Hall of Fame fallout

This Hall of Fame business is finally sorting itself out.

Last year I was worried for both the BBWAA ballot and the IBWAA ballot. A massive logjam of credible candidates was piling up and it looked like it all may collapse on itself.

Last year, within a day of the IBWAA results being released, the internet group expanded their ballot to 15. It still left a few guys who could be hall of fame quality off the list, but they weren’t guys who should be in the hall, merely guys who could be in the hall. The IBWAA has been proactive in fixing the logjam, putting nine players in the last two years.

I might finally be coming around to Sammy Sosa getting a vote. (more…)

Why not Tulo?

The Mets have a hole at the shortstop position. Ask any Mets fan, pundit, blogger or media member.

I’ve heard that the Mets need to upgrade their offense, and the only place that is really an open spot to do so is at shortstop. Our infield is mostly set for the next year and we have an outfield that either provides quality defense or is manned by a veteran. We even have a catcher who should be a solid offensive weapon. So the offensive upgrade is at shortstop.

I had advocated for Hanley Ramirez. I still would have taken him, but the amount of money we would have signed him to and the fact that his days at shortstop were likely limited means it’s probably for the best we didn’t throw money at him.

From there we had Asdrubal Cabrera, who had a really good year a few years ago offensively and Jed Lowrie who was solid. Neither looked like great defensive players.

So why not Troy Tulowitzki. There are three points against him; 1. He costs a lot of money, 2. He is injury prone, 3. He would cost at least one top prospect and likely more.

The first point shouldn’t be an issue. Adding Tulowitzki’s contract would make the 2015 Mets expected payroll (including arbitration increases) at about $119 million. That would put the Mets almost dead in the center of team payrolls in 2015. The Mets would be on the hook for $20 million each year through 2019, when he’ll be 35.  Then one year of $14 million and an option year of $15 million or a $4 million buyout. So at least $118 million left (Not including bonuses and possibly $5 million contract escalators for the last two seasons.) Fangraphs had a unit of WAR (or a win) valued at about $6 million. Tulo last year earned 5.5 BWAR in about half a season of at bats (319). So in half a season he exceeded his $16 million 2014 season salary by $17 million (6 $/WAR x 5.5 WAR = $33 million). If we were to get that same production, even if it were stretched out over the whole season instead of just half, we’d still have his contract more than paid for. The 2013 season saw Tulo earn 5.3 WAR over 446 innings. He’d still be worth $20 million a year. The 2012 season was Tulo’s worst gathering 0.4 WAR over 181 at bats, which by the 2014 value if a win would be $2.4 mil. A bad break that would be mitigated by the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

So in answering why Tulo seems like he’d be worth the money, I pretty much answered the point about injury. Tulowitzki played in an average of 107 games per season over his 9 year career (117 per season if you eliminate his 26 games in a late call up in 2006 as a season). It’s still more than half the games per season, but ideally you’d like to see him somewhere around 140-160. However, he’s averaged a 4.7 WAR (not counting his 2006 call up). Every season, except for lost years in 2012 (0.4 WAR) and 2008 (0.6) and the 2006 cup of coffee (-0.4), Tulowitzki has been one of the top three shortstops in WAR in Major League Baseball. Tulowitzki’s current hip injury is a little scary for a player at such a mobile position, but the Royals’ Alex Gordon and the Denver Bronco’s Wes Welker have come out of the torn labrum surgery fine, so there is hope he will be a good player upon returning. I mean aren’t we hoping for the same from Matt Harvey.

As for the prospect cost, that’s where red flags start popping up for me. In terms of an offensive upgrade, only three other players can hold a candle to Tulowitzki in recent years, one is the aforementioned Hanley Ramirez, who projects to be a left fielder sooner than later. Another is Jhonny Peralta, who actually led MLB last year in WAR for a shortstop. The Mets could have gotten him but said he was too expensive. In terms of $/WAR he made $34.8 million of his four-year, $53 mil. contract in one season.  In the Harvey-less 2014, it would have been a less valuable year, but it could have been enough to get the Mets over .500. The last possible offensive upgrade would be Ian Desmond, who the Mets could have had.  Desmond could have been had by sending two top prospects, likely including Noah Syndergaard to the Tampa Bay Rays while assuring that the Washington Nationals received Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar. In this deal the Mets would get one of the best shortstops, but only for one year. The Nationals would get a good short stop and also one of the best ss/2b/lf/etc. in baseball. In fact if that trade went through, the Nationals would have ended up with more WAR based on the previous year’s total.

I would take Desmond, but only with 3-4 years of control.  While Tulo is a big expense, at least we’d know that we’d be getting six years of control of a top player after we traded 2-3 top prospects and an MLB player.

So here’s to hoping for a Tulo trade or Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada combining for a positive WAR.

My 2015 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

This year’s election is much different than last year’s vote in one specific way.
I can just about vote for everyone that I want to.
Thanks to the IBWAA’s swift couple hour consensus on enlarging the ballot to 15 from 10 ( a process the BBWAA is still in committee over), I can fill out my ballot without having to pull dastardly stunts like I did last year.
There are still a few guys that I would like to vote for but may have to swap out for one reason or another. But I feel less bad leaving them off than I did leaving guys off last year.

For reference, here is last year’s IBWAA voting and here is this year’s ballot.
Who didn’t make the ballot
Below are the guys who got eliminated without a long deliberation. I’ve broken them down into a couple of categories and will quickly define those categories if they’re not self explanatory.

Golden Ballot Hall of Fame 2015

The IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot is due by the end of the year, and I will post my ballot on New Years, but I thought I’d give you a preview of my thinking by releasing my golden ballot. (more…)


Los Angeles – The IBWAA released its 2015 Hall of Fame election ballot Tuesday, with the names listed below. Balloting will take place electronically betweenDecember 1 and December 31, 2014, with the results being released via Twitter on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. PST.

The IBWAA ballot compares identically to the BBWAA ballot, with the following exceptions:

  1. Craig Biggio’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2014.
  2. Mike Piazza’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2013.
  3. Barry Larkin’s name does appear on the ballot because he has not reached the 75% threshold in an IBWAA election.

Per a group decision in 2013, the IBWAA allows members to vote for 15 players, instead of the previous 10, beginning with this election. Players’ names link to their respective pages on Baseball-Reference.com.

Returning candidates: Jeff BagwellBarry BondsRoger ClemensJeff Kent , Barry Larkin (elected by BBWAA in 2012), Edgar MartinezDon MattinglyFred McGriffMark McGwireMike MussinaTim RainesCurt SchillingLee SmithSammy SosaAlan Trammell and Larry Walker.

First-time candidates: Rich AurilliaAaron BooneTony ClarkCarlos DelgadoJermaine DyeDarin ErstadCliff FloydNomar GarciaparraBrian GilesTom GordonEddie GuardadoRandy Johnson,Pedro MartinezTroy PercivalJason SchmidtGary SheffieldJohn Smoltz

Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates.

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.

In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.
Among others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Mike Petriello, David Schoenfield, Mark A. Simon and Dan Szymborski, ESPN.com; Kevin Baxter Los Angeles Times; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, GammonsDaily.com; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; King Kaufman, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy, Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Jonah Keri, Grantland; Vlae Kershner, SFGate.com; Chuck Culpepper and Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Jill Painter Lopez, FoxSportsWest.com, Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News; Eno Sarris and Wendy Thurm, FanGraphs; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Orange County Register; Neil Payne, FiveThirtyEight.com, Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com, Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com, Dan Schlossberg, USA Today and Jesse Spector, Sporting News.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $20, or $35 lifetime. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit www.ibwaa.com.

MY IBWAA Awards ballot

While filling out my IBWAA awards ballot, I noticed something. The Mets had arguably the best class of rookies this year.
Certainly in terms of the National league, the Mets had a handful of reasonable quality players compared to the rest of the league.
First off is the guy who should be Rookie of the Year for the National League, Jacob deGrom.
deGrom has had a great season and the nation became aware of him after he tied a major league record with 8-straight strikeouts to start a game. It was immediately after that game that Howard Cole posted on @IBWAA that voters could not change their ballots. My guess? People voted for the wrong guy.
They should have voted for deGrom.

A dream that was the Mets

The dream:

Mets trade Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Reuben Tejada and Matt den Dekker to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowiski.

Rotation: Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero / Noah Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Curtis Granderson RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. Troy Tulowitski SS, 4. David Wright 3B, 5. Carlos Gonzalez LF, 6. Lucas Duda 1B, 7. Travis d’Arnaud C, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Flip CarGo and Grandy if you want, but in this dream scenario the Mets fill all their biggest needs in one big trade. The problem Mets fans refuse to acknowledge is that the Rockies may not want to trade their stars to the Mets. They may actually want to keep all-star quality players. I know they won’t move them for the package I posited. “But Gee and Niese are quality pitchers and den Dekker would help track down balls that don’t go over the fence.” Even if I added a Brandon Nimmo or Dominic Smith, I still wouldn’t trade both Gonzalez and Tulowitski for that package. I might not even trade one of them for that package. Keep dreaming. Don’t overvalue Niese. Apparently the league don’t see him as a very valuable asset. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/08/curtis-granderson-jon-niese-clear-revocable-waivers.html

The optimistic realist:

Mets trade deGrom, Montero, Tejada, den Dekker and Matt Reynolds for Troy Tulowitski.

Mets sign OF Nick Markakis to a 3-year $45 million deal

Rotation: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Colon, Gee / Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Curtis Granderson RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. Troy Tulowitski SS, 4. David Wright 3B, 5. Markakis LF, 6. Lucas Duda 1B, 7. Travis d’Arnaud C, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

In this scenario, the Rockies go after everyone they were purported to have scouted in this report.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/08/east-notes-mets-red-sox-robertson.html They may not want both Tejada and Reynolds (and will ask for another prospect) or they may see one as a second baseman. Either way, I think the Rockies will not be likely to move Tulo. If they wanted Niese they would have claimed him. Markakis has a $17.5 million club option which may be too rich for Baltimore, especially with Chris Davis and Matt Weiters needing contracts soon. And while that deal can also maybe go to Alex Rios instead, Markakis is the best power bat possibly available. We lose upside on our rotation, but it still looks like a contender.


The realist realist:

Mets trade Niese, deGrom or Montero, and Kevin Plawecki or an outfield prospect (Somewhere between Nimmo and Cesar Puello) to the Cubs for Starlin Castro (Or maybe CarGo)

Mets sign Rios or Asdrubal Cabrerra to three year deal (depending on who they get for trade)

Rotation: Harvey, Wheeler, Colon, Gee, deGrom or Montero/Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Castro/Cabrera RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. David Wright 3B, 4. Granderson LF, 5. Rios/Gonzalez LF 6. Lucas Duda 1B, 7. Travis d’Arnaud C, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Flip Rios/CarGo and Duda if you’d like. I feel like Castro and GarGo are the second tier of trade candidates. Thus I feel Niese can be a part of those deals. We’ll still need to give up serious prospects though. Listen we can’t just get Castro for Neise, Gee and Tejada. As Mets fans we have inflated values attached to our players. This isn’t the ideal solution, but I think it’s the one the Mets can most realistically pull off.

The pessimistic realist:

The Mets trade Colon and Reynolds/Plawecki for Andre Ethier and cash.

Rotation: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Gee, deGrom/Montero/Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Grandy RF, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. David Wright 3B, 4. Ethier LF, 5. Lucas Duda 1B, 6. Travis d’Arnaud C, 7. Wilmer Flores SS, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Flip Lagares, Flores or the pitcher if you want. Here’s what the cynic looks at. We rid ourselves of Colon’s money, and move a prospect to keep some of Ethier’s money away (it would have to be a good prospect). Surprise here’s the first Flores sighting. Why hasn’t he shown up before? http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/baseballinsider/notes-ny-mets-syndergaard-montero-flores-herrera-plawecki-blog-entry-1.1900447 Mets people say, “Flores is not a shortstop.” But he is cost effective for the spot and maybe works out like Murphy, a below average fielder who rises to average with time at the position while also adding enough hitting. As for Ethier, he hits harder than den Dekker or Kirk Nieuwenhuis and would be an upgrade power wise. But I am not expressly for Ethier. If it were Matt Kemp I’d take a chance that he returns to MVP quality.


The fan’s nightmare:

The Mets trade Daniel Murphy and Bartolo Colon for prospects.

Rotation: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Gee, deGrom/Montero/Syndergaard

Lineup: 1. Tejada SS 2. Grandy RF, 3. David Wright 3B, 5. Lucas Duda 1B, 6. Travis d’Arnaud C, 7. Flores 2B, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Pitcher

Fan favorites moved for prospects and Tejada is still the shortstop.


The real nightmare:

The Mets sign Nelson Cruz to a four year deal.

The Mets sign Jed Lowrie or Mike Aviles or maybe Stephen Drew. Or worse, JJ Hardy.

Really these guys are not upgrades, but the clamor of fans to just sign people could be placated by some of these signings. These signings will mean negligible improvements with much more salary piled on. I don’t think the Mets will do this, but it really would just doom us to be a team with great pitching and just enough hitting to be a .500 team. We wouldn’t have enough to win a World Series, and we’d finish out of the protected picks.

Standing room only at Mets opening day 2014.

Bought me some tix to opening day, expect some vids and posts soon.

A possible batting order

I was driving around this morning (I do my best thinking while driving) and I had a thought about how I’d set up the batting order. The most interesting thing is also the first thing.

Bullpen rankings

This weekend I’ll start my bi-weekly bullpen rankings.

Later this week and next week, I’ll sound off on replay, the qualifying offer and the Met’s fifth starter.


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