Reese Kaplan -- What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Well, what a strange place we find ourselves as the trading deadline fast approaches on Friday. By then we will know whether or not Sandy Alderson was able to pull a rabbit (or shortstop or outfielder) out of his hat, but his bag of tricks did contain some surprises.

First of all, kudos for the bench acquisitions. Both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson are ideally in the mold of Bench Construction 101 – veteran players who take quality at-bats and know how to play the game. As predicted on Saturday, I said he would obtain a few improvements and cut ties with what wasn't working, specifically John Mayberry, though I'm a little more charitable to Danny Muno (and his biggest fan, Tom Brennan) since he never got to play.

The Tyler Clippard trade was in the rumor mill with a lot of people speculating how it may be made, but many were scratching their heads in wonder as to why Alderson was focusing on an area of competency for the Mets instead of the anemic offense. Sure, everyone knew Jenrry Mejia was ineligible for the post season, so another arm certainly wouldn't hurt in that regard.

What we didn't know at the time (but Sandy Alderson did per the league office before the trade was consummated) was that Mejia had failed a PED test for a second time. That news certainly hastened the need to close this deal and perhaps resulted in a somewhat better arm in Casey Meisner going to Oakland than perhaps he might have offered had the pressing need not just happened.

The other interesting development also predicted on Saturday was the flurry of press about David Wright all of the sudden doing baseball-related activities and Travis d'Arnaud's imminent return, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

While there's still one very big bullet in the chamber in Zack Wheeler who is apparently in play, I stand by my belief that the offense you see now is what you will get. We will hear about how Wright and d'Arnaud, plus the strengthening of the bench will propel the team into the post-season.

To be fair, the price for Troy Tulowitzki turned out to be a lot higher than what the Mets could have offered. To start with, they had no shortstop equivalent of Jose Reyes' stature since, well, Jose Reyes. The prospects they probably could have matched but they got Reyes plus top prospects and I don't think Sandy could have pulled off that one.

Ben Zobrist went for some high cost as well...a top pitching prospect and a second tier one. I can't see that they would have had interest in Jonathan Papelbon or Johnny Cueto, but it's sure been an active deadline period this year.

Still, wouldn't it be nice to see a headline appear that the Mets rolled the dice and found themselves a Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes tomorrow morning? Well, just like being a game out of 1st place can make a man dream, so too can we dream of a real offense.

To reference a good line by James Preller, for Sandy Alderson to declare “Mission Accomplished” is a little too George W. Bush in its prematurity.    


Ernest Dove said...

Bottom line is that this team has a legit chance to finally finish over .500 again.
Would love the playoffs, division title, league title and/or world series title. But bottom line is that our favorite team is now consistently winning more than losing, and they have ridiculous cost controlled pitching for at least 3 more years.

bob gregory said...

3 more years.
Those years fly by in the blink of an eye.
Even more reason to finish the job and get that extra player or 2 now.
Get as many chances in the playoffs as possible during that time.
Aim for the division title, not just the wild card.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Reese. I think Muno's biggest fan is Mrs. Muno with me a close 2nd.

Chances can be fleeting for fringe players. Danny did not storm the gates in his chances, and who knows if/when his next one might be, but getting on base 10 times in his first 3 games back in Vegas after being sent down led George Bush to say we should not misunderestimate Muno. And shows Danny has not thrown in the towel.

Mack Ade said...

A return of d'Arnaud this weekend is as good as a trade for a + bat.

James Preller said...

Thomas, you consistently make the mistake of staring at Las Vegas stats and thinking they are real. Look at the player.

As for the above, Sandy has not declared "mission accomplished," I used that line as a comparison point to a different writer here crowing about the Uribe/Johnson trade, re: Sandy's patience.

Last point: I would not be at all thrilled to learn that the Mets went big in a trade for Upton or Gonzalez. I'd have to think harder about Cespedes.

I like Conforto. I don't think the best path to improving the Mets is putting him on the bench or back to AAA.

Reese Kaplan said...

Nor do I. However, I feel that I could live with Granderson patrolling centerfield, Lagares healing and another solid bat in RF. Cuddyer, if/when he returns can be the 4th outfielder and platoon at 1B for Duda.

James Preller said...

Yeah, I don't see Granderson in CF, so that's the distinction between us, i.e., why I'm not looking to add a corner outfielder. Curtis would play CF very poorly and it would wear him out in the process.

And for what it's worth: Wow, Curtis Granderson has played really well for the Mets this year, especially of late. I am liking the leadership.

bob gregory said...

To maximize chance this year:
It is important to get an outfielder that can play cf and provide offense.
If that outfielder can also bat leadoff....all the better, provides alternative when Granderson sits or allows Granderson to move down in the lineup.

If Lagares really needs rest/surgery, acquiring another outfielder would benefit the team, allowing insurance for struggles that Conforto may have, as most young rookies experience at some point. Additionally during games against AL teams when a dh is needed there are upgraded dh options. (We do have a couple AL games in their park left, don't we?)

Alternative is to upgrade SS, which is trickier. Would need the SS upgrade to provide the same or more improvement over Tejada as the potential additional OF provides above Nieuwenhuise.

Possibly the Redsox could be persuaded to trade Boegarts??? Probably not. 
Any other Shortstops out there that could be a suitable target.

So 1 or 2 more players depending on the quality/skills of each would go a long way in securing the division.

Reese Kaplan said...

Granderson has what, 15 HRs and 33 RBIs? Meh. It's not what was expected when he was paid Jason Bay money. In fact, it's similar to Jason Bay production. In fact, in his only relatively healthy year with the Mets he provided 12 HRs, 57 RBIs and batted .245. The power is a little down, the RBIs a bit better (though he was not batting cleanup) and the AVG about the same. Bay is the poster child for a bad contract. Granderson is marginally better and last year, as bad as he was, actually delivered more run production than he is doing this year as he finished with 66 RBIs. There's no way he'll hit that plateau this year.

I didn't understand the rush to sign him when it happened, didn't think he was the right move and nearly two full years into his Mets career I still feel that way. I will give him kudos for being a true professional and never dogging it on the field. However, when they got him they were hoping for a middle-of-the-order presence.

Perhaps if they acquire a CF who can bat leadoff and can then move Granderson into a run-producing spot he'll prove me wrong but right now he's on pace perhaps to have his WAR match his salary.

James Preller said...

I don't think RBI is a salient stat for a leadoff hitter, so don't know why you are leaning so heavily on that one. Twice in recent games Curtis sparked the Mets by stretching singles into doubles late in the games. They were both huge plays and, from my perspective, very telling.

Also, you reference a lot about what "they" expected from him, and I can't really speak to that. This season he's at a 116 OPS+, with upticks in BA, OBP, and SLG. The only down stat is RBI, so now I know why you keep referencing it. His line is .253/.346/.431. That's a good year and, regardless of what "they" might have expected, it's actually better than what I expected. At this point, I find the salary issue irrelevant.

I'm giving credit where credit is due. He's having a fine season.

Buddy3 said...

Reese, with all do respect you are way off on Granderson. Place him 3rd or 5th in the order and his RBIS would be much higher. It looks like he will project to about 22HR and 50 RBI out of the leadoff spot.

Lets find a legitimate lead off hitter and put him down in the order where he should be and his production will not look so Jason Bayish.

I like Parra as a leadoff hitter and CF, but have to admit that all of those Left handed outfielders are not the best case. I am sure that Sandy has his eye on someone that has not been identified yet just as he did with the Johnson/Uribe pickup for 2 lower tier prospects.

Adam Smith said...

And right-handed!

Adam Smith said...

I think that Parra is the get. He hits lefties, and I'm guessing that the FO sees TdA, possibly Cuddyer, and hopefully Wright as the right-handed bats they need to balance things out.

bob gregory said...

How about surprising everyone with Stanton?

Come on Alderson, surprise everybody.

Reese Kaplan said...

"Perhaps if they acquire a CF who can bat leadoff and can then move Granderson into a run-producing spot he'll prove me wrong but right now he's on pace perhaps to have his WAR match his salary."

I agree that being in the leadoff spot is not ideal for him and he is not producing enough for what he earns in the role they're using him. That is why I'd like to see them get a real leadoff hitter with real baserunning speed who gets on base more frequently so Granderson can drive him in.

I should have said "if they acquire a CF or SS." I'm still not sold on Tejada and Collins has apparently given up on Flores despite starting him tonight.

Michael S. said...

Then think of what adding another bat (or two) on top of that does

Reese Kaplan said...

FWIW, a typical Granderson year is supposed to provide 28 HRs, 79 RBIs and a .257 AVG with 16 SBs. This year he's on pace perhaps for the latter two numbers.

Michael S. said...

With all the discussion about the Mets pursuit and scouting of Bruce, does this mean Granderson is out after this year? If the Mets get Bruce, that takes up RF through 2017 and I don't see Alderson blocking Conforto until Grandy's contract is up.

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