Ok before you read this, this is not going to be a Sandy Alderson bashing post. In fact, I am one of Sandy’s biggest supporters that you will find. Amidst rumors that the San Diego Padres were working on a trade to acquire outfielder Wil Myers from Tampa Bay, (not implying that Mets should’ve pursued this) I started thinking “Why are the Mets never trying to do anything creative like this?”
When the Mets hired “The Big Three” in Sandy Alderson as GM, J.P. Ricciardi as his right hand man and Paul DePodesta as the head of the scouting department I was thrilled. The Mets were getting away from the Omar Minaya way of just giving up draft picks and signing every which veteran that he could. Basically trying to be the New York Yankees and not succeeding. This was going to be a forward thinking, analytical, and creative front office. What was there not to like?
I was under the understanding that a rebuild was required. There were terrible contracts like Jason Bay, Johan Santana and Oliver Perez still lagging on the Mets payroll. I would argue that Alderson did a good job in general with the rebuild. Fans wanted every which free agent and I was fine with Alderson passing on all of those opportunities to properly rebuild. Over the rebuilding years he acquired Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran, Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Wuilmer Becerra as the young pieces in an R.A. Dickey trade, and Dilson Herrera and Vic Black for Marlon Byrd and John Buck. You are talking about 2 of your best pitchers going forward, your future at catcher, second base and a possible high leverage, late inning reliever.
Now here is where the questions start. Where are the “Moneyball” type moves that fans were grown to expect under the originator of the perceived “Moneyball” pursuit of undervalued assets? All I have seen from Alderson is the ability to successfully sell off veterans for prospects and sign some free agents to plug holes, while leaving blatant holes wide open. I understand the payroll issues come from the ownership level, but you can improve the roster without spending absurd amounts of money.
I will say I was actually excited that Alderson signed Michael Cuddyer to a 2 year deal at the expense of the Mets 1st round draft pick right when free agency opened, as it showed that the rebuild was over. He is not a perfect player but he is a fit for the Mets. Whether you want to believe it or not, the Mets need a shortstop. Nothing against Wilmer Flores, but as a fan I want to see better. This team is ready to compete on the merit of it’s starting pitching. I think they are merely a solid bat at shortstop away from being a true playoff contender. The Mets can’t take on the payroll that comes with Troy Tulowitzki and are uninterested in the likes of Jung-Ho Kang and seemingly most of the shortstop free agent market.
Where is the Mets version of a potential Wil Myers trade? Alderson was such a smooth negotiator in all of his deals where he moved his veteran pieces for prospects. Why can’t he find a creative way to obtain a shortstop? I simply do not believe that every trade in the market absolutely requires one of Syndergaard/Wheeler/Jacob deGrom. Didi Gregorius was obtained for Shane Greene, who had a nice run with the Yankees this year but was a pretty pedestrian minor league pitcher.
This is not to compare specific examples of players but why can’t Sandy make an outside of the box move? Everything does not have to be so cut and dry. Alderson can’t figure out a way to get Brad Miller? Jurickson Profar? Ersibel Arruebarruena? These are just examples but I truly expected this front office to do outside of the box, creative things. I cannot think of one move of this quality that the Mets have made. I am challenging Sandy Alderson to show me something different. Show me that the Mets hired the guy that is here to lead the Mets to the World Series. If you give me Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada as the only shortstop options, that is not enough. You stuck your neck out with the Cuddyer move signaling the next wave of the growth of the Mets. Do not stop there. Go obtain a shortstop and show the fan base that 2015 is truly the year for the Mets. I am all about the prospects, but hoarding every one of them is not the way to do it. Prospects are meant to help the Major League team and sometimes that is via trading some of them.
Has Sandy Alderson been all that I had hoped when the Mets hired him? Not entirely.
On the last day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Major League Baseball held it’s annual Rule 5 Draft. The basic premise of the Rule 5 Draft is that teams select from other teams minor league systems to find a player that they are willing to carry for the entire following season.
With the 10th pick in this years Rule 5 Draft the Mets selected 24-year-old left handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin from the Minnesota Twins organization. Gilmartin, a former 1st round pick of the Atlanta Braves was traded to the Twins in exchange for catcher Ryan Doumit. This year Minnesota opted to not protect Gilmartin on their 40 man roster, thus making him available for the Mets and other teams. Given the need for another left hander in the bullpen, I think this was an excellent risk taken by the Mets. It is basically a $50,000 look at a guy. If you don’t want to keep him you can either offer him back to the Twins for $25,000 or try to work out a trade that negates the Rule 5 requirements.
But how can Gilmartin help the Mets? There is a need for an additional left hander to go with Josh Edgin, and Gilmartin was awesome vs lefties this season in Triple-A. In 149 at bats against him, he held lefties to a slash line of .201/.219/.235. Yes that is a .454 OPS against!
With numbers like that you would have to assume that he has some seriously good stuff, right? That is not really the case. Gilmartin will now be a converted starting pitcher who had a typical left hander 4 pitch mix. He has a fastball that works in the upper 80’s, topping around 91 MPH with some sink to it. His go to pitch is his change-up that works around the 80 MPH range and has some nice dip to it. He has a slider which he uses a lot to his advantage against the left handed batters and then a slow curve in the low 70’s. He relies on his control and pitching smarts more than blowing away hitters.
While the Gilmartin pick isn’t going to have fans throwing parties, given the interest in guys like Phil Coke or Craig Breslow, I would much rather take a chance on a 24 year old with some upside. While there is no guarantee that Gilmartin will make the team, I think he absolutely can make the team and have a positive impact on the 2015 Mets bullpen.
You can follow Joe DeMayo on Twitter @PSLToFlushing
I had the opportunity to record an interview with the radio play by play man for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Stuart Johnson. Stuart gives some awesome insight on all the top prospects that came through Brooklyn this summer such as Amed Rosario, Marcos Molina, Michael Conforto, Jhoan Urena and more. Click below to take a listen!
It may be a little dated now that the Mets have signed Michael Cuddyer, but I got to talk to Marc Carig of Newsday late last week to preview the Mets offseason. Click play below to listen to the interview!
On the day that Jacob deGrom won the 2014 NL Rookie Of The Year and the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer to a 2 year $21 million contract I was joined for a chat by the Wall Street Journal’s Jared Diamond. Click the play button below to listen to the interview
In a rather surprising move, the Mets agreed to a 2 year $21 million contract with free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. The fact that they signed Cuddyer isn’t the surprise. The surprise is the fact that they were willing to surrender the 15th pick in the 2015 First Year Player Draft to obtain a 36 year old outfielder that played in a mere 49 games last season after dealing with a myriad of injuries.
Now based on that you would assume that I did not approve of the move? Well that assumption is inaccurate, as I am incredibly happy with the deal. This is a risk worth taking because when healthy Cuddyer can simply hit. He hit .332 with 10 home runs, 31 runs batted in and a .376 on base percentage in those 49 games played. In 2013 Cuddyer won the National League batting title by hitting .331 in 130 games played. The vibe I am getting at here is that if Cuddyer is on the field he can flat out hit. He is a perfect fit to sit in the order between Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson.
This move to me signifies that the Mets are over the rebuilding process and are prepared to put a winner on the field in Queens. Cuddyer himself certainly won’t do that, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Mets assessed the trade market for bats such as Carlos Gonzalez and Yoenis Cespedes, but rather than parting with Zack Wheeler or Jacob deGrom for one of those two they decided(in my opinion correctly) that the player they could get at the 15th overall pick is something they would rather part with than a pitcher of that caliber. You were unlikely to get a player that is better than Cuddyer at a lesser cost than the Mets got Cuddyer.
So now what is next? Another positive in the Cuddyer signing is that the Mets kept all of their chips that they may have traded for an outfielder and can now put that into talks of trade to fill their other need at shortstop. Reports have surfaced that the Mets have had some level of discussion with the Colorado Rockies for All Star Troy Tulowitzki as well as the White Sox’s Alexei Ramirez.
Tulowitzki would be a difficult deal to make from multiple standpoints. He has $118 million in money owed to him and the Rockies reportedly will not pick up a dollar of it in trade talks. Given the Mets financial situation it is hard to fathom them picking up that kind of financial commitment. Tulowitzki also has major injury issues of his own as he is recovering from a torn labrum in his hip and has played no more than 126 games in the last 3 seasons. They could take the injury risk, but the price to obtain Tulowitzki will be substantial as well. Without really speculating the whole possible deal I would imagine the Rockies would not do a deal without the name Noah Syndergaard in it, along with quite a bit more. I think the Mets will continue to engage the Rockies on Tulowitzki, I just do not think that ultimately a deal will happen there.
Alexei Ramirez on the other hand makes a ton of sense for this team. Financially he makes $10 million this year with a $10 million team option for 2016. Ramirez also is not an injury risk, as the 33 year old has not played less than 156 games since 2009, including 4 straight years of 158 games played. The difference is the upside of Ramirez statistically obviously is not at the upside of a Tulowitzki, but he is no slouch. An average season for Ramirez is .276 average, .314 on base percentage, 28 doubles, 16 home runs and 17 stolen bases. That would be a wonderful addition to the Mets lineup to go with Cuddyer to really make this a formidable every day lineup. I also believe they can get away with obtaining Ramirez while keeping the big guns in Wheeler, deGrom and Syndergaard. I fathom the White Sox being interested in Rafael Montero, Jon Niese and maybe Dillon Gee to a degree.
The Mets are not done, not even close. They showed the aggressiveness that a team that wants to win does by signing Cuddyer early and forfeiting the draft pick to make it a reality. They know that they need a shortstop and within the next month here I predict there will be a new one that will help the Mets NOW. The rebuild has been a long and strenuous process, but now the Mets have a potential pitching staff that people in other organizations rave about. They were a couple bats away from being a potential playoff team, and with Cuddyer they are now one away.
For those that have followed before: welcome back! To those that are new to the site: welcome! This is a re-launch of a project that I had probably about a year ago now that was taken away from me due to some rather unfortunate reasons beyond my control. Nonetheless, with a lot of work I am back here to give you information,opinions and hopefully some stuff that will be useful and entertaining to you.
I’ll start to tell you about myself. I am a 26 year old lifelong Mets fan who has been writing/reporting in some fashion about the Mets for the last decade. Yes, my first articles were posted at 16 years old at the defunct SheaBaseball.com. I have written for other sites and formats throughout the years, including my own. St Lucie To Flushing was an idea thought up to give unique perspective on not only the big league Mets, but more specifically the Mets minor leagues and the MLB Amateur Draft. The posts I put out will have the passion of everyone in this fanbase and will hopefully give a different perspective than you read everywhere else.
On the old PSL2Flushing site I had interviews with current Mets players like Matt den Dekker, Dillon Gee, future Mets players such as Brandon Nimmo, and 1st round draft picks for other teams like Sonny Gray, Lance McCullers Jr and Courtney Hawkins. This isn’t a name dropping deal, it’s just giving you a perspective of what kind of things that I enjoy, and feel you would and will enjoy in the future months here.
I am not only a person who will post interviews, but I will have plenty of original pieces about different prospects, top prospect lists, Q+A’s, mock drafts in draft season, and a bunch of other really cool things. I am glad you took the time to read this, and don’t think this will be a slow start. I will be starting with my first original column tomorrow, and have pre-recorded interviews with Marc Carig of Newsday to preview the offseason, and Stuart Johnson, the voice of the Brooklyn Cyclones to break down the players that were on that roster. If you don’t already, please follow me on Twitter @PSLToFlushing.
Come on aboard as we take the virtual trip from the beginning stages at the Mets Spring Training Complex in Port St Lucie, Florida all the way to Citi Field in Queens, New York.