Can We Trust Sandy?

Last month, The Sporting News ranked Sandy Alderson right in the middle of all GMs in Major League Baseball (15/30). That sounds about right, although I could quibble with the order. To me, when you give Sandy a rating of 15/30, you’re really giving that rating to the entire front office, which includes Paul DePodesta, JP Riccardi, and John Ricco.

Since Sandy Alderson has been the GM for the Mets, he has really been tasked with getting rid of salaries and selling at the trade deadline. To that end, he and his front office have done an admirable job. In my opinion (and most people’s really), his three best trades were to sell and not to buy:

  1. RA Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas for Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, and Wullmer Becerra;
  2. Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler; and
  3. Marlon Byrd, John Buck & cash for Dilson Herrera and Vic Black.

Looking over the rest of the trades, there really is not much to get worked up about, except the two trades Sandy Alderson made to help the team on the field (and not the team down the road):

  1. Angel Pagan for Andres Torres and Ramon S. Ramirez; and
  2. Collin McHugh for Eric Young, Jr.

There has been so much written about the first trade. Rather than regurgitate all that has been written, I’m going to make a couple of quick points. First, this was part of a quick hitting series of moves to try to rebuild the bullpen and TRY to take attention away from Jose Reyes leaving. Second, it seems like every year this team is trying to build a bullpen because the prior season’s acquisitions  were terrible or everyone got hurt again. Lastly, this trade violated the old adage of “the team that gets the best player wins the trade.”  We knew then Pagan was the best player in that deal.

I want to focus on the EY deal because with the Mets rotation, it has largely been ignored. In full disclosure, I didn’t see it with McHugh. I thought he was an AAAA starter or a 12th man in the pen. I didn’t see him finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting last year or having another solid year for the Astros, especially when he pitches half his games is Minute Maid Park.

Just because I didn’t see it, it doesn’t excuse the current front office for this mistake. EY was acquired because Paul DePodesta loves him. In EY’s two seasons with the Mets, he was a 0.9 WAR player, who won a stolen base crown. The Mets were under .500 and had no shot at the postseason.

In the same time, McHugh has combined for accumulated WAR of 5.2, i.e. he has been the best player in the deal. I shutter to think what the careers Cory Mazzoni or Brad Wieck will be.

Now after all of this, how can I be expected to trust Sandy’s regime to properly rate their own prospects?  Sure when he has someone of value, he does a good job maximizing the return. However, when he is making a deal to improve his club, he has been shown to undervalue his assets.

This brings me to an extremely important point: Sandy effectively traded a first round pick for Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer hasn’t been himself at the plate or the field (even preinjury), which further exacerbated this “trade.”  All in all, I’m not sure we can trust this front office to go out and get a player. With that said, I’m sure I’m just wasting my breath because there is no way the Mets would take on money to improve this team.

ZZZZZZZ . . . Huh? What? Mets Finally Scored?

It took 18 innings to score 3 runs. Mets finally win. They’re offense is pathetic. Bullpen is better than expected. All starting pitchers not named Colon pitch well for the Mets. This game summary is longer than this game warranted. 

GEE I Wonder Why COLON Remains in the Rotation

The Mets lost to the Cardinals again. Going into the second half of the season, the conversation has been about the Mets’ great rotation. Truth be told, this rotation has three pitchers pitching like aces right now, an improving Niese, and a failing Colon.

I don’t know how many people realize just how bad Colon has been this year. He has a 4.86 ERA. That’s terrible. Seriously, why is he in the rotation?  Is it because he eats up innings?  Well not exactly. His last five games here are his innings pitched total: 4.1, 6.0, 7.0, 6.0, and 4.1. Is it for his entertainment value?


I doubt it. Is it because with the Matz injury, there are no better options?  The only other realistic option right now is Dillon Gee, who is 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA. I think we need a take a deeper look into Gee.

Most of the damage came from his last two starts; starts he made after being jerked around by the Mets. He came off the DL and had a bad start. Then he gets sent to the bullpen and only gets one appearance for 1.2 innings giving up one run. Then out of nowhere the Mets decide he needs to make a spot start, and it was horrendous.

After spending time in limbo after being outrighted, he had a rough start in Las Vegas. When you look at Gee’s numbers, you have to keep in mind the PCL is about a hitter friendly league as it gets. Despite the struggles, he seems to have found himself and turned things around. Here are the numbers from his last few starts: 7.0 innings 2 ER; 6.0 innings 4 ER; 6.1 innings 1 ER.  The numbers aren’t amazing. Rather these are the numbers of a capable major league pitcher. For those watching the game Saturday, did Colon look like that?

Despite the Mets mismanagement of Gee, he’s improving. Colon is getting worse. It seems like the Mets want more for the $11 million going to Colon than the $5.3 million going to Gee. These penny wise pound foolish decisions are hurting a team with no margin of error. The sooner the Mets admit Colon is done, the sooner they can help themselves.

Bargain Basement Shopping

According to Marc Carig of Newsday, it seems like the Mets will not go for the available top shelf outfielders, but rather seek out Will Venable or Gerardo Parra. Similar to Carlos Gomez and Justin Upton, their contracts expire at the end of the year.

However, unlike Upton and Gomez, Venable and Parra will most likely not receive a qualifying offer. This is very important because of the prospect price. Besides being better players, Upton and Gomez have a higher price tag because if the Padres and Brewers respectively offer them a qualifying offer, then the team that signs them forfeits their first round draft pick (second round for 10 worst teams in baseball). Therefore, if you want Upton or Gomez, you need to offer first round talent for a trade to even make sense. First round talent is equivalent to Matz, Conforto, Thor, and pretty much every player you don’t want the Mets to trade.

So that leaves us to decide whether Venable or Parra is the  better player. For my money, I’d rather have Parra. First and foremost, he’s got a great glove. I know the Mets need offense, but with Lagares’ problems on offense and his injury, the Mets could use Parra to play left or center. I know Venable plays center for the Padres, but that is more akin to the Mets playing Cedeno and Burnitz in center in 2003, i.e. poor roster construction rather than capability.

On top of the offense, Parra rates as a better bat. Parra has a triple slash line of .311/.345/.502 to Venable’s .258/.328/.408. I know Miller Park is a hitter’s park and Petco is a pitcher’s park, but Parra leads in OPS+ (130 to 108). For comparison, the Mets best offensive weapon this season, let alone outfielder is Granderson with .247/.344/.429 (OPS+ of 115).

So if the Mets make a move, Parra would be the prudent move. However, even if the Mets get him for a reasonable price, that still leaves holes at SS, LOOGY, and the bench. That’s why I again reiterate, there are too many moves that need to be made now. It is better to sit pat and maybe wait to see what is there in August.

Day Game or Night Game?

Sometime before the season, the Mets polled fans to see if they prefer Saturday games to be in the day (1:00 start) or the night (7:10 start). I think my feelings on the subject have changed.

In my opinion, I prefer day games. You can get to the game early and have lunch while taking in batting practice.  After the game, you leave and still be home in time for dinner.  However, when I’m home watching, which is most of the time, I prefer a night game.

If the game is on during the day, I just can’t watch it. I’d rather play with my son or take him out somewhere fun. As most parents will tell you, the weekends go from relaxing to always being on the go. If I’m lucky, I can listen to the game on the radio with all the craziness.

If the game is at night, I can wind down from the day and watch the beginning of the game with my son as he falls asleep. It wasn’t until last night that it occurred to me that it could be the Mets offense and not tiredness that puts him to sleep. But I digress, I prefer night games now, and I’m sure I’ll change my mind a million Times as he grows up.

It’s Deja Vu . . . All Over Again

Thor had a terrific start, but he couldn’t let Granderson’s keynote address hold up. I think we can all agree when a pitcher gives up 2 runs over 7 innings, you’re team should win the game. After Peralta’s HR, most Mets fans believed the game was over, and they were right. 

Even with the noise made in the ninth inning, the Mets really did nothing in this game offensively. This is the reason the Mets can’t make a move. There are just too many holes. If you patch one all that means is you’re going to sink slower. However, keep in mind you’re still going to sink. 

If the Mets are inevitably going to miss the postseason, trade or no trade, why not keep your assets for the offseason or for a mid-season trade next year? I’m not giving the front office a pass because this roster was too weak to start the season. Instead what I’m saying is don’t make a bigger mistake to cover-up the mistake made coming into the season. 

Mets Should Pursue Carlos Gomez, not Justin Upton

Personally, I do not believe the Mets are going to move. I know I’m in the minority, but I’m starting to think that may not be a bad move. With that said, IF they were to make a move my vote would be Carlos Gomez. 

My main interest in Gomez is he plays CF. We know of Cuddyer’s knee (and lack of production), but getting less play is Lagares’ offense and elbow. If Lagares goes down that means Kirk Nieuwenhuis from here on out. I know no one believes he’s going to repeat that three HR performance. Keep in mind SD came into the season with a CF problem, and Upton was never called upon to play center.

Also, Gomez makes less. This year he is earning $8 million compared to Upton’s $14.7 million. Obtaining Gomez would allow some payroll flexibility to go after another area of need like the bench or a LOOGY

Finally, Gomez and Upton are having similar years. Upton has an OPS+ of 113 to Gomez’s 110. However, Gomez is more versatile in the lineup. He can comfortably hit leadoff or in the middle of the order. He helps the Mets in all the ways they need help. 

I’m not sure why the Mets focus on Zobrist and his versatility when it’s Carlos Gomez’ versatility that they really need. 

Trivia

It’s funny how sometimes the simple and almost inane things become the most treasured parts of your youth.  For me, one of my favorite things growing up was sitting around Nana’s dinner table after Sunday dinner.  My uncles, along with my brother and I, would sit around and begin testing each other with baseball trivia questions until the time Nana had enough and would yell “NO MORE BASEBALL AT THE DINNER TABLE!”

It was at this dinner table, I learned about baseball’s history.  I learned the exploits of the greatest players in the form of trivia questions.  “When Babe Ruth hit 60 homeruns, whose record did he beat?”  His own.  “Who is the only player to win an MVP in both leagues?”  Frank Robinson.  “Who’s the only pitcher to win multiple Game 7s?”  Bob Gibson.  This would go on and on, and I loved every minute of it.

In a nod to these memories, I wanted to include a trivia question each week.  Rather than have a bunch of comments, posts, etc., I decided to use Sporcle.  I figured with the Mets playing the Cardinals, Keith Hernandez being named to the Mets Franchise Four, and the Mets fans clamoring for a trade, this week’s quiz seeks the players involved in the 1984 trade that brought Keith Hernandez to the Mets.  Good luck!


ARAMIS RAMIREZ?!?!?!

I’m sure most have heard from now that Jerry Crasnick’s “bold” prediction is the Mets will obtain Aramis Ramirez. My first question is what will the Brewers give the Mets in exchange for taking on Ramirez?

All kidding aside, this move is akin to the Ben Zobrist rumors. It’s just a name who’s aging and is not producing to his usual standards. Ramirez’s triple slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) is .234/.279/.414 in a hitter’s park. These numbers wouldn’t have been good in Citi Field before they took down the Great Wall of Flushing. Also, he only plays 3B meaning he’s not really a good bench option. 

Again, I’d rather have Daniel Murphy. Murphy is getting better and is just beginning to rake like his old self. Plus, I can trust Murphy to play in a New York pennant race. 

Trouble with Making a Good Baseball Movie

There was absolutely no baseball on TV last night, and no I don’t count minor league games.  I’m not a scout.  So with no baseball, I decided to watch a movie on the MLB Network about a crusty old scout called:

  
Now as you can see above, this movie should be in the wheelhouse for this blog because it’s the story of a parent and child through the prism of baseball. Or was it a rom com between Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake?  Possibly, it was a repudiation of Moneyball. All I know was it committed the biggest baseball movie sin. 

They talked about trading draft picks. Seriously?  Everyone goes nuts you can’t trade draft picks in baseball, yet somehow this fact eludes everyone involved with the movie. Also, Amy Adams mentions offhand that the curveball is Randy Johnson’s best pitch. I don’t know when Hollywood will figure out that baseball fans go to baseball movies. If you make a movie for them get the basic stuff right. If you don’t, they don’t go to the movie. 

I really can’t get into any of the movie because I want you to continue to read this blog, and I don’t think an in depth analysis of this movie will bring you back. Needless to say baseball not only saved the parent-child relationship, it also saved Amy Adams from herself. If only the remote wasn’t out of reach, I could’ve been saved from this movie.