Mack’s Hot Stove Thoughts – 12-13-15 – Trading Matt Harvey, Signing Jayson Heyward, Balls In Play, Michael Cuddyer

Good morning.

Gary Seagren asked me a question in one of the earlier comments this week on what I thought would be the value of selling off the services of SP Matt Harvey during next year’s off-season. I forgot to add a few things in my response.

You first have to remember that the 2016 free agent market is a slim one and there will never be a better time to sell off the remainder of time you would control Harvey.
2018 looks to be the last year Harvey will be a Met and his agent, Scott Boras, would shop him around in that off-season regardless what team he was on the previous season.

Next year’s free agent market offers a team two years of service of one of the top pitchers in the game.

The other thing I forgot to say was the decision on whether the Mets trade Harvey will weigh heavily on how well Zack Wheeler returns this season. Let’s not forget the fact that Wheeler came out of AAA projected as more or as talented as Harvey. A renewed Wheeler and a healed Rafael Montero could make the transition much more smooth.

As for Jayson Heyward signing with the Cubs, I’ll make a prediction here.

I think this will go down as one of the biggest flop deals in the history of baseball. Sure, it’s less money and less years as first speculated but it still is a tremendous amount of money for a .300 hitter that occasionally hits a few home runs.

I expect the Cubs to move his Golden Glove to CF because LF Kyle Schwarber needs as much help as he can get out there.

This deal will always be about the money ($23mil a year for eight years). It sure as hell isn’t the stat line which shows that Heyward has only produced the same OPS+ as Mets second baseman Neil Walker (Mets second baseman Neil Walker… has a nice ring to it) over the span of 2010-2015.

Don’t get me wrong… I would love Heyward on the Mets, but not at this cost and, in the long run, this could make the Michael Cuddyer deal look like a steal.

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN  -  Heyward's deal will be a classic test of application of metrics, because there is such a dramatic split of opinion on what he is as a player.

The Mets are not done yet in the off-season. They have done a good job with the infield and I don’t expect them giving anyone $23mil over the next eight years. If they did, I sure would want to see a better production than this guy has generated so far.

Johnny5Alive: Adam – Sandy Alderson doesn’t value defense. Am I the only one paying attention?

Eno Sarris: He’s certainly made moves like that, even if he did give Lagares an extension based on his D. But it could also have something to do with this team in today’s league. The Mets have to have the fewest balls in play in a time in which baseball is seeing the fewest balls in play.

          Mack – Boy, did Eno just say a mouthful.

No one gives the Mets credit for all the balls that don’t get in play because their superior pitching staff strikes out so many batters. They ranked sixth in the National League in 2015 with 1,337 Ks, behind five teams (Cubs, Dodgers, Padres, Nats, Pirates).

Also, did you know that the Mets were ranked fourth in the NL in highest fielding percentage (.986) and only four NL teams committed less errors?

Sounds like a bad rap to me.

As for the Michael Cuddyer decision to retire -

I hope the Mets offer him the bench coach job. I understand his fellow players love him and he deserves the job just for this gesture.

As for the money now available, you all discussed this in an earlier post. There is nothing standing in the way of the Mets now offering one of the + outfielders a $20mil/yr package.

More to come…              


Ernest Dove said...

Im sticking to same theory I've had since last year..............
Teams simply DONT NEED 5 stud arms in their rotation to win a title. They really don't even need 4.
If the Mets starters weren't all on innings limit they wouldn't have pitched Matz IMO.
Heck the Mets, due to lack of OFFENSE took 5 games to beat a two pitcher rotation of the Dodgers.

Im not saying definitely trade one while they're all under team control, and I also understand it helps tremendously to have all 5 arms in the long 162 game regular season, but again im saying they're not all needed in October......

Id rather have 3 all star arms and two additional all star hitters on the 25 man.

Mack Ade said...

Ernest -

You may be right. A lof of teams are built this way.

The kind of hitter the Mets need to fill their #4 hitting slot may only be available through a trade with a quality arm

Tom Brennan said...

Parked by Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. LGM...sign Cespedes.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Parking in Rockerfeller Center? Maybe idling but not parked.

Metsiac said...

Let's not forget that the K totals included the first half, with no Matz or Thor. It should be even better this year. And the D included Cuddy in LF and Wilmer's 14 Es at SS.

As for Cuddy, he said yesterday that he wants to take time off from baseball to spend time with his family. If he wanted to stay with the org, I'd think a MnL mgr job would be a great fit.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ernest, and have said so many times. The Mets should definitely trade a big arm next winter, most likely Harvey. He could bring back a haul.

Looking at the numbers, I don't think the Mets will be able to lock up 3 of these starters. They are going to have to pick two and pick right.

Heyward is a perfect fit for the Cubs, who don't need a HR hitter. He's a good glove, OBP guy. A very fine complementary player. I like him, but I don't think he's a star. But money aside, again, absolutely perfect for the Cubs.

James Preller

eraff said...

Last year I coined a "new Stat", The DANNY. The Danny is not necessarily an "Error" statistically.... actually, it usually is NOT an error. It's a stupid and harmful play, defensively. For instance..... a 2nd baseman rushes in on a Bunt, beating the Pitcher, Catcher, and 1bman to a bunted ball. He finds nobody to throw to at first--- no error---NO OUT...Simple Play!

Beyond Range and Hands and Throws...there's a sepcial category of Bad Defense that applies to a proper execution of a play---whether it's a decision of which base to throw to...or an execution of a shift....or a bad decision on covering a base---maybe you cover when a teamate is already covering---you cause a bad throw by confusing anbother fielder.

The Saber Defensive stats are kind of useful...especially if you don't actually watch the game being played. NOTHING replaces understanding the game and watching it being played----only then can you identify the DANNYS...the horrendously bad plays that are not recorded as errors---yet, they often even more directly cause lost outs and runs to opposing offenses.

The Mets crappy D has lots to do with range---and also with shoddy defensive decisions and execution---- you need to watch to see that.

Tom Brennan said...

Parked on 106 and CPW. I love NY

That Adam Smith said...

I'm a huge Harvey fan, but reality (cough*cough*Madoff) dictates that you pretty much have to trade the guy next winter. Hopefully, that will still leave you with four healthy top of the rotation type arms going forward. The return - assuming he has a healthy Harvey-type year, should be enormous. Figure one young team controlled potential all-star, a solid secondary big- leaguer and 2-3 prospects, one of which should be top 3 in the system he's coming from. If that happens, and you have some combination of Herrera, Smith, Cecchini, Rosario either ready or almost ready, you've truly re-made your team, and should have the money to sign one impact free agent in either '17 or '18, still with one of the best rotations in baseball. I'll hate to see Harvey go, but I have to believe that this is what Alderson sees on the horizon. I can live with that. Just don't trade him to the Yankees.

Zozo said...

Try and sign as many as you can now to deals. Then starting next year trade Harvey and each year after trade someone else if they didn't sign a contract with us. That way we replenish the system and can be a perpetual winner year in and year out.
The Phillies and Braves just did a tremendous job with 2 lesser pitchers than what we have and retooled their teams. You might have to include Familia in that timeline as well if he doesn't sign an extension shortly.
That's kind of why I wanted to trade Granderson and Duda this offseason so we can put some more youngsters in our system.

So sign Cespedes and Span. This would be the only time we have to sign a top free agent for awhile

Herb G said...

I agree that a team doesn't need 5 aces to be a winner. I may be in the minority, but I really like Harvey. He has a swagger that translates into self confidence, which almost all pitching coaches agree is essential to continued success. Maybe that swagger is disliked by his teammates, I have no way of knowing that. But my plan, all along, was to hang onto Harvey. If he refuses to sign long term, trade him after 2017, or let him walk after 2018 and gain a 1st round pick.

Meanwhile, I'd trade Wheeler either at the July deadline next season (if we find we need a big bat to compete with the Cubbies) or better yet, after 2016. He becomes arb eligible in 2017 and will start costing Harvey money. (although that's not a huge amount in Arb #1) Meanwhile, try to lock up deGrom, Thor and Matz long term, so we have at least 3 aces at the top of the rotation for many years to come. And we'd have the 4 of them for the next 2 or 3 years. If we use the two first round picks we get this year wisely, we might have another ace ready to move into the rotation by that time.

Herb G said...

If you are still on CPW, check out my old building (The Eldorado) on CPW between 90th and 91st. Was a great place to live. I love the Upper West Side. Are you making the Grand Tour today?

Metsiac said...

Isn't it a bit premature to be talking about NEXT Winter before we're even halfway thru this one? Let's see how this season goes first, then assess what's needed.

Herb G said...

Re: Michael Cuddyer. He is an excellent clubhouse presence, a positive influence on all young players, a knowledgeable baseball mind, and an all around great guy. He'd make a wonderful bench coach. That said, he has indicated that he doesn't see baseball in his immediate future, and seemed to rule out taking a job with the Mets (or any club) at this time. Instead, he says he wants to spend time with his family. Who could argue with that. Perhaps, in a year or two, if they're smart, the Mets will lure him back.

Farewell, Micheal. We appreciated your significant contribution to the team, which cannot be measured statistically. You will be missed.

Herb G said...

It never hurts to plan ahead. You can always adjust the plan if/when circumstances change.

Unknown said...

I would look to the Boston Red Sox. I would even do it this year if Boston iswilling. The cost of pitching is astronomical. Harvey is coming off a tremendous bounce back season. There are two ways the Mets could approach this. In return they should get Bogarts and Betts or or Bogarts plus the number one prospect who is a second baseman with 30 homeruns capability. They paid 32 million dollars to sign this international player and gave him a six year deal for another 32. either deal would be a tremendous return as they are both controllable for years to come.

Tom Brennan said...

Herb, I passed it by. A sign outside said "Herb Was Here.". They ran out of Kilroy signs? LOL

Metsiac said...

I believe in planning ahead, Herb, but not that far. Looking ahead to OD is one thing; planning for July, in case Wright is hurt or Wheeler isn't ready, etc. i far enough for me. But planning trades for Harvey a year from now is like looking ahead to the 2024 elections after the 2nd term of whoever wins in 2016. Not very realistic IMO.

That Adam Smith said...

Metsiac, it's realistic if you're running a team. The FO needs to take into account who it has under contract, what their payroll will look like, what its needs are likely to be, who they stand to lose (in a case like Harvey, even a few years down the line) and what the following year's free agent class is likely to look like. Obviously, the main focus is on the season in front of you - though if you're in a rebuilding phase, a lot less so - but you're not just constructing this year's team. If you're smart, you're constructing an organization with a long term plan.