Posts Tagged ‘salary arbitration’

By Steven Inman

Harvey

Photo from NY Times

In what has been a disastrous year for the New York Mets, perhaps no player has been more disappointing than the Mets former ace, Matt Harvey. After leaving the mound in the 9th inning in Game 5 of the World Series 2 years ago, it has been all downhill for the right-hander. The last two seasons, Harvey has been totally ineffective with a dip in his fastball velocity by around a full mile per hour in each of the last two seasons. As a result of that, Harvey is throwing his fastball slightly less and his slider more. Harvey is in rare territory here as a pitcher trying to successfully return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

It’s been difficult to find a pitcher to undergo this surgery and come back just as effective as he was before. Not saying it’s impossible, but the early results have been very discouraging. Harvey has a 5.82 ERA and has let up a whopping 17 homers in just 77.1 innings. (2.0 HR per 9) He has given up a ton of hard contact and doesn’t seem to be fooling hitters these days. As a player who has one final year of arbitration next season, it’s time for the Mets to let go of Harvey. In arbitration, whether it makes sense or not, it’s extremely rare for a player to get a pay cut. Matt Harvey is making $5.125 million this season so he will make slightly more if offered salary arbitration.

The Mets have question marks all over their team. With pretty much every top prospect in the organization already promoted to Citi Field, this farm system isn’t going to be able to contribute much in 2018. Sandy Alderson and his staff are going to have to find a second baseman, a third baseman, another starting pitcher, bullpen help and perhaps a corner outfielder with Michael Conforto in jeopardy of missing a chunk of next season. All of that is with the Mets saying it’s likely the team sticks with their current catching duo. Sandy Alderson acknowledged that the club’s payroll is likely to slightly decrease from the $145-150M it started this season as. With so many holes still to fill, paying Harvey $6M without any signs that he can be close to the pitcher that he was is probably not a great use of resources.

It’s highly unlikely Harvey would get $6M guaranteed somewhere if the Mets non-tendered him. If the team didn’t offer him arbitration, they could always bring him back on a smaller, incentive laden contract.

Harvey has had one of the more roller coaster careers an athlete has had in New York. The 28-year old went from the Dark Knight to getting booed in the blink of an eye. His agent Scott Boras along with Harvey were very apprehensive about the righty pitching throughout the postseason after putting so many innings on his arm coming off Tommy John surgery. Pressure from the Mets along with public pressure from fans and media, convinced Harvey not to shut himself down for the year and ignore his “innings limit”. We’ll never know if his downfall is because of all those IP in 2015, but they surely didn’t help him. Matt Harvey deserves a thank you from all Met fans for putting his career on the line in the pursuit of getting the Mets to that 2015 World Series.  He was magnificent in that game 5 vs Kansas City and if things had gone differently in that 9th inning, perhaps Met fans would have a different outlook on Harvey today.

Harvey should be remembered as one of the great Met pitchers that helped the club reached just their 5th World Series since 1962. With that said, it’s time to move on.

The Mets are going to have to make around a 20-game improvement next season if they want to make the postseason, to do that while cutting payroll, the Mets are going to have to make creative decisions like this one.

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By Steven Inmandownload

Met fans can rejoice as “La Potencia”, Yoenis Cespedes is now back in Queens and locked up long term. The Mets had to give Cespedes the 2nd highest average annual value ever, but the team locked up their best hitter. After years and years of payrolls under $90M, the Mets being broke is a thing of the past. Ownership wants to win and they are giving Sandy Alderson the resources to get it done. While the Mets are back to spending big money, they are still being cautious about it. The Mets in the past when they spent big money always seemed to agree to deals one year too long on key contracts such as Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner. The Mets stood their ground this time on not giving the 31-year old Cespedes a 5th year and they look very smart today for doing so.

With all that said, the work is not done here just yet. The team now has 4 corner outfielders and no starting center fielder. Based on various reports it seems fairly obvious the Mets plan on trading a corner outfielder with Jay Bruce being the most likely to go. The Mets shouldn’t stop with Bruce, they should trade Curtis Granderson also and get a center fielder. The Mets have never prioritized defense but if they could put Cespedes in left and Michael Conforto in right, planked by a defensive, right-handed, center fielder, the Mets could have one of the best outfields in baseball. Here are a few of their options.

Dexter Fowler

Of the hitters listed here, Dexter Fowler is perhaps the best fit for the Mets. While he will cost a draft pick, Fowler, 30, could be a difference maker for the Amazins. The switch-hitter has been significantly better from the right side of the plate throughout his career which works in this very left-handed Met lineup. Fowler really improved his defensive numbers in center field this year thanks to playing deeper. The questions that would pop up if Fowler can handle center anymore are gone. Fowler is likely looking at a 4 year deal worth around $60M which is what the Mets handed Curtis Granderson 3 winters ago. Fowler was on perhaps the biggest stage in sports when he homered to lead off Game 7 of the World Series to help end a 108-year title drought for the Chicago Cubs so no, New York will not be too much for the Atlanta native to handle.

A.J. Pollock

pollock

Photo by CBS Sports

A.J. Pollock is a gifted, 5-tool center fielder who possesses a blend of power, speed and strong range in center field. He is the right-handed bat that would complete the Mets lineup and would make New York a strong threat to the Cubs to get back to the World Series. Pollock will be 29 next week and has 2 years left of club control before becoming a free agent as a key part of the 2018 monster free agency class. After a breakout 2015 season where he slashed .315/.367/.498, Pollock missed 150 games in 2016 following a serious elbow injury. After all the time he missed in 2016 and the Diamondbacks rough season, it’s hard to imagine the Notre Dame product isn’t available. The team already dealt Jean Segura on Thanksgiving, Segura also had 2 years of control left like Pollock. The Diamondbacks look to be rebuilding with a new front office after a disastrous stint with Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa running the ship.  Pollock will make $6.75M this season before going through arbitration in his final year of club control next winter. Despite his low monetary price tag, he will not be cheap under any circumstance in terms of prospects. The Mets should be willing to give up anyone in their farm system not named Amed Rosario to acquire Pollock if he is indeed available.

Ian Desmond

The Mets have had interest in Ian Desmond in the past. The Nationals dangled him out on the trade market before his final year in Washington but the asking price (Noah Syndergaard) was obviously a non-starter for New York. (Imagine the Nationals with Syndergaard right now) Desmond transitioned to the outfield beautifully in 2016 after a few rough seasons defensively as a shortstop. While he was much better in left field for the Texas Rangers this past season, he showed he could handle center field. Last winter he got frozen out of the market with a compensation draft pick attached to his price tag. I’d be a little concerned about giving Ian Desmond a long-term deal at this stage of his career but he is a big right-handed bat that has shown in the past he can hit the ball a long, long way at Citi Field. Desmond, 31, has a draft pick attached to him again and if he gets frozen out of the market again this winter the Mets should pounce.

It looks like right now the Mets plan is to trade Jay Bruce for anything they can get and try to get by with Curtis Granderson in center field in 2017. While Granderson wasn’t horrible in limited playing time in center field this past season, he certainly doesn’t give the range the Mets are going to need out there and is now another year older. The Mets are trying to win now and to do that they are going to have to sure up this defense. Even with Cespedes’ return this is still a significantly below average offense, remember the Mets last year were tied for 25th in baseball in runs last year despite Cespedes’ fantastic campaign. The Mets are going to need another bat here and they can get the payroll for one by trading both Granderson and Bruce.

What should the Mets outfield look like next season?

By Steven Inman

image

Photo by Newsday

A Mets season that was filled with many ups and downs ended on its lowest note as Madison Bumgarner shut down the Mets in the NL Wild Card game at Citi Field. On paper, when healthy, the Mets still have a very good team entering 2017 but if they want to win their first World Series since 1986, or even take the National League East back from Washington, they’re going to have to make some quality decisions. The Mets payroll entered 2016 at around $135 million, its highest since 2011. After acquiring Jay Bruce at the trade deadline, the Mets payroll is in the $140M range now. It’s highly unlikely the club will be able to go much higher than that. Having said that, $140M is a far cry from what the payroll was a few short seasons ago under $85M. The Mets payroll should be in the 6-10 range in baseball which should be enough to support what the Mets are trying to do. With huge raises in arbitration coming for some key Mets, plus Neil Walker accepting the qualifying offer at $17.2M the Mets aren’t going to be able to add much new money so they’re going to have to get creative.

Here are the annual MLB Trade Rumors arbitration projections for the Mets.

Rene Rivera is likely a non-tender guy (who could be brought back at a smaller salary) but the rest of these players will be here, barring a trade. The Mets need to improve their offense and maybe address the bullpen as Jeurys Familia is probably looking at a lengthy suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident. Sandy Alderson and his front office have their work cut out for them but the correct moves can bring Queens a title. Here is what they should do.

 

  1. Re-sign Yoenis Cespedes to play left field

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    Yoenis Cespedes must be the Mets #1 priority this winter

Yoenis Cespedes has been a very polarizing figure since arriving in New York at the 2015 trade deadline but make no mistake about it, the Mets are a completely different team when the Cuban slugger is healthy. When Cespedes did not play in 2016, the Mets had a 13-17 record. He’s a complete game changer, especially as a left fielder. He really struggled range-wise in center field and the amount of running required for that position was taxing on his legs. Keeping him in left field will make the Mets defense better and give Cespedes a better chance of staying healthy. I think at the end of the day Cespedes would return to the Mets on a 4 year deal worth a little over $100M with another opt-out involved in the contract. The Mets are a little concerned not over dollars with Cespedes but the length of any deal. It’s fair to wonder if Cespedes would give an all-out effort if he was not playing for a huge payday but #52 is definitely worth taking that risk.

  1. Sign Dexter Fowler

It’s hard to imagine the Mets finding the funds to sign Cespedes and CF Dexter Fowler but the speedy outfielder is the perfect fit. Fowler would give the Mets an actual center fielder at spacious Citi Field instead of letting a corner guy like Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson or Yoenis Cespedes patrol out there. Fowler is an on-base machine at the top of a lineup and really improved his defensive metrics this season thanks to playing deeper in the outfield. He is probably looking at a 4-year deal at around $15M a season but at just 30 years old he should be able to hold up health wise. Fowler just helped the starving Cubs fan base end a 108 year title drought so I don’t think the bright lights of New York City would be too much for him. With that said, if the Mets sign Fowler they would have to forfeit a draft pick.

So how can the Mets afford Fowler and Cespedes you may be wondering?

  1. Trade Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson

Both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson are in the final years of their contracts and in my opinion the Mets would be better off letting the two conclude their deals elsewhere. Both are lefty swinging corner outfielders who really don’t fit on the same team. It didn’t make much sense to bring Jay Bruce to Queens in the first place. Bruce not hitting for an entire summer in New York should have convinced everyone in the Met front office that they should move on from him, especially with better options available at similar salaries. The Blue Jays thought they had a deal for Bruce done last spring; perhaps they have interest in him again. Granderson’s strong finish to the year will probably be able to entice some team to take on the final year of his deal.While the Grandyman has been a good citizen and was huge in the Mets 2015 postseason run, he will be 36 before Opening Day and is a below average defender due to his declining range and poor arm. Clearing Bruce’s $13M and Granderson’s $15M would give the Mets enough money to sign both Cespedes and Fowler and perhaps pave the way to consistent playing time for Michael Conforto. Conforto could become one of the Mets best hitters if they just gave him the playing time he needs. Both Granderson and Bruce are older guys coming off mediocre years so it’s hard to imagine the Mets getting anything of value for either player but getting their contracts off the books would be huge for the Mets offseason. Getting these two out of the Mets lineup would allow the team’s outfield defense to improve tremendously along with preventing the club from being overly left-handed like they were in 2016.

  1. Re-sign Jerry Blevins

Often the most overlooked pitcher in the Mets brilliant 2016 bullpen, Jerry Blevins was terrific in his second season for the Mets and retaining him should be a priority for the Mets. With Familia facing a potential suspension the Mets need to find as many reliable arms as they can get their hands on and Blevins has proven in New York that he can get big outs. Terry Collins was able to push a mostly injured Met group to the playoffs but one of his huge weaknesses as a manager is overusing his best bullpen arms. If the Mets do not find more bullpen help Collins will overuse Addison Reed without a doubt. With big left-handed bats like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy with the Washington Nationals, the Mets could probably use a second Jerry Blevins, much less lose the one they already have.

The offseason is a tricky time for baseball front offices. All teams enter the winter with holes they would like to address but budgets can cause teams to be unable to fill all of their concerns. The Mets would love to upgrade at catcher and possibly add some rotation insurance after they lost 4 of their 5 young stud starters to season-ending injuries but that is unlikely to happen. If the Mets are able to re-sign Cespedes and Blevins along with adding another key bat (preferably a center fielder) the Mets could be parading down the canyon of heroes next November.

How should the Mets upgrade their team this winter?

By Steven InmanSpring 2013 014

With the non-tender deadline Tuesday night, the Mets made decisions on their seven arbitration eligible players. The team elected to keep all except Eric Young Jr. Young, 29, hit .229 with a .299 OBP and 30 SB in 100 games for the Mets in 2014. The Mets originally got Young in the summer of 2013 in exchange for Collin McHugh, who had a breakout ’14 season for the Houston Astros. With Young getting a raise in arbitration, his speed was a luxury that the Mets couldn’t afford.

In a surprising move the Mets elected to keep Ruben Tejada who is coming off another tough season. Tejada should get close to $2 million in arbitration so it is surprising that the Mets who are trying to save every dollar they can to find a shortstop elected to keep Tejada at that price range.

MLB Trade Rumors Projected 2015 Mets salaries

  • Bobby Parnell (5.132) – $3.7MM
  • Daniel Murphy (5.109) – $8.3MM
  • Eric Young Jr. (4.123) – $2.3MM
  • Dillon Gee (4.028) – $5.1MM
  • Ruben Tejada (3.171) – $1.7MM
  • Lucas Duda (3.137) – $4.3MM
  • Jenrry Mejia (2.140) – $3.1MM

*Young Jr: Non-tendered on Tuesday

The Mets also made a mistake in tendering a contract to Bobby Parnell. Parnell is coming off Tommy John surgery and will not be ready for Opening Day. He is also a luxury  the Mets can’t afford right now. If they had non-tendered him they could have brought him back at a cheaper salary.

Did the Mets make the right decisions at the non-tender deadline?

By Steven Inman

Photo courtesy of Newsday

Photo courtesy of Newsday

With Michael Cuddyer now in the fold, the Mets payroll is close to $100 million. It won’t stay at that number all winter as many veterans such as Daniel Murphy, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese could be traded for prospects to save money.

The rival Atlanta Braves are actively looking for a back end starter to give them innings. According to David O’ Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves are willing to listen on any of their young power relievers not named Craig Kimbrel.

The Mets have made it known they are looking for a second left-handed reliever to compliment Josh Edgin in the bullpen and the Braves have an exceptional lefty in Luis Avilan who is still just 25.

So why would the Braves trade Avilan? Well he is coming off a rough year where he had a 4.57 ERA in 62 games. His advanced peripherals (4.24 FIP) don’t suggest he was better than his ERA in 2014. Avilan had an ERA of 2.00 and 1.52 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The reliever has always been deadly on left-handers though with a .195 batting average against left-handed bats.

Avilan won’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season. With the Braves actively looking for a starter and the Mets looking to dump one, perhaps these two rival teams can match up on a trade.

With Dillon Gee expected to make $5 million in arbitration next year he could be the New York pitcher moved. Gee, 28, won’t be a free agent for two more seasons and could help bridge the gap until some of the Braves young pitching prospects such as Lucas Sims and Jason Hursh are ready. Gee is 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA at Turner Field in six career starts.

Again this is just speculation but it does make sense. Sandy Alderson and new Braves President John Hart won’t be afraid to deal within the division and the Braves plan on dealing from the excellent relief core to add a starter who can give them length in games. That’s exactly what Gee has done when healthy.

By Steven Inmanindex

With the Mets already over their 2014 payroll with many notable arbitration raises expected, the Mets can save some coin by non-tendering former closer Bobby Parnell. The Mets shouldn’t even wait until the tender deadline and should cut the right-hander now to save a 40-man roster spot.

The Mets current plan is to tender Parnell a contract and then ease him back into the bullpen mix early in the regular season. MLB Trade Rumors projects Parnell to make around $3.7 million in his final year of arbitration. I think to give him that would be a mistake as a team without any financial flexibility shouldn’t be taking gambles on injured relievers.

Parnell is not expected to start the year on the 25-man roster as he continues his rehab from April Tommy John surgery. The Mets can’t afford to pay a reliever who won’t be the closer and won’t even be available to start the year $3.7 million.

Don’t forget Parnell also lost a good chunk of 2012 with a very serious neck injury.

Here is the full list of arbitration eligible Mets, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors who do a fantastic job 365 days a year.

Bobby Parnell RP (5.132): $3.7MM projected salary

Daniel Murphy, 2B (5.109): $8.3MM

Eric Young Jr., OF (4.123): $2.3MM

Dana Eveland, RP (4.029): $1.0MM

Dillon Gee, SP (4.028): $5.1MM

Ruben Tejada, SS (3.171): $1.7MM

Lucas Duda, 1B (3.137): $4.3MM

Buddy Carlyle, RP (3.096): $1.0MM

Jenrry Mejia, RP (2.140, Super Two): $3.1MM

After he had his surgery in April I wrote about how Parnell likely played his last game as a Met. You can check out that article here. As of now the Mets plan on keeping Parnell. It is pretty crazy that 18 months ago we were talking about the Mets trading Parnell for a big time prospect and now I’m saying they should cut him.

Remember the Mets could always non-tender Parnell and bring him back on a minor league deal or even a guaranteed deal at a smaller base salary.

Can the Mets afford to keep Bobby Parnell?

By Steven Inmanimages

The title of this article is a sentence Mets fans have become too familiar with over the past eight seasons… The Mets have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Mets are 74-80 this season after winning 74 games the previous two seasons. While the record isn’t much bfametter, the team has made a number of improvements with key players while learning that other won’t be part of the solutions.

2015 Pieces

Lucas Duda: The Mets best (and only) real power threat in the lineup in 2014 was the emergence of Lucas Duda. It has always been a confidence issue for the 28-year old but he has begun to fix that. The move to first base, his natural position certainly helped his offense and Duda should be a big part of the Mets offense in 2015.Duda’s power hasn’t really increased he is just getting his first real opportunity to play every day all season. The team may need to find a backup first basemen in the winter who crushes lefties. A player like Danny Valencia could fit in very well at first base. Valencia hit .324 this season against left-handers with an.813 OPS.

Jeurys Familia: Familia was flat out dominant in 2014. He neutralized even the greatest of right-handed batters and went from not being able to throw strikes in 2013 to being “effectively wild” in 2014. Whether he becomes the closer or stays as the set-up man Familia should be effective in the Mets bullpen in 2015 while making the league minimum, should he stay healthy.

Travis d’Arnaud: The 2014 season started as a disaster for the 25-year old d’Arnaud. Travis was batting .180 on June 4th when the Mets made the wise decision to send him down. They called him back up around three weeks later. Since his recall the rookie backstop is hitting .273/.320/.482 with ten homers and 32 RBI. He has become one of the Mets better hitters and is now batting third. D’Arnaud has looked very comfortable in the #3 spot. The Mets have a very good problem with d’Arnaud’s offensive growth at the major league level and Kevin Plawecki’s impressive minor league season. The one issue with d’Arnaud is he has a hitch in his throws to second and has become very easy to run on. Keith Hernandez on the SNY broadcasts noted that it will be very difficult to get that hitch out over the winter and in Spring Training.

Other notable players are Juan Lagares and Jacob deGrom who should be a part of the Mets future for years to come. I’m going to have a separate post on both of these future award winners once the season ends.

Players that took a step back in 2015

Ruben Tejada: Tejada came to major league camp with something to prove. He instead proved that the Mets wasted another year hoping he could be the answer at shortstop for some reason. Tejada will likely be a non-tender guy and will join another team as a backup middle infielder, a role that he should be much better in.

Dillon Gee: Gee looked like he was on his way to another strong season before a lat injury took out a few months for the right-hander. Since Gee has returned he has struggled to the point that he could be on his way out of town. Gee will surely get a hefty raise on his $3.6 million 2014 salary through arbitration. With all the Mets pitching now up or near the major league level the Mets might find Gee’s increasing salary to be better used elsewhere. The Mets will shop around Gee along with Jonathan Niese this winter.

Bobby Parnell: To no fault of his own, Bobby Parnell threw in one game for the Mets before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Parnell’s velocity was down a lot in spring training but the Mets publicly said they were not concerned. Parnell will make at least $3.7 million next season in his final year of salary arbitration. Again with the Mets hamstrung for cash, it makes little sense to pay a reliever that kind of money coming off Tommy John. The Mets also have Jenrry Mejia and Familia to be the back end of the bullpen. It is far from a guarantee that Parnell will be ready to pitch in a big league game by April. The Mets would be much better off non-tendering their former closer and try to bring him back on an incentive laden contract.

Curtis Granderson: The Mets are hamstrung on Granderson’s huge back loaded contract. He hit even worse than he did when he broke his hand twice last season with the Yankees while the Mets thought he would hit much better. While the Mets would surely like a redo on this deal to get that money back to put into a corner outfielder on the upswing, no team will take on this 33-year olds deal when he has 3-years and 47 million left on his deal after this season with a slash line of .221/.322/.376. The Grandy Man’s 19 homers this season should go up a little when the Mets likely move the right-field fence in.