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.

Nov 24

Mets Have Same Issues As When Season Ended

With it being 27 degrees outside, what better time to think about spring training for the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie?

Spring training will be here before you know it, and the Mets aren’t close to being ready, having not filled any of their myriad of the holes they had at the conclusion of last year’s 74-win season.

Not one, and please, don’t even attempt to justify Chris Young as an answer.

The Mets have roughly three months to address the following concerns:

ROTATION: At least the Matt Harvey question was answered, as it is better to know in the negative rather than to wonder. Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and the sampling from Zack Wheeler comprises the starters. With the uncertainty of Jenrry Mejia recovering from elbow surgery and the preference to wait on Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets have two slots to fill, with none immediately from the inside.

BULLPEN: Bobby Parnell is recovering from surgery, so he’s a question. LaTroy Hawkins is now in Colorado. A late-season pick-up last year, Vic Black will either be the closer until Parnell returns or in a set-up role. Scott Rice, Carlos Torres and Scott Atchison are expected back, but two or three other roles could be determined during spring training.

CATCHER: Travis d’Arnaud goes in No. 1, but the Mets are still searching for a veteran mentor. Although they never were going to get him, the Mets have to be pleased to see Brian McCann going to the American League, even if it to the Yankees.

FIRST BASE: Reportedly, there was interest in Ike Davis, but where did it go? Supposedly there was interest from Milwaukee, but that appears to have cooled. Perhaps, something will warm up at the Winter Meetings.

SECOND BASE: Daniel Murphy might be a tradable asset, but will go as a package for anything substantial. He won’t bring back much in a one-for-one trade.

SHORTSTOP: This is a major concern, but it appears Jhonny Peralta is close to signing with St. Louis, which just traded former World Series hero David Freese. That franchise just keeps rolling on. Ruben Tejada is attending a fitness camp in Michigan, so maybe they are re-signed to going with him for another year.

OUTFIELD: No, .200-hitter Young is not the answer, but acquiring him does seem to answer the question of whether Jordany Valdespin is in their plans. Juan Lagares and Eric Young have tentative spots, in center and left, but right field is open. Matt den Dekker could fill a spot, but won’t provide the offense they want.

So, nearly two months after the end of another disappointing season, the Mets are in the same position from when we last saw them.

 

Nov 19

Moving Eric Young And Ditching Daniel Murphy Not A Good Plan

It has been suggested the New York Mets might consider moving Eric Young to second base and deal Daniel Murphy.

This isn’t a good idea on several levels.

YOUNG: Leave him in left.

YOUNG: Leave him in left.

The first is finding somebody to take Murphy, who, with David Wright injured last season was the Mets’ most consistent offensive weapon.

The Mets could move Murphy to first base, where there is already a logjam. That could be alleviated if they can trade Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, or perhaps even both.

The Mets apparently have given up on Davis, but hold out hope for Duda because of his power, something Murphy lacks, especially at a position such as first base that places a premium on power. At best, Murphy might be good for 15 homers.

They might be able to live with a Murphy-Wilmer Flores at first base if they can get the power elsewhere. A full season from Wright could give them some of that power, but where else would it come from if the line-up remains the same?

What has Travis d’Arnaud shown us to think he’ll be a big bat? Back-up catcher Anthony Recker has shown more.

As of now, there’s nothing coming from the outfield. As of now they are looking for one bat while giving Lagares a chance. Moving Young to the infield would create another hole, so that idea should be quashed on that reason alone.

LATER TODAY: There’s no plan for Wilmer Flores