The Morning Report – 1-29 – Fred Wilpon, Miami Marlins, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Bernal, SPs


Michael Cala to me re: open letter to Fred Wilpon -

Begging will do no good. These people are only interested in money, gotten legally or illegally. Nothing you say will ever change that!

Mack – I think that there will always be an element of Mets fans that feel that the Wilpons went out of their way to be in this position. Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m no big fans of them either and I would do anything in my ever reducing power to get this team sold to a progressive management team, but the Wilpons first lost their money before losing anyone else’s bankroll.

Will Mets fans like Michael, Reese Kaplan, or Bob Gregory ever let this family off the hook, even if the Mets someday sweep the series? I think not.

Comment From MetsFaithful5 - David Wright proves last year was a fluke; Granderson improves a little over last year; Lagares grows more as an offensive player; deGrom only regresses a little; Harvey is 75 % himself; Wheeler improves his command; Cuddyer players. Who is better? The Marlins or Mets?

Dan Szymborski: I think the Mets are a little better anyway. The Marlins improvements are way overrated.

Mack – Dan doesn’t have the time to explain everything in length in this kind of format, but, until things improve medically for the Marlins, it will always be about the starting pitching when it comes to these two teams. I agree with him. Miami made have made a bunch of moves this off-season, but they still have a long way to go.

It was interesting to read Wally Backman’s comments about Travis d’Arnaud on MetsBlog[i] this week:

Travis d’Arnaud was instructed by the Triple-A coaching staff to simply move his back foot closer to the plate, and after that he continued to make adjustments and be aggressive at the big-league level.

(My apologies for quoting another site and then commenting on that subject, but there just isn’t enough Mets information out there right now and it’s tough to come up original subjects for a team that is sitting on their hands all the time)

I’m not one for predicting ballplayers and what they are going to do the next season. I remind people about both Juan Lagares and Jacob deGrom, two players none of us had the beat on.

That being said, I think d’Arnaud is going to have a wonderful 2015 and begin a long and successful major league career. I also believe he has the potential to hit 25 home runs a season, if he stays healthy and the Mets don’t platoon him someday with someone like Kevin Plawecki. Plawecki would be best served as part of a package deal for a superstar shortstop or outfield (got anyone in mind?).

Anyway… back to my prediction. The Met that leads the team in batting average in April: d’Arnaud.

I had asked the Brooklyn Cowbell Guy, Mack’s Mets trusty Cyclone reporter, to let me know who he felt were the top five players last year on the Brooklyn Cyclones roster. I was surprised to see the name Michael Bernal on the list, someone all of us speak very little of. B.C.G. said:

 Michael Bernal was a solid player for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2014. Another member of the NYPL South All Stars, he connected for 56 hits in 71 games, 8 of them being doubles, 4 being triples and he tied Jhoan Urena with 5 home runs. He also scored 29 runs while driving in 36. He led the team with 12 stolen bases. However, Bernal did lead the Cyclones with 95 strikeouts, which resulted in a batting average of .240

Bernal is an international free agent that played last year at 22-years old. Based on age alone, I have him projected in the St. Lucie outfield along with Michael Conforto, Patrick Biondi, Champ Stuart, and Victor Cruzado.

Comment From Tucker -

There is a lot of talk about the top position player prospects in the game now with Betts, Bryant, Baez, Russell, etc…seemingly more hype than the current crop of pitching prospects. Why do you think this is? Best pos. prospects play for popular teams? Pitching prospects are being recognized as less sure things? Or simply, the pos. prospect group has a higher ceiling and is deeper?

Jeff Sullivan: Just seems like kind of a down period for upper-level pitching prospects. Who was the best a year ago? Archie Bradley? He had a miserable season. Taijuan Walker? He had his own struggles. Dylan Bundy was recovering from surgery. There’s Noah Syndergaard, who gets a lot of hype, but he’s no sure thing. He’s definitely not on the old Strasburg level. But remember, it wasn’t too long ago there was Jose Fernandez, and Zach Wheeler, and Shelby Miller, and Gerrit Cole. These things are cyclical

Mack – I didn’t include this blip from Jeff because it mentioned two Mets pitchers.

I just want to remind everybody that no starting pitcher prospect is etched in stone, and, if you pass on a great opportunity to snag yourself an established star for a fistful of kiddies that have never played an inning in ‘the Bigs’, your decision could go either way.

It’s also why you keep at least your top six starters in your organization. Shit happens. Injuries occur. And the worst case scenario is one of these guys become your long reliever (cough – Montero – cough).

Lastly, we have no explanation for the Jacob deGrom’s or Collin McHugh’s of this game. Some just come out of nowhere while others develop late (my guess is Matt Bowman could fall in this category).

Comment From John -
considering that pitchers coming back from TJS aren’t themselves for at least 1 season (Harvey), that deGrom in the bigs pitched way above his peripherals for his entire minor league career, that Wheeler can’t pitch out of the 5th inning, that Cuddyer averages less games per year than Tulo, that Granderson is awful, that they have no infield defense, and that Wright might also be done, and that the org has shown no ability to add payroll if necessary (assuming by some miracle they are competitive around the all star break) why is it that so many people think the Mets have a legitimate shot at the WC? just because every team does?

Jeff Sullivan: Many people don’t think that literally everything about the Mets will go wrong, as you seemingly do. There’s a lot of talent there. Maybe not enough, but remember, the Mets aren’t necessarily competing against the Dodgers or the Nationals. They’re competing for one of two wild-card slots and they’ll get a schedule where they get to play the Braves and Phillies almost 40 times.

                             Mack – Don’t look for a silver lining in this portion of this post.

                             Go back and read what this guy John said… then read it again.

                             This is how far the Mets are legitimately still away from a World Series contender.


Thomas Brennan said...

I will take playoffs in 2015, even if a wild card, then vie for world series win in 2016. I'd like it all in 2015, but I'll settle for Winning a round in 2015. Don't mess up the foundation.

Mets will win 5-10 more games than Marlins in 2015. And I bet we see 90% Harvey in 2015 and not 75%. And I think deGrom improves on his 2014. His stuff is real.

I never could get excited about Bernal. Too many Ks. Vaughn did much better in his Brooklyn days. Look at him now.

I am more interested in following a guy like Taijeron, who's 3 levels higher and an eztra base hit machine, to see if he can up his game.

Christopher Soto said...

Evaluators all have different opinions on players. BCG may see something in Bernal that we don't.

The speed/power combo is certainly nice. Especially when considering that A) the NY-Penn League is difficult one for power hitters, and B) he was posting ISOlated Power rates in the mid to high .250's

IMO though, while he is improving his recognition skills, he strikes out WAYY too much to even be worth talking about.

2012: 40.9%
2013: 40.4%
2014: 37.0%

I don't think he's done enough to go to St. Lucie as Mack suggest but if he does, quite frankly, he'll probably be assigned to the bench there.

Zozo said...

If everyone stays healthy on both teams I feel the Marlins are better than our team. Both pitching staffs will be better than last year, they are both getting their aces back. We will have ours for about 15 more starts. We definitely have the advantage on pitching.
I just love how balanced their lineup has gotten over last year. They are very well balanced with speed and power throughout their lineup. Since they practically had the same record last year I feel they did that much better at taking the next step.
Also last night Ken Tosenthal asked the new commish how he felt about the Mets payroll situation, and he replied just how Selig would have responded "he was all for the how they were handling matters". Those weren't his exact words but close to it. I know that's probably what he's supposed to say, but I hope he doesn't kiss their asses like Selig did.

Thomas Brennan said...

I agree, Chris, his Ks are far too high. And he got off easy...he did not have to face the best pitching staff in the league by fAr, the Cyclones.

Christopher Soto said...


I have to disagree with you. While the Marlins have more meat in the middle of the line-up, The Mets line-up has more balance throughout. Offensively, I think the two teams are a push.

1. D. Gordon .643 OPS
2. C. Yelich .748 OPS
3. G. Stanton .948 OPS
4. M. Morse .752 OPS
5. M. Ozuna .738 OPS
6. M. Prado .726 OPS
7. J. Saltalamacchia .678 OPS
8. A. Hechavarria .624 OPS

1. J. Lagares .643 OPS
2. D. Murphy .712 OPS
3. D. Wright .780 OPS
4. L. Duda .751 OPS
5. M. Cuddyer .734 OPS
6. C. Granderson .713 OPS
7. T. d'Arnaud .741 OPS
8. W. Flores .685 OPS

Pitching wise. The Mets 1-5 are much better than the Marlins 1-5 currently. Once their ace is back then it becomes more even but the back-end of ours is still stronger.

1. M. Latos 4.04 FIP
2. H. Alvarez 3.70 FIP
3. J. Cosart 4.09 FIP
4. T. Koehler 4.20 FIP
5. D. Phelps 4.40 FIP

1. M. Harvey 3.10 FIP
2. Z. Wheeler 3.68 FIP
3. J. deGrom 3.70 FIP
4. J. Niese 3.93 FIP
5. B. Colon 4.00 FIP

Not a single Mets starter above 4.00 while the Marlins have only 1 starter below that projection.

Plus I don't think anyone is mentioning their team defensively. Their infield defense could be worse than ours. Both Hechavarria and Gordon rate below average defensively at SS and 2B respectively, and M. Morse rates as a poor defender even at 1B. Murphy and Flores are uninspiring too but at least Duda can pick up there slack at 1B.

Ernest Dove said...

Regarding Mets Marlins debate, me and my bias lean towards the Amazin's........
Also gotta say I've seen games between them in person past two years. When Mets have a Harvey/Wheeler/deGrom on the mound, the Marlins look like a minor league team those nights.
Although if I wanted to pretend to be a legit analyst, I would wonder about this year and thought of yelich and gordon hitting hard grounders into Mets infield, and what happens???

TP said...

Morning Mack,
The Met ownership should never be vindicated based on whether the team has success in the future. Even if they win a World Series, it will be in spite of these guys, not because of them.

I agree with the sentiment above that the Marlins moves are overrated, and in general that teams with more offseason activity are overrated. Sometimes doing less is doing more. However, Alderson takes this to an entire new level, and unacceptable level. I agree with grading him with a "D" this offseason, and if he is backed into a corner and can't get anything of value from his starting pitching surplus, I will give him a D-. I can't see how anyone thinks this has been anything but a bad offseason for the Mets. Cuddyer and Mayberry as the "upgrades"? 82 wins looks about right, but I will hope and root for more.

bob gregory said...

Oh, a call out for Reese and myself.

I am sure that the Wilpons are perfectly wonderful people. I have no personal interactions at least with them that would make me think otherwise.
I hope that one day they could be the owners of a successful NY Mets baseball team.

As has been pointed out here and many other places, the lower levels of the Mets organization are strengthening. In fact, the improvement has resulte
d in many of the Mets minor leaguers (position players as well as pitchers) to be rated highly.

The problem I have is how the fans have been treated over the past few years. Misrepresentations, half-truths, and out right lies were presented to the fan base on a regular basis. Instead of just admitting to the fan base that they were committing to the 2015 and beyond seasons, the fans were led to believe the owners were "outraged" and so "upset" at the end of each disappointing season, that everything and everyone would be looked at and change would be made to make that next season a competitive and contending year.
These were the sentiments that the Wilpons expressed in interviews, on tv, in newspapers, and on the radio.

Media, fans, and outside observers reasoned, on their own, that these were not serious sentiments by the Wilpons due to financial restrictions. All the while the Wilpons stuck to their misrepresentation, half-truths and outright lies in fear that the fans would abandon the team if they knew the truth.

Ironically, how has it worked out? Looking at the declining attendance might be a place to start. Follow that with the declining retail sales of Met branded items. Continue on to the Mets being dropped from their radio station home of many many years. Recently, even the channel 11 tv station that carried a package of the Mets games has added Yankee games as well. Their has been reports that suggest this could be a sign that channel 11 is preparing to drop carrying the Mets game package at the end of the current agreement.

Do I like or dislike the Wilpons?
That is irrelevant.

I am a Met fan. I like the Mets.

Shame on you Mr. & Mr. Wilpon for not trusting the fans. The truth may cause pain, but lies result in much worse damage.

Ernest Dove said...

Further speaking on Mets Marlins. ........
I will be the dreaded Monday morning quarterback and wonder what might have been if Mets went full blown Marlins the past two years. Not sign Colon, CY, Grandy and Cuddyer and instead promote and START fulltime our versions of Jose Fernandez, yelich and Ozuna......... I.e. Puello, Montero, den dekker or even......wait for it.......NIMMO (Marlins probably would have moved him faster)........yes, silly, crazy, naive, foolish..........
Marlins would probably have Marcos Molina on their AA team to start 2015.

Ernest Dove said...

Oh, and before some of fellow Mets followers/commenters completely overanalyze what I said (love ya)
Im NOT saying the mets prospects listed are equal to Fernandez yelich or Ozuna, just talking prospectpromotion Iin General

Christopher Soto said...


The Marlins have a history of promoting young extremely fast because their MLB team is usually so barren.

That said though.....the Marlins also have a history of young guys flaming out after a 2-3 good seasons..

Dontrelle Willis anyone?

Ernest Dove said...

Lol. Speaking of which y didn't Mets sign willis to minor league deal as second lefty ;)

Mack Ade said...

TP -


I agree with you... this has been a disappointing off season for Alderson and the Mets... probably because of Alderson.

Thomas Brennan said...

Maybe shoulda signed Willis as a lefty clean up hitter? His career offensive #s look a bit like Grandy 2014. LOL

Stephen Guilbert said...

I don't particularly care what John said, read what the expert wrote:

"Many people don’t think that literally everything about the Mets will go wrong, as you seemingly do. There’s a lot of talent there. Maybe not enough, but remember, the Mets aren’t necessarily competing against the Dodgers or the Nationals. They’re competing for one of two wild-card slots and they’ll get a schedule where they get to play the Braves and Phillies almost 40 times."

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you look at the Mets as a bell curve with John's scenario above in the lower percentiles to the left of the bell curve and the opposite to the right of the bell curve, you have a sense of how likely everything going wrong or everything going right really are. Everything going right sees the Mets win 90 games and win the world series. Everything going wrong is what John says above and the Mets probably win about the same number of games they did last year or two years ago.

Reality is it's probably in the middle, which is why everyone and their grandmother is projecting the Mets for somewhere between 82 and 87 wins.

Mack Ade said...

My hopes is the Nats win around 85% of the games they play against both the Braves and Marlins.

This will make it much easier to finish in 2nd place and possibly earn the second wild card slot

Herb G said...

Quick comment on BCG's Top 5. Unless you have a 200 AB cutoff, I don't see how Michael Conforto (.331/.403/.448) is omitted in favor of Bernal. (.240/.307/.373) Conforto struck out only 16% of his PA's against 38% for Bernal. True, Bernal's speed is impressive, and he is a superior fielder, but I don't think that outranks Conforto's overall offense.

Now let me put on my rose colored glasses as I look over at John, sitting under his black cloud. John appears to see a perfect storm of hardship dragging the Mets down in 2015. It is hard to imagine all of his negatives bearing fruit. Harvey may not be all the way back yet, but he will still be a superior starter. And although deGrom may regress some, he too, will be a superior starter. And Wheeler is likely to continue to improve. We should get 130 or more games from Cuddyer, and I believe he and Wright will feed off each other and both will produce. Kevin Long's impact on Grandy should not be discounted, and with him getting more comfortable with Citifield, he could show significant improvement. Additionally, a full season of a potential All Star d'Arnaud will add to the offense. Flores may thrive, and if he doesn't, I have little question that a major upgrade will be brought in at the trading deadline. Lagares should also grow offensively. And the pen has the potential of being lock down from top to bottom. All in all, this certainly could be a wild card contender.

Dallas said...

I'll be honest I dont see Alderson/Wilpons swinging and missing too much, or not as much as in the past. Sure I would have liked to have seen them sign one of those dominant relief pitchers or maybe a Nelson Cruz but I think the free agent class was underwhelming. I also didn't see a way for them to get a better SS without hurting the future. Not trying to sign that Cuban SS also seems like a mistake to me

I think the things that have annoyed me the most since April of last year..

-Chris Young playing WAY longer than he should have
-Playing the horrid washed up relievers at the beginning of the year
-NOT playing Flores until the season was almost over, just ridiculous
-Sitting Lagares until the media went into a frenzy
-Letting Wright play hurt

If it was a Minaya year my list would be much longer I think, honestly its a small list. I think the Mets will do well next year and even better in 2016. I also think they will be fun to watch if we start promoting these top guys. I just hope we dont sit on Gee and Colon.

Thomas Brennan said...

Good points, Dallas

To your list of 6 peeves, I add a 7th - not recalling Dekker sooner and eating the Chris Young contract. I'd have liked to have seen Matt get another 50-75 ABs in a lost season.

Mack Ade said...

Happy Birthday to Brian Joura today.

bob gregory said...

The Lagares and Flores decisions Dallas mentioned were really, really, really poor decisions.

The Wright decision was unforgiveable.

These decisions alone are much more than an annoyance.

bob gregory said...

Shortstop point to remember:

This hasn't been just one off season that this front office identified shortstop as a position they were looking to upgrade.

It has been 3 off seasons now that the front office has identified SS as the position they were looking to improve.

If your position is that maybe there was not a move to be made THIS off season, it is perfectly justifiable.
when you realize it has been 3 years of the front office publicly stating that they were identifying SS as where they wanted to find an improvement the justification becomes much more flimsy.

bob gregory said...

By the way

I personally like Flores

Dallas said...

Tom, you are right, the play of MDD goes hand in hand with keeping CY way too long. I hope the same doesnt happen if Colon stinks up the joint and Thor/Matz are playing hot.

Charles said...

I remember after the Madoff ponzu scheme, Jeff told reporters that it wouldn't effect the Mets in any way. That the monies lost weren't their baseball related monies and that it wouldn't effect their payroll or financial situation in any way.

Cut to 2015, the Mets still operate in the bottom 20% of all ML payrolls and yet ownership continues to state that there aren't any financial problems whatsoever. In the meantime, they continue to take a beating by the fans and national media for what most people would call a joke of a payroll.

To me, I understand keeping the payroll down while you attempt to build from within. To limit the loses financially while you strengthen your system. I have zero issues with that plan if that's what the team needed to do financially to stay afloat.

The catch though, is actually achieving the top 5 minor league system at the very same time you've achieved arguably a top five starting rotation thats basically been assembled from within and is the cheapest it'll ever be....and yet you still don't invest the necessary funds to put your team into the best possible position to make the playoffs.

That's where I feel cheated. That's where I believe the fans have been cheated. And that's where the players have been cheated. If they can't spend a little more now when this pitching staff is the cheapest it'll ever be, how are they going to spend later when those pitchers start getting expensive?

Will we have to trade each one off because they can't afford to pay Harvey 15 million+ the year before he even reaches free agency? Will David be the only one they're actually able to retain?

San Francisco's payroll has skyrocketed just keeping their core players together. It's gotten them 3 championships. If the Mets can't afford to do that, then now was the time to spend because it may not happen later.

Mack's Mets © 2012