The Next Chapter For Ike Davis: Designation

It wasn’t completely unexpected, but the Pirates designated Ike Davis for assignment yesterday. The Pirates were going to have Alvarez switch to first base next year and at that point, Davis doesn’t have a position. Although Davis has great defense skills, he still hasn’t figured out how to put together a season like his 2012 season where he slammed 32 homers.

In 30 Plate Appearances with the Mets last year, Davis hit one homer. In 397 with the Pirates, he hit an additional 10 finishing the season with a .233 batting average. For the Mets, Lucas Duda went onto a great season after the trade. Same can’t be said for Davis.

But that we all already knew.

What is next for Davis? MLB Trade Rumors projects that Davis would be looking at 4.4 million in arbitration. Right now it is difficult to imagine a team giving him that in this manner. He is still young, and could still hit a ton of bombs again, so 4.4 million would be cheap. He could also bomb out again, and it would be a strain on payroll. Probably an MLB team would feel more comfortable signing him to a incentive filled contract, which just can’t happen right now.

So is he going to clear waivers? That’s a good question. He’s an expensive gamble that can pay off, or just blow up in the face of the team that signs him.

MLB Free Agents Signing Quickly in 2014-15

We are almost two thirds of the way through November and already five players plus an honorable mention have signed off of the MLB Trade Rumors Top 50 Free Agent List. I couldn’t comb through last year’s data so I don’t know if this is faster or slower than last year but it feels faster. So far these players have signed:

  • #6 Victor Martinez (4 years, 68 Million, Detroit)
  • #8 Russel Martin (5 years, 82 Million, Toronto)
  • #29 Cuddyer (2 years, 21 Million, New York Mets)
  • #34 A.J. Burnett (1 year, 8.5 Million, Pittsburgh)
  • #41 Billy Butler (3 years, 30 Million, Oakland)
  • HM, Zach Duke (3 years, 15 Million, Chicago White Sox)

Out of this list, Martinez and possible Burnett were the only ones that were expected. The Martin deal happened very quickly after rumors with the Cubs. The Cuddyer deal caught the vast majority of the baseball world by surprise. Butler just had rumors starting last night and now he’s signed. Zach Duke was in a similar boat.

Right now there are major rumors surrounding possible offers on the table for Pablo Sandoval who would be added to this list.

Like I said earlier, I’m not sure if this is a different trend from previous years, but essentially 2-3 weeks into the off-season 10% of the free agents have already signed. If another 10% sign by Thanksgiving then it might be definitive that the market is moving fast.

How The Mets “Influenced” The Blue Jays Signing Martin

Yesterday the Blue Jays agreed to signed Russel Martin on a 5 year, 82 million deal.

Russel Martin, who will be 32 next season, ended up getting a very similar deal to the 5 year, 85 million Brian McCann got from the Yankees last year, who was 31 going into his first year of the contract. Martin is a career .259 hitter coming off of an excellent season with a .290 BA with 119 HR, averaging 17 a year. McCann is a .272 career hitter with a total of 199 homers averaging 26 a year. Martin is by far the best catcher on the free agent market this year, and unless a team wants to trade for a catcher, they needed to shell out. The Cubs were rumored to offer 4 years, 62 million, so the Blue Jays going 5 for 82 doesn’t seem too farfetched.

It is quite possible though, that the Mets indirectly led to this move.

Before the R.A. Dickey trade, the Blue Jays looked flushed at catcher. They had J.P. Arencibia, who was coming off a 2011 season with 23 homers and a 2012 season with 18 homers. They also had d’Arnaud who looked finally ready to jump to the big leagues. So the Blue Jays do what all teams need to do, to bring in a big player like R.A. Dickey, they needed to take a risk. Essentially the deal required one of Arencibia, d’Arnaud or Gose in addition to the rest of the package, to get done.

Arencibia kept his power numbers up the following year, but his bating average started to fall. He signed a deal with the Rangers after the season and had only 222 PA’s last year. Gose, who never quite put it together, was just traded to the Detroit. The Blue Jays also took on Thole and Nickeas to catch Dickey. Thole still struggles with the bat and we all know about Nickeas.

So the Blue Jays need a catcher, because many of their players are due to leave after the next two seasons, and now they have to overpay for Russel Martin to do it.

The Mets did not influence the Blue Jays to do make this signing, but the Mets were a key part in the gamble that led to the Blue Jays needing to sign Martin.

The Team Unfriendly or Friendly Stanton Deal

I was going to hold off on writing about the Stanton deal until it was actually released, but whatever I’ll write an opinion piece about a deal which has rumored details.

The rumors right now have the deal structured over 13 years for 325 million with a opt out clause after the 5th year.

If the opt out clause is true, think about the pay raise, or just the record setting career pay, Stanton would get if he opts out. If Stanton opts out, that means his performance over the next 5 years warrants that he deserves a contract worth more than whatever is left of 325 million over the next 8. If Stanton opts out then he is looking to making more than this 325 million over his career.

I’m curious if there is anything is this contract that is friendly for the Marlins. 13 years is not team friendly. 325 million is not team friendly. There is a rumor they may include a no-trade clause, not team friendly. Finally player opt outs are already not team friendly, but after only 5 years, that is super not team friendly. This contract also screams for insurance. Paying insurance on a 325 million deal would be absurdly expensive. But if something happens to Stanton over the next 13 years, the Marlins would be stuck in a mighty financial hole.

The part of the contract that is team friendly is that contract is for Stanton. There is very little possibility that the Marlins would ever be able to trade Stanton for his actual worth. Trading him would gut an already gutted fan base. Letting him walk would do the same. They need Stanton. The Marlins will also need something else though besides Stanton. I wonder what the next move will be.

Pitch Clock Violation! Baseball Tries Out Time Saving Techniques in the AFL

The Arizona Fall League, where instant replay was tested before being implemented league wide, is where the league is going to try to speed up the game of baseball. This season more than usual, it seemed that Mets games just dragged on. The magic length for me is 3 hours. At that point, the game really should be over. A perfect length would be 2:30, where a 7:00 game ends around 9:30. For a while I thought Mets games were longer because of Colin’s management of the bullpen, but it is a league wide epidemic.

The first day was a success in the AFL as this article points out. The average game time dropped about 9 minutes compared to last year which doesn’t sound like much but that is the difference between catching your connecting train New York and missing it. Obviously one day of data collecting is way too small of a sample size but it will be interesting to see what happens over the course of the fall. Some of the rules the AFL is using:

  • One foot in the batters box at all time, unless hit by a foul ball etc
  • Limits on how many times a batter can step out
  • Time Limits between innings
  • Time Limits between pitches.

Only one of the three games made use of the last part, 20 seconds between pitches. In the future if a pitcher doesn’t make the 20 second mark, the pitch is counted as an automatic ball.

What I’m most curious to see is how the clock changes the running game. This now puts a time where pitchers need to pitch, so this gives the runner a window to start running. This also could change how catchers approach calling in these situations to catch batters at 2nd base. This is probably the most controversial of the measures.

 

Two Moves to Radically Improve the Mets: Bogarts and Tomas

Although the Mets had a positive run differential on the season, the offense was the weak point for the Mets. (That means considering the bullpen problems were mostly “solved” with the development of Mejia and Familia throughout the season). The Mets lost a lot of close games, and some better hitting, or just more power, would go a long way with this club.

Bring in Tomas, the Cuban free agent. The downsides to to Tomas are obvious. He’s going to require a large, at least 6-7 year contract and he hasn’t played in the majors. However with his age and scouts’ view of his talent, he looks to overcome that. Going into last season, the Mets had a logjam in right field with Duda sitting there and Davis occupying first. Now with Duda clearly at first, Granderson could move to Left to make this work. The second downside is a lot of money sitting in the OF between Granderson and Tomas, therefore not only do they have to produce, but there needs to be a back up plan in case someone gets injured.

The second part of this plan is a bit more painful for the Mets. The advantage to signing Tomas is the Mets don’t need to move any of their pieces, but to get a short stop, they will. Bogarts is going to cost the Mets either a Syndergaard level prospect, which right now in the Mets organization is just Syndergaard (or Wheeler, but he is no longer a prospect) OR it is going require an established starter and hitter. For the Mets, this probably means Niese and Murphy. That is going to be painful. One pitcher looks to eventually be huge in the organization. The other situation requires the Mets to give up one of the more reliable starters and their best hitter last season. The hope here is that Flores or Herrera would fill in at second base. This is the part of the plan I’m most curious about. I would really like to do this without trading Murphy but outside of pitching chips, I’m not sure what else the Mets have to offer.

Saying Goodbye to the 2014 Mets Season

Initially this morning I was relieved.

I don’t have to write a game preview after waking up, I get those 20 minutes back to prep lessons for my students, work on grad school stuff, etc.

But, like every year, I’m sad. The Mets season is over and we’ll be waiting until February for videos and stills of our players getting ready for a successful 2015.

 

Even though we lost this season, there was plenty to be thankful for this season:

  • deGrom was brilliant
  • Duda broke out with a 30 homer season despite a month long platoon with Davis
  • Murphy finally got national recognition
  • Herrera had a successful month in the majors, making next year interesting
  • Flores started to show his talent
  • d’Arnaud came back from the minors strong
  • Wheeler had a great full season to build momentum into next year
  • Mejia and Familia became a force

And our season had some interesting notes:

  • We had Valverde and Farnsworth as the closer for portions of the season
  • Abreu was signed to a minor league deal, then became an everyday fixture for a couple of weeks
  • We also had Lannan on our 40 man this year

Looking forward to a great off-season!

 

Game Preview: Astros vs Mets

The Mets and Astros button up the jerseys for one more time this season as they look to turn the lights off for the 2014 season. Last night the Mets won thanks to a walk off homer from Lucas Duda, his 29th of the season, and today they look to win 79 games in a season for the first time since 2010. Today Bartolo Colon takes the mound as he squares off against Nick Tropeano.

Bartolo Colon is 14-13 over 30 games this season pitching 196.1 innings with a 4.08 ERA. Colon is going to have to bounce back from a poor start in Washington where he allowed 4 ER over 6.0 innings. Last year he pitched against Houston four times allowing 3 earned over 6, none over 7, 5 over 4 and 1 over 6. The Astros have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Altuve 5-14, 2B
  • Dominguez 2-12, 2B
  • Castro 6-9, HR
  • Carter 1-10, 2B
  • Villar 1-5

Nick Tropeano gets the forth start in his rookie season. So far is 1-2 over three games and 16.2 innings with a 3.78 ERA. He is coming off of his worst start of his career where he allowed 4 ER over 6.2 innings. He has not faced the Mets in a major league game and has not faced any players on the Mets in a game.

Lets Go Mets!

Game Preview: Astros vs Mets

The Mets dropped the opener of the last series of the season last night, and they look to bounce back tonight as they play the Astros in game two. Niese left early and the Mets struggled to push runs across the plate as they lost by a score of 3-1, the lone run coming from a Grandy shot. Tonight they look to get back on it with Montero on the mound and Deduno starting for the ‘stros.

Rafael Montero is 1-3 this season over 9 games and 7 starts posting a 4.38 ERA in 39.0 innings of work. He has had a good month of September so far making a start and an appearance totaling to 6.1 innings, no runs, 4 hits, 5 walks and 8 strikeouts. He has never faced the Astros in his major league career and he has never faced anyone on the Astros’ roster.

The Mets draw Sam Deduno who is 2-6 this season over 96.2 innings with a 4.66 ERA. In four games for the Astros this year, in no starts, he is 0-1 over 4.2 innings with a 5.79 ERA. He has never faced the Mets in a major league game before but he has faced one batter on the Mets roster, Curtis Granderson, who is 0-1 against Deduno.

 

Let’s Go Mets!

Game Preview: Astros vs Mets

The Mets split the double header last night which locked in another losing season for the Mets, who still have a chance to finish with 80 wins on the season if they sweep the last series at home against the Houston Astros. Tonight Jon Niese will be on the hill as he takes on Brad Peacock as both teams try to finish their 2014 campaigns with dignity heading into the off-season.

Jon Niese is 9-11 over 29 starts and 182.1 innings with a 3.50 ERA heading into his final start of the season. In his last three starts he is 1-1 over 21.0 innings with a 2.14 ERA while striking out 19 batters. In his career he has made five starts against the Astros with a 1-3 record and a 3.60 ERA. The Astros have the following numbers against Niese:

  • Guzman 2-9
  • Fowler 1-9
  • Altuve 1-5
  • Gonzalez 0-4
  • Castro 0-3

The Mets bats will get a look at Brad Peacock tonight who is 4-9 this season over 27 games, 23 starts and 127.0 innings of work while posting a 4.82 ERA. He is coming off of a statistically interesting start where he pitched 3.1 innings allowed 6 hits and 2 earned runs and thanks to the defense, 7 total runs. He is also 1-0 in one career start against the Amazin’s where he allowed no runs and two hits over 5.0 innings. The Mets have the following limited numbers against him:

  • Tejada 1-3
  • Duda 0-1
  • Satin 0-2

Lets Go Mets!