coach, which could preclude Wally Backman from getting onto the staff. If the Mets stayed internal for a hitting coach, perhaps a list of candidates would include Las Vegas hitting coach George Greer, Savannah hitting coach Valentino Pascucci, current player Bobby Abreu and roving instructor Jack Voigt.
Mack – I can speak first hand on two of these names…
George Greer was a coaching legend out of Wake Forest and, in my book, should be given this job yesterday. Like me, he’s older than dirt, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help teach people to hit. In addition, he’s been in the Mets system long enough that he’s already been the hitting coach for most of the 25-man squad as they came up the affiliates.
The reports here out of Savannah are that the Mets were thrilled with the job Pascucci did this past season.
Kevin Plawecki, C (No. 2) - If both players develop the way the organization expects them to, the Mets are going to have a big question to answer -- d'Arnaud or Plawecki?
The latter catcher batted .283/.345/.421 in 43 games with Las Vegas this season. That came after he had a slash line of .326/.378/.487 with Binghamton.
"It's my second full season of pro ball, and I just finished in Triple-A," Plawecki said, "so there's not really much to complain about."
Alderson suggested Plawecki might be in the Majors already if not for the Mets' 40-man roster crunch. Alas, Plawecki is satisfied to wait his turn -- and could envision himself and d'Arnaud playing together someday.
"Well, there are two catchers in the big leagues," Plawecki said with a smile, before getting more serious. "It is what it is. It's never a bad thing to have two catchers in an organization, and a lot of that is out of my control. All I can do is play hard every day and work hard on the things I need to work on and stay consistent with that. Whenever my time comes, I'll be ready for it." http://m.mets.mlb.com/news/article/95849306/mets-farmhands-take-right-mindset-into-2015
Mack – Plawecki said all the right things in this interview, but no one wants to be a backup catcher.
My guess is he will get caught up in this ‘Super 2’ fiasco and won’t be internally eligible to make it to Queens until after the All-Star break. I expect at least one of the many teams that are looking for a new starting 215 catcher to have already made a run at Sandy Alderson for Plawecki’s services.
What’s his value at this point? I can’t see a minor leaguer who hasn’t played a single game in the majors getting you a seasoned, proven left fielder, so what do you trade him for?
I’m sorry, but I still think a package of the excess Mets talent at certain positions (catcher, starters, second base) can get you the superstar SS or LF you need to take this team to the next level.
We move over to the AL-Central in our search for a 2015 left fielder and shortstop and start with the Chicago White Sox.
According to Cot[i], the White Sox 2014 salaries are $90,062,659, in the same range as the Mets.
There are only five players contracted beyond the 2014 season. It included SS Alexei Ramirez ($10mil-2015, team option-2016).
Outfield wise, it’s all team controlled. Adam Eaton won’t enter his first arbitration year until 2016, and Dayan Viciedo played his first ARB year in 2014 at a salary of $2.8mil. Their third starter, 30-year old Alejandro De Aza, was traded to Baltimore in August, for two minor leaguers. Since then, pre-ARB Moises Sierra and Avisail Garcia have split time since.
Prospect wise, 21-year old SS Tim Anderson is a year and a half away and is slotted in to replace Ramirez when his contract runs out after the 2015 season. My buddy, OF Courtney Hawkins beat up the A+ level (19-HR, 84-RBI) and is projected to be the 2016 right fielder.
Mack Observation – The White Sox have only $46mil in commitments to the 2015 payroll and General Manager Rick Hahn has stated that he expects to be quite active in the off-season.
They look like a buyer with no one that can help the Mets solve their problems in 2016.
I’d move on here.