Monday catch-all thread (7/8/19)

The kingdoms of experience
In the precious wind they rot
While paupers change possessions
Each one wishing for what the other has got
And the princess and the prince
Discuss what’s real and what is not
It doesn’t matter inside the Gates of Eden

Lately I’ve been thinking about what’s real and what is not. When Robinson Cano had a six-game stretch with five two-hit games and a .955 OPS – that was real. It happened. But in the overall scheme of things, no one expects a .955 OPS – or anything close to that – from Cano moving forward. And in that sense, that six-game stretch wasn’t real.

It’s easier to dismiss a six-game stretch than what someone does over, say, three months or even a year. But even then we see things that aren’t “real.”

In his final 22 games last year, Todd Frazier had a .523 OPS and it sure looked like his days as a productive player were over. The Mets go out and get two guys to play 3B in the offseason. Frazier gets hurt in Spring Training and misses the early part of the season. His first three weeks in the majors are horrible. But here in his last 48 games, a span of 192 PA, Frazier is slashing .291/.391/.503 and that’s with a .302 BABIP.

Is the .523 OPS or the .894 OPS the “real” Frazier?

It all depends where your bias is. If you think Frazier’s a bum, you say what he’s done recently is a hot streak and he’ll soon come back to earth. If you think Frazier is a solid bat, you’d point to the BABIP and say the .894 is pretty close to the real guy.

To me, this is a great time to use the computer forecasts, to get a non-biased look at what the expectations were coming into the season. Let’s use ZiPS. Here are Mets’ hitters, with their actual OPS here at the break first and their preseason ZiPS forecast second:

Wilson Ramos – .757, .721
Pete Alonso – 1.006, .774
Cano – .646, .763
Amed Rosario – .713, .705
Frazier – .783, .718
Jeff McNeil – .917, .756
Juan Lagares – .494, .634
Michael Conforto – .830, .829

The point is not that ZiPS – or any computer forecast – is gospel. Rather, it’s a systematic, non-biased expectation. My guess is most fans are disappointed with what Conforto and Rosario have given the club so far this season. But the non-biased forecasts tell us this was what was expected.

Now it’s the job of the GM (and armchair GMs) to determine if what we’ve seen is “real” or not. When Brodie Van Wagenen took over, his determination was that what McNeil did in 2018 wasn’t “real.” And that helped drive his stated opinion that second base was a primary need for the club. And we all know what happened next.

Right now, every Mets fan is convinced that what Alonso has done is “real.” My feelings on the subject are the dictionary definition of ambivalent.

What we’re seeing may very much be what to expect the next 10 years. That would be wonderful. But it may be that an .800 OPS is much more what to expect going forward.

And beyond the wasteland of the 2019 season, the Mets have to consider that what Alonso did in the first half wasn’t “real.” Now, the idea isn’t to scoff at an .800 OPS. Since 1988, the Mets have had only 12 seasons, by eight different players, from a 1B who qualified for the FanGraphs leaderboards to reach an .800 OPS.

Rather, the idea is that Alonso’s trade value will never be higher. With multiple holes and the expectation of very little money to fill them – this might be the team’s best way forward.

Sure, no one wants to hear this. But it should be on the table for discussion.

14 comments for “Monday catch-all thread (7/8/19)

  1. Chris F
    July 8, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    yeah, no. If you trade Alonso, then you just rebuild the team completely, and primarily you move deGrom.

  2. TJ
    July 8, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    Without knowing the exact trade value of each or both, dealing Alonso and/or McNeil makes little sense at this time, even for a rebuilding team. At this stage, controlling the best power bat the organization has ever developed, as well as an all-star positional player has more value.

    Despite actual OPS being close to ZIPS, Rosario and Conforto have been disappointing, and Rosario has been a huge disappointment. Conforto in that there was an expectation/hope of a step up to elite performance, and he can still get there in 2019 with a big 2nd half. Rosario in that he needed to improve to be an asset, and he has shown virtually no growth in much needed elements, those being pitch recognition, on-base percentage, and defense.

    Cano, well, he may come back to the mean moreso, but this dreadful half season has cemented two realities for me – first, it is a crime that he is penciled into the #3 spot, and second, even with a strong second half, he can never be counted on again as a mid-line up bat or adequate defensive player. The bieest reality is that Cano’s acquisition was a monumental fail, and his presence going forward is problem #1 for this team.

    • Mike Walczak
      July 8, 2019 at 10:58 pm

      No way McNeil or Alonso gets traded.

      You cant do that to the 2019 home run derby winner.

      Talks are heating up for Wheeler. Perfect scenario. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox need him. Let’s see who coughs up the best package.

  3. July 9, 2019 at 2:22 am

    I like the idea of packaging Thor and Smith to Houston for their top prospects. Not my idea. I just read it. How about Wheeler for Andujar? The FA class of 2020 is thin with only A. Rendon as a solid fit. I think Ramos should be moved as well. The team has good players to build a foundation with. Bite the bullet with Cano’s salary Just make believe his dead salary is David Wright. Between Cespedes, Cano, DeGrom and Wright’s final year that’s more than half of the 2020 payroll. Of the four only one is worth any value. I don’t think you should compound the GM’s mistake with another. One generational mistake for every new GM.

    • Mike Walczak
      July 9, 2019 at 8:46 am

      The Cubs traded Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for the Chapman rental. I dont think they would trade Andujar for Wheeler. That being said, yes, Andujar is a slugger, but his defense is terrible.

      We need a catcher, center fielder and pitching. The Dodgers have some good young catchers in Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith.

      I am all for dumping the statue Ramos and giving Nido a half year tryout.

      I just hope BVW does a better job than Jeter in trading his assets.

      • July 9, 2019 at 9:57 am

        Sad to say but that’s exactly what this team needed this past off season

  4. NYM6986
    July 9, 2019 at 7:28 am

    Your assumption is correct in what Alonso might bring in a rebuilding mode, but it would be tragic. It is a blip in time and not a proven tried and true performance that would lessen the return. Would prefer to keep the core of kids and start dumping off the expiring contracts and consider Ramos and Thor as under contract pieces to move to get a better return. Would rather fix than trade Diaz and the same for Familia. If Mickey was such a great pitching coach why is this not happening. It’s not our bats that are letting us down – it’s the pen we had such hopes for to bridge the starters to Lugo, Familia and Diaz. Sure, we are not a team of gold glovers, but when you score 5-6-7 runs in a game and your starter gives you 6-7, you are supposed to win. Ah, the life of a Mets fan. High hopes and low expectations.

  5. Mike Walczak
    July 9, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Wheeler Trade

    Should trade him to the Yankees for Deivi Garci.

    https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa916944&position=P

  6. July 9, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t believe you throw an entire team away. That’ll make you the worst GM yet. If you take a look at the Blown saves versus league or mlb avg , you find the culprit. The Conclusion is that this is a flawed team because they acquired a 36 year old Low Tread 2bman is off base—- the greater truth is that this is a Titanic Team because the 23 year old closer and his bullpen mates have been a disaster–pure and simple.

    Short the Bullpen Disaster, they hit ok…They Field poorly….they have a Giant Hole in CF/RH Hitting OF’er.

    5-10 less blown saves and they’d be tweeking

    They need to re-measure their pitching assessment of the starters— and alter their balance.

    • July 9, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      If you were filling out the lineup right now, with no regard to who’s getting paid – you’d have this

      C – Ramos/Nido
      1B – Alonso
      2B – McNeil
      3B – Frazier
      SS – Rosario
      LF – Smith/Davis
      CF – Lagares
      RF – Conforto

      There’s a massive need for an upgrade in CF. And there are “can live with” options at C, SS and LF. Are you comfortable with three “live with” options in the lineup? Maybe

      A lot depends on if you think Nimmo and Andres Gimenez are still answers. And then what do you do with Frazier? Do you re-sign him on a one-year deal? Or because Rosario’s troubles seem to be going to his right – maybe 3B is where he belongs. Or is Davis your “live with” 3B in 2020?

      There’s a lot of moving parts. And that’s not even taking into account the desire to play Cano. Or the entire pitching staff. It just doesn’t feel like “wait for the bullpen to stabilize and everything is ok” to me.

      • Mike Walczak
        July 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm

        I dont like Ramos behind the plate. Id rather have a catcher who hits less, but can throw runners out and block the ball. Also ones, who have their head in the game as well.

        Yes, CF, we all agree, key.

        Hope the bullpen can works its issues out.

        With Wheeler heading out the door, pitching depth becomes really important. Right now, next year we could what we have now minus Wheeler. We would also be tempting fate if we think Vargas will pitch like this next year if we resign him.

        Rosario at third base could be an option. If we trade Frazier now, we have a half season to evaluate him at third. Its worth it.

        I agree with you on waiting on the bullpen. This team hasn’t produced in 18 months. Time to make changes for the betterment of the team.

        With your knowledge Brian, I think the Mets should replace BVW with you.

      • July 9, 2019 at 10:40 pm

        Everything is not Ok.

        Rosario is very “Highs and Lows”… the offense is sort of adding up, and there’s no way to deny his offensive upside to 750’s or so OPS, even without a great leap in development. I’m stubborn about throwing him away as a SS. I’m more excited by relaible Hands and Arm and Brains than I am with sheer Range in a time of Defensive Positioning and shifts. He’s on track for 55-60 xbh… he can be a very nice advantage if he can stay at short.

        Cano has been Dead Money for Me since Day 1. Whatever you can say about Diaz and Familia, you don’t have to like them to admit that a combined ERA well over 6 means they’re hurt…maybe badly.

        Everything else aside, it really does come back to “..and Then what will they do?!!..” after trading some players.

        Rebalancing the outfield is an offseason Problem— Trading Dom is an offseason proposition.

        They should extend Wheeler…otherwise they must trade him.

        Matz should try the Pen—he might make a great backend Guy— add some MPH…less decisions.

        Todd Should Go…. “and Then what will they do???!!”

  7. TexasGusCC
    July 9, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Ironically, this afternoon I was wondering if BVW asked me what would I do, what would I tell him? This is actually very difficult fix.

    I think the biggest problem for this team is the outfield. Where is Cespedes? If he comes back for left field, where do you hide Smith, McNeil, and Davis? Where should Conforto play? I just gave you five names; is this the outfield?

    Moving to the dirt part of the field, Cano will be the third baseman – open and shut case. He has the arm and no range. Is Rosario a breakthrough candidate? Last year people were throwing Josh Bell under the bridge, this year he’s an all-star. The same has happened to Joc Pederson; to Brandon Belt; to Gregory Polanco. Truth is, the talent can’t hide forever, can it? Lowery at 2B is easy and Pete at first. Also, I’d bring Hechavarria back to hedge against Rosario not stepping forward – at least defensively.

    As for catchers, Grandal will have too much action. I’d keep Ramos because there aren’t any options in the minors.

    Bullpen: Can they really be t h i s bad? I’d bet no, but I’d add an arm and try Gsellman in the rotation because Lugo’s mix is too good in the bullpen. That gives a pen of Diaz, Familia, Lugo, new guy, Wilson, Kay (I’d go the Cardinals route if braking in starters slowly), and whoever is out there.

    Starters: Trading Wheeler and Vargas, that leaves Syndergaard, DeGrom, Gsellman, and Matz. That’s not a bad start and you add one or two here.

    Not a terrible foundation, but that outfield… ohi vey.

  8. July 11, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Red Sox Season Records…Note 2012 to 2013—trash bin to series champs. The Mets need to recognize “Major Market” as an Asset…otherwise, they need to trade every single well paid talent… starting with deGrom. They need to manage like they’re the Red Sox, or they need to manage like they’re the Rays

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/index.shtml

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