New York Yankees Analysis: Is It time for the Yankees/Mets trade ban to be lifted?

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets have been mortal enemies since the time of owner George M. Steinbrenner took over the Yankees and declared the team would be the preeminent New York sports team. Ever since then, the two teams have been rivals as Steinbrenner demanded that the Yankees be successful over their crosstown team every time they were to meet up. But while they fight it out for space on the tabloids’ back pages, these two New York clubs rarely collaborate on trades. Just 15 times since the Mets joined the fold 58 years ago have the crosstown rivals put aside their differences to complete a deal in the hopes of improving their respective organizations.

With a new operating partner in Hal Steinbrenner and a new New York Mets owner, maybe it’s time to put that near trade ban aside for the benefit of both teams.  The Met’s new owner Steven Cohen has made it known that he wants to raise the Mets to the top of the National League. At least initially, the trades between the Yanks and Mets have not always resulted in direct changes to their big league clubs. However, there have been several moves that have made an impact. Maybe now is again the time to look at possible trade deals.

Here are some trades that make some sense for both organizations. The Mets have a surplus in Brandon Nimmo, especially if they sign George Springer, who seems to be a Met target. Nimmo would be an upgrade from Brett Gardner, who the Yankee cut lose of. Nimmo is as good as a fourth outfielder gets these days, though he’s not quite a star or a 162-game player. He had a bum 2019 season for the Mets but bounced back when many players didn’t play well in the bizarre 2020 season. He slashed a .280/.404/.484 line.

But like any deal, the New York Yankees would have to give to get. The Yankees would likely have to give up prospects such as Luis Gil and Yoendrys Gomez, Gomez for the Mets is Major League ready, with Gil likely following a year or two later. This would move players that have no 2021 likely value to them.

The New York Yankees should talk to the Mets for a trade deal to add to the Yankee’s pitching depth. The Mets have a pitcher named David Peterson. He is a back of the end rotation guy for the Mets but would be an upgrade for the Yankees Jordan Montgomery.  This doesn’t seem to be a logical trade for the Mets. But with so many teams calling Brian Cashman on Mike Tauchman, including him and a high-end prospect such as Estevan Florial, it could make sense to the Mets while shoring up the Yankee’s depleted starting rotation. Peterson was 6-2 in 2020 with a 3.44 ERA. Another plus for the Yankees is that it would keep Clarke Schmidt in an insurance role as he continues to develop.

Here’s another interesting trade to consider: Adam Ottavino for Amed Rosario. With two aspiring prospects right behind Rosario, the Mets don’t have an immediate use for the reliever. It’s true that Adam Ottavino had a disastrous year with the Yankees this past season but still has the ability to be an ace type middle reliever. His bad numbers are mostly attributed to one horrible game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Getting rid of Ottavino would give the Yankees a chance to sign a more capable consistent reliever to take his place on the 40 man. For the Yankees, they would get a good fielding shortstop in Rosario. Last season he hit .257 with four homers and a .981 fielding percentage. For the Mets, maybe a change of scenery is all Ottavino needs to have a 2019-like season.

Whether any of these trade ideas make any sense for either team, only time will tell, but the Yankees and Mets should not rule out trades between the teams that could benefit both teams, especially considering that they don’t play in the same league.

 

 

 

 

New York Mets: The Possible Infield Options With D.J. LeMahieu

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Mets have “recently contacted” D.J. LeMahieu, according to Jon Heyman. Take that as you may but signing LeMahieu would strengthen their offense and drastically better their infield defense. If signing LeMahieu has traction, then the Mets have multiple combinations to work with during 2021.

The continued guessing game on a designated hitter for 2021 makes dealing with the free-agent market harder for every National League Team. The Mets already have DH options in place, but it does not make decision-making any easier.

In a few of these situations, J.D. Davis becomes very expendable. He was already part of rumors along with Amed Rosario for a Francisco Lindor trade. The obvious missing part is the missing prospect(s) needed to complete the move. As enticing as the trade seems, Davis, Rosario, plus a prospect might be too much if Lindor does not remain with the Mets past 2021. If Lindor was the difference separating the Mets from being a World Series contender, giving up a little extra would be reasonable.

No DH Option 1: LeMahieu to Third, McNeil to Second

With Robinson Cano suspended for the entirety of 2021, the Mets can move Jeff McNeil to second base. LeMahieu plays third base while Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis handles the left field. The infield defense would be significantly better than in 2020, but the outfield would still suffer. Signing LeMahieu could make signing George Springer tougher. It certainly could still happen, but Jackie Bradley Jr. or Kevin Pillar is more realistic in that situation.

No DH Option 2: LeMahieu at Second, Davis/McNeil at Third

LeMahieu at second shows, the Mets are content with either Davis or McNeil at third base. Davis was better defensively in 2020, but neither one stood out. Second base is LeMahieu’s natural position and is where he won all three of his Gold Glove awards. Andres Gimenez should play shortstop when pitchers like Marcus Stroman and David Peterson are on the mound. Stroman especially is a groundball pitcher, and solidifying the defense up the middle would attempt to make up for the weak corner options.

DH Option 1 (With Springer in CF): LeMahieu to Third, McNeil to Second, Nimmo in Left, Smith DH

This is the dream scenario for the Mets, especially with the DH in place. They would get a good balance of offense and defense they have not found in years. Offensively, the lineup would become a nightmare to pitch to, and the overall team defense improves. Even if the center fielder becomes one of the two names mentioned earlier, the defense still improves, but the offense would lose some punch.

DH Option 2 (Without Anyone New in CF): LeMahieu to Second, Davis to Third, McNeil to Left, Smith DH

With Brandon Nimmo in center field, the Mets cannot afford two below-average fielders in their everyday outfield. McNeil defended much better in the left-field after moving from third base. While Nimmo struggles in center field, McNeil and Michael Conforto would handle the corners. This is the least likely option as the Mets are almost guaranteed to sign a new center fielder.

Of course, there are way more options than the four mentioned. The idea of Rosario at third base or Gimenez at shortstop changes the whole dynamic of LeMahieu at the roster. The great part of this offseason is the ability to contemplate good solutions. In the past, ownership settled for options similar to slapping duct tape on a leak.

New York Mets: A position change could reportedly be in Amed Rosario’s future

New York Mets, Amed Rosario

The New York Mets just lost their starting second baseman after Robinson Cano’s second performance-enhancing drug violation. He will miss the 162 games of the 2021 season, and the Mets need to appoint a new starter in the keystone.

That could imply lots of possible scenarios. The team could opt to move Jeff McNeil there permanently, leaving third base for J.D. Davis or Andres Gimenez and left field for Dom Smith. They can also try Gimenez or Amed Rosario at second, taking advantage of their infield depth. Or, you know, they could also sign DJ LeMahieu and stick him at second.

So far, there are no indications to which path the New York Mets will take. But regardless of what they do at second base, they could opt to make Rosario change positions ahead of the 2021 campaign.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, it’s “likely in the cards” that Rosario will be playing different positions in 2021. That could represent a super-utility role for the Dominican, although a move to second (or even center field, shifting Brandon Nimmo to left and Smith to a DH role, should there be one) is not out of the question.

The Mets like Gimenez’s defense

The Mets want to capitalize on Gimenez’s defensive prowess. In the 2020 campaign, he proved that he is a superior option to Rosario at the position, but to be fair, the latter made some strides there.

Over 322 1/3 innings at shortstop last season, Rosario had a +2 Outs Above Average and a +3.5 UZR/150. However, DRS was less kind, at -3. Gimenez, meanwhile, had +5 Outs Above Average, a 0.4 UZR, a 2.6 UZR/150 and 1 DRS at shortstop.

Of course, if the Mets go ahead and acquire Francisco Lindor, all the exercise would me moot, as he would take over at SS, no questions asked, forcing both Gimenez and Rosario out of the position, provided that they are not traded away in the package.

Rosario batted .252/.272/.371 with four homers, 15 RBI and a 34/4 K/BB ratio in 147 plate appearances during the 2020 shortened campaign.

New York Mets: Amed Rosario is working with the man that revamped Justin Turner’s swing

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

In the last few hours, New York Mets‘ shortstop Amed Rosario saw his name circulate in trade rumors because he apparently deleted some photos from his official Instagram profile. Fans started to wonder if there was a deal in the works, but that’s not the case. At least not yet: it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen in the future.

But Amed Rosario remains a member of the New York Mets. As Tim Healey of Newsday explained it: “For those wondering about Amed Rosario’s Instagram presence: He deleted Mets-related photos in September to go for a more off-field/lifestyle aesthetic.”

In another Rosario-related piece of news, Healey explained that the Mets’ shortstop wants to improve upon his disappointing 2020 performance. He needs to do so in order to secure his place as the team’s starting SS, given Andres Gimenez’s presence in the roster.

“More significantly, he’s (Rosario) been working this week with Doug Latta (Justin Turner’s swing guru).” If he manages to improve his offensive output, maybe he can deliver on the promise that once made him a top prospect going through the Mets’ farm.

The Mets need Rosario to wake up

In 2020, Rosario slashed .252/.272/.371 with a .277 wOBA and a 76 wRC+. It was a clear downgrade from what he did in 2019, when he finished with a 100 wRC+. This past season, Rosario could only take four walks, against 34 strikeouts.

Fielding-wise, UZR loves him (1.0 in 2020) but DRS doesn’t (-3.) After three full seasons in the majors, the Mets want to see some progress from the athletic shortstop.

That’s why he’s seeking the help of Latta. The former high school coach teaches hitting, and worked wonders with Turner prior to the 2014 season. Before that year, Turner was a utilityman with a .260 career average.

In 2014 with the Dodgers, Turner hit .340 with a 158 wRC+ in 109 games. He became another hitter from that point on, and the Mets are hoping Latta can achieve something similar with Rosario.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Shortstop Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

The New York Mets had high expectations for Amed Rosario after his breakout second half in 2019. Rosario’s lack of plate discipline struggles at the plate, and Andres Gimenez‘s emergence shrank his playing time in a disappointing 2020 season.

Rosario will never be a high walk rate player, but getting his OBP almost 50 points above his batting average was a huge step. After Rosario started 5-for-16 in the first four games of the season, everything went downhill from there. In the next 13 games, Rosario went 8-for-50 (.160) and failed to record a walk until August 31.

Loss of Playing Time

During this period of Rosario’s struggles, the shortstop position became a platoon role with Gimenez. One of Rosario’s struggles was his timing at the plate, causing him to stray away from his full-field approach from 2019. Rosario had his highest pull percentage and lowest up the middle batted ball percentage of his career.

His BABIP on pitches on the inner third of the plate was significantly lower than it was during 2019. A lot of Rosario’s success came from his ability to take those inner third pitches and shoot them back up the middle. Rosario also has not learned how to steal bases, wasting his speed. Gimenez was able to showcase his stealing ability throughout the season, which earned him extra playing time.

Rosario still provided quality defense but Gimenez playing at a gold glove level, outshined him. In the small sample size, Rosario had a solid year, and it was the one area where he did not regress during 2020.

Rosario woke with the bat during the last 29 games (21 starts). The slash line was more recognizable at .299/.333/.442 with an incredible .370 BABIP. The increased BABIP and SLG show that Rosario was making cleaner and strong contact during this stretch. Rosario started this stretch with a .197 average to a high point of .266 to finish the season at .252.

The 2021 Plan

The slow start to the season was heightened with the shortened season and Gimenez looming in the background. Rosario and Gimenez will likely battle each other for the everyday job at short during Spring Training. The battle may not end in March since each player bats from opposite sides, and Gimenez plays multiple positions, both could still get plenty of playing time throughout the season.

The biggest thing Rosario should work on is becoming a capable base stealer. His sprint speed is one of the best in baseball but only has 50 stolen bases in 75 attempts in his four years in the big leagues. Rosario does not need to steal 50+ bases, but there is no reason why he cannot steal 20-25 bases in a season. That ability is the biggest difference between the two young Mets shortstops.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 45 (55), We have seen flashes of brilliance over the last two seasons but can Rosario do it for a full season?

Power: 45 (50), Rosario’s biggest leap will be breaking 20-30, HR-2B threshold.

Run: 75 (70), Rosario has lost a step each year but is still as fast as anyone. Hopefully, the stolen bases come with it.

Field: 55 (50), Slightly above average and surprisingly better going to his right than his left.

Overall: 45 (55), 2021 really seems like a make or break year for Rosario. Having Gimenez right behind him should light a competitive fire under him.

New York Mets: Nats Sweep Doubleheader to End Mets Playoff Hopes

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets needed an amazing start from Jacob deGrom to keep their postseason hopes alive, but he was only average on Saturday. In game one of the doubleheader, the Washington Nationals won 4-3 and took game two 5-3 against the struggling Rick Porcello. It became the fourth consecutive season that the Mets missed the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom came out firing bullets in the first inning. He hit 102 mph with his fastball, the fastest pitch of his career, and tying the fastest pitch of the season. deGrom ran into trouble from the third inning on, as he lost command, allowing a run in each of the final three innings he pitched. While striking out 10, his ERA went up to 2.38 and knocked out his chances of winning the Cy Young.

The Mets offense got to Max Scherzer early with a two-run home run from Wilson Ramos and a solo homer from Amed Rosario. Unfortunately, the Mets offense went dead late in the game as they left the lead run at third with one out in the sixth inning. Back-to-back strikeouts killed the rally and were followed by the Nationals taking the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The Mets also lost Andres Gimenez to an oblique injury, which caused Rosario to enter the game. Dominic Smith also suffered a crushing blow, running face-first into the left-field fence. It allowed Andrew Stevenson to round the bases for an inside the park home run for his second homer of the game.

Porcello Struggles Again in Game Two

Rick Porcello towed the rubber for a meaningless game two of the doubleheader. He could not replicate the success from his last start allowing five runs over three innings. All the Nationals runs came in the third inning, as ten men went to the plate.

After the game, Porcello was disappointed in his poor season. He likely will not remain with the Mets for next season, and it is hard to see him landing with another contender in 2021. Porcello was not the only disappointed Mets starter as deGrom also voiced his frustrations with the underachieving Mets.

The Mets offense struggled outside of Pete Alonso. He hit a line-drive home run, which added to a good rebound day at the plate. Alonso showed better discipline at the plate and emphasized hitting the ball hard instead of just hitting it in the air.

Seth Lugo gets the final start of the season as he faces off against Austin Voth. Game 60 starts at 3:05 p.m. ET from Nationals Park as the Mets hope to avoid last place.

 

New York Mets: Matz Fails in Return to Rotation in 15-2 Loss

The New York Mets were out of options in their starting rotation, so Steven Matz lucked into the start against the Atlanta Braves. Matz’s outing went exactly the way we all expected it to. The Braves treated it like batting practice and gave the same treatment to Franklyn Kilome to put up a 15-2 victory.

The only savior for the Mets would have been a rainout because of the lack of confidence in Matz. It was the same pitcher they had before his IL stint, and he put the Mets in a hole early. Over 2.2 innings pitched, Matz allowed six runs on eight hits, including two more home runs. It was part of the Braves scoring in the first four innings of the game.

Kilome returned to the Mets roster before the game since the Mets needed relief help. He provided relief but did not offer any help in the game. Kilome allowed six runs and another two home run to the Braves offense.

Hughes to the Rescue

Jared Hughes came in for a rare long relief appearance throwing 3.2 innings and allowing three more runs and two more homers. While it was not the best performance, it saved the Mets from overusing their bullpen.

Brad Brach and Todd Frazier (you read that right) were the only pitchers with scoreless appearances. While Brach’s was only a one-out cameo, Frazier hurled a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. He even got Adam Duvall to strikeout looking on a knuckleball.

On the other side, Max Fried continued his Cy Young campaign. Over five innings, he only had three strikeouts but held the Mets to one run, keeping his ERA under two. Jeff McNeil provided the only offense off Fried with an RBI double in the fifth.

Amed Rosario provided three of the five Mets hits on the night. His sixth-inning single gave the Mets their second and final run of the game.

On Saturday, David Peterson tries to become the first Mets starter to make it to the third inning in three games. He faces Ian Anderson at 7:07 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets: Offense Held Silent in 3-2 Loss to Blue Jays

Amed Rosario, New York Mets

The New York Mets could not produce the same way the did in their 18-1 victory on Friday night. All the Blue Jays needed were three runs off Seth Lugo to secure themselves a 3-2 victory to even up the series at one game apiece

Lugo was dominant through the first three innings of his start. He held the Blue Jays to a single and struck out four. The following 2.1 innings had a different story for Lugo as he seemed to progressively lose steam and the feel for his curveball as his pitch count rose.

Lugo gave up a run in each of the last three innings he pitched along with six hits. His curveball hung in the fourth inning and struggled to a point where he barely used it for the rest of the start. His velocity also sat around 92-94 with the occasional 95. It was not a great start for Lugo, but it certainly put the Mets in a position to win.

Ray Too Much to Handle

One year ago, Robbie Ray did not get out of the first inning against the Mets. It was the only bad start Ray has made against them and he found his groove early. Ray held the Mets to one run over five innings and struck out five. His money pitch was his slider and used it often as he got deeper in his start. The start was much needed for Ray and lowered his season ERA to 6.85.

Jake Marisnick provided the only run off Ray with a double in the fourth inning. Unfortunately later in the game, Marisnick had to leave the game with right hamstring issues. It was the same injury that kept him sidelined early in the season.

The only other run came on a gift when Joe Panik fumbled a double play transfer allowing Wilson Ramos to score in the seventh inning.

Amed Rosario had a good game with three hits but he showed once again why he is not an everyday player. After getting first base with a gift wild pitch strikeout, he fails to advance on a ball in the dirt then proceeds to get picked off to end the game with the red hot Jeff McNeil at the plate.

A pair of lefties square off in a 3:07 p.m. ET start time as David Peterson faces Hyun-Jin Ryu in the final game of the series.

New York Mets Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (9/8-9/9)

New York Mets, Amed Rosario

The New York Mets welcome in the Baltimore Orioles for a short two-game series at Citi Field. They split their two-game series last week, but both teams currently sit on the outside looking in of the playoff race.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, (9/8) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: John Means (0-3, 8.10 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (1-2, 7.20 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/9) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Rick Porcello (1-4, 5.54 ERA)

Michael Wacha looks to put together a good start after a season full of poor ones. He has failed to complete the sixth inning in any of his outings this season. Wacha could relax a little more in this start with the offense rolling and facing John Means, who allowed four runs in five innings against the Mets.

Lefty on Lefty

The Mets went with their right-handed heavy lineup against Means but left their three hottest left-handed hitters in the lineup. Michael Conforto is hitting .348 on the season and hitting a career-high .310 against southpaws. Jeff McNeil looks like the All-Star hitter he was last year, hitting home runs in back to back games and .381 over his previous 11 games.

Andres Gimenez is the third left in the lineup, and he joins Amed Rosario up the middle. Gimenez earned the opportunity to start against a lefty with his efforts in the series against the Phillies. Even if he struggles in game one, his gold glove caliber defense is tough to remove from the field. Since Rosario does not have the glove Gimenez has, Rosario gets to stay at shortstop while the versatile Gimenez goes to second base.

Matchups/Stats to Lookout For

Jeff McNeil on the First Pitch in 2020: 9-for-26 (.346), 5 Doubles, Home Run

Pete Alonso Batting Fifth in 2020: 5-for-13 (.385), 2 Doubles, Home Run, Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Jose Iglesias During Away Games in 2020: 22-for-50 (.440), 7 Doubles, Walk, 9 Strikeouts

 

New York Mets: Gimenez will start his fourth straight game at shortstop on Monday, what about Rosario?

The New York Mets entered the season with Amed Rosario as their starting shortstop. He had a .287/.323/.432 line last year and was even better in the second half, and the team officials thought he was going to break out in 2020.

Well, it’s safe to say that hasn’t been the case. Whereas he had a 100 wRC+ last season, which is basically league average offense, he is at 61 wRC+ in 2020. His inconsistent offense and defense have prompted New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas to give more reps to rookie Andres Gimenez at Rosario’s expense.

Gimenez has started the last three games and will make his fourth straight appearance on Monday. He had a two-run single on Sunday and has a nice little .412 batting average in his last seven contests.

For the season, the Mets’ rookie has a .282/.329/.385 line with a 97 wRC+. As a left-handed hitter, he has been getting most of the playing time against righties, limiting Rosario to facing mostly lefties. It isn’t necessarily a permanent arrangement, but it is the one that seems to be working as of now.

The Mets’ gritty weapon

Gimenez is versatile, being capable of playing all over the infield but first base. He is speedy, he plays hard, and he has been trying to hit for power. If he keeps working and develops his game even further, the Mets could have an interesting debate as to which player could be the long-term starter at shortstop.

Prior to the weekend games, Rosario was benched after a three-hit performance against the Yankees.

“Right now, in this stretch that we are [in], we’re going to say that Giménez is getting back-to-back games because he’s looked really good against right-handed pitchers,” Rojas said to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “Rosie looked good his last game, but right now, we’re basically spending some time using Giménez as a hot hand.”