The Morning Report – 1-15 – Mets Rotation, ZIPS, Travis d’Arnaud, Ian Desmond and Thor


Buster Olney has ranked the Mets rotation as 5th best in the MLB for 2015.

1. Washington Nationals.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Seattle Mariners
5. New York Mets

- Matt Harvey was out all of the past season, following Tommy John surgery, and yet the Mets' starters still had a respectable 3.66 ERA, thanks in part to Jacob deGrom's developing into one of the best rookie starters in recent years and the strong progress of Zack Wheeler in the second half, when he posted a 3.09 ERA. Now Harvey is due back, and if Harvey comes even close to what he was before he got hurt in 2013, the Mets' group has a chance to develop into the best in the majors. Some combination of Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and Rafael Montero will round out the Mets' rotation, and 22-year-old top prospect Noah Syndergaard is likely to reach the majors at some point this year.

Rich Coutinho ‏@coutinho9  -  Mets getting heat in some circles but I totally respect not giving up top prospects for guys who just MIGHT be answer..Hold onto Noah

Zach Lutz abruptly left AAA Las Vegas mid season to go to Japan where he had just 51 ABs, but excelled in them, slugging 5 HRs, 18 RBIs and batting .314.  Apparently he's parlayed that into a new deal with the Doosan Bears where he'll be joining former big leaguer Jorge Cantu as a power hitting cornerman

I will be highlighting (yesterday and today at 3pm) the Mets ZIPS that Fangraphs comes out with each year and here’s an interesting paragraph they write about the current minor leaguers we have right now -

The Mets feature multiple prospects expected to begin the season in the minor leagues but, per ZiPS, capable of producing basically league-average numbers starting right now. Second baseman Dilson Herrera and catcher Kevin Plawecki both feature projections in the vicinity of 2.0 WAR, while other infielders Danny Muno and Wilfredo Tovar — each at 1.0 WAR or better — both profile as able bench pieces. Among pitchers, the triumvirate of Steven Matz (1.8 WAR), Rafael Montero (1.7 WAR) Noah Syndergaard (1.8 WAR) concede — again, per ZiPS — concede very little to the five pitchers expected to occupy spots in the opening-day rotation.

Mack – as I’ve said a number of times, I’d much rather quote a so-called expert than give you my opinion, which meant an awful lot when I was in the clubhouse and practice fields of these teams.

I’m especially impressed with the WAR projections for Muno and Tovar. I don’t see a future position for Muno on the Mets, because, in my world, Herrera will replace Daniel Murphy in 2016. Wilmer Flores will play short in 2015, but its wide open from there. Still, utility infielders have to (almost) excel defensively in at least two infield positions and that job will first go to Ruben Tejada and then, Tovar.

Anthony DiComo[i] discussed the defensive questions regarding Travis d’Arnaud -

The only issue was d'Arnaud's defense. Struggling to throw out runners, he eventually succumbed to right elbow surgery in September, after a bone spur broke off inside the joint. The Mets are banking that a healthy arm will transform d'Arnaud. An expert at pitch framing who never exhibited significant throwing issues as a prospect, d'Arnaud vowed to watch tape of Yadier Molina, Buster Posey and other top catchers over the winter. He hopes that by spring, those issues will be behind him, allowing him to enjoy his first full healthy big league season.

I must have bought into the defensive skills of d’Arnaud a little too early. His bat work up, his framing looked top notched and I though we had our guy here. I guess additional time will be needed to resell me his skills behind the batter, but if he stat lines .280/.325/.399/830 with a credible frame, I’ll all in here.

But… I do need to re-visit Ian Desmond and Troy Tulowitzki on my team in 2016.

I’m like Sandy. I don’t buy out contracts with one year left on them.
I am sure I can get Desmond once he is free from his current contract.
First Desmond… 30 years old in 2016 (don’t care)… 24/91 in 2014 as a 28 year old (do care)…

$11mil in 2015… my guess $13mil-$2017, $15mil - $2018
Free agent at the end of the 2015 season – 0ffer 2-year contract @ $28mil

If not… Tulo – start with two top pitching prospects for 2015… Noah Syndergaard and Michael Fulmer

Established rotation pitcher – Dillon Gee

Catcher – Ali Sanchez

Tulowitzski - $20/mil a year through 2019 - $14mil/2020


Christopher Soto said...

If Desmond was on a team OUTSIDE of the NL East I would be willing to trade Syndergaard for Desmond straight up.

Something worries me about having to face him 6 times a season for at a minimum the next 6 years on that team.

Now that said I want Desmond and I would have no quarrels about trading Montero within the division.

greg b said...

Makes no sense to trade Syndergard for Desmond who will be a free agent, and seeking well over 100+mil which the Mets won't do. Trade Syndergard for young SS.

Zozo said...

Nah I wouldn't trafe Syndy or Montero for just 6 months of Desmond. I like Ken Rosenthals idea of trading Murpy and Gabriel Ynoa type for him. 2 expire contracts and a little bit more with Ynoa.

Thomas Brennan said...

As you know, Mack, I am not surprised on Muno, as he has always been excellent getting on base, and for a non-middle-of-order guy, has driven in lots of runs and scored in bunches.

He may end up being a trade chip, but I'd rather talk about trade chips than bone chips any day.

Desmond in 2016? If he does not regress in 2015, and Flores does not dazzle, why not? I like keeping the top pitch prospects now, though.

Trade off Gee, Niese and Colon by mid-season for more prospects of high caliber and lower in the minors to keep the pump primed for several years. I'd be fine with a rotation of Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Matz and Thor by July, and Montero as #6.

Michi L. said...

Rosenthal said they should trade murhpy (who Washington was interested in at july) + prospect (maybe montero i guess after they traded clippard) for Desmond.

This trade would be awesome. Shift Flores to 2nd and Desmond to SS.
Trade Gee for a reliver ( prospect or major doesnt matter that in the end the montero trade is compensate)

James Preller said...

I have no problem trading Syndergaard, like Kazmir before him, and Ryan before that.

The issue is for whom.

Desmond, without the will to resign him, amounts to a rental.

Tulo, yes, I'd go there absolutely. Which is why I'd like to see Gee as part of a package, rather than a guy we gotta move for salary relief.

When you look at the 8 starters, including Syndergaard and Montero, the obvious guy you'd want to dump is Colon. Terrible, pointless contract. They sure didn't move the walls in with him in mind.

Christopher Soto said...


Whats your rational for Colon being a terrible/pointless contract.

I personally thought he was superb and exactly what the team needed last year in terms of a solid #3 SP with the ability to eat 200+ IP and protect the bullpen.

Lew Rhodes said...

Desmond is not worth dealing any top prospects for.

First, his numbers have regressed the last three years - offense and defense

Second, he has never been a good defender, he is no better than average and maybe a little below

Third, he isn't going to re-sign, the reason the Nationals want to trade him is because he is being unreasonable in his contract demands, he isn't worth a long term $100 Mill contract - and the team he plays for knows that.

Fourth, I am not sure his offensive numbers would be vastly superior to Wilmer's - so would he be so much of an upgrade that he is worth giving up Thor for? I don't see it.

Reese Kaplan said...

Therein lies the rub. He performed like a 3/4 starter with a 4.00+ ERA and a lot of innings. However, on this team he was positioned as the number one starter (de Grom's awesome and somewhat out-of-nowhere season notwithstanding).

Colon (like Cuddyer this year) was given a year too long. Thankfully, unlike Cuddyer, he didn't come with the loss of a draft pick.

Anonymous said...

Uh, zero percent chance the Rockies will give up Tulo for Syndergaard, Fulmer, Gee, and Ali Sanchez.

Not happening in a million years.

This is one of those pipe dream trades where someone calls WFAN and yells "Why don't the Mets trade [insert bunch of garbage] for Mike Trout?" Well, it's not because the Mets wouldn't make that trade but rather because the other team would laugh their asses off and hang up.

Syndergaard isn't garbage but the rest of that package is. (1) Fulmer: always hurt and relatively high chance he never sees the majors due to all of these injuries. Think Reese Havens. (2) Gee: a below average major league starter who has had injury problems the past two years and in 2015 will start to get expensive at probably $5 million salary. (3) Sanchez: Seriously? The guy is an 18 year old lottery ticket because he's probably five years away from the majors at best. Think Blake Taylor, the lottery ticket the Mets acquired from the Pirates for Ike Davis.

Try something more like Syndergaard, Montero, Nimmo, Plawecki, and Gee, and you might get the Rockies to agree.

You should look at Tulo's Fangraphs page and see that he is putting up ridiculously good WAR numbers even in very limited at bats.

This proposed trade is the type of Mets homerism on this blog that diminishes the site's credibility. It's one thing to be a fan and to be optimistic, but another to propose preposterous trade...it makes one think that you can't recognize the warts of the Mets system's players because the rose-colored glasses are in full effect.

Christopher Soto said...


I would have to disagree....I think a guy of Colon's caliber is still heavily needed.

With so many young arms in both the rotation and in the bullpen, I don't want the team to have to lean on them whenever we need an 7-8 IP performance due to TC burning out the bullpen the day before.

That's what Colon does best.....when he has his best fastball, You get 8 innings of 5 hit ball. When he doesn't have his fastball....you still get 7 innings of work out of him.

I guess you can call him the sacrificial lamb in the rotation if TC is going to pick someone's arm to fall off this season.

Ernest Dove said...

Colon ended up being a really good signing. ...its not his fault the team didn't make playoffs. Its not his fault Sandy and co. Never traded him end of last year....if he looks 'old' this year they can simply trade him for whatever, or downright release him, cause its his last year anyway.

Christopher Soto said...


To be fair, I think you are overvaluing current day Tulo with your requirements.

Current day Tulo has a significant injury to come back from. Despite his herculean performances in limited time, this does in fact diminish what the Rockies could command.

Now.....if Tulo comes back and proofs he's healthy in 2015, then the asking price would absolutely be as high as your are recommending.

My proposal remains the same as always...

Syndergaard, Plawecki, Cecchini, and Gee for Tulo + $5m/season.

eraff said...

They signed Colon to a $10million per year deal...Statistically, he performed like an established $10 million Pitcher.

However, this begs a question about valuation of "moves". You don;t merely WIN Trades.... eventually, you expect Trades to produce WINS. As for Signings, it;s a question of whether you signed a guy who helps you win MORE games than an alternative use of the money.

The Colon Signing is actually a reflection on the FACT that they must've ACTUALLY BELIEVED that they would compete last year!!! Otherwise, why sign him?

What we now understand (if it wasn't understood last year!!!) is that they didn't have enough to Compete. The commitment they made to Colon would've been better spent on a different player--- or players.

Likewise, the signing of Cuddyer WITHOUT addressing other needs causes me to question whether the move is adequate without doing More. A Trade or signing...even an OVERPAY... may be necessary to achieve Winning and Competing.

So...the evaluation of Colon based only on Colon's Stats is empty...as is the evaluation of Sandy's Trades based on whether he "won or lost" the Trade.

Anonymous said...

Cecchini is garbage - you are offering him because his stock is down, and you don't care if the Mets lose him. But the same reason you want to include him in a trade is the same reason the Rockies don't want him. Cecchini is Tulo's successor at SS? I don't think so. He's at least two years away from the majors at best, and there is still a strong likelihood he doesn't even have a major league career.

Gee is not a very good pitcher. Unlike most of the overvaluing of players that goes on at this site which can't be proven incorrect until 4-5 years later, you'll actually be able to see what Gee's worth in the next week or so. Gee will be traded for something resembling what the Mets traded Ike Davis for: a fringy, AAAA reliever (Zack Thornton) and a lottery ticket who is unlikely to ever amount to anything (Blake Taylor).

Finally, if the Rockies include money - and the more money they include - that means the better prospects the Mets have to give up. So the Rockies are going to give the Mets the best SS in the majors PLUS $30 million and get back only two high-end prospects in Syndergaard and Plaw? I don't think so.

Let's continue this conversation after the Gee deal.

bob gregory said...

Let's be honest here.
If Desmond is not traded for, the Mets will NOT acquire him as a free agent next year.

Alderson has done nothing that should lead any Met fan to believe that he would bid for a Top ranked free agent.

Add in the fact that there will be competition bidding for Desmond next year. Alderson refuses to compete and get into a bidding war for any free agent.

If Desmond is not traded for he will NOT be a Met.

If he is traded for then there is a chance at least to agreeing to a contract now.

Desmond is valuable to the Mets as a fielder and he could possibly be a lead off hitter with power.

If Syndegaard needed to be involved in the trade...then so be it.
After all:
1) there is still Montero and Matz developing.
2) a compensation pick would be a fall back if he choose not to resign
3) there is not guarantee with Syndegaard
4) Desmond has proven he can hit and hit for power in a large ballpark like the Nationals' ballpark

if the Nationals would be more interested in other trade chips than Syndegaard all the better.

Keep Flores while they are at it and Wright, Desmond, Murphy and Flores can provide a strong season rotating between 2nd,SS, and 3rd with additional at bats created by unavoidable injuries, rest days, and inter-league play.

This is clearly an example of when spending can actually improve the ball club and not just be wasteful.

Thomas Brennan said...

Good arguments for moving to get Desmond now, Bob G.

Michael S. said...

Trading Syndergaard within the division for a rental player is not a good idea.

bob gregory said...

Michael S.

eraff said...

Desmond--- you get this year---and you assume to offer the required tender for next year//// so you get two years,,,or you sign him...or you get a #1 Draft choice.

Christopher Soto said...

Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio:

"The Nationals are a lot closer to moving Ian Desmond to the Mets than you think"

James Preller said...

Eraff explained my thinking on Colon quite well. When you look at him in isolation, he gave the Mets a solid season for $9 million.

And they jumped up to 79 wins, nowhere close to contending for anything.

In addition, he's locked in for $11 million this year. Look at FanGraphs, they expect him to be worse in 2015 than any other starting candidate. Meaningless, I know, but he's not that good -- and now he's blocking better pitchers.

The guy is hair in the drain, a flushed tampon; it's not a pipeline if it doesn't flow.

I fully expected the Mets to sign a replacement-level veteran -- or, hey, use Dice-K -- to fill that spot. In turn, they'd have $10 million to address SS or some other area.

I find Colon to be an entertaining guy. But the Mets have pitching; they still need everyday players. He wasn't traded because nobody wants him for that money. And furthermore, by all reports I read, nobody else was offering him a two-year deal. Now we're looking to dump Gee, hold Montero back, and pay Colon $11 million for what likely will be the worst performance by a starting pitcher on the team. I'm confused: What makes that such a good signing?

Lew Rhodes said...

Colon was signed to eat innings to protect the young arms in the bull pen and the rotation.

Think of the amount of stress he took off the rest of the staff by giving 200 league average innings.

He offers the same thing this year - besides, we don't care if his arm falls off - put him out there every 5 days and let him pitch 7+ innings.

Lew Rhodes said...

As far as Desmond - what part of the fact that the Nationals won't sign him to a long term deal makes it likely that the Mets would?

Desmond wants way more money than he is worth, and the Nationals aren't going to give it to him.

They traded for a 32 year old replacement for him

Those a large red flags.

Yes, if we traded for him, we would get a draft pick next year - but there is little chance that that draft pick would turn into a prospect like Syndergaard.

James Preller said...

Murphy & Montero for Desmond. I'd do that.

bob gregory said...


The question is...

How SHOULD the Mets approach this IF they were to behave like an organization that was committed to winning this year AND future years.

We as Met fans HAVE to stop handicapping everything by looking at everything as not happening because it might cost money.

Desmond is a TOP SS.
His performance rivals Tulowitzki AND he hit in a much bigger park AND he is younger AND he doesn't have Tulowitzki's injury history.

YES he is going to cost money.
YES he is worth being paid as a top SS

James Preller said...


One last comment on Bartolo and I'll leave you the last word, if you want it.

The notion that he was signed for $20 million to eat innings and protect the bullpen is unfathomable. First, that's quite an expenditure for a fringe result; 1/9th of team salary to "protect" other pitchers, with no evidence that such a thing exists. I liked it better in the old days, when the Mets signed players with the goal of winning games.

But closer to the point, yes, Bartolo threw for 202 IP at age 41 in 2014 -- fabulous, but hardly something that anyone could have counted on. In fact, it was more likely that Colon would break down at some point. (Ironically, Arroyo, the proven innings eater, went down to injury in 2014.)

Here's Bartolo's previous years & IP:

2013: 190
2012: 152
2011: 164
2010: DNP
2009: 62
2008: 39
2007: 99
2006: 56

It's a borderline miracle that Bartolo ate innings last season; it gives you a convenient post-rationalization for a bad contract. This season, he's in the way and the Mets owe him $11 million. Signing Scott Kazmir would have been a better move (Beane drank Sandy's milkshake, who collects castoff A's), but that was not an acute area of need for the Mets. They played last season without a SS or a LF and a BP that started with Valverde and Farnsworth.

bob gregory said...


just a thought....

Colon can be useful at the beginning of this season pitching innings in the cold weather.
Allowing the young'uns and injury returnees to ease into the season without having to stress their arms pitching in the bad weather.

and if the Mets are lucky enough for Colon to pitch really well at the beginning of the year, use him as a trade chip

Reese Kaplan said...


"Alderson has done nothing that should lead any Met fan to believe that he would bid for a Top ranked free agent."

Ummm...didn't he just throw away a number one draft pick to get the QO-attached Michael Cuddyer? What, you don't think Cuddyer is a top FA? (Join the club!)

Lew Rhodes said...

Well we finally found something Bob G and I agree on - Colon!

To me that is his best value - throwing him early and often and letting the young arms pace themselves.

Lew Rhodes said...

Bob - You and I don't agree on Desmond, though.

I wouldn't consider him a top flight shortstop - although that may be my bias.

My major red flag is his declining production - it has dropped every year for the past 3 years - and he is about to hit 30 - it likely won't go back up. His OPS+ went from 125, to 113, to 103 the past 3 years while he struck out nearly 30% of ABs last year - his worse ever

Ultimately, I don't believe that Desmond is a drastic enough upgrade of Wilmer to give up Syndergaard.

Zips is project 2.0 zWAR for Flores - as Zips is usually a little bearish on young players (it only factors past performance)

I think he gives us a little more than he is predicted.

Desmond produced 3.8 WAR last year.

Assume he does that again and Flores does what Zips predicts - is one season of 1.8 WAR worth 6 years of a prospect like Syndergaard?

I say no.

bob gregory said...

It doesn't have to be 1 season. It doesn't have to be 1 season. It doesn't have to be 1 season. It doesn't have to be 1 season. It doesn't have to be 1 season. It doesn't have to be 1 season.

Lew Rhodes said...

Bob - you are ignoring the fact that the Nationals are only looking to trade Desmond because he is being unreasonable in his contract demands.

What makes you think he would be more reasonable for the Mets or any other team?

And, you would basically be trading Syndergaard for one year of Desmond - because he hits FA next year regardless and you could sign him then.

bob gregory said...

You are rationalizing.
There is no legitimate reason the Mets could not resign Desmond. Or even trade him for more. ..

Anonymous said...

That is ridiculous to call it s rationalization. You have no idea whether or not he would agree to an extension, but you continue to rant that there is no reason he wouldn't. Indications are that he won't sign, so your insistence that he will without any evidence to support it, is a rationalization to support your opinion. And knock it off with the caps, this isn't Metsblog

bob gregory said...

Correction: I have not insisted that there is no reason he wouldn't.
I've insisted there is no reason the Mets shouldn't and couldn't pay him what he is worth..
There is a lot in the previous comments that you might like to go back and reread more thoroughly.

bob gregory said...

Rationalize: definition;
"attempt to explain or justify (one's own or another's behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate."

Lew Rhodes said...

Bob -

Here is what you fail to even begin to explain - why should the Mets pay Desmond what he is asking for when the Nationals won't?

The Nationals could easily afford his contract demands - but they won't meet them because the Nats believe he isn't worth what he is asking - this is the team that drafted him, developed him and watched him up close for the past 8 years.

If they won't pay what he is asking, why the hell should the Mets?

And, if the Mets were going to overpay him - why couldn't they just sign him next year? And save their prospects?

In essence, you arguing that the Mets should give up a top flight prospect AND over pay for a guy who appears to already be in his decline phase?

You continue to espouse Desmond as a "top flight" SS without acknowledging that his OPS has dropped three years in a row and his strikeout rate has climbed three years in a row to peak near 30% last year.

Sorry - I find your position completely indefensible. Besides - it was that exact sort of shortsightedness by Omar that got us into the mess this team was in 4 years ago.

bob gregory said...

Why are.so many Met fans ok with just punting away season after.season?

And lets.clear up one thing that has been allowed to go on for too long.
Omar's short-sightedness enabled the current Mets roster to include Duda, Murphy, Lagares, Flores, Mejia, Parnell, Niese, Gee, Familia, and Harvey.

If Desmond would be a poor decision then I would assume you are at least in agreement with me that Cuddyer was a poor decision considering his decline, overpriced contract, declining performance, and injuries.

eraff said...

"it was that exact sort of shortsightedness by Omar that got us into the mess this team was in 4 years ago. "

Congratulations and WELCOME to The Stepford Mets Fan Section!

"The Mess" was an Ownership team That Managed to Take 4 Million in Attendance, a New TV Network, and a Brand New Ball Park and Manage to lose almost 2 million fans and 70 million dollars a year...necessitating a Drop in Payroll of almost 50 Million Dollars.

A randomly chosen Trio of 5th Graders could have run the Franchises interests better than Fred, Saul and Jeff...get your facts straight!!!

Mack's Mets © 2012