Projecting the New York Mets Everyday Lineup

The 2020 New York Mets starting lineup comes in with plenty of potential, but one of their biggest questions will be defense. Their lineup contains plenty of power as well, which should make up for the lack of speed it holds. Here is what it should look like come Opening Day.

Catcher: Wilson Ramos

Wilson Ramos is an undervalued catcher coming into Spring Training. He came off a strong year at the plate, hitting .288/.351/.416 with 14 home runs and 73 RBIs. Ramos defense is what held him back ranking in the bottom of most defensive metrics and only throwing out 15% of base stealers. Most of it was in part of the Mets inability to hold runners on, but the Mets should expect another strong year from the Buffalo.

First Base: Pete Alonso

There is nothing to say about Pete Alonso that everyone else has not said. He is coming off one of the best rookie seasons of all time and has emerged into a fan favorite. The home runs are likely to regress, but the real growth from Alonso will come in his walk and strikeout rates.

Second Base: Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano came in full of hype in his return to New York but struggled with injuries and his performance. Despite entering his age-37 season, his solid second half should give hope that he returns to All-Star form. Cano should keep his performance strong as he ages much like fellow Dominicans Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.

Shortstop: Amed Rosario

Amed Rosario had a huge growth year in 2019. He set career highs in offensive stats across the board and improved defensively in the second half. Rosario’s walk rates and stealing ability still need to improve, but at age-24, he is trending in the right direction.

Third Base: Jeff McNeil

Jeff McNeil emerged as an All-Star outfielder but is likely to play a majority of third base. The position itself will be a revolving door early in the season, but once he should remain there every day as Luis Rojas settles on a consistent lineup. McNeil’s power emerged in 2019, which made him a very dangerous hitter due to his high ability to put the ball in play.

Left Field: J.D. Davis

Speaking of a revolving door, that is likely what the Mets outfield will be. J.D. Davis took the job in left field and ran with it to make Brodie Van Wagenen look like a genius for acquiring him. His defense is a significant issue, and any improvement can make him a real All-Star threat in the National League. The competition between Davis and Yoenis Cespedes should be exciting, especially if Cespedes shows he is fully healthy. The prediction is that Davis comes away with the job, but if Cespedes is in the 2015-16 form, then there is a real log jam there.

Center Field: Brandon Nimmo

Despite all the trade rumors, Brandon Nimmo has survived the offseason. His ability to get on base allows his flaws as a center fielder to go overlooked. Nimmo is still a serviceable center fielder, and with Jake Marisnick as a defensive replacement, it should help the Mets late in games.

Right Fielder: Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto has been the one consistent part of the Mets offseason. No drama or publicity and it translates to his play on the field. He has hit 25+ home runs in three straight seasons and has been someone the Mets count on to anchor the middle of the order. Conforto will see time in center field, but a majority of his time will be in right field.

Should the New York Mets Trade for Starling Marte?

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The New York Mets have intensified their desire to acquire Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates. This rekindling of trade talks likely comes in response to the Atlanta Braves signing Marcell Ozuna. The looming question hanging over the Mets is he worth the trade?

https://twitter.com/yaschwa30/status/1220834299064262658

The simple answer is no. The Mets should not avoid the trade because they do not need him, but because they should not dish out more than he is worth. Marte is heading into his age-31 season, and the defensive metrics do not favor him in center field. The trade would force the Mets to give up either J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and guarantee them moving Tomas Nido and a mid-level prospect.

Keep the Hand You Are Dealt

In 2019, Marte’s best slugging year only put him third among the Mets group of outfielders. He sits behind Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis and is only nine points better than Michael Conforto. Nimmo’s best year in 2018 was better than any slugging year Marte put together before his .503 in 2019.

The four main outfield options are all younger, cheaper, and better at the plate than Marte. Yes, Marte is the better base stealer, but he ranks dead last when comparing him to the 2019 Mets outfielders. Marte’s best walk rate season (6.1%) is still worse than Nimmo’s worst walk rate season (7.5%).

We omit the bat of Jake Marisnick because he will not be a consideration to start every day going into spring training.

Speed Does Not Equal Defense

Marte is faster than the two starting center field options of Conforto and Nimmo, but he is not better defensively. There was a time where that statement was completely false, but Marte’s defense fell off big time last season. Marte’s UZR dropped from 3.2 to -7.6 from 2018 to 2019. The drop is way too drastic for the Mets to take a risk to hope he is slightly better than Conforto and Nimmo.

Marte saw more time in center than both Mets center fielders. When both UZR’s are expanded to equal the same amount of time, Nimmo still projects to play better, and Conforto projects as a serviceable right fielder. The Mets will not be getting the gold glove caliber Marte, who is likely in a declining part of his career.

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If the Mets want to include Davis instead of Nimmo, then the Mets will put themselves in a high position to succeed. Despite likely being on a decline, his poor UZR will settle in the middle between 2018 and 2019. The key is keeping Nimmo and any high-level prospects out of the trade.

The Pirates are much like the Mets when it comes to horrible organizational management since the century turned. Both have their fair share of questionable moves, and this trade will come down to makes the trade out of confidence, not desperateness. Brodie Van Wagenen trades have come with more failure than success during his short tenure with the Mets. This final one could be what determines his fate under the ownership of Steve Cohen.

 

Arbitration Passes Without Issue for Yankees and Mets

New York Mets

It was a quiet arbitration season for the New York Yankees and New York Mets. Simply put, all arbitration-eligible players on both teams agreed to terms with their team.

Let’s break it down:

New York Yankees

The biggest winner of the arbitration dance was James Paxton, agreeing to a one year deal worth $12.5 million. Aaron Judge was second, agreeing to a one year, $8.5 million deal. The Yankees will need to reach a contract extension with Judge by 2023 if they want to avoid free agency with the star right fielder, Paxton will be a free agent by 2021.

Gary Sanchez got $5 million on a one year deal. Sanchez, like Judge, will be a free agent by 2023. Tommy Kahnle (free agent by 2022) got a one year, $2.5 million deal, Luis Cessa (2024) got $895,000, Johnathan Holder (2024) got $750 thousand, and Gio Urshela (2024) received $2.5 million.

New York Mets

The Mets players were, by and large, were paid better than the Yankees players. The top 3 winners were Marcus Stroman (free agent 2021) at $12 million, Noah Syndergaard (2022) got $9.7 million, and Michael Conforto (2022) at $8 million. Both Edwin Diaz (2023) and Steven Matz (2022) both got deals in the $5 million range. Jake Marisnick (2021), Brandon Nimmo (2023), and Seth Lugo (2023) all received $2 million and higher. And Robert Gsellman (2023) got $1.225 million.

Good job to both teams. Is it Spring Training yet?

Several Key Mets Due Raises at Arbitration Table on Friday

Several key New York Mets players will be granted significant pay raises on Friday when the deadline for teams and players eligible for arbitration exchange salary proposals for the 2020 season expires at noon.

The Mets have nine players due raises on Friday. Below is a list with the projected 2020 yearly salary as per spotrac.com.

Marcus Stroman, $11.8 million
Jake Marisnick, $3.0M
Noah Syndergaard, $9.9M
Steven Matz, $5.3M
Michael Conforto, $9.2M
Edwin Diaz, $7.0M
Seth Lugo, $1.9M
Brandon Nimmo, $1.7M
Robert Gsellman, $1.2M

Diaz, Nimmo, Lugo and Gsellman are all Arb 1 status and are under team control until the end of the 2022 season.

Conforto and Matz are Arb 2. and will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season. Syndergaard is Arb 3 and is under team control for two more seasons.

Stroman and Marisnick are Arb 4 which means they are eligible for free agency next year.

 

Mets Likely to Begin 2020 With Familiar Faces in the Outfield

The New York Mets were in the market for a dynamic outfielder this offseason and were hoping to land a centerfielder to be the glue they’ve been needing for several years now.

It didn’t materialize. There was talk of the Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, coming over in a blockbuster deal. Then a more reasonable deal involving Sterling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates also dissipated leaving the Mets with just one new face in the outfield mix this spring – light-hitting free agent Jake Marisnick, formerly of the Houston Astros.

So, where does that leave the Mets come April? Last year, they mixed and matched a bunch of corner outfielders with excess infielders along with Juan Lagares, who is no longer here. Marisnick basically replaces him, so there’s no real gain there.

Coming back this season are the core two, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis (who can also play third base) and backup first baseman Dominic Smith. They still don’t have that everyday centerfielder they’ve been craving though.

From Anthony DiComo:

Despite months’ worth of rumors connecting the Mets to Starling Marte, Mookie Betts and others, plus speculation that they might ship Nimmo out of town, the Mets appear likely to enter this season with a familiar outfield: Davis, Nimmo and Conforto, from left to right. The team acquired Marisnick as a defensive-minded option to spell Nimmo in center, and Smith is still around to back up in left. The wild card here is Yoenis Céspedes, whose renegotiated contract eliminated a potential barrier to playing time. Until the Mets report to Spring Training, they won’t have a great idea of how much — if anything — Céspedes can provide after losing more than a season and a half to injuries.

How much Cespedes has left is a huge question and at this point of his career can only play on the corner, pushing wither Nimmo or Conforto to center and putting either one of them, or Davis, on the bench. The defense is going to suffer no matter what. Marisnick is there to balance things out, but he doesn’t provide the offense the other can.

If the Mets do manage to pull off a trade, it doesn’t seem like they’ll get a centerfielder that could much of a differed without giving up some pitching assets, which they are reluctant to do unless it’s for the right player.

New York Mets Tender All Arbitration Eligible Players A Contract

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets have tendered all eight of their arbitration eligible players a contract.

The New York Mets’ announced last night that they have tendered a contract to all of eight of their eligible players.

This should come as no surprise considering who the eight players were.

Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are both starting outfielders for the Mets, and all-star caliber players. There was never any doubt that the Mets would ever consider not tendering them a contract.

Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz were also never in jeopardy. They’re three of the Mets starting pitchers for the 2020 season.

The Mets traded for Stroman in July and he pitched well for them. The Mets view him as their internal replacement for Zack Wheeler. Noah Syndergaard is one of the top 20-25 best pitchers in baseball. He had a down season last year, but even then his fWAR was higher than that of Dodgers’ ace Walker Buehler. Matz is one of if not the best number four starter in baseball. On another team Matz would likely slot in as their number two starter.

Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz were also never in doubt. Lugo is one of the best relievers in baseball. He may have never been an All-Star, but he’s also never been a close before. He’s made his money working as a multi-inning relief ace to put out fires and bridge to the closer. He was excellent in that role and he was excellent was asked to close in 2019. Despite his down year, the Mets were never going to non-tender Diaz. His ceiling is way too high and they gave up way too much to let him leave.

Last is Robert Gsellman, and while it was unlikely he would be non-tendered there was a slight chance. Gsellman hasn’t excelled in either the bullpen or the starting rotation. He’s been mediocre at both and hasn’t given the Mets much reason to pay him more than a relief pitching free agent would cost. However, his versatility and his consistent mediocre ability are worth something. Not everybody has to be good, teams need mediocre middle-relievers too.

New York Mets: Michael Conforto Year in Review

Michael Conforto had a quiet, but very consistent year for the New York Mets. After his injury riddled 2017 season, Conforto has become someone who can be counted on the play everyday and produce.

Conforto had his best offensive year for the Mets. He hit 33 home runs with 93 RBIs and an .856 OPS. He did a great job not just hitting, but getting on base with runners in scoring position. Conforto had a .435 OBP and 63 of his RBIs came with RISP.

The Mets Go How Conforto Goes

During Mets wins, Conforto hit .330 with 23 home runs and 69 home runs in wins while only .181 with 10 home runs and 23 RBIs in losses. The Mets asked him to play right field a majority of the time after spending the last two seasons splitting time in the other two outfield positions.

He was a below average defender in center field, but in right field the metrics were in his favor. With J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil and potentially Yoenis Cespedes crowding left field, Conforto will likely see most of his action in right.

Conforto is arbitration eligible and should see an increase in his salary, which he deserves. He should be predicted to make just under 10 million dollars which is over double what he makes now.

Grades:

Contact: B-, still struggles to make contact against good lefties, but had a lot less swing and miss this year

Power: A, best power season of his career

Defense: B, bad in center, good in left. Strong throwing arm

Speed/Baserunning: B+, best stolen base year for a guy with limited speed

Intangibles: B, very quiet but underrated leader on the team

Overall: A, great year for the young star

New York Mets: Reaction From Friday Night

The New York Mets had just a three percent win probability but managed to pull off a comeback for the ages against the Washington Nationals. Citi Field was electric throughout the night and the walk off victory completely blew the roof off the building.

Friday night had a postseason atmosphere from the second you parked your car to walking through the exits into the pandemonium in Flushing.

The Ups and The Downs

They went down 3-0 in the fourth after Marcus Stroman cruised through the first three innings. Immediately the Mets responded with back to back home runs by Pete Alonso and J.D. Davis.

Those back to back homers brings back memories of Curtis Granderson and Daniel Muphy against Jordan Zimmerman in 2015. Stroman battled all night for the Mets, especially during the top of the sixth. He went six plus innings and allowed four runs in his Citi Field debut.

The Nats had a runner at third with no outs in the top of the sixth and there was a feeling there was no way to keep them from scoring. Thanks to Amed Rosario’s leaping catch and the chance to face the pitcher, they got out of it. Stroman came storming off the mound yelling “Lets F***ing Go!” after striking out Stephen Strasburg to end the sixth.

Late Inning Heroics

Anthony Rendon hit his 21st career home run against the Mets to continue his butchering of the Mets. It gave the Nationals a two run lead and sucked the air out of the building through the rest of the seventh. Trea Turner stole a run in the eighth on a wild pitch that Wilson Ramos and Luis Avilan were too lackadaisical to pick up quickly.

The Mets had opportunities to even the game in both the seventh and eighth. Fans who started to leave early thought the Mets were finally coming back down to Earth. Those fans were in the small minority as the the fans who left their seats walked around the stadium just incase a miracle occurred.

The Ninth Inning

The stadium would have emptied out after the wild pitch during June and early July, but these new look Mets have instilled hope back in their fans. The Mets had Sean Doolittle’s number earlier in the season and they had the middle of their order up. With Davis, Wilson Ramos and Todd Frazier up there was hope they could comeback, especailly if the first two men got on.

No one could have predicted this magical comeback tonight. Of course, anyone who watched five minutes of ESPN, MLB Network or scrolled through social media knows the ending. Frazier wraps one around the Chick-Fil-A sponsored foul pole in left field then Michael Conforto one hops a shot off the right field fence.

What Is Next?

Due to every wild card contender except the Nationals winning, the Mets only gained a game on the Nats. They have two more against the the Nationals with Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom on the mound. Winning both would put the Mets in the top wild card spot heading into a three game series against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves.

The Mets have taken 14 out of their last 15 and erased half a season of disappointment. With still a month and a half to play the Mets line themselves up to play meaningful baseball for the remainder of the year.

What Do The New York Mets Do When Michael Conforto Returns?

Michael Conforto is set to return to the New York Mets before his original May 1 date. The Mets have to figure out how to make room for Conforto in their crowded outfield.

There will be no changes when it comes to Yoenis Cespedes or Jay Bruce in the outfield. The decision to demote either Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares is a difficult one for the organization to make. The Mets could also demote Phillip Evans, if they choose to have five outfielders.

Brandon Nimmo vs. Juan Lagares

Nimmo has shown his prowess for working deep counts and ability to be the Mets leadoff hitter. He can also play all three outfield positions and is a solid bat to have off the bench. Nimmo has shown he is a quality outfielder and has solidified his spot on the Mets roster. The Mets have been high on Nimmo since they drafted him and they likely will not want to remove the hustle and patience he brings to the Mets.

Lagares is a gold glove center fielder but has always struggled with being a consistent hitter. It is unlikely the Mets move Lagares because he is undoubtedly the best defensive outfielder they have. His glove has been a game changer in the years past which keeps him on the Mets roster year after year. If the Mets were to choose between Nimmo and Lagares, they would likely go with Nimmo. Nimmo is younger, a better hitter and can play all three outfield positions.

How the Mets Will Handle Conforto When He Returns

Conforto’s will likely be worked into everyday action slowly and with caution. Manager Mickey Callaway has said he does not want to overwork guys in the regular season and make sure his bench players do not spend too many consecutive games on the bench. The days of 150-plus games being played is most likely over.

Conforto will likely reclaim his spot as the Mets leadoff hitter and center fielder when he returns. In order to give Adrian Gonzalez some rest, Bruce could play first base which would move Conforto to right and Nimmo/Lagares to center. The Mets can do a lot many different things with their lineup and they do not have a player Callaway is afraid to play.

Getting Conforto back healthy makes the Mets lineup even more dangerous. It gives the Mets and outfield that is one of the very best in baseball and can all be All-Stars. Conforto was one the few bright spots of a dark 2017 and will be one of the key pieces the Mets need to make another World Series run in 2018.