Juan Lagares has been named a Rawlings Gold Glove finalist for National League centerfielders.
Lagares is up against the Reds’ Billy Hamilton and the Nationals’ Denard Span for the award.
Lagares could become the third Mets outfielder to earn a Rawlings Gold Glove, joining Tommie Agee (1970) and Carlos Beltran (2006-2008), the Mets said (Twitter, Oct. 22).
No other Mets players were named finalists at any position.
The winners will be announced on November 4.
Brian P. Mangan (MetsBlog Contributor): Mets OF Juan Lagares was the ninth-most valuable player in all of baseball through August (fourth in the National League).
“He might be the best center fielder in the National League,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said (Knobler, Aug. 27).
Lagares will have to start hitting better if he wants to put himself into any kind of MVP conversation, but his historic defensive performance probably makes it a lot closer than people realize… and a lot of fun to talk about. >> Read more…
Matthew Cerrone: In today’s Daily News, Andy Martino says, while Sandy Alderson will continue to try and trade for another team’s elite outfielder, the Mets are more likely to surround their core of pitchers with a lineup filled of “veteran, versatile or otherwise interchangeable pieces,” similar to the Rays (Daily News, Oct. 23).
This should sound familiar, since I have essentially written the same thing each of the last two winters.
“I think Sandy Alderson believes in having a young, under-team-control core, with David Wright as their expensive leader, all of whom are supported each season by a constant rotation of mercenaries acquired by trade or signed to very short-term, affordable contracts that can be easily discarded and replaced if they’re not working out,” I first wrote in a post called Wins over faces in 2012 (MetsBlog, Dec. 2012). “Oakland A’s fans are very used to this. … The Rays are doing this well, too. … I get the feeling Alderson believes winning (regardless of who you do it with and how much you spend on it) trumps any one player, regardless of how you and I feel about those players. And, maybe, what we’ve been watching here the last few seasons (at the expense of short-term success) is Alderson’s transition to his model from Omar Minaya’s model.”
This, plus being provided an average budget, is why I continue to believe Alderson intends to play this off season much like he played last winter, assuming he can trade away a couple of under-contract players to help free up extra capital.
“I just can’t see him going the extra mile to sign, say, Melky Cabrera, or Cuban OF Yasmany Tomas,” I wrote last week (MetsBlog, Oct. 14). “Instead, I bet the Mets look to do something similar to what they did last winter, signing one player to a more substantial deal (as they did with Curtis Granderson), while making a bet along the lines of a last year’s one-year, $7 million deal with Chris Young.”
I also indicated a belief in Alderson’s desire to keep his top pitching prospects, instead maybe dealing Dillon Gee to free up money, as well as trading mid-level pitching prospect for a mid-level infield prospect that can simply add depth in Spring Training, while protecting the top of his rotation (MetsBlog, Oct. 14).
Martino crystalizes this in his report today, adding, “It’s not that the Mets refuse to trade any of their pitchers not named Gee, Niese or Bartolo Colon; it’s just that they are highly reluctant.”
If I had to bet, I’d say the Mets try to package Gee, Montero and a young hitter, maybe Kevin Plawecki, and see where that gets them. It’s a good package. It can probably get them close to Red Sox OF Yoenis Cespedes, though another team may need to be involved. It can probably open a door for conversations in Colorado. If it gets them no place, they continue down the mercenary route. But, I think they’ll have options, which is what should make this an entertaining (and hopefully surprising) winter.
The Mets will have interest in free-agent OF Michael Cuddyer, so long as he’ll take a two-year deal, according to people familiar with the team’s thinking (Martino, Oct. 22).
MLB Trade Rumors recently predicted Cuddyer would eventually sign a two-year, $22 million contract (MLBTR, Oct. 17).
Matthew Cerrone: His market will be interesting. I’ve heard the Yankees, Astros, Pirates, Brewers and Marlins will have interest, in addition to the Mets. I’m sure there will be others, not to mention the fact that he seems to love playing in Colorado. So, there will be demand. At the same time, there are other guys in his bracket and lots of concern about how many games Cuddyer has missed the last few years. Also, he’ll be 36 next season.
I like MLBTR’s prediction, which should put the Mets in the conversation. In the end, I still think Cuddyer makes the most sense for the Mets. It’s also worth noting he’s good friends with David Wright, which can’t be a bad thing when considering a move to Queens.
Maggie Wiggin, Oct. 21: Cuddyer is a potentially promising free-agent target. While there is plenty of debate to be had about his injury history and probable contract to warrant its own post, it’s reasonable to consider a scenario in which Cuddyer, who can still produce well against right-handed pitching, plays right field most of the time and slots into first base against tougher lefties. This arrangement (which also assumes Curtis Granderson moves to left, where his defense plays better) would likely result in excellent production from first base and, at worst, league-average production from right field, which would still be a marked improvement from the offensive struggles of the 2014 outfield >> Read more.
Ben Berkon, Oct. 2: Cuddyer’s past three seasons in hitter-friendly Colorado shouldn’t deter the Mets since he’s owned a 118 wRC+ on the road since 2012, per FanGraphs.com. … Cuddyer’s production in left field for the Mets could roughly be worth 1.59 fWAR (using the 5/3/2 approach), assuming he notches 380 plate appearances (or a 2.51 fWAR if Cuddyer accumulates 600 plate appearances) in 2015 >> Read more.
To see the full list of potential free agents, read this list on Baseball Prospectus.
Adam Schein and Chris Carlin debate whether the Mets should pursue Michael Cuddyer this offseason despite an injury-plagued 2014 campaign.
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