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

Mets in on Jose Iglesias

The Mets are interested in Short Stop Jose Iglesias according to Mike Rodriguez. The Mets are in talks with the 32 year old, with the Guardians, Red Sox, Orioles and Diamondbacks also in the mix.

It’s clear what Iglesias his job will be, if he signs with the Mets. He will be a back up infielder who can man Short if needed. Iglesias is most known for his very solid glove and tremendous plays with the glove.

With the bat Iglesias doesn’t provide much. A career .700 OPS, mostly because of his lack of power and on base skills. In 2021 Iglesias hit .271/.309/.391 with 9 homeruns and 48 driven in. Iglesias doesn’t work the count, so he doesn’t strike out a lot, besides being one of the worst in the league according to chase rate.

His main attraction is the glove. Iglesias is able to make mind boggling plays at short. But in 2021, he also showed some smooth plays at second. Iglesias had a plus 1 OAA at short and second in 2021. Worth noting is that Iglesias his OAA in 2019 and 2020 combined was 17, which is really good.

If the Mets believe he can play the infield like he did in 19/20, that’s a major plus. He won’t give the Mets much with the bat so his value is defense.

After a down year (-0.7 WAR), it’s possible Iglesias accepts a minor league deal? If it’s a MLB deal, I am not in favor of getting Iglesias. His defense took a hit in 2021 and with that being his main asset, I think there are better options in house to be the back up infielder. Guillorme anyone?

PhotoCredit: Major League Baseball Indonesia on twitter

Mets Eyeing Starters on Trading Market

The Mets are trying to add a starting pitcher and they might do so in a trade. The Mets have had trade talks with the Reds about Mahle (per Michael Mayer) and have done a background check on Luke Weaver (Andy Martino). This comes soon after the news that Carlos Rodon has signed with the Giants and Kershaw returned to the Dodgers.

Mahle is the bigger name of the two, after back to back very good seasons in Cincinnati. The 27 year old righty had a tremendous year pitching to a 4.9 WAR without missing any starts. He went 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA over 180 innings pitched. Worth noting is that Mahle pitched in a extremely hitters friendly ballpark half of the time and his splits show that.

Mahle main improvement is his K’s per nine over the last two. With a increased Whiff rate, he has thrived. Between 2020 and 2021, he had pitched to a 3.72 ERA/3.82FIP, 1.21WHIP with a 10.7 K per nine rate. It’s shown in his Baseball Savant page, that the righty has found his success.

Baseball Savant

Mahle has ditched his curve and now works with 3 pitches. He has a 4 seamer (-10 Run Value), Splitter (-4 Run Value) and Slider (plus 1 Run Value). Early in his MLB Career he also used a change up and cutter, but those pitches didn’t have success. Since he ditched some pitches, he has gotten better. A solid formula for Mahle.

Mahle would definitely cost prospects to get. With him having a couple of great years and some control left (Free agent in 2024), he will be costly. However, sliding that type of arm in the rotation behind deGrom and Scherzer, will make the Mets rotation one of the best in the game.

Luke Weaver is another arm the Mets have reportedly being linked too. Weaver is more of a back end arm, that gives the Mets depth and innings. The former Cardinal, has been with the Diamondbacks in recent years.

The 2014 first round pick pitched to a 4.25 ERA over 13 starts with the Diamondbacks in 2021, pitching 65.2 innings. The 28 year righty missed starts due to a shoulder strain in 2021, but returned in September with 5 starts.

Like Mahle, Weaver has two years of control left, which make the trade more costly. However, Weaver won’t cost nearly as much as Mahle.

Weaver isn’t a strikeout guy and allows some hard hit contact, however his WHIP in 2021 was just 1.18, mainly because of his low walk rate.

Over his career Weaver owns a 4.64 ERA with a 4.06 FIP. His Baseball Savant page isn’t pretty, but he isn’t a top rotation arm and won’t be as costly as mentioned before.

It depends on which route the Mets will go and how much they want to give up. Obviously Mahle is the bigger name but Weaver provides much needed depth. In my opinion a strong number three is a must, so would definitely prefer Mahle over Weaver. Either way, it will be interesting what the Mets will do to fill out their rotation the next days.

Photo Credit: MLB trade Rumors on Twitter

Mets Expected to make a Strong Push Toward Signing Kikuchi

To no one surprise the Mets are considered strong suitors for the service of left hander Yusei Kikuchi. According to Pat Ragazzo the Mets are expected to heavily pursuit the 30 year old after the lockout is over.

Kikuchi is coming of a season with two different halfs. The first half he was an all start pitching to a 3.48 ERA in the first half with a 1.08 WHIP. The second half was the complete opposite with a 5.98 ERA and 1.70 WHIP.

His overall numbers in his MLB Career won’t wow you. He has pitched to a 4.97 ERA (4.41 in 2021) with a 2.4 WAR. However, Kikuchi is seen as a guy with high upside because of his tremendous stuff.

His main plus is his above average swing and miss stuff. He is in the 63th percentile in Whiff%, 60th percentile in chase rate and 57th percentile in K%. All improvement from his debut season in 2019.

If you look at Kikuchi his run value per pitch. He has success with his cutter (-4) and his change-up (-3). His 4 seamer is league average at 0 but his slider is plus 4. He still throws his slider 18.9% of the time and his change-up just 10.5%. If he switches those two pitches up, he could find more success.

His change-up is by far his most successful pitch. In 2021 hitters had an expected slash line of .175/.194/.256 with a 39.4% Whiff rate. Main reason for his increased success with that pitch is getting more vertical drop. His vertical drop went from 1.5 inches below average in 2019, to 0.1 inches above average in 2020, followed by 1.3 above average in 2021. Conclusion: Throw that pitch more Yusei!

If you watch Kikuchi pitch you see a lot of vertical drop in his pitches. His slider has the most success getting 3.4 inches above average (good for 59th amongst all pitchers). His horizontal movement is all way below average besides his 4 seamer that he increased from 0.9 inches below to 2.2 inches above average.

Conclusion, you see a ton of downward action on Kikuchi his pitches. If he is able to use his cutter, 4 seamer and change-up more and limit his slider, he could perform better. The stuff is there with a mid to high 90’s FB from the left side, but he has to get is all together a full year. After a promising 60 game season in 2020, followed by a strong first half, maybe he got out of Gass during the second half of 2021?

I definitely see potential in Kikuchi. He would provide another arm for our rotation and move Peterson/Megill to possible depth arms. The Mets lacked starting pitching depth last year so we know that’s desperately needed. To me with the Mets offense a rotation of deGrom, Scherzer, Walker, Kikuchi and Carrasco (hopefully returns to form), should be strong to compete.

Photo Credit: MLB trade Rumors

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

Rumors: Mets interested in Villar Reunion?

According to Tenchy Rodriguez, the Mets are reportedly interested in a short term deal with Jonathan Villar. Villar was a pleasant surprise for the Mets in 2021, hitting .249/.322/.416 in 142 games with the Mets.

Over that span Villar hit 18 homeruns with 42 runs batted in. He mostly played third but also saw some playing time at short and second.

Although Villar made some sparkling plays in the field, his OAA was a negative 5 at third base. Surprisingly enough his OAA at short was plus 2 in limited time.

Villar should be considered as a bench player at this point. I wouldn’t want to see him start. His overall offensive numbers aren’t great and his sabremetics aren’t very strong.

Baseball Savant

I personally don’t love to resign Villar. His defense at the prime position he will play is iffy and he isn’t worth a starting spot. With Guillorme already in the depth chart, I wouldn’t give Villar a contract, after a solid year. For an one year deal, it’s solid but I wouldn’t give him anything more than that.

Photo by: SNY Mets on Twitter

What the Pillar signing may mean

The Mets just recently signed CF’er Kevin Pillar to a Major League deal. The Mets also recently signed CF’er Albert Almora jr and that’s after signing CF’er Mallex Smith with Heredia still on the Mets 40-man roster.

The Mets will need to clear a spot from the 40 to make room for the newly acquired Kevin Pillar. The first option would have to be Jacob Barnes, with no options remaining left, he’s always been one of these players with his back to the wall.

Guillermo Heredia might be one of those odd men out. While he has options remaining, Heredia might be a victim of circumstance and catch a pink slip. It’s unfortunate because he’s a great defender that’s fun to watch at the dish, as well.

Of course with the news with Lugo not being able to toss a ball for six weeks, the Mets could very well place the reliever on the 60-day IL to clear a spot.

But what does this all mean with the 26-man roster? Well, players like Albert Almora jr and Jose Martinez each have options remaining, so we’ll likely see the pair in Syracuse. However, once the Mets need a RH stick to fill in, the Mets have viable options with the two.

That’s not all! That’s right! There’s more!

I think we can all finally put the nail in the coffin with JBJ potentially landing in Queens. Bradley is not only asking for quite a bit of money, but he seems to be shooting for a four-year contract at 31 years old.

While I haven’t seen any rumblings from any reporters, it seems that fans are thinking this may be a precursor to something bigger. Could the Mets be looking to trading Nimmo, Davis, or Smith?

Photo from MLB.com