Jun 19

Mets Should Sign DeGrom Over Harvey

Should the Mets opt to sign just one of their wunderkind pitchers to a long-term contract, my choice would be tonight’s starter, Jacob deGrom. And, if they opt to trade one, I’d first offer Matt Harvey.

Ideally, after this season they should make a run at signing all three to long-term deals. The money would be high, but not nearly what it will eventually be. They must be aggressive and determined, but do you really see that happening?

DE GROM: A keeper. (AP)

DE GROM: A keeper. (AP)

I can’t say for sure deGrom would be easiest to sign or cost less. That’s a hunch. But, it certainly wouldn’t be Harvey, whose agent, Scott Boras, is known for not leaving any money on the table. Boras’ plan has traditionally been to wait until a player reaches free-agent status and play the market. Undoubtedly, this is what he wants with Harvey, and ideally, he wants to play the Mets against the Yankees.

I’ve said numerous times Harvey yearns to be a Yankee. If I am right, that’s fine, that’s his prerogative, that’s his right, but the Mets shouldn’t get caught up in a bidding war. If they want to keep Harvey for the duration of his career, they need to strike before the market opens. But, I don’t think Boras will let that happen, unless, of course, the Mets would be offering 2019 money, which is the year he becomes a free agent.

I don’t believe that will happen, either. However, if the Mets are as committed to building a winning team as they claim to be, they must dig deep.

The guess here is deGrom and Noah Syndergaard might be easier to sign.

DeGrom (7-4, 2.33) is pitching the best so far this season – he is 4-0 with a 1.25 ERA over his last six starts – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He could have won another had his defense and bullpen not coughed it up for him tonight.

There’s a lot to like about deGrom, including his mound composure, command and ability to locate his pitches. Harvey has those things, too, but this year his command has been off as evidenced by all the home runs he’s given up.

So, if it boils down to one in deGrom vs. Harvey and whom to keep, I’m going with deGrom. He has about the same amount of talent, could be financially a better investment, is not a diva, and ultimately, I can’t shake the belief Harvey’s heart is really in the Bronx.

That’s what I believe. I also believe if the Mets had to trade one, my first choice would be Harvey for the same reasons.

Jun 18

What Is The Value Of Colon?

Watching the Mets unravel tonight behind Bartolo Colon brought to mind the obvious questions: Should they trade him and what could they get in return?

Since the Mets, as erratically as they have recently played, are sitting on top of the NL East, there should be no rush to make a trade. However, should Steven Matz emerge as the Mets anticipate, the prospect of trading Colon becomes very real.

COLON: What is his value?

COLON: What is his value?

If the Mets stay in contention, then no, they should keep him. However, if they are fading – a possibility with their offense – then they should get whatever they can.

How Colon has pitched so far – excluding tonight – would undoubtedly be attractive to a contender who believes ten solid starts could make the difference making the playoffs and an early winter. And, the balance of Colon’s $11-million contract would be a minimal investment for a chance to play in October.

However, he’s 42 and not signed beyond this season. He would strictly be a rental, and unless he’s part of a big package, I can’t see the Mets getting more than a mid-level prospect at best. That’s the value of 42-year old pitchers.

If the Mets are willing to accept that – and GM Sandy Alderson always wants more which explains in part their inability to deal – then he’s gone. So, if they are holding out for more, they’ll be waiting a long time. The Mets’ best hope for Colon is to win themselves, because his real value to them comes when he’s on the mound.

 

Jun 17

Gee Deserves Better … Hopefully He’ll Get It Elsewhere

Unfortunately, the relationship between Dillon Gee and the Mets represents the norm in the player-team relationship.

The Mets have acquiesced to just about everything Harvey wants, and the decision to scrap the six-man rotation – designed to preserve his arm – is eventually what cost Gee his job.

GEE: Hopefully he'll land somewhere. (AP)

GEE: Hopefully he’ll land somewhere. (AP)

The Mets first sent Gee to the bullpen, then subsequently designated him for assignment, which is the first step to outright departure, either by trade or minor league assignment.

If the Mets are unable to work out a trade, they will surely stick him back to Triple-A Las Vegas where he will be at their disposal should somebody get injured or Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz – when they eventually bring him up – spit the bit.

To be sure, Gee has not pitched well this season, in part because of a groin injury, but for the most part he has been more than a serviceable starter for the Mets. What was it … over 50 straight starts of at least five innings?

Hopefully other teams were paying attention, for example, Toronto, which is in need of pitching. The Mets could have traded Gee if they wanted, but GM Sandy Alderson was more determine to hold up the other team and nothing was done.

Hopefully, Alderson learned from this winter and realizes there’s limited interest in Gee. Perhaps he’ll then take what he can get and let Gee go to an organization that can really appreciate him.

Gee deserves it.

Jun 16

Mets Must Avoid Making Projections On Lagares

The Mets don’t know the ceiling for Juan Lagares, but are banking it will be high considering they signed him to a multi-year deal.

LAGARES: What's his potential?. (AP)

LAGARES: What’s his potential?. (AP)

When first thinking of Lagares you envision defense, but every once in a while he’ll do something at the plate that makes you wonder just whom the Mets have in their fold. Both good and bad.

Such was the case Sunday with his three-hit game, including a go-ahead homer, that enabled the Mets to beat Atlanta. Lagares is a good athlete, very strong, which of course, leads to conjecture as to his potential power numbers. Mets brass suggested this spring he had 25-homer power potential.

Sunday’s homer was just his third of the season.

It’s too soon to attach pressure-laden projections on him. Before Lagares can be a consistent power hitter he must first learn to be a consistent hitter. So far he’s not. Not even close.

Lagares has been on a hot streak, which raised his numbers to a .278 average, paltry .306 on-base percentage and .674 OPS. He has drawn only nine walks compared to 49 strikeouts, numbers that must drastically change before he’s to be regarded as a professional hitter.

I can’t help but wonder if Lagares’ progression as a hitter wasn’t stunted by the Mets’ decision heading into the season to drop him from the leadoff slot, this after a strong spring training. During the spring Lagares showed marked improvement at being selective, working the count and going to the opposite field – all essential attributes needed for a leadoff hitter.

Hitting first places a premium on reaching base, and those are the most essential skills needed for any hitter. However, whatever patience Lagares was cultivating became quickly scuttled and he’s floundered. Sunday was an encouraging sign, one saying it is within him to be dangerous hitter.

But, he’s far from that now.

Jun 15

Mets Made Right Call On Reyes

The Toronto Blue Jays are in town and with them came old friend Jose Reyes. Naturally, this interleague series will lead to talk the Mets should have extended Reyes after the 2011 season. Yes, the Mets have had problems at shortstop since Reyes left, but that isn’t to say they made a mistake.

REYES: Faces Mets. (AP)

REYES: Faces Mets. (AP)

To the contrary, they made the right call on the now 32-year-old Reyes, who won the batting title in his final year with the Mets. Yes, they have struggled with the position – although Wilmer Flores is getting better – and Reyes is arguably the most exciting player in their history. But, that’s not the point.

At the time the Mets were faced with the dilemma of signing either David Wright or Reyes, and the former was considered the face of the franchise. He still is despite a back injury which has him out of the lineup indefinitely. It must be remembered Reyes whose living is based on his legs, went on the disabled list twice in his last year here and rarely attempted to steal in the second half of the season.

The Mets’ thinking in addition to favoring Wright was the strong possibility Reyes would break down, which he has, going on the disabled list – including this year – in 2013 and 2014. The injuries the last two years were with his legs.

Also, there was no way the Mets would give him close to the $106 million he got from Miami. GM Sandy Alderson didn’t handle this the right way, basically ignoring Reyes to the point where he had no choice but to leave.

Unquestionably, Reyes was one of the most popular and talented players in franchise history, but they always knew he would not leave money on the table. As it turned out, factoring in Reyes’ injuries and low on-base percentage and stolen base numbers, the Mets made the right call.

It was sloppy how they handled it, but Alderson got this one right.