Mack’s Hot Stove Thoughts – 12-18-15 – Neil Walker, Top 5 Replacements for Lucas Duda, Phil Pepe


Good morning.

Mack's Mets ‏@JohnMackinAde  - @AdamRubinESPN  - Adam, would Flores be backup first baseman right now?

Adam Rubin ‏@AdamRubinESPN  - @JohnMackinAde Looking at the roster today, I suppose so.

I found an interesting article on how Mets second baseman  Neil Walker “lost faith” with the Pirates organization after being a native there and a lifelong member of that organization. It’s an interesting look at the player and a reminder that this is a business, not a game.

Bob wrote -  

Ok Mack here is my short list if 1st basemen I would target in the hopes of upgrading from Duda with a more consistent offensive 3rd or 4th place hitter.

1st choice:  Joey Votto

2nd choice: Jose Abreu- should have gotten him as an international free agent

3rd choice: Edwin Encarnacion

4th Choice: Prince Fielder (keep in mind Detroit is paying $6 million every year for the next 5 years bringing the $23 million/yr down to $18 million/yr.  If the Mets could get Texas to pay another $3 million/yr the value would seem appropriate (especially with present contract prices) this choice I did not expect but look at Fielder's low strikeouts and high avg.

5th choice: 3B/1B Todd Frazier: less high on him after looking at his 2nd half decline last year.

Outside the box mention:  George Springer

I am sure there are more Outfielders or 3rd basemen that could warrant consideration to switch to 1st base, but that would be a topic for another time.

What do you think? Any candidates you can add? Thanks for your consideration. Bob Gregory

Mack – First of all, thanks for answering my comment and emailing me your ‘top 5’ list for a possible replacement for Lucas Duda. Let’s dig in -

Votto – Cincy – 1B - will play 2016 as a 32 year old – has an existing contract that ranged from $20mil to $25mil a year through 2023.

Abreu – CWS – 1B – signed 6-year deal with the White Sox through 2019., averaging $11,667 - $13,667/yr. – will play 2016 as a 29-year old

Encarnacion – DH/1B – plays a considerable amount of his games now as a DH – will play 2016 as a 33-year old – becomes a free agent after the 2016 season after being paid $10mil for that season.

Fielder – DH – played exclusively as a DH in 2015 – will play 2016 as a 32-year old – still has to be paid $18mil a year through 2020 (36 years old)

Frazier – 3B/1B – will play 2006 as a 30-year old – really doesn’t play 1B anymore – ARB2 in 2016 ($8.25mil) – free agent in 2018

Springer – only true outfielder on your list – played RF exclusively in 2015 – will play 2016 as a 26-year old - $600K – pre-ARB and under team control until 2021

The one thing that stands out to me here is, other that Springer who right now is an afterthought for first base, all these guys are in the 30+ range, an age you have been very critical about in the past when it comes to considering possible candidates for the Mets’ 3 and 4’ slot in the lineup.

What I agree with you on is their talent level. Duda does not have more talent than any of these guys.

My other thought is simple.

You’re not going to get one of these guys unless you trade away one of the Mets ‘Big Three’ starters. Even Steven Matz won’t bring you in this kind of hitter. The Mets just traded Jon Niese, Rafael Montero is still a question mark for opening day, and Zack Wheeler has an ETA of July 1st. The system has been weakened greatly when it comes to prospects and I’m not ready to open the 2016 season without my current pitching staff in place.

Big bat or no big bat… I want to see how these four guys (and Wheeler) play out for the season.

One of the great New York sportswriters of my generation,  Phil Pepe , died this week at 80 years old.

He covered the Yankees his entire journalist career (New York Wolrd Telegram and Sun, New York Daily News) until he expanded his reach becoming the moring sports guy (15-years) for WCBS radio.

He was truly one of the great ones.


Tom Brennan said...

Flores is the super sub. He could pitch too, except he'd double pump on each pitch.

If Duda would just swing more at strike zero and strike 1, there would no reason to think about replacing him. He'd be .265, 35, 95. Up to him to break bad habit of over-cautious hitting early in counts.

Saw a headline that Mets 2016 World Series victory odds are 14-1. Sign Cespedes and make it 4-1.

Ernest Dove said...

I agree that Mets will not find an offensive upgrade to Duda without losing one of their stud arms.......not worth it.
If guys like TDA, wright don't hold up and Conforto doesn't dominate I'd say mets can still ride pitching into the trade deadline and then send off a prospect filled package to acquire a bat as needed.

bgreg98180 said...

Please keep in mind.
Nobody believed Cespedes could have been acquired last year without giving up one of Wheeler, Syndergaard, Harvey, or DeGrom.

Many Met fans did not believe Niese would be enough to get Walker this year either.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

Cespedes was not acquired for a full season. Big difference.

Zozo said...

The only reason why I don't agree with you is
1)I wouldn't want to deplete our farm system anymore than it already has been done
2) I would prefer we have our team full from top to bottom(Cespedes) from game 1 of the year, so we have the extra runs scored the first half of the year and save the arms of our young studs by not having to pitch in as many pressure situations.
3) it will only cost us money, no draft pick

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

That's 3 reasons.


Zozo said...

Lol I forgot to go back and change it

Anonymous said...

The Mets traded every pitcher of value last season and the only one left was Niese who is now gone as well. Simply put, the Mets cannot afford to trade any more pitchers and don't really have much in terms of position players with great value.

Forget about replacing Duda in 2016. If he falls into the abyss again, you play Flores at 1B until Duda gets his swing back.

Going forward, the Mets must trade Harvey after the 2016 season for a package of high end prospects that represent the future for the Mets. If the Marlins trade Fernandez, that should be the kind of package that the Mets should ask for.

Duda's long term replacement is already in-house in Smith.

eraff said...

They can sign Cespedes and "finish the Roster".... or they can do a Denard Span/Ben Revere "Type" and do a wait on see on Wright's performance and that of some of their young bats. That keeps cash and propspects "dry" for future deals... not a bad plan, but I'd like BOTH a Cespee sign and a chance to deal in the future

bgreg98180 said...

Even so.....at that point in time, the common thought being circulated was that the Mets would need to include one of those untouchable pitchers.

bgreg98180 said...

Please keep in mind..... my suggestions for trading for one of the above players was only after acquiring a player like Cespedes in order to fill both the 3rd and 4th place hitter slots.

The only trade I would pursue above independent of acquiring a Cespedes type player 1st, would possibly be Springer.


Giving up some more of the future + Duda and Lagares would be worthwhile for this.

That Adam Smith said...

I'm not sure what the rush is to trade Duda. He's our only potential 35 HR bat (not too many of those anywhere in baseball these days) and has shown the ability to get hot for long stretches. Last season, it's pretty clear that he was playing hurt at times, probably because the offense was so bad for so long that he (and Terry) felt like he couldn't afford to sit. He's actually a dangerous offensive player and a better than adequate defensive 1B. You're not going to replace him without giving something up. Do we need him to have a better season? Yes. But he's also quite capable of doing so. On a team that still has a few holes, and not much in terms of dollars we can afford to spend or reaources We can afford to part with, I don't see the compelling reason to create another hole somewhere to fix what is probably not broken.

Mack Ade said...

Adam -

I agree that there seems to be a high percentage of Mack's Mets comment contributors that are down on Duda. I'm not his biggest fan but I truly believe the Mets have bigger issues to deal with than replacing him for the time before Dominic Smith comes of age.

bgreg98180 said...

For me....its not a matter of "not liking Duda" or "being down on Duda"
I think Duda has proven what he is.
Yes it is as a contributor in a Major League lineup.

The problem I see, is that I am looking at the major league lineup and noticing 1 leadoff hitter, and the rest would be excellent candidates for 2nd, 5th, or 6th positions in the lineup.

Facing reality, D'Arnaud, Wright, Conforto, Walker, & Cabrerra are not going anywhere. None of them are what I would consider strong candidates for the 3rd or 4th place hitters for the majority of the season.

That only leaves 2 position players that could be replaced or upgraded.

Yes, Duda could contribute wonderfully as a 5th place hitter. Possibly even excel. He has proven he can not be consistent enough to hold down the 3rd & 4th places in a ++ offense.

But.... Conforto, D'Arnaud, Wright, Walker, and Cabrerra could all perform as a positive 5th place hitter as well.
Since none of these other players are going to be traded........

That leaves Lagares and Duda as as the only position players left that could be replaced in order to fill my 3rd and 4th places in my optimized lineup.

Tom Brennan said...

Like your thinking, Bob G

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