The Morning Report – December 1 – Mets Starters, T J Rivera, Franklin Barreto, Stephen Drew


We have a new writer here at Mack’s Mets.

Bobby McLaughlin joins us after being a ‘silent reader’ for quite some time.  His first post will be coming up soon and he will also tell us a little about himself. Please welcome him aboard when he posts up.

Things should be pretty quiet this week. Next week is the winter meetings and, hopefully, the Mets will at least go home with a new lefty in the pen.

As for the excess Mets starters, I still feel that we're all going to have to wait until some of the 'biggies' in the game are signed first before working down to any team's needs for a back end starter.

Brian Joura and I got into a short discussion yesterday about the future of Rafael Montero and what his role will be in 2015. I want him in the pen because I want him to make the team (there’s no room for him of the opening day rotation). Brian wants him to return to AAA.

That’s all well and good on a team that has a normal amount of ‘too much pitching’, but this is quite the understatement when you discuss the current Mets.

Let’s revisit who’s up on ‘the board’ right now, as starters, for the top three teams:

Mets (7) – Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jake deGrom, Bartolo Colon, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, Rafael Montero

Las Vegas (9) - Noah Syndergard, Tyler Pill, Gabriel Ynoa, Rainy Lara, Darin Gorski, Greg Peavey, Logan Verrett, Matt Bowman, Corey Mazzoni

Binghamton (7) - Steven Matz, Kevin McGowan, Domingo Tapia, Luis Cessa, Michael Fulmer, Luis Mateo, Matthew Koch         
There just isn’t any room for Montero on any of the starting rotations… unless you find one on another team.

This gets even more complicated if Matz starts in Vegas.

I welcome any… or all of you… to build me three five man starting rotations with this lot.

We also was some time spent discussing the future of infielder T.J. Rivera in the organization and whether or not the Yankees should select him in the Rule 5 Draft.

Rivera does nothing but hit and yet, like another Mets minor league infielder (Matt Reynolds), no one ever uses the word ‘prospect with his name in the same sentence. He’s now 25-years old and has a lifetime minor league batting average of .317, but only hit the AA-level last year and has not played a single game at the AAA level.

And where’s he going to go when he has Dilson Herrera and Reynolds ahead of him in Vegas?

One more thing… he’s versatile. He’s primarily a second baseman, but has played a considerable amount at SS and also can fill in at 3B and 1B.

Beisbol’s.org’s[i] look at who Fangraphs call the key to the Josh Donaldson trade –

As far as the prospects themselves, many view Franklin Barreto as the centerpiece of the prospects obtained by the Oakland Athletics. Barreto was the eighth ranked prospect among the Blue Jays farm system at mid-season according to Jim Callis of MLB.com. The reports on Baretto at shortstop are not pretty, but I have a feeling things will mysteriously change with some opinions now that he is a top prospect in the A’s farm system rather than a middling prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, but that is just a hunch. He is probably not sticking at shortstop and that really sours me on this trade on the Athletics end. The value of an athletic shortstop that can stick and the position and play it well is underrated, but Barreto is not that. He can hit (mechanically, the swing is great) and has potential plus speed. His first season out of Rookie level, Low-A, showed offensive promise, posting an OPS of .865 in 328 plate appearances, with a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 0.41 (7.9% walk rate and a 19.5% strikeout rate). He had an 85% success rate in stealing bases, stealing twenty-nine on the year. He showed flashes of power, which may mislead some regarding his OPS, as he does not project to be a power-hitter long-term. At just eighteen years of age, he is a nice piece, but at second base or center field, he loses some of that luster that a long-term shortstop would garner.

Jim Duquette on Stephen Drew

Each of the past two times Drew has been a free agent, he came to terms late: during mid-December in 2012, when he signed with the Red Sox, and then last offseason, after being attached to a Draft pick, he saw his market plummet again, waiting until May 20 to re-sign with Boston. His gamble largely did not work because he had a horrendous season by his standards.

This winter, Drew has no compensation attached, but it is likely he will sign late for a different reason. At age 32, he wants a multiyear deal. But it is more likely it'll have to be another "pillow" contract, with the hope of resuscitating his value. The other factor working against him is the presence of a couple of other comparable shortstops on the free-agent market -- Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie -- as well as Alexei Ramirez and Yunel Escobar reportedly being available via trade.

Teams will look at Drew at both shortstop and second base, hoping he returns to his 2013 level of play, when he finished with a 3.1 wins above replacement figure for the World Series-champion Red Sox.

Mack – This could be the steal of the Hot Stove season, if only he had dumped his agent before the season ended.


Thomas Brennan said...

Welcome aboard, Bobby Mac.

My starters are matt, Jake, wheeler, colon, and Niese. Trade gee, Montero to pen.

AAA: noah, verret, pill, matz, bowman. Rest to pen.

AA: Fulmer, koch, ynoa, cessa, Mateo. Rest to pen.

Trades, rule 5, injuries, promotions will sort out the overstock.

Anonymous said...

AAA- Noah, Montero, Matz, Verrett, Bowman, Pill (Peavy and Mazzoni to Pen)
AA-Ynoa, Fulmer, Gorski, , Cessa, Koch (Mateo to Pen)

I agree that Montero should continue his development as a starter and I would be unwilling to disrupt that for secondary prospects like Gorski or Peavey. Montero will have greater value as a developed starter by either taking the 5th slot if a big arm gets moved or as a pretty good piece for a trade. He was a little bumpy to begin the majors, but he really did find his way over his final starts, so a high quality backend starter is a reasonable expectation and even in the glut of pitching, that has a higher value to the team overall.
Anon Joe F

Christopher Soto said...

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was enjoyable.

MLB rotation
Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, deGrom, Colon

Gee: traded
Montero: AAA

AAA rotation
Syndergaard, Montero, Ynoa, Matz, Verrett

Pill, Gorski, Peavey, Mazzoni: bullpen
Lara: AA

AA rotation
Lara, McGowan, Koch, Mateo, Fulmer

Matz: AAA
Tapia, Cessa: bullpen

Thomas Brennan said...

Hitting wise, TJ Rivera seems to remind me of Justin Turner. Time will tell in that regard, but he just...keeps...hitting, wherever he goes.

Mets Dreams said...

With the winter meetings in less than a week I'm looking forward to all of the Mets rumors. It was interesting to read Jim Bowdon propose some trades he thinks would be good for the teams involved. He had one with the Mets, Braves and Texas and the Mets gave up Thor and got Andrus back. Of course in his scenario Upton goes to Texas, Thor to Braves, and Andrus to Mets. I'm not sure I could do that if it meant the Braves were getting Thor. However, a straight up trade with Texas I could see. How about offering Neise and Plaweicki to Texas? Or sub Montero for Neise. I think Andrus would be a great fit for the Mets, then trade Murphy and up the middle would be Travis, Andrus, Flores, Lagares. Young, controllable core to go along with the great pitching staff.

Christopher Soto said...

Hey lets not forget that tomorrow is D-Day for Ruben Tejada and Eric Young Jr.

Non-tender deadline is tomorrow.

eraff said...

Drew on a one year deal, even an "overpay" is the most attractive name out there.... QUALIFIER: Real baseball guys need to "guess" that he can still produce a 700-750 OPS and a decent Glove.

I believe the idea of trading starting pitchers is problematic--- Harvery is comiing off TJ....Syndergard pitched 135 Innings...Matz pitched 140. Niese and Gee have shown themselves to be needful of some R&R during virtually every season.

I don't believe you can project quality/quantity Ausgust-November inning without AT LEAST 7-8 capable arms, given the present mix and conditioning of the pitchers involved. I EXPECT to compete---and this will be an issue. I don't see a way to address competing/succeeding without virtually this entiure cast in place.

So...that brings me back to Drew--5 million?---10 million?...if Chris young was a shot in the dark at 7.7, Drew may be able to SUCCESSFULLY answer to the need at SHORT---I do believe it's a need.

Lew Rhodes said...

Verrett will be snatched in the Rule 5 - I would be completely stunned if he isn't - so there goes one arm from Vegas.

Someone will get hurt - it happens every spring - so this is really a moot discussion at this point - if a ML starter goes down, Monterro will fill in - if a AAA starter goes down, then it is easier to fill out rotations.

As far as Monterro - I think there is concerns about him being able to handle 185+ IP a year - he is small and slight, and guys like that usually cannot handle starter's innings. Yes there is day-to-day usage, but throwing 30 pitches a day three days in a row is less taxing on a body than throwing 100+ every 5 days - especially when you don't have a strong lower body

That I think more than any other reason is folks are considering Monterro to the pen.

Zozo said...

I believe Elvis should be our first priority right now. He is awesome defensively and can lead off. Also I believe he isn't too much of an injury risk. I would trade Montero, Plawecki, and take your pick of gee, colon, niece, Murphy or Granderson.
I also think Verret and Rivera are goners. What's the max number of guys we can lose in next weeks draft?

Lew Rhodes said...

Thomas -

RE Rivera - I think Jeff Keppinger or Marco Scutaro are better

A quick look and Keppinger and Rivera had similar AA numbers

Anonymous said...

I remember The Jacket once saying that he needs to fill 1458 innings over the course of a year and about 1000 of those should come from the starting rotation. This does not include extra inning games, but it does illustrate roughly how many innings you need to get from your rotation, so reverse engineering would suggest that given inning limits, all of the arms could be valuable, but you probably cannot shed more than one until the ASB
Anon Joe F

Thomas Brennan said...

Very similar between Keppinger and Rivera, you are correct...and Jeff had a very solid major league career, especially 2012's .325 in Tampa Bay, so hopefully TJ gets his chance somewhere

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Joe F

You quote the Jacket...call me the Trouser...on most of my comments, I fly by the seat of my pants!

That said, your arm-shedding timetable likely makes sense

Mack Ade said...

I would guess that Drew could be had for around $5mil for one year

Lew Rhodes said...

Mack - I bet Drew comes even cheaper than that - he was awful last year - I could see him doing a 1 year incentive laden contract.

I would sign up for that in a heart beat - and, if he doesn't perform well enough, he would a great back up MI

On a fair deal, I think he is a better fit this year than last

Bill Metsiac said...

I'm very interested in seeing the non-tenders list, which to me is more valuable than the Rule V. I have one question about it---are there any restrictions re: signing your own players after a non-tender?

If the Mets non-tender Ruben, for example, and there's a mutual desire to keep him here, could he sign a MnL deal with us the next day, or is there a period of time before that could happen?

Reese Kaplan said...

I REALLY want to see what Wilmer Flores can do with the bat if he gets 600 plate appearances. If he delivers 15+ HRs, 60 RBIs and bats north of .260 I don't think anyone will say boo about his defense.

Christopher Soto said...

@Bill Metsiac

If a player is non-tender, he immediately becomes a free agent and is eligible to sign with any team including the team that just non-tendered him.

So in short....Yes the Mets could non-tender and bring him back on a minor league deal....but I'm positive another team would offer him a major league contract.

Hobie said...

Re: TJ -- I've thought Keppinger, and further back, Jose Oquendo, teenage Met who had some decent years with St.Loo.

As mack knows, I've followed TJ since he was hitting .600 at Lehman HS down the block from where I worked. Played College ball for Mackey Sasser and I just found out his LL team lost the District Finals to that 30-yr old (Almonte?).

He's a good guy, and deserves a shot. If Reuben is gone & Reynolds is getting reps with Herrera in LV, we could do a lot worse than TJ River as UT INF... and I'm thinking a $5MM Drew here.

FYI, here's the Toby Hyde interview with TJ:

Bill Metsiac said...

Thanks, Chris. I was just using Ruben as a hypothetical, but it does open possibilities for him as well as others.

I agree that someone would offer him a ML deal. But for others, like EYJ and Kirk, who knows?

Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

BTW... do you remember who the catcher was for Almonte?

Francisco Pena

bob gregory said...

If E. Young is just going to be nontendered today.

Wouldn't it have been better to just drop him earlier and protect someone like Logan Verret?

Thomas Brennan said...

Real good question about EY Jr and Verrett, Bob G. I'd like to know answer to that one

Christopher Soto said...

@Bob and Tom

Logan Verrett is not as much of an Rule 5 risk as you would think.

Teams generally do not select arms for their rotations via Rule 5. Arms are selected for the bullpen.

In that aspect, Verrett's profile and repertoire does not fit well in the bullpen. He's either got a future as an MLB rotation arm or a career minor leaguer.

In addition as Mack alludes to in the Mets have SO many arms on the way up. So IF verrett were to get selected via Rule 5, it's not going to hurt the organization.

There only so many spots....

Lew Rhodes said...

I think he gets claimed - remember he can spend a lot of time on the DL as well - for his sake, I actually hope he gets grabbed

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree on Verrett - if he goes in Rule 5 and gets to pitch elsewhere, and the Mets could not have previously traded him to some other team for some sort of prospects, best wishes to him.

Christopher Soto said...


That method actually doesn't work anymore thanks to a rule change(2 years ago i think)

If a Rule 5 selection spends a significant amount of time on the DL, the requirement to keep him on the 25 man roster carries over into the next season.

Not 100% sure what "significant" means though.

Christopher Soto said...


It's 90 days....

I will have a Rule 5 draft Primer for the site next week that lays out everything readers need to know about all 3 phases of the draft.

bob gregory said...


I understand what you are saying but......
Even if the chance is remote.....and even if verret never pitches for the Mets.......
Wouldn't it have been better to not expose him and dump E. Young earlier????

Why is E. Young even still associated with the Mets at this point???

Lew Rhodes said...

Thanks Chris - 90 days is still alot! I believe that includes "rehab time"

I think even with DFAing Young, the team would want at least one spot on its 40 man roster - they may be planning to add someone

I am not an expert, but isn't it better to leave them off the 40 man now and expose them to the draft than drop them later? Otherwise everyone would do that

I think if they are exposed now, if not claimed, they stay in your system - if you remove them after the draft they can opt for FA - am I wring on that?

Hobie said...


I think Mazzoni & Verrett were on the cusp & Logan drew the short straw. The Mets have 24 pitchers on the 40-man. Most clubs carry 20-22. Adding a 25th I think was never in consideration. Perhaps dropping Geoddel was, idk.

Dropping someone later is MUCH more risky as they must go through waivers & a claimant, reluctant to burn a 25-man slot would be much more inclined to pick up a prospect they can farm out.

Mack Ade said...

It's called 'thinning out the herd"

Anonymous said...

Rivera is killing it in winter ball batting .342 in 19 games. He is facing big league and prospect pitchers.. Kid deserves a chance to prove what he can do. Have a feeling he will be a goner in rule 5

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