Cerrone: The future is bright, but vulnerable

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

This current crop of highly-regarded, young pitchers (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndgergaard, etc.), plus being able to replace around $20-30 million in payroll every winter, is what the last few years have been about, Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said over the last year or so.

The goal has always been to have these pitchers direct the future of the franchise. The way I see it, talk of 90 wins, moving goal posts, 2014 being a pivot year, etc., is all just talk. I try to only believe what I see, which is really good, young pitching in the minors, some in the majors, all fine tuning themselves, while a below-average big-league roster and an adequate manager try to do the best the best they can with what they have to work with, which is not much.


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I lament the lineup, which is painfully inept. I shake my head at their fielding. However, one day adding Harvey and Syndergaard to the rotation, with Wheeler, Dillon Dee and Jon Niese – and adding Bobby Parnell, deGrom and Montero to Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia in the bullpen – could mean a significantly better team next year, regardless of what they do to the lineup.

However, what happens if Harvey isn’t the same Harvey we fell in love with last summer? What if he has a set back? What if Syndergaard eventually needs surgery, despite what the medical reports say today? I’ll always see Wheeler as an injury risk because of his velocity and inconsistent delivery. Niese has looked terrific, but this repeated need to rest his shoulder is beyond alarming. So, while I love the idea of building a Tampa Bay Rays in Queens, while I’m enticed by seeing a factory for young pitching with a flexible payroll that can regenerate the roster year after year and win each step of the way, I’m hesitant to totally buy in because of what I know about the risks associated with all pitching prospects – let alone pitching prospects from the Mets.

I’ve put faith in Plan A, because I believe baseball teams ultimatly win with pitching. But, when I see so few bats in the farm system, when I see payroll decreasing year after year, when I see so many hard-throwing pitchers around baseball needing Tommy John surgery, when I see an empty ballpark and a fan base growing more apathetic every day, I end up fearing the future as much as I’m looking forward to it.




237 comments
stage52
stage52

Go crawl under your bed and put a pillow over your head.  Afraid of the dark much?  Pitiful!

Connor Scanlon
Connor Scanlon

Any timetable for syndergaard to come up? And by the way the deal with wheeler for starling Castro I would take it because we would sub degrom for wheeler next year. And we're getting a shortstop who can hit near .300 and over 20 hrs a year.

Mikey J
Mikey J

Under no circumstances should deGrom be moved out of the rotation. If we can't find a spot in the rotation then he should be traded as a starter. I personally feel we should hang onto him though. I would be much more apt to trade Gee and give that spot to deGrom.

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

I assume 2-4 pitching prospects will eventually be moved for a bat or two. Wasn't that always part of the plan? Unless Mets are going to be the first 10 man rotation in baseball someday soon they are going to need to trade away some of their pitching for hitting

mystere24
mystere24

Of course he writes this in the midst of winning 5 of 6 with plenty of offense but defends the plan when they were falling 10 games under .500. Go figure.

I think it's time we declare Lucas Duda a success story of this regime. For once we picked the right guy to keep and the patience is paying dividends. I truly believe he is the key to a productive lineup. Two more pieces, a SS and a middle of the order LF and I think we are close.

dksc
dksc

Reminds me of Pulsipher, Isringhausen, and Wilson.  That worked out pretty well.

green24
green24

Why would Gee be in the rotation over deGrom?

Jim Yager
Jim Yager

If the METS do what they always do, NOTHING AT ALL, or, add one over the hill players, the results will be the same. You can't win a game if you don't score a run. We need some bats and some protection for DW. I don;t want to hear about all these "prospects" and great pitching as if that's all it takes. The METS need to add the pieces we need to field a team that can compete and not sit back and be happy with what we have.


Edwin Melendez
Edwin Melendez

You see an empty ballpark because we have become weary of buying the Mets cool-aid.  Improve the pop-gun offense and start winning games regularly  and the fans will go.

whizz17
whizz17

Cerrone is nuts. He has Degrom in the bullpen next year!! I am not sure he is even watching but Degrom has been one of the best starters on the entire team this year. The Mets should try and trade Gee or Niese and let Degrom continue to start.

rf04
rf04

I agree with the lineup complaints, but it's at least a little relaxing to see that guys are starting to hit more - especially at home. Tejada is putting good ABs together, as is Duda. d'Arnaud is doing enough to be considered a positive (for now). Lagares is still swinging a decent enough bat to be an everyday CF. If we could get another big bat (assuming Wright counts as a first big bat), it could go a long way in helping us win some games. A big hitting LF (maybe like Mike Morse who I endorsed in the pre-season) could stabilize our offense?

Grandy, Murphy, Wright, Morse/Trumbo/big LF, Duda, d'Arnaud, Lagares, Tejada. I don't hate that until the LF becomes Chris Young. Maybe Flores unseats Tejada? Or we sign a better SS? We're not really far off - but we need a big bat - not just little tweaks here and there.

Doubleday
Doubleday

The future looks brighter with slugging Wilmer in the line-up somewhere.  Just sayin'.

Michael Glyn Hall
Michael Glyn Hall

It's funny, I remember a similar situation a few years back when I was terrified of the Braves' young pitching prospects - Hanson, Minor, Beachy and Jurrjens all relatively highly touted, to some degree (in some way comparable to our Harvey, Wheeler, Syndegaard, Montero/deGrom/Matz situation, although a kind of poor comparison). That didn't work out so well for the Braves:

Hanson - released by LAA and TEX, now on a minors contract with CWS.
Jurrjens - just been demoted to the Rox AAA club
Minor - very good 2013 but otherwise trends towards a 4.00 ERA pitcher.
Beachy - injury plagued, looking at a second TJ surgery at age 27.


I think my point is that modern baseball needs that perfect blend of hoarding pitching prospects, and dealing them for known commodities; it really underlines how important a team's talent evaluation staff, as well as medical staff, are in dictating a club's future.


So I suppose the question is - do we have faith in those staff?

C Nerrie
C Nerrie

Thanks for a "think piece."

I understand you to be saying you love the pitching and like the overall plan (pitching + yearly line-up flexibility), but....

Pitching: you're concerned because of potential injury, and some specific red flags here.

Plan: you're concerned that the plan won't be carried out because of lack of bats in minors coupled with payroll stagnation.

You're also concerned about the fanbase being in such a funk.

COMMENTS:

Pitching: Not to worry.  We have enough to withstand injury, and, anyway, everybody is in the same boat.

Plan: Re minors, Nimmo, e.g., sounds smart and talented, so he for one seems very promising. (Fielding-wise, he's started learning to determine where the ball is going, and put his head down and run there, like splendid outfielders do.)

As for payroll, we've heard Jeff W say a number of times that there is more money available but SA hasn't spent it. So I'm hopeful that there is $ when the right player/timeframe comes along. Discipline is good (I think).

As for the fanbase, the losing probably has lost us some youngsters and that really is too bad. As for the crabby adults, they'll probably be back once the winning starts.

JasonMiles
JasonMiles

The Mets are just a revolving door of what ifs 

JoMama
JoMama

I have an eerie feeling that Harvey 2015 won't be like Harvey 2013. Call me a skeptic (or just a realistic Met fan).

Paul LeBarron
Paul LeBarron

Matter Cerrone the Master of rambling on and saying absolutely nothing. 

1swunglow
1swunglow

I trade Syndergard now to a pitching hungry club for their top SS Prospect.  This is our greatest need, and Syndergards trade value is not going to get any higher than it is now.  If he comes up and tanks, than we got nothing we don't already have. At least you can salvage an everyday player, but once a pitchers gets that moniker of a top prospect bust, their all but done and have little trade value. 

James T. O'Brien
James T. O'Brien

Another argument for Backman is that he and his staff figured out how to help d'Arnaud (and Ike, last year).  In all the games d'Arnaud played with the major league club, Terry and crew couldn't figure out how to help the kid.  

James T. O'Brien
James T. O'Brien

"an adequate manager"????  What idiot puts Colon in the #8 spot????  DeGrom I can understand.  He can hit, but even for pitchers, Colon is a disaster.  Last night, we needed a hit in the 8th spot and Colon comes up instead of someone who might get a hit.  To add insult to injury, Young leads of the next inning and gets a hit.  That's just stupid managing.  We need Wally Backman.

mi
mi

LOL how many years can you say this for

John Cucci
John Cucci

Also, to piggyback off Matt, the probability of all the prospects panning out is not high.

John Cucci
John Cucci

There is no denying that rebuilding takes time. Regardless of what upper management and ownership say, we're learning this the hard way.

Mike Garrison
Mike Garrison

It's a shame - This organization has such a rabid fan base that is just chomping at the bit for something to celebrate. We fight with each other every day simply because we all want the same thing.

I don't have faith in this office to put together a competing team anymore - but I hope like hell they prove me wrong.

Kyle Fischer
Kyle Fischer

I'm really starting to wonder about some of this stuff.  What an fascinating post.  As if any of us thought that the future was a "given."  Gee, who would have guessed that in baseball, injuries happen, players under perform and front offices pick the wrong complimentary players.  I learned so much by reading.

semperfi
semperfi

Harvey, Gee Niese, Wheeler and deGrom with Matz, Syndergard and Montero in the wings gives you a lot of options, I would move Colon and Matusaka along with Murphy which I know I know is a fan favorite but is at his highest trade value and is better suited in the AL, he will never give you + D and will always be a liability at 2B, give Flores a shot until year end there or Reynolds, D Herrera will be in spring training next year fighting for that spot as well, we have options and Murphy will get more expensive each year he stays and is not worth big $ being a defensive liability. Trading the 3 mentioned should be able to net a few top prospects.

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

So if Gee is earning 3.625M this year, what does he get in arbitration for next year (assuming he finishes the year well and healthy), 6-7M? More? 

And if you are the Met's do you look to sign him long term and buy out that last year of arb next year? Or do you let him go into next year and trade him at the deadline instead of losing him to FA? And what do you pay him? 

Keeping in mind their payroll issues.

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

being able to replace around $20-30 million in payroll every winter,


How's that going to happen this year? That would require some salary dumps. 

Not to mention Wilmer and his 15 game hitting streak in triple A right now. #Freewilmer

John Schod
John Schod

@whizz17  Why not let the young guys audition themselves and not waste starts on older pitchers, who have no future with us!


The fans deserve one, intelligent major move as a BUYER to show that management has a small concern for its patrons.


Currently, no one believes that decisions aren't being dictated by team finances as the sole concern.


Regardless, if they succeed this year or not, at least the Yankee management tries to succeed.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@rf04 Flores IS a big bat when he plays everday.  You think a money-pinching franchise like this would figure that out.  I was off the Wilmer soapbox for a while, but look what he's doing in AAA - the kid is unstoppable.  You can't not play him, at this point.

Eddie_Dean
Eddie_Dean

@JoMama 1st year back from Tommy John, I'd say that's a fairly realistic expectation. The real question though is will 2016 & beyond Matt Harvey be like 2013 Harvey? I think he will be fine longterm.

Mike Garrison
Mike Garrison

@James T. O'Brien To be fair the hit EY got to lead off the next inning is what led to them scoring a run that inning. If EY is in the 8th hole, Harang just pitches around him and faces Colon anyway. So, it's possible that the Mets get shut out last night if Colon wasn't hitting 8th.


I'm not a Terry supporter by any means, though. 

Andrew Pasquale
Andrew Pasquale

@mi What do you want him to say? I give up and you should to? You're still visiting the site and reading what is being said...with no optimism, we're just zombies.

James
James

@Tarheel11 The idea should be they have already "dumped" that salary so they should be able to expand the budget this off-season.  That will remain to be seen if they have do that.

crafalko17
crafalko17

@John Schod Outside of Colon who he definitely is looking to trade we don't really have an older starter in the rotation when everyone is healthy. Syndergaard i not ready apparently and Montero just got off the DL. Gee, Niese are not older pitchers and Dice-K will be in the pen when others are healthy.

rf04
rf04

@Doubleday And also... Las Vegas stats are deceiving. Brown, Satin, den Dekker, Dykstra - a bunch of guys are tearing it up out there.

rf04
rf04

@Doubleday @rf04 I agree he might be very good (we don't know for sure yet), and I would like to see him play every day... but for the last 2 months Tejada has been playing well offensively and defensively. What do you do with him if Flores plays SS every day?

Tarheel11
Tarheel11

@James @Tarheel11 Should be but everything you see and hear (other than from the Wilpons) says otherwise. Everything points to them if anything cutting salary, not adding it. 

John Schod
John Schod

@crafalko17 @John Schod  I am referring to Dice-K and Colon, who have both done better than I expected.  However, in the position that we are in, let's audition some of these young guys.


Look at the bullpen since we got rid of Farnsworth and Valverde...much better!

Doubleday
Doubleday

@rf04 @Doubleday Look, if we had a stud in LF, and Duda was a clutch guy, and David weren't hurt - sure, Reuben is great.  But with these glaring holes, if you have a kid that can plug one, someone's got to sit.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@rf04 @Doubleday Tejada has NOT hit over .300, clubbed 6 HR, and knocked in 20 runs in the past 10 days.  I don't dislike Reuben, but he is simply not a run producer.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@rf04 @Doubleday I don't know if Flores is the SS long term, or 2B, or even 1B.  But eventually, we have to stop thinking in terms of current guys "getting it done quietly" and look at the upside of somebody not playing so that someone better can replace them.

rf04
rf04

@Doubleday .289 BA, .372 OBP since May 25th. And pretty good defense (.8 dWAR if that means anything). I'll take that offense from a SS unless I can get Tulo or Hanley!

Not that I LOVE Tejada, but he could be a lot worse.

Doubleday
Doubleday

@rf04 @Doubleday ... but he's still not a run producer, Reuben is a table setter.  We have a team full of table setters, and not enough guys to drive them in.  Something has to give.

rf04
rf04

@Doubleday @rf04 True. A big hitting LF would solve a lot. But if Flores really does hit up to his potential in the bigs and can play SS/2B that would be a real plus for the lineup AND give us some flexibility to make some moves.

Maybe when we are mathematically eliminated, Terry can devote some time to let him be the every day SS.