Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ Category

By Steven Inman

Join me and former WSJU personality Rob DeLucia as we break down the Mets offseason, the Nationals addition of Matt Wieters, what is going on with Michael Conforto and more! If you have a question you want answered in the next podcast leave it below in the comment section or leave it on The Mets Report Facebook page.

By Steven Inman  

  Every March on this site, we grade the Mets winter and it usually involves the word “incomplete”. Sandy Alderson and his front office don’t usually do enough in the offseason to have fans and media change their tune when it comes to the outlook of the New York Mets. After reaching the World Series for the first time in 15 years last season, expectations were at an all-time high for the Mets to put on the finishing touches to what could be a world champion roster. Sandy Alderson and his staff will not be getting an “incomplete” for the acquisitions they put in the blue and orange this winter.

Additions:

As you know the Mets big moves this winter were the re-signings of both Yoenis Cespedes as well as Bartolo Colon. Cespedes was a key cog in the Mets revitalized offense back in July. While the slugger did struggle in the postseason, the Mets are very fortunate to have him returning to their lineup. Expect Cespedes to have another quality year in New York before trying to cash in on the open market next offseason. The ageless Bartolo Colon is returning for his third season in Queens, the right-hander was solid for the Mets over his previous contract and reportedly turned down larger offers to return to the Mets. While Bartolo doesn’t have the same potential this season that the Mets other four starters possess, Colon should be able to eat innings for the Mets this season.

The Mets most underrated move this winter was the trade that sent Jonathon Niese to Pittsburgh in exchange for long-time Pirate Neil Walker. The switch-hitting Pirate is an upgrade defensively for the Mets at second base and is a solid hitter. While Walker has never made an All-Star team in his career, the 30-year old has the potential to continue to be a top 5 second basemen in the National League this season.

Walker’s new double play partner Asdrubal Cabrera gives the Mets some much needed depth. While Cabrera isn’t the most “rangy” of shortstops, he is an upgrade defensively over Wilmer Flores. The move allows Flores to play all over the infield. Perhaps most importantly Flores can now spell David Wright a few days a week at third base. Having Flores as the primary right-handed hitter off the bench is a huge upgrade to what the Mets were throwing out there in May and June last season.

Antonio Bastardo will also be a solid late-inning option for the Mets. Terry Collins has said the 8th inning will belong to Addison Reed to start the season but if he struggles Bastardo is more than capable of getting the job done.

Subtractions:

While the Mets spent more money this winter than they seemingly have in a decade, they did lose some key contributors from last year’s pennant winning team.

The subtractions start with Daniel Murphy, who was the second-longest tenured Met behind David Wright before the infielder left for a three-year contract with the Mets biggest rival. Murphy had the greatest postseason a Met has ever had, and the Mets certainly do not reach the postseason without Murphy. With that said the Mets made the right decision to move on from No. 28. Murphy is a good player and he should have a solid season in Washington but Neil Walker is just as good of a player as Murphy and the Mets didn’t have to commit to him long term. Throughout his career Walker has shown better power and higher on-base percentages than Murphy. The Mets also get a compensation pick back for losing their NLCS MVP.

Like Murphy, Jonathon Niese was also one of the longest tenured Mets. Niese had an up and down career with the Mets so it was strange to see the front office was able to spin him for Walker straight up. Trading Niese also freed up a rotation spot to let Bartolo Colon return. The Pirates are hoping for a breakout season from Niese after some work this spring with pitching coach Ray Searage. Niese’s contract wasn’t bad for the Mets but he was certainly expendable. The Mets being able to fill a hole like second base in the process made this move even better.

When the Mets acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson back in July the club really seemed to take off. Both players played well as Mets but once Asdrubal Cabrera signed and Ruben Tejada was tenured a contract, it seemed very unlikely either Johnson or Uribe would be back. Johnson re-signed with the Braves while Juan Uribe went to Cleveland to fill the Indians third base hole.

Veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer also announced his retirement, forfeiting a majority of his $12.5M 2016 salary. Cuddyer’s sudden retirement likely had an impact on the Mets spending.

Mets Offseason Grade: A+

Yes the Mets had a borderline perfect offseason. They filled all of their holes without trading away key prospects or tying up long-term money. The Mets were able to retain or upgrade every spot on their team. Sandy Alderson and company deserve a ton of credit for the turnaround of the New York Mets. While the Mets look impressive on the field, they must now execute as we get closer and closer to Opening Day.

By Steven Inman

Matt Reynolds had an impressive Spring Training with the Mets

Matt Reynolds had an impressive Spring Training with the Mets

After an impressive spring training, Matt Reynolds established himself as a prospect to watch this season. He raked in the upper minors in 2014 and has very little still to prove down there. That being said the Mets continue to let the Wilmer Flores experiment play out.

Flores hasn’t established a reason for the Mets to continue letting him play everyday.

He hasn’t hit at all, he hasn’t shown he can hit for power even in the minor leagues, nor has he shown a great ability to get on base. His baserunning hasn’t been good and that is before we even get to his defense which has been horrendous through the first couple series. Flores has looked shaky in every game after Opening Day.

Maybe he can be a right-handed bat off the bench but he hasn’t shown he can be an everyday shortstop. In a season the Mets hope to be a playoff team, they cannot afford to experiment here. If the team insists on finding out if Flores can play short they should have put him there in the minor leagues over the past few years. Flores is out of options so they cannot send him down without the risk of losing him now.

Matt Reynolds has played well in Triple-A and has shown to be at least adequate at both second base and shortstop. He may not have a ton of power but he should be able to hit for a high average and most importantly he can play the position he is asked to play. When the Mets do eventually call up Reynolds he will be the first Sandy Alderson draft pick as Mets GM to make it to New York.

If the Mets want to contend this season they must plug up as many weaknesses as they can. Games in April count just as much as they do in September.

Do you agree that the Mets have been too patient with Flores at shortstop?

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

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…