Tuesday, August 02, 2016

I Don't Hate It

Maybe I am just tired of getting angry and upset at every trade the Mets make, I just can't take the pain anymore, but I don't hate the deal for Jay Bruce.
Yes, I think it's mostly bad, and shows a lack of understanding in two key areas by the Mets front office, but I think Bruce is actually an excellent player, and a major improvement over what he Mets have right now.
And I don't think the two prospects offered, Dilson Herrera and Max Wotel, are likely to develop into above-average major leaguers.
First, the Mets are way out of the divisional race, and have to catch two teams to get the second wild card. So it doesn't make sense to trade to young players when they have only a 26% chance to make the playoffs according to FanGraphs.
Second, Bruce plays right field. And not very well. He is an absolute butcher out there. And he replaces Curtis Granderson who is also bad. And Yoenis Cespedes has been bad this year (likely attributable to injury and playing out of position). And if Cespedes is not healthy enough to play left, Granderson and Conforto will split time in center, meaning the Mets are supporting a great pitching staff, with the worst outfield defense in the majors. Not smart.
Third, they failed to look to next year, when they will have Bruce and Granderson under contract and Cespedes will likely return, unable to best his contract coming off this injury-plagued season. That means delaying by a year (Bruce and Granderson both have contracts that expire after 2017) the Conforto-Lagares-Nimmo triumvirate that should be the outfield of the future.

But the Mets did get a good hitter, who is not past his prime yet (this is his age 29 season) and he will surely improve the middle of the lineup.
Unfortunately too much stock is placed on his RBI and batting average with runners in scoring position, which is a lot about opportunity and luck.
There is a chance that Cespedes gets healthy, maybe Duda comes back, and some other guys get going (and the RISP bugaboo ends in a flurry) and the Mets get hot and do win the wild card.
And with their pitching, in a one-game scenario, or even a 7-game series, anything can happen.
As long as the other team doesn't hit the ball to our outfielders.

Note: I hate the Antonio Bastardo trade. I know he has been terrible, but his track record and his unusually high home run rate indicate that he should improve either this year, or next. Plus we know what Jon Niese is about and he just isn't any good.


Reissberg said...

I agree with most of what you said. The one thing you overlooked is that Cespedes will almost certainly beat his current contract even with the injuries this year because the free agent market for outfielders is so thin. They may view Bruce as insurance against Cespedes leaving.

Damino said...

I also agree with your comments Paul. I'm just so deeply disappointed with this year's team that almost nothing can make me optimistic. I really thought that last year was like 1985 or 1998 where the team was on the upswing and just a year or two away from excellence. Instead, it feels like last year was 2006 where the Mets were close to greatness and came up short, and are facing decline. In fairness, a huge part of this is injury related, and if even 4 of the 5 starters including Wheeler are healthy in 2017, I love the Mets' chances. But with pitching health is always an issue.

I'm not too worked up either way about the Bruce trade. I think he gives Cespedes some protection in the lineup, but I'm not thrilled about adding a bad defensive player on a team built upon pitching. I'm also very thankful that Sandy Alderson didn't give up any blue chip talent to land Bruce, which is what he almost did last year by trading Wheeler for Gomez.

I think the Mets have a legitimate shot at a wild card, and I'd love to see them get it, but I just don't see them having a deep run like last year. The starting pitching is thinner and shakier, and the offense is atrocious. I love the fact that the Mets took 4 in a row from the Cubs again early this season, but I wouldn't be remotely surprised to see the Cubs sweep the Mets in a 2016 playoff series. Ditto for the Giants and Nationals.