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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Were the Mets (Fred Wilpon) Right to Get Todd Frazier Instead of Jason Kipnis?

It was a business decision, but it might have been a good baseball decision, surprisingly enough.

goodfundies Posted: February 13, 2018 at 12:31 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, mets

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 13, 2018 at 12:58 AM (#5624003)
The most "shocking" thing in that article for me was learning that Frazier and Kipnis debuted in the same season and Frazier is just one year older. My rotting brain still thinks of Kipnis as "young and new" and Frazier as "been around forever ... OK, not forever but for a while."
   2. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: February 13, 2018 at 02:39 AM (#5624014)
The Frazier contract is so unbelievably good that even if Kipnis hadn't cratered in 2017, one would probably prefer Frazier. Kipnis' contract isn't terrible, but Frazier's is just that unbelievably good. The fact that there are some real question marks about whether Kipnis can/will rebound in 2018 make the choice of Frazier a no-brainer.
   3. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5624063)
The most "shocking" thing in that article for me was learning that Frazier and Kipnis debuted in the same season and Frazier is just one year older. My rotting brain still thinks of Kipnis as "young and new" and Frazier as "been around forever ... OK, not forever but for a while."
Plus Frazier had the "late bloomer" tag.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:21 AM (#5624066)
Is this a trick question? Why wouldn't you pay half as much for the guy who was actually really good in 2017, rather than the guy who stank, and was hurt?
   5. Adam Starblind Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5624073)
When I saw the first half of the title, I thought it was going to say "Instead of Mike Moustakas." I think the answer is still yes, but the Kipnis question is ridiculous.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5624091)
The author's writing style hurts my eyes.
   7. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: February 13, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5624131)
Is this a trick question? Why wouldn't you pay half as much for the guy who was actually really good in 2017, rather than the guy who stank, and was hurt?


It's a bold strategy but it could work. Maybe players who don't stink and aren't hurt are the new market inefficiency.
   8. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5624166)
FWIW, the reactions on Twitter to the Mets dealing Reynolds to the Nats are peak Met fan freakout--everyone's convinced he's about to go Murphy on the league once he sets foot on the field in DC.

All things being equal (same salary, free agent, etc), I could see a case for Kipnis over Frazier: Kipnis plays 2B, the Mets had the bigger need there, with Cabrera and Flores suited decently well for 3B, and Kipnis is younger and has been the more well-rounded player overall (I know Frazier walked a ton last year, but his career OB% is .320). They look to be a little logjammed in the infield now, and IMO Flores deserves to play over Cabrera, but probably won't. This stuff has a way of working itself out though. Waiting for our annual "David Wright will be back" article, which will make the waters look muddier until he gets knocked out again and has to give up on rehab.
   9. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 13, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5624321)
The Mets would have also had to trade for Kipnis. Sewald (according to the article), a reliever. Not that he is that much, but he is a bullpen arm.
   10. salvomania Posted: February 13, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5624324)
I don't get it... Kipnis isn't a FA, so why compare the potential of his acquisition (which would require a trade) to that of Frazier?
   11. Walt Davis Posted: February 13, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5624395)
#5: The article is motivated by a report that back in Nov/Dec, the Mets had a trade in place for Kipnis that got nixed by Wilpon. The real question the article is motivated by is "holy crap, did Fred actually get one right?"

#8: According to the article, Cabrera told the Mets he prefers 2B ... not that Asdrubal is the sort of player a team should cater to. Also if there are any Wright articles, I'm pretty sure they will speculate about him at 1B now.
   12. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 13, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5624493)
One sneaky area that the Mets could be a lot better is defense. They were one of the worst defenses, if not worst, in baseball last year. Frazier should help improve that area quite a bit.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5624513)
One sneaky area that the Mets could be a lot better is defense. They were one of the worst defenses, if not worst, in baseball last year. Frazier should help improve that area quite a bit.

This is a good point. The combination of the Mets 3B last year looks to have been around -10 per UZR. On defense alone Frazier could easily improve that by 1.5 wins.
   14. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 13, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5624539)
This is a great signing and I'm kind of furious the Red Sox wasted money on Moreland when they could have signed Frazier and plunked him over at 1B or 3B and moved Devers over to 1B and just made it work with Frazier, Devers and Hanley rotating through 3B(well not Hanley), 1B and DH.

I like it when the Mets are good. There is something nice about baseball when both NY teams are competitive even though my deep loathing of the other NY team will continue until my last breath.
   15. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 13, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5624557)
Asdrubal Cabrera was terrible by UZR at SS but rated favorably last at 2b. If Dominic Smith or whomever they end up playing at 1st is OK, their infield defense should be significantly better. Rosario looks like a big upgrade for the Mets defensively.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: February 13, 2018 at 07:03 PM (#5624606)
There is something nice about baseball when both NY teams are competitive

Only that, unless they actually meet in the Series, the mathematical function determining the level of Yanks' press coverage is minimized when the Mets are good. That is the only positive aspect of Mets' success.
   17. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2018 at 08:45 PM (#5624638)
They are apparently going to give Flores some time in the OF this spring--which does not seem like it will end well. And I say that as the site's biggest Flores booster.

What I don't get about Flores: they seem determined to find a way to push him to the bench. He hit .271/.307/.488 as a 26 year-old, with his previously-extreme platoon splits normalizing a bit (.262/.306/.459 vs rhp, .291/.309/.553 vs lhp; 2016 he was worthless against RHP at .232/.289/.353 and killed lhp at .340/.383/.710). Obviously that's not a dude you clear 1B for, but as a 2B that would play just fine. I dunno, it just seems like this is the type of player you develop so that you don't have to pay someone else for his production, and hope he takes a step forward into something more...but the Mets are burying him on the bench.
   18. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: February 13, 2018 at 08:54 PM (#5624639)
The Mets are paying like 50 cents on the dollar for Frazier. I actually only realized yesterday that they're paying him $17M for the whole contract, not per season. It would still be a reasonable contract at twice the price, and they didn't have to give anything up to get him.
   19. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:20 PM (#5624645)
The Mets don't see Flores as anything but a bench player. They have never wasted an opportunity to give someone else a starting job.
   20. Howie Menckel Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:21 PM (#5624647)
Frazier is a Jersey Shore guy (and key to a Toms River Little League World Series title back in the day) and he absolutely loved playing for the Yankees last year. he seems to be a guy who loves the market, and is not likely to be bitter about his contract.

it may have been luck as much as anything - but the Mets did well, it seems.

of course, now there are reports that the Mets may bat him leadoff (I am NOT kidding), which may not end well. but he'll be popular as a "gritty" guy.

ironically, Flores is beloved by Mets fans for crying in the dugout when he learned mid-game a few years ago that he was traded to the Brewers (only for the trade to fall through at the last second). Flores had signed with the Mets at age 16 and never wants to play anywhere else - and that particularly resonated with Mets fans too young to remember 1986 (much less 1969).
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:43 PM (#5624654)
They are apparently going to give Flores some time in the OF this spring--which does not seem like it will end well. And I say that as the site's biggest Flores booster.

What I don't get about Flores: they seem determined to find a way to push him to the bench. He hit .271/.307/.488 as a 26 year-old, with his previously-extreme platoon splits normalizing a bit (.262/.306/.459 vs rhp, .291/.309/.553 vs lhp; 2016 he was worthless against RHP at .232/.289/.353 and killed lhp at .340/.383/.710). Obviously that's not a dude you clear 1B for, but as a 2B that would play just fine. I dunno, it just seems like this is the type of player you develop so that you don't have to pay someone else for his production, and hope he takes a step forward into something more...but the Mets are burying him on the bench.


All he has to do is beat out Asdrubel Cabrera. If he's a real major league hitter, he should be able to do that.

Odds are, he's just a platoon player. His history vs RHP is not encouraging (87 wRC+ career).
   22. formerly dp Posted: February 14, 2018 at 06:13 AM (#5624699)
The Mets don't see Flores as anything but a bench player. They have never wasted an opportunity to give someone else a starting job.
This isn't quite right. They've given him the starting gig at SS in the past. The problem is that he's essentially going to be a defensive liability wherever he plays, unless it's 1B--and his bat doesn't play there.

All he has to do is beat out Asdrubel Cabrera. If he's a real major league hitter, he should be able to do that.

Odds are, he's just a platoon player. His history vs RHP is not encouraging (87 wRC+ career).
I dunno. Guys develop slowly sometimes, especially when they're being pushed all around the diamond, shuttled back and forth between the majors, etc. He's at the point where he's about to become too expensive for a bench player. Cabrera was actually pretty decent with the bat last year, so I don't think there's a clear case for playing Flores ahead of him, esp when you factor in veteran-ness and defense. But I'm not at a place where I'm ready to declare a 32 year-old declining Todd Fraizer the better hitter. His 2017 only looks decent bc he had a ridiculously high walk rate against RHP that looks anomalous in comparison to his career numbers.

Again, happy they got him, especially for Lagares money, but it seems weird to be this high on Frazier and this low on Flores, given that Frazier himself bloomed a bit on the late side. Raw numbers at the same age are actually pretty close--and if we're writing Wilmer off forever as a platoon player, it's worth noting that Frazier didn't make the majors until age 25, and didn't have his first full season's worth of ABs until he was 26--when he posted a .273/.331/.498 line similar to Flores's .271/.307/.488. Differences in context, etc. But Frazier had a down year at 27 (.234/.314/.407) before becoming TODD FRAZIER for real at 28.
   23. Stormy JE Posted: February 14, 2018 at 06:18 AM (#5624700)
The author's writing style hurts my eyes.
Maybe, but one may go blind attempting to read Peter Gammons sans editor.
   24. Stormy JE Posted: February 14, 2018 at 06:24 AM (#5624701)
This isn't quite right. They've given him the starting gig at SS in the past. The problem is that he's essentially going to be a defensive liability wherever he plays, unless it's 1B--and his bat doesn't play there.
With all of the defensive shifting, having a subpar infielder at 2B needn't be such a big deal, particularly if SS and 3B are able defenders.
   25. Adam Starblind Posted: February 14, 2018 at 07:11 AM (#5624706)

ironically, Flores is beloved by Mets fans for crying in the dugout when he learned mid-game a few years ago that he was traded to the Brewers (only for the trade to fall through at the last second).


It was even better than that -- he cried on the field. Then about 2 days later he hit a walkoff home run against the Nats as the Mets were starting to look serious about winning the division.
   26. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: February 14, 2018 at 09:04 AM (#5624756)
Wilmer the person is an awesome Met who truly bleeds the Orange and Blue. Wilmer the baseball player mashes lefties but bleeds runs all over the defensive side of the field.

It was even better than that -- he cried on the field. Then about 2 days later he hit a walkoff home run against the Nats as the Mets were starting to look serious about winning the division.


This was one of my Top 10 moments in Mets history. I remember something like 2 days later beating the Nats 5-2 behind a stellar Syndergaard performance that culminated in him blowing away Bryce Harper with a runner in scoring position. Crazy season!
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 14, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5624763)
But I'm not at a place where I'm ready to declare a 32 year-old declining Todd Fraizer the better hitter. His 2017 only looks decent bc he had a ridiculously high walk rate against RHP that looks anomalous in comparison to his career numbers.

Frazier doesn't have to be a better hitter than Flore. He's 15 runs better with the glove.

Asdrubel Cabrera is a ~110 wRC+ hitter. Flores has to be a much better hitter than that to have real value, since has basically no defensive value.

Either Flores has gotten better vs RHP and is a 120 wRC+ hitter, in which case he'll take Cabrera's job, or, you don't really need to worry about his PT.
   28. formerly dp Posted: February 15, 2018 at 08:49 AM (#5625356)
Frazier doesn't have to be a better hitter than Flore. He's 15 runs better with the glove.
I'm happy to have him at this price (which I don't think I can repeat any more). But he's far from a sure thing. And Flores can only show he's a 120 wRC+ hitter if he gets playing time. *Right now* he's blocked by vets everywhere except the short side of a 1B platoon. Again, Todd Frazier was in a similar situation at a similar age, without having nearly as much success with the bat as Flores did in the upper minors. Frazier had the advantage of being a solid defender...but he also had the advantage of staying at one position for an extended period of time (except for a brief stint at 2B iirc).

I'm definitely optimistic about this season based on the new infield defense, and with Lagares in CF early on (rumors of a Lagares for Panik deal, which makes no sense), the OF defense could be solid. It'll be interesting to see how well Reyes plays in CF, if they end up giving him time there--he's sort of a last resort at the moment, but Lagares and Nimmo both have checkered histories in terms of their health.
   29. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: February 15, 2018 at 12:22 PM (#5625509)
It was even better than that -- he cried on the field. Then about 2 days later he hit a walkoff home run against the Nats as the Mets were starting to look serious about winning the division.


That shot started them off on doing just that. Having just come off a disastrous series, losing 2-of-3 to the Padres -- the last blowing a 7-1 6th inning lead in a monsoon -- and awaiting the arrival of Yoenis Cespedes, Flores's walk-off is what propelled the Mets to a sweep of the Nats that weekend. They were never out of first place after Sunday, August 2.
   30. Adam Starblind Posted: February 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5625534)
It was such an awesome baseball moment. Here's the video.
   31. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: February 15, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5625546)
It was such an awesome baseball moment. Here's the video.


Darling called the shot...
   32. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: February 15, 2018 at 01:25 PM (#5625552)
And welcome home, Matt den Dekker!
   33. Lassus Posted: February 15, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5625587)
I guess warm bodies are still required:
He has hit .234/.316/.354 with seven HR in 158 games during his five-year career.
   34. Adam Starblind Posted: February 16, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5626026)
They signed Jason Vargas. 2 years. Don't know the dollars. 3.8 WAR last year, but a brutal second half.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 16, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5626031)
They signed Jason Vargas. 2 years. Don't know the dollars. 3.8 WAR last year, but a brutal second half.

Quite a gap between results and peripherals. fWAR was only 1.6.

Though he was mostly beat up by LHB last year, which could be a fluke. Give him a normal split, and he would have been quite good.

Edit: $16M guaranteed per MLBTR. Option for a 3rd year.
   36. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 16, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5626035)
Is this 2007? What is Moises Alou doing these days?

I am not sure how I feel about this even if the money is cheap. He should be better than Montero, Harvey has had one good year since 2014, etc...

But even in a good year, Vargas averaged 5.5 innings per start last year and has his own health/durability issues.

I have liked Vargas and rooted for him so I am OK with it but would have loved to see the Mets go for gold and sign a Darvish or Arrieta and have an awesome front 3.
   37. formerly dp Posted: February 16, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5626075)
Without looking, I'd prob prefer Cashner or Garcia at this price. Urg. Vargas will be awful *and* they'll feel compelled to stick with him.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 16, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5626085)
Without looking, I'd prob prefer Cashner or Garcia at this price. Urg. Vargas will be awful *and* they'll feel compelled to stick with him.

Vargas 179.2 IP, 4.67 FIP, 4.94 xFIP, Zips 102 ERA-. 1.3 zWAR, 1.1 Steamer WAR
Cashner 166.2 IP, 4.61 FIP, 5.30 xFIP, Zips 107 ERA-, 1.2 zWAR, 0.6 Steamer WAR
Garcia 157 IP, 4.25 FIP, 4.18 xFIP, Zips 107 ERA-, 1.1 zWAR, 1.4 Steamer WAR

I think Garcia is the best, with Vargas a bit behind, and Cashner a distant 3rd.
   39. Adam Starblind Posted: February 16, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5626166)
Garcia was already off the board. 1 year at either 8 or 10mm, depending on the source, for Toronto.
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 16, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5626178)
Garcia was already off the board. 1 year at either 8 or 10mm, depending on the source, for Toronto.

Right, but they's all signed in the last few days. Presumably, the Vargas deal would have landed Garcia.
   41. Adam Starblind Posted: February 16, 2018 at 02:56 PM (#5626187)
Unless Garcia ain't goin to no Mets.
   42. Howie Menckel Posted: February 16, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5626192)
per 36, Vargas indeed had 2 starts for the Mets in 2007 - 5 ER in 6 IP in May, and 9 ER in 3.1 IP in July. he didn't get back to the bigs til May 2009, with Seattle.

and per that comment, Vargas' birthday IS Groundhog Day, no kidding
   43. formerly dp Posted: February 16, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5626294)
#38: OK, wasn't too bad with a wag. Yeah that was my assumption: with these chips just now falling, the Mets could have had any of the three. This seems weird though bc Vargas isn't an innings-eater and Gsellman or Lugo or Matz will probably get you 9/10 of the way to Vargas, plus some upside fur better.
   44. Adam Starblind Posted: February 17, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5626382)
Gsellman was pretty terrible last year, and Lugo's high for IP was 136 in the minors. It was smart to get another starter, but Vargas instead of Arrieta or Darvish is quintessential Mets aggravation (throw in the Bruce signing for added context).
   45. formerly dp Posted: February 17, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5626383)
Yeah I'd blocked out how terrible the pitching was in 2017. Gsellman and Montero were basically tied for second on the team with 119--and Montero had a 1.75 whip. They really need 2015-2016 Colon back. My concern with Vargas is he'll essentially be a repeat of what we got last year: shirt starts and a burned out bullpen.
   46. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 17, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5626384)
The hope with signing Vargas is that you have another guy who won't be terrible. Statistically, he has been solid as he looks to be a guy who will give you an ERA+ around 90-100 but the stuff is marginal.

I personally have given up on Montero but still believe in Gsellman but it doesn't sound like a lot of other people do.
   47. formerly dp Posted: February 17, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5626434)
Gsellman's too young to give up on IMO. Had it in my head that Montero was up and down last year, but really it was just a few starts where he was "good" only by Montero standards. Even his 8.1 shutout innings vs the Reds, he walked 4 and gave up 3 hits. He's about to be 27, so it isn't like we can expect some sort of step forward. Too bad, at one point I thought he had sneaky potential to slide under the hype radar of Wheeler, Matz, Harvey, et al.
   48. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 17, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5626445)
Montero's peripherals as a starter weren't terrible:

4.22 FIP, 95.2 IP, 8.4 k/9, 0.85 HR/9 are all respectable to good but he gave up 48 walks and 5 HBP and also had a .358 BABIP.

One could squint and see reasons for optimism but I feel his fastball is too straight and he walks too many batters to be a solid starter. He has been awful as a reliever. He just seems like a AAAA guy to me.
   49. formerly dp Posted: February 17, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5626460)
I mean, that's not a guy without value, as long as you're not counting on him to be your #5 starter. Hopefully the Mets have enough depth that they can avoid a Tommy Milone situation in 2018.
   50. Adam Starblind Posted: February 17, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5626476)
I thought he had sneaky potential to slide under the hype radar of Wheeler, Matz, Harvey, et al.


He was highly touted in 2012-2013 seasons; he was outstanding at multiple levels; even managed to be excellent at Las Vegas. Before the 2014 season, Sickels had him as the Mets' #3 prospect behind Syndergaard and d'Arnaud, ahead of deGrom and Matz. His strikeout numbers were good (8 or so/IP) with excellent control--and his control simply disappeared when he got to the majors and never returned no matter where he was pitching.

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