The Morning Report – November 7 – Dario Alvarez, Jack Leathersich, Juan Lagares, Justin Upton, Joe Beimel


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


Thomas Brennan said...

How could we not pursue a pitcher named Outman? Extend the invite. I still think Jack Leathersich shows up this spring with a chip on his shoulder and a bunch of K cards for Mets fans to hang up this year.

Alexei Ramirez? Very interesting. Have not seen him much, so I will take your word on his superior fielding, but the guy sure is durable (high 150s in games year in and year out) and quality. I say yes on that trade, Mack. The question for Reese and all Met fans: is he an upgrade over Ruben Tejada? :)

Heat up the Hot Stove and let's get cooking. Time for us to make the playoffs in 8 of the next 10 years.

And I agree - absent an OF trade this winter, Dekker is my lead off guy in 2015. I do not think he'll disappoint.

Kevin S said...

I've always been a Alexei Ramirez fan. It would be tough sell to trade Syndergaard for him but he doesn't carry a huge contract to adsorb, so in the end, I make that move.

TP said...

Morning Mack and friends,
Great column. Some of my 2 cents - I like Alexi at SS for 2 years but I can't put Syndy or a big arm in that deal. I do like what he adds, a prof hitter (even if he doesn't walk much) and glove, but I think the Mets could get him for 3 players like a Flores-Verrett/Mazzoni-Gant type of deal.
Wheeler for Castro yes, otherwise I hold all the big arms and solve SS from within for this season.
While the bullpen is a strength, I would double down on it and go hard for Miller from the Os. I know there will be a long line, and he will be overpaid, but with the Met budget, overpaying for 4 years $32 mil on a stud lefty won't break the bank...it is the only area they can compete monetarily and create a top notch pen. Let the internal LOOGYs battle it out for the 2ns LH spot; Collins should have two lefties to lean on.

Like Tom above, barring being dealt for a stud, I think Den Dekker can be a contributor in 2015, even if it isn't in an everyday role. That leadoff spot, especially vs. RHP, is there for the taking.

Mack Ade said...

Morning all -

I don't know... I think you're going to have to offer up a top pitcher like Syndergaard to get this guy.

wouldn't it be nice to have 2 Gold Glovers in the lineup?

Christopher Soto said...

Morning All,

In my opinion, it may cost more to get Alexi Ramirez because of that club option that gives a 2nd year of control.

My best guess would say that in order to get Ramirez you are going to have to give up your one of your top prospects, so that could include 1 of Syndergaard, Plawecki, Herrera, Matz, or Nimmo.

Mack Ade said...

I have this feeling something is going down today...

Mack Ade said...

I agree with Chris

Ramirez is the real deal and a 2-year deal would definitely benefit the Mets at only 10mil

Christopher Soto said...

Quite frankly....I think we are fine at SS.

As is indicated in my upcoming 2pm story....If you take Flores' stats from when he became the full time SS in August thru the end of the season...

His OPS would have ranked him as the 5th best offensive SS in baseball.

I would rather focus our trade resources towards improving our 29th rank LF position. (Technically RF since Grandy would move to LF)

Ernest Dove said...

Funny how even outside writers who say good things about Lagares still throw in the 'with his defense, he will still a job' type quote. As Mack stated and pointed out, .281 BA was one of the highest averages among all CFs. So next argument is OBP. Soooo 24-25 yr olds should already have mastered plate discipline I guess.
Whats to stop mr. 'Superior defense' from hitting .275+ with 10+ homers and 30+ stolen bases..........oh, and another gold glove.

John Zozo said...

I would think a Plawecki, Montero, and Gant type would get that deal done?
Also would prefer a trade with the Dodgers for Van Slyke and Seager for Plawecki, Syndergarrd, and Mejia... I think that would be a fair enough trade.
Van Slyke platoon with MDD until one steals the job from the other. Also Van Slyke can give a breather to Grandy and Duda verse lefties.
Seager can come up after the June cutoff date and be our shortstop of the future ASAP. What do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

John, why would the Dodgers trade Seager. He could also be their future SS.


Thomas Brennan said...

Ernest - agree with you on Lagares.

Mack, I hope we see some positive transaction. Today would be nice.

Christopher Soto said...


I would agree, with Hanley Ramirez on his way out and Andrew Friedman as the new GM....one would think that both Joc Pedersen and Corey Seager are now untouchable.

John Zozo said...

Friedman likes his pitching as well, and Synndy and Mejia could wet his appetite. Plus I am giving them a future catcher as well. Imo it is a doable offer.

Anonymous said...

So in one story it will say how Flores improved his defense and how he showed a lot of people wrong by playing an average shortstop.

Then they will speak about his hitting potential and how valuable it will be.

Next article will be how he can't play and how he needs to be replaced. I am soooo confused because it can't be both.

This is what I know, IF and that is IF the Mets can trade Murphy and then find a better shortstop, that's fine because Flores can just play 2B. But lets not give up on Flores who can potentially be a 15 hrs 80 rbi player just yet.

Personally I don't see the Mets giving up 2/3 players for a shortstop unless you're talking about one who will be part of the core going forward.

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

Different people write different things and have different opinions

Kevin S said...

Gold glove winning shortstops, with 15 HR power, SB threats, that don't have long term commitments are valuable (very valuable). I think Syndergaard would do it.

Having a SS to turn a slick double play to kill a rally late, instead of Wilmer tripping over himself, falling down and getting no one. I can see it now.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Your stated lineup has Flores covering the whole left side of the infield, he is limited in range at SS, so having him play both SS and 3B would be a stretch. Maybe I am overly stingy about the high level prospects, but if I am parting with Thor, I would like to get a higher ceiling and longer commitment, even if it means adding a piece in. Thor as a starting point will bring many pieces into play, so while I like Alexi, I would like to see what else might be available in return. What does Thor and Plawecki return or a Thor and Nimmo? Heck, even a Thor and Montero would have to be an attractive package. I think it makes sense to part with one of the Jewels and replace the 5th spot internally, but I would like to see what one of the Jewel, plus another prospect might bring back
Joe F

Herb G said...

I'm not that sure about your Ramirez trade. He would be an upgrade, no doubt. But worth Thor PLUS Flores.Tejada.Reynolds AND Gant/ Gsellman/Diazz? That package is just too much to give up. If I am giving up Thor, it is only as part of a package for Tulo. For him I would add the moon.

Although, he is by no means a gold glover, Starlin Castro might be a better target for Sandy. They are pretty close offensively, if not a slight edge to Castro, and 8 years younger with a more reasonable contract. Castro is under team control through 2020, when he will still be only 30, and with his contract, he would be very tradeable, should one of our SS prospects look ready to step in.

Re: the OF: we could have picked Scott Van Slyke off waivers (not sure if it was last year or the year before) and we foolishly passed. Now we'd have to pay plenty to get him. Matt Kemp might just be more readily available, given his bloated contract. I have a feeling, though, that the hole in thee outfield will be filled with a FA signing. The question is whether Aldersson will be willing to give up a draft pick to sign the guy he truly desires.

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