Mack’s Morning Report – 3-29-16 – Opening Thoughts, Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey, Josh Lowe


Good morning.

I’m getting ready to make my weekly trip down to Florida to spend the week taking care of my mother-in-law. Sadly, I won’t have any time to go to Port St. Lucie, but, frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much there to see right now. This has been a particularly hard spring training to cover past a couple a great springs by Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard and steady bats by Alejando De Aza and Yoenis Cespedes. The team BA is .265, ranked 21st in the league and the team ERA is 5.28, ranked 23rd. Yes, these are all spring numbers and everything starts over five days from now.

I think you will see the starting field players for the rest of spring training (thought there will be some variations using guys like De Aza and Wilmer Flores) and you’ll continue to see the projected rotation go through their assignments; however, don’t look for a lot of the projected relief pitchers to get major innings this week. Terry Collins will hopefully give the majority of them some arm rest until the two game series against the Royals.
My one guess for the last 25-man position (at least until Hansel Robles is activated), is relief pitcher Jim Henderson (10-G, 8.2-IP, 7-H, 3-R, 2-ER, 2.08/0.92).

As for Matt Harvey’s ‘medical condition’, whatever it is has become serious enough to take him out of the rotation for now.

Mike Puma - Person with knowledge of Harvey's situation says this isn't major.

Frankly, because of the schedule, and the three days off in the first six days of the season, the Mets could go back to not having one of their starters work as a reliever. This would set up the opening day pitcher (let’s assume Jacob DeGrom) have his second start on Sunday, April 10th and Harvey could pitch the SP5 slot on Friday, April 15th (after another day of on the 14th).

Kevin Kernan  - From what I'm hearing sounds like Harvey will miss opening night but it is expected to be perhaps a one start absence

OF Michael Conforto missed Monday’s game, but he’s fine. He was just given one more day off as part of the rehab from his back issues this spring.

Zorak: How long until the Mets OF goes full platoon to minimize Cespedes’ time in center?

Jeff Sullivan: This is the right time for Cespedes to be making his mistakes. He’ll probably get his share of defensive replacements, but I think he’ll be only a slight negative CF.  As for yesterday…I don’t know what that was about. That wasn’t really a talent mistake. That was a I-don’t-want-to-bend-down-for-this mistake. Would’ve seemed clever if Bucknor hadn’t walked all the way out there to make him look like an idiot

Mack – Sully was obviously discussing the ‘ball under the wall’ none play by Cespedes. Me? I write this off as just a lazy move in the spring that Cespedes was hoping to get away from. It obviously isn’t going to happen again unless it involves ivy in Chicago.

As for any defensive loss by playing him in center, that issue is greatly overshadowed by the positives of having his bat in the lineup.

The Los Angeles Angels signed P Deolis Guerra (7.2-IP, 0- 1, 8.22).

The pre-season game this weekend in Las Vegas vs. the Cubs will be televised on Comcast SportsNet and WGN

 Paul West had an interesting idea on how to realign the outfield for opening day –

By virtue of both metrics and proverbial eye test, Yoenis Cespedes is much better as a corner outfielder than he is in center field. It isn’t a matter of tools; he’s got speed, a throwing arm, and reasonable athleticism for a player his size. But his reads can be dicey in center, and he often looks uncomfortable. His closing speed at times makes up for it, but sometimes not…whereas Lagares has great closing speed as well, combined with fantastic reads and a great first step. As for the matter of athleticism, Lagares isn’t as impressive in stature as Cespedes; but he makes diving catches as well as leaping ones, and he runs down balls that look like sure-fire doubles off the bat. And lest we forget, before last year’s elbow issues he had one of the best arms we’d seen on a center fielder since Rick Ankiel. When Juan Lagares is in center field, the pitchers’ margin for error is much different than it is with Cespedes out there.

Mack – Jeez, we’re really that bad that we had to have Rick Ankiel in our outfield?

The Detroit Tigers have released P Bobby Parnell.

P Alex Torres was reassigned to the Braves AAA team.

 Minor League Madhouse did their latest mock draft and here’s who they had as the Mets pick at #19 –

Mistakes can be made by even the best of minds. When Sandy Alderson signed Michael Cuddyer last season, you would have found it very difficult to find any Mets fan that agreed with the move, especially when the team forfeited the first round pick which became Mike Nikorak. Now a year later, with both a top 20 pick thanks to other teams signing QO free agents, and a second first rounder for losing postseason hero Daniel Murphy, the cycle of repopulating a farm system that has seen plenty of graduation over the past few years, will begin.

It took me a while to figure out the best fit for the Mets, but I believe they could, for the time being, kill two birds with one stone by selecting two way player Josh Lowe. The third baseman and right-handed pitcher may be forced to choose a position in the future, but as of now there is a benefit to having that type of versatility. Would Lowe be David Wright’s eventual successor? Would he possibly be a future member of the rotation if any of the Big 5 leave? And it’s not like Lowe is better at either position right now, as a third baseman he does have solid lefty power and professional defense. As a pitcher, he’s got a low 90’s fastball, and developmental secondary pitches, but his frame is suitable for a big league pitcher. Either way, if the Mets take him, they could have themselves a good problem.


Tom Brennan said...

Hopefully, Harvey's health issue is not an embarrassing one.

Lousy spring but on Sunday, they are 0-0.

Lagares should play CF when he starts.

Read that Luis Cessa may make the Yanks' pen.

Parnell being released showed Mets were smart to not keep him.

Good to see Cabrera looks healthy.

Metsiac said...

I believe that Henderson is out of pptions, so adding him to the 40 (and cutting someone else) just to cover Robles' 2 games doesn't work. If he starts off in Vegas he can be the first callup. He can't opt out till mid-June, so we won't lose him until then if we don't call him up.

With all the days off in w÷k 1, Colon can fill Robles' slot.

Reese Kaplan said...

The Mets currently have 39 on the 40 after the release of Honus Tejada. Zack Wheeler can move to the 60 when the season starts, so you already have two open slots without cutting anyone.

Metsiac said...

They still need a spot for a catcher if KP goes to Vegas, and they'll need a spot for Edgin in May. Better to keep someone like Verrett or Goeddel, who are already on the 40 and can be optioned.

Brian Joura said...

The blurb from Minor League Madhouse that says it was very difficult to find any Mets fans that agreed at the time with signing Cuddyer is a classic case of revisionist history.

TP said...

I for one will say that I did not have a problem with the Cuddyer signing. I thought it was a worthwhile risk given that the system was close to top 5 at the time. Yeah, he had a lousy year, broke down, and retired, but for what it is worth he did participate on a team that made it to the World Series, and was recognized for leadership contributions (especially with Conforto) as well.

It struck me that there must have been some falling out between Parnell and the Mets...otherwise, why couldn't they have signed him to the same non-roster deal that the Tigers did? Anyhow, why not pick him up and put him in Vegas? The Mets pen is still iffy, and some of these guys take a long time to recover from TJS (see Ryan Madson).

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