New York Mets Rumors

New York Mets trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Market Impact Of Tulo Deal: Reyes, CarGo, Mets, Blue Jays

With Troy Tulowitzki reportedly heading from the Rockies to the Blue Jays, it’s a different trade market today than it was yesterday. Toronto declared itself committed to the present in spending several important trade chips on the star shortstop. Meanwhile, the Rockies now have another expensive veteran shortstop that features as a trade candidate in Jose Reyes. Though we’ve yet to hear anything regarding Colorado’s intentions with regard to Reyes, early indications are that the club is motivated to deal outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Here are some potential areas of impact of the blockbuster:

  • The Rockies did not add Reyes with a deal already in place to move him elsewhere, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported overnight on Twitter (as we noted in the Tulo deal post). While another move makes sense at first glance — Colorado is not in contention, and could turn to prospect Trevor Story and/or utilityman Daniel Descalso — it’s far from a sure thing. As I explained in assessing the trade market for shortstops, despite the relative lack of quality veterans available via trade, it’s also not clear that there’s much demand at the position.
  • The Mets are uninterested in bringing back Reyes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. New York still has a potential need up the middle, but the veteran has not shown enough for the club to be amenable to taking on his big contract. In fact, the Mets declined a chance to land Reyes already, as the Blue Jays were widely shopping his deal, per Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
  • Neither do the Mets intend to pursue Gonzalez, Marc Carig of Newsday hears (Twitter link). Though New York appears still to be in the market for outfield bats, the team may not be willing to consider that level of salary commitment.
  • While the Blue Jays have sufficient lineup depth to move a major league bat for pitching, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the club does not have any plans to do so this summer. That had seemed at least one plausible path to improving the club’s rotation over the next few days. It remains to be seen how the loss of three talented pitching prospects in the Tulo deal will impact Toronto’s efforts to build out its staff. Certainly, the Jays have now evidenced a willingness to give up future assets to improve their team in the near term, but it’s unclear as yet whether they’ll be more or less inclined to do more of the same in chasing arms.
  • In a tweet this morning, Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman indicated that he’s still focused on trying to work back by September. That may be somewhat optimistic, but it is worth remembering that he’s working back from a knee injury rather than arm problems (though Toronto will want to prevent the latter from developing out of the former). A hypothetical return from Stroman is still probably too much of a wild card to have an impact on Toronto’s current plans, but adding him back to the rotation would obviously represent a major boost at no cost.

Impact Of Clippard Deal: Beane On A’s, Latest On Zobrist

Earlier today, the Mets added a late-inning relief arm in Tyler Clippard. That move did not come as a major surprise, but it nevertheless created a ripple effect for the two teams involved, as well as the rest of the market.

  • Most notably, perhaps, Athletics GM Billy Beane indicated in his comments on the deal that the team could continue to build up lower-level prospect depth in its summer trades, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports“The Houston Astros have done a really good job of spending the last three or four years really creating a dynamic farm system,” said Beane, “and now they’re starting to reap the rewards of that. If we’re ever going to compete, we’re probably going to have to take a somewhat similar approach and at least make sure we’ve got young players that are coming through the system that will be here for a few years.” Oakland acquired younger players in both the Clippard trade and the earlier swap involving Scott Kazmir, marking something of a departure from the team’s winter moves (to say nothing of its win-now acquisitions last summer).
  • The Mets had been working on a deal with the Athletics that would have delivered not only Tyler Clippard, but also Ben Zobrist, Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. But the clubs honed in on the reliever alone after New York went out and got Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. That, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mets are out on Zobrist, though adding a pair of versatile pieces in Uribe and Johnson could lessen heir need.
  • Meanwhile, the Mets have clearly positioned themselves as buyers, and are still looking at corner outfield bats. As we also covered in that link, the Athletics seem uninterested in parting with controllable pieces like Josh Reddick — despite their apparent decision to load up on high-ceiling youngsters.
  • Zobrist will likely be the next player dealt away from the A’s, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. She sees the Royals and Nationals as the possible front-runners for his services. Oakland has drawn wide interest in the utility man extraordinaire, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, with almost every contender having checked in on him. Joining Kansas City with active interest, per the report, are the PiratesYankees, and Cubs. We’ve heard no shortage of other clubs mentioned in recent weeks as well, as Zobrist’s MLBTR timeline attests.
  • While the Mets are earning plaudits in some circles for adding a quality pen arm without dealing away any top prospects, prospect analysts say that the return for Clippard might be better than many realize. Keith Law of ESPN.com writes that he’d rank Casey Meisner as the organization’s sixth-best prospect, just behind a touted group of names, giving him a #2 starter ceiling. That’s far too much to give up for a few months of a reliever who has not been pitching at an elite level this year, Law argues. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs is not quite as high on Meisner, but still tweets that he sees him as a solid return for Oakland.
  • Clippard becomes the second shoe to drop on the relief market, following the Cardinals’ acquisition of Steve Cishek. Check out MLBTR’s round-up of the relief market. We’ve heard rumblings on star Padres Craig Kimbrel today, and there are plenty of other high-end arms that could change hands.

Outfield Market Notes: Maybin, Reddick, Mets, Angels, Parra, Gomez

Though the Braves have fielded plenty of interest in the revived Cameron Maybin, and have considered moving him, the team now feels it “would need to be blown away with an offer” to make a deal, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Contrary to an earlier report, Bowman adds, an Atlanta source vehemently denied the suggestion that Maybin had been dangled in an earlier effort to add Angel Pagan of the Giants. Maybin, 28, has been one of the game’s best turnaround stories, with his play dramatically altering perceptions of both his contract and the deal that brought him to Atlanta (which was already widely viewed as a Braves win).

Here’s more on the still-developing outfield market, which just saw one move with Shane Victorino heading to the Angels:

  • The Athletics seem unlikely to move outfielder Josh Reddick, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. In his comments after today’s Tyler Clippard trade, GM Billy Beane said that his club is not presently working on deals involving players who are under future control.
  • Despite a trio of acquisitions already completed, the Mets are still looking at a handful of outfield options, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com tweets. New York has, of course, just brought up top prospect Michael Conforto with Michael Cuddyer on the DL, but the team also designated John Mayberry Jr. and could use another quality option.
  • A source also tells Marc Carig of Newsday that the Mets are still shopping for outfield bats. Carig notes that the team could wait for asking prices to drop on deadline day.
  • The Angels are also still looking at left-handed hitting outfielders after adding Victorino, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that Jay Bruce (Reds), David Murphy (Indians), and Ben Revere (Phillies) are all still on their radar.
  • Gerardo Parra of the Brewers is also a player that the Angels are interested in, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter). Heyman breaks down his market, citing the Mets and Orioles as prime suitors (along with the Halos) for the left-handed hitter. There’s also a classic mystery team involved, per the report.
  • Heyman adds that some in the Brewers organization do not believe that Carlos Gomez will end up being dealt. Milwaukee is somewhat hesitant to move an affordable, in-prime player with control remaining.
  • Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Trade Market series for all the most likely outfield trade pieces. We’ve covered both center field candidates as well as corner options.


Mets Acquire Tyler Clippard

5:35pm: New York will receive $1MM in the deal, meaning that they’ll pay Clippard just over $2MM the rest of the way, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets.

5:16pm: The Mets have agreed to a deal that will land them reliever Tyler Clippard from the Athletics, Oakland announced (and as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported on Twitter). Oakland will receive righty Casey Meisner in return, and will also send some cash to New York in the deal.

Jun 25, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Tyler Clippard (36) pitches in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington.  The Athletics beat the Rangers 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Clippard has not delivered the same kind of performance that he did over the previous four seasons in Washington, over which he put up a 2.50 ERA with 10.2 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. Though the veteran has always outperformed the expectations of ERA estimators, he hasn’t maintained anything near the peripherals he had set as a baseline.

Over his 38 2/3 frames in Oakland, all compiled since coming over in a winter trade for Yunel Escobar, Clippard has seen his strikeout rate drop to 8.8 K/9 while his walk rate has shot up to 4.9 BB/9. His average fastball velocity has not fallen off sharply, but has continued to decline. And Clippard has seen his swinging strike rate fall to 12.4%, below his career average.

That being said, Clippard has still picked up 17 saves and carries a 2.79 ERA over 38 2/3 innings. He’s benefitted from a .214 BABIP-against, but his career rate is a miniscule .234 — a product of the many flyouts he induces. Interestingly, Clippard has seen his infield fly rate drop off significantly (from around 19% over the last two seasons to 11.9% this year). Clippard continues to excel at retiring opposite-handed hitters, which he accomplishes with a devastating change to accompany his typically up-in-the-zone heater.

New York will hope for a more vintage performance from its latest addition. The team is clearly pushing some chips in with hopes of overtaking the Nationals in the NL East. Clippard joins Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson as new acquisitions, and New York may not be done.

As for the return, Meisner is a 20-year-old righty who has reached the High-A level for the first time this year. The 2013 third-rounder stands at 6’7 and has delivered strong results this year, with a 2.35 ERA over 111 minor league frames and 7.2 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9. But those figures — particularly the peripherals — have benefitted from the fact that 76 of those innings came at the Class A level, as Meisner has not maintained them since his promotion.

Oakland has added yet another young piece as it continues to part with veteran assets. The Scott Kazmir trade also returned somewhat lower-level prospects, which could give some indication where GM Billy Beane is headed. Meisner has drawn mixed reviews at times, with Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs tweeting that he looks like a back-end starter at best given his difficulty repeating a delivery and mediocre secondary offerings. But ESPN.com’s Keith Law recently mentioned Meisner as a strong sleeper prospect (Insider link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Mets Making Progress On Clippard Trade; Other Teams Still In Play

5:12pm: A deal sending Clippard to the Mets is getting “closer,” Heyman tweets.

2:05pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the Nationals are still considering a reunion with Clippard.

12:25pm: Ben Zobrist is not involved in these talks, tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, who does hear that the sides are making progress on a deal. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Mets have expressed a willingness to send Rafael Montero to Oakland in Zobrist talks, so the two sides have already exchanged names in previous talks. That’s not to say Montero is in play here, just that they’ve talked names in the past, which could be beneficial to these talks.

12:13pm: The Mets are making progress on a trade to acquire Tyler Clippard from the Athletics, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Other teams are still in play, according to the FOX Sports duo, and a deal could come soon. Last night, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a Clippard trade could come as soon as today.

The A’s picked up Clippard in an offseason trade with the Nationals, sending Yunel Escobar to Washington in a one-for-one swap. Clippard hasn’t been as effective with Oakland as he has in previous seasons, though. While his 2.79 ERA is solid on the surface, but his strikeout rate (8.8 K/9), walk rate (4.9 BB/9) and ground-ball rate (20.8 percent) have all gone in the wrong direction this season. He’s benefited from an elevated strand rate and a minuscule .214 BABIP, leading FIP (3.89) to project something far less optimistic in regards to his performance. He’s also posted a career-low homer-to-flyball ratio, causing xFIP to project a more pessimistic 5.31.

Regardless, Clippard does have strong bottom-line results and an excellent track record. He’s posted a 2.63 ERA with 10.4 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 in 393 1/3 innings from 2010-14 working as both a setup man and a closer with the Nationals. He’s owed roughly $3.2MM over the remainder of the season and would give the Mets another arm to slot into the bullpen in the event that they reach the postseason, where Jenrry Mejia is ineligible to pitch due to an 80-game PED suspension.


Mets Asked Braves About Simmons; Asking Price “Unreachable”

The Mets’ pursuit of a long-term answer at shortstop has been well-documented, and one of their latest endeavors was to explore the possibility of an intra-division swap that would bring Andrelton Simmons from Atlanta to Queens, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). However, Olney hears that talks went nowhere, as the Braves placed such a high asking price on Simmons that it was “basically unreachable.”

That Simmons would come with an exorbitant asking price should be expected, as he is the game’s premier defender at shortstop (if not the game’s premier defender, period) and brings a competent bat to the table as well as a highly affordable contract. Over the past three seasons, Simmons leads not only all shortstops, but all qualified position players in both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating. It’s not even close when it comes to DRS, as his +86 mark dwarfs the 61 runs credited to the also-excellent Nolan Arenado.

That elite glove is paired with a bat that has produced a .254/.303/.366 line. That’s hardly elite production, but it’s also weighed down by what looks to be a somewhat fluky down season in 2014. Simmons doesn’t walk much (6.1 percent in his career), but he also rarely strikes out (9.1 percent) and has a bit of pop in his bat, as evidenced by a 17-homer campaign back in 2013.

On top of that, Simmons is controlled through the 2020 season for a very reasonable total of about $54.1MM. He’s still owed roughly $1.1MM in 2015 in addition to annual salaries of $6MM, $8MM, $11MM, $13MM and $15MM over the life of the deal, which will conclude after his age-30 season. Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron recently placed Simmons 30th when ranking the Top 50 players in the game in terms of trade value. As he notes, Simmons hasn’t been much of a hitter yet, but plenty of teams would be happy to make the bet that his bat will improve before his glove declines, adding that his elite defense creates a very high floor.

The Mets have been oft-connected to shortstops over the past 18 months, with names such as Troy Tulowitzki, Starlin Castro and Javier Baez representing just a few of the players to be connected to GM Sandy Alderson’s club. They’re known to be on the hunt for some offensive improvements as well, though the acquisition of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson and the recent promotion of Michael Conforto have lessened those needs, to some extent.


Quick Hits: Dodgers, Angels, Reds, Mets

The Dodgers might be able to take advantage of a productive season from Andre Ethier to clear a logjam in their outfield and add pitching, Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggests. Ethier is in the midst of a resurgent .276/.361/.459 season, so now might be a good time to deal him and move Carl Crawford back into a starting role. The approximately $46MM remaining on Ethier’s contract would likely still be an obstacle. But Sherman suggests there might be a match with the Angels. In one scenario, the Angels could send the Dodgers C.J. Wilson, who has about $28MM remaining on his own deal. There aren’t any specific rumors connecting the Angels and Dodgers, and a deal involving Wilson and Ethier would surely be complex, due to the contracts involved. The Angels have, however, reportedly recently shown interest in another lefty hitter, David Murphy, and they’re about to get Jered Weaver back from the DL. So perhaps Sherman’s idea isn’t that far-fetched. Here are more quick notes from around the big leagues.

  • Reds players knew to expect the team to trade Johnny Cueto, but the team’s trade of Cueto to the Royals for three left-handed pitchers still stung, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. “Shocking is not the word, but it’s kind of a blah feeling,” says Jay Bruce. “Because everybody anticipated it happening, but for it to actually happen and someone I’ve personally known for 11 years now, just poof, gone.” Bruce, of course, is himself a candidate to be traded this week, along with Mike Leake and perhaps others. It can be easy to forget that the trades we outsiders discuss so matter-of-factly do affect the players on a personal level.
  • In contrast, the Mets are excited to have the newly acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson on their side, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “That versatility is enormous, to keep key, quality players on the field,” says Mets manager Terry Collins. “It’s hugely enormous.” As Kepner points out, that might be an overstatement, but the Mets are getting help, or are on the verge of getting it, from Uribe, Johnson, returning players Jenrry Mejia (suspension) and Travis d’Arnaud (elbow), and newly promoted top prospect Michael Conforto. The Mets do have reasons to be hopeful. “I’ve been in Chicago, and nobody’s thinking like Chicago’s winning. I’ve been in San Fran, and nobody’s thinking like San Fran’s winning. And they win,” says Uribe. “In baseball, you never know what could happen.”

Athletics Could Trade Clippard As Early As Monday

Tyler Clippard, and not Ben Zobrist, seems likely to be the next Athletics player to be traded, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. That deal could take place soon, perhaps on Monday, with a Zobrist trade coming later. It’s unclear who the Athletics’ trade partner for Clippard will be, although Slusser lists the Nationals, Mets and Yankees as candidates. Clippard has been linked to all three teams in recent reports.

Clippard has posted a 2.79 ERA, 8.8 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in his first season in Oakland. He also has 17 saves, although many potential trade partners would likely use him in a setup capacity anyway. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2003 and made his big-league debut with them four years later, and he spent the next seven years pitching in the Nationals bullpen.


NL Rumors: Bruce, Mets, Cueto, Padres

The Reds already made one big move today, could another be around the corner?  The Mets are heavily scouting outfielder Jay Bruce, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Recently, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com heard that the Reds are giving the impression that they are looking to “save money” wherever possible, and that could be an indication that Bruce is very much available.

Here’s more from the National League..

  • The Blue Jays‘ talks with the Reds concerning Johnny Cueto never gained traction, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).  Davidi hears that the Reds were asking for a package headlined by Marcus Stroman.  Cueto, of course, went from the Reds to the Royals on Sunday afternoon.
  • “Industry perception” is that there is some pressure on the Padres to move out future payroll as the deadline approaches, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  On Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that Tyson Ross was drawing the most interest of any of the Padres’ starting pitchers.  Of course, when it comes to finances, the Padres would surely prefer to move the contract of James Shields.
  • The Marlins should get a better indication what they can get for Mat Latos after learning the details of the Johnny Cueto deal, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets.

Mets Acquire Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson

SUNDAY, 2:38pm: The Mets took on exactly $2.5MM in the deal, meaning that the Braves chipped in close to $500K, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.

FRIDAY, 10:33pm: The Mets have officially acquired both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the division-rival Braves. Two minor league righties — John Gant and Rob Whalen — will head to Atlanta in return.

New York will also absorb about $2.7MM in salary, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter). That’s not quite the full amount owed to the two acquired players, but Atlanta is chipping in some salary, per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter).

Jul 21, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Juan Uribe (2) singles on a fly ball scoring a run in the fifth inning of their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Both Uribe and Johnson would provide options at positions of need for New York. With David Wright still out indefinitely, third base has become a pressing concern, and adding a left-handed corner outfield bat remains a priority. Both of the veterans provide options at the hot corner, and the left-handed-hitting Johnson has ample experience in left.

Uribe, 36, has hit an excellent .285/.353/.464 since coming to Atlanta in a deal with the Dodgers earlier in the year. While his glove hasn’t rated out as highly as it used to, there’s little question that he represents a reliable option at the hot corner. Uribe is owed $6.5MM this season.

Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Johnson has been a solid presence in Atlanta since joining the team on a minor league pact. He owns a .275/.321/.451 slash with nine home runs. By making the club, he earned a $1.5MM guarantee for the season.

As for the return to the Braves, Whalen is the name that has appeared on prospect sheets more frequently. He rated as the Mets organization’s 20th-best prospect entering the season, according to Baseball America, which praised his curve ball and promising additional offspeed offerings. Whalen has a reasonably high ceiling despite the lack of a huge fastball. He has not been quite as effective this year, his first at St. Lucie, but still owns a 3.36 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 over 83 innings.

Meanwhile, Gant earned a quick promotion after six excellent starts to open the year. He’s slowed down now that he’s at Binghamton, with a 4.70 ERA and 6.5 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in 59 1/3 frames. Gant is a “solid back-end type” with four useful pitchers, per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs on Twitter, who provides video of both of Atlanta’s newest additions and assesses them as likely big league contributors.

Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter link)first reported that a deal to send Uribe and Johnson to the Mets was close. Joel Sherman of the New York Post (links to Twitter) reported the return. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported (via Twitter) that the deal was done.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.