Archive for the ‘Player moves’ Category

Second Base Options

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Worth taking a look at WAR to determine the best second base options for 2012 in-house. The stat really summarizes nicely what the strengths and weaknesses are of the three candidates:

Player                     Offensive WAR  Defensive WAR  Total WAR

Daniel Murphy     1.8                         0.1                         1.9

Justin Turner        1.4                        -1.2                        0.2

Ruben Tejada        1.5                        -0.4                        1.1

Let’s unpack this a bit. In terms of Tejada, it is worth noting that he’s put up reasonable offensive numbers at age-21 in the major leagues. If his glove plays better in 2012 than WAR has it in 2011- and that seems like a reasonable assumption, given his overall talent and defensive track record- he is a perfectly reasonable option at the position in 2012.

Now, I happen to like Daniel Murphy’s defensive potential at second base as well. His shortcomings look to me like the result of a lack of reps at the position, while his range is impressive. If the Mets need Tejada at shortstop, Murphy looks like a strong option at second base. If they don’t, I’d still be inclined to let Murphy start at the position, with Tejada at Triple-A, ready to fill in.

What I won’t want to see is Justin Turner at second base. His defense, from my view, dovetails with the stats, poor range that brings his contributions in 2011 down to replacement level. If the Mets are without Jose Reyes and David Wright next year, a scenario could unfold with Murphy at third base and Tejada at shortstop. Neither of these would be terrible options (though, for reasons it probably isn’t necessary to detail, this would be a massive dropoff from the current occupants of the positions). Turner still shouldn’t be the second baseman. He’ll be 27, and unlike Murphy, he’s played more than 400 professional games at second base. This is almost certainly who he is.

Then again, without Wright or Reyes, maybe it just doesn’t matter who plays second base.

What Is Mike Pelfrey?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

For some Mets fans, this is the response to a Jeopardy clue: “Which Mets pitcher should be sent to Triple-A?” I don’t see it that way, and indeed, the question is largely a rhetorical one at this point.

Mike Pelfrey has moments when he looks like an ace. He has moments when he looks like a pitcher who doesn’t belong in the major leagues. This is nothing new, and has nothing to do with some perceived psychological or mental limitation. It is because he doesn’t strike many hitters out, leaving him vulnerable to wide swings in his results.

Look, the results have been awful in 2011. Through six starts, his ERA is an unsightly 7.39. But as I detailed in a spirited discussion on Twitter Friday night (are you following us @lohudmets yet? Well, why on earth not?) with Steve Keane of The Eddie Kranepool Society and Metsblog’s Michael Baron, a period like this recent struggle is nothing new. And what usually follows is an evening out of luck.

This is what happens to pitchers who only strike out around 5/9 innings, as Pelfrey has throughout his career. Sometimes, the balls find holes. Sometimes, they don’t.

From June 19-July 19, 2010, Pelfrey had a 9.11 ERA over six starts. In his next seven starts? A 2.58 ERA.

From June 21-July 17, 2009, Pelfrey had a 6.19 ERA over six starts. In his next six starts? A 3.58 ERA.

From April 25-May 26, 2008, Pelfrey had a 6.47 ERA over six starts. In his next six starts? A 3.67 ERA. In his next 11 starts? A 2.57 ERA.

In short, the Met defense can go a long way toward improving Pelfrey’s performances. Pelfrey himself, if he found a way to increase his swing-and-mises, could as well.

But chances are that this is Mike Pelfrey, for better or worse. And that is a pitcher with value- he’s been durable, for one thing, and there’s a clear floor on what you will get from him over the long haul, with the floor getting higher depending on how good the rest of your team is defensively. That is value enough to keep him in the rotation, especially when the alternative is Dillon Gee, a pitcher with more floor than ceiling himself.

It is time for Mets fans to stop panicking every time he goes through a rough stretch. And it is also time for fans to put aside the expectations of a future ace, fed by his high draft selection and tall frame. (The team probably didn’t do him any favors in this regard by starting him on Opening Day.) The Mets have someone even taller than Pelfrey’s 6’7” in Chris Young, and no one expects him to be an ace, or even throw 90 miles per hour.

Put it this way: if the Mets didn’t want Pelfrey’s ups and downs in the rotation, they probably would have traded him last winter. Because Pelfrey has been who he is now for years.

A Word On Cashman Complaining Of Feliciano’s Abuse

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

I’m afraid I can’t let Brian Cashman’s comments that the Mets “abused” Pedro Feliciano pass without comment.
Let’s start with the basics. Cashman is right. Feliciano appeared in 92 games last year, breaking the Met mark for appearances held by… Feliciano the year before with 88, which shattered the record held by… Feliciano the year before with 86.
The Yankees have a sensible policy not to pitch a reliever three days in a row. Feliciano appeared three days in a row on ten separate occasions last year. He also pitched in winter ball, and even the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
And the argument for this use, which boiled down to “Feliciano likes it” is a silly one. Players get to the major leagues based on a remarkable work ethic. Managers and organizations succeed by putting the long-term interests of the team first when making decisions. Jenrry Mejia liked being on the major league roster. That didn’t mean he belonged there.
In short, leave aside whether a multi-year deal at $4 million to a lefty specialist is a good idea. This lefty specialist was a good bet to be at or past his sell-by date.
So Cashman’s complaints at this point come across as… fairly ridiculous. Like Captain Renault objecting to gambling at Rick’s ridiculous. He complained that a lack of other options for lefty specialist forced his hand. Remind me again how many teams the Mets had to outbid to get Tim Byrdak?
It reminds me of when I hear people absolutely trashing their spouses. That never reflects upon the trashed spouse for me; it reflects upon the person trashing. Because that spouse, even if he is that horrible, can’t help being so godawful.
But you married him, dummy.