Mets Need To Play Their Veterans Everyday To Maximize Trade Value

It is interesting to hear the Mets are selling because the news came just one day after the Mets said they were going to move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base to allow Jose Reyes to stay at shortstop when Cabrera comes off the disabled list.  Naturally, this move blocks both Gavin Cecchini, who has played fairly well over the past four games earning him a longer look at the the position, and Amed Rosario, who is considered an Über prospect.

If you are team looking to sell, you have really announced you want to clear your veterans out of the way to both get some prospects in return and to give your young players some time at the major league level.  However, it could behoove the Mets to play their veterans as much as possible now to increase their trade value.

For example, in the outfield, the Mets have four caliber starting outfielders.  There is no way the team is going to bench Yoenis Cespedes under any circumstances, nor should they.  This means the team has two spots for three left-handed hitting outfielders.  The Mets have control over only one of them after this season.

For the long term, the Mets need to get Michael Conforto as many at-bats as possible.  With that said, would it harm his development to be a part-time player for the next month?   He has suffered a back injury to some unspecified severity.  He has slumped in June albeit while keeping a more than respectable OBP.  If sitting him potentially leads to a better return for Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, shouldn’t the Mets at least try to get the most value from those players?

Same goes for the infield.  The Mets are going to have to clear some room for their presumed infield of the future including Dominic Smith, Rosario, and possibly Cecchini to take form.  If playing Reyes for the next month gets some major league team interested in him as a late inning pinch runner or utility player, shouldn’t the Met do that?  Maybe that seemingly low rated prospect becomes something.  Remember, Wuilmer Becerra was seen as a throw-in to the R.A. Dickey trade, and he has become a real prospect over the past few years.

The same thing goes for Cabrera.  The Mets need to get him going to get teams interested in him.  Presumably, moving him to second has more to do with showing teams he can be the answer at second as well than making a spot for Reyes.

Overall, the Mets need to maximize the returns for everyone to build up the team not just for 2018, but for the oncoming seasons. Up until the trade deadline, getting the most in return for the veterans has to be the Mets singular focus.  Conforto can sit for a while or go to Triple-A.  Rosario and Smith can wait an extra month.  However, the veterans cannot wait.  The Mets need to get them going to try to maximize the return on them.  To do that, they need to be in the lineup everyday.

However, once August 1st rolls around, those veterans not shipped out needs to be put on the bench.  At that point, it is l about playing Conforto, Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo, Rosario, and Smith.

In A Cabrera Second, Mets Bats Come Alive

After having the tar beaten out of them by the Nationals and Dodgers, the Mets finally found a team worse than them. 

The team jumped all over Giants starter Ty Blach.

Curtis Granderson led off his third straight game with a hit.  This time it wasn’t a homer. He’d move to third on an Asdrubal Cabrera single. Cabrera’s hit was only a single because Brandon Belt tracked down the bloop hit and threw out Cabrera trying to stretch the single into a double. For a player that did not want to be at second today, Belt granted him his wish. 

Granderson would score on a Wilmer Flores two out RBI single. Unlike the past two games, the Mets would win a game they had a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. The main reason for that was the Mets bats exploded in the top of the second. 

The rally started with a Lucas Duda lead-off double, and he’d score on a Seth Lugo RBI double. After a wild pitch, Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1. 

After Cabrera singled, Yoenis Cespedes would hit his third home run since coming off the disabled list:

The rally didn’t end there. Flores, Michael Conforto, and Travis d’Arnaud hit consecutive doubles to give the Mets a 7-1 lead. 

With that lead in hand, Lugo was cruising. Through the first five innings, he had just allowed one run, and he was making quick and efficient work of the Giants. 

His lead would grow to 10-1 in the sixth. Cespedes hit an RBI double scoring Granderson. Flores hit a sacrifice fly scoring Cabrera, and Conforto hit a two out RBI single scoring Cespedes. 

After another long inning, Lugo struggled. After having thrown just 59 pitches through the fifth, his pitch count would escalate to 95, and he still didn’t get out of the inning. 

It was a combination of the Giants batters being more patient and Lugo issuing two of his three walks on the night. 

He loaded the bases with one out, and Brandon Crawford tattooed one that became a sacrifice fly. 

Lugo issued another walk to re-load the bases, and Gorkys Hernandez followed with a two RBI single. At that point, Terry Collins had little choice but to go to his bullpen. Paul Sewald came on and got the out to keep the score at 10-4. 

From there, Duda continued his monster night at the plate. He hit a seventh inning homer, and he nearly missed another in the ninth. Overall, he was 3-5 with with two runs, two doubles, a homer, and an RBI. 

In addition to Duda, Cespedes also went 3-5. Cespedes was also amazing falling a triple short of the cycle. With the sac fly, Flores was 3-4. Overall, the only Mets batter without a hit was Jose Reyes who walked twice. 

Cabrera should also be signaled out for having a good game. Despite all the pregame hysteria over his move to second base, he came to play. He was 3-6 with two runs. He was flawless in the field even turning a double play. Perhaps if he had played this well all year, the Mets never would’ve had the inking to move him to second. 

This was more than enough for Jerry BlevinsErik Goeddel, and Addison Reed to close it on out. Each pitched a scoreless inning to secure the Mets first win in over a week. 

Game Notes: Before the game, Cabrera demanded the Mets trade him for the team’s decision to play him at second base. Sandy Alderson said Cabrera’s option would not be picked up.  Gavin Cecchini was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Cabrera on the roster. 

Mets Show Where Their Priorities Lie

Before last night’s game, the team announced they would finally move Asdrubal Cabrera off of shortstop. This should have been a sign the Mets were finally ready to call up Amed Rosario and play him everyday. Instead, this was a move to create more playing time for Jose Reyes at the position he prefers.

Keep in mind the Mets made this decision when they were getting something out of their 2012 first round draft pick Gavin Cecchini. In Cecchini’s first three starts in the majors, he was playing a good defensive second base. At the plate, he was 3-10, and he hit his first ever career home run off of Clayton Kershaw. While he had been struggling in Triple-A, he was showing you the player he was last year. He was showing you he’s not intimidated by playing in the majors. He was giving you a reason to give him an extended look at the major league level.

Instead, the Mets decided to clear a path for two veterans who have simply not been performing this year. In a season where the Mets had a shot at the postseason, you could certainly justify allowing Reyes and Cabrera return to form. If both players were under contract another year, you could justify getting them back up to speed because you need more from them going forward. None of these situations are present. Rather, the Mets are just throwing away games and at-bats that could be used to helping see if Cecchini is a part of the 2018 season.

That’s not the only place they are doing it. Right now, Michael Conforto has a back issue, and he’s struggling. In the Mont of June, he’s hitting .164/.361/.273. This is the second straight year a physical issue has coincided with a Conforto slump. As a result, we still don’t truly know what he is.

Is he a streaky hitter? Is he a guy who gets off a fast start and tapers off? Is he a superstar who just got hindered by a wrist and back issue that are worse than the Mets have let on. We don’t know, and we’re really not going to find out when Terry Collins plays Curtis Granderson over him everyday.

The main difference between Granderson and the middle infielders is Granderson has certainly earned his playing time. Since a dreadful April, Granderson is hitting .287/.395/.574 with 13 doubles, a triple, eight homers, and 21 RBI. He’s been even better in the Month of June hitting .313/.450/.688 with five homers and eight RBI.

Still, even with the Dodgers starting Hyun-Jin Ryu, it was hard to see Granderson in the starting lineup over Conforto. With the Mets entering play so far out of the National League East and Wild Card races, there is little to be gained when you play a veteran like Granderson in the last year of his deal over a young player like Conforto, who could be a cornerstone of the Mets offense for the next decade.

Yes, Granderson did hit a lead-off homer against Ryu giving him the Mets all-time lead in lead-off homers surpassing the aforementioned Reyes. But in the end, what did the Mets gain from this.

The team still lost the game. Steven Matz would lose the lead given to him. The 1-0 lead evaporated when Justin Turner and Enrique Hernandez would hit a pair of third inning home runs to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

Unlike most games in this series, the Mets were able to fight back. Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo home run in the fourth to pull the Mets within a run, and the team rallied in the sixth with Lucas Duda driving in Jay Bruce with a two out double against Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher.

The good feelings from the comeback were soon diminished. Paul Sewald came on to relieve Matz in the seventh, and he was greeted by a Joc Pederson home run. Things got worse from there. After a Logan Forsythe single, Sewald would not only walk the bases loaded, he would walk Chris Taylor leading to Collins lifting him for Jerry Blevins.

Blevins, the Mets most reliable bullpen arm all year, would get his man Cody Bellinger out. Unfortunately, he followed that by walking Enrique Hernandez and Pedro Baez to increase the Dodgers lead to 5-3. As if that wasn’t enough, Blevins would also walk in Austin Barnes to make it 6-3. This is not to criticize Collins or Blevins. Going to Blevins to pitch to Bellinger in that spot was 100% the right call.

Still, it was disappointing on some level. Even if the Mets were to win this game, it wouldn’t have mattered much. It was the difference between eight and 10 games under .500. It would have been better to see if Conforto could work out of his funk, or in the seventh, to see if Sewald could have gotten out of the inning without allowing another run.

Certainly, you can justify starting the hot hitting Granderson and going to Blevins in that spot. However, doing that hasnt’ gotten you anywhere this year, and it certainly isn’t going to help you find out if the young players are going to be big pieces for the team next year.

Game Notes: Chasen Bradford was called up to the majors, and Tyler Pill was sent down. to make room for Bradford on the roster, Tommy Milone was transferred to the 60 day disabled list. Bradford did not appear in the game.

 

Trivia Friday – 2017 Mets On the Disabled List

Well, it is another one of these seasons.  It seems as if every Mets player is headed to the Disabled List.  To be fair, this only seems to happen every other year . . . at best.  Can you name all the Mets players who have landed on the Disabled List this year?   Good luck!


Juan Lagares Brandon Nimmo Seth Lugo David Wright Steven Matz Lucas Duda Wilmer Flores Yoenis Cespedes Noah Syndergaard Travis d’Arnaud Jeurys Familia Asdrubal Cabrera Tommy Milone Josh Smoker Neil Walker Matt Harvey

Mets Should Be Angry They’re Terrible, Not at Puig Homers

Yesterday, the Mets lost their cool with Yasiel Puig‘s home run trot.  Wilmer Flores had something to say to him as he passed first base.  Travis d’Arnaud said something as Puig crossed home plate.  Between innings, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Reyes pulled Puig aside to talk with him about the incident.  Jay Bruce voiced his displeasure with Puig in a post-game interview.  That’s where we are this season.
Cespedes and Reyes, two players known for their on field celebrations, are talking to another player about how he acts on the field.  More than that, it’s bizarre that a Mets team who has played terrible baseball this year is going to go out there and tell another player how the game should be played.  Instead of Puig, maybe the Mets players should be focusing on their own issues:

1.  They Can’t Pitch

The Mets have a team 5.05 ERA, which is the worst ERA the Mets have had since the 1962 Mets.  It doesn’t matter Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and Steven Matz have been injured this year.  That ERA is just inexcusable.  There was still enough talent on this roster that an ERA that high should never be that possible.  Certainly, there is no reason why this pitching staff should be in the same conversation as the worst baseball team in history.

2.  The Defense Is Terrible

The team -9 DRS and team -7.3 UZR ranks 21st in baseball.  Their -14 DRS at the shortstop position is the worst in baseball, and the -6.0 UZR is ranked 27th.  At third base, the Mets -7 DRS is 27th and -4.8 UZR is 26th.  Behind those numbers, Asdrubal Cabrera has no range anymore.  Travis d’Arnaud is having difficulty throwing out base stealers.  Flores and T.J. Rivera have once again showed they are bats without a position.  Overall, it’s ugly, and they are not helping their pitching staff.

3.  They’re Always Injured

Of all the position players on the Opening Day roster, Michael Conforto, Bruce, and Reyes are the only ones who have not spent time on the Disabled List.  For his part, Conforto is playing through back issues, and his play has dipped in June.  The only two pitchers in the starting rotation from the famed seven deep group who haven’t been on the Disabled List are deGrom and Gsellman, both of whom are coming off of offseason surgeries.  In the bullpen, the Mets have seen Jeurys Familia go down with an injury, and Terry Collins pitched Josh Smoker into one.  If the Mets want to be angry, be angry with their trainers, physicians, and maybe even themselves for how they prepare.

4.  They’re Under-Performing

So far this season, the Mets have had 13 position players with at least 100 plate appearances.  Only five of them have an OPS+ over 100.  Cespedes is the only player with a .300 batting average.  Conforto is the only one with a .400 OBP.  Aside from Cespedes, each player has had one month where they have been in a deep slump.

Other than Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, no Mets pitcher who has thrown at least 15 innings has an ERA below 3.29, and that ERA belongs to Syndergaard.  After him the lowest ERA on the team is 3.94.  There are five pitchers who have an ERA over 6.00 and seven with an ERA over 5.0

We can get on Collins for his bizarre managing decisions all we want, and they are quite justified.  Still, Collins is not to blame for these players under-performing.  That’s on all of them.

5.  They’re Not Showing Up For The Big Games

It’s easy to forget, but the Mets were on the precipice of being relevant in the National League East and Wild Card races.  They had back-to-back four game sets against the Nationals, who were reeling with their terrible bullpen, and the Dodgers, who have had injury issues of their own.  Instead of taking control of their destiny and making themselves relevant, the Mets fell flat on their faces.  In the seven games thus far, they have allowed 14 homers and have been outscored 53-22.  It is one thing lost six of seven.  It is a whole other thing to be dominated by teams the Mets believed they were better than entering the season.

If the Mets want to be angry with anyone, they should be angry with themselves.  They are allowing the homers.  They are the ones who are getting their doors blown off on a nightly basis.  They are the ones who have taken a promising season and made it a disaster.

For once, Collins had it right when he said, “We’ve got bigger problems than somebody’s home run trot right now.” (Anthony DiComo, mlb.com).  Maybe instead of focusing on Puig, the Mets should be focusing on those bigger problems.

Should The Mets Give Montero A Chance Now?

Stop it.  The notion is insane.  In fact, it is completely preposterous.  No self respecting Mets fan should even broach the topic.  Before even pursuing further, we should all stop while we are ahead.

Except the Mets aren’t ahead.  They’re way down in the standings.  They are eight games under .500 trailing the Nationals by 11.5 games in the division.  Things are worse for the Wild Card.  They are behind the Diamondbacks for the second Wild Card by 12.5 games with five other teams ahead of them.  Seriously, at this point what is there to lose?

And that right there is the Mets best rationale to finally seeing what they have with Rafael Montero.

Let’s dispense with what we all know.  Montero has been absolutely terrible in his time with the Mets.  In his major league career, he has pitched in 39 games going 1-9 with a 5.51 ERA, 1.756 WHIP, and a 5.7 BB/9.  Each year he pitches in the majors, he has arguably gotten worse.  What makes that all the more frustrating is when he gets sent down to the minors, he dominates.  This has led the Mets to keeping him on the 40 man roster while getting rid of valuable pitchers like Gabriel Ynoa when it had come time to clear space on the 40 man roster.

It has been a frustrating four years.  However, in that time frame, the Mets still see something in him that leads to them keeping him on the roster.  They have given him chance after chance after chance.  About the only thing they haven’t given him was an extended shot. Maybe it’s time they give him one.

For the first time, Montero has earned the shot.  Due to Matt Harvey‘s injury, Montero was recalled, and he has pitched well.

On Thursday, after Robert Gsellman was only able to pitch five innings against the Nationals, Montero came in and pitched surprisingly well.  In three shutout innings, he didn’t allow a hit, and in a complete shock, he didn’t walk a batter while striking out three.

On Monday, when Zack Wheeler couldn’t get out of the second inning, Montero came in, and he pitched well again.  Over 3.2 innings, Montero allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out five.  The only run against him was a Justin Turner home run in what was the last batter Montero would face in the game.

In those two combined outings, Montero has pitched 6.2 innings allowing three hits, one run, one earned, and two walks while striking out eight batters.  If that was one start, it would be an outstanding start.

It at least seems like Montero is a different pitcher over those past two appearances.  He has been throwing more strikes, and he has been trusting his stuff.  These are exactly the things people have been waiting for him to do for years.  It appears now he’s finally doing it, and in this ever so brief sample size, he appears that he could be an effective major league pitcher.

Fact is, we don’t know if this is for real or not.  This could be another one of his mirages.  It could also be him FINALLY figuring things out.  If he has figured it out, the Mets owe it to themselves to finally see the fruit of their patience.  With the Mets being so far out, now is the time to give him that chance.  With the Mets going nowhere, you need to find out who can be piece of the future.  That is especially important with Montero being out of options.  Next year, he has to be on the roster or exposed to another team on waivers.

At this point, the Mets need to use the rest of the season to find out who is a part of the future.  For the longest time, the Mets assumed that would include Montero.  It’s time to find out if he is.

 

Mets More Concerned With Puig Than Playing Good Baseball

It was too good to be true. With the left-hander Rich Hill starting for the Dodgers, and with Michael Conforto‘s cold streak, Curtis Granderson got the start in center. On the second pitch of the game, he would give the Mets the lead:

It was Granderson’s 19th lead-off homer with the Mets putting him back in a tie with Jose Reyes for the Mets all-time record. 

After a scoreless first, the Mets would have their first lead in the series. As we all know at this point, it was too good to last. 

Tyler Pill would surrender the lead in the third with some help from his defense. After a lead-off walk to Joc Pederson, T.J. Rivera threw one away to set up runners at second and third with no outs. To his credit, Pill limited the damage to one run on a Hill sacrifice fly. 
Surprisingly, despite the Dodgers having scored a run, Pill still had a no-hitter going.  That came crashing down in the fourth. 

Starting with Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers just teed off on Pill. Bellinger ripped a ball to right field, and he tested Jay Bruce‘s arm. Bruce threw the ball away, and no one from the Mets over shifted infield bothered to cover third thereby just giving the base to him. 

Bellinger scored on a Logan Forsythe double. After Pederson was intentionally walked, Yasiel Puig hit a three run homer he quite admired:

Wilmer Flores had something to say about it. Travis d’Arnaud said something to him. Between innings, Cespedes and Reyes talked with him. 
The Mets are out there playing as poorly as you can making mental mistakes all over, not hitting with runners in scoring position, and getting their doors blown off on a nightly basis, but they’re going to talk to Puig about playing the right way?  Ok. 

In some ways, it should have never come to this point. In the top of the fourth, the Mets had bases loaded with no outs with a chance to take a big lead. Instead, Hill would strike out Reyes, Gavin Cecchini, and Pill to get out of the inning. 

Pill didn’t seem to have the same issue as his teammates did decking to plunk Puig in the sixth. Maybe it was because Pill was too worried about how poor he was pitching.  His final line was six innings (career high), five hits, six runs, five earned, three walks, and six strikeouts. 

Conspicuously absent in that line was a hit by pitch. For some, it was much ado about nothing. For others, it was a sign this team had no fight left. 

In any event, a Yasmani Grandal sixth inning and eighth inning home run to make it 7-1. Neil Ramirez in his second inning of work would throw gasoline on the fire allowing two runs before handing the ball to Erik Goeddel. Goeddel would get out of the jam leaving the score at 8-1. 

Grandy would hit an RBI double in the ninth to make it 8-2. That’s how it would end. 

With that, the Mets are nine games under .500 for the first time this season.  As bad as that is, things are really about to get worse than it already is. 

Game Recap: Mets 5.01 ERA entering the game is the highest ERA the Mets have had this late in the season since 1962. After offseason elbow surgery, this was Goeddel’s first major league appearance this season. 

Eleven Mets Minor Leaugers To Protect In An Expansion Draft

In the NHL draft tonight, the Vegas Golden Knights will be drafting players from each of the other 30 NHL rosters.  There is a provision that players who have less than two years of service time are automatically protected thereby not making a team choose between a significant player and a huge prospect.  It does beg the question about what would happen if that provision were removed.

Better yet, what would happen if teams were forced to protect just 10 of their best prospects in an effort to permit the new team to stock their minor league system.  If the Mets were put in the position to select eleven players with under two years service time, who should they select?

1.   SS Amed Rosario

By any account, Rosario is among the top prospects in all of baseball if not the top prospect.  He has more than justified that billing this year.  Through 69 games, Rosario is hitting .325/.368/.479 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven homers, 48 RBI, and 12 stolen bases.  He’s great, and there is no circumstance in which the Mets should even think about losing him to another team.

2.   1B Dominic Smith

The Mets have been aggressive promoting their 2013 first round pick through the minor leagues.  Last year, he was the youngest player in the Eastern League.  This year, he has been among the youngest in the Pacific Coast League.  Through it all, he has held his own, played a terrific defensive first base, and is developing power at every stop.  He is the first baseman of the future for a team who will likely lose their current first baseman at the trade deadline or free agency.

3.   RHP Justin Dunn

Last year’s first round pick has terrific stuff, and he showed it off last year.  While he struggled this year, he has been better off for those struggles.  Since being demoted to the bullpen to help him find himself, Dunn has gone 3-1 with a 0.86 ERA and an 8.1 K/9.  When you have a player that struggles and improves this much, this is a player you make sure to keep.

4.  RHP Robert Gsellman

Gsellman started last year pitching in Double-A, and he finished it helping pitch the Mets into the postseason.  He’s had an up and down 2017 season, but he has shown flashes of his tremendous talent.  He is just 23 years old, and he still has the stuff he did last year when he posted a 2.42 ERA in eight games.  With a better infield behind him, which we should see with a Rosario promotion, we will likely see a return of the stats we saw last year.

5.   SS Andres Gimenez

The 18 year old dominated the Gulf Coast League last year showing off his skill set that had him one of the highest regarded international free agent signings in 2015.  He has skipped short season ball and held his own during his 37 games for the Columbia Fireflies.  He has a good bat regardless of position.

6.   LHP Thomas Szapucki

Szapucki is potentially a top of the rotation starter with a mid to high 90s fastball and a very good curve ball.  He used that to be completely dominant in rookie ball.  After an injury to start the year, he has just returned from the disabled list, and he is rounding into form.

7.   CF Desmond Lindsay

The man dubbed as the “Offensive Machine” when he was drafted has certainly taken off lately.  While he struggled to start the year, he has adjusted to the Sally League, and he has begun dominating.  Since June began, he has been hitting .333/.400/.694 while playing a good center field.  It seems he may have put his leg issues behind him, and he is taking the next step.

8.   C Tomas Nido

After years of struggling at the plate, Nido broke out last year winning the Florida State League batting title.  After a slow start to the season in Double-A, he is once again showing he is as complete a catcher as they come hitting .300/.353/.483 with 10 doubles, four homers, and 22 RBI in his last 32 games.  He is proving last year was no fluke, and he is the Mets catcher of the future.

9.   RHP Marcos Molina

Despite missing a year due to Tommy John surgery, the Mets believed enough in Molina to add him to the 40 man roster.  They were right to do so.  In five starts for St. Lucie, he was 2-3 with a 1.26 ERA, 0.767 WHIP, and a 7.2 K/9.  That has earned him a promotion to Double-A and a clear path towards the major leagues.

10.  RHP Seth Lugo

With spin rates, we know Lugo’s curve ball is the best in the majors.  He has used that to help propel him not just to the majors, but also to have success in the majors.  In addition to that, he has a fastball he can get into the upper 90s when he needs a big out.  He used this repertoire to help pitch the Mets into the postseason last year.  He has used it again this year to be effective in the rotation upon his return to the rotation from his elbow injury.

11.  LHP Anthony Kay

The Mets have long wanted him.  After failing to sign him out of high school in 2013, they made him their second first round draft pick last year.  That is because he has a fastball he can get into the upper 90s with a promising curve ball and change.  Like many college pitchers, his arm was abused by his coach, and he has suffered an injury requiring Tommy John surgery.  He should be able to bounce back and be the pitcher the Mets have long thought he could be.

In the above list, the Mets have lots of pitching talent, but that would also leave a lot of pitching talent exposed.  If the Mets went this route, they could lose a Harol Gonzalez or Jordan Humphreys, both of whom are having terrific years.  There is also the potential position player cost.  Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini are both former first round picks who are close to being regulars at the major league level.

Even if you were to make some amendments to the above list, you are still going to leave a very talented player exposed.  This speaks to the depth of the Mets farm system that the Mets continue to improve with each draft and each international signing period.

Eight Players The Mets Should Protect

With the NHL having their expansion draft tonight, each of the pre-existing 31 teams will sit and wait to see which one of their players will be selected to became an inaugural member of the Vegas Golden Knights.  With the Golden Knights being required to select one player from each NHL team, each franchise is going to see a player depart their franchise.

Occasionally, there have been discussions MLB will expand.  Whenever that happens, each MLB team will have to go through the same exercise each NHL team just did.  If that were to happen, it would be interesting to see exactly who each MLB team would protect.

In terms of the NHL draft, teams can protect somewhere between eight to 11 skaters and one goaltender depending on who the team decides to protect.  Given an NHL has a maximum roster size of 23 players, the 8 – 11 paradigm is a good framework for a potential MLB expansion draft.

Assuming MLB lands upon eight players, it would be interesting to see who the Mets decided to protect.  Now, where the Mets are lucky is players with less than two service years are automatically protected.  As such, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and any other young player you would consider protecting are already protected.  With that in mind, here are the eight players the Mets should protect should such a draft take place:

1. RHP Noah Syndergaard

Arbitration Eligible: 2018
Free Agent: 2022

Last year, Syndergaard emerged as the ace of the Mets staff with a repertoire that has never been seen by a Major League Starting pitcher.  He has a fastball that tops off at 100 MPH and a slider that he can throw in the mid 90s.  He also has a swagger on the mound, and he gets up for the biggest games.  Again, like Cespedes, this is a no-brainer even with his lat injury this year.

2.  LF Michael Conforto

Arbitration Eligible: 2019
Free Agent: 2022

Conforto has been around for only three years, but it has been a whirlwind.  In 2015, he was a budding superstar.  In 2016, he had a wrist injury, struggled, and was demoted to Triple-A multiple times.  In 2017, he has emerged as an All Star.  Even with a rough June, there’s reason to believe in Conforto being a budding superstar, including but not limited to his ability to hit left-handed pitching.  Conforto is a foundation piece and should be the Mets right fielder for decades.

3. LF Yoenis Cespedes

Remaining Contract: 3 years $87.5 million

Given the fact players with no trade clauses must be protected in an expansion draft, the Mets would be required to protect Cespedes.  Even if that wasn’t the case, the Mets need to protect Cespedes.  He’s been a superstar with the Mets hitting .286/.354/.565 with 56 homers and 146 RBI since joining the team.  More than that, he puts fans in the seats.  You have to protect him at all costs.

4.  RHP Jacob deGrom

Free Agent: 2021

After an injury riddled year, and some ups and downs this year, deGrom has rediscovered himself, and he’s back to pitching like an ace.  That is evident with his being the National League Pitcher of the Week last week.  We also saw what deGrom was made of during the 2015 NLCS when he outpitched both Clayton Kershaw and Zack GreinkeThere are only a handful of the pitchers on the planet that can do that, and when you have one of them, you don’t let them go.

5.  LHP Steven Matz

Arbitration Eligible: 2019
Free Agent: 2022

When Matz is healthy, he has the potential to be an ace.  Before his bone spur issues arose in late June last year, Matz was 11-3 with a 2.58 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, and an 8.9 K/9.  In his return from season ending surgery, he has pitched well lasting seven innings in both of his starts.  Overall, when he’s healthy, he’s terrific, and he’s not someone you part with so easily.

6. RHP Jeurys Familia

Free Agent: 2019

When you consider the Mets bullpen is in shambles, and they are going to have to rebuild it in totality, the Mets need to keep Familia at all costs.  It is also important to keep in mind that despite his injury this year, Familia has been an absolute work horse for the Mets with his making the most appearances out of the bullpen and pitching the most innings from 2014 – 2016.  If the medical reports are promising, there is every reason to believe Familia can return to being that pitcher again.

7.  C Travis d’Arnaud

Free Agent: 2020

There is every reason to leave him unprotected.  He has regressed in most aspects of his game, and he had yet another stint on the Disabled List this year.  Still, d’Arnaud is a good pitch framer, who still has offensive upside.  Before injuring his wrist, d’Arnaud was hitting .270/.357/.541.  While his stats have dropped precipitously, his .223 BABIP suggests d’Arnaud is due.  More than that, there’s really no better options available.  The catching across Major League Baseball is on a downturn, and you need someone to bridge the gap until Tomas Nido is ready.

8.  3B David Wright

Remaining Contract: 3 years $47 million

As noted above with Cespedes, the Mets would have to protect Wright due to his no trade clause.  Even without it, there is a case for keeping Wright.  Wright is the team captain, and he is the guy you want leaving an impression on Rosario and Smith when they get to the majors.  His contract is insured, so if he can’t play, you can reallocate the money.  More to the point, could you possibly imagine Wright in another uniform?  Me neither.  Is this all a stretch?  Sure, but fact is Wright will remain with the Mets until he finally decides it’s over.

As with any decision like this, there were hard choices.  Matt Harvey has been a cornerstone of the Mets rebuild, but his injuries and impending free agency, you’d be forced to expose him.  Zack Wheeler has had a strong return from the Disabled List, but even before he was injured, he was 18-16 with a 3.50 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, and a 100 ERA+ in 49 career starts.  In 2017, he has not appeared to be more than that.  That coupled with the rise of Gsellman and Lugo as well as other pitchers in the Mets farm system, you could very well expose Wheeler.

Overall, the hypothetical player that would get taken from the Mets roster would be damaging.  That includes Juan Lagares, who is a Gold Glover that showed some promise this year, but still has a terrible contract.  That also includes Wilmer Flores who still doesn’t quite have a position.

With all that said, it does speak to the talent Sandy Alderson has brought to this organization that the Mets could lose one of the aforementioned players and still have a team that could compete for a World Series next year.

What The Gsell, Man!

Tonight’s game effectively started like yesterday’s gameCorey Seager and Cody Bellinger each hit a two run homer to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead over the Mets. 

From there, Robert Gsellman allowed solo shots to Seager in the fourth and Yasmani Grandal in the fifth giving the Dodgers consecutive four home run games. 

Another run scored off a Joc Pederson RBI double. That capped off three straight Dodger extra base hits. It also was the end for Gsellman. 
Gsellman’s final line was 4.2 innings, nine hits, eight runs, seven earned, three walks, and two strikeouts. At this point, it’s safe to assume he’s taking the loss. 

For his part, Jose Reyes should take a lot of blame with his killing two rallies off Dodger starter Brandon McCarthy. He ended a third inning rally grounding into a double play. In the fifth, he struck out with runners on first and second. 

His counter-part wasn’t missing. Seager homered off Josh Edgin in the fifth giving him three homers in the game. At that point, it was 10-0, and the game was effectively over. 

[If more happens worthy of mentioning, this will be updated]. 

This season has completely unraveled. It’s time to sell for whatever they can get . . . no matter how little the return

Game Notes: Gavin Cecchini was rewarded for yesterday’s homer by being put in the lineup and batting eighth behind Rene Rivera. So far, he’s 1-2. The unearned run was the result of a T.J. Rivera throwing error allowing Justin Turner to get on in front of the Bellinger home run.