The Morning Report – December 30 – Stephen Drew, Gavin Cecchini, Brooklyn Dodgers, Starlin Castro


MLBTR reports that the Mets may still be interested in SS Stephen Drew at around the $7mil per season level. This is crazy talk and just isn’t going to happen. Look, the best thing you can hope for when a player has a bad year is for them to have a ‘turn around’ season and return to what was their norm in the past. What was Drew’s norm? The 13/HR, 67/RBI, .253 in 2013 for Boston or the 15/HR, 61/RBI, .278 for Arizona in 2011? Isn’t this the projected range for Wilmer Flores?

I wanted Drew badly when he first came available but the whole Boras association soured me quickly on this guy. A Boras client always assures me that I am about to pay too much for his services.

Some thought I was too harsh on the ranking of SS Gavin Cecchini yesterday. I want to remind everyone that I stated in the opening of each posting that this is subjective ranking and I said going into this process that the entire list represents players I feel will make a difference doing something at the major league level.

Hardball Times[i]

Since I live in Brooklyn, my mind often turns to the period following World War II, when the Dodgers played in town, and New York teams ruled the baseball universe. (Yankees fans still believe this to be true today, but it was especially true in the ‘40s and ‘50s.) From 1947 to 1956, a New York team appeared in the World Series every year except for 1948. The Yankees and Dodgers faced off in the Fall Classic on six different occasions during that stretch, and the Bronx Bombers, as they tended to do, took home seven World Series titles.

The playing locations, too, were iconic, reminiscent of a different time and sports culture entirely. Ebbets Field stood on an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood corner at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Montgomery Street in Brooklyn. Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds were within half a mile of each other.

“You could walk from one to the other in 15 minutes,” famed sportswriter Roger Kahn writes in The Era: When the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers Ruled the World.

Almost certainly unrelated to the very strange Stephen Drew rumor that just popped up, there is still a little bit to flesh out from this weekend’s shooting in the Dominican Republic, which appears to have involved people known by/close to/related to Starlin Castro.[ii]
Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, was on MLBN Radio today to provide a little more information, and you can listen to two snippets here. In addition to confirming that, per the police in the DR, Castro has been cleared of any involvement in the shooting, Kinzer got into what comes next for Castro. The most important bit is that Kinzer, Theo Epstein, and Jed Hoyer have all spoken to Castro about these issues, and Castro is in the process of trying to find a place to live in Florida or in Arizona, according to Kinzer.


eraff said...

Drew is a Lifetime .747 OPS...He's a Bona Fide SS.

Flores has a 650 OPS in 500 ab's.... I grant that he's young and I HOPE he can/will hit. He's BARTELY a SS---and THAT is a huge concession on my own part.

A "Return To Baseball Card" for Drew makes the Mets a Playoff Favorite, given the same for Wright and Grandy.

There is no reason that Flores cannot gain 300-400 ab's as a utility guy...it adds considerable depth.

Ay some point you'd wish they had the will and means to FINISH the team---no need to hand out ab's or innings pitched. They squandered 2014, in my opinion. The pitching staff is well positioned to compete---Finish the Team!

Drew at 1 year for 7-12 million is a bet on winning.

Thomas Brennan said...

But the past offense for Wilmer is not a predictor of his 2015 offense. I think if he gets up 550 times, he will be .280, 35 doubles, 15 HRs, 80 RBIs.

If so, does he warrant 550 at bats? I think so.

Brian Joura said...

Drew was drafted - twice. Once out of high school and the second time out of FSU. Playing in the Atlantic League was a negotiating ploy. But he came to terms with the Diamondbacks, the team that drafted him on the first round in 2004

eraff said...

Tom, will you concede that you're wildly optimistic?

I like Flores...and I don't think he's a SS...and I believe that projection is a Career Year.

He's a decent prospect...I believe he'll have a shot at a career---he's not THAT kind of prospect!

Anonymous said...

Thomas I think Wilmer is 2015 version of Kevin Mitchell.
But 80 rbi's out of a #8 hitter in the NL?
Not so sure about.
With the pitching staff lots of K's, but there is some ground ball pitchers. Maybe Tejada or Tovar can start games started by Niese or Gee?
Just a thought
Mack don't worry about your projection of Cecchini, its only your educated guess.
Im guessing by this time next December Rosario and Ramos wil be ranked higher

Thomas Brennan said...

I have a feeling Wilmer will do it as I project, if he gets the at bats. Why? 143 RBIs in last 145 AAA games, for starters, at a very young age. 8o in the majors at an older age would not be such a stretch. Also, he makes excellent contact. Put the balls in play and guys will score.

Edgardo Alfonso knocked in 77 or more 5 times. His first 2 years, he started slow in the RBI dept, then ramped it up. I think Wilmer can be a very similar hitter. I do not think it is out of the question that he could be a Jeff Kent.

Maybe my projection is a year early. We'll find out. I do tend to be optimistic, though!

Zozo said...

Flores should have played 140 games at ss last year, so we could have seen what we had in him. I think Sandy and Collins messed up royally in that department and set us back a year.
I am still on board to trade Murphy for whatever young pieces we can get and move Flores to second. We will lose Murphy at the end of the year for nada, and if we are in the playoff picture they will not trade him. Right now we are a third place team.
Lastly how bout trading Grandersen to the Orioles for some salary relief and some minor pieces. I would much more prefer a Puello/MDD platoon in right field.

Reese Kaplan said...

I realize this concept might make Terry Collins' head explode, but if Daniel Murphy is playing his final half or full season with the Mets, might it make more sense to bat him 8th and Flores 2nd in order to put the greater RBI bat in a position to succeed and build confidence?

Thomas Brennan said...

Zozo and Reese, I agree with you both on all counts. I am probably overly optimistic, but I think that the combo of Dekker and Puello in RF might just outdo what Granderson does in 2015, defensively and offensively...but it would be risky.

Flores should have been put at SS every day months earlier - and he'd be battle-hardened for a fight for the 2015 pennant

Lew Rhodes said...

Drew is 32 years old and coming off a season with a .550 OPS - if aniline pays him any real salary they are crazy - he had 2 really good years - both in friendly hithing parks - other than 2013, his last 5 years or so were average

I would take him on a low base incentive laden deal to start as our back infielder - he can play all 4 positions in a pinch, and let him earn ABs

TP said...

Drew makes a lot of sense for the Mets as a compliment to Flores, a LH bat, and strong D to a middle infield with weak D. I would sign him for $7 million today unless there is a deal aligned for a premium SS, which is highly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments, I feel like such an outlier here. I'm just not feeling the optimism.

First, Brian Joura is correct, that's a huge mistake in the post, Mack. Drew was on everybody's radar, a big-time prospect before the draft -- was supposed to become a near-superstar. The Boras association is not an accident.

BTW, Matt Harvey is a Boras guy; he won't be back.

On Drew, he was a solid SS, but then had a gruesome injury to his ankle. Since that time, he has yet to demonstrate a full recovery. At $7 million, I think he's Chris Young all over again. At $3.5, I'm interested. However, Terry is such a dope about these things -- sticking with Tejada was criminal last season -- I'm not confident that the Mets would allow the best man to win the position.

To date, Wilmer Flores has not hit in the major leagues. And to date, he has not at all shown that he can field the position. I like this kid, I do, and I'm hopeful that bat will improve over time. As a longtime fan, I see him as a "watch and wait" type player, rather then one about whom anyone can make reasonable projections about. Nobody knows right now. I realize it's fashionable for everybody to project numbers into the future, but with Wilmer I don't think there's enough there for these guesses to have much meaning. 80 RBIs from the 8-spot, while he's desperately trying to play a position he's not suited for? That would be amazing, and extremely unlikely.

James Preller

Zozo said...

I think $7 mil guaranteed is way too much for him, especially coming off the year he has had. I give him a $3 mill deal with incentives to reach the 7. Even if we can trade Murphy and move Flores over to second. Drew could be the starting SS but not for the $7 guaranteed. I would rather go with Reynilds at SS if that's the case.

Anonymous said...

The only way Flores gets close to 80 rbi's is if he hits lower in the order!
Murphy will not be traded.
There will be a playoff push,and he is only 1 of 3 lefty hitters scheduled to start
I don't like TC, lineup as he told the media

Hobie said...

>> Ebbets Field stood on an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood corner at the intersection... >>

LOL. I lived there in those Halcyon Days--Lincoln Rd between Bedford & Flatbush. Walk to the ball park (1st game: Sept 1947), Propect Park Zoo B.Botanical Gardens & the Flatbush Trolley to "downtown."

Otherwise unremarkable.

Anonymous said...

1 thing to point out is once Drew left Arizona for Boston...his K rate suddenly spiked from around an average of 16-17% to upwards of 23-25%.

A return to Stephen Drew's Arizona career norms would be a .270 Avg, 15 Hrs, 70 RBIs.

Everyone is correct that this is roughly the same offensive output that Wilmer Flores could reasonably reach in 2015. However what we are surprisingly forgetting is that Flores grades out as a well below average SS defensively across a full season.

This caps his value at around +2 wins, if you can get the same 2 win offensive output from Drew plus add an additional + 1 - 1.5 wins from his defensive value.....then he is absolutely worth signing.

Especially considering the team is currently in the 85 to 87 win projection range right now. Every single additional win value add could be the difference between playoffs and watching the Nationals from the couch.

Anonymous said...


I don't think Puello and den Dekker can combine to match Grandy's offensive output in RF.

den Dekker's swing change has sapped much of his power and Puello is only effective against LHP which is the minority in the MLB.

In addition, Granderson WAR was heavily damaged by playing him out of position in RF where he does not have the arm to hold up. Having him in LF will improve his defensive value.

In addition version 2, I also believe Granderson is due for improvement on his 2014 offensive production. At the beginning of the season i stated that I wanted to see his swing and K rates return to his Detroit Tiger day levels which he did. In fact his K rate was at its lowest level since 2009 when he hit .249 with 30 HRs for DET.

I am forecasting a 2015 line of

.241 AVG, .331 OBP, .409 SLG, and above average defense in LF.

This roughly translate into a 3 Win season which is 2 win improvement from last year and 2 wins above his Steamer forecast.

Lew Rhodes said...

Chris -

Drew's K-rate has been above 20% since 2011 -- which is the year he hurt his ankle. I don't know if the ankle injury changed his swing, or what - but his k-rate was higher in 2011 before his injury. So, maybe it was just a slow down in bat speed.

Also, looking closer at his defensive stats - he isn't as good (at least per the stats) as I thought he was.

The stats say he has been good the past few years, but not great.

With the way he hit last year, he would need to be a wizard with the glove to have any real value.

BTW - Steamer projects a whopping 0.7 WAR for Drew in 2015. While that is weighed down by his awful last season - even taking that out, he has only had 2 really good years (2010, 2013) - every other season his WAR has been 2.0 or below.

Lew Rhodes said...

Speaking of Steamer - it projects a 1.9 WAR for Flores

And over all numbers close to Tom's above (except for the RBIs - Steamer says only 57, which I will take!)

Steamer is usually the most reliable projection system - so, based on that, Drew is a drop off from Flores.

So, again - I sign Drew to a $2 million base incentive laden contract to be my back up infielder and let him prove that he can hit like 2013.

Herb G said...

Drew would be a great insurance policy at SS, but not a $7 million policy. A return to his AZ numbers, or even his 2013 Boston numbers, given his above average defense, would give the Mets a real boost into possible contention. If there actually is real interest by the Mets, I hope that Sandy has the smarts to follow Zozo's advice and offer him a lower base with incentives to get up to the $7 mil figure. The problem is that the market may prohibit such a move, and Sandy might be forced to overpay, as he did with Chris Young. Wilmer sould be able to get plenty of ABs as a PH, spelling Drew and Murph against lefties, and even starting against the occasional righty. If Drew falters, they should bite the bullet without much hesitation, and give Flores the job. But I would feel more comfortable starting the season with Drew at SS. Less risk than Wilmer.

TP said...

Just to follow up - I would sign Drew at $7 million if that is what it takes in this market and Mets make no other moves. I agree that his recent performance does not justify that amount, but I don't care if they spend $3 million or $7 million being that it will not impact any other moves, since they went cheapo lame on the LH for the bullpen.
Drew's glove can till be counted on, and if he is shielded from LHP his K rate should be closer to the Arizona figures. Again, I am pro-Wilmer but strongly against the Flores/Murphy up the middle defense unless there is an upgrade or a hedge. Drew is a hedge, and it's the Wilpon's dough so $3 million, $7 million, who cares.

Thomas Brennan said...

@ Lew: I think Steamer has Flores RBIs too low. He may now be slotted 8th in order, but orders change almost as much as Collins changes pitchers. I took a gander at the gold standard for Mets players - David Wright - how did he do in the minors? 244 RBIs in 401 games, or slightly over 0.6 per game. Flores' last 2 years in AAA, starting May 2013, he was 1.0 RBI per game for 145 games.

Wright went on to knock in tons of runs when he was promoted and acclimated, starting with 2005's 102 RBIs.

Flores is now promoted and largely acclimated. I think 80 RBIs is doable.

Chris, I think you're right on Grandy...I see him having a bounceback year too. He was awful in April and decent overall after that. And he'll pop a few more due to the fences.

If this were 2014, which was another rebuilding year despite the "we can win 90" blurb, and Dekker and Puello were development-wise where they are now, I'd have gone with those 2 over Grandy...but in 2015, let's reduce risk and win games.

Herb G said...

I, too, grew up in Brooklyn during those halcyon days of '47 to '57. My first game (nodding to Hobie) was July 1947, Bums v. Cards. My vivid recollections were a booming double off the RF scoreboard by Stan the Man, and Jackie stealing home. You could reaally be close to the players in those days. I remember walking with my friends, from the Franklin Ave. IRT subway station to Ebbets Field, talking to Joe Black and Dan Bankhead, (on separate occasions) and feeling Gil Hodges enormous hand on my shoulder as he sprinted past us as we approached players entrance. At a Dodgers/Cubs game back in 1950, I remember shouting to Mickey Owen, who was crouching behind home plate during warmups, "Hey Mickey, remember 1941?" He turned, looked at me, smiled and nodded. Even as an insensitive 12 year old, I felt bad after I said it.

Those truly WERE "the days." I remember my immense pride at being a Brooklynite back then. I thought I was the luckiest kid in the world. And then, the dream ended, when the Accursed O'Mally ripped our hearts out. In retrospect, you can't really blame him, but back then there could be no justification for his treasonous act. The name Walter O'Malley is still followed by a symbolic spit (a real one if we are outdoors) in my family. Ptooey.

Lew Rhodes said...

Tom -

I think Flores RBI projection is low as well, but there are too many external factors to fairly predict RBIs - where he hits and who hits in front of him being the big ones. Regardless, I would be very happy with the 57!

RE Grandy - I agree - Steamer is projecting him to be slightly above average (107 RC - 1.7 WAR) - but only in 120 games - given that his injuries two years ago were of the freak HBP variety, I think he is more on the 140 game pace and his RC will likely be 110+, which I will gladly take

Mets Dreams said...

I think the Mets should go get Brad Miller or Chris Taylor, trade Murphy. The middle would be dArnaud, Taylor, Flores, Lagares. Young, controllable with some ceiling. The final piece would be a big bat for outfield, but no rush. They would still have Thor and Plaweki as chips.

Hobie said...

@ Herb-

You may have me by a few years. I was a toddler when my great uncle took me to my first ball game in 1947. Don't remember it first hand, only through my uncle's telling (& re-telling) the story.

Somewhere in those years, still a pre-schooler, my dad somehow got us in to Saturday morning "work-outs" We did not stay for the game, but stood by the rail on HP side of the dugout for BP and INF/OF drills. My (still) all-time favorite player is Billy Cox, who knew my name & would rub my head before taking BP.

I too still hold resentment for the desertion and as a teenager wanted my Mets to wreak revenge on the traitors. I was there when Tug McGraw bested Koufax.

And for all the deserved criticism of the Wilpons, Fred's rep as a Dodger (vs. Met) fan is misplaced IMO. He was a BROOKLYN fan and I identify with that. My baseball stream of consciousness flows seamlessly from Cox to Wright. Cliff Cook & Hubie Brooks are in that lineage, but Ron Cey is not.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God Thomas:
When David got called up he hit 5th or 6th,not 8th!
The team also had Reyes-Beltran and Delgado hitting in front of him. The only way Flores gets 80 rbi's in the 8th spot is if Tulo comes to NY and hits 6th with Granderson hitting 7th.
Besides that it aint happening.
Nobody on any NL team will ever I repeat ever get 80 RBIs out of an 8 hitter

Thomas Brennan said...

Anonymous, I concede. If he is stuck in 8th spot, 60-70 RBIs for Flores.

Thomas Brennan said...

Let me add, though, that even the light-hitting Doug Flynn in 1979 knocked in 60 runs from the 8th spot in 553 at bats. Fluke, maybe, but Flores is a far better hitter on a better-hitting team.

Lew Rhodes said...

Anon - You are likely correct on 80 RBIs not coming from the 8th hitter

You are incorrect on where Wright hit as a rookie - remember Willie and his "rookies have to earn it" ideas - Wright was down in 7/8 spot for more than a couple of games

Lew Rhodes said...

The hell with Drew - the Mets need to trade for Zobrist.

He provides insurance at SS, can spell Murphy vs. LHP and can spell Wright.

Plus the dude can hit - if we pay all of his salary, we should be able to get him without giving up a premium prospect - he may cost a Pawlecki, but likely not any of our big gun pitchers or OFers

Adam Smith said...

I have been saying this and saying this and saying this, and you're the only other person I've seen suggest it. Flores' bar skills scream hit and run, and he's got more power than Murph so would benefit more from the protection. Hitting Murphy 8th also lengthens the lineup, as he's a professional enough singles hitter to be productive out of that spot.

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