The Mets addressed their need for a true center fielder by acquiring Jake Marisnick from the Astros for two minor leaguers. Marisnick had a very good year in 2017, when he posted an .815 OPS over 259 PA. Other than that season, it’s been an offensive profile similar to Juan Lagares, with an OPS+ right around 80. Of course, Lagares was significantly worse than that in 2019, so this is likely an upgrade. Defensively, he had a positive DRS (5) and UZR (3.4) in 733 innings in CF last year, making him an upgrade on Lagares in the field, too.

He’s got a little pop – he has 36 HR in in 812 PA over the past three years – and he can steal a base. Marisnick as a fifth outfielder is a great pickup. But if the plan is to play him in a platoon role and have him take away PA from a better hitter on a regular basis, well, not so much. While not as drastic as what was proposed with Billy Hamilton earlier this offseason, the goal should be to minimize his PA. While Hamilton would need to be under 100, Marisnick could be in the 150-175 range. Certainly not the 285 PA that Lagares got last year.

As for what they gave up, it was LHP Blake Taylor and OF Kenedy Corona. If Taylor’s name sounds familiar, he was acquired from the Pirates in the Ike Davis deal. He had a good 2019 (2.16 ERA, 1.095 WHIP in 66.2 IP split among three clubs) and was likely one of the club’s top 25 prospects and odds are that he would have seen time in the Mets’ pen at some point in 2020. Corona’s a lottery ticket, an unheralded international signee who had a productive year in the GULF last season.

Seems like a good trade for both teams. Marisnick has value, especially if used correctly, and fills a definite need for the 2020 Mets. The Astros get two minor leaguers with upside. Hopefully it works out as well as the last trade New York made with Houston, the one that they picked up a player for the 2019 team at the cost of some prospects, with that player being J.D. Davis.

FOR THOSE WHO STAND LONG – Mets fans have been wishing for new owners for quite some time and it looks like there might be a light at the end of that tunnel, with the news that billionaire Steve Cohen is in advanced negotiations to buy a controlling interest in the team. Allegedly, Cohen will end up with 80% of the team, although the Wilpons will stay on in executive roles for the next five years.

History shows that when it comes to selling the team, fans should believe it only when a signed deal is in place. But this time feels different and hopefully the inclusion of the Wilpons continuing a role in the immediate future means this one has a shot of coming true. Still, there seems to be a lot of moving parts and unfinished business to this alleged sale.

Obviously, the biggest issue is how does it work with two popes in the building? Maybe the Wilpons just want to be the ones to receive the trophy should Cohen’s money put them over the top in the next five years. Or maybe they want to be more than figureheads. But another item seems to be the long-term future of SNY, which was not included in Cohen’s acquisition of the team. Back in 2014, Adam Rubin estimated that SNY paid the Mets $52 million annually for the rights fees and the deal was through 2030. Those rights could be much, much more valuable in 2031. Would Cohen set up a new network at that point? Since carriage fees are not included in MLB’s revenue sharing – while rights fees are – it would certainly benefit Cohen to start a new network.

PHILLY POACHES WHEELER – As expected, Zack Wheeler signed his deal before the Winter Meetings, inking a 5/$118 million deal with the Phillies. Allegedly, Wheeler turned down more money from the White Sox, in order to remain on the East Coast. Some are shocked at the AAV of this deal, figuring there’s no way that Wheeler is worth this much money. While he may not be “worth” it, guys at his age with his recent level of success were getting paid, plain and simple. If you’re shocked, you just haven’t been paying attention.

Some speculate that Wheeler in Citizens Bank Park is a disaster waiting to happen. There’s some logic behind that, as the Phillies’ home park is a hitter-friendly one and Wheeler gave up a career-high 22 HR last year. But Wheeler has pitched well in CBP in his career. In seven games there, he’s 3-1 with a 3.27 ERA, including a 2.37 mark in three appearances there in 2019.

RHOMBICUBOCTAHEDRON TIME – MLB expands its roster size to 26 for the 2020 season. And in a corresponding move, teams will be limited to 28 players in September when rosters expand. While my preference would have been to keep the same number all year long, this is a big step in the right direction to end the farce of seemingly unlimited September bodies. The question is how teams will allocate the new roster slot the first five months of the season. Permanent 13-man pitching staff? Three catchers? Designated runner? This gives teams options and hopefully teams will use it to try and win games with a deeper bench, rather than a deeper bullpen.

LOCKING THE DOOR ON LOOGYs – Another new rule for the upcoming season will require pitchers to either face a minimum of three batters or complete an inning before they can be removed. This is a pace of play initiative, aimed at eliminating the Terry Collins special of playing matchups with three or more relievers in a single inning. Ideally, teams would have come to the realization that this was a sub-optimal player utilization strategy on their own, without the need for a rule from above. And teams were heading in that direction. But this will hasten the move for the stragglers. Good riddance and may we never see the likes of Scott Rice, Robert Carson, Tim Byrdak, Scott Schoeneweis and the nameless Eric O’Flaherty ever again.

19 comments on “Notes: Mets add Marisnick, lose Wheeler and what happens to SNY?

  • footballhead

    While Marisnick may have a similar profile as the departed Lagares as far as defense/offense is concerned; for a third of the cost, it’s a good move.

    Now as noted by Brian, it’s also a good move if Marisnick isn’t overused and takes AB away from others.

  • Chris B

    How does the new appearance rule work if a pitcher comes into the game in the middle of an AB?

    • Brian Joura

      We see mid-PA pitching changes much more often in the college game than in MLB, where I’d be shocked if it happened 1% of the time. I have not read of how they would address this but my guess is they would use the rulebook definitions for when a strikeout or walk is charged to the starter or reliever.

  • Dan Capwell

    I don’t get the hate for the Marisnick deal. If the guy starts 55 games in CF and is inserted in the late innings of another 75, the Mets have made a good deal. Plus he can come off the bench and steal a base or two. I was hoping they would stay far away from Sterling Marte, who looks to be heading for a drastic downturn. The guy I really wanted from Houston was Myles Straw, but I guess that is a moot point now.

    Interestingly enough, the Mets have essentially traded Tom Glavine for Jake Marisnick. They got a compensation pick for losing Glavine to FA (from Atlanta). That pick was used to draft Ike Davis, who was traded to Pittsburgh in 2014 for two players, one of them being Taylor.

    The Cohen news is almost too good to be true. Let’s hope it comes to fruition. One of the most interesting pieces of info I read is that Saul Katz’s children want nothing to do with Cousin Jeffy. Uncle Saul wanted out and his willingness to sell has apparently lead to Cohen.

    • Brian Joura

      Why should he get that many starts?

      Marisnick with the platoon advantage versus LHP has a lifetime .701 OPS. Nimmo, without the platoon advantage, versus LHP has a lifetime .783 OPS. Conforto, after a dreadful start in his career versus lefties has posted marks of .729, .808 and .701 the last three years. And you wouldn’t want to sit J.D. Davis, who with the platoon advantage posted a .913 OPS against LHP in 2019.

      • MattyMets

        I think the roster changes are great. Gives teams an opening to keep a pinch hitter like in the old days before 8 man bullpens. And hopefully the combination of the 28-man September roster and the 3 batter rule will eliminate those painful-to-watch late innings at the end of the year where there are commercial breaks every 3 minutes.

  • Eraff

    Marisnick may have some buried offensive tools that Lagares doesn’t…otherwise, why not just re-sign Juan without trading Talent?

    I’m hopeful that JD Davis has been doing Glove Work all Winter—the opportunity to “Roam” JD and McNeill can present tremendous opportunity for the team

    I’ve been excited about the readiness and position of this team, and the recent news is a big shot.

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • TexasGusCC

    Marisnick is more than just merely a bench piece. In five years previous to this past one, he has usually amassed between 1.6 bWAR and 2.3 bWAR in less than half a season’s plate appearances. That’s a solid, albeit unspectacular, player. Fangraphs isn’t as kind, giving him between 0.5 fWAR and 1.8. The one negative is that he’s only controlled for one year, but maybe he can be resigned. I looked at the Astros outfielders last month and preferred Miles Straw, but he has more control left and so the Astros won’t trade him. I can give this trade a “B” with a chance to move up or down, and a cheap fix (our favorite) to the outfield problem. Anyone out there know of a solid but unspectacular starting pitcher? We need two of them.

    • Brian Joura

      Why should we ignore last year to include something that happened many years ago to puff up Marisnick’s credentials? In that case, shouldn’t we go back one more year and credit Lagares for his 5.3 bWAR?

      Marisnick is what he is – a guy who had one outlier season as a hitter (2017) but otherwise is pretty much a balsa wood bat guy. He has value as a defensive guy, PR and a guy to use as a PH against LHP for the threat to hit a homer.

      Edit – For the record, I like this deal. It addresses a real need at the major league level. Ideally, this would be a spot you could fill from the minors – a defensive CF who can put up a 75-80 wRC+ – but the Mets don’t have this in the upper levels of their system right now. Maybe Jake Mangum can fill this role in a couple of years but that may be overselling his hit tool.

      • TexasGusCC

        Brian, I am not ignoring last year, but how can you write that Marisnick’s successes were “many years ago” when the numbers I referenced are from years 2014-2018, consecutively. Last year was a bad year, but it was only one. The Astros aren’t unloading him based on last year but rather he only has a year’s control. The guy is a career .227 hitter with a .660 OPS, that’s Nido territory. He’s a “solid” player because of his defense, speed and a little pop, but if he starts games, he needs to hit 8th.

        I gave the deal a “B”, but I need to downgrade it as I realize that he’s a bench player and Billy Hamilton was still available. Yes, Marisnickis better than Hamilton, but how much? Since Marisnick and Hamilton are both bench pieces, is he a better deal than Hamilton who can be gotten without giving away prospects, a g a in?!!

        There’s a saying in Greek culture: ‘Show me who your friends are and I’ll see who you are’. Now I know why BVW and Jeff Coupon are buddies; neither has common sense.

        • Brian Joura

          Because here’s what Marisnick has done since 2016:

          16 – 0.5 fWAR, 60 wRC+
          17 – 1.4 fWAR, 117 wRC+
          18 – 1.1 fWAR, 84 wRC+
          19 – 1.1 fWAR, 80 wRC+

          He can’t hit and OPS+ from B-R will tell you the same exact thing. It’s one thing to start a catcher who can’t hit 30 times a year if he can coax an ERA two full runs fewer out of an alleged ace. It’s another thing to do it with an OF, who won’t have that type of impact. Catchers need that type of rest and outfielders don’t.

          There should be another OF in the mix, and that guy along with Marisnick should divvy up the 50 or so starts available if the three starters are healthy. Hopefully that other guy can put up a wRC+ or OPS+ close to 100 and get the lion’s share of those other starts. And it may be how the team gets Jed Lowrie some additional playing time. Put Lowrie in the infield and have Jeff McNeil get some starts in the OF when one of the OF starters needs a day off.

          Is Marisnick better than Hamilton? I think the better question is if Hamilton would sign a contract for the money that they’ll give Marisnick. For all we know, the Mets offered Hamilton (or Pillar or anyone else free to sign w/o restrictions) $3 million and they didn’t jump at it. A bird in the hand…

  • Name

    Player A : 356.2 IP, 106 ERA+, 8.6 k/9, 3.4 bb/9, 1.2 HR / 9
    Player B : 377.2 IP, 107 ERA+, 8.9 k/9 , 2.5 bb/9, 0.9 HR/9

    One was paid 118 mil over the next 5 years the other one just 30 mil.

    Yes, One is 30 and the other is 32, but you’d be hard pressed to convince me that’s worth the extra 88 mil expenditure. I guess the Phillies didn’t learn their lesson with Jake Arrieta about paying non-aces 20+ mil.

    • Brian Joura

      The consensus is that the Rangers got a good deal with Gibson. And he signed first. Did his agent panic over the slow FA classes the past few years and take the first half decent contract that came his way? Maybe. But you also have to factor that Wheeler got five years and Gibson only got three, which certainly explains a chunk of the difference.

      FG Dollar Values have Gibson being worth $41.9 million the past two seasons. They have Wheeler being worth $71.2 million in the same time frame. He’s better and he’s younger, which certainly indicate he should get more money. And more years.

      How much will each guy improve/decline over the life of their deals? No way to know that now. But it’s certainly possible that both will be worth their contract. And I think the Phillies would be quite willing to lose the $/WAR battle if Wheeler continues to pitch at the level he has the past two years over the next five.

      • Name

        Just to be clarify, i wasn’t implying that they should have been paid at the same rate or for the same number of years as age is a massive factor.

        However, for those of us who do not believe in FIP to determine value, it’s not clear that one is significantly better than the other and thus is shocking why one is valued over double the other.

  • Chris F

    Nats —> Stephen Strasburg, 7/245
    Phillies —> Harper, Wheeler 5/118
    Braves —> a bunch
    Mets —> Hensley Muelens, Jeremy Hefner, Carlos Beltran (possibly the best CF on the team)

  • Eraff

    I’m surprised at VW’s Public Posture on Wheeler regarding “Projection and Valuation”. I would have hoped for 3-4 years at 50-80, but it’s tough to argue that the Market Valuation of a 190 innings with performance and upside falls at much less than the Phillies paid. Now Teams with Cash Power pay that…especially for their own guy. Withing the Broadie Babble is a good deal of Self Love about anticipating the Market when adding Marcus…. while holding Zach through the Trade Period and trying to extend him. I get it— VW’s sooo smart—but then He Wasn’t????

    It may reflect the fact that there’s a lot of dust left to be settled with The Cohen Events….especially when we reflect on some of the large moves being made all around the Mets within their Division.

    • Brian Joura

      Yes, the Wheeler comment by Van Wagenen was certainly curious.

      But it gives us something else to measure BVW. If he’s right on Wheeler’s value the next few years, he’ll deserve credit. But it’s not a wager I’d run out to make.

      Alderson got so much grief over his “smartest guy in the room” persona. Yet somehow BVW doesn’t seem to be held to the same standard. If Alderson said this about Wheeler, people would be crucifying him.

      • Chris F

        I think the whole MLBTV interview tacked on after his comments combined turned into an ugly Wilponian nightmare. We were told about him being open and winning focused. Instead we get the same old double talk that some how is meant to conceal the team is broke and ownership and the FO are overly meddlesome problem makers.

        Brodie Van Alderson is no better than Sandy Van Wagenen…in fact they are the same person just 30 years in age different.

      • Eraff

        His “Value over the next few years” is not necessarily a concern of Mine when we’re considering Cash Now Win Now—that goes for trades and Signings.

        I’m assuming that every single Big Ticket contract will “fail” or fall short of an optimum measure as far as $ per Win Share or any other stat….. Did it win you a trophy or contribute to the chase would be my measure.

        A Cash Now Win Now team probably signs Wheeler…The Phils Did!!! Certainly the statement Volkswagen made is “Kick in the ass out the door Shitty”— he must have impressed Jeff and Fred

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