MMs Off-Season Series: 2015's Arbitration Cases


     With the 2014 season over it's now time to focus our attention to the 2015 off-season. With the emergence of our young stars this season and the return of the "Dark Knight of Flushing," this off-season is going to be a critical one for Sandy Alderson and company. We already took a look at Alderson's starting budget and the players already contractual committed here. Last week, we reviewed all the team friendly, renewable contracts for the young stars. Today we'll take a look at Arbitration Cases.

2015 Arbitration Eligible Players

     After a player 1st 3 years of a player's MLB service time they are subject to annual contract reviews through arbitration. Both the team and the player submit a salary that they think he/they are worth. The arbitor then reviews the case and selects who's salary figure is more appropriate. Since there is no middle ground, sometimes its in the best interest of both parties to agree on an extension before even reaching the hearing.

     This season the Mets have 9 players eligible for arbitration. A few of them are actually in for pretty substantial raises too which will make them trade targets. Figures are based on MLBTR formulas.

Player Service Time (yrs)   2014 salary     2015 salary  
Daniel Murphy
$5,700,000 $8,300,000 Trade Candidate
Bobby Parnell
$3,700,000 $3,700,000
Dillon Gee
$3,625,000 $5,100,000 Trade Candidate
Eric Young Jr.
$1,850,000 $2,300,000 Non-Tender Candidate
Lucas Duda
$1,637,500 $4,300,000
Ruben Tejada
$1,100,000 $1,700,000 Non-Tender Candidate
Jenrry Mejia
$509,675 $3,100,000
Dana Eveland
$500,000 $1,000,000
Buddy Carlyle
$500,000 $1,000,000 Non-Tender Candidate

     A few guys are non-tender candidates. With Matt den Dekker's speed and glove, EYJ is no longer useful to the club. Wilmer Flores is a huge offensive upgrade over Tejada and his defense has been ok for now. The club will want a late inning defensive replacement on the bench and Tejada is surely not that. Lastly, with Parnell returning in 2015 and the Mets having plenty of pitching depth under renewable contracts, there is no reason for them to keep the right handed Carlyle. Eveland may end up staying and competing for the 2nd lefty spot though

     The raises that will be toughest to swallow are the $2.6m raise to Murphy, the $2.7m to Duda, and the $1.5m raise to Dillon Gee. In Duda's case, the raise is deserved and needed with 0 MLB ready replacements in AAA. With Harvey's return, Wheeler and deGrom's growth, Niese's team friendly contract, and Syndergaard's near readiness, there may not be a spot on the team for Gee so he is likely to be traded. Murphy on the other hand is a different story.

     While Dilson Herrera may be viewed as Murphy's eventual replacement, he has yet to play in AAA which gives the Mets some flexibility. Theoretically, Herrera could spend time in AAA with Murphy on the team in 2015. If, come trade deadline time, the Mets are not in a playoff run, they could trade Murphy then instead of now. The market may force this decision due to the fact that the Middle Infield Free Agent class is rather deep with Astrubal Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, JJ Hardy, Stephen Drew, Jed Lowrie, and Emilio Bonifacio all available.

     IF the Mets keep everyone, this fills their 40 man roster at a payroll of $98,509,000 which is clearly over budget by about $8m. For now this is the number we will start our off-season planning with and we'll work down starting in our next post.

2014 Winter Leagues: 10/20/2014 Results


Arizona Fall League
- Salt River Rafters 4 - 2 Peoria Javelinas
- Surprise Saguaros 6 - 5 Mesa Solar Sox
- Glendale Desert Dogs 3 - 7 Scottsdale Scorpions
  • LF Brandon Nimmo: 1 for 4, RBI, BB, K
  • 2B L.J. Mazzilli: 1 for 3, 3B, 2 R, BB, K 

Venezuelan Winter League
- Aguilas del Zulia 10 - 5 Tigres de Aragua

Mexican Pacific League

(No Games Scheduled)

Dominican Winter League
- Aguilas Cibaenas 7 - 1 Gigantes del Cibao

Roberto Clemente Puerto Rico League

(Begins 10/30/2014)

Morning Report – October 21 – Rob Whalen, PLAYER A/B/C/D, Javier Baez, Grandy, Familia, Tapia


Rob Whalen on using ‘the clock’ (being used in the AWL) -
“We played our first game at Salt River so we experienced the clock right away. Honestly, didn't seem to make a difference. Guys weren't in any more of a rush between pitches or between innings taking their positions. I'm not a fan of it. The game was still fairly long and slow due to walks and tight strike zones. I think if the zone opened up a little bit you would see less walks and more contact which would lead to the game speeding up a little bit. I don't believe it's going to stick around and make it to the bigs. It failed in college games and will fail in pro ball. If it were to stick, it shouldn't be on when runners are on base, they can just time the clock. Pitchers need more time with guys on holding the ball to freeze the runners is part of a pitchers strategy to keep guys from stealing, especially if they have slow moves to the plate when delivering a pitch.”

Mack – Let’s remember… Whelan is pitching in the Winter League for one reason and that is to build up innings and arm strength loss that became limited in the 2014 season due to his injuries that included an infection in his throwing hand. I like his comments because he’s not afraid to give an honest assessment at this point and he doesn’t seem to be looking over his shoulder wondering if one of the Mets execs is going to yank him off the band box (and if that came from jay, it could be quite the yank). Another fellow in the cap of a very talented, confident, almost cocky starter. Maybe we’ll soon see him rooting hard at New Your Ranger games.

Question… there were two players:

Player A – 399-AB, 
.346/.431/.529/960, 11-HR, 65-RBI

Player B – 331-AB, .326/.403/.547/950, 16-HR, 73-RBI

Player A is Mookie Betts and his combined AAA/AA 2014 stats.

Player B is Cesar Puello in 2013.

Betts has been called the best outfield prospect since Ted Williams while Puello couldn’t even get a top 100 prospect ranking before he made an appointment with Biogenesis.

Am I missing something here?

Let’s add two more

            Player C – 478-AB, .343/.405/.454/859, 6-HR, 61-RBI
            Player D – 453-AB, .349/.388/.446/834, 5-HR, 75-RBI

Some additional at-bats but comparable stat lines.

Player C is Matt Reynolds.
Player D is T.J. Rivera.

It’s obvious that ‘stat lines’ do not define the ballplayer, but I thought you’d find all this interesting.

Javier Baez, IF: The 21-year-old Baez was aggressively pushed through the upper minors and into the Majors in 2014 despite the Cubs’ losing season. The Puerto Rico native had a chance to make fans salivate for his 80-raw power but the 95-15 K-BB rate in 52 games helped to underscore just how raw this talented hitter really is. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/a-minor-league-review-of-2014-reds-and-cubs/

Mack – We just recently did a breakout on super-prospect Addison Russell.             Then we have all-star Starlin Castro and his bloated contract. And now there’s Baez. The Chicago Cubs system simply can’t sustain all this talent at one position. Frankly, my money would be on Baez being potentially the most talented, leaving either Castro or Russell for the trading block. 

Curtis Granderson, right field  -  The nicest thing you can say about Granderson is that he wasn’t Chris Young. The move from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field meant 30 home runs was no longer a possibility, but he did hit nine more doubles in 2014 than he did with the Yanks in 2012 (his last full season). But $60 million should do more than buy you a .227 average and 1.3 WAR.  Grade: C–  http://www.metro.us/newyork/sports/mlb/2014/09/30/mets-2014-report-card/

        Mack - Oh, let's get off the back of this guy. I don't think anyone in the history of this game managed to play worse in the first month of this past season and still keep his composure around all the beat guys, fans, and teammates. He worked his way up,  being knocked around the lineup and hit .299 in September (87-AB) with 4-HRs and 17-RBIs. Prorate that out even with no fence movement and you arrive at 24-HR and 102-RBI. This is just about what his current contract is worth at this point in his career and, numbers like this win additional baseball games

Like I said, let's stay off his arse and give him another shot here. We may be pleasantly surprised..

Jeurys Familia - Familia is obviously a keeper; in fact, he may have the best pure stuff of any pitcher the Mets have. Now that he's established himself as a confident and effective late-game reliever, the Mets may give him a chance to compete for the closer's job in spring training. Of course, regardless of what inning he's pitching in, Familia is a huge asset in the Mets bullpen and should be for years to come. http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/10/10/determining-fate-for-each-member-of-new-york-mets-bullpen-in-2015/#slide_25

            Mack – Familia is now on my very short ‘keeper list’ with guys like David Wright, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. I said years ago, long before there was ever a mention of the other three pitchers I wrote in this paragraph, that Familia was the kind of pitcher you build a staff around. He was a young Mets starter than, but his talent hasn’t changed. I believe in the long run he will become the Mets closer before 2015 ends and will star in the 2016 All-Star game in that role.

The Tumbler: Domingo Tapia, RHP: Tapia can hit triple digits with his fastball but his control has always been less than ideal. Things went from bad to worse in 2014 and he walked 51 hitters while striking out just 59 in 109.0 innings of work. He needs to find a more consistent secondary offering to help put batters away. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/a-minor-league-review-of-2014-marlins-mets-nationals/

Mack – Boy, we haven’t talked about this guy for a long time and it may be a long time before we talk about him again. I remember how excited Frank Viola was to get a look at his 97mph… slider… but, control wise, he makes Jack Leathersich look like Tom Glavine.

‘On paper’, he’s scheduled to pitch in the Binghamton rotation, but so is Matthew Koch, Kevin McGowan, Luis Cessa, Michael Fulmer, and Luis Mateo. My guess, due to Fulmer’s surgery and Mateo’s rustiness, he’ll get one more chance in 2015.



The Cost Of Baseball


My MLB Draft - Mock Draft - Updated 9-29


Michael Matuella
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Duke

Draft#:2 *
Brendan Rodgers
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: SS
School: Lake Mary HS (FLA)

Phil Bickford
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: -

Brady Aiken
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: LHP
School: -

Daz Cameron
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: OF
School: Eagle Landing HS (GA)

Alex Bregman
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: SS
School: LSU

Walker Buehler
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Vanderbilt

Ashe Russell
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Cathedral HS (IN)

Justin Hooper
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: LHP
School: De La Salle HS (CA)

Mike Nikorak
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Stroudsburg HS (PA)

Nathan Kirby
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: LHP
School: Virginia

Carson Fulmer
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Vanderbilt

Ian Happ
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: 2B
School: Cincinnati

Kyle Funkhouser
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Louisville

Kolby Allard
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: LHP
School: San Clemente HS (CA)

D.J. Stewart
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: OF
School: Florida State

Dansby Swanson
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: 2B/SS
School: Vanderbilt

Riley Ferrell
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: TCU

Kyle Cody
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Kentucky

Ryan Johnson
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: OF
School: College Station HS (TX)

Chris Betts
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: C/1B
School: Wilson HS (CA)

Kyle Tucker
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: OF
School: H.B. Plant HS (FL)

Jahmai Jones
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: 2B/OF
School: Wesleyan (GA)

Nick Plummer
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: OF
School: Brother Rice HS (MI)

Beau Burrows
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Weatherford HS (TX)

Jake Lemoine
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Houston

Cody Ponce
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Cal Poly Pomona

Kyle Molnar
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Aliso Niguel HS (CA)

Nicholas Shumpert
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: SS
School: Highlands Ranch HS (CO)

Austin Smith
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Park Vista HS (FL)

Gray Fenter
Ht/Wt:/ lbs
Position: RHP
School: Mississippi St.


UPDATE - VP - J.P. Ricciardi


According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe The Mets are working on an extension to keep J.P Ricciardi as special assistant to GM Alderson

The Case for Alex Rios


 Earlier this month, the Texas Rangers decided to decline on picking up the $13.5mil option on outfielder Alex Rios. There were a number of factors here

1.     Rios had struggled throughout the 2014 season with both thumb and ankle injuries. He ended the season hitting .280, 4-HR, 54-RBI in 492 at-bats.

2.     The entire Texas experience just didn’t seem to work out after arriving in August 2013. He hit only 10 home runs (.280, 80-RBI) in the combined 678 at bats over those two seasons

3.     Rios will play the 2015 season as a 34-year old.

4.     Rios is basically considered a below-average defensive right fielder

That being said, over 2012-13, he slashed .291/.329/.473 in 1,302 plate appearances with 43 home runs and 65 steals.

This is a subjective post. I know most of the comment makers here on the site pretty much agree that Michael Cuddyer would be a better choice for the Mets to go after. I have no problem with Cuddyer, but his agent is never going to agree to a one-year contract. Rios’ agent will. NO team is going to offer a 34-year old coming off two major injuries a multiple year contract.

The Mets could be the perfect platform for Rios to set up his last great contract.
One more thing…

We talk all the time about the future of Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto on this team, but the fact is both these guys are separated by 1.5-2 years of time it will take to become ‘Queens ready’.

Every day Nimmo seems to be showing us that he’s the real deal. He’s now eating up the Arizona Winter League where he’s playing against the top prospects in baseball. Some people have him starting 2015 in Las Vegas while conservative pundits say he will report to Binghamton in April for some additional grooming, but everyone agreed that he will be ready to step into the Mets outfield by opening day 2016.

You can’t bring this guy to Queens and then not play him. Juan Lagares is your (future) all-star center fielder and you have to play out the Curtis Granderson contract through 2017.

The Mets could have an opportunity to ‘steal’ Rios for Chris Young-like money… or, let’s say $9mil (DFA Ruben Tejada, replace him with Matt Reynolds and you duplicate the Young deal).

Just an idea worth trashing J

Craig Brown - I May be Wrong but...Part 1

Last year around this time, I wrote an article laying out what I would do if I was running the team going into the 2014 season. I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at the moderate successes, and monumentally bad ideas...(Mostly the latter!!)

 MOVE 1 Non Tender 1B Ike Davis I didn't really beleive Sandy could find a team willing to part ways with much of anything for Davis..I have to give the guy some credit--be brought back a projectable lefty prospect and a AAAA bullpen arm for a guy that probably has a nice future as the Giants 1B....in Yomiyuri.

 MOVE 2 Sign 1B James Loney 2 years, 12 million Loney reportedly had some conversations with Mets brass, but ultimately signed a backloaded 3 year deal with Tampa Bay. He did what Loney does--hit .290 with elite defense and underwhelming power...

 MOVE 3 Sign SS Rafael Furcal 1 year, 5.5 million This signing honestly would not have made it past the physical..Furcal was still injured and did not play at all in 2014.

 MOVE 4 Trade 2B Daniel Murphy, OF Jordany Valdespin, and 1B Lucas Duda to Seatle for 2B Dustin Ackley, OF Michael Saunders, and C Jesus Montero OK. Bad idea...Murph was an allstar, and Duda hit 30 home runs...but I still love Saunders, and especially Ackley as "change of scenery" guys..

 MOVE 5 Sign RHP Phil Hughes 2 years, 14 million Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then...Hughes would be a formidable addition to an already strong rotation..209 IP, with a 186/16 k/walk ratio!..Makes me feel alot better about some of my dumber offseason ideas.. 

MOVE 6 Sign RHP Brian Wilson 1 year 7.5 million Wilson was terrible..4.66 era over 48 innings for the Dodgers..and they gave him an option year..

 MOVE 7 Add RHP Rafael Montero to 25 man roster The Mets did indeed add Montero to the 25 man much earlier than expected..He struggled initially, but seemed to find his groove during his second stint with the big club. I'm still a big believer..

 MOVE 8 Trade RHP Jake Degrom, C Kevin Plawecki, and SS Wilmer Flores to Milwaukee for OF Ryan Braun (Hangs head in shame, and takes deep breath)...Well its safe to say this would have been a world class fuck up on an epic scale...Plawecki is widely regarded as a top 50 in baseball prospect, and possibly the best catching prospect in baseball..Flores against all odds and every scouting report iv'e ever read managed to play a passable SS, and Degrom proved himself to be one of the best young arms in all of baseball, and probable NL Rooke of the Year..Braun is a shell of his former self..Even if the stick comes back, many reports are now saying he's a 1B going forward defensively.. Theres a lesson to be learned here..Last year at this time Degrom was widely considered a bullpen arm at best, Flores was a DH, and Plawecki wasn't on any top 100 lists..A year can make a hell of a difference, Its easy to throw out 4 for 1 trade ideas for that all-star SS everyone wants, but its not easy to look back at how stupid it looks a year later.. Stay tuned for my 2015 Mets offseason gameplan....Lets see what kind of irrepairable damage I can do for our 2015 team and beyond!!

2014 Winter Leagues: 10/18 and 10/19 Results


Arizona Fall League
- Salt River Rafters 4 - 8 Mesa Solar Sox
- Surprise Saguaros 4 - 9 Glendale Desert Dogs
- Scottsdale Scorpions 3 - 4 Peoria Javelinas

Venezuelan Winter League
October 18th
- Tiburones de La Guaira 6 - 4 Leones del Caracas
- Caribes de Anzoategui 1 - 5 Tigres de Aragua
  • LF Brandon Allen: 0 for 3, BB, K
- Navegantes del Magallanes 4 - 11 Cardenales de Lara
  • CF Oswald Carabello: Defense Only
  • DH Jairo Perez: 2 for 5, R, RBI
- Aguilas del Zulia 2 - 3 Bravos de Margarita
  • SS Wilfredo Tovar: 2 for 4, R, 2B
October 19th
- Caribes de Anzoategui 8 - 3 Leones del Caracas
  • RHP Miguel Socolovich: 1.0 IP, K
- Aguilas del Zulia 9 - 2 Bravos de Margarita
  • SS Wilfredo Tovar: 1 for 3, R, 2B
- Tiburones de La Guaira 1 - 2 Tigres de Aragua
  • RHP Ryan Reid: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 Inherited Runner Scored (IRS), Blown Save
- Cardenales de Lara 7 - 8 Navegantes del Magallanes
  • DH Jairo Perez: 0 for 5, 2 K
  • 2B Leon Canelon: Defense Only
  • PH Oswald Carabello: 0 for 1

Mexican Pacific League
October 18th
- Venados de Mazatlan 8 - 5 Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Yaquis de Obregon 5 - 10 Mayos de Navojoa
- Charros de Jalisco 9 - 5 Tomateros de Culiacan
  • LF Cory Vaughn: 1 for 3, 3 RBI, K
- Caneros de los Mochis 1 - 5 Aguilas de Mexicali
  • LF/3B Brian Burgamy: 1 for 4, K
  • C Xorge Carillo: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2B, RBI, K
October 19th
- Venados de Mazatlan 3 - 2 Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Yaquis de Obregon 3 - 2 Mayos de Navojoa
- Charros de Jalisco 6 - 5 Tomateros de Culiacan
  • LF Cory Vaughn: 0 for 3, R, BB, K, SB
- Caneros de los Mochis 4 - 3 Aguilas de Mexicali
  • LF/3B Brian Burgamy: 2 for 5, R, 3B, 2 K
  • C Xorge Carillo: 0 for 3, BB

Dominican Winter League
October 18th
- Estrellas de Oriente 4 - 1 Leones del Escogido
- Tigres del Licey 0 - 3 Gigantes del Cibao
- Aguilas Cibaenas 4 - 7 Toros del Este

October 19th
- Tigres del Licey 11 - 8 Leones del Escogido

  • RHP Hansel Robles: 1.0 IP, BB, K

Roberto Clemente Puerto Rico League

(Begins 10/30/2014)

Morning Report – October 20 - Hot Stove, Paul Sewald, Top Prospect Alert Top 20 Mets, Addison Russell, Braves, Cespedes


On November 23, 2013, the Mets signed free agent OF Chris Young Jr. to a one-year, $7.25mil contract. The move caught Mets fans off guard because they weren’t used to General Manager Sandy Alderson coming out of the box and moving this fast during the ‘Hot Stove season’.

How much will the failure of this move effect the timing of when Alderson will pull the trigger this year? What if a guy like Alex Rios is willing to sign early a one-year deal for, say, Young-money… do you take the whole ‘find a corner outfielder’ target off the table and move on to the issue at shortstop?

You have to assume that Alderson is already in touch with teams that have players he has targeted for a possible trade. I assume that the Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox are programmed into Alderson’s speed dial, but there are 30 teams in the league and an agreement between one team and one agent doesn’t always come easy.

My guess is Alderson will handle the Hot Stove season the same way he and most baseball General Managers handle the draft…  do your homework, put your target names up on your board, and draft the best player available when it’s your turn to pick.

If a ‘target name’ crosses your desk at right price… sign em’.

Pen Prospect Focus – 

Paul Sewald       

Seward was drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 draft out of San Diego University. He pitched four seasons in college and received a whopping $1,000 bonus from the Mets for signing (I would have loved to be in that room when the Mets sold him that bill of goods).
He actually was a starter in his senior year (15-G, 14-ST, 8-4, 3.09), but the Mets knew exactly what they wanted from Seward… 16 more appearances that same year, all in relief, for Brooklyn (1.88).

Sewald’s professional numbers are unmatched. He’s been in the Mets organization for four seasons, has pitched in 94 games, has struck out 171 batters (no big fastball here, just intelligent mixing of four pitchers that include a high-80s FB) and has an ERA/WHIP of 1.85/1.01.

He finished 2014 with a cup of coffee in Binghamton, which is exactly where he will start 2015… I mean, relieve 2015… and he will pitch next year as a 25-year old. Still, this is the best $1,000 investment this team has ever made.

Right now, I have him as the number two relief prospect behind Akeel Morris.

JP Schwartz likes to put together a post every year with his top 20 prospect for each team in baseball (http://topprospectalert.com/2014/10/18/2015-mlb-organizational-top-20-prospect-rankings/). Every team is listed here if you want to visit the site.
His Mets list is interesting:

1: Noah Syndergaard RHP, 2: Michael Conforto OF, 3: Kevin Plawecki C, 4: Dilson Herrera 2B, 5: Steven Matz LHP, 6: Rafael Montero RHP, 7: Marcos Molina RHP, 8: Brandon Nimmo OF, 9: Dominic Smith 1B, 10: Amed Rosario SS, 11: Gavin Cecchini SS, 12: Matt Reynolds SS/2B, 13: Wuilmer Becerra OF, 14:      Gabriel Ynoa RHP, 15: Jhoan Urena 3B, 16: Casey Meisner RHP, 17:        John Gant RHP, 18:  Matt Bowman RHP, 19: Blake Taylor LHP, 20: Michael Fulmer RHP

Most of the usual subjects were ranked here and I first have to say that you will never find two people that agree on exactly the ranking of the top 20 Mets in the system. This is all subjective. Sort of like the Mets middle infield defense.

People that rank prospects usually go down one of two roads. Some have the older guys who have worked their way through the system and are knocking on the door ranked higher… others do this on ceiling and projected tools.

Me? Well, Cecchini, Bowman, and Taylor would not be on my top 20 and I definitely would have Robert Whalen, Paul Sewald, and Vincente Lupo. But see? That’s my opinion, which is always different when we do things like this.

Addison Russell, SS - It’s possible that Russell won’t even make his major-league debut this season — or, not until September roster expansion, at least. Nevertheless, the projections indicate that, were he to receive a promotion to the parent club, that he’d produce wins at something like a league-average rate. The plate-discipline profile isn’t ideal at the moment, putting more pressure on the quality of Russell’s contact, but that’s also a concern mitigated by Russell’s positional adjustment and — so far as the future is concerned — how he’s turning only 21 years old. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-top-five-cubs-prospects-by-projected-war/

Mack – one of my objectives here in The Morning Report is to keep you all abreast to what’s being written about the shortstops and corner outfielders that could be available to the Mets this off season. Russell is one of them, though the Cubs are playing him at second base in the AWL right now.

(Keith Law reminds us that the main reason he's playing 2B in the AWL is because he can't play SS every day there)

We all know the fact that the Cubs have Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, and Russell all in the pipeline here, and they need pitching desperately.

One more thing...

Chicago is very happy with Castro on short and they have big plans for a guy named Bryant at third... every effort is being done to convert Baez into a second baseman which makes the trade for Russell even more puzzling. This must have been done figuring he can be turned into immediate pitching help.

I always talk about depth in the organization and how important it is when you are trying to turn around a team that isn’t going in the right direction.

Take the Atlanta Braves… they have a bunch of long term contracts bogging them down, only really three decent starters returning next spring, and a very questionable outfield situation. Add to this the cost of building a new stadium and we all know those problems, don’t we?

Well, the one problem they don’t have is in the infield.
First base and shortstop are a lock with Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons and, while most Braves fans are happy with Chris Johnson at third base and Tommy La Stella at second, rest assured they are backed up at the prospect level with 23-year old Kyle Kubitza (2014: AA-Ball - 440-AB, .295/.402/.470/873, 8-HR, 55-RBI and 20-year old Jose Peraza (2014: AA-Ball – 185-AB, .335/.363/.422/784).

See this is talent on talent. Major League producers sitting on high ceiling projected replacements. This is what a team strives to accomplish within its system.

The comments that OF Yoenis Cespedes is available on the market were not made by the team. They came from a reporter who supposedly was fed this information by a Red Sox source. He also said that Cespedes doesn’t care much about improving his defensive game which also isn’t going to help the team and him eat at the same dinner table anymore.

Look, the trade for Cespedes was a move to help Boston get to the 2014 playoffs. It didn’t work, nor (IMO) would giving this guy a long term contract; however, I’d love him in the Mets left field for 2015. It wouldn’t kill the Mets to add his 2014 results (22-HRs/100-RBIs) to the Mets lineup.

Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo are the future of the Boston outfield.

And then, even without Cespedes, you still have Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz.

The 2015 Mets need a bat like this in their lineup.

Mack's Mets © 2012