Mets Can Trade Syndergaard But Should They?

There are mixed rumors about whether the Mets are shopping Noah Syndergaard this offseason. Seemingly, trading Syndergaard would run counter-intuitive to the Mets statements they are trying to win now and in the future. However, if the Mets pull this off just right, they can actually compete going forward.

While we assume all of the other 29 teams in baseball would be interested, we do know the Padres are interested – very interested. They pursued him at the trade deadline, and they are apparently pursuing him again this offseason. While the Padres farm system is loaded, their major league team really isn’t.

In terms of their starting lineup, only Eric Hosmer, Hunter Renfroe, and Franmil Reyes had an OBP over .300. Renfore was the only player with over 20 homers. None of their starting pitchers had an ERA under 4.00, which is all the more troubling when you consider they play in Petco. This is a big reason why they want Syndergaard, or another top tier starting pitcher who is available like James Paxton.

The question is how much the Padres want Syndergaard. If they are willing to give up Fernando Tatis, Jr., there is the chance a deal can get done. MLB Pipeline has given him a 70 grade on the 20-80 scale. Baseball America is equally as high on him saying, “components of a middle-of-the-order shortstop, and even if he has to move to third base has more than enough bat to flourish. His mix of talent, personality and bilingualism sets him up to become the face of the Padres franchise.” Both outlets rate him as the second best prospect in the game.

Last year in Double-A, Tatis hit .286/.355/.507 with 22 doubles, four triples, 16 homers, and 43 RBI. He would also steal 16 bases. He should start the year in Triple-A, and realistically speaking, he will play in the majors next year.

Adding him to the roster would give you a huge prospect going forward. It also creates some flexibility. This could allow the Mets to trade Amed Rosario to improve other aspects of their club including a rotation which would have just lost Syndergaard. The Mets could also shift Rosario to another position like center field where the Mets have a hole.

If you moved Rosario to another position, you could trade Andres Gimenez for an upgrade elsewhere. You could also take one of the other big prospects you get in a proverbial swap to make an upgrade. Overall, if done properly, trading Syndergaard could truly create real roster flexibility.

Of course, the Mets will need it because they are going to need to fill in the rotation. By losing Syndergaard, you damage the strength of your team. You go from the best top 4 in baseball to a shaky rotation. After all, the Mets needed to upgrade the rotation anyway with Jason Vargas being their fifth starter. With Syndergaard gone, they would need to upgrade two spots.

You could do that by signing a Patrick Corbin, but that’s going to restrict the budget available to upgrade areas which really needed upgrading. Essentially, by making this trade, you are going to push competing for a World Series until 2020 at the earliest. Maybe by making this deal, you are passing on competing for the next five years.

Really, before even contemplating a trade like this, you have to have your ducks lined up. You have to know what the next five steps are, and they need to be secure. If not, you are gambling on this whole team and window blowing up.

Overall, trading players like Syndergaard makes and breaks careers. Getting him as part of the R.A. Dickey deal made the Mets contenders in 2015 and 2016. Trading him away could end any possibility of competing anytime soon, or it could open a whole new window. It’s a really difficult decision, and like it or not, the early stages of Brodie Van Wagenen’s tenure will be marked by the decision he makes.

 

Trivia Friday: Pitchers To Win Cy Young And Rookie of the Year Awards

With Jacob deGrom winning the Cy Young Award over Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola, he became the seventh pitcher in Major League history to win a Cy Young and a Rookie of the Year award.  Can you name the other six?  Good luck!


Don Newcombe Tom Seaver Fernando Valenzuela Rick Sutcliffe Justin Verlander Dwight Gooden

Somers Here, Maffei Not There

Yesterday, Jacob deGrom won the National League Cy Young Award, but it was not unanimous.  No, there was one dissenting vote from John Maffei of the San Diego Tribune.  As he has not written an article on why he voted the way he did, and he does not have a Twitter, no one is quite sure why he opted to vote for Max Scherzer over deGrom for the Cy Young Award.

While many may assume the reasons why Maffei made his vote the way he did, you cannot be sure his rationale.  Maffei was going to get the chance to explain his reasons with Steve Somers:

Well, that ended badly.  Very badly.

In New York, Steve Somers is an institution, and we get him and his tone.  It sounded like typical tongue-in-cheek Somers, but Maffei was having none of hit.  Most likely not knowing who Somers was, Maffei was not going to deal with it, and he understandably hung up the phone.

Of note, Somers did ask his producer to reach back out to Maffei and explain the shtick.  Unfortunately, Maffei would not come back on the show to have that discussion.

To some extent, it is a real shame because Maffei had one of the worst Cy Young ballots you could possibly have.  In addition to having Scherzer over deGrom, which is an arguably defensible position, he did not have Aaron Nola third.

Now, Maffei was not the only one to have Freeland over Nola.  One of the other two was Thomas Harding, who is the MLB beat reporter for the Colorado Rockies.  It’s not unusual to see a local beat writer hold a player they cover and watch everyday to a higher esteem than others. We don’t know why Andrew Wagner did the same thing.

While Harding and Wagner had their own reasons to put Freeland over Nola, Maffei was the only writer to put Miles Mikolas third.  He would be the only writer to have Mikolas over Nola, and he would be the only one to have Mikolas in the top three.  In fact, there were just two writers who gave Mikolas a vote in the top four.

With respect to Maffei, or really any writer, you would hope there were be some article or explanation for the vote.  After all, the Cy Young Award winner is going to be reported in the paper.  Speaking of the paper, it is important to note Maffei has been covering high school sports for the San Diego Tribune.

While it did not truly matter in the end, the BBWAA gave a vote to one of the most prestiguous awards to a high school sports writer.  So while Maffei may have to explain the thinking behind his ballot, the BBWAA should have to explain why they are letting people who no longer cover the sport have a vote on these awards.

Chances are neither will be on with Steve Somers to provide that explanation.

 

Bright Spots In Lost Mets Seasons

The New York Mets have had a number of down seasons with 2018 being one of them.  There were some bright spots this past season with Jacob deGrom emerging as the best pitcher in baseball being one of them.  This is reminiscent of how many times we have seen different Mets players have great seasons in what has been an otherwise lost season for the franchise.

The last time we saw anything like deGrom’s season happen was R.A. Dickey‘s 2012 season.  While the knuckleballer had been better than expected for a few years, no one could see him winning 20 games let alone beating out Clayton Kershaw, who was still in his prime, for the Cy Young Award.

While it was Dickey who won the Cy Young Award, it was Johan Santana who captured the hearts of Mets fans by pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history.  Special mention needs to go here for Mike Baxter‘s catch.

In 2004, Mike Piazza passed a significant career milestone by hitting his 352nd career homer as a catcher.  With the home run, he passed Carlton Fisk, and he all but cemented his Hall of Fame case by hitting the most home runs as a catcher.

Another Mets catcher who set a home run record was Todd Hundley.  In 1996, his 41 homers would not just match a Mets single season record, but it would also pass Roy Campanella‘s single season record for most homers by a catcher.  That season saw a number of feats including Bernard Gilkey setting the Mets single-season record for doubles and Lance Johnson setting the record for most triples in a season.  Remarkably, all three of these Mets records stand to this day.

On the final game of the 1991 season, which was the Mets first losing season since 1983, David Cone tied the then National League record with 19 strikeouts in a game.  It was a feat which had only been previously met by Mets legend Tom Seaver.

Speaking of that 1983 season, Darryl Strawberry would become the first and to this date only Mets position player to ever win the Rookie of the Year Award.  The 1983 season was also notable because after the Midnight Massacre, Seaver would finally come home to the Mets.

Really, it was that 1983 season which was the beginning of something special with the Mets.  In addition to Strawberry and Seaver, the Mets called-up rookie starter Ron Darling.  Much like how he is joined in the SNY booth now by Keith Hernandez, he was teammates with Hernandez that season because the Mets would make a franchise altering trade to acquire the former MVP.

Really, when you look at 1983, you can see how even a bad year is the building block towards a team building a World Series winning club.  Hopefully, that is what the 2018 season was for the Mets.

You can argue it was the case with deGrom emerging as the best pitcher in baseball, and Zack Wheeler matching him big start for big start in the second half.  Brandon Nimmo had the second highest wRC+ among National League outfielders, and Michael Conforto returned to being Michael Conforto in the second half.  More than that, Amed Rosario seemed to turn the corner while his new double play partner, Jeff McNeil, burst onto the scene.

In the end, when you look at losing seasons like 2018, you can see great things.  More than that, you can see how great things will soon be in store for the Mets.

Reasons Mets Are Justified In Not Pursuing Manny Machado

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the New York Mets are not pursuing Manny Machado this offseason as they “don’t see him as the right player to spend big on.”  While this may create an uproar amongst Mets fans and Mets critics, the is 100% the correct move for the Mets franchise.  There are several reasons why:

  1. Machado only wants to play shortstop, and as we saw with Kazuo Matsui displacing Jose Reyes, moving Amed Rosario off shortstop is a bad idea;
  2. With David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets already have two $100 million players.  You don’t need three.
  3. Carlos Beltran was the last under 30 year old who the Mets signed to a $100 million contract. Do we really want the Mets to sign someone who is just going to strike out looking anyway?
  4. The last Orioles shortstop to play for the Mets was Mike Bordick, and he hit .260/.321/.365 in 56 regular season games with the Mets before getting benched for Kurt Abbott in the World Series.
  5. With Jack Reinheimer, the Mets already have a 25 year old shortstop.
  6. Infamously, Timo Perez did not hustle in the World Series.  After the World Series, Perez would hit .275/.311/.394 with the Mets.  If that’s what we can expect from players who do not hustle in the postseason, giving Machado a megadeal will be a disaster.
  7. The Mets gave Ronny Mauricio a $2.1 million signing bonus.  You cannot give him that type of bonus and then block his path to the majors by giving Machado a huge contract.
  8. For the price of Machado, you can sign eyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Oliver Perez, Rene Rivera, Devin Mesoraco, Lucas Duda, Carlos Gomez, Eric Young, Jr., Chris Young, Tyler Clippard, and still have room to make strong offers to Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson.
  9. Machado, like Alex Rodriguez, will prove to be a 24+1 player, and you cannot possibly win with an A-Rod on your team.
  10. It will be hard to free up the funds to sign him with the Mets still paying Bobby Bonilla.

So really, when you break it down and look at the reasons, the better question is why should the Mets even consider signing Machado?

Mets Need To Obtain Corey Kluber

With the Mets reportedly not pursuing Manny Machado this offseason, the Mets have put them in a position where their options to improve their batting order are becoming increasingly limited.  That is at least on the free agent market.  Instead, the team is going to have to look towards trades to try to improve their roster.

When looking at trades, the team should look much further than any of their oft publicized and discussed needs.  Instead, the team should do all they can do to improve their roster.  If you are looking to build a World Series contender, that means obtaining Corey Kluber.

If the Mets are able to obtain Kluber, they are going to have the best rotation in baseball, and quite possibly, they could have one of the best rotations of all-time.  When you have pitching like that, you win games and postseason series.

Remember, the 2001 Diamondbacks won the NL West and the World Series riding Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.  While Luis Gonzalez hit 57 homers that year, the rest of the Diamondbacks team wasn’t great offensively.  That team had a 97 wRC+, which was ranked 15th in the majors.

The Mets would have that with Kluber and Jacob deGrom.  Kluber has led the Majors in wins over the past three seasons with the second most innings pitched and the third highest fWAR.  As for deGrom, he was the best pitcher in baseball last, and we have seen what he can do in the postseason.

As for the Mets offense, well, in the second half of the season last year, they were ranked 11th in the majors.  With a 38-30 second half record, the Mets were tied with the Braves for the best record in the NL East.  Combining that improved offense with the emerge of Zack Wheeler, and this is suddenly a very scary Mets team, which is something the Mets need to be building.

Notably, Wheeler is a free agent after the 2019 season, and after the 2020 season, deGrom will be a free agent.  The biggest hit happens after the 2021 season with Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz becoming free agents.  That’s a big chunk of the Mets current core, which means this organization has three years to win a World Series with this group.

It just so happens Kluber is under team control for three years with 2020 and 2021 team options.  All told, Kluber is owed just $52.5 million over the next three years giving the team some flexibility to add talent around an ace pitcher.

Now, there will be obvious skeptics as to whether this will work for the Mets.  This plan would require buying Amed Rosario making strides.  It also requires Jeff McNeil to repeat a second half which was fueled by .368 BABIP.  Todd Frazier is going to have to be what he was in April and stay off the disabled list, and Jay Bruce is going to have to learn first base.  You are also going to need a full season from Juan Lagares in center.

Then again, maybe you won’t.

Adding Kluber only adds to the possibilities.  With Kluber atop the rotation with deGrom, the Mets could look to trade Wheeler at his peak value.  Possibly, the Mets could move Wheeler to address other areas of need like their bullpen or a right-handed bat.  With Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel being free agents and Lance McCullers missing all of 2019 due to Tommy John, the Astros are certainly a fit.  Seeing how Wheeler pitched in the second half, there will obviously be other suitors.

Now, getting Kluber is going to hurt.  At a minimum, you are probably talking Peter Alonso, Andres Gimenez, and some other notable Mets prospects.  It’s entirely possible, a Major Leaguer will need to be included in the deal.  Certainly, giving up your top talent will hurt the system.

However, a more broad based analysis needs to take place here.  The Mets window is 2019-2021.  After that, the next real wave for the Mets comes a year or two after that as Jarred Kelenic, Ronny Mauricio, and Mark Vientos all played in Kingsport this past season.  Considering how the talent is structured in the Mets farm system, the time to make a run is right now.

If you’re making that run, the Mets need to go all-out improving this roster.  Unless you are spending on the free agent market to get Machado and Bryce Harper, which the Mets aren’t doing, it means trading for big pieces.  That means giving up Alonso and Gimenez for a big piece.  Right now, there is no bigger piece than Kluber.  He’s the real difference maker.

Get Kluber and make a real run at 2019 and 2020.  The talent is here, and the Mets have the chips to do it.

For Kids, Ditch The Maple Syrup For Chocolate Syrup

At least one day on the weekend, my son and I will make breakfast together.  Typically, this will involve making either pancakes or waffles.  Not to get all “If You Give A Pig a Pancake,” on you, but if you give a child a pancake, they’ll want some syrup to go with it.

Well, one day, I did not check the fridge or the pantry, and after I made the pancakes with my son, I realized there was no maple syrup.  While I didn’t have maple syrup, I did have a bottle of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup in my fridge.  My son loved the chocolate syrup on his pancakes, and he loved it even more when we made waffles.

Now, the natural inclination upon reading this may be to question why you would give a child chocolate syrup for breakfast.  Well, as I discovered, the chocolate syrup was actually the better nutritional choice.  If you don’t believe me, take this into account:

Mrs. Butterworths Trader Joe’s Agave Hersheys
Serving Size 1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1/4 cup
Calories 200 170 180
Fat 0 0 0
Sodium 150 mg 5 mg 20 mg
Carb 52 g 43 g 48 g
Sugars 37 g 42 g 40 g

Looking at the information, the Trader Joe’s Agave is arguably better than the chocolate syrup as it has 10 fewer calories as well as less sodium and carbs.  Conversely, Hershey’s has less sugar, and unlike the Trader Joe’s Agave, the syrup has some calcium and potassium.  If you buy the calcium enriched Hershey’s, you will get even more calcium.  That said, there still may not be that much to make that much of a difference.

What would make some difference is the Hershey’s Lite Syrup.  On a 1/4 cup basis, that syrup only has 80 calories, 60 mg of sodium, 24 g of carb, and 20 g of sugar.  The sodium does offset some of the benefits of a lower caloric or sugar count, but it is still not enough sodium to move the needle on it being unhealthy, at least as far as syrups go.

Ideally, you would make your own syrup using fruit, but for a variety of reasons including spoilage and expense, that is not always an option.  More than that, it is the time to make the pancakes or waffles while simultaneously making a quick syrup.  Many times, when you are a parent, you just need a quick way of doing things.

With that being the case, give your child chocolate syrup instead of maple syrup with their breakfast.  It is the ever so slightly healthier option, and really, it is a much more fun option.

Brandon Nimmo Most Snubbed Player Of 2018

Despite having a strong finish to the 2017 season, the Mets decided they needed to sign Jay Bruce to play the outfield rather than have Brandon Nimmo play right field while Michael Conforto was rehabbing from his shoulder surgery.  Despite his playing exceedingly well, Nimmo would not only be demoted when the Mets needed an extra reliever in the bullpen, but the Mets would also rush Conforto back from the disabled list.

Despite everything in his way, Nimmo would earn a spot in the everyday lineup.  In terms of on-field production, Nimmo was arguably the best outfielder in the National League.  Certainly, he was among the best six in the National League.  Unfortunately, his production on the field would not translate to his being named an All-Star.

This would not be an good first half for Nimmo.  In fact, Nimmo would hit .263/.404/.483 with 28 doubles, eight triples, 17 homers, and 47 RBI.  Among National League outfielders, he was second only to Christian Yelich in Offensive WAR, OPS+, and wRC+. He would finish second to Billy Hamilton in triples.

Among all National League players, he would finish second only to Joey Votto in OBP.  Perhaps the biggest indication of how much Nimmo has been snubbed all season, the only category he would lead the majors in was hit by pitch.  He would have had even more had he not been called back to the plate on more than one occasion for not trying to get out of the way.

Despite all he did offensively, Nimmo would not win a Silver Slugger this season.

Sure, the awards were truly a joke this year.  For example, J.D. Martinez won the Silver Slugger for DH and OF despite playing only 57 games in the field.  That said, it is really bizarre Nimmo was overlooked.

That’s fine.  As far as the Mets and their fans are concerned, other teams can overlook Nimmo all they want.  While they are overlooking him, he can put up another great season while hopefully leading the Mets to their third World Series title.  If that does happen, all of us will be smiling along with Nimmo as everyone who overlooked and underrated him will stand there saddened and befuddled.

Trivia Friday: Most Home Runs By Mets Catcher

After the production the Mets got at catcher from Kevin Plawecki, Devin Mesoraco, Jose Lobaton, and Tomas Nido, many believe the team needs to upgrade at catcher more than any other position.  Given the issue with the Mets lineup, you would ideally want a power at the position.

Looking at Mets history, they have actually had some power bats from the catching position.  Can you name the catchers who have had the most homers for the Mets?  Good luck!


Mike Piazza Todd Hundley Gary Carter Travis d’Arnaud John Stearns

Should The Mets Retire Davey Johnson’s Number?

While it is not an official policy, the Mets organization will only retire the numbers of players who enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap.  That is why the only Mets players who have their numbers retired are Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza.  If the Baseball Hall of Fame honored Gary Carter‘s choice, he would have gone into the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap, and as a result, his number would have been retired as well.

That would have pleased many Mets fans who want to see his number be retired.  More than Carter, Mets fans seem to want to see Keith Hernandez‘s and David Wright‘s numbers retired.  With respect to those two, chances are neither enter the Hall of Fame, and just like Carter, chances are Hernandez is inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing a Cardinals cap.

Much of the Carter and Hernandez push is related to both players being key veterans on the 1986 World Series team.  Oddly enough, the same case has not been made for Davey Johnson.

Back in 1984, Frank Cashen tabbed Johnson to be the Mets manager.  He was entasked with leading a Mets team to not just win a World Series, but really to just win games.  The Mets had not been over .500 since 1976, which was Seaver’s last full season with the Mets.  Seaver was back in 1983 only for the Mets to lose him again.

The winning happened immediately.  Behind Rookie of the Year Dwight Gooden, and a young core which included Darryl Strawberry, Wally Backman, Ron Darling, and Sid Fernandez, the 1984 Mets finished second place in the National League East with a 90-72 record.  This began a string of eight straight seasons where the Mets would finish second or better in the division.  Johnson would oversee six of those seasons.

The 1985 Mets won 98 games, which was then the second most wins the Mets had ever accumulated.  They were that close to winning the division.  Entering 1986, Johnson would declare the Mets were the team to beat, and his team would back him up.  Their 108 wins is the third most ever by a National League team.

When you include the postseason, the 1986 have won more games than any other National League team over the past century.

Yes, this does speak to how great the 1986 Mets were, but it also speaks to Johnson’s managerial abilities.  He was ahead of his time using data and statistics to inform his decisions.  Yes, those 1980s Mets teams were talented, but it was Johnson who got everything out of those talented teams by optimizing his team’s lineups.

This is why Johnson would become the first ever National League manager to have 90+ wins in each of his first five seasons.

He’s also the only Mets manager with two 100 win seasons.  He joins Gil Hodges as only one of two Mets managers to win a World Series, and he was the first Mets manager to go to two different postseasons.

Johnson is the Mets all-time leader in wins and winning percentage.  He is second only to Terry Collins in games managed.  He is second to Bobby Valentine in postseason wins, which is partially a function of Major League Baseball adding an additional postseason round when they added the Wild Card in 1994.

Despite all of these records and his impact on the franchise, Hodges and Casey Stengel remain the only two managers who have had their numbers retired by the Mets.  Given how the standards to retire manager numbers (to the extent there is any) is far lower than for players, it is odd how nearly 30 years after Johnson managed his last game, he has not had his number retired.

His number not being retired may become more of an issue going forward as once again he is a candidate on the Today’s Game ballot for the Hall of Fame.  With his having a better winning percentage than Hall of Famers like Bobby Cox (a manager who also has just one World Series to his credit), and his being only one of two managers in MLB history to lead four separate franchises to to the postseason, there is a real case to be made for Johnson’s induction.

If inducted, he is likely going to enter the Hall of Fame as a member of the Mets.  If so, any and all excuses to not retire his number have gone by the wayside.  Of course, that is unless you are not of the belief Johnson has not done enough to merit having his number retired anyway.

Given how his number has not been retired, it is certainly still up for debate whether it should or should not be retired by the Mets organization.  Going forward, when debates happen,,when taking into account standards already set forth coupled with the impact on the organization, Davey Johnson should probably be first in line when it comes to having his number retired.