ANDRES TORRES OVER COCO CRISP, NY METS GOT THE BETTER DEAL

 

 

When the Mets off season got under way one of the position I wanted to see an upgraded was center field. I had seen enough of Angel Pagan and it seems Sandy Alderson felt the same way. I was intrigued by Coco Crisp thinking he would be a nice cheap alternative to man the less spacious tundra of the center of the Citi Field outfield.  Alderson felt the better man for the job was Andres Torres, a great glove less than potent bat outfielder who came with RHP Ramon Ramirez to the Mets from the Giants for Angel Pagan.

After reading that Crisp re-signed with the A’s for 2yrs/$14 mil, a year and cash figure that quite frankly stunned me, I went over to Fan Graphs to look at a comparison of both players. 

There isn’t that much of a difference offensively between the two players that would make one about $5 mil better than the other. Crisp will make $7mil a year while Torres made $2.2 mil last year and is under team control for two more seasons.  So even with a raise to say, $3mil for Torres, having him over Crisp in the Mets outfield is major plus for the Mets.

Crisp, 32 years old, has a lifetime .264/.314/.379 with an ISO of .115 in 583 plate appearances.  Torres, 34 years old has a lifetime .221/.312/.330 with an ISO of .109 in 398 plate appearances. We are not talking offensive juggernauts here. Crisp is more the base stealer than Torres swiping 49 bags in his big league career to 19 for Torres. Both players walks rates are close Crisp take a base on balls 7.0% of his plate appearances to Torres’ 10.6 % rate. Torres K’s too much at 23.9 % while Crisp is more disciplined at 11.1 %. 

Back in 2010, Torres had a fine season putting up a line of .268/.343/.479 with 16 HR 43 2B and 63 RBI for the World Champion San Francisco Giants. The last real good offensive season that Crisp has had was back in 2005. So the odds are much better of Torres giving the Mets a bounce back season than Crisp putting up big numbers.

Crsip’ defense has been in decline the last couple of years whereas Torres has continued to play a stellar centerfielder.

So for a difference of say $5mil, who made the better deal, Billy Beane by signing Crisp or Sandy Alderson dealing for Torres? It looks like advantage Alderson to me especially is Ramirez is a decent reliever then this deal could be a huge positive for the Mets.

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PAGAN? HE GONE AND THE REBUILT BULLPEN

Well, if nothing else, Rauch and Francisco won’t tolerate much bullshit!

 

Well, the Mets won’t be coming home from Dallas empty handed. Maybe they are not the most sexy moves Mets fans wanted but they are practical, kind of like getting an iron or power tool for Christmas.  Let’s take a gander at the transaction shall we:

Angel Pagan to the Giants for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez

Note to all Mets personnel, don’t piss off Terry Collins or you too will be shown the door.  It seems many of Pagan’s ex-teammates won’t be shedding any tears that he’s gone and neither will I. Talk about addition by subtraction. Pagan fell out of favor with the club because a piss poor attitude and putting oneself above the team that don’t fly here no more, especially when you’re fringe major leaguer.

The return from the Giants is quite intriguing. Torres is an upgrade defensively but he not much to look at in the batter’s box. Can Dave Hudgens can do the voodoo they he do-do and bring Torres back offensively to where he was in 2010 (.268/.343/.479 16 HR 43 2b 6.8 WAR) ?

The best part of the deal is getting Ramirez   added to this new look bullpen. Ramirez walks a few batters more than I like but he is effective against right handed hitters. I’m surprised Brian Sabean would include Ramirez in this deal because on the surface Pagan and Torres cancel each other at as both were non-tender candidates and if you’d look to deal Ramirez I’m sure the Giants could have gotten a better offer.

Mets sign Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco

One year deal for $3.5 mil for Rauch and a 2 year $12 mil for Francisco. Are either of these guys top flight pitchers? No ,but for the price they’ll should be more than serviceable . When you look at the Mets bullpen right now, it is far better than it was on the last day of the 2011 season. Rauch should be fine as the 8th inning set up man and Francisco  will take the role as closer but both could interchange the roles if need be. Francisco is a strike out pitcher who throws his fastball and split both effectively and comes with a manageable contract.

So right now the Mets bullpen looks as so:

Francisco  RHP

Rauch  RHP

Ramirez RHP

Parnell RHP

Acosta RHP

Brydak LHP

 

I don’t think Bobby Parnell is a lock for a bullpen spot but to not have to close or set up in the 8th inning could help as he could be the ROOGY to Brydak’s LOOGY. I’m sure Alderson would love to add another lefty to this group. What to do with DJ Carrasco? He has another year left on his deal but it’s just for a million and change so he could see himself included as a thrown in a deal (with Daniel Murphy?) . It seems Pedro Beato is ticketed for Buffalo and there isn’t anyone else from last season arson squad I’d want to keep.

You have to take these deals as a positive, not a jump up and down positive but the team is better than it was on the last day of the season positive.

 

 

 

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PAGAN BE GONE

 

If Angel Pagan is the Mets opening day center fielder I’m going to be pissed off.  A lot of my angst over Pagan has to do with his inconsistent play especially in the outfield and some of it has to do with what is perceived as a “me” attitude that looks as if it chaps the mangers ass as well. Terry Collins was miffed when Pagan took himself out of a game last year claiming he had a stomach virus and was dehydrated but never told the manger he was headed to the porcelain palace in the clubhouse as his turn to bat was up. Pagan also bitched and moaned about batting leadoff when Jose Reyes was out with his blown up hammy, solidifying his rep as a selfish player

Mike Silva wrote a piece on how Pagan may be the best of what’s out there as far as centerfielders go, but why do the Mets always have to settle?  If it’s going to cost at least $5mil to sign Pagan why not go a couple of million more and sign David DeJesus?

DeJesus would be a upgrade over Pagan in the outfield for sure and  an upgrade in the lineup as well as DeJesus has a better ability to get on base than that of Pagan.

Sandy Alderson has targeted the pitching staff, zeroing in on the bullpen, as job one this off season but he also needs to address the defense which was one of the worst in baseball last year.  The up the middle D was especially poor (Jose Reyes by the way was -11 in Runs Saved ) so if the organization can’t afford to go all out to get some decent arms then maybe an upgrade on the defensive side would help the arms the Mets have now?

I think this post by Shannon at  Mets Police says it all about being a Mets fan.

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MR. ALDERSON, FRANK WREN ON THE LINE FOR YOU

After last night’s debacle in Atlanta, one piece of news that hasn’t been played up is the injury to Brian McCann.  McCann has been placed on the DL with the dreaded oblique strain that could take up to three weeks to heal. Not only is McCann the best bat in the Braves lineup, he also plays the premium position of catcher.

I’m sure Braves GM Frank Wren was up all night trying to figure out how to add a bat and as we all know the Mets are sitting on the best bat in all the baseball land that is for sale in Carlos Beltran.

Sandy Alderson is showing amazing patience in consummating the obvious, making Beltran an ex-Met, so with the injury to McCann, his methodical ways just might pay off .

My first thought was to add Ronny Paulino in a deal with the Braves to see if that would force Wren’s hand to add a top pitching prospect but looking things over, Paulino would be no use to the Braves once McCann gets back plus it would weaken the Mets at a spot where they lack both depth and talent.

It seems the Braves could use some outfield help so would adding Angel Pagan in a deal be enough of a sweetener to land a top prospect plus a B and C farm hand as well?

Alderson is really holding his cards close to the vest and it looks as if he will hold out at the last possible minute before he deals Beltran but with the appearance of Jeffey Skill Sets in Cincinnati, you could draw the conclusion that Alderson has alerted ownership that a deal is imminent, unless Jeffey took it upon himself to visit the Queens City as he had a craving for Skyline Chili.

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TERRY COLLINS PUTS TEAM ON NOTICE THIS ISN’T THE WESTMINSTER DOG SHOW

I’m a little concerned about Angel Pagan, now that the Mets have sent him for a blood test to see what is causing him to be fatigued during games. What also disturbs me is that Pagan has gone into a shell in the clubhouse. With the thought of Carlos Beltran ready to be dealt away, his own poor play this season and the uncertainty that he will be brought back next year, has to be weighing on his mind. Hopefully there is nothing medically wrong with Pagan.

Most of the talk this morning is about what will happen after Carlos Beltran is traded. From reading the quotes from Terry Collins it seems he understands what we Mets fans have figured out the last couple of years, some of these guys tend to lay down like dogs when they feel the season is over. TC has made it known now that anyone he suspects turning canine the last two months of the season will become ex-Mets. This has always been my main concern about the team that in the past, they have shown no heart in tough situations. Collins made it known to me over the winter that that kind of mindset will not happen under his stewardship and so far this season he has live up to his promise.

If anything this Mets team doesn’t roll over in fact, most non-Mets fans/followers have complimented the way the team plays, hard for 27 outs. That’s why I have faith in TC to keep that mindset going forward. I have to believe if a player doesn’t hustle or takes a play off, his ass will be fastened to the bench.

I have been a Mike Pelfrey fan. I’ve rooted for him to get his act together and become a solid front line starting pitcher. I’ve kept saying “one more year and it will all click for Pelf” but more and more this seasons, my faith in Pelfrey drops after each of his starts. I’m getting to the point where I’ll be surprised if he is a Met in 2012. After reading some of his quotes today about life after Carlos Beltran I’ve become more secure in saying that we may be seeing the last of Mike Pelfrey as a Met:

  “I understand that if you want to get something back for him you have to trade him (Beltran),” Pelfrey told The Post before the Mets beat the Reds 4-2 last night. “But in the same sense I would think if we ended up getting rid of him, the front office’s view is that we don’t have a chance, because he gives us our best chance to win. If he’s not here, then they felt we can’t rebound from where we’re at.”

Mike, if you pitched better this season, the team would have had a better chance to compete for a post season berth. Don’t worry about what the front office is or has to do. It’s very simple, players play, coach’s coach, manager’s mange and the front office worries about trades and signings. Quite frankly maybe your problem is you worry about shit that has nothing to do with you and you lose focus on what you need to do, which is to pitch better. Hey who knows maybe your career will turn around next year when you’re a Kansas City Royal.

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ANGEL PAGAN GOES EL KABONG

It was quite a night at Citi Field last night. The SNY crew set up shop in the Pepsi Porch and I don’t know who enjoyed it more, Gary, Keith and Ron or us fans watching on TV. Between Ron wearing a glove like a Little Leaguer hoping to catch a ball or Keith buying hot dogs for him and his mates, it was one of the more enjoyable Mets games I’ve watched in awhile.   

There was a little bit of everything last night. R.A. Dickey showing all those of little faith that he is a legit big league pitcher and one I hope is around here for some time. After falling behind 4-0, Dickey got himself back on track and as much as I love to watch a pitcher dominant a lineup, when you see a guy start out shaky but refuse to panic and think out what pitches are working and which one isn’t and then have the ability to make adjustments on the fly is just as great to watch. If Mike Pelfrey could just have a sliver of R.A. Dickey’s guile and pitching smarts we would be talking about locking him up to a multi year deal instead of hoping he gets non-tendered in the off season.

Angel (El Kabong) Pagan has not been very good this season in the field and at bat. Pagan is another player that I’m sure will be part of a big discussion in the Mets front office meetings as to whether he’s worth bringing back next season or not. Pagan, like the rest of this team is an easy guy to root for. He’s worked his way back from oblivion of the bushes to be a bonafide big leaguer. In Pagan’s defense he is not a leadoff hitter and is not comfortable in the 1 or 2 spot of the lineup. This season his best offensive production as come when he is slotted in the 5 or hole. So last night was the right spot for Pagan in the bottom of the 10th when he drilled his walk off home run. Good for Angel and good for the Mets. This is a day to reflect on the goodness of Pagan, we’ll have all winter to debate is fate as a Met going forward.

The stories today are all about Carlos Beltran and what is most likely his farewell game at home as a Met. If anything last night was his going away party. The crowd seemed to feel the same way. I was hoping that after Beltran launched his 2 run homer in the 5th to tie the game that the fans at Citi Field would prolong their enthusiasm to the point that Carlos would come out for a curtain call. When was the last time a Mets player came out for bow after a home run? With today being a day game and the temperature climbing toward 100 degrees I wonder how many folks will show up for the game today (besides the day camp kids for whom the 12 noon start was scheduled for) but it would be nice if the fans gave Beltran a standing O in his first at bat to the point where he steps out of the box and doffs his helmet. We’re going to miss him.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Josh Thole on the birth of their son Cameron and how about Daddy Josh hitting RBI single in the 8th to tie the game at 5. I hope someone saved the ball to give to Thole as it would be a great conversation piece between him and his son when he gets older to relive the night after his birth daddy got a big clutch hit for the Mets.

Jason Pridie will start in LF for the Mets today for Jason Bay who is nursing a sore hammy. Bay claims his hip and leg have been bothering him for a few days and this doesn’t seem too serious. I know we’d all love to see Bay take a seat on the bench but we shouldn’t revel in an injury that puts him there. Mike Francesa had one of the few good points he makes every now and then about calling the Pirates about taking Jason Bay off the Mets hands for 50 cents on the dollar. Bay is owed $35 mil over the next three seasons so if the Mets offer Bay to the Pirates along with $17-$18 mil they would save $17-$18 mil. I doubt the Bucs would do this but Bay did have a great six years in Pittsburgh so maybe he Bucs need a love re-connection. Can’t hurt to ask.

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GET YOUR ANGEL PAGAN BOBBLE-HEAD DOLL AT MCU PARK ON MONDAY

One time Brooklyn Cyclone (he has his number retired by the Cyclones) Angel Pagan will have his bobble head doll given out to fans at MCU Park  on Monday as the Cyclones take on the Aberdeen Ironbirds at 7PM. Tickets are available but get there early. The Cyclones have great giveaways and the Angel Pagan bobble head looks like a winner.

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“FOR THE GOOD OF THE TEAM” STARING CARLOS BELTRAN

When Sandy Alderson was hired to run the Mets baseball operations, the phrase we heard over and over again was “Now there are adults running the show”. When Terry Collins was hired as manager it was not the most popular choice to make since the bulk of the fan base wanted Wally Backman to get the job because if there is one thing that Mets fans love it’s former Mets players with World Series rings (that should be an incentive to present and future Mets, if you win a World Series as a Met your set for life. Meals will be free, endorsements plentiful; no matter if you are the star or 25th man you’re revered) but so far this early in spring, it’s safe to say, the on the field Mets are doing much better than the off the field Mets.

Before camp even started, Collins showed strong leadership by naming Big Pelf the opening day starter and the first seven spots in his lineup. He also made it known that the question of who will be the centerfielder will be answered quickly and decisively.  

Alderson and Collins showed Carlos Beltran the veteran respect he has earned and deserved. They laid out the centerfield scenario; Beltran will be given every chance to prove that he and his knee are up to the task of covering the vast canyon that centerfield in Citi Field is. If he can’t, then the move to right field will be made and Angel Pagan, who has proven to be a terrific centerfielder, will take over the job. The key in this plan was, once the decision was made, it will be final, no yo-yoing back and forth.  

I guess with that information and the fact that he has been treated with respect for the first time in his Mets career and knowing that his knee will be a problem for as long as he plays baseball, Carlos Beltran got to camp early yesterday, asked to meet with Collins and Pagan to let them know it’s time for him to shift over the right field and let Pagan take the helm of center field. It was a crowning moment for Beltran, Collins and Pagan.

Beltran has gotten a bad rap by the segment of Mets fans. It seems that called third strike he took from Adam Wainright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS has followed him his whole Mets career. I’ve said before, the folks who criticize Beltran for taking that pitch obviously has never played baseball beyond Little League. The reason a curveball is such a potent pitch is when you’re standing in that batter’s box, pitchers who can throw a hook like Wainright, can throw the pitch with such a big break, that the pitch looks like it’s coming straight at you but then breaks over the plate. It’s the pitch that separates all stars from journeymen but I digress.

His first year as a Met was not as good as hoped and his last two seasons have been injury riddled but from 2006 to 2008 he was the best player on the Mets and one of the best in all of baseball. Hopefully the move to right field works for Beltran and helps keep the stress off his arthritic knee. This will be his last season as a Met but hopefully he goes out on the same high note as he has started this spring.

Who knows, maybe this is something Mets fans will look back on in September as a galvanizing moment for a club that might just be figuring out that if they stick together and block out the noise from ownership and the media barbs that this team is not worthy of having New York in its name, they can do something special. So far this early spring it’s been all positives coming from camp even when Ollie Perez pitches the team puts a positive spin like” no children or animals were harmed during Perez’ performance.”   Who knows? One thing is for sure I can’t wait for a month from today.

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TENDER OR NON-TENDER, THAT IS THE QUESTION ?

As we await the non-tender floodgates to open, the Mets have four players who fit the offer/non-offer list so let’s see who stays and who goes:

John Maine-I think we all agree the days of Maine are done in Queens. Maine did himself no favor by hiding his injuries and less than honest with the coaching staff and front office. With Old School Dan Werthan staying on as the Pitching Czar and the fact that Old School can’t stand the sight of Maine then add in his arbitration price could go to $4mil, it’s safe to say we can add John Maine to that long list of former Mets

R.A. Dickey-Look, we all love Dickey wait that didn’t come out right, We all love R.A. and he was a revelation both on the mound and in the clubhouse as Dickey was the only player when interviewed that I paid attention to as he would always say something of substance. But (and you knew the BUT was coming) let’s not go crazy with talk of multi-year deals for R.A.  I’d go 1yr plus an option $1.5 mil which is about double what he made last year.

Angel Pagan-Now Pagan is a different story. Pagan not only took his offensive game to a higher level but right now he’s the best centerfielder on the Mets roster. Pagan went from being a baseball dunderhead in 2009 to arguably the Mets MVP last season (Yes I know David Wright had a great offensive year but the case can be made that the best all-around season by a Met last year was Pagan) Angel made $1.45 mil last season and it would be hard for the Mets to win an arbitration case but what price is right for Pagan? 2yrs/$4.5-5mil?

Sean Green-We’re tendering him a contract, why?

Mike Pelfrey-Ahhhhhh Big Pelf.  The sticking point he is Pelf’s agent, Scott Boras.  Pelf cannot test the free agent waters until 2014, so the Mets hold the hammer on him as well. Pelfrey has made some coin off his ML contract he signed when drafted in 2005 to the tune of a shade under $5mil so this negotiation should be quite interesting. As the Mets hold all the cards they don’t have to offer a multi year deal but figure with Boras as his agent, I’m sure he will make up one of those elaborate books to present at the arbitration hearing to make Big Pelf look like Cy Young .

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HEY METS FANS: TO FOLLOW ALONG WITH THE FRONT OFFICE THIS OFF SEASON YOU’LL NEED THE 2011 BILL JAMES HANDBOOK

If you want to do something constructive while you wait for word on the identity of the next Mets manager, you should be pursuing the 2011 Bill James Handbook.

As always the Handbook is chock full of statistic and league and career leaders in a host of categories. Now if you’re a Mets fan and have been sabermetric intolerant, you should really check out the Handbook as we get ready for a whole new world in the Land of Blue and Orange when we ride the Alderson Carousel of Progress.

Some interesting Mets –centric numbers in the Handbook are:

Ike Davis finished second to Oakland’s Daric Barton in fielding metrics for first basemen with a Plus/Minus of +14 (to Barton’s +27) and a Runs Saved of +13 (Barton was at +20)

David Wright finished second to last for regular third basemen in the fielding metrics with a -13 Plus/Minus and a -13 Runs Saved Not good at all.

Alderson and Co. will have a tough choice to make when it comes to re-signing Pedro Feliciano. Perpetual Pedro lived up to his name in 2010 by appearing in league high 92 appearances of which 44 were on consecutive days, a ML high as well. If Feliciano does re-sign with the Mets, I’m sure the new management know he’s the 100 % red-blooded LOOGY. Against left handed batters Perpetual Pedro was dominant holding the hitters to .211/.297/.276 but against right handed batters it’s a whole other story,.336/.436/.395. Is he worth $3.5-$4 mil dollars?

When it comes to Manufacturing Runs (aggressive, not station to station baseball) the Mets have two players in the top ten in the NL.  Jose Reyes is second only to Michael Bourn of the Astros (44 to 39) and Angel Pagan has the fifth highest mark of 30 Manufactured Runs Contribution.

When it came to getting a hit with runners in scoring position no one on the Mets was better than Angel Pagan who was seventh in the NL with a .339 Batting Average w/RISP

The only NL player to slug lefties better than David Wright (.654 SLG. vs LHP) was Albert Pujols at .688

That’s just skims the surface of what’s in the Bill James Handbook and as I said before with the new and improved front office now employed by the Mets you really need this book to keep up with Sandy Alderson’ pace.

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