Archive for September, 2012

By Steven Inman

The Rockies will entertain trade possibilities for multiple position players, including Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer, opposing executives and scouts tell Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post. Colorado has had a miserable season; a season where because of a lack of pitching the Rockies have decided to do a 4 man pitching staff that has caused “mixed results” to be kind.

The Rockies need pitching and are willing to deal two good outfielders in Cuddyer and Fowler to get some arms. From the Mets perspective, you can forget about Cuddyer who has 2 years and 20 million left on his contract but Fowler is very intriguing. Dexter Fowler is a great athlete who seemingly has put it all together this season. Dexter Fowler is batting an even .300 with 13 homers and 53 runs batted in with 11 triples. Fowler plays half of his games in Coors Field so his numbers are a tad inflated but he would look really good manning centerfield in Citi Field.

Fowler will go arbitration for the 2nd time this winter as a super two. (Four times arbitration not three) Dexter is making $2.35 this year so he should make somewhere in the $4.5 million range next season according to baseballreference. That may be out of the Mets price range but if they trade a big piece to get like Jon Niese to get Fowler (likely what it would take) that would free up enough money.

Baseball reference believes Fowler is a below average defending but Coors field often messes up a lot of defensive metrics. I believe Fowler is a solid defender who is now coming into his own offensively and defensively in his age 26 season.

The Mets need guys who can hit lefties. Dexter Fowler is a switch hitter who has hit .315 vs. lefties this season, making him a great fit.

Fowler looks like a good player but the Rockies have Tyler Colvin who could play center everyday if the Rockies wanted. The Rockies need pitching just to be competitive next season and trading Fowler could get them a nice pitcher in return. The Mets have some option as we have discussed and Dexter Fowler should be added to the list.

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By Steven Inman

We have talked extensively about the Mets need for two maybe even three outfielders depending on where the Mets play Lucas Duda next year. The one option the Mets have internally with their outfield is with Centerfielder Matt Den Dekker.

As you can see by the short YouTube clip above courtesy of ESPN’s coverage of the college world series, Den Dekker is a legit centerfielder with a good arm and great range. The question with Matt has been if he can cut down on his strikeouts. If he can he will be a great center field option sometime in 2013.

Den Dekker was a senior sign Selected by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Florida. Usually as a prospect once you turn 24 the clock begins to tick a little louder in terms of your upside at the big league level.  Matt turned 25 in August but as a senior sign out of college it isn’t as big of a deal but 2013 MUST be a huge season for Den Dekker if he wants to be an everyday player for the Mets. If not he can be a very solid 4th outfielder making the league minimum.

Matt Den Dekker hit .274 with 17 homeruns and 76 Runs batted in and 21 stolen bases between double a Binghamton and triple a Buffalo. That is the bright side; the down side is a whopping 154 strikeouts in just 135 games. He is incredibly fast so he needs to do a better job of putting the ball in play getting more infield hits and cutting down on his strikeouts. Centerfielders with range, power and speed are hard to come by so if Matt Den Dekker can show the Mets that he can put the ball in play more he can be a dynamic Centerfielder and leadoff hitter sometime near future.

Den Dekker will likely start the season in Triple a Las Vegas so his number next year will likely be incredible. Don’t believe them. We know that he has power so don’t buy into the inflated numbers in power and average. The only way to understand if Den Dekker is ready is if the strikeouts are down and the walks are up. Den Dekker has potential and is the closest bat to the big leagues in the Mets system but if he doesn’t put it together soon, he may miss his chance.

By Steven Inman

A lot can be blamed for the Mets poor 2012 season, little power, no speed, injuries but the biggest culprit this season was definitely the bullpen. The Mets bullpen has a 4.74 earned run average this season; dead last in the major leagues and the Mets shouldn’t expect much from their internal candidates when considering 2013.

The Mets biggest culprit from the Mets bullpen this season had been Frank Francisco. Sandy Alderson signed Francisco as to a two year $12 million contract last winter so unfortunately the Mets still have 6.5 million reasons to keep Francisco on the roster next season. Francisco had 23 saves for the Mets this season but finished his first season in the blue and orange with a 5.53 Earned run average and a whopping 1.61 whip (walks + hits per innings pitched) before having his season end early from elbow soreness. Despite his dissapointing season Frank will enter Sprng Training as the closer because of his $6.5 million dollar 2013 salary.

Injury history has hurt Frank Francisco throughout his career and this year has been no different. Even when Frank struggled this season Terry Collins said with him in the 9th inning, mostly because the Mets didn’t have many other options. Jon Rauch was the set up man for most of the year but also struggled throughout most of the 1st half when the Mets were in the postseason mix.

To me, the main problem was Rauch and Francisco who were the 8th and 9th inning guys in Toronto last year, badly struggled in late inning situations and yet still got 9 million bucks in 2012 from Sandy Alderson. That money was a majority of last year’s budget and it wasn’t spent well. The Blue Jays led the league in blown saves last season with the same duo and this season the Mets lead baseball in worst bullpen era. Not a coincidence.

The Mets will be forced to rely on young relievers like Josh Edgin and Robert Carson next season in late game situations. Those two have good arms and can get lefties out but have very little experience in the Major Leagues. Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia are two young pitchers that have uncertain futures. I believe because they both have very violent deliveries and control problems, they have a better chance to succeed in the bullpen. Both have closer stuff but like Edgin and Carson, very little experience. By the way Familia will get his first ever major league start on Monday in Miami.

Terry Collins has had more than his fair share of mound visits to pull relievers this year.

The only experience, quality arm penciled into the Mets bullpen next season is Bobby Parnell who has had a very nice season when he hasn’t been asked to be the closer. That being said he will be eligible for salary arbitration (a pay raise) for the first time this winter so it’s unknown if the Mets will trade him or keep him.

Most quality teams develop their own bullpen. The Yankees had Rivera and Robertson, the Giants got guys like Brian Wilson, Santiago Casilla  and Sergio Romo while the Braves might have the best 8th/9th combo in the sport with Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel.

With little money the Mets won’t be able to buy a closer. Their only hope is to be patient and hope an experienced arm is forced to sign a one deal before spring training. Fernando Rodney did just that with the Rays last winter and he has been the best reliever in the American League at just $2 million bucks. Bottom line is while it will be difficult for the Mets to fix their pen it can be done if they don’t panic like they did last winter.

By Steven Inman

Chris Young’s final start of the season will be later on SNY tonight in Atlanta. With the Mets getting Johan Santana, Dillon Gee and Matt Harvey back along with Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey their doesn’t appear to be room for Chris Young in the starting rotation. Tonight will be Young’s 20th start of the season and he has pitched serviceably with a 4.21 earned run average in 109 innings this season. Chris Young has been a very good 5th starter for the Mets.

Young is coming back from a serious shoulder injury and it was unknown going into the year if Chris could help the Mets at all. Well he was able to go 5 or 6 innings in nearly every start giving up 2 or 3 runs. Chris Young isn’t at a point in his career where he will be going deep into games but he has given the Mets quality starts in his 2 seasons in Queens. Despite only throwing in the high 80’s he continue to induce tons of pop outs and fly outs getting the job done.

Chris is going to ask for a few million dollars and the Mets just can’t afford to spend their only money on a pitcher that would just be considered a depth move for the team.

The Mets starting rotation is expected to be the strength of the team next season with 5 established starters in place and top prospect Zack Wheeler waiting for an opportunity. Mets play by play man Gary Cohen asked Terry Collins earlier if Young could come in as a reliever. Terry believes because it takes Chris so long to warm up as a starter he wouldn’t be able to succeed as a reliever, also changing a pitcher’s role when he is as injury prone as Young would be just asking for disaster. It appears as if Chris Young’s best opportunity to continue as a starter will appear elsewhere.

By Steven Inman

Jon Niese dazzled in his final start of the season last night in Atlanta throwing 7 solid innings of  one run ball to the playoff bound Atlanta Braves. Niese has been up and down over his young career with the Mets but has turned the corner here in 2012. Niese went 13-9 with a 3.40 earned run average but most importantly stayed healthy the entire season.

Fatigue down the stretch has been an issue for Niese over the past few seasons but he threw a career high 190 innings this season. The Mets before the season locked up Niese to a 5 contract worth $25.5 million with team options for 2017 and 2018 that could push the total value to $46 million. If Niese continues to pitch the way he did this season this deal will prove to be a steal.

Jon Niese and Sandy Alderson discuss Niese’s 5 year contract extenstion with reporters during Spring Training

The question with Niese now is does it make more sense to trade Jon to a team for prospects or does he have more value to the Mets. Many reporters who follow the team believe the Mets could get a “Gio Gonzalez” like package for Niese. Last winter the Athletics traded Gonzalez to Washington for a package that included Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and prospects Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole. The trade has worked out for both sides but I believe the Mets can get even more for Niese.

Milone and Norris are contributing to the Athletics now but neither is a star player. Plus questions about Gio Gonzalez’s control persisted during trade discussions last winter. Niese seems a lot more advanced than Gio was at this time last year. Plus the fact that Gio didn’t have a long term contract in place while Niese is under control until at least 2016. The Mets should definitely entertain looking into trading Niese if the right package comes together.

The Mets need to find two outfielders and a starting catcher and they will only find impact players through trades not free agency. The Mets entertained trading Niese last winter during the Winter Meetings to teams like the Blue Jays and the Padres. Both those teams have young catchers like Yasmani Grandal and Travis D’arnaud that would look very good behind the plate for the New York Mets. Niese can still get better  as he is just 25 and has very few innings under his belt, and the Mets should only trade him if they get a monster 4 for 1 package like Oakland did last offseason.

I find what Sandy does with Jon Niese to be one of the most compelling stories of the offseason. Niese is a very good young pitcher but for the Mets to improve next season they must trade what is considered to be a “core piece” to fill multiple holes and perhaps that might be Jon Niese.

Obviously this is a very important offseason for the Mets as they look to rebound from a subpar season. Sandy Alderson certainly has his work cut out for him. Here are a few dates to mark off in the Mets offseason calendar

  • Sometime Between October 29th-November 1st. All players with expired contracts become Free Agents as soon as the World Series ends. Players can only negotiate with the clubs their currently on.
  • Sometime between November 3rd– November 7th. Players with expired contracts are free to sign with any team 6 days after World Series ends.
    • Midnight ET 12 days after World Series ends, last date for a player to accept arbitration from former club.(Won’t affect Mets this year)
    • Midnight ET November 30th, last date to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Note: Not the same as Salary arbitration (bullet point above)
    • The Mets have 8 players Arbitration Eligible according to Mlbtraderumors

First time: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Josh TholeBobby Parnell

Second time: Manny Acosta, Rob Johnson

Third time: Mike Pelfrey, Andres Torres

The first time arbitration eligible players are the only ones unlikely to be non-tendered (not given a contract) by the Mets. The more times a player goes through arbitration, the more expensive he becomes in most situations.

  • December 3rd-6th Winter Meetings in Nashville Tennessee

Arguably the most important week of the offseason for the Mets. This is the time where you will hear the most crazy rumors about who the Mets and other teams are trading some true, some untrue and if it has any legs to it BrokeMets will give you the latest!

  • December 6th Rule 5 Draft
  • April 1st 2013 1:10p.m. Padres at Mets First game of the season!

By Steven Inman

Torii Hunter has had a wonderful major league career and Hunter believes he has 2 or 3 more solid seasons left in Major League Baseball. Hunter has 16 homers and a .306/.358/.446 batting line in 2012, his 16th MLB season. Torii is now 37 but I think he would be a perfect fit for the New York Mets.

The Mets have struggled to hit lefties all season but Torii has done a nice job hitting .329 against lefties. He has always been a team player accepting a role out of center field for rookies like Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout. He is still very good defensively and the Mets might get him on a one year deal. I would be surprised if the Mets gave any player a multiyear deal this offseason but they may not have too with Torii this winter. The Mets need at least 2 starting outfielders this winter.

Hunter has expressed interest in resigning with the Angels this winter but in an outfield/designated hitter rotation of Trout, Wells, Trumbo, Bourjos, and Kendrys Morales. That’s already five guys under contract for just four spots. Torii could also bring the Mets leadership that they have lacked for a long time.

Torii career is dwindling down but he has had a great year, and a great September hitting .316 with 4 homers and 23 RBI’s for the contending Angels. The Mets also don’t have a ton of options for their outfield in terms of free agency. The Mets would be very fortuante to sign Torii Hunter to a one year deal.

At this stage in Hunter’s career he could be a perfect #2 hitter in the Mets lineup playing right field 6 times a week. Torii is making 18 million in the final year of a five year $90 million dollar contract so it is unknown how much of a pay cut he would be willing take if the Mets shown interest. Hunter might be out of the Mets price range right now but the later into the winter it gets the better the chance the Mets could get a bargain like Torii Hunter if they are patient.