Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna has enormous upside, assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino said in an interview today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (audio link). Menechino noted that Ozuna’s early success came despite the fact that he was quite raw, explaining that he’s had to learn on the fly — even as expectations, contract considerations, and other pressures were converging. Ozuna, of course, has long been seen as a trade chip, although momentum seems to be shifting away from that scenario.
More from Miami and some other news from the eastern divisions:
- The Marlins ought to make a long-term deal with Dee Gordon a priority, argues Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. After all, he suggests, his agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council might well try to argue that Gordon’s marquee accomplishments — leading the league in batting average, hits, and stolen bases while picking up a Gold Glove — support an outside-the-box arbitration payday. While MLBTR projects a $5.9MM salary in his second of four turns through arbitration, Gordon and his reps could always file for more and take their chances. Of course, as MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz explained in a recent podcast appearance (at about the 20-minute mark), Gordon’s meager home run and RBI tallies limit his arb-earning upside despite his other big numbers.
- While the Marlins have been fairly quiet this winter, they are still looking to add some players. Jon Heyman tweets that the club has its eye on some right-handed bats, with Jeff Francoeur among them.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson and the rest of the organization’s leadership have managed to upset a segment of the team’s fans despite last year’s World Series run, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Of course, as Davidoff explains, appeasing a “populist” sentiment in the fanbase (as Alderson put it) with a big signing would hardly guarantee on-field success.
- Young Orioles righties Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy are participating in minicamp and appear to be in good health, Roch Kubtako of MASNsports.com reports. Both have had very tough runs of bad luck, and certainly the organization will be holding its collective breath to see how they feel as they ramp up this spring.
- Orioles skipper Buck Showalter said today that he could imagine slugger Chris Davis waiting to sign until late in camp, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports. “That’s not surprising at all the way that camp does business,” Showalter said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if it went to February. It wouldn’t surprise me if it goes to March.” It’s probably not worth reading too much into those comments, since Showalter is obviously not privy to the specific strategy of Davis and his agent, Scott Boras. But his words do seem to hint at some frustration in the organization at the inability to achieve resolution one way or the other.
- If the Yankees need someone to step in at third base for Chase Headley, the club could well turn to Starlin Castro, GM Brian Cashman suggested today. As Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog writes, the newly-acquired infielder is still likely to spend most of his time at second, but his experience on the left side of the infield (almost entirely at short) could increase the team’s roster flexibility. Meanwhile, Cashman emphasized that Alex Rodriguez will not see time in the field.
I can see giving Gordon an extension as long as it’s not too long and too rich, stolen base guys often age very quickly and quite sharply. For every Ricky Henderson there are about 4-5 Carl Crawford’s or Jacoby Elsbery’s.
Even Henderson had a noticeable drop off in his stolen bases. Given, that was at age 34, but you’re also right in that Dee Gordon, among other speed guys aren’t Henderson.
If I’m the Marlins, I extend him through his arbitration years, and wait to see what he offers going into free agency.
If the Marlins want a chance to contend this year they need to make a play for Chen or Gallardo
I wonder if any part of Stanton regrets signing that contract, despite the enormous amount of money involved?
Yeah, money and security versus contending.
I wouldn’t because he gets to build his value against his injury prone seasons (he’s just had bad luck) plus I mean Miami has a chance to contend with in the six years he has to opt out so I think he won’t feel any way about it until then, if the Marlins sign Chen or Gallardo or both, add a bullpen piece like clippard, and sign maybe another bat to be behind Stanton (I’m thinking Desmond on a one year and putting him at short or someone like Corey hart on a minor league deal) , I think the Marlins will be a decent team, they have a good core just need to piece the rest together
Why is it that the guys who decide the outcome of arbitration seem to be stuck in the 1940’s when it comes to statistics?
I feel that im in the minority of Mets fans who agrees with Alderson and not resign Cespedes.
1). While we don’t make the playoffs without YC (and thus not win the NL pennant), his performance was a mirage in my opinion. He had a .941 OPS with the Mets but has a career .805 OPS. It’s unlikely he actually improved and over the course of a full season, I have serious doubts he hits even a .900 OPS.
2) If he went back to the Mets, it would be as a CF. We are already set in the corners with Grandy and Conforto. Problem is that YC is a dreadful CF (-17 DRS in career 912.1 innings). While Cespedes is a very good LF, Conforto is likely to be the better player over the next six seasons when cost is factored in.
For cespedes to be worth it for the Mets, he would have to continue hitting the way he did back in August/September over the course of a full season. I guarantee any team that signs him to play CF will regret it.
I would not rule out Cespedes obtaining a OPS closer to .900 playing in the National League full time, His .805 career OPS was achieved while playing in Oakland for the majority of the time. I could see .850 easily reached and .900 if he was to join a team with a hitter friendly park. I do agree with you that the Mets should avoid resigning him. It could just be my perception of him but he seems to be the type of player that only gives a 100% effort when he feels like it. Which isn’t very often. That is what I see with Upton as well. I think I am not alone in seeing them that way because they don’t seem to have much of a market. I think last year Cespedes thought he could give it his all in his contract year and he would take home the big bucks. The problem with that thinking is that more and more teams are looking at a players entire career and future potential before handing out a big contract as opposed to just the past year or two. I think that is why Samardzija and Zobrist got the contracts they did and why Lester received the contract he did last year. Players are going to have to actually perform for 2-3 years in a row before teams throw $150+ million at them. In today’s market I doubt Ellsbury would come anywhere near the contract he signed a couple of years ago and is why Cespedes, Davis and Upton are having trouble drawing heavy interest. Davis has blasted a ton of home runs the last few years but couldn’t break the Mendoza line in 2014. Could just be my flawed perception of the market but that is how I see things.
“It could just be my perception of him but he seems to be the type of player that only gives a 100% effort when he feels like it. ”
There actually is some reason to believe that his makeup isn’t very good. When he was with Boston, he was known to argue with the hitting coaches.
I agree. I think us Mets fans would have a more legitimate gripe about not re-signing Cespedes if, let’s say, Michael Conforto was a centerfielder. If we were looking to fill a corner spot, then it’s a no-brainer. But considering Conforto should be entrenched in left and Granderson really can’t play center anymore (let’s also not forget he was second in Defensive Runs Saved among rightfielders), Cespedes just isn’t a perfect fit.
That said, if you can get him on a three-year deal or less, I think you have to consider it. If they could somehow run out a lineup of:
Granderson, Walker, Cespedes, Duda, Wright, Conforto, d’Arnaud, Cabrera
I mean…with the pitching, that has to put you as one of the favorites to get back to the Series.
Stupid question- how important is outfield defense to the mets being that they have strikeout pitchers? Think they’d be able to tolerate cespedes in CF until granderson’s contract expires?
Its not that Cespedes is a bad defensived CF, he is atrocious. Almost like putting David Ortiz at shortstop bad
-17 DRS in 912.1 career innings at CF. Thats not even a full season worth of innings.
True, defense means less if your starters are all strikeout guys, but we lost the World Series because KC kept putting the ball in play and we couldnt catch it.
I’m so sick of the BS rhetoric coming out of the Mets front office. They have a billion dollar pitching rotation which they will never resign. Their fast closing window of opportunity is just 3 years. How in the world do they not sign at least 3 major league professional hitters at a total cost of $50 million per year bringing their $85 million dollar payroll to $135 million. This is the same cheap ownership who the Wilpon’s sent letters to their season ticket holders that they could take away their seats to sell them to corporations whenever they wanted to. MLB should force the Wilpon’s to sell. The Mets management is a total disgrace. True fans should boycott the Mets.
Well you do have to factor in the rising costs of certain players (arbitration eligible guys like the four pitchers), and while retaining all four of Harvey/deGrom/Syndegaard/Matz is unrealistic, you do need to save future space for them. If you don’t, all the Met fans out there are going to be in uproar that the team should resign this guy when they don’t have the money to do so. They traded for Neil Walker and signed Asdrubal Cabrera, not flashy names but solid players. All teams need solid players, its unrealistic to expect a team to field a 25-man roster of All Stars, you need a couple of top end players and quality guys to fill out the rest of the roster. Signing a top end guy like Cespedes doesn’t guarantee a World Series. Any real fan of the game will realize that Cespedes numbers while with the Mets is unrealistic to match over the course of a full season. But go ahead, sign Cespedes and in a few years when the team is paying him $20 million to be an average to below average hitter, all you “fans” will be moaning about how terrible a contract that was. True Met fans will actually understand what they are doing and while they might not be happy about it, they won’t constantly complain.
Couldn’t agree more. I could see being upset that they didn’t go all in on a guy like Heyward but Cespedes doesn’t deserve $20+ million a year because he actually put in 100% effort for half a season. The Mets probably won’t be able to resign their entire rotation but do you really need someone like Matz pitching out of the #4 spot, or Wheeler in the #5 spot? Instead of signing Cespedes they should make a trade with a team like the Cubs or Dodgers that have some very good young position players but are a little light on young controlled pitching. Syndegaard and Wheeler for Russell and Happ. The Mets get the star SS they have needed for years and Happ will be ready to take over when Granderson leaves. The Cubs have Torres coming up in the minors and Baez can handle short until he is ready. Something like that makes both teams stronger and fills areas of need. My point being the Mets should be willing to deal one or two of their starters for young cost controlled stud position players. Matz in the #4 is such a waste.
I totally agree, the Mets and Cubs make too much sense together on a deal for their younger guys. Although I feel that the Cubs would deem Bryant/Russell untouchable and then ask the Mets which two of their starters would be untouchable without Bryant/Russell in the deal. I mean there is a reason why Cespedes and Upton are still unsigned and its not because the Wilpons are cheap (which they are, but that’s still not the reason). Not many, if any, other teams in the league want to pay the current asking price of Upton/Cespedes. The solution there isn’t just to give the players what they want if the other teams have lowered their price. The solution is to lower your price and play a waiting game with them. Even then, Cespedes/Upton are not ideal fits in CF (or Granderson if he were to get shifted over there) for the Mets, they are better off going for Fowler. While he’ll still cost a pick and his price is still going to be a bit expensive, he’ll probably sign for cheaper than Cespedes/Upton.
“[…] retaining all four of Harvey/deGrom/Syndegaard/Matz is unrealistic, you do need to save future space for them.”
So, let’s address this. Obviously, if Thor and Matz develop along the same trajectory as Harvey and deGrom, it looks like a billion dollar rotation. But why can’t the Mets commit to that? Obviously you can’t assume health, but if these guys stay on the field, it makes the Mets contenders for a decade. If the Dodgers can spend $300 million on an every-day lineup that has Justin Turner batting third, why can’t the Mets spend to keep what could develop into this generation’s ’90’s Braves rotation together?
Of course, that all comes back to ownership, and that’s where I have a real problem. I’ll buy the baseball argument for everything the Mets have done over the rebuild. But I don’t think they should just be shrugging their shoulders and resigning themselves to the fact that two-to-three of these guys won’t be on the team in three years. In a market as big as New York, that feels criminal.
If Syndegaard and Matz follow along the same trajectory that Harvey and deGrom seem to be, that is essentially four guys who can be considered aces. Using the recent market for pitchers as an example, the AAV of their contracts would probably start at $25 million a year. Let’s say you sign all four, that’s four guys and $100 million (and that’s probably the low number considering Harvey and deGrom should be able to get more). How do you plan to fill out 21 more roster spots with everyday guys? Yes the Dodgers just had a $300 million payroll, but that obviously didn’t work out great for them. They also have owners who were willing to pay big in the first few years, but their spending has come way down to a more realistic level. Signing one of the four is realistic, maybe even two. But after that it becomes a matter of do you really want three or four guys to take up about 50-75% of your payroll?
I guess it depends on what you’re looking at position player wise. D’Arnaud is arb eligible in 2017, but Conforto isn’t until 2019. In 2019, the Mets have two commitments on the books (Wright-$15mm, Lagares $9mm), and in 2020, jsut Wright ($12mm). So I guess a lot of it is how you draft and develop in the next two-to-three years. If Dom Brown and Ahmed Rosario are every-day players in pre-arb, you draft another quick-to-the-Majors bat like Conforto, and maybe even Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo turn into useful pieces, it’s a lot more realistic. If not, then they’ll likely be in a different position.
And in defense of the Dodgers, a lot of that 2015 money was on useless pieces. If not for Daniel Murphy, they may have gotten to the Series, even with a lot of dead money to bloat that number. So…it’s theoretically workable.
As an oriole fan ive never even really thought about the mets situation. But wow, if their payroll is that low and they have that many great young pitchers id be pretty mad too! Especially in a new york market! They should be in on these hitters!
The Mets problem is that the Wilpons had money invested with Bernie Madoff and when the Ponzi scheme came out, the Wilpons lost money and people sued them. In order to pay back the debt, the Wilpons cut the Mets’ spending to save a few bucks. But even though they do play in a NY market, they are still the little brother to the Yankees. Their spending should be higher, but to expect lavish spending like the Yankees is crazy.
Seems like yet another misuse of the concept of upside. If this term still means what it always used to mean, Gordon has already been a lot better than the Marlins ever bargained for.
It was a reference to his arbitration earning capacity. I wasn’t talking about his merits as a player. But I’ll edit to make sure that’s clear.
Not many clubs “need” Chris Davis and not many clubs would be willing to offer a $150 million contract. His market is limited with the large market teams budget conscious this off-season and most other large contacts have already been accepted. Cespsdes, Upton and Davis look like they may have to take a short term deal.
Orioles have offered 7 years 154 million. If Borris called tomorrow for that deal Chris Davis remains an oriole. Also Upton and Cespedes gonna get paid too..
I am not an O’s fan, but I would love to see them move on. I don’t have anything against Davis, but $150+ for 7 years is very fair and if he hasn’t taken it by now, then why continue doing the dance with him?
I have been on the Ozuna bandwagon for a few months now. I think that there should be plenty of teams out there willing to trade some quality, young pieces to MIA. As a Giants fan, I would love to see them get creative and bold. With the off season signings, they have left little room for their ML ready/close to ML ready prospects. They should be trade chips. If they all go in one deal, so be it. The only guy I don’t want to see traded is Christian Arroyo. However, the Giants have quantity and quality when it comes to trade chips.
If the Marlins sent Ozuna to San Fran who would the Giants send back? Think Duffy would be part of the talks?
If the Angels offered Mike Trout even up for Matt Harvey the Mets would say No. Plain and simple the Mets will not pay anyone big bucks. Madoff isn’t the first Ponzi scheme that the Wilpon’s have been involved in. It’s actually the second. The brilliant Wilpon’s to save a few bucks offered 53 old Bobby Bonilla a million dollars a year in an annuity because interest rates in the 80’s were 20%. Today they are 2%. But when the Ponzi scheme Fred Wilpon thinks it’s pretty normal to get 18% returns today with US T Bonds yielding 2% and doesn’t ask any questions is it any wonder he’s broke? Yet MLB put Wilpon on their finance committee. What a joke. This is the same Wilpon who wrote to his loyal fans advising them we’ll move you from your good seats if corporations want them whenever we want. MLB should force the Wilpon’s to sell the team like what happened with the Dodgers.
Syndegard is untouchable as is Degrom. You have to resign those two. If possible Harvey too but Harvey can get multiple position players in return. Betts and/ or bogarts plus Bradley or another prospect
Boras seems to pull off a good deal out of his a$$ each winter late in the Hot Stove Season. This winter he may have to reconsider. As outsiders we can only speculate what is going on by what little info we are spoon fed. All writings seem to lead to the conclusion that there is no market,(just Baltimore), for a 1B/DH that is willing to pay $150MM. There is also no market to pay $150+MM for an “out of position” 1B/DH who has played less that 50 games in 3 years in the outfield.
Waiting till Feb. or March will not change the effect each team will face regarding the Luxury Tax. Injuries that may open a spot for Davis to fill in will still trigger the tax and nobody is going to go higher than the 7/$150MM is that situation either.
Davis needs to tell Boras to go back to Baltimore and get the best long term deal he can. Otherwise he could be looking at only getting a “pillow”type of contract and hope he puts up ’15 numbers and not ’14 numbers.
I can see Davis turning into Ryan Howard in 3-4 years and he would be better off getting a 6-7 year deal now than gamble on his future.