Mack - Random Thoughts


I wrote this at various times on Saturday and Sunday. It's just some thoughts I had left in my head that didn't make the posts I put up this weekend and would be too dated to wait until next weekend. Thus, I scheduled this after Chris' Morning Report today to add some additional things to discuss.

Dillon Gee -  It was announced that he was ready to come off the disabled list this weekend, though the Mets also said that they were in no rush to do anything about it. Ya know, the last time I looked, this team was pissing in the wind and I can't understand why you wouldn't want one of your best 12 pitchers on the 25-man squad. 

On 'my team' (if I was the General Manager) he is currently #7 in the rotation (behind Steven Matz). Whether it was planned or not, the fan base has already been given a taste of what real baseball feels like. Look around the stands. Many of these fans were is diapers the last time the Mets played a playoff game. You can't put the elephant back in the box (or something like that) and the operational plan now should be to win the divisional championship this year, not a one-game wild card series. What this means is you put the best team out there that you can dress up and Gee is one of those pitchers.

Shortstop - Sandy Alderson seems to be waiting for a miracle here. The Mets could win the next 10 games in a row, but that doesn't mean that Wilmer Flores is going to play well enough to be a major league shortstop. He's a mess out there even on plays he gets done. I don't know why, but for some reason Matt Reynolds doesn't seem to be in the cards for this job. He both shocked and impressed me in his one season in Binghamton, but hitting over .300 in Vegas isn't enough to get you to the majors and most who have seen him play over an extended amount of time are not impressed with his defense. Someone told me that that reason you don't see a lot of errors 'on paper' from him is he never gets to the difficult balls hit in the holes, thus, the official scorers score the play a hit ( remember being also told that the reason you see Kirk Nieuwenhuis dive for so many balls is be is basically so much slower than Juan Lagares and the only reason he had any chance of making the defensive play was to dive). There's nothing spectacular here.

If that's true, you need to do two things for the rest of this year. First, return Ruben Tejada (and his glove) to the starting shortstop position. He will cost you less games than Flores. Second... when he is ready... promote Gavin Cecchini to AAA and move aside Reynolds. Or, you can have him play some second and third base also. Cecchini is your true prospect here... if there's one at all.

I'm sure at least one of you is going to spell out the offensive stats for Flores so far this season and, yes, I do believe the grand slam Saturday could turn out to be the spark to get this team back on track, but the fact still remains that he can't play shortstop. 

Another of you might point out that Flores and Cecchini are neck and neck in the amount of errors which, in my book means the tie goes to the kid that is at least two years behind in growth rate. Flores should be making the plays now, not be compared with someone playing AA ball.

Make him your utility infiielder/pinch hitter/DH against AL teams and be done with this.

Second Base - Past Dilson Herrera, there really isn't any prospect material in the organization at this position. The Mets are obviously going to play Daniel Murphy here for the rest of the season, or until he goes on the DL. That would open a temporary slot for Danny Muno, but that's all it would be.

This would be a good time to covert one of their lower prospects, Amed Rosario or Luis Guillorme, to second base. Minor league baseball is not supposed to be a place that you worry about winning games. It's supposed to be a place that you develop talent. This year's disabled list should prove that you can't have enough depth at every position in this game.

The Herrera injury is minor and my guess is everything will be fine here long term, but the team still needs a Plan 2 when it comes to second base.

Alderson/Collins - Alderson needs to go closed door with TC and make sure he understands that this isn't the time to 1) panic, or, on the other side of the coin, 2) try to win a popularity contest. You have to do more than walk through the clubhouse and pat players on the ass, telling them everything is okay. Everything isn't okay and these are not teenagers at the rookie league level. They are grown up baseball players that need to know that this entire 'problem' can be turned around with a couple of series wins. 

My understanding is that the Mets players love playing for Collins. I fully understand that. He comes at them like it's a pillow fight. Collins needs to show his players the side of him that cost him other manager jobs in his career. And Alderson needs to get it across to TC that this doesn't fall on the shoulders of his 'veteran players'. This is all about the manager and always has been in this game.

First Place -  Let me let you in on a big bad secret. You are not going to win your division unless you win more games than the teams in your division. In the case of the NL-East, we're talking about the Washington Nationals and we all know they will finish the season with enough wins to get this accomplished. What this means is the Mets have to manufacture their own wins and win a good percentage of the games they play the Nationals.

The period in which the Mets were in first place should have been a very special time, but it will always be tarnished with this piss pour decline that was accentuated by the Chicago Cubs series. What the Mets have to do is put all this behind themselves and re-climb this mountain again. If they do, and fail, they still could win a wild card slot.

There's nothing the Mets can do about Washington in May. They are the hottest team in the National League this month and the Mets don't play them again until after the All-Star game.

What you can first do is become a Yankees fan on Tuesday and Wednesday and then hope that the Phillies, Cubs, and Reds can slow them down after that series.

A nice target goal would be to win three of the next four against the Cardinals.

Outfield - Folks, you're not going to like what I'm about to write here.

First, the team is contractually tied to using Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer as the corner outfield starters through the 2016 season.

And next... don't look for Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo to be the answer to your outfield problems past that.

The Mets are not going to 'properly' solve at least one of these corner outfield problems unless they step up in the off-season and sign a big time free agent. Another way would be to trade one of their quality young pitchers (Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz) during the second portion of this season, for someone that is currently only signed through the 2016 season. Past that, they cold trade a smaller chip for someone who's contract runs out this season.

And this guy can't be window dressing, like Cuddyer and Granderson.

A good target list would be Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and, possibly, Alex Gordon. And this kind of move is going to cost the Mets big money, but they will have up to $26.55mil
(Colon: $11mil, Murphy: $8mil, Parnell: $3.7mil, Blevens ($2.4mil, Mayberry: $1.45mil) coming off the books next season. David Wright ought to be able to help you here with Upton, who would be a perfect candidate for a 3-5 year deal.

You put Upton in the same outfield with Lagares, and the same lineup as Wright, Duda, d'Arnaud, and you have vastly improved the offense potential of this team.

You also tell both your fan base and your own young pitching staff that you are going to support what they bring to the table with a signing like this.

Just some thoughts.


Thomas Brennan said...

Good thoughts, Mack. Guillorme can play 2nd, but you can't have a 2B with zero power. One guy who could be at 2B is Mazzilli. Once the dope gets past his dope suspension, he gives us a mix of hitting and some power. He should be back in 2 weeks. Let's see how he does.

I am not so negative on Reynolds. He can also play 2B, where I know we have Herrera. He may be good trade bait.

Gee is in my bullpen and someone gets bumped. He is, as you say, a valuable pitcher, too much so to be under-utilized.

Anonymous said...

Two killer lines in one post:

1) You have to do more than walk through the clubhouse and pat players on the ass, telling them everything is okay.

2) My understanding is that the Mets players love playing for Collins. I fully understand that. He comes at them like it's a pillow fight.

Don't agree with some of it, but thoughtful and original as always. In these days when the blogosphere has been a dull echo chamber, everyone chasing hits, Mack's Mets remains one-of-a-kind.


James Preller

Reese Kaplan said...

I've been saying for as long as he's been in place, "Where is the fiery Terry Collins everyone talked about?" He's been such a meek, Milquetoast character that it's no wonder he can't motivate anyone. The younger players might be intimidated into performing better if he shows some of that old fire and brimstone.

I also pointed out that you don't blame the veterans when things go wrong. You hold yourself accountable to right the ship. I've not seen that from him EVER.

Anonymous said...


Why would you convert your 2 best (and youngest) defensive SS prospects in Rosario and Guillorme? That would negate one of these players' best tools. Plus, another poster correctly pointed out that unlike Rosario, Guillorme's bat does not project to be an impact level. You need to keep these guys at SS to maximize their value. And if Rosario keeps developing, he has star potential at SS.

Is Flores a MLB caliber defensive SS? No. But as you pointed out, his bat is legit. Probably projects to be a 20 HR 70 RBI player at the position. This would make him one of the best offensive players at the position in the whole game, not just the NL. It then becomes a question of what you value more. Flores' bat or Tejada's glove. While I agree that Tejada is much better defensively, you cannot reasonably take out of the lineup a guy who projects so well offensively. Live with the bad with Flores for now. In 1 or 2 years you should be able to move him to 3B, have Dilson at 2B and Amed at SS. That would be an impact infield with all sorts of ability.

Mack Ade said...

Well. now you can see why these are random...

Mack Ade said...

I guess we all have to decide what kind of shortstop we want.

I favor one that gets the defensive play done and doesn't cost the team games with his throws (and yes... slow feet translates into throws that don't arrive at first base in time... it looks like the ball was thrown hard enough, it just started out too late because of being unable to set up due to the slow feet) and glove work.

Others want someone that hits the ball over the wall.

ZachBoyer said...

"And next... don't look for Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo to be the answer to your outfield problems past that."

Why not? Isn't it conceivable that their contracts run out (Granderson's & Cuddyer's) & these guys go on to be good productive OFs for the next 5-10? I thought Sandy timed it out pretty well, not perfect, but pretty well nonetheless.

Mack Ade said...

Zach -

Yes, it is possible, but you can't bet the entire future of the Mets outfield on two players, one of which has already shown the ability to wind up with a series of ticky injuries.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Mack, your take on Reynolds' defense is supported statistically. His range factor/game as a shortstop in the minors is worse than Flores' was as a shortstop in the minors.

Mack Ade said...

Stephen -

and the Mets HAVE to know this, but just chose not to talk about it publically

Hobie said...

Some random thoughts on your random thoughts, Mack:

I’m not as down on Wilmer as you, nor as high on Reuben. There is that “awkward factor” that I don’t how to sabrmetrically quantify, but I’ll tell you who that Flores body language reminds me of—Bill Russell. 30 error seasons were his norm, yet he was defensively tolerable (between Cey & Lopes of course), and Wilmer is much more the offensive threat.

Then there’s the consideration that Mets have, just beyond the event horizon of some organizational black hole, a UT as good defensively as Reuben, maybe even more versatile, and who consistently hits the ball where they are not—TJ Rivera.

I agree that counting on both Nimmo & Conforto to be OF fixtures in the near future is risky. I would go after Hayward in the off-season.

And I would do this: think seriously about moving David Wright to LF. Not the least reason is that it would be easier on his back. In fact THIS YEAR, when David, Dilson & TdA return, my line-up would be: Dilson-Murph(3B)-Wright(LF)-Duda-Wilmer-Cuddyer/Grandy(RF)-TdA-Lagares.

Random does also mean “odd and unpredictable in an amusing way.”

Mack Ade said...

Hobie -

I agree with you about LF and Wright. I think he would have no problems playing there.

It would also open up 3B to Flores who might hurt the defense a lot less there. You could then 'sacrifice' SS to a defensive guy like Tejada.

I have no idea the potential DEFENSIVELY of Rivera on SS.

I do know that Rosario and Guillorme project better defensively than Reynolds and/or Cecchini.

eraff said...

Conforto and Nimmo are BEATING DOWN THE DOORS!!!!...make room for them!!--at AA and AAA.

Planning on both as big league everyday players is dumb!!!..... sure, we're hoping it can happen.

These are baseball players----not solid state components.

Get players---let young players kill it and push their way in. No RIDES!!!!

Michael S. said...

Cecchini has finally grown into his body and hitting this year. I don't know if he's a solution at SS but I could see a switch to 2B and a battle w/ Herrera. Loser gets shipped out to help the SS situation.

Mack, I'm assuming your sources know more than we do, I just don't see the down attitude on Nimmo and Conforto. I think Nimmo is going to be a high-OBP RF who slots in as your #2 hitter long term. Conforto should make his way up, take LF and hit 4-6 in the lineup. I'm not worried about the OF.

Robb said...

Lets just say, its really hard to find a ss who can hit and play good defense and not cost a fortune on top of it. For most teams it is one or the other. In fact i can only come up with 3 teams with good ss situations at the moment. Baltimore, the cubs (volume), Indians. Everyone else would either upgrade the offense/defense part or reduce the cost (nationals/colorado/Blue jays). The red sox, brewers and reds being pretty content at the moment because they have young inexpensive guys with upside. everyone else is muddling about.

So outside of trading a 22 year old who looked awesome for an expensive verteran its not like theres much out there regardless. Flores wont win any gold gloves but if he can get the throwing errors down, he's bat will be enough for two years. also if he doesnt get traded he could move into the 2b conversation at some point, he is 23.

Hobie said...

Glad to see I wasn't run out of the building with the Wright to LF muse.

You know, Mack, I have been following TJR since his Bronx HS days. Never thought of him as a regular SS, but as one of those versatile spark-plugs. At my age, everybody reminds me of someone else. When I saw TJ in Brooklyn he reminded me of a RH Matty Alou. I also conjure up a more realistic Keith Miller.

My type of bench guy.

Christopher Soto said...


Funny you bring up Cecchini, I was at the Binghamton Game on Saturday and will have some material on the site sometime this week.

Specifically on Cecchini:

What I saw from him was a very professional swing that has the ability to hit to all fields. He certainly has more raw power than you would think, but his swing is more geared towards a line drive approach as he doesn't generate much backspin on the ball.

Defensively, Cecchini is pretty good. He can move both left and right with ease, has a quick first step, and his hands are really smooth as he handled a couple of really tough late hops up the middle. One detraction though...he doesn't seem to possess a premium arm.

On one specific play there was ball hit to his right. He shuffled over smoothly making the backhand grab and came up clean. The batter was very quick (70 grade speed i would say) and Cecchini needed to really gun the ball over. He made the play, but what I saw was that Cecchini needed to more BODY into the throw in order to get it there fast enough.

Thomas Brennan said...

L J Mazzilli had a nice A /AA year in 2014, now out on his 50 gamer. He is a year OLDER than Wilmer. Perspective.

So I think we need to give Wilmer a chance to breathe. He'll be better offensively and defensively.

Mack Ade said...

Michael -

Good to see you back on the site.

I'm not 'down' on either Nimmo or Conforto... they simply are unproven minor leaguers that still have at least two more levels to conquer.

I wish both well, and want them to sueed, but I'm much rather have Upton or Heyward playing a corner position in Queens next year.

As for Mazilli... second base is wide open in the organization past Herrera and I would first live him that position, in St. Lucie, to get his legs back.

He's a long time reader here and Facebook fan so let's all wish him well.

Mack Ade said...

Robb -

I want you to watch Flores very carefully when he gets hit a sharp grounder.

The fielding coaches early on in the Mets organization know that he would be a 'project' at short.

The short of it... 'bad feet' and an 'awkward approach'.

Flores has no grace in the field and works hard at him developing a 'double pump' so he could balance out his feet and legs for the upcoming throw. He simply can't produce a pro-level throw without this and you might notice how many of these just make it to Duda.

You also might notice when he moves to his left towards second base and thows to first off his back foot. The ball winds up in the home town of Brandon Nimmo.

I will say this... he has improved greatly turning the DP, both throwing it to whomever is covering the bag at second or his covering it for a throw from the second baseman.

Watch the double pump and see how little time he has left to complete each play

Anonymous said...

Been a long time since posting and am now doing it from San Francisco, so now I have time difference to deal with, but the upside is that I already am looking at going to ATT park when the Mets come to town the first week in July. Sandy does not think Flores is the long term solution as SS, but he is hoping that he can hold down the fort until a better solution becomes available. My guess is that SS will be patched until: Sandy can pry a young stud (Russell/Profar) away for ONE of the young pitchers or use Flores/Reynolds/Cecchini until Rosario is ready, which is what I think they are counting on.

Hate to say it, but I think Reynolds will prove to be a backup MI at best; his fielding has been suspect and he had one great year with the bat, so far .300 at Vegas is not earth shattering. I wouldn't count on both Conforto and Nimmo to be the OF solution, but one should be a long term piece and the other will be trade bait. My preference is Heyward next year because he is: younger, better defender, left hander and may out produce Upton over the next five years offensively, even if he has not done so yet.

Look forward to getting back into the swing of posting, but the move has been crazy and now have to go to LA next week and Vancouver the week after, so it may be about three weeks before I rejoin the Mack Met Community
Anon Joe F

Michael S. said...

I'm still rooting for Maz.

Thanks Mack...still love the site, just never have much inspiration to write unless I'm griping about something. Right now, I'm pretty happy with the situation and organization as a whole. Sandy's planning and our patience is finally paying off.

This should be the first year of the 'run' we've been watching be built. It started off feeling like '86 but it's starting to feel like '85. Almost there, just a few more loose ends to tie.

Michael S. said...

The arm is why I think he can shift to 2B. I'm so pleasantly surprised with his development. Kid has a chip on his shoulder to prove the doubters wrong. He's not the fastest guy, but my 'future' (2-3 years) lineup would start

1. Cecchini 2B
2. Nimmo RF

Both athletic guys who get on base and as you say, have pro swings.

Michael S. said...

If Wilmer has all of this offense and we're talking about moving him to 2nd or 3rd, couldn't he have trade value to a team in need of a 3B or 2B?

Michael S. said...

If we're talking about Wilmer's offense and a potential move to 3B or 2B, wouldn't he have trade value to a team in need of help at one of those positions?

Anonymous said...

Random question Mack, but any insight if the Mets are similar to the Braves in how they look at local prospects? One guy specifically jumps off the table for a local NY guy, Wesley Rodriguez, goes to Manny's old HS and the kid is only 5'11 and throws 98. Another local kid Anthony Toribio I heard plays for a Mets travel team and scouts from a few teams have begun to run to see him play. So just interested in seeing if you had any insight on how the Mets feel about local PSAL talent.

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