Mack’s Morning Report – 12-26-15 – Dominic Smith, Juan Lagares, Alejandro de Aza


Good morning –

  Clubhouse Corner on Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith has generated buzz and excitement within the game after an outstanding 2015 effort. He’ll only be 20-years of age when next season begins and by any standard, he’ll well be on his way to becoming the Mets first baseman of the future.

Mack -2016 may be the last year that Lucas Duda plays first base for the New York Mets.

I never thought I would ever say that the Mets would start, at first, a 21-year old with limited home run power, but this looks like the guy that’s going to change that thinking. He doesn’t run (two stolen bases) so that sort of rules out leadoff hitter. He may have been ranked a millionth in home runs for the Florida State League, but he led it with 33 doubles and knocking in 79 runs. That’s impressive for anyone at any age.

Smith may be developing as ‘the new’ kind of #3 hitter that baseball seems to be developing… ‘spray’ gap hitters that get on base and allow other runners to cross the plate. It probably won’t matter if he hits enough home runs to make old farts like me happy, if he gets on base and passes that duty down the line to the #4 and #5 hitter. That wouldn’t have been fine for me twenty years ago, but Kansas City proves to me there are other ways to achieve your goals in this game.

Smith will turn 21 in June 2016. Dilson Herrera will turn 22 in March. Think of how much positive can be solved if both these guys work out. You could have 25% of your field positions solved for 8+ years.

I want to get ahead of this team building’ thing by the end of next season. The rotation seems set for years. Left field and catcher are put to bed. And it would be nice to add second base and first here.

The de Aza signing this week speaks volumes on why teams need to develop their own future through draft picks and international signings.

Building future teams will be a lot easier this way.

There have been some real positive reports out of the Domincan Baseball League as to the working status of OF Juan Lagares’ throwing arm. Anyone that has seen him throw down there say that he looks totaling healed (without surgery). Sunday alone, he threw out runners both at home plate and at third base. Now all he has to do is hit .280 from both sides of the plate and steal around 40 bags a year.

My guess is he much be a little upset that everybody keeps telling him that he has to be platooned with someone. Now he reads that the 'someone' has a one year contract that could top out at $7mil. 

Don't be surprised if this guy comes out of the box with vengeance and winds up playing 'both ways' in 2016. His defense alone warrants this kind of consideration.

The signing of OF Alejandro de Aza before Christmas tells me one and one thing only… that the Mets front office wanted to button up their attempt to fill the hole left with the exiting of Yoenes Cespedes and get on planning to spend the rest of this and next year payingsome of their debt off.

The paying of $11mil a year for a part time outfielder and a relief pitcher that will throw 40 innings all season (Jerry Blevins) seems so shortsighted when players like Cespedes and Justin Upton are still unsigned.  You could have taken this money, add the $12.5mil due Michael Cuddyer in 2016 (before he retired) and you could easily paid for the first year of a multi-year contract to a superstar that will put an end t your outfield needs for years.

Am I the only person that can figure this out?

If I’m wrong, and de Aza has an all-star season, he’s gone after one season because this is a one year deal.

Now, the future of finding a future outfielder in the Mets system is long range at best. Brandon Nimmo just isn’t working out after being a first round draft pick in 2011. That’s now five years ago.

There’s nobody projected to play in Binghamton next season that looks like they will make a difference someday.

The best hope looks to be Wuilmer Beccera who was paid a $1.3mil bonus to sign with Toronto and was a throw-in with the Thor-de Arnaud deal after Sandy Alderson talked the Blue Jays out of him. He did one thing wrong for Toronto. He let his face be hit with a baseball in the beginning of his career there. Since then, he has hit .300 for Kingsport (2014: 19-years old) and .290 for Savannah (2015: 20-years old).

The problem is he won’t be ready until Curtis Granderson is gone and the Mets will still be one outfielder short of a future.


Ernest Dove said...

I love inspiring you to write about my man Dom Smith ;)
He will hit for power.
Regardless, if he hits .300 with 30 doubles I will care less how many balls go over the fence on the fly.

bgreg98180 said...

I have a feeling that De Aza will forever be known as "Not-Cespedes".

Most likely the answer to trivia questions years from now.

Unknown said...

Great article Mack when every other Met blog/writer seems to take the holidays off. Mack where do Cecchini and (for whatever reason the way he hits) T.J Rivera in the plans for next season?

bgreg98180 said...

I wonder how many new and old Met season ticket holders were reading through their purchase agreements this past week, desperately trying to find out if they can return what they bought.

Mack Ade said...

Ernest -

I no longer care how many home runs Smith hits. I only care that he continues to hit the way he does now and additionally bring his all-star defense to first base

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I don't expect the #Twitter crown to ever give de Aza a chance

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

I mean Bob, not Tom

Tom Brennan said...

I am hoping Smith will be a 40/20 man.

Sign Cespedes, trade Lagares to make room.

Why buy season tickets early from a team whose owners will cheap out on you? Cespedes is excitement. Why sign someone exciting when boring is still available?

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

My guess is that TJ and Cecchini will join Reynolds and Boyd as part of the AAAA platooned infield

Your top prospects, by position... and no one will get in their way once they are mature to step up to the next level... are 1B Smith, 2B Herrera, SS Rosario, and 3B, Garcia

Tom Brennan said...

The fans will frequently and adoringly chant Ah..Lay..Han..Dro. De Aza, De Aza. Got a ring to it. He should be a human highlight film in 2016. Excitement unlimited.

bgreg98180 said...

I am going to be very interested in just how many fans show up at the ballpark in May and June.

It was obvious where this year's attendance could have been headed if last year's aggressive mid-season roster build continued.

Does the attendance spike from the end of last season continue?

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

I've never considered the modern day Met fan loyal past the win-loss record.

They will come out in April out of curiosity. Past that, the W-L record vs. division rivals will determine who goes to the game.

bgreg98180 said...

Wright plays only 100 games this year.
D'Arnaud plays 100.

Where does that leave the Mets season?

TP said...

Merry Christmas to all!

Mach, next year may be a bit early for Dom Smith to be manning 1B in Queens, but I do agree that with his talent, we should not be worrying about the HR totals. Keith Hernandez did just fine at that position without piling up the dingers.

Regarding de Aza, this is a very ho hum signing, even a tad deflating, but I think the negative fan reaction is a bit over the top. The Mets essentially got what they needed...a decent CF bat vs. RHP as Lagares insurance. I am not defending the ownership, but I don't see where Cespedes or Upton fit in the field. The bat, yes, but with Conforto and Grandy have the corners, and Grandy at this age is wat too weak in CF.

I do see room for a stud back end ar in the 8th inning, that can step into the 9th should something happen to Familia. Given the available guys that have signed already, I think this is a much bigger point of contention and indication of ownership "cheapness". The offseason isn't over yet, but should they fail or go bargain basement, that will truly reflect business as usual financially, at least to me.

Zozo said...

Hopefully Dom Smith can turn into a Keith Hernandez clone at first and batting third. I will take that in a second.
If they would have signed CESPEDES it would have probably been the last top tier free agent we would have had to sign for many years to come and we wouldn't have lost a draft pick.

2016 sign CESPEDES

2017 trade Granderson (move CESPEDES to Rightfield) and get prospects. Nimmo/Lagares platoon
2017 trade Duda for Prospects-
2017 trade Harvey for boatload of prospects

The money alone saved from trading these 3 would have paid CESPEDES salary next year. Smith would be up either by beginning of 2017 or halfway through the season.

2018 trade a Wheeler and maybe Famaglia if they didn't sign a long term team friendly contract by now. Hopefully you picked up some good prospects to take Harvey's spot and a future backup to Wrights spot.

I have no problem trading these guys a year or 2 before they hit free agency and building are farm system that way as well as keeping our first round picks. Hopefully they can sign 2-3 of Thor, DeGrom, Matz, Wheeler or Famaglia to long term contracts and eventually trade the rest. We can't keep the billion dollar rotation together for ever, but $150 million payroll should not be unattainable any longer while the Mets are playing in NY.

2018 free agent class is going to be INSANE!!! So hopefully we have a continuos build through our farm system in place by then so we don't have to take part in all that Hysteria?

Metsiac said...

He sounds an awful lot like a 1Bman we had about 30 years ago,who is now part of GKR (if he signs a new contract).

He never hit 20 HRs or drove in over 100 runs. In '86 he hit 13 HRs but was one of the reasons we were world champs.

Another 1B of ours was "dumped" on us by the Blue Jays because he didn't hit enough HRs,and he became part of what was sometimes called the "greatest infield ever".

I'll gladly take Dom if he can replicate either of those guys, and his MnL #s indicate he's heading in that direction. I'll be watching his (admittedly inflated) #s this year in Vegas once promoted from Bingo.

Herb G said...


Don't discount John Mora. A solid first half could earn him a promotion to Binghamton this summer. He played a fine CF with Savannah this year. He shows great plate discipline and I love those 12 triples. If they can teach him how to read a pitcher better, he should be a real threat on the base paths.

On another tack, I don't think the payroll situation is as simple as just subbing Cespedes for Blevins and De Aza this year. First off, they needed a lefty specialist, so Blevins was probably the most economical option, and would have been signed regardless of whether we got Ces. So this year's tradeoff is simply De Aza for Cespedes. (And I doubt De Aza gets 550 or 600 PA's this year, so he ain't earning no $7 million.) The problem is in future years.

Next year, Harvey and Familia, and Duda (maybe not so big for Duda if he is still with us) probably get big arb raises, and they are joined in arbitration by deGrom, Wheeler, d'Arnaud and Flores for the first time. That adds about $25 million to the 2017 payroll. And then the following year, if none are traded away, they all get nice sized raises and are joined by Syndergaard and Matz in their first years, as well as the cost of replacing Granderson, if we can't do it from within the organization.

All in all, the bottom line is that they need to maintain a ton of salary flexibility over the next 3 to 5 years, if they are to keep and/or extend current key players, and giving Cespedes 5 years at an AAV of about $23 million inhibits that. I would have loved to see Cespedes back, but that probably is not sound thinking long term.

greg b said...

Mack ur right about Smith a Herrera but also at SS will have either Rosario or Cecchini in 2017. Very young infield.

greg b said...

Herb John Mora seems to be a sleeper in Mets system. Looks like he'll be a solid 4th outfielder with some pop a speed. Bettween Mora,Smith, Rosario, Cecchini, Beccera, Nimmo, Herrera,all should be ready in 2017 Mets will have a nice nucleus.

Mack Ade said...

To all -


the Mets made some veteran upgrades this year in the infield, which will prevent any rookies from making the jump and playing every day.

I see Tejada as the backup SS and 2B

And I see Flores as the backup 1B and 40-game playing 3Bman.

With Herrera, Roario, Smith looming in 2017, I see little future for either Cecchini, Reynolds, or Rivera

eraff said...

Nimmo is not done

Mack Ade said...

eraff -

Nimmo may not be done but 2016 MUST be the year he proves his value as a number one draft pick

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