Reese Kaplan -- An Analysis of What BVW Has Done


As recently as Friday I implored the Mets here to go big or go home.  After all, half measures had only led to half results and frankly fans were tiring of payroll taking precedence over winning.  

Well, come Sunday afternoon while the world was waiting to see what major league talent the Mets would be trading away for prospects, instead they were the ones acquiring said talent and it was stretching their already thin roster of prospects to the breaking point.  They sent TJS-recovery lefty Anthony Kay and last year's big name, Simeon Woods-Richardson to Toronto for highly desired righty (and New York area native) Marcus Stroman in the midst of an All-Star season.  

In a way it reminded me of when Sandy Alderson acquired failed reliever as part of a flurry of moves in 2017 during the great mediocre reliever prospect haul when they had a closer in hand already in Addison Reed.  They knew by acquiring another closer with another year of financial control it opened up additional possibilities.  It didn't work out but the thought process was valid.

Right away the trade was greeted with derision from the fan base and local media who remembered BVW similarly sending top prospects Jared Kelenic and Justin Dunn to Seattle as part of the now ill-fated trade that brought disappointing Robinson Cano and a seemingly diminished Edwin Diaz to the Mets.  It didn't help that Kelenic started out like a house-afire in A ball while both former Mariners struggled mightily in New York.  We don't hear quite so much with Kelenic now hitting .252 in High A.  In fact, media outside of New York is calling it a good trade for the Mets...even more so if the rumor is true that Toronto threw in some money to make the deal happen.  

This season Kay was dominating AA which resulted in a promotion to Syracuse where he's hit the proverbial wall.  Remember, Syracuse is not the PCL so you can't forgive the manhandling to the tune of a 6.61 ERA on high altitude or dry air.  It could be that in his first full year after his surgery he's a bit fatigued and he may rebound greatly.  However, many scouts now feel that the 24 year old will finish the year in AAA, looking to debut at age 25 with back of the rotation stuff after greater promise when he was younger.  He has a 3.76 ERA for his minor league career and a solid if unspectacular 1.293 WHIP.  He averages a tick under a strikeout per inning and walks over 3.  It's a commendable record but many are living in the past based upon draft pedigree.

By contrast, Simeon Woods-Richardson may be pitching better than his numbers would indicate.  The righthander is in just his second year of pro ball at age 18.  He's fanning people at impressive rates and perhaps even more appealing is that he's not walking that many.  However, he has proven to be hittable, with 78 hits in 78 IP while sporting an ugly 5.06 ERA.  Hard throwers who can miss bats are always appealing, but for every successful major leaguer with that ability, there are dozens of Jack Leathersich and Josh Smoker types who couldn't harness their talents consistently.  

So what do the Mets have in Marcus Stroman?  In 2019 he's had clearly his best year ever in the majors.  Hitting into deGrom type of luck, his record is only 6-11, but he's done that with a 2.96 ERA and his usual terrific control.  He doesn't fan a huge number of hitters, but he's one of those guys who seems to alternate a great year with a mediocre one.  (Big red warning flags -- next year he'd be due for the bad one).  For his career in the majors he's pitched to a 3.76 ERA which is better than Jason Vargas, Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz even with that Jekyll and Hyde pattern of effectiveness.  Another red flag is his cost.  He's under team control for just one more year and he's already earning $7.4 million.  Chances are he he sniffs $10 million from an arbiter coming off this All-Star season for the upcoming 2020 campaign.  

Kind of lost in the hostility is the fact that BVW just upped the price for Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and even Jason Vargas with one of the most heralded pitchers available at the trade deadline now off the market.  Supply and demand.  Some are suggesting this deal is a predecessor to filling the Mets minor league system with near-ready talent by dealing away a Noah Syndergaard.  Most will focus on the fact that Syndergaard is two years younger and under two more years of financial control as justification for condemning the Stroman move.  What if it is Zack Wheeler leaving instead of Syndergaard?  He's a year older, has had trouble staying healthy and will be a free agent at year's end.  Also you could always re-sign him a'la Jeurys Familia (well, hopefully if you do he'll be better than THAT).   

Right now it's too soon to make absolute conclusions about whether or not the deal was a good one or a bad one until we see the other shoe(s) dropped.  The price paid seems stiff by Mets standards but that is because the club has such a poor farm system that anyone with a glimmer of success rockets to the top of their prospect lists rather than taken as a whole against the rest of the league.  I'm still very much where I was firmly in the go big or go home camp and this move certainly opens up possibilities that are more appealing today than they were a week ago.  To be continued...


Seattle Steve said...

The Mets always have been able to develop starting pitching and they have still Peterson , Szapucki, Wilson, and the 2 new kids from this draft plus others....its the bullpen where they have been falling short...the current schedule where they playWSox,Pirates and the fish will make or break this season....they can make up 6 games with 2 months to go.

Robb said...

While i dont love this trade, because it makes no sense to me. I dont think they overpaid too much. I am more disheartened by the trading of SWR then of kay. It seems to be a matter of value and this organization which has traded 3 or the 4 top picks in made in 2018 (never a good idea) seems not to value low minor leaguers. Unfortunately, the teams that we consider the smartest in baseball (Astros, Tampa Bay, Dodgers) have put a focus on picking up low minor leaguers their data thinks highly of. SWR is almost 2 years younger then this years first round pick and was having success in single A thats who the smart teams are going for. Kay and a prospect in the 20s or late teens should have been the right value. But the bigger issue is the thought that the mets cant rebuild. Id be happy to have 2 proper years of a terrible team which we have already had that for most of the past 5 years (drafting 6th and 11th consecutively) instead of going 78-84 every year. I think the mets will regret swr more then kay 2 years from now.

This trade will look better or worse based on whats next, signing strolman to an extension, trading wheeler, etc. Holding on to syndergaard.

Gary Seagren said...

Crazy idea...why not hold on to all of them. Pitching wins and is in short supply. A rotation of DeGrom, Thor, Stroman, Wheeler (if u can sign him to a team friendly contract or he gets a QO) Matz and Vargas could give us the best pitching staff in the division at the very least. The big questions will be on BVW's building of the BP and improving the defense but it's an interesting scenario and if it implodes next year then let the sell off begin.

bill metsiac said...

I don't expect Stroman to reach Free Agency, and I think there's a big chance that he won't even go to arbiunless he falls apart between now and October.

We have the perfect combination for a long-term deal: a player whose life-long dteam has been to be a Met, and an organization who believes in him enough to trade away "future stars" to get him. Throw in the fact that he has been a local Long Island hero since his High School days, and an extension (again, barring an awful few months) looks like a no-brainer.

As for the Cano/Diaz deal, being a flop, I have to preface that with "so far". I've learned after many years of watching this wonderful game to avoid premature judgments. I remember vividly trading multiple top prospects for a former Dodgers catcher via Miami. He got off to such a bad start in Queens that fans were booing and he was thinking seriously of walking at season's end. If not for serious intervention by Johnny Franco, we might never have enjoyed the glory and heroics of the Piazza era.

The deal may yet be a total flop, or it may reverse the early results. Let's wait and see.

Mack Ade said...

Sorry. I'm a little late to the game today.

I give yesterday;s trip and "incomplete" rating.

I think we all should come back and see what develops from now until midnight, July 31st.

It's only then we can judge the true value here.

Robb said...

On the merits of the trade, the Cano deal is a flop. Its not even debatable at this point. You have negative WAR for the 2 players you acquired and 100mm in costs. And the sample size is no longer small. Thats a bad deal. Doesnt even matter if the mets prospects do nothing, you paid for the right to have sub par players and have 100mm of costs to come.

This deal deserves some time to look at, but on the surface it doesnt feel like one team took advantage of the other. It feels fair. Why they made this deal I have no idea, but they acquired a good player at a reasonable cost. Would i have done this? On the surface no. But without knowing whats next I cant really make a definitive statement. If it means trading syndergaard unless It includes a top 10 pitching prospect as a return then I think the whole thing would be a misdirection and misunderstanding of the fans and current situation. I dont like the fact that the mets got money from toronto, bc usually that means they had to give up a better prospect to do so.

bill metsiac said...

I agree, Mack--- up to your last sentence. Only then can we BEGIN to judge...

IMO it'll be at least a year before we have enough of a sample to judge.

bill metsiac said...

Would you feel better about the deal if we didn't get the cash? Hopefully the cash will be in the form of international signing allowance for next year.

As for "not even debatable", NOTHING fits that description. Small sample or not, there's almost half a season left this year, and (unless Diaz is traded) several years of team control for both players. Are you really so sure that they can't bounce back in all that remaining time?

Yes, Cano is probably not worth the money left on his contract (we do NOT owe him $100 mil, since Seattle is paying part of that), but if Diaz is the player he was last year he's as underpaid as possible.

As Saint Yogi said, "it ain't over till it's over."

Met monkey said...

So, is Diaz quietly injured? Elbow spur or whatnot? I mean it is imconceivable he go from best to worst closer--mets affiliation notwithstanding. This would dictate my opinion on trading him or not.

Met monkey said...

Now mets get Phillies AA catcher Austin Bossart for Vargas. Idk? Dump? 7 dingers in 200 at bats, 188 BA

bill metsiac said...

I'll wait for more info before judging the Vargas deal, but as os now it makes ZERO sense.

It now makes trading Wheeler/Thor more difficult, unless they get another SP in return.

And we just helped a rival by giving them one of our most reliable SPs since April, whose option for next year is a super bargain.

And all we got in return is a AAA Catcher who's hitting sub-Mendoza.

VERY strange. 🥴

John From Albany said...

Jon Heyman says..."Austin Bossart played at Penn, same as Bradley Wilpon, Jeff’s son. So Mets may have had some inside info on him." Now this deal makes sense when Mets have two better catchers at double A

Dave Schulps said...

It sure does, Jon. And says more about why The Mets are where they are than just about anything I can think of. It's Jeffy's toy and if he wants to break it, well, it's his and try and stop him.

Met monkey said...

What if vargas pitches a gem to knock us out of the wild card? What am I missing? .188? This is baseball treason! Lock Wilpon up!

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