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By Steven InmanHellickson

For all the talk of the Mets acquiring a bat at the trade deadline, it appears now the team will be reversing course and looking at the scarce starting pitching market to help bolster the team. The Mets have been ravaged by injuries this season, and the latest hits have come to the Mets star-studded rotation. Zack Wheeler has had some setbacks in his return from Tommy John surgery. With the season half way over it would be unfair to expect much out of Wheeler, if anything in 2016. He will need about a month to build his pitch count up in the minors which the Mets were hoping he would have started by now. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are dealing with bone spurs as well as general fatigue while Matt Harvey is now out for the season. It isn’t known if last year’s massive innings increase is the reason Harvey is injured but he deserves a ton of credit for putting everything on the line for the Mets in the 2015 postseason. Met fans including myself owe Harvey an apology as he really put the team over his own future last season. The Mets don’t get to the World Series without Harvey and if the Dark Knight doesn’t come back from this uncommon surgery at full strength, he could cost himself over $100 million as a free agent in a couple of years.

The Mets must now replace Harvey in the rotation, while Logan Verrett has been decent as a swingman it would behoove the Mets to go out and get another arm. With two Wild Cards in each league there aren’t too many teams that have thrown up the white flag yet but one of those teams looking to next year already is the Philadelphia Phillies. After a hot start, the Phils have had a miserable summer but one bright spot has been trade chip Jeremy Hellickson. The former AL Rookie of the Year is having a solid 2016 after coming over in a trade with Arizona last winter. While Hellickson is certainly more of a back of the rotation guy, he could help the Mets by eating innings and saving the Mets overworked bullpen.

Hellickson, 29, has a 3.39 ERA in his last 11 starts but perhaps most important is that he has thrown at least six innings in 10 of those 11 outings. Hellickson isn’t a huge strikeout guy but he could keep the ball in the ballpark at Citi Field and would be a nice fit for the Mets. Hellickson’s contract wouldn’t be a huge issue for Sandy Alderson and company as he is making just $7M in the final year of his deal. Having said this, due to the lack of starting pitching available, the Phillies are going to ask for a solid prospect or two in exchange for Hellickson’s services. It’s unlikely either the Mets or the Phillies would have a problem trading within the division.

Other than top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, the Mets don’t have a ton in their system that they shouldn’t be willing to deal. With the Nationals expanding their lead in the NL East, the Mets join a large group of teams after a National League Wild Card spot. It would be smart for the Mets to add talent in any way they can. The final Wild Card spot could come down to a game or two and adding a veteran arm like Hellickson could actually be the difference maker. Expect the Phillies to be heavy sellers over the next few weeks and Hellickson will likely be at the top of that list. He would be a nice get for the Mets.

By Steven Inman

With less than 2 weeks before Opening Day, the Mets Opening Day roster is pretty much set. The only questions left are with a few injuries along with spots on the bench and the bullpen still to be determined. Here’s how we expect it to all shake out.

The Starting Rotationdownload

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Noah Syndergaard
  3. Jacob deGrom
  4. Bartolo Colon
  5. Steven Matz

Matt Harvey has already been named the Mets opening night starter in Kansas City. After a strong 2015 season along with a brilliant performance in WS Game 5 against KC, Harvey has certainly earned the honor of starting opening night.  Jacob deGrom’s wife is expected to give birth around April 5th so Noah Syndergaard will start the second game. If deGrom is back from his expected paternity leave he will likely start Game 3 with 3rd year Met Bartolo Colon and rookie Steven Matz behind him in the rotation.

The Starting Lineup

  1. Curtis Granderson RFdownload (1)
  2. Neil Walker 2B
  3. Yoenis Cespedes CF
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. David Wright 3B
  6. Michael Conforto LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud C
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) is questionable for Opening Day. It is unknown if he will get the at-bats needed this spring to be able to be ready for the season. The Mets seem to believe that he will be ready so we will put him in the starting lineup for now. After releasing Ruben Tejada the Mets don’t have much shortstop depth with major league experience.

If Cabrera is not ready Wilmer Flores will likely step in to the starting lineup at shortstop. The Mets will need Wilmer to play third base a few days a week for the aging David Wright. This could be a very big year for the Mets two youngest starting position players, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto.

The Bullpen

  1. Jeurys Familiadownload (2)
  2. Addison Reed
  3. Antonio Bastardo
  4. Jerry Blevins
  5. Hansel Robles
  6. Sean Gilmartin
  7. Jim Henderson

Terry Collins said a few weeks ago that the first five on this lists already had spots cemented in the Opening Day bullpen. Hansel Robles will be suspended for the KC series but the Mets will not be able to replace him on the roster while he is out. Gilmartin was very solid last year as a long man for the Mets after coming over from the Twins as a Rule 5 pick. Jim Henderson, the former Brewers closer, has regained velocity and looks very sharp this spring. While the Mets can send Henderson to the minors, he has looked very solid and if the Mets believe he can go back to being the reliever he was when he pitched the 9th for Milwaukee, then he certainly would be a fine addition to the Mets bullpen. Other candidates are Erik Goeddel who has been injured most of the spring and Logan Verrett who is likely competing with Gilmartin for the Mets long man role.

The Bench

  1. Wilmer Floresdownload (3)
  2. Juan Lagares
  3. Alejandro De Aza
  4. Kevin Plawecki
  5. Eric Campbell

Thanks to additions to the Mets starting lineup, players that were expected to get major at-bats like De Aza and Flores now become solid and versatile bench players. Flores will help Wright at third and will back up at short and second. Neil Walker didn’t hit lefties much last season so Flores could get at-bats at second vs. lefties. Expect Flores to play a lot this season even though he isn’t an “everyday player” anymore.

While Juan Lagares is a very good center fielder expect him to play some left field as a defensive replacement for Conforto. Terry Collins is wary of moving Cespedes all around the outfield so Lagares may not play much center field while Yoenis is in the game.

The Mets were interested in finding a backup catcher so Kevin Plawecki wouldn’t be sitting on the bench so often but they haven’t found a player they like yet so Kevin stays on this list. The Mets believe an extra 200 plate appearances for Plawecki in the minors would really help his development offensively. Thanks to the trade of Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell makes the club as the 25th man. Campbell has struggled in the majors the past few seasons but has had a strong spring and can play the infield and outfield corners. A majority of Terry Collins’ bench can play multiple positions.

With two weeks to go still before the season, injuries can alter this list. On paper this is a very strong roster that should have Citi Field buzzing all summer. Do you agree with this 25-man roster projection?

By Steven Inman

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Courtesy Post-Gazette

As you may have heard, the Mets front office came home from Nashville with a brand new middle infield with the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. While the trade for Walker and signing of Cabrera came together rather quickly, it doesn’t appear that bringing the pair to New York was the Mets Plan A.  For whatever reason the Mets, along with the rest of baseball seemed to covet Ben Zobrist during the Winter Meetings so much that New York offered him a 4-year deal worth a reported $60 Million. The 34-year old Zobrist may have taken that deal with the Amazins if it wasn’t for a trade that went down between the Cubs and the Yankees.

The Cubs liked Zobrist but didn’t have a spot for him to play in their infield or outfield. Theo Epstein and company at Wrigley Field were able to move Starlin Castro and the $38 Million guaranteed left on his contract to the Yankees. Without that move Zobrist likely wouldn’t have been able to find 500 at-bats with the Cubs and would have looked to his other suitors the Mets and the Nationals. The Mets rolled out the red carpet for Zobrist, even showing him places in Connecticut and Westchester where he could raise his family.

Ben Zobrist is a nice player. He is versatile and known as a good clubhouse guy. Perhaps most importantly in this area of the country Zobrist is remembered for killing the Mets in the World Series, With that said, giving Ben Zobrist a contract in the vicinity of what Zobrist got with the Cubs (4 years, $56M) would have been a disaster for the New York Mets.

For starters Ben Zobrist will be 35-years old next season and missed a chunk of last season after a serious knee injury. Defensively he’s not what he used to be so that versatility, while still valuable isn’t as important as it used to be. The Mets also have a pair of older players in David Wright and Curtis Granderson on the payroll at pretty hefty salaries for the next few seasons. Adding Zobrist to that duo would mean having half your payroll tied up in three players in their mid-30’s for the next few seasons. Lastly if the Mets signed Zobrist he likely would have played second base which would have meant possibly another season of Wilmer Flores at shortstop. The Mets must get better defensively if they want another crack at the World Series.

It didn’t make much sense that the Mets would want Ben Zobrist on a 4-year deal. He’s not the difference making bat that transformed their lineup last July. After seeing what the Mets Plan B was, it is even more of a head scratching thought how much they wanted Zobrist. The Mets have the Cubs for stealing Zobrist away and the Yankees to thank for giving the Cubs to motivation to sign the veteran. The Mets “Plan B” will have their infield much improved defensively at a decent price.

 

By Steven Inman

Sandy Alderson's top prospects are highly regarded throughout baseball

Sandy Alderson’s top prospects are highly regarded throughout baseball

The Mets offense has been dismal this year. Sandy Alderson has attempted to build an offense of power and patience but to date has failed miserably. The Mets are 25th in both runs and slugging percentage. Alderson signings such as Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson haven’t displayed any reason for hope that the Mets offensive struggles will change any time soon. That being said, there is hope and that hope comes from the Mets minor league system.

The Mets collected a great group of minor league arms with Steven Matz the last of that group still in the minors. Matz should be in the bigs around the All-Star Break. All of those pitchers have lived up to the hype so far. Now we could be seeing the new wave of Mets prospects, the position player side.

Led by 2014 first round pick Michael Conforto, the Mets have quietly accrued a group of solid position player prospects. Here are the guys that could balance out the Mets lineup in the next few seasons.

Michael Conforto- Although Michael is the newest player to the Mets farm system of this group, he likely will be the quickest one to the majors. Conforto is hitting .375 in Binghamton (AA) after starting the season in St. Lucie. Conforto has a quick bat and looks to be an upcoming star. Ideally he gets to Las Vegas (AAA) by September if the 51’s make the playoffs, which would allow him to be a phone call away next season. Conforto came into the draft last season with a reputation that he would have to be hidden somewhere defensively but the Mets have been very impressed with his outfield play and his bat will work well in left field.

Dom Smith– This sweet swinging first baseman is probably awhile away but the Mets have been impressed with his at bats. Don’t be alarmed by the lack of power (2 homers) as St. Lucie and the Florida State League is a very difficult environment to hit. Smith reminds me of a James Loney type of player. Expect him to hit for a high average but home runs will always be a question when you play first base.

Gavin Cecchini– Perhaps the biggest surprise of all of the Mets minor leaguers, Cecchini has emerged as a legitimate shortstop option for the Mets going forward. He is hitting over .320 in Binghamton (AA) and has played a strong shortstop defensively. There was serious question whether his bat would hit enough for him to play one position everyday. Now it’s looking like Gavin can stick. He’s only 21 years old so expect him to continue to grow offensively.

Brandon Nimmo- Sandy Alderson’s first draft pick as Mets General Manager got off to a rocky start to his Met tenure. Nimmo has slowly moved up the minor league ladder and can legitimately get to the big leagues by the end of next season. He was on the DL for a little bit but like Conforto it would be a big accomplishment if the outfielder could reach Las Vegas (AAA) this season. The concern with Nimmo is can he hit left-handed pitching. If not he’ll be a fine platoon player in the Mets outfield.

Amed Rosario– Out of this group of prospects, Rosario is probably the rawest but most scouts seem to like him more than just about any other Met prospect. The Mets aren’t sure if he will stick at shortstop but most think the bat will develop. Don’t expect to see Amed anytime soon in the majors however.

Sandy Alderson has rightfully taken a lot of criticism for his sculpting of the Mets lineup but if most of these five position players can hit in the big leagues then Alderson’s tenure as Mets GM will be deemed a success, it’s that simple. All five of these players were signed by Alderson and his staff. According to MLB.com, eight of the Mets top ten prospects are now position players, a drastic change from where the Mets were a year ago.

The Mets are going to have to pay their young pitchers in the next few years so getting impact bats at the major league level making the league minimum would be huge.

Which Met position prospect are you most excited to see?

By Steven Inman index

The Mets are expected to assign hitting coach Lamar Johnson to another spot in the organization. The team experienced no differences offensively after the change from Dave Hudgens to Johnson on May 26th.

Hudgens                   Johnson

50           G             112

.237        AVG       .239

3.9          R/G        3.9

.309        OBP       .308

.352        SLG        .370

The Mets are still adding candidates but at least two former Mets will be among the guys interviewed. Bobby Abreu who retired last Sunday after a base hit with the Mets is emerging as a guy the Mets are very high on. Abreu wants to be a big league coach but said he wants to take care of some things in his home country Venezuela. Abreu has hinted that he would be more than interested in talking to the Mets about the job according to Mike Puma of the NY Post.

Edgardo Alfonzo is also a candidate. Fonzie was working as a coach with Single-A Brooklyn this season after a 12-year career.

Also Triple-A hitting coach George Greer, who was a candidate to replace Hudgens in May is a candidate.

Hitting coach and possibly an assistant hitting coach are expected to be the only coaching changes on the Mets staff for next season.

Question for BrokeMets

Posted: June 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Got a question for Steven Inman on the upcoming series vs. the Padres or simply a state of the Mets question?

Steven will be happy to answer it just leave any comments or questions in the comment section under this post. Great questions will be turned into future posts.

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Game #65: Brewers at Mets

Posted: June 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

BREWERS (L1, 38-27) AT METS (W1, 29-35)… 2nd of 3-game set at Citi Field
RHP Wily Peralta (5-5 3.03) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (0-2 3.19)
• The Mets snapped a season high six game losing streak Tuesday.
• The Brewers are a better team on the road (19-14) than the Mets are at home (14-17). But to be fair, the Metsies have won four of their last five home games.
• Terry Collins was given a vote of confidence to remain manager of the team before Tuesday’s game by GM Sandy Alderson.
• Wily Peralta has struggled recently. In his last two starts vs. the Cubs and Twins, the right-hander has gone 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA giving up 10 runs in 10.2 innings.
• Peralta is having trouble putting batters away as high pitch counts have plagued the young right hander. He threw 105 and 101 pitches in his last two starts failing to get out of the sixth both times.
• Peralta was doing a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark but has now given up 3 long balls in his last two starts. He has now given up 10 on the year.
• Over his last six starts Peralta is 1-4 with a 4.15 ERA. Opponents are hitting .297 off him during that stretch.
• Peralta’s only career start against the Mets came back in September of 2012 when he threw eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 win at Miller Park.
• Jacob deGrom is coming off his worst start as a big leaguer where he gave up four runs in five innings at Wrigley Field.
• DeGrom has thrown a quality start in four of his five career big league starts. (11 earned runs in 31 career innings pitched)
• Carlos Gomez has now reached base in his last 25 games which leads the majors. During Gomez’s streak the centerfielder is hitting .347 (33-95 AB) with four homers and 16 RBI. He has a .421 OBP in that span.
• Curtis Granderson has reached base in 22 straight games, second in the majors only to Gomez. (.273 BA, .402 OBP, 3 HR). Meh.
• All- Star? Daniel Murphy is tied for first in the National League in hits with 80 (T-Goldschmidt)
• Murphy is hitting .406 (13-32 AB) with 2 HR in his last 8 games.
• David Wright has been struggling badly. In his last 16 games the All-Star third basemen is hitting .159 (10-63 AB) with just 1 HR.
• Ryan Braun has also been struggling over his last eight games, hitting just .176 (6-34 AB) with a .194 OBP and just 1 HR.
• The Mets have been looking for a guy to anchor the top of the lineup for years. Next guy to try it will be Ruben Tejada. The shortstop is hitting .341 (15-44 AB) with a .463 OBP and two homers over his last nine games.
• Scooter Gennett moved into the leadoff spot Tuesday night, replacing Jean Segura, who slides down to eighth. Gennett has been getting on base at a better clip than Segura of late, thus necessitating the switch. Gennett went 1-3 AB, with a walk in the No. 1 spot. He is batting .327 (17-52 AB) over his last 16 games.
• Former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez last pitched on Sunday at Pittsburgh when he notched his 19th save of the season.
• Prediction: Mets Tejada and Murphy get things going at the top of the order and deGrom gets his first big league win.