Michael Conforto was drafted 1oth overall by the Mets in the 2014 draft and since then, Mets fans have been clamoring to see the 22-year old outfielder in the big leagues. These fans might not have to wait much longer. Continue reading Conforto Will Join the Mets if Cuddyer Hits the DL
Be sure to check out Part 1 of this three part series.
Let’s start with the players who the Mets are not getting. While these names may appear in rumors, it’s highly unlikely that any of these guys will be donning blue and orange anytime soon. In some cases, it’s due to a lack of mutual interest, and in other cases, it’s due to a lack of resources. Whichever way you slice it, don’t expect these guys in New York. These are ordered from most impossible to least:
Aramis Ramirez, sort of
He’s been in the league nearly as long as I’ve been alive, and he’s just not good enough anymore. He may he a slight upgrade over Ruben Tejada, but the difference is not large enough to waste any time or money attempting to pursue him. However, it’s very possible that he could to come as a throw in from Milwaukee in a trade package, which is fine if the Brewers eat some of his remaining salary, but I doubt that happens anyway. He definitely shouldn’t be the centerpiece of any trade involving the Brewers.
A Toronto Slugger
It’s possible that the Blue Jays will be willing to trade away either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion, but don’t take that as a sign that they’ll be coming to the Mets. The Jays have a scary offense, but they could use pitching help. Of course, it didn’t help that two and a half years ago, they traded away a right handed pitcher with curly blonde hair for a man currently sporting a 4.87 ERA for them. But I digress.
Both Bautista and Encarnacion can be free agents after 2016, and neither makes sense for the Mets. Bautista, while he’s still a great hitter, is just old. At 34-years-old, and only a year and a half left on his contract, he’s not worth the short term gamble. As for Encarnacion, he’ll be coming to New York to either platoon with Lucas Duda at first base, or Terry Collins will have to shove one of them to left field on a regular basis, which will be a calamity that no fan should ever have to suffer. And you think Cuddyer has no range out there…
I also could have avoided that last paragraph by saying that neither Bautista nor Encarnacion will be traded anywhere. There are ways for Toronto to improve their rotation without dealing one of their two mashers, which I will get to later.
Now that’s what I call a tease.
End the charade, this trade is never going to happen. Between concerns about Tulo’s durability, the fact that he’s 30 years old (remember, he was the next big thing back when the Rockies made the World Series…eight years ago), and the fact that he’s spent his entire career at Coors Field, the Mets simply can’t afford to give up Noah Syndergaard for Tulowitzki. Unfortunately, if the Mets were to offer anything less, Rockies GM Jeff Bridich hangs up the phone.
First of all, I don’t think the Dodgers will be trading Ethier, but even if they were, the Mets won’t be able to get him for financial reasons. Assuming that his main role on the Mets (aside from occasionally starting against right handed pitching in center) will be playing left field over Michael Cuddyer, it’ll mean that the Wilpons will be paying $30.5 million to left fielders next year between the two. It’s possible that the Dodgers will think about covering some of his remaining contract, but it would be better for them to swallow Ethier’s $18 million than pay him $9 million or so and lose his production entirely.
Plain and simple, he’s much more valuable to the Red Sox than he would be in a trade. Despite Boston’s desperate need for reliable Major League pitching, their only All-Star is probably the least likely candidate to be traded this season. He’s able to be plugged in at pretty much any position, spending a lot of time this year at second base while Dustin Pedroia was injured, but will find himself starting over Shane Victorino in the outfield or Mike Napoli at first now that Pedroia is back. On top of his well-known versatility, he’s also hitting very well. He’s not worth Syndergaard, but at this point in time, a trade involving Montero or Fulmer/Ynoa won’t be too enticing for the Red Sox either.
By all accounts, Puig is a very hard man to deal with. Fortunately for him, his bank account, and his future in baseball, he’s an incredibly talented player. There are a lot of reasons to dislike him personally, but the Dodgers sure appreciate the production he provides them when he’s on. Would I trade Syndergaard straight up for Puig? In a heartbeat. I’m sure the Dodgers would heavily consider that, but they wouldn’t want to make that deal right now.
Insert Chicago Cub Infielder Here
There is no dream win-win deal to be had here. The sides just don’t match up right now as well as they did this time a year ago. It’s possible that the clubs can strike a deal in the offseason, but there isn’t a mutually beneficial trade that will help both teams in their Wild Card chase.
Starlin Castro is currently in the midst of his second disastrous year out of the last three, and even when he’s going well, he’s quite overrated. A lot of his value has always been rooted in the fact that the shortstop position is generally weak, and he’s one of the few players who is able to provide above average offensive production at the position. While this is somewhat true (again, even with his good 2014 season taken into account, he’s overall been below average for two and a half years) I take that to mean that it’s not worth selling off too many assets to get an above average but not great hitter simply because he’s a relative star at his position, and would rather live with below average production at short because most of the league is in the same boat. It also hurts Castro that he’s a bad defender at the most important defensive position outside of the battery. Epstein will value Castro more than he should, and he’s simply not worth the asking price.
Addison Russell isn’t good enough at this moment for the Mets to worry about trading for him. Sure, he’ll be very good in a year or two, and a trade involving him and Wheeler could very much be on the table, but he’s not what the Mets need in July 2015.
Javier Baez had a disappointing trail run with the big club last year, where the aggressiveness which suited him so well in the minors quickly became a problem against higher quality pitching. Currently, he’s sidelined with an injury, but was tearing up AAA again, and was able to reduce his strikeout rate in the 37 games he’s played so far. He’s not necessarily a sure thing, which is why he’s not coming to the Mets this month. The team is looking for polished offensive players who can provide a boost to the lineup as the postseason draws clear. Baez and polished don’t belong in the same sentence yet.
Speaking of unpolished, Arismendy Alcantara would be a bad trade target at this stage. Much like Baez, a deal involving him may make sense in a year or two, but right now, Alcantara is not an offensive upgrade anywhere except maybe shortstop. Maybe.
If I burst your bubble with any of those, I’m sorry.
Next up, all of the potential trades that they can actually make. That’ll be coming in part three.
It’s officially trade season, ladies and gentlemen. The All-Star break has come and gone, which means that soon it’s time for teams to truthfully evaluate where they are this season. Sandy Alderson was right in saying that the trade market is only beginning to materialize at this point in the season, because no matter how badly a front office pursues a player in June, it’s unlikely that anything will become of it immediately. Backing off until the deadline looms larger is a helpful strategy to more effectively assess a team’s needs.
Not every team is able to figure out whether buyers or sellers until just about this point in the year, where the team has already played roughly 90 games, and it becomes clearer who should be in contention at the end of the year. It also helps to ensure that both sides receive roughly equal value for the assets they are trading away. The longer teams wait, the more “fair” a trade will be.
In case you haven’t heard this said at least five times a day over the past month and a half, the Mets need a bat. The return of David Wright isn’t necessarily a guarantee, which means that unless Dilson Herrera looking markedly better in his latest stint in Vegas, Ruben Tejada will be playing shortstop for a team with playoff aspirations. Lucas Duda has been a catastrophe for a while, throwing up a highly upsetting slash line of .166/.279/.287 in his last 43 games. Juan Lagares has never been a very good hitter, but this year he’s even worse than expected. Kevin Plawecki has been great recently, but Travis d’Arnaud looked primed for an All-Star season if he weren’t stopped by two separate injuries.
And now for everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Michael Cuddyer. I liked the deal at the time, because it was clear that the Mets needed a corner outfielder, and he was one of the only options out there. Sure, the contract was a little pricey, but I thought he’d be worth at least most of it. I preferred him to Melky Cabrera because the “Melk Man’s” performance has been hard to predict, and the Mets couldn’t afford a down year from him. There was also talk about Nelson Cruz, despite the fact that his second half was significantly worse than his first half. Without allowing hindsight to affect my view, all things considered, Cuddyer was the guy.
Unfortunately, he’s been an abject failure to this point. He’s having the worst season of his career, which is to be expected at age 36, but the extent of his decline is the surprising part. He’s certainly earned his new names, Michael Cruddyer, as well as my favorite, Michael Cadaver.
I do think that the pitching is good enough that technically, the Mets can sustain this level of hitting and make the postseason, so they don’t need a hitter. Not trading for a bat will not kill the season. But it makes all the sense in the world, and it could be the thing that pushes them over the top. Whether or not that last sentence is equal to need, well that’s a semantic debate.
First off, we need to look at the trade assets before diving into the trade market. Dillon Gee has absolutely no trade value at this point. Sandy blew it with him. His value was highest in the middle of last season, when he was outperforming his talent, and Alderson kept holding out to find the perfect trade for Gee. A combination of overvaluing Gee and hoping some other team overvalues Gee, has led to a pitcher who has little value to his own team and none to anyone else.
Bartolo Colon could entice some other teams, especially if the Mets eat some of his salary, but it’s very likely that any team gets offered Colon will hold out for a better pitcher from another team, or his own teammate, Jon Niese. Niese has been pitching great after a slow start to the season, and the fact that he’s a 28-year-old lefty, with three years on a manageable contract after this season (with two of them being team options), makes him an ideal trade candidate. I know that the injury to Steven Matz complicates things, but the Mets can cover for the fifth spot in their rotation for the time being. Rafael Montero has supposedly resurfaced, and Logan Verrett is back to starting in Las Vegas. Between the time Niese is traded, which will presumably be near the end of the month, and when Matz is cleared to return, the Mets won’t be any worse for giving Verrett a couple of spot starts. Worst case scenario, the other number 35, the aforementioned Dillon Gee comes back and makes two terrible starts while we wait for the Long Island kid to return to the mound.
Now that he’s rehabbing from a shoulder injury suffered in April, Rafael Montero will attract some other teams. The Mets may consider him expendable because they can field a five man rotation over the next few years without him, but the other 29 teams in the league still see him as one of New York’s top prospects, and someone who could be a part of their rotation for years to come.
Michael Fulmer and Gabriel Ynoa are Double-A pitchers who would be more highly regarded if they were on a team that didn’t already have so many young, MLB-ready pitching. With the sheer numbers at the major league level, it’s hard to imagine Fulmer or Ynoa cracking the rotation next year, so it makes sense to see what possible return he could garner.
Niese, Montero, and Fulmer/Ynoa are, in that order, the most likely to be traded. One of them, or some combination of them could net a pretty good position player to help the team chase the playoffs. However, there are some other options who could be dealt in the right deal for a possible star player.
The front office will be, and rightfully so, reluctant to trade any of the young star pitchers. We know this already, but I think everybody has a price. There are a few scenarios where I would consider trading away one of them, but it would really take a lot. But which of the young studs could be moved?
Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are established as untouchable, and while he’s the most replaceable of Generation K-Prime (that’s a math joke for all of you who have tried to forget the trauma of calculus), I don’t know how likely it is that another team would want to take on Zack Wheeler as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. While the success rate of the procedure is high, there is always risk involved with any injury.
That leaves Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Matz has a very simple advantage, which will make him more likely to stay in Flushing for the long haul: he’s left-handed. Being able to trot out a rotation that includes at least one lefty in Matz is important, so if any of the five were to be dealt, it would have to be Sydergaard.
I wouldn’t rule out one of the two catchers being traded. If the Mets are confident that Travis d’Arnaud can actually stay on the field, citing the fact that a lot of his injuries are simply freak accidents, then Kevin Plawecki could be dangled out there. If the opposite is true, and Mets management is tired of TdA’s constant trips to the Disabled List, while believing that since Plawecki has gotten over his illness, he’s done enough to show that he can hit on the Major League level, d’Arnaud could be on the block.
With Conforto being more of a sure thing at this stage, Brandon Nimmo should be made available as well.
As much as I’d love for the Mets to trade Daniel Murphy, they just can’t with the current state of the offense. It’s very unfortunate, because I don’t see him returning after this year unless David Wright’s career could legitimately be over, but they can’t trade him away.
To recap, the most available assets would have to be Colon, Niese, Montero, Fulmer, and Ynoa, while Wheeler, Syndergaard, either Plawecki or d’Arnaud (I would prefer to deal Plawecki), Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini could potentially move in the perfect deal.
You probably knew all of that already, so stay tuned for part two and three which will detail both the realistic and unrealistic trade options for the Mets.
The New York Mets have one of the best young rotations in baseball. It is full of star power, strikeouts, and great stories. It also has a clear ace, but not the one who comes to mind to most people, interestingly enough. Continue reading With Strong Season Thus Far, Jacob deGrom Has Emerged as Ace of Mets Staff
The Mets pitching staff has been great all season and one of its premier members has been awarded. Jacob deGrom was deservingly named as the Mets representative for this year’s All Star Game in Cincinnatti. deGrom has been one of the league’s best pitchers this year, posting a 8-6 record, 2.30 ERA, 102 Ks, and a 0.97 WHIP over 105.2 innings pitched. As you can see, he has simply been deGrominant.
As it stands, deGrom would be the Mets lone representative at the mid-summer classic. But that could soon change, as closer Jeurys Familia made it onto the final ballot for the game. It is up to the fans to vote him in on MLB.com or by using #VoteFamilia on Twitter. It can be argued that Familia has been the Mets most valuable player this year, closing out games with little room for error, throwing multiple innings on quite a few occasions. His 1.16 ERA is second among NL closers, only to the Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal. As a whole, Familia is 2-0, with that stellar ERA, 40 Ks, a 0.91 WHIP, and 22 saves in 24 chances over 38.2 IP this year, all while appearing in 36 games already. It appears that Familia was the victim of a crowded class of closers and the rule requiring each team be represented, as the Brewers’ Francisco Rodriguez and the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon both made the game as their team’s representatives over Familia.
Overall, the Mets have not posted many deserving All Star candidates in the lineup this year, but deGrom and Familia have been simply unbelievable. So while deGrom is the only guarantee for the Mets in this year’s game, Familia has more than a good case himself. Both players have elevated themselves into the elite class of the National League.
This year’s game will be on Tuesday, July 14th at 7:00 PM on FOX. Make sure to vote Jeurys Familia into the game here. On behalf of New York Sports Hub, congratulations to Jacob deGrom and all of this year’s All Stars.