Nov 11

Josh Thole Will Most Likely be Back In 2013

Yesterday at the GM Meetings, Sandy Alderson spoke with reporters and emphasized that while he gets perhaps a little more payroll flexibility than he originally anticipated, that it still doesn’t change much about the kinds of players they can acquire this winter, and that they still will be looking at the bottom of the free agent market pool.

Mike Puma of the New York Post added that with regard to catcher, Alderson also said they will likely be keeping Josh Thole because of how difficult it is to find just one catcher, let alone two.

Thole, who earned $498,000 in 2012, is arbitration eligible and could easily double his salary and earn close to one million dollars in 2013.

As we highlighted on Mets Merized Online, it’s slim pickings at catcher. I keep hearing many Mets fans mentioning the name of Blue Jays elite catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as a potential target for the team. But they have as much inclination to trade their top prospect as we do Zack Wheeler, so unless we’re talking a swap of top prospects, it is unrealistic to view him as someone the Mets could potentially go after.

Any team that has a solid catcher that they are willing to trade understands the scarcity of quality at that position and would demand a premium in return and rightfully so. We would do the same in their position.

As far as Thole goes, he’s cheap and has very little offensive value, but he’s shown a good ability to catch a knuckleball, and has developed a good relationship with R.A. Dickey.

May 25

R.A. Dickey Wants A Contract Extension

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, R.A. Dickey would like the front office to pick up his $5 million dollar option for 2013 and begin negotiating a contract extension, saying:

“I like it here and I want to be here. I feel like the team is moving in the right direction, and I want to be a part of the solution. Now it’s up to them. If I’m in their plans, [a contract extension] is one way to make it known. … I made the comment before, when I signed my contract, that it was my hope to be the best bargain around. It looks like it’s kind of come true the last couple of years.”

I love R.A. Dickey and by all means pick up that option, but as far as negotiating an extension goes, how can you do that while refusing to discuss an extension with David Wright?

During the recently completed road trip, Wright told reporters that the Mets have never approached him about an extension despite several overtures from him that he wants to play his entire career with the Mets.

I just don’t see how 37-year old Dickey gets a new contract before 29-year old Wright. You get my drift?

Written by Drew Staley of Mets Merized Online.

Feb 16

Duda Hoping To Get It Right

Andrew Keh of the NY Times says the Mets have replicated the new dimensions at Citi Field at the team’s spring training complex in Florida. Field 6, which was initially constructed with fences that mimicked the original shape of Citi Field, was altered this winter to match the stadium’s new design.

So far, it has been left unused by the players who came here this week for voluntary workouts, and no one is expected to practice there before the team officially opens spring training next week. But when they do, the first fly balls there will carry with them a significant dose of intrigue.

Good call by the Mets in my opinion and it will be interesting to hear what kind of feedback we get from the players once they start playing some games there.

In addition to getting a feel for what it will be like to hit at Citi Field, it will also be useful Lucas Duda who really needs to elevate his play in right field.

Mark Simon of ESPN shared some insight on Duda’s defensive problems last season:

Duda had trouble coming in on balls and he had trouble going back on balls too. Duda had four Defensive Misplays for failing to anticipate the fence, which rated his biggest defensive issue. Pro-rated over a full season, Duda’s misplay rate would come equate to nearly 60 Defensive Misplays & Errors for an everyday player over a full season. That would be about as bad as could be. Last year’s major league leaders, Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks and Mike Stanton of the Marlins, had 49.

Yes, Duda emerged as a viable hitter with power for the Mets after he replaced Carlos Beltran in right field last season. But he looked like a train wreck defensively. Now with the new dimensions, he can gain some valuable reps out there that could make his job easier. Duda told Keh that he is eager to start the process.

“I can’t wait to get out there,” Duda said of Field 6. “My routes have to get a lot more precise, so it’ll be a good thing to go out there and start to get used to the dimensions.”

By the way, Mets outfielder instructor Tom Goodwin is already in camp and working with Duda on getting a better jump on balls.

Duda is going to be an important piece of the puzzle in 2012, and this focus on fielding his position well, should pay some nice dividends for Terry Collins and the Mets this season.

Collins, incidentally, sees the situation with Duda like this:  “This guy is going to be a monster.”

Written by Craig Lerner of Mets Merized Online.

Jan 19

How Do Baseball Evaluators View Wright?

Buster Olney of ESPN.com, talked to three evaluators about Wright’s game.

From an AL evaluator: “He will have value at the trade deadline if healthy and performing as usual. He will bring compensation as a free agent, so his value to Mets is fairly high, and a team acquiring him will have to give up more than the value of a couple of high draft picks. He’s a very good player, but not consistent enough to be a star on offense and defense. His defense has gone backwards and get into funks offensively. He’ll produce numbers, and most every team would want him, but not as a No. 3 or a No. 4 hitter on a good team.”

From an NL evaluator: “Wright’s value is limited by the lack of control and expensive salary. He’s not a great defender and hasn’t cleared 20 HR in two of the past three seasons. He’s been trending downward by most statistical metrics and our scouts are concerned his swing has gotten long and slow, leading to a high strikeout ratio. Think about it this way: Aramis Ramirez just signed a 3-year, $36 million deal with the Brewers. Ramirez is a better hitter and similar defender to Wright — who is due $31 million for the next two seasons if his option is exercised — so what are you paying for? Make-up? Fame?”

From an AL scout: “David Wright is a potential coup. He’s eerily similar in value to the Seattle version of Adrian Beltre, although he (and everyone else in baseball) is not the defender that Beltre is. He and Beltre both were suffocated by their home parks, Citi Field and Safeco Field, respectively. Teams should have pounced and offered Beltre a premium multi-year deal when he left Seattle originally. If available, I’d trade and sign Wright now. Another caveat with Wright is that he’s performed and handled himself admirably in New York, which bodes well for any type of market going forward.”

Kind of like the good, the bad and the ugly…

Not one of them referred to his fractured back injury, an injury that has wreaked havoc on many a great player’s career in the past. I happen to think that we haven’t heard the last of that.

I still feel there”s a chance Wright will be traded BEFORE the 2012 season.

Some value is still better than ZERO value if that back starts barking in April.

Plus I’m pretty sure that saving $7-8 million on his salary will have the approximate net value of 15-20 sold out games at Citi Field.

I’m pretty sure that CRG will be pointing out these facts as part of their initial report that should be ready around Feb. 10. I remind you of the three steps a turnaround consultant told me that CRG will recommend.

  1. Stop the bleeding. (Saved $70M by cutting payroll, workforce. Sub-leasing assets.)
  2. Trim the fat. (Eliminated a minor league affiliate, may cut more payroll?)
  3. Make better financial decisions moving forward. (Hired Alderson and CRG, kept Howard and Ricco, stopped meddling)

Catch more of my opinions at Mets Merized Online.

Jan 16

Is Wilmer Flores Being Phased Out At Shortstop?

Anthony DiComo of Mets.com, posted a cool article on the future of shortstop for the Mets and dishes out some interesting info on Ruben Tejada as well as prospect Wilmer Flores whose shift from shortstop has already begun.

Two or three years ago, there was a notion around baseball that, perhaps, Wilmer Flores, a middle infielder by nature, would be ready to crack the big leagues by 2012. That hope dissolved when Flores, still just 20 years old, began developing slower than expected.

Recently (and hardly unexpectedly), the concept that Flores might ever be the long-term solution at shortstop has disappeared, as well.

To that end, the Mets allowed Flores to play almost exclusively at third base during Winter Ball in Venezuela, where he batted .301 with a .382 on-base percentage. It was the first tangible positive in some time for Flores, who posted on-base marks of .309 and .324 during extended runs at Class A St. Lucie in 2010 and 2011.

Now, Flores finds himself at something of a career crossroads. Either the Mets send him back to St. Lucie, where he will no longer be notably young for the level, or they promote him to Double-A Binghamton on the basis of nothing more than projection.

For years now, scouts have insisted that Flores possesses all the proper tools to become an offensive star. The statistics, they have said, will come in time. Whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen. But Flores has already proven one thing: that shortstop is not likely his long-term position.

Flores will have to have a very strong showing in 2012 to keep his status as a top prospect.

The Mets can ill-afford another slide like F-Mart went through, going from the organization’s top hitting prospect to being placed on irrevocable waivers last week.

Flores has already slipped from #1 prospect to somewhere between #5-10 depending on who you ask.

Hojo’s Mojo – MetsMerizedOnline.com

This is Joe D. from Mets Merized Online, and I just wanted to let the fine readers of this site know that from time to time I will be posting some of our content here on NY Mets Report as me and John continue to work together on some projects. Lets Go Mets!