With the Mets already over their 2014 payroll with many notable arbitration raises expected, the Mets can save some coin by non-tendering former closer Bobby Parnell. The Mets shouldn’t even wait until the tender deadline and should cut the right-hander now to save a 40-man roster spot.
The Mets current plan is to tender Parnell a contract and then ease him back into the bullpen mix early in the regular season. MLB Trade Rumors projects Parnell to make around $3.7 million in his final year of arbitration. I think to give him that would be a mistake as a team without any financial flexibility shouldn’t be taking gambles on injured relievers.
Parnell is not expected to start the year on the 25-man roster as he continues his rehab from April Tommy John surgery. The Mets can’t afford to pay a reliever who won’t be the closer and won’t even be available to start the year $3.7 million.
Don’t forget Parnell also lost a good chunk of 2012 with a very serious neck injury.
Here is the full list of arbitration eligible Mets, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors who do a fantastic job 365 days a year.
Bobby Parnell RP (5.132): $3.7MM projected salary
Daniel Murphy, 2B (5.109): $8.3MM
Eric Young Jr., OF (4.123): $2.3MM
Dana Eveland, RP (4.029): $1.0MM
Dillon Gee, SP (4.028): $5.1MM
Ruben Tejada, SS (3.171): $1.7MM
Lucas Duda, 1B (3.137): $4.3MM
Buddy Carlyle, RP (3.096): $1.0MM
Jenrry Mejia, RP (2.140, Super Two): $3.1MM
After he had his surgery in April I wrote about how Parnell likely played his last game as a Met. You can check out that article here. As of now the Mets plan on keeping Parnell. It is pretty crazy that 18 months ago we were talking about the Mets trading Parnell for a big time prospect and now I’m saying they should cut him.
Remember the Mets could always non-tender Parnell and bring him back on a minor league deal or even a guaranteed deal at a smaller base salary.
Can the Mets afford to keep Bobby Parnell?
The Mets hired Kevin Long to be their new hitting coach a few days ago. Long was fired as the Yankees hitting coach after the Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the second straight season. Long has a similar offensive philosophy to Sandy Alderson (which is why he was hired) and that is to work long at bats, draw walks and get the starter out of the game as soon as you possibly can.
That theory has had mixed results with the Mets over the past few years to say the least and in my opinion the Mets should scrap it.
Met hitters take far too many hittable strikes which results in a lot of strikeouts and situations where hitters are behind in the count, having already taken the best pitch of an at-bat.
The problem with the Mets philosophy is that yes, they are getting the starters out in the 6th inning at 110 pitches but middle relievers now are better than they ever have been. Most teams don’t want the starter out because a hitter would rather face for example a tiring Jason Vargas his third time through the order than the Brandon Finnegans or Kelvin Herreras of the world.
The Mets shouldn’t stop walking by any means but they must be more aggressive especially early in the count if they want to be more successful offensively. Ideally Kevin Long can help them with this in 2015.
In the most unfortunate story you will hear around major league baseball, Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident Sunday in the Dominican Republic. Taveras was driving with his girlfriend, who was also killed. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and the Cardinals released a statement a short time ago. “I simply can’t believe it, I met Oscar when he was 16 years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived everyday to the fullest.” Mozeliak said in a statement.
A truly awful day for professional sports, Taveras was just 22 years old.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the Mets potentially being able to pry away the stud outfielder a few weeks ago after the Cardinals were eliminated. After checking around with a pair of Cardinals people I found out earlier this week that was highly unlikely and the Cards planned on building around the young left-handed hitter for years to come even for a package centered around Mets top prospect Noah Syndergaard. The only way the Mozeliak and the Cards would possibly deal Taveras was in a deal for a superstar established bat like Giancarlo Stanton.
Taveras was ranked as the #3 prospect in baseball going into 2014 and homered in Game 2 of the NLCS exactly two weeks ago today. He had unlimited potential and reminded many of a young Vladdy Guerrero. Just a very, very sad day and all prayers should go to Taveras and his girlfriend’s families.
By Steven Inman
The Mets biggest needs this winter are shortstop and in the outfield but the team also has smaller needs to address.
The Mets are going to need to find a right-handed hitting first base platoon mate for Lucas Duda this winter. Duda hit .180 with two homers in 111 at bats against lefties in his 2014 breakout campaign.
While Michael Cuddyer’s name has come up on a number of occasions, the Mets can fill this small hole on a much cheaper level, saving money to address outfield and possibly shortstop. A great option to fill this platoon is lefty-killing infielder Danny Valencia.
Valencia started his career as an everyday third basemen with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. After the league sort of figured the Miami native out, he bounced around to a few teams but one skill never left him and that is the ability to mash left-handers.
Valencia hit .321 vs. lefties in 112 at bats in 2014 and is a career .327/.368/.502 hitter against left-handers in 229 career games.
Valencia has experience at both first and third. Valencia is property of the Blue Jays. He will be eligible for arbitration this winter for the first time which would make him a possible non-tender. MLB Trade Rumors has Valencia at around $1.7 million if the Jays offer the 30-year old arbitration. The Mets can probably get him for a little over a million if he is put on the open market and he would fit a huge need.If the Blue Jays do tender him a contract he would be far from untouchable in a trade.
Lucas Duda hit .272/.372/.543, that combined with Valencia’s line vs. lefties could make for top 5 NL Production at first base all for less than a combined five million.
How should the Mets handle first base this winter?
The Mets will be actively searching for another outfield bat this winter but free agent to be Nick Markakis isn’t a great fit. For one, Markakis is an older player (31 this November) and is looking for a big payday. It is likely a contender will give the Glen Cove native a four-year contract at a salary of at least $10 million a year. The Mets already have an offensive player like Markakis, his name is Daniel Murphy.
2014 Season Statistics
Daniel Murphy Nick Markakis
143 G 155
.289 AVG .276
.734 OPS .729
9 HR 14
57 RBI 50
Pretty similar? We think so.
The Mets will shop Murphy this winter to save on his expected $8.5-9 million salary so why would they give an older player with similar numbers a long-term deal for even more money?
Answer: They won’t.
Markakis doesn’t have the power that the Mets are looking for and they don’t need a more expensive Daniel Murphy. The team is much better off trading a pitching prospect or two to acquire a young, inexpensive bat like Oscar Tavares or Addison Russell.
By Steven Inman
Oscar Taveras went into the 2014 season as baseball’s #3 prospect according to MLB.com and Baseball America. As the season draws to a close Taveras can find himself on another team.
Taveras is still just 22 but has conquered the minor leagues to the point where Cardinals GM John Mozeliak admitted that Taveras has to be playing in the big leagues somewhere.
Taveras’ stock has certainly fallen a little since being called the next Vladdy Guerrero last winter and being one of the few truly untouchable prospects the game has.
The Cardinals have openly questioned Taveras’ conditioning this season and he came off the bench in all of the Cards postseason games. “I think he needs to focus on quickness.” –Mozeliak to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch. The Cards believe that Taveras put on too much bulk this winter.
Taveras is in a numbers crunch in the St. Louis outfield and could actually be available. “The betting line here says someone goes this winter from the current outfield crop. Jay and Bourjos are both arbitration-eligible. Mozeliak underscored that Taveras needs to play regularly somewhere. Prospect Stephen Piscotty, 24 in January, demands a hearing. A winter trade of somebody seems likely.” –Strauss (in same article)
The Mets should make this gifted hitter their number one target this winter.
Taveras hit .318 with a .370 OBP with eight homers and 49 RBI in 62 games at Triple-A Memphis this season. He has enough potential that he can turn the Mets offense into a strength, all at the league minimum. This is the bat the Mets have been waiting for.
If Taveras had already reached his potential he wouldn’t be available and if he was he would cost more than the Mets have in their farm system. A potential swap of Noah Syndergaard plus another high ranking pitching prospect and Oscar Taveras could make a lot of sense from both sides and is definitely something the Mets should be interested in pursuing.
Taveras is still a work in progress in the outfield but can play either corner and has some experience in center. He has great power but his ability to hit for a high average and get on base is probably what would be appealing to a team like the Mets who covet guys with high on base percentages.
The Mets could in theory trade a prospect to St. Louis for Taveras, filling their need for a big bat without spending any significant money. Then the team could have the budget to either address shortstop or keep Daniel Murphy and Bartolo Colon.
I’m not saying this is likely but the Mets should swing for the fences for once this winter.
The recent trend in baseball is locking up young stars to long-term deals before they are eligible for arbitration, let alone free agency. These deals are usually very team-friendly, such as the Rays contract with superstar Evan Longoria. Longoria received a six years $17.5 million during his rookie year in 2008. Tampa got a superstar that they drafted on the cheap through his prime and Longoria got financial security. It doesn’t appear as if those deals really exist anymore.
Last winter the Atlanta Braves locked up young star Andrelton Simmons to a seven year $58 million contract. Simmons is still a work in progress with the bat and wasn’t even arbitration eligible until this winter, hardly a discount. I’m a big fan of Simmons but for that price they may have been better off going year to year. The point is by the time these players are in their 3rd or 4th year and have established themselves; they are already a fortune to keep.
There just doesn’t seem to be hometown discounts anymore. Another Braves player, Julio Teheran just got over $30 million after just his rookie year. This doesn’t bode well for the Mets and some of their young talent such as Zack Wheeler.
Unless players get locked up during their first two years, they seem to be getting monster contracts. Wheeler in less than 300 big league innings has already proven to be a quality starting pitcher in the big leagues. That means it’s already time to get paid.
The good news is Wheeler,23, won’t be a free agent for five more years, but let’s just say he establishes himself in 2015 as a top of the rotation pitcher. After the season he can tell the Mets he won’t sign long term for under $60 million or so. Another season it goes to $75 million or so and will continue to escalate.
Wheeler was 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA over his last 16 starts of the season.
Homer Bailey of the Reds got six years $105 million last year, not because he is a great pitcher but because he eats innings and was one year away from free agency. Money in baseball is getting out of hand and it is up to the Mets to lock up some of their young talent now like the Braves are doing.
The Mets did a good job of this a few seasons back when they signed Jon Niese to a five-year contract extension. Niese looked promising but with all of his injury questions he was hardly a sure thing at the time. If the Mets brought that contract to Niese today, he for sure wouldn’t sign it. Now Niese is a young left-handed pitcher locked up long-term and could bring a good return in a trade.
If the Mets wait a few years, players like Wheeler or even Matt Harvey may decide to just go year by year in arbitration until they hit free agency where they will sign elsewhere for significant dollars.
A six year contract worth around $40-45 million with a couple of team options would give Wheeler the security he is looking for while ensuring that Wheeler will be a Met throughout his prime.
The Yankees are considering bringing in former Met GM, Omar Minaya, to join the Yankees front office.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is close with Minaya, who is currently the senior vice president of baseball operations for the Padres. According to a report in Newsday, it’s not clear what role Minaya would have with the Yankees, though it’s possible he could replace Mark Newman, who recently retired as the team’s farm director.
Minaya, born and raised in New York, has made it known he would like to return to New York baseball someday and it doesn’t appear that it is going to happen with the Mets, at least anytime soon.
A majority of Met fans had a negative opinion on Minaya after he was let go after the 2010 season. That perception is changing now though thanks to young pitchers that his regime drafted such as Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Jon Niese among others.
Minaya, the Mets GM from 2005 to 2010, has held his current job since December 2011. San Diego fired Josh Byrnes as GM on June 23, and Minaya temporarily shared the GM role with two others before A.J. Preller was hired on Aug. 7. It is unclear what role Minaya will have with Preller, who also grew up in New York and went to Walt Whitman High school on Long Island.
Cashman has a history of hiring former GMs, including Kevin Towers (Padres) and Jim Hendry (Cubs).
As a Met fan would you have a problem with Minaya joining the Yankees front office?
By Steven Inman
While the Mets saw significant progress from many young players in 2014, it didn’t result in much of a difference in the win column. The Mets only won 79 games in 2014, only five more than in 2013 and 2014. There are many reasons for the team not being contenders in this season but perhaps the biggest reason finishing under .500 was based on a move that they didn’t make last winter.
The decision to not sign shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a long term deal now looks even worse for Sandy Alderson and the Mets.
Sandy Alderson and brass picked Peralta as their number one target last winter. They had a meeting with the shortstop during the winter meetings and ran for the hills when they heard his asking price was north of $50 million. Instead they gave that money to Curtis Granderson and Chris Young.
We reported on BrokeMets during last year’s winter meetings that since shortstop is such a tough position to find a hitter these days, they would have to overpay someone or be forced to start Ruben Tejada again.
Instead Peralta signed a four year contract worth $53 million with the Cardinals and St. Louis is reaping the benefits of that move as they play in their 4th straight NLCS.
Peralta’s deal looks cheap compared to what similar players have signed recently. There are only a handful of teams in major league baseball with a shortstop that can hit. Having one like Peralta gives a team like the Cardinals a huge advantage, as if they didn’t have a deep enough team already.
Met shortstops hit .236 this season which was 27th in baseball. They clearly need an upgrade but the team is likely to just go with Wilmer Flores and hope he doesn’t get exposed playing every day at this key position.
Perhaps the Mets 2014 season goes a lot differently if they got a 20 homer bat out of shortstop. This is a move that Sandy Alderson should regret not making especially considering they spent that money elsewhere on the offense.
David Wright endured a career worst season in most statistical categories in 2014. The Mets captain suffered from a serious shoulder injury early on in 2014 and was never able to get back on track before officially ending his season in early September.
Wright wouldn’t admit his shoulder was seriously bothering him until the Mets were all but out of the race, although to the media and his teammates it appeared obvious that Wright was hurting and winded up doing more harm than good for the Mets lineup.
Talking to a former Met today who played with Wright during their contending years, he said an issue that wasn’t really talked about was there wasn’t a teammate that was willing to stand up to Wright this year and basically tell him he needs to go get healthy on the DL because he is hurting the team playing injured.
The Mets are already two bats short now entering the off-season. They are unlikely to be able to find two more middle of the order hitters, if they can’t count on their third basemen next year the offense is almost assured to ruin any chance the club had to contend in 2015.
The team may also lose Daniel Murphy to a trade so the Mets will be counting on David Wright to stay healthy and productive more than ever before as the club hopes to contend for a playoff spot for the first time since 2008.
The Mets enter 2015 with fewer question marks than they have had in some time but one of the biggest concerns will be how productive their seven-time All-Star will be in 2015.