Mack’s Morning Report – 8-12-15 – Speed Camp, Champ Stewart, Daniel Murphy


Good morning.

Quick Facts Caught On Twitter -

Travis d'Arnaud slugs .720 when he swings at the first pitch and puts it in play

The Miami Marlins released IF Jordany Valdespin

Rafael Montero gives up two doubles, a triple, and one run in 2.0-IP (44-P, 26-K)

The Mets bullpen has allowed just seven runs over 23.1 innings in their last ten games.

The LA Dodgers are doing a very interesting thing that maybe the Mets should consider the closer they get to the playoffs. The Dodgers, who are last in the majors in stolen bases, is conducting a ‘speed camp’ inside their organization in order to determine the best runners that could be elevated to the parent roster in September and, hopefully, be used both during the pennant race and, possibly, the playoffs.

The Mets, who are 27th in stolen bases, might consider someone like Champ Stewart here. Stuart may only be batting .175 this season (314-AB, St. Lucie) but he does have 61 stolen bases in the past three seasons.

 Michael Baron had some kind words about Daniel Murphy:

He has been red hot at the plate since the start of their series against the Nationals on July 31, hitting .357/.378/.619 with five doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in ten games during that span.

Murphy is enjoying a seven-game hitting streak during which he’s posted four multiple-hit games while hitting .414/.452/.724 in 31 plate appearances during this stretch.

I REALLY am going to miss this guy next season. I know time marches on and there really is no plan that includes him, but he sure has done an awful lot of good things, year over year, as a Met.

Let me ask you a question.

What if Murphy’s agent goes out in the free agency market and finds that there’s no one that’s going to pay him more than the current money the Mets paid him this year. Would you take this guy back on a one-year deal and for how much?

Comment From - Any chance that the Mets will keep Steven Matz (when he gets back) on regular rest to build his innings up for next year?

Dan Szymborski: The Mets keep going back and forth on how they want to sue rotation

Mack – I don’t think it’s that complicated. Matz will join the rotation when he comes back as the sixth member of the rotation and it will be reduced when, and if, innings restrictions come into place for any of the Mets pitchers.
None of this will be a factor until September.

Michael Clair about the three top Mets starters:

Before Syndergaard's most recent start on Saturday night, when he gave up five earned runs in four innings against the Rays, all three of the starters' ERA+ were 135 or higher. To put that in perspective, only two other teams in Major League history have had three starters in their first three Major League seasons put up those numbers: The 1914 Red Sox with Rube Foster, Dutch Leonard and Erie Shore; and the 1906 NL champion Cubs, who were led by Orval Overall, Jack Pfeister and Ed Reulbach.

Mack – True Mets fans know that it’s really been these three guys that have put the Mets into first place his season.

 Ryan Ferguson wrote a really nice piece on the Mets:

In a pitching rich era, the Mets have a 3.24 team ERA, third best in baseball, while the team WHIP, my preferred measurement, is an infinitesimal 1.160, tops in the Majors. Naturally, this group of brilliant starters has elicited comparisons to the great Atlanta Braves under Bobby Cox. However, I truly believe that, collectively, the Mets' rotation has the potential to outperform even Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.
Just think about it. Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard and Matz have a combined age of 24 and a combined 2015 WHIP of 0.977. This is an outstanding building block that allows the Mets tremendous flexibility moving forward, with Alderson basically only needing to recruit position players for the next four seasons at least. Accordingly, it's very reasonable to suggest the Mets have created for themselves a window of sustainable opportunity, and that a deep World Series run cannot be too far away.


Ernest Dove said...

I still love this quirky idea to call up champ stuart in September. .....but it remains unrealistic. ....
Perhaps the more realistic option is to have a (40 man) guy like Tovar fill that role. Plus a guy like tovar can stay in a game for defense if needed too.

Anonymous said...

The Murphy issue will be fascinating. Even after all these years, I still find it next to impossible to guess the terms of future contract deals. But it is clear to me that Daniel Murphy is a good ballplayer, and very useful one, too. What's more, he plays with passion and I like that quality very much. Any team would do well to have him on the roster. The question is: at what cost?

Can he get a 4/$40 million contract from somebody? Look at the Yankees' situation at 2B.

In the end, I conclude what I concluded three years ago. When it comes time for the bigger contract, the Mets need to let him go and wish him well. He's been a wonderful player for this team, but that's a requiem for another day.

James Preller

Tom Brennan said...

Howdy, Mack. Great point on d'Arnaud's success on first strike. I think Duda needs to be very aggressive on strike one as well. When he does, he is really successful.

If Wheeler comes back good or better, with Harvey, deGrom, Thor, Matz, and Wheeler, would we possibly have the best starting 5 in the history of baseball? Let's hope.

Tom Brennan said...

Champ Stuart is a nice idea, but Ceciliani, who at .339 leads Monell and Herrera by a % point, is the man of steal to call up. He is 13 of 16 this year in 59 Vegas games, and 122 steals (75%) in his minor league career.

Jack Flynn said...

"Let me ask you a question. What if Murphy’s agent goes out in the free agency market and finds that there’s no one that’s going to pay him more than the current money the Mets paid him this year. Would you take this guy back on a one-year deal and for how much?"

One year, $4 million. And that's only if you can't get a starting shortstop. Let me explain.

My feeling is that the best Mets infield in 2016 has Duda at first, a healthy Wright at third, Herrera claiming the second base job (hey, gotta clip coupons in this brave new world) and someone currently outside the organization at short. This allows you to use Flores and Tejada as 2B/3B/SS reserves.

But you can't count on Wright being healthy, AND Herrera winning the job, AND getting an SS outside of the organization. Murphy is insurance for that.

Anonymous said...

Jack, if you believe Murphy has that value, we flush it away with an absurd offer of 1/$4 million? You might as well say that you'll let him walk. If you want him, you have to pay market value.

James Preller

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

The potential in 2016 of this team's rotation as being the best ever is very high

Jack Flynn said...

I'm not willing to pay him market value because I don't want him to start for me. That offer only gets considered by Murphy if the rest of the league refuses to sign him to a multi-year deal. The Mets' financial position doesn't allow them to pay much more for a guy they would ideally give no more than 250 PA in 2016.

Unknown said...

Lots of Fodder for me to comment on here:

Forget Champ Stuart - yes he is fast, but you all are sleeping on Tovar - he has put his speed and quickness into game play finally and has 30 steals (albeit in 43 attempts) this year -- oh, and unlike Stuart - he offers premium defense at a premium position AND - most important - he is on the 40 man roster. I fully expect to see Tovar in September - he will be the most important position player promoted.

As far as seeking a SS - Ruben Tejada has a .711 OPS since July 1 - it has been .750 since the AS break -- realize too, this kid is a whopping 25 years old - just feels like he has been around forever. Yes, I am not giving him anything yet, but if he continues to produce a .700+ OPS through the end of the season with above average defense, I am more than okay with him staying where he is - ideally he will progress the next few years as well -- we have to admit that Terry Collins got this one right.

Murphy - his utility value is diminished because he cannot play the OF - he also can't play SS -- in my world, Flores is the infield utility player for the future - unlike Murphy, he can play all 4 infield positions. Also, Flores will be millions cheaper, and has a better upside - I love Murphy, but he is 30 and will be regressing from here -- we are better served to use the $3-5 mm in savings to put toward an outfielder.

Anonymous said...

Re: speed.

Yes, the Mets could definitely use a pinch-runner on the bench during the month of September. As far as I can tell, they don't have an experienced, reliable basestealer that they could throw into a tight situation, so I'd drop that idea. Ceciliani's 75% success rate in the minors is barely adequate.

When (and if) it comes to the playoffs, there's no way that would be a good use on a 25-man roster. As you may recall, Charles Finley famously employed that strategy back in the early 70s, I think. A guy named Washington? But that was during the time of 10-man pitching staffs.

Baseball rosters used to be much more interesting assemblages back in the old days -- room for specialists, guys who could do "one thing" (and only one thing) extremely well. Nowadays, it's all about versatility & multi-tasking. The Joe McEwings of the world have taken over the bench.

James Preller

Mack Ade said...

Jack and James -

I've never been too accurate predicting what is going to go on in the baseball world, especially when it comes to what teams will pay their ballplayers.

I would love the luxury of keeping Murphy as the fill-in utility/DH/PH who gets 300 at-bats and probably hits .280... and we all know somebody is going to go on the DL in the regular season which just makes this approach even more sense.

One year and 4-mil would be okay for me, especially after everything he has done as a Met.

Mack Ade said...

Jack -

BTW -welcome back... long time...

Jack Flynn said...

Too long Mack! I have the site in my Feedly and still read it every day. The last few weeks, I feel like I've been coming out an ice age regarding the Mets.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Then I recommend using Ceciliani in that role

Unknown said...

Nice piece by Ferguson - so, will all the Sandy Alderson haters finally give him credit for building the foundation of a team that can compete for a title for the next 4-5 years?

Yes, Omar deserves credit for drafting Harvey, deGrom and Matz - but it was Sandy and company that added Wheeler and Syndergaard to the rotation - as well as d'Arnaud - and - they were the ones who kept and developed deGrom and Matz

I can never remember a rotation with 5 young cost controlled studs like the Mets will have in the 2nd half of 2016. And, if one of them gets hurt, Jon Niese isn't a bad fall back option - who, has a 2.76 ERA in his last 12 starts - which includes his getting beat up by the Dodgers when his wife was in labor

Anonymous said...

Two things:

1) Baseball's only designated runner: Herb Washington. Here's the link: http://sabr.org/research/designated-runner-herb-washington

2) Yes, Sandy deserves credit. He has also earned criticism. No one is above it. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses, even Omar, even Sandy, even Steve Phillips. The problem is that so many people insist on seeing the world in black and white. When you look at the impact of the simple Uribe/Johnson trade, it's a shame that it took so long. Years. But Sandy acts prudently and eventually almost always does the right thing. With him, my issues usually come down to a matter of pace and urgency. The fans were saying all along that the bench was a joke, that Flores was not a ML shortstop, and that the Mets needed a hitter. It wasn't rocket science, and we were right.

James Preller

TP said...

Morning all,
I have been very critical of Alderson and the ownership, and most of it well deserved, but the reality is that this starting pitching depth is very impressive and very necessary. Many have said that the premium currency is now hitting, but it was, is, and will always be premium pitching. No one player impacts a game more than the guy on the mound with the ball in his hand. And, they need to retain this depth, even if/when Cespedes walks and they need another big bat. Why? Because pitching is very fleeting. Yes, these guys are all dominant at 24-25 years old, but the odds of that sustaining, either due to injury or performance, are not high. Keep all this arms, find places for them with the top 12 MLB staff, and adjust as needed. And, when it is time for the big payday, let another team pay them for their Met performance, a la the Rays. The likelihood of sustained dominance for MLB innings 1,000+ is very rare.

Regarding Murphy, like Cespedes there is just a small chance of a return. But, with DW's back, there is a super-sub scenario than can work, so long as it is affordable. Someone will likely offer him a multi-year deal, and he will need to take it, but a 1 year deal for $8 mil to return to the Mets as 3B, 2B, 1B, PH makes sense for a World Series caliber team. Sprinkle in Hererra, Flores, Tejada around DW and Duda and that is a fine set of infielders with a strong bench.

Michael S. said...

Great points. Omar drafted the guys, he was always known for his eye for talent. It was his personnel management and lack of an overall plan that did him in. There's no way to know, but I'm confident that we would never have acquired Thor or Wheeler and 1-2 of Harvey, deGrom, and Matz would've been dealt at some point. This is Sandy's team, for better or worse.

Harvey looks to be returning to form just at the right time. We need him firing on all cylinders heading into the postseason.

I'm glad Niese is getting credit, I like him as a veteran presence and he's just about the best SP5 in baseball. To me, there's no rush to bring back Wheeler, a rotation of Harvey, deGrom, Matz, Thor, and Niese should still be one of the (if not THE) best in baseball.

Hey, btw, Cecchini with a 4 for 6 night. I hope this kid keeps improving his defense and we can fit him into the IF.

bgreg98180 said...

Regarding Dilson Herrera:
It is nice to see expectations so high for this kid.
However, he hasn't done anything yet to take the 2nd base job away from Flores offensively or defensively.
I know the Mets have been on a bit of a run with young players coming up to the majors and having success.
Be careful not to get spoiled by that and push one of those recently promoted and showing signs of success out of the way just to chase that feeling of another success story.

bgreg98180 said...

Considering the uncertainty surrounding D. Wright, just tender Murphy. If he remains, you pay a bit more than you like, but he offers insurance at 3rd and can always be traded during the season.
If he signs elsewhere you get draft pick compensation.
This really doesn't have to be difficult.....
Unless the team goes back to placing more value in penny-pinching vs. Building the strongest team.

Herb G said...

Tovar is a more realistic possibility than Stuart, although perhaps not as dynamic. Regardless, as a September call up, neither would be eligible for the post season roster.

Cole said...

Herb G,

Why not?

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

Frankly, you make a lot of sense both about Flores and Murphy.

I've always been a big fan of the player you already know and that's Flores. He seems to be becoming a better second baseman every game. Now, he needs to work on his OBP.

As for Murphy, I love your idea.

Herb G said...

I go back and forth on Murphy. Even after the acquisition of Cespedes, he is probably our best pure hitter, although not for power. The chance of him not getting an offer better than his current deal is nil. With Flores and Herrera in the wings, it's probably best to let him walk. Is he good enough to warrant a QO? Would he accept one if offered? It would be nice to get a draft pick if he signed elsewhere but we could wind up with him at 2B again next year.

Herb G said...

Must be on the roster by 8/31 to be eligible for the post season.

bgreg98180 said...

Has anyone noticed that Flores seems to be suffering from the organization-imposed "Watch-the-first-strike-itis" that Duda was a long sufferer of?

It just appears all season long, that Flores is worrying too much about not swinging at a bad 1st strike, instead of trusting the natural instincts that got him to the majors.
In big rbi situations he seems to be much more natural/instinctive.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Steve from Norfolk said...
I can't believe they sent down Plawecki for Recker, What happened to sacrificing development to playing the best 25> This smells like TC. The only logical rationale I can think of for this is to keep him fresh for the September stretch run and the FO plans to call him back up 8/31. Otherwise, it's just dumb. Recker may catch an OK game, but hit hits are too few and far between.
August 12, 2015 at 11:52 AM

James Preller said...

Steve, I have no problem with sending Plawecki down for a few weeks. Not a big deal. He hasn't been hitting, d'Arnaud is slated for the majority of catching, and this is a chance for Kevin to put on his hitting shoes.

Moreover, Recker is something of a personal catcher for Bartolo. I suspect that may be part of the deal here, an attempt to get Colon back on track. The situation with Colon, as we've discussed, is fairly critical right now. He simply cannot continue in the way he's been going.

Stubby said...

The Dodgers looking for speed may be just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if they can't come up with a reliable closer. Maybe THAT'S what they should be scouring their farm teams for.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Thank you, JP. Some angles I hadn't considered I also read he may play some 1b, too.

John Looby said...

Bob's comments on Murph are spot on. I agree whole heartedly.

Mack's Mets © 2012