Yoenis Cespedes

Merry ChristMets

In a surprise to us all, the Mets took some of the money they saved from Yoenis Cespedes, and they invested it back into the team.

We can be frustrated this was a necessary step, and we can question why the money wasn’t spent on the 2019 team. We can also really take issue with the fact his agents had to come back to the Mets. That’s all for another today.

Today, there is reason to celebrate because Dellin Betances is a New York Met. Much like Ralphie and the Red Rider BB gun, it was the Christmas gift we all desperately wanted but never expected to get.

So, in the words Betances himself, Merry ChristMets!

Mets SAVED Money On Yoenis Cespedes Contract

No one knows what happened on that farm when the rehabbing Yoenis Cespedes broke his ankle. The only thing we do know is the Mets didn’t pay him in 2019, and now, we know Cespedes won’t receive his full $29.5 million salary for either season.

Under the terms of the settlement, Cespedes will receive a little more than half of his 2019 salary. In 2020, he’s going to earn far less than that.

In fact, Cespedes is going to make roughly $20 million less with his 2020 salary reportedly going under $10 million. With unspecified incentives, it could go to $20 million, but it’ll never get back up to that $29.5 million mark.

Suddenly, Mets fans are hopeful this means the Mets could start spending and adding key bullpen pieces like Dellin Betances. Of course, this makes a dangerous presumption.

When looking at Cespedes’ restructured deal, they’re saving roughly $20 million this year before incentives. If those incentives are achieved, it would be mitigated by his 2019 savings. That $20 million should sound awfully familiar.

Rick Porcello signed a one year $10 million deal. While Michael Wacha signed a one year $3 million deal, he could earn up to $10 million. As noted by Tim Britton of The Athletic, for budget purposes, they treat those incentives as part of the payroll as if they’re definitively going to be paid.

It’s not just that way with incentives. They do that with everything. For years, they pocketed and did not reinvest the money saved on David Wright‘s deal.

Look at last year, the team didn’t reinvest the savings on Wright’s or Cespedes’ insurance money. After adding Marcus Stroman, they traded Jason Vargas to clear his contract. That’s not acting like a team who was not only not paying Cespedes, but it’s also not acting like an “all-in” team trying to grab the second Wild Card.

Going back to this offseason, no one can be quite sure what the Mets will be willing to spend. What we do know is the team’s history of not reinvesting “found money” like the restructured Cespedes deal presents. We also know there are pervasive rumors about the Mets need to move either Jed Lowrie‘s or Jeurys Familia‘s contract in order to add more players.

We don’t know if that was a position they took prior to this settlement. We also don’t know if it’s a genuine need. We also don’t know about the intent to reinvest the money in the event the Mets can move a contract.

At the moment, all we know is the Mets have saved tens of millions of dollars on Cespedes contract just like they had with Wright. They never reinvested Wright’s money or other money for that matter. While the Mets may choose to reinvest the money on Cespedes’ contract, no one should believe it until they see it.

Recalculated Mets 2019 Payroll

There are some who want to push the narrative the Mets spend. After all, they gave Jacob deGrom a contract extension. They took on the bulk of Robinson Cano‘s contract.

When you break it all down, it appears the Mets had a high payroll. In fact, Spotrac had the Mets with a $146.3 million payroll which was the 12th highest in the sport.

About that.

For starters, David Wright‘s $15 million salary was included. As reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, that was renegotiated down to $9 million with deferred money. That drops the payroll down to $140.3 million.

That alone drops the Mets from 12th to 14th in payroll. If you back out Wright’s entire $15 million, the active payroll would be down to $131.3 million, which would rank 16th.

Like with Wright, Yoenis Cespedes was injured and could not play. With him injuring himself on his farm leading the Mets to challenge and renegotiate Cespedes’ contract. All said and done, his $29 million salary in 2019 was reduced to $14.8 million.

Taking that money away from the payroll, which includes Wright’s renegotiated deal, the Mets payroll drops from the original $146.3 million to $126.1 million. That’s a figure moving the Mets to just the 18th best payroll.

Looking at the Spotrac calculations, it actually includes the deferred monies owed to Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen. When you remove those amounts, the payroll is reduced by $1.4 million. That $124.7 million payroll would drop them down to 19th.

That’s right. In terms of expenditures to players actually with the organization in some capacity, the Mets had the 19th highest payroll. That kept them JUST outside the bottom third.

Of course, if you back out the whole of Wright and Cespedes, who were insured and did not play, the ensuing $102.3 million payroll would rank 25th.

Depending on how you choose to analyze it, the Wilpons pocketed at least $20 million between Wright and Cespedes, perhaps more.

Fact is, the Mets actually spent money in line with the bottom third in the league despite mortgaging the future to try to win in 2019, telling the fans they were all-in, and boasting “Come get us!” to all of baseball.

Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner

There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.

That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”

That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.

The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.

So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.

Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.

Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.

At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.

We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.

Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while pocketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.

Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.

So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.

Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner

There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.

That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”

That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.

The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.

So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.

Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.

Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.

At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.

We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.

Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while picketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.

Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.

So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.

Steve Cohen Failed His Test As Mets Owner

There is a massive caveat here the sale of the New York Mets from Sterling Equities to Steve Cohen has not yet been finalized. That said, for all intents and purposes, even with Fred Wilpon the CEO and Jeff Wilpon the COO, Cohen is the man who will be calling the shots.

That is the way it is with owners. The buck stops with them. We’re seeing the beginnings of it. In fact, as stated in a New York Post article, “Cohen must now approve, at minimum, all major allocations and, more importantly, can control the budget and decide to spend considerably more on payroll.”

That’s a very important point because it means Cohen at least had a say in the decision to let Zack Wheeler sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, Wheeler came back to the Mets with the Phillies to give the team a chance to make the last offer.

The Mets never did make an offer to Wheeler. That’s all the more maddening when you consider he signed at a discount both in terms of value and in terms of offers received. In the wake of the initial euphoria of the news regarding the Wilpons selling the team, we actually lost sight of how the Mets now have money to spend on free agents.

So far, that money has not been spent on Wheeler even with the competitive balance tax purportedly no longer being an issue.

Now, we know nothing of Cohen’s thought process, how he’s going to run this team, or when exactly he plans to spend. Perhaps, passing on Wheeler will allow the Mets to unexpectedly pursue players like Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.

Perhaps, he is taking a longer term view and looking to make sure the team can re-sign Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto. Maybe, Cohen is waiting until the Wilpons are no longer in a position of power.

Fact is, right now, we just don’t know.

At the moment, the only thing we do know is Wheeler is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The other thing we know is we know nothing about what comes next.

We don’t know the budget, or when the team will finally spend. However, for once, we do know the team will spend. They’ll do what is necessary to win games. That is not something which has been a given with the Mets since Ryan Church flied out and Tom Seaver threw one last pitch to Mike Piazza.

Mets fans can also do something they haven’t done in decades. They can give ownership the benefit of the doubt. We can now entertain there were plausible reasons for passing on Wheeler other than the Wilpons not willing to pay a de minis luxury tax while picketing tens of millions from the insurance policies on David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ contracts as well as the deferred portion of Jacob deGrom‘s 2020 salary.

Until proven otherwise, there’s a plan. There’s an ability to run this as not just a New York team but a competently run baseball franchise. Finally, there’s hope.

So yes, Cohen failed to sign Wheeler, which in and of itself, is a bad decision, especially at that contract. However, right now, there is no reason to expect more of the same, and that’s a good feeling.

Robinson Cano Trade May Cost Mets Dominic Smith

The emergence of Pete Alonso could have created a Dominic Smith problem for the Mets. After all, Smith and Alonso play the same position. With Alonso hitting 53 homers and winning the Rookie of the Year award, it’s clear the Mets view Alonso as not just part, but really, the core of this team.

While Smith is no longer going to get a chance to be the Mets first baseman of the current and future, he proved himself to be a very useful Major League player. In 89 games, he hit .282/.355/.525 with 10 doubles, 11 homers, and 25 RBI. He proved himself to be a good defensive baseman, and he showed he is quite capable of playing left field for some stretches.

He would also prove his mettle as a bench player. In 37 pinch hitting appearances, he hit .286/.459/.571 with two doubles, two homers, and six RBI. In the 34 games he entered as a substitute, he hit .318/.434/.568 with two doubles, three homers, and 12 RBI.

All told, Smith proved capable of doing something very difficult. He proved he could be a productive Major League bench player. Through the years, we have seen that’s easier said than done. More than that, he proved he is a Major League caliber player, and at 24 years of age, he’s showing he is still a very promising player.

There are plenty of Major League teams who could use a young first baseman. To that end, a Mets team who needs a fifth starter, bullpen help, a center fielder, and depth should really consider moving Smith to fill one or more of those needs. What the Mets should not be looking to do is just dumping Smith to do that.

However, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic the Mets are doing just that. Specifically, Rosenthal says the Mets are looking to use a player like Smith to entice teams to take on a bad contract like Jed Lowrie or Jeurys Familia.

This is because the Mets are going to refuse to exceed the luxury tax threshold despite receiving insurance proceeds from the David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes contracts. They are going to do that despite $12 million of Jacob deGrom‘s $25 million salary. That’s literally tens of millions of dollars the Mets are pocketing, and yet they are not going to be willing to take that next step.

This once again emphasizes the Wilpons mismanagement of team resources, and it highlights just how bad the Robinson Cano trade was for the Mets.

The 37 year old Cano is due $24 million in 2020 and in each of the ensuing three years. When you take out the $3.75 million covered by the Seattle Mariners, the Mets are paying Cano $20.25 million. That is essentially the money the Mets are paying to Familia and Lowrie combined.

Really, when you take the trio combined, that is $41.92 million in money the Mets are begging to get out from under. The Mets got almost literally nothing out of Lowrie. In terms of WAR, they got less than that from Familia. That leaves Cano and his injury prone season as the best of the group. That’s good because he and his 0.3 WAR is making more money than Lowrie and Familia combined.

The Cano trade has so far meant the Mets do not get to see Jarred Kelenic play in Queens. It has meant the Mets will not be able to just replace Zack Wheeler in the rotation with Justin Dunn while using their money to fill other needs. One of those needs is now the fifth starter spot, and right now, Wheeler is not going to be a part of that equation.

As if that all wasn’t bad enough, it could also mean the Mets are just going to give Smith away.

The short term ramifications of the Cano trade were quite bad with Cano having a subpar injury plagued year and Edwin Diaz having one of the worst seasons a Mets closer has ever had. The fact that this won’t be the nadir of the trade speaks to just how disastrous that trade actually was and will continue to be.

Josh Hader On Trade Block Is Scary

In his first year on the job as the Mets General Manager, he made a series of ill-advised moves with some of those moves benefiting his former clients. He showed little restraint on that front.

It started right away with his acquiescing to his former client’s wishes by getting Robinson Cano out of Seattle and back to New York. Van Wagenen would obtain him along with Edwin Diaz in what has so far been a complete disaster of a trade. Not only has Cano been injured and Diaz flat out bad, Jarred Kelenic continued his meteoric rise while Justin Dunn made it to the majors.

The Mets pursued Cano even with the emergence of Jeff McNeil, who just a year ago, the Mets insisted was just a second baseman.

The trade keeps getting worse with Cano’s large salary serving as an impediment to the Mets even considering re-signing Zack Wheeler. It will also take them out on a host of other free agents.

Another contract standing in the way is Jed Lowrie who is set to make $10 million in 2020. That’s the same salary he made in 2019 when he was limited to just eight pinch hitting appearances.

That was because Lowrie was dealing with a still unspecified injury. Part of the reason it’s unspecified is the Mets supposedly still don’t know what’s wrong with him. That includes his former agent who was well aware of Lowrie’s injury history and ailments.

On that front, there’s also Yoenis Cespedes, who according to Tim Healey of Newsday, broke his ankle under suspicious circumstances while rehabbing from his double heel surgery. This could be grounds for a grievance like the one the Yankees are pursuing with Jacoby Ellsbury.

It should come as no surprise Van Wagenen was Cespedes’ agent. With that relationship along with the Van Wagenen’s other decisions as the Mets General Manager, it is fair to question the motivations for not pursuing such a grievance even if the assumption is this has more to do with not losing the insurance coverage on Cespedes’ policy.

That brings us to the news Josh Hader is on the trade block. His former agent? That was Brodie Van Wagenen.

Now, the Mets could use a reliever of Hader’s caliber. Anyone can. That’s the case even with Hader allowing more homers last year than he had in his previous two years combined. Yes, there were some warnings with his 2019 season, but he was still a great reliever.

The issue with him isn’t a fear of that regression. No, the fear is what lengths Van Wagenen will go to get his former clients on the Mets. Those fears are amplified with his handling of those players in 2019 and with the Mets needing help in the bullpen.

At the moment, we don’t know what lengths Van Wagenen will be willing to go to obtain Hader. What we have seen so far is he’s going to be willing to go past what is reasonable to take care of them, which would suggest nothing is off the table when it comes to obtaining Hader.

That is a very scary proposition.

Mets Things To Be Thankful For

With today being Thanksgiving, it is time to go around the Mets roster and say things we are thankful for:

Pete Alonso – he’s been better than even the highest and most absurd expectations anyone could have of him both in terms of his on the field play as well as the type of teammate and person he is

Carlos Beltran – for coming home

Robinson Cano – showed some late positive exit velocities showing there is some hope for a 2020 rebound

Yoenis Cespedes – for everyone questioning the drive of a man severely injured and needing career saving surgery, he is out there in the cold taking batting practice

Michael Conforto – re-established himself as one of the best young corner outfielders in the game, and with his talent, he’s on the verge of an MVP caliber season

J.D. Davis – quickly became a fan favorite and like few others seemed to really enjoy being a New York Met.

Jacob deGrom – best pitcher in baseball and starting to etch his likeness on the Mets Mt. Rushmore

Edwin Diaz – he survived the season, made no excuses, and he is doing what he needs to do to be the pitcher he was in 2018.

Jeurys Familia – he stopped using “Danza Kudro” meaning we no longer go to very bad places when that music begins blaring

Luis Guillorme – proved if given a chance he is a Major League caliber player giving the Mets some real needed middle infield depth

Chris Flexen – his move to the bullpen gives the Mets an interesting upside option in the bullpen

Robert Gsellman – he is one of those throwback type reliever who is always willing to take the ball no matter what

Sam Haggerty – it’s not often a player comes out of nowhere to provide real value to an organization the way Haggerty did with this speed

Jed Lowrie – to his credit, he did everything he could just to get those pinch hitting appearances late in the season

Seth Lugo – the best reliever in baseball who now gives Beltran a reliever who can break knees with his curve

Steven Matz – took that step forward and put to bed the unfair and wrong mentally weak narrative

Jeff McNeil – the man just does it all. He hits, plays everywhere, and he saves puppies.

Brandon Nimmo – if someone created a stat measuring the quotient of talent and enthusiasm, he’d be the Mike Trout of the stat

Tomas Nido – became the defensive minded back-up catcher many believed him to be, and he played a part getting Mets pitchers head in the right place during different parts of the year.

Stephen Nogosek – he is single-handedly trying to win the Addison Reed trade and the 2017 trade deadline for the Mets

Corey Oswalt – he put behind some injuries and gross mishandling by the organization to show he is a viable depth starting option for the organization

Wilson Ramos – drove in a number of big runs last year, and he has promised to be better behind the plate in 2020.

Amed Rosario – just a tireless worker who seems to be on the cusp of fulfilling the immense potential we all saw he had in the minors

Paul Sewald – he keeps proving himself to be better than the narrative, and he finally got his first Major League win to put an exclamation point on what is one of the better stories of the Mets farm system

Dominic Smith – that walk-off homer was a beautiful exclamation point on a season where he proved everyone who ever doubted him to be very wrong

Drew Smith – his coming back from Tommy John at some point in 2020 gives the Mets some hope for an improved bullpen.

Marcus Stroman – few have fully embraced being a Met like he has and fewer have been ready to thrive on the New York stage

Noah Syndergaard – not just a great pitcher, but also a guy who wants to be a New York Met.

Justin Wilson – was terrific in 2019, and with the LOOGY rules, he becomes an even more valuable bullpen piece in 2020

In terms of the talent still here, there is a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully, we will see the return of Zack Wheeler giving us all the more to be thankful for in 2020 and beyond.

Yasiel Puig May Be Perfect Fit For Mets

Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has said one of the areas the team is going to look to address this offseason is center field, and the team would prefer to obtain a right-handed hitting center fielder. Looking at the free agent market, that player doesn’t exist, and with the Pittsburgh Pirates purportedly not willing to trade Starling Marte, that player may not exist on the trade market either.

One potential solution would be to put Amed Rosario in center, but the Mets seem reticent to do that even with Andres Gimenez not too far away from the majors.

So with poor options on the free agent and trade market, and the Mets being unwilling to move Rosario to center, the Mets are in a position where they need to “think creative” like they always preach. Of course, that is code for finding a cheaper option.

For starters, let’s assume Brandon Nimmo can play center. At a 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed, he was faster than Juan Lagares, Kevin Pillar, and Lorenzo Cain. Nimmo also had a -0.7 JUMP, which was the same as Pillar and better than Ketel Marte. All in all, Nimmo has the ability to play a good center, and with better positioning, he could be a positive defender.

That leaves Michael Conforto to play left field or right field. In terms of right, he showed himself to be a good right fielder, he is arguably better in left field. Certainly, having Conforto in his natural left would allow the Mets to play Nimmo in center. Having a very good right fielder would make Nimmo in center all the more viable.

From a defensive standpoint, Yasiel Puig is arguably the best defensive player available. That is not the only thing which would make Puig an enticing option for the Mets.

According to most reports, Puig is going to accept a one year deal to rebuild his value. On that front, his 1.3 WAR as the lowest it’s been since 2016. He didn’t pull the ball as much, hit the ball in the air more frequently, and his HR/FB rate dropped. His 0 DRS was the worst of his career.

Despite all of that, Puig is still in the prime years of his career, and his metrics look much like the player Puig has always been. Notably, his sprint speed and JUMP were on par with the last few seasons putting him where he was when he was a Gold Glove finalist in 2017.

According to Baseball Savant, he was above his career averages in hard hit percentage and exit velocity last year. He would also make some improvements in terms of his walk and strikeout rates. Putting it all together, even though the results weren’t quite where they had been the two previous years, it appeared Puig was the same player he has always been. For some reason, the numbers just weren’t there.

Realistically speaking, in 2019, Puig can be the roughly 3-4 win player he had been in his last few years before being traded from the Dodgers. You could also make the case he is a player born to play on the big stage, and there is no bigger stage than New York.

You could also surmise playing in a larger ballpark like Citi Field could have him return to his approach with the Dodgers which had led to him being more successful than when he was trying to hit more homers in the bandbox than is the Great American Ballpark. Then again, the danger for any team interested in him is the Dodgers were able to get the most out of him because they are so far beyond any other team in terms of analytics. Put another way, we saw the type of player Puig is without a smart front office putting him in the best position to succeed.

The best case scenario is Puig could be the team’s next Yoenis Cespedes. With them both hailing from Cuba and their having similar reputations, this at least seems plausible. The worst case is he’s a disappointing player who is still an upgrade over what the Mets already have.

For a team like the Mets who are operating on a shoestring budget and need players who could well outperform their contracts to contend, Puig is exactly the type of player they should acquire. If nothing else, he should help the Mets defensively, which should also be a boon to their pitching staff. All told, for a team looking to improve in center, they are likely going to need to sign a right fielder to do it.