It is possible the Mets carry both Travis d’Arnaud and current Triple-A catcher Kevin Plawecki on the same roster, Sandy Alderson told WIOX Radio on Friday (WIOX, Oct. 31).
For example, he said, the two could split catching duties and one could also play first base or the outfield, or during interleague play one could be the team’s designated hitter.
“There are ways to do it,” he said. However, he added, “Is that the best use of those two resources?”
Matthew Cerrone: The Mets love Plawecki. However, I’m 90 percent sure Anthony Recker will be this team’s back-up catcher next year, at least through the first part of the season. Plawecki will start year in Triple-A, assuming he isn’t traded. It’s nothing against Plawecki, the Mets seem to really, really like him, but they talk like he needs more work. Plus, he’s a nice trade chip (be it now or next summer) if packaged with a young arm and veteran pitcher.
This past winter, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said Plawecki is on the verge of cracking the top 10 minor-league catchers in baseball (MLB.com, Jan. 17).
He has a knack for hitting for average and getting on base, explained Mayo, adding, “If he displays a little more power and continues to prove to people that he can stay behind the plate, despite his big frame, he could be a big league regular someday.”
In early September, Alderson said Plawecki is “knocking on the big-league door,” with d’Arnaud being the incumbent (Press & Sun-Bulletin, Sept. 4).
“We like Travis. We like Kevin. We like them both,” he said. “I would expect that we’ll see them both in spring training next year and see where it takes us.”
Minor league free agents Anthony Seratelli and Ryan Reid are not expected to return to the Mets organization next season, their agent said.
Seratelli, 31, hit .279 with a .385 OBP in 93 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. He saw time at second, shortstop and all three outfield positions.
The 29-year-old reliever, Reid posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.737 WHIP in 48 games at Triple-A last year.
The Royals will listen to offers for OF Alex Gordon, 1B Eric Hosmer and 3B Mike Moustakas, sources tell reporter Andy Martino (Daily News, Oct. 31).
Gordon will likely be a free agent at the end of next season, though he does have a $13 million player option for 2016.
He finished among the five most productive players in 2014, and was more productive than Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy combined, according to FanGraphs’s WAR.
He hit .266 with a .355 OBP, 19 HR, 34 doubles and 87 RBI in 156 games this season, while playing a Gold Glove-caliber defense.
According to Martino, “While Kansas City would likely see a package of, say, Rafael Montero and Murphy as fair value, Mets people would be reluctant to part with Montero for a rental.”
Instead, Sandy Alderson is more likely to consider acquiring Red Sox OF Yoenis Cespedes, who will also be a free agent at the end of next year, but who might cost less in trade.
Matthew Cerrone: I would trade Montero and Murphy for Gordon. I don’t care that Gordon could be gone in a year. The Mets have no idea what’s in store for them, how things will break, who will pan out or not; so, if I can acquire an elite, young hitter, I do it every day. Who knows, maybe like Mike Piazza, Gordon gets here, the Mets do well and he re-signs? Or, maybe he leaves. In either case, again, if the Mets are going to talk like they’re a win-now team, they need to act like it.
I see people say, “It’s not Sandy’s style to trade for a rental player,” or, “It’s not a Sandy-type move.” This may have been true. However, for the first time since being GM of the Mets, I sense he’s open to these sort of deals. The Mets know they need to get off the bench, but they also have little room in the budget to use just their checkbook. He’s going to have to deal someone, be it big-league player for big-league player, or big-leaguer with a prospect for a big-leaguer, which would simultaneously free up spending cash. So, I think Cespedes is an option, even though he may not fit the team’s overall approach at the plate. Gordon would be better, but more costly. It’s early, but I anticipate this sort of deal to go down, regardless of how unlikely it may have been in years past.
Grantland: It’s often easier to build a champion than to buy one
The Giants may have spent $154 million in payroll in 2014, but their roster also included a core-group of homegrown players, including Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, Sergio Romo, and, of course, Madison Bumgarner.
In other words, as Jonah Keri explains, there’s no surefire way to beat the system >> Read more at Grantland.
The Mets were so pleased with the results of last year’s offseason conditioning program in Michigan that they’re moving it to Port St. Lucie this winter, major league sources told reporter Andy Martino (Daily News, Oct. 31).
Last winter, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares worked with Mike Barwis in Michigan. Duda and Flores raved about the experience and both had successful 2014 seasons.
They are all expected to attend again this offseason, with some players starting work as early as this week, according to Martino.
The organization recently appointed Barwis to oversee their strength and conditioning program.
Matthew Cerrone: I’ve heard David Wright and other players may hit up the camp as well, though that has yet to be confirmed. In either case, I think this is great. The Mets are rarely at the forefront of new ideas and this reads like something no other team is doing, all of which will become more clear as the they talk more publicly about their relationship with Barwis over the next few months. So far, they’ve been quiet, which is understandable, since technically it’s the offseason and this is an unofficial clinic.
The way I understand it, Jeff Wilpon met Barwis a few years ago and the relationship with the team grew from that point. The players seem to really benefit from his ability, speed and coordination program, which is what Flores talked up and benefited from last season.
I’m intrigued by all of this, especially in a post-steroids environment. Investing in health and fitness is great for the players and probably a good brand strategy for a team that was the butt of jokes in this area as recently as a few years ago.
By the way, Barwis has a sign that hangs in his gym that reads, “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t,” which I think is pretty badass.
The Orioles have officially declined the $17.5 million option on OF Nick Markakis for 2015, making him a free agent (Oct. 30).
Markakis, who turns 31 in November, hit .276 with a .342 OBP and .386 slugging percentage this past season while hitting 14 home runs and driving in 50.
It’s not yet known whether the Orioles will make a qualifying offer to Markakis. If they do, Markakis will be attached to draft pick compensation for teams without a protected pick.
The Mets and Giants are among teams expected to look in to Markakis, according to Boston reporter Nick Cafardo (Oct. 20).
The Mets had interest in Markakis and other Orioles last winter, when the two sides frequently checked in with one another, according to MetsBlog’s Matthew Cerrone (Oct. 20).
The Orioles are interested in re-signing Markakis (Oct. 9), though they did recently decline his $17.5 million option for 2015.
Markakis, who has played 147 or more games in eight of his nine big-league seasons, hit .276 with 14 HR this season, while playing right field.
In a MetsBlog poll last week, 83 percent of more than 7,700 voters said the Mets should not look to give a three-year deal to Markakis (Oct. 16).
Maggie Wiggin: Markakis is an interesting candidate. He fills an area of obvious need in right field (though his defense has been a question mark lately due to his poor range) and he has the potential to provide a solid bat. I say “potential,” because his 2013 season was terrible and, while he bounced back in 2014 (with reduced power), it’s reasonable to worry about what trajectory he is on as he begins his age 31 season. That said, if he can put up an OBP anywhere near his career .358 mark, he would be a huge upgrade at leadoff for the Mets. I would balk at signing him to a three-year deal, especially with a draft pick attached, but if he’d sign for two years and an option, I think it’s a good match.>> Read more, plus reaction from Michael Baron and Brian P. Mangan.
Gil Hodges is among the 10 names on the Golden Era ballot to be reviewed and voted upon Dec. 8 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today.
Hodges was named to eight All-Star Games in an 18-year big league career as a first baseman with the Dodgers and Mets, winning three Gold Glove Awards and leading the Dodgers to seven National League pennants and two World Series titles.
As a manager, he led the 1969 Mets to a World Series title.
Brian Erni, SNY.TV Contributor: Every year, I hope that Gil earns what I feel is his proper spot in Cooperstown and, thus far, I’ve been disappointed. Admittedly, most of my impressions of how dynamic a manager Hodges was comes from reflective stories from my father, but what he was able to accomplish in 1969 remains one of the most stunning miracles in sports. Add to that his imposing offensive presence on the great Dodgers teams of the ’50s (including the 1955 club that won the World Series) and I think his resume speaks for itself.
John P.C., Reader of MetsBlog: I know everyone’s up in arms about Mike Piazza not being in the Hall of Fame, but to not have Hodges in is disgraceful. During his time, he was unbelievable. Six pennants, he won the first three gold gloves, held the title of most home runs by a righty, and coached the Mets to a World Series. All of this before age 47 when he died. I know Vin Scully has been trying to push to get him in, but to no avail. Instead of being the Hall of Very Good players, which it has become, it should be the extremely elite and Hodges was one of them.