11/30/16

Richard Jones - Looking Ahead to 2017 Now That Yo is in the Fold

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This is more about what I think the Mets should do vs. what I think they should do. I'm also going just with their current roster and not looking ahead to potential trades. I'll do that during the Winter Meetings.

I'm going to start with the outfield since Cespedes just signed. I'm hoping Cespedes wants to do whatever is best for the Mets. I don't think that is CF. I want him in the lineup as often as possible. I think a corner outfield spot will keep him there more often. That corner spot should be RF and not LF. That's were Cespedes should spend the next 4 years. His arm is built for RF.

Conforto should be our everyday leftfielder. I think he has more trade value than the value he brings off the bench. I believe he is more like the player we saw late in 2015 and in early 2016 than what we saw the 2nd half of 2016. LF is his.

I would give Juan Lagares every opportunity to win the CF position. I value defense. Especially up the middle defense. Bad defense adds to a pitchers, pitch count. Good defense subtracts from a pitchers, pitch count. It also minimizes the number of stressful innings for pitchers. I think most fans can see the immediate impact of extended innings due to poor defense but I think we greatly under estimate the roll over effect of poor defense. The toll it takes on a pitching staff during the course of a year.


Now to the infield.


1st base. I would look to some type of platoon between Lucas Duda and David Wright. I was glad the Mets didn't give up on Duda. I feel there's a Chris Davis in Duda somewhere. Before he got hurt he showed extended periods of great production. He just hasn't been able to maintain it through a whole season. I think Wright is done at 3B. If there is any chance of him contributing with the bat he needs to make the move to 1B. How well he comes back and how well  Duda plays will determine the mix.

2B and SS are all but done with Walker and Cabrera.

3B is Reyes'. He needs to be in the lineup every day. I don't think Wright can handle that position anymore. He can no longer provide the defense that Reyes will and it takes to much out of him and his offense will suffer.


Catcher. I will be able to tell once I see d'Arnaud's 1st swing. If the barrel of his bat is pointing towards the pitcher I would call a vendor from the stands and trade him for a bag of peanuts. Hitting a baseball is hard enough. Having to change the direction your bat is moving in the middle of your swing makes it much harder. Some players can do things that are totally against any type of logic and get away with it. If you noticed, Travis is not one of those player. Rivera is a much better defensive player and pitchers prefer pitching to him. If d'Arnaud is not going to hit, and he will not with his current approach, he has less than replacement player value.

Pitching - 
I'm hoping and I think MLB will be going to a 26 man roster. I would like to see the Mets use that spot with a 6 man rotation if everyone is healthy. Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, and Gsellman. I would give Lugo a chance to win the 6th spot over Gsellman.

I post more about the bench and bullpen during the winter meetings as things start to shape up.
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TRADE - P Logan Verrett

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  1. The get cash from the in exchange for Logan Verrett. And a roster spot.
  2. The traded Logan Verrett to the .
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FLASH - YO

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The Mets have made the Yoenis Cespedes signing official. They'll re-introduce him at a 5 p.m. press conference today at Citi Field.
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Reese Kaplan -- The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

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The internet is ablaze with rumors that the Mets are interested in pursuing J.D. Martinez of Detroit should the Yoenis Cespedes reunion fail to materialize.  Other names mentioned as backup plans include Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Braun. 

Given Sandy Alderson’s history, you would think that this order is actually his order of preference.  Martinez is under contract for under $12 million this coming season and then hits free agency.  McCutchen is a $29 million or so total commitment for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  Braun is the big buck option with $20 million per year due for the next four years (assuming they would buy out his age 37 season by exercising the $4 million out option).  

My question to frugal Sandy is why not trade for one of these alternatives REGARDLESS of what happens in the Cespedes negotiations?  Let’s assume a miracle occurs and you retain Cespedes’ services.  (Apparently it did.  Tuesday afternoon stories appeared saying that Cespedes was back for 4/$110 million).  You’ve already got his money in the budget so that’s a wash for the 2017 payroll.  Trading one of Curtis Granderson ($15 million) or Jay Bruce ($13 million) for prospects would pay for the new acquisition.  Trading both would actually put you ahead of the payroll curve and provide you with an outfield of Cespedes/McCutchen/Conforto (or feel free to substitute Martinez or Braun with Conforto being force-fed into centerfield). 

If you did trade away both of them, you still have left handed power coming from Lucas Duda, Conforto and the switch hitters Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker.  That’s an almost perfect balance of four left handed hitters and four right handed hitters whenever a righty pitches.  You could then have 6 right handed bats and two lefties (unless they do platoons using Lagares on those days with Conforto and Flores for Duda) when lefties pitch.  All in all, that could work and not bankrupt them in payroll.

Like most Mets fans, I’m growing rather impatient that NOTHING is happening while other teams actively try to improve their rosters.  The excuse that they need to wait for the Cespedes matter to settle is a fallacy as evidenced by the payroll examples I just provided.  Granted, they need to fortify the bullpen, keep a close watch on the catching situation and budget for payroll increases for some of the pitchers.  However, doing nothing is not a formula for success, particularly when your team right now is likely worse than the 2016 one-and-done squad from a year ago.

What I think will happen is that if they do manage to retain Cespedes then they will trade Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for minor league prospects (and payroll savings), then go to battle with essentially what they had last year.  Then will enthusiastically spin the return of Duda and Wright as the offensive “improvements” so greatly needed.  They will crow about the infield depth of Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera should injuries occur again.  They’ll add some middle relievers try to compensate for the loss of Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas.  They’ll sign some has-beens to minor league deals as AAA fodder for pitching rotation depth.  

Sounds familiar, huh?
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11/29/16

Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think 3.5

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“So Whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean, what do I think?”
“Whaddya think about signing Cespedes?”
“You know me. I’m the average New Yorker. Born and raised here. Typical fan for a New York NL team.”
“So Whaddya think about signing Cespedes?”
“Okay, Sandy, that’s Step One.”





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Flash -- A Cespedes for the Rest of Us!

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He's back -- 4 years/$110 million.  Multiple sources confirming it.  Now let's see what else they plan to do now that the excuse of waiting for Cespedes is off the table.
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Tom Brennan - YANK, MET PROSPECTS BY THE NUMBERS

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Tom Brennan - YANK, MET PROSPECTS BY THE NUMBERS

Almost any true Mets a fan is concerned as to how the far more historically successful crosstown rivals, the Yanks, are doing compared to our Metsies.

One metric to focus on is:

How do the teams' top prospects compare? Whose are better?

Interestingly, according to MLB prospect rankings, the Mets have the only guy on both teams who graded out overall as high as a "60" on its 20 - 80 scale of ranking talent ...Amed Rosario, our future All Star shortstop.

After that, just going by the overall talent score assigned to each player, the Yanks have the Mets beat, hands down.

Of the Yanks' top 15 prospects, 6 were ranked an overall 55, while the others were ranked overall at 50.

After Rosario's 60 ranking, only the Mets' Dominic Smith rated a 55, so the Mets have 2 guys 55 or better vs. the Yanks' 6.

The Mets' top 15 prospects, besides Rosario and Smith, included 9 guys with a 50 aggregate score, and 4 guys with a 45 score.   

Overall, the top 15 Yanks averaged out to a 52 score, the top 15 Mets at 49.7, a significant disparity.  Since the grades increase in 5 point increments, 2.3 is the equivalent of a half grade higher for all 15 - very significant.

The Yanks have ARMS - they had one guy (Jorge Acevedo) who has been clocked at 103, two others at 99, one at 98, plus two more topping out at 96.  The Mets had Dunn and Szapucki at 98, and two Tommy John guys who can hit around 95 in Kay and Molina.  That's it for the Mets' top 15.

The Mets also had 3 shortstops in the top 15 with low power scores of just 35 ( Luis Carpio, Milton Ramos, and Andres Giminez, although Giminez will likely climb the power scale soon, as he will play as an 18 year old in 2017).

There were, to me, some oddities in MLB's scoring:

Gsellman, oddly ranked as low as 14th Mets prospect, received a 50 or 55 in each individual category, but was given an overall score of 45, so that low overall mark presumably is an error.  

Gavin Cecchini, he of the bucketload of errors, was rated a 55 as a fielder, which seems far too high.  

Wuilmer Becerra was rated a 55 in power but showed very little of same in 2016, so we'll see if that power surfaces in 2017.  Hope so.

And power hitting 1B Pete Alonzo got the lowest individual score of any of either team's Top 15 guys, with just a 30 in speed.  Go, Granny Go.  Alarmingly to me, David Thompson, slightly below the Mets' top 15, also rated a 30 on speed. Slow White Dude Syndrome, I guess, these guys are the next Ed Kranepool and Rusty Staub.  The manager won't be calling too many hit-and-trot plays for them, I guess.

Overall, given the lower overall score of the Mets' top 15, and the low power of certain prospects and lower velocity of Mets' pitching prospects, I would certainly trade the Mets' top 15 to get the Yanks' top 15.  Heck, I'd thrown in the Mets' 16 through 25 prospects to sweeten the deal...but I still don't think the Yanks would be interested.

Lastly, recall that Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez had very recently graduated from the Yanks' prospects list, and the conclusion is clear....the Yankees are stocked and determined to retake the town from the Mets, if not in 2017, then soon thereafter.  Can the Mets fend that off?  We'll see.

That said, overall, I do like our prospects.  We've seen worse.

Here are the links to the Mets' and Yanks' Top 30 prospects, per MLB, if you are so inclined as to peruse:

http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=nym

http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=nyy



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Mack Ade – I Offer Up A Possible Solution To The International Problem

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Good morning.

There is an awful lot of money in professional baseball.

Maury Brown wrote in December 2015 for Forbes

Major League Baseball continues to hit home runs on the business side of the industry. With the year nearly complete, the league can report that gross revenues increased $500 million for 2015, marking the 13th consecutive year MLB has seen record growth. While exact figures are not released, the league will enter 2016 with revenues approaching $9.5 billion.

Yahoo wrote this in January 2016 –

        An analysis of free-agent spending and projected payrolls by Yahoo Sports found that salaries for all 30 teams will near $4 billion this year.

You can do the math, but there seems to be a plenty amount of money to solve the International Draft problems that allow 15-16year old kids to be drafted directly into professional baseball.

Baseball has a potential collective bargaining problem growing and this might be the perfect time to roll both these problems into one solution.

(Update - 


Sources: Owners have backed off the international draft as a requirement for a new collective-bargaining agreement.)

The underage Latin player problem is far different than when I graduated high school at 16-years old (my mother enrolled me into kindergarden late and the powers to be in grade school after reading the results of my IQ test, decided I was a brain and sent me off to what they called ‘SP’ school, where I attended the 7th and 9th grade and skipped the 8th. I then started high school as a 13-year old sophomore and graduated at 16).

This is a far different scenario that the under-educated Latin kids that are under the control of ‘Busteros’, a slimy local version of a baseball agent, as early as them being 10-years old. Parents are forced to sign deals with these slime balls for a huge percentage of any bonus money they get in the International Draft. Both parents and Major League Baseball turns it’s back (and nose) to this process and just writes the checks.

Very few stateside high school baseball players graduate at 16 and MLB makes it very simple to be eligible –

         “High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college”

As we pointed out above, there is plenty of money generated in this sport to solve a problem that would allow, in some team’s case, up to 25% of its organizational talent.

Why not create a more organized local league situation in various countries/regions for the 15-16 year old baseball players that are trying to make it to stateside organized baseball. Build local team housing (if necessary) at the expense of MLB, overseen by a board of both local and stateside officials.

Determine the top 320 15-16 year olds in the country that might have the ability to someday compete stateside in the minor leagues.

Build a 4-field complex where 8 teams, consisting of 30-40 players per team will compete, live, and train.

Offer these kids real agent-like representation at eventual normal percentages to the agent when the kids are given their bonus.

Then, let them join the regular baseball draft in the year they legally turn 17-years old (do everything you can to prove the validity of their birth certificate).

You don’t know what baseball is like in some of these countries. Their infields are the true definition of ‘sandlots’… a lot made of sand and rocks, not grass. And speaking of rocks, larger ones are used as baseballs in some local choose up games in vacant lots.

This doesn’t solve everything. There’s still the smuggling that goes on out of Cuba (will that stop now or will a new Trump tightening over Cuba return the sport to ancient times?) and no one is sure there can ever be anything called ‘organized’ out of Venezuela, but it would allow for the Dominican Republic (and counties like Columbia) to create a better environment for their young players.


There has to be a solution here. If professional baseball can determine the top 100 International players available for each year’s draft, they can also allocate the proper amount of money needed to house and train these kids foe the 1-2 years needed before they would reach equal eligibility with stateside high school players.
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11/28/16

Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think 3

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Nice Young Gentlemen

“So Whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean, what do I think?”
“Whaddya think the Mets need to do to score more runs?”
“They gotta get more guys who don’t have such good manners.”
“Good manners?”
“Yeah, it all starts with the thing on the scouting report that’s called ‘intangibles.’”
“Intangibles? That’s something you don’t know about. How can you grade guys on that?”
“You just hit the bullseye. They can’t grade them, so what they do is sit prospects down and have a nice little chat with them to see what they’re like.”
“What’re they looking for?”
“It’s more like what are they not looking for. They’re not looking for troublemakers. They’re not looking for guys who are going to be a problem in the clubhouse. But they take a wrong turn doing that. They focus on looking for Nice Young Gentlemen. You know, the kind of guy you’d like your daughter to bring home. Someone you can feel sure of taking to the Kiwanis dinner.”
“That don’t sound bad.”
“Certainly looks good as an escort for your daughter. But is this the kind of guy you want holding down the middle of your batting order?”
“Why not?”
“Because these guy’s manners are too good. They hold doors open to let other people enter first. They say ‘Excuse me.’  Do you expect this kind of guy to stare down the opposing pitcher and pop a hundred-mile-an-hour pitch out of the park?”
“It’s happened.”
“Very seldom. But the corporate boys in the front offices of the clubs don’t want to take a chance on anyone that could have bad intangibles. That’s why Reggie Jackson didn’t get drafted by the Mets. Instead they took some guy who disappeared so fast the only thing he’s worth nowadays is about a hundred bucks as a Jeopardy question.”
“So what’s wrong with guys who don’t make any trouble?”
“They can be fine. David Wright Is a nice young gentleman, for example. However I gotta I give him and Terry all sorts of creds for making that clubhouse a place that Cespedes and Colon wanted to come back despite being offered more money.”
“You still haven’t told me what’s wrong.”
“What tosses the fat on the fire is that Sandy’s front office believes in Sabermetrics and the on-base-percentage.”
“Yeah?”
“So they say you gotta look for the one good pitch you can hit in an at-bat.”
“Yeah?”
“So you get these nice young gentlemen up at the plate, who’re supposed to take every pitch except the one they deem proper to hit.”
“Yeah?”
“Is there an echo in here? So anyway the Young Gentleman has a count of two strikes on him, and the pitcher lays one right down the middle of the plate, and the batter reverts to form and says, ‘After you,’ to the pitch while pointing the way into the catcher’s mitt. Then this guy in a blue suit behind the catcher tells the Nice Young Gentleman that he has a reservation for a seat in the dugout. Or in the manager’s doghouse, take your pick.”
“So what fixes it?”
“What fixes it is you draft the guys whose intangibles don’t look like they came straight out of a finishing school. You get someone who’s a little more volatile. You make sure your team has a few more guys like Reggie Jackson. Remember, he labeled himself ‘the straw that stirs the drink.’ People like that will take the Nice Young Gentlemen on your team--I might talk about someone like Lucas Duda, or anybody else who’s prone to take third strikes--and get them to dare the pitcher to throw the pitch, any pitch, and they’re going to chew it up and spit it back out to distance of about five hundred feet.”
“You think that would work?”
“I know that will work. However what is not working so well is my throat which feels terribly parched.” 


Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.


You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.
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Mack’s Morning Report – My 2017 Binghamton Whatever They Are Called Now - SPs

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Good Morning.


My 2017 Binghamton starters –


SP – LHP P.J. Conlon – Conlon is the second coming of Jacob deGrom. Conlon was a mere 13th round pick in 2015 after a nice 3 year career at the University of San Diego. But then, holy moly… he’s gone 12-3, 1.47, 0.94, 41-G, 23-starts for 3 teams in 1.5 seasons. Hell, last season, split between Columbia and St. Lucie, he went 12-2, 1.65, 0.98, in 24 games and 23 starts. Frankly, I’m not going to waste any time here. I will fast track P.J. to the front of by Binghamton rotation and let hi9m and his long johns pitch opening day.

SP – Casey Delgado – If you think Conlon is small rags to riches story at 6-0, take Delgado at 5-10. Delgado pitched for Austin Peay, had a 5.14-ERA in 2013, and wasn’t drafted. He pitched 2014 in the Frontier League and the Mets signed him to pitch in Savannah in 2015, where he went 8-4, 3.17, 1.10, in 17-Games, 16-starts. He now seems to be settling into a good AAAA starter and will pitch this next season at 27-years old. Noting special here, but he was a good sign for the Mets.

SP – Chris Flexen – Those that have followed my writing know that I was thrilled that the Mets drafted this kid in the Flexen was a 2012 prep 14th round pick that everyone knew would take tremendous over-slot money to prevent him from going to college. The Mets delivered and after getting his feet wet with 7 games in 2012, had a wonderful season with Kingsport in 2013 as an 18-year old (8-1, 2.09, 0.94, 11-starts). He’s had some injuries to deal with, but finally put in a full season last year for a full season team (St. Lucie: 25-starts, 10-9, 3.56). My hopes is that Flexen (my 17th Mets prospect going into 2017) will excel this season and become another future major league rotation alternative, or trade bait at worse.

SP – Ricky Knapp – Another long shot draft pick (2013 – 8th round – Florida Gulf Coast University), Knapp is not going to bowl you over with a ton of strikeouts (pro – 4 seasons – 431-IP, 322-K, and, if you throw in his 111-walks (1.30-WHIP), you’de think we didn’t have much of a pitcher here. Well, Knapp just seems to find a way to win in this game… 2015: 8-4… 2016: 13-6. He’s my 16th 2017 prospect, just above Flexen.

SP – Corey Oswalt – The last member of my 2017 Binghamton email would be the ex-7th round prep pick in 2012. Oswalt has quietly put up some impressive numbers in his first 5 pro seasons (25-13, 62-G, 56-ST, 3.82, 1.30). And, he was only 22-years old last year when he went 4-2 for St. Lucie.

This is going to be a very talented rotation.
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11/27/16

Tom Brennan - WHO'S BETTER?

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Tom Brennan - WHO'S BETTER?

Just comparing a few of the Yanks' top prospects vs. ours.  

Whose guys are better? Weigh in.  Met prospects in BOLD:

1) Gleyber Torres vs, Amed Rosario - Rosario is really, really good, while Gleyber tore up the AFL,

2) Greg Bird vs. Dominic Smith - Dom is progressing well, Bird has the power edge.

3) Clint Frazier vs. Brandon Nimmo - Clint have a higher ceiling?

4) Jorge Mateo vs. Gavin Cecchini - no one is faster than Jorge.

We could continue, but do the Yanks have better prospects, and given they already have a rising star in Gary Sanchez, do the Yankees have the talent edge on the Mets?
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11/26/16

Mack Ade - Current Updated Winter Ball Stats

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3B     Niuman Romero          .393   28-AB  0-HR   5-RBI   .526-OBP  1.062-OPS
C       Juan Uriarte                .333   6-AB    0-HR   0-RBI    .333-OBP   .667-OPS
IF      Phillip Evans               .327   55-AB  1-HR  11-RBI  .403-OBP   .894-OPS
CF    Champ Stuart              .300   70-AB  1-HR   5-RBI   .329-OBP   .729-OPS
SS     Gavin Cecchini            .295   61-AB  1-HR  7-RBI   .357-OBP   .816-OPS
C       Xorge Carillo               .262   107-AB  1-HR 14-RBI .360-OBP   .706-OPS
OF    Juan Lagares               .250   12-AB   0-HR  3-RBI   .231-OBP   .481-OPS
OF    Tim Tebow                   .194   62-AB  0-HR  2-RBI    .296-OBP   .538-OPS
1B     Matt Oberste               .184   49-AB  1-HR  8-RBI    .208-OBP   .514-OPS

P       David Roseboom         0.79-ERA   1.06-WHIP   11.1-IP     15-K
P       Corey Taylor               1.93-E RA  0.93-WHIP   14.0-IP     17-K
P       Chason Bradford        3.00-ERA   2.00-WHIP   9.0-IP       13-K
P       Paul Sewald                 3.32-ERA   0.84-WHIP   19.0-IP     14-K
P       Corey Oswalt               3.33-ERA   1.33-WHIP   27.0-IP     21-K
P       Marcos Molina            3.78-ERA   1.38-WHIP   16.2-IP     8-K
P       Nabil Crismatt            4.15-ERA   1.38-WHIP   17.1-IP     14-K
P       Jose Carlos Medina     4.40-ERA   1.53-WHIP   14.1-IP     11-K
P       Darwin Ramos             10.50-ERA 2.00-WHIP  6.0-IP       6-K
P       Luis Mateo                   13.50-ERA 4.50-WHIP  0.2-IP       0-K
P       Jenrry Mejia                15.00-ERA 3.00-WHIP  3.0-IP       2-K
P       Adrian Almeida           47.25-ERA  5.25-WHIP  1.1-IP       4-K
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Reese Kaplan -- Targeting NL Right Handed Sluggers

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Earlier in the week we looked at some potential trade targets in the AL should Yoenis Cespedes opt to sign elsewhere. Now let’s take a look at the senior circuit and what right handed sluggers could be worth considering.
The Milwaukee Brewers control the fate of Ryan Braun, a player I’ve previously suggested could be a nice fit in New York. He’s not exactly a bargain and is on the latter stages of his career. He’s owed an average of $20 million per year for the next four years. This season he demonstrated that even without PEDs he’s still a productive player, having slugged 30/91/.305 with 19 stolen bases to boot – not bad at all for a guy who just turned 33. However, if the Mets are leery of Cespedes’ production as he ages, then I’m not sure they’d embrace Braun (though the $8 or so million per year differential in pay might appeal to them).
The Andrew McCutchen rumors have been fast and furious. His contract is exactly what would appeal to Mr. Alderson – just two years remaining at $14 and $14.7 million years. While he’s not the centerfielder he once was, he could certainly man the position better than Curtis Granderson or Michael Conforto. He’s a combination of batting average, speed and power. However, his relatively modest cost in today’s baseball economy will put him in high demand.
This year may be the prime time for the Diamondbacks to consider trading their slugger Paul Goldschmidt. He has a very modest price tag of just about $10 million per year for the next two years and then a third year option at $14.5 million when he’s just 31. By his lofty standards he’s coming off a down year in which he delivered 24/95/.297 with an astounding .411 OBP. A first baseman of his caliber would enable the Mets to move Lucas Duda as well as considering Dom Smith in a package to upgrade another area. It should take a king’s ransom to get him but Arizona has been known to make some head scratching trades.
Another name to ask Arizona about is Cuban import Yasmany Tomas. He’s another one I was screaming for the Mets to consider when he became available but as usual they wanted proven commodities like John Mayberry, Jr. and Alejandro De Aza. All Tomas did this past season was hit 31 HRs and drove in 83 while batting .272. He’s available to play 3B and OF. The right handed slugger will earn $13.9 million per year AAV for the next four years. At age 26 he’s still got time to improve over this already impressive production.
Having missed most of 2016 due to injury, the Diamondbacks may not be as enamored of A.J. Pollock as they once were. Teams sometimes get frustrated by things they can’t control and DL stints are one of them. Before he got hurt Pollock put together a spectacular campaign playing centerfield – 20/76/.315 with 39 stolen bases. In 2017 he’s set to earn a paltry $6.75 million and is arbitration eligble for the first time in 2018 and a free agent in 2019.
The last so-called can’t miss uber prospect who fell flat on his face was the then Kansas City Royals’ Wil Myers. If you look at his minor league numbers you would expect to see All Star production. In his final year in the minors in 2012 he hit 37 HRs, drove in 109 and hit .314. It had to come as a huge surprise to find him struggling both to find playing time and to deliver at that elite level. He was moved twice, first to the Tampa Bay Rays and then to the San Diego Padres. This past year he finally seemed to put it together at the ripe old age of 25 by giving the Friars 28/94/.259. Given that San Diego’s ballpark is even less hitter friendly than CitiField, he might do even better in the future. He is now hitting his arbitration years and San Diego often is payroll-averse.
Another very low cost option that addresses a need for the Mets is the Marlins’ Marcell Ozuna. He’s twice now delivered in the 25 HR range while demonstrating a Howitzer for an arm while playing CF. He and the Marlins have a rocky relationship based upon how they manipulated his service time in the attempt to control his costs for a longer period of time.
A HUGE roll of the dice is the seemingly perpetually injured catcher Devin Mesoraco of the Cincinatti Reds. He put together a 25/80/.273 season in 2014 at age 26. Since then he’s been doing his Travis d’Arnaud impression, having played just 39 games over the next two years. He was rewarded with a nice contract that will pay him $10 million per year for the next two years. If he could replicate that 2014 season and stay healthy that’s a bargain compared to what a Wilson Ramos or Matt Weiters would cost. However, those are huge “ifs”.
It might be hard to get the World Champion Chicago Cubs to tamper with their roster, but there are a couple of interesting options out there. First I’ve advocated looking more closely at Willson Contreras, the catcher who in a part-time role delivered 12/35/.282 in 252 ABs. The decision hinges on what they foresee for the role played by slugger Kyle Schwarber. If he catches, then Contreras is somewhat superflous. If they have him take the outfield where they have Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Jorge Soler already out there, then one of them might be available. I’m guessing their preference would be to deal away the huge contract given to Jason Heyward but as of now he’s penciled in the replace Dexter Fowler in CF. Zobrist is valued for his veteran leadership, so I’m guessing youngster Jorge Soler might possibly be available. Over 3 years in a part time role he’s amassed 682 ABs. He his hit 27 HRs and driven in 98. The red flag on him is that he’s also struck out 203 times. Believe it or not, to a team like the Cubs he’s not a starter. At age 25 the Cuban slugger might have time to develop some plate discipline.
The Dodgers might pay you to take Yasiel Puig off their hands, but if you look at his numbers (antics aside), he’s frankly not that good. His high water mark was 19 Hrs as a rookie followed by his sophomore year with 69 RBIs. For $8.75 million for the next two years that’s not too bad but then you’d have to factor in the disruption he could be in the clubhouse.
Does anyone appeal to you?
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