Winter League Results 12.30.2015 | Rough Day in Double-Header for Cabrera, Another Strong Relief Outing for Huchingson


Arizona Fall League
Completed. Final Game was November 19th

Mexican Pacific League
Completed. Final Game was December 29th

Venezuela Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/30/2015)
- Caribes de Anzoategui 4 - 2 Leones del Caracas
  • DH Asdrubal Cabrera: 0 for 4, 3 K 
- Cardenales de Lara 5 - 6 Leones del Caracas
  • DH Asdrubal Cabrera: 1 for 4, R, K
  • DH Jairo Perez: 1 for 3, R, 2B, RBI(39), K

Dominican Baseball League
Completed. Final Game was December 21st

Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Round Robin Stage
- Leones del Escogido 6 - 7 Leones del Escogido
  • RF Alejandro De Aza: 2 for 4, R, K
  • RHP Rafael Montero: 0.2 IP, 1 H
- Estrellas de Oriente 2 - 4 Tigres del Licey
  • LHP Chase Huchingson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, Hold(2)

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 01/04/2016)
- Cangrejeros de Santurce 15 - 1 Gigantes de Carolina
- Indios de Mayaguez 3 - 4 Criollos de Caguas
  • C Johnny Monell: 1 for 4, 2B, RBI(16), K, Passed Ball(5)
  • PH T.J. Rivera: 0 for 1

The Morning Report 12.31.2015 | The Value of Depth vs Superstardom, Piazza Gains 0.2% In HOF Public Ballots, Alex Torres Signs With Atlanta


Andre Dobley Metsmerized OnlineIn my estimation, this current Mets roster – as it is – looks like a 90-win team on paper and in conservative projections. And since there is no Bryce Harper or Max Scherzer or Giancarlo Stanton star player in there who is expected to carry the load pretty much by himself as a 6+ win caliber player, it´s a far less riskier projection than for top-heavy teams that are strongly dependent on good health to a few elite performers and whose seasons can easily be derailed. That is less likely if your strength is in quality depth – even with a lack of star power. It´s easier to replace a solid 3-win player than it is to replace an elite-level 7-win player if you have a 90-win outlook.

(Chris Soto: Andre does make a good point here. If a team has quality depth....it is significantly easier to replace a projected above average 3.0 WAR player like David Wright than it is to replace a projected superstar 7.0+WAR player like Giancarlo Stanton. The Mets 2016 season isn't going to hinge on the health of 1 or 2 guys like last year. Their are multiple swiss army knifes in Terry Collins pocket that can be utilized to fit whatever role is needed and any point in time in the season.)

Ryan Thibs BBHOF Ballot Tracker(updated 12.31.2015)

Ken Griffey Jr. | 100%
Mike Piazza      | 90.3%
Jeff Bagwell     | 83.9%
Tim Raines       | 79.8%

Trevor Hoffman | 64.5%
Curt Schilling    | 61.3%
Mike Mussina    | 56.5%
Barry Bonds      | 50.0%
Roger Clemens  | 49.2%
Edgar Martinez  | 49.2%
Alan Trammell   | 48.4%

HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed LHSP Scott Kazmir to a 3 yr deal worth $48M but the contract has an opt-out clause after the 1st season.
  • The Mets lost another minor league free agent yesterday as LHRP Alex Torres signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves. 


Reese Kaplan -- That Was Then, This Is Now

Mets fans are a frustrated bunch, particularly when we see other teams making splashy moves in free agency, international signings of marquee players and trades for All-Star caliber talent while Sandy Alderson and company seemingly sit on their hands waiting for the market to come to them, prices to fall or whatever other euphemism for “We ain’t got no money” you choose you use. 

Take, for example, the recent Aroldis Chapman deal to the NY Yankees that cost them none of their top 5 minor leaguers which has been thrashed in the Queen City media for selling low on their star closer.  Surely the Mets could have pieced together an equivalent package of quantity and dubious quality to land Chapman if only they had the $13 million with which to pay him.  There’s no obligation to him beyond 2016 unless he receives a major suspension for his domestic violence case, then it’s conceivable he would lose a year of service time and still be under team control for 2017.  If he gets a slap on the wrist, then they could make a QO and see what happens.  If he reverts to the team for 2017, oh well, you’re stuck with the best left handed reliever in the game.  It seems a win-win. 

Lost in the shuffle, sometimes, is how far the Mets have progressed since the beginning of 2015.  Let’s take a look at the roster that began the season and then compare it with who is likely going to be on the payroll when April rolls around. 

Travis d'Arnaud            C
Lucas Duda                 1B
Daniel Murphy              2B
David Wright               3B
Wilmer Flores              SS
Michael Cuddyer            LF
Juan Lagares               CF
Curtis Granderson          RF
Anthony Recker             BE
Kirk Nieuwenhuis           BE
John Mayberry Jr.          BE
Ruben Tejada               BE
Bartolo Colon              SP
Jacob deGrom               SP
Matt Harvey                SP
Jon Niese                  SP
Dillon Gee                 SP
Jenrry Mejia               RP
Jeurys Familia             RP
Carlos Torres              RP
Alex Torres                RP
Jerry Blevins              RP
Rafael Montero             RP
Sean Gilmartin             RP
Buddy Carlyle              RP

Travis d'Arnaud            C
Lucas Duda                 1B
Neil Walker                2B
David Wright               3B
Asdrubal Cabrera           SS
Michael Conforto           LF
Juan Lagares               CF
Curtis Granderson          RF
Kevin Plawecki             BE
Alejandro De Aza           BE
(RH hitting outfielder)    BE
Ruben Tejada               BE
Wilmer Flores              BE
Matt Harvey                SP
Jacob deGrom               SP
Noah Syndergaard           SP
Steve Matz                 SP
Bartolo Colon              SP
Jeurys Familia             RP
Addison Reed               RP
Erik Goeddel               RP
Jerry Blevins              RP
Hansel Robles              RP
Sean Gilmartin             RP

Final Bullpen Roster Spot Contenders
Josh Edgin
Logan Verrett
Buddy Carlyle
Rafael Montero
Dario Alvarez
Josh Smoker

As we all know, neither Travis d’Arnaud nor David Wright came anywhere close to the production expected of them due to injuries.  Michael Conforto in his brief major league trial already exceeded the output of the mercifully retired Michael Cuddyer.  Those three full-season additions are already cause for optimism going into the 2016 season.

Next there are the middle infield acquisitions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera.  Both promise both more offense and better defense than the DP combos tried during 2015.  More optimism.

The carry-overs from last year’s lineup include Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares.  In the case of the big man at 1B, when he’s on he’s as good as anyone in the game, but his streakiness can drive someone to drink.  Curtis Granderson showed last year why they signed him and he more than earned his contract value after his 2014 initial campaign was Bay-like.  Juan Lagares may be the key among this triumvirate as he was not producing at the plate or in the field during this past season when his arm woes diminished his formerly laser-like accuracy.  What was more puzzling was his seemingly mediocre route-running on fly balls.  This winter he’s been solid with the bat and making spectacular throws during his stint in South American ball, so he could be a major cog on both sides of the ball.

On the bench the team has shed some of the all-or-nothing free swingers like Anthony Recker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.  Wilmer Flores has been transitioned into the super sub role and is envisioned to play all of the infield positions.  Alejandro De Aza may not be Yoenis Cespedes, but when you consider some of the other people who got ABs in the outfield last year for the Mets, he is a step forward on the bench.  I could foresee a Ruben Tejada trade taking place to free up salary with Matt Reynolds taking over his backup shortstop role. 

Pitching between the starts of the two seasons couldn’t be further apart.  Last year the likes of Dillon Gee and Jon Niese filled out the rotation, along with carryovers Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom.  This year Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz replace the departed pair of Gee and Niese with Colon assuming 5th starter’s duties when he was the Opening Day starter in 2015.  That’s a vastly improved pitching staff that, if healthy, gives the team a chance to win every single day. 

The bullpen is similarly reconstructed for the better.  Jeurys Familia was forced into closer’s duty when Jenrry Mejia went on his first of two Club PED vacations.   As good as Mejia was in 2014, Familia took the role to a whole new level of shutdown performance.  Then you have the veteran presence of Addison Reed who has been a closer in the past, but seemed to thrive in the 7th inning role.  Barring more trades or free agent signings, he may be bumped up to 8th inning duty out of necessity.  Erik Goeddel and Hansel Robles showed the ability to strike people out.  With health and more opportunity, they can help get the team out of some late inning jams.  The duo of lefties – Jerry Blevins and Sean Gilmartin – were both better than hoped, though Blevins, of course, suffered the two breaks to his pitching arm.  Still, memories of Alex Torres and his Great Gazoo hat still pop up in my nightmares.  There should be a nice competition for the final spot in the pitching rotation with Josh Edgin having the upper hand if he’s healthy. 

With all the doom and gloom about the small payroll, the need for a big bat and the lack of movement in free agency, the fact remains that the club going into 2016 is far superior to the one that began 2015 (even without Yoenis Cespedes and Tyler Clippard).  Obviously another bat and a veteran reliever would be nice to have, but they are the defending National League Champs and with the team they’re putting on the field it’s entirely possible they have what’s necessary to repeat.  

Winter League Results 12.29.2015 | Game Winning RBI for Asdrubal Cabrera, Becerra Continues Torrid Hitting, Huchingson Gets Critical 7th Inning Out vs Lefty


Arizona Fall League
Completed. Final Game was November 19th

Mexican Pacific League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/29/2015)
- Caneros de los Mochis 0 - 3 Mayos de Navojoa
- Charros de Jalisco 4 - 7 Venados de Mazatlan
- Naranjeros de Hermosillo 3 - 8 Yaquis de Obregon
- Aguilas de Mexicali 13 - 3 Tomateros de Culiacan

Venezuela Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/30/2015)
- Cardenales de Lara 2 - 3 Leones del Caracas
  • DH Jairo Perez: 2 for 4
  • DH Asdrubal Cabrera: 1 for 3, RBI(2), 2 BB, 2 K [RBI Single to Win in the 9th Inning]
- Caribes de Anzoategui 10 - 6 Tigres de Aragua
  • RF Wuilmer Becerra: 4 for 4, 2 R, RBI(11) [7 game hitting streak, .448 AVG during streak]

Dominican Baseball League
Completed. Final Game was December 21st

Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Round Robin Stage
- Toros del Este 1 - 8 Leones del Escogido

  • LHP Chase Huchingson: 0.1 IP, Hold(1)

- Tigres del Licey 4 - 3 Estrellas de Oriente
  • RF Alejandro De Aza: 1 for 3, BB

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 01/04/2016)
- Indios de Mayaguez 6 - 1 Gigantes de Carolina
- Criollos de Caguas 3 - 5 Cangrejeros de Santurce

  • DH Johnny Monell: 1 for 4, K
  • RHP Joel Huertas: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB

The Morning Report 12.30.2015 | Hall of Fame Tracker Says Mike Piazza Is In So Far, 2016 STEAMER Projections for SPs


Ryan Thibs BBHOF Tracker

(Chris Soto: The link above goes to a Google Document that Mr. Thibs puts together on an annual basis that tracks every MLB Hall of Fame ballot that is made public and how the eligible players are doing so far. It is an excellent tracking source and I would recommend everyone to bookmark it until the final results are released on January 6th. With 121 of the estimated 450 Hall of Fame Ballots made public so far here are the players with enough votes to make it into the Hall of Fame so far. Below them are guys who still have a chance depending on the outcome of the non-public votes.)

Ken Griffey Jr. | 100%
Mike Piazza      | 90.1%
Jeff Bagwell     | 85.1%
Tim Raines       | 80.2%

Trevor Hoffman | 63.6%
Curt Schilling    | 61.2%
Mike Mussina    | 57.0%
Barry Bonds      | 50.4%
Roger Clemens  | 49.6%
Edgar Martinez  | 49.6%
Alan Trammell   | 47.9%

2016 STEAMER600 Starting Pitching Projections Fangraphs

SP-1 Matt Harvey          | 13-10, 3.08 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 1.09 WHIP, 4.5 WAR
SP-2 Jacob deGrom        | 13-10, 3.16 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.13 WHIP, 4.2 WAR 
SP-3 Noah Syndergaard  | 13-11, 3.13 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.11 WHIP, 4.6 WAR
SP-4 Steven Matz          | 12-12, 3.59 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.24 WHIP, 3.0 WAR
SP-5 Bartolo Colon       | 7-7, 3.79 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 1.19 WHIP, 1.3 WAR [16 starts]
SP-5 Zack Wheeler       | 4-4, 3.69 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.27 WHIP, 1.0 WAR [11 starts]

(Chris Soto: Again.....It's important to note that STEAMER is generally a conservative projection system. The above stat lines though are superb! 18.6 additional wins over replacement level SPs from your rotation is an unbelievable projection. Especially when you consider that the team that went to the World Series amassed an actual rate of +18.5 WAR from the SP's. It's also interesting to see that STEAMER believes that it is actually Noah Syndergaard who will be the team's most valuable SP in 2016, not Harvey or deGrom.)

HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • The Nationals signed SS Stephen Drew to a 1 yr contract worth $3M with 1.25M in incentives. He will serve as the back-up Middle Infielder to Danny Espinosa at SS and Daniel Murphy at 2B. 
  • The Mets lost another minor league free agent yesterday as OF Eric Young Jr. signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. 


Winter League Results 12.28.2015 | Wuilmer Becerra Tearing Apart the Venezuela League, De Aza Activated for the Dominican Playoffs


Arizona Fall League
Completed. Final Game was November 19th

Mexican Pacific League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/29/2015)
- Caneros de los Mochis 2 - 4 Mayos de Navojoa
- Charros de Jalisco 5 - 1 Venados de Mazatlan
- Naranjeros de Hermosillo 4 - 2 Yaquis de Obregon
- Aguilas de Mexicali 6 - 4 Tomateros de Culiacan
  • C Xorge Carrillo: 0 for 4, K, Runner Thrown Out

Venezuela Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/29/2015)
- Tiburones de La Guaira 4 - 5 Cardenales de Lara
  • DH Jairo Perez: 0 for 4
- Caribes de Anzoategui 10 - 8 Leones del Caracas
  • DH Asdrubal Cabrera: 1 for 5, RBI(1), 2 K
- Tigres de Aragua 6 - 4 Bravos de Margarita
  • RF Wuilmer Becerra: 3 for 6, R, RBI(10), K

Dominican Baseball League
Completed. Final Game was December 21st

Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Round Robin Stage
- Estrellas de Oriente 1 - 5 Leones del Escogido
- Tigres del Licey 7 - 1 Toros del Este
  • DH Alejandro De Aza: 0 for 4, 2 K

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 01/04/2016)
- No Games Scheduled

The Morning Report 12.29.2015 | Binghamton Mets Sold but Staying In Binghamton, 2016 STEAMER Hitting Projections, Chapman Traded for NOTHING


Tim Heiman | Binghamton Mets- vans Street Baseball Inc., headed by John Hughes, announced today that they have completed the purchase of the Binghamton Mets from the Binghamton Mets Baseball Club, Inc. New ownership has pledged to keep the team in Binghamton and expand the B-Mets' experience for families, students, businesses, and the New York Mets. The Binghamton Mets will continue to play at NYSEG Stadium and provide an exciting atmosphere for loyal fans. Mr. Hughes said, "Having a Double-A, New York Major League Baseball affiliate in the Southern Tier is a tremendous opportunity, so great attention will be focused to ensure the team has top-grade facilities and the infrastructure necessary to develop Major League talent."

(Chris Soto: This is excellent news for the Mets organization. There was a ton of scuttlebutt about the team being sold and moved into Canada, over to Connecticut, or even down to the Baltimore area but thankfully the B-Mets were able to find a partner that wanted to keep the team in NY. It's encouraging to see Mr. Hughes talk about upgrading the player facilities. The stadium is a wonderful atmosphere for fans but definitely is lacking amenities that could help improve the work-outs and development of the players.)

2016 STEAMER600 Hitting Projections Fangraphs

RF Curtis Granderson | .232 AVG, .329 OBP, .412 SLG, 22 HR, 61 RBI, 9 SB, 1.9 WAR
2B Neil Walker          | .258 AVG, .329 OBP, .427 SLG, 19 HR, 69 RBI, 3 SB, 2.5 WAR
3B David Wright        | .267 AVG, .338 OBP, .410 SLG, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 7 SB, 2.9 WAR
1B Lucas Duda           | .238 AVG, .341 OBP, .435 SLG, 25 HR, 76 RBI, 2 SB, 2.1 WAR
C Travis d'Arnaud      | .257 AVG, .320 OBP, .444 SLG, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 1 SB, 3.0 WAR
LF Michael Conforto  | .260 AVG, .321 OBP, .435 SLG, 21 HR, 73 RBI, 4 SB, 2.4 WAR
SS Asdrubal Cabrera   | .243 AVG, .305 OBP, .394 SLG, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 7 SB, 1.1 WAR
CF Juan Lagares        | .257 AVG, .297 OBP, .366 SLG, 8 HR, 54 RBI, 10 SB, 2.0 WAR 

(Chris Soto: It's important to note that STEAMER is generally a conservative projection system. That said, the batting averages aren't too sexy in this line-up but the balanced power throughout is extremely nice and is far beyond anything we've had over the past few years entering the beginning of the season. In order for the Mets to get back to the World Series though.....someone is going to have to outperform. Granderson's projection in particular looks like an extreme drop off as he posted a +5.1 WAR season in 2015 thanks to a .259 AVG, 364 OBP, .457 SLG slash line. A 2016 season relatively close to that combined with better numbers from a healthy [chuckles] David Wright and a return to 2014 Lucas Duda would go a long way for this offense.)

HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • The Yankees traded 3B Eric Jagielo, 2B Tony Renda, RHP Rookie Davis, RHP Caleb Cotham to the Cincinnati Reds for CL Aroldis Chapman.
(Chris Soto: My oh my....what a STEAL of a trade for the Yankees. It is quite unbelievable how low the Cincinnati Reds sold on Chapman because of his pending suspension for his domestic abuse case. Say what you want about how the Mets are operated.....but Reds fans have to be FURIOUS with ownership about how they have handled this off-season. First, they get no IMPACT talent and very little MLB talent in return for Todd Frazier deal; 2nd, rather than waiting for the litigation to be resolved and potential have the best trade piece on the market come July 31st.....the sell Chapman for no IMPACT talent and maybe not even MLB bench talent. What a head scratcher.....)


100 Days Away from Opening Day, B-Mets Announce They are Here to Stay


Evans Street Baseball Inc., headed by John Hughes, announced today that they have completed the purchase of the Binghamton Mets from the Binghamton Mets Baseball Club, Inc. The Double-A baseball team, affiliated with the New York Mets, is a member of the Eastern League and has been based in Binghamton, New York, for 24 years. 

Broome County’s favorite Binghamton Mets are here to stay well beyond the current 25 Year Silver Anniversary. New ownership has pledged to keep the team in Binghamton and expand the B-Mets’ experience for families, students, businesses, and the New York Mets. Evans Street Baseball is thrilled the management team will be kept in place.

“We are excited to have been able to secure Jim Weed and the staff to ensure continuity and the opportunity to grow from a solid foundation,” noted Hughes.

The Binghamton Mets will continue to play at NYSEG Stadium and provide an exciting atmosphere for loyal fans. Mr. Hughes said, “Having a Double-A, New York Major League Baseball affiliate in the Southern Tier is a tremendous opportunity, so great attention will be focused to ensure the team has top-grade facilities and the infrastructure necessary to develop Major League talent.”
 “We want to be a contributor to the rebirth of the Southern Tier and create a memorable, unique, fun, and affordable fan experience each and every time,” said Mr. Hughes. “As a leader who takes an active hands-on approach, I am committed to upgrading the fan experience, improving community outreach programs, and establishing NYSEG Stadium as a community jewel.”

Exciting improvement plans will be announced over the next few months with several presented during the Hot Stove session for season ticket holders and corporate sponsors in March.
Retiring B-Mets President Michael Urda and partners Bill and David Maines and George Scherer expressed their thanks to all the B-Mets’ local fans, sponsors, players and coaches, New York Mets front office staff, dedicated B-Met staff led by General Manager Jim Weed, and local political leaders for their overwhelming support over the past 20 years.

Michael Urda said, “It has been an honor to be the guardian of the B-Mets baseball franchise for the past two decades, and we are pleased to turn over the keys to a man with great values: John Hughes.”

Hughes, a husband and father of three children, owns a successful international consulting company. The attraction of owning a team near family in Buffalo, NY and Westchester County, NY, was a compelling draw during the acquisition process. He and his family plan to spend parts of the summer in the area enjoying the Finger Lakes.

With its storied tradition, the Binghamton Mets have been a part of the fabric of the Southern Tier for generations and one of the driving forces behind the New York Mets.

The 25-man 2015 Mets World Series roster consisted of 16 individuals who played in Binghamton. Since 1992, over 250 Major League players wore a B-Mets uniform at some point in their career. Along with numerous division championships, the team won the Eastern League Championship in 1992, 1994, and 2014.

Winter League Results 12.28.2015 | Asdrubal Cabrera Makes VWL debut, Another 5 game Hitting Streak for Becerra, Monell Matches TJ Rivera's RBI total


Arizona Fall League
Completed. Final Game was November 19th

Mexican Pacific League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/29/2015)
- Caneros de los Mochis 1 - 9 Mayos de Navojoa
- Charros de Jalisco 1 - 8 Venados de Mazatlan
- Naranjeros de Hermosillo 3 - 5 Yaquis de Obregon
- Aguilas de Mexicali 1 - 8 Tomateros de Culiacan
  • C Xorge Carrillo: 0 for 3, K

Venezuela Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 12/29/2015)
- Aguilas del Zulia 7 - 8 Tiburones de La Guaira
- Leones del Caracas 1 - 3 Cardenales de Lara
  • DH Asdrubal Cabrera: 0 for 3, K
  • DH Jairo Perez: 1 for 3, RBI(38)
- Tigres de Aragua 0 - 6 Bravos de Margarita
  • RF Wuilmer Becerra: 1 for 3, Caught Stealing [Hit 2nd HR of season on Saturday]

Dominican Baseball League
Completed. Final Game was December 21st

Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Game 1
- Leones del Escogido 4 - 0 Tigres del Licey

  • LHP Chase Huchingson: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K
Game 1
- Toros del Este 3 - 2 Estrellas de Oriente

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Last Game Scheduled for 01/04/2016)
- Cangrejeros de Santurce 1 - 2 Indios de Mayaguez
  • 1B T.J. Rivera: 0 for 4, K
  • RHP Joel Huertas: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- Gigantes de Carolina 0 - 9 Criollos de Caguas
  • DH Johnny Monell: 1 for 2, R, 2 RBI(14,15), BB

The Morning Report 12.28.2015 | Daniel Murphy Signs With Washington Nationals, How does Lagares/De Aza Combo Stack Up in MLB


Mike Daniello | SportsQuotient- Daniel Murphy is returning to the NL East for 2016, but not with the New York Mets. Murphy reached a deal with one of the Mets’ biggest rivals, the Washington Nationals. Washington scooped Murphy up and gave him $37.5 million over three years, making him the fifth-highest paid second baseman in the game. Is Murphy the piece that gets Washington back into the playoffs? Will he give the Nationals their first ever World Series? It’s tough to say for a career .288 hitter, who banked a check solely from his historic postseason.

(Chris Soto: Oh man....talk about adding another layer to the already intense current day rivalry between the Nationals and the Mets. The Nationals will move 2B Danny Espinosa to SS to replace Ian Desmond and the Murphy will be the club's new 2B. Are the Nationals better with Murphy over Desmond in their line-up? If your talking solely 2015 then absolutely, but outside of his terrible 2015 season Desmond has long been a 20 HR/20 SB guy with a .250-.260 average. That is superb coming from a middle IF spot and is something that Murphy just cannot duplicate. Definitely a downgrade for the Nationals year over year.)

Mark Simon ESPN New York- We’re about 3 1/2 months from the start of the season, but right now it looks like the Mets will go with a platoon of newly signed Alejandro De Aza and defensive standout Juan Lagares in center field. The reasoning for this is fairly straightforward. De Aza hits right-handed pitching well, doesn’t hit well against left-handed pitching, but Lagares does. The consensus we got from speaking with a pair of major-league scouts is that the Mets are trying to maximize the skills of two players who would rank in the lower half of center fielders if they were the primary starter at the position. ZiPs system projected a .257/.319/.403 slashline with nine home runs and 12 steals for De Aza and it views Lagares as a likely two-win player in 2016, despite a slashline of .261/.297/.369

(Chris Soto: The two player's ZIPs projections are both based on if either one of them were full-time starters which isn't how the Mets plan to deploy the duo. If we use their career splits, break them down into "per game" units and then extrapolate them up to a 162 game season, accounting for last year's frequency of when they faced Lefties or Righties.....here is what we get: .274 AVG, .752 OPS, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 23 SB, 21.6% K rate, 8.2% BB Rate. That OPS would rank the combo as the 14th best CF [Middle of the Road] in the entire MLB in 2015 just ahead of Brett Gardner and behind Dexter Fowler. Within the National League only they would rank 8th [Middle of Road], and in solely the NL East they would be better than the Braves Cameron Maybin and the Nationals Michael Taylor...but worse than the Phillies Odubal Herrera and the Marlins Christian Yelich.)

HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • All Quite on the Hot Stove.


Mack’s Morning Report – 12-27-15 - Arbitration, Daniel Murphy, Dr. Bennet Omalu, Astrubel Cabrera


Good morning.

All Mets fans have tried to come up with some logical reason that the Mets front office will pay a combined $9.75mil per year to a part time outfielder (that can’t field his primary position) and a relief pitcher that will throw, at tops, 40 innings.

You take this same money, add the $12.5mil you saved when Michael Cuddyer retired and you now have over $22mil to pay the kind of quality #3 or #4 hitter readers like Bob Gregory have been calling for all off season.

But, maybe there is a method to this madness. Maybe Mets officials are looking ahead to the arbitration process that is about to begin this off season.

Here’s some of the names they are going to have to deal with:

          2016 – SP Matt Harvey, CL Jeurys Familia
          2017 – SP Jacob deGrom, SP Zack Wheeler, C Travis d’Arnaud, IF Wilmer Flores
          2018 – SP Noah Syndergaard

In 2016 alone, Harvey’s salary is projected to go to $4.7mil in his first arbitration year. That’s an increase of $4.086mil over last season. All six others of these guys have the potential to generate the same level of demands based on their return. That’s a projected increase in 2018 of over $56mil that they are being paid now!

Team salaries is estimated in 2016 to reach $115mil, up from $101mil in 2015, and $85mil in 2014. Sure, it’s not LA Dodger money, but does represent a positive direction at a time when ticket, merchandising and playoff revenue have all gone up for the first time in years. It could easily turn into $170mil in 2018 just with the team they have under their control now.

The signing of 2B-3B Daniel Murphy by the Washington Nationals is just something that Mets fans that were loyal to Murphy are going to have to live with. The Mets did the right thing by offering Murphy a one-year qualified offer and it was Murphy that turned the Mets down, not visa versa. It still surprises me that Murphy didn’t take the one year bloated deal which have proven out to be far more than his services were worth on the open market.

What we, as Mets fans, are left with is, is a simple question. Was one year or Murphy worth more than one year of Neil Walker plus a top 50 2016 draft pick?

I’ll miss Murphy and I sure don’t wish him well playing for the Nats, but Walker and a top 50 draft pick is more than a fair return for someone

Mrs. Mack and I continued our annual trip to the movies this Christmas and saw the excellent Wil Smith movie, ‘Concussion’, the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and the work he did trying to expose the football industry, in general, and the National Football League, in particular, on the adverse effects of head-to head contact that have been linked to the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

How does this relate to baseball and the New York Mets?

Well, you may remember the multiple times I’ve written about how Pop Warner coaches were directing their talent and top baseball talent to the mounds these days, not like the bat rack back in my day. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the prototype pitcher of this game is 6-4 or taller and throws a fastball over 94-mph.

My guess… and it’s only a guess right now… is a parent of some ‘top talent’ that would have wound up pounding their heads against each other as early as 8-years old will turn to other sports, like baseball, to feature their all-star potential services.

What if one future quarterback prospect kicks the helmet in the corner and walks out to the pitching mound instead? What if two speedy wide receivers and defensive backs take their pads off and pick up infield gloves to join their friends on the diamond? And what if two defensive and offensive lineman shed their suit or armor and head to the bat rack with dreams of becoming the next Prince Fielder or Big Pappy?

Football’s loss could instantly result in additional gain for the industry of baseball.

A scout wrote on Asdrubal Cabrera -

“I don’t think he’s a top-15 shortstop, but he’s in the middle of the pack. What I like about in him is his ability to switch-hit, and I like his hands defensively. Everything he gets to, he’ll catch. Range-wise, he’s limited, but he’s still a quality baseball player. He knows how to do little things that help his team win. He may not match up to the kids at shortstop athletically, but he’ll surpass them in baseball intelligence. His brain is top-10. He’s still a very good guy to have on a major-league roster.”


Reese Kaplan -- Did the Mets Spend Wisely?

There is a palpable anger in the Mets fan community right now as word filters down that they are completely out on Yoenis Cespedes. While he's a streaky hitter, vanished for the final two weeks of the season and the post-season, and put together a career-stretch that is not sustainable, the fact remains that the Mets would not have sniffed the post-season had he not been acquired in the first place. Hope was razor thin at best that Cespedes was coming back, but in this case it's not the player but the concept of a middle-of-the-order bat that has the fans in an uproar.

Justin Upton, for example, is still out there for the taking and a strong case can be made that he's a better player than Yoenis Cespedes is anyway. Jason Heyward was available, and although entering his prime years as he bolted from the Cardinals, his offensive numbers have been in decline since his first couple of seasons in Atlanta. Alex Gordon is another solid piece – better than an Alejandro De Aza, but not in the same league as the All-Star sluggers the team's fans crave.

Let's take a look at what the Mets have spent thus far in the off-season:

  • Asdrubal Cabrera – $9.25 million per year for two years
  • Bartolo Colon – $7.25 million
  • Jerry Blevins – $4 million
  • Alejandro De Aza – $5.75 million
  • Neil Walker – $2 million incremental cost over Jon Niese estimated as an arbitration settlement

That's a total expenditure of $28.25 milion.

Let's play a game for a moment and try an alternate approach with some different cast members for the 2016 roster:

  • Wilmer Flores at SS – $600K
  • Logan Verrett/Sean Gilmartin/Rafael Montero at 5th Starter – $600K
  • Josh Smoker/Dario Alvarez – $500K
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Darrell Ceciliani/Brandon Nimmo – $600K
  • Dilson Herrera – $500K
So far that adds up to a paltry $2.8 million.

Now subtract that total from the already spent $28.25 million and you have $25.45 million leftover. However, that's not all you have to spend. There's the departures of Daniel Murphy, the bigger Bartolo Colon contract and Michael Cuddyer among others that throw another $30 million into the payroll coffers. Obviously some money has to be budgeted for increases via arbitration to players like Matt Harvey and Lucas Duda, but the point is that easily $45 million was available to address payroll decisions.

Now, as the team showed last year fortunes changed when some veterans were added in the form of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. They improved further when Cespedes arrived. Then there were the bullpen arms of Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed.

The question I'm raising is not how little the Mets have spent, but whether or not they've chosen to spend wisely. Wilmer Flores was consistently praised by the announcers in the post-season for his defense and his offense was in the upper half of all shortstops in baseball, yet they've rendered him into a bench player. Everyone assumes the twice broken leg of Ruben Tejada is coming back as well. Nevermind that they have Matt Reynolds available and Gavin Cecchini barking at his heels in AAA. They're banking on a comeback from two breaks to the same arm on Jerry Blevins. Alejandro De Aza was so lightly regarded that he was released by the Orioles during the season last year. Bartolo Colon is a solid pitcher but you could make a case that a 4.00 ERA could be provided for significantly less money by one of the triumvirate of other younger starters who could muddle through until Zack Wheeler returns.

While I'm not advocating they went with all rookies and unproven players, it seems they have put a lot of what are apparently very limited payroll resources into some questionable decisions. First of all, the manager doesn't seem to know what to do with rookies. Second, as Johnson and Uribe showed, there is a role for professional role players. I'm just not sure the De Azas of this world qualify.   

Should the Mets have gone in another direction for their roster investments?

Mack’s Morning Report – 12-26-15 – Dominic Smith, Juan Lagares, Alejandro de Aza


Good morning –

  Clubhouse Corner on Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith has generated buzz and excitement within the game after an outstanding 2015 effort. He’ll only be 20-years of age when next season begins and by any standard, he’ll well be on his way to becoming the Mets first baseman of the future.

Mack -2016 may be the last year that Lucas Duda plays first base for the New York Mets.

I never thought I would ever say that the Mets would start, at first, a 21-year old with limited home run power, but this looks like the guy that’s going to change that thinking. He doesn’t run (two stolen bases) so that sort of rules out leadoff hitter. He may have been ranked a millionth in home runs for the Florida State League, but he led it with 33 doubles and knocking in 79 runs. That’s impressive for anyone at any age.

Smith may be developing as ‘the new’ kind of #3 hitter that baseball seems to be developing… ‘spray’ gap hitters that get on base and allow other runners to cross the plate. It probably won’t matter if he hits enough home runs to make old farts like me happy, if he gets on base and passes that duty down the line to the #4 and #5 hitter. That wouldn’t have been fine for me twenty years ago, but Kansas City proves to me there are other ways to achieve your goals in this game.

Smith will turn 21 in June 2016. Dilson Herrera will turn 22 in March. Think of how much positive can be solved if both these guys work out. You could have 25% of your field positions solved for 8+ years.

I want to get ahead of this team building’ thing by the end of next season. The rotation seems set for years. Left field and catcher are put to bed. And it would be nice to add second base and first here.

The de Aza signing this week speaks volumes on why teams need to develop their own future through draft picks and international signings.

Building future teams will be a lot easier this way.

There have been some real positive reports out of the Domincan Baseball League as to the working status of OF Juan Lagares’ throwing arm. Anyone that has seen him throw down there say that he looks totaling healed (without surgery). Sunday alone, he threw out runners both at home plate and at third base. Now all he has to do is hit .280 from both sides of the plate and steal around 40 bags a year.

My guess is he much be a little upset that everybody keeps telling him that he has to be platooned with someone. Now he reads that the 'someone' has a one year contract that could top out at $7mil. 

Don't be surprised if this guy comes out of the box with vengeance and winds up playing 'both ways' in 2016. His defense alone warrants this kind of consideration.

The signing of OF Alejandro de Aza before Christmas tells me one and one thing only… that the Mets front office wanted to button up their attempt to fill the hole left with the exiting of Yoenes Cespedes and get on planning to spend the rest of this and next year payingsome of their debt off.

The paying of $11mil a year for a part time outfielder and a relief pitcher that will throw 40 innings all season (Jerry Blevins) seems so shortsighted when players like Cespedes and Justin Upton are still unsigned.  You could have taken this money, add the $12.5mil due Michael Cuddyer in 2016 (before he retired) and you could easily paid for the first year of a multi-year contract to a superstar that will put an end t your outfield needs for years.

Am I the only person that can figure this out?

If I’m wrong, and de Aza has an all-star season, he’s gone after one season because this is a one year deal.

Now, the future of finding a future outfielder in the Mets system is long range at best. Brandon Nimmo just isn’t working out after being a first round draft pick in 2011. That’s now five years ago.

There’s nobody projected to play in Binghamton next season that looks like they will make a difference someday.

The best hope looks to be Wuilmer Beccera who was paid a $1.3mil bonus to sign with Toronto and was a throw-in with the Thor-de Arnaud deal after Sandy Alderson talked the Blue Jays out of him. He did one thing wrong for Toronto. He let his face be hit with a baseball in the beginning of his career there. Since then, he has hit .300 for Kingsport (2014: 19-years old) and .290 for Savannah (2015: 20-years old).

The problem is he won’t be ready until Curtis Granderson is gone and the Mets will still be one outfielder short of a future.



Merry Christmas


Mack's Mets is closed today.



Ernest Dove - Is David Wright Key to Mets 2016 Season?


  Well, the Mets made their version a splash in the free agent market just before Christmas by signing........... a non Center Fielder to platoon with Juan Lagares at......Center field.
  I believe our own Captain Kirk has also found a new home, and there perhaps can still be a chance that Mets might 'shock the world' and sign Yoenis Cespedes, thus simply making De Aza what amounts to a pretty solid (extra) lefty hitting outfielder.
  However, as it stands now, there are some/many who believe that the Mets have the core of what they will be going with on their 25 man roster to start the season. So it got me thinkin...........Who are they counting on the most offensively?
  The new middle infield is filled with veterans.  I can respect the acquisitions in general, but I do not believe that either Cabrera or Walker will be hitting in the middle of the order.
  Juan Lagares, even if he only plays against opposing lefties where his numbers are pretty solid, will not be doing so either.
  I guess there is now the chance that Grandy can and will be moved into the middle of the batting order, at least against opposing Righties, but Im personally a little cautious about this move because the man just had his best year with the club.  His production was solid, and despite all the 'waisted' solo homers, you simply can't discount the walk totals and overall OBP for the year from the guy who also gave you gold glove caliber defense in the field. The idea of 'if it aint broke don't fix it' is swirling through my head.
  Michael Conforto looks legit ladies and gentlemen.  I was beating that poor dead horse numerous times last year commenting and posting about my thoughts on his talents way back in spring training and in A ball with St. Lucie last year. He then burst onto the scene and possibly hit for even more power than I thought.  It probably doesnt take an expert to project Conforto as a long term No. 3 hitter in a lineup.  But can he do it in 2016?
  Lucas Duda is the man who needs a plan this year.  He needs a plan of attack. The organization has continued to now fully invest in Duda Smash services.  The consistency is extremely troubling however, and his random approach at sometimes attacking first pitches, and then completely forgetting to lay off junk in the dirt for weeks at a time is scary, but I guess we can still honestly put in down for 25 homers.
  Travis d'Arnaud is the guy who continues to get the pretty much undeserved lable of 'fragile'. The guy and his recent injuries were about getting hit and basically just pure bad luck.  So at this point all we can really do is expect him to be there opening day, play MOST of the games SOMEWHERE on the field (i still say he has to catch) and see him live up to all that talent and potential.
  Which now slowly/quickly brings me to the man of the hour, David Wright.  What are we expect from our captain this coming year ahead?  We've heard all the talk about David and his back CONDITION, which means its not an INJURY that will be fully healed next spring. There is talk of David now consulting with specialists about altering his pregame warmups and approach and hopefully shorten the length of time it takes for him to be game ready.  But the bottom line is if David Wright can still be an everyday 3rd baseman for the Mets?  And also, based on how this 2016 team seems to be constructed, does he now even have to play every possible game in the middle of the order?
  I think we all kind of saw some glimpses of excellence from the captain in the 2 hole last year.  David Wright, as many of us see, hear/read and know, is the ultimate pro.  He's literally played with a broken back to help this team and compete.  And so I'm sure he had no problem going from 3rd to 2nd in the lineup.  In fact, there's actually some new things being set around the league which actually shows some teams trying to play their 'best players' in the 2 hole, so maybe I'm overreacting anyway with this to begin with.  But, regardless, what impact overall will David Wright have ON THE FIELD for this team in 2016?  And is it the key to the entire foundation of the organization and the direction they are heading for the entire season?  I say yes.
  I'm not saying that David Wright has to play 145 games, hit .300 with 15-20 homers and 90-100 RBIs, but I'm saying that the organization at this time seems to be HEAVILY  invested in putting their trust into certain players this upcoming year, expecially the captain.
  I know I've read many of the same articles/blogs/posts etc. from various beat writers and analysts who state that technically, guys like Cabrera, Walker, Wilmer and even Ruben Tejada can man third base as needed to hold down the fort. But, you know what, these arent the 2009-2014 Mets anymore folks.  The 2016 Mets have a World Series starting rotation.  And, if his confidence is not shaken, they have a world series closer in Familia.  
  I say David Wright is the key to the entire season because that's what means to the franchise.  And not only that, we've seen what happens (april-july 2015) when they try to mix and match guys at 3B while going without a true legit 3-4 hitter power consistent dominant threat in the lineup.  In my opinion the Mets have ignored the logic they kept saying they wanted to use in building this team.  The one plan they've stuck with is the idea of holding onto the arms, I'll give them that, but there really is limited defense, speed, contact hitting and tough strikeouts in this lineup.  In fact, they just let go of the best guy they had in NOT striking out in order to gain a draft pick and replace him with Neil Walker. Other guys who may still be the best on the team at not striking out are Wilmer and Tejada......you know, two guys who are now officially backups and won't be making that consistent contact on a regular basis.  In no way am I saying they should both definitely be starting, but I'm randomly making a point.
  This team seems to still be trying to be built on pitching, power hitting and experience.  And I'm wondering what happens to this 25 man alignment if the captain is on the DL for a long period of time. 
  Like anything else, time with tell.  David Wright I'm sure wants to play everyday.  The question is even if he does give it a go, how productive will he be, and what impact, positive or negative, will it have the team during the season?  Again, either way, I say he is the key.  He will ALWAYS lead from the bench and in the clubhouse.  But he's not Michael Cuddyer.  The Mets need and expect David to also lead on the field and be productive.............................................................
Mack's Mets © 2012