The Mets, Third-Base Uncertainty, and Troy Tulowitzki

The New York Mets are a team in need of upgrade.  With their playoff odds now at 16%, while every additional win is still important, there should be a large focus on 2016, and beyond, as well.  The question is where to upgrade.  A team should be willing to upgrade anywhere (a win is a win, is a win, is a win).  However, considering the type of depth and high-end talent the Mets have in their rotation, it seems unlikely they will attempt an upgrade there.  Both corner outfield spots could use an upgrade, but it is probably unlikely that the Mets will move, or bench, either Michael Cuddyer or Curtis Granderson.  Catcher has young talent.  First base is set.  Second base has a couple of capable providers in Daniel Murphy and Dilson Herrera. This leaves us with shortstop and third base.

Shortstop was a hot topic around Metland during the off-season, mainly in regards to Wilmer Flores’ questionable defense.  As he did things like this:

Ahhh, that never gets old.  However, he has also done things like this:

Ultimately, Wilmer now has a 1.7 UZR/150 in 561.2 innings this year to supplement his 12.5 UZR/150 in 443.1 innings in 2014.  This now gives him a cumulative 5.9 UZR/150 in 1005 innings!  While this is still not a huge sample size it is becoming increasingly likely that Flores can stick at the position.  Flores’ apparent ability to play shortstop coupled with his current 93 wRC+ (projected for more of the same from ZiPS and Steamer) makes him about an average player.

This is where it gets interesting.  The Mets’ third-base situation is probably the most variable in baseball.  It is basically impossible to know what they will get from David Wright at this point, if anything at all.  Spinal stenosis is a harsh mistress.  Time will tell what becomes of Wright.  Though, every cloud has a silver lining.  Other clichés.  The Mets will not bring in a strict third baseman, but it would be nice to have someone who can play there for a prolonged period of time if things go bad.

This leads us to Troy Tulowitzki.  Tulo is currently projected for a 128 wRC+, and 2.4 WAR, in 68 games for the rest of the season according to FanGraphs Depth Charts.  Tulowitzki is the type of 5-WAR star the Mets are in need of, as he would be a major upgrade over Flores in 2015 and beyond.  Additionally, Tulo would be able to move over to third base in the case of a prolonged absence from Wright, giving the Mets more malleability in terms of adding impact players.  In this case Flores can either be traded or used in a different capacity.  Tulo has long seemed to be a great fit for the Mets, and the uncertainty concerning David Wright seems to strengthen this fit.  Or, maybe this doesn’t affect the Mets’ decision-making process at all and I’m just writing nonsense.  Tulowitzki is a good fit regardless.  Though he would command a package such as Matz, Plawecki, Rosario, and Conforto, this may very well be worth it for the Mets.



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Craig Pittman
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Craig Pittman

I’d love to see the Mets get Tulo and I think all of your arguments make sense, but there’s no f’n way that Matz, Rosario, Plawecki, and Conforto is worth Tulo and his contract. At best, they should trade 2 of them (and probably not Conforto since he could upgrade the MLB team next year when Cuddyer is on his way out the door). Matz and Plawecki (and maybe throw in a mid-tier prospect such as Flores) for Tulo and maybe 20% of his salary sounds mutually beneficial.

Owen
Member

I heard an interesting rumor that would shift Flores to 2nd when Murphy returns, so Murph can handle the corner with Tejada at short. I think Flores/Tejada/Murphy is a better option, with the bats and the gloves than what they have now in Herrera/Flores/Campbell. Soon the Mets have to face the fact that Herrera needs more time in Vegas. He’s only 21

francis
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francis

Trading for Tulo is something that I would expect to come out of the Knicks front office. Torii Hunter hit 3 HRs this weekend, lets trade for him too.

Brent Henry
Member
Brent Henry

“Though he would command a package such as Matz, Plawecki, Rosario, and Conforto, this may very well be worth it for the Mets.”

Hi I’m the Rockies and where do I sign?

Bruce M
Guest

The lingering bad taste of the Carmelo trade would make any NY team in any sport feel queasy about dealing with folks in Denver. Can’t totally blame Denver. Carmelo forced it to happen rather than wait for free agency. (see, it still hurts.)

Stuck in a slump
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Stuck in a slump

Too bad typo stated last year that he’d sooner retire than move off SS. Maybe he’d change his mind? It doesn’t seem likely though.

Stuck in a slump
Guest
Stuck in a slump

Autocorrect changed Tulo to typo

JT
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JT

Would be a fit, however the Mets would be saddled with two huge contracts through 2020 on aging veteran infielders who have been increasingly injury-prone. Todd Frazier would seem to be a better fit financially for the Mets if the Reds are sellers after the ASG.

Rob Mains
Member
Member

Hey FM Mood, nice piece. Good list of Wright cliches. I assume by looking beyond 2015 you’re rejecting Aramis Ramirez, who’d cost next to nothing. I think Matz+Plawecki for Tulo, though, gets you a hearty laugh and a hangup from Denver before you can even start in on the salary relief.

Prospector
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Prospector

“Though he would command a package such as Matz, Plawecki, Rosario, and Conforto, this may very well be worth it for the Mets.”

No, no, no, no. Tulo is not going to move off short to make room for Wilmer flippin’ Flores. Flores would be the player that gets pushed to third base in this scenario. Once Wright gets healthy, Flores then gets pushed back to second base creating a logjam with Daniel Murphy and Dilson Herrera. The Mets cannot afford the price tag for this acquisition, particularly when it will lead to the sub-optimal deployment of their existing infield options.

Matz, Plawecki, Rosario, and Conforto are the kind of cost-controlled assets the Mets need to retain at this point. At least until MLB forces the Wilpons to stop using the ballclub like their personal ATM machine.

BarrryK
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BarrryK

Mets need to sign Murphy before he becomes a free agent. He gives them options at 3rd, 2nd, and 1st base.