Reese Kaplan -- How Do The July Trade Returns Look?


Last summer when health and ineffectual leadership resulted in a lost Mets season, Sandy Alderson reversed his usual path of mid-year additions to the roster.  Instead, he began a purge of expiring contracts to provide both financial relief in terms of reducing payroll and simultaneously attempting to fortify a mostly barren farm system which had been used as trade fodder during the contending years.  Some wondered why he might not offer to pay down some of the salaries that had already been budgeted in order to enhance the quality of the players received in return, but other than the Neil Walker deal, that strategy was not employed.  Let’s take a look at how these returns have fared in the early going of 2018:

Jay Bruce was peddled to Cleveland to help them solidify their playoff run.  He was probably the most successful of the castoffs, though when dealt he was one of the leading run producers in the league, finishing the year with 36 HRs and 101 RBIs.  He netted the now 22 year old Ryder Ryan who is assigned to Port St. Lucie where he’s off to a fine start.  He’s been in 6 games covering nearly 10 IP and has yet to give up a run.  His 13 Ks per 9 IP is a career high for him and his 2.8 BB per 9 IP is a career low.  His WHIP thus far is a remarkable 0.621.  Early returns suggest the Mets may have come out winners in this deal. 

Curtis Granderson did not fare nearly as well after being sent cross country to the Dodgers who thought so little of him that he was left off the post-season roster.  In return the Mets got hard throwing bespectacled 25 year old Jacob Rhame who had some brief trials with the big club but has since been sent down to AAA.  At last Vegas the early returns are good – a 1.50 ERA in 4 games and he’s not yet walked a batter.  When you factor in the pitching hell that is the PCL that’s doubly impressive but of course a tiny sample size.  Granderson went on to sign with the Blue Jays where he’s NOT doing his usual early season swoon.  He’s hitting .294 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs which is better than the Mets’ own Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce are doing.  However, it’s too soon to declare a winner or loser here.

Perhaps the most conspicuous second guessing done by fans concerns one Addison Reed who frankly didn’t do much to help the Red Sox after being traded there.  His Minnesota Twins career picked right up where he left off with the Mets, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in a setup role.  The players received from Boston have been something of a mixed bag.  22 year old Gerson Bautista had his major league cup of coffee with the Mets but is back now in AA where he’s dominating to the tune of only 2 baserunners allowed and a pace of nearly 20 Ks per 9 IP.  Control has always been his issue but in the early going he did not show that problem in Binghamton (though it did surface in Queens).  23 year old Jamie Callahan is working out of the Las Vegas bullpen and it’s been a tough road thus far.  He’s striking out over 1 per IP but he’s walking about half as many people.  His 9.72 ERA is ugly.  Stephen Nogosek is working in Port St. Lucie and thus far showing the same hard throwing wildness of his former Boston farmhand teammates.  The 23 year old has struck out nearly 11 per 9 IP but has also walked over 5.  He’s getting out of jams as his ERA is a respectable 3.60 but control is going to make or break him.  Thus far if Bautista can harness what he’s capable of doing then the deal could turn out to be a net positive for the Mets given he’s cost controllable and Reed was set to earn 8 figures. 

The quiet left handed slugger Lucas Duda struggled mightily in his brief career as a Tampa Bay Ray.  In return the Mets got a guy with the best stats on paper of any of the relievers obtained during the fire sale.  24 year old Drew Smith is now pitching out of the Las Vegas bullpen after quick promotion from Binghamton where he was once gain dominating.  He hit the familiar wall in the PCL with an ERA of 9.00 and for the first time struggles with his control.  However, even with that rough start in AAA his ERA for his CAREER in the minors is just 2.10, so there’s reason to feel he was a solid get. 

In uncharacteristic fashion, Sandy Alderson sent some money to Milwaukee to get them to take on the remainder of the obligation to Neil Walker.  In return they received now 24 year old Eric Hanhold who had not accomplished much in his three years in the minors.  On the surface it looked like potentially the worst of the many deals made.  However, in Binghamton Hanhold is off to a terrific start with a 2.61 ERA, 2 wins and 11.3 Ks per 9 IP to go along with just 2.6 walks.  Considering some of the other more heralded arms in the pen down there – Tyler Bashlor, Gerson Bautista and Adonis Uceta – what Eric has accomplished is all the more amazing.  Considering Neil Walker is sub-Mendoza for the Yankees, this one looks like a clear victory.

Sometimes lost in the mix of the sell-off was the one acquisition made at the same time that enabled Alderson to trade Addison Reed.  AJ Ramos was a wild but usually effective closer for the Marlins and he was obtained for the balance of 2017 and all of 2018 for a pair of minor leaguers.  Ramos was OK last year, performing as expected, though he’s been pretty brutal thus far this season.  22 year old Merandy Gonzalez after two moderately effective starts and some injuries in Miami was rushed from AA to the majors where he now sits in the Marlins’ pen.  He owns a 30-15, 2.54 record for his minor league career, so he was clearly the big prospect as far as the Marlins were concerned.  Ricardo Cespedes is an outfielder with not much power and not much speed.  He’s a .263 career minor league hitter who is struggling to find the Mendoza line.  Considering his cost and the damage he’s caused the Mets, Ramos for Gonzalez is one where they might want to ask for a do-over. 


Thomas Brennan said...

I have no real complaints with the trades, other than wondering if they had been willing to throw in part of millions that they saved in salary dumps, what sort of better players we may have gotten.

I would have re-signed Addison Reed rather than Swarzak - or signed both. The last 2 Jake game implosions by the pen tells you exactly why I fee that way.

By the way, take a look at the NY Mets website and look at the Statcasts on the Cespedes (463 feet) and Bruce (405 feet) homers.

On Cespedes' homer, figure it is 375 to the wall....463 would mean it went just 88 feet beyond it. Look at the guy in the 3rd deck looking back to see where the ball was landing. Tell me that wasn't 520 feet. Or at least 500.

Bruce hit his slightly to the left of the 400 mark - his ball looked about 20 feet beyond the fence - where it hit an elevated berm. If the berm is not there, I'd say 425 on that one, not 405.

Thomas Brennan said...

Sewald and Ramos walked no one last night - but only Sewald got in the game and threw 2 excellent innings - an unsung hero last night.

Harvey did OK.

If the Cardinals release Pham, can we sign him :)

Mack Ade said...

A couple of things, both about the trades and last night.

1. We mocked Sandy about trading off Vets for a bevy of 4.00-ERA+ minor league relievers, but we are not going to know whether this was a good idea for at least three seasons.

2. The Jay Bruce deal resulted, in the end, of a trade of Bruce for Ryan... and Bruce.

3. As I mentioned yesterday, this team can not be successful with the core (Gonzalez, Conforto, Bruce,Reyes, Cespedes) hitting so poorly. One breakout last night (Bruce) proved my point.

4. I am starting to realize that Harvey is going to even be an
embarrassment out of the pen. The Mets will never resign him, he will have no mid-season trade value, and it is hard to believe any team taing a $10mil+ chance on him next season.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, let's look at Harvey another way - you have to cut one of these two - Sewald or Harvey - who do you keep?

I won't tell you my answer, but his initials are PS if that helps.

Gonzalez hitting .220 - is he washed up? He might be if skinny Dom Smith were hitting .346, not .246. C'mon, Dom.

Last 7 games, he is just 3 for 20, although he has walked seven times in that span. JUST TWO RBI in last 10 games!!!!!

This is the same PCL that Vegas has a 7.51 ERA in.

That guy we didn't draft when we drafted Smith - Aaron Judge - is .341/.476/.659. I know - I am a broken record.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

One more time...

Judge was not on many team's radar.

This was not the Mets fault. It was the Yankees victory.

TexasGusCC said...

I still maintain that the Ramos trade was to take the leverage away from the Red Sox. I think Alderson fleeced Danbrowski for two months of Reed as he got two good arms and a wild card. While it wasn’t the fleecing Danbrowski gave the Mets for Cespedes, it was a strong return. Too, while Gonzalez has been brought to to the majors, he was essentially jumped from A+, and that is too much of a jump to be ready, and we shall see that in less than a month.

Zozo said...

I really feel that we should blame ownership for not paying down all of those salaries and getting the best prospects we could have received.
They could have considered it like an additional draft where you are allotted between $10-15 million dollars to pick up players. The best thing about this type of draft is you can actually get them at an older more seasoned age, you don’t have to start them from the bottom of the minors. You could have gotten all double a and higher players that have somewhat of a track record.
So IMO they royally flubbed last year’s trade deadline.

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