On the Current State of the Mets


After yesterday’s marathon loss to Arizona, the Mets designated reliever Brandon Lyon for assignment and recalled Greg Burke.  They also made it known that Ike Davis would be returning from his minor league exile tonight, but have yet to announce who he’ll be replacing on the roster.  The even money is on Gonzalez Germen, since the Mets are currently carrying 13 pitchers.

May 29, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis hits a single against the New York Yankees during the game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

In the last day or so, Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Mets would have to be “blown away” to deal closer Bobby Parnell, Terry Collins intimated that the badly struggling John Buck would continue to get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate, and there has been more talk of the Mets potentially going after Andre Ethier.

The trade deadline is a little more than three weeks away and there’s a ton of stuff to dissect here.  Let’s start with specifics before going in a more general direction:

Ike Davis is back, diminishing Josh Satin‘s role:

Ike Davis, who hit .293 with 7 homers while with AAA Las Vegas, is returning to the Mets for tonight’s series opener in Milwaukee.  According to Terry Collins, Davis will be a full time player, not a platoon partner for Josh Satin.

Davis struggled mightily before being sent down, and Satin has set the world on fire since being promoted, so there are naturally a faction of Mets fans who are up in arms over the fact that Satin is about to ride the pine.  What needs to be pointed out, is that Satin, 28, has a miniscule chance of being a difference maker for this club.  Yes, he’s done a fine job over the last few weeks, but his numbers are inflated by an unsustainable .459 BABIP.

While Davis, 26, has struggled badly over parts of the last two seasons, he rebounded from his horrid start last year to blast 32 homers and drive in 90 runs.  You’re not getting that type of production from Satin at the major league level.  I saw it written on Mets Merized Online, that playing Davis over Satin is an example of why the Mets’ rebuilding plan will take five to six years instead of two to three, and that it’s also an example of the Mets wanting to win a few extra games in 2013.  I have to respectfully disagree, since neither of those claims makes any sense.

Davis is the potential difference maker, not Satin.  Giving Davis the bulk of the playing time for the remainder of the season is something that’s being done with an eye on the future.  It’s not an attempt to win a few extra meaningless games.  If the Mets were worried about winning a few extra games, Satin would likely be staying in the lineup since he’s the safer bet to produce at the moment.  The Mets want to get Davis right because they feel he’s an important piece for the future.  They need to use the next three months to see if their feelings are accurate.

A potential trade of Bobby Parnell:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted this morning that the Mets would have to be “blown away” to trade closer Bobby Parnell.  This makes sense, since the Mets have an asset in the 28 year old Parnell.  He’s making a relatively low salary, and is under team control for two more seasons.

I wrote an article eight days ago, that suggested a player such as Nick Castellanos should be the Mets’ target in any potential deal involving Parnell.  The Mets shouldn’t be looking to deal Bobby Parnell for the hell of it, but blindly saying the Mets shouldn’t trade Parnell is foolish.  Still, I’ve seen many fans suggest that trading Parnell under any circumstances would be a bad move.

Parnell has been tremendous, and the Mets would be opening a hole at closer if they dealt him.  Of greater concern to the Mets, though, should be their issues in the outfield.  Presently, the Mets have zero players they can count on to be starting outfielders next year.  Juan Lagares may be able to hit enough to be considered, Eric Young Jr. is probably better off as a fourth outfielder, and Lucas Duda‘s defensive deficiencies are well documented.  So, where are the Mets going to find starting outfielders for 2014 and beyond?

It was thought earlier in the season that the Mets would try to put together a package to obtain either Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez.  With the Marlins seemingly refusing to deal Stanton right now, and the Rockies in contention in the putrid N.L. West, neither of those players seems like an option at the moment.

The Mets can hope Cesar Puello keeps up his torrid hitting in AA, but there’s also the chance he’ll get suspended amidst the Biogenesis probe.  There’s also free agency, where the Mets can target Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and/or Carlos Beltran.

If the Mets are going to obtain a young, impact outfielder, they’ll likely have to deal either Noah Syndergaard or Bobby Parnell.  I’d rather part with the latter.  If an outfielder such as Castellanos, a 21 year old who’s one of the 25 best prospects in baseball, can be had in a deal including Parnell, it’s something the Mets should strongly consider.  It would leave the bullpen in disarray for the remainder of 2013, but that should be the least of the team’s concerns.

Andre Ethier is the exact type of player the Mets should be avoiding:

There continues to be talk in some circles about the Mets potentially swinging a trade for Andre Ethier, and I can’t fathom why.  The Mets need outfielders, but trading for Ethier would be both mind boggling and foolish.

Ethier, who will be 32 years old next April, is in the second year of a six year, $96 million dollar deal.  He also has a vesting option for 2018 that would kick in if he accumulated a certain amount of plate appearances either in 2017 or between 2016 and 2017.

Before taking production into account, the Mets should be scared off by Ethier’s age and his contract (both in terms of years and length).  When you start to look at his production, it becomes clear that trading for him would be a terrible move.  Ethier’s 162 game average results in 20 home runs and 84 RBI’s.  That’s not bad, but it’s not the type of impact player the Mets are looking for.  Additionally, those numbers have been compiled through Ethier’s prime years, which he is exiting right now.

Dig deeper, and you’ll see that in addition to being past his prime and owed a ton of money, Ethier is a glorified platoon player.  For his career, Ethier has hit .236 with a .293 OBP against left-handers.  Between 2010 and 2012, Ethier hit .233, .220, and .222 respectively against lefties.  This season, he’s hitting .223 with a terrible .253 OBP against southpaws.

As is noted above, Andre Ethier is the exact type of player the Mets should be avoiding.  The Mets need young, impact bats for the outfield and/or older players who are a safe bet to keep producing (think Carlos Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo).

…the 2013 season was for evaluation, and that’s what the Mets are doing.  Between now and the non-waiver trade deadline, the team should be looking to trade any player they feel won’t be here in 2014 and beyond.  That list includes Marlon Byrd, LaTroy Hawkins, David Aardsma, John Buck, and Jordany Valdespin.

While there’s close to no chance the Mets will obtain any player of the impact variety in exchange for any of the five players mentioned, getting anything back for a player who isn’t in your future plans is the right thing to do.  You may strike gold.  It’s more likely that you won’t, but hanging on to these players for the sake of it makes no sense.

The Mets are in the midst of their rebuilding plan and they haven’t strayed from it.  In Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese, Noah Syndergaard, and Rafael Montero, the Mets have the makings of a lights out rotation.  Bullpens are changed up from year to year, and the Mets have several hard throwers in the upper minors who are close to ready.

Once Travis d’Arnaud returns from his broken foot, the Mets should be set at catcher, third base, and second base.  Ike Davis‘ resurgence would solidify first base.  The team has roughly $40 million to spend this offseason, so landing an outfielder or two via free agency shouldn’t be an issue.

This team isn’t far from contention.  They’re evaluating what they have, cutting bait when they feel someone isn’t a likely contributor, and being extra cautious with the next big moves they’re pondering.  Now is not the time for fans to panic or claim there isn’t a plan.  It’s the time to sit back and let the remainder of the process play out.

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