9/28/16

Reese Kaplan -- What's Left?

6 comments
Welcome to part 6 of the 11 part series on the 2017 New York Mets roster (assuming the choices exist among the existing personnel in the majors and minors).  Today we'll take a look at who should be patrolling left field for the New York Mets for next year.

Yoenis Cespedes

For whatever reason, a guy with his kind of arm and running speed has been handed what's arguably the easiest of the three outfield positions to play.  Normally you would think that he would be better suited to CF or RF, but his Gold Glove in left and his below average metrics in CF suggest he should remain where he's most comfortable.  The CF experiment was pretty much a failure, though moving him to RF to take advantage of that arm might be something to consider.  However, before defensive issues come into the equation, financial ones must come first.  For his age 30 season he's earning $27.5 million and as far as the Mets are concerned, it's money well spent.  When he's on the field he's the type of hitter like Darryl Strawberry or Dave Kingman that everyone stops to watch until his AB is over.  The deal he signed would actually cut his salary to $23.5 million each of the next two years if he chooses to remain with the Mets.  As a point of comparison, the only more expensive hitters were the recently retired Alex Rodriguez and two time MVP Miguel Cabrera.  That's pretty heady company.  Many feel he's going to exercise his option to become a FA to test the waters.  While it's possible he'll land more than the $23.5 million he would get with the Mets, the issue is probably term of the contract rather than the average annual value.  With the Mets he's only set for 2 more years.  He may look for that contract that takes him into retirement.  Of course, it's also possible he renegotiates his deal with the Mets, too.  However, I don't see him taking 2 years when another club will likely double that duration.  After all, the Mets gave 4 years to Curtis Granderson when he was already 33 and Cespedes will be just 31.  He's obviously the top choice but it is not the Mets who will be making that decision.

Michael Conforto

Is he as bad as the .217 hitter he was when he was banished to Las Vegas?  Is he is as good as the .422 he was hitting when finally promoted back from the PCL?  Or is he what he showed last year in his first taste of the majors -- someone with 30 HR and 90 RBI potential while hitting a respectable .270?  I got pilloried for this comparison, but in Kevin McReynolds' 4 year Mets career he averaged 26 HRs, 90 RBIs and batted .276.  If Cespedes bolts for greener pa$tures el$ewhere, that's not a bad consolation prize at all if he's actually penciled into the lineup on a regular basis.

Curtis Granderson

Just as the Mets put their strongest arm inexplicably in left field, they put their weakest arm equally inexplicably in right field.  Granderson is a streaky, all-or-nothing type of hitter.  Sandy Alderson didn't apparently make much of an effort to deal the man away during this past off season which is partially understandable.  After all, it wasn't until nearly February that they knew Cespedes would be coming back.  He couldn't afford to be down potentially 60 HRs between those two missing pieces,  However, this year he has Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce to factor into the equation for some power, so it would behoove him to work the phones to see if someone would be interested in his final contract year.  If not, LF may be a good new home for Granderson to play.  He's still got power.  He's still got good instincts as an outfielder.  His arm could be hidden a bit with the shorter throws from LF.

Brandon Nimmo

He's another player in the same boat as a Gavin Cecchini and a TJ Rivera.  Are they a product of the inflated hitting stats in Las Vegas or are they for real?  The only way to know is to play but in the midst of a pennant chase he's not going to get too many opportunities.  What we do know from his trial earlier in the year is that he doesn't embarrass himself at the plate. In just under 400 ABs in Las Vegas he hit .352 with 11 HRs and 61 RBIs.  He had a great OBP of .423 after barely missing .400 last year which would have made 3 seasons he eclipsed the .400 mark.  The vast majority of his minor league career has been spent in CF, but he logged more time in the corners with the Mets.

My Prediction

Cespedes' situation is tied at the hip to David Wright.  If the Mets work out some kind of settlement with Wright to buy him out of his contract, then they will likely make a hard run at extending Cespedes beyond 2018.  If not, then Cespedes leaves.  That makes Michael Conforto the default answer, but I'm already on record hedging my bets to set he and Flores both up to succeed by platooning at 1B.  That leaves Curtis Granderson who is likely not going to be moved as the preferred starter.  Nimmo can get plenty of playing time between resting the other outfielders and see if he can play himself into a starting role in 2018.

6 comments:

Thomas Brennan said...

Cespedes' 480 foot shot last night, measured ridiculously at 440, was a resounding reminder to re-sign him no matter what. I think he's got 5 strong years left in him. If he'd been healthy this year, he'd have 40 homers now. Put him in the books as a long term employee.

Bruce's recent awakening shows it ain't over 'til it's over, and we need to see how it all plays out before shipping him out. I could only imagine a line up with him and Duda every day in 2016 when this team has already hit about 215 homers, mostly without the both of them. 250, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Can Nimmo hit for enough power to hold down a corner outfield spot long term? Not sure, but over this short sample size, he looks really good at the plate. He seems like a guy with really nice gap power. I'm guessing he'll be a doubles machine over a full season. If he can handle CF, his value will be significantly higher. Two questions - from what you've seen, is he a realistic option for CF? Where would you bat him in the order ? I know this is dependent on who's around him but based on what you've seen so far. I see him as a 2 hitter - a little speed but not a burner, disciplined and will give you a good at bat.

Eddie Corona said...

there can be no other option but to sign Cespedes regardless of Wrights situation...
And he should never hit Free agency... In the 2 week period where we have the exclusive rights we should sign him to a 2/3 year extension... 4 /100 mil (would be ideal) 5/125 would work too...
Sign him and build around him...
If he signs decide who you want to protect him (Grandy, Duda, or Bruce) trade the other 2... ALmost doesn't matter who you keep... they all are the same player... If this week shows he is recovered I would say Duda (cheapest and doesn't play the outfield) but really doesnt matter...
We need to start having positions players that fit... I would be ok with a Legares, Nimno, Conforto Platoon for CF/RF... All getting about 400 ABs... (DUDA healthy of course)

Wright, Reyes,cabrera, duda, cecchini, rivera, flores should be our INF option next season... With Cecchini and rivera getting reps in the OF if needed...
the biggest question mark for me is Catcher... I would not sign Ramos... He wants Macann money and he is not worth that... So if we can trade for someone great otherwise I guess we come back with the same 2 we have and hope Darnud has one year where he put it together...

Unfortunately we cannot act like we would like from a NY team but we are going to have to a team like Oakland where the lineup is a mix and match every game for 162... At least until Rosario, and Dom smith or Alonzo takes their place... (praying conforto takes RF for good...)

Gary Seagren said...

We HAVE to sign YC no excuses will work. They said they would spend when we won so coming off a run to the WS this "Bruce is a hedge if we lose out on Cespedes" crap doesn't fly...... he simply can't be replaced. Another BIG issue is the Nats signing him as that would be a disaster of biblical proportions....a little over stated but not by much. The upside is we almost HAVE to be healthier next year and we have Lugo and Gsellman to add to the mix. I guess Walker gets a QO and we get a another draft pick and I'd be ok with T.J./Cecchini at second and another year of Duda and Grandy sandwiching YC in the middle and Reyes at leadoff with Cabrera at SS waiting for Amed at sometime next season. Has Asdrubal been amazing or not as rarely we see a new addition (YC aside) perform anywhere near the way he has....way 2 go AC!

Stubby said...

Cespedes is already signed for two more years. And he has said--over and over and over again--that he has no intention of exercising his opt out. He loves it here. He's a big man in the biggest media market in the world. He can make more in New York making less than he can make anywhere else making more. While he may have an agent in his ear, I take the man at his word. If the Mets wanted to extend his deal out of the goodness of their hearts, so be it. But that hasn't been how they operate. I fully expect Cespedes to be back with the Mets next year under the terms of his current contract. Nothing to see here...move along.

Reese Kaplan said...

Money talks and ballplayers walk. Remember the Jose Reyes "If someone offers me a dollar more" scenario.

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