With the New York Mets making a mega-deal with the Cleveland Indians to obtain Francisco Lindor, the Mets understandably parted ways with Amed Rosario. It is disappointing to see Rosario go, and it is going to be hard to see him breakout with a new team.
Rosario initially came to the Mets after signing what was then the largest ever bonus given by the Mets to an international player. Rosario sure seemed to live up to the billing when he rose to the level of coming the top prospect in the game, and he made his Major League debut at the age of 21.
What was clear from the outset with Rosario was he was an exciting and hard working player. He was someone who readily lived up to his mantra of “Don’t Be Surprised, Be Ready.” No, he may not have lived up to his potential immediately, but in the beginning of his career, you saw a player who had the skills to be as exciting as there was in baseball:
From there, we saw growing pains, which is understandable given his age and the state of the organization. Through all of that, we saw a player who made significant improvements in his defense, and we saw a player who made strides in terms of his pitch recognition. Here and there, we saw real glimpses of the superstar we all thought he was going to be. For example, there was his five hit game against the Atlanta Braves in 2019:
It’s probably in large part due to the difficulties presented by COVID19 and the limitations of the shortened 60 game season, but unfortunately, Rosario didn’t truly get the opportunity to build on that 2020 season. He struggled for the most part, but to his credit, he didn’t take those struggles onto the field. Like a real veteran and mature player, he continued to make strides defensively. He would also show us the potential was still there. In many ways, his unique walk-off homer against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium serves as his good-bye present to Mets fans:
It wasn’t the first walk-off hit in his Mets career, but it would prove to be the last. As Mets fans, we had hoped to see more of those moments during the course of his career, but now, he is a member of the Cleveland Indians.
For Rosario, this is a great situation for him personally. He gets to go play for a Hall of Fame manger in Terry Francona as he starts to enter the prime of his career. He gets to move on from being a franchise savior to being just another player on the team being given room to grow, develop, and shine. In this situation, he may well grow to be the All-Star and potentially the superstar we all hoped he would one day be.
If that happens, all Mets fans should be happy for him. Rosario was as hard working and as exciting a player as there is. He tried everything he could do to be a great player, and each year, he made definitive improvements. He gave the Mets all he had, and that deserves nothing put our respect and admiration. Good luck to him, and hopefully, we will see him be all the things we all thought he could be.
Thank you Rosario, and good luck to you.
The year 2020 was hard on us all, but there were some truly outstanding and unexpected uplifting moments scattered throughout the year. In no particular order here were some of the best moments for the New York Mets in 2020:
1. Steve Cohen purchases the Mets ending the Wilpons reign.
2. Dominic Smith finds his voice and that next level in his game.
3. Michael Conforto emerged as a real leader and showed he’s the star we all hoped he’d be.
4. While not winning the Cy Young, Jacob deGrom continued to prove he’s the best pitcher in the game.
5. Yoenis Cespedes gave us one last thrill with an Opening Day game winning homer.
6. Edwin Diaz returned to his dominant form.
7. Amed Rosario hit a walk-off homer at Yankee Stadium to beat the New York Yankees.
9. Mets were once again allowed to wear the first responders caps.
10. Sandy Alderson returned restoring credibility to the franchise and was given the opportunity to win a World Series with the Mets.
11. Marcus Stroman accepted the qualifying offer to return to the Mets.
13. Pete Alonso proved his rookie year was no fluke putting himself on what would’ve been a 42 home run pace.
14. Although in a circuitous route, Luis Rojas got the manager job he earned and did enough to earn at least a second season at the helm.
15. Luis Guillorme was great with the glove and better than we ever anticipated he’d be at the plate.
16. Brandon Nimmo proved his neck problems were no more while remaining an on-base machine.
17. Rick Porcello got to live out his dream by pitching for the same Mets team he loved as a kid.
18. The 1986 Mets were dubbed the best team ever.
19. Alonso honored the greatest Met ever by hitting a walk-off homer the first game the Mets played after Tom Seaver passed.
20. It was only 60 games and the Mets finished in last place, but we got to see Mets baseball. For at least those 3+ hours a day, we felt normal.
If you’re reading this now, chances are you went through a lot this year. The good news is you’re reading this meaning you’ve survived the year and can have hope for a better 2021.
God willing, that 2021 will be our best year ever, and we will see a Mets World Series title.
With Ha-Seong Kim signing with the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets ability to obtain a third baseman grew exponentially more difficult. That’s not to say there aren’t options.
Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant remain on the trade bloc. Of course, pulling the trigger on a deal for either player is extraordinarily difficult due to the damage Brodie Van Wagenen inflicted on the Mets farm system.
Looking at the remaining free agent third base market, Justin Turner is the only everyday third baseman available. There are many obstacles with him including his age and desire to stay with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This leaves the Mets going all-in on the aforementioned trade options or getting creative.
The creative options involve the Mets addressing second base. That could be signing DJ LeMahieu, or better yet, Kolten Wong. Luis Guillorme could be given the starting second base job he’s more than earned, or the team could go with Andres Gimenez there with Amed Rosario back at short.
These and other options are on the table so long as the Mets believe they can entrust the third base job to Jeff McNeil.
Now, last year, the Mets gave up on McNeil at third rather quickly. There were many reasons why including J.D. Davis‘ ineptitude in left. Of course, Davis was equally inept at third (again) causing this issue.
The other reason why the Mets moved McNeil from third was McNeil struggled there. In 75.0 innings, he had a -2 OAA and a 0 DRS. Part of the issue was he struggled with his throws.
This should give everyone pause, but it should be remembered 75.0 innings is the epitome of a small sample size. Another issue is the bizarre nature of the 2020 season. Taking all that into account, we shouldn’t overreact to McNeil’s third base defense.
Entering last season, McNeil had a career 3 OAA and 5 DRS at third. Of note, that was still a small sample size with his having played 173.1 innings over the span of two years.
However, while he’s doesn’t have extensive third base experience in the majors, he played over a thousand innings at third in the minors. This leaves the impression the Mets believe he can handle the position.
Well, maybe. In Sandy Alderson’s first Mets stint, he was reluctant to call-up McNeil saying he wasn’t a third baseman. When Robinson Cano was suspended, Alderson said third was “up in the air.” All told, in typical Alderson fashion, we’re still not quite sure what he thinks.
Whatever the case, McNeil is easily the best in-house option. As the options for third dry up and look all the more unattainable, he increasingly becomes the only option there leaving the Mets to replace Cano at second with someone else.
At least with second, there are plenty of very good options remaining. Unfortunately, McNeil is probably not one of those options as the Mets could very well need him at third.
When it comes to players from other leagues, you can never be too sure how well their skills and stats translate. That is partially the result of MLB being that much better than the other leagues.
Even no doubt candidates like Hideki Matsui put up lesser numbers in MLB. That said, Matsui was a very good player who was a two time All-Star and World Series MVP.
However, that’s Japan. The KBO doesn’t have as many success stories partially because they haven’t sent over as many players. That said, you can see some examples where KBO players played well after coming overseas.
Jung-Ho Kang had a 126 OPS+ in his first two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before his legal troubles. Eric Thames went to the KBO to resurrect his career, and it worked. In his first three seasons back in the majors, he had a 118 OPS+.
Looking at these and all foreign players, there is one guiding principle. If you’re a talented player, you will succeed in the majors. That brings us to Ha-Seong Kim.
Kim has been great in his seven seasons hitting .294/.373/.493. Using ZiPs, Dan Symborski of Fangraphs projects Kim to hit .274/.373/.477 with 23 homers and 82 RBI. In terms of advanced stats, Kim protects to have a 117 OPS+ and 3.8 fWAR.
Now, this is where Kim’s position would matter a great deal. At shortstop, he’d be a potential top five hitter in the league. At third, he’s just middle of the pack to possibly lower.
Lost in that are two things. First and foremost, it’s a projection. Second and perhaps more importantly, Kim will be 26 next year meaning he’s about to enter his prime and potentially put up bigger numbers.
Another important consideration is the bat is just part of the equation. His defense is a factor as well.
Kim won back-to-back Gold Gloves at shortstop. He didn’t repeat in 2020, but part of the reason why was his team signed Addison Russell. With Russell at short, Kim moved to third where he played well.
Looking at the complete picture. Kim looks like he’ll be an above-average hitter, and at third, he could be an above-average defender. All-in-all, that makes a good baseball player who could help the Mets significantly.
Keep in mind, J.D. Davis has twice proven he can’t play the position, and there are significant question marks about Jeff McNeil‘s ability to handle the position on a daily basis. Luis Guillorme and Amed Rosario are other options, but their bats may not play well there.
Looking at free agency, Justin Turner is the best MLB option. The problem there is he’s 36 and not guaranteed to want to move back east. On the trade market, there’s Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant, but they’ll be difficult to obtain with the way Brodie Van Wagenen needlessly ravaged the farm system.
That brings us back to Kim. Arguably, there’s no free agent with his upside or ability to help the Mets branch out to another market. He could fit very well into the lineup and make the Mets significantly improved defensively. While he may not be a sure get to see his skills translate well, we’ve seen other KBO players successfully make the jump, and we see Kim is immensely talented.
All told, you can see why the Mets are interested. Hopefully, they can get a deal done and lock down third base for the next 5-10 years.
The concept of the untouchable player is a fallacy. That goes for any player including Mike Trout. For the right price, even he could be traded.
That said, when we talk untouchable we mean a player who can’t be replaced on the roster. In terms of the Mets, there’s only three such players on the roster.
First and foremost, Jacob deGrom is untouchable. Not only has he established himself as the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s also on a very reasonable contract. There’s nothing on the free agent or trade market available where you can replace him.
The next untouchable player is Seth Lugo, and last season is exactly the reason why. In Lugo, the Mets have one of the best and most versatile relievers in baseball. He can pitch multiple innings, get a key out, and get the save.
If you’re in a jam, Lugo can also start. No, he is not nearly as dominant as a starter. However, he can be stretched to be either a dominant opener or a competent fifth starter. Looking across baseball, there really isn’t another pitcher who offers that, not even Josh Hader.
Finally, the Mets last untouchable is Jeff McNeil. He’s that mostly because his versatility allows the Mets to build the best possible roster.
McNeil is a good defender at second and left. He can hold his own at third and right. He’s a unique batter in this era in that he’s up to hit, and he puts the ball in play. In McNeil, you’re getting a modern day Ben Zobrist in the field and a slower version of Ichiro Suzuki at the plate.
In these three players, the Mets have truly unique players whose skill sets cannot easily be replicated. In fact, you can argue, their skill sets cannot be replicated. At their relative prices, it’s nearly impossible.
As for the rest of the roster, while there are extremely good players across, they just don’t rise to this level.
While you may want to argue Pete Alonso or Dominic Smith, they are both first baseman. In fact, they’re both All-Star caliber first basemen. Unfortunately, there’s just one first base, and there’s no DH.
Andres Gimenez is very promising, but this is an organization with a lot of shortstop talent. That includes Amed Rosario, who is a capable MLB starter, and Luis Guillorme, who deserves a fair shot to play everyday.
Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are approaching free agency soon, and the corner outfield position is one which can typically be filled easily. On that note, McNeil can fill one of their spots if necessary.
Like Conforto, Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard are pending free agents making them more movable than they otherwise would be. Also on the pitching front is Edwin Diaz. You’ve seen reason to believe in him and believe he can’t handle New York. At the end of the day, he’s a good closer, but the Mets can always obtain one of them in free agency.
So, overall, the Mets have a deep and interesting roster. However, there are many holes across the roster. Looking at this roster, short of deGrom, Lugo, or McNeil, any of these players should be on the table to address any of the deficiencies this team has.
During his press conference yesterday, Mets manager Luis Rojas indicated Amed Rosario will work at third base, but he will not be working in the outfield. This plan is not something which helps Rosario or the Mets.
One of the reasons is Rosario’s bat. It doesn’t play at the position.
Mostly buttressed by a 100 wRC+ in 2019, Rosario has a career 89 wRC+. From 2016 – 2019, MLB third baseman had between a 102 – 105 wRC+. That puts a typical Rosario season well below the threshold.
To even justify Rosario at third, he’s have to play elite defense. His ability to do that is certainly up for debate.
Rosario’s defense has been gradually improving, but it appears like he’ll never reach the Gold Glove aspirations many had for him, nor will be surpass Andres Gimenez.
By OAA, he made huge strides in this shortened season going from a -8 OAA to a 2. DRS paints the same picture with his going from a -10 to a -3.
This past season, what stood out was he’s better able to go to his right. However, in a normal season, he was far better going to his left. Certainly, if he has the range for short, he should for third.
Looking at these numbers, Rosario can certainly play third. However, that’s not the issue. As noted, he needs to play at an elite level due to his bat.
Now, you could argue he’s a better option than J.D. Davis, which he certainly is. Davis is incapable of playing the position, and without the juiced ball, his offense came hurtling back to earth.
However, this shouldn’t be the test. Just being better than Davis isn’t sufficient. Again, the Mets need a real third baseman. Rosario has not shown yet he can be that with his offense being the biggest issue.
His offense won’t be as much of an issue in center. In three of the past four seasons, center fielders we’re below league average offensively. As noted, Rosario does have the tools to succeed in center.
If nothing else, Rosario should be working towards being a good center fielder. If he’s lost the shortstop job, he needs to become as versatile as possible. Learning center does that.
Overall, Rosario’s chances of success at third are not as good as his chances of success in center. Regardless, he needs to work on both as he’s now a bench player. That’s why focusing just on third is a very bad plan.
In an ideal world, the New York Mets would be looking to sign Mookie Betts this offseason. It would’ve been an absolutely perfect signing for the team.
The second best player in the sport helping the Steve Cohen era get off on the right foot. The right-handed bat to compliment a heavy left-handed hitting lineup. A player gifted enough to play center for the next decade.
However, it’s not happening because the Los Angeles Dodgers went all out to not only obtain him from the Boston Red Sox, but they also gave him the extension he wanted. As such, he’ll spend 13 years with the Dodgers and none with the Mets.
This is not the first time we’ve seen a future Hall of Famer eschew free agency by signing an extension with his new team. In fact, the Mets once benefitted from this by trading for and signing Mike Piazza.
That’s one of the benefits a team receives by obtaining that player. They get the exclusive window to negotiate with and sign the player. They also have that opportunity if they make the player signing an extension a condition precedent to making a trade.
There is a need for both players. With Arenado, he’s arguably the best third baseman in baseball, and the Mets are in desperate need of one.
Lindor may not be as obvious when the Mets have Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario. With Lindor, it boils down to this team is not good enough as it, and they need premium talent to push them over the top. The best shortstop in the game goes a long way in accomplishing that.
If the Mets can get either player (preferably both), they need to do it. You don’t run the risk of another organization stepping up ad obtaining that player because if that happens they can be the ones who give Lindor or Arenado an extension ensuring they don’t hit the free agent market.
No, that doesn’t mean you make the trade for its own sake, and by no means should the Mets overpay. That said, when you have Gimenez and Rosario as well as Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso, you have valuable cost controlled depth which can be a big piece in getting a Lindor or Arenado.
Really, the Mets don’t need two shortstops and two first basemen. They need a Lindor and/or an Arenado. They need to get them now to prevent another team from locking them up.
Instead, the Mets need to do what the Dodgers did with Betts. Get the superstar. Use their financial muscle to get that superstar to sign an extension. Then, they can go win the World Series.
This should come as no surprise as Rosario has been given time to establish himself as the Mets everyday shortstop. Unfortunately, for a myriad of reasons, that hasn’t happened. With a better SS option on the Major League roster, Rosario needs to play somewhere.
Looking at the Mets current roster, there are holes at third and center. Presumably, Rosario could fill either spot.
In terms of third, his continued marked improvement at short with his strong arm suggests he could play very well there. That said, there should be some reservation over his ability to go to his left.
Of course, the bigger issue is his bat. At a career 89 wRC+, including a regression in 2020, his bat won’t play at third.
It would, however, play in center. The bigger issue is whether he can play the position. There are strong indications he can.
In his career, Rosario has exhibited elite sprint speed. Even with his 28.7 ft/second being a career low, he’d still rank in the top 20 among center fielders (if he played the position).
Really, he has the speed to not only play center, but to play the position at a high level. With Luis Rojas, he also has a manager in place who can get him quickly up to speed in center.
The Mets should absolutely pursue them as well as other options. That said, just because the Mets have significant interest and money to spend doesn’t de facto mean they’ll land either player. For example, the Red Sox also have very deep pockets and are rumored to be interested in Springer.
The Mets may also need or want to allocate their offseason budget towards the pitching staff and catcher. Neither of those areas are going to be cheap to address in free agency.
As such, the Mets need a viable CF alternative plan. Given his skill set and the need to find a position for him, the Mets should be preparing the Rosario in CF contingency plan.
If for no other reason, the Mets should pursue this path for Rosario to make him more versatile and to make him a backup at the position.
Simply put, it makes zero sense for the Mets to trade Jeff McNeil even in a deal for a Lindor.
The need for Lindor is obvious, and the Mets would match-up very well with the Cleveland Indians. One reason why is the Mets have logjams at different positions with cost controlled players. Those players could fulfill a reciprocal need for the Indians.
At catcher, the Mets have defensive specialists in Tomas Nido and Ali Sanchez. That would at least seem to be of interest to an Indians team who puts a priority on catcher defense and framing. Notably, Roberto Perez will be a free agent after this year, and Austin Hedges will be one the ensuing season.
With the caveat of not knowing how the Indians value these players, or whether they’d take J.D. Davis off the Mets hands, it would seem mixing and matching from these groups could largely get a deal done.
Honestly, this is trading at its best. The Mets have a surplus of quality Major Leaguers at different positions. Those players would fulfill very specific needs the Indians have. This is why the Mets and Indians match up so well.
Of course, this assumes this isn’t an Indians fire-sale. Considering the Indians aren’t looking to trade Jose Ramirez, even with his being a free agent after the 2021 season, this appears to be a very safe assumption. That assumption would be bolstered by a presumed pursuit of McNeil.
The reasons why the Indians would want McNeil are obvious. He’s as versatile a player as there is in the game. He plays well defensively at second and both corner outfield spots. With work on his throws, he could be a very good third baseman.
In addition to his defense and versatility, he’s a good hitter. Since his MLB debut, McNeil has a 139 OPS+. Over the past three years, that ranks him as the 13th best hitter in all of baseball.
If the Mets are going to be bold and add players like Lindor, they need McNeil. They need his versatility, defense, and bat. Moreover, any deals the Mets make need to clear surplus and not detract from other areas.
In the end, the Mets have more than enough pieces to make a very good trade for both teams without including McNeil. With that being the case, there is absolutely no reason for the Mets to include McNeil in a trade for Lindor.
The Cleveland Indians are known to be floating Francisco Lindor, and with this being the Indians, they are looking to probably try to contend while also making any deals. That would make sense given their pitching and their keeping another perennial MVP caliber player in Jose Ramirez.
Still, the Indians want us to believe they are cash strapped and need to move a player like Lindor. Presumably, anyone not named Ramirez or Shane Bieber is available to be traded. If that is the case, the Mets need to push and push hard to get a mega-deal done.
In addition to Lindor, the Indians also have Roberto Perez. He’s a 31 year old catcher who is elite defensively with a still very questionable bat. Perez is a relatively expensive $5.5 million, and he will be a free agent after the season. For a Mets team who needs a starting catcher, Perez would be enticing. He also shouldn’t interfere with the presumed chase for James McCann.
On the pitching front, the Indians have Zach Plesac who was an issue for them in terms of the COVID19 infection. The Indians may be reluctant to move him pre-arbitration, and they should. Still, if there are issues between him and the team, the Mets are in a prime position to grab him.
Looking deeper than Plesac, there are useful bullpen arms like Nick Wittgren and a good fourth outfielder in Delino DeShields. Both players are arbitration eligible and could cost more than the Indians are willing to play them. Depending on a potential deal, the Mets could and should be interested in grabbing them in a potential deal.
In return, well, the Mets have plenty to offer the Indians. Given the glut at first base, the Mets could offer one of Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, or Dominic Smith. With Davis, the Mets could or should offer both. There is also Brandon Nimmo in the outfield as well as Andres Gimenez, Jeff McNeil, and/or Amed Rosario in the middle infield. Certainly, if you can obtain Perez, the Mets should be willing to move Tomas Nido and/or Ali Sanchez.
If you are going to move from a pool of that Major League talent, thereby freeing up logjams, you can then be in a position to hold onto Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, and/or the other Mets top prospects. That said, if the Mets are given a window to extend Lindor, all bets should be off. Looking at Mookie Betts last year, getting a top five player in his prime is a franchise changer, and it could be what the Mets need to get to the World Series.
All told, the Indians have some pieces the Mets desperately need. Between the Mets need to free up their logjams coupled with the Indians purported need to clear payroll and the Mets newfound financial strength, there is real potential here for a mega-deal. Hopefully, the two sides can get together and get it done.