Winter Meetings Tidbits: Sandy, Zobrist and When Prospects Miss

Before anything else, a tip of the Mets Today cap to Sandy Alderson. Having watched several acquaintances and one very important friend bravely fight and finally succumb to this horrible disease, I can only wish the best for him and his loved ones as he traverses this uncertain path.

On to baseball:

I think my streak of accurate prognostications is about to be shattered as the Mets appear poised to sign Ben Zobrist. I am actually very excited about this possibility as Zobrist fits the Mets on several levels.

For openers, he will improve their middle infield defense. While his stated preference is to play second base, his versatility, including his ability to switch hit, lengthens the Mets lineup and serves as an important insurance policy against injuries (David Wright) and/or inconsistent play from untested youngsters (Dilson Herrera and Michael Conforto). His Marcel Projection of 268/345/413 is acceptable for what is a “win now” move.

His signing would signal that the Mets clearly understand that their window of contention is wide open and that they are willing to invest what is needed to capitalize on this opportunity.  But, this isn’t all just about next year. Because he was traded during the season last July, his signing won’t cost The Mets a draft pick. On the other hand, the Mets stand a very good chance of gaining an extra draft pick for losing Daniel Murphy to free agency, thanks the Qualifying Offer they made him last month.

Yes, extra first round picks doesn’t always equate to major league success–Google the 2008 Mets draft if you dare. Those failiures, along with the loss of 1st round picks in 2006 and 2009, certainly helped speed the end of the Omar Minaya era. If nothing else, keeping their top pick, while adding both a top-notch major leaguer and a compensatory draft pick is a neat little trick. I will miss Murph, but a trade of Murphy for  Zobrist and what should be a valued prospect is one I think most of us would make.  The Mets should be poised to add at least one more high-profile arm to their depleted conveyor belt of roster candidates/trade bait, a tactic consistent with Alderson’s proclaimed goal of sustained success.

Speaking of young arms…two former top prospects Jacob Turner and Drew Pomeranz were on the move again this week. At one time, both where considered top among the top 50 prospects in all of baseball. The latter began his pro career in the Cleveland system after being drafted 5th overall. He has since been traded three times, the first as part of a deal for a rental ace (Ubaldo Jimenez), but most recently in a rummage sale-type swap between two underachieving teams. At age 27, with a 14-24 W/L record, it’s now or never for him. Turner is an even stranger case: he was also a high level prospect in a deadline deal.  Unfortunately for him, it was to Miami, where careers seemingly go to die. He was traded to the Cubs and later selected off waivers by the White Sox, who immediately cut him and then turned around and resigned him. At 24, he probably has more time left than Pomeranz, but his vagabond ways are certainly a contrast to projections as a Top Of the Rotation arm just a few years ago.

Their sagas are a sobering reminder of how frequently can’t miss prospects do miss and just how fortunate the Mets are to have “hit” on Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard all at the same time. That doesn’t even count what they might very well get from Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler,. Here’s stunning thought: barring a record setting raise in arbitration for Harvey, next year the Detroit Tigers probably will pay more for one season from  Mike Pelfrey than the Mets will for all five of those young starters!

While many of us, including me, did lose faith in Alderson during the past 12-18 months, they are in this position in part due to his ability to leverage the hand he was dealt and his ability to stay the course. Oorah, Marine! Let’s Go Mets!


A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. DaveSchneck December 8, 2015 at 10:30 pm
    Your streak is still in tact. Despite trip to WS, Mets still bridesmaids. I hope yhis planB works as good as the Cespedes on did.
    • Dan Capwell December 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm
      Yeah, I should have waited a few more hours!
  2. david December 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm
    Agree with the comments on prospects and the Mets have to be given credit for their work with young pitchers. While Fulmer did not make it to the bigs with the Mets, his development enabled us to get Cespedes.

    As we now know, Zobrist spurned the Mets but I like the Walker for Niese trade. The harder question becomes how do we fill the hole in the lineup if Cespedes signs elsewhere? And shortstop remains a concern but I could live with Tejada and Flores again, at least until someone else steps up. Reynolds? Cecchini? Rosario?

    I say sign Cespedes at 6/$120M. Mets made a lot of money with those playoff games. Reinvest it.

    • Joe Janish December 10, 2015 at 12:17 am
      Sometimes the bridesmaid does better than the bride in the end — in this case, I think the Mets will be very happy to have Walker for one year rather than Zobrist for four.

      As for Cespedes, I don’t see the Mets making that time and financial commitment. With 3 of the 5 NL East teams punting 2016, there’s no need to retain Cespedes. Additionally, they’ve hyped up Conforto enough to convince the fanbase that Cespedes. is unnecessary. If in fact the Mets are in the black, the Wilpons will be happy to pocket it.

      BTW, Coke is it!

      • DaveSchneck December 10, 2015 at 8:53 am
        I agree with you re Walker for 1 vs. Zobrist for 4. My issue was Mets looking amateurish – too much public confidence beforehand and too much public dejection afterwards. Zobrist is a nice player but this isn’t Willie Mays in his prime that got away.

        Coke Porch just doesn’t do it for me though.

      • MikeB December 11, 2015 at 10:40 pm
        The more I think about it the more I think the Mets are making a huge mistake not resigning Cespedes for two reasons. 1. The effect Cespedes in the middle of the lineup does to opposing pitchers – Everyone else gets better pitchers to hit because pitchers are thinking about him coming up in the lineup. 2. The effect he has on our batters, Cespedes was amazing and I know he wont always hit like that but everyone hits with more confidence with him in the four hole, there is not as much pressure on anyone when he is there. The Mets need a monster in the middle of there lineup.
        • argonbunnies December 12, 2015 at 4:31 am
          I don’t know what’s in opposing pitchers’ heads, but in the postseason it looked to me like no one was scared of Cespedes because he was no longer red hot and pitchers knew he could be pitched to.

          I agree that a mid-lineup monster would make a huge difference, but I’m not sure if that guy is out there. I’m still hoping for Joey Votto on a Reds salary dump.

  3. Murder Slim December 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm
    Coca Cola Corridor?
  4. argonbunnies December 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm
    Just talked to a Pirates fan yesterday who told me Walker’s defense is good overall, though he will make errors from time to time. According to ESPN, Baseball Info Solutions credits Walker with an average of 36 good plays and 18 misplays at 2B over the last 4 years, while Murphy comes in at 26 and 26.

    The Pirates fan also said Walker is streaky at the plate. No huge surprises there; seems like hitters who AREN’T streaky are pretty rare these days.

    I’m happy to part with Niese the starting pitcher, though I was high on his prospects as a reliever. Hopefully we get one of the few remaining reliable relievers out there.

  5. argonbunnies December 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm
    As for Asdrubal Cabrera, the metrics don’t like his defense, but the subjective reviews are good:
    Tampa Bay Times article.
  6. DanB December 13, 2015 at 9:45 am
    There is one less reliever for the Mets to sign. Nats signed Oliver Perez to a two year, $7 million contract. I hope he thanks his Lord every day that he was born lefty. (Nobody is offering John Maine a contract) I guess the real problem of the contract that Omar offered Perez was it wasn’t for enough years. No word on the where abouts of Luis Castillo.
  7. Vilos December 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm
    Quick question for who ever still hangs around: how many years and at what price should the Mets be willing to pay Cespedes?

    Heyward got 8 years at 23. Way too much.
    6 years at 20, borderline.

    Will he get more? Who!

    • Dan Capwell December 14, 2015 at 9:37 am
      I would go 4/85 on Cespedes, but I doubt his agents will.
  8. DaveSchneck December 14, 2015 at 6:48 pm
    Cespedes is a tough call, and I can’t blame the Mets for stepping away should the market get crazy. But, if 4/$85M is what it takes, they best pony up. As I try to do every year, I will bold out judgment until the team building is complete. That said, they are far from complete, and their behavior and comments do not instill any confidence that they will appropriately fill the soft spots. I can’t blame any fan for being concerned that they will come up short, but I’m hoping that they don’t. If they can’t overpay a little now on a team coming off a WS appearance with a young stud SP staff that gives them a great 2-3 year window, they never will.
  9. argonbunnies December 15, 2015 at 2:29 am
    “Michael Cuddyer is retiring after 15 seasons in the majors . . . Cuddyer, a two-time All-Star, was scheduled to earn $12.5 million next season, completing a two-year, $21 million deal. A team official would not comment on whether the Mets had bought out the remaining year, but that is expected to be the case.”

    So which is it? Did he first decide to retire, and forgo the money? Or did the Mets tell him, “here’s your $12.5 mil, we’re dumping you” and he then chose not to sign with another team?

    • DanB December 15, 2015 at 8:42 am
      I am guessing Cuddyer approached the Mets with a deal. He would retire with a deferred deal or report to spring training and force the Mets to cut him.
      • argonbunnies December 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm
        Ah, yeah, deferments. Good call. That’s plausible.
      • DaveSchneck December 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm
        Yup, he’ll join Bobby Bo getting $1 million a year for the next 30 years.
        • DanB December 18, 2015 at 11:14 am
          I make fun of the Wilpons, but they made money on the Bonilla deal. Compounded interest can be a wonderful thing.