The Mets signed Kevin Pillar and it’s just strange all the way around. The just signed Albert Amora Jr. and had already tendered a contract to Guillermo Heredia. And Syracuse’s outfield is already filled with the trade for Khalil Lee. He’s a better hitter than Almora but at this point in time he’s probably not a better defensive player. Oh, and there’s Jose Martinez in the mix, too. It almost feels like a trade is on the horizon. If nothing else, it probably means the end of the Jackie Bradley Jr. rumors. So it definitely has its good point.

Tim Britton in The Athletic had an interesting nugget about the Mets’ performance last year with RISP. It was not good. However, it wasn’t good mostly due to players who won’t be on the roster in 2021. There will be 10 returnees in 2021 and 13 guys who won’t be back. Here’s how their numbers broke down last year:

PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Returning 383 0.269 0.366 0.475 0.841
Departed 229 0.208 0.266 0.300 0.566

36 comments on “Thursday catch-all thread (2/18/21)

  • TexasGusCC

    First, I don’t like anything about the Martinez signing. He shouldn’t be blocking anyone at AAA and he has not business in a non-DH league. He won’t see a major league at bat and please don’t insult the team by calling him an outfielder.

    Second, Pillar was the guy I wrote in my article as the best fit to match what the Mets had already but as Brian pointed out, in December, Pillar may not have been ready to accept a bench role.

    Third, Rojas made a comment today that he felt the Mets scoring struggles had more to do with bad base running than lack of clutch hitting. Interesting… did they get a base running coach?

    Lastly, while the Lee trade was a shocker, we don’t know the player to be named yet. Law put Lee 7th on the Mets list, Prospects 1500 has him as a Tier 2 prospect and those names for the Mets end after just two names and I agree with that assessment. Only Alvarez and Allen should be in front of him. Here is Lee’s writeup on the trade analysis in Prospects 1500: “ Blessed with a nice blend of power and easy speed, Lee seemed destined to make it to the big leagues in 2021. It was just 2 years ago, the last full minor league season, that Lee finished 2nd in stolen bases with 53, among all minor leaguers!” So, we know Lee has speed, some power and a good knowledge of the strike zone. This is a player that can blowup and Zack Scott will get alot of accolades for this trade. Lee’s only problem was taking too many strikes and not having as much lift as it would be hoped. Both of those are fixable and I can’t wait to see our new present in action.

    • Remember1969

      +1 on Martinez .. a real head scratcher

      Pillar. I hope my opinion is changed and I can cheerfully say “I was wrong”

      Baserunning Coach? I think I read that was going to be one of Tony Tarasco’s duties “First base coach/ baserunning coach / outfield coach”. If he can do those all effectively, he may be the team MVP

      Lee. I really like this trade, pending the PTBNL. I remember tracking him before the draft that year and liking him then. Can’t wait to see him. Hopefully I can get up to Syracuse a few times this year.

  • Remember1969

    Nice breakdown on the RISP numbers. I was going to try to do that and never got around to it. I know Ramos was particularly poor.

    The Pillar move was a bit of a head-scratcher for me. They do seem to be loaded now in centerfield. The issue I have is that he doesn’t hit lefties any better than either Nimmo or Smith, so a platoon makes no sense. He doesn’t hit righties very well anyway and his defensive numbers are heading down. I think I wrote on another blog – If he is a defensive replacement, he will certainly be seeing some late inning at-bats. All the closers in the NL East throw right handed . .is he the guy you want to see up there against an Archie Bradley? Or will he only be a defensive replacement in blow-outs, in which case his 3.5M salary seems excessive. Just confused and will be very interested to see how much (and how) he plays.

  • Mike W

    The short view is what are we going to do with all of these players. The longer view is 2022. A good portion of these players are interviewing for the 2022 season. Good chance that Conforto walks. Always need extra pitchers.

    One thing that noone is talking about is the mental strain of the pandemic. It is tough enough to get through a 162 game season. Add in a year of Covid fatigue. Add in the facts of the restrictions of being not allowed to leave the hotel or not being allowed to have other players in your hotel room just to hangout or talk. It could be overwhelming to some. It is a huge mental strain. It will have an effect on many MLB players. The Mets have done a good job at building depth this offseason. And we will need it.

  • Metsense

    Pillar is a good signing as the 4th outfielder. He has a career .784 OPS against LHP so can start against LHP and one for the starting outfielders (who are LH batters) can rest. He is now an adequate defensive CF and certainly a better CF than Nimmo so he can also be used as a late inning defensive replacement shifting Nimmo to LF. Pillar is more accomplished than Almora, Heredia and Martinez and if there was an injury to any starting outfielders Pillar would fill the starting role better. A few years back, Brian wrote an excellent article about the importance of a 4th outfielder. It seems that Alderson has read it.

  • Brian Joura

    And another weird thing about the Pillar move is the contract itself. Cot’s has it at $3.6 million for this year with a $6.4 million team option that almost certainly won’t be picked up. There’s a $1.4 million buyout of the 2022 option. But, Pillar has a player option for $2.9 million, which would void the Mets’ buyout. Unlike the team option, I think there’s a pretty good chance that Pillar exercises his option. I think we should look at this as a two-year deal.

    • Remember1969

      Yeah, that contract had me really wondering. I cannot figure out all the permutations of what can actually happen. One thing I do agree with is that is is a two year deal.

  • TJ

    Brian,
    Great stat line on the RISP split. That may be the most impactful change of this offseason. RISP is a tricky issue to solve, but clearly the additions, combined with additions by subtractions, have made a significant impact, at least statistically.

    I scratched my my head with the Pillar signing as well, then doubly scratched when I saw the decline in his defensive metrics. But, stepping back to the bigger picture, most if not all of us have lamented over the bench in recent years. Most if not all of us have lamented over the lack of available funds to fill out the roster. So, while Pillar is far from perfect and seems to be declining from peak, this is a starter that is now clearly in a bench roll. That is a good thing. I think Almora was a good risk as well, given the combination of age/MLB experience. I think he can still provide plus to even defense in CF and plus defense in the corners, he is fast, and if he can somewhat improve against RHP he will be a nice controllable piece.

    While the team still can use some upgrading, the 40 man is much improved, and they will have MLB depth available in AAA. The likelihood of significant innings and ABs but guys not up to MLB standards has diminished greatly. Now it will be up to the big boys, the core players, to outperform those of the other NL East teams. Overall, that’s the idea, so add a bit more pitching and have at it.

  • Brian Joura

    Just saw this on the new minor league schedule:

    “After the 2020 season was wiped out by the pandemic, Minor League Baseball will officially return in 2021, but with a very different look. Last week, Major League Baseball announced the structure for its group of 120 full-season affiliates. On Thursday, schedules will be released for those 120 teams, and they are expected to include an unusual wrinkle: To limit travel during the pandemic, all teams will play six-game series with one day off per week.”

    https://theathletic.com/2393485/2021/02/17/minor-league-realignment-explained/?source=dailyemail

    • TexasGusCC

      I like this idea alot. There is no reason for these kids to constantly ride buses. Did I mention I liked it?

      I can see a variation of this in MLB soon. Why exactly do they need two game series and move around all the time for? I think four and five game series are better on the mental state of the players.

      • Brian Joura

        I like the idea of 5-game sets because you get to see a team’s entire rotation. When the Dodgers come to NY, Bauer definitely pitches. I think that’s good. The question becomes: Do you want a schedule where you play the teams outside of your division 10X a year? I like it – hopefully it leads to the end of interleauge play – but I can see others not being fans.

        10 teams in NL Central & West – 10 times = 100 games
        4 teams in NL East – two teams, 15 games, two teams 16 games = 62 games

        • Bob P

          I like that. The only problem is with an odd number of teams someone would be off every day and that would make scheduling tough. I’d love to eliminate interleague play and do something similar to what you have proposed. Need to expand by another team or move a team from one league to the other.

          • TexasGusCC

            Give us the Astros back or take the Brewers back, LOL!

            Seriously though, Brian, I like your breakdown but I would do 4’s outside of the division to get more games played into your division. Plus, I like seeing the other league but don’t think we need home and home. Like now, you play one division a year, 4×5 teams, 20 games. It isn’t that big a deal. Rotate the home games.

            The leagues have million dollar scheduling computer programs, they’ll figure it out.

          • Hobie

            With 5G series and an odd man out thats a 5-day vacation (every 14th series?).

            • Brian Joura

              Yeah, the schedule is not an easy thing. I’m guessing they’d have to make odd-length series with teams in your division to make it all work out. Shoot, might not be possible at all with 162.

        • Remember1969

          I like it – interesting concept with the regular 5 game series. One thing I don’t like is the 19 games within the division. I’d like to see more inter-division play. Your solution works pretty well.

  • Wobbit

    I didn’t read Rojas’ comment about base-running being a reason behind the poor RISP performance last season, but I am glad he’s pointing it out. The Mets have always been notoriously plodding, but last season was among the worst. Ramos alone can stop the trains from running, and Cano, Frazier, and JD were unproductive on the bases. Slow teams need three hits to score a run, and that scenario is hard to achieve compared to those who need two hits.

    Lindor, Almora, Villar and Pillar are huge upgrades to help that situation. I’m guessing the RISP hitting will improve significantly.

    So I’m a yes on both CF acquisitions, and I’d bring Khalil Lee up asap as the season progresses if we can steal late-inning runs. Solid and aggressive base-running is the x-factor on good teams. Always pressures the defense and always forces the opposition to throw more high-stress pitches… quietly works in favor of a team every single game.

  • Mr_Math

    Forgive my ignorance/inattention, but the Mets traded a highly-rated prospect named Lee?

    José

    • TexasGusCC

      Yes, they did last week.

    • Brian Joura

      No, the Mets received Khalil Lee, who was the #7 or #8 prospect in the Royals’ system.

  • Woodrow

    Rosenthal just signed. How long till a story about Mets in negotiations with Shane Greene?

  • Wobbit

    I’m good with not having Rosenthal @11 milion. The Mets bullpen is still a box of chocolates, admittedly much better chocolate than last season, but still an experiment.
    Familia’s 10+ million gummed up the works for two years, and I endorse spending less and waiting to see what shakes down. As I have said recently on this site, bullpen performance is so dependent on management’s skilled usage of… even without one more quality arm in the mix, I would think there is enough candy in the box.
    That said, it’s hard to believe Justin Wilson wasn’t worth 4M… a very reliable option last year for a team short on LHers.

    • TJ

      Wobbit,
      Box of chocolates…perfect! I think Alderson gave one to Reyes all those years ago.

      I’m with you on Rosenthal and sensed he’d prefer to close somewhere should he get that offer. Sure, Mets bridesmaids again, but I see another decent starter (Walker, Odorizzi) as more of a need. That said, despite the crowd of candidates given the NRI guys, I would also prefer another decent pen arm like a Greene, as Familia/Betances insurance. I also would have given Wilson $4 million as a LH depth piece but then again it’s not my money.

      • Woodrow

        Just a feeling,maybe a dread,Rick Porcello is the depth starter they sign.,

        Editor’s Note – Please, no capitals

        • ChrisF

          nooooooooooo!

  • Wobbit

    I think Wilson was easily worth the 4M to be another LHer needed, and a reliable one at that. He was able to enter a game and not walk a few hitters before finding the strike zone (Familia), and he was able to miss bats consistently. Just stupid to let him sign elsewhere… what’s a guy gotta do to earn his place?
    Currently I see one potentially reliable LH reliever (Loup)… I’m at loss here. How we gonna confront Harper or Soto in the late innings?
    Somebody please explain how Justin Wilson is not on this team.

    • TexasGusCC

      I agree Wobbit. It’s actually quite amusing that Alderson rode in on his great white horse telling us that he would have picked up Hand’s option at $10MM if he were in charge but he balked at Wilson at half that.

      On your point above about all the glaciers on the Mets, that is one thing you don’t see on the Dodgers: all are athletes and none are plodders; they may not be speedsters, but no plodders. On the Mets, Alonso is a big time plodder and that’s why I want him at #6. Davis slow, but I’m not sure he’s a plodder. Smith is kind of the same. Don’t know about McCann yet. The first time I saw Ramos run, I thought of Bartolo Colon, and that’s a bad thing for a major league “athlete”.

    • Bob P

      Agree 100% on Wilson.

  • TexasGusCC

    Um, say you’re Jackie Bradley Jr… what going through your mind right now?

    • Remember1969

      Um, “all dressed up and no place to go”?

  • TexasGusCC

    Too, dis anyone see that Realmuto fractured his
    Thumb last week catching bullpens? He will be out six weeks. Poor Philly.

  • Wobbit

    I’d like a more balanced schedule and no inter-league games:
    11 games (4 series) against each team … 154 games. Period.

    If you must play 162, than play two extra games against division opponents.

    Spread the four series throughout the season to ensure balance of opponents and opportunity (injuries can inordinately weaken teams temporarily).

    Expand playoffs to 8 teams. No byes. No play-in games.

  • TexasGusCC

    I know I’ve said alot on this thread, but this just made my jaw drop: You think we’re pissed at our team trading Kelenic for Diaz and Cano? At least we got Diaz.

    I always thought San Diego signed Tatis Jr. as an International Free Agent. No sir! He was signed by the White Sox and traded to the Padres in p a r t of the return for James Shields! The James Shields that went 16-35 with a 5.31 ERA for the ChiSox over three seasons and never pitched again!

    W o W! Just wow! [As my niece says.]

    • TJ

      Gus,
      That already is in the mix for the worst trade in baseball history. Nothing against Kelenic, but let’s hope Brodie’s masterpiece doesn’t challenge…maybe Diaz can channel his inner Mariano going forward.

      On top of it all, I think the Chisox dealt Tatis Jr. for Shields after Shields coughed up on of the most famous HR in Met history to The Big Sexy. Oh my. I recall thinking the Mets had a shot at signing Tatis Jr given his dad’s ties, but we know that story…

  • Woodrow

    BigWhoop! So glad it’s Walker and not Porcello. Rotation looks good, lineup can hit, BP should be better. I like their chances.

  • Wobbit

    Mets suddenly a very solid pitching staff. Only need seems to be LH relief. Wilson would have been ideal. Maybe Lucchesi stays out of AAA and develops his resume.

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