Optimism is surrounding the New York Mets as Spring Training 2015 begins. After six straight losing seasons, the Mets are very happy with the progress being shown by a lot of their youngsters. The question is, can they actually put it all together this upcoming year? The National League East will be tough, headlined by the Washington Nationals, but the Mets will show some promise.
On paper, it has been a relatively quiet offseason for New York’s National League team. The only notable name they went out and got was Michael Cuddyer. People know he is a solid hitter, but his value in fantasy baseball 2015 will drop a little away from Coors Field. Not only should he produce on the field, but he very well could be a leader in the clubhouse along with David Wright.
Speaking of Wright, he will once again be the face of the franchise. This team will likely struggle on offense, so they need him to still be playing like he is in his prime. There are too many talented teams in the National League East to win with just pitching.
As of right now, New York might have the best young talent in the game as far as pitchers are concerned. Matt Harvey should be ready to return at some point from arm surgery, and he will instantly be their ace in fantasy baseball 2015. Rookie of the year Jake deGrom is solid, and Zack Wheeler along with Noah Syndergaard could really take off. Along with a nice rotation, they have a slew of arms in the pen that will be able to hold leads.
Washington looks like one of the best teams in baseball, but the other four teams in the division have their own specific holes. It would not be a shocker to see New York in the mix for the wild card for most of the year. They are probably still one season away from really making some playoff noise.
Big thanks to our guest blogger Mark Jenkins on how the Mets are viewed in the fantasy baseball landscape. If you’re interested in getting involved in fantasy baseball check out fanduel.com.
By Steven Inman
With Spring Training officially underway lets take a look at who is expected to make the Mets Opening Day Roster. With grapefruit league games not even starting yet, this group will change slightly. Injuries could also change who makes the cut to join the Mets against the defending N.L. East champs, the Washington Nationals on April 6th.
The Mets infield appears set. Three of the four players have played key roles in previous seasons while Wilmer Flores looks to break out as the teams starting shortstop. This may not be the best defensive infield the Mets have ever had by any stretch of the imagination but they should be able to drive in some runs.
1. 3B David Wright
2. 2B Daniel Murphy
3. 1B Lucas Duda
4. SS Wilmer Flores
5. C Travis d’Arnaud
The Mets only made two major league signings this winter and they both happen to be outfielders. The Mets outfield was horrendous in 2014 and must improve, especially offensively if the club wants to be contenders.
6. LF Curtis Granderson
7. CF Juan Lagares
8. Michael Cuddyer
The Starting Rotation
The strength of this 2015 Mets club will be their starting staff. With a key member back from injury and plenty of starting pitching depth in the minors, expect this to be one of the better rotations in the National League.
9. RHP Matt Harvey
10. RHP Zack Wheeler
11. RHP Jacob deGrom
12. LHP Jon Niese
13. RHP Bartolo Colon
This is where things get a little cloudy. The Mets bullpen is very much undecided thanks to Dillon Gee being the odd man out of the rotation. Gee is not pleased with going to the bullpen and has stated he would prefer to start somewhere. While we aren’t going to rule out a trade it is very unlikely at this point as most teams have their budgets set going into the season and don’t want to spend an additional $5 million on a back end starter like Gee in Spring Training.
While the Mets would love to see a second left-hander emerge into the bullpen out of camp, expect six right-handers to be in the Mets bullpen in Washington for Opening Day. The Mets will give Rafael Montero a shot to be a reliever in camp and that may be his only shot to pitch in the big leagues for the foreseeable future. Expect Bobby Parnell to help this group out in a couple months as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
14. RHP (CL) Jenrry Mejia
15. RHP Jeruys Familia
16. LHP Josh Edgin
17. RHP Vic Black
18. RHP Carlos Torres
19. RHP Dillon Gee
20. RHP Rafael Montero
The Mets have had very weak benches over the past few seasons and expect 2015 to be no different. The team did a nice job in bringing in Jon Mayberry Jr. and as long as Terry Collins only plays him against lefties he should perform well. Expect Kirk Nieuwenhuis to make the club over a player like Matt Den Dekker as he is out of options. If Kirk does not make the club the Mets will most likely lose him to another team.
21. OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
22. OF John Mayberry Jr.
23. SS-2B Ruben Tejada
24. IF-OF Eric Campbell
25. C Anthony Recker
Do you think we got the list right?
By Steven Inman
The Mets enter camp this spring with just one left-handed reliever expected to make the Opening Day roster in 28-year old Josh Edgin. Sandy Alderson and company are unlikely to change that despite several established left-handed relievers still hanging around on the free agent market such as Phil Coke or Joe Beimel. The Mets are unlikely to sign either one of them, even to a minor league deal at this point which means expect Terry Collins to call on “Everyday Edgin” frequently to start the season.
The Mets have a very good bullpen but the one Achilles heel of the group is having just the one lefty. Not to mention that one lefty is Edgin, who is promising, but hasn’t established that he can handle the workload that is going to be asked of him. In fact few have.
The Mets have tried the one lefty thing before in recent seasons with players such as Pedro Feliciano, Tim Byrdak and Scott Rice. All three players had early success before being ran into the ground from overuse. The same thing is going to happen to Edgin unless the Mets find a second pitcher to get left-handers out.
Edgin has never exceeded 30 innings a year in parts of three seasons in the big leagues and has never pitched in more than 47 games. The Mets are hoping Edgin can nearly double his appearance workload this season just like the days that “Perpetual Pedro” got in 90+ appearances a year for the Mets a few seasons back. Feliciano led the league in appearances every season from 2008-2010 and has pitched in just 11.1 innings since.
The Mets have rule 5 pick LHP Sean Gilmartin in camp but the team sees him more as a long-man than a lefty specialist. Plus with Dillon Gee still in camp as the long reliever it is unlikely Gilmartin will find a spot on this club. The Mets also have Jack Leathersich but he isn’t quite ready for big league action just yet according to Sandy Alderson.
This could emerge as a problem early on in the season so stay tuned….
In one of the more shocking developments of the 2014-15 Met off season, Dillon Gee is still a Met. Gee, 28, is scheduled to make $5.3 million in 2015 but doesn’t seem to have a rotation spot with the Mets. Gee will be a free agent after the 2016 season. With Matt Harvey coming back after Tommy John surgery in 2013, Gee appears to be the odd man out.
It appears the Mets overvalued Gee’s market during the Winter Meetings and now they are stuck with an expensive long man. The Mets have no desire to pay that kind of money for any of their relievers let alone a swingman who would much rather be starting somewhere.
It is a very similar situation to what happened with Ike Davis and the Mets last winter.
The Mets got some decent offers for Davis but elected to hold out for a better offer that never came. Instead Sandy Alderson kept Davis into the 2014 season and then moved him in a salary dump in late April. The Gee situation looks eerily similar.
The Mets don’t want payroll to exceed $100 million so keeping Gee now could prevent the Mets from making a key move at the deadline that could push them into contender status. Gee has been a solid pitcher for the Mets but based on their rotation and current payroll he has more value in a trade than on the Mets. Their best chance to move him now is having a pitcher on another team get injured in spring training and then calling the Mets on their available right-hander.
Join Rob DeLucia as well as myself as we break down the N.L. East, including the Nationals mega move in signing Max Scherzer. If you have a question for the next podcast, leave it below in the comment section and it will be included next time.
By Steven Inman
With the upcoming switch from Bud Selig to his hand-picked successor, Rob Manfred, as MLB’s commissioner, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon has not lost his standing within baseball.
The elder Wilpon will be the new chairman of the MLB’s Finance Committee, according to the Daily News. This is not a joke.
Selig, the biggest supporter of Wilpon, is retiring at the end of this week. It seemed like conventional wisdom to Met fans that once Selig left the new commissioner would put some pressure on the Wilpon’s to spend money on the Mets payroll. That no longer seems to be the case and the chances of the Mets payroll going up in upcoming seasons looks unlikely.
The Mets 2014 payroll was around $92 million which was the lowest for the franchise since the 2000 season. The 2014 payroll also ranked 21st in baseball and won’t be more than a few million dollars more in 2015.
Should baseball step in and force the Mets to spend money?
In what was considered to be one of the greatest hall of fame ballots in modern baseball history, four players were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pedro Martinez, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz will all be inducted in a momentous celebration in Cooperstown on July 26th as part of the 2015 Hall of Fame class.
Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz each got into the Hall on their first try. Biggio was elected on his third attempt after falling just two votes shy last January. Biggio, who spent his entire career all over the diamond with the Houston Astros admitted he was worried about the verdict after getting so close last year. “I was a nervous dog this morning. I haven’t been this anxious in a long time,” Biggio said. “Maybe it does mean a little bit more this year.” Biggio said to the Buffalo News.
Randy Johnson goes into the Hall as the tallest player to ever get into Cooperstown, shattering the old benchmark made by the 6-foot-6 Dave Winfield. “I don’t think people quite understand how difficult it is to be 6-foot-10 and be throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches away,” Johnson said in an article by the Buffalo News. “In order to do that, you have to be consistent with your release point and where you’re landing and your arm slot and all that. For someone 6-1, 6-2, there’s less body to keep under control, so it’s a lot easier.”
It’s ironic that Johnson will go into the Hall the same year that 5-foot-11 Pedro Martinez will. Martinez was told constantly as a young flame throwing prospect that he was too small and frail to handle the workload of a starting pitcher. After 18 big league seasons, all as a starter, it’s safe to assume the doubters were incorrect.
Martinez is only the second Dominican born player to ever get into the Hall of Fame. Only the great Juan Marichal hailed from the Dominican Republic and got into Cooperstown before Pedro.
John Smoltz will be reunited with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine when he joins the two former Braves in the Hall this July. Atlanta’s former “Big 3” helped form one of the most dynamic starting rotations of all time and were vital to the Braves 1995 World Championship over the Cleveland Indians.
The last time four players were inducted in one year was the class of 1955, headlined by Joe DiMaggio. This baseball story evolved throughout the day amongst fans, going from joy and excitement for these four players to anger and confusion on who didn’t make the cut.
The closest player who did not get in was former catcher Mike Piazza. Piazza, 46, was denied entrance into the Hall of Fame for the third straight year despite getting 69.9 percent of votes. To get into Cooperstown a player needs 75% of votes by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Piazza played in 16 big league seasons and hit the most home runs by a catcher in baseball history with 427 long balls. The former 62nd round pick also leads all catchers with a .545 SLG %.
Piazza needs at least 28 voters to change their mind on him if he wants to get in on next year’s ballot. Piazza’s chances have suffered due to allegations of performance enhancing drug use during his career.
Piazza isn’t the only player with Hall Of Fame numbers not to get in due to PED Allegations. Elite players such as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s chances to enter the Hall of Fame look very slim. First time vote getter Gary Sheffield, who hit over 500 homers in his career also received just 11.7% of votes due to allegations of PED use. Sheffield, a 9-time All Star, was listed in the Mitchell Report in 2007, which will cost him along with most alleged steroid users any chance to get into the Hall someday.
The most notable player to be exiled off the ballot for future years would be Carlos Delgado. Delgado, 42, enjoyed a strong career where he hit 473 dingers and drove in 1512 RBI across 17 seasons as a big leaguer. There weren’t allegations that the former first basemen took illegal substances. Delgado made just two All-Star teams in his career and only received 3.8% of votes. A player must get at least 5% of votes to stay on the following years ballot.
The class of 2016 should also be exciting as former stars such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman enter the ballot for the first time.
By Steven Inman
According to various media reports the Mets were engaged in three team dialogue with the Rays and Nationals that would have sent All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond to New York. Desmond, 29, has hit 44 homers over the past two seasons and would bring much needed pop to this Met lineup but a deal is now seen as very unlikely. Desmond has nine homers and 27 RBI in his career at Citi Field, both career highs in any visiting ballpark.
In the proposed deal the Mets would send two top prospects to the Rays, one of which would be Noah Syndergaard. The Mets deemed that package two valuable to give up because Desmond is under club control for just one more season.
Desmond has been the NL silver slugger in each of the past three seasons but giving up two top prospects is too much for a guy who is likely to hit the open market in November. The Nationals who have much more money to spend than the Mets, are willing to trade him because they don’t believe they can sign him.
Desmond would have been a one-year rental for the Mets as according to the Washington Post, the shortstop turned down a seven year contract worth $107 million last winter from the Nationals, thinking he could get significantly more as a free agent.
Desmond will make $11 million in 2015. Mike Rizzo and the Nationals have made it no secret that he is available for the right package.
The Mets were also interested in acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Rays, who instead went to the Athletics last weekend but the package the Rays wanted was very similar to what they were asking for in the three team deal for Desmond.
The Mets continue to try and get creative in finding a shortstop but the most likely scenario is the Mets give Wilmer Flores the first crack at being the starting shortstop with Ruben Tejada entering the season as the backup middle infielder. If Flores struggles offensively the club will likely continue to search for a long term shortstop.
By Steven Inman
Former Met catcher Mike Piazza was not admitted into the Hall Of Fame again when the final ballots were released Tuesday. Piazza earned just 69.9 percent of votes. To get in to the Hall of Fame, a candidate must appear on 75 percent of the 571 ballots from Baseball Writers Association of America. Piazza got 62.2 percent in 2014, up from his debut year (57.8 percent).
There are many reasons Piazza didn’t get in. For starters many writers won’t vote for a player even if there is the smallest hint of doubt that he may have used steroids. Secondly but perhaps just as importantly some writers use their ballots as a way of getting themselves publicity which is just a shame.There were some voters that didn’t even vote for All-Time greats such as Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez for some reason.
As long as there isn’t any proof that Piazza did steroids than I think it is ridiculous that some of these writers chose not to vote for him. It’s disappointing for Mets fans as the Mets don’t plan on retiring Piazza’s number at Citi Field until they know for sure that #31 is getting into the Hall as a Met. Piazza won’t get into Cooperstown in July and it looks like he may not get in for the foreseeable future.
The Mets went into the offseason planning on trading one of their starting pitchers along with possibility trading All-Star 2B Daniel Murphy.This would allow the Mets to get new players while keeping payroll around $90-95 million. The Mets were going to use Murphy’s money to afford a starting caliber shortstop. Then the Mets would have a competition in spring training between Dilson Herrera, Wilmer Flores and Matt Reynolds for the starting second base job.
However the Mets never found a shortstop so Daniel Murphy will start the 2015 season with the Mets. Murphy is now the second longest tenured Met on the team, behind only the captain, David Wright.
Murphy will be a free agent after the 2015 season. It appeared as if Murphy would be a goner this winter but that has obviously changed. However if the Mets are out of the race by the All-Star break they could trade Murphy at the trade deadline.
The Mets had interest in a number of free agent shortstops but for a lesser price to what they actually got on the open market. The Mets liked Jed Lowrie in the past but only had interest in him on a one year deal. Lowrie went to the Astros on a three year deal. There were conflicting reports on whether the Mets had interest in Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera signed with the Rays on Tuesday. The Mets also showed interest in trade candidates such as the White Sox Alexei Ramirez and the Cubs Starlin Castro. Both Chicago teams have considered themselves contenders and have elected to keep their starting shortstops. Since the Mets didn’t spend on a shortstop they didn’t have to clear Murphy’s salary.
Are the Mets better off with Daniel Murphy or a starting shortstop?