Reese Kaplan -- Grading the Off Season Thus Far


For the most part the off-season has started off positively.  First came the surprising hire of Mickey Calloway after being led to believe there was a Kevin Long or Manny Acta leadership in the team’s future.  That move caught pretty much everyone by surprise as it was so un-Mets in its creativity.

Next came the filling out of the coaching staff.  Here it became a bit more puzzling.  The AL-oriented manager picked an AL pitching coach, an AL bench coach and an AL first base coach.  All of them were established baseball men who were coming with strong reputations but not bilingual.  That was somewhat surprising. 

For a hitting coach they stayed in-house with the promotion of little known Pat Roessler who was Kevin Long’s assistant.  They also retained the services of Glenn Sherlock to reprise his role as third base coach and catching instructor.  I have no problem with that, but he becomes the primary person with NL experience to aid the manager by his side to help him get acquainted with the league (except that he is not the bench coach – that job went to Gary DiSarcina). 

After saying he was a part of the housecleaning, they did retain bilingual Ricky Bones to work in the bullpen as he had under the previous (and mercifully ended) administration.  It’s good that they have someone who speaks Spanish to help relate to some of the players with limited English skills, but how much impact can he have on, say, Yoenis Cespedes or Amed Rosario, when he’s out in the bullpen throughout the game?

The other area which is a little surprising was on the roster cuts made to free up room on the 40-man roster.  Gone were such familiar names as Erik Goeddel and Phil Evans.  Evans has already indicated he’s willing to come back on a minor league deal.  That’s good.

What’s not good is that other AAAA types of players like Matt Reynolds and Josh Smoker are still around occupying roster slots.  Does anyone honest fear either of them would go on to become respectively the next Addison Russell or Aroldis Chapman?  If so, get something in trade.  If not, then why not use those spots to protect more players from December’s Rule V draft?

Then, of course, there are the status quo maneuvers.  Bringing back Jerry Blevins is good.  Bringing back Asdrubal Cabrera is less so.  Given the very limited resources the Mets have to spend on players I’d have sooner seen them part ways with Cabrera and spend that $6.5 million on starting pitching, a quality reliever or an outfielder.  Cabrera was much improved at 3rd vs. SS or 2B but was still a liability.  His offense was acceptable for what was being paid but if you’re going to act like a small market team then don’t go halfway and take borderline players instead of developing younger ones. 

Finally there is the other huge positive -- inking an agreement to move the AAA franchise to nearby Syracuse.  Not only does that make it geographically more convenient to get players to Queens, but it also lets them develop in an environment more conducive to showing what they really can do.  There should be no more Eric Campbell type inflated numbers.  

It’s early yet and anything’s possible, but thus far it’s a weak B- to me.  You can only ride that Callaway A+ for so long when other aspects drag down your grade.  


Tom Brennan said...

We're going Allaway with Callaway in 2018.

I am OK with Cabrera, IF AND ONLY IF, Professor Reese, they now go out and sign a legit starter (or 2), a truly legit bullpen guy (like Wade or Reed) and at least an Aoki caliber OF.

I agree of removing Reynolds from 40 man. I felt the same about Smoker, but he, though, apparently developed some sort of breaking pitch that clicked in mid season, according to something I read somewhere that made him much more effective. After being called back up in late July, 8 earned runs in 27 innings. Considering the power arm, if he did in fact fix something, it would be the wrong time to drop him from the 40.

Hobie said...


Perfect! Another Aoki calibre OF = K.Kacz (with a better arm)

OK, maybe not until July.

Mack Ade said...

I have no problem with the fact that most of the new coaches have no major league history. You have to start somewhere.

What is important to me is if they understand baseball and have a history of molding young ballplayers into winners.

Tom Brennan said...

Mack, I agree.

Hobie, my K Kacz aricle coming out later today.

Reese Kaplan said...

The METS would consider it acceptable to go into the season with Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo left to right. A team that wants to win would get a star caliber outfielder to complement Michael Conforto when he returns. I have no problem with Lagares and Nimmo being 4/5, but we're missing one of the top three.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Mack -- I wasn't questioning the experience level of the coaches but rather their lack of knowledge of the National League. If, for example, Carlos Ruiz opted for retirement then he would have been a good addition to the coaching staff despite not having had any coaching experience due to his knowledge of the NL.

TexasGusCC said...

Isn't Ruben Amaro bi-lingual?

Reese Kaplan said...

See? That's what happens when I write at 5:00 AM mountain time. You're absolutely right. I should have had my Rockstar beverage when I woke up instead of waiting until I got to the office. Doh!

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