5 Posts You May Have Missed on MetsBlog

1. Kevin Long is a good addition. However, while awesome hitting coaches are great, awesome hitters are better >> Read More.

2. The Mets may try to trade for a top outfielder, but they’re likely to keep rolling with veteran, versatile, interchangeable mercenaries >> Read More.

3. Keith Hernandez, the Royals and Giants are proof that there is more than one way to build a winning team >> Read More.

4. If it wasn’t his shoulder, like he said, what happened to David Wright in 2014 >> Read More.

5. These trade rumors are going to dominate the off season for the Mets >> Read More.

Lastly, in this week’s Mostly Mets Podcast, Toby Hyde and Robert Brender talk with Royals broadcaster Rob Ford to learn how they built a World Series team from the ashes, and if that way can work for the Mets…

5 Questions, 5 Short Answers

miniMCavatarHere are five questions I keep getting on Twitter and e-mail, followed by my educated guesses…

Who will be next year’s shortstop? I’ll say Wilmer Flores or a former top prospect who is close to being out of favor and yet to be acquired, think SS Didi Gregorius or someone from Seattle. He’ll be someone that adds depth on the infield, who will not be the obvious starter, but who will either cost a mid-tier arm or one controllable, expendable veteran, like Dillon Gee.

Daniel Murphy rounds firstWho will be the team’s third everyday outfielder? I’ll bet on free-agent OF Michael Cuddyer. If not him, maybe a Nick Markakis, Nori Aoiki type, or a comparable player acquired in trade, let’s say Jay Bruce or Shane Victorino. I expect they’ll get one of this level player.

Where will Daniel Murphy play in 2015? I’m the only person who seems to think he’ll be on the Mets next season. I get why it makes sense to try and trade him, especially to free up spending money. But, in the end, I just don’t see how the Mets move him and end up in a better position than they started, especially since he can be traded during the season as well.

Where will Bartolo Colon play in 2015? Again, like Murphy, I seem to be the only person who thinks Colon is staying put. There will be places to move him, and I think the Mets will do it if it makes sense. But, Colon has value to the Mets as a reliable veteran in a rotation of developing youngsters. And, similar to Murphy, Colon would be super attractive to other teams at next year’s deadline.

Who from the rotation is Sandy more or less likely to trade? Again, if the Mets are looking to move a pitcher to free up capital, my hunch is they trade Gee or Jon Niese before Colon. In terms of prospects, I see Rafael Montero as the only elite guy they’d deal, and that includes Cory Mazzoni and Steven Matz.

Friday’s Arizona Fall League recap…

L.J. Mazzilli was the only Mets position player prospect to take part in Fridays game and he had another quality performance.

The Connecticut native was 1-for-3, with a double, walk and run scored.

He’s now hit in five straight games and is batting .323, with a .432 on-base percentage and .548 slugging percentage in nine AFL games.

Read more at SNY’s Mets Minors…

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays

Mets are not changing managers, despite Maddon’s availability

Jeff Wilpon says the Mets are not changing managers, despite Joe Maddon becoming a free agent coach.1,2

Maddon opted out of his contract after failed negotiations over a contract extension.3

Multiple reports speculate he could end up with the Cubs.4 Maddon’s friends speculated he might also be attracted to the Mets.5

In late September, the Mets announced that Terry Collins will return as their manager. He is under contract through next season and has a team option for 2016.

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: Is it ‘No’ because the Mets weren’t interested? Or ‘No’ because Maddon wasn’t interested, despite the team’s curiosity? Each scenario returns a ‘No,’ but they are significantly different.

I mean, Maddon is widely considered to be among the best, most progressive, creative managers in the game. So, with respect to Terry, the Mets would be crazy not to consider hiring him, regardless of Terry’s contract or status with the team.

That said, I know enough about politics and baseball negotiations to know Maddon likely left Tampa with a good idea of what was available to him, and I’m pretty sure every team in the league got some sort of a heads up from his agent that he would soon be available. If this is the case, if he’s already locked in on going some place other than the Mets, it’s probably smart for Alderson and Wilpon to show faith in their manager, since it does them no good to undermine him in the eyes of his players.

At any rate, if I were Maddon, I’d stay off the market, go get a TV job, relax and create a huge market for myself next winter, when  the Dodgers, Cubs and Mets, and others, will certainly have more freedom and interest in sign me.

Sources: 1. Heyman, Oct. 24 | 2. Carig, Oct. 24 | 3. Olney, Oct. 24 | 4. MLBTR, Oct. 24 | 5. Gammons, Oct. 24
Jose Bautista (Baron)

Jose Bautista: There is a small chance he gets traded, let alone to the Mets

miniMCavatarThere is a lot that can happen between now and the Winter Meetings, which are 10 weeks away. But, as of now, there seems to be only a small chance the Blue Jays trade OF Jose Bautista, based on conversations I’ve had this week with people in baseball.

The general consensus seems to be that, while the Blue Jays will again consider dealing him, it will only happen if they can re-sign Melky Cabrera and find a replacement for Colby Rasmus, who is expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent. Otherwise, they can’t afford to lose Bautista’s bat.

This is disappointing, because I would love to see the Mets get Bautista, who will earn $14 million next year with a team option for 2016. The Mets checked in on him a few times last winter, as did other teams, I’ve been told, but Toronto was looking for a straight salary dump, while acquiring a big-league ready, front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher in the deal.

The Jays finished 83-79, but barely clinged to the playoff race. So, this time around, who knows what their ask will be, since I assume they feel they can contend in 2015.

In the end, given Toronto’s wishy-washy position on moving Bautista in the past, plus their if-this-then-that approach this winter, their expectations for 2015, Bautista’s salary and their recent negotiations with Sandy Alderson, I’m skeptical a deal can be worked out with the Mets.

It’s about the guys holding the bats, not the coaches

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: Kevin Long is a good addition. He’s a respected, smart and creative hitting coach. I’m glad he was hired by the Mets. However, while awesome hitting coaches are great, awesome hitters are better.

It’s about the guys at the plate holding the bat, not the guy running tee-and-toss drills, David Lennon wrote this morning (Newsday, Oct. 24).

“Long is not going to drive in any runs for the Mets,” he writes. “That’s the job of David Wright, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and whoever else Sandy Alderson can drum up this offseason.”

LongOf course, this will not be Alderson’s only move to improve his offensive production in 2015. He’ll acquire better talent. How much talent and how much better remains to be seen, but I’m sure his priority list expands beyond signing Long and bringing in the fences. That said, my initial point, and Lennon’s point, still stands. In the end, it’s about the guys on the field…

Long, Alderson and his former hitting coach, Dave Hudgens, all adhere to the same hitting philosophy, which is essentially about being patient and selective until you’re not.

“Sounds like solid advice,” says Lennon. “But, the Mets evidently got tired of hearing it from Hudgens, then must have tuned out his replacement, Lamar Johnson. Sometimes a new voice helps. That’s what the Mets are banking on with Long.”

In this case, I think the change is less about strategy and more about tactics and communication. I got the impression that players were confused by Hudgens, understanding his concepts, but distracted by his style. I never knew what to make of Johnson. Long, on the other hand, is known for his unique and customized drills, and everyone from Derek Jeter to Alex Rodriguez to Robinson Cano have been on record praising his work ethic and hands-on style. So, maybe Long helps Alderson’s Mets. The difference, though, is that the Mets don’t have Long’s version of A-Rod, Cano and Jeter.

Adam Lind

Teams have interest in Adam Lind, who does not fit with Duda

Blue Jays 1B-DH Adam Lind has drawn interest from three or four teams, including National League clubs (Elliot, Oct. 24).

Lind has played 224 games in the outfield during his nine-year career. However, he has not played the position since 2010.

Similar to Lucas Duda, Lind has struggled against left-handed pitching during his career, batting .212, while hitting .292 against righties.

He hit .321 with a .381 OBP and 24 doubles, but just six home runs, in 318 sporadic plate appearances likely impacted by a fractured right foot that was misdiagnosed earlier in the season.

The Blue Jays must pick up his $7.5 million option for 2015, otherwise he can be a free agent.