Friday, November 27, 2015

Mets Roster Evaluation

The Mets are ready. After a long, painful teardown and a frustrating rebuild, the 2015 Mets made the World Series, and could have been champions with a little bit better play.
2016 is the year the Mets make the transition from building to winning. They are on the correct side of the win curve to start to add players who can provide a couple of wins that will push the Mets over the top from playoff contender to World Series champion.
But the Mets must also remember they have a fantastic young core, and they should make moves designed to help the team this season -- and beyond -- without blocking young players and the contributions they can make.
I'll go through player by player with some comments:

Yoenis Cespedes:
Cannot be resigned. Had the best six weeks of his life then went ice cold and really hurt us in the World Series. Brain fart at end of Game 4 has been overlooked, but cost the Mets a decent chance to get back in that game. Look at his WAR season-by-season over four years in the majors: 2.9, 2.4, 3.3, 6.7. Weight runs created plus (100 is league average): 136, 102, 109, 135. He's a good hitter, great leftfielder, average centerfielder.
And again everything has to be looked at through the scope of what else can be done. Cespedes + Conforto with Lagares on the bench or Conforto and Lagares and $100M+, which scenario makes the Mets better.

Daniel Murphy:
I wouldn't hate resigning him but I think they have to let him walk. You cannot pay him based on the playoffs, because odds are he will never hit like that again. But he is a good hitter, a useful player and could still be valuable for three years around $40m.

Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard & Matt Harvey:
Should not be traded under any circumstances.

Steven Matz:
I wouldn't trade but could see including him in the right deal.

Zach Wheeler:
I would not trade him coming off and injury and not ready to pitch until mid-season. No team in their right mind would give anything close to full value.

Lucas Duda:
I know he's frustrating. I know he played poorly in the playoffs and blew a key play. I agree there are better first basemen out there, but here's the problem: think about what you would need to give up in players and money to get a first baseman significantly better than Duda. Would the team be better off with just that one player or with Duda and whatever else had to be given up. I know it's abstract but let's try this. He's been a 3 win player each of the past two seasons. That's about average for a first baseman. When you get to 4+ WAR, you're getting into very good players who are very difficult to acquire. For better or worse, keeping Duda is the Mets best option.

Wilmer Flores:
Similar story here. Whichever position they elect to put Flores at he'll be league average or so. And think about how hard and expensive it is to get a shortstop above league average. As far as defense, according to the advanced stats he is better at second, but has great range for a shortstop. I would like to keep Flores and hope he continues to improve at the plate and in the field.

Ruben Tejada:
Should be a backup infielder. Sad he went out that way, but he just isn't good enough on offense and his defense is decent, barely above average.

David Wright:
He spent a lot of years suffering on lousy teams and he deserves to revel in glory now that the team has turned the corner. Let's hope his health will allow him to be a valuable contributor.

Travis d'Arnaud:
A budding superstar. He had the 6th-highest WAR among catchers in 2015. And he only played 67 games. If he plays a full schedule of 130 games, he could easily become the clear #2 to Buster Posey. I know that's a big if, but I think he's the Mets surest thing offensively going into 2016.

Kevin Plawecki:
He has potential. A backup catcher is important, especially behind d'Arnaud, but he is someone I would be willing to trade if a good reliever could be had.

Juan Lagares:
I love him. My favorite player on the Mets. He had a bad year. He looked a little heavy, a little slow and probably injured. And his defense and his hitting suffered. But in 2014, he was league average offensively and legendary on defense which translated into a 4.0 WAR, which is better than Yoenis Cespedes had in any of his first three full seasons in the majors. I think Lagares deserves another year to prove which player he truly is.

Michael Conforto:
Very promising young player. Should be a cornerstone of the Mets for years to come. The Mets should put him in left field and leave him alone.

Curtis Granderson:
1.6 WAR in 2013. 1.2 WAR in 2014. 5.1 WAR in 2015. Which Granderson will we get? If he continues to reach base and hit the way he did in 2015 he should be batting in the middle of the order.

Jeurys Familia:
Charged with 3 blown saves in the World Series but really only one was his fault. Great closer, unlikely to face those issues again.

Hansel Robles:
I like his arm. He needs to mature and not get rattled so easily.

Jerry Blevins:
I hope the Mets can bring him back.

Tyler Clippard:
I never want to see him in a Mets uniform again.

Addison Reed:
He's not terrible but I think the Mets can find better options.

Jon Niese:
Trade him if anyone is interested, if not, use him as 5th starter until Wheeler is healthy.

Bartolo Colon:
It was fun while it lasted, but it's time to move on.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Weekly Picks

One of the most frustrating weeks in the history of making these picks. A perfect 6 ripped away from us on a late score in the Monday Night game to get a push. And worse yet, it was our best bet, so we don't even have five points as a consolation. I continue to be at a loss to explain why we are consistently worse on best bets compared to other picks. 26-18 on regular picks and 4-7 on best bets. Amazing. This week we go after it early with all three Thanksgiving games.

minnesota +1 1/2 ATLANTA
The Vikings are good and the Falcons are terrible. They were 5-0, but in their last five games they're 1-4 with the one win being a squeaker against the Titans. Normally we like to go against the trends, but I don't see this one reversing itself.

oakland -1 1/2 TENNESSEE
What happened to the Raiders? Everyone thought they were so great, I wasn't convinced. Then I started to believe and they started to shit the bed. But I think they can win this game on the road.

philadelphia +2 DETROIT
When the world is ending and the morons on Philadelphia sports radio are getting feisty, that's when we know the pendulum has swung too far. The Eagles will bounce back, the Lions aren't good.

GREEN BAY -8 chicago
After a momentary lapse the Packers are back to normal. And after a couple amazing performances from Jay Cutler, all of Chicago thinks he sucks again.

carolina -1 1/2 DALLAS

The worst spread I have seen in all the years we have been doing this. People seem to think Tony Romo is so great because they lost every game without him. He is good, but the reason they lost all those games is because the replacements were so bad. If the Panthers were going to have a let down (which I don't expect) all the Romo Thanksgiving hype should eliminate that.

Last week: 4-1 (3 points)
Season: 30-25 (27 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (4-7)
Home Favorites: 1-1 (10-11)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (1-1)
Road Favorites: 1-0 (12-11)
Road Underdogs: 2-0 (7-2)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Song of the Week

"Be Thankful For What You Got" - William DeVaughn

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rights and Wrongs about 2015

Evaluating where I was right and wrong in my opinions about the 2015 Mets:

I was wrong about one major thing: I thought the Nationals were good. They sucked.

Here's what I was right about:
Getting Cespedes was a good trade. He was exactly what the Mets needed at that time.
Every other trade was bad. Yes Juan Uribe did well in certain spots. Kelly Johnson was awful. Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed helped in the regular season but were generally too unreliable to be trusted. Eric O'Flaherty sucked.
The Flores and Wheeler for Gomez trade would have been a disaster.

And most of all, it was way too early in the cycle for the Mets to go that hard after a title.
Remember, mathematically, after the July 30th disaster the Mets had only a 22% chance of making the playoffs. Even if Cespedes put them even with the Nats, they were still a huge dog to win the World Series, not the kind of odds you should max out for.
And before you say most of the players given up (except for Clippard and Cespedes) were useless, remember, if they could bring back something of value this year, they could do the same next year.
The Mets gave up 11 or so pitching prospects this season. That will surely come back to bite them at some point down the road.

Also remember, what happened after July 31st was the absolute peak of what could have been expected, it wasn't a fait accompli, get Cespedes make the World Series.
If the Nats hadn't folded the Mets might not have even made the playoffs. And if not for a few breaks against the Dodgers, they could have been out in the first round.

The Mets have followed the formula for sustained excellence: draft and develop good young players, especially pitchers.
They should not have sacrificed all that for a <50% chance to make the playoffs. Hopefully, this magical run to the World Series will be the beginning of a long sustained period of success, not a momentary glimpse of fleeting happiness.

Weekly Picks

Another lousy week as a good season is going downhill in a hurry.

CAROLINA -7 washington
I can't believe I am doing this again. Picking against the Redskins for the third week in a row. But I really think the Redskins are very bad and can't believe people actually think they have a chance to knock off the undefeated Panthers.

green bay +1 MINNESOTA
Can the Packers really have become this bad this quickly?

tampa bay +6 PHILADELPHIA
Same rationale as last week. The Eagles are too bad to give up this many points.

denver -1 CHICAGO
Backup QB theory. Everyone is freaking out about Brock Osweiler. I think he will do better than most people think.

NEW ENGLAND -7 buffalo

The Patriots are the best team in the NFL. They had a squeaker last week. That won't happen again.

Last week: 2-3 (1 point)
Season: 26-24 (24 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (4-6)
Home Favorites: 0-2 (9-10)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (1-1)
Road Favorites: 1-1 (11-11)
Road Underdogs: 1-0 (5-2)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Where Was Michael Vick?

Pennsylvania authorities say Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong did not act maliciously when he confronted a police dog just before the start of a Nov. 8 game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

Investigators had been trying to determine whether the player's conduct constituted taunting of a police dog, a third-degree felony.

The sheriff's office has said the player lifted his shirt, beat his chest and barked at the explosive-detecting dog before telling a deputy to release the animal, which she did not.

The sheriff and prosecutor have agreed that the player's behavior was not a malicious act but still created an unnecessary security risk. The dog had to be taken out of service after the incident.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Poor Diesel

A French police dog named Diesel was killed in the raid on an apartment in a suburb north of Paris.

Diesel is a 7-year-old Belgian Mallinois. The breed is similar to German Shepherd but more athletic. It is the preferred police dog throughout Europe and a breed I would love to own someday.

Song of the Week

"The Fire" - The Roots featuring John Legend

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Not Doing Anything To Disprove the Stereotypes

Some Jewish women are protesting Nordstrom's zany Hanukkah sweater that says "chai maintenance" and "Hanukkah J.A.P." forcing the store to stop selling it.

With all the more important things going on in the world, shouldn't we stop being outraged over mostly accurate stereotypes?

Weekly Picks

Only my beloved Redskins kept me from going -1 last week. A promising start to the season has turned sour in the last two weeks, let's see if we can turn it around.

carolina -5 TENNESSEE
Mariota is going to have his good games, he's going to have his bad games. I really don't see the Titans being the team to knock off the Panthers.

new orleans -1 WASHINGTON
I really hate doing this but the Redskins are very bad. Especially their pass defense. I expect Drew Brees to light up their secondary.

So the Dolphins went from being terrible, to being great and totally remade by a new coach whose hard-nosed attitude turned the team around. Apparently Campbell's act has already worn thin. I'm not sure what to make of the Dolphins but I just think the Eagles are too bad to be giving this many points.

OAKLAND -3 minnesota
I've been skeptical about the Raiders and fully on the Vikings bandwagon, but I just feel like the Raiders coming off a loss and the Vikings coming in with a winning streak, this could be a game when things turn around.

GREEN BAY -10 1/2 detroit

I hate best bets giving this many points because of the crazy shit that can happen. But I love best bets that are good teams coming off losses. The Packers don't suck. Aaron Rodgers isn't bad all of the sudden. They just hit a rough spot and faced two undefeated really good teams in a row and lost them both, totally understandable. They will bounce back. They will win this game. But can they win by enough, that's the only question.

Last week: 1-4 (0 points)
Season: 24-21 (23 points)
Best Bets: 0-1 (4-5)
Home Favorites: 1-3 (9-8)
Home Underdogs: 0-0 (1-1)
Road Favorites: 0-0 (10-10)
Road Underdogs: 0-1 (4-2)