In this week’s MetsBlog Q&ACast, pres. by Verizon, Matthew Cerrone talks with Mets fan and MLB Fan Cave dweller Dan Frankel, who you can follow here on Twitter.
Frankel and Cerrone discuss the life of a cave dweller, whether to trade Noah Syndergaard, their Mets off-season wish lists and how both attending the Grand Slam Single playoff game in 1999…
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The Mets will soon take a look at 28-year-old, free-agent Cuban SS Roberto Carlos and Cuban defector 3B Pavel Quesada, sources told reporter Mike Puma (NY Post, Aug. 22).
The team is expected to work out both players in the Dominican Republic next week, according to Puma.
Matthew Cerrone: Look, I hope these guys are great. But, the player I’m hoping to see them go after is Yasmani Tomas, who defected from Cuba earlier this year. He will pursue an MLB contract, though he won’t be cleared to sign or showcase until late this winter, according to people keeping tabs on his situation. He’s described as one of the best young power hitters to come out Cuba. Of course, I’m also told he’s likely to see offers close to $90 million. And, at least so far, I’ve seen no evidence the last few years to suggest Sandy Alderson will even consider signing a guy like this, let alone make an offer… and that’s unfortunate.
I was SO wrong about Jose Abreu it’s laughable. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone, since pretty much every National League team was leery of signing him, because he profiled to be an obvious DH… and still does.
In this case, though, with Tomas, I want the Mets to make a move. At this point, given the state of the their offense and lack of immediate help in the farm system, even if this guy is a total bust, it might be worth the bet. And if Tomas can be that guy, which it sounds like he can, when the bidding starts this winter, the Mets should step up like the home-run hungry New York team they are and go for it…
“Carlos may have slipped through the baseball cracks,” because he didn’t have representation after defecting from Cuba in 2012, a person familiar with the player told Puma.
Sandy Alderson told Puma that his organization is very aware of the Cuban market, though he doesn’t necessarily view it as a short-term fix.
“We scout them now, so it’s not as if we’re not aware of what is going on,” Alderson said. “It’s not like we’re not aware of who is out there.”
Mets 20-year-old 2B prospect Dilson Hererra is capable of becoming an above-average, every-day, big-league second baseman, “and maybe more,” ESPN.com’s Keith Law said in a recent online chat (ESPN, Aug. 22).
“If he ended up on a few All-Star teams, I wouldn’t be shocked,” Law added.
Herrera has hit .320 with a .378 OBP, 12 HR, 31 doubles, 65 RBI and 22 stolen bases between Single- and Double-A this season.
Herrera was acquired with Vic Black from the Pirates for John Buck and Marlon Byrd at the end of the 2013 season.
“When you have a kid who plays hard, and knows his game so well, he’s not going to have a problem. He’s a package,” Single-A hitting coach Joel Fuentes told Toby Hyde earlier this season >> Read more at SNY’s Mets Minors from June 25.
Matthew Cerrone: Duda hit a slider Wednesday off Jeff Samardzija, which missed the target up and in. Samardzija was missing his target all day, frankly, but Duda’s reactions have been so strong this year that he was able to adjust and fist it with authority over the wall in center field. Incredible job… Last year, Duda would have taken that pitch for a ball. Instead, this year, he let it fly for his 23rd home run of the season…
The question is: Can Duda do this again next season? Have the Mets finally developed a legit, long-term power threat, coming at the right time? Can he get better against left-handed pitching? Is he still a platoon-mate, or can he handle this gig by himself?
Ben Berkon: Needless to say, Duda has exceeded expectations. …The notoriously poor fielder has even looked more nimble at first base, gloving an impressive 6 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) over 926.0 innings. …Yet, with Duda owning sole possession of first base, his extreme vulnerability versus left-handed pitching has only become more apparent >> Read more from Aug. 20.
The Red Sox have reportedly signed free-agent Cuban OF Rusney Castillo to a six-year, $72 million deal >> Read more at MLB Trade Rumors.
The Mets were among several teams that attended Castillo’s workout in Miami last month. However, unlike the Red Sox, Phillies and others, they did not have Castillo in for a private workout (Cerrone, Aug. 14).
“There might be some scouting differences of opinion, and kind of where we are and what we’re going to do in the immediate future, so there are lots of issues involved,” Sandy Alderson recently said (NY Post, Aug. 22), in regards to why the Mets have not aggressively pursued Castillo, who is also capable of playing middle infield.
Last winter, the Mets offered Jon Niese to the Mariners for SS Brad Miller, baseball reporter Peter Gammons recently told MLB Network (MLB.com, Aug. 19).
According to Gammons, despite speculation from fans and media, the Mets and Cubs do not see eye to eye on a potential deal swapping pitching for hitting. Chicago reporter Mark Gonzalez made a similar comment to SNY’s Mostly Mets Podcast earlier this week >> Read more.
Instead, Gammons said, because Miller is now on the bench, he could easily see Miller eventually being traded to the Mets.
Miller, 24, has struggled all season, having never hit above .208, despite 348 plate appearances. He hit .265 with a .318 OBP, eight home runs and 11 doubles in 306 at bats in 2013, at which point he was considered among the best hitting prospects in baseball.
The Mets and Mariners also reportedly talked about a deal for 22-year-old 2B-SS Nick Franklin, dating as far back as the Winter Meetings, according to a team insider (ESPN NY, Feb. 24). It was later reported that the Mariners were likely to deal Franklin before Opening Day (ESPN NY, Feb. 20), but he started the season with their Triple-A team.
In May, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said the Mets were still focused on trading for a young shortstop under team control for many seasons (Daily News, May 21), such as Miller or Franklin, but no deal was made prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Matthew Cerrone: The D-Backs and Mariners were often seen scouting Mets minor leagues this past March. The sides had low-level talks before the start of the regular season, but the Mets were repeatedly asked to part with Noah Syndergaard, who the Mets were not interested in trading.
I never got the impression Alderson was willing to waste any of his young arms on Franklin, who may end up being only slightly better than Wilmer Flores on the infield. Miller may be a different story, since he has a ton of potential, a big bat and a good eye, but decreasing value due to his recent struggles in the big leagues. For all of the talk about the Cubs, it seems like the inevitable match-made-in-heaven type trades never come to fruition, either because there was never any substance there to begin with or because pressure builds to win the deal. Hey, remember years ago, talking about Jose Reyes, the Rangers and Alex Rodriguez? Better yet, remember two years of Barry Zito, Lastings Milledge and the A’s? Yikes!!
In the end, before Alderson ever caves and overpays the Cubs for Javier Baez or Starlin Castro, I think there is a far better chance he deals Jon Niese, Kevin Plawecki, Rafael Montero, etc., for a guy like Miller or an infielder from the D-Backs.
Daily News: Zack Wheeler hopes to continue to grow with Mets
Zack Wheeler says he doesn’t want to be traded, he told beat reporter Kristie Ackert.
“I know they could use one of (the young pitchers) to get a bat or two,” Wheeler said. “I know it’s part of the game, but I want to be here after the rebuilding.”
Dan Warthen feels the Mets are just now starting to see the results of Wheeler’s years of work >> Read more in the Daily News.
The Cubs will need to see an overwhelming offer from the Mets to trade them 24-year-old, three-time All-Star SS Starlin Castro, the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzalez recently told SNY.TV’s Mostly Mets podcast.
“I think they would be open to moving him, but it would have to be for a front line, non-arbitration eligible, No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher,” according to Gonzalez, who believes Castro’s bat is significantly less valuable if moved to third base or the outfield.
According to New York reporter Andy Martino’s sources, while the Mets might be willing to part with Noah Syndergaard in a deal for Cubs SS prospect Addison Russell, the Cubs will almost certainly want more than that (Daily News, Aug. 20). Similarly, in return for Castro, while the Mets might consider trading Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores, Martino says the Cubs would again want more, such as Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom.
In the end, “It’s hard to see how we would actually match up,” an official with one of the clubs told Martino.