How Can a Trade with the Padres Work?

Earlier today there was a report with the Mets and Padres involved in trade talks. While my initial reaction was: Nooooooo, and its still a no for me, it made me wonder how the Padres and Mets could lineup for a trade?

Some might not be aware, but Eric Hosmer holds a lot of negative value for a team. A 32 year old first baseman with a .732 OPS? That’s not good. On top of that, Hosmer is owned 59 million for the next 4 years. But still it could work for both sides?

The Padres want to get ride of Hosmer and they should pay up in talent to do so. Paddack alone wouldn’t be enough, especially with giving up Dominic Smith. Yes, I am aware that Smith value has dropped, but he holds way more value then Hosmer. Paddack alone doesn’t clear that gap. So what would?

MLB Trade Values

As you can see, this trade is valued negative for the Mets. However, getting both Paddack and McKenzie Gore, makes it worth it for me. Gore and Paddack both have options but provide much needed depth for this year and the future. The 23 year old lefty Gore struggled last year in the minors, but has been great in the majors so far. He could also be used like the Brewers do, as a reliever first and starter later.

I believe Gore has more value then MLB Trade Values calculated, but it could be close to even value all things considered. This trade (although Hosmer could be a pain in the *ss), is worth it IMO. Both Paddack and Gore are blocked and it gives the Padres some payroll flexibility.

Point is, that the Padres and Mets could be trade partners in getting Hosmer and much needed pitching depth, with the deGrom injury. There is a way for the Mets and Padres to make it worth it for both sides?

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Mets Junkies Projections: Mad Max

Next up is the Mets new #2 in the rotation Max Scherzer. The 37 year old future Hall of Famer will play his debut season as a Met. Will Max be part of the CY Young conversation again this year?

Rotochamp

Corné:

Most major projections sites have Scherzer at least a run higher in ERA in comparison to last year. Although I believe Max won’t pitch to a sub 2.50 ERA, I do believe he will be close to 3. Maybe even under the magic 3 mark?

Since 2015 Max didn’t have a full season with a ERA above 3, so I believe he will stay under that magic 3 in ERA. The only season since 2015 he had an ERA above 3 was the short season 2020.

The homerun ball could be an issue but Max doesn’t allow a lot of hits and walks, so it won’t hurt him as much. That will likely keep up as Scherzer hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down.

14-6, 2.89ERA, 1.01WHIP, 240K, 36BB, 5.6bWAR

Gem:

Scherzer knows the division and even if he didn’t, his talent level still trumps most. The 8x All-Star and 3x Cy Young has moved into a different stratosphere since his days with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I expect the grizzled veteran to hit the hill just about every time out. There are few competitors out there like Max Scherzer, the man is a warrior living in the wrong century.

195IP, 17-4, 3.05 ERA, 1.03WHIP, 237K.

Next up we will do our star short stop. Will he have a better year that his first in NY?

Photo Credit: SNY

Mets Junkies Projections: Polar Bear Pete

The season is getting close and everyone loves to discuss projections. So here we go. First up we have Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. Here are some projections out from the major projections websites:

Rotochamp

Corné:

Pete had a good 2021, but to me it still felt like a down season. I expect Pete to be close to a .900 OPS in 2022. Also with guys like Nimmo, Marte and Lindor likely in front of him, I expect his RBI Total to go over 100 as well. Pete will be our main RBI guy for a lineup that looks balanced and solid on paper.

If you look at Pete his expected slash line last year, it was all higher than his slash line (.271/.377/.542). I expect him to be closer to his expected slash line with a little more power.

.265/.360/.550 45HR 110RBI 5.3bWAR

Gem:

I believe Corné’s right, fans were expecting more from the first baseman during the 2021 season. 37 HR’s is solid, however when you’re just one full season removed from 53, it could come as a let down… especially when the team isn’t racking up W’s on its way to the playoffs.

While Alonso may not yet have the protection needed directly behind him, I still see him stepping it up from last year.

.248/.355/.549 43HR 111 RBI

Next up we will predict the new Mets ace in Max Scherzer!

Photo Credit: The Apple on Twitter

Mets strike deal with Athletics

The New York Mets and Oakland Athletics have agreed on a deal that would bring starting pitcher Chris Bassitt to Queens. In return, the Mets would send highly regarded prospect J.T. Ginn alongside mid level prospect Adam Oller.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: J.T. Ginn

While Oller is a lot older at 27 years old, Ginn would be the prize prospect in this deal for the Athletics, as he was the Mets fifth best prospect before the deal.

As of today, Bassitt, a sinker-ball pitcher, will slot into the number three spot of the rotation right behind Max Scherzer. The right hander also possesses a fastball, cutter, slider, change up, and curve, in his arsenal on the hill.

Last season, the right hander went 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 157.1 innings pitched while earning an appearance at the All-Star Game.

Photo: SNY

Who to Watch in the Minors? Part One

With the current MLB Lockout still in play, the odds are that the minor league season will start before the MLB season does. So which prospects should fans keep an eye on? Unfortunately the Mets 40 man roster Players aren’t allowed to play in the minors during the season.

The Obvious

The obvious prospects to keep an eye on are the top prospects in the Mets system. The Mets have a total of 4 prospects who have been mentioned in a several of the industry’s Top 100 MLB Prospect lists. Prospects such as Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos. These 4 guys are all coming off of solid years in 2021 and look to continue to develop.

Metsmerized.com

Francisco Alvarez

Alvarez is the main attraction on this loaded list of talent. He belted 24 homeruns with a OPS of .941 between St. Lucie and Brooklyn. The young backstop most likely starts the year in Binghamton, potentially eyeing an MLB debut this year. Alvarez just turned 20 and has some time to develop, however, a lot of fans can’t wait to see more of the young catcher.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: Francisco Alvarez

Brett Baty

Baty is also coming off a strong year as he reached AA in his second professional season. Between Brooklyn and Binghamton, Baty combined to hit .292/.382/.473 with 12 homeruns and a .855 OPS. The young corner infielder is seen more as a doubles hitter that can drive the ball to all fields. After his previous minor league season, Baty went to the Arizona Fall League hitting at a .292/.373/.405. slash line.

I would like to see some more consistent power for Baty to make him a good enough hitter to play third base. He owns solid on base and bat to ball skills, so power should be his main focus with his defense.

Ronny Mauricio

Ronny Mauricio had the worst season of the four, but did show a lot more power. He gained muscle and belted 20 homeruns in 108 games played. Overall, his ability to get on base hurt him the most, collecting just a .296 on base percentage. However, Mauricio has shown more plate power alongside a solid glove at short to make him a valuable asset. He will most likely start the season with Double-A Binghamton, were he ended with his last 8 games in 2021.

Also Read: #MetsCrushMonday: Ronny Mauricio

Mark Vientos

Mark Vientos is a hitter that should be ready to be in a big league lineup. Vientos raked between AA and AAA thriving in hard hit rates and power. In just 83 games, Vientos belted 25 homeruns. His overall slash line was tremendous as he hit .281/.352/.581!! Look at that slugging percentage (wow).

Main issue with Vientos is defense. Vientos had a .898 fielding percentage in 400.1 innings at third. Now I don’t like to judge a player on fielding percentage, but that number is shockingly low.

If the Mets needed a DH, he probably is the main candidate. But right now the Mets have a lot in-house options (JD, Cano, Smith) to make Vientos the Mets DH. He likely needs to learn to play the field to make it to the majors or be a pinch hitter/DH. Look for Vientos to try and work hard on his defense, definitely something as fans who should keep an eye on.

That will conclude part one of our minor league preview. Next up will be our preview with prospects close to the minors that could help the big league squad in 2022.

Photo credit: MLB Pipeline

Mets Must Address Bullpen After Lockout

Although this has been a very exciting offseason for the Mets, the team still has one glaring issue—the bullpen. Aaron Loup, who was their best bullpen arm, is now with the Angels. So how do they improve the pen in such an important year? There are options that would instantly improve it, one being free agent lefty Andrew Chafin. Chafin, an 8-year veteran, had the best year of his career in 2021, posting a 1.83 ERA in 71 games. Even if Chafin’s 2022 is underwhelming, it would still be a vast improvement over what New York has now. Chafin enters the ’22 season at 31 years of age. A 2 or 3 year deal is likely on the table, which the Mets can definitely handle.

Reuniting With an Old Friend

Another solid option is a familiar face in Collin McHugh. McHugh was drafted by the Mets back in 2008. He made his big league debut in 2012, but his Mets tenure did not go well. He only appeared in 11 games with the Mets over 2 seasons and posted an 8.26 ERA. In June of 2013, McHugh was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Eric Young Jr. McHugh also struggled in Colorado, only appearing in 4 games and getting designated for assignment after the 2013 season.

McHugh finally found his footing with the Houston Astros in 2014. In 6 seasons with the team, he had a 3.63 ERA. In 2020, McHugh signed a one year deal with the Red Sox. He had elbow issues and did not end up appearing in a game with Boston. Given McHugh’s age and elbow issue, it wasn’t looking good for 2021, but he rebounded nicely with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 37 games Collin posted a 1.55 ERA. The risk is still very much there with McHugh given his elbow and his age, but a 1 or 2 year deal wouldn’t hurt and would give the Mets another solid option in the pen. As every Mets fan knows, you can never have too much depth, and McHugh is more than capable of being flexible and bailing the team out if the injury bug bites again in 2022.

Could Jansen Be a Match for the Mets Bullpen?

Kenley Jansen is also a free agent, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if the Mets gave him a shot. Anyone that follows the Mets knows how shaky Edwin Diaz can be at times, and Jansen could perhaps take some of the pressure off of Diaz. The 12 year veteran pitched well last season, putting up a 2.22 ERA. He is 34 and has had many injury issues in the past, but he’s proved that he has plenty left in the tank . The 3 time All-Star would also bring plenty of postseason experience to the bullpen. Outside of Trevor May, not one pitcher in the Mets bullpen has ever appeared in a postseason game. If the Mets were to make the playoffs this year, that could be a problem. Perhaps Jansen could be a part of the solution to that problem, with Chafin and McHugh who also have experience in October.

Can These Veterans Keep Up Their Success?

One thing that all of these players have in common is they are all veterans. This obviously includes major injury risk, which is nothing new to the Mets. In the past, the Mets have added pitchers such as Dellin Betances to the bullpen with the same hope of getting a few solid years out of a veteran, but it just didn’t work out. So why are these options different? All three of these players are coming off of very solid seasons. That obviously does not guarantee success this year, but it is a drastic change from the Wilpon solution in Betances, whom they signed after only appearing in one game during an injury plagued 2019 season. Signing any veteran is a gamble, but the gamble has greater odds of success when that veteran is coming off of a successful season.

Photo Credit: Sportnieuws.nl

JD Davis: Should he Stay or Should he Go?

The Mets season is over, which means the off-season is around the corner. After the postseason is done and baseball can crown a winner, one of the most interesting offseason will start for Mets fans. One thing that is likely is happen? JD Davis gets traded. But is that the right call?

During the season it was no surprise that JD Davis isn’t part of the Mets future plans. Even during a solid offensive season, the Mets decided to use Davis as a bench player. Mostly because Davis didn’t play a good third base defensively.

That being said, there is most likely a DH next year and to me Davis is a perfect DH candidate. Davis hit .285/.384/.436 in just 179 at bats. In a difficult role, without getting consistent playing time, he was still able to have an .820 OPS. With more consistent playing time and not playing hurt, I believe Davis could up his numbers.

Main reason, Davis barrels balls up. In 2021 he has a barrel percentage of 12.4%, second on the Mets behind Pete Alonso. His sweet spot percentage also went up 7.6% and is the highest of his career. That including his ability to get on base makes him an above average hitter IMO.

It’s also good to note that JD Davis is actually a good fastball hitter, besides what is told in the media. Davis owns a plus 2 run value on the 4 seamer and sinking fastball. He has at least a 0 run value on every pitch which makes him difficult to pitch too. Only main flaw is his troubles against the high pitch.

One big plus in his adjustments for this season is that he was able to increase his launch angle. In 2021 he increased his launch angle with 9.9 degrees on average (13.2), higher than his great 2019 (10.2).

JD is a good hitter in his prime of his career for a low cost. Yes, he has his issues defensively, but with a DH he can get more at bats without his below average defense costing the Mets.

The Mets can also afford to have a defense first third baseman in their every day lineup, something they haven’t really had in a long time. To me third base is a more important position to improve defensively than (for example) left field. This way they can use Guillorme or sign a cheap defense first third baseman, without adding a big contract at third with blocking Vientos/Baty.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t trade a cheap under controlled solid hitter in JD Davis. With the DH, as the DH and without a good hitter of the bench, and playing third with a strikeout/fly ball pitcher.

Photo Credit: SNY Mets Twitter

An Early Look at the Mets Off-Season Strategy

As the 2021 season enters its final stretch, we can somewhat see what the New York Mets need to do come November. The Mets are still in playoff contention, but their hopes continue to trickle away daily. In an effort to bring some positivity/excitement, let’s make an early evaluation on what the Mets should do this off-season.

Evaluating Pending Mets Free Agents

Marcus Stroman: Re-sign. Not just re-sign, extend. Stroman is 31 years old and has proven invaluable to the Mets. I am sure he will be receiving many offers this off-season, but what he has done with the Mets in 2021 is enough to earn him a lengthy deal from Steve Cohen. I anticipate he gets a four-five year deal worth $15-18 million a year at the very least.

Michael Conforto: Re-sign, under one condition: It is a one year contract. After the season Conforto had, you cannot sign him more than three years, and he isn’t going to want that. Conforto, 29, is going to want a one-year deal or a six or seven-year deal. If the Mets offer him a one year contract in the neighborhood of $15 million, he really can’t decline it. This allows him to have another season to reset his market value to then get the major contract he desires. He will be 30 years old next off-season, giving him the ability to still land a five-year contract somewhere.

Javier Baez: Re-sign, under one condition: It is for two or three years. Considering that the Mets didn’t trade Ronny Mauricio at the deadline, I think it is best to pin him into second base in the future. Therefore, you can ink Baez to a short-term deal to fill that spot for the next couple seasons. The Mets will not be able to sign anybody that is significantly better than Baez at second base for three years. Baez is unlikely to be offered a contract for more than three years because of how much of a crapshoot he is at the plate. He has said that he would play second base for the Mets alongside Lindor, and I think the Mets should take him up on that.

Dellin Betances: Let him walk.

Jeurys Familia: Depends on the end of the 2021 season. He has been going through a real rough patch in August, after having a really great first half. Familia, 32, is at the end of a three-year deal that he inked before the 2019 season. If he settles down and has a good rest of the year, he is a prime one-year contract candidate. If he struggles, let him walk.

Noah Syndergaard: We all want Noah Syndergaard to succeed when he comes back from Tommy John surgery. The issue is, we do not know what pitcher he will be in 2022 when he is fully healthy again. I would not want to give him more than a one or two-year contract. The Mets would be taking a huge risk in extending Syndergaard for more than three years because of the uncertainty of his elbow, and his past injury history. Like Conforto, Syndergaard will likely not get nearly as much money this year as he would if he took a one-year contract and hit the market again next fall.

Jonathan Villar: Re-sign him. Why the heck now? Villar has been a savior for the Mets in 2021, and would be a great bench piece for them come 2022. Only issue is, some team may be willing to give Villar a two or three-year deal to be a starter. The Mets would likely not want to go more than one-year as a bench player. Because of this, Villar would likely take the deal with more security.

Aaron Loup: Throw the bank at him. In all seriousness, the Mets really need to keep Aaron Loup. Loup, 34, is having the best season of his Major League career. His age probably entails a two or three-year deal, and likely not for more than $7 or $8 million. For the season he had, and the difficulty of finding a great lefty arm in the bullpen, there is no reason not to bring him back.

Rich Hill: Don’t sign him. Unless Hill will accept a minors deal, there is no reason for the Mets to bring Hill back.

Jerad Eickhoff: Let him walk.

Cameron Maybin: Drop him off at a train station.

Positional Evaluation

Starting Pitching: Assuming the Mets ink Stroman, the rotation would be complete for the 2022 season. It would look something like this: deGrom, Stroman, Walker, Carrasco, Syndergaard and Peterson. The Mets may feel inclined to look for another starter in the place of Peterson. If they would like to trade him for prospects, they could glance at the very old starting pitcher free agent market, or take a look at potential trade targets. However, because they already have six starters, I don’t think it is necessary to look at starting pitching this off-season, other than depth pieces.

Relief Pitching: The relief market this off-season is going to be plentiful, but not very talented. The best arms available will be Jansen, Hand, Raisel Iglesias, Archie Bradley, Daniel Hudson, Corey Knebel and Mychal Givens. In a normal year, these guys wouldn’t make much more than $8-10 million, but this year they will likely be asking for more because they are the best out there. I don’t think it is necessary to go after one, unless Familia walks. Even at that, the Mets may throw David Peterson and Trevor Williams into the bullpen.

Catcher: McCann is there for a few years, and Nido is too.

First Base: Pete Alonso.

Second Base: I previously mentioned that the Mets should sign Javier Baez to a two or three-year contract to play second base. That then means that Jeff McNeil is an odd-man out. I think the best thing for the Mets to do is trade him to boost the farm system. McNeil is a good player, but he has a few years left in his contract, has been really inconsistent, and is at the end of his peak value. Baez is very inconsistent too, but would you rather have Baez or McNeil at second base for the next few years?

Baseball Savant
Baseball Savant

The top photo is Jeff McNeil in 2021, the second photo is Javier Baez in 2021. Those numbers are percentiles compared to the rest of the league. The higher the number, and the more red, the better. Baez has more categories that are better than McNeil. On top of that, I think Baez has more upside, especially being alongside Francisco Lindor. Those two could fire each other up and make the other play better.

Shortstop: Francisco Lindor.

Third Base: The Mets have many options here, and I believe this is going to be the most active position for the Mets this off-season. The third base market is severely thin, but Kris Bryant headlines the group. I believe the Mets will aggressively pursue him. Bryant, 30, is coming off a bounce-back year with the Cubs/Giants, and can fit into the infield with his former Cubs teammate Javier Baez. (All the Mets need is Carlos Santana and they will have the entire 2016 World Series infield.) However, maybe the Mets don’t need to focus on a third baseman to play third base. Trevor Story and Carlos Correa, shortstops, could slide over to third base. Do not forget about the current Mets third baseman, who will be under contract until 2025, J.D. Davis. Davis is a really good bet for the Mets in this situation too. At his best, he could hit .290 with 30 home runs. The issue is, he has been riddled with injuries the past two seasons. Because of this, there are many questions about his ability to stay healthy.

The wild card in the third base deck is Brett Baty. Baty is the Mets top third base prospect, and likely will be up in 2023 or 2024. He is going to be the Mets third baseman of the future. That being said, you can’t really block his position much past 2024. Unless the player the Mets sign can move over to another infield position that isn’t shortstop, they are going to have to settle on a three-year contract. The issue with that is that Bryant, Story and Correa are all superstars, who will likely land contracts of at least five years in length. The most likely situation is that they keep Davis, and don’t sign anyone. However, that won’t stop the Mets from engaging in plenty of contract negotiations.

Left Field: Dom Smith may have had a rough year, but he deserves another season or two to re-establish himself as a superstar.

Center Field: Brandon Nimmo established himself in 2021 as the Mets center-fielder of the future. This was further instated when the Mets traded their top center field prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong. Nimmo had a great year in 2021. However, he is entering the last year of his contract. The priority here is to give Nimmo a contract extension in the Spring.

Right Field: Going to copy and paste what I said about Michael Conforto, then will go into other options. Re-sign, under one condition: It is a one year contract. After the season Conforto had, you cannot sign him more than three years, and he isn’t going to want that. Conforto, 29, is going to want a one-year deal or a six or seven-year deal. If the Mets offer him a one year contract in the neighborhood of $15 million, he really can’t decline it. This allows him to have another season to reset his market value to then get the major contract he desires. If Conforto does not re-sign, the Mets can hope that Nicholas Castellanos of the Reds declines his option, and becomes a free agent. Other than that, right field is very thin, with Avisail Garcia being the next best choice.

Most of these things can be completely washed away with one potentially new rule: the universal DH. Until then, we proceed as if it will not exist.

It will be interesting to see where the Mets go this off-season. Their best bet may be to explore the trade market more than the free agent market. The only issue with that is the Mets lack of tradable prospects.

The 2021-22 off-season is going to be filled with the Mets being involved in many talks, as expected. Which talks will lead to deals?

Wendell Cruz – USA Today

Analytical Management: The New Feel For The Game.

Here’s a thought:

When the Mets fired Dave Eiland back in 2019, the pitching started to get better. His methods were “Old school” and players were having trouble adapting to his methods and teachings. When Phil Regan (GOAT/Vulture) took over, the Mets pitching seemed to have gotten better. Regan followed the Analytics while also implementing his own experience, but mostly putting the analytical data first.

Chili Davis and Tom Slater had old school methods and approaches. Now that they’re gone, the Mets are going with…You guessed it, more of an analytical approach. Hense why they brought Hugh Quattlebaum and Kevin Howard. Both worked in the Minor leagues. Hugh as the Minor League Coordinator and Howard as the Farm director….In other words, heavy in analytics.

The Struggles of Francisco Lindor didn’t help their case, but neither did the struggles of the offense as a whole, including struggling with RISP with the exception of recently in the Series win in Philadelphia.

As for Luis Rojas, his job is completely safe. He’s an analytics first manager like most in the league, meaning that most/If not all of his decisions are based off of Analytics. This includes writing the lineup (Written for him), In game decisions, which pitchers to bring in at which times, you name it. No manager has full say anymore in today’s game with everyone so heavily sold on analytics, with the exception being the Phillies in Joe Girardi, who demanded he have control of writing the lineup before he signed on to be the manager for Philly.

Although I don’t agree with it at all, MLB has been trending in this direction since if I were to guess, 2016/2017. The art of a manager actually managing a game, those days are long gone now. The manager is now a scapegoat while the analytics department gets the ultimate free pass. Every team now invests heavily in analytics. It’s the way of the game nowadays sadly. You can say to hell with the stats, but that’s ultimately what’s driving the game. It’s no longer a feel for the game anymore, unless you feel the analytics.

Mets Offense Concerning?

The Mets offense is bad. They aren’t hitting with a .690 combined OPS during the first 19 games. Clearly the main issue for the Mets is power, but they also lack the big hit. And for some Mets players, it’s a career issue.

Yes, I am aware that we are just 19 games into a 162 game season and this offense should deliver at some point. But one thing is concerning to me is the lack of performance in high leverage spots. One player that came to mind was Pete Alonso. I love Pete but when watching the Mets, Pete takes on way too much on his shoulders and tend to chase in high leverage situations.

As you can see in the graphic above, Alonso has way more success in low leverage situations (.989OPS). While his medium and high leverage are about the same, the difference between in OPS in high and low leverage is a shocking .164 points. In 2020, Pete was good in high leverage situations but so far this year he has a .597 OPS in high leverage spots. Definitely something to keep an eye on going forward for Pete. Still an OPS above .800 is above average but the difference stays a lot.

Another hitter who gets a ton of heat when the game in on the line is Michael Conforto. And yes, there is something to be said about this. Conforto’s OPS stands at .787 in high leverage situations with a 87 OPS+. Both below average for a above average overall hitter.

Two more homegrown talented players who have struggled in high leverage situations are Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith. Both are way worse like Alonso and Conforto in those situations. To me McNeil surprised me, but I also see him putting a lot of pressure on himself. McNeil has a below average OPS+ on high and medium leverage situations. (See below)

Smith on the other hand thrives in medium leverage situations with a 158 OPS+ but struggles mightly in high leverage spots with a shocking 48 OPS+. (See below)

As we can see this is a big part of the Mets lineup that has issues. But end with a high note. Brandon Nimmo is raking in his career in high leverage spots with a .888 OPS, best of all the leverage spots in his career. Keep it up Brandon!

To conclude, the Mets have a big part of their homegrown lineup struggling in high leverage spots in their career, so it is not just these 19 games in 2021. Yes, this lineup main issue is power right now. The power will come and will definitely help get runs on the board. However, this high leverage spots are concerning. Yes, I am aware that most likely hitters have more trouble in big spots, but the differences are alarming.

Are you concerned with the Mets offensive struggles?

Photo by: SNY Twitter