Mar 19

Is Cespedes In Center The Best Thing?

Mets manager Terry Collins is reportedly reluctant to play Yoenis Cespedes anywhere in the outfield other than centerfield, to which I ask: Why? Frankly, after watching Cespedes in last year’s World Series, I wonder if he’s not overmatched playing centerfield.

GRANDERSON: Maybe better off in center. (Getty)

GRANDERSON: Maybe better off in center. (Getty)

From left to right, the current Mets’ outfield plan is Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Curtis Granderson, with 2014 Gold Glove Award winner Juan Lagares coming off the bench. Assuming he’s healthy, Lagares is the Mets’ best defensive outfielder, but the other three are superior at the plate.

On days when Lagares does play, it should be in center for the simple reason that with the Mets’ premium on pitching they should field their best defensive alignment whenever possible. Given that, I wonder why Granderson isn’t being considered in center with Cespedes in right (the best outfield arm is usually in right and that’s Cespedes).

I’m wondering if the Mets, in pursuing Cespedes in the outfield, didn’t promise him center field. Granderson can play center field, and probably just as well as Cespedes.

If the idea is to give yourself the best chance to win and given that, I’m not convinced Cespedes in center is the right decision.

 

 

 

 

Mar 09

Mets Lineup Against Yankees

David Wright out again for Mets. They say he probably won’t play more than a dozen exhibition games this spring, which is fine by me. Just so that he’s healthy. Here’s the Mets’ batting order for today’s game against the Yankees.

Curtis Granderson, RF:  He proved he can hit leadoff, but every time I see his name at the top of the order reminds me of the Mets’ inability to produce a No. 1 hitter in the traditional sense.

Asdrubal Cabrera, SS: Trying to find the right spot for him. He’ll probably hit in three or for other spots in the order.

Yoenis Cespedes, CF: He’s loose now. Let’s see where he is after an 0-for-17 stretch in July.

Lucas Duda, 1B: If he hits 30 homers this year, I’d rather it be five a month rather than two in one month and 12 in another.

Neil Walker, 2B: As with Cabrera, he’ll be moved around a bit until they find a spot for him.

Travis d’Arnaud, C: I’m hoping he can hit at least 20 homers. And, improve his throwing.

Alejandro De Aza, LF: There’s been talk of a trade. They’ll move him if they can.

Kevin Plawecki, DH: It has been mentioned he might open the season in the minors, which might not be a bad thing because he’ll get consistent at-bats.

T.J. Rivera, 3B: Today’s Mets’ third baseman du jour.

Jacob deGrom, RP: I’m betting on at least 17 wins.

 

 

 

Feb 09

Mets Should Move Conforto Around

I read something the other day about the Mets giving Michael Conforto some time in right field and immediately thought, well, why not? I would also consider giving him some reps in center field. And, while they’re at it, why not try him at the top of the order?

CONFORTO: Could see some time in right. (AP)

CONFORTO: Could see some time in right. (AP)

I don’t like typecasting a young player to one position and one slot in the batting order. My thinking is the more versatile a player is the more his value is enhanced.

Conforto in right makes a lot of sense because Curtis Granderson will be gone after the 2017 season. Who knows, maybe Yoenis Cespedes might be gone, too. Assuming Granderson is gone – and days Terry Collins might want to rest him this year – then Conforto could play right, Cespedes could move to left and that way they can give Juan Lagares some time in center.

As for hitting him at the top of the order, although Granderson did well last year, there are times when his power potential could be better suited in the middle of the order. And, Conforto showed signs of being a good hitter. I envision him as a line drive spray hitter with the potential of having a high on-base percentage.

And, assuming Granderson is gone in two years, they’ll need a leadoff hitter again. So, what’s the harm in giving him a look-see there now?

 

 

 

Feb 06

De Aza On Block … Or Is He?

Well, that was quick. With Yoenis Cespedes now in the fold, Alejandro De Aza is suddenly now available. Or, at least that is what is being reported because of the crowded situation in the Mets’ outfield with Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto and De Aza.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said a trade is possible, but not imminent.

Since De Aza, who’ll make $5.75 million this season, isn’t expected to get much playing time, why not deal him? Because trading De Aza is the logical assumption, other teams would think the same thing so his value would appear to be limited.

So, unless De Aza is part of a larger package, I wouldn’t think teams are lining up for him. So, the thought here is De Aza isn’t going anywhere soon.

Jan 23

Examining Nuances Of Cespedes Deal

I would be lying if I said I saw this coming. The Mets’ bringing back Yoenis Cespedes was not as predictable as say, the whiny LeBron James acting to get coach David Blatt fired.

CESPEDES: Coming back. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Coming back. (Getty)

I wrote the Mets could get Cespedes back if they let the market come back to them. That didn’t happen, but Cespedes playing in Citi Field in 2016 was made possible because the Mets made two huge financial concessions. The Mets agreed to terms with Cespedes on a three-year, $75-million, with $27.5 coming in the first season, after which he can opt out.

The Mets refused to go more than three years with Cespedes, but in essence gave him the money he’d get with a four-year deal.

The Mets made this deal simply because they couldn’t afford not to. The Mets have seen the Cubs, Nationals, Giants and Diamondbacks all improve, and the St. Louis Cardinals are always good. The Mets are banking on their young pitching to carry them, but those arms need runs.

New York surprised a lot of people when it reached the World Series last year, but there won’t be any shocking this summer. Everybody knows the attendance ramifications aren’t felt until the next year. The Wilpons couldn’t afford in letting the Mets regress to the point where they wouldn’t taste the benefits of last year’s success.

Without Cespedes, and David Wright a physical question, the Mets would be taking a gamble they could repeat with a stagnant offense similar to the one they had in June and mid-July before the trade was made. It is a gamble they would likely lose. All it would take to re-affirm that was to look at Wright’s career, After 2006 there was the prevailing feeling the Mets would live in the playoffs.

That wasn’t to be.

As far as the economics of the deal, the Mets have to look at this as a one-year, $27.5 million contract because if Cespedes produces you can surely expect him to opt out. And, it not, then they Mets would have him for three years and not have to pay a monster contract.

Actually, it is a win-win for both sides.

Too bad this couldn’t have been done sooner, at least before I wrote yesterday’s headline.