Trade Chip: Jenrry Mejia, Anyone?

Jenrry MejiaJimmy:

I have heard it many times from fans and other thoughtful folk: “I am very reluctant to trade young pitching.”

I understand.

However, the Mets need to upgrade the offense in order to raise the overall talent level. Sure, 15-11 is nice, and numbers-oriented Mark Simon at ESPN will tell us that the Mets are on pace for 93 wins. That’s terrific. This brief season has given us a reminder that starting pitching is the best, fastest, surest way to achieve competitive baseball on a daily basis.

But the game involves offense, too. We all watched Matt Harvey give the Mets a Cy Young- caliber season last year; he came away with 9 wins.

Given the owner’s financial constraints, it is pretty clear the Mets aren’t going to buy the next hitter. Casting a look at the farm system for impact players, there’s no short-term hope in sight. Once Syndergaard and Montero are called up to where they already belong, the entire system falls back into the middle of the pack, no longer artificially inflated by outside prospects drafted by other organizations.

So how do the Mets get better? How do you make a difference now?

Trade appears to be the only option. Even Sandy Alderson admits it. And pitching is our only valuable commodity.

Without going down the list, I’ll cut to the chase: The guy I’d flip is Jenrry Mejia.

The big assumption (and hope) here is that Mejia would have value on the marketplace. I can’t know that for sure, but my guess is that if he continues to dazzle on the mound, another team with pitching troubles might view him as an attractive, young solution.

A few reasons:

  • Mejia’s arbitration clock started in 2010, a definite factor for a small-market team like the Mets;
  • The Mets have the depth to absorb the loss of Mejia. Montero and Syndergaard are both ready to step into the rotation right now. Dice-K is floating around; Jake deGrom has opened eyes. And a guy named Matt will need a spot next season.
  • Jenrry has a history of injuries. This could detract from his trade value, but at the same time it’s one of the reasons why I’d be wiling to part with him, despite his clear and obvious talent.

Any thoughts, Mike?

Mike:

I don’t care about the who. When it comes to trades it’s all about Hubie Brooks Metsthe deal itself. I loved R.A. Dickey but understood the logic of trading him. I thought Hubie Brooks was a very fine player, still do, so much so that I did not think the trade for Gary Carter belonged on our list of Top Ten Trades. But I do think that trade was smart for those Mets. So for me who do we trade is whomever it takes to make a deal that can improve the team. For instance, I hear people talk all the time that we cannot think about trading Noah Syndergaard. That’s crazy talk to me. You can trade anyone, as long as the return makes sense, especially a player who has never played in the major leagues.

It’s hard to have too much pitching, and I wouldn’t say we have too much. Compared to our offense, yes, we tilt toward pitchers on both the major league and minor league level. Because of the fragility of pitchers it is still painful to consider moving any, but one big hitter could change the dynamic of this team a great deal. The thought is fascinating. I believe the key to winning is accumulating talent at the major league level at the same time, so I would be building around this current pitching staff.

More and more though, I don’t think this is an avenue that is being seriously explored. One thing to remember is that the front office has a different, mysterious, value system when it comes to hitting. When Jose Abreu (10 HRs, 32 RBIs) and Nelson Cruz (7 HRs, 25 RBIs) were sitting there to be had for the middle of our order we had no interest. Like most sluggers, they swing hard, and often. I think Sandy only wants a slugger if he also works counts, but mostly, I don’t know what he really likes. It seems very specific. That limits the market. Also, we obviously don’t have a major league shortstop anywhere in sight, Sandy all but shouted it himself, but acquiring one seems unimportant to him.

I also suspect that our “excess” pitching is even less than it appears to be on the surface. The Sandy Alderson ClockJon Niese contract jumps to $7 million next year, and $9 million in 2016. Dillon Gee, if he continues to pitch like this, will be due a huge raise in arbitration this offseason. Everything we see regarding Matt Harvey indicates the clock is ticking loudly on his days as a Met. My prediction is that all of these players are gone in one way or another by 2016, and that we do not acquire any players back for any of them that play in the major leagues this decade. Hopefully, the Montero’s and Syndergaard’s of the world can make that transition fairly smooth.

The overall goal of the Mets is now constant expense management. We have made one real trade since 2013 ended, and it was done to shed Ike Davis $3 million-plus salary. The PTBNL is most likely too young to drink yet, and will have a potential major league target date of 2023. These are the only moves we now make. The player I expect to see traded soon is Daniel Murphy. His salary is very fair for his level of play, but it keeps rising. Murphy is exactly the type of player a team on the brink of contention looks to add, a gritty solid baseball player. But contention is not the number one objective. That doesn’t mean we can’t win, we are doing so right now, just that it won’t come easy. And again, that it is not a high priority for these owners. So they can send out as many e-mails as they want pleading their case, I know what is really going on.

I will be happy, of course, to be proven wrong.

Jimmy:

Wow, damn, that’s dark. You seriously need some kind of counseling — and I say that as your friend. I am worried.

Mike:

I’m a Mets fan and a Knicks fan. I always have the specter of Jeff Wilpon and James Dolan looming over my teams. Maybe I can start a group of us for counseling. That would be a way to fill Citi Field.

10 Paranoid King

Jimmy:

I will save the discussion of Murphy for another time. But each day I’m more surprised that he’s still a Met.

While I understand your overall pessimism, I don’t agree. Or, at least, I can’t quite shake that snaggle-toothed cur, hope, nipping at my legs. A trade by early June just makes too much sense, even for slow-moving Sandy.

Here’s a different perspective: Let’s face it, when the Mets went with Mejia after Spring Training it surprised many of us. Dice-K had pitched well, so they weren’t forced into doing the right thing. What was going on here?

I have long advocated the position that except for the brightest prospects, players need to succeed in the majors in order to accrue trade value. That’s what Jenrry Mejia has been accomplishing. He’s going out and winning games. He pitches well in Colorado, for example, that opens eyes. So you could view his time with the Mets in 2014 as a showcase. This is the guy.

You_Never_Know_Front-1Sandy was talking 90 wins just the other day. There’s a feeling in the clubhouse, and a vibe on the internet (if not yet in the stands). A lot of folks are suddenly wondering, “Is this for real?”

To which I give the official “2 Guys” motto: Hey, you never know.

So I like Mejia as a centerpiece for a trade. But at the same time, I like your take even better,    “I don’t care about the who.”

Expectations, hopes have been raised. It could all be dashed in the course of long, sad road trip. But until then, I’ll be looking for some kind of upgrade to the current roster. Anything less will feel like disappointment.

 

 

 

 

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24 comments

  1. Its funny though on a trade. The Mets need a shortstop, or leftfielder or could look to upgrade at firstbase.

    But in that mix, big bat, or leadoff bat? I’d go for the latter, need lots of guys who can get on base and if they have some pop all the better.

    TC of the week:

    -Four man outfield rotation on 4/30. On 5/1, Eric Young likely to the bench.

    • A) Terry is just covering all the bases.
      B) Sandy got in his ear, “These are not the droids you are looking for.”
      C) Words don’t mean a thing.
      D) Only TC and the Mets could turn this into an occasion for hand-wringing, second-guessing, and ding-a-linging.

      JP

      • Last comment (four in a row is excessive, sorry), but:

        When Terry says, as he did after the game last night, “We still gotta mix and match our outfield to get them going,” I always hear it as this:

        “I’m going to turn that kid into a platoon player if it kills me.”

        Also, I hate that notion he has, which he says so often, about “getting guys going.” That’s not his job. We heard that comment about Ike Davis for the past 3 seasons.

        But on that note, how long does Travis d’Arnaud have to bat in front of Ruben Tejada? In fairness, no one is right for the 7-spot except for Curtis Granderson, and that’s not happening . . . yet.

        JP

        • Patrick Boegel says:

          I’m near certain I would reject Tejada for my 12U travel softball team at this point.

          One day someone will write a book…

          How to Systematically Ruin a Shortstop and First-basemen, the Deep Revealing Thoughts of Sandy Alderson, foreward by Terry Collins.

  2. Also, I am of the house of no one is untouchable, all that descriptor means is give us even more than you imagine you’d like to part with and then some.

  3. It’s too early to worry about this, but somehow they’ve got to make space for Noah Syndergaard. Mike has been one of the lone voices — maybe the lone voice? — to suggest that Noah might not come up at all this season. It seems impossible, unthinkable. But on the other hand . . .

  4. Since he was mentioned up top, I should add that I still don’t want Nelson Cruz. He doesn’t fit an NL team, especially one that plays in Citi Field. I appreciate that he can hit, and that the Mets need hitting, but I don’t think he’s the right type of player for the Mets to pursue. We usually apply the Manny Ramirez test when the defense is dreadful: Can he hit like Manny? In April, Cruz did, but I don’t think he keeps up the pace.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Cruz is the type of player I do not like, I am pretty clear how much I value outfield defense. However, unless the owners do a 180 degree change, the current challenge is to build a winner on the cheap. Therefore, compromises must be made. Power hitting outfielders that can field are above our pay grade on the free agent market. We couldn’t even afford Shin Soo Choo.

      Also, going into this offseason, one thing that was clear is that we had a cheap centerfield option who carries an otherworldly glove. So one way to put together a flawed but perhaps more effective team is to go pure offense in left and install Lagares as the clear every day person in center. If we use Cruz for the example, is it better to go with Cruz, Lagares, and Granderson or Young, Young, and Granderson? I’m not arguing for any of it, more pointing out the problem when you can’t shop at the best stores. One way or the the other you end up with a flawed product.

      Which is why, in general, I don’t find it very interesting trying to figure out how to build this team. Every question starts with accepting a payroll that is just dumb. I’m not big on being an enabler. The fact is if this team is sniffing the playoffs in late June the Mets should be looking to trade some of these prospects for a big star. They type of guy who is not very flawed. We know what those guys look like, we have been trading them in the other direction for years now. Most likely then it would be a player the team would also have to open up their wallets and really pay. And I don’t think it will happen. So, I have stopped wasting brain cells thinking about that.

      As for what some find a fun intellectual puzzle, how do you win with bad, stupid, ownership? I don’t see the fun, myself, I find thinking about it painful. Because I’m not a robot and I can’t just forget where this team plays and what they charge. I end up at, it’s not my problem. Let Sandy figure it out, he is making a fortune.

      It’s funny, I have more faith in the current roster than many. I picked this team to win 84 games. But I have zero faith in the owners to do the right thing, so I think we continue to fall short.

      As I wrote above, I would be happy to be proven wrong.

      • Steve From Norfok says:

        As far as our present outfielders, I would go C.Young, Lagares, and Granderson, s long as Chris keeps hitting like he is.

        The only power hitter that also hits for average and has a controllable salary is Giancarlo Stanton. To get him, just pick up the farm system, turn it over, and shake hard until it’s empty.

        • Unfortunately, that’s just not the kind of trade that a small-market team like the NY Mets can make at this point. Actually, it’s the reverse. They could never afford to retain a Stanton. The Mets are now the team that trades that type away.

          Thanks for stopping by, Steve.

          • Steve from Norfolk says:

            I know, I know. I was using sarcsasm.n hyperbole to make my pint. Let’s hope Puello and Nimmo are the real deal.

  5. IB says:

    I wonder what impact players will be available even if Alderson was ready to push the button on a trade. If, as he says, money is no object, go talk to Boras and get some better players on the field now. I just don’t buy anything he says anymore. He loves to bait the fans and dangle them.

  6. [...] James and Mike discuss whether the Mets should sell high on Jenrry Mejia >> Read more at 2 Guys Talking Mets. [...]

  7. [...] James and Mike discuss whether the Mets should sell high on Jenrry Mejia >> Read more at 2 Guys Talking Mets. [...]

  8. krf139@gmail.com says:

    Who is this Mike guy?

    He is saying that Daniel Murphy (our best hitter) is going to be traded soon? What world do you live in? Jon Niese is going to be gone by 2016 when we have no other left handed starter (other than potentially Matz). As incompetent as Sandy seems to be, I’m sure glad that you’re not the one calling the shots. Yikes.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Hi, that’s me. I am not advocating any of that, you might want to read again. And also take a good hard look at who our owners are. They are the ones in charge, and paying guys has not been on the agenda.

      I like Murphy myself, quite a bit.

  9. Paul C says:

    How bout Mejia for Starlin Castro?
    How bout Mejia for Chris Owings?

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      Starlin Castro is everything the Mets front office hates, he makes money and is not a fan of drawing a walk.

      Though he does strike out enough.

  10. Eraff says:

    The In-Season Trades usually fall in two major categories:
    1. Salary Dump/Fallen Angel— A team has given up or needs to dump a guy…Keith Hernandez. The guy will come with some dings and questions…or maybe Lots of Salary. The exchange is USUALLY young and up in exchange for the player
    2. Contending Team trading a Prospect/Surplus Part for a Needed Piece.

    The 2nd area is more in Sandy’s Style— IF the Dodgers needed a Pitcher, you could trade one for Joc Pederson…. That’s the type of format I’d see.

    Meanwhile—the open slot here is SS…. and I do have high hopes that we will begin getting positive production from Granderson and d’Arnaud. 1st Base?—that’s a never ending scrappers delight.

  11. Reese Kaplan says:

    I’d sooner see them part ways with Colon due to the salary relief or Dillon Gee due to his already rising salary. Mejia can be Harvey-dominant at times and I’d like to see him here. Now if someone came along and offered Owings or Baez (Cubs minor leaguer) then I’d most certainly entertain the notion.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      In one inning spurts? Look Mejia has plenty of upside, but he is NOT Harvey. Also of note, Harvey is no longer Harvey. Harvey is now injured Harvey until such time as he is able to put that behind everyone. There is as much likelihood Harvey returns ala Adam Wainwright as there is Josh Johnson.

    • I don’t think Colon gets you much, frankly. He’s potentially a liability. Going two years was a big risk. I find it very difficult to guess what it would take to get Owings.

  12. Terry Collins handling of the 5th inning last night was reminiscent of a man watching a spark shoot from his fireplace onto his living room rug and waiting until the house was in flames to see if the rug was flame retardant.

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