faster...get there faster!

“Don't it seem to happen a lot? I mean, don’t it?”

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t it seem that lots of guys hit free agency and get big contracts, for a lot of years...and then go all to crap faster than a turkey loses its head at Thanksgiving?”

“You’re right!”

Part of the reason is guys are as old as they are when they hit free agency. Because they make the majors at 23, 24, 25.  Add on the years it takes to get to free agency, and many players becoming free agents are getting old in "doggy baseball years".

While the NBA somehow rolls out lots of 19, 20, and 21 year old hoops stars.

You’d think baseball owners would want players to reach the big leagues earlier, so when they then hit free agency earlier, the risk of age-related deterioration for a multi-year deal is lessened.

How to accomplish that?  I dunno...maybe...


After all...

Why was Pete Alonso ready for opening day 2019?

At least in part because he played A WHOLE LOT in 2018.

In fact, between the minors and Arizona Fall ball in 2018, he played 159 games.

Cal Ripken told me that is equal to a full real major league season (for almost anyone not named Cal, that is).

Which got me to thinking...

Rookie ball?

Why did the Gulf Coast League Mets play only 54 games? ( I think the schedule was for 60 but the season was rain-shortened).

Appalachian League? 68 games.

NY Penn League? 76 games.

Why not run those 3 leagues for 90 games?

Heck, yeah. Right to the end of September.

I know Macks Mets' minor league aficionado John from Albany would love that.  Now, how about..

Full season ball?

S. Atlantic League? 136 games.  

FSL? 136 games, too.

Eastern League? 140 games.

AAA? 140 games.

Why not have all of those three full season leagues go 162 games? 

Continue right on into late September?

You would probably need some more pitchers, to not over-tax pitchers’ arms in an expanded season, but if the best hitters had an additional 50 or so games over a 3 year span, 75 more games over 4 years, they might be ready a half season to a full season sooner. 

And a half to a full season YOUNGER.

And get another half to full season out of them at the major league level before age related decline by free agency time catches up with them.

I imagine minor league players would like to get to the big leagues a half to a full season sooner...so...

Why not lengthen those short minor league seasons?


Reese Kaplan -- Can the Mets Finally Catch a Break?


The Houston Astros often are held up as an example of a smart baseball organization who should be emulated by others looking to build a winner.  They made what appears to be a curious decision to pay Robinson Chirinos $1 million to go away after he provided them with a 3.8 WAR season as a defense-first catcher who also managed to club 17 HRs in fewer than 400 ABs.   It’s not as if he was making huge money.  His contract in 2019 was for $5.75 million, so the man is now a free agent at age 35. 

That development piques my interest in two ways.  First, the Mets most definitely are in need of a backup catcher who can provide a bit more thump than Tomas Nido should an injury take Wilson Ramos out of the lineup.  He certainly seems to fit the bill in that regard.

However, the more interesting aspect is that while Houston has signed Dustin Garneau to compete with Garrett Stubs for the backup catching role, they do not have a starting catcher.  Might they be interested in a deal for Wilson Ramos?  After all, he could also suit up at DH on days when he’s not catching and would probably have a monster year surrounded by all of the bats in that powerful lineup.

The rub, of course, is that the Astros probably are concerned with how whomever catches for them handles their pitching staff.  Would Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and company want him as their primary receiver?  It may be that the Astros need to go in a new direction anyway since they’ve lost Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley to free agency.  They may decide to become a latter day Big Red Machine, winning based on offense and confident whomever they trot out to start the games will be good enough if they can hold the opposition to under 5 runs.  If so, then they could withstand a Wilson Ramos who would reinforce that offensive approach. 

If that’s not a good fit for the Mets to deal away Ramos or sign Chirinos, who else is out there on the free agent market suitable to be a backup?

Seemingly every year we hear the name Martin Maldonado who is a solid defensive backstop who is once again looking for a job.  Last year at age 32 playing for three clubs (including those same Astros) he hit .220 with 12 HRs in just over 300 ABs.  He earned $2.5 million and probably could be had for $3 which is not a bad price for someone who delivered 1.6 WAR.

Another familiar name is Alberto Avila, another highly regarded defensive backstop.  As a lefty hitting backstop, he would provide a different look on days Ramos needed to rest.  He’s never been a huge hitter, only .207/9/24 in under 200 ABs for Arizona, and he’s just a .235 career hitter.  He earned $4.2 million last year and might make less than that this time around.

Another lefty swinger is defensive minded Jason Castro who most recently plied his trade in the Twin Cities.  At age 32 he hit .232 with 13 HRs and 30 RBIs in 237 ABs.  As a backup, he might make sense.  His last contract paid him $8 million.  If he’s willing to play for half that amount, he might be a worthy choice.

Of course, under Sandy Alderson the Mets were famous for reunions and that happened again last year when BVW brought back Rene Rivera to the Syracuse Mets.  He eventually made his way to Queens after a nice season in AAA and he delivered a .235 average in limited play (which is 15 points higher than his career mark).  Sorry, I’ve been there, done that multiple times and I’m ready to move on. 

At this stage of his career Russell Martin must know he’s not likely a starter anymore, but his wealth of big league experience with some good ballclubs might make him an interesting backup option.  He is coming off the end of his $20 million contract and having provided just the .220 range for past several years, he’s perhaps suited for a minor league invitation to camp.

Yankee backup catcher Austin Romine put in a highly credible year, hitting .281 with 8 HRs and 35 RBIs in just 228 ABs.  Oddly, the Bronx Bombers are letting him walk.  Never regarded as a great defensive backstop, he certainly wouldn’t embarrass you if called upon to take up several weeks as your primary catcher.  He earned just $1.8 million in his final year in pinstripes, so he may be an interesting option that Beltran already knows. 

Welington Castillo was always regarded as more of an offensive-oriented catcher and is coming off his worst year in the majors – so much so that the Texas Rangers bought him out of his contract for $500K.  He has provided some solid numbers with the bat, including a year recently for Baltimore in which he hit 20 HRs and hit .282 while playing about half time.  For the right price he might be interesting in the Austin Romine mold. 

Finally, there’s the San Diego Padres who have a surplus of catchers.  There is defensive-minded Austin Hedges who is a great behind the plate but pretty much useless with a bat in his hands.  

He is now listed as 2nd in the depth chart behind Francisco Mejia who was at the top of many prospect lists when the Indians sent him to the west coast in the Brad Hand deal.  He’s not yet put it together, but the 23 year old last year hit .265 with 8 HRs and 22 RBIs in 226 ABs.  I’ve seen him throw from his knees routinely to throw out baserunners while in AAA here in El Paso.  Either one of them might be worth a conversation with A.J. Preller, Hedges as the good glove man and Mejia as a long-term solution after Ramos. 

So there has been some chatter about former BVW client Wil Myers coming to the Mets.  He is penciled in to play LF for the Friars but has also played 1B, 3B, RF and CF.  He's OK in LF but thus far not very good in CF.  The real rub with Myers is his contract.  He’s slated to earn $22.5 million per year for the next three years with an option for a 4th.  To obtain Myers would require some major salary relief for the Mets.  Could an aggressive Preller and a creative BVW come to a meeting of the minds?  

For example, sending Wilson Ramos to San Diego would send $10 million of salary obligation.  Add in some additional salary dollars such as Jed Lowrie and the Mets would pretty much cover Myers’ salary for this year.  If you did a Ramos/Lowrie for Myers/Mejia the dollars would even out in 2020 and in 2021 and 2022 you no longer have Cespedes on the payroll.  He’s a right handed hitter who has logged 28 and 30 HR seasons for the Padres.  Think of him as a righty version of Michael Conforto.  Preller and the Padres would probably do cartwheels to have someone else pick up his contract.  This type of deal could pay dividends for years to come with Mejia and although he’s had two down years in a row, obviously Myers’ talent is there.  Would some variation of this deal make sense for both sides?


John From Albany - Breakfast Links 11/30/2019


Three Mets pitchers and Juan Lagares all played in the same game in the Dominican last night.  We have the results in the Winter ball section below. 

The MLB Non-Tender Deadline coming up next Monday, December 2nd, is still a hot topic.

Yesterday we had CBS Sports potential list and the list from MLB.com. MLB Trade Rumors posted a very complete list yesterday.  Notables include: Charlie Culberson, INF/OF, Braves; Elias Diaz, C, Pirates; Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies; Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Phillies; Sandy Leon, C, Red Sox; Kevin Pillar, CF, Giants; Addison Russell, 2B/SS, Cubs; Hunter Strickland, RHP, Nationals; Blake Treinen, RHP, Athletics;

Rising Apple has four potential bargain starting pitchers for the Mets. Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley, Martin Perez and Rick Porcello. 

Rising Apple also thinks they should explore a trade for Blake Treinen.  They think a change of scenery could help him. After some off and on success with Washington and Oakland, “He went 6-5 in 58.2 innings of work while saving 16 games. His ERA rose to 4.91 which is still about two runs higher than his career total.” As stated above, he may be non-tendered. 

Metsmerized says that Wilson Ramos needs to cut down his ground ball rate.  They make lots of good arguments including how his bad knees are not optimal for players who hit the ball on the ground.  However, the three best Mets hitters in Citi Field last year, J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Wilson Ramos all had high – decent batting averages on ground balls.  As opposed to Pete Alonso who did not and hit .219 at Citi Field.

Empire Sports Media raves about the coaching staff the Mets have put together.  In my opinion, please add Endy Chavez and Edgardo Alfonso to the staff before you say that.

Mets360 has the Mets challenge on a Dominic Smith trade.  His point, after getting nothing when they let Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy go, they need to be careful with a Dominic Smith move.

Metsmerized looked at trade options for Starling Marte.  They go through a lot of names and potential deals but I think they sum it up best with this: “It should also be understood that Marte’s price tag may not even justify his means, at least relative to what the Mets need to contend in 2020. Center field defense for the Mets was obviously a problem given how badly their -13 DRS ranked. By the same token, though, Pittsburgh, anchored by Marte, no less, finished just one spot ahead with -12, good for 27th in the league. Marte’s value with the glove in 2019 was no different from that of Brandon Nimmo, and his 119 wRC+, though productive, was still a far cry from Nimmo’s career mark of 130, Davis’ 136, or Smith’s 133 last season.”

It may be worth looking at what Juan Lagares continues to do in the winter league…

In Winter Ball Last night:

In the Dominican Republic last night, all three current Mets pitchers on the Toros Del Este pitched in a 3-2 loss, Chris Mazza, Tyler Bashlor and Daniel Zamora.

In his fourth appearance and second start this winter, Chris Mazza went 3.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, two Ks.  He left in the fourth with one run having scored and a man on first before Juan Lagares made the final out for Aguilas Cibaenas.

In 4 games, 8.2 innings this winter, Chris Mazza has a 4.15 ERA, giving up 4 runs on 14 hits, 2 walks, 8 Ks.

In the top of the 8th, it was all Mets pitching for Toros Del Este.  With the game tied 2-2, Daniel Zamora started the inning and faced his only batter of the night, inducing a ground out.

Tyler Bashlor then came in.  The first batter he saw, Detroit Tigers AAA Second Baseman, Ronny Rodriguez, homered to Left Field.  Tyler then struck out the next two batters. But that was the deciding run and Tyler ended up the loser.

This was the first time that Tyler Bashlor was scored upon this winter.  In five games and 5 innings pitched he has a 1.80 ERA with 8 Ks, 1 earned run, no walks.

Danial Zamora has resumed his lefty only bullpen work this winter appearing in 4 games for 2 innings, three hits, 1 un-earned run, 1 walk, 2 Ks, 0.00 ERA.

FYI, Juan Lagares went 1 for 5 and is now hitting .367 for the winter. 

In Australia, the Auckland Tuatara were scheduled to play two on Friday but ended up playing just one.   Hansel Moreno went 3 for 5 with an RBI and is now hitting .294 in 5 games.  Jeremy Vasquez did not play.  Auckland is scheduled to try and get in two games today, Saturday.
No results as of the time of this posting.  We will have the full details tomorrow if not before. 

UltimateMets has this date in Mets History:

Born on this date:
New York Yankees drafted Duke Carmel from the Mets on November 30, 1964.

New York Mets traded Joe Christopher to the Boston Red Sox for Ed Bressoud on November 30, 1965.

New York Mets released Ralph Terry on November 30, 1966.

Washington Senators drafted Joe Foy from the Mets on November 30, 1970.

New York Mets traded Dave Marshall to the San Diego Padres for Al Severinsen on November 30, 1972.

New York Mets signed free agent Elliott Maddox of the Baltimore Orioles on November 30, 1977.

New York Mets traded Fernando Vina and Javier Gonzales to the Milwaukee Brewers for Doug Henry on November 30, 1994.

Baltimore Orioles signed Chad Bradford of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 30, 2006.

New York Mets signed free agent Argenis Reyes on November 30, 2007.

New York Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider on November 30, 2007.

New York Mets signed free agent Jesus Feliciano on November 30, 2009.

Pittsburgh Pirates signed Nick Evans of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 30, 2011.

Manny Acosta granted free agency on November 30, 2012.

New York Mets sold Logan Verrett to the Baltimore Orioles on November 30, 2016.

On November 30, 2016, the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes to a four year, $110 million contract.

Want more?  Check out https://sportspyder.com/mlb/new-york-mets/news. 

Want something else tracked here each day?  Please leave a comment below.


OPEN THREAD – Jonathan Villar


For some un-godly reason, the Orioles released 28-year old middle infielder Jonathan Villar.

According to Metsmerized, “Villar, 28, had a solid year for the O’s in 2019, slashing .274/.339/.453 with 24 home runs, 33 doubles, 111 runs scored, 40 stolen bases, 107 wRC+, and 4.0 wins above replacement (FanGraphs), fifth-most among qualified MLB second basemen last season.”

Yeah I know, the last thing we need is another middle infielder, but, based on out ‘won now’ program, who is a better option for a utility infielder in 2020:

Villar or Luis Guillorme?


Reese Kaplan -- BVW With More Wins than Losses


When people write their harangues about how BVW is in over his head, favoring his former clients and trading away the future, it’s hard to argue some of the points.  We’re not here today to rehash the youngsters he sent to Seattle or Toronto in the attempt to win now.  What I want to do instead is examine some of those folks who got away and whether that was good for the team or bad.

Free Agents Not Retained

No one was shedding a tear when Jose Reyes wasn’t offered another year nor was he ever picked up by another team.  I guess that one goes as a win in the book for the Mets.

Rafael Montero confounded the Mets with his dominance in the minors then his inability to throw strikes in the majors.  When he was out of options, they parted ways and he pitched in 22 games for the Texas Rangers last season, finishing with a 2-0 record, a 2.48 ERA and most surprisingly, a 6.80 to 1 K:BB ratio.  Yeah, that one stings a little, considering how poorly the people in the pen performed for the Mets.

Wilmer Flores was let go partially over fear of his prematurely arthritic knees but mostly due to his ever-increasing salary.  The Arizona Diamondbacks had no qualms picking him up for a one-year deal for $3.75 million.  For that he delivered a .317 batting average with 9 HRs and 37 RBIs in about a half season’s worth of playing time.  That one would hurt if not for the superior output provided by his minimum wage replacement, J.D. Davis, he, too, of the Michael Jackson conundrum of wearing one glove for no particular reason.

Jenrry Mejia was sent packing due to his ongoing PED problems, but the Boston Red Sox took a flyer on him and he served at three levels of their minors for him, finishing the year with a fugly 6.02 ERA.  Yeah, that’s another win for the Mets.

Warm Bodies Granted Free Agency, Traded or Released

  • Cody Asche (one time starting player for the Phillies)
  • Buddy Baumann (met him here in El Paso – seemed like a nice guy but with a bum arm)
  • Jamie Callahan (part of that not-so-great pile o’relievers Sandy Alderson brought back in 2017)
    • Christian Colon (saw him get thrown out of a game for instigating a fight in El Paso)
    • Phil Evans (thought he’d be better but injuries took their toll)
    • T.J. Rivera (ditto)
    • Ezequiel Carrera (who?)
    • Zac Grotz (who??)
    • Cody Martin (who???)
    • Matt Purke (remember when they thought he was a good signing in 2018?)
    • Joey Terdoslavich (hit .308 for Binghamtom – an outlier year)
    • Jack Reinheimer (Ruben Tejada lite)
    • Jordan Patterson (Cincy actually wanted him)
    • Adam Hill, Felix Valerio, Bobby Wahl (all went for the subsequently released Keon Broxton)
    • Ross Adolph, Scott Manea, Luis Santana (all went for some scrub named J.D. Davis)
    • Kevin Plawecki (hit his customary .222 without a sex toy in his locker in Cleveland)
    • Kyle Dowdy (claimed by Rangers and pitched to an ERA north of 7.00)
    • Neraldo Catalina (big “Who?” from most of you, but at 19 he pitched to a 2.14 ERA and we got Wilmer Font.  Ugh!)
    • Eric Hanhold (claimed by Orioles)

    Granted Free Agency After the 2019 Season Ended

    • Aaron Altherr
    • Tim Peterson
    • Brooks Pounders
    • Luis Avilan
    • Brad Brach
    • Rajai Davis
    • Todd Frazier
    • Joe Panik
    • Rene Rivera
    • Zack Wheeler
    • Juan Lagares
    • Donnie Hart
    • Ruben Tejada
    • Arismendy Alcantara
    • Gregor Blanco
    • Danny Espinosa
    • Rymer Liriano
    • Ervin Santana
    • Travis Taijeron

    Most of the rest of the players the Mets allowed to leave or who were traded away didn’t amount to much, so BVW’s legacy stands with one highly questionable trade, two highly questionable free agent signings (Jeurys Familia and Jed Lowrie), and one highly questionable managerial hire.  It’s too soon to say how a Luis Avilan or Brad Brach or Juan Lagares or Todd Frazier will fare on the free agent market.  The only one that will sting is Zack Wheeler, but there are $20 million reasons why they let him walk. 

    Mack's Mets © 2012