The Morning Report – December 2 – Moving Your Prospects, Back End Starters, Nelson Cruz, Wilmer Flores


‘Hobie’ and I were discussing Cesar Puello and exactly who the Mets should play in the Las Vegas outfield in 2015.

This brings up a subject that always rubs me wrong.

Why do the Mets always seem to play their minor league players in order of accent by which level they played for the season before and not based on potential talent in the future?

Oh, there are exceptions… Dilson Herrera would have been one last year but that was based on the fact that Matt Reynolds wasn’t on the 40-man… also, Dario Alvarez made his way to Queens but that was based on the lack of lefties in the organization.
What I’m talking about is everyone knows that you really have only around two hands full of real prospect talent in an organization so why are you holding them back because there are a bunch of intermediate or lower level talent above them in the pecking order?

Example…  if the only reason LHSP Steven Matz might start the season in AA is that there are too many pitchers in the system listed ahead of him, stop ranking by time in service and use talent as the determining factor.

In fact, if you don’t want to use Rafael Montero in the pen, let him, Matz, and Noah Syndergaard be the top three starters in Vegas and let the rest of pieces fill in from there.

As for relief pitchers, make sure Jack Leathersich, Paul Seward, and Hansel Robles start the season in Vegas. There is no reason for either Seward or Robles to return to AA ball again.

I’m currently fine with where most of the other top players project to start the season… Kevin Plawecki (Vegas), Dominic Smith (St. Lucie), Dilson Herrera (Vegas), Amed Rosario (Savannah), Jhoan Urena (Savannah), Brandon Nimmo (Vegas), and Michael Conforto (St. Lucie).

I would like to see LJ Mazzilli play for Binghamton moving T.J. Rivera to the SS/DH role, and I want OF Wuilmer Beccera playing in Savannah ahead of players that currently project out with less talent.

Frankly, this has been worse in the past and Alderson and Company seems to be making an effort to increase the growth of their prospect talent without moving them too fast. Still. In my book, there is still room for improvement here.

Jonny Gomes

           There are multiple reports in the Media that Mets might be adding Gomes as a platoon partner in their outfield this year.

           Gomes has, as they say, been around. He’ll play 2015 as a 34-year old and has played 12 seasons in the majors (.244). A former 18th round draft pick by Tampa Bay, he also played for Cincinnati, Washington, Boston, and Oakland.

           The idea here would be for Gomes to play right field when Michael Cuddyer would be moved to first place against left hand pitching



From NBC Sports[i] -
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that they’re “actively” looking to trade one of Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee and “have already engaged clubs” on possible deals. According to Davidoff they’re not expecting big returns, but instead want to free up some payroll space to invest elsewhere and are confident enough in younger rotation options to move on without a veteran.

Mack – This is no big secret but the good news is that the Mets might be becoming more realistic to the fact that all three of these guys would bring a limited amount of return.

            They need to move one before the season starts.

They need to move two if they want Rafael Montero in the opening day rotation.
Nothing against any of these guys, but I’d be thrilled with a return of a lefty reliever at best.

Last Word On Sports[ii] -

According to reports, The Seattle Mariners have signed free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz to a four-year contract worth $57 million. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Desportes was one of the first with the story.

The Mariners, who need more power in their offence are hoping to get that from Cruz, who played for the Baltimore Orioles last season. With a .271/.333/.525 slash line, and 40 home runs and 108 RBIs last season, Cruz was seen by some as a possible MVP candidate as the Orioles ran away from the AL East. Cruz was good for a 4.2 offensive WAR last season. It was a bounce back for Cruz who missed 50 games in 2013 following his involvement with Biogenesis and Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Cruz’s deal is worth an average of $14.25 million per season, which is less than the one-year qualifying offer the Orioles made. As a result of that offer, the Orioles will receive draft pick compensation from the Mariners with this signing. However, signing the now 34-year-old to a four-year deal may be a little bit of a risk on the Mariners part. Cruz’s defense is already below replacement level, and it may make sense for him to transition into the DH position full-time with the Mariners.

Mack – The important thing here is another big name is off the table. He’s not one of the big pitchers, but the more big money that is spent will make the small moves more important as the off-season moves along.

Anthony DiComo on shortstop options[iii]

Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) - Bogaerts is young enough (22) and talented enough (an .862 career Minor League OPS) that the Mets could consider parting with Noah Syndergaard or another top young starting pitcher to acquire him. The only snag is that the Red Sox actually have to make him available; more likely, Bogaerts will remain in Boston with Hanley Ramirez headed to left field

Mack – Boy, I hope they keep the newspapers away from Flores as he continues to try and improve in the winter league this off season.
I agree with Reese Kaplan… I want to see the results of 600-PA in 2015 so we can see what this kid really has both on the field and in the batters box.
It would seem to me that, with the addition of Cuddyer, a probably new reliever, the return of a healthy Wright, and a full productive year from Granderson and d’Arnaud, there might be enough to table this possible change here until the next off season.

Michael Salfino ‏@MichaelSalfino  - So the #Mets are paying two league average starters an obscenely low $5 million/year and have to trade them to clear payroll? Sigh.
Mack – Michael writes for the Meadowland Media Group and this is one way to look at it, but I disagree. The Mets aren’t trying to ‘clear payroll’ here, though, secondarily, it will. What they want to do is move one to two back end starters to make room for their projected, high-ceiling prospects. It’s called progress.

Buster Olney - ‏@Buster_ESPN - Other teams say the Padres have gotten more aggressive in marketing catcher Yasmani Grandal in trade discussions.

Mack – Remember when I wanted this guy badly to be drafted by the Mets?

This guy’s career is far from over. He’s 25-years old and, in 657 major at bats he has 24 home runs and 94 runs batted in (with a combined .245 average). Yes he has had injuries, but far less than Travis d’Arnaud.
The question remains though would this have been a better choice than who the Mets did draft… Matt Harvey.

(I always like to ask this question a different way… rather than picking Harvey at #7, what about Chris Sale who went to the White Sox at #13?)

Jon Heyman on the Marlins[i]

Fresh off their record $325-million, 13-year extension with superstar outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins have made a six-year guaranteed offer said to be worth close to $40 million to ace pitcher Jose Fernandez. There's still believed to be a lot of work to do, if in fact there's any realistic chance at all, to lock up Fernandez. In their effort to keep their better young players, the Marlins also have made long-term offers to outfielder Christian Yelich and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, and they're due to make an offer early this week to outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Perhaps their chances to extend one or more of those fine players is somewhat better than it is with Fernandez, who thus far hasn't suggested any inclination to do such a long deal so early in his career.

Mack – How’d you like to be a fan of this team? They build a team, then break it down, then build it again, than trade it away, and now the fans are supposed to believe they are building it again?
All this might be is an attempted to lock up the best talent they have in their system to manageable long term contracts that could be moved in the future.

Check out the existing payroll situation[ii]… Stanton only being paid $6,5mil in 2015 and the team, before arbitration, with a team payroll of $22.1mil.

So… you lock up your additional three to four best players to back end loaded contracts… make a run for a playoff spot…

The perfect sale of the team scenario.

I hope the fans don’t fall for this shit from this creep.


Thomas Brennan said...

I am in the "progress" camp vs. the seniority one for the Mets, for sure.

Puello and Muno should have played every day, not the old timers who had no hope of making this team (e.g., Seratelli). The decision to play them as little as they did has only one possible excuse: to keep a team from snatching them for Rule 5, as more ML-ready guys.

Matz should be in AAA. Why? Because one could make the case he should be starting for the Mets in April, absent the surplus of pitching, so why keep him in AA, where he has dominated?

I would LOVE to see Wilmer get 600 at bats in 2015, whether at SS or 2B. If he were shifted to 2B, I can see him being another Edgardo Alfonso.

I still say to move the two righties (Colon, Gee) before Niese, as Jon could always slip to the pen - but presumably Mets have the best read on Niese's health and what he might have left in that shoulder. Move him if you have real doubts.

Mack Ade said...

Thomas -

I will say this...

The Mets are getting better in the 'progress thing'. I seemed to remember it being far worse before I began writing this post.

Mack Ade said...

The Mets will probably move the first pitcher who's name comes up, but I don't see this movement coming this week.

This week, cut EYJ and continue to lock down a reliever

Zozo said...

I prefer to give Puello the 5th spot over Gomes.
I would also consider Synndy for Bogaerts as well.
My biggest question is how we couldn't think outside the box and trade for Donaldson, to put him or Wright at Shortstop. We could of definitely put together a better package then what Oakland received. Starting with Murphy, Plawecki, Montero, and Nimmo

Brian Joura said...

Mejia, Familia, Edgin, Torres, Black, Germen, Goeddel, Parnell, whichever SP doesn't make the rotation -- why is spending anything more than an NRI on a relief pitcher a desirable thing?

Mack Ade said...

Morning Zozo -

Tell you what... I'm going to go with my past experiences and instincts.

When you see Mets officials and beat reporters talking about one possibility for the 4th outfielder (Gomes) over the lack of chatter on another (Puello) one can assume that Gomes is the future of this team,

I agree with you on Syndergaard. He's nothing but a high ceiling prospect until he throws his first pitch. I'd trade him even up for Bogaerts in a heartbeat.

Lastly, Alderson only has so much trading depth on this current team (past pitching). They didn't have the players to put together a 4-1 player deal

Thomas Brennan said...

Donaldson has never played SS and Wright only rarely, so I do not think that is a reasonable suggestion.

I honestly hope that Wilmer will hit as well as Donaldson. I may be in the minority with that hope, but I'm going with it.

Mack Ade said...

Brian -

IMO - Goeddel and Germen may be a stretch...

Let's see what Alderson can do with, let's say, the money saved from EYJ.

I love Black, Mejia, Parnell, Familia,Edgin, and Torres in my pen, but ony 5 will be ready on OD

(no, I promise not to go down the Montero road again...)

Mack Ade said...

Thomas... everyone...

Let me ask a question.

Would you be happy if Flores played SS for the Mets in 2015 and his stat line was:

.258/.348/.309/.657, 0-HR, 20-RBI

Will said...

Lets hope the top free agent pitchers sign quickly. I would prefer Colon moved and if we can get a low level prospect along the lines of a bucerra like we did with Byrd that would be perfect. Maybe i'm dreaming in this market but Alderson has done it before.

I think tgis pitching back log is holding up everything. Relief signings and back up outfielder included. In the end i think we end uo giving away one in a trade for a less than admirable return because we will need to do something before our other targeted free agentts sign elsewhere. I hope its colon. Will - AVZEN Sports

Mack Ade said...

well, this was the best stat line (1973) that Bud Harrelson ever produced as a met.

Anonymous said...

Morning Fella's

Couple things, I watched Bogaerts play 2 years ago and wasn't impressed at all. Just like JBJ, he looked small and weak at bat and in the field. Yes he had a great playoff for the red-Sox in 2013 but showed no power. So trading Syndergaard straight up for him is a big No. Especially considering Flores comes with more power.
Also why is everyone clamouring to trade plawecki?? Every trade proposal people come up with includes him? To me he is a big prospect at a position of needed depth. If d'Arnaud ever gets hurt again,you'll miss Plawecki being there to step in.
Enjoy the comments.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, Buddy has to be a far better fielder than Wilmer may ever get to be, but I think Flores hits .270/.320/.440 this year - if he got 600 plate appearances, 35-40 doubles, 2-3 triples, 20 homers.

At a very, very young age for AAA in 2013 and 2014 (21 & 22), he was in 162 games: 47 doubles, 6 triples, 28 HR, 143 RBIs. So (understanding PCL is hitter's heaven) I feel that my projected 2015 #'s above are not unreasonable.

Reese Kaplan said...

The better question, Mack, is if Flores produced a state line of .260/15/60 would you be satisfied? That's WAY better than the Mets have ever gotten from shortstop in their history by anyone not named Reyes (and it's a pretty modest projection).

I don't get the love for Gomes. If you want a lefty masher then look up Gaby Sanchez and keep Cuddyer in RF when you want to rest Duda.

Christopher Soto said...

STEAMER projection systems currently have Wilmer Flores producing the following stat line if he gets a full season of play (600 Plate Appearances)

.255 AVG
.696 OPS
16 HR
66 RBI
.270 BABIP
Average to Slighty Above Avg Defense

STEAMER is generally known to be on the conservative side of projections so there could be upside although I think they are overrating the Small Sample Size of defense we have seen so far from Flores.

From a sabermetric standpoint, I think Flores will come closer to a .290 BABIP which (since he doesn't K or BB much) will flow into a higher .270 AVG and increase his OPS up to .703

That .703 OPS would make him the 10th best hitting SS in baseball.

An improvement of 17 spots from last year

Christopher Soto said...

I don't think how bad the SS position is offensively around the league right now.

Only 9 out of 22 qualified guys posted OPS rates of over .700.

Only 1 posted an OPS of over .800 (Hanley Ramirez)

**Tulowitzski would have been over .900 had he stayed healthy.

Steve from Norfolk said...


Thomas Brennan said...

I would not be so sure Duda will figure out lefties - careerwise, in 470 plate appearances, he is a putrid .212/.292/.317.

The only way I see him doing better vs. lefties is being highly aggressive to cut his K rate vs lefties (1 K every 3.1 times up). He cannot afford to let ANY hittable strikes go by as a lefty.

Righty in his career? .261/.362/.485.

I remember his breakthrough year in AAA: Ruthian slug % vs. righties, something like 250 points lower vs. lefties. He's always hit righties far better.

My take? Show marked improvement vs. lefties in the spring, or platoon him.

Mack Ade said...

Platooning goes back to Casey Stengel.

I have no problems with Cuddyer platooning with Duda on 1B when a lefty starts.

But then, IMO, the Mets still need to sign a better 4th OF to step in during these days

Christopher Soto said...

If I'm not mistaken, I believe the plan is to let Duda face "normal" lefties but to sit him in favor of Cuddyer at 1B against "top-tier" lefties like Cole Hamels.

In that scenario I would think whoever is our right handed OF bat on the bench would start in RF.

Reese Kaplan said...

How about a platoon partner for Duda who has 609 career ABs vs. lefties with 22 HRs, 90+ RBIs and hit .291? And he's just been released by his team and is a FA -- Gaby Sanchez. Then Cuddyer stays in RF.

Now if you want to talk about a better RHH option to spell Curtis Granderson against lefties, that's another matter.

Thomas Brennan said...

We should start a "Grab Gabbie" campaign - he might be just what we need.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Puello get one last chance unless he bombs in Spring Training. He profiles as the need if he can succeed: RH pop, speed and defense off the bench. He will essentially be the 25th man and you can keep Soup as another RH bat. Give him April and May to see if he can hit LH pitching and provide late inning defense and speed. If he flops, he might have a better chance of passing through waivers and you only have to replace him with a 5th OF, which I think can still be found via trade in May or give Castellanos a shot. Don't think he could possibly be the sole reason for a bad start, but could prove valuable if he can hit LH
Anon Joe F

Christopher Soto said...

@Joe F.

I am in 100% agreement.....If Cesar Puello has Anything going for him....it's the fact that the Mets current 4th OF (den Dekker) is left handed and he is right handed bat that absolutely destroys lefties.

In his 2013 breakout season, Puello hit .421 AVG and OPS'd a ridiculous 1.325 OPS against. Even in his "dissappointing" 2014 season, he still hit .312 Avg with a insanely strong .942 OPS.

Christopher Soto said...

against lefties*.

Anonymous said...

He also has speed and a rocket arm in the OF, so he really gives a nice look if he can translate some minor league success against opposite handed pitchers. He has always had crazy numbers against LH pitching. I would actually like to hang on to Kirk to start as well, so making him the 4th OF and burning MDD last option to Vegas gives LH pop, speed and defense as well. The reason I would like MDD in Vegas is because I think he could start in CF for another team and I would like to build up his (and Kirk if he reduces Ks) value for trades.
Puello is my breakout candidate this year
Joe F
Joe F

Bill Metsiac said...

I'd like to know the anawer to the enigma that is known as Cesar Puello.

Players that are considered prospects are normally placed where they can play every day, yet Cesar spent '13 in Wallyville glued to the bench. Then he went to the Carib for Winter ball, and so far has been...glued to the bench.

Even Tom and Reese can't find a way to blame Terry for this. And though it's possible, I strongly doubt that Alderson ordered this from above. On the contrary, if he were still a "prospect", I coulfd picture Alderson orfering Wally to play him more.

Something that we're not aware of, that goes way beyond stats, is afoot.

Any thoughts on what it is?

Mack Ade said...

The Mets have no influence over who plays or who rides the bench in winter Latin games... unless the manager or coaches of the Latin teams are Mets coaches in the regular season

Anonymous said...

I totally agree and cannot figure out what it might be, other than perhaps how his Biogenisis thing went down. I have followed him forever and he always got high praise for work ethic and I actually saw a fan write this year that he was the most fan favorite. I cannot figure out for the life of me what he may have done that would glue him to the bench, but not earn an outright release or trade. I wouldn't read too much into Latin leagues, their rosters are enormous and whose to say that a Vet trying to earn his way back couldn't be greasing the manager. Dilson is glued to the bench down there. Give Cesar two months and then say goodbye or keep him. What is to lose? We are talking about the 25th man on the roster who can at the very least play defense and steal bases; if he hits LH pitching, it is a major find..
Joe F

Reese Kaplan said...

I remember reading that the teams in the winter leagues have something like 10 OFs vying for playing time, so that would explain the issue now. However, Bill's point about playing time in Las Vegas is a fair one. Eric Campbell and Andrew Brown were killing the ball in AAA this year while they were there, so that would account for part of the playing time. Matt den Dekker was also doing quite well. Kirk Nieuwenhuis performed adequately but not so well that he merited starting over Puello. Cory Vaughn didn't do so well either. Brandon Allen did better than the others and split time between the OF and 1B. Still, Puello managed 7 HRs, 37 RBIs and 13 SBs in about half a season's worth of ABs -- not bad numbers at all if extrapolated.

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