With the trade deadline Monday, there are going to be a number of rumors involving the Mets as the Mets were very active in the trade market last year, and they are in the thick of the Wild Card race. Now, with the Marlins making the first big deadline trade acquiring Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea, Fox Sports Jon Morosi believes it will get the ball rolling with a number of teams, like the Mets, making a number of deals.
The Jonathan Lucroy Sweepstakes
According to ESPN’s Jerry Krasnick, the Tigers are out on the Jonathan Lucroy Sweepstakes. This might be one of the reasons the Brewers have re-engaged the Mets on Lucroy. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal’s Tom Haudricourt reported, the Brewers aren’t getting the offers they thought they would receive in exchange for Lucroy, and they also want to make sure they canvass the area to make sure they get the best possible return they can get for the catcher.
Lucroy would be a huge upgrade over what Travis d’Arnaud has provided the Mets this season. So far this year, d’Arnaud is hitting .246/.299/.333 with five doubles, two homers, and 10 RBI. Additionally, d’Arnaud has already had a stint on the disabled list. Lucroy has been the second best catcher in baseball this season hitting .300/.361/.486 with 17 doubles, three triples, 13 homers, and 50 RBI. It is not much of a surprise that the Brewers already rejected a straight up deal of Lucroy for d’Arnaud. According to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers informed the Mets that they want some high end prospects in addition to d’Arnaud in exchange for Lucroy. In order to get those prospects, Haudricourt says the Brewers would consider bundling Lucroy with one or two of their coveted relievers, which include Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith.
The Mets will have to get creative as, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the Mets do not anticipate either Amed Rosario or Dominic Smith. Further complicating matters is, as MMO and Mets Minors own Michael Mayer reports, Dilson Herrera has been dealing with a sore shoulder causing him to miss the last four games.
Trade With the Tampa Bay Rays
According to Crasnick, the Mets are very interested in Rays’ Steve Pearce. In his career, Pearce has predominantly played first base and outfield. However, the Rays have not played him in the outfield this year. Instead, he has played mostly first base with some time at second, third, an DH.
Pearce would certainly fulfill a need for the Mets as he is hitting .312/.384/.528 with 11 doubles, one triple, 10 homers, and 29 RBI on the year. He has hit a respectable .288/.348/.452 against righties, but he is flat out mashing lefties hitting .377/.476/.736 against lefties. The Mets could desperately use him given some of the splits we have seen with the Mets starters against lefties:
This does not even include Neil Walker who is hitting lefties well this year, but is still a career .262/.320/.357 career hitter against lefties. Given the injuries to Jose Reyes and Yoenis Cespedes as well as Juan Lagares again being put on the disabled list with the torn ligament in his left thumb, the Mets are going to have to play two or more of the aforementioned players against lefties.
The Mets could also have some interest in Matt Moore, who is 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.269 WHIP in 21 starts. Moore would be an upgrade over Logan Verrett, and he could be insurance against Steven Matz and the bone spurs in his left elbow.
However, the chances of the Mets acquiring either player is not particularly good at the moment as the Rays intend to drive a hard bargain. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Rays asked for Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto in exchange for Moore and Jake Odorizzi.
The Mets were earlier linked briefly to Jon Niese given Matt Harvey‘s season ending surgery. However, it does not appear as if those talks have gotten anywhere beyond the preliminary stages at this point. Now, the struggling Niese is in the bullpen alongside Pirates closer Mark Melancon. Melancon is having another strong year as the Pirates closer going 1-1 with a 1.51 ERA and a 0.960 WHIP while recording 30 saves.
According to Rosenthal, the Nationals have been in active trade discussion with the Pirates about Melancon after Jonathan Papelbon has had a rough stretch to the season. Rosenthal further reports trading the pending free agent Melancon would not signal the team is waiving the white flag. Instead, the Pirates remain active on the trade market themselves, and they intend to replace Melancon with either Tony Watson or former Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
Frankly, it wouldn’t be a trade deadline unless the Nationals were trying to displace their closer. According to Rosenthal, the Nationals are also in on Royals closer Wade Davis, who is having another great year recording 21 saves while recording a 1.60 ERA and a 1.099 WHIP.
Neither Melancon nor Davis have been linked to the Mets.
The Final Cost
As we see with the ask for Lucroy, the prices are going to be steep at the trading deadline. In reality, the only thing that helps the Mets chances there is the fact that the Mets are not on Lucroy’s no trade list. Perhaps the most discouraging sign of all is Passan’s latest report that the Phillies could obtain three to four prospects in exchange for Jeremy Hellickson.
Editor’s Note: this was first published on Mets Merized Online
Currently, MLB and many of their full season affiliates are either at or have already had their All Star Break. At each and every level, the Mets had a minor league hitter named to their level’s All-Star Game. Listed below is a synopsis of the Mets’ organizations leaders at the break:
Class A – Columbia Fireflies
- AVG: David Thompson (.294)
- OBP: Vinny Siena (.435 – League Leader)
- SLG: David Thompson (.474)
- OPS: Vinny Siena (.834)
- R: Vinny Siena (53)
- H: J.C. Rodriguez (71)
- 2B: Dash Winningham (23)
- 3B: Kevin Kaczmarski (7)
- HR: Jeffrey Diehl (9)
- RBI: David Thompson (58 – League Leader)
- SB: J.C. Rodriguez (14)
- All-Stars: Vinny Siena, David Thompson
- Promotions: Vinny Siena, David Thompson, Kevin Kaczmarski
Class A Advanced – St. Lucie Mets
- AVG: Wuilmer Becerra (.319 – League Leader)
- OBP: Kevin Taylor (.386)
- SLG: Tomas Nido (.471)
- OPS: Kevin Taylor (.833)
- R: Champ Stuart (49)
- H: Amed Rosario (82)
- 2B: Wuilmer Becerra (17)
- 3B: Amed Rosario (8 – League Leader)
- HR: Kevin Taylor (7)
- RBI: Amed Rosario (40)
- SB: Champ Stuart (25)
- All-Stars: Amed Rosario, Wuilmer Becerra, Tomas Nido
- Promotions: Amed Rosario, Phillip Evans, Champ Stuart
AA – Binghamton Mets
- AVG: Matt Oberste (.290)
- OBP: Derrik Gibson (.366)
- SLG: Dominic Smith (.436)
- OPS: Dominic Smith (.777)
- R: Derrik Gibson (44)
- H: Dominic Smith (85)
- 2B: Matt Oberste, Dominic Smith (17)
- 3B: L.J. Mazzilli (5)
- HR: Dominic Smith (10)
- RBI: Matt Oberste (34)
- SB: Derrik Gibson (8)
- All-Stars: Matt Oberste
- Promotions: Niuman Romero
AAA – Las Vegas 51s
- AVG: T.J. Rivera (.348 – League Leader)
- OBP: Brandon Nimmo (.409)
- SLG: Travis Taijeron (.564)
- OPS: Travis Taijeron (.953)
- R: Travis Taijeron (61)
- H: T.J. Rivera, Travis Taijeron (96)
- 2B: Travis Taijeron (35 – League Leader)
- 3B: Brandon Nimmo (7)
- HR: Johnny Monell (14)
- RBI: Travis Taijeron (69)
- SB: Roger Bernadina (12)
- All-Stars: T.J. Rivera, Travis Taijeron, Wally Backman (manager)
- Promotions: Brandon Nimmo
- AVG: T.J. Rivera LV (.348)
- OBP: Vinny Siena COL & STL (.413)
- SLG: Travis Taijeron LV (.953)
- OPS: Travis Taijeron LV (.953)
- R: Travis Taijeron (61)
- H: Amed Rosario STL & BNG (107)
- 2B: Travis Taijeron LV (35)
- 3B: Amed Rosario STL & BNG (11)
- HR: Johnny Monell LV (14)
- RBI: Travis Taijeron LV (69)
- SB: Champ Stuart STL & BNG (26)
* stats are updated through July 13, 2016
Editor’s Note: this was first published on metsminors.net
Since Michael Fulmer‘s call-up on April 29th, he is an astounding 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.175 WHIP. In his last four starts, he is 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA and a 0.635 WHIP. These are great numbers from any rookie. It’s all the more incredible when you consider he’s only made three starts in AAA. The 23 year old is showing everyone why he was considered a potential ace, and why the Tigers wanted him in the first place.
It’s also a reminder that the Mets used their biggest trade chip last year.
While the Mets farm system is still stocked with pitching talent, there aren’t any pitchers with the upside of Fulmer, at least not any that are as close to the major leagues as Fulmer was last year. Now, the Mets do boast some terrific position player prospects like Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario. However, neither one of those players are close to ready to being major leaguers. While these players are highly thought of around baseball, they are certainly not going to fetch a player of Yoenis Cespedes‘ caliber at the trading deadline. That’s a huge problem for the Mets.
Right now, the Mets are without Lucas Duda, David Wright, and Travis d’Arnaud due to severe injuries. The Mets don’t know the long-term status of Juan Lagares and the torn ligament in his left thumb. Hopefully, d’Arnaud, who has started rehab games, can catch with the torn labrum. Realistically, all the Mets can do with each of these players is put a timetable on when they think they could return not fully knowing when these players can return. As the Mets are waiting to figure this out, they are playing a group of players that are having problems just to reach the Mendoza Line. The big solution they have so far was to acquire James Loney. Loney has been good so far, but he is still the player who was released by the Tampa Rays and was playing for the San Diego Padres’ AAA affiliate. In short, the Mets are going to have to go out there on the trade market and obtain some players that can help them at catcher, first, and third.
The Mets have the pieces to make those deals. However, they may not have the pieces to make that blockbuster deal that everyone wants. The Mets don’t have the one big trade piece that could solve the issue at one or more positions. The reason why is the Mets went all-in on the 2015 season. The result was the Mets making it to the World Series. At the end of the day, the 2016 Mets may be hamstrung by what happened in 2015.
With that said, Sandy Alderson is a very good GM. He has swung some good trades while he has been the manager of the Mets. The deals he made with the Braves for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe as well as the deal he made with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Addison Reed were absolute coups. Alderson was able to acquire quality major league pieces without giving up much of anything. The Mets are going to need the same type of performance this trading deadline, especially since he doesn’t have the same assets he had last year to get the job done. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to require some creativity. However, if anyone can do it, it’s Sandy Alderson.
Last year, the seminal moment of the Spring was David Wright and Bobby Parnell throwing out Noah Syndergaard’s lunch. This year it was Dominic Smith‘s turn to learn a lesson.
This past weekend, Smith got a hold of one, and he thought it was out. He didn’t flip the bat or admire and pose after hitting it. No, he broke right into his homerun trot. He wasn’t hustling out of the box. When the ball hit the wall, Smith wound up with a single instead of a double.
A ten year veteran might get away with it. Not a AA player. It’s why Terry Collins approached him about the moment. For his part, Smith seemed to get it vowing he would never did it again. He said, “there’s no place for me not to hustle out of the box like that. It’s a learning experience.”
Look, this isn’t about taking fun out of the game. He wasn’t chastised for celebrating a homerun. The manager talked to him about a lack of hustle. It was fair for Collins to do so. Smith is a 20 year old kid with a lot of promise. It’s up to Collins in the little time they have together to help point out to Smith what we needs to do to take the next step.
Hustling out of the box is a fair and legitimate concern. It was never an issue for Smith before, and it probably won’t be in the future. However, Collins took advantage of an opportunity to talk to him. Smith will be a better player for it, which is saying something.
Hopefully, this moment will be Thor’s moment. It will be what we will be talking about one day during his rise to greatness.
Looking at the roster, the Mets will need to obtain starters at the following positions: 1B, 2B, SS, and RF. David Wright is scheduled to make $15 million, so whether or not you believe he will be able to stay at the position, he will remain with the team in some capacity. Michael Conforto should still be with the team as the leftfielder. Finally, unless the Mets can move him, Juan Lagares and his $9 million salary will be the team’s centerfielder. The Mets organization is fairly well stocked with position players right now, and they might be able to fill out the roster with cheap, cost-controlled talent.
Accordingly to the scouting reports, Smith is a good defensive first baseman that should be able to hit. The debate really is whether he will hit for power. Whether or not he hits for power, people see him as being able to field the position and be a good major league hitter.
With Lucas Duda being a free agent in 2018, the Mets will need Smith to be ready. If he’s not ready, the Mets will need a stopgap. In either event, by the time the Mets pitchers start to become free agents, Smith should be the first baseman earning around $500,000.
We have to assume that one of these years Dilson Herrera is going to transition from second baseman of the future to the Mets second baseman. With Neil Walker only having one year until free agency, it appears that time will be 2017.
Right now, Herrera has less than one year’s service time. For all the supposed newfound depth, it’ll probably be Matt Reynolds getting called up to the Mets. That will preserve his service time. It means that in 2019, Herrera should be the second baseman, and he will have accrued two full years service time. Unless he gets enough playing time, it appears like he will avoid Super Two status meaning he will be in the same $500 – $600 thousand range as Smith.
As far as organizational depth, the Mets seemingly have an embarassment of riches with two high end shortstop prospects with Gavin Cecchini and Amed Rosario. They also have the aforementioned Reynolds.
Given Asdrubal Cabrera‘s contract, Cecchini and Rosario are going to have time to develop on the minors. At a minimum, Cabrera is signed to be the Mets shortstop through the 2017 season. If he produces well, or the prospects need another year, Cabrera has an option that could keep him with the Mets through the 2018 season.
As such, neither Cecchini or Rosario will be arbitration eligible at the time the Mets pitchers start to reach free agency. Accordingly, the Mets will only have to spend around $500 thousand when the pitchers begin to become free agents.
It seems Michael Conforto is the leftfielder of the past (2015), present, and future. He very well should be too. Even if Conforto doesn’t improve upon his 162 game averages he achieved as a 22 year old, who never played above AA, you’re getting a good defensive outfielder who will hit .270/.335/.506 with 26 homers and 75 RBI.
Fortunately, Conforto will not have accrued enough service time to achieve Super Two status. Unfortunately, Conforto will most likely become arbitration eligible the same time that the Mets pitchers are reaching free agency.
Looking over the past few years, there isn’t really a good comparable to Conforto. It seems that when teams have good young corner outfielders, they lock them up. With that in mind, although an admittedly imperfect comparison, J.D. Martinez is instructive.
In 2014, Martinez was 26 years old, and he hit .325/.358/.553 with 23 homers and 76 RBI in 123 games. He became arbitration eligible after this season, and he agreed to $3 million. In 2015, he had another good year hitting .282/.344/.535 with 38 homeruns and 102 RBI. He and the Tigers avoided an arbitration hearing. Martinez’s contract extension bought out the remainder of his arbitration years he’s due to make $6.75 million in 2016 and $11.75 million in 2017.
While we may or may not agree on whether Martinez is a good comparable, it would be fair to say Conforto is at least capable of hitting .272/.344/.535 by his age 25 season, if not sooner. If that’s the case, it would be fair to suggest Conforto could earn anywhere from $3 – $6 million in his first year of eligibility.
Curtis Granderson‘s contract will expire after the 2017 season. Since he will be 37 heading into the 2018 season, it’s hard to imagine he will be re-signed to be the everyday right fielder.
Now, Wuilmer Becerra projects to be an everyday player. Scouts believe he has the bat to play the corner outfield spot. The issue as far as the Mets are concerned is how quickly the 21 year old minor leaguer will need before fulfilling that promise. Last year, Becerra played his first year in full season A ball. That’s a long trek to the majors by 2019.
So unless Brandon Nimmo can handle the corner outfield offensively, which unfortunately seems unlikely, the Mets will have to look outside the organization to fill that void.
If Becerra is still a well regarded prospect, the Mets are likely to bring in a player on a one to two year deal. In retrospect, depending on how he finishes out his contract, Granderson could be coaxed back on a one-year deal ata much lower contract price.
As a placeholder, let’s presume the cost of a right fielder would cost about $15 million. That’s what Granderson is slated to earn the last year of his contract.
Cost of the Projected 2019 Starting Lineup
If everything breaks right for the Mets, they will have a group of young, cost-controlled position players at the time their starting pitchers hit the free agent market. If this pans out, the Mets everyday position players would cost about $46.5 million.
That’s roughly what the Mets are paying their current starting infield. In total, the 2016 Mets starting lineup is due to be paid roughly $90 million. Essentially, the Mets will be spending half the amount of money on their starting lineup in 2019 than they will this season.
Overall, this leaves the Mets between $35.5 – $49.5 million to build a bench, a bullpen, and to pay their starting rotation if the payroll remains stagnant at the $140 million range.