Archive for March, 2015

By Steven Inman

Alex Torres was the first pitcher to wear this padded hat. He elected towear it after former teammate Alex Cobb cgot a concussion from a comebacker

Alex Torres was the first pitcher to wear this padded hat. He elected to wear it after former teammate Alex Cobb got a concussion from a comebacker

The New York Mets made a pair of shrewd moves Monday, acquiring LHP Alex Torres and LHP Jerry Blevins. The Mets were set to enter the regular season with zero lefties with a track record, instead they picked up two solid ones in a few hours.

The first move the Mets made was acquiring Alex Torres in exchange for pitching prospect RHP Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later. Torres will be under Met control through the 2019 season. Torres is expected to wear # 53 in New York. He is not yet arbitration eligible.

Mazzoni, 25, was one of Sandy Alderson’s first draft picks as Met general manager. Mazzoni’s prospect status faded significantly after a rough 2014 that included more injury problems. The Padres will probably move the young right-hander to the bullpen where he will have a much better chance of helping a major league club. The PTBNL is most likely a 2014 Met draft pick. Those guys can’t be traded until a year after signing their draft contracts.

Torres, 27, first came up with the Rays in 2011. He had a very effective season in Tampa in 2013 before being shipped in a trade to the Padres. Torres was still a useful reliever in his lone season in San Diego but struggled mightily with his control. Torres is more effective against right-handed bats than left-handed bats thanks to a quality changeup so he isn’t a guy you bring in for a batter to get one lefty out.

That’s why the club then acquired Jerry Blevins.

Newest Met Jerry Blevins

Newest Met Jerry Blevins

Blevins, 31, is more of the lefty specialist that Terry Collins is looking for. Blevins held LHB to a .160 average in 2014. (.290 vs. RHB) Bob Geren, the Mets bench coach, used to manage Blevins when both were in Oakland. The familiarity was certainly a factor in the move. Blevins will wear #13.

Blevins was traded straight up to the Mets for 27-year old Matt den DekkerThe outfielder hit .238 with a homer and 13 RBI in 237 career plate appearances with the Mets. Despite his age, he still had value because of his elite glove and speed. With Juan Lagares in center and Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the team as a lefty bench bat there was no room for den Dekker here.

Washington will likely put the former Florida Gator on their major league roster with Denard Span, Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth all likely to begin the season on the disabled list. With the Mets opening the season in Washington they will see their old friend very soon.

One of the reasons Blevins was available was a reported dispute between player and team during the club’s arbitration hearing with the lefty. Blevins won his case and will be making $2.4 million in 2015 before becoming a free agent after the season. The deal puts the Mets payroll over $100 million.

Both relievers will help the Mets bullpen significantly. Yes they are both lefties but they will have very different roles in Terry Collins’ suddenly reloaded bullpen. Terrific job by Sandy Alderson and his staff handling this issue.

By Steven InmanimagesCANTDGDW

According to various media reports, the Mets have discussed a contract extension with 1B Lucas Duda. Duda, 29, hit .253 with 30 homers and 92 RBI in his 2014 breakout campaign. Talks are still considered to be in the “preliminary stage”.

Duda as a Super Two player is already making $4.2 million this upcoming season but won’t be a free agent until after the 2017 season. If the Mets truly believe that Duda can replicate his 2014 season then a four-year extension worth around $30 million could make a lot of sense. There really isn’t a great comparision for Duda so its all really just guessing on what Duda’s contract could look like.

It will be interesting to see what the final numbers of this contract look like should it get done but any extension for the Mets first basemen would likely begin after this season as the Mets have a very tight budget remaining as we get closer to the games at Citi Field.

It’s encouraging that the Mets believe they have the financial flexibility to keep their core players going forward. That may not have been the case a couple years back. Duda’s agent made it clear that he doesn’t want to negotiate a contract in season so if this doesn’t get done now, it won’t get done during the 2015 season.

Do you think the Mets should give Duda a contract extension???

By Steven Inman 

Brian Matusz is a lefty who could help the Mets but can the club scrap together enough money to afford him?

Brian Matusz is a lefty who could help the Mets but can the club scrap together enough money to afford him?

The Mets left-handed relief options continue to have lackluster camps, causing Sandy Alderson and company to look externally to find a replacement for Josh Edgin. Edgin underwent Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago,

The Amazins have serious interest in Orioles lefty Brian Matusz, who is available but would need Baltimore to pick up a significant chunk of the southpaw’s $3.2 million 2015 salary, making a trade unlikely. We wrote a few weeks ago that because of Matsuz’s salary he is unlike to be a Met this season. You can check out that article here.

According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA the Mets are monitoring the Dodgers who have three left-handers with some upside in camp although two of those left-handers can be sent down so the team doesn’t have to make a deal.

The Mets didn’t have much interest in Cardinals lefty Sam Freeman, who was available before being dealt to the Rangers Saturday for a player to be named later or cash.

The Mets sent Scott Rice down to minor league camp Saturday. He was having a very poor spring after a rough 2014 so he will not be the left-hander to get the first opportunity at filling the LOOGY role for the Mets to start the season.

Dario Alvarez and Sean Gilmartin are the lone left-handed relievers still left in camp. Both have a good chance at making the team if the club doesn’t find a lefty outside the organization.

Stay tuned as this could get interesting in the upcoming week….

By Steven Inman

Daniel Murphy has been one of the Mets best hitters over the past few seasons

Daniel Murphy has been one of the Mets best hitters over the past few seasons

In what seems like a foregone conclusion, the Mets lone 2014 All-Star, Daniel Murphy will likely be playing elsewhere in 2016, BrokeMets has been saying this for several months and now in a very interesting article by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets front office is pretty much acknowledging their limited resources are better off being used elsewhere.

He’s been a very good player and is a very good player,” Mets assistant GM John Ricco said in the Post article about Murphy. “The question comes down to managing assets, and we have young players we are high on that play that position.” If the team isn’t even denying that they won’t keep Murphy then guess what? They won’t be keeping Murphy.

Murphy, now the second longest tenured Met on the team behind David Wright, remains unlikely to be ready for Opening Day with a strained hamstring. Murphy took five at bats in a minor league game Saturday but Terry Collins admits the second basemen is doubtful to head north with the major league club next week. “He’s running out of time,” Collins said. “We don’t have a lot of time to get him ready.” the Mets manager told the media Friday.

Should Murphy be unable to go Opening Day the Mets can backdate his DL stint so he would only miss five games and would likely put Danny Muno on the MLB roster. Muno, 26, has yet to make his major league debut. The Mets 8th round pick in 2011 (Sandy’s first draft) has had a very good spring training.

Murphy, who will turn 30 next week, is likely looking at a four year contract worth somewhere around $36-40 million total as a free agent. This Met front office has never been high on Murphy but have been frustrated with the trade offers they have received for #28 over the past few seasons which is why he is still here. If the Mets are out of the race in July perhaps they try to trade Murph again, if not consider this long-time Met a rental as we enter the 2015 season.

By Steven Inman

Join WSJU radio personality Rob DeLucia as well as myself on the latest edition of the BrokeMets podcast. We recap all the Mets injuries, the Mets Opening Day starter decision, Sandy Alderson “Baseball Maverick” and so much more.

Remember if you want to have a question answered on the next podcast, leave it below in the comment section.

By Steven Inman

The Mets don't have to deal with left-handed bats in the N.L. East like Jason Heyward who was dealt to the Cardinals this winter

The Mets don’t have to deal with left-handed bats in the N.L. East like Jason Heyward who was dealt to the Cardinals this winter

While power hitters are becoming endangered in major league baseball there is something that has become even rarer and that is left-handed pop. In an excellent article by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Sherman details how rare the left-handed slugger truly has become. Only one of the top eight home run hitters in 2014 was left-handed.

Just eight left-handed hitters hit 25 or more dingers in 2014, the fewest in a 162-game season since 1992. So how does that relate to the Mets?

Well its simple, the Mets, who currently don’t have a reliable lefty reliever in their pen may not have to game plan for that big lefty bopper as much as originally thought. While Freddie Freeman is still a big bat to save a lefty specialist for, there aren’t nearly as many as their used to be in the N.L. East. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are obviously not the threats they used to be. Jason Heyward is now out of the division. Bryce Harper hasn’t established himself as a player you have to fear late in games, just yet anyway.

Terry Collins and company still need to solve this bullpen hole but if they don’t, it won’t be the reason 2015 isn’t successful.

By Steven Inman

The Mets don't have the depth to replace a pitcher like Vic Black, should he miss any extended time

The Mets don’t have the depth to replace a pitcher like Vic Black, should he miss any extended time (Photo by NY Post)

While the New York Mets have an impressive group of young arms in their bullpen that includes hard throwing right-handers like Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, injuries have hurt this once promising group.

The team is already without Josh Edgin, who was the lone left-hander projected to make the Opening Day bullpen. Vic Black is also banged up and doesn’t look like he’ll be ready for Opening Day according to Terry Collins. The team has looked at internal options to replace Edgin but none have pitched well to date. The team will look to waivers to find a left-handed reliever so the lack of depth is obvious with just two weeks to go before Opening Day.

A pitcher like Buddy Carlyle who pitched well in 27 appearances for the Mets last season now looks like a lock to make the Opening Day bullpen. While Carlyle looked solid with the Mets last season, he is 37 years old and has pitched in just 31.0 big league innings since 2011.

While the team has plenty of starting pitching depth, they don’t have a ton of guys ready and able to pitch in key bullpen innings for the Mets down on the farm. Bobby Parnell is expected to pitch early on in the season but having pitched in just one major league game since July 2013, it is unfair to count on him for a significant role just yet. Stay tuned Met fans this issue could be something to watch…