Mack’s Morning Report – 12-27-15 - Arbitration, Daniel Murphy, Dr. Bennet Omalu, Astrubel Cabrera


Good morning.

All Mets fans have tried to come up with some logical reason that the Mets front office will pay a combined $9.75mil per year to a part time outfielder (that can’t field his primary position) and a relief pitcher that will throw, at tops, 40 innings.

You take this same money, add the $12.5mil you saved when Michael Cuddyer retired and you now have over $22mil to pay the kind of quality #3 or #4 hitter readers like Bob Gregory have been calling for all off season.

But, maybe there is a method to this madness. Maybe Mets officials are looking ahead to the arbitration process that is about to begin this off season.

Here’s some of the names they are going to have to deal with:

          2016 – SP Matt Harvey, CL Jeurys Familia
          2017 – SP Jacob deGrom, SP Zack Wheeler, C Travis d’Arnaud, IF Wilmer Flores
          2018 – SP Noah Syndergaard

In 2016 alone, Harvey’s salary is projected to go to $4.7mil in his first arbitration year. That’s an increase of $4.086mil over last season. All six others of these guys have the potential to generate the same level of demands based on their return. That’s a projected increase in 2018 of over $56mil that they are being paid now!

Team salaries is estimated in 2016 to reach $115mil, up from $101mil in 2015, and $85mil in 2014. Sure, it’s not LA Dodger money, but does represent a positive direction at a time when ticket, merchandising and playoff revenue have all gone up for the first time in years. It could easily turn into $170mil in 2018 just with the team they have under their control now.

The signing of 2B-3B Daniel Murphy by the Washington Nationals is just something that Mets fans that were loyal to Murphy are going to have to live with. The Mets did the right thing by offering Murphy a one-year qualified offer and it was Murphy that turned the Mets down, not visa versa. It still surprises me that Murphy didn’t take the one year bloated deal which have proven out to be far more than his services were worth on the open market.

What we, as Mets fans, are left with is, is a simple question. Was one year or Murphy worth more than one year of Neil Walker plus a top 50 2016 draft pick?

I’ll miss Murphy and I sure don’t wish him well playing for the Nats, but Walker and a top 50 draft pick is more than a fair return for someone

Mrs. Mack and I continued our annual trip to the movies this Christmas and saw the excellent Wil Smith movie, ‘Concussion’, the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and the work he did trying to expose the football industry, in general, and the National Football League, in particular, on the adverse effects of head-to head contact that have been linked to the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

How does this relate to baseball and the New York Mets?

Well, you may remember the multiple times I’ve written about how Pop Warner coaches were directing their talent and top baseball talent to the mounds these days, not like the bat rack back in my day. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the prototype pitcher of this game is 6-4 or taller and throws a fastball over 94-mph.

My guess… and it’s only a guess right now… is a parent of some ‘top talent’ that would have wound up pounding their heads against each other as early as 8-years old will turn to other sports, like baseball, to feature their all-star potential services.

What if one future quarterback prospect kicks the helmet in the corner and walks out to the pitching mound instead? What if two speedy wide receivers and defensive backs take their pads off and pick up infield gloves to join their friends on the diamond? And what if two defensive and offensive lineman shed their suit or armor and head to the bat rack with dreams of becoming the next Prince Fielder or Big Pappy?

Football’s loss could instantly result in additional gain for the industry of baseball.

A scout wrote on Asdrubal Cabrera -

“I don’t think he’s a top-15 shortstop, but he’s in the middle of the pack. What I like about in him is his ability to switch-hit, and I like his hands defensively. Everything he gets to, he’ll catch. Range-wise, he’s limited, but he’s still a quality baseball player. He knows how to do little things that help his team win. He may not match up to the kids at shortstop athletically, but he’ll surpass them in baseball intelligence. His brain is top-10. He’s still a very good guy to have on a major-league roster.”


Ernest Dove said...

Im sorry but im still not buying the theory that Mets are saving up to pay the arms longterm.
Nobody believes matt harvey will be a met after he hits the market.
And even if a miracle happens and ALL FOUR other arms stay healthy its just not realistic to think they will all sign extensions with the Mets.
Dodgers have an unlimited payroll and they just let a dominant pitcher walk.
I don't feel like arguing against the Mets offseason signings anymore but I just think they're not really going ALL IN like they did last trade deadline.
And they can't risk doing that deadline thing again without really blowing up the farm.

Tom Brennan said...

Hey Mack, happy holidays to you and the missus.

Those are scary upcoming annual budget numbers. I still think I skip de Aza and Blevins, sign Cespedes and try to figure where to pare down in those years via other moves. Like promoting Smith as opening day 2017 1B and dumping Duda and saving $10 million at that time. Like replacing Walker with Herrera in 2017 and saving $10 million more.

Make like the late 1990s Yanks and set the low bar at 95 wins. Create a legacy for fans to say, we ARE the team. Spin the turnstiles so fast they begin to overheat.

Murph had to go. Cabrera is fine as Long as Wilmer gets 400 PAs.

Tom Brennan said...

Did Jason Bay co-star in Concussion, or
are they saving him for the sequel?

Tom Brennan said...

Hey Ernest (and everyone else out there), happy holidays.

Is it true, BTW, that Mack is giving up the phrase "don't give a bleep" and replacing it with "don't give a TWEET" in 2016?

bgreg98180 said...

Big issue relying upon good health for D'Arnaud and Wright.

Where will the team's fortunes be if both only play 100 games this coming season?

Ernest Dove said...

Happy Holidays Tom.......

Hey maybe in my own fantasy land the Mets give out huge extensions to at least 3 stud arms by giving them the money currently going to Wright, Grandy and the combined contracts of Duda/walker/cabrera.
Then Herrera, Smith and Rosario are the new cheap team control guys and Mets will play the pick em game with choosing the right needed outfielders, bullpen wnd bench guys to round out perennial playoff roster.

Mack Ade said...

Morning all -

Everybody continues to assume that the Mets passed on Cespedes and not visa versa.

I heard they had him a 3/4 year offer which went nowhere.

Whether they did or not, this would be a good time to start getting over him and moving ahead to 2016 without him.

Anonymous said...

I believe that out of the 5 Mets starters -- Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler -- that the club will sign two of them to extensions.

Two, max.

Harvey likely dealt next winter, possibly Wheeler at this coming trade deadline.

That gives the club a couple of years to watch and assess de Grom, Syndergaard, and Matz.

Sometimes injuries make this decisions very easy.

Remember Sandy's Oakland A's. Zito, Mulder, Hudson. They all walked away.

It's a cold, cold business. He's the honey badger of GMs. Sandy don't give a . . .

James Preller

Unknown said...

"I’ll miss Murphy and I sure don’t wish him well playing for the Nats, but Walker and a top 50 draft pick is more than a fair return for someone"

Technically its walker and a top 50 prospect for Murphy and niese

Tom Brennan said...

Frank, I make that "deal".

Mack, I've moved on from Cespy....not very far, only several inches so far, but it is a process.

Nice fantasies, Ernest. Hope they come to pass.

TP said...

Cespedes is a tough one, but let's face it, paying him $100 mil or more is a huge gamble due to his inconsistency and his sometimes lack of playing hard. We really can't grade the Mets on this until he signs a contract. If he winds up with a 4 year deal in the $80 mil neighborhood, I will not be happy with the Mets, since to me he is worth the gamble at that commitment. IF he gets $100 million or more, I can't blame them.

bgreg98180 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zozo said...

It is probably going to be Walker and 2 top fifty picks when we offer Walker the exemption next year as well. We would have never offered Niese the same because he would of probably non tendered or just let walk at the end of the deal. So win win win for Sandy on this move. Thank God we didn't get Zobrist.

Also I believe we only have Wright and Lagares locked into long term deals in 2018. Wrights contract may also be paid by insurance by that time anyways. Off the books by then will be
De Aza
That's about 60 million saved and all those positions probably filled from within if they don't trade our whole farm system and the trade deadline. That's why it would have been beneficial to sign CESPEDES so we don't have to do major upgrading at the trade deadline and lose more prospects.

bgreg98180 said...


Realistically, a 3/4 year offer at this point in time and in this market is an offer that has no intentions of being accepted.

Everybody who thinks a 5yr offer of $100 million (or somewhere in that neighborhood) is too expensive, needs to realize a comparable player in future years will just be more expensive.

Cespedes at this range is no more of a risk than any other big bat out there.

Keep in mind also, this narative of his "bad centerfold play" was never heard before he was hurt. Before getting hurt towards the end of the season there were only compliments made about his range, speed, arm, and ability to catch the ball in centerfield.

Those worried about his effort running out probable outs....valid concern. Remember though, his effort and commitment to continue to play through his injury and never once make a hint of an excuse.

I'm sorry, but an athletic legitimate proven 5 tool player does not come around very often anymore.
If one is available and will not cost an upper echelon contract, a Major League Baseball team is being negligent in not doing everything they can to acquire that player as long as he fit into the club house family.
And ALL reports indicate he fit in VERY well.
Just ask Syndergaard.

James Preller said...

On second base, Frank Anon makes a good point by including Niese in the equation.

I think it's Walker and TWO picks, assuming he walks next year, for Murphy & Niese.

Meaning that the Mets could have signed Murphy, lost two picks (and a couple of million in 2016), and a degree of "flexibility" beyond that. PLUS . . . they would have still had Niese to offer in a trade, possibly solving the CF platoon in a much more satisfactory way (with someone who -- wait for it -- can actually play the position).

I think they really, really wanted those two picks. And clearly they mismanaged expectations on Zobrist, and felt a need to quickly move on after that dream went south.

By signing Murphy, they possibly fill two needs -- 2B & CF -- as well as keep in-house a quality backup for 3B.

There's an argument that by moving Murphy, they upgraded defense, which is true. But later actions -- the poor defenders signed at SS and CF -- show that it wasn't a priority.

I like that Herrera waits in the wings, and will work cheap next year (if he makes the cut, which I believe he will).

In the end, that was a huge factor too: Money, money, money.

The PLAN is clearly this: 1) Keep the great young staff; 2) Roll the dice each year on fill-in pieces and hope for the best. Chris Young, Michael Cuddyer, Jon Rauch, John Buck, Miquel Batista, Marlon Byrd, Frank Francisco, Aaron Laffey, Eric Young, Bobby Abreu, and on down the line. The plan: Let's hope something sticks! This year the roll of the die landed on Walker, Cabrera, and de Aza. Next year, who knows! It's a year-to-year deal.

With this incredible staff, sometimes it will work, and some folks will mistake that for genius.

The Harvey haul will be very, very interesting next winter.

Herb G said...

Hey Mack- Glad you and Mrs. Mack enjoyed your annual trip to filmland. Hope you all have a very happy, healthy and rewarding New Year, with a special emphasis on the healthy. (Although I'm pretty sure we will be in touch via the comments here during the next week.) Now for baseball:

Looks like you and I are finally on the same page regarding payroll. (In my comment yesterday, I assumed Matz was arb eligible in 2018, along with Thor, but I was mistaken. It is 2019, so . . ) You didn't mention the class of 2019, which includes Matz, Conforto, Herrera, Plawecki, Robles and Gilmartin. (whichever of them Alderson chooses to retain) Many of us are sure Harvey will have departed by then, but that is no sure thing. It depends on how much Sandy values him and how exorbitant Boras is with his demands.

The young position players, with the possible exception of Plawecki, are all cheaper to keep than to replace with veterans by either FA signing of trades. I think they will opt to keep at least 34 of the 5 aces, plus Familia and possibly Gilmartin and Robles. If they try to buy out some of the kids' free agent years buy locking them up during their arbitration years, they could be even more expensive in the short run. And although Zozo rightfully pointed out the departure of several vets in the next 2 years, some, like Granderson and a CF will have to be replaced with FA's or trades, since we don't have any "locks" in the pipeline, unless you consider Nimmo a lock. And the way salaries are escalating, it won't be cheap to get replacements. The bottom line is that it is going to get expensiver and expensiver (to quote The Mad Hatter) in the coming years.

On another note, the Murphy/Walker exchange keeps sounding better and better. We not only get Walker and a top 50 pick, but a saving of $5.1 million (the difference between Walker's projected arb salary) and Murphy's acceptance of the QO) and the possible 2nd top 50 pick, which Zozo pointed out. Good deal. (BTW, you can't include Niese in this exchange, since his tradeoff is Colon at $7 million)

Tom Brennan said...

Bob G, Cespedes surely is 5 tool. I went to a late Sept game. He lined a cannon shot off the left field wall, exit speed probably breaking the speed gun,,, out there in a heartbeat. It ricocheted right back to the LF.

As Cespedes turned first, he gunned it....a blur. Looked like world class sprinter speed, faster than Mookie, faster than Jose...and easily beat the throw to 2Nd that no human should have beaten.

I see the Yanks sign so many big guys and wish we could have this once.

Herb G said...

Oops, typos:
"FA signings OR trades"
"3 of the 5 aces" not 34 of them.

Anonymous said...

"Technically its walker and a top 50 prospect for Murphy and niese"

Actually, after they give Walker the QO next year and let him walk, it's..

1 yr of Walker, a top 50 pick in 2016, a top 50 pick in 2017 for Murphy and Niese. Added benefit of breaking in Herrera at 2B in 2017 when he should be fully ready, along with the $10MM payroll relief in 2017.

Mack Ade said...

Herb -

And a happy and healthy New Year to you too, (with the emphasis for both of us on health)

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