News & Views: Cruz, Drew, Nick Franklin, Sympathy for the Devil (Tejada), the Syndergaard Plan and More

MLB: Texas Rangers-Photo DayMike:

Nelson Cruz signed a one year, $8 million contract with the Orioles. A few thoughts on this. First of all, I have been very surprised how much the qualifying offer has depressed the value of many of these players. I misjudged this factor, it has had a huge effect on this year’s free agent class. Another lesson learned.

Jimmy:

It’s amazing to think that Marlon Byrd got a better deal. Nobody saw that coming. I remember we discussed Cruz in a comments thread. You felt that the baseline would have to stay around $14 per year, whereas I argued that if the terms were longer, than maybe he could be signed at $30-35 for three years. So, yeah, a lot of wisdom over here at “2 Guys,” and all of it’s free.

Mike:

Yes, the only people who misjudged this worse were Nelson and his agent.

The other thought is how low can the Drew number go? I’ve been steadfast that I don’t want Drew but I was working with a different set of numbers. I mean, for one year at $7 million, I would do that. Hell, we gave that to Chris Young.

Jimmy:

Sign him for two years and you don’t have to go through this exact same circus next winter.

Meanwhile, according to ESPN, a Mets insider acknowledges that there have been discussions with Seattle about Nick Franklin. He’s an interesting player, good pop, scorched his way through the minors. He takes a lot of pitches — true fact! — but has a borderline glove and arm. He might not be the answer at SS after all. I simply don’t know.

Ben VanHouten VanHouten Photography, Inc. 206-933-8753

Mike:

Franklin is a young middle-infield prospect, a first-round pick for the Mariners in 2009. Seattle also has another young shortstop, Drew Miller, and Robinson Cano will be manning second base for a while. If successful, Franklin could solve shortstop for the Mets for a number of years. With our young pitching we might have a match. I won’t pretend to know if he is the guy. I agree with the logic, I believe we need to trade pitching for hitting.

Jimmy:

My guess is that he would cost Montero-plus, since the Mets aren’t swapping Noah for Nick. Worth keeping an eye on since, as you’ve said, the teams seems to match up, with the Mariners expressly interested in young arms. It comes down to scouting, making the right call on these guys. Tough job. Anything else in the news?

Mike:

Sandy Alderson is wasting his time with this GM stuff. In an article in Newsday, Sandy disclosed that he was the sole reason that Ronny Cedeno’s OBP rose from a career rate of .289 to .332 in 2012. Here is the quote: “That was the product of one thing, it was one conversation.”

Well, it took some time, but I found video of Sandy in action.

Jimmy:

Sandy is all about approach, approach, approach. He is a true believer. Players either fit that mold or he loses interest. He seeks, drafts, and values a certain type of hitter. Maybe that makes a degree of sense, but I don’t trust it. I like talent, I like athletes, but mostly: I think it takes all kinds. Furthermore, I don’t accept that “earning walks” is the number one skill that trumps all others. I always think the same thing: Fixated on plate discipline, Sandy would have hated a young Jose Reyes and probably devalued him.

Mike:

Matt Harvey was cleared to toss a ball, and reported no issues. Baby steps, but any good news regarding Harvey is important.

Jimmy:

I think Matt needs to disappear for a while, actually. Time to focus on the current team.

You know, Newsday had a sympathetic, balanced take on Ruben Tejeda. And by sympathetic, I San Francisco Giants v New York Mets - Game Onemean that he was not portrayed as a crack dealer. Ruben spoke openly about his past year, the lessons he learned, the time he spent up in Michigan. And you know what? I honestly think he believes that the Mets sent him away to prison! It’s like he was doing time. Seriously, the way Ruben talks about it, I half-expected him to refer to “three hots and a cot.” Read this, by Marc Carig:

Collins summoned an injured Tejada into his office at Citi Field, where they discussed how the shortstop could get back on track. The answer would come at a conditioning camp in frigid Michigan, far from Tejada’s home in Panama.

It didn’t matter that he would spend eight weeks in freezing weather, or that he would sleep on a hotel bed after wrapping up a grueling season. For Tejada, the decision was easy.

“I didn’t come [to Michigan] to play around,” he said.

Once at the camp, Tejada adhered to a structured workout regimen designed to improve his quickness and agility. Instead of the rice and beans he said he would have eaten in Panama, he stuck to a strict diet in Michigan. He was given prepared meals that included smaller portion sizes.

Small portions? And they call this America?!

Mike:

Tejada had a very bad year last year, but no worse than Davis. The difference in how they have been treated is striking.

Jimmy:

The Mets are talking up Rafael Montero as a mid-season call-up. Sigh. I don’t want to react to things too early — so much can happen — but isn’t the plan to bring up Syndergaard on that timetable? There’s a spot open right now. Wins and loses matter in April and May, too.

Mike:

I’ve never seen that plan from anyone but writers and bloggers. I have said this before, I do not expect to see Syndergaard this year. I will be happy to be proven wrong.

Jimmy:

Sounds like Mejia could possibly be slotted into the bullpen again. Strange team, these Mets. Some guys, it feels like the organization gets in the way.

Mike:

One thing to remember about this team is that when everything else was overhauled they kept Dan-Warthenthe pitching coach, Dan Warthen. We know Warthen was part of the decision to make Meija a reliever originally. Of course we also know that went badly. Whatever it takes, hopefully Jenrry can stay healthy. I would like to see Meija get the first shot at the fifth starter role. But if that is not going to happen and it’s the bullpen or some worthless time in Vegas, I rather he be in the majors.

Jimmy:

Yes, please, let’s bring our best players to the major leagues. Besides, his arbitration clock started long ago.

Here’s a quick schedule of upcoming games for our viewers reading at home without benefit of computers:

  • Friday vs. Nationals: SNY/WOR at 1:10 PM
  • Saturday vs. Marlins: WPIX at 1:10 PM
  • Sunday @ Cardinals: WOR at 1:05 PM
  • Monday @ Braves: WOR at 1:05 PM
  • Tuesday vs. Astros: SNY at 1:10 PM
  • Wednesday vs. Marlins: SNY at 1:10 PM

Mike:

That looks great to me, I’m more than ready to watch some baseball.

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21 comments

  1. RAFF says:

    ERaff and I will be on hand for the Friday game against the Nats- We will make sure to wave to the 2-Guys media crew from our perch along the 1b line. Looks for twin brothers with big shirts, small hair, and fists full of hot dogs and beer. You can’t miss us

  2. ERAFF says:

    ….Sandy would have DEVALUED Reyes as a younger player… IDK….maybe you get that idea from the fact that he devalued him when he was one of the best players in baseball!!!…????

    Yes… The Grumpraffs will be at Fridays game. Complete Scouting report with a focus on Montero will follow

    • I want to think about this more, but Theo Epstein is similar in his belief in OBP. And watching what’s happened with Castro over there, his struggles, I wonder if all the walk-talk got into his head and messed him up. On one hand, it’s not wrong for an analyst to look at a player and say, “He needs to walk more.” But these guys are not robots. In some ways, it’s not so different from telling John Olerud he needs to hit more homers. Sometimes you have to accept the flaws to benefit from the assets. Again, I have an old-fashioned belief that too much coaching can take away a player’s natural aggressiveness to the point where his mind’s a mess and nothing flows. I’m watching them with Lagares now, convinced that they like Chris Young better because he takes more pitches, walks more often. So now Lagares is not only trying to learn how to hit major league pitching, he’s trying to learn how to change his entire approach — how to become more passive at the plate — and I worry that we’ll end up with a confused, unproductive player. OTOH, it could be argued that if he doesn’t add walking to his arsenal, that he won’t become a successful player. Tricky stuff. But ultimately, I have not seen results with Dave Hudgens.

      • wkkortas says:

        I may have said this before, but you’ve hit on the core of the problem with the Alderson/Hudgens philosophy. The reason you want to be selective at the plate is so your swinging at pitches you can drive as opposed to hitting pitcher’s pitches. Sandy and Dave seem to believe that getting into deep counts is an end in itself, as if hitting 3-2 is the ultimate goal. There’s nothing wrong with hitting a 2-0 fastball if it’s a hittable ptich.

  3. Dan says:

    I want a Mariner’s SS, but it has to be Brad Miller, not Franklin. If we are going to give up a Montero, than it is Miller, not Franklin. Otherwise, let’s go talk to the Diamondbacks about Owings.

    • Franklin’s bat looks interesting, but it appears he might not stick at SS. And even if he could, does a team built around pitching trade for a below-average defensive shortstop? Seems like he could make a solid 2B for somebody.

      Conclusion: Not feeling it.

  4. RAFF says:

    The Mariners have no strong conviction as to whether Franklin or Miller will be the starter this year, and they don’t seem convinced that either player is a long term solution to their SS need. McClendon (mgr) has clearly stated that the job is up for grabs. Whenever I hear about Franklin or Miller the assessment is that they are Sub-Par fielders who will only become front-line players if they can hit well enough to justify moving them to 2nd base or elsewhere. I wouldn’t give up a Pitching Prospect for that.

  5. IB says:

    I’m sure you’ve all seen the new Tejada headline. “Mets Frustrated…..”. Yet, all I can find in the article to back this up is a “Met source” saying that “he looks pretty much the same to me.” This is the kind of journalistic garbage that gets to me.

  6. Michael Geus says:

    I think a trade for a guy like Franklin should not just be evaluated by short term thinking. Second baseman with power are valuable too. The player would be under team control for many years. It is more a question of how much the Mets like the player, versus what the Mariners want.

    When the Mets traded for Howard Johnson we had a third baseman and there was no open spot for Hojo. That did not stop Cashen from looking to upgrade his overall talent level. We just listed that trade on our list of greatest trades in team history.

    I’m far from an expert on Mariners prospects and I’m not advocating a trade for Franklin. I just think that any evaluation of the validity of this deal should not be limited to our 2014 needs.

    It’s not like Murphy is signed to a seven year deal.

    • Thank you. This is why Mike gets paid the big bucks.

      At age 22, Franklin — a first-round pick — put up a slash line of .324/.440/.472 across 39 AAA games. Power and plate discipline at a tender age. Up with the Mariners, he struggled through a period of adjustment, but still swatted 33 XBH in 369 ABs.

      He’s an interesting guy and he’s available and, as I said before, he never swings (among the lowest swing percentages in baseball last year). It’s a true fact. Sandy probably is very interested. He fits the mold.

      Flores is the interesting comparison, the guy who has not yet gotten the chance. I’d hate to see him down at AAA. In his favor, we’ve already got Wilmer. It’s just — will we play him?

  7. Eraff says:

    On Lagares—.633 OPS….. I don’t think he’s proven his Bat. He’ll get the chance.

    They either butchered his development last year, or believed he was NOT a long range prospect….and they still have doubts.

    A problem with Stat Guys is that they look for Stats and try to back it up with an eventual “eye test”…. most of us do the eye test and THEN try to support that with some evidence of production.

    Evaluation of Production for developing players is tricky—it can indicate that the player is over-matched, and there is no development when that happens. It can also indicate that the player is unchallenged—-the stats mean nothing and No Development is taking place—I suspect that Plawecki fits that example. Either way, the Stat doesn’t tell much of a story until the player is very close to a finished product—- that does leave some wiggle for “approach” and actual new skills with glove, bat, arm.

    • James Preller says:

      If they believed in Lagares as a prospect, they would have never brought him up. Seriously.

      • Eraff says:

        Jim, I’m not sure what to believe about Lagares—or rather their “process” with him. It would make sense to allow a middling prospect to lay on the MLB bench while allowing a higher rated guy to get ab’s in MILB. Lagares did not get ab’s….it flies in the face of thinking they highly regard him.

        Your position would be that Sandy put JL on the MLB roster and Collins decided to NOT play him…. I just don’t see This Manager with that level of freedom—just a guess.

  8. Reese Kaplan says:

    I’ve written ad nauseum about the Super Two boondoggle and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that no matter what Montero or Syndergaard do this Spring that they’re destined for Sin City. After all, these are the Mets, not the Cards or the Marlins who promote young pitchers based on talent rather than dollars down the road.

    However, the very idea of putting Jenrry Mejia, a guy who’s had all kinds of health issues, into the erratic assignment of the bullpen is lunacy of the highest order. Why not give him a set schedule of pitching, I don’t know, say every fifth day for a minimum of five innings…as your fifth starter? It has a nice symmetry to it.

    • ERAFF says:

      you give a 41 year old pitcher 20 million over 2 instead of exposing yourself to arbitration 1 year early…c’mon…get with the New Math!!!

  9. IB says:

    5 rotation spots. Something’s gotta give with Thor and Montero in the wings. More in the pipeline. I rally think a big trade is brewing right now. Mejia sparkled last year and absolutely deserves the 5th spot – unless they trade him.

  10. dave says:

    GET DREW!!!!!!!! GET DREW!!!!!!! GET DREW!!!!! GET DREW!!!!!! GET DREW!!!!!!!! AARGH, I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!!! GET DREW!!!!!!!

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