Mack’s Morning Report – 5-1 – Can You Reload a Bottom Rock?, Michael Conforto, Merandy Gonzalez


Good morning.

Can You Reload a Bottom Rock?

I’m beginning to write this piece while the Mets are getting their ass kicked by the lowly Braves in the 6th inning of Wednesday night’s game. Yeah, this is the same game that Robert Gsellman was going to pitch in, then wasn’t, then was. Nice decision guys on this one.

It’s 6-1 Braves right now… wait… it’s now 8-1… and it looks like after tonight that we will be a half a game out of last place. For the hell of it, I went to the stat page on the MLB site and clicked on team ERAs. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The 3.50 team ERA was the lowest in the National League.

Is this supposed to make me happy?

Now, I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that it is far too early to panic, but stay with me here.

Let’s pretend we are coming up on the All-Star break and we have continued at this breakneck pace of locking up last place in the division we were originally favorite to win. That’s four teams ahead of us that would be needed to pass to make it to the playoffs. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a team ever going from fifth place at the All-Star break to first.

This would be about the time that I would throw in the towel. I would also throw more people that wear Mets uniforms under the bus than ESPN did today to their hockey writers. Again, this is hypothetical and would be based on us looking this bad at the end of May. I can’t say it will happen. It feels like it’s going to right now, but it’s not for sure. Right? It’s not for sure. Right?

So, let’s dig in.

1.     The first to go would be our fearless leader. Remember, I’m Sandy here and my manager is going under the bus before I do. Reese and I have gone back and forth on who is in charge of who starts every night, but one thing is certain. Terry Collins is the man in charge of running this team once they take the field in the first inning. I’ve got the rest of this season and all the off-season to figure out who the next manager will be and whoever that is would just get in my way shaping the future of this team. The manager doesn’t pick the players, he just manages them and I'm not going to spend any more time this season wondering whether I'm going to win this game or that game. The more loses, the better the draft picks. And... if I have a team of young players, I'm going to hire a young man to manage them. You can't expect a man with a flip phone mentality to manager a bunch of ballplayers playing Wilco on their headsets. 

2.     Next, I would call for an immediate meeting with the Board of Directors of this team. I’d make a pot of coffee, dust off my PowerPoint software, and construct a presentation showing that this team is going to lose a shitload of revenue starting yesterday unless steps are taken to put a new nucleus of young meat in the starting lineup regardless of and Arbitration or Super-2 concerns. Stop operating like you play baseball in San Diego.   

3.     My next step would be to send myself an email and blind copy every General Manager of every other team in baseball. I would mark the email confidential and ask the GMs not to share this information with anyone outside their inner circle (good luck on that one…). Then, I would tell them that the Mets have decided to ‘move forward into the future’, which is a PC way of saying I am throwing in the towel. Lastly, I am now available to confidentially discuss the possibility of trading members of my team to them so they can reach their goals in 2017. I wouldn’t state in this email what I’m looking for yet. I’d save that for when my phone rings.

4.     The last part of my email would list the players that are not available in a trade. They would be Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, Yoenes Cespedes, Justin Dunn, Thomas Szapucki, Merandy Gonzalez, and Michael Conforto. I wish this list was longer, but it just isn’t. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy to have back the services of some of these guys, like either/and a healthy Steven Matz or Zack Wheeler, but, if an upgrade was available in exchange for one of them that would make the team better, I would jump at it.

Let me show you an example…

The Cubs have one of the best, most talented, young third baseman in baseball, 25-year old Kris Bryant.

The #4 prospect in their pipeline is another third baseman, 25-year old 3B/1B Jeimer Candelario.

Candelario is blocked by Bryant at third and Anthony Rizzo at first making it close to impossible for him to have a future as a Cub.

He is hitting .309 this year for the Cubs AAA affiliate in the PCL.

      So, what if the Cubs say to me ‘you trade me either Matz or Wheeler, and throw in a MLB ready utility infielder, and you got a deal for Candelario. I could wind up with a quality someone standing next to Rosario for 6+ years. I throw in T.J. Rivera, keep Wilmer Flores to back up first and second, and I pick up the next phone call in.

5.     I then do my ESPN thing. I release Jose Reyes and call up Rosario.

6.     I designate for assignment (in hopes of working out a deal for a minor league prospect) Curtis Granderson and call up Brandon Nimmo.

7.     I place Lucas Duda on the 60-day DL and call up Smith.

8.     I immediately begin a new set of phone calls designed to create general interest in taking players like Granderson, Duda, Neil Walker, and Jay Bruce off both my books and my hands. I’m looking for one of two objectives here. One, to secure high level prospects that can help me in 2018… or two, clear salary that I can use in the off-season free agent maket.

And, this isn’t a ‘first 100 days’ plan. More life the ‘first 100 hours’.

This past weekend's series with the Nats did seem to point the ship back in the right direction... for two games... but that was before the Syndergaard exit.

But remember... this is a hypothetical post about a mid-season plan for a team that looks like they will miss the playoffs.

Yes, it's probably too early to determine this, but I thought I'd throw this out for discussion.

Michael Conforto - 

Here's some well needed good news.

We have a new full time starting left fielder. There is no way this team is going to stop playing this kid, especially after what he did this past Saturday afternoon.

Way to go Michael. They can't take this job away from you now.

Merandy Gonzalez

            You would have to be buried under the above mentioned rock to not notice                 what’s going on down in Columbia, South Carolina these days.

21-year old starter, RHP Merandy Gonzalez, is as close to perfect as you can be. He’s started four games, won all of them, has not given up a run (0.00), has yielded only 15 hits and three walks in 28.1 innings (0.64-WHIP) and has struck out 23.

Gonzalez was signed in the 2012-13 international signing period that produced six ‘bonus babies’. SS Amed Rosario get the most at $1.75mil. P Scarlyn Reyes got the least at $25K. Gonzalez got a bus ticket to the stadium.

Does this mean we have an instant star?

Well, let’s go back to A-ball in 2010. We had a starter that went 7-1, 1.30, 0.94 in his first 13 starts. His name was Mark Cohoon. He was fast tracked for the remainder of that season, past St. Lucie to Binghamton, and never caught fire again. His career was over by the end of the 2013 season.

I’m very excited about this guy and I’m sure he will finish the season in Florida, but let’s revisit this after 10 starts and see if this pace continues.

Reese send this article on Nick Evans


Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, I read that Aaron Judge, a rookie, is now the Yank fans' favorite player. Amed Rosario does not have half his brute power, but he COULD help put fannies in the seats.

Merandy Gonzalez throws about 10 MPH faster than Cohoon, so I don't expect him to hit a wall on his rapid ascension. PJ Conlon, though, a spelling very close to Cohoon, and of the same velocity range, got hit hard yesterday in AA.

Merandy (4-0) is a dandy, and so is teammate Jordan Humphreys who was strong again yesterday to move to 5-0, 1.71, 40 K in 31 IP.

As far as Queens, let the dust settle this week and if the ship starts pulling a Titanic, start trading and releasing.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Well, as I said in the post, my plan would be a mid-season one.

Richard Herr said...

A small nit-pick. I wouldn't just throw Lucas Duda by the wayside. I'd send him off in trade for a B or C prospect.

Gary Seagren said...

Dam Mack great article but as we all know it makes to much sense to happen and we have Teheran to lose to tonight to get May off to a good start. To be down to 1 ace only a month into the season and after the Gilmartin debacle they decide to bring up Montero again instead of trying Pill? Look when you would swap our starting 8 for the Nats or Marlins starting 8 in a heartbeat the only difference WAS our pitching staff and now that that's in shambles do we wait a little longer to wave the white flag or as you stated and I believe lets get started. Besides we all know Cespedes and Thor will be sidelined for at least a few weeks which is enough time to be firmly in last place.

Mack Ade said...

Richard -

I actually agree on Duda but I would start the process by placing him on a 60-day DL... then, I'd shop him

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

I read on Twitter last night that a baseball executive from another team has never seen this kind of 2-year medical problem for one team.

It is almost like someone poined the juice like they did last night on Billions.

Did I miss a recall of Montero?

Thomas Brennan said...

I don't think you can do 60 day on Duds...he already did at least one rehab game, although apparently he can not fully straighten elbow yet. Seems he could be back this week.

Flores did great yesterday. Bring him back ASAP if the knee feels OK. Put him at first, Bruce back in OF, exile Grandy or at least bench him.

Give Plawecki deMerit Badge for taking one for the team. Glad he did notctey to overthrow....stay healthy.

Thomas Brennan said...

Probably Montero over Pill because he is on 40 Man Roster. I hope Tyler Pill gets his chance to pitch - and hit - soon at Citifield.

He can outhit Granderson with his eyes closed. Career .368 hitter (3 for 7 in Vegas so far) who refuses to strike out. I'm sure Pill has a better arm from the outfield. We need to get creative here, people.

I do realize if the Mets release Grandy, he will return to the Yankees and hit 30 homers over the final 5 months of the season. But this team needs a good shakeup.

Thomas Brennan said...

Before the idea of Pill being currently a better hitter than Pill gets glossed over, let me mention that Pill has been up 34 times over the past few years in AAA - and has fanned just ONCE. I like the idea of him being in this pitching staff somewhere and also available to pinch hit.

Thomas Brennan said...

I know I need to take my pills, but guess how many errors Tyler Pill has made in his minor league career? NONE, ZERO, ZIP, NADA. He was a position player and pitcher in college, and the ZERO errors (compare to Gavin Cecchini and Jhoan Urena at the opposite end of the spectrum) is a testament to his versatility.

The Mets should let him pitch - and hit regularly - in Vegas.

Mack Ade said...

If this team continues to go south, I really think there would be a good case to put all the walking wounded on the DL, fly them out to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, have a full battery of tests, screens, etc.. and then billet them at Port St. Lucie.

I really would not care at that point if any of them ever came back this season (remember... I have not given up yet... just saying 'if they continue to south'...).

I'd fill the roster with unsigned free agents (1-yr contracts) and select members of the Vegas team.

What is the worst thing that happens? We get to see Smith and Rosario early, our whole core heals for 2018, and we draft Hunter Greene.

Anonymous said...

Morning Mack:
I think right from march when, Matz and Lugo weren't ready to go they should've signed Doug Fister! Montero and Gilmartin just aren't good enough! Also after yesterday's game I wouldn't be surprised if Washington wants to trade for Plawecki?? Great BP pitcher.
The Mets need an infusion of youth,and speed.
I agree with you on Candelerio, let me throw out another name id like to see, for a small trade!

Greg Allen-clev(aa) CF with loads of speed.
Either way the team is too reliant on a HR,or it takes 3 singles to score,and even then the runner might get thrown out at home

Jon Messinger said...

As far as a team going from fifth to first from the All Star break, I believe the Mets did it even better in 1973, going from last to first and then the World Series.

Robb said...

so while i dont entirely disagree i have a few points.

1. the money. the revenue that is already booked for this year, advanced ticket sales, sponsorships, parnterships and however many games in advance tv revenue is booked for (i assume they dont sell out all the september spots in advance when they expect the team to be good. media buying in sports) is still going to be there. so they wont take a big hit financially this year, it would be a 2018 problem (with ad rates for tv and ticket sales), except the expenses are hugely down in 2018.

2. I want an interim manager who isnt worried about being the guy next year. long term development is more important when you throw in the towel or you end up like the knicks and win on the last day of the year and cost yourself 3 slots in the draft.

3. If you are going to trade wheeler or matz, get more then the 4th rated 3rd base guy, go get devers from the red soxs. I personally still dont want to trade any of those pitchers but you get a lot back for young controlabe pitching

4. No one believes Smith is ready yet. And the more games at AAA for rosario is probably for the better.

5. you dont just discard assets for pennies on the dollar or nothing. you can trade, bruce, duda, reed, cabrera, walker, but you these are actual baseball players making millions of dollars, you get something of value back even if you pay the sunken cost of the salaries.

6. Hunter green is in this years draft.

7. reyes doesnt need to be cut he just needs to be on the bench. he is a guy who the latin guys love (rosario says reyes is his idol, never forget that stuff matters, integration and mlb level development). Ganderson is the same, he just isnt htting, great guy, but he needs to be on the bench, bc at 15 mm no one is taking him right now. and he is a good teammate.

8. this is just me, but i have the wierdest feeling (hope) Noah is going to be on the dl with a lat injury not an arm injury. and it wont be the nightmare scenario and he can do the plasma rich thing for the elbow and get 4-6 weeks of rest.

Mack Ade said...

Robb -

You are right about Greene. My bad. Change it to Seth Beer.

Re: Wheeler and Matz - I am not sure of their value right now.

Boy, is this team a mess.

bob gregory said...

Everything...... and I do mean EVERYTHING that was warned about since last year is being proved true.

From health, hitting ability, too much physical demand on max effort pitchers returning from health issues, too many strikeouts, poor hitting ability, over-reliance on homeruns, questionable in game managing decisions, weird gm control of managing decisions before/ between games, decision to keep AAA team in Las Vegas, on and on it goes.

It is well past the time for any of this to be warnings.
It is time for immediate change of direction.

Look at the smoother and better team building examples in Boston, Chicago, and our cross town rivals.

Alderson should NEVER of had his contract extended.
He definitely needs to be gone now. Today!

Question for you to answer in one of your response articles:
Is it finally time to acknowledge that
Alderson's plan to prioritize building an all #1 pitcher staff and sacrifice building around above avg offensive players has failed??
I present as evidence Boston, Chicago, and the Yankees against Alderson and his plan.

Robb said...


I think wheelers value is way higher then you think. He's two+ years controlable and at some point i think he's going to get converted to a closer if he cant get his pitch count down. either way huge value. And matz is still a 25 year old lefty with first rate stuff who isnt even arb eligible and though he has a history of arm issues he is the kind of guy a team wants to take a shot on.

the good news for this team is that harvey is building up value. Degrom, thor, ces and conforto are your core and its definable now. (you can market them effectively for 3+ years). All the players you dont like are on one year deals. all the players you do are under team control, up and down the lineup and bullpen except for reed (who i like). This includes the manager too.

You can let your, 1st, 2nd, ss, 3rd, rf, rf, go in the offseason without having to pay to them anymore. huge flexibility with one year to go before the biggest free agent bonanza since the early 90s, which you can plan around. plus you have replacements for almost all of them. this is glass half full.

Thomas Brennan said...

Robb, great points as always. I would prefer they just cut Grandy and not worry about the money. he is 185th out of 185 qualifying major league hitters right now. I think his bounce back from his horrid April is not going to be the same as prior years because the years do catch up to you - he is "baseball old".

No one would trade for him, except perhaps to pay his minimum salary and give us a non-prospect prospect. Nimmo will be ready soon - give Grandy another week, mostly on bench, then if no pulse, let him go.


Mack Ade said...

Tom -

I think some kind of statement has to made this week, be it maximum (cut Grandy) or signing a new starter.

Bob -

I've added your question to my next Morning Report.

David Rubin said...

Mack- great article!!

To Those who've commented- some GREAT points.

The biggest problem is that EVERYBODY here is right!!!!!! Everything that can go wrong (nearly, anyway) has already gone wrong.

And, most of all, their horrible Medical System needs more overhauling then even Obamacare received in all of its numerous drafts!!!

Until this situation is rectified, once and for all, it's impossible to be confident with going in ANY direction!!!!!

The one thing that we all have to remember- while all these ideas make more sense than I can write, we still have a team governed by the Wilpons and, most likely, the ONLY reasons that Sandy was able to convince them to re-sign Cespedes were:

1.) They need warm bodies in the seats, not just tickets sold, in order to keep selling Hot Dogs, programs, jerseys, parking, etc


2.) Between Duda, Grandy, Bruce, Reed and Walker (not including the inevitable 75% insurance payment on Wright's contract) there will be well above $50 million coming off of the payroll after 2017, when they are hoping that multiple rookies will be promoted to take key positions for 2018 at the league minimum.

Money talks, and the Wilpons saw that when the team made the World Series and the Wild Card in successive years. Now, we have to pray that they will understand that their investment, long-term and short-term, is at GREAT RISK. What happens the rest of this season, this off-season, and next Spring will dictate this team's success for many years to come.

I PRAY they will be smart enough to heed some of the excellent advice in this column and the subsequent comments...

Mack Ade said...

David -

Thank you for your comment.

Money may talk but the bottom line talks more. You are a business owner. You know it is not what rings up on the cash register (do we still have them?) but what is left at the end of each month.

After all this adversity, I fear Wilpon going small market. Just a feeling after working for weasels like him.

Mack's Mets © 2012