1/31/16

Mack’s Morning News – 1-31-16 – Carlos Torres, Leg Issues, Wilmer Flores, Mets Rotation vs. Cubs, Lucas Duda

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Good morning.


I see that RP Carlos Torres was finally released after going through the DFA process. Many Mets officials expected to get a trading chip here but it just didn't happy. I'll miss ole rubber arm. He was a big help, especially in the 2013-2014 season when he posted 3.44, and 3.06 ERAs for the Mets.

Good luck Carlos.


Adam Rubin ‏@AdamRubinESPN  - I'm told both Tejada and Flores' leg issues are fine for spring training. Flores was injured in winter ball.

Mack – This is truly good news. No one in the front office has decided who’s going to start where when it comes to the middle infielders though it does look like these two have been kicked to utility bench to make room for the new acquisitions.

But let’s remember something here.

Everything being discussed from first base to third is about conditions where no injuries occur, a situation that has never happened on this team, like ever.
So, if you’re worried if Tejada or Flores will get a fair amoun of bats… trust me, so will Rosario and probably Reynolds.
Shit happens to this team in the infield.



Adam Rubin ‏@AdamRubinESPN  - Wilmer Flores is going to get a ton of ABs next season between the four infield positions. And that's without an injury to a starter.
                        Mack – I agree with Rubin.

            There will be plenty of bats to go around, especially with the ‘no day is the same lineup’ mentality of Terry Collins.

            I wouldn’t be surprised to see some major time at first base when Lucas Duda slumps. He should also start many games at third base when David Wright needs a day off. Remember… Flores has started 121 games at third.



Noah: Why do you prefer Cubs rotation over Mets? Once you realize that Lester is a terrible fielder who will do worse than FIP (and Lackey bound for regression), decision seems easy. ZiPS doesn’t take into account pitcher fielding (or a pitcher not being able to throw to first).

Dan Szymborski: Mets will probably get a sizable dose of Colon, I don’t think they push Matz too hard, and Wheeler still has uncertainty giving the surgery he’s coming off of

Mack – I think ‘Ski’ is being ultra-conservative about the Mets rotation but I accept what he says. I don’t happen to worry about Matz this upcoming season, but I have to balance that off with my prediction that the signing of Colon will quickly prove to be the wrong thing to have done. I expect the Mets to be scrambling to fill the SP5 slot before Wheeler (please don’t rush him!) comes back.



Jared Diamond ‏@jareddiamond  - National League players who have hit more home runs than Lucas Duda since 2014: Giancarlo Stanton, Todd Frazier, Anthony Rizzo, Nolan Arenado


           Mack – We do tend to slam this guy more than he probably deserves. 

           I will say this... most of the at-bats that Duda has had as a Met have come with him being the only hitter in the lineup that put the fear into an opponent's  pitcher. 

This of course changed when Cespedes joined the team and Duda should continue to get better pitches in 2016 than he had had for most of his Mets career.
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1/30/16

Reese Kaplan -- Deconstructing the Lineup

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And so it begins…players haven’t even yet reported to Spring Training and the first game hasn’t even begun, yet the second guessing season is in midsummer night’s form.  The manager, before even seeing some of his players in uniform, has already proclaimed his preferred starting lineup and it’s surely open to evaluation.

There's are lots of schools of thought on how to construct a lineup.  The conventional wisdom has your high OBP hitters up early, then your run producers and best all around hitters, followed by whomever remains.  Another variation is to set your best hitters towards the top of the lineup so they will get to the plate more often.  Finally there are the left/right considerations that go into these decisions as well.  

Here is what Terry Collins has decided will work best:

Curtis Granderson
David Wright
Yoenis Cespedes
Lucas Duda
Neil Walker
Michael Conforto
Travis d’Arnaud
Asdrubal Cabrera

Granderson batting leadoff was a given.  He delivered (by Mets standards anyway) a high on base percentage and thrived in that role last year.  Yes, he strikes out too much and his batting average is somewhat Tejada-like, but between the baserunning speed and power he’s acceptable.  More importantly, he’s been doing that job for most of the two years he’s been here and the manager is not a big advocate of trying anything new. 

David Wright batting second is curious. Long gone are his days as a potential Hall of Fame slugger.  Nowadays you look for doubles up the gaps and some decent baserunning ability.  Unfortunately, just like the guy batting ahead of him, he whiffs way too much for this role.  Remember, he’s replacing a guy who was one of the toughest in the league to strike out.  What he does bring to the table is the best OBP of anyone in the lineup.  I guess the thinking here is that the first two guys can set the table for the RBI producers who follow them. 

Many people advocated putting Michael Conforto in the third spot in the order as he has the potential to hit for both average and power (like David Wright back in the Shea days).  However, rookies must know their place in a Collins lineup and the thinking probably is that it’s too much pressure on a newcomer to assume this role so early in his career.  Consequently the newly reacquired $27.5 million dollar man, Yoenis Cespedes, gets the nod.  As a veteran of the big leagues with a lot more success on his resume, you can see the logic.  However, it puts back-to-back right handers in the lineup where a Conforto/Cespedes/Duda combo would allow you to make it more difficult for opposing managers to stage ideal relief pitching scenarios.  The saving grace could be Cespedes’ reverse platoon splits which have him performing at a better rate against righties than lefties. 

I don’t know in what universe Lucas Duda is the more prototypical cleanup hitter than Yoenis Cespedes, but then I’m not paid the big bucks like Terry Collins is to make these decisions.  You have a 35 HR guy with 105 RBIs vs. a 27 HR guy with 73 RBIs.  Yeah, let’s pick the one who produces less and has an inferior batting average to boot.  Don’t’ get me wrong.  I’d love for Duda to return to his 2014 production (which still falls short of Yoenis Cespedes) but there’s no guarantee it’s happening.    (And to be fair, there’s no guarantee Cespedes will duplicate his 2015 output either). 

Next comes Neil Walker, a nice player with a little more pop than Daniel Murphy, but not exactly RBI gold.  By virtue of having missed a great many games in his career, though his career high is 83 RBIs, baseballreference.com actually pegs him to average 18 HRs and 81 RBIs per 162 games.  Some feel he’s got something of a chip on his shoulder having been abandoned by the only organization he’d ever called home and he’s going into his walk year.  Consequently he might hit or exceed that 162 game average.  He’s more dominant left handed than right, so essentially you once again have back-to-back same-side hitters after Duda. 

Next comes the aforementioned Michael Conforto.  The young lefty should be solid though perhaps not quite at the level many predict for him.  Still, if you very conservatively tripled his 174 AB major league debut he’d have 27 HRs and 78 RBIs while batting .270.  The power alone would suggest he belongs ahead of Walker. 

Travis d’Arnaud is hitting 7th in this announced lineup.  Yes, we know he’s had trouble staying on the field, but last year he demonstrated what he can do with the bat when he’s there – 12 HRs and 43 RBIs in just 239 ABs.  Double that for some conservative projections and it’s 24 HRs and 86 RBIs while hitting .268.

Protecting the pitcher is one Asdrubal Cabrera, a guy who hit fewer home runs, knocked in fewer runs and hit for roughly the same average as the guy he’s replacing, Wilmer Flores.  While he’s several steps better than Ruben Tejada, he’d better be some kind of a magician with the glove to make up for the $5.5 million salary differential with the incumbent.  Perhaps part of the thinking of the second year was to hedge bets against a regression to form by Gavin Cecchini or a departure by Neil Walker. 

My take on the lineup would be as follows:

Granderson
Wright
Conforto
Cespedes
Duda
d’Arnaud
Walker
Cabrera

I’d still have the two switch hitters back-to-back at the bottom of the order but it’s broken up the first six spots into L/R/L/R/L/R alignment. In addition, it puts the top power producers in better positions to help the ballclub.  

What is your take?


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Mack’s Morning News – 1-30-16 – NL East Favorites, Lineups, Piggybacks Vs. KC, Brian Cole

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Andrew Simon wrote a story for MLB.com that said that the Washington Nationals were favorites to win the NL East, even after the Mets signed Yoenes Cespedes

Even factoring in Cespedes, the Nats project to finish with two more wins than the Mets (88 to 86), according to Steamer. Available at FanGraphs.com, Steamer uses past performance and age to help project future performance. (Obvious disclaimer: The margin for error is high. Example: the 2015 NL East).




Michael Baron ‏@michaelgbaron  - Terry used 138 different lineups in 2015

          Mack – That’s amazing.

          My first thought when I read this was that most of these must have happened early on in the season when the team sucked so much personnel wise, but that can’t be true… 138 out of 162 games must be throughout the season.
          I hope this changes in 2016. Nothing gets a baseball player off to a bad day quicker than coming to the park, walking over to where the starting lineup is, and finding your name in a different place (or not on the list at all).

          My guess right now is Curtis Granderson will be the leadoff hitter and Yoenes Cespedes will bat fourth. From there, who knows…


         
Mike Puma ‏- Mets have 3 off days in first week of regular season. Are discussing a plan to "piggyback" starting pitchers, using 2 in each game vs. KC.

          Mack – You what I like about this?

          I like the fact that the Mets are sitting down NOW and trying to come up with competitive ways of winning the opening series of the new season, especially since it’s against the same team that beat them in the World Series.

          Like my old motto says…’win the series, win the season’.

          I applaud whoever came up with this idea.



 J.J. Cooper was asked who were some of the great baseball prospects that didn’t make it to the pros. He was quick to mention the Mets’ Brian Cole -

You asked about players who didn’t reach the majors, so that doesn’t include the Cardinals’ Oscar Taveras, killed in a car accident in 2014.

Limiting it to players who didn’t make the majors (and played in the 21st century), Desme isn’t the best prospect to not play in the big leagues this century, but he’s close. As good as Desme could have been, Mets outfielder Brian Cole had a chance to be a truly special player.

In 2000 as a 21-year-old, Cole hit .301/.347/.494 with 19 home runs and 69 stolen bases between high Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. He had power, speed, bat control and excellent defense. An exceptional athlete, Cole had turned down a football scholarship to Florida State to play baseball.

Coming into the 2001 season, Baseball America had Cole rated as the No. 61 prospect in the game. He had a solid spring training for the Mets that year. But he was killed in a car accident as he took his car back to his parents’ home in Meridian, Miss., before reporting to Double-A Binghamton to start the season.

Mack – I’m not sure if the Mets still does this, but they always dedicated the intra-squad game that is played before the first spring training game to Brian Cole. I had the pleasure of interviewing David Wright about this prior to the 2008 game and, sadly, I have misplaced the audio somewhere. Maybe my dog ate it. Who knows.

I do remember that Wright told me that he never had the pleasure of playing with Cole but it was a tragic loss that the Mets (at least then in 2008) still felt deeply about.
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1/29/16

Ernest Dove - Breaking Down Mets Current 40 Man Roster

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  We are less then three weeks away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Port St. Lucie.  The season will soon be upon us.  And while the roster may see a few more shifts, especially if taking into account any possibilities of minor league invites wowing the powers that be into a 25 man spot, we are pretty much looking at your New York Mets right now.   But after the Cespedes signing, another 40 man roster move was made, and perhaps there may not be too many more moves made to it going into April.  So I wanted to take a quick look at some of the guys who are on the 40 man, and project to start the year back in the minors once again.

  Going strictly by the numbers, there are perhaps moves to be made eventually to add to the catcher position, where currently there are only 2 catchers listed on the 40 man roster.  I guess we can randomly point towards recent argument that Campbell coulda should woulda been DFA'd to make room for Cespedes instead of Ceciliani but what's done is done.  And I guess, technically, the Mets can still possibly view Campbell as an emergency catcher, but he simply never got any reps at the position last year, and with the Mets once again in line to compete for a playoff spot, you just can't risk having him be the option going into the season.  So I think we should still be on the lookout for a move to be made, unless the Mets simply go through the waiver wire if/when needed to snatch up a veteran and throw him onto the 25 man to backup either TDA or Plawecki.
  In the outfield, in general I find it interesting that as of Thursday afternoon as I write this, the only non 25 man guy listed as an outfielder on the roster is Brandon Nimmo.  Again, Campbell can fill in as a corner outfielder, but Nimmo is the only true outfielder at this time, and I simply don't envision him taking the field as a major leaguer anytime soon, regardless of injuries. The good news is that the Mets have adequate and legit depth on the 25 man with Lagares and De Aza both being capable of playing all 3 positions in the outfield. But again, as is case with the catching position, Its my personal opinion will look towards the waiver wire for veterans rather than promote a possibly perceived AAAA level prospect currently within the organization.

  As far as the current players on the 40 man, the biggest numbers, as they should be, lie with the arms.  However, unlike in years past, I see the current crop of 40 man arms being younger and less experienced then I remember. I don't see as many 'veteran' arms, coming off down years, injuries etc etc passing through forms of waivers and catching on the team to play AAA ball right now.  What I see are arms the Mets have believed in, and they are all rising towards the top of the farm system now with nowhere else to go.

  One inexperienced yet not so young-ish arm is Dario Alvarez. He will play out the season as a 27 year old.  He has thrown almost 370 innings as professional pitcher, but only 5 have come at the major league level. His meteoric rise from A ball to the majors in 2014 was followed by a 2015 season of mostly minors again.  Being a lefty always helps in these situations. And, speaking of situations, it appears that Alvarez one and only way to get back to the majors is if he the 'situational lefty' for the organization.  However, with Mets having again signed veterans such as Bastardo and Blevins to deals this year, plus the pending return of Josh Edgin, it looks at the very least that Alvarez will play out the entire season as a minor leaguer who will be manning the phones and awaiting any possibly word from his AAA manager about an emergency call up due to injury.

  Speaking of 'situational lefties', another arm on the 40 man belongs to lefty reliever and apparent wildcard Mr. Josh Smoker.  Smoker is a former first round pick of the Nationals back in 2007.  The 27 year old has NEVER pitched a major league inning. In fact, if I'm reading Baseball Reference correctly, Josh has never even pitched above the AA level in his professional baseball career. Yet, there he is on the 40 man roster of major league baseball team that is coming off a world series appearance.  And, same as stated with Alvarez, Josh has seen multiple lefty arms signed to the Mets, along with Sean Gilmartin now being under full team control and thus becoming even more valuable to them going forward in regards to use of him.  He's pretty known to strike out a batter an inning, on average, for his entire professional career. However his WHIP is at 1.525 and so regardless of whether he seen as just a one batter at a time guy or not, I see tons of question marks with this young man. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with Josh Smoker, especially if Blevins holds up and Edgin can be healthy and contribute positively in 2016.

    One of the more cut and dry young arms on the roster is 22 year old Robert Gsellman. Robert has been quietly making his way through the minor system of the Mets, and should now be seen as strictly a high minors level guy, who should looking towards getting a taste of AAA ball during the 2016 season.  His strikeout rate is not very high. He as a professional career ERA below 3.00 and his WHIP is in the 1.22 range.  Again, as always, take what you will from a guy and his minor league stats.  The bottom line is the young man appears to be well liked within the organization.  He was able to throw over 140 innings last year, so there is potential to have him continue a solid path up the farm system and be ready for anything in regards to role and needed innings to pitch, and again he is only age 22.  I guess we can argue a bit about the decisions to keep Gsellman while so many other arms were traded away last trade deadline.  Does it mean the Mets are THAT high on him?  Does it mean other teams were NOT that high on him?  That's for God knows who to discuss and evaluate some other time :)

  Another guy who continues to intrigue me greatly is 27 year old Erik Goeddel. The guy with the 'cloudy' elbow MRI and LIVE arm has hit the 40 inning mark of major league experience over the past two years in the organization.  He was the guy, seemingly, who the Mets chose to keep over Logan Verrett to protect from rule 5 draft.  And then hey, guess what, the Mets kept Mr. Verrett anyway eventually.  So now what?  What to do with Mr. Goeddel. He has become the lefty version of Dario Alvarez.  He was needed during crisis, showed some positive major league ability, and then the Mets went ahead and not only signed solid veteran relievers to pretty sizable contracts this offseason, they've also invited other various veterans to try out and look to continue their dreams as well.  As much as a like Goeddel, I still have a guy like Hansel Robles being ahead of him in the rankings of bullpen arms.  I believe Gilmartin and his versatility would also make him more valuable to the team, and at this point we now can't forget that Bartolo Colon can not and hopefully should not be counted on to be in the rotation by end of year, and instead he will be in the bullpen over a guy like Goeddel.  Erik doesn't appear to be eligible for arbitration until starting in 2018 so Mets can continue to have full control over him.  But the question remains, will the Mets keep him on the 40 man during this time period?

 Another very interesting arm on the roster is 26 year old Seth Lugo. Lugo, like many others throughout the organization, appears to be another of those LIVE arms, with a strikeout ratio of pretty much one an inning. He threw 136 innings last year. He was actually a 34th round pick.....34th.......and so obviously the Mets see something very positive in this guy. A guy like this is not protected on a playoff teams 40 man roster to simply fill space in the minors. I'm very interested to see what becomes of Mr. Lugo during the 2016 season.  Barring all kinds of injuries, I fully expect him to be wearing a Las Vegas 51s Jersey the entire year, but I'm curious to see what direction the Mets want to go with him, especially if they are in another pennant race and look to acquire someone big in the trade deadline.

   Then there is Akeel Morris.  I find him very interesting.  He has completely and utterly dominated low minors hitters over the past couple of years.  He was rushed into a random 25 man call up (because he was already on the 40 man) and that didn't go well.  He will now again play out another season of minor league baseball, this time hopefully with no chance of having to be put back into the spotlight on a major league mound during the upcoming season.  He has not even reached 30 total innings of experience at the AA level yet, let alone be ready for the big time.  It appears that the Mets do now have a role for him as a full time reliever, and possible future set up man or closer.  Now time will tell as far as where this new and continued role takes him, and how long the Mets will wait, and protect him on the 40 man, while he continues to his development.

  I think it would make sense to spend limited time discussing arms Rafael Montero and Logan Verrett.  There are two separate talents.  At this point I'm still waiting the Mets organization to decide whether or not Montero is a starter, reliever, long relief, high leverage guy, or simply waiting for him to stay healthy and be traded.  Verrett, I love the guy.  I also don't know what kind of actual role he can have with the Mets going forward. I'd love to see both guys start the year remaining on the 40 man roster, and see had roles are defined and they play out.  But again, we are not talking about a playoff team who aspires to reach the world series again. 

  Another absolute wildcard on the 40 man roster is the now 28 year old Jeff Walters.  Seems like we've been waiting forever for him to move past the injuries and decide what kind of role he can still have for this organization.  Looking only at minor league stats, obviously, he's yet another solid LIVE arm type guy for a bullpen.  He has  a decent K rate.  He has experience as a closer throughout the minor league levels.  He's only given up 11 homers in 236 innings, and gosh darnit the Mets continue to not want to risk exposing him to any kind of waiver wire or rule 5 draft for some reason.  I'm putting my faith in the organization that there keeping this guy around and protected for a good reason.  I don't see how he can ever be a trade piece. So I expect the Mets to make their decisions based on knowledge and expectations that he will given shot at the major league level with them.

  The last name to bring up is Gabriel Ynoa.  For me, personally, he is a complete unknown.  I won't even pretend I guess I know anything about him right now.  What I do know is that, according to basic stats, the guy WINS professional baseball games.  The dude is 47-25 as a professional pitcher. But the guy only struck out 82 batters in 150+ innings last year.  Despite the pretty much low career K rate throughout the minors, his WHIP is still around 1.13 as a whole.  So, either this guy is the king of BABIP luck or there is a just a situation of a guy who has a lot of tools the organization loves and have simply been quietly molding him an having him work on numerous things throughout his career where don't want him to focus on solely getting guys out via strikeout and instead concentrate on all other forms of pitching.

  All in all, I can't help but review my own work, and see how interesting the arms are on this protected roster.  Many guys with limited experience but a version of advanced age. Guys who have excelled in years past and have transitioned over to the bullpen.  Others who are at innings levels which allow for almost unlimited and restriction-less years coming up in 2016 and others who the organization may simply be seeing if they can stay on the field.

  What say you Macks Mets?  Are these all solid 40 man guys?  Should they all be protected throughout the season upcoming?  Who is the first to be taken off if/when disaster strikes at the major league level and trades are made for veterans as needed?
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Mack’s Morning Report – 1-29-16 – OD 25-Man, 2016 Defense, Cespedes in CF, Klapisch

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Good morning.

Here are the current 26 players that the 25-man opening day roster has the be chosen from:

1B  Lucas Duda (Flores)
2B Neil Walker (Tejada)
SS Asdrubal Cabrera - Ruben Tejada - Wilmer Flores
3B David Wright (Flores)
C Kevin Plawecki - Travis d'Arnaud
OF Alejando de Aza - Curtis Granderson - Juan Lagares - Michael Conforto - Yoenes Cespedes
RP Addison Reed - Antonio Bastardo -  Eric Goeddel - Jerry Blevins Jeurys Familia - Logan Verrett - Sean Gilmarton
SP Bartolo Colon - Jacob deGrom - Matt Harvey - Noah Syndergaard - Steven Matz

In addition, relief pitcher Hansel Robles has to complete the 3-game suspension he received last October 1st for throwing at the head of Philadelphia’s Cameron Rupp, so I anticipate there will be one players on this list that won’t be around after the first week.

My guess…Verrett or Goeddel. 

Yours?


It didn’t take long for writers like Dave Cameron to start saying that all the moves the Mets made in this off season suck –

They let Daniel Murphy leave, but instead of going for a better defender, they instead traded for Neil Walker, another bat-first second baseman whose range at second base leaves a good bit to be desired. And rather than pursue a pure shortstop to serve as an upgrade over Wilmer Flores, the team signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a two year deal, despite the fact that he ranks dead last in UZR among qualified shortstops over the last three years. It’s actually possible that the 2016 Mets middle infield will have less range than the 2015 Mets, which is kind of hard to believe.

And now, with the re-signing of Cespedes, the Mets are looking at an outfield defense that will almost certainly be quite a bit worse than the one they ran out there a year ago. With Juan Lagares getting 1,000 innings in center field and the team giving some playing time to glove-first guys like Kirk Nieuwenhuis       and Darrell Ceciliani, the Mets actually ranked 5th in outfield UZR a year ago, and 4th in defensive runs saved from their OFs. The Mets outfield was the main reason why the narrative about the team’s weak fielding wasn’t entirely true.

Mack – As I said last Saturday afternoon, I’m getting off this negative bandwagon until after I see how this team gels together for at least the month of April. And, I’m especially not going to knock Cespedes who was named the American League Gold Glove left fielder last season with 11 defensive runs saves (four more when he became a Met).

As for the middle infield, you’re going to have to show me that these two guys are worse than Flores and Murphy.


But Dave Cameron wasn’t the only Fangraphs reporter that wrote a featured article on Yoenes Cespedes. Jeff Sullivan

I don’t think Cespedes has a chance of finishing at +15, mind you. Something like Ozuna seems more likely, and something like Ozuna would be just fine, because the Mets know Cespedes will hit enough, and his defense shouldn’t be a killer. Despite his physical gifts, he’s not a graceful defender, and sometimes that’ll be exposed when he’s playing in the middle. Hits will drop in, and a few will probably clang off his glove. Yet because of the arm, Cespedes will hold his share of runners, and he should also throw a few out. He should have the arm that Lagares, last year, had taken away from him. So I don’t quite think we’re looking at another Choo. And, one more time, that Choo team won 90 games anyway. That’s what the Mets’ll be shooting for.

If, for whatever reason, the arm just doesn’t carry over to center, that’ll be a thing. Lagares is still around, however, and that’s helpful. And Cespedes is going to have time to work on his routes and to work on his reads, and this is an opportunity he hasn’t really had. This spring will be nothing like spring 2012, so he ought to look more polished. He’s never going to look that polished, defensively. But the power arm makes up for defensive shortcomings, just as the power bat makes up for offensive shortcomings. Yoenis Cespedes is a hell of a powerful player.
                   
                     Mack – Frankly, I think this is the best problem the Mets ever had.
I would start most games with Conforto in LF and Cespedes in CF. I would then change this for the last three innings to Cespedes in LF and Lagares in CF. I would use de Aza as my first PH bat off the bench.
                   
                      But that’s just me…



          But mostly, the Mets have money again. Real money. I may have to lie down.


Mack – I never thought I would ever read a Mets article by this guy that was both pro-Mets and pro-Wilpon. You may want to reprint this one and say it fur further reference. It’s something we may not see for a long time.
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1/28/16

Winter League Results 1.27.2016 | Magallanes Pushed to Brink of Elimination, Santurce 1 Game Away from Repeating

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Mexican Pacific League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Season Complete.
[Venados de Mazatlan Wins 2015-16 Championship]


Venezuela Professional Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Navegantes del Magallanes 1 - 6 Tigres de Aragua [Tigres lead Series 3-2]

  • DH Jairo Perez: 0 for 4



Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Season Complete.
[Leones del Escogido Wins 2015-16 Championship]



Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Cangrejeros de Santurce 3 - 2 Indios de Mayaguez [Santurce Leads Series 3-2]
  • DH Johnny Monell: 0 for 5
  • 3B T.J. Rivera: 1 for 4
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The Morning Report 1.28.2016 | Collins Setting High Expectations for 2016, Edgin Unlikely to Begin 2016 Season Until May, Potential Trade Match-up with Cardinals.

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Maria Guardado NJ Advance MediaComing off a World Series appearance and armed with one of the best starting rotations in baseball, the Mets will enter the 2016 season with high expectations. Even manager Terry Collins plans to hold his club to an elite standard with the hopes of steering the Mets back to the Fall Classic. "We've got to go back,'' Collins said. "Let's win it all. You got to have those expectations. If you are afraid of it, you are in the wrong sport. You talk about goals in baseball, there is no bigger goal, and until you get to the World Series, you don't really understand how much fun it is.''

(Chris Soto: Terry Collins is correctly putting high expectations on the 2016 season. We as Mets fans have had a taste of the glory and fun that comes with a World Series appearance and we will rightfully feel spoiled enough to demand another one. Should a 100-62 record with a loss in the NLCS a failed season? No of course not....but with us having a better team than last year when we DID make the World Series....it sure as heck will FEEL that way.)



David Hong | Metsmerized OnlineAccording to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Edgin is on pace to return about a month into the season and the Mets are anticipating his return to be around May 1. Edgin was the team’s top left-handed reliever in 2014, when he posted a 1.32 ERA with 28 strikeouts over 27 1/3 innings. The Mets re-signed fellow southpaw Jerry Blevins this offseason and he will be the primary lefty specialist until Edgin returns. The Mets also recently signed left-hander Antonio Bastardo to a two-year, $12 million dollar deal.

(Chris Soto: I'm not sure why but I was under the assumption all off-season that Edgin would be ready to go come 4/1. I understand now the Front Office's desire to acquire another solid left handed option......it was actually a need. When the Mets got off to that fast start early in the season, Collins was taking advantage of a 3 lefty bullpen. He will do so once again with Gilmartin being the low leverage lefty, Blevins the high leverage lefty, and Bastardo as the 8th inning guy who can face lefties or righties.)


HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • According to Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Cardinals aren’t exactly certain of when Yadier Molina will be healthy enough to make his 2016 debut. Molina underwent thumb surgery back in October and had to undergo a second operation in December after the first one did not fully correct the ligament issue.
    • This is interesting news of note because the Cardinals do not have an internal replacement for Molina. While Travis d'Arnaud is certainly still an injury risk, this can be a strong opportunity for potential discussions between the Mets and Cards for prospect Kevin Plawecki.
  • The Mets announced that they have designated outfielder Darrell Ceciliani for assignment, which will clear clear a spot on the team’s 40-man roster for the newly re-signed Yoenis Cespedes
    • At first glance, it seems like Ceciliani will likely clear waivers and report to AAA-Las Vegas, however, lately there has been a strong history of Mets CF capable players being claimed away from them. 
  • According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, Lefty Eric O’Flaherty is set to throw for scouts in Seattle. He’ll be looking to prove that he’s not only healthy, but has worked out some mechanical kinks.
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1/27/16

Columbia Fireflies Unveil Uniform Jerseys and Announce 2016 Coaching Staff

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The Columbia Fireflies today unveiled their uniform jerseys and introduced the winners of the "Name the Team Contest" at a press conference at the South Carolina State Museum. The Fireflies, in conjunction with the New York Mets, also announced their coaching staff for the 2016 season. The team will take the field at Spirit Communications Park in their home whites on Thursday, April 14, 2016.
The Fireflies introduced all four uniform jerseys that they will wear during their Inaugural Season. The home jersey is white with navy piping and has the "Fireflies" wordmark across the chest, with the iconic Firefly on the right sleeve. The jersey that the Fireflies will wear for road games will feature a grey body with navy piping and navy set-in sleeves. The road jersey will feature the "Columbia" wordmark across the chest and the intertwined "CF"/flame logo on the right sleeve. For batting practice, the team will wear a navy mesh jersey with the iconic Firefly logo on the left chest. Finally, the Fireflies alternate jersey is a neon green-yellow with the "Fireflies" wordmark across the chest and the iconic Firefly on the right sleeve. The team will wear navy belts and socks.
The uniforms were modeled by local high school baseball standouts Josh Hernandez (AC Flora), Coleman Pope (AC Flora), Justin Greider (Blythewood) and Max Lampl (River Bluff).
"We are excited to show our fans what their team will look like on the field," said principal owner Jason Freier. "Our players will be proud to take the field in these uniforms and we are sure that fans throughout the Midlands will embrace the team's look, as they already have our name and logo. We thank the great young players who came out to help us today. We hope to see them on the field at Spirit Communications Park one day."
In conjunction with the uniform unveiling, Executive Vice President Brad Shank introduced the winners of the "Name the Team Contest" that resulted in the Fireflies moniker. Of the more than 2,300 submissions the team received, six members of the Columbia community submitted the name "Fireflies." Those winners are: John Baker, Will Bryan, Ernest Dowdy, Jeremy Gilbert, Rob Grookett, and Lisa Wilcox. Each have been invited to throw out a "first pitch" on Opening Day at Spirit Communications Park, receive a 12-game mini season ticket package, a home jersey and hat, and a framed certificate from Mayor Steve Benjamin and team ownership signifying their naming of the team. 
The Fireflies also announced the team's 2016 coaching staff. Managing the Fireflies in 2016 will be Jose Leger. Leger is in his seventh season with the New York Mets. He was the South Atlantic League Manager of the year in 2015, managing the Savannah Sand Gnats to first place finishes in both halves of the season. Prior to Savannah, Leger spent three seasons managing the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League and two seasons managing the Mets' summer league team in the Dominican Republic. Leger played professionally in the Minnesota Twins minor league system and played college baseball at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA. He resides in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with his wife Estela and their two sons.
"Leger is the perfect choice to manage the Fireflies in our Inaugural Season," said John Katz, Fireflies team president. "Jose has amazing passion and fire for the game, and his players work hard on the field and in the community."
Other members of the coaching staff include pitching coach Jonathan Hurst, hitting coach Joel Fuentes, athletic trainer Kiyoshi Tada and strength and conditioning coach Alex Tavarez. 
Hurst, who lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina, pitched in the Major Leagues for both the New York Mets and the Montreal Expos. He comes to Columbia after spending six seasons with the Kingsport Mets. Hurst was also the pitching coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats from 2007-2008. 
Fuentes is in his 10th year with the New York Mets. He served as the hitting coach with the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League and the Savannah Sand Gnats. Fuentes played professionally in the San Francisco Giants' minor league system from 1997-2003.
Tada is in his sixth season with the New York Mets as an athletic trainer. He spent the last five seasons with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New-York Penn League and the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League. 
Tavarez is in his third year with the Mets, after spending the last two seasons with the Gulf Coast Mets.
"This is a great staff for Columbia," added Katz. "Jonathan Hurst and Joel Fuentes have both spent time with us in the Sally League, and we expect fantastic pitching, explosive hitting and a sturdy defense."
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Winter League Results 1.26.2016 | Leones del Escogido Win Dominican League Championship, Mayaguez Shut Down by Santurce Bullpen in PR Championship

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Mexican Pacific League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Season Complete.
[Venados de Mazatlan Wins 2015-16 Championship]


Venezuela Professional Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- No Games Scheduled [Series Tied 2-2]



Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Tigres del Licey 4 - 8 Leones del Escogido  [Leones del Escogido Win Series 5-1]



Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Indios de Mayaguez 3 - 4 Cangrejeros de Santurce  [Series Tied 2-2]

  • DH Johnny Monell: 0 for 4, RBI, BB
  • 3B T.J. Rivera: 0 for 5
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Reese Kaplan -- What a Difference a Year Makes

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Sometimes we get so close to a problem that we can’t step back and see it the way less biased eyes view the exact same tableau.  For all of the euphoria surrounding the surprising re-acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, it’s amazing to look back just a year ago and see how far this franchise has really come.

In the 2014/2015 off-season the team was at the proverbial crossroads.  The young pitching was getting ready for the big time with the return of Matt Harvey, the Rookie-of-the-Year in Jacob de Grom and the continuing maturation of Zack Wheeler.  Throw young veteran Jon Niese and the ageless Bartolo Colon into the mix, and the starting rotation had all the earmarks of being championship caliber.  Then a funny thing happened on the way to the post-season.  Zack Wheeler picked up where Matt Harvey had gone the year prior – to the operating room.  This year was not starting off well at all.

Then the bullpen was hit with its own multitude of injuries with former closer Bobby Parnell and surprisingly effective lefthander Josh Edgin were both on the shelf.  Late season additions in 2014 Buddy Carlyle was not healthy and Dana Eveland was nowhere to be found.  Oh well, they still had flashy fireman Jenrry Mejia there to take the ball in every ninth inning.  Well, that lasted all of about a week.  Mejia was nailed for PED usage and Jeurys Familia was going to be pushed into the closer’s role out of necessity, the third man on the depth chart, mind you, behind both Parnell and Mejia.  There were no lefties for the pen until some 11th hour trades brought Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres into the fold.

On the offensive side of the ledger, things were similarly in disarray.  Lucas Duda was coming off a 30 HR season and seemed a lock to lead the offense.  Daniel Murphy was penciled in for his usual slew of doubles while hitting .289 and making countless mental and baserunning gaffes.  Newcomer Michael Cuddyer was hoped to bring his batting title caliber offense to Queens.  Juan Lagares was fresh off a Gold Glove season and looked to have turned the corner enough on hitting to warrant his long term deal to the tune of a $23 million contract extension. 

After that were a myriad of question marks.  Curtis Granderson was often nicknamed Curtis Bay during his lackluster first year in a Mets uniform given his less than stellar output.    Travis d’Arnaud looked like the real deal with the bat but appeared to be made of glass with more time spent on the DL than on the field.  David Wright had devolved from face of the franchise into someone on a first-name basis with every doctor on the eastern seaboard.  Then there was the seemingly never ending shortstop saga which had been proposed to be solved by swapping untested rookie Noah Syndegaard for Arizona Diamondbacks’ glove man Didi Gregorius.  After finally tiring of the replacement level play of Ruben Tejada, they were going into 2015 with Wilmer Flores manning the middle infield alongside Daniel Muprhy.

As the season began it quickly became apparent that scoring runs was going to be even more challenging than it had been in the recent albeit painful past.  Cuddyer, Wright, d’Arnaud and Lagares all performed well below expectations.  Duda was streaky and was a tick under his 2014 breakout year.  Newly acquired bench piece John Mayberry, Jr. was making people long for the productivity of the last lightning-in-a-bottle acquisition, Chris Young.   The Mets’ entire bench was hitting under .200 for much of the first half of the season and at one point in June they featured 3 sub-Mendoza hitters in the starting lineup.  At the time the team batting average was a paltry .235.

Of course, we all saw what happened when the influx of talent arrived…gone were the Kirk Nieuwenhuis’s, Eric Campbells, Danny Munos, John Mayberrys and the like.  In their place were professional hitters like Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.  The pitching rotation was fortified by Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz.  The bullpen solidified with Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed. 

As the team begins Spring Training in preparation for the 2016 season, there are precious few questions to be answered.  Yes, they’d like to see more health for some of the chronically injured players.  They’d like the eventual returns of Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin to be fruitful.  The team could use some more speed and some more defense, but there’s probably enough offense there, coupled with the outstanding pitching, to give them a legitimate shot to win every game.  Much of the dead weight has been expunged.  Even last year’s 16 HR shortstop has been relegated to a bench role which indicates just how far the team has come in terms of strength of their roster.    

What a difference a year makes!
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The Morning Report 1.27.2016 | New York is Cespedes' Home, Clippard's Demands Too High Considering Roster Crunch, Nationals Sign Bronson Arroyo

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Matthew Fitzgerald Bleacher ReportAll-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was a highly coveted free agent this offseason yet chose to remain with the New York Mets instead of changing clubs for a fifth time within three years." I loved my experience with the Mets last season. In a short period of time, my teammates and the fans made New York feel like home, and I truly felt embraced by the entire organization. As I entered free agency, I couldn't deny the pull to come back and finish what we had started last year. I am excited to finally announce that next season I am coming back to join the New York Mets once again." stated Cespedes in a Twitter post via the New York Mets handle.

(Chris Soto: The Mets have very quickly gone from a rebuilding losing team, reeling in debt from the Madoff Ponzi Scheme, unable to sign any free agents of substance [besides Curtis Granderson], and in the division basement.....to a team that players WANT to play for. We have seen it 4 times in the past few months. First, the heartbreaking moment in July when Wilmer Flores thought he was traded, then Zack Wheeler calling Sandy Alderson and pleading the organization NOT to trade him. Then this off-season when Bartolo Colon turned down better multi year offers to stay for the "organization and the fans" and now Cespedes having something he hasn't felt like he has had in his 5 MLB seasons.....a home. The Mets are now a team that players WANT to play for.)



Kenneth Teape | Empire Writes Back- By the time the World Series rolled around, manager Terry Collins had very little trust in anyone outside closer Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed. That problem does not look like it will be a problem this time around, as the Mets retained left-handed pitcher Jerry Blevins and also brought aboard left-handed pitcher Antonio Bastardo, signing him away from the Pirates with a two-year, $12 million deal. Despite the additions they have made, the Mets still had interest in bringing back Tyler Clippard.  But, it does not seem like that is a possibility anymore.

(Chris Soto: The Mets are still interested in bringing on more solid depth for the bullpen. However, from a pitching standpoint...they have no space left on the 40 man roster. We have already seen the club have to cut a reasonably good low to medium leverage RP in Carlos Torres in order to make room for Antonio Bastardo. Any additional MLB roster move may not be much of a value add when you take into the account the pitcher they would have to cut....."well what about Eric Campbell's roster spot?" I agree Campbell's spot should be vurnable....however Campbell is the only MLB experienced IF left on the 40 man roster. The same as Darrell Ceciliani being the only "MLB experienced" OF left on the 40 man roster. Heaven forbid an injury occurs, the club will not want to have to bring up Dilson Herrera or Brandon Nimmo up that early into the 2016 season.)


HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • The Nationals announced that they have signed SP Bronson Arroyo to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Arroyo missed the 2015 season due to recovery from Tommy John surgery, however, he is now 21 months removed from the procedure and figures to be ready to go.
  • The Marlins have accepted the fact the star SP Jose Fernandez is highly unlikely to be on the team beyond his arbitration seasons. Fernandez’s representatives at the Boras Corporation believe that their client can receive upwards of $30MM annually upon reaching the open market following the completion of the 2018 season
  • Cuban import Lazaro Armenteros expects to have a deal in place within the next two weeks. Despite receiving less than superstar-esque reviews in his showcases, a number of teams are still highly interested in signing him.
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1/26/16

INJURY UPDATE - SP - Zack Wheeler

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From Buster Olney... 

• Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow last March: The Mets feel they learned from the conservative, extended path Matt Harvey took as he recovered successfully from his elbow reconstruction, so they will take their time with Wheeler. By the time the team breaks from camp at the end of March, Wheeler still will not have pitched in any games, in all likelihood. At the very least, the Mets want there to be a 15-month recovery period, so at the earliest, Wheeler won’t pitch in the big leagues until sometime around midseason. The depth of the Mets’ rotation will allow the team to hold him back and make him take his time.
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Winter League Results 1.25.2016 | Mazatlan Wins 2016 MPL Title, Jairo Blast Not Enough As Tigres Tie Up Venezuela Championship

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Mexican Pacific League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Aguilas de Mexicali 3 - 4 Venados de Mazatlan [Mazatlan Wins Series 4-1]



Venezuela Professional Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- Navegantes del Magallanes 2 - 6 Tigres de Aragua [Series Tied 2-2]
  • LF Jairo Perez: 1 for 4, R, HR(4), RBI(13), K 


Dominican Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- No Game Scheduled  [Leones del Escogido Lead Series 4-1]



Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League Playoffs
Championship Series
- No Game Scheduled  [Indios de Mayaguez Lead Series 2-1]
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The Morning Report 1.26.2015 | Piazza's #31 to be Retired, Cespedes Projections for 2016, Mets Avoid Arbitration with Mejia and Duda

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Associated Press Sports IllustratedMike Piazza's No. 31 will be retired by the New York Mets this summer. The Mets said Monday the number will be retired July 30 before a game against Colorado, part of the weekend celebrating the catcher, who will be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame on July 24. Piazza's joins Tom Seaver (No. 41) as the only Mets' players whose numbers are retired. New York also retired the numbers of two managers, Casey Stengel (37) and Gil Hodges (14) and No. 42 is retired throughout the majors to honor Jackie Robinson.

(Chris Soto: It's about darn time...to be fair though....the Mets played this perfectly. Everyone knew that it was only a matter of time until Piazza made it into the Hall of Fame. So waiting till it was official to retire his number makes reasonable sense. The club has not been circulating his number either since he left.)


Mets Daddy | Metsmerized Online- It’s incredible to think that Yoenis Cespedes is back with the Mets. Everyone associated with the team should be thrilled and proud for how it all came together. Cespedes’ presence in the Mets lineup obviously makes them a significantly better team than the alternative Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares center field platoon. The question is, how much better? I took a look at three of the more popular projection systems and they all seem to think he’ll hit a little worse than his career averages in 2016:

Steamer: .266/.312/.463 with 26 homers and 72 RBI
ZiPS: .270/.312/.498 with 30 homers and 98 RBI


(Chris Soto: To get the full picture of how much more value Cespedes is going to bring to this Mets offense, one has to also bring in Juan Lagares' projections;

Steamer: .257/.297/.366 with 5 homers and 29 RBI
ZiPS: .261/.297/.369 with 6 homers and 49 RBI

We're talking almost almost 150 basis points of offensive improvement between the ZiPs projections between both players. That a MASSIVE boost to the line-up.)


HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
  • The Mets avoided arbitration hearings with 1B Lucas Duda and RHP Jenrry Mejia by agreeing to 1 yr contracts with both players. Duda will make $6.725M this season which is 75k below the projection MLBTR had for him. Meanwhile, Jenrry Mejia agrees to take a pay cut down to $2.47M for 2016. This amount is 130k below what MLBTR had him pegged for. The only players left to sign via arbitration are CL Juerys Familia and 2B Neil Walker.
  • The Mets are interested in RHRP Tommy Hunter. In 2015, Hunter was decent with the Baltimore Orioles but fell apart down the stretch when he was traded to the Chicago Cubs as he became a big victim of the long ball. He did post a strong 3.3 K to BB ratio that could provide decent value as a low to medium leverage guy.
  • The Minnesota Twins are interested in recently DFA'd Carlos Torres. If the club decides to use a waiver claim on him, they would assume the full value of $1.05M contract that the Mets are on the hook for. They could also wait for the Mets to release him and then sign him via Free Agency which would leave the Mets on the hook for $175,000.
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