New York Mets – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-19T04:38:57Z WordPress Jason Martinez <![CDATA[The Top Minor League Performers Of 2018]]> 2018-09-19T01:00:00Z 2018-09-18T23:15:05Z Over at Roster Resource, I rank Minor Leaguers throughout the regular season using a formula that takes into account several statistics with age and level serving as important factors in how they are weighed. These are not prospect rankings!

This is how it works:

  • Hitters are mostly rated by total hits, outs, extra-base hits, walks, strikeouts and stolen bases.
  • Pitchers are mostly rated by strikeouts, walks, earned runs, home runs and hits allowed per inning.
  • A few counting stats are included (IP, plate appearances, runs, RBI) to ensure that the players atop the list played a majority of the season.
  • The younger the player and the higher the level, the more weight each category is given. Therefore, a 19-year-old with an identical stat line as a 25-year-old at the same level will be ranked much higher. If a 23-year-old in Triple-A puts up an identical stat line as a 23-year-old in High-A, the player in Triple-A would be ranked much higher.

A player’s potential does not factor in to where they are ranked. If you’re wondering why a certain prospect who is rated highly by experts isn’t on the list, it’s likely because they missed time due to injury (see Victor Robles or Nick Senzel), MLB promotion (Juan Soto) or just weren’t productive enough. While there are plenty of recognizable names throughout the MiLB Power Rankings Top 200 list, it’s also full of players who were relatively unknown prior to the season and have seen their stock rise significantly due to their performance. Here’s a closer look at the Top 20.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

Guerrero probably deserved to start his MLB career sometime between the debuts of NL Rookie of the Year candidates Ronald Acuña Jr. (April 25th) and Juan Soto (May 20th). All things being equal, that would’ve been the case.

But his call-up was delayed, mostly because third baseman Josh Donaldson was healthy in May and designated hitter Kendrys Morales was being given every opportunity to break out of an early season slump. As Guerrero’s path to regular playing time was becoming clearer, he suffered a knee injury in early June that kept him out of action for a month. When he returned, the Jays’ playoff chances had dwindled. Instead of adding him to the 40-man roster and starting his service time clock, they chose to delay his MLB debut until 2019.

You can hate the rule, but I’m certain Jays fans would rather have Guerrero under team control in 2025 as opposed to having him on the team for a few meaningless months in 2018 and headed for free agency after the 2024 season. And maybe it’s just me, but I kind of enjoy seeing what kind of numbers a player can put up when he’s way too good for his competition. And all this 19-year-old kid did was slash .381/.437/.636 with 20 HR, 29 2B, 37 BB, 38 K in 408 plate appearances, mostly between Triple-A and Double-A (he had 14 PAs during a rehab stint in the low minors).  Thanks for providing us with that beautiful stat line, Vlad Jr.

2. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros Astros Depth Chart

Despite a slow start—he had 21 hits in his first 83 Triple-A at-bats with one homer and 20 strikeouts— the 21-year-old Tucker showed why the World Champions were willing to give him a chance to take their starting left field job and run with it in July.

Tucker wasn’t quite ready for the Big Leagues—he was 8-for-52 in two separate MLB stints prior to a recent third call-up—but his stock hasn’t dropped one bit after slashing .332/.400/.590 with 24 homers, 27 doubles and 20 stolen bases over 465 plate appearances in his first season at the Triple-A level.

3. Luis Rengifo, SS, Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

A 21-year-old shortstop just finished a Minor League season with 50 extra-base hits (7 HR, 30 2B, 13 3B), 41 stolen bases, as many walks as strikeouts (75 of each) and a .299/.399/.452 slash line. If the name Luis Rengifo doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably not alone. He kind of came out of nowhere.

The Mariners traded him to the Rays last August in a deal for Mike Marjama and Ryan Garton. Nine months later, the Rays shipped him to the Angels as the PTBNL in the deal for C.J. Cron. Based on those two trades, I can say without hesitation that the Mariners and Rays did not think Rengifo was this good. Not even close.

4. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

Lowe’s breakout season mirrors Juan Soto’s in one way: They both posted an OPS above 1.000 at two different levels before a promotion to a third. Soto’s third stop was in Double-A, and it was a very short stint before heading to the Majors. After destroying High-A and Double-A pitching, Lowe’s final stop of 2018 was Triple-A, where he finally cooled off.

Still, the 23-year-old has put himself squarely on the Rays’ radar. After homering just 11 times in his first 757 plate appearances, all in the low minors, Lowe broke out with 27 homers and 32 doubles in 555 plate appearances in 2018. His overall .330/.416/.568 slash was exceptional.

5. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins | Twins Depth Chart

We’re four seasons into the Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano era—both debuted during the 2015 season—and we can’t say for certain whether either player will even be penciled into the regular lineup in 2019. They could be still turn out to be perennial All-Stars someday. But you can’t blame Twins fans if they temper their expectations for the next great hitting star to come up through their farm system. And yet, that might be difficult with Kirilloff, a first-round draft pick in ’16, and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Royce Lewis, after the year each of them just had. Both are moving up the ladder quickly.

The 20-year-old Kirilloff, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, was a hitting machine in his first full professional season. After slashing .333/.391/.607 with 13 homers in 65 games with Low-A Cedar Rapids, he hit .362 with seven homers and 24 doubles in 65 games with High-A Fort Myers. He also had 11 hits in the playoffs, including a 5-hit performance on September 5th.

6. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

All Bichette did during his age-20 season was hit 43 doubles and steal 32 bases while manning shortstop for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the 2018 Eastern League Champions. It’s unlikely that he’ll join Vlad Jr. in the Majors early next season, but he might not be too far behind.

7. Peter Alonso, 1B, New York Mets Mets Depth Chart

Alonso’s monster season (.975 OPS, 36 HR, 31 2B, 119 RBI between AAA/AA) ended in disappointment when he was passed over for a September promotion. As was the case with Vlad Jr., it didn’t make much sense to start his service time clock and fill a valuable 40-man spot during the offseason—neither Guerrero or Alonso have to be protected from the next Rule 5 draft—while the team is playing meaningless games. The 23-year-old Alonso did establish, however, that he is the Mets’ first baseman of the very near future, and they’ll plan accordingly during the upcoming offseason.

8. Touki Toussaint, SP, Atlanta Braves Braves Depth Chart

As tough as it will be to crack the Braves’ rotation in the coming years, the 22-year-old Toussaint has put himself in position to play a significant role in 2019 after posting a 2.38 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in 24 starts between Triple-A and Double-A. He’s also starting meaningful MLB games down the stretch as the Braves try to seal their first division title since 2013. After spending last October in the Arizona Fall League, where he followed up an underwhelming 2017 season by allowing 10 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, he could find himself on the Braves’ playoff roster.

9. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

The highest-ranked player to spend the entire season in Low-A, the 20-year-old Brujan slashed .320/.403/.459 while stealing 55 bases in his first crack at a full season league (27 games in High-A; 95 games in Low-A). He’ll still be overshadowed a bit in a deep Tampa Bay farm system that includes two of the best young prospects in the game, Wander Franco and Jesus Sanchez, but it’s hard to ignore such a rare combination of speed and on-base ability displayed by a switch-hitting middle infielder.

10. Michael King, SP, New York Yankees Yankees Depth Chart

The Yankees’ offseason trade that sent two MLB-ready players, Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith, to the Marlins cleared a pair of 40-man roster spots prior to the Rule 5 draft and brought back $250K in international bonus pool money. They also received King, who—whether anyone expected it or not—was about to have a breakout season.

After posting a 3.14 ERA with a 6.4 K/9 over 149 innings in Low-A in his age-22 season, numbers that typically indicate “possible future back-of-the-rotation workhorse,”  he looks to be much more than that after his 2018 performance. In 161 1/3 innings across Triple-A, Double-A and High-A, King posted a 1.79 ERA, 0.911 WHIP and 8.5 K/9. He was at his best once he reached Triple-A, posting a 1.15 ERA with only 20 hits and six walks allowed over 39 innings.

11. Taylor Widener, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Depth Chart

Unlike the trade to acquire King, the Yankees appear to have gotten the short end of the stick in a three-team, seven-player offseason deal with Arizona and Tampa Bay. They traded away Nick Solak to the Rays and Widener to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Brandon Drury, who was supposed to fill a short-term need for infield depth.

While Drury was a bust in New York—he had nine hits in 51 at-bats before being traded to Toronto in a July deal for J.A. Happ—Solak, a second baseman/outfielder, put up terrific numbers in Double-A (.834 OPS, 19 HR, 21 SB) and Widener has emerged as one of the better pitching prospects in the game. The 23-year-old right-hander posted a 2.75 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 11.5 K/9 over 137 1/6 innings with Double-A Jackson.

12. Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, San Diego Padres Padres Depth Chart

The offseason signing of first baseman Eric Hosmer certainly didn’t bode well for Naylor’s future with the Padres. Whether he had an MLB future at all, however, was already in question. First base prospects can’t just be good hitters. They need to mash, which is far from what Naylor did in 2017 (.761 OPS, 10 HR between Double-A and High-A). But a 20-year-old holding his own in Double-A is still interesting, nevertheless. So it was worth paying attention when he hit .379 with seven homers, five doubles, 13 walks and 12 strikeouts in April. He also spent most of his time in left field in 2018, adding a bit of versatility to his game.

Although April was his best month, by far, he still finished with an impressive .297/.383/.447 slash line. He’ll enter 2019 as a 21-year-old in Triple-A who has flashed some power (17 HR, 22 2B in 574 plate appearances) and above-average plate discipline (64 BB, 69 K).

13. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

Unlike the Jays and Mets, who had multiple reasons to keep Guerrero and Alonso in the Minors until 2019, the Sox’s decision to bypass Jimenez for a September call-up was more questionable.

Already on the 40-man roster and without much to prove after slashing .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers and 28 doubles between Triple-A and Double-A, Jimenez’s MLB debut appeared imminent as September approached. But White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, citing Jimenez’s need to improve his defense, confirmed in early September that he would not be called up. Of course, the 21-year-old probably would’ve benefited greatly from playing left field in the Majors for 20-25 games in September. And, of course, Hahn is just doing a good job of not saying the quiet part out loud: Eloy under team control through 2025 > Eloy under team control through 2024.

14. Dean Kremer, SP, Baltimore Orioles Orioles Depth Chart

After posting a 5.18 ERA in 2017, mostly as a relief pitcher in High-A, Kremer’s stock rose quickly with a full-time move to the starting rotation in 2018. In 16 starts for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, the 22-year-old right-hander posted a 3.30 ERA with a 13.0 K/9. After tossing seven shutout innings in his Double-A debut, the Dodgers included him as a key piece in the July trade for Manny Machado. Kremer continued to pitch well with Double-A Bowie (2.58 ERA, 45 1/3 IP, 38 H, 17 BB, 53 K) and now finds himself on track to help a rebuilding Orioles’ team in 2019.

15. Nicky Lopez, SS, Kansas City Royals Royals Depth Chart

Lopez started to turn some heads during last offseason’s Arizona Fall League, and it carried over into 2018 as he slashed .308/.382/.417 with nine homers, 15 stolen bases and more walks (60) than strikeouts (52) between Triple-A and Double-A.  It’s a sign that the 23-year-0ld’s bat is catching up with his stellar defense and that he’s closing in on the Majors, where he could team with Adalberto Mondesi to form one of the better young middle infield duos in the game.

16. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins Twins Depth Chart

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft didn’t disappoint in his first full professional season, posting an .853 OPS, nine homers, 23 doubles and 22 stolen bases in 75 Low-A games before a 2nd half promotion to High-A Fort Myers. He didn’t fare quite as well (.726 OPS, 5 HR, 6 SB in 46 games), but he did hit three homers in the playoffs to help his team win the Florida State League championship. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the if he reached Double-A early next season as a 19-year-old with a jump to the Majors in 2020 not out of the question.

17. Michael Kopech, SP, Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

Throwing a 100 MPH fastball isn’t as rare as it used to be, but Kopech has reportedly touched 105 MPH, putting him in a class of his own. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old right-hander is expected to join a long list of pitchers who have had their careers interrupted by Tommy John surgery after he was recently diagnosed with a torn UCL.

The timing isn’t great, as Kopech had just arrived in the Majors in late August and would’ve likely been a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year in 2019. Still, he’ll only have to prove that he’s back to full health before he returns to the Majors—he should be ready to return early in the 2020 season— after making a strong impression in Triple-A with a 3.70 ERA and 12.1 K/9 in 24 starts.

18. Kevin Smith, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

Not only do Guerrero, Bichette and Cavan Biggio likely form the best trio of infield prospects in the game, two are sons of Hall of Famers—Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Craig Biggio, and Bichette’s dad, Dante, was also pretty good. And yet, another Blue Jays infield prospect with a very ordinary name and without MLB lineage managed to stand out. The 22-year-old finished the season with 25 homers, 31 doubles, 29 stolen bases and a cumulative .302/.358/.528 batting line between High-A and Low-A.

19. Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers Depth Chart

The former first-round pick wasn’t overly impressive in his first full Minor League season in 2017, slashing .244/.331/.362 with seven homers and 27 stolen bases for Low-A Great Lakes. A move to the hitter-friendly California League in 2018, however, seemed sure to give his offensive numbers a boost. It did. Lux had a .916 OPS and 41 extra-base hits in 404 plate appearances, but he also didn’t slow down once he reached the upper minors late in the year.

In 28 regular season games with Double-A Tulsa, the 20-year-old Lux slashed .324/.408/.495 with four homers in 120 plate appearances. It didn’t end there. Over an eight-game playoff run, the left-handed batter went 14-for-33 with five multi-hit games.

20. Patrick Sandoval, SP, Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

Acquiring the 21-year-old Sandoval from the Astros for free agent-to-be catcher Martin Maldonado could turn out to be the steal of the trade deadline. While the lefty didn’t stand out in Houston’s deep farm system, he was having a strong season at the High-A and Low-A levels at the time of the trade (2.56 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 88 innings). The change of scenery didn’t affect him one bit as he tossed 14 2/3 shutout innings in the California League before finishing the season with four impressive Double-A starts (19 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 27 K).

Power Ranking Leaders By Level

Hitter: Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
Starting Pitcher: Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox
Relief Pitcher: Ian Gibaut, Tampa Bay Rays

Hitter: Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
Starting Pitcher: Taylor Widener, Arizona Diamondbacks
Relief Pitcher: Matt Pierpont, Colorado Rockies

Hitter: Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies
Pitcher: Emilio Vargas, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hitter: Chavez Young, Toronto Blue Jays
Pitcher: Jhonathan Diaz, Boston Red Sox

Short-Season A
Hitter: Tyler Freeman, Cleveland Indians
Pitcher: Jaison Vilera, New York Mets

Hitter: Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
Pitcher: Joey Cantillo, San Diego Padres

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jose Reyes Undecided On Playing In 2019]]> 2018-09-18T05:33:17Z 2018-09-18T02:07:21Z
  • Mets infielder Jose Reyes acknowledges that it has been a trying season, but says he’s still not sure he’ll hang up his spikes this winter, as Enrique Rojas of ESPN reports (Spanish language link). It sounds as if Reyes still has the desire to keep going, but also the appropriate perspective on his situation. “When you spend 15 years in the big leagues,” he said, ” it’s obvious that you start thinking about retirement, because we’re not eternal, but right now my physique is one hundred percent. It’s something I’ll think about with my family after the season.” There’s little question that the veteran switch-hitter would be a candidate for a minor-league pact, despite his ugly .196/.268/.332 slash in 235 plate appearances this year, though his prior suspension for alleged domestic abuse could well keep many organizations from showing interest and it’s not evident whether the Mets will ask him back.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Mattingly, Bruce, Free Agent Market]]> 2018-09-17T03:26:09Z 2018-09-17T02:41:46Z Marlins manager Don Mattingly was the latest manager to complain about September roster expansion rules, stating that “the game you play for five months is not the game you play in September.” According to Mattingly, the roster expansion from 25 to 40 in the month of September changes the “fundamental nature of the game” by allowing clubs to use up to 40 players in a given contest as opposed to the 25 they’d be able to use from April to August.

    Objectively, Mattingly’s accusation that the game is fundamentally different is hard to argue. With a hat tip to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN for the stats, the recent Saturday contest between the Marlins and Phillies was the first non-DH game since 1900 in which no pitcher recorded a plate appearance. It was also just the fourth game in MLB history in which no pitcher tallied more than six outs. Mattingly’s not the first manager to take issue with roster expansion; former Brewers GM Doug Melvin complained about the change as early as 2005.

    Here are a pair of other notes from throughout baseball earlier today…

    • Mets hitter Jay Bruce apparently wants his “audition” with the Mets late this year to “mean something”, per a report from Mike Puma of the New York Post. Taken in context, it’s quite a turnaround to hear such words about a player who less than a year ago was signed to a three-year, $39MM deal in hopes that he’d be a difference-maker for the Amazins. But an unfortunate fall from grace this year has seen the once-proud slugger struggle to a .221/.300/.373 batting line with just 8 homers while bouncing between the outfield and first base in Queens. Bruce hopes his recent power surge since being activated from the disabled list has dispelled any notion that the Mets “goofed” by signing him. Furthermore, the fact that they’ve given him significant time at first base might hint that he could have a leg up on former top prospect Dominic Smith for the starting first base job in 2019.
    • Though many front offices began their free agency planning as early as August 1st, we’re just now entering the time period at which many players begin evaluating their foray into the market. Buster Olney of details the high-payday potential of a few names on the market who are less high-profile than the frequently-mentioned 2018-2019 headliners. That list includes outfielder Michael Brantley, left-handed starter Patrick Corbin, and recently-traded infielder Daniel Murphy. Olney’s subscription-only piece doesn’t list any surprises; they’re all players a reasonable baseball pundit might expect to earn significant dollars this offseason. But his piece offers an interesting preview of the list of players whose high stock is perhaps overshadowed by the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Blevins, GM Search]]> 2018-09-15T16:35:59Z 2018-09-15T16:35:12Z “There’s been some trade talk of late involving Mets reliever Jerry Blevins,” Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman reports in his weekly roundup of baseball notes.  Blevins has posted a 2.65 ERA and 38 strikeouts (against 13 walks) over 34 innings since May 1, and even his inflated April ERA was largely due to one disastrous outing against the Braves.  He is eligible to be dealt since he cleared revocable trade waivers in August, and the veteran southpaw could provide a boost to a team looking for left-handed relief help (though Blevins is actually in the midst of a reverse-splits season, dominating right-handed batters and getting hit hard by lefty batters).  While Blevins could help get a team into the playoffs, however, he wouldn’t be eligible for postseason play himself due to being dealt after the August 31st deadline.  Blevins is a free agent after the year and is owed roughly $583K in remaining salary.


    • In more Mets news, the team has over 30 names on its list of general manager candidates, though the interview process has yet to begin.  As Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported earlier this week, the Mets plan to have their new hire in place before the GM Meetings begin on November 4.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[How The Mets Discovered Jacob deGrom]]> 2018-09-15T15:01:25Z 2018-09-15T15:01:25Z
  • Long before Jacob deGrom became a Cy Young contender, he was an unheralded ninth-round draft choice for the Mets in 2010 who wasn’t even used as a starting pitcher until near the end of his final year at Stetson University.  The Athletic’s Tim Britton (subscription required) has the story about how Mets scout Les Parker initially discovered deGrom, almost by accident as Parker happened to attend a scout day game at Stetson long enough to see deGrom enter as a reliever in the ninth inning.  Other Mets evaluators agreed with deGrom’s potential, and while his profile rose after becoming a starter later in Stetson’s season, the Giants were the only other team known to have significant interest in drafting deGrom.  The story is well worth a full read for a look at the scouting process and how you never know which prospect could emerge as a future star.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Harper, D-Backs, Buchholz, Senzel, DeGrom]]> 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z As ever, there’s plenty of water-cooler chatter about the eventual destination of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who — had you not heard? — is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Particularly for fans of a Nats organization that is just weeks away from wrapping up a brutally disappointing campaign, it’s a subject of much attention. So eyebrows were raised recently at comments from Harper and, especially, club president of baseball ops/GM Mike Rizzo that could be interpreted as hinting at a reunion. In an appearance on MLB Network (Twitter link), Harper at least acknowledged a reunion is possible, saying that “it’s going to be an exciting future for the Nationals, and we’ll see if I’m in those plans.” Innocuous enough, to be sure, but perhaps the line could be interpreted as a wink toward contract talks. As for Rizzo, Chris Lingebach of 106.7 The Fan rounded things up. Those interested in parsing the words fully should click the link, but the key phrase at issue from Rizzo is his statement that he “won’t discuss [negotiations with Harper’s camp] until there’s something to announce.” Did the tight-lipped, hard-nosed GM tip his hand? It’s at most an arguable point.

    From this vantage point, there’s enough here to make you think, but hardly a clear indication as to how Harper’s fascinating free agency will turn out. Here’s the latest from the National League:

    • The Diamondbacks had held a strong position in the postseason race for much of the season, but as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes, they’re now left hoping for a memorable late-season comeback to get in. “[B]reakdowns occurring in every facet of their game,” Piecoro writes, have spurred a ghastly 4-16 run that has reversed the team’s fortunes. Unfortunately, odds are that the Arizona club will head back to the drawing board at season’s end — while watching two significant players (A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin) hit the open market. Still, it’s notable that the club has largely followed up on its successful 2017 campaign, as the thought in some quarters entering the year was that there wasn’t really enough talent to keep pace.
    • As is also covered in the above-linked piece, the D-Backs suffered an unwelcome blow in advance of tonight’s loss when they were forced to scratch righty Clay Buchholz. The veteran hurler has been an immense asset for Arizona, throwing 98 1/3 innings of 2.01 ERA ball since joining the club in mid-season as a minor-league signee. He’s now headed to Phoenix for testing, though the hope still seems to be that he’ll return this year. Regardless, it’s unfortunate news for the team but even more disappointing for the 34-year-old, who has dealt with plenty of health problems of late and will be reentering the open market at season’s end.
    • It has long been wondered what the Reds Baseball America points outwill do when they are ready to call up top prospect Nick Senzel, who’s blocked at his natural position of third base. We may be seeing the hints of an answer; as , Senzel is listed as an outfielder in the organization’s instructional league roster. That hardly guarantees anything, of course, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Senzel — who’s opportunity for a late-2018 callup was taken by a finger injury — come into camp in 2019 looking to crack the roster in the corner outfield. Just how it’ll all play out, though, remains to be seen.
    • Speaking of top prospects … among his many notes today, Jon Heyman of Fancred writes that the Mets took a targeted approach to discussions with other teams regarding ace righty Jacob deGrom. As Heyman puts it, the New York organization “focused” on the handful of clubs it deemed to have assets worth haggling over. When those teams weren’t willing to give up their best young assets, talks sputtered. Heyman cites “the Blue Jays, Braves, Padres, Yankees, and perhaps to a lesser extent the Brewers” as clubs that were engaged. But the ultra-premium prospects and young MLB players in those organizations simply weren’t on offer. It’s hard to argue with the Mets’ rationale; deGrom reached a new level this season, after all, and certainly shouldn’t be parted with by a major-market club for less than a compelling return.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets To Activate David Wright For Final Homestand; Wright Will Not Play Beyond 2018]]> 2018-09-13T19:38:16Z 2018-09-13T18:02:24Z The Mets announced this afternoon that they’ll activate third baseman David Wright from the 60-day disabled list for the final homestand of the 2018 season. Wright will come off the disabled list on Sept. 25, though he won’t return to a regular role.

    Wright is currently slated to start at third base for the Mets on Saturday, Sept. 29, and it sounds as though that start could mark the final game of a brilliant career that was unfortunately cut short by significant injuries. Wright said that he cannot foresee a way to continue playing baseball in the future, given his current condition, calling the very process of playing baseball “debilitating” (Twitter links via SNY’s Andy Martino).

    Mets players and coaches are on hand today for the press conference announcing the news, and Anthony DiComo of tweets that Wright was quickly overcome by the emotion of the moment, telling his teammates: “It’s truly been an honor to take the field with you, and serve as your captain. To the fans, words can’t address my gratitude.”

    That Sept. 29 start will mark the culmination of a rehab process for Wright that has spanned more than two years. He last took the field in early June of 2016 and has since been diagnosed with spinal stenosis in addition to undergoing both neck and shoulder surgeries. Through it all, “Captain America” steadfastly endured a grueling rehab effort as he endeavored toward his goal of a return to the Major Leagues.

    While Wright, now 35 years old, won’t be coming back to the same Mets team that was defending an NL pennant the last time — far from it — he’ll be returning to the roster as one of the most celebrated players in Mets history. The 38th overall pick in the 2001 draft, Wright reached the Majors as a 21-year-old in 2004 and never looked back. He hit .293/.332/.525 through 69 games as a rookie, and not once in his career did he deliver below-average offensive production, by measure of OPS+.

    Wright spent 13 seasons in the heart of the Mets’ lineup, reaching seven All-Star teams, winning two Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards along the way. He garnered MVP votes in six of those 13 seasons, finishing as high as fourth in the voting back in 2007. In 6869 plate appearances, all coming with the Mets, he posted a superlative .296/.376/.491 batting line with 242 home runs and 196 stolen bases. With a blend of power, speed and quality defense at the hot corner, Wright was a true five-tool player during a peak that was all too brief.

    Wright also had the honor of representing his country in both the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics, collecting a memorable walk-off hit to push the U.S. into semi-final play in 2009 and launched a grand slam in 2013 as part of a huge tournament performance that earned him the aforementioned “Captain America” moniker.

    To be clear, it does not sound as though Wright will formally announce his retirement. Newsday’s Tim Healey tweets that Wright, notably, did not use that word when describing his future, though he’s also been informed by doctors that his condition simply will not improve. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that, indeed, Wright will not formally retire but will not return as a player during his contract. Wright is still signed through the 2020 season under the eight-year, $138MM extension he inked in Dec. 2012. He’s slated to earn $15MM in 2019 and $12MM in 2020 on that front-loaded deal, and if he’s declared medically unfit to play — as will be the case — he’ll continue to be paid out those sums.

    The insurance policy the Mets took out on that contract reportedly covers 75 percent of that salary for any time spent on the 60-day DL, so the Mets will only owe him a total of $6.75MM between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, barring a buyout agreement with the insurance company. The situation is reminiscent of that of Prince Fielder, whose career was similarly cut short by neck injuries that rendered him unable to continue playing.

    Regardless of the financial details, Wright will go down as one of the best players in franchise history and will be remembered as one of the most respected players in the game during his time as a Major Leaguer. Mets COO Jeff Wilpon says that there will indeed be a discussion about the retirement of Wright’s No. 5 (Twitter link via the New York Post’s Mike Puma), though there’s no specific timetable just yet as to when that honor would be bestowed upon venerable team captain. For now, the focus will be on Wright’s last hurrah with the only team he’s ever known — on the emotional farewell that Wright will bid to the fans he’s cherished and the game to which he’s dedicated life.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On The Mets' GM Search]]> 2018-09-12T00:11:18Z 2018-09-12T00:11:18Z Since Sandy Alderson announced that he’d be stepping down as general manager of the Mets due to a recurrence of cancer symptoms, there’s been plenty of chatter as to which direction the Mets will head with their front office. Assistant GM John Ricco and veteran execs J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya have shared Alderson’s duties in the interim, but it seems increasingly likely that the Mets will hire a new permanent GM from outside the organization.

    • Mike Puma of the New York Post writes that there’s a disconnect between owner Fred Wilpon and his son, COO Jeff Wilpon, as to what type of executive should be hired to lead the charge. Fred’s preference, according to Puma, would be to hire an experienced front office veteran with roots in scouting and player development, while the younger Wilpon feels the team needs a more analytically inclined mind atop its baseball ops hierarchy. Additionally, it seems that former Mets manager Terry Collins, currently a special assistant, could take on a larger role next season, though he won’t be considered for the actual GM vacancy.
    • The Post’s Joel Sherman, meanwhile, wrote recently that the goal for the Mets is to have a list of 10 to 12 candidates by month’s end and to have a new GM in place by the time the annual GM Meetings begin on Nov. 4. Sherman runs through a host of potential names and references the same disconnect as Puma. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington (a current Jays exec) and Cardinals director of player development Gary Larocque are a few of names prominently connected to the job. Sherman notes that whoever is ultimately named GM will be hired with the understanding that Minaya will maintain a fair bit of power in terms of player personnel decisions. That, along with the general dysfunction that is largely synonymous with the Wilpon name at this point, will complicate the hiring process.
    • Shapiro, for what it’s worth, has downplayed reports connecting him to the Mets and expressed that he remains committed to the Blue Jays organization. SNY’s Andy Martino, though, wrote this morning that in spite of Shapiro’s comments, “people around the team continue to point to” Shapiro as a potential candidate. It’s worth noting that Sherman’s column makes mention of tension between Shapiro and Jays ownership at Rogers Communications, though he’d also be an expensive hire for the Mets. Martino, too, lists Cherington as a name to watch, and he also adds current Orioles GM Dan Duquette to the pile. Duquette, notably, is in the final season of his contract in Baltimore, and there’s been previous speculation as to whether he’ll remain with the club.
    • Royals assistant GM Scott Sharp has also had his name come up in numerous reports over the past week (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick). He’s been with the Royals for more than a decade and has some background in scouting, analytics and business, which could make him somewhat of a compromise between the Wilpons’ disparate preferences, though certainly other candidates would be able to bring a similar combination to the table for the Mets as well.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Select Jose Lobaton]]> 2018-09-09T02:39:52Z 2018-09-09T02:38:33Z
  • The Mets selected catcher Jose Lobaton’s contract from Triple-A Las Vegas and transferred right-hander Bobby Wahl from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day version before their game Saturday. It’s the third time this season the Mets have brought up the 33-year-old Lobaton, whom they previously outrighted in mid-June. Lobaton posted a dominant .348/.430/.598 batting line with eight home runs in 151 Triple-A plate appearances this season, but offense has never been his calling card in the majors. Over 53 PAs with this year’s Mets, he has hit a meager .152/.264/.239 without a homer.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[David Wright Plans To Play In 2018, Will Meet With Jeff Wilpon]]> 2018-09-09T01:15:01Z 2018-09-09T01:15:01Z
  • There have been rumblings of discord between the Mets and injured third baseman David Wright, but the captain shot those rumors down Saturday, saying (via Tim Healey of Newsday): “The last thing that I want to portray is that there is some sort of rift between the Mets and me. That’s false. There’s been communication. I know where they stand and they know where I stand.” Wright added that he intends to appear in a major league game this month – something he hasn’t done since May 27, 2016, on account of various upper body injuries. Before a potential return to a big league diamond, the rehabbing 35-year-old will meet with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon in order to map out “a game plan from here to the end of September.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On David Wright]]> 2018-09-08T14:04:05Z 2018-09-08T14:04:05Z Long-injured third baseman David Wright is working toward a 2018 comeback as the season nears an end, but the Mets aren’t optimistic he’ll return to the majors this year. Assistant general manager John Ricco suggested Friday (via Mike Puma of the New York Post) that Wright won’t have time to get up to speed, saying “it does get more difficult to foresee a situation where he could come back” to the bigs this season. Ricco added that money won’t play a role in whether Wright takes the field for the Mets this year, noting that he hasn’t been medically cleared to play in the majors. However, the club will take a financial hit if he does, Puma points out. The 35-year-old is still due approximately $2.6MM through season’s end, but insurance will pay 75 percent of that sum if he stays on the shelf. Otherwise, the Mets will have to pay all of it, and if they continue to keep Wright on ice, he may have a case for a grievance – albeit one he’d likely lose – as Puma explains. A series of upper body issues, including spinal stenosis, have prevented the career-long Met and seven-time All-Star from playing in the majors since May 27, 2016.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Acquire Patrick Kivlehan; Jarrod Dyson Undergoes Surgery]]> 2018-09-07T00:57:42Z 2018-09-06T21:49:51Z 5:41pm: It emerged after the move that Dyson has undergone a core muscle procedure similar to the one that ended his 2017 season, as Steve Gilbert of was among those to report (links to Twitter). It does not sound as if there’s much hope that the speedy outfielder will be able to return in 2018, though skipper Torey Lovullo says he expects Dyson to be ready to go for Spring Training in 2019.

    Dyson has never really gotten going this year. In 237 plate appearances, he owns only a .189/.282/.257 slash with 16 steals. He’s slated to earn $3.5MM next season, the second and final campaign covered by his free-agent contract.

    4:49pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they have acquired corner infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan from the Mets. Cash considerations will head to New York in return.

    Kivlehan will head onto the MLB roster, the D-Backs also announced. To create 40-man roster space, the club shifted outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the 60-day DL.

    The 28-year-old Kivlehan landed with the Mets organization earlier this year after being cut loose by the Reds. He has turned in a big season at the plate since arriving in Triple-A Las Vegas, slashing .314/.372/.588 with twenty home runs in 390 plate appearances.

    Of course, Kivlehan has at times shown solid pop and put up appealing numbers in the upper minors. But he has still yet to receive much of an opportunity at the game’s highest level. In his 228 total plate appearances, spread over 123 games in parts of two seasons, he has posted a .206/.303/.392 batting line.

    Having been acquired after the end of August, Kivlehan will not be eligible to appear in the postseason should the Snakes qualify. He will, however, be able to help his new club try to get there and can be retained on the 40-man roster beyond the present season if the organization wishes.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: Mets Front Office, Frazier, Ball, Prado]]> 2018-09-06T05:24:26Z 2018-09-06T05:24:26Z It seems the Mets have yet to get their much-anticipated front-office search underway in earnest. But there has been a steady steam of information on the process of finding a new top baseball operations. (Of course, there still has been no formal announcement that the club will replace Sandy Alderson, who’s currently on leave for cancer treatment, though it is widely expected to take place.) Joel Sherman of the New York Post lays out the team’s thinking on the hiring process, suggesting that ownership is still gathering names to consider but hopes to wrap things up in advance of the GM Meetings. Interestingly, current exec Omar Minaya is said not only to be involved in the process, but also a clear factor moving forward. Per Sherman: “it is clear that whoever does get the position is going to inherit Minaya as an executive with — at the very least — significant say in player personnel, and someone who has the ear and trust of ownership.” There are quite a few names being tossed around at the moment. As Sherman notes, that’s largely reflective of the still-early stage of proceedings — and, perhaps, some differences in preferred approaches between Fred and Jeff Wilpon. Meanwhile, Andy Martino of hears that the Mets are open to utilizing different front office structures (or, at least, allocations of titles) to help open the door to additional candidates. Generally, though, he writes that there’s no “particular top candidate in mind” at the moment.

    • Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier likely won’t be able to return this season after suffering a setback in his efforts to return from a concussion, manager Aaron Boone told reporters including Marc Carig of The Athletic (Twitter link). The timing is poor for Frazier, who turns 24 today. With Aaron Judge still working his way back to health, this might have been a prime chance for Frazier to receive an extended opportunity. He has only appeared in 15 MLB games this year but seems in line for more after producing an excellent .311/.389/.574 slash with ten home runs in his 216 plate appearances at Triple-A.
    • Red Sox prospect Trey Ball is moving from the mound to the batter’s box, as Greg Levinsky of the Boston Globe notes on Twitter. The Globe’s Alex Speier recently examined the subject, explaining that the 2013 first-rounder was seen as a two-way prospect as a high-school outfielder. With his pitching career fizzling out — he has struggled in consecutive Double-A seasons, despite repeating the level and converting to a relief role — the 24-year-old Ball will now take a second shot at carving out a MLB career.
    • As we touched upon earlier tonight, the Martin Prado contract has been an exceedingly poor investment for the Marlins. That’s due mostly to the veteran’s injury and performance struggles, though the contract has also simply failed to line up with the team’s competitive timeline. Of course, that’s due in large part to the stunning death of former star pitcher Jose Fernandez, which occurred not long before the Prado deal was announced and drastically changed the organization’s outlook. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets, in fact, that the club considered halting negotiations with Prado, which had advanced to the point that terms were “in place” (but the contract un-signed) when Fernandez suddenly and tragically passed away. Instead, writes Spencer, the Marlins decided to go through with the deal that they had negotiated.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Shut Down T.J. Rivera]]> 2018-09-03T02:11:57Z 2018-09-03T02:11:57Z
  • The Mets have shut down infielder T.J. Rivera for the season,’s Anthony DiComo reports.  Rivera underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2017, and only played in six minor league rehab games in July before suffering a setback in the form of a right elbow sprain.  Over 106 games and 344 PA for the Mets in 2016-17, Rivera hit .304/.335/.445 with eight homers while seeing significant time as a fill-in at first, second, and third base.  As DiComo notes, however, Rivera could face a tough path back to the big league roster in the spring, as other utility infield options have passed him on the depth chart.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.