Well, the votes are in and the Mets have two award winners this year. Pitcher Jacob deGrom is the National League Rookie of the Year and Juan Lagares won the National League Gold Glove for center field. Both have one thing in common. Neither was considered ‘part of the plan’ three years ago.
Does the Mets have any more of these rough diamonds in their system?
My hope is a left-handed reliever steps up and my first choice would be Dario Alvarez. He basically walked through Savannah, St. Lucie, and Binghamton last year, giving up only nine earned runs in 73.1-IP (1.10, 0.89).
His first shot in Queens didn’t have the same result (4-G, 1.1-IP, 2-ER, 13.50), but let’s not hold against the guy basically one inning of play. The Mets did send him to the Arizona Fall League (6-G, 9.1-IP, 6.75) which is always a good sign.
Past Alvarez, it could be Jack Leathersich, who still has command problems but is one of the top K/9 pitchers in the minor leagues. In 2014, ‘Leather’ struck out 93 batters in 54.1-IP for combined Binghamton and Las Vegas. The numbers are similar in 2013 (AAA/AA: 58.1-IP, 102-K), but he made a huge improvement in walks, going from 45 in 2013 to 28 last season. The combined ERAs were 2013: 4.63 and 2014: 3.31.
I‘m sure most of you know by now that there are reports that the Mets are trying to trade for Chicago White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez.
In my opinion (sorry, Reese), the acquisition of the 33-year old would be a tremendous upgrade to whatever alternative the Mets would chose for the next two seasons (current contract: $10mil/2015, team option/2016). He’s a genuine all-star with a 2014 stat line of 15-HR, 74-RBI, 3.3-WAR, and 21-steals who also won the Gold Glove. What more could you want from a shortstop.
What would it take? Well, most probably, a package that would be much more than the other teams that are interested. I would have no problem offering a three-man deal, probably one man more than any other team would offer. Mine would be:
- SP Noah Syndergaard. The White Sox are going to have too many teams knocking on their door for Ramirez to waste any time offering either Dillon Gee or even Rafael Montero. Ramirez is worth five wins right now and this is not the time to fuck around. Syndergaard hasn’t pitched proven anything yet. Ramirez has.
- A replacement short-term shortstop. Prospect Tim Anderson won’t be ready for at least a season and a half, so adding either Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada, or Matt Reynolds would be necessary here.
- A lower level pitching prospect, like John Gant, Robert Gsellman, or Miller Diaz. The Mets are loaded with potential SP4-5 starters and throwing in a third player to deal wouldn’t hurt the team at all.
The acquisition of another middle-fielder Gold Glove would pretty much get you to that critical amount of wins needed to make the playoffs, regardless if the Mets attempt to upgrade their corner outfield situation. It also aligned the team to a replacement shortstop in 2017, be it Gavin Cecchini, Amed Rosario, or, even possibly, Luis Guillorme.
Yes, it’s overkill, but I think the team could use a little of that approach right now.
John Sickles on Juan Lagares on 10-28-14 –
So, the bottom line: Lagares looked like a C+/C type prospect in the minors, but his defensive ability has turned out to be terrific and could/should keep him employed long enough for his bat to grow further. He may never be an outstanding hitter, but as long as he can field like this, he won't need to be to stay employed. http://www.minorleagueball.com/2014/10/28/6939685/making-sense-of-mets-outfielder-juan-lagares
Mack – So, what is an ‘outstanding hitter’?
Lagares hit .281 in 416-Abs in 2014… only four National League center fielders hit better (McCutchen: .314, Revere: .306, Span: .302, Gomez: .284). Ozuna hit .269… Hamilton hit .250… Upton hit .208.
I’ll take .281 out of this guy all day.
Theo asked –
Hey Mack. John Harper wrote an article today saying that the Mets should trade SP Noah Syndergaard to the Atlanta Braves for Justin Upton. Thoughts?
Mack – First, a general statement.
Always go with the established player over the projected minor league prospect. Upton hit 29-HR, 34-doubles, .833-OPS last season and is only 27-years old. You put 29 more home runs into the Mets lineup, along with the return of Matt Harvey, and you’re going to win a lot more games than you did last season.
The downside is, of course, that Upton is only under contract through the 2015 season ($14.708333mil). Can you force a 3-4 year ‘sign and trade’ deal? What would it cost you? Is it worth it? And, if not, do you give up your top pitching prospect for a one-year rent-a-right fielder?
Lagares’s defense alone makes him valuable to the Mets; now the team hopes to see him improve at the plate to become a dangerous all-around threat. He hit a respectable .281 in 416 at-bats in 2014, but his .321 on-base percentage remains too low for the Mets to use him consistently at the top of the lineup. http://online.wsj.com/articles/mets-juan-lagares-spins-his-leather-into-gold-1415153339?tesla=y&mod=WSJ_NY_Sports_LEFTTopStories&mg=reno64-wsj
Okay… I give you this point, but, based on what Matt den Dekker did in the second half of the season, I would slot him in as the leadoff hiter come opening day. Frankly, Lagares could drop as low as eighth in the lineup which is also fine if everyone above him is producing.
My current lineup: RF den Dekker, 2B Murphy, 3B Flores, 1B Duda, LF Granderson, C d’Arnaud, SS Flores, CF Lagares
Eno Sarris –
Invite Phil Coke, Joe Beimel, Scott Downs, and Josh Outman to camp. Randy Choate has signed three major league contracts for less than $1 million each. He’s pitched to a 2.55 FIP against lefties and has never been below replacement. This isn’t saying that Josh Edgin is bad, it’s saying that as it’s currently projected, you might be able to squeeze as much as a half win out of this transaction. If one of the lefties comes to camp and impresses, you can easily send Edgin. If Edgin and one of these guys impresses, make room for both. Play the up and down game with a lefty reliever. Make the most out of your roster slots. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/taking-the-athletics-plan-to-the-mets/
Some 2014 stats on these guys -
Phil Coke – 31-yrs. Old – 62-G, 5-2, 3.88, 1.53, 58.0-IP, 41-K, 20-BB, $1.9mil
Joe Beimel – 37-yrs. Old – 56-G, 3-1, 2.20, 1.18, 45.0-IP, 25-K, 14-BB, $850K
Scott Downs – 37-yrs old – 55-G, 0-4, 4.97, 1.47, 38.0-IP, 25-K, 20-BB
Josh Outman – 29-yrs old – 40-G, 4-0, 2.86, 1.41, 28.1-IP, 26-K, 16-BB, $1.25mil