Mets Fan: Hi Jeff. With Denard Span getting scooped up by the Giants, the Mets don't have too many CF options in the FA market. I was hoping they'd sign Fowler...how likely is this now?
Jeff Sullivan: They seem to have their outfielders already. Always some chance they surprise, but I don't think they're ready to quit on Lagares.
Mack – I think the Mets made a big mistake not signing Span (I understand he desired to be a Met), but ‘that’s just me’. Potential injuries aside, he would have given the Mets a legitimate leadoff hitter, allowing Curtis Granderson to return to the 3-4-5 hole.
As for Lagares, others have written about him (Dove) and I expressed my opinion about him there. I expect de Aza will give Lagares the proper amount of push to turn him into a successful every day centerfielder. I also expect his defense will be the difference here and will balance off with Michael Conforto’s huge offensive season. Watch for another Gold Glove here.
John Harper had a story last Sunday on Sandy Alderson’s content with going without Denard Span or Yoenes Cespeces this upcoming season. His thoughts on CF –
Mack – The Mets beat press is not going to let Sandy Alderson off the hook on his early projection that the 2016 Mets salary would come in at ‘around $115mil’. Right now, it’s $109mil.
Frankly, I no longer can figure out the plan for the fifth outfielder. Maybe it’s ‘punt time’ and just promoted someone like LHH Darrell Cecilliani.
Greg B asked –
With spring training about a month away I'd like to know who are some of you guys sleepers in the Mets farm system that all of us will hear about this year.
Mack - Sleepers?
I don't know Greg. We have prtety much identified most of the usual subjects (Flexen, Sewald, Morris, Smoker, Mazeika, Smith, Herrera, Rosario, Guillorme, Beccera, Kaczmarski, Lindsay). Tom and the other guys may have a couple of new names like Max Wotell, but I'll go with the list of names I listed above.
Basically no surprises.
I didn’t need to be a subscriber of the Buster Olney column where he ranked the top ten pitching rotations in baseball. They only showed the top #1 ranked staff before having to register –
1. New York Mets - Rotation candidates: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler
Of the National League's top five hardest-throwing starters with at least 140 big league innings in 2015, the Mets have three of them: Syndergaard, whose fastball averaged 97.1 mph; Harvey at 95.9 mph; and deGrom at 95 mph. No. 4 starter Steven Matz, who has less time in the majors and is the least developed of the New York starters, generally checks in at 94-96 mph as well.
There are a ton of relievers who throw this hard these days, but few starting pitchers can maintain high-end velocity three times through a lineup, and the Mets are lined up to have four guys who can do that, with Zack Wheeler, MLB's fifth-hardest throwing starter in 2014, expected back sometime in 2016 after he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
But as the Mets' starters demonstrated on their journey to the World Series last fall, their excellence is rooted not only in how hard they throw, but in the quality of their secondary stuff and their ability to command those pitches. DeGrom, Syndergaard and Harvey ranked 9th, 10th and 12th, respectively, in the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
They're all young, in the early years of their respective careers and may be together for at least three more seasons, and seemingly have a chance to be remembered as one of the best rotations of this generation. The Mets have the best rotation in baseball now, and there really isn't a close second.