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Mets Completely Mismanaging Upper Levels Of Minor Leagues

Tim Tebow is a problem because the Mets are making him one. So far, he has played in 60 of Syracuse’s first 79 games. Essentially, this means he is playing fairly regularly despite his hitting just .150/.232/.209. It should come as little surprise he’s not getting better with June being his worst month of the season.

If the Mets problems handling the player assignments and playing time at the Double-A and Triple-A level were limited only to Tebow, you can overlook things a bit. After all, whether you like to admit it or not, the Mets operate a business, and they are going to attempt to use Tebow to generate revenue for their newly acquired Syracuse franchise. Unfortunately, the problems run deeper than Tebow.

Entering the season, the Mets had a glut of infielders with Robinson Cano, J.D. Davis, Todd Frazier, Jed Lowrie, Jeff McNeil, and Amed Rosario. The Mets added to this glut by first signing and then calling up Adeiny Hechavarria. Considering the situation, the last thing the Mets needed were veterans taking up space on the Syracuse infield.

Despite that, the Mets signed Danny Espinosa, who is a career .221/.297/.344 hitter and hit .197/.286/.344 between 2016-2017 and did not play in the majors last year. To make matters worse, he leads the team in games played. Second on the team is Travis Taijeron, who has established himself as not being a Major League caliber player. Fourth in games played is Gregor Blanco, who hit .217/.262/.317 last year.

Those three players right there are not just taking up space on the roster, but it is also taking away at-bats from players who truly needed it.

It’s easy to forget Dilson Herrera is just 25 years old, but he is making him a young player with potential to develop. To be fair, he is third on the team in games played. However, it was not until recently the team has sought to develop him more into a utility player. Prior to June, he had only played two full games in left field and none at any other position but second and third.

To be useful to the organization, Herrera needed to be playing first, second, third, and all three outfield positions. However, he can’t partially because those spots are taken by Espinosa, Taijeron, and Blanco, three players who were never going to be a factor for the Mets in 2019. When you add Tebow, that’s four.

This has a necessary trickle down effect. Players like David Thompson and Gavin Cecchini, who just came off the IL, have been assigned to Binghamton. At this stage in their professional development, they need to be in Triple-A working on things. For both, that means become more versatile and becoming better hitters. However, they can’t be in Syracuse getting regular playing time because the Mets are wasting playing time on two has beens and two never will bes.

Those players being in Binghamton has a trickle down effect interfering with playing time for players like Luis Carpio. Carpio was someone once regarded as a top prospect, but he would suffer shoulder injuries. On that front, he has gotten healthy and shown some promise. Of course, that promise only goes as far as the team’s willingness and ability to get him playing time.

There are other issues like Braxton Lee, a 25 year old who plays good defense and has good speed, being forced to Double-A instead of getting real development time in Syracuse. There’s also the fact Luis Guillorme is in Triple-A splitting middle infield playing time instead of just playing over Hechavarria at the Major League level.

Really, the list goes on and on, and that is before you consider Rene Rivera catching everyday leaves the Mets having Patrick Mazeika and Ali Sanchez sharing catching duties in Binghamton instead of them being split up to allow them both to get regular playing time and thrive.

While we rightfully focus on what has transpired with the Mets, the organization’s problems run deeper than just the team in Queens. The same shortsightedness and reliance on under-performing players over promising young players is also very present in Triple-A.

If things continue this way, this will prove to be not just a lost season in Queens but Syracuse as well.

0 thoughts on “Mets Completely Mismanaging Upper Levels Of Minor Leagues”

  1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Great writeup. I remember looking with disbelief this spring at Van Wagenen’s Syracuse OF. At the MLB level the Mets had Conforto, with his significant injury history, and Nimmo, with his significant injury risks and all of one good year to his credit. In CF they had Lagares, who couldn’t handle even a half-time load any longer (the Mets probably destroyed his bat this season by overplaying him) and his duplicate, Broxton, who came with his own risks, his own injury issues–and like Lagares he was in his decline phase. Broxton hadn’t hit since 2016, fwiw, and defense on average peaks in a player’s early 20s. Cespedes wouldn’t appear until midseason, if then, and for a 5th OFer, sure to get into a great many games, the team was throwing a bunch of guys at the wall (McNeil, Dom, JD Davis) who hadn’t played the OF or who had already failed there, and hoped they’d stick.

    That’s not a plan–it’s a collection.

    Worse, though, behind these guys they had no one. They didn’t deal some of their minor league talent for a comparable, real minor league OFer on the cusp of making it to the majors. They didn’t snag someone like Hamilton who was durable, cheap at 5m, and still able to play CF. They didn’t go out and pay 750k for one of the better, younger minor league OF FAs. They didn’t turn LF in Syracuse over to one of the ubiquitous statues who can hit 30 HR while playing -15 defense and who at least have a small chance of contributing. They just picked up retreads like Blanco and Rajai Davis.

    Never mind the hideous Cano deal–we could look at the way BVW dealt with the OF behind Nimmo and Conforto and understand how clueless he was.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      What bothers me is wasting time on players who won’t help them this year

  2. Saul’s Colorist says:

    You sound well versed. You might be 100% correct. However without watching them, quoting experts all I can say if I forwarded this — a partially informed, passionate fan”actic” OPINION,

    I am tired VERY TIRED of the media saying “Mets” when it should read “Senior Management of the Mets” Or “Mets Owner”. “Those in charge” “Ownership”
    “COO JEFF WILPON”

    There will be no trade if Lagares goes down, it WILL be Blanco.

    Blanco might have been PROMISED to be a full time starter for these vets do not want to BUS it to W VA to ride the pines.

    IF WE WANT BILLBOARDS ON 495 heading into the mid town tunnel to reject current ownership… the old ways of saying Mets this, Mets that, Mets did, Mets did not — must be tossed?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Blanco playing everyday in Triple-A does nothing for your franchise

      1. Fred’s Rugs says:

        Can we approach it as phds.

        Givens :

        There is no scrap heap to expect for back up infielders or outfielders.

        They choose the Espinosa route.

        Prospects are stuck in Binghamton.

        We are not going to ever change the Wilpons.

        One solution:

        Sarcasm ?

        Have you thought about doing one thorough piece a week on these prospects — frozen out for a vet gets the starts?

        A thorough one?

        In ‘Baseball America’ Ed Ref said “Can potentially steal 30 bases” … Last year Joel Sherman said….

        Nelson Daydouble had a slugging % at Columbia, St Lucie a OBP of .390 and Binghamton walked fifty times in 350 ABATS…

        Bring it up to the online consciousness that others will take notice ?

        To expose and let the reader make more judgments?

        When the reader has the judgment, the reader will attend games or not.

        That is my goal…. starve the revenue.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          We all have that goal, but we can’t do it because much of the revenue is not attendance driven.

          1. Fred’s Rugs says:

            So break revenue out.

            $50 m from SNY. Fox/ESPN Etc

            I believe attendance is huge, then concessions, parking….

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Those aren’t big line items

          3. metsdaddy says:

            As noted, that’s only ballpark revenues

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Apropos of very little, I was irked this offseason that the Mets let Levi Michael walk. He was nothing even remotely special and at 27 (28 in 2019) was not going to turn into a legit MLB player, but he had more potential than a Gregor Blanco or Rajai Davis or Aaron Altherr, guys who had already proven they couldn’t play.

    Michael can also play every position except pitcher and catcher.

    So the rookie GM went instead with “experience.” Michael had a rough start to the year in AA but when a slot opened up in AAA the Giants bumped him up to Sacramento where he’s been okay. The Mets letting him walk was certainly a trivial move, but it was one more weak move in a very long list of weak moves. I mean, Gregor Blanco? He’s been terrible since 2015, and now he’s 35.

    ==Fred’s Rugs: thanks for the link. My hunch this offseason, was that there’s some unstated issue with the Wilpon’s finances requiring them to rather desperately push spending money off onto future years, hence their decision to give up something like 77m in farm talent while taking on 65m in future salary (and not counting the cost of replacing Bruce and Swarzak, which they tried to do with minimum salaried players) largely it seemed in order to avoid paying a closer actual closer money beginning in 2019, and in order to push Bruce and Swarzak’s 21.5m in 2019 salary off the books and thereby actually showing a small profit for 2019 compared to Cano’s and Diaz’s combined 2019 salaries of 19.6m. It was weird, as were all the little chiseling bits like getting the Mariners to pick up 5m of Cano’s 2019 salary compared with 3.75m for each of 2020-2023. Or chiseling Ramos to get a small break on his 2019 salary. Or doing the same with Familia. Or paying deGrom 135m much of which was deferred (with particular attention to knocking down his 2019 salary to 9m), versus 108.9m in today’s money.

    The Wilpons seemed bent with every deal on pushing a few bucks from 2019 into future years–almost fanatically so. Something’s up. I just don’t know what it is. I’ve seen people going broke in business do this kind of thing, where they even try to renegotiate appliance payments to knock them down by a few bucks and push the debt into the future as a kind of fiscal Hail Mary, just in case they hit the lottery. It means something. I just don’t know the Wilpons’ finances remotely well enough to know what it does mean.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      It’s funny you mention Micheal. I know he has had a bad year, but I thought it was a mistake not to call him up last year to take a look.

  4. Gothamist says:

    The income statement is irrelevant when you are paying back principal on Stadium, Madoff, and HAPPY BOBBY BONILLA DAY …. debt!!

    That is the cash flow statement…

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Bonilla Day is a day for Mets fans to celebrate.

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