Should the Mets attempt to Trade Adrubal Cabrera?

The question to ask is if the Mets have an opportunity to upgrade Second base, should they or should they not? Given the free agent environment, they could possibly sign a Neil Walker at a discount price for a one or two year deal. The issue with signing Walker comes with risk given Walker health over the past two years and could create a club house issue with an unhappy Cabrera. Losing his starting job at short last year did not go over well and I assume telling him he no longer has a starting job will not make him very happy this year. If they sign Walker, the Mets would have to trade him, which wouldn’t be an easy thing for Sandy to accomplish, given his $8.5 million salary and the rest of the league knowing that they need to trade him.
 
The only way to upgrade at second would be to trade Cabrera for that upgrade. There are three possibilities Sandy could pursue – Jason Kipnis, Brian Dozier and Starlin Castro
Jason Kipnis – There were rumors earlier this off season that the Mets had a trade talks with Cleveland about Kipnis. Although, Kipnis had an off season last year, hitting just .232 I think he would be an upgrade over Cabrera given he is a natural second baseman. The ultimate issue with Kipnis is the $30 million he is due through next year. Even if Indians take Cabrera’s $8.5 million salary, the Indians would have to pick up additional salary for the Mets to make the deal.
 
Brian Dozier – Dozier should be the guy the Mets target. However, it’s very unlikely the Twins would take Cabrera’s contract back plus the Mets would have to add more in terms of prospects which the Mets down have a lot to offer nor should they give up any prospects given Dozier’s pending free agency after this year. Dozier would be a better mid-season acquisition option, if the Mets are contending and have a need at Second base. This assumes the Twins are sellers at the trade deadline as well.
 
Starlin Castro – Castro could be had if Jeter is willing to deal within the NL East and if the Mets are willing to take on the $22 million he is due the next two season. He also has a club option for 2020. The hurdle to cross is if the Marlins would be willing to take on Cabrera’s $8.5 million salary this season? Sure the Marlins will save $11.5 million but is there another team willing to offer prospects taking on Castro’s full salary. The Mets would have to add prospect to the mix. Who that prospect is I don’t know. The fan in me would want to “sell” Jeter on Tim Tebow. A package of Cabrera and Tebow would not be enough but Jeters job is to put people in the seats in Miami. Tebow would do that in Florida for sure, maybe not 10,000 people but a couple extra 1,000 fans is definitely possible. The Marlins could call him up later this year when they are not contending and spark interest and news to a team desperate for fans come to come to the game in August and September. The Mets may have to add another prospect but a fan can dream.
 
In all likelihood the Mets will not do anything before the start of the season and may not be will to take on Kipnis or Castro’s money but I think it’s worth exploring, especially with Castro as he would be a major offensive upgrade over Cabrera.
What’s your View?

Are the Mets Cheap or Just Frugal?

You can fault the Mets for being cheap and not willing to spend money needed to sign top free agent but as Mets fans this should not come as a huge surprise. I was actually more surprised when they invested $110 million to sign Cespedes last year to a 4 year contract then this year when they said they were looking to lower pay roll from the $154. The truth is that $154 million wasn’t close to their actual payroll. They recovered 70% of David Wrights $20 million contract or $14 million. Jeff Wilpon was quick to point to the media that the insurance wasn’t free but I’m willing to bet it was less than $4 million a year to get the policy. In addition, the Mets shed more than 12 million in Salary dumps last years with the Trades of Bruce, Walker, Reed, Duda and Rivera. They also added $2 million in salary when they traded for A J Ramos. So with all that I would conservatively put the Mets Payroll figure last year at $134. Right around the figure Sandy told fans he was aiming the salary to be this year.
 
As a Met Fan who invests in a 20 game plan, the news of reducing payroll was not particularly welcomed, my initial reaction was if the Mets aren’t going to spend money on the team why should I? That stance softened to let’s see what they do in the off season before we make a decision to renew the plan to ultimately believing in what Sandy was selling that they would be buyers this off season but they would wait until the market would come to them.
 
Fortunately for the Mets the market came to them in a big way and they were able to sign guys that quite frankly were not in their budget going into the offseason. It was reported Jay Bruce was looking for a 5 year deal in the $80 to $90 million range. Todd Frazier made $12 million in arbitration last you, so you know he was looking for at least that as an annual salary for 3 to 5 years. The reality is Baseball, not just the Mets like to give 5 year deals anymore. The analytics say the team gets burnt more than not (look at David Wright). So as nice as it would be to have Stanton in our outfield, I understand from a business stand point that it was not fiscally responsible to do. At the beginning of the off season I wanted them to sign Moustakas and Cain. Cain got 5 years and $80 million, you could call the Mets cheap for not spending that kind of money but if I sitting behind Sandy’s desk I would give a 5 year deal to a soon to be 32 year old centerfielder. He isn’t going to be playing Centerfield 3 years from now and he would be one of my corner outfielders. Moustakas is younger and has more upside than Frazier but is he worth a 5 year commitment for a guy with a .305 lifetime on base percentage? Maybe, but a 2 year $17 million commitment to Frazier gives the Mets flexibility going forward.
 
On the flip side given the environment, the Mets made a mistake picking up Asdrubal Cabrera option at the beginning of the offseason at $8.5 million. Given today’s environment he is overpaid. The Mets would have been better of paying the $2 million buyout and going after Jeff Kipnis, Sterling Castro, Josh Harrison or signing Neil Walker. All would be better options in my estimation. If none of them worked out they could have resigned Cabrera at a reduced rate.

Should Terry Collins Manage the Mets Next Year?

With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Question is should the Mets bring Terry Collins back next season. The overwhelming consensus is that Terry Collins is not to blame for the Mets failures this season and therefore, he deserves another season as the Mets Manager. I think this is partly true, the Manager prevent injuries but he is responsible for managing them. When a player says he is good to go, the manager is responsible for making the final call on his line-up. There were a couple of instances where Terry took the players words “I can go skip” and placed them in the line-up, and consequently causing the player to miss extended periods – Yes, I’m talking about Syndergaard and Cesspedes the teams two most vital players to keep healthy. Terry seems to manage April and May like its August and September. Nothing supports this more than the way he has burnt out his bullpen in April the last two years. This is the biggest argument I have with Collins as a manger – his use of the bullpen. Sure, the bullpen is awful this year but his overuse and mismanagement of the arms at the beginning of the season is at least a contributing factor. To that end, it is my view that it is time for the Mets to move on not only from Terry but also from Dan Warthen.

With that said whom should the Mets turn to as their next manager. I would love to say Bruce Bochey or Bud Black who has a reputation of getting the most out of his pitching staff but unfortunately, neither will be available at the end of the season. Wally Backman would be an interesting choice but in reality, Met Fans know it will never happen. I would not be afraid to look outside the Mets organization for their next manger but here are two guys I would propose the Mets consider from a Mets fan perspective.

Edgardo Alfonzo – He currently in his first season managing the Brooklyn Cyclones, but was a coach for the Cyclones since 2014. Naming him the manager would probably put off every other manager in the Mets minor league system but he has a history with New York and certainly has a love for the game. This was evident with his willingness to play in the independent league (including the Long Island Ducks) and the Mexican league. He probably could relate better with today’s players than Terry can and also should be familiar with the younger Mets Rasario and Smith. He is somebody the fans would be familiar with and he should be familiar with handling the media as well.

Curtis Granderson – He certainly would be a dark horse in the race for manager and I don’t even know if he plans on continuing his career after his contract runs out at the end of the year. But if he decides to hang up his cleats at the end of the year, why not at least explore the opportunity with him to see if he would be interested. He certainly knows the Mets roster and should be able to relate with the players better than Terry. The question is if he has the ability to transition from player to Manager in one off season. Curtis certainly has a good relationship with the Mets ownership, is extremely personal with the media. I think it he would be a great choice to make – I’m not sure if the Mets have the guts to do it but it would be great story if it happened and was able to lead the Mets to a championship!

Ron Gardenhire – He has the Mets connection from the 80’s for sure but more importantly he has the wealth of managerial experience and was very successful with the Twins, he just couldn’t beat the Yankees. He currently is the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks so he should be available to the Mets. He clearly would be the safest pick of the three and The Mets could not go wrong but should the Mets take the safest bet? Probably!

Frank Viola – This would be my obvious choice to replace Dan Warthen, frankly I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet. Frank has paid his dues in the minors for years and has worked with the Mets pitchers more than anybody. If he doesn’t get it, he should explore opportunities with other clubs for sure.

What’s your Mets View?

Jose Reyes – A Hall of Famer?

I have to admit I thought of this prior to last night’s embarrassing walk of shame to second base.  I couldn’t believe Terry did not pull him out of the game after being doubled up.  Of course he drove in 5 runs and Terry won’t be criticized for keeping him in the game but there should be some consequences for the lack luster play.

So my answer to the hall of fame question is no he is not; but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.  He is 10 hits shy of 2,000 in his career (32 hits shy of passing Ed Kranepool for number 2 on the Mets all-time list).

Ok, 2,000 hits doesn’t get you in the hall but 3,000 is an automatic entrance.  So, at 33 years old, can Jose get another 1,000 hits?  If you watched his April performance, you were probably wondering if he get another 10 hits let alone 1,000.  Jose has averaged 196 hits over 162 games over his career.  He clearly will not play 162 games a year so nor would you expect his production to remain the same as he ages, so he would need more than 5 years after this season to get to 3,000.  It’s not out of the question that he gets between 125 and 150 hits this year bringing his total to 2,100.  He would then need to play another 6 years averaging 150 per year or 7 years averaging 129 hits per year.  Clearly a tall order for a player with the history of health issues but not out of the realm of possibility.  I just don’t think it’s in the cards, especially not as a Met, after last night’s walk of shame!

 

Surmising the first month of the season

Well as many Mets fans know, optimism at the start of the season doesn’t always work out.  This April would be considered a colossal failure.  We all had the World Series in mind back on opening day.  What a difference a month makes.  At 10 -14 it’s not too late to look for answers and more importantly, look for solutions.

The Blame

There is plenty that can go around:

 Jose Reyes got off to a slow start to say the least.  Fans and bloggers were looking for solutions three weeks into the season.  He seems to have gotten passed his offensive struggles, now let’s hope he stays hot and improves his defense.

The Defense, I think everyone knew the defense wouldn’t be great but it has been especially disappointing.  Two plays stick out to me, the Reyes drop of a pop fly.  This cost the Mets a game and I also wasn’t impressed with d’arnaud just standing watching Reyes drop the ball.  It would have been nicer if he was in position for a possible reaction to Reyes drop.  (I know its nit picking, but I’ve seen plenty of plays where a popup was dropped and then caught by the teammate standing nearby).  The other play that sticks out to me was Cabrera letting a sure double play ball go under his glove, it let the flood gates open up when the Mets could have gotten out of an inning.  Last word on the defense is a glaring one, when we don’t have Lagares in centerfield, our outfield defense is compromised.

Neil Walker – $17 million for this?  He seems to have gotten a free pass from the fans so far but he hit .197 with 2 home runs in April.  Sandy has some explaining to do on this one.  Murphy’s gone but 3 years at $36 million looks like a better investment so far than the 2 years and $28 million we’re paying Walker.  How do you offer arbitration to a guy coming off back surgery?   I like Walker and hopes he turns it around but a hot Walker in April would have helped for sure.

Curtis Granderson – $16 million for this?  Sure he has a history of a slow start and is a great clubhouse guy but .128 with 1 homerun?  How long do you wait to pull the plug and go with Lagares/Conforto in Center?

Terry Collins – he’s the manager, so he is naturally the guy to blame.  A lot of times the manager gets the blame when he doesn’t deserve it but in this case I think he’s earned it!  He burned out his bullpen again just like he did last year.  The Mets brought up and sent down Gilmartin like 3 times in April and didn’t use him.  For example, they brought him up a day after 16 inning game with the Marlins.  Terry indicated he would use him if they went to extra innings the next day.  Instead he pitched Montero/Blevins/Edgin all of whom pitched the night before.  I’m not boasting about Gilmartin being a great pitcher but if you don’t have confidence in him to pitch to give guys rest don’t call him up in case of an emergency.

The manger has some responsibility to protect the players from themselves, Terry clearly lets the players dictate how and when he uses them when it comes to injuries.  Cespedes came back too early and Terry used him when he said he was ready to go regardless of the weather conditions.  Syndergaard had no business starting on Sunday, you could argue the Mets should have forced him to have an MRI but Terry let him pitch, how about using some discretion as a manger?  Terry doesn’t seem to look at the big picture and gets caught up in “must win” games in April.  I know April game count, but Terry seems to have put a lot of emphasis on winning in April the last couple of years and has gotten players hurt in the process.  Remember Jim Henderson’s 17 pitch at bat last year, when he brought him in the next day and he went from throwing 95 mph to 88mph and then to the DL.  He’s out of baseball now.

As far as I’m concerned Terry’s on the clock, I don’t expect the Mets to pull the trigger anytime soon but I’d be looking for his replacement if I had Sandy’s job.

Not all has been Bad this year

The Mets have their challenges after their April start but not is all lost.  They got off to a slow start last year and still managed to make the playoff and they certainly can do it again.  A lot of players have excelled and they will need to continue to if the Mets have a chance to go to the playoffs for the third year in a row.

The Positives

Jay Bruce – has quickly made fans forget about his failures after he arrived last August.  Honestly, if he continues to produce, The Mets could consider to cut the cord on Granderson.  And we all should be thankful the Mets couldn’t trade him after signing Cespedes.

Jacob Degrom – He found his velocity and has pitch the way we all expected him to.  With Syndergaard out for months, the Mets will need him and Harvey to continue to pitch the way they have been.

Michael Conforto – His comeback after a very tough year has been refreshing to Met fans for sure.  I hope he continues to produce and not repeat what happened last year.  Last year he hit .365 with 4 HR’s so His .321 and 6 HR’s this year have me hopeful but cautiously optimistic.  Of course hitting his 7th homerun last night helps.

Travis d’arnaud – His average may be low but he equaled his home run production in April from all of last year.

Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith –  if the Mets continue to slump through May and Early June, these guys may be our only option to save the year.  Rosario is batting .409 and Smith is at .343 in Vegas.  I would not be surprised if Smith is at first with Rosario at short by the end of June. Terry then can use Walker/Flores/Cabrera/Reyes in some combination at second and short and then roll the dice.

My Mets Christmas List!

Ok so it’s the GM meetings this week and it’s the week to talk trades. Si I’ve looked over teams rosters and came up with players the Mets might be interested in and perhaps should talk to their respective teams general manager to check on their availability.  Of course, since its Christmas I won’t mention any players the Mets might have to give up!

NL East – since no one would probably deal with the Mets from the east other than the Phillies, I’ll take a pass on contacting any of the GM’s here.

NL Central

Pirates – Andrew McCutchen, see my earlier post but it’s worth looking into for sure.

Cubs –Jayson Hayward – ok he’s a centerfielder we could probably use but no one would take that salary after his production last year.

Brewers – Ryan Braun – would be nice in the outfield but he plays left field and has $80 million left on his contract – so pass.

Cardinals – Trevor Rosenthal – he lost his closer job last year and may be available, isn’t a Free Agent until 2019.

NL West:

Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt, ok he’s not available but I would call them anyway. I’d probably have them on speed dial if that still exists.

Rockies – Carlos Gomez, probably can’t play centerfield but at $20 million next year and a free agent in 2018 – he may not cost much and would be an upgrade over Granderson and Bruce if they can trade them.

Charlie Blackman – he isn’t a FA until 2019 and doesn’t make a lot of money so the Mets would have to give up a lot to get him but he is they type of player I like.

AL East:

Blue Jays – Russell Martin – would be a great addition but not at the $60 million he is owed. Kevin Pillar – see my earlier post, young controllable player who would add speed to the team

Rays – Evan Longoria – unfortunately too expensive with a long term contract have to pass but Kevin Kiermairer would be a good addition for centerfield to platoon with Lagarus

AL Central:

White Sox – See the post on Todd Frazier, can add David Robertson as a closer but he is owed $25 million over the next 2 years so I would put him out of our salary. Brett Lawrie wouldn’t be a bad addition if we make trades that open up a need for a guy to play 2nd and 3rd base. He is only making $3.5 million and is a free agent in 2018.

Indians – Michael Brantley would be a great addition, unfortunately I don’t think he is available

Tigers – JD Martinez would be a good additional in Right Field and is a free agent in 2018

Twins – Trevor Ploufe, ok so he is a free agent and won’t cost anything but money could play 1st and 3rd base but is he really an upgrade over Flores?   Brian Dozier appears to be available but would cost a lot and we have Walker so we have to pass for now.

Royals – Lorenzo Cain – if he’s available, I’m calling would be a perfect addition to centerfield but at what cost to a guy who is slated to be a free agent in 2018.

AL West:

Seattle – Steve Cishek would be a nice addition to the bullpen with his side arm action and he could close during Familia’s anticipated suspension. Earn $6 million this year and is a free agent next.

Angels – Houston Street – same as Steve Cishek, but $9 million next year with an option in 2018. Kole Calhoun – would be a nice player to add in right field and is controllable but would cost us prospects.

A’s – John Axford, Same category as Cishek and Street, he’s making $5.5 million in 2017 and is free agent in 2018. Jed Lowrie would be a nice addition but we probably don’t have room for him on our roster.

Whos on your Christmas list?

Should the Mets make a play for Todd Frazier?

Todd Frazier is in his last year of arbitration eligibility and is a free agent after this this year. Typically the Mets would have little interest in a player so close to free agency but it does make sense to pursue him if the price is right! The White Sox seem to be in a sell mode and even thought Sandy Alderson indicated that David Wright is his third baseman next year, we all know the odds of that happening isn’t that great. The Mets wouldn’t go out and acquire a 40 home run guy as an insurance policy but here is how it can work. If Wright isn’t healthy enough to go at the start of the season Frazier plays third and the Mets are in good shape. If Wright can go next year, he starts at third, with Reyes spelling him when needed and Frazier becomes our full time first baseman where he has played 90 games at over his career.

The Next question is what would the Mets have to give up to get a big bat, one year away from Free agency and what do the Mets have that would interest the White Sox? Well, we would all like it if they would take Lucas Duda off our hands but somehow I don’t see that happening but I would not hesitate starting off the deal with Wilmer Flores and a prospect or two not named Amed Rosario. This Deal would require the Mets to deal Duda in all likelihood but it would clear up the infield question and balance the lineup.

What’s your View?

Granderson or Bruce?

So now that Cespedes is signed, the biggest question among Met fans is who they are going to trade – Granderson or Bruce. On first look, it’s pretty simple, Bruce came to the Mets and was a bust and there is no other way to put it. He didn’t help Mets down the stretch and was benched most of September.  Granderson didn’t come near having the season he had in 2015 but he still had 30 home runs, 74 walks and he is a proven NY baseball player over the years. Simple answer and safe option is to trade Bruce and keep Granderson. However is this really the best move for the Mets? As far as age goes, Granderson will 36 to Bruce’s 30. As a Met fan, I’m pretty much tired of seeing base runners going from first to third on a given basis with Granderson out in rightfield. As far as his offence goes the home runs are great but his run production isn’t there and I think he will always be a .220 to .250 hitter. Basically what I’m saying is Jay Bruce may not be the answer but if we get the opportunity to unload Granderson and his $16 million dollor contract I would not be upset.

Should the Mets look to unload both Bruce and Granderson? If the opportunity arises and we can get some MLB talent in return I would say go for it! Could the Mets then move Cespedes (assuming he would be willing to do so) to Right field, and put Conforto back in left? Could the Mets land a decent outfielder in return for either Bruce or Granderson and get better while doing so? I personally like Kevin Pillar, he’s younger than both Bruce and Granderson, He can play all three outfield positions and he is under team control until 2021. I also like Kevin Kiermair of the Tampa Rays, He a hard nose player who plays centerfield, has the speed the Mets sorely need and can platoon with Lagaris. The problem with Kiermair is that the Rays probably don’t have much interest in either Granderson or Bruce. To a lesser extent, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Mets trade Brett Gardner, he’s a hard nose player who could bring some energy to the top of the Mets line-up. He’s salary wouldn’t be an issue as he is signed through 2018 with an option for 2019 at $26 million or $13 million average per year.

As a Met fan, I would be amiss if I didn’t dream a little bit and mention Andrew McCutchen, he is rumored to be available and having an outfield of Conforto/McCutchen/Cespedes would make most Met dream big. But at what cost? We thankfully don’t have Steve Phillips as our GM would have gladly traded our future in a deal like this but Sandy Alderson isn’t Steve Phillips so I think this would stay as a pipe dream for now!

What’s your view?

Neil Walker Takes the Qualifying offer, Is this good news?

Absolutely

Neil Walker give the Mets the right handed bat they need in a line-up dominated by lefties. The Mets need to balance their line-up and after trading Dilson Herrera last season to get Bruce they didn’t have any one who could take over the second base job that that could be trusted, Flores, Reyes and Rivera can fill in at second but there is no way I would want to go into the season counting on any of them. With Walker and Cabrera up the middle we have a solid defense and two guys that can go deep 40 to 50 times next year (combined total that is)

Thanks but I’ll pass

Don’t get me wrong I like Walker but did the Mets really give a guy $17.2 to a guy with a bad back? So next year the Mets potentially can have two guys on the DL making a total of $37 million? That’s not exactly how I would want to see Mets spend their money. Even if Walker stays healthy, there is no guarantee that he won’t look more like Edgardo Alfonso after his back went out. And here’s the real question, why are the Mets willing to pay Walker $27.75 million the last two years but were not willing to give Murphy $37.5 for three years? For the record, Murphy is making $20 million combined in 2016 and 2017. Most Met Fans would have preferred to sign the home grown Murphy than give Walker his money. This is clearly another example of Mets mismanagement at the front office level.

What’s your View?

Thank You Bartolo!

 

The Bart era came to an end last week when he signed with Atlanta for $12.5 million. The question among Mets fans is: should the Mets have resigned him? This would have been an easy question for me to answer a year ago. It would have been a resounding NO THANK YOU! I actually wasn’t in favor of the Mets resigning him last year at the $7.25 million they gave him. We had the stud pitchers lines and Zack Wheeler coming back in June. The Mets signed him to be a starter for half a season and $7.25 million is a lot of money for a half a season. Well it turned out that I was 100% wrong about signing Bart last year, the Mets wouldn’t have made the play-offs without him.

So when the reports at the end of the year came out that he would get a contract offer around $12 million, I was on the fence about signing him:

Absolutely The Mets should have signed Bart

Sure $12.5 million is a lot of money to you and me but in terms of baseball, it’s very reasonable to pay a guy who has proven to be healthy over the last three years throwing close to 600 innings and 44 wins.   There is no guarantee that Harvey, DeGrom and Matz come back healthy. Even if Wheeler comes back healthy, his innings will be very limited and although Lugo and Gsellman pitched great last year when they were called up, chances are MLB hitters will catch up to them and their ERA’s will be closer to how they performed in the minor leagues with ERA’s over 5.

 

Thanks but No Thanks

Bart was and is a great story but $12.5 million for a soon to be 44 year old pitcher is too much to spend when the Mets have other areas of concern. Sure most of the starting five is coming off injury but with the exception of Wheeler they are all expected to be ready to go in the spring. Lugo, Gsellman and even Montero can fill in as number five starters. Gsellman and Lugo both pitch exceptionally well down the stretch and Vegas is known for the thin air and not an easy place to pitch. Especially in the case for Lugo whose curveball was clearly effected. As far as Bartolo is concerned, Thanks but no Thanks, I’ll take the money saved from letting him go and spend in on our line-up – More specifically, Cespedes or whoever we sign to replace him.

 

What’s your view?