Wednesday’s Arizona Fall League recap…
Mets second base prospect L.J. Mazzilli had a big game in his seventh AFL start.
The 24-year-old connected on a pair of hits, including a three-run homer in the 2nd inning, which accounted for all three Scottsdale runs. It was his first homer in Arizona.
Read more at SNY’s Mets Minors…
Matthew Cerrone: I got unwillingly sucked in to a thread this morning on Twitter about Jose Reyes, David Wright, injuries, production, etc. The general premise by one fan was that the Mets could only choose to keep one of Wright or Reyes and they chose David because he was less of an injury risk than Jose. Of course, while the two have essentially played in the same numbers of games since Reyes left, Jose appears mostly healthy and Wright is currently dealing with a mysterious shoulder injury.
In either case, I don’t think potential injury had much to do with why Reyes isn’t on the Mets.
Instead, my understanding is that Sandy Alderson simply didn’t want to be paying $22 million a year to Reyes when, in his mid 30s, Jose’s legs and body would not likely be able to do the things that made him great on the Mets. Also, remember, the Marlins went after Reyes hard. They presented him a six-year deal the day he was eligible to talk with new teams. Alderson never wanted Reyes for that long, everyone knew what the Marlins were offering because they were leaking it all across baseball, and so talks never really progressed beyond that point.
The impression I got then was that, while Alderson really enjoyed Jose’s presence on the infield and atop his lineup, Sandy didn’t think Reyes was a good long-term bet because the bulk of his money would be earned at a time when his body would start to break down. At the same time, though Reyes might have been worth the $36 million he earned from 2012-2014, the Mets likely knew they would not be very good during those years – so it probably made better sense to save that cash instead.
On the other hand, at a time when the Mets will hopefully be in better shape to win (the next three season) the $66 million due to Reyes will be needed to pay raises to Daniel Murphy, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda and others. This is also why I think there is very little chance of Alderson re-acquiring Reyes in trade, not to mention Toronto’s reluctance to pick up part of his tab.
The bottom line is this, be it money, years, future payments, legs, age, whatever, I don’t think there was much chance Alderson was ever topping Miami’s pitch to Reyes. And, he wasn’t alone, since the Marlins were reportedly the only team to make Reyes a hard offer, all while letting everyone know he was their mark from day one… and so that was that.
That said, I miss Jose, who would be amazing to have back in the mix…
Brian P. Mangan: There is no one formula that teams follow to have success in MLB. Winning is about talent, chemistry, and luck. But, above all, winning simply requires scoring more runs than the other team. It sounds simplistic, but — despite being a billion-dollar industry — it is a simple game.
For instance, the 2014 Royals cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs on the back of a world-class bullpen and stellar defense, despite a mediocre lineup and starting rotation. Kansas City’s outfielders ranked last in MLB in home runs this season. However, thanks to their outfield’s well above-average ability to get on base, and their world-class defense, they finished fourth in WAR.
On the other hand, the 2008 Phillies won the World Series with an average pitching staff buoyed by a lineup that clubbed teams into submission. The 2001 D-Backs did the opposite, featuring just one well-above average hitter, but a pair of aces delivering once-in-a-lifetime performances. The 1995 Braves finished ninth in the National League in runs scored, but won it all thanks to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, who went a combined 49-16. The Yankees actually built a dynasty with Derek Jeter, a markedly below-average defensive shortstop (an infield position every old timer believes must be strong), but he made up for it by being at the top of the league in overall offensive production year in and year out.
Similarly, Keith Hernandez is one of the most beloved Mets of all time and an unquestioned star. He received MVP votes in eight consecutive seasons, winning the award in 1979 and coming in second in 1984. He was a five-time All-Star. He anchored first base for — not one, but two — World Series champions. Yet, he never hit more than 18 home runs in a season. He only eclipsed 35 doubles on three occasions. He averaged only 131 games played per year and, even in his best season with the Mets, he ranked 33rd in the league in home runs and 31st in slugging.
So why, then, was Hernandez considered a star? It’s because he was an on-base machine, who won 11 Gold Glove awards in a row. During his eight-year peak, he posted a whopping .400 OBP and an .854 OPS. Over that stretch, thanks in part to his defense, Hernandez averaged 5.4 WAR per year. In other words, despite never fitting the archetype of the hulking, slugging first baseman, Hernandez helped his teams win from April through October.
I think of players like Hernandez when I hear fans and writers clamoring for guys who fit some kind of ‘mold.’ But, ultimately, how a player provides value is nearly irrelevant. This is why I want the Mets to acquire and start the best players possible, regardless of whether they contribute that value with their bat, their legs, or their glove.
Keith Hernandez never hit more than 18 home runs in a season. It’s not always about being a ‘big bat,’ but making big contributions.
Brian Mangan is an attorney who lives in New York City. His writing can be found at The Read Zone. Follow his Mets-related thoughts on Twitter: @brianpmangan
Source: MiLB.com’s Arizona Fall League Roster Page
Head over to the Mets Pulse Page, presented by Citi, to see a live stream of all things Mets, with team and player tweets and news updates about the organization.
Here’s something you might see on the Mets Pulse Page:
Matthew Cerrone: He’s only 31-years-old, so I know I shouldn’t be worried about David Wright. Also, it’s easy to assume his poor production in 2014 is a direct result of shoulder pain. However, he repeatedly told reporters one had nothing to do with the other. And, he may be right.
Through the first 66 games of the year, Wright was on pace to finish the season hitting around .270 with a .330 OBP, 10 HR, 35 doubles, 80 RBI and roughly 2.0 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.
He injured his shoulder on June 12, he has said. In the 68 games that followed, he received a cortisone shot, missed time, hit by a pitch in the sore shoulder, missed more time, but hit more or less the same as he did before the injury, finishing 2014 batting .268 with a .324 OBP, 8 HR, 30 doubles, 63 RBI and a 1.9 WAR – or, approximately what he was on pace to do before the injury.
In other words, even before the documented injury, he was on pace for the worst year of his career.
So, if that’s the case, and Wright is right about his shoulder not being an issue, then what happened?
In any case, Wright is in the process of strengthening the shoulder. In the event it’s still weak in November, Wright will need to consider off-season surgery, which will require a three to three and a half-month rehab process (Rubin, Sept. 25).
FanGraphs’s Steamer projection puts Wright at a 4.0 WAR in 2015, likely hitting around .275 with 18 HR, 33 doubles and 85 RBI, which would not be his best season, but also not his worst. It would, however, drop him out of the five most productive third baseman at time when he’ll be the highest paid third baseman in the National League.
In the end, though, I’m hoping Sandy Alderson’s offense will need to lean less on Wright next season anyway. In the event Alderson acquires a reliable outfielder, plus gets a slight bounce from Curtis Granderson and some growth from Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores, Wright’s projections can work. He doesn’t have to return to being an elite player, like he was in 2012 and 2013, but something between that and last year should be fine.
The Mets will formally interview former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long for their vacant hitting coach position on Wednesday.1,2,3
Long was the hitting coach for the Yankees for seven seasons before being fired by the team at the end of the season.
The Mets, Blue Jays and Braves reached out to Long shortly after his dismissal.5 He was also drawn interest from the Red Sox, Brewers, Pirates and D-Backs.4
The Mets fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens in May. Lamar Johnson was named interim coach, dismissed at the end of the season and offered a different job in the organization.
Sandy Alderson is working from a short list that contains no more than three-to-four names, according to a source.7
It was reported in May that Curtis Granderson, who played four years under Long, and several teammates were using Long’s infamous Home Run Drill during pre-game warm ups. 6
Matthew Cerrone: It’s sounding like Long is the front runner. He is the first person they’re bringing in for an interview, he applies the same principles as Sandy Alderson, he lives in New York, knows the market, knows how to handle local media and has a fan in Granderson. Dave Magadan makes sense to some extent, but I keep hearing if he’s going to leave Texas, he wants to go to a team with a top offense and a good chance of winning next year. Also, this will be the second time in a few years that he left a situation early to go to greener pastures, and that has to be somewhat of a concern, I would think.