Why Don’t the Tigers Want Cespedes?

On the heels of the Tigers signing Jordan Zimermann, the team announced they are looking to improve the club regardless of the cost

Naturally, I thought that would include Yoenis Cespedes. He hit .293/.323/.506 with 18 homeruns and 61 RBIs in 102 games for them last year. His play in LF was good enough to win him the Gold Glove. Assuming the team acquired Cameron Maybin to play center, they need a LF. Given his play with them last year coupled with his run with the Mets, you would think the Tigers would be hot after him. 

Keep in mind, they apparently sought so highly of him, they would only trade him for a potential future ace. They were rumored to want to re-sign him if they couldn’t trade him. Arguably, Cespedes is the top corner outfielder on the market. Why aren’t any of his former teams interested in him?  It’s stupefying. 

I used to believe each time Cespedes was traded, he was being moved for a need and for a good player/prospect. At first, I dismissed the typical Boston smearing of one of their players out the door. Maybe there was more to it than we originally believed. While Cespedes had a great run, he showed a lot of quit and an alarming lack of hustle. 

Cespedes has played for four teams in two years, and he’s probably on his way to playing for a fifth. There’s got to be a reason. I’ll always appreciate what he did for the Mets, but it appears the Mets are making the right decision letting him go. 

Everyone else did. 

Sandy Alderson Had a Bad 2015

Here’s a question for you. If you had a GM that gave a bad contract to a 35 year old, forfeiting a pick in the process, and depleted it’s farm system of its top end starting pitching prospects for rentals, what would you call that GM?  Apparently, you call Sandy Alderson the Executive of the Year

Before proceeding, I’d like to note Alderson has generally done a good job with the Mets. The R.A. Dickey trade was a stroke of genius. However, that happened three years ago, and this is a 2015 award.

Alderson made two major league free agent signings for the 2015 season. The first was Michael Cuddyer. It was immediately panned by everyone.  Alderson was out-maneuvered there by the Rockies of all organizations. With the Mets all but declaring they were signing David Wright‘s friend, the Rockies gave Cuddyer a qualifying offer. The Mets then gave Cuddyer a two year $21 million contract. Cuddyer was hurt, and he regressed as 35 year old players do. He’s now a $12.5 million bench player. 

The other free agent deal was John Mayberry, Jr.  Mayberry hit .164/.227/.318. He was released at the end of July. Overall, Alderson’s free agent acquisitions were complete busts. 

His trades weren’t much better. Do you realize for a team touted with organizational starting pitching depth, Alderson depleted much of it. He traded eight minor league arms in total. For all the pitchers that were traded, Addison Reed is the only player the Mets could keep in 2016. By the way, Reed is a non-tender candidate

Yes, the Mets made the World Series. They also lost it. For all the moves and sacrificing the future, the Mets still fell short. Further, it does not appear the moves generated enough revenue to sufficiently increase payroll. In the end, the Mets have up two big pitching prospects for rentals.  If you’re saying it was worth it, I ask you if John Smoltz was worth it?

In 1987, Smoltz was traded for Doyle Alexander. Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA for the Tigers. His fantastic run certainly mirrors the run Yoenis Cespedes had this year. Like the Mets, the Tigers won their division. Like the Mets, the Tigers didn’t win the World Series. The Tigers lost out on a Hall of Fame career. Time will only tell with Michael Fulmer. However, we do know he’s a highly rated prospect the Tigers believe can contribute very soon. 

It’s the reason I said it was a bad trade from the beginning. It’s even worse when you consider the Tigers had to trade Cespedes because they were about to lose him for nothing. 

Then there’s the issue of giving up another well regarded prospect in Casey Meisner for  Tyler Clippard. Clippard was a rental.  Yes, Clippard was terrific early on with the Mets, and he helped the Mets win the division. Addison Reed was even better, and the Mets obtained him for much less. Again, this was a bad trade. 

No, Alderson won this award for his earlier work and the system built by Omar Minaya. Alderson weakened the farm system in 2015, and he may now need to trade away major league talent rather than minor leaguers to improve the team in 2016. After all his moves, the Mets still don’t have a shortstop. There may also be new holes in center and at second. 

Alderson has had a good run here, but he was not good in 2015. He certainly wasn’t the best executive in 2015. Unfortunately, this should bear out in the oncoming years. 

Mets Aren’t Getting Ben Zobrist, Now What?

With every team seemingly interested in Ben Zobrist, it appears the almost 35 year old is going to get a four year deal. Good for him.

The good news is that the Mets have no interest in giving him a four year deal. It’s the prudent move especially when you consider he’s in the midst of a four year decline. Based upon Adam Rubin’s article, the Mets may now turn to either Daniel Murphy or Asdrubal Cabrera to play second and occasionally spell David Wright at third base. I’ve written enough about Murphy, but it’s the first time I’ve seen the Mets linked to Cabrera. 

For starters, Cabrera is not the hitter Zobrist or Murphy is. Last year, Cabrera hit .265/.315/.430 with 15 homeruns and 58 RBIs. For his career, he’s a .267/.329/.412 hitter, who averages 15 homeruns and 75 RBIs a year. He’s been good for an OPS+ of 104 meaning he’s a league average hitter. Overall, his career averages are skewed by his career year in 2011 when he hit .273/.332/.460 with 25 homeruns and 92 RBIs. This was also before his getting busted for steroids

As we’ve seen with the Mets, the steroids issue won’t preclude them from signing Cabrera. Assuming it’s behind him, his .265/.315/.430 batting line would be an upgrade over an internal option like Wilmer Flores and his .263/.295/.408 batting line with an OPS+ of 95. 

That’s where Cabrera becomes a little more interesting. Over the course of his career, he’s been a SS. However, he’s been a bad one. His UZR last year at short was -6.0, which was his best defensive year in five years. Over his career, he’s averaged a -6.2 UZR. Plain and simple, he’s a bad SS. In fact, he’s worse than Flores. At second and third, he’s had limited time, but he’s shown to be nothing more than average. 

Ultimately, the prudence of signing Cabrera comes down to the contract. On a one year deal, he makes a lot of sense. As a replacement for Murphy’s bat, the signing doesn’t make sense no matter how good the terms of the deal are. Given the state of the free agent market, I’m not sure it’s wise to go after Cabrera and a centerfielder. As suggested by Ken Davidoff, the Mets will turn to center if they can’t sign Zobrist. 

At this point, the best move might just be signing their young pitchers to extensions. The free agent market is poor, and the pitching is the Mets path to success. With that said, the Mets better kick them up. 

Mets Best Chance to Repeat in the East

At this point, I don’t know if any fan can honestly tell you what the Mets will do this offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make no major additions. If they don’t, the Mets should still be favorites to repeat as NL East Champions. The main reason is an already weak NL East keeps getting worse. 

The Braves major offseason addition was to re-sign A.J. Pierzynski. Other than that, they traded away their young SS Andrelton Simmons. They’re threatening to do the same with Freddie Freeman

The Phillies have made no major moves, and do not appear to be doing so. Sure, they may have cleaned up the front office, but that will not have any impact upon their 2016 season. 

The Marlins brought in a very average manager in Don Mattingly, and then immediately threatened to get rid of anyone if any value. Whether it’s Jose Fernandez and his hoodies or Marcel Ozuna and his accumulation of service time, the they’re looking to get rid of anyone not named Giancarlo Stanton or Ichiro Suzuki

Then there are the Nationals, who just lost Jordan Zimmermann in free agency. I’m not sure how they replace him with their payroll issues. Essentially, they’re relying on Anthony Rendon being healthy, and the switch from Matt Williams to Dusty Baker vastly improving a team losing its CF and SS. It’s possible they will be better, but that’s a lot to ask considering Bryce Harper was the MVP, and Max Scherzer had a Cy Young caliber season. 

The Mets have holes, but they return a young rotation poised to be deeper and better. They’ll presumably have a full year of Travis d’ArnaudMichael Conforto, and David Wright. At the end of the day, it just might be enough offense to offset the losses of Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy. Ultimately, it may not matter with the NL East regressing. 

The Mets need to just play to their potential to repeat in the NL East for the first time in their history. 

Brutal Losses

I haven’t posted in a while because of: (1) Thanksgiving; (2) my son’s birthday; and (3) the offseason has been slower than molasses. 

In the past few days, I’ve watched a lot of sports. I saw the Rangers absolutely blow a game against the Bruins by allowing two late goals. I then saw them follow that up with an embarrassing 3-0 shutout loss to the lowly Flyers. Notre Dame had a heartbreaking last second loss to Stanford on a lady second field goal. The Giants no-showed for three quarters and then choked the game away on the Redskins last possession. I just watched the Knicks give a game away to the Rockets with a pivotal non-call on a Dwight Howard mauling, sorry screen. 

All tough, brutal losses. However, none of them bother me as much as any one Mets loss. I’ll still go to bed obsessing over the World Series over any of the other aforementioned losses. This offseason I’ve learned something I’ve already known to be true. I’m more of a Mets fan than a fan of anything else. I’m not even surprised at this development or the disparity in my feelings between the Mets and the other NY teams. 

In any event, the only sentiment I can share tonight is “Lets Go Mets!”

I Love Minor League Deals

Believe it or not, the Mets have actually made two moves this offseason. Both were minor league deals. The first was to utility man Ty Kelly. The second was to Stolmy Pimentel. How will they fare?  Who knows?

That’s the thing. You never quite know what to expect when you bring a player in on a minor league deal. Sometimes it’s a veteran just looking for one last shot. It can be a young player just looking to get an opportunity in another organization. Ultimately, these are players that just want a job, and they’re going to give it everything they have because if they don’t, their career might be over. 

Mets fans and the organization need not look any further than R.A. Dickey. When Dickey signed the deal he was coming off a then career year that him have a 4.62 ERA and 1.617 WHIP in 35 games (only one start). There was no reason to believe the signing would amount to anything more than minor league depth even if knuckleballers tend to figure things out later than more “conventional” starting pitchers. He came to it even later as an adjustment because he was born without a UCL

Well, you know the rest. He went 39-28 as a Met with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.150 WHIP. In 2012, he was an All Star and won the Cy Young Award going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.053 WHIP. Because of that year, and the fact the Mets still had him under contract for another year, the Mets made perhaps the best trade in franchise history acquiring Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard along with Wuilmer Becerra and John Buck

Speaking of John Buck, he would be traded by the Mets the following year along with Marlon Byrd. Byrd was also signed to a minor league deal. When these two were traded together, the Mets acquired Vic Black and Dilson Herrera. Black was effective did the Mets out of the bullpen for a year and a half before he was injured. Herrera is the second baseman of the future. 

Now, there are a million minor league deals that don’t amount to anything. However, those players are released in Spring Training or spend the year in the minors. You don’t spend much money to acquire them, so it’s not a big deal. This happens in the vast majority of signings.

Still, there are always needles like Dickey and Byrd in the free agent haystack. If you’re able to find them you can turn your franchise around. Now, it’s not likely that either Kelly or Pimentel will make that type of contribution.  If they make any positive contribution, the signing is a homerun because nothing is really expected from them. The bar for success is very low, but the sky’s the limit. 

It’s why I love minor league deals. 

The Mets Should Be Available on Roku

When I first looked at my house, I checked everything. The toilets flushed. The water ran in the sinks and showers. I thought I checked everything. I didn’t. 

The first floor wasn’t wired for cable. The basement was. The top floor where the bedrooms are were. The first floor wasn’t. Due to reasons beyond my understanding, an antenna doesn’t pick up local television stations. Not even PBS. As a result, I got the Roku, and I have been quite pleased with it with one major exception: I can’t watch the Mets. 

That’s not completely true. I can if the Mets are on ESPN. Other than that, I can’t. I can watch them on my phone via the Optimum App, but not on the Roku. My Optimum subscription allows me to get live TV from different Roku channels, but it doesn’t allow me to watch SNY. Even if I subscribed to MLB TV, I still couldn’t watch the Mets on the Roku because I live in market. 

MLB is now easing restrictions to stream games on devices like the Roku. Note, this has no effect on the MLB TV. Rather, it has an impact if your team’s partner is Fox, which is apparently half the league. It includes YES, which owns a share of the network. It doesn’t include the Mets because their partner for SNY is Comcast. As a result, my Roku is useless for watching Mets games in 2016 past Opening Day

It’s about time that ends. Optimum needs to make its app available for the Roku like Time Warner did. Comcast should work with MLB to permit SNY to be streamed. Why isn’t this going to happen?  Are the Mets and MLB afraid I’ll take my Roku with me when I go on vacation to an out of market location and watch the games?  Are they afraid I’m going to see the commercials when I’m elsewhere?  

It’s ridiculous. It’s why a solution needs to be found before the season starts. 

I’m Thankful for Murphy

My family never sat around the table and said what we were thankful for each Thanksgiving. We’re rather large people. Sitting through grace was onerous enough. However, I do think it’s worthwhile. 

For starters, I’m always thankful for my son and wife. I’m thankful for the rest of my family. This year I’m also thankful I got to go to a World Series game with my Dad and brother. As Mets fans, we should be thankful for this team in general. The 2015 season was a pleasant surprise to everyone, and each player left us with something to be thankful for this year. 

Since it appears he’s leaving, I wanted to take time to say I’m thankful for Daniel Murphy. He was a terrific Met for the past seven years. We first saw him in 2008 when the Mets called him up to try to prevent a second straight collapse. Murphy did his part, but the Mets collapsed anyway. 

Since that time, he worked hard to become a major league second baseman. He worked his way into becoming an All Star. Despite this, the Mets would move him around the infield. He never complained. He just went out and did his job. He did it’s well as he possibly could. He did it on mostly bad Mets teams. This year Murphy finally got a chance to play in October, and he took over leading the Mets to the World Series. 

Mostly, I’m thankful I got to make videos like this one:

It was great rooting for a team that was a good group of guys. It was great seeing my son become a big Mets fan. It’s even better that he’s so smart that he could learn the Mets lineup and pick his favorite players. Players like Murphy, Lucas Duda, and Matt Harvey

So thank you Murphy for being the type of player we could all root for. I hope to be able to do so again next year. I know my son does as well. 

Help Someone Less Fortunate This Weekend

I still remember the toast I gave at my father’s 60th Birthday. In the toast I noted my father instilled two things in me: (1) being a Mets fan; and (2) helping those less fortunate than you. With respect to the latter, he was always more cognizant of that around the holidays. 

Each Thanksgiving, he would “adopt a family” which meant he would buy a meal for a family in need. He always took my brother and I with him when he did the grocery shopping. He would have us help him pack the boxes and bring it to the charity.  When my brother and I got older and had jobs out if school, we adopted families of our own. 

When my son is old enough, I will continue the tradition with him. In many ways, this could be my father’s greatest legacy, and that’s saying something. 

With that in mind, I hope everyone does something. It doesn’t have to be adopting a family or going to a soup kitchen.  It could be something like donating canned goods. It could be donating your time somewhere. There is nothing too small or inconsequential. 

Like my father has done with me, I hope this post has left an impression. 

Mets Fans: Seaver is Much Better than Wright

In case you missed it, the Mets are having a Bobblehead giveaway. You just need to re-tweet the Tweet and vote for the player you want:

David Wright is crushing Tom Seaver with 65% of the vote. Seriously?  I know it’s a popularity contest, but there is no way you should want a bobblehead of Wright over Seaver. Seaver is the greatest Met ever. He just might be the greatest right hand pitcher of all time. There should not be any Met more popular than him. 
Frankly, the result of this poll is embarrassing to Mets fans. It shows we can’t respect what little history we have. It’s a shame.