Posts Tagged ‘Trade’

By Steven InmanSandy

The Mets came out of the All-Star break thinking if they could just get a little more offense in the second half they could go on a run similar to the incredible fireworks of last summer. The Mets offense in the first half was embarrassing, headlined by poor at-bats with runners on base. Somehow this Mets lineup has gotten even worse over the last few weeks to the point where the Mets are on the brink of being swept at home by a Rockies pitching staff that entered this series with a 4.87 ERA as a team. Pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa and Tyler Anderson who were badly scuffling, easily shut down the Mets hitters. The Mets have scored just 4 runs in the first 3 games of this series. It has gotten so bad this week for the Mets that they have the Rockies thinking they can compete for an NL Wild Card.

The Mets are batting .202/.279/.318 with men in scoring position on the season, one of the worst triple slash lines with RISP in the history of baseball. While a lot of that is probably just being unlucky, the players must know how bad they’ve been. Asdrubal Cabrera was able to recite his recent 0-30+ AB slump with RISP to reporters after a recent game. There’s a good chance the team’s offensive futility with men on base is in the player’s heads to some degree.

The Mets have been active in trying to resurrect this offense through trades but with a lack of impact bats available it is going to take the last of the Mets farm system to acquire such a hitter. Even a miracle trade for a Jonathan Lucroy won’t save this Met offense. Instead I suggest the Mets turn around and sell.

Now obviously this isn’t going to be the popular opinion coming off a World Series appearance but this team without a major offensive overhaul isn’t going anywhere. The Mets don’t have a true center fielder on the roster except for Justin Ruggiano who they signed Saturday. With Matt Harvey out for the year and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz clearly not the same dynamic players with their bone spurs, the Mets huge starting pitching advantage is no longer that big of an edge over other clubs.

Instead of trying to deal Zack Wheeler for Jay Bruce again (who doesn’t fit here as another corner outfielder) the Met should turn around and consider dealing free agents to be Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker and Bartolo Colon.

The Mets will get compensation picks for Walker and Cespedes if they depart since they are likely to offer the two arbitration but the Mets should be able to get more in a package in what has been an extreme sellers market.

The Mets really stripped down their farm system last season to acquire all the pieces that helped them reach the World Series. Trading Cespedes who will likely opt-out for a larger deal could bring you an elite prospect like Michael Fulmer who the Mets traded away at this time last year. Fulmer is 9-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 16 starts as a Tiger this season. While the Mets can’t get him back, they can get a good young piece who can really help next season with (hopefully) a healthy starting rotation. So far this month teams have shown they are willing to trade top prospects for rentals. The Yankees who are just a game back in the loss column to the Mets entering Sunday have transformed their farm system by trading elite relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller this week. Now instead of bringing back the same old team next season they will have blue chip prospects like Clint Frazier ready to make an impact in 2017.

While this will never happen as the Mets would never sell coming off a World Series appearance, the season continues to head in the wrong direction and if the Mets could retool here and acquire some assets that could help them in 2017, they could be looking at another trip to the World Series in the not so distant future.Selling off now could be the Mets best chance to extend their window to win a World Series.

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  

  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 Inmanima

It has happened. The New York Mets have made a trade, acquiring infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson along with cash considerations from the Braves for two minor league pitching prospects, John Gant and Rob Whalen. Uribe and Johnson who are both having solid years will have an immediate impact on the Mets pathetic and malnourished lineup.

Uribe, 36, is having a solid year with stops with the Dodgers and Braves, hitting .272 with a .331 OBP, 8 home runs and 23 RBI. Uribe is kind of like the position player version of Bartolo Colon, no matter how old he gets he just keeps trucking along. He has World Series experience with the Giants and White Sox and is known as a tremendous clubhouse presence. Uribe will likely play third base in New York for the foreseeable future. Uribe has played just six innings away from the hot corner since 2013.

Kelly Johnson will hope his second stint in New York will turn out better than his first one when he badly struggled with the Yankees in 2014 and was flipped in a deadline deal to the Red Sox. Johnson, 33, has traveled a ton over the last year. The Mets will be Johnson’s fifth team since the start of the 2014 season. He is having a bounce back year as Johnson is batting .275 with 9 dingers and 34 RBI despite only having 182 at bats in 2015. Johnson now leads the Mets in batting average and slugging percentage. He can play all over the diamond as he has played both corner infield and outfield spots this season along with second base. This allows Terry Collins to have something he hasn’t had in sometime as manager of the Mets which is flexibility.
Collins can put Johnson all over the field. With Uribe now at third, Daniel Murphy will likely shift back to second. That means one of Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada will have to sit most nights before even considering where to put Johnson. If Murphy and Lucas Duda continue to struggle perhaps Johnson can steal playing time away from one of them. The Mets hitters are now no longer guaranteed to play everyday.

The Mets are not ruling out making another deadline move with nearly a week still to go before the trade deadline.

Do you like the Mets trade deadline acquisitions?

By Steven Inman

Sandy Alderson continues to sit on his hands while his team continues to lose ground

Sandy Alderson continues to sit on his hands while his team continues to lose ground

If you haven’t noticed, the Mets are in a tailspin. The Nationals are running away with the NL East and the Mets at the halfway mark of the season are at 41-40. They are entering the toughest part of their schedule that will see them continue on the dreaded West Coast Trip against two World Series contenders, finishing the series with the Dodgers and then the Giants. Unlike Willie Randolph a few years back, you should expect Terry Collins to make it back from this difficult West Coast trip but Collins doesn’t exactly have a long leash.

If Terry goes, Sandy should follow him out the door.

Sandy Alderson was brought in here because the Wilpon’s have no interest or ability to add payroll. They felt that a baseball man like Alderson who had experience running low budget teams like the A’s and the Padres would do just fine with their situation.

Whether that was right or wrong Alderson accepted the challenge. His plan was simple, wait out some of the Mets bad contracts and develop the Mets minor league system. He has done a fine job of that as baseball considers the Mets having a top five farm system, headlined by 2014 first round pick Michael Conforto. The outfielder is blazing through the minor leagues and should be considered for Triple A, if not the big leagues pretty soon.

Having said that, Alderson hasn’t done much else besides that improved system. When you are a small payroll team (no question the Mets are now) you have to develop your minor league system and then lock up your young stars before they get expensive. Alderson hasn’t attempted to lock up any of the Mets young pitchers to date. He’s running out of time to do so as some of them begin arbitration this winter. Alderson’s lack of urgency on seemingly everything is very alarming. He called the Mets beat reporters and fans the citizens of “Panic City” when he was questioned about his lack of movement this week while the team continues to free fall.

Alderson continues to alienate the fans as if its his job. The comments joking about the franchise such as “what outfield?” and “the Mets only reimburse gas at a downhill rate” continue to make fans irate. Most of Alderson’s jokes have been about the teams finances and with a passionate fan base that is having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it is difficult to understand why Alderson continues to “poke the bear”.

Buster Olney of ESPN described the current state of the Mets on a recent telecast as “a burning building and nobody is doing anything about it”

The Mets currently have the 21st highest payroll in the sport so it’s not like they are completely without resources to use.  All of the big contracts Sandy Alderson has brought in as GM of the Mets have been poorly spent or worse.

The two most expensive deals Sandy Alderson has made in free agency are currently playing corner outfield for the Amazins. Curtis Granderson has batted .235/.333/.403 in 236 games as a Met. He has been incredibly streaky and his outfield defense has declined over the past few seasons. The Mets have bigger problems than Granderson but he hasn’t been worth the 4-year $60 million contract he received.

Michael Cuddyer has been a disaster for Sandy Alderson and the Mets. Cuddyer is batting .242/.296/.364 in his first season in Queens. Cuddyer, 36, is battling a knee injury that might plague him for the rest of the season. At this point in his career he really is a DH who shouldn’t be playing everyday to keep him fresh. Not only are the Mets going to be stuck with Cuddyer’s $12.5 million contract in 2016 but the Mets also gave up their 2015 first round pick for the former Rockie along with the pool money that goes with it. Cuddyer’s contract is going to be very difficult to operate around going forward. His bat has slowed to the point that he has become a guess hitter which has really hurt his plate discipline in 2015. Cuddyer used to be a guy who wouldn’t strike out much…

Michael Cuddyer has been a disaster with the Mets and his contract will tie the club up in 2016 as well

Michael Cuddyer has been a disaster with the Mets and his contract will tie the club up in 2016 as well

While Marlon Byrd was a good pickup a few years back, but he wasn’t brought back for Chris Young who was a very regrettable signing by Alderson.

Alderson has spent the rest of his small budgets on bullpens. All of the relievers brought in by Alderson on major league deals haven’t worked out. Players like Frank FranciscoJon RauchD.J. Carrasco all performed very poorly when brought in by the Mets.

Alderson and company have flat out been too patient to help this team be successful. Besides letting a potential playoff team die without any reinforcements in ’15, the team also took far too long assessing their own players. The Lucas DudaIke Davis dilemma took far too long causing the Mets to be unable to get anything of value for Davis. The same situation occurred with Dillon Gee who is being paid $5.3M to pitch in Las Vegas. His decision to keep Wilmer Flores at shortstop as long as they did remains a head scratcher.

With the Mets falling out of the race quickly, Sandy Alderson had to do something bold. He could have traded a few lesser prospects to get Ben Zobrist or even called up his own uber prospect Conforto, instead he and his staff just sat on their hands, leaving this team to figure something out themselves.

If anyone should be on the hot seat its Sandy not Terry.

By Steven Inman 

Matusz has spent all six years of his major league career with the Orioles after Baltimore selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft

Matusz has spent all six years of his major league career with the Orioles after Baltimore selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft

With Josh Edgin down, the New York Mets are in search of his replacement in the bullpen. According to various media reports the Mets have been scouting Orioles lefty Brian Matusz and believe he could help the club’s bullpen. Matusz, 28, has emerged as a key left-handed weapon in the Orioles bullpen after failing as a starter during his first four big league seasons. Matusz would be a great addition to the Mets bullpen and would help fill a glaring need.

Having said that, Brian Matusz will not be a Met in 2015.

First off Matusz is a key component to the Orioles bullpen. He held left-handed hitters to a .227 average in 2014. While the Orioles have other left-handed options such as closer Zach Britton and free agent signing Wesley Wright, it is highly unlikely that they would be interested in dealing Matusz this close to the season without something of value in return.

Secondly while Matusz is under club control through 2016, he is entering his third season of arbitration as a Super Two player and will earn $3.2 million in 2015. If the Mets didn’t have interest in giving a lefty like Joe Beimel a contract in the $1 million range, they probably don’t have interest in paying Matusz more than triple that in addition to giving up players.

It is also unclear if the Mets could fit such a contract into their budget at this time without trading a major league player on a similar 2015 salary.

While the Mets are scouring around for a lefty, it is more likely the need is addressed internally or from an unproven pitcher who is unable to make his current club and is about to be put through waivers.

The Edgin news increases the chances that LHP Sean Gilmartin will make the club but the team sees him more as a long man in a bullpen not as a lefty specialist. Gilmartin, like other Mets LHP options for the bullpen has not impressed much early on in camp.

How should the Mets address this underrated issue?

By Steven Inman

If he lives up to his potential, Travis d'Arnaud could be a top five catcher in the National League Photo by New York Post

If he lives up to his potential, Travis d’Arnaud could be a top five catcher in the National League
Photo by New York Post

After a horrendous start to his 2014 rookie season, Travis d’Arnaud was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas in early June. The backstop raked down in the minors and was called up just a few short weeks later. When he returned to the big leagues he looked like a completely different offensive player.

Since June 24th, his first game back in the big leagues, D’Arnaud hit .272 (70-257 AB) with ten dingers and 32 RBI in 69 games. He looked significantly more confident at the plate and the results were encouraging. The 26-year old’s overall 2014 numbers were subpar but the Mets have to be hopeful that their starting catcher will perform more like his second half form going forward.
If he isn’t, then he won’t be a Met for much longer.
Former top pick out of Purdue Kevin Plawecki is breathing down the neck of d’Arnaud as 2015 draws closer. Plawecki has been the talk of Met position players so far in camp.
If d’Arnaud wasn’t acquired from the Blue Jays a couple winters ago, then perhaps the Mets would have Plawecki as their 2015 Opening Day catcher.
Instead Plawecki will start the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. Plawecki has already shown he can hit for a high average in the minor leagues and is now just waiting for an opportunity in the big leagues. That is why d’Arnaud must get off to a good start offensively. The Mets want Plawecki to play everyday so he won’t make the club as a backup catcher.
Travis is already a work in progress defensively behind the plate after a miserable season framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt. If he gets off to a bad first couple of months with the bat then Sandy Alderson may elect to make a change at this vital position.
Despite already being 26 years old, d’Arnaud is only entering his second full big league season. With the lack of catching talent throughout baseball, d’Arnaud would have a ton of trade value even if he struggles to start the season.
No matter who the Mets decide to choose at catcher going forward, they really shouldn’t drag this out like the team did at first base for years with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. The longer you wait the smaller the chance of getting something significant in a trade.
While d’Arnaud will likely bat towards the bottom of the Met lineup, you can make the case that there is no Met position player with more pressure on him right now. In fact other than Terry Collins, no Met needs a hot start more than d’Arnaud….
How will Travis perform in 2015???