There are many, many reasons to criticize the Mets. Even with the presence of smart baseball people, who have been a part of well-run organizations in their previous stops, the Mets are a mess. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this is directly attributable to ownership.
That same ownership has decided that rather than appointing one of their existing assistant general managers to be the interim general manager, they would each role share with them presenting ideas they used to offer to Sandy Alderson directly to Jeff Wilpon. Yes, Jeff Wilpon essentially named himself the general manager.
The end result of that has led to a number of decisions which have made the Mets even more of a laughingstock then they already have been.
The Jeurys Familia trade was widely panned. Making matters worse, we subsequently discovered Will Toffey, the key prospect in the deal not only needs offseason shoulder surgery, but his dad is also friends with J.P. Riccardi. It so happens Riccardi was the pointman for the deal.
We didn’t know that initially because the Mets went into media silence. The reason for that was the team was actively ducking the media over their continued bungling and outright lying in delivering the message about what they knew and didn’t know about Yoenis Cespedes‘ heels.
Consider that over the course of a few days, John Ricco and the Mets went from saying they didn’t know Cespedes needed surgery to saying surgery was a last resort to saying he needed the surgery.
What was even better about all of this was the Mets waited for this noise to clear before calling on Ricco to speak with the media about the Familia trade, a trade which he said Riccardi ran point and that one of the key pieces was the international money which Omar Minaya could utilize well. So basically, the team sent out the one guy of the three to speak on a deal who didn’t work on getting the deal done or who will utilize the assets acquired.
Meanwhile, the Mets continual insistence Jeff McNeil was a second baseman blew up in their faces. Within a week of this proclamation, McNeil would play third in a Triple-A game, and eventually he would be called up to play third base in the majors.
After the trade deadline, the three general managers hopped on a conference call where they told everyone ownership entasked them with being creative and open to all possibilities. That resulted in them getting a poor return for Familia. Worse yet, the team was unable to move Jose Bautista, Jerry Blevins, or Devin Mesoraco despite them being 30 year old veterans on expiring deals.
Better yet, they added to the over 30 mix by signing Austin Jackson on the eve of the trade deadline.
After what we have seen from this front office in a very limited time period, you really trusted them to make major deals on these players. You really thought they were capable of getting the type of return the Rays got for Chris Archer?
Have you been remotely paying attention to anything that has happened over the past two years?
Honestly, how could you want this structure get rid of players who will have a huge market during the Winter Meetings should the Mets eventually decided to tear it all down and rebuild?
That’s just being completely delusional.
Again, the Mets need to be held to task for many things they do. They need to be constantly reminded of their failures and ineptitude.
That said, with those failures and ineptitude, how can we possibly trust them to do anything until they bring in a fresh voice into the organization who knows what he is doing?
As a second straight Mets season has completely fallen apart, there has been discussions about whether the Mets should blow the whole thing up. Those discussions have been ramped up with Yoenis Cespedes being out for at least 10 months with his having double heel surgery.
There’s talent present which could make the Mets winners in 2020 or even 2019. However, for that to happen, the Mets will need to add some pieces.
Fortunately for the Mets, this could go down as one of the most consequential free agent classes in Major League history. Teams will be lining up to throw money to Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel, Clayton Kershaw, and A.J. Pollock.
Given all that has happened, the Mets will have the money to be competitors on the free agent market. In fact, they are going to be quite flush with cash.
Even if the Mets do not trade anyone who is due money past this season, the Mets will have money freed up because there are a number of contracts expiring after this season:
- AJ Ramos – $9.225 million
- Asdrubal Cabrera – $8.25 million
- Jerry Blevins – $7 million
- Devin Mesoraco* – $5.625 million
- Jose Reyes – $2 million
With respect to Mesoraco, there was an undisclosed amount of cash provided by the Reds when they obtained Harvey in exchange for Mesoraco. While Mesoraco is due $13.12 million this year, it was Harvey’s $5.625 million salary that was part of the Opening Day roster. Therefore, for the sake of calcualting how much money will be available, Harvey’s salary is used as the placeholder.
With the Harvey/Mesoraco caveat, the Mets will have $32.1 million coming off the books just from contracts currently on the books expiring after the season.
Subtotal $32.1 million
With the Mets trading Jeurys Familia, the team not only was able to acquire two prospects in Bobby Wahl and William Toffey, both of whom will be earning de minimis minor league salaries, but the team was also able to remove Familia’s $7.925 million from the books with the team getting some cash savings this season with the Athletics taking on the remainder of Familia’s 2018 salary.
David Wright has not played a Major League game since May 27, 2016. With each passing day and each additional set-back, it becomes increasingly unlikely we will ever see Wright play in another game for the Mets. Now when it comes to Wright, there are two factors at play which would give the team an avenue to spend more money this offseason.
First and foremost, Wright’s salary goes from $20 million in 2018 to $15 million in 2019. Right off the bat, that gives the Mets an additional $5 million to spend this offseason.
Additionally, Wright’s contract is fully insured with insurance paying 75% of Wright’s salary. As a result, the Mets will have an additional $11.25 million available to spend due to Wright’s inability to play.
But Wright is not the only injured player insured. In addition to Wright, Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract is also insured. That’s important in light of the announcement Cespedes will have double heel surgery and will be out at least 10 months. For what it’s worth, the Mets suggested he may be out longer than that.
Remember, Cespedes is out from 10 months from whenever he has the surgery. Not from the date of the press conference. With that in mind and for the sake of being conservative in the estimates, lets assume Cespedes is out for half the season.
With the Mets saying there is insurance that picks up over 50% of the salary owed to Cespedes, that means, the Mets will be able to recoup roughly 50% of a half’s seasons salary. With Cespedes due $29 million next year, insurance will pay at least $7.25 million. With each passing day that number will grow.
When combining the monies covered by insurance for Wright and Cespedes, the team will have an additional $18.5 million available to spend. When you include the $5 million drop in Wright’s salary, that number is $23.5 million.
As noted by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, ownership says it considers Wright’s contract part of the payroll, and the team does not reinvest the money saved into baseball operations. Putting aside what that means in terms of money available for a second, what this does mean is the team has saved and socked away $15 million of the $20 million due and owing to Wright this season.
The same likely applies to whatever the team can and will recover from insurance from Cespedes’ $29 million contract this season.
Additionally, the team saw savings of roughly $3 million for trading Familia, and they will likely see the same savings when other players are traded for the roster. Presumably, since that money is not being invested into baseball operations this season that would make that money available for 2019 and beyond.
For a moment, we can presume for a moment the $3 million saved on Familia can offset the $3 million pay increase due to Jay Bruce next season. Of course, the pay raises due in arbitration and the like will very easily be offset by the money saved on the Wright and Cespedes insurance policies. Really, there should be money to spare.
What This All Means
Looking at the Mets as currently constituted, they have tw0-third of their outfield set with Conforto and Nimmo. On the infield, they have Todd Frazier and Amed Rosario. They will also have Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera, and Jeff McNeil, who could become part of a time sharing at either first or second. If he can get healthy, the team could have Bruce at first or right depending on the development of Alonso, or yes, even Dominic Smith.
All told, this means the Mets have the payroll room and the spots on the roster to add at least one player of significance. Perhaps even two.
With that in mind, with the Mets having $63.525 million to spend this offseason, there is no excuse why this team shouldn’t aggressively pursue Machado and Harper. They should come away with one of them plus an additional piece to help take them over the top like a Kimbrel, Pollock, or yes, even a Daniel Murphy (first base only).
If the Mets do that, this is a potential World Series contender, especially with this starting pitching. If the team goes out and does this, the fans will pack Citi Field to the gills.
The time for excuses is over. It’s time to act like a big market club with a chance to win a World Series.
Everywhere you look, people have panned the Mets return for Jeurys Familia. The Mets poor return was again highlighted yesterday when the Baltimore Orioles got a much better return for Zach Britton than the return the Mets had received.
Some of that analysis was well-grounded. For example, Keith Law of ESPN said, “although his command isn’t close to back yet, so his market value wasn’t going to be great, and in that context the O’s did well to acquire some pitching depth in the form of three second- or third-tier prospects from a very deep Yankees system.”
As we recall, Keith Law’s analysis of the Famila trade was that it was embarrassing for the Mets organization and all of Major League Baseball. He went so far as to call for the Commissioner’s office to step in and force the Wilpons to sell the team.
Again, this analysis was grounded on well based knowledge of the prospects and the ensuing analysis of the returns. Agree or disagree with any of it, it’s a learned critique. Then, we see Jon Heyman’s critique of the trades:
not to pick on anyone when they're down, but the orioles did a lot better for Britton than the mets did for Familia. Tate is the yanks' No. 6 prospect (plus the other 2 guys going to Baltimore are solid), mets got Oakland's No. 17 prospect and a bit more.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 25, 2018
If you read that critically, you will understand it tells you absolutely nothing about the quality of the return each selling team received for selling off their respective closers.
Remember, no two farm systems are alike, and they have different strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, some systems are just flat out stronger than others. In that tweet, Heyman gave us no context for why the Yankees No. 6 prospect is better than the Athletics No. 17 prospect.
It’s also important to note, he didn’t tell us who’s ranking. That’s also important because some lists are certainly credible than others.
With respect to Tate, he’s a 24 year old pitcher in Double-A. In his 15 starts, he is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.113 WHIP, and an 8.2 K/9. For the sake of comparison, 23 year old Nabil Crismatt, an undrafted free agent, made 16 starts in the same league this year. He was 8-5 with a 3.58 ERA, 1.237 WHIP, and a 9.1 K/9 before being promoted to Triple-A.
No, it’s not a perfect comparison, but it should be worth nothing the 2015 fourth overall pick cannot out-pitch an undrafted free agent. Think about that for a second, the Yankees seventh best prospect isn’t out-pitching an undrafted free agent.
It should also be noted many have panned the Mets farm system as being weak and towards the lower third in the majors. MLB Pipeline does not rank Crismatt among the Mets Top 30 prospects. Similarly, neither Baseball America nor Baseball Prospectus ranks Crismatt among the Mets top prospects.
Again, putting your personal like of either return aside, how can you accurately judge the trade when the Yankees purported seventh best prospect isn’t performing any better than an undrafted free agent who can’t even crack the Mets top prospect lists?
None of those outlets have Tate in their Top 100 this year.
With that in mind, how can we possibly point out the Yankees seventh best prospect is a much better return than the Athletics 17th best prospect? The Athletics seventh best prospect is a Top 100 prospect while the Yankees seventh best propsect can’t out-pitch an undrafted minor league free agent.
In the end, we can say the Orioles got a better return for Britton than the Mets did for Familia. That is fair and reasonable. However, when drawing that conclusion, we should not compare each player’s ranking among that organization’s top prospects. As shown, those rankings tell us absolutely nothing about who is the better prospect or what was the better return.
Bautista has a 12.46 ERA in five Major League appearances, and he has a 5.08 ERA in the minors.
Callahan had a 9.72 ERA in seven appearances for Las Vegas before going down with season ending shoulder surgery.
Nogosek has a 5.49 ERA with a 6.8 BB/9.
It is just one year, but the pieces received in exchange for Reed last year are actually worse than you could have imagined. What makes that all the worse is the return for Reed was deemed underwhelming at the time of the trade.
This is important to note because as noted by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the New York Mets had the audacity to liken the return they received from the Oakland Athletics for Jeurys Familia to what they received from the Boston Red Sox for Reed.
With that, you don’t need to go searching out for an analysis from a scouting outlet, reporter, or talking head. The Mets themselves are telling you they got a terrible return for not just their biggest trade piece, but also for the top reliever remaining on the trade market.
But don’t take it from the Mets, take it from Keith Law’s scathing review in his ESPN Insider piece on the topic:
If the New York Mets are just going to trade their most valuable major league trade assets for salary relief, rather than try to improve the club, then it’s time for MLB to step in and force the Wilpons to sell the team, just as the league did with Frank McCourt and the Dodgers. Trading Jeurys Familia for two fringe-at-best prospects is not how any team, regardless of payroll level, should operate in this environment. For a franchise that operates in the largest market in the league to do this — and do so ten days before the trade deadline rather than waiting for someone to offer a legitimate return — is embarrassing for the Mets and Major League Baseball as a whole.
What makes this all the more maddening is the Mets have recently been quite public about how they are now in “excellent financial health” and that this time, they would be willing to eat salary to improve their return in a trade.
The very first chance they go to do it, they proved they were lying. Sure, they can go and spin it any way they want, but plain and simple, the Mets were lying.
Remember, reports on Friday were the Mets were on the verge of completing a trade with the Athletics, and then there was a stall. As reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the money, not the return, was the issue. In fact, the reports were the holdup was there was another team more willing to take on more of Familia’s salary.
NOT another team jumping in with a better prospect haul. No, another team willing to pay more of Familia’s salary. The end result was the small market Athletics taking on all of Familia’s salary.
You have to look long and hard for a person who like the trade it prompted former General Manager and writer for The Athletic, Jim Bowden to write, “The return they got from Oakland was so light, I had to make calls and texts around both leagues to see if I was missing anything. I couldn’t get a single unbiased team to support the return the Mets got.”
Wahl is yet another one of the Mets newfound hard throwing right-handed relief prospects. He’s putting up really good numbers in Triple-A (albeit with scary peripherals), and like Matt Harvey, he’s a pitcher with TOS.
Toffey, well, he’s been described anywhere from a fringe prospect to a future bench player. Oh, and as Law noted, “I know [Toffey’s] father and J.P. Riccardi, one part of the Mets’ interm GM structure, are friends, but I don’t know if that was a factor in the deal.”
Naturally, John Ricco would come out and say it was Riccardi who ran point on the deal with the Athletics. Of course, this happened a day later because apparently one of the three GMs the Mets have had a previously scheduled engagement.
Think about that for a second. The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and one of your GMs, the guy who is front and center with the media, has a previously scheduled engagement. Seriously?
So, basically, if you take the Mets at face value, he wasn’t around when the deal went down. But that’s fine because it was Riccardi who “ran point” on the trade because of his relationship with the Athletics.
Taking the Mets at face value, Riccardi made this deal, and yet, the former GM could not speak with the media because they needed the guy who has never been a GM and who has ducked the media in the past to be the point man with the media to speak on a deal he had no part (or very little part) in making.
And just when you didn’t think it could get any better, the Mets are hyping the international bonus pool money and what Omar Minaya can do with it. Being fair, seeing how he signed Familia for $100,000, that’s a reason to like the deal.
So, in the end, we have the Mets coaxing the Athletics to eat more of Familia’s salary rather than get a better return, one of the GMs obtaining his friend’s son in a lackluster return, one of the selling points being how one of the GMs could use the international bonus money, and the one guy who has nothing to do with the deal or how it will be utilized being the guy who answers questions about the trade and the return. Furthermore, the same front office is comparing the deal to a trade which has so far blown up in their faces.
Under normal circumstances, you would say this is display of complete and utter incompetence, and no organization would want to be embarrassed publicly in this fashion.
However, this is the Mets team run by the Wilpons. As a result, this is just business as usual for what has become a complete and utter mess of an organization.
Ultimately, if you want a succinct analysis of the Mets trading Familia, it’s shame on the Mets and the Wilpons for continuing to operate their team in this fashion.