Juan Lagares

Mets Messed Up With Duda, Reyes, Gonzalez Decisions

To be fair, no one really expected the free agent market to go the way it has. Really, as free agency opened, the Mets with their limited budget was not expected to be able to bring in Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Anthony Swarzak. Based upon past years, the Mets really only would have had the budget to get just one of them. However, with the way it has played out, it does beg you to re-visit the Mets offseason.

Certainly, there should be no quibbling with the aforementioned additions. Bruce provides the Mets both with a left-handed power bat as well as first base insurance. Frazier joins Amed Rosario to give the Mets a defensive left side of the infield they have not had since at least a decade ago. Swarzak helps solidify a bullpen that needed all the quality arms it could get.

Where you can question the Mets was their minor moves. The team brought back Jose Reyes back on a one year $2 million deal, and because the Dodgers are playing his 2018 salary, the Mets were able to sign Adrian Gonzalez for the league minimum. In retrospect, was this really the best move the Mets could have made.

When the Mets signed Bruce, it gave the team only four healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster. Two of those outfielders, Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares, are injury prone. Already, both players are having health issues, which certainly calls into question whether the Mets outfield can last a full season. It gets even worse when you consider Bruce is dealing with plantar fasciitis.

Because of those injuries, the Mets may be left with the rock and hard place decision of choosing between putting Wilmer Flores in the outfield or playing Matt den Dekker and his career .234/.316/.354 batting line in the outfield. The Mets are faced with this decision because as Josh Lewin put it during the Mets Spring Training opener, Reyes has shown not interest in playing the outfield this year.

It does seem odd the player many consider to be the quickest, if not the fastest, on the team is not even going to try to play the outfield. Considering he was signed as a utility player, it certainly begs the question why he isn’t playing the outfield at all.

There’s also the matter of Gonzalez. There’s no doubt when he’s on the top of his game, he’s much better than Duda or what the Mets envision Dominic Smith will be. However, at 37 and with back problems, is Gonzalez really that player anymore? His last full season was 2016 when he hit .285/.349/.435 with 18 homers and 90 RBI.  Considering how poorly he played last year, his needing two hours to work with trainers just to get onto the field, and his start to the Spring, it’s doubtful he even puts up those numbers.

Last year, Duda hit .246/.347/.532 with 17 homers and 37 RBI in 75 games with the Mets.  Overall, he would have the second 30 homer season of his career.  In three of his last four years, he’s hit 27 or more homers.  The one year he didn’t was an injury riddled 2016 season.

Certainly, you can say Duda was a better bet than Gonzalez.  Moreover, it’s fair to say giving him $3.5 million was a better decision than giving $2.5 million to Reyes and Gonzalez.  It also would’ve given the Mets wiggle room to add another player to the roster who was at least capable of playing the outfield.  Given their suspect depth there, you really need to question Sandy Alderson’s thought process on these respective decisions.

OF Wilmer Flores? Why Not?

When it was announced the Mets were going to try Wilmer Flores in the outfield, it was met with a collective groan from Mets fans.  That shouldn’t be surprising as Wilmer has established himself to be not exactly fleet of foot, nor has he shown himself to be a great defender anywhere the Mets have dared to put him.

As a result, Mets fans were reminded of the horrors of watching Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, and Todd Hundley in the outfield.  With injuries to Juan Lagares and Jay Bruce this Spring, we are a step closer to seeing that happen.

Given this being Spring Training, and with the Mets health perpetually being what it is, this is exactly the time of year you are supposed to be experimenting with these types of moves.  Maybe, just maybe, Flores could handle the position.

Let’s start with the obvious – Wilmer is slow.  That is something not just proved by the eye test but also by Statcast data.

As published on Baseball Savant, Flores had a sprint speed of 25.7 feet per second.  To put that in perspective, Flores ranked 398th out of the 451 MLB players ranked.  While this isn’t surprising, it is surprising Flores was ranked ahead of two outfielders – Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp.

Now, no one should consider Bautista or Kemp good fielders anymore.  Last year, Bautista posted a -8 DRS in 1,242.2 innings in right, and Kemp posted a -17 DRS in 851.2 innings in left.  Using Fangraphs parameters, that puts Bautista and Kemp in the poor to awful range.

Judging from Kemp and Bautista, Flores ceiling in the outfield is probably being a poor outfielder.  As Mets fans, we already have that expectation no matter where Flores plays.  Last season, he had a -14 DRS.  Being a versatile and poor fielder is kind of Flores’ thing.

However, unlike Kemp and Bautista, we shouldn’t expect to see Flores spend the majority of his time in the outfield. Basically, what is instructive is Flores is just fast enough to fake it in the outfield.  However, the issues is whether he can field enough out there.

When it comes to fly balls and pop ups, Flores has never had a real issue fielding the ball, so long as he doesn’t have to deal with a bat boy (who aren’t in the outfield):

Really, when it comes to Wilmer his defensive issues have typically been range and arm.  That’s a big reason why he didn’t work at shortstop and why he has shown himself to be a poor fit at third.  Again, as noted throughout his career, he’s not a real fit anywhere.

Really, it could be he’s as poor a fit in the outfield as he is in the infield, so why not?  If he’s hitting, they are going to want to find a spot for him in the lineup.  If this team repeats their injury issues from last season, and 2018 has not gotten off to a great start, the team may be forced to put him out there.  At a minimum, you’d be hard pressed to argue he could be any worse out there.


2018 Mets Promotion Ideas

If you go to the Mets website, you will see their Promotion Schedule for the 2018 season.  If you look, there are some popular promotions like the Noah SyndergaardThor Bobblehead, the Yoenis Cespedes Garden Gnomes, and the Free T-Shirt Fridays.  Those are fun and all, but I think we can do better, especially when we see promotions like a Fanny Pack.

No, I’m not kidding, the Mets are giving away Fanny Packs this year.

When you are giving away Fanny Packs and you are recycling old giveaways, it is time for some fresh ideas.  Here is a look at a promotional idea for each player on the Mets expected Opening Day Roster:

Jerry Blevins 7 Line Subway Set – a man this thin deserves to have a rail in his honor.

Jay Bruce Ruby Cleats – click them together, and poof!  You’re right back at Citi Field

Asdrubal Cabrera Flip Flops– I want to be a Met; I don’t want to be a Met.  I’ll only play shortstop; I’ll play second.  I’ll play third, but I want to be at second.  Definitely, second base, but . . . .

Yoenis Cespedes Yo-ga Mats – he has undertaken yoga to make this finally be his healthy season

Michael Conforto Muppet – The man is Scooter.

Travis d’Arnaud Potato Head – you get the chance to put him together after he falls apart again

Jacob deGrom Hat Hair – in some ways this seems like a recycled idea, but with his hair cut, it’s now just a hat that will get many more people than ever expected to the ballpark.

Jeurys Familia iTunes Gift Card – Look, Danza Kuduro is a catchy song, but sometimes we all wish we listened to it at home rather than right before a Conor Gillaspie at-bat.

Wilmer Flores Hanky Night – at some point or another, we have all cried watching this team play

Todd FrazierJersey Night – no, not jersey as uniform, just a celebration of New Jersey with Taylor Ham concession stands and Springsteen playing in the park all night long because in case you didn’t know Frazier grew up in Toms River, New Jersey.

Robert Gsellman Lollipop – if you’re always sticking your tongue out, might as well use it

Adrian Gonzalez Alarm Clock – Apparently, his works better than Dominic Smith‘s

Matt Harvey Hockey Jersey – Between the Winter Classic being played at Citi Field, Harvey’s notoriety as a Rangers fan, and his pitching arm looking like he was slammed with a Tie Domi cross-check, this seems like a natural fit.

Juan Lagares Foam Thumbs-Up – after all of his thumb injuries, his thumb must have the structural integrity of a piece of foam at this point.

Seth Lugo Wiffleball – With the wiffleball, you too can throw a curveball as a crazy as Lugo’s.

Steven Matz Take Your Grandfather to the Park Day – the only time you’ll see a grandfather spending time with their grandson at a game happier is when he’s there watching his grandson play.

Rafael Montero Sneakers – something comfortable for everyone’s feet as we all walk the park

Brandon Nimmo Mets Toothbrush – if you are always smiling, your teeth better be clean and your breath be minty fresh

Kevin Plawecki Dil – Actually no, let’s not do any promotions featuring the contents of player’s lockers

AJ Ramos Odd Couple Bobblehead – As a Subway Series special, the Mets and Yankees will each have a Bobblehead Day featuring roommates Ramos and Giancarlo Stanton with Ramos obviously playing the part of Oscar Madison.   

Jose Reyes Bunting – Fans can get their bunting and leave the park as soon as the Mets are assured of the lead.

Hansel Robles Rocket – You too can point in the sky after watching your Robles Rocket go soaring into the sky

Amed Rosario Daily Planner –  No longer will you be surprised about what is coming down the pike, you will now be ready.

Anthony Swarzak Scrabble Tile No other Mets player has as many high point Scrabble tiles in his name.

Noah Syndergaard Marvel Baby Metif he’s going to keep up the gimmick of hitting on Mrs. Met, he should get to see what a Thor-Mrs. Met child would look like.

Jason Vargas Left Handed Kitchen Tools For that left-handed innings eater in you.

David Wright Night – No gimmick or anything.  There just needs to be a night to honor David Wright this season.  He deserves that much from the team and from the fans.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Who We Are Watching This Spring

After the positive feedback we received after our first Mets Blogger Roundtable, the Mets Bloggers have decided to come back for at least a second week.  This week, we tackle the question “Which Mets player are we most excited about watching this Spring Training?”

Michael Baron (MLB.com)

Dominic Smith is the first player that comes to my mind, although there are several interesting stories to watch this spring. Here’s a guy who has spent a number of years now battling weight issues, and therefore reputation issues, and it’s no secret the organization has concerns with him. And, obviously, signing Adrian González clearly indicates that as well. I am looking for him to step up and look like the player and prospect everyone expects him to be, similar to howMichael Conforto performed last spring. If Dom does that, he’ll make for a tough decision a month from now, which is always a good internal conversation for Mets brass to have.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies & Fangraphs)

Do we all remember when Bret Booneabruptly retired a few days into Mets spring training camp in 2006? He admitted Jose Reyes “just kind of stared” at him “with that smile on his face” and realized the joy of playing baseball in himself was long gone. Well, I’m hoping Adrian Gonzalez looks at Dominic Smith, smiling and loving life with his old and new svelte physique, and realizes his future as a full-time top sub sandwich enterprise ambassador should be his present. Smith did not earn the full-time first baseman gig last season, but he’s already earned it before the first ST game. He wasn’t even in this good of shape last spring, so I’m looking forward to seeing the Dom Smith everybody warned with a smile was about to enter our lives last summer.

Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)

The player I am most excited to watch at Spring Training might surprise a few people. It’s Brandon Nimmo. I am by no means trying to say he’s an all-star, but I think he is often overlook for the value he brings to a team. First of all, his defense in center field (while not as good as Juan Lagares) is good. For me, I am more impressed with his approach at the plate. He’s one of the more disciplined hitters on the team, especially when it comes to his knowledge of the strike zone. Sure, his .260 batting average last year is not too impressive, but his on-base percentage was more than 100 points higher at .379. Despite not looking like he’s going to have a starting spot out of the gate, Nimmo is going to be an important piece on this team coming off of the bench. And knowing how hard he works, if there’s an injury, he’ll be ready to go in a pinch. It’s hard not to root for the kid.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Player I am most excited about? Great question. I know if the Mets had been smart enough to sign Joe Smith, he’d have been my answer. I guess I have to let that one go, though. Steven Matz is the other. There are certain guys I love to watch pitch, and Matz is the latest version of that.

I have been a vocal critic of how Terry Collins and Dan Warthen handled the pitching staff for the last several years, and think the staff’s effectiveness in 2015 was despite their best efforts. I think how Matz was handled has been an organizational failure, but with Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland, they finally have people who truly understand how to get him to the next level. A healthy consistent Matz would be a huge assist to this rotation, so that’s what I am most excited to see.

Agree with Michael on Smith. I’m not sure excited is the word, but I am really interested to see how Matt Harvey starts off this spring. Reports are he can feel the ball again and, in my opinion, this will probably be his last season with the Mets. If he dominates, Mets won’t pay him. If he stinks, bye bye.

The Mets player I’m most interested in seeing this spring is Yoenis Cespedes. The slugger is coming off a season that saw injuries limit him to only 81 games. He’s trained differently this offseason including doing yoga to make sure he is more agile and not simply bulked up like in 2017. It will be interesting to see if his offseason training can help him regain his decencies prowess that helped him win a gold glove in 2015. Also have to see if he can make it through all spring without a muscle injury which seemed to be a weekly occurrence for him last season.

When healthy, Cespedes has been everything the Mets hoped for when they traded for him and signed him to a four-year deal. The Mets are not going to be contenders in 2018 if Cespedes plays only 81 games and spring will be a good time to see if anything has changed for Yo.

I’d actually like to see what Wilmer Flores and Gavin Cecchini do this spring. For Flores, I’d like to see if he takes to the outfield. I kinda hope he doesn’t, only because I’d rather he be placed at one position instead of some utility player who is bad at five positions. As for Cecchini, the Mets are going to need a second baseman next year. This is his last shot to prove he deserves a longer look. Because hey … Daniel Murphy is a free agent next year!

I’m looking forward to seeing uniformly healthy Mets in Spring Training and Mickey Callaway overwhelmed by a plethora of great options as he fills out his roster.

To me, the question comes down to, who has the most potential to be a complete game-changer for the season, with a good spring? So for that reason, while both of those guys will be important, I’m going with Amed Rosario. Obviously, people are excited about Amed – he was one of the top prospects in baseball before he came up – but I don’t think people have really let themselves imagine what kind of difference he could make if he lives up to the hype. Imagine if our starting shortstop suddenly hits .285/.350/.450, or around there, or even better, with great speed and defense, and solid power. I’d say that instantly makes our lineup significantly more dangerous than we expect right now. And even more than that, if Amed is for real, it’s a sign; it’s a message to every Mets fan that whatever happens, we’ve got a present and a future to look forward to. We’ve all seen the effect that one player can have on a season, no matter how badly the season goes: we all got excited every fifth day in 2013, even while we were losing 88 games, because of Matt Harvey. So, if Amed starts the season, and hits for power, plays great defense, steals bases, makes contact, gets on base…he could very quickly become a defining part of the Mets’ season. Unfortunately, if he falls apart and gets demoted, that will probably be a defining moment too, for a season that probably won’t end nearly as well. But being an optimist, a Mets fan, and an Amed believer, I think he’s got everything he needs, and I’m hoping he shows it this Spring.

Mets Daddy

While I didn’t initially feel this way, my opinion changed when I saw the Mets had put T.J. Rivera on the 60 day Disabled List to make room for Jason Vargas on the 40 man roster.  As a result, I am really interested to follow what is happening with David Wright this Spring Training.

With the signing of Todd Frazier and Wright’s comments to the press, it seems like everyone is getting closer to admitting the truth – Wright’s days as a baseball player are all but done.  However, I also get the sense Wright sees just one more chapter for himself.  That chapter may just be one random inning in September with expanded rosters, or maybe, just maybe Wright thinks he can help this team as a bench player.  If any of that is true, we are eventually going to see Wright doing something in terms of baseball activities.

Until that point, it is important to note Callaway does see value in Wright, and he seems to want him around the team.  As a Mets fan, I want him to forever be around this team.  I just hope Wright is able to do something this Spring that will allow him to actually appear on the field – even if it is just for one more game.

Again, I want to thank the various writers for coming onto the site to participate in this roundtable. Please return the favor by visiting their sites (link is in the parenthesis next to their name).  I hope you will enjoy their work as much as I have.

Reyes Returning Is Not What The Mets Needed

Many have pointed out reasons why Jose Reyesreturning is a good thing for the Mets. Typically speaking, the main arguments in support of Reyes’ return are:

  • He adds a dimension of speed on an otherwise slow roster;
  • He will be present to continue to mentor Amed Rosario;
  • He had a good second half;
  • He’s versatile; and
  • He wants to be a New York Met.

Now, some of these are valid points, but it should be noted that those points are only valid to the extent upon which Mickey Callaway chooses to utilize Reyes and whether the Mets will indeed go out and get another player which would force Reyes to the bench.

However, even conceding some of the positive points about Reyes, he may ultimately prove himself not to be the what the Mets needed for the 2018 roster.

The reason is because Reyes does not solve two of the biggest continuing issues during Sandy Alderson’s regime – Injuries and Defense.

As Mets fans, we have become all too aware this team has been injury prone.  In recent vintage, Travis d’Arnaud has become the poster boy for players that cannot stay on the field.  If it isn’t apt already, that label may also be tagged upon Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis CespedesWilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, and Brandon Nimmo. That’s just on the position player.

Fair or not, that was a label that had once been placed upon Reyes during his first stint with the Mets.  Back then, the team tried everything they could do to keep him on the field including trying to change his running style and having him have extended warm-ups before games.  Now, there was a healthy stretch of Reyes’ career, but overall, he has played over 150 games just five times in a 15 year career.  With him landing on the Disabled List in each of the past five seasons and seven of the last eight years coupled with his turning 35 next year, you would be hard pressed to find a reason why he would be healthy in 2018.

Maybe, the Mets believe Reyes being a part-time player will help keep him healthy.  So far in his career, he has not served in that role, and therefore, it cannot possibly be ruled out that he could remain healthy with reduced playing time.  The next question that needs to be asked is how he would help the team on the field.

This Mets team is built upon pitching.  With Noah Syndergaard hopefully ready to go a full season, a new pitching coach in Dave Eiland, and a new training staff, the hope is the pitching will be ready to take off again next year and help bring the Mets back to the postseason.

One of the elements the Mets would need to help the pitching is the defense, which was putrid last season.  The Mets team defense had an MLB worst -70 DRS.  One of the biggest contributors to that mark was Reyes.

As Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions pointed out, Reyes had the worst DRS among Major League infielders last year with a -26 DRS.  If not for Denard Span, Reyes would have had the worst DRS in all of baseball.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t just a matter of Reyes being bad at third base.  Frankly, he was bad everywhere:

Position Innings DRS
2B 207.1 -5
3B 279.0 -5
SS 630.1 -15
OF 6.1 -1

Looking at that, you’d be hard pressed to argue Reyes will help this team in the field.  In the event Reyes has to be a long-term solution at a position due to injury, chances are Reyes will prove to be a poor defender at that position.  This includes second base, where as of the moment, he is the most likely candidate to play the position next year.

All in told, you see why Reyes had a -0.2 WAR last year.  When you factor in his 94 wRC+ last year as well as his averaging a .261/.315/.406 slash line, 0.0 WAR, and a -14 DRS, you wonder why the Mets brought him back let alone give him $2 million and a guaranteed roster spot.

With the second base position remaining unfulfilled, the team only having four healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster, and the Mets in desperate need to improve this club defensively, you should really question whether Reyes was truly the right player, right now to help improve the 2018 Mets.  In reality, the stats say he isn’t.

Jeff Wilpon Thinks Mets Fans Are Dumb

Finally, for the first time since 2014, Jeff Wilpon answered questions about the Mets payroll.  Of course, it was typical mixed messages and partial truths.  Rather than putting it in my own words, I’m going to use the tweets from reporters:

Right off the bat, we have at least a perceived contradiction.  Jeff Wilpon’s statement the payroll will go up if there’s an opportunity does not jive with matching or reducing last year’s payroll by about $10 million.  To give him the benefit of the doubt, let’s assume he means he could increase payroll from it’s current point.

According to Spotrac, the Mets payroll currently sits at $128.9 million for the 25 man roster and $130.7 million total.  Last year, the Mets payroll was $154.8 million.  This means the Mets have somewhere between $13 to $23 million left to spend this offseason.

There is where it needs to be mentioned the Mets rejected trades for both Jason Kipnis and Josh Harrison.

According to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, the trade for Kipnis was rejected by “higher ups.”  In fact, Heyman said, the deal was “killed by someone at the top, very likely over money.”  Over the next two years, Kipnis is due $28.2 million over the next two years with a $2.5 million buyout if the Mets do not pick up the $16.5 million 2020 team option.

With respect to Harrison, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported the Pirates ask of Brandon Nimmo was too high considering Harrison’s contract.  While we can debate the merits of trading Nimmo for Harrison, the contract balk is confounding with Harrison due $10.25 million next year with succeeding team options of $10.5 million and $11.5 million.

And for what it’s worth, Kipnis and Harrison do meet Jeff’s “Significantly Improve” Test as the Mets current options are Wilmer Flores, who has never been given a real opportunity to play second due to his poor glove, or re-signing Jose Reyes, who had a -0.6 WAR last year.

For a minute, let’s revisit another topic Jeff Wilpon raised when he said increasing payroll doesn’t necessarily translate to wins.  Now, on the surface, that may appear to be true.  Certainly, if you go out and spend $20 million on Jose Reyes, it is not going to make your team better.  Also, for what it’s worth, for a team that desparately needs a second baseman and could also use a third baseman, center fielder, and a couple of arms, Jay Bruce doesn’t necessarily translate to wins either.

Sarcasm aside, let’s take Jeff Wilpon at his earlier word that he will spend if the move significantly improves the Mets.  Let’s also focus on those players that would translate to wins instead of harping on a player like Jonathan Lucroy, who is really more a name than an All Star at this point in his career.

With the free agent market where it is, the Mets could obtain Todd Frazier, who is a significant upgrade at third over Asdrubal Cabrera.  Moving Cabrera to second would at least solve the position with a credible Major League hitter.

In center field, Lorenzo Cain is still available, and his market is dwindling.  This was a 5.3 WAR player last year, and as we all know, is a World Series champion.  Considering center field is now manned by Juan Lagares, who is as brilliant defensively as he is poor at the plate and keeping healthy, Cain would be a significant upgrade that would translate to wins.

Same goes for a reliever like Greg Holland, who was an All Star in Colorado of all places last year.  Really, Holland was terrific as a closer up until he likely tired toward the end of the year.  Wouldn’t he be a significant upgrade that translates to wins, especially when you combine him with Jeurys Familia, Anthony Swarzak, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins?

The answer to all of the above is they will significantly improve the team and would likely lead to wins.  The same could be said for Kipnis and Harrison, two players the Mets balked at over money.  If the Mets are balking over $10-13 million at the biggest area of need this offseason, what would lead any of us to believe the Mets will spend that amount on other players?

Oh, and by the way, Jeff Wilpon essentially ruled out the team signing any combination of those players with his announced payroll restrictions.

And of course, if all of Jeff Wilpon’s statements didn’t see contradictory or disingenuous enough, he also made this statement:

However, despite all of that, let’s just believe for one second, you still think the Mets are going to go out there and significantly improve this team.  There’s still plenty of top tier free agents available, and there are deals to be had.  Well, you’re dreams and assumptions should die with this statement on David Wright:

That’s right.  At a time when the Mets are giving mixed messages about payroll parameters, they’re complaining about the cost of an insurance policy that saves them roughly $20 million per season.

Really, everything Jeff Wilpon said proves out two things.  First, the team really believes that spending to acquire better players does not necessarily translate to wins.  Second, and more important, he thinks Mets fans are dumb.

Why else would he try to have us believe acquiring better players doesn’t lead to wins or publicly bemoan the cost of Wright’s insurance policy?

What The 2018 Mets Roster Should’ve Looked Like

When Sandy Alderson took over as the Mets General Manager, one of the areas of emphasis was supposed to be building a sustainable farm system that would give the Mets continued success throughout the years.  This, in turn, would prevent the Mets from having to give out those proverbial second generation contracts Alderson purportedly despises giving to players.

Now, in order for that to happen, the team was going to have to not only draft well, but they were going to have to identify international talent.  If the Mets had indeed done well in those efforts, the Mets Opening Day roster would have looked something like this:

C – Travis d’Arnaud; Kevin Plawecki
1B – Dominic Smith
2B – Gavin Cecchini
3B – Asdrubal Cabrera
SS – Amed Rosario
LF – Yoenis Cespedes
CF – Juan Lagares/Brandon Nimmo
RF – Michael Conforto

But as we know it doesn’t.  One of the reasons why is the team has not developed position players as well as the organization, or really anyone would have liked.  If you are not being so understanding, you would say the Mets whiffed on high draft picks by drafting players who are either backups or career minor leaguers.

Look, no one has a perfect draft record, and we should remember this regime did draft Conforto and Michael Fulmer.  The problem there is they traded Fulmer away.  That is something they are reportedly not willing to do with Nimmo despite the fact he is blocked by Cespedes, Conforto, and Jay Bruce for the next three years.

With respect to Cecchini and Smith, the Mets have decided at a minimum, neither are ready to start next season in the majors.  This would be easier to swallow had either received a real shot of proving their abilities.  Instead, the Mets will go with broken Adrian Gonzalez and who knows what at second.

Overall, the 2017 Mets are not what Sandy Alderson envisioned what they would be when these players were first drafted.  That’s fair to a certain extent because no one imagined that the Mets would look this way when the team won the pennant in 2015.

Mets Handling of Brandon Nimmo Is Inept

In what was really a disheartening 2017 season for the Mets, Brandon Nimmoemerged as a bright spot for the franchise.

The 2011 first round pick, the first one of the Sandy Alderson Era, proved he belonged in the Major Leagues. With him hitting .260/.379/.418 in 69 games, he slowed he could potentially be more than that.

That makes how the Mets have handled him this offseason all the more baffling.

As the offseason began, Nimmo’s name was never truly promoted as a possibility as a starter in center. Sure, there are those who question whether he could truly handle the position in the majors, but the fact remains he played 456 games in center in the minors as opposed to just 92 games in the corners.

Ideally, Nimmo was the perfect platoon partner with an injury prone and defensive wizard Juan Lagares, who appeared to be the early favorite to be the everyday center fielder.

This became somewhat of a moot point when the Mets signed both Jay Bruceand Adrian Gonzalez. With both players in the fold to at least start the 2018 season, this means Michael Confortowill be the center fielder when he returns from his shoulder injury.

Considering Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes are each signed through the 2021 season, Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce should be the outfield alignment over the next three seasons.

This begs the question about where this leaves Nimmo.

Well, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it could have left Nimmo in Pittsburgh.

First, the Pirates reportedly wanted Nimmo in exchange for former MVP and impending free agent Andrew McCutchen.

With McCutchen averaging a -22 DRS in center the past two years, dropping from a 21.5 WAR player from 2012 – 2014 to a 6.7 WAR the past three years, and his impending free agency, you understand the Mets thought process.

Another consideration is the Mets believe the Pirates could accept Nimmo as a centerpiece for Josh Harrison. Harrison is a versatile player who can handle second, is owed $10.25 million with two succeeding team options, and has asked the Pirates for a trade.

Considering there’s no path for Nimmo to become a regular on the Mets for three years, it would appear moving him for Harrison or another player would make a ton of sense. That goes double when you consider the Mets have a huge hole at second, and the free agent options are quite poor.

But no, the Mets are hesitating on trading Nimmo at all. They not only still believe Nimmo could be a good player for them, but the team is hesitant to trade away good young talent from their depleted farm system.

Even if you take the Mets at face value they see a future for Nimmo, that future is not for another three years. By that time, he will have exhausted all of his options, be 27 years old, and a year away from free agency.

In the end, the Mets are keeping Nimmo in a misguided attempt to hold onto an asset for its own sake. They would rather have him stapled to their own bench than let him potentially thrive somewhere else. That decision isn’t helping Nimmo, and it isn’t helping the Mets.

It really makes you question whether the real reason the Mets won’t trade him is they’re really afraid of looking bad by watching him thrive elsewhere. Why else would the Mets simultaneously refuse to trade him and block his path to playing time?

Curtis Granderson A Blue Jay While Mets Sign His Polar Opposite

In an offseason where the Mets have been consistently linked to all of their former players, and actually signed Jay Bruce, the team was never truly linked to Curtis Granderson.

Well, they won’t anymore as Granderson has signed a one year $5 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

As we learned from his four years in Queens, any team that adds Granderson has done well for themselves. He’s a tremendous person and mentor in the clubhouse. More than that, he’s a good and durable baseball player.

Considering these qualities, it really is surprising the Mets showed no interest in a Granderson reunion. Last year, Granderson was a 1.5 WAR player, who played all three outfield positions. That’s important because the team doesn’t know when Michael Conforto will be able to return.  On top of that, Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares cannot stay healthy.

Instead of looking for a versatile outfielder, the Mets opted to focus on 1B/OF due to the rookie season of Dominic Smith.  In looking to sure that up, the Mets signed both Bruce and eventually Adrian Gonzalez.  Gonzalez is the more interesting signing of the two because he is the anti-Granderson.

For his part, Gonzalez is not a healthy player, has not played well on the East Coast, and he has not been seen as a good clubhouse presence.  Considering the purported issues in the clubhouse late last year, Mickey Callaway managing for the first time in his career, and no one on the coaching staff having any MLB managerial experience this situation seems less than ideal.  Actually, it seems like it could be an impending disaster.

The reason no one is really questioning the Mets thought process here is because we all know why the Mets made the decisions they made.  Mostly, the team would rather have Gonzalez making the minimum than having Granderson for $5 million.  They would also rather bet on a 31 year outfielder for three years instead of a 37 year old one for one year.

On the converse, the Mets opted to try to resurrect the career of an injured soon to be 36 year old first baseman rather than have Bruce at first and Granderson in right.

Whether this proves to be the correct decision remains to be seen.  However, we do know one thing – you are always better off having a player and person like Granderson in your clubhouse.  For that, the Blue Jays are better today, and the Mets aren’t.

Mets Insanity At Play With Lagares

Throughout the offseason, we have heard the Mets have been looking to trade Juan Lagares and his bad contract in the hopes of freeing up money to make another move this offseason.  However, after the Mets signed Jay Bruce to a backloaded three year $39 million deal, there was this report:

Just think about that for a second.  Heading into the 2015 season, the Mets gave the starting shortstop job to Wilmer Flores despite everyone knowing he was not defensively capable of handling shortstop for a full season.

With the struggles of Lagares during the 2015 season, the Mets have primarily went with Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson in center, or at least that was the plan in 2015 – 2017.

There are a multitude of other poor defensive choices the Mets have made.  This includes the Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes tandem at shortstop last year over Amed Rosario or even Matt Reynolds.

Now, with the Mets adding Bruce, the likely outfield alignment would place Michael Conforto in center field.

Last season, Conforto posted a -4 DRS in 328.2 innings. That’s dreadful, and it’s not likely to improve with Conforto spending an offseason rehabilitating a major shoulder injury. 

If the outfield is Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce, how can the Mets possibly put up the front they need good defensive players as a justification why they’re keeping Lagares?

If that was the case, the Mets give Lagares another shot to prove he can play everyday, don’t hand an infield position to Cabrera, and they’d focus on adding good defenders like Todd Frazier this offseason. 

The Mets aren’t. Instead, they’re going with the better hitters at all positions while ignoring the defensive ramifications. It’s what Sandy’s always done, and judging from the Bruce signing, it’s what he will always do.

So no, they’re not keeping Lagares to keep good defensive players. They’re keeping him because they can’t move him.