Maybe That Mets Shortstop Situation Isn’t Such A Disaster

Mets fans aren’t happy. I live in New York City, so perhaps I’m just overexposed to this, or maybe it’s because I was surrounded in close proximity by disappointed Mets fans at last week’s Pitch Talks event, or that I keep reading about fans trying to crowdsource a “sell the team” billboard, but the anger is clear. After six straight losing seasons, with multiple young pitching prospects ready now, with Matt Harvey on his way back and the Braves and Phillies on the way down, the sum of the off-season’s shopping has been a confusing contract for 36-year-old qualifying offer recipient Michael Cuddyer and the addition of John Mayberry for the bench.

That means no trade of an excess starter (though Dillon Gee is expected to go soon), no help for the bullpen, and, seemingly most egregious of all, no shortstop. Right now, the team is insisting they’ll be fine with 23-year-old Wilmer Flores, who may or may not be able to handle the position defensively, backed up by 25-year-old Ruben Tejada, who is generally despised by fans.

On Friday, one local beat writer vocalized the prevailing opinion:

The Wilpons obviously are too broke to find and pay a real shortstop, too cash-poor to have built on the signing of Michael Cuddyer.

No one is defending the mistakes of owner Fred Wilpon — other than MLB itself, since Wilpon was recently inexplicably named as the chairman of baseball’s finance committee (!) — because a New York team with less than $100 million on the books, even after arbitration is factored in, is obscene. But how true is that in regards to shortstop? Was there really something the Mets could have or should have done there? And is the current shortstop situation as dire as it seems? Let’s dig into that.

It’s probably worth starting with the projections, and realize that the combination of Steamer and our writer-curated depth charts don’t see the Mets shortstops as being the worst or second-worst or even tenth-worst:

steamer_proj_2015_ss_mets

That’s not good, but it’s not a disaster, either. It’s No. 18, and within spitting distance of No. 13. It’s within spitting distance of No. 24 as well, and that’s sort of the point — there’s a few teams with great answers, a few with total messes, and a huge swatch of baseball that feels “okay, I guess,” about their shortstops. The position just isn’t all that intriguing right now, especially with great bat/awful glove Hanley Ramirez moving to the outfield. It’s not that hard to be acceptable there.

For the Mets, the math that goes into that is 1.5 WAR for Flores over 420 plate appearances and 0.5 for Tejada over 245, plus a few token and unimportant appearances from 23-year-old Wilfredo Tovar. Were we to look at Steamer/600, or trying to project would each might do over a full season of play, Flores comes out to 2.0 WAR with a 94 wRC+, and Tejada with an 83 and 1.4 WAR. ZiPS sees it almost identicaly, with Flores at 2.1 and Tejada at 1.4. Again, none of this is all that impressive, it’s just not a sinkhole unlike any other in the big leagues, either.

It’s not even a sinkhole compared to the rest of the team, really. Looking at the non-pitching projections for the Mets, we see that three positions look like they’ll be strengths — catcher, third base, and center field, because yes, Juan Lagares really is that good. ZiPS likes Lucas Duda a little more, but otherwise the two projection systems largely agree — Curtis Granderson, Cuddyer, and the overrated Daniel Murphy are far more likely to be “adequate” than “difference-makers.”

That means that it’s less that the Mets need to add wins at shortstop, specifically, than it is that they need to add wins overall. One is not more valuable than the other, but obviously shortstop is the focus because they just added Cuddyer and aren’t suddenly going to toss out Granderson after one year. Shortstop is less the obvious problem than it is the easiest area to replace the incumbent.

That hasn’t happened, and the easy place to put blame is on the limited payroll the team is carrying. But how fair, really, is that? These are the shortstops who found homes this winter, either via free agency or trade:

That’s eight shortstops who the Mets in theory could have been in on, but we need to prune that list down first. Ramirez isn’t a shortstop any longer. Rollins reportedly refused to waive his no-trade clause to join the Mets, and therefore wasn’t even an option. Drew is coming off an awful season, isn’t projected to do any better than what the Mets already have, and is now a second baseman for the Yankees. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because almost exactly a year ago, I was here in this very same space writing about how signing Drew to replace Tejada seemed like “the obvious move,” even though the projections didn’t think Drew was really all that much better. Clearly, the projections won out on that one.

There’s reasons to dislike some of the others as well — Escobar, 32, was ranked as 2014’s worst regular defensive shortstop (unexpectedly, admittedly) and won’t even play shortstop in 2015, and both Lowrie and Cabrera come with serious defensive questions of their own — but we can still use them as comparison points.

Steamer/600, 2015 projections 2014
Player Age Off Def wRC+ WAR PA wRC+ WAR
Escobar 32 -2.0 5.8 98 2.4 529 95 0.2
Lowrie 31 1.5 -0.2 105 2.3 566 93 1.8
Semien 24 3.7 -1.9 105 2.3 255 88 0.6
Flores 23 -3.8 4.5 94 2.0 274 88 1.3
Cabrera 29 0.6 -5.5 101 1.6 616 97 1.7
Tejada 25 -11.9 6.8 83 1.4 419 89 1.2
Gregorius 25 -10.3 5.2 84 1.4 299 76 0.3

That sure is a grab bag of names, isn’t it? Exactly zero of them were particularly impressive in 2014. They’re all within a one-win projected Steamer/600 value in 2015, and of course the acquisition costs aren’t even accounted for here. In order to get Semien, the A’s had to give up a full year of Jeff Samardzija. For Gregorius, the Yankees had to surrender six years of Shane Greene, who was surprisingly effective in 14 starts last year. Escobar cost the Nationals one year of a very good reliever in Tyler Clippard, and his projection depends on last year’s terrible defense being a blip and not a cliff.

Again, the point isn’t that what the Mets have is all that great. There’s still massive questions about how Flores will look defensively, although Carson Cistulli attempted to show some positives last September. Tejada, despite a relatively decent offensive year in 2014 that looked a lot more like his adequate 2011 and ’12 than his disastrous 2013 and 3,000 innings of acceptable defense, appears to be completely on the outs, even though he’s only headed into his age-25 season. The point is that what’s out there just wasn’t all that much better. Rich team or poor, the available inventory is still the same, and the Mets obviously weren’t the only team in need of a shortstop.

We haven’t talked about the rumored conversations about Troy Tulowitzki, if only because he’s not really “available” in the sense that these other players were — he’s currently contracted to a team that has shown little willingness to move him for less than an out-of-this-world price that would probably defeat the purpose of trading for him in the first place. Maybe the rumors about interest in Ian Desmond were true and maybe they weren’t, but it’s not so clear that trading Noah Syndergaard‘s entire career for a single year of Desmond was such a slam-dunk idea anyway. It’s unclear if Alexei Ramirez was ever available, but that ship sailed as soon as the White Sox started signing win-now players and dealt Semien to Oakland. Maybe there’s a lack of creativity here — there still seems to be a fit with the Cubs for Starlin Castro or others — but this isn’t entirely about money. It’s about options. There just weren’t many.

The problem isn’t so much what the Mets have right now at shortstop, because what they have could be perfectly acceptable compared to plenty of other teams. The problem is that the Mets hope to find themselves in a position where every added win — whether at short or any other position — is what potentially puts them into that second wild card. The problem is that just because you have a position you want to upgrade upon, it doesn’t mean that a solution is magically available. Shortstop is a problem for the Mets, but perhaps not entirely the problem everyone seems to think it is.



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Mike Petriello lives in New York and writes about the Dodgers daily at Dodgers Digest, as well as contributing to ESPN Insider. He wrote two chapters in the 2014 Hardball Times Annual as well as building The Hardball Times and TechGraphs, and was an editorial producer at Sports on Earth. Find him at @mike_petriello.


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Poor Man's Rick Reed
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Poor Man's Rick Reed
1 year 4 months ago

I think that graph of each team’s Steamer projections at SS is quite telling. There just aren’t a ton of great options, and a lot of teams are in a similar boat.

Senor_Met
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Senor_Met
1 year 4 months ago

When Flores first came up, he was being dicked around on the bench by Terry Collins. Alderson stepped in and told him to start playing Flores every day in late July, and from then on Flores hit .267/.306/.424 with a .265 BABIP, 106 wRC+, and an insane 7.1 K%. I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a well above average offensive SS next season, and he’ll be an awful defensive shortstop so will probably live around 2 wins, but that’s good enough for me.

paqza
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paqza
1 year 4 months ago

I’ll go a step further. I think Flores potential offensive upside is such that he could be a well above average 1B once defense is also considered.

Senor_Met
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Senor_Met
1 year 4 months ago

That’s pretty bold. I can’t see him being much more than a 115 wRC+ type guy which would require some really good 1B defense to make him above average

Mr. Met's Illegitimate Son
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Mr. Met's Illegitimate Son
1 year 4 months ago

Hard to see Flores hitting enough to play first, though at 23 he should have a few more years to improve with the bat. In theory I’m on board with him being the SS in 2015, as his above-average bat should add more wins than his below-average glove will take away. Though I’m terrified of the thought of watching a Murphy-Flores middle infield, and think the pitchers might revolt by mid-season.

jim S.
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jim S.
1 year 4 months ago

VERY good perspective.

Michael Slattery
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Michael Slattery
1 year 4 months ago

Totally agree.

Chris
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Chris
1 year 4 months ago

Mets fans don’t blindly scream we need a shortstop. We accept your conclusions that there just weren’t many good options this offseason. However, we know that middle infield is the only place on our roster to make a significant improvement.

Like you said, the Mets weren’t going to get rid of Curtis Granderson to find a better option in the outfield. But why not? Lots of outfielders were on the move this offseason. Why didn’t the Mets get one of these top guys while also moving Granderson?

Look at teams like the Yankees and the White Sox, who both went out and improved their bullpens immensely, and perhaps more then they needed to. Why didn’t the Mets go out and make a significant improvement in an area like their bullpen?

How about those Nationals today? Buster Olney thought they had the best rotation in baseball before they trade. Now look at them. Why didn’t the Mets go out and obtain a frontline pitcher to take a strength and make it something better like other teams?

We know Duda and Granderson can’t hit righties. We know Cuddyer is going to need some time off. What we don’t know is why a legitimate right handed bat was not signed this offseason to share duties with all those guys.

So yes, we are frustrated about the shortstop position. But, it is the only area we can possibly see the Mets making a vast improvement. Whether its trading Murphy and moving Flores over to second, while the new guy mans short, or it is something else. It is the only place with a glaring need, while everywhere else on our roster is completely ignored.

We know we don’t have a perfect roster, but when the one position on our roster that Sandy has openly questioned has been ignored, we wonder why nothing has been done. We wonder why Sandy hasn’t been innovative and worked out a trade for a shortstop like the Padres worked out for Will Myers.

If the Mets didn’t need a shortstop this offseason, the fans would still be pissed off. Shortstop or not, there were other areas that could have been improved this offseason, and the Mets did nothing about it. So of course we are going to be pissed about our one glaring need.

I hope Flores pans out because I think he can outhit most of the shortstops in baseball, but on the high chance he doesn’t, we don’t have the patience to watch out team flounder.

TheUncool
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TheUncool
1 year 4 months ago

You claim you get it, but you obviously don’t quite get it.

There are *NO* real/significant SS options out there that makes sense for the Mets to go after. That’s the point.

Look at the chart and ask yourself which of those teams w/ at least 1 expected WAR (at SS) more than the Mets would actually be willing to deal their SS.

All of them, except the Rockies and Braves, are clearly contenders for 2015. And the Rockies are not dealing Tulo for what the Mets can realistically offer and still take that big contract — that probably only makes sense for a contender who’d make Tulo their final acquisition (and also can afford to give up the youth in exchange). The Braves also are not likely to deal their SS either even though they’re in some sort of rebuild mode.

They should just give Flores (plus Tejada) a chance at this point. They’re in no position to contend just yet anyway.

TheUncool
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TheUncool
1 year 4 months ago

And although the Cubs could be willing to deal a young SS in the near future, they clearly are in no big hurry to give up talent in trade just to open up a spot for their glut of middle-infield young talent.

You’re just not likely to get Castro from them for cheap even if you like him much better than Flores.

jcutiger
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jcutiger
1 year 4 months ago

They are in no position to contend? They aren’t many wins away now from contending for the second wildcard. That’s the new game – get a team that’s decent and you never know.

Jack Strawb
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Jack Strawb
1 year 4 months ago

Hey, you’re talking to a guy who wrote,

“Why didn’t the Mets go out and obtain a frontline pitcher to take a strength…”

Hilarious.

Jack Strawb
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Jack Strawb
1 year 4 months ago

“Why didn’t the Mets get one of these top guys while also moving Granderson?”

That’s a joke, right? Or do you STILL not get that the Wilpons cannot afford to bring in a good player?

michael Llovet
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michael Llovet
1 year 3 months ago

Then sell the dam team if you can’t afford top talent, give me a break its N.Y. I don’t care what it takes Pedro was correct in saying all us NY Met fan except mediocrity the Yankees would never settle for this crap. The Mets should be first on line and salivating at the chance to sign the Cuban ss to set them up for the future. But the Mets give us some garbage about not having the money to spend on oversea players. We will continue to be a mediocrity team if we think this way it’s time to spend the money even if this kid changes position later on he is 19 and could play third in his mid twenty’s to replace wright. If it cost them 40 million that’s cheap compared to other mid level shortstops with a greater upside!!!! So Wilpons dig your hands in your pockets and pull some of the green stuff out this and Kansas or Tampa for crist sake this is N.Y.

Jordan
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Jordan
1 year 4 months ago

The problem with the Mets is very minimal honestly. Flores , who could improve over the next cpl of years is totally exceptible, (soft handed, decent arm), and letting him acquire the experience at the position. What’s not exceptible, is being in limbo ababout the posi which doesnt help the devdevelopment of Flores any. Either you make the deal, and or not, but must commit to something. The few problems with the team is , 1). Unstable Bullpen, 2)Thin on tha bench. Trading Gee should be for a Utility Player, and OR, Bullpen! We have a solid shott at the Wild Card otherwise!

Roger
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Roger
1 year 4 months ago

“Mets fans aren’t happy” is a pleonasm. (I am a Mets fan. I promise you, Mets fans are never happy, particularly if you pay any attention at all to the talk radio and TV shouting heads, who as much as we’d like to deny it drive a lot of the conversation around the team.)

You’re right, though, that upgrading the outfield was the real place to look for wins. But it takes Kremlinology, not rational analysis of marginal upgrade possibilities, to figure out what’s going on there — it doesn’t take a paranoid to suspect that Granderson’s and now Cuddyer’s signings were probably driven by ownership at least as much as by the front-office brain trust. Until the team isn’t owned by the Wilpons, there’s only so much rational analysis can do.

3D
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3D
1 year 4 months ago

>>>“Mets fans aren’t happy” is a pleonasm. (I am a Mets fan. I promise you, Mets fans are never happy, particularly if you pay any attention at all to the talk radio and TV shouting heads, who as much as we’d like to deny it drive a lot of the conversation around the team.)<<<

This is really a very recent phenomenon though. Even in far darker times in Mets history there was never this dark of a cloud of anger, bitterness and pessimism surrounding the team. I really think it's an outgrowth of the 24-7 news cycle where it's just perpetual complaining and whining from uninformed talking heads driving public opinion of the team.

Roger
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Roger
1 year 4 months ago

I agree completely, it feels like an outgrowth of new media incentives and pressures in the whole world to me too. But perhaps a little unlike, say, political discussion, nowhere at all in the baseball media world is immune to the 24/7 cycle of grousing anymore; there’s too much incentive to participate in the manufactured controversies (of which “zomg shortstop is a black hole” is only the example of the moment) for even the relatively rational websites and newspapers and broadcast stations to keep their hands off it, because shouting controversy drives clicks and viewers in a way restrained analysis never will.

I mean, Fangraphs is indisputably an island of rational sanity, at least relatively, in the baseball-analysis world, and even here we’re talking about the wrong framing of the shortstop “controversy” because even here correcting a Klapisch commonplace is going to get us clicking and talking. (And to be clear, I think this article is both great and largely correct in its analysis; I’m not complaining! It’s just notable that this is the subject that attracted more discussion and analysis, even so.)

George
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George
1 year 4 months ago

You try living in the same media market/echo chamber as the Yankees.

BurleighGrimes
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1 year 4 months ago

I think the black cloud feeling stems from having the Wilpons as owners.

jcutiger
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jcutiger
1 year 4 months ago

It’s the Wilpons, no doubt.

Topless Joe Jackson
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Topless Joe Jackson
1 year 4 months ago

Good job using pleonasm & Kremlinology

Roger
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Roger
1 year 4 months ago

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: called out for nerdiness on a website for nerds

Don Baylor's knee
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Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

Who is Steamer expecting to play SS in TB?

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

Here’s the thing: the Mets don’t see Cuddyer and Granderson in the same way that Steamer does. And if you’ve read up on the Mets front office, they use data (hit f(x) data) in their decision making that Steamer doesn’t have access to.

What if, for example, WAR factored in park factors for not just home ballpark, but road ballpark as well? Wouldn’t that make Cuddyer’s .400 wOBA from 2013-2013 a whole lot better, considering that he plays 1/6th of his games in the offensive holes of Dodger Stadium, AT&T Park, and Petco Park?

Steamer also doesn’t expect Granderson’s awful UZR to regress much, which is odd because it was brought down mostly by a -7 ARM rating; Granderson’s previous low was -1, and he’s moving to LF next year.

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

If you take a more optimistic view on Cuddyer, Granderson, and the Mets pitching (which fWAR underrates because of a park factor issue), suddenly the Mets are the 4th best team in the National League after the Nationals, Cardinals, and Dodgers.

That’s the real issue here: the projections are mostly wrong.

Jacob deGrom isn’t going to be a 1.3 WAR. Zack Wheeler isn’t going to be worth 1.2 WAR. Noah Syndergaard isn’t going to pitch only 18 Innings. Lucas Duda isn’t going to be worth 1.8 WAR. Daniel Murphy isn’t going to be worth 1.3 WAR. Curtis Granderson isn’t going to be worth 1.2 WAR. And, most of all, Michael Cuddyer isn’t going to be worth 0.9 WAR.

John Caps
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John Caps
1 year 4 months ago

I agree with all of the points you make below except possibly one. I could the see the Cuddyer signing, as I believed about the Granderson signing, being more from ownership than Sandy. In that case, I’m not sure that the front office actually values him more, so much as Fred/Jeff Wilpon think he will appease the fans/cost a reasonable sum. I really thought there was no chance we’d get him once the draft pick was attached, because I didn’t think there was any way Sandy would give up a decently high 1st pick for a 2-year contract, unless he was planning on going all in and making a few more moves, which obviously has not happened.

Psualum
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Psualum
1 year 4 months ago

A big part of the cuddyer signing was David Wright. They are both from the same town and Wright considers him to be a close friend and a big influence on him as he made his way to becoming a major leaguer. Signing was just as much to appease the third basemen as it was the fans

Dave42
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Dave42
1 year 4 months ago

I agree with all you say about the SS market. Here is the problem: that was the same SS market in October and November as it is now. There was never an obvious fit for the Mets to improve their SS play. They needed to fill LF (or RF) with a better player than Cuddyer to “add wins” as you say. When Tomas goes for an average cost of just over $500K per year more than Cuddyer, when Wil Myers is traded for prospects, when Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Cespedes are all traded, one cannot help but think “Cuddyer is the best we could do?”

wmevans
Member
wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

Mike, I think your treatment of the high end options at SS has significant holes. In an ideal world, the Mets should not be trading for ‘one year’ of Ian Desmond (or Ben Zobrist, who you don’t mention). Instead, in that ideal world, the Mets should trade for one of the two and extend him. The problem with potential Desmond/Zobrist trades was not the steep cost in prospects, it’s that ownership doesn’t have the money for the extension. (Syndergaard-plus for five or six years of Desmond is absolutely worth doing for this team, as currently constructed.)

The Mets are one or two significant upgrades from being likely to contend for the wild card. Teams in their competitive position typically overpay high end free agents, understanding they will be a bad value in their decline years or trade prospects for established stars (and then extend the stars, again with the understanding that they will be a bad value in their decline years.)

I agree that the Mets’ ‘disaster’ isn’t shortstop per se, it’s that ownership will not/cannot let the front office take the steps necessary to make this team a contender. Shortstop is just the most glaring of several examples of this problem.

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

Except trading Syndergaard+ for Desmond or Zobrist probably doesn’t even make the Mets much better in 2015, and makes them a whole lot worse from 2016 on.

Under this logic we would have traded Harvey for Upton a few years back, deGrom for Didi Gregarious, and signed Bourn to play center field.

See what I did there? Some of the best players on the Mets are only here because the front office didn’t give in to the impatient fan base and make “bad” trades.

Dave42
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Dave42
1 year 4 months ago

I think if they could trade Murphy and say Montero for Desmond, that makes them better this year. Defensively, Flores figures to be (and seemed to be) better at 2B than SS and Desmond is decent defensively, so I think you upgrade both positions defensively with a trade like that. Don’t think the Nats go for that, but…

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

That’s the problem; the Nats aren’t actively shopping Desmond. Multiple reports say that they’d only trade him if they were completely overwhelmed, which means giving up Syndergaard+.

If your offer was on the table the Mets would have made that trade already.

wmevans
Member
wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

The reason it makes sense to swap Syndergaard+ for Desmond/Zobrist now but wouldn’t have made sense to do Harvey for Upton is that the Mets were in a different place on the marginal win curve. The point of the Syndergaard move is to concentrate the Mets’ winning now, when there is a window for contention.

Syndergaard might be great, but he’s not likely to be great for a year or two, when the Mets need additional wins now.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

I think the Mets are much higher on their marginal win curve right now than you give them credit for.

Let’s forget about Zobrist for a minute. Desmond projects to be about a 3.5 WAR player next year. Flores projects to be about 2 WAR, but we’ll conservatively project him for 1.5 WAR. Desmond over Flores is a two win improvement.

But that’s forgetting that Syndergaard is likely to provide value in 2015 as well. Despite a 4.60 ERA, his peripherals in Vegas last year were excellent and Syndergaard is probably major league ready (the Mets only kept him in AAA to get an extra year of service time).

If Syndergaard is called up in May, as expected, he could easily exceed 2 WAR. And I mean easily.

Even for 2015, giving up Syndergaard for Desmond doesn’t actually improve the Mets’ playoff chances. Not to mention you’re giving the Nationals an effective, low cost replacement to replace Zimmerman in the rotation, hampering the Mets from 2015-2021.

wmevans
Member
wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

… and the difference becomes clear. I think you’re higher on Syndergaard than you should be. Again, even if he’s an ace in a year or two (totally possible!), I see him as about a one win pitcher over 150-ish IP this year, maybe a little better than Colon in terms of expected 2015 production.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-top-five-mets-prospects-by-projected-war/

For a team that seems to me to be around 84-85 wins or so, that two win swing from Desmond (plus the extension, remember) makes the deal worthwhile. Particularly because the error bars on Syndergaard are much wider than on an established position player like Desmond.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

Well I (and the Mets FO) don’t look at Steamer, especially for projecting prospects.

That’s the real difference in opinion here. How good do you think Syndergaard is? I think he’s going to have a Harvey like emergence

wmevans
Member
wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

I wouldn’t ever project anyone to have a Harvey-like emergence. Harvey’s rookie year was sui generis. To the extent that I project pitchers — really, just for fantasy purposes — I’ll weight roughly each system equally, unless I see something when watching a game that stands out to me. That’s because the available projection systems are far more sophisticated than anything I could put together myself.

Between Steamer and Zips have him between 1-2 wins over 130-150 innings, with a FIP around league average (3.40-3.50). That is, I’m a little lower on him than Zips and a little higher on him than Steamer (particularly given the RA9 issue you identified.) It’s not, I will admit, a sophisticated way of making projections.

We’re well off the original topic, but what makes you think Syndergaard is going to out-perform his projections, allowing him to ‘easily’ exceed 2 WAR?

wmevans
Member
wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

(I won’t hold you to the Harvey comp, which is nuts.) :-)

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

I meant immediately being an above average pitcher, not being the best pitcher in baseball immediately with a 2.01 FIP.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

I think Syndergaard’s ZIPS Projection is right on target.

A 3.3ish FIP and ERA is about what I expect.

But you also have to realize that fWAR is understating the value of Mets pitchers. They use a runs park factor instead of a FIP Park Factor. Citi Field’s FIP Park Factor is 100, the Runs park factor is 95.

A 3.28 FIP pitcher is really really good, especially considering that Citi Field doesn’t actually lower FIP.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

Why not just keep Syndergaard and sign Desmond or Zobrist next year? Oh, right, Mets fans can’t stand one freaking year of a 2 WAR Shortstop.

wmevans
Member
wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

Four reasons make it worth Syndergaard.

First, the Mets’ core for contention is in place now and you want to maximize the number of years your team is a plausible contender with a young core. This is particularly true because the core is going to get expensive via arb soon, and we know the team is working with very limited resources.

Second, the window for contention with this core might even be *closing* soon given Wright and Granderson’s ages.

Third, you get the age 29 year of Desmond instead of the age 30 year at the start of the deal. (And whatever the equivalent for Zobrist is — 33?) They’ll start to decline too, and every year of peak performance matters.

Fourth, there is likely a small discount for signing either Desmond or Zobrist before they hit the open market (and you don’t make the deal unless you can immediately sign an extension).

Anyway, as noted above, it’s all moot because ownership doesn’t have the money to sign Desmond or Zobrist now or next year, but that’s the argument for doing it now; looking back, I think #2 is most persuasive.

Noah Baron
Member
Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

The window for this team certainly is not closing.

Harvey, deGrom, d’Arnaud, Wheeler, Lagares, Syndergaard, Nimmo, Plawecki, Flores, Conforto, Matz, and Montero are all still improving young players who have yet to reach their prime.

That’s a larger future core than pretty much every other team, despite Wright and Granderson’s decline. And it would be silly to think that Wright is done; he’s 32 and is only one year removed from an 8.7 WAR per 162 game season.

Noah Baron
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Noah Baron
1 year 4 months ago

Oh and I forgot about their bullpen, which consists exclusively of young power arms.

wmevans
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wmevans
1 year 4 months ago

Again, I think you’re being optimistic here. Virtually everyone on that list of yours, with the exception of Harvey, Wheeler and Lagares has the potential to completely bust. Remember, a couple of years ago Ruben Tejada looked like an above average shortstop (bc of OBP), Josh Thole looked like an above average catcher (bc of OBP), Ike Davis looked like a stud in the middle of the lineup who played great defense at 1B, Jon Niese had the potential to be a solid #2/3, Duda looked like a not-awful replacement for Beltran in RF etc. etc.

Some of the players you mention will reach their ceilings or near them. But plenty of them will turn out to have essentially zero value or will fall far short. Particularly the ones with no ML service time.

You haven’t listed a core, you’ve listed players you hope (and I hope) will form the core someday. That’s very different.

studes
Guest
studes
1 year 4 months ago

Thanks for this, Mike. I’m really sick of all the Mets bloggers whining about shortstop. Can’t wait for spring training.

jcutiger
Member
jcutiger
1 year 4 months ago

The SS situation has been dreadful for a while now, so not sure why it bothers you that people are complaining.

Brian P. Mangan
Member
Brian P. Mangan
1 year 4 months ago

Some complaining is fine. But the complaining here is deafening (and often irrational), and there’s no resolution in sight until spring.

Enough already, let’s just wait to see what happens.

Thomas Scherrer
Guest
Thomas Scherrer
1 year 4 months ago

“The overrated Daniel Murphy”…cut to Murphy Met Fanboys looking to crowdsource a ban Fangraphs page. Speaking of perhaps the most overrated #2 hitter in the game, how would a Met lineup look like with Flores in it?

JOHN HERLING
Guest
JOHN HERLING
1 year 4 months ago

Granderson has not been and will not be adequate. He has been and will continue to be a liability.

argonbunnies
Guest
argonbunnies
1 year 4 months ago

When Flores matures a bit, he’ll probably have Murphy-esque value: +3 wins on offense, -1 win on defense, for a net 2 WAR. In his first full season, though, I wouldn’t expect those 3 oWAR just yet. 1.5 or so is more realistic for a free-swinging kid who can’t catch up to a good fastball (check Pitch f/x)… leaving him a 0.5 WAR player in 2015.

So, yeah, if the Mets were trying to win, SS would qualify as a major concern, and outbidding the Sox for Hanley Ramirez would have been a sensible option. Why didn’t the Mets do that? Cue the “cheap Wilpons” chorus.

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