Dec 09

Mets GM Sandy Alderson Not Enthused With Second Base Options If Daniel Murphy Is Traded

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Should the New York Mets trade Daniel Murphy, which has been widely speculated, general manager Sandy Alderson didn’t seem enamored with his replacement options.

“I think we’d be comfortable if we had a number of candidates we could sort through during spring training,’’ Alderson said when asked if he’d be comfortable with Eric Young as Murphy’s replacement.

MURPHY: Alderson not happy with replacement options.

MURPHY: Alderson not happy with replacement options.

Alderson named Young and Wilmer Flores as options, as well as Ruben Tejada should the Mets trade or sign a shortstop. The Mets aren’t close to either.

There’s been speculation since the Mets signed Curtis Granderson that Murphy’s job was in jeopardy because of the proposed move of Young to second base.

Should the Mets opt to keep Murphy and not move Young, they’ll have the problem of deciding who would be their leadoff hitter.

One option might be Juan Lagares, but his high strikeout ratio isn’t conducive to hitting leadoff. Another possibility could be Murphy, who has performed well hitting leadoff in the past, but has the potential for greater run production batting lower in the order.

LATER TONIGHT: Breaking news if any. Otherwise a first-day wrap.

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Dec 09

Mets Should Consider Trade For Brett Gardner

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The New York Mets rarely trade with the Yankees, but recent developments could make a trade conducive for a Daniel Murphy-Brett Gardner trade.

Better still, it is a trade the Mets should make.

GARDNER: Would help Mets.

GARDNER: Would help Mets.

The possibility is ripe after the Mets signed Curtis Granderson and the Yankees landed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, but general manager Sandy Alderson isn’t biting.

“Let’s not categorize players quite yet,’’ Alderson told reporters in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “I mean, I know it looks like, ‘Well, OK, you’ve got this guy and that guy … ‘ But let’s see how it plays out, because I think that’s a little bit unfair to sort of predetermine.’’

The addition of Granderson completes the Mets’ outfield, with Juan Lagares in center and Chris Young in right. The Mets are kicking the tires of moving Eric Young to second base, thereby opening the door for dealing Murphy.

And, with Robinson Cano now in Seattle, the Yankees could use a second baseman, and Murphy’s home run numbers would increase in that ballpark.

The trade has been debunked in several corners, which is all the more reason why it should happen. Teams never disclose whom they are talking trade with, but the Mets have been known to listen to offers for Murphy, who’ll make $5 million to likely price himself off the Mets.

Regardless of how their outfield is currently constructed, remember the Mets could still have holes considering Chris Young is signed for one year.

Gardner and Eric Young would add speed at the top of the order, something the Mets haven’t had in a long time.

Gardner and Granderson would greatly upgrade the Mets’ outfield defense. Pitching and defense were supposed to be the Mets’ foundation when they moved into Citi Field, and Gardner could be a mainstay even after Granderson’s four-year contract expires.

I like Murphy, but if Eric Young is the answer at second base as the Mets might think, this trade is a definite upgrade.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

 

Dec 08

Granderson Signing Doesn’t Answer All Mets Concerns

We can no longer say the Mets won’t doing anything in the Hot Stove League. While I have been cool on Chris Young, landing Curtis Granderson gives the Mets’ offseason a warmer sense of legitimacy and that more could be coming.

General manager Sandy Alderson projects a payroll in the low-$90 million level, and even with the Granderson and Young signings, the Mets will have more to spend to reach that plateau.

There could be more flexibility if they are able to trade Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, which would be roughly a combined $8 million they could take on.

Last month Alderson said there were a half-dozen teams interested in Davis, and even Lucas Duda fielded some inquiries, but nothing has come of that since.

The Mets’ priority remains starting pitching. Ricky Nolasco and/or Phil Hughes would have looked good in the back end of the Mets’ rotation, but both signed long-term deals totaling $73 million by the small-market Minnesota Twins. Jason Vargas got $32 million over four years from the small-market Kansas City Royals. All this could have the Mets looking harder at Bronson Arroyo, who earlier had been talking to the Twins.

With Matt Harvey gone for the season and two holes in the rotation there are a couple of certainties: 1) Jon Niese will not be traded as some had speculated, and 2) prospect Rafael Montero will not be traded, unless a major league ready starter comes in return.

The Mets also need to increase depth in their bullpen, especially considering Bobby Parnell is coming off surgery. If he’s fine, he’ll resume the closer role. If not, Vic Black will get the first shot in spring training.

The Mets also like Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen and lefty Scott Rice. That’s five, meaning they’ll need to pick up one or two more arms.

Shortstop was a significant question after the season, but considering how the market developed it appears as if Ruben Tejada will have the first opportunity to reclaim his job. The Mets were hot for Jhonny Peralta, and also kicked the tires on Rafael Furcal, but they signed elsewhere. Stephen Drew is still available, but he’s priced himself out of consideration.

There is also a need for a veteran reserve catcher. Immediately coming to mind is to bring back John Buck, who was not brought back by the Pirates.

The Mets won 74 games last year, just seven games below .500. If they had Harvey, I would say they could be a .500 team with the addition of Granderson. But, he’s not here and what remains in a hole in the rotation.

No Shaun Marcum this time. Alderson needs to land quality starters if this will be a quality summer.

LATER TODAY: Would a Daniel Murphy-Brett Gardner trade make sense?

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

 

Dec 07

Curtis Granderson Signing Could Open Door To Daniel Murphy Trade

The signing of Curtis Granderson could give the New York Mets increased trade flexibility.

The Mets’ outfield, a weakness at the start of last season, is now a defensive plus with natural centerfielders – from left to right – of Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young.

MURPHY: On the block?

MURPHY: On the block?

This alignment would relegate Eric Young to the bench, or possibly second base. Should the Mets opt to play young in the infield, it would make Daniel Murphy expendable.

“We’ll entertain anything,’’ general manager Sandy Alderson said in a conference call. “It doesn’t mean we’ll act on everything. The nice thing is that with hopefully a couple players signed, we can entertain a lot of different combinations, and at the same time not feel like we absolutely have to act on one of them.’’

Murphy, arguably the Mets’ most consistent offense presence the past two years, will make roughly $5 million this year through the arbitration process, and could be packaged in a trade for pitching.

If the Mets don’t deal Murphy, it is possible he could play first base if the Mets unload Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, or both.

Perhaps the Mets won’t trade Murphy now, but it is conceivable if Eric Young supplants him at second base, he could be dealt in late July.

Dec 06

No Worries, Mets Land Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson got what he wanted, but the New York Mets got what they needed when the outfielder agreed to a four-year, $60-million contract.

Granderson, at 32, wanted an extra year, while the Mets, desperate to not only add a power bat to their outfield, but avoid the perception of inactivity, acquiesced on the extra year.

It is the largest deal the Mets have given an outfielder since they gave a four-year, $66-million contract to Jason Bay, who flamed out to such a degree general manager Sandy Alderson bought him out of the final year.

After repeated promises they would spend this winter to reach a competitive level, the Mets could not go back on their word, even with the loss of Matt Harvey for the 2014 season.

Even with Harvey this year the Mets wouldn’t be able to add all the pieces they needed to compete for a wild card. And, they certainly wouldn’t have been able to add them all next winter.

If nothing else, the Mets needed to show their frustrated fan base they were making an effort. The perception was the Wilpons were sitting on their wallets, but this dashes that notion to a large degree.

Yes, Granderson is a high strikeouts, low on-base percentage and low average player, but his game is driving the ball for extra bases and scoring and driving in runs. This is what the Mets have been lacking.

On the plus side, Granderson can run, and while he has hit leadoff during his career, he’ll likely bat behind David Wright to offer the protection he’s missed since Carlos Beltran was with the Mets.

Granderson also is a left-handed presence the team has needed because of the inability of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to even come close to expectations.

The Mets have resolved their outfield holes, but with the Winter Meetings set for two days in Orlando, they have a considerable amount of work to do, beginning with their starting pitching.

With Harvey out, the Mets need two starters at the back end of the rotation. The Mets also don’t know if Bobby Parnell will be ready to move back into the closer role, and after him, still need to add to their bullpen.

The Mets are still in flux as to their first baseman, and want to trade either Davis or Duda. They also want to add a back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

The Granderson signing figures to push Eric Young out of the outfield and possibly to second base, which could make Daniel Murphy available in a trade. My first thought is they might offer him to the Yankees as a replacement to losing Robinson Cano.