The Savvyest, Smaller Moves Executed This MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline

The 2014 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline was arguably the most memorable deadline in recent history. With the likes of David Price, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Yoenis Cespedes, Austin Jackson and many more stars moving around, experts and fans alike were in full swoon mode.

But sometimes when All-Stars are on the move, the brilliant, lesser trades fall through the cracks. In an attempt to pay proper homage to such, below are the five deals from this past deadline that deserve to share a bit of the spotlight with the bigger fish.

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Bartolo Colon: So What’s The Trade Market For a 41-Year-Old Pitcher?

Being six games under .500 and eight-and-a-half games out of first place, the 2014 New York Mets still have a decent chance to not be a bad team this season. Especially if Jenrry Mejia’s recent comments in his SNY.tv interview are indicative of the team’s ambitions, it’s quite possible the second half of 2014 could at least be enjoyable for fans.

But if the organization’s true vision is be competitive in 2015—not this season—then general manager Sandy Alderson has about four days to decide if the Mets will be buyers or sellers at the July 31 trade deadline. And if the latter, Bartolo Colon should be playing elsewhere in August.

Colon has been solid for the Mets in 2014, posting a 4.03 ERA (versus a 3.50 FIP), park-adjusted 87 ERA+ and 5.26 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over 126.2 innings. The right-hander’s 1.3 walks-per-nine-innings ratio also ranks near the league’s finest.

The veteran’s value to pitching-starved, playoff-hungry teams is undeniable. In addition to averaging 6.2 innings-per-start in 2014, the Mets have also displayed a willingness to eat part of the $14.5 million Colon is owed between this year and next, according to NY Daily News’ Andy Martino–making the veteran that much more affordable.

Then again, Colon’s inconceivable durability and success at age 41 in many ways makes his trade value a bit more enigmatic than your average veteran pitcher. In an attempt to evaluate the potential return Colon could net the Mets, below are six summer deals (dating back to 2009) that involved non-ace, veteran starting pitchers.

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The [Mis]treatment of Daniel Murphy

Within the New York Mets’ community, Daniel Murphy is a polarizing figure.

Amongst those who lean on descriptors such as “grinder,” “gamer” and “gritty” to base their opinion of a player, Murphy is a poster child for the banal “how the game should be played” proverb.

After all, the 29-year-old owns a career .291 batting average (and a park-adjusted 109 wRC+) at a position that rarely sees such offensive output. And despite his overzealous—albeit, very poor—antics in the field, Murphy does take his defense seriously.

Yet, for the detractors who prefer to belabor Murphy’s career 6.3 percent walk rate and minus-31 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) at second base, his oft-dirtied jersey isn’t reason enough to peg him as a “core” player.

Regardless of where a fan falls on the #ImWith28 spectrum, however, Murphy’s short-lived future with the team has little to do with his positive or nonexistent skill sets. Instead, the mistreatment of Daniel Murphy—a player that, if he played in a normal environment, would be a notable role player and asset—is yet another unfortunate product and casualty of the Mets’ financial woes. Continue reading

J.J. Hardy: Where Did All His Home Run Power Go?

Over the past three seasons, no shortstop has hit more home runs than J.J. Hardy. In fact, The Baltimore Orioles’ star has even slugged more dingers than Troy Tulowitzki, Asdrubal Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez.

2011-2013 HR
J.J. Hardy 77
Troy Tulowitzki 63
Asdrubal Cabrera 55
Hanley Ramirez 54
Ian Desmond 53
Jhonny Peralta 45
Jimmy Rollins 45

But the very shortstop with a penchant for hitting home runs has yet to connect for one in 2014. Over his first 178 plate appearances, Hardy has posted a stellar .303 batting average, park-adjusted 94 OPS+ and 11 doubles—but zero home runs.

So how is it that despite sporting a high batting average (it’s 43 points above his career rate) and reasonable OBP+ (it’s only two points below his career rate), that Hardy is sitting at zero home runs? Continue reading

Dellin Betances: The Biggest Success Story in the 2014 New York Yankees’ Bullpen

The close of the 2013 season marked the end of a long era of dominant relief pitching in the Bronx. Mariano Rivera, who reigned as the New York Yankees’ closer since 1997, decided to hang up his cleats and infamous cutter—for real, this time.

Luckily for the New York Yankees, however, the team had closer-in-waiting David Robertson in tow. Robertson, 29, owned a 1.91 ERA (versus a 2.31 FIP) and 3.58 strikeouts-to-walks ratio from 2011 to 2013 while setting up for the future Hall of Famer.

As expected, Robertson’s transition to closer in 2014 has been a natural one, tossing a 2.40 ERA (versus a 2.32 FIP), 7.67 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and 11 saves over 15 innings. Yet, even though the right-hander’s dominant performance has put the Yankees at ease, perhaps the rise of Dellin Betances has been the bigger bullpen story in New York this season. Continue reading

Joba Chamberlain is Back, Baby

It feels like Joba Chamberlain has been around forever. And given how many twists and turns his career has taken him through, it’s not a farfetched notion.

But in reality, Chamberlain is just 28 years old. Continue reading

New York Mets: Who Is Going to Crack Their 2015 Rotation?

Going into 2015, the New York Mets will be faced with a unique situation: The team will have far too many starting pitchers.

In addition to Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner returning from Tommy John surgery, the Mets will also sport at least two additional major league-ready pitching prospects in Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. And if you’re a believer in Jacob deGrom as a starter, he would bump that number up to three.

With the likes of current rotation mates Zack Wheeler, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and, to a lesser extent, Jenrry Mejia, all under contract next season, the Mets will possess 10 very viable starting pitchers for just five rotation slots in 2015.

Assuming the Mets front office will look to improve the team’s collective park-adjusted 88 wRC+ for next season, dealing at least one of their starting pitchers only makes sense.

Below details the likelihood of each pitcher’s chances of locking up a 2015 rotation spot, getting relegated to bullpen duties or possibly being shipped elsewhere. Continue reading