Two Rays Lefties that have my Attention

With the Mets and Rays rumored in talks about pitching, the names are popping up everywhere. While a lot of fans have the hope its Tyler Glasnow, I think the Mets won’t go in that direction. Mainly, because Glasnow would cost. So I took a look at two lefties the Rays are shopping, who definitely fit the Mets needs.

We already covered Yarbrough in our latest article, but he is definitely on my list. The two I go into are Jalen Beeks and Jeffrey Springs. Never heard of them? That happens a lot with the Rays. But like they always seem to do, happened with these two lefties as well: they performed as Tampa Bay Rays.

Let’s start with Jalen Beeks. The 29 year old is coming off a very solid season with the Rays, pitching to a 2.80 ERA in 61 innings. He has two more years of control, so it’s not just a trade for one year. Beeks is a valuable arm to have in your pen, as he is used to pitching more then an inning. In 42 games, he pitched multiple innings in 24 of them. Another pro is his ability to get righties out as he held righties to a .640 OPS. Main reason is his heavy change usage.

Beeks had very strong K numbers in 2022 with a good average exit velo against, showing his main reason for success. Beeks average exit velo (85th percentile), K% (81th percentile) and Whiff rate (85th percentile) are all in the 80th percentile or higher, with his chase rate just under 80 at 72. His walk rate is a little below average, but we see that more often with relievers.

Like I mentioned before, Beeks relies heavily on his change-up. You could call him a fastball-change pitcher as he throws both close to 50% (change 49.25%/Fastball 48.2%). As expected, both pitches are very good but his change is his best with a -8 run value. He gets that with above average horizontal movement, besides his average velo (90.3) just 5mph lower then his FB (95).

Beeks is a very intriguing arm who fits the Mets need with a lefty. He will cost a bit with his MLB Trade Value at 6.7, which would be a package like Eric Orze, Khalil Lee and Junior Santos.

The other arm is Jeffrey Springs, a 30 year old lefty starter, who like Beeks has two years of control left. Springs, as Beeks, is coming off a strong 2022, pitching to a 2.46 ERA over 135.1 innings. Springs has a strikeout rate of 9.6 per nine with a low whip of 1.07. An overall very solid year for Springs. He started the year in the pen, before he found his spot in the rotation. Springs pitched in the Rays way, so his longest outing was 6 innings. Still, the lefty collected 3.6 Wins Above replacement, showing his value.

His percentiles are very solid across the board. His chase rate (95) is one of the best in the league, with above 70th percentiles in avg exit velo (73), expected ERA (75), barrel % (75), K% (71) and Whiff % (76) with a BB% in the 83th percentile. He gets his most success with his change-up, as he had a -12 Run Value on that pitch with a great 38.1 Whiff % on that pitch. It’s his go to pitch to put hitters away.

His most used pitch is his 4 seamer, which isn’t to shabby as well with a -4 run value. He doesn’t throw hard, but provides one of the best horizontal movement on that pitch in the majors. He also mixes in his slider which doesn’t have the Whiff rate, but is still very useful with a -5 run value.

Springs will logically be more expensive in a trade. MLB Trade Values has Springs with a 17.5 value, which is a package Ronny Mauricio and Calvin Ziegler (just an indication). Still Springs would be a great arm to get for the Mets too, to slot into the rotation. It would save the Mets some financial flexibility to add other pieces.

To me both are intriguing arms to add to this depleted pitching staff. With the Rays having a surplus of arms and the Mets a clear need, I am very curious if they find a trade. And I hope for one of these two.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors on Twitter

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 Have Discussed Trade with Padres

According to Dennis Lin from the Athletic, the Mets and Padres have discussed a trade to acquire Chris Paddack and Eric Hosmer. In return they discussed Dom Smith heading over to San Diego.

This comes the morning after the Mets received the deGrom news. It could be a trade talked about earlier in the offseason, but with the deGrom news, it makes you wonder if the Mets will resume talks to get Paddack.

Right after the deGrom news, Billy Eppler said in an interview that the news won’t affect the Mets from looking outside the organization to fill that spot. However, that’s what every GM would say, so take it with a grain of salt.

If the Mets will try to get Paddack and Hosmer, they get an arm under control but coming off a horrendous year. The 26 year old righty pitched to a 5.07 ERA in 108.1 innings pitched. He did have a 3.78 FIP and 4.73 XERA, so he is expected to be better than his 2021 year.

Main plus with Paddack is his ability to limit walks. However, he does allow a lot of hard hit contact. That wasn’t the case in his great rookie year, where he pitched to a 3.33 ERA. After that great 2019, the Texas Native has struggled.

Even with the struggles, Chris Paddack is a young and under controlled starting pitcher. A hot commodity in the game, which will cost you. To degrees the talent in the deal, the Mets could add Eric Hosmer to relief payroll for the Padres.

Hosmer is coming off a year where he hit .269/.337/.395 over 151 games. The left handed hitting first baseman played a solid first base (69th percentile in OAA) but didn’t provide a lot of power. Hosmer does provide solid hard hit rates and doesn’t strikeout a lot. However he owned a .732 OPS and is owned 21 million dollar next year, with an opt out. If he decides to stay, he is owned 13 mil for the three years after 2022.

To give up Dom and that type of money for Hosmer and Paddack is a no go for me. Paddack has struggled and Hosmer just isn’t a good player. Both aren’t good enough to justify trading a talented player in Dom Smith and pay the contract for Hosmer. Please Mets, Don’t do this even with deGrom out.

Photo Credit: Amazin Army 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

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

Mets Keeping Tabs on Twins Closer?

According to Mike Puma, the Mets are keeping an “eye” on Twins closer Taylor Rodgers. Rodgers coming off an All Star season, which was cut short due to a finger injury. Rodgers is set to make little over 6 mil in his final year on arbritration.

The 30 year old lefty was having a solid season until his finger started bothering him. Over 40.1 innings, Rodgers pitched to a 3.35 ERA with a career high 13.2 strikeout per nine rate. Worth noting is that Rodgers had an awful month of July before landing on the IL. Before July he pitched to a 2.61 ERA.

Rodgers is just two years away from a 30 save season. In 2019, he pitched to a 2.61 ERA with 30 saves in 60 games. Over his career Rodgers has been solid against righties (.716 OPS) and tremendous against lefties (.540 OPS). While he was the closer with the Twins, he most likely be a guy who gets the innings with lefties more for the Mets, which should improve his overall numbers.

Palmer Sports

Rodgers, a sinker/Slider guy, gets a ton of swings and misses on his slider (38.8%). His Sinker gets a -5 launch angle on balls in play, which gets him ground balls. If you get to watch Rodgers, expect a slider as he threw that pitch 54% of the time in 2021.

The Mets would need a to make a trade to get Rodgers from the Twins but not expected to be a big haul. Rodgers is set to make over 6 mil and the Twins are reportedly interested to shred some money, according to Mike Puma.

Photo Credit: SNY on Twitter

Could a Smith for Bellinger Trade Work?

Dom Smith and Cody Bellinger. Two left handed hitters who struggled mightly in the 2021 season, after great years in years past. Bellinger is enjoying a good Postseason, but until the Muncy injury, his playing time was in jeopardy.

Bellinger had an even lower bWAR then Dom Smith (-1.5 to -0.7). This shows how awful Bellinger was during the year as he hit just .165/.240/.302. Both Bellinger and Smith had a major drop off in the power department, which is a concern for both.

If you look at both Baseball Savant pages, they lacked expected slash lines and hard hit rates. So they weren’t unlucky, they both just didn’t hit well. Their main issue was their barrel percentage dropped mightly. Overall Smith had at least some promising to league average percentiles, while Bellinger was at the bottom for the most part, besides OAA (Outs Above Average).

Dom Smith
Cody Bellinger

However, if you look at the last 3 years, Bellinger has outhit Smith with a 122 OPS+ combined over Smith’s 113 OPS+. This includes Belli MVP year which was the year he outperformed his career norm.

Why would this work for the Mets?

Dom Smith value is at the lowest point in his career, but at this point the Mets can’t keep Smith in the lineup playing Left. For a bench player he lacks versatility, so he is a man without a position right now. Smith as DH after the offensive year he had, is a big risk, as you need a lot of offensive production from the DH spot.

So you might be better off giving his roster spot to someone else, who fits the roster better. But trading Smith on his lowest value, isn’t a smart business move. Only if you can trade for another player, with potential of a terrible year. In comes Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger fits the roster for the Mets better as he plays a very solid outfield as he recorded plus 3 OAA in CF. He also had succes in RF with a plus 6 OAA in his final year playing there everyday in 2019. With Conforto becoming a free agent, Bellinger has a spot in RF to play. A McNeil-Nimmo-Bellinger outfield is a potentially great one if Belli can get himself back to old form.

Bellinger has 2 years of control left and is arbritration eligible. He is expected to get 16.1 Mil per MLB Trade Rumors. That’s a 12.1 mil increase over Dom Smith who has 3 years of control left.

This move would be more costly, but a move that could be beneficial for the Mets as Bellinger is a way better fit on the roster. Giving up Dom is a risk but getting Bellinger could be a risk well worth the possible reward. Also the 12.1 difference wouldn’t kill your payroll and should give the Mets room enough to fill other roles.

Why would the Dodgers make this move?

The Dodgers are a powerhouse with a large payroll, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to shred a little bit. Smith has a way more favorable contract and has more control. With Seager likely gone and Turner moving from second to his favorite spot at short, the Dodgers could move Muncy to second to make room for Dom. This would work for Dom to be comfertable at his favorite position.

With this trade the Dodgers get their own hitter in the hope he rebounds. Dom wasn’t good in 2021 (although better then Bellinger) but he was lights out in 2020. Yes it was a shortened season, but his 2019 was also strong offensively. What hurt his WAR in those years was the dreadful defense at a position that doesn’t suit him well.

So in conclusion, the Dodgers get a high potential bat that fills their need with Belli gone for a lower cost.

If you look at Baseball Trade Values, Bellinger had a 0.0 value, while Dom had a 1.5 value. This shows Belli value has dropped and an one for one trade isn’t impossible. If this trade is made it could go either way. Or great for both, terrible for both and one gets away with a huge win. In the end it’s a risk for both.

What are your thoughts about this proposal? Do you see it happening? Is the one for one swap realistic? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: New York BBWAA on Twitter

Khalil Lee joins the Organization with a Bang

After the completion of the three-way trade between the Royals, Red Sox, and of course the Mets. Khalil Lee is now the seventh best prospect in the New York Mets Organization.

He’s ranked right behind Pete Crow-Armstrong and J.T. Ginn, and ahead of prospects like Mark Vientos and Thomas Szapucki.

Lee is ranked as the Royals eighth best prospect and has a ton of speed to go along with some pop. The outfielder was actually also scouted as a pitcher, as well. So his outfield arm should be on point. This is a great acquisition, considering all the details haven’t been revealed yet.

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports