3 things: Mets money, projecting Juan Lagares’ value & a Stephen Drew update

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Word comes this morning from New York Post writer Josh Kosman that New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have made their biggest move of the off-season. Thanks to an increase in franchise value as a result of the record sale price of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, Wilpon and Katz had no difficulty finding banks willing to refinance a loan weeks ahead of the due date of a $250 million principal payment.

The new loan still has to be approved by Major League Baseball, but with Fred Wilpon’s good friend Bud Selig still in charge, that’s likely to be a formality.

What this means: Wilpon and Katz, who might have been forced to sell the team if the refinancing negotiations went badly, will continue to own the Mets for the foreseeable future.

The payroll will continue to hover around its current range, and Sandy Alderson (or whoever takes over for him if his contract is not extended) will have to continue to look to the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays for a blueprint to possible success. Not ideal, but not quite completely hopeless.

Projecting Juan Lagares

Juan Lagares

Juan Lagares (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Fangraphs has an interesting piece by Jeff Sullivan on what we can expect from Juan Lagares this year. I don’t pretend to understand how all of the fielding stats are calculated, but for once the conclusion doesn’t really require it.

Lagares’ value in 2013 came almost entirely from his defense – his spectacular range and his 15 outfield assists. Common sense says that Lagares is not likely to have as many chances to throw out runners now that the rest of the league knows his arm. So while there is still some value in this deterrent factor, it’s not as great as short-circuiting rallies by turning baserunners into outs.

Sullivan would still play Lagares over Eric Young, though:

Lagares really might not be able to hit enough, because as good as he’s been in the field, he’s been that good for two-thirds of one season. Sure does still seem better than Eric Young, though. And I sure do hope people keep trying to run on him, because as much as I believe in regression to the mean, I’m most fascinated by those who refuse to do it, and we can’t be sure it’ll happen to Juan Lagares until or unless it happens.

Stephen Drew, still unemployed

Stephen Drew (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Stephen Drew (Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr)

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has an update on free agent Stephen Drew, who is still unsigned with less than a week to go before spring training games start.

According to Heyman, the Mets were willing to give Drew approximately $9.5 million for one year. He’s obviously hoping for a better deal after turning down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, but it’s unclear if that’s coming.

While I think it would be reasonable to give Drew a second year – and maybe even an option for a third – it does make more sense for the Mets to take one last look at Ruben Tejada than pay Drew at the level that agent Scott Boras still seeks.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

About Paul

NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector, amateur gardener, Christian. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on February 22, 2014, in Baseball, New York Mets and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Completely agree with playing Lagares over EY on an everyday basis. The D he provides in center-field will make their pitchers that much better, and since this is a team that won’t be leading the league in runs scored anytime soon, run prevention becomes that much more important.
    Not a big fan of Stephen Drew, but if the Mets insist on acting like a small-town team while playing in the largest market in North America, I guess we’ll have to live with Tejada for another year whether we like it or not.

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  2. To say I’m not a big fan of Stephen Drew would be an incredible understatement. I can think of no bigger waste of money than buying into that POS. 3 years? Really? Why do you hate the Mets, Paul? Boston fans don’t want him back. Why should we? You would do almost as well if you put no one out at short. He stinks. And everybody knows it. Save your money for next year when the pickings are much better.

    The Mets have already indicated their intentions for the outfield. They’re going with the best offensive alignment. That means neither Lagares nor, my favorite, den Dekker have a shot of starting…unless they suddenly become Barry Bonds or something. CY and Grandy play everyday. EY gets the first look. Duda gets the second.

    At short, the Mets are talking about giving Flores the job. Again, for offense. As a big believer in “pitching and defense wins championships”, I’m completely opposed to all of this. It’s weird, really. You can’t force offense into a lineup, ignoring everything else. I know Flores started out at short, but all indications are he got too big and slow for the spot. We’ve already sacrificed range at second. I think Flores makes the infield a sieve. I’m still hoping for a trade for Dee Gordon. He’s got no place to play in LA (you don’t really think they’ll going to platoon him at second, do you?). I’d flip one of our pitchers for him in a heartbeat.

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    • I’m in favor of looking at Wilmer Flores at shortstop to find out if he could play there in an emergency in hopes of not wasting a roster spot on Omar Quintanilla or Wilfredo Tovar. I have no expectation he’d look any better there than Kevin Mitchell did.

      But that’s precisely why I’d take Drew on a reasonable contract. (Say, two years/$16-$18 million). The money is not going to be there for Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera or JJ Hardy.

      I really hope that all this talk of Lucas Duda in the outfield is just that – talk. I’m holding a sliver of hope that Alderson is able to unload either Duda or Ike Davis before opening day.

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      • Stephen Drew brings nothing to the table. Nothing. Might as well take $16-18 million and just set it on fire for all the good Drew would do. He’s the modern day Chico Escuela–no hit, no field, occasionally funny. Plus he’s never healthy for a full season. My God, you’d do better to put Duda at short. Mets fans are the only ones talking about Drew and the rest of the league is laughing at us for it. Let him play in Japan or something.

        You have no way of knowing what kind of money the Mets might be willing to spend on a legitimate player like Cabrera or Hardy next year (I’d wager Hanley will stay with the Dodgers; he loves it there). What you do know for certain is we’d have $16-18 million less to spend if we throw it away on garbage like Drew. Wasting that money like that even ties your hands if you can trade for a Tulo or someone. Its not as though you could move Drew at the deadline for prospects, either. He has less value than Marlon Byrd. Think about that. If he wants to come to camp for $100,000, I might think about it. Even then, I’d be reluctant.

        As for Duda… The Mets are committed to putting their best offensive team on the field–at least they say they are. That likely means you’ll be seeing Duda in the outfield. I think there might be some interest in Davis, but I doubt you could get a used toothpick for Duda.

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