Dec 13

Mets Have Hole At Top Of Order; Juan Lagares No Sure Thing To Stick

The way things currently stand, the New York Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter. The tried nine last season before settling on Eric Young.

The signing of Curtis Granderson sends Young to the bench, that is, unless the Mets trade Daniel Murphy and move Young to second base. However, the Mets are asking a lot for Murphy, so there’s nothing imminent there.

 

LAGARES: Needs to hit to stay.

LAGARES: Needs to hit to stay.

Chris Young has the speed, but strikes out too much to be a consistent leadoff hitter. Juan Lagares also has speed, but also strikes out too much with a 96-20 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 392 plate appearances. The Mets would want somebody with better than a .281 on-base percentage at the top of the order.

We talked last year about Murph maybe leading off, but I haven’t gone there,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “I know Chris Young led off some in Arizona.  But until, again, I see what the pieces are in the clubhouse, I don’t have to write a lineup until the end of February.’’

An intriguing possibility is Ruben Tejada, that is, if he plays the way he did two seasons ago.

“If Rueben Tejada does what we know he can do, he could be that guy because he gets on base,’’ Collins said.  “He gives you great at?bats and gets on base.’’

If not Tejada, Eric Young could resurface if Lagares doesn’t pan out, which is a distinct possibility. Lagares was impressive in center field, but his offense is lacking. There has been some thought of him in a platoon role, which would be a mistake.

If Lagares is on the 25-man roster leaving spring training, he needs to play. Playing off the bench is counterproductive to his development. But, if he plays, he needs to hit. What he gave the Mets last season at the plate won’t cut it.

“I don’t know what it will be.  I don’t know that you can put a number to it,’’ Collins said of Lagares’ offensive potential.  “He’s a guy defensively.  But in order for us to have the success we want, everybody’s got to hit.’’

Quite simply, the Mets aren’t good enough offensively to carry Lagares. He hits, he plays. If not, he should open the season in the minor leagues.

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

Dec 12

Wrapping Up Mets At Winter Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The New York Mets left the Winter Meetings a better team than when they arrived. They haven’t been the busiest team this offseason, and didn’t make the biggest splash, but they have been far from dormant and above all, kept their word on being proactive.

COLON: Surprise addition.

COLON: Surprise addition.

Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson took considerable heat for being dormant and talking a good game, but the additions of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon were not talk. They aren’t the highest profile free agents, but will make an impact on the 2014 Mets assuming their health.

GRANDERSON

* Fills outfield spot they’ve had open since the beginning of last season.

* Adds left-handed power bat to give protection to David Wright.

* Provides veteran presence in the clubhouse along with a player who understands what it takes to play in New York.

COLON

* Fills one of the two slots for a starting pitcher for 2014, and assuming Matt Harvey’s return the following season, completes the 2015 rotation.

* Adds a pitcher who threw 190 innings in 2013 for Oakland, so we’re talking about durability.

* Adds mound presence young arms can learn from.

In addition to Granderson and Colon, this also came from Mets’ manager Terry Collins:

* Bobby Parnell might not be ready for spring training.

* As of now, Ruben Tejada is their shortstop.

* He’s prepared to go into spring training with both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on the roster.

* He’s prepared to have Anthony Recker as the back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

* Wilmer Flores is in better shape, which could enable him to play the middle infield.

* The Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter if Eric Young doesn’t play.

* Said Chris Young is poised for a surprise season.

The Mets still have a way to go and must address the following:

* Find a resolution to the Davis situation. Sandy Alderson spoke with the Brewers on his way out of town, but Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said nothing is happening there.

* They need another starter, at least for the first two months of the season until they are ready to bring up Rafael Montero.

* The acquisition of a veteran back-up shortstop behind Tejada.

* Bullpen depth in anticipation of Parnell not being ready.

* Determine who will be their leadoff hitter when Eric Young doesn’t play.

Although the Mets were more active than many anticipated, I felt they let several opportunities slip through their grasp, among them:

* Did not pursue Phil Hughes. Who would you rather have, a 27-year-old Hughes for $24 million over three years or a 40-year-old Colon for $20 million over two years?

* Despite needing bullpen help, didn’t make a run at Joba Chamberlain, who signed with Tigers.

* Could have had Nate McLouth over Chris Young. McLouth signed today with Washington.

There’s still a lot of time and a lot of work to do before spring training.

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

Dec 10

Manager Terry Collins Touches On All Things Mets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – New York Mets manager Terry Collins addressed a myriad of issues surrounding his club two months away from spring training.

Among them:

* He has the mindset both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will be on the roster in February, and he’ll “adjust’’ accordingly.

* Said one of the reasons why Davis hasn’t reached his potential is because he presses trying to hit home runs.

COLLINS: Optimistic.

COLLINS: Optimistic.

* He’s prepared to start the season with Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Collins said Tejada understood, “his career is at stake.’’

* Zack Wheeler should be able to throw 200-plus innings. Collins said he liked Wheeler’s composure and ability to throw strikes when asked if he’s ready to take a Matt Harvey step.

* He’s prepared to have Anthony Recker as the back-up catcher.

* Is not worried about strikeouts from Curtis Granderson and Chris Young because they offset the strikeouts with run production. Collins named Young as the player most poised to be a surprise this season. Collins indicated Granderson will hit fourth behind David Wright.

* Is pleased with Wilmer Flores attending fitness camp in Michigan. Said he’s added quickness and speed and did not rule out playing some shortstop.

* With Eric Young delegated to the bench, said there’s no clear-cut candidate to hit lead off. Named Daniel Murphy and Tejada as possibilities.

* Has not come up with an outfield rotation, but Juan Lagares will be in it.

* Said he’ll wait until what he sees in spring training before deciding if Bobby Parnell will be ready. Vic Black is the presumed closer if he is not.

Collins said pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie for spring training on Feb. 15.

ON DECK:  Jeff Wilpon dishes on how Mets’ offseason plans changed with Harvey’s injury.

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

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 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.