Ryan Nelson - Decision on Bringing Back Bartolo Colon Should Be Easy for Mets


After falling short in the 2015 World Series, the best the New York Mets could do this year was a loss in the National League Wild Card game. During the upcoming offseason, they face a series of decisions in a number of areas as they hope that their fragile pitching staff can somehow rebound from an injury-plagued campaign.
One of the question marks among the team’s pitchers is whether or not to bring back veteran Bartolo Colon. While a look at his statistics would ordinarily elicit an emphatic thumbs up regarding that concern, the team has to weigh the fact that he’ll be turning 44 years-old two months into the 2017 season.
Of course, weighing anything connected to Colon inevitably brings the question back to his less-than-svelte physique. At 5-11 and 285 pounds, there’s seemingly no way he should be able to continue making contributions on the mound. Yet in the last four years, he’s somehow been able to compile a record of 62-40, making 125 starts along the way.
Looking back two decades, when Colon’s career began with the Cleveland Indians, it’s doubtful that many gave Colon much chance of still being a pitching option in 2017. Over his 19 seasons, he’s played for eight different teams and twice won 20 games. In 2005, he won the Cy Young award with the Los Angeles Angels after winning 21 games at his peak.
That peak crumbled the next year when Colon required Tommy John surgery. From 2006 to 2009, he managed a record of just 14-21 and was seemingly finished. After sitting out in 2010 due to further elbow surgery and then receiving a controversial stem cell procedure to his arm, his career was invigorated. That comeback stalled in 2012 with a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. Since that time, however, Colon has had no subsequent issues.
The fact that Colon was able to put together a 15-8 record during the 2016 season shows that he’s really had no dropoff in performance. Few pitchers have ever maintained any level of success after the age of 40, which makes Colon something of a physical freak. Those 15 wins actually led a Mets staff that was besieged with injuries.
Colon’s salary last year was $7.25 million and he’s reported to be seeking a two-year deal. That may give the Mets pause, yet given the vast number of uncertainties, the team may not have many other options.
They have to hope that Matt Harvey and others get back to their old selves since signing free agent pitchers from other teams has either been expensive or a crapshoot. It wouldn't hurt to offer him his 2015 salary of $11 million to acknowledge his past contributions. As far as a two-year deal, the team should offer him a team option on the second year. There will be plenty of moves made this offseason, but with no other considerations on the horizon, this can serve as a band-aid for this wounded staff.


Mack – ‘Stuff’ – Tommy Lasorda, Baseball Scouts, Garin Cecchini, Curtis Granderson, Dexter Fowler, Lucas Duda


Good morning.

A good friend of mine, and ex-colleague, Barry Martin, wrote this on Saturday -

We're watching WS and it's bottom of the 9th.

Reminds me of a story Tommy Lasorda told me at lunch one time. I asked the Skipper one attribute he looked for in players.

"It's the bottom of the 9th, final game of the world series. Bases loaded, 2 outs, best batter in the league is up and count 3:2. I want players who are saying to themselves "hit the ball to me - I can make the play." I want players with that level of confidence."

          Mack – Old school folks… old school.

I’ve been asked many times what do baseball scouts evaluate when you see them in the stands.

          Evaluating Position-Players:

1. Arm Strength
2. Speed
3. Bat (Hitting Ability)
4. Power (Hitting for Power)
5. Fielding

    Evaluating Pitchers:

1. Arm Strength (Fastball Velocity)
2. Quality Breaking Pitch (Curveball or Slider)
3. Other Pitch (Change Up Preferred).
4. Delivery & Arm Action (Genetic)
5. Body Type & Frame (Genetic)

    Tool Grades:

Scouts use 20-80 scale or 2-8 scale to grade players.
2 or 20 is bottom of scale & 8 or 80 is top.
Scouts grade with "2" numbers. The first number is current grade on 2-8 scale and 2nd number is projected future grade.

    2: Poor
    3: Well Below Average
    4: Below Average
    5: Average
    6: Above Average
    7: Well Above Average
    8: Outstanding

From Prospect Wire Baseball

The truth about colleges and scouts: the vast majority of college recruiters and pro scouts attend most tournaments knowing exactly which players they are targeting. Some coaches perform so much background research that they may only attend one game of an entire tournament to see a specific player pitch and then go home. Contrary to parent's expectations, most college coaches and scouts are not sitting around in large bunches at every game, at every tournament, hoping that they randomly find good players. The point? Colleges usually have a specific plan if they attend an event. If a college coach is scouting your game, chances are he is there to see someone specific in your game. This is a player's best chance to stand out in a live game situation while he is watching! How do colleges get the initial player leads that drive them to a specific game? Word of mouth from someone they trust (scouting service, high school coach, travel coach), social media buzz, videos, camps.

                    Mack – Sadly I can confirm this.

Back in the day (2006-2011), I used to go to Grayson Stadium around 2pm to watch the players warm up before a 7pm game time. The only people in the stands were me and a handful of scouts.

I got to know some of them over the years… Billy Blitzer/Cubs, Joe Giarraputo/Cards, Carlos Gomez/Arizona, Clay Daniel/Arizona, Kevin Reese/Yanks… and many more.

It took a while but I eventually got them to have a conversation with me that led to the reason them were in town that trip. I remember I used to tout to them one of my favorite members of the team, and most of them would just smile. One finally admitted that he was there to watch a specific player that might be included in a multi-player trade between the two teams (BTW, the trade never happened) and I could save my breath.

Every once in a while parents of a particular player would arrive to the stands and I always went out of my way to introduce myself and welcome them to Savannah. The conversation would eventually get around to ‘who were the other men in the stands’ and I would tell them they were scouts and they just might be here to check out their boy.

It was the least I could do to keep the candle lit.

The Milwaukee Brewers have released Mets shortstop Gavin Cecchini’s brother, Garin, who was once one of the Boston Red Sox’ top prospects. You simply have to do more in this game than look good on paper.

You’ve just lost any chance of the Mets releasing or trading Curtis Granderson http://www.outsidepitchmlb.com/curtis-granderson-wins-2017-roberto-clemente-award/55318 - you can’t off the currently most popular person in baseball?

Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/10/nl-east-notes-marlins-mets-cespedes-fowler-ruf.html) reports that Dexter Fowler could be a good option for the Mets in centerfield, if Yoesnes Cespedes doesn’t come back. They said that the Mets could sign Fowler, and bring back 2B Neil Walker for the same amount of money it would probably take to pay Yo. I would miss Cespedes but I would love the depth in the starting lineup with this option.

I’m very disappointed that the Mets are going to tender a $6.7mil offer to 1B Lucas Duda (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/). I just thought that Wilmer Flores and a cheap Kelly Johnson could have manned this position in 2017 until Dominic Smith was ready. But what the hell do I know?





Nothing like meaningful Arizona baseball in October, if you can't be in the World Series, I always say...well, first time I ever said it, but it sounded like a good way to start this missive.


Champ Stuart is firing on all cylinders in Scottsdale, folks.  

The speed burner is hitting .375 with 2 walks in 34 plate appearances.  Yeah, sure, he has struck out 8 times, what else is new?  But he is 5 for 5 in steals, showing the potential that Mets fans could ever see in Queens if he could stop striking out.  I've made the same "high-potential-if-the-Ks-could-diminish' about power hitting AAA home boy Travis Taijeron, who has gotten better every year, EXCEPT in strikeouts.

Champ Stuart ("that's why the base stealer is a Champ", the song might go) joined the Mets' minors in 2013, has unfortunately struck out 464 times in about 1300 plate appearances, and hit only .201 in AA after a mid season promotion - but he has stolen a remarkable 101 of 116 over that stretch.  SAFE!!

One can only hope he'll discover Wood Putty for his bat, but Arizona's limited results are impressive.


Marcos Molina got smacked around his last 2 outings, totaling 4.2 IP, 5 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks, 2 Ks.  So his TJS return is not overwhelming so far, but he is healthy, so it is good to see him getting work in before spring rolls around.  Would we be too greedy to hope he'd be ready for his major league debut in late 2017?  Or will he be more like Luis Mateo, who pitched OK in 2016, but not like the rising star he appeared to be before TJS jolted his progress a few years back?  We will see in 2017.

Happy Sunday, folks...and looks like those Injuns may derail the Cubsters, much to the Windy City's chagrin.  Where is Mr. October when you really need him??



Reese Kaplan -- Murphy Time for the Mets?


No, not THAT Murphy.  That Irish ship has sailed.

After reading an interesting article on the Top 10 catching prospects in baseball, the one name that stuck out to me was actually the person at the bottom of the list, the Colorado Rockies’ prospect, Tom Murphy.  Currently listed third in the depth chart behind Nick Hundley and Tony Wolters, he may be someone that can be pried loose for the right price.

Why would the Mets want him?  After all, he’s 25 years old and missed significant time in the minors due to injury (reminiscent of some other catcher whose name begins with a lower case “d”).   Well, for one thing he’s turned himself from an offense-only catcher to one now rated above average by the scouts.  Even his Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “We’ve seen some good things from him. Not only in catching a very good pitching performance, but thinking along with the pitcher, receiving the ball and blocking the ball. He’s an impressive kid, and physically, he certainly passes the eye test back there.”

His pitch framing numbers were favorable (actually better than starter Nick Hundley’s) and his arm is above average as well.  He’s a little awkward in his footwork behind the plate but he looks to have the tools to be a major league regular.

Remember when I said an offense-first catcher?  How good is he with the bat?

Well, in just 79 major league ABs he has 12 HRs and 22 RBIs over parts of two seasons.  Don’t do the math to extrapolate without remembering the Coors Field factor, but consider his minor league numbers as well.  In 2013 over two levels in just 357 ABs he slugged 22 HRs and drove in 83 while hitting .289.  Injuries derailed part of that season and most of 2014, but as he worked his way back in 2015 the power returned.  In 2016 he spent most of the year in Albuquerque (where your mileage may vary being part of the PCL), but .327/19/59 in just 303 ABs is nothing to sneeze at. 

Considering he’s a bit old to still be a prospect and the Rockies still seem committed to starter Nick Hundley and defensive specialist Tony Wolters, he may be expendable.  The always pitching-starved Rockies would probably not hang up the phone if you talked about helping improve their starting rotation.  Would Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman net you Murphy?  If so, would you do it?


Reese Kaplan -- The Drew Smyly Rumor

Making the rounds on the various boards and blogs is a hypothetical trade of Travis d'Arnaud and Michael Conforto for the Tampa Bay Rays' Drew Smyly.  I like him a lot despite a lackluster 2016 campaign.  In fact, I had opined earlier in the year when Matt Harvey went down:

"My preference, however, would be the somewhat unheralded Drew Smyly who has quietly put together a nice little career.  He started off shuttling between the bullpen and rotation for the Detroit Tigers before making his way to Tampa.  The lefty owns a career 26-25 record with a 3.69 ERA, a 9K per 9 IP strikeout record and a nice WHIP of under 1.2.  This year he’s earning $3.75 million and is arbitration eligible for the first time next season, not a free agent until 2019."

However, the prospective price for Smyly seems way too high.  Yes, it would give the Mets the ability to include one of their starting pitchers in a trade to help another area, but if that's the ultimate goal, why not simply use Conforto and d'Arnaud to fortify the roster rather than making it a multiple-step deal?  Conforto is coming off a very down year as well, but I'm firmly in the camp that he'll adjust.  

Don't get me wrong.  Smyly is an underrated pitcher who could be a middle-of-the-rotation guy on most clubs.  I just don't see that you'd want to use the few chips available to buttress what's arguably a strength.  And as good as he's been, the conventional wisdom is you don't trade a good hitter even up for a good pitcher.  In this case you're giving up Conforto AND d'Arnaud without having a plan for catcher.  Furthermore you're removing Conforto from the outfield equation when you're likely losing Cespedes and thus opening up a spot for him.  
It's a bad idea all around.  



So Yoenis Cespedes may opt out?  Uggh!

That's only because when the Mets had the opportunity to play Big Boy Baseball last winter and lock him up to a long term deal after all their competitors folded, the Mets opted out of producing a long term deal for Cespedes lucrative enough to lock him up and signed him to this deal allowing him to opt out after 2016.

When he opts out now, the Mets will be but one of his suitors.

The Mets may get that "deer in the headlights" look and opt out again, figuring the rest of their guys can pick up the load.

But without him, compare the Mets' 2017 offense to their still-active 2016 competitors, the Cubs - who will have a full year of the mighty Schwarber next year.  No contest, big edge to Cubs.

Lock up Cespedes as a Met, and the Met would still cede the edge to the Cubs offensively in 2017.

So...don't sign Cespedes long term, and we may find the Mets are in effect opting out of the 2017 post-season race.

Then a lot of fans may opt to stay out of Citifield in 2017, too.

If it were me, I would opt to sign him.  Because I get the fan's optics.  Most would be very, very disappointed without him.





Tebow through Wednesday was 3 for 28 with 2 walks in the AFL...who could be that bad, huh?  Uhh...well-seasoned, competent Mets AA 1B Matt Oberste had been up 19 times, made out 19 times.  It happens.  Get 'em next time.

Others may choose to lack impulse control and dump on Tebow's AFL efforts, but I still refuse to over-judge Tebow in limited results against steep competition with no career ramp-up, and prefer to see what he does next season, most likely opening up with Columbia or even St Lucie.   Why not?

He has a resume as a tremendously driven guy who has achieved real success despite limited QB skills in the pressure cooker called the NFL. 

None of the Mets' lower minor guys has experienced ANY real pressure, by comparison.  Not even close.

Besides, it is not like we have a million great OF prospects  in the lower minors.  Just as a for-instance, Brooklyn the past 2 years had very close to the lowest team batting average in league history.  He's probably as good or better than all of them from those 2 years.  And he has power, a truly scarce commodity in the lower minors.

So let me elaborate, and let's run down his Mets' minors OF competitors vs. Tebow, with an objective eye's view:

Desmond Lindsay did great (.297/.418/.450).  There's one Tebow competitor for ya.  

But the other primary Cyclones OF's (Gene Cone, Arnaldo Berrios, Jay Jabs, Henglebert Rojas, and Jacob Zanon) combined for 779 at bats with 153 hits, collectively under .200, with Cone leading the pack at a meager .227.  Was it because they were swinging madly for the fences?  No, they combined for just 3 dingers.  Pretty awful.  

A few pretty good ones - Ricardo Cespedes was .322/.356/.379 - he is clearly headed for Brooklyn or even a step up to Columbia, but Ricky does not turn 20 until late August.  I say challenge him in Columbia.  Jose Miguel Medina, 20, lined up well at .286/.358/.394.  But then off the cliff...Ian Strom hit in the .220"s and Will Baring got released, so I see 2 possible competitors for Tebow in Cespedes and Medina, but both are likely too green in 2017 to make him lose ABs.

No outfielders impressed at all so, simply put, no competitors for Tebow in that low-rookie ball squad.

In summary, only one real competitor (Desmond Lindsay) for Tebow for a Columbia or higher starting OF spot in 2017 ...and that assumes Tebow starts out in Columbia, which I doubt he will.

So now, let's look at Columbia and St Lucie's OF's - how is the competition there?

Four did well enough to be jumped up to AA ball in 2017 (averages in St Lucie are reflected): Kevin Kaczmarski (.301), Wuilmer Becerra (.312), Pat Biondi (.271), and Champ Stuart (.265).  But the 4 only combined for 7 homers in 1,015 at bats, a major red alert (they did, however, steal 66 of 79 there, so they are quick to the after-game food spread).  

Champ actually also got 184 at bats in AA, but the speedster's .201 average there, and huge strikeout rate, makes him highly questionable ceiling-wise, but likely he'll start out in AA, as I expect will the other 3.  Kaczmarski (who started the season slowly in Columbia in April before hitting .300 the rest of his time there until his St Lucie promotion) seems clearly to be the best contact hitter in the group, seems to have a lot of Nimmo in him, and conceivably could skip AA and go straight to AAA.

Vinnie Lupo, Enmanuel Zabala, Ivan Wilson, Joe Tuschak - only EZ Rider did good there - .280/.330/.339 with a homer in 50 games.   So...one good 4th OF(?) for St Lucie next year.  Won't reduce Tebow's elbow room at getting in the line up.

Getting redundant...no good ones - maybe Jayce Boyd, but my guess is he heads to AAA to play 1B or OF. He's not been the same hitter since his major injury a few years back, and is lacking in HR power and foot speed.

OK, I covered every level below AAA.  Heck with this collectively anemic hitting, powerless group of outfielders, powerful Tim Tebow could almost start in AAA, but that would likely be too drastic and steep an incline.  But unless Timmy T decides to calls it quits in the weeks ahead, there is absolutely no reason (given the competition, or lack thereof) that he can't be a starting OF in Columbia or St Lucie in the spring.  

My guess?  They try the sink or swim approach with the 29 year old and start him out in St. Lucie, hoping he can quickly get to Binghamton and Vegas next year on merit.

Go, Tebow, go.  I for one am pulling for you.


Eddie Mendieta - The Human Element


The Human Element by Eddie Mendieta

(Here lies the inaugural Mack's Mets article for Eddie Mendieta - 
read and enjoy, folks).

So Tuesday night’s World Series game had Cleveland’s Starter Corey Kluber Strike out 8 batters in the first 3 innings and 9 total for the game. A masterful performance, or was it...
On Mike and Mike’s morning show it was reported that the Umpire’s strike zone was 93% accurate. As I watched the game, I noticed that there were many pitches I did not agree were strikes, up to 2-3 inches off the plate. Then questions arose, and they said “it’s the Human Element.” 
Now I do like the “Human Element”.   I enjoy when a player slides on the perfect side of the bag to avoid what should be an easy out. 

I love when a base runner on third base runs down the line and draws a balk from the pitcher. 

However, when a call is wrong or in this case a ball is called a strike, we catalog it under the umbrella of “The Human Element”. This makes no sense. 
Both the batter and the pitcher should know what is going to be called a ball or  strike every game, every time. We all see on TV when the Umpire is wrong. Now we even have statistics that can say how accurate the “Human Umpire” was. 

Well, 93% is far too low a percentage. In the post season, those 7% may actually have been the difference in why Cleveland was victorious. 

One hundred percent may not be possible but having the number raised to 98%-99% should be. 
Now that works both ways, for every ball called a strike there is a strike called a ball. I am willing the bet Syndergaard, Harvey, and Degrom throw extra pitches (raising pitch counts) on missed calls and would prefer to know that if they execute the same pitch in the first or the sixth inning they would receive the same results.  

The technology exists.  

As fans we invest our money, time and passion, and I expect the same on the field.

What do you think, folks?

Cespedes will opt out, but Mets remain in picture


Mack – Stuff – Mack’s Mets Writers, Drew Smyly, International Draft, Tim Tebow, 1st Base


Good morning.

We are trying to build a new staff of writers here for the ‘2017 season’ and I’m thrilled to announce that four of our longtime readers and comment makers, Eddie Corona, Will Kay, Eddie Mendietaand Richard Jones, have joined Thomas Brennen, Reese Kaplan, and myself as active writers.

I have returned for a few posts a month and we’re not going to hold either Eddie, Will, Eddie-2 or Richard’s feet to the fire regarding how much they write. They’ll get started when they get started.

The Mets are reported to be working on a trade to ship catcher Travis d’Arnaud and LF Michael Conforto to Tampa Bay for services of pitcher Drew Smyly. Smyly was paid $3.75mil last season in his 2nd arbitration year and iit would probably take the Rays $6mil+ to lock him up in 2016. This is a team that had a combined 2016 team salary of less than $71mil ($9mil of which went to James Loney). Conforto and d’Arnaud would be far more in line with their bottom line. The 27-year old Smyly had 30-starts last season, and went 7-12, 4..88, 167-K, 175.1-IP. Having the Mets trade for another starter doesn’t seem to make much sense, but let’s remember that this guy had 63 relief appearances in 2013 where he went 6-0, 2.37, 1.04, 76-IP, 81-K.

Both the players in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela scheduled for the 2017 International baseball draft are in the planning stage of boycotting any association with major league baseball if they decide to the can the current ‘non’ draft where players as young as 16 can sign with any team they want. Details of the new collective bargaining agreement regarding the international market would be:

“Under the terms of MLB's initial concept, the new international draft system would start in March of 2018, with a 10-round draft held over two days. As the new structure evolved, with terms grandfathered into the process, the minimum age for draft-eligible players would be 18 years old by 2021.

As part of baseball's proposal, MLB would operate facilities in the Dominican Republic, where international draft prospects would be invited to live to develop their skills and education before becoming eligible. This would also give MLB much greater control over a process which has often been viewed by baseball executives as a wild, wild West of player procurement.”

The Dominican kids started this out yesterday, boycotting the Showcase event that was scheduling.

Trust me, big business always wins in things like this.

How this would affect the Mets is hard to determine since they have spent very little time and money investing in quality talent (especially pitching) in this market.

I saw that Tim Tebow was a guest on FOX News. What the hell is that all about? I know he has an arrangement to do some TV work in college baseball, but FOX News? You’re kidding me.

Do you think Sandy and Company would make this exception for some other minor league A+ player?

From Fangraphs - The pathetic state of Mets first basemen - 

       2016 End of Season Fantasy First Base Rankings
1Paul Goldschmidt1587052410695320.297$28.70
2Joey Votto158677291019780.326$26.40
3Miguel Cabrera158679389210800.316$26.40
4Edwin Encarnacion160702429912720.263$25.10
5Freddie Freeman158693341029160.302$24.00
6Wil Myers157676289994280.259$22.50
7Anthony Rizzo155676329410930.292$22.40
8Hanley Ramirez147620308111190.286$21.00
9Mike Napoli150645349210150.239$15.50
10Carlos Santana15868834898750.259$15.40
11Eric Hosmer158667258010450.266$14.40
12Jose Abreu159695256710000.293$14.20
13Chris Carter16064441849430.222$12.90
14Chris Davis15766538998410.221$11.80
15Adrian Gonzalez15663318699000.285$9.40
16Brad Miller15260130738160.243$8.20
17Brandon Belt15665517778200.275$7.80
18Matt Carpenter12956621816800.271$7.20
19Brandon Moss12846428666710.225$3.10
20C.J. Cron11644516516920.278$2.40
21Travis Shaw14553016637150.242$1.00
22Mark Reynolds11844114615310.282$1.00
23Sean Rodriguez14034218495620.27-$0.70
24David Freese14149213635500.27-$0.70
25Marwin Gonzalez141518135551120.254-$1.20
26Joe Mauer13457611684920.261-$1.40
27Tommy Joseph10734721474710.257-$1.70
28Mitch Moreland14750322496010.233-$2.30
29Adam Lind12643020485800.239-$2.50
30Justin Bour9032115355100.264-$4.60
31Matt Adams11832716375400.249-$4.60
32Wilmer Flores10333516384910.267-$4.60
33Yonder Alonso1565327525630.253-$5.20
34Ryan Zimmerman11546715604640.218-$5.20
35Ryan Howard11236225355900.196-$5.40
36Logan Morrison10739814454340.238-$5.70
37Jefry Marte8828415384420.252-$5.90
38Steve Pearce8530213353500.288-$6.20
39Dae-Ho Lee10431714334900.253-$6.30
40John Jaso1324328454200.268-$6.60
41Ryan Rua992698402290.258-$8.10
42Mark Teixeira11643815434420.204-$9.30
43James Loney1003669303400.265-$10.00
44Billy Butler972745273500.284-$10.40
45Justin Smoak12634114333410.217-$10.70
46Kennys Vargas4717710272000.23-$13.00
47Byung-ho Park6224412282410.191-$13.80
48Tyler White862768242810.217-$14.40
49Andres Blanco902094262120.253-$14.70
50Lucas Duda471727202300.229-$14.70
51Josh Bell451523181900.273-$15.40
52Clint Robinson1042255162600.234-$15.70
53Rob Refsnyder581750251220.25-$16.50
54Miguel Rojas1232141271420.247-$16.80
55Chris Johnson1132645202400.222-$17.00
56Tyler Austin3190571210.241-$17.80
57Brett Wallace1192566192000.189-$18.80
58Brandon Snyder374748900.239-$18.90
59Ji-Man Choi54129591220.17-$19.20
60Rob Segedin4083291200.233-$19.30
61Chris Parmelee6824400.5-$19.60
62Darin Ruf438938900.205-$19.70
63Ben Paulsen3997181100.217-$19.90
64Stephen Cardullo275925600.214-$20.40
65Richie Shaffer205415400.25-$20.50
66Eric Campbell408819910.173-$20.80
Mack's Mets © 2012