Reese Kaplan - Wild Wednesday Thoughts

About That Guy Who Can’t Play SS…

Back when the late John Lennon asked us to “Imagine” I never could have envisioned a parallel to the baseball diamond.  However, after his second 6-RBI performance of the season (and third straight multi-hit game once inserted into an RBI-producing spot in the batting order), it came to mind.  Imagine what the season would have been like back in May had Terry Collins inserted Wilmer Flores into the lineup on a regular basis instead of the Mendoza-line hitting Ruben Tejada?  I don’t think it’s unfair to say it would have made the difference in at least 3 more wins during the season on the basis of increased RBI production and extra base power.  I’ve been one of the most vocal critics of both the post-Jose Reyes shortstop and the guy filling out the lineup card, so I know my perspective is not an unbiased one.  However, I hope we safely say that LF is a far bigger priority for the 2015 season than SS. 

And Who Might Look Good in Left Field…

On the way home from work tonight I picked up a Cubano sandwich to enjoy for dinner. I think my inspiration for this side trip to the only place in the El Paso are known to make them was the announcement that the Mets are sending someone to look at the private workout of defector Yasmani Tomás.  Hallelujah!

At the same time, however, I fear for my digestion because we’ve seen this scenario play out many times already.  There was Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman, players the Mets didn’t even deign to consider in person. 

Then there was the monster slugger Jose Abreu.  The excuse we heard then was that the team already had two first baseman, so it wasn’t prudent to pursue the unknown commodity who currently has a slash line of .323/39/123 as a rookie for the White Sox (who, incidentally, had both Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn on the roster yet made the move anyway). 

Then there was the power and speed combo offered by Rusney Castillo.  Surely the Mets would be in on this guy.  They needed both parts of his game badly and he was an outfielder – a spot where they definitely needed to upgrade.  Instead the Boston Red Sox, five deep in outfielders, made the move. 

Now comes word about Señor Tomás, a 23 year old with raw power they say equal to that of Abreu.  At that age he’s like to continue to get better.  He’s a corner outfielder.  The team needs a corner outfielder.  Other free agents were not pursued due to the draft pick compensation There’s no draft pick compensation required for this international free agent.  They were not in on Japanese options like Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka due to the posting fee.  There is no posting fee.  The only obstacle is money.   Last Saturday I identified over $25 million of available money by trading Bartolo Colon, Daniel Murphy and Chris Young coming off the books.  Abreu went for just over $11 million per year on average.  Castillo went for just over $10 million per year.  Even if this guy went to an insane $15 million per year the Mets could do it and still have $10 million left over to pay for someone like Michael Cuddyer as a slugging sub in RF and 1B.  Money is no longer an excuse either. 

Still, if I’m a betting man, they will be among the first teams to drop out because Collins just has to get Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker going…after all Sandy Alderson was on record saying he was exploring in-house options. 

Somehow I think that sandwich is going to be like the Mets – sending me to Sam’s Club for the industrial sized bottle of antacid. 

Assuming They Don’t Get Tomás…

What would you think about being on the receiving end of another team’s Ike Davis dilemma?  That’s the situation in which the division rival Phillies find themselves with left fielder Domonic Brown.  He’s coming off a down year after his 2013 All-Star season in which he slugged 27 HRs. 

The problem with Brown’s game right now is that he likely became enamored with the long ball.  If you look at his minor league career he never topped 20 HRs but sported a career .297 batting average with high contact and very few strikeouts.  At 6’5” and 230 pounds he more resembles Lucas Duda than Melky Cabrera. 

Now the Mets have not had much success with many of their own hitters, but at the church of OBP to which the hometown players must worship, it’s possible a change of scenery and return to what worked in the past could make Brown into a very low cost alternative to someone like the aforementioned Melk Man.   Would you sign up for a .275 hitting left fielder with about 19 HRs and 77 RBIs at under $1 million?  I’d certainly have to consider it.  While he’s no 30/100 player, rebounds from David Wright and Curtis Granderson as well as continued development of Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores might be enough when accompanied by what should be the best pitching staff in the division.  What would it take to get him?  That’s anyone’s guess but most people in Philly have soured on him.


Mack Ade said...

And here I was hoping you were going to write about Jackie Bradley Jr.

Thomas Brennan said...

Anyone named Tomas or Thomas works in my book. Wilmer's the man - he makes way too much contact and has enough power to surprise everyone next year. The adjustment period (like what d'Arnaud went thru) is over.

Domonic Brown? Get Tomas instead, but if not and if we can get Brown for reasonable comp, why not? Move the fences in and tell him not to be homer-happy.

The outfield is OK - 3 hits by Grandy last night...who cares if they were 3 bleeders?

bob gregory said...

I enjoy the splash of humor you season your articles with Reese.

I remember those long running comment threads in which we came to Flores support. Flores has proven all of that support to be well founded.

It is very odd.. going into next season.... instead of looking at almost the entire roster as being in need of replacement, I strong case can be made for Adding just one more bat.
Granted, it needs to be an above average bat, but .. WOW!

Coincidentally, Tomas happens to not only be a power hitting, athletic outfielder.
This is the exact position our roster has most available to be upgraded offensively.

The answer seems so simple and clear.
There are no better choices as free agents.

Alderson challenged his team and managing group to start acting/treating the organization as a "90 win" franchise this past spring.
It is time for Alderson to start building his major league roster in the same manner.

Mack Ade said...

You have to wonder sometimes if Alderson cares if the Wilpons give him enough money to build his dream, or is just looking for a renewal of his contract

Thomas Brennan said...

Good points, Bob

I just want Wilmer batting clean up. Put Grandy in the 8 hole.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Bob Gregory Thank you for the kind words.

I am still not convinced the Mets feel Flores can be a shortstop but he has convinced them his bat is for real. The question is do you go to battle with Flores at 2B and find a SS or do you hand SS to Flores and then make your pick between Daniel Murphy and Dilson Herrera? Kind of lost in the shuffle lately is Herrera getting his first taste of offensive adversity.

bob gregory said...

the "Baseball Decision" is clear...

Keep Flores at SS
Keep Murphy at 2b

Herrera goes down and awaits his time.

It's about time this team starts making "Baseball Decisions" &
good businiss decisions
NOT "how do we economize?" decisions

Mack Ade said...

Herrera is proving what Baez in Chicago and coountless other have proven before... minor league stats simply don't translate to the pros

He'll go play Vegas in 2015, as he should, and Murphy should send him flowers

Reese Kaplan said...

I could live with Herrera and Flores up the middle if they actually used the money saved from a Murphy and Colon trade to invest in a young, slugging left fielder. I have little faith that they would. They need it to pay for the employment lawyer defending Jeffie :)

Thomas Brennan said...

before settling on Flores and Murphy or Herrera, Matt Reynolds may want to have his say there too. Too bad the 40 man crap kept Matt off this Sept team - right now, he is the forgotten man. Out of sight, out of mind.

bob gregory said...

Reynolds and Herrera would prove to be very important staying in AAA.
Waiting to see who's development demands a promotion to unseat a middle infielder.

Reese Kaplan said...

Reynolds could be taking the Ruben Tejada bench role as the current backup middle infielder stands to make over $2 million next year (just like Eric Young, Jr.) For what little they provide, there could be minimum wage alternatives.

Gary Seagren said...

just a test

Anonymous said...

I wasn't sold on Flores at SS, but he has covered it at least at an acceptable level and now that his bat is showing some of his minor league numbers, I wouldn't be against going with him at SS, at least until he proves he cant. If his minor league bat is for real at the ML level, that is a HUGE upgrade in offense at a black hole of a position. I would also like to see the Mets take a chance on Tomas (even though it would be Met luck to sign the first Cuban dog contract ala Matsui) for LF and look for Nimmo or Conforto to take the 3rd spot from Grandy in mid 2016. the Mets may want to save a little payroll in anticipation of eating some of Grandy's contract when he gets displaced. If they move him with a year and half left on his contract, with a little money going as well, they might be able to get a decent return from a team playing in a bandbox, where his bat may have some value left. This would also free up the loser of Conforto and Nimmo to be moved and with the shortage of offense these days, a young cheap bat would definitely have some return. I have said it before, but the one thing the Cubbies don't have in all of their prospects is a LH bat; only Rizzo and Alcantara, who switch hits, but is awful from the left side

Gary Seagren said...

For me its been 6 long years in Citi-field to the point that I wonder if it was build on ancient Indian burial grounds but now that the plan Sandy has instituted seems to finally be bearing fruit lets let the kids play. Certainly free agency is NOT Sandy's strong suit and with Nimmo knocking on the door (and Conforto not far behind)and knowing Wright and Grandy can't be this bad again(fingers and toes crossed)I'd go with Flores at SS and maybe an early platoon with Nimmo in LF with someone like Cuddyer until he proves he's a full time player. Look we have beat into the ground "the ownership won't spend $$$" bit so lets go with what we have and with the pitching looking as good as it does it should keep us in games while the kids prove themselves. The last thing we need is to see Flores or Nimmo for example end up flourishing on another team because we filled their spot with another Bay/Granderson/Young disaster.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Gary
Young was a mistake - hard for anything one year in length to be considered a disaster. They cut their losses after a little over 4 months.

You are right on those other two, though, 4 years that go bad from the onset constitutes a disaster. Unless moving in the fences a lots revives Grandy (and David too)!

Kirk would do well in Wrigley, Anon...his power might work there and he'd fit right in as far as strikeouts. Maybe some sort of deal with him in it.

Anonymous said...

I never thought about adding Kirk to a Cubbie deal, but it actually may have some secondary value in a package. Plays all OF positions very well defensively, has some speed and some pop from the left side. Never be the primary piece, but hard to argue that the Cubs wouldn't find some value in him as part of a package. Herrara may be struggling a bit, but good grief, Baez has been monumentally bad since he was called up. Those K rates are unbelievable and Alcantara has been K'ing in over 35% of his ABs over the past two months. Mack is right about minor league stats don't always translate, but I think pitchers have a higher resemblance than hitters, so from that perspective, our inventory may be more predictable than Theo's. If Baez doesn't snap out of it, it would really shake up the Cubbie plan

Thomas Brennan said...

Agree that Cubs must have their fingers and toes crossed on their young hitters and that pitchers are more predictable. I'm a bit Met-centric and did not realize how bad the Cubs' K situation is. Flores' extemely low k rate is extraordinary by comparison and has to make him less risky to another team. His versatility also makes him valuable.

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