Report: Japan club to offer Dice-K big deal

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
8:55
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Daisuke Matsuzaka at the end of the season left open the possibility of returning to Japan, saying his priority is to return to a starting rotation.

Well, Matsuzaka appears as though he will have a lucrative opportunity to do so. The Pacific League champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks are planning to offer Matsuzaka a four-year deal to return to his native country, Sports Hochi reports.

The offer reportedly would be worth roughly $3.58 million ($400 million yen) annually.

Bobby Abreu and Matsuzaka are the Mets' only two free agents.

Matsuzaka, 34, went 3-3 with a 3.89 ERA with one save in 34 appearances (nine starts) for the Mets in 2014.

"I want to start," Matsuzaka told ESPNNewYork.com through an intrepreter on the final day of the regular season. "But I haven't really put too much thought into whether it's going to be here or there anything. At this point I just want to start."

Lagares gets Fielding Bible Award

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
4:19
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NEW YORK -- Juan Lagares has been named the top defensive center fielder in the majors for the 2014 season by The Fielding Bible Awards.

“In 2013, Juan Lagares started only 88 games in center field, yet he saved 26 runs there defensively for the Mets," said John Dewan, owner of Baseball Info Solutions. "He finished second in the 2013 Fielding Bible Award voting. This year he started 105 games, blew away the field with another 28 runs saved, and won his first Fielding Bible Award.

"His throwing arm in center field is superb and deeply respected by baserunners; he had six Outfield Arm Runs Saved in 2014. But it's his ability to cover ground that sets him above the rest. He saved 20 more bases on deep balls than an average center fielder (+20 Plus/Minus), the highest total among all center fielders. This is true despite the fact that, generally speaking, he plays on the shallow side. He had a +11 total on shallow balls, second best among center fielders. His +9 on medium hit balls was fourth best. Lagares finished first on every ballot except one.”


The Gold Glove Awards will be announced on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Winter shopping list: Free agents

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:29
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Here is a list of the 121 major league free agents, as provided by the Players' Association. An additional 32 may become eligible once their team and/or player options or other provisions are resolved.

Teams may begin bidding on free agents on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

1. Emilio Bonifacio ATL
2. Ryan Doumit ATL
3. Gavin Floyd ATL
4. Aaron Harang ATL
5. Gerald Laird ATL
6. Ervin Santana ATL
7. Alexi Casilla BAL
8. Nelson Cruz BAL
9. Kelly Johnson BAL
10. Andrew Miller BAL
11. Johan Santana BAL
12. Joe Saunders BAL
13. Delmon Young BAL
14. Burke Badenhop BOS
15. Ryan Dempster BOS
16. David Ross BOS
17. Koji Uehara BOS
18. Carlos Villanueva CC
19. Jack Hannahan CIN
20. Ryan Ludwick CIN
21. Ramon Santiago CIN
22. Jason Giambi CLE
23. Matt Belisle COL
24. Michael Cuddyer COL
25. Nick Masset COL
26. Franklin Morales COL
27. Paul Konerko CWS
28. Matt Lindstrom CWS
29. Joba Chamberlain DET
30. Phil Coke DET
31. Joel Hanrahan DET
32. Torii Hunter DET
33. Jim Johnson DET
34. Victor Martinez DET
35. Max Scherzer DET
36. Matt Albers HOU
37. Jesse Crain HOU
38. Jose Veras HOU
39. Norichika Aoki KC
40. Scott Downs KC
41. Jason Frasor KC
42. Luke Hochevar KC
43. Raul Ibanez KC
44. James Shields KC
45. Josh Willingham KC
46. Jason Grilli LAA
47. John McDonald LAA
48. Joe Thatcher LAA
49. Josh Beckett LAD
50. Kevin Correia LAD
51. Roberto Hernandez LAD
52. Paul Maholm LAD
53. Chris Perez LAD
54. Hanley Ramirez LAD
55. Jamey Wright LAD
56. Rafael Furcal MIA
57. Kevin Gregg MIA
58. Reed Johnson MIA
59. Brad Penny MIA
60. Zach Duke MIL
61. Tom Gorzelanny MIL
62. Lyle Overbay MIL
63. Mark Reynolds MIL
64. Francisco Rodriguez MIL
65. Jared Burton MIN
66. Bobby Abreu NYM
67. Daisuke Matsuzaka NYM
68. Chris Capuano NYY
69. Stephen Drew NYY
70. Chase Headley NYY
71. Rich Hill NYY
72. Derek Jeter NYY
73. Hiroki Kuroda NYY
74. Brandon McCarthy NYY
75. David Robertson NYY
76. Ichiro Suzuki NYY
77. Chris Young NYY
78. Alberto Callaspo OAK
79. Jonny Gomes OAK
80. Luke Gregerson OAK
81. Jason Hammel OAK
82. Jon Lester OAK
83. Jed Lowrie OAK
84. Hiroyuki Nakajima OAK
85. Geovany Soto OAK
86. Mike Adams PHL
87. Kyle Kendrick PHL
88. Wil Nieves PHL
89. Clint Barmes PIT
90. Francisco Liriano PIT
91. Russell Martin PIT
92. Edinson Volquez PIT
93. Tim Stauffer SD
94. Joe Beimel SEA
95. Endy Chavez SEA
96. Chris Denorfia s SEA
97. Franklin Gutierrez SEA
98. Kendrys Morales SEA
99. Humberto Quintero SEA
100. Chris Young SEA
101. Michael Morse SF
102. Jake Peavy SF
103. Sergio Romo SF
104. Pablo Sandoval SF
105. Ryan Vogelsong SF
106. Mark Ellis STL
107. Justin Masterson STL
108. Jason Motte STL
109. Pat Neshek STL
110. A.J. Pierzynski STL
111. Scott Baker TEX
112. Neal Cotts TEX
113. Colby Lewis TEX
114. Alex Rios TEX
115. Melky Cabrera TOR
116. Casey Janssen TOR
117. Munenori Kawasaki TOR
118. Colby Rasmus TOR
119. Asdrubal Cabrera WAS
120. Scott Hairston WAS
121. Nate Schierholtz WAS

Hodges on vet committee's Hall ballot

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:09
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NEW YORK -- Former Mets manager Gil Hodges, who led the team to the '69 title, again appears on the veterans committee's Hall of Fame ballot and will have a chance at election. Here is the announcement from the Hall of Fame:

Nine former major league players and one former executive comprise the 10-name Golden Era ballot to be reviewed and voted upon Dec. 8 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today.

Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills are the candidates for Golden Era Committee consideration for Hall of Fame election for the Class of 2015. Howsam is included for his contributions as an executive, while the other nine are inclusions for their on-field careers. Allen, Kaat, Minoso, Oliva, Pierce, Tiant and Wills are living; all other candidates are deceased.

Any candidate to receive votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member Golden Era Committee will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 26, 2015, along with any electees who emerge from the 2015 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced on Jan. 6, 2015.

The 10 Golden Era finalists were selected by the BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee from all eligible candidates among Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players whose most significant career impact was realized during the 1947-72 time period. Eligible candidates include: Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 21 or more seasons; and Managers, Umpires and Executives with 10 or more years in baseball.

Allen, Howsam, Pierce and Wills are new additions for consideration by the Golden Era Committee, which elected Ron Santo in December 2011, the last time the Golden Era Ballot was considered. Buzzie Bavasi, Charlie Finley and Allie Reynolds were previously considered for election in the fall of 2011 but did not return to the 2015 Golden Era ballot.

The Golden Era ballot was determined this fall by the Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran historians: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (New York Daily News); Ken Nigro, (formerly Baltimore Sun); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Tracy Ringolsby (FSN Rocky Mountain); Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle); Claire Smith (ESPN); and Mark Whicker (Orange County Register).

The 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with the review of the Golden Era ballot features Hall of Fame members Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Pat Gillick, Ferguson Jenkins, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton; major league executives Jim Frey (retired), David Glass (Royals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), and Bob Watson (retired); along with veteran media members Steve Hirdt, Dick Kaegel, Phil Pepe and Tracy Ringolsby. The Golden Era electorate will meet to discuss and review the candidacies of the 10 finalists as part of baseball’s Winter Meetings, Dec. 7-8 in San Diego.

The 10 candidates for Golden Era consideration for the Class of 2015:
  • Dick Allen played 15 seasons from 1963-77 for five teams, spending nine seasons with the Phillies, compiling 351 home runs, 1,119 RBI and a .292 career average. Was named the 1972 AL Most Valuable Player and the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, with seven career All-Star selections.
  • Ken Boyer played 15 seasons as a third baseman with the Cardinals, Mets, White Sox and Dodgers, earning seven All-Star Game selections and winning the 1964 National League Most Valuable Player Award en route to leading the Cardinals to a World Series championship.
  • Gil Hodges was named to eight All-Star Games in an 18-year big league career as a first baseman with the Dodgers and Mets, winning three Gold Glove Awards and leading the Dodgers to seven National League pennants and two World Series titles. As a manager, Hodges led the 1969 Miracle Mets to the World Series title.
  • Bob Howsam was the architect of the Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds Championship teams, serving as General Manager from 1967-77. From 1947-62, Howsam led the minor-league Denver Bears and was a founder of the Continental League, making the push for baseball’s expansion into Colorado.
  • Jim Kaat pitched 25 seasons with the Senators, Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, winning 283 games over the course of four different decades. Kaat was named to three All-Star Games and helped the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series.
  • Minnie Minoso played 17 seasons with the Indians, White Sox, Cardinals and Senators, earning seven All-Star Game selections and three Gold Glove Awards as an outfielder. A native of Cuba, he blazed a trail for Latin American players in the big leagues starting in the 1950s.
  • Tony Oliva played 15 seasons for the Twins, winning three batting titles and leading the American League in hits five times. He was named to eight All-Star Games and won the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year Award.
  • Billy Pierce complied a 211-169 record with a 3.27 ERA in 18 seasons, 13 with the Chicago White Sox. A seven-time All-Star, he led the league in complete games three straight seasons, totaling 193 overall. Posted lowest ERA in the A.L. in 1955 (1.97).
  • Luis Tiant won at least 20 games in four of his 19 big league seasons with the Indians, Twins, Red Sox, Yankees, Pirates and Angels, finishing his career with 229 wins and a 3.30 ERA while earning three All-Star Game selections. He won two American League ERA titles and led the league in shutouts three times.
  • Maury Wills played 14 seasons from 1959-1972, 12 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a .281 lifetime average and 586 career stolen bases. The 1962 N.L. MVP was a seven-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.

More information on each candidate is available by visiting www.baseballhall.org.

Ron Santo was elected by the Golden Era Committee in 2011, receiving 15 of 16 votes to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Other voting results from the 2011 election: Jim Kaat (10 votes, 62.5%); Gil Hodges (9 votes, 56.25%); Minnie Minoso (9 votes, 56.25%); Tony Oliva (8 votes, 50%); Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant each received less than three votes.

The 2011 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Billy Williams; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O’Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

About the Era Committees

The Golden Era Committee is the second of a three-year cycle of consideration for Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players by Era, as opposed to the previous consideration by classification, with changes approved and announced by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors in 2010. The 2014 meeting will mark the second time candidates from the Golden Era have been considered by a committee system. Both the ballot and electorate are created anew with each cycle for consideration.

The Era Committees maintain the high standards for earning election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with focus on three time periods: Expansion (1973-present); Golden (1947-1972) and Pre-Integration (1871-1946), as opposed to the previous four Committees on Baseball Veterans, which considered the four categories of candidates. Three separate electorates consider by eras a single composite ballot of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players on an annual basis, with Pre-Integration Era Committee candidates to be considered at the 2015 Winter Meetings for Induction in 2016 and the Expansion Era Committee candidates to be considered again at the 2016 Winter Meetings for Induction in 2017. The Golden Era Committee will next meet at the 2017 Winter Meetings for Induction in 2018.

Candidates remain eligible in perpetuity through the Era Committee process, with new ballots constructed by the Historical Overview Committee the fall prior to each election.

Mets, Yanks long shots for '15 title

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:04
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Bovada released 2015 World Series odds. The Mets and Yankees are not exactly favorites.

Los Angeles Dodgers 15/2
Washington Nationals 15/2
Detroit Tigers 10/1
Los Angeles Angels 10/1
San Francisco Giants 12/1
St. Louis Cardinals 12/1
Kansas City Royals 16/1
Seattle Mariners 18/1
Baltimore Orioles 20/1
Oakland Athletics 20/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 20/1
Atlanta Braves 22/1
Boston Red Sox 22/1
New York Yankees 22/1
Cleveland Indians 25/1
Cincinnati Reds 33/1
Tampa Bay Rays 33/1
Texas Rangers 33/1
Toronto Blue Jays 33/1
Chicago White Sox 40/1
Milwaukee Brewers 40/1
New York Mets 40/1
Chicago Cubs 50/1
Miami Marlins 50/1
San Diego Padres 66/1
Philadelphia Phillies 75/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 100/1
Colorado Rockies 100/1
Houston Astros 100/1
Minnesota Twins 100/1

Salary projection: Jenrry Mejia

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
12:00
PM ET

Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsFill-in closer Jenrry Mejia is projected to earn $2.5 million in 2015.



Pace Law School in White Plains won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in 2013 in New Orleans. This week, Dan Masi (Pace ’14) and Jesse Kantor (Pace ’15) offer their salary projections for the Mets’ arbitration-eligible players, including detailed analyses for Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team is using the same methods agents and team officials employ.

On Day 4, here is an analysis of Mejia's projected 2015 salary.

Introduction

Jenrry Mejia began the 2014 season in the rotation and finished it as the closer, a move that significantly increased his value entering his first year of arbitration eligibility. While his foray into starting pitching yielded mixed results, Mejia excelled once veteran fill-ins flopped and he received the opportunity to replace injured Bobby Parnell as closer.

As a reliever, Mejia had 28 saves and a 2.72 ERA. While his overall numbers are not eye-popping, Mejia showed glimpses of brilliance that should allow him to challenge Parnell for the closer role in 2015.

The Case for the New York Mets

The Mets will argue that Mejia is a one-year closer and should not be paid the same as a player who has spent more of his career in the role. While he converted 28 saves in his platform season (19th in MLB), those were the only saves he has earned in his career.

Mejia also has peripheral numbers that suggest he received a bit of luck and does not possess the “stuff” of a traditional closer. His 1.48 WHIP overall (1.42 as reliever) shows he allows too many baserunners and places the team in danger of blowing the lead every outing.

A history of injuries, a lack of career saves and his mediocre numbers in his platform year should keep Mejia’s 2015 salary below that of other deserving closers in previous years.

The Case for Jenrry Mejia

Mejia will argue that he filled in admirably at closer, finishing with six more saves than Parnell the year before. Further, his overall stats should be discounted since he was more effective upon moving to the bullpen. His 2.72 ERA as a reliever was the 11th best in MLB of all closers with at least 20 saves -- better than All-Stars Sean Doolittle, Fernando Rodney and Francisco Rodriguez.

Mejia also will argue that it is not his fault his career saves are low. Mejia proved in his breakout campaign that he has the ability to be dominant and efficient, as evidenced by his 9.4 K/9 ratio and his 90.3 save percentage (sixth in NL).

Comparable Players

Mark Melancon -- 2013 -- Salary: $2.595M

Mark Melancon turned in one of the more impressive relief pitching campaigns in 2013. As a setup man who was thrust into the closer role after an injury to Jason Grilli, Melancon recorded a superb 1.39 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 16 saves while also being voted an NL All-Star. In addition to the saves, Melancon was credited with 26 holds.

Although Melancon had 12 fewer saves than Mejia in their respective platform seasons, he had nine more career saves to that point, with a much lower ERA and WHIP. Like Mejia, Melancon was not considered the true closer for the majority of his early career, but when given the job Melancon outperformed Mejia statistically. Even with more platform-year saves, Mejia had fewer career saves and worse rate stats and should be paid less than the $2.595 million Melancon received in 2013.

Chris Perez -- 2010 -- Salary: $2.35M

Although an older comp, Chris Perez is helpful. Though he recorded five fewer platform-year saves, Perez pitched in with nine holds, and he recorded an ERA that was more than a run lower than even Mejia’s 2.72 as a reliever. Perez also proved to be the more dominant closer over their respective careers, holding the role for a longer period of time, finishing with 32 saves and was much more difficult to hit based on his lower ERA, WHIP and BAA. Because Perez received his $2.35 million salary in 2010, Mejia may be able to receive slightly above this amount due to the comparison being older.

Predicted Result

2013 proved to be very helpful in our analysis of Mejia’s market because several high-profile closers entered arbitration at the same time. Using the salaries given to both Aroldis Chapman of the Reds ($5 million) and Greg Holland of the Royals ($4.675 million), we deduced that while a strong platform year is helpful, career numbers can help tip the scales in a player’s favor. Chapman, with 11 fewer platform-year saves and an ERA 1.32 worse than Holland, was awarded a salary $325,000 higher. Holland was clearly the more dominant closer during their respective platform years. However, Chapman recorded 10 more saves and a near identical ERA over their careers.

Using this comparable-player-salary analysis, Mejia should be paid less than Melancon despite 12 more platform-year saves because Melancon was clearly the more dominant pitcher over their respective platform years and careers. With an ERA as a reliever that was double that of Melancon and a WHIP 0.52 higher, Mejia benefited from receiving the closer role earlier in the season and capitalized to obtain more saves.

Based on this information, we predict Jenrry Mejia will receive a salary of $2.5 million for the 2015.

Salary projection: Dillon Gee

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29
12:00
PM ET

Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesOpening Day starter Dillon Gee is projected to earn $4.99 million in 2015.



Pace Law School in White Plains won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in 2013 in New Orleans. This week, Dan Masi (Pace ’14) and Jesse Kantor (Pace ’15) offer their salary projections for the Mets’ arbitration-eligible players, including detailed analyses for Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team is using the same methods agents and team officials employ.

On Day 3, here is an analysis of Gee's projected 2015 salary.

Introduction

Dillon Gee started on Opening Day this past season and seemed poised to improve on his 2013 performance. However, his campaign was plagued by a strained right lat muscle, which caused him to miss two months during the middle of the season. The injury limited Gee to only 137.1 innings and will likely impact his 2015 salary.

Prior to the setback, Gee was cruising for the Mets, recording a 3-1 record and 2.73 ERA. Three-quarters of his outings resulted in a Quality Start (QS). After returning from injury on July 9, his ERA the remainder of the season ballooned to 4.78, he posted a 4-7 record and a QS rate of only 36 percent.

Gee will see an increase from his $3.625 million salary of this past season, but with only a partial season under his belt, the figure will be lower than he would hope.

The Case for the New York Mets

The Mets will argue that Gee’s injury hurts his value to the team. While an effective starter when healthy, the Mets are not able to rely on Gee to take the hill every fifth day. Having only approached the 200-inning plateau once in his career (199 IP in 2013), Gee simply cannot be paid as the workhorse ace of the staff.

The two-run difference in his ERA after the injury shows he was less effective after his return.

Earning a quality start in only 50 percent of his starts, Gee was worse than any of the Mets qualified starters and 6 percent lower than the league average.

The Mets will look to find other starting pitchers who suffered injuries, or limited innings, in their platform seasons to use as comparable players.

The Case for Dillon Gee

Gee will argue that his mediocre record was due more to the failings of the Mets lineup. Gee received only 3.27 runs per game of support in 2014 -- the eighth-lowest amount among NL pitchers out of 59 with at least 120 inning pitched.

While he may have suffered after returning from the injury, the fact that he returned demonstrated he is healthy and able to rebound.

Coming off a 199-inning season in 2013, Gee has the ability to be an effective pitcher and contribute for the Mets in 2015.

Gee also will likely argue that his career numbers trump any deficiency in his platform-year statistics. Gee will look for pitchers with similar career numbers to get the highest total salary possible and offset the limited raise he will receive.

Comparable Players

Marco Estrada -- 2013 -- Salary: $3.325M -- Raise from previous year: $1.37M

Marco Estrada represents a perfect barometer for Gee’s injury-shortened season. In 2013, Estrada started only 21 games because of injury. He recorded 121 innings and a 7-4 record. Further, he finished with a lower ERA and WHIP than Gee while proving to be the more effective pitcher overall. Estrada tops Gee in strikeouts, quality starts, QS percentage, and has a better batting average against (BAA). With inferior platform-year statistics, Gee shouldn’t receive a greater raise than Estrada received only last year.

J.A. Happ -- 2012 -- Salary: $3.7M -- Raise from previous year: $1.35M

Where Estrada represents the ceiling of Gee’s potential raise, Happ should represent the floor. In 2012, Happ started 24 games and logged 144.2 innings and a 10-11 record. His 4.79 ERA and 1.40 WHIP were significantly higher than both Gee and Estrada’s statistics in those categories. However, even with inferior statistics, Happ received only $20,000 less than the $1.37 million Estrada was paid in his comparable season. Gee outperformed Happ and should receive a raise greater than $1.35 million.

Bud Norris -- 2013—Salary: $5.35M -- Raise from previous year: $2.3M

Bud Norris is a good comp to use to determine whether Gee’s total salary amount is warranted. After the 2013 season, Norris received a $5.3 million salary based on his platform year and career statistics. While it is evident Norris had the better platform year, primarily because of a lack of injury issues, a look at their respective careers will help determine what Gee should be paid. While Gee was paid more following his first arbitration season, his 2013 statistics warranted the head start. However, Gee regressed in 2014 and he should be paid less than Norris’ $5.3 million.

Predicted Result

Using the Estrada and Happ comps to base a salary-raise argument, it seems fitting Gee should receive a raise near the $1.37 million Estrada received in 2013. However, since it is difficult to argue Gee outperformed Estrada, a slightly smaller raise makes sense. With more than 100 fewer innings pitched, a salary below Norris’ $5.3 million also seems reasonable.

Based on his platform and career statistics and the comparable players cited above, we predict Gee to receive a raise of $1.365 million and a total salary of $4.99 million in 2015.

MLB Future Power Rankings

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
1:44
PM ET

Free agency is right around the corner, and we at ESPN Insider decided we'd steal a page from gyms and weight-loss programs everywhere by producing a "before" and "after" snapshot of each franchise. The "before" shot represents what the team looks like heading into what's sure to be a busy offseason for many teams. We'll check in with the "after" shot next spring when the dealin' is done.

As in past renditions of the MLB Future Power Rankings, we've asked three of our top baseball analysts -- Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney -- to rank all 30 teams across five different categories (see table) in an attempt to measure how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years. Some things have changed drastically since we last did these rankings back in March -- we're looking at you, Texas Rangers -- while many other things have remained the same (the top three teams remain the top three teams, just in a different order). To show you what's changed, we compare the updated rankings to the March version for each team.

The better your rank in a given category, the more points you get, and the average point scores from the three voters are available in the bar graphs accompanying each team's section, rounded to the nearest integer. We weighted the categories and then gave each team a score on a scale of 1 to 100, with the score representing a team's percentage of total possible points. (For a detailed breakdown of the methodology used for the Future Power Rankings, click here.)

With each team's ranking, you'll also get a take from Buster, Jim and Keith. Buster will give an overview of the franchise's future, Jim will explain the biggest dilemma currently facing the team, and Keith highlights a prospect facing a make-or-break season.

So who's No. 1? Which team did our team of experts think is best equipped for success over the next half-decade? And where does your favorite team rank? It's time to find out.

  • 1
Los Angeles Dodgers
NL WEST FPR RANK: 1

The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.

The overview
As Andrew Friedman takes over the organization, he is flush with the dollars and prospects to fill any roster holes. -- Buster Olney

The dilemma
Whether to re-sign Hanley Ramirez is not the Dodgers' biggest dilemma; it's how to clear up their crowded outfield situation. Their preference would be to keep Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig as their starting outfield and try to trade the hefty contracts of Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford (while realizing they'll have to eat some of Ethier's and Crawford's contracts). -- Jim Bowden

New guys
Pitcher Grant Holmes was a top-10 talent in this year's draft but slid out of the top 20, perhaps because of concerns over his height. But he's a polished and physically mature 6-foot right-hander who fills up the strike zone and sits in the low 90s. -- Keith Law

Salary projection: Daniel Murphy

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
12:00
PM ET

Nick Wass/Associated PressAll-Star Daniel Murphy is projected to earn $8.1 million in 2015.



Pace Law School in White Plains won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in 2013 in New Orleans. This week, Dan Masi (Pace ’14) and Jesse Kantor (Pace ’15) offer their salary projections for the Mets’ arbitration-eligible players, including detailed analyses for Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team is using the same methods agents and team officials employ.

On Day 2, here is an analysis of Murphy's projected 2015 salary.

Introduction

Second baseman Daniel Murphy is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility and will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

Murphy had his best statistical season to date in 2013, which resulted in a salary of $5.7 million this past season. That marked a $2.775 million raise from the previous year. Even with stagnant -- or slightly depressed -- statistics this past season, Murphy’s 2014 numbers ranked impressively among other major league, and especially National League, second basemen. Murphy also was the Mets’ only 2014 All-Star selection.

Despite the presence of offensive and defensive deficiencies, Murphy remains one of the most consistent NL second basemen, and the Mets will have to pay him a salary commensurate with his production if they want him back in 2015.

The Case for the New York Mets

While the Mets will acknowledge and respect Murphy’s 2014 offensive contributions, they likely will argue his decreased production merits a smaller raise than he desires. Compared with 2013, Murphy scored 13 fewer runs, had 16 fewer hits, four fewer homers, 21 fewer RBIs, and 10 fewer stolen bases, while only increasing his batting average by three points.

Additionally, the Mets likely will argue that Murphy’s continued disappointing defensive statistics negate his hitting abilities. In 2014, Murphy had 15 errors, which was the most among 20 qualifying MLB second basemen. He also had a .974 defensive fielding percentage (FP), also the worst among 20 qualifying second basemen, and minus-10 defensive runs saved (DRS), which ranked third-worst among 20 qualifying second basemen.

The Case for Daniel Murphy

Murphy’s most impressive statistical category came in his .289 batting average, which was tied for the best among NL second basemen. His 37 doubles rank first among qualifying NL second basemen and fourth among all MLB second basemen. Murphy also placed in the top half of NL second basemen in plate appearances, runs, hits, stolen bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base-plus-slugging percentage. These statistical rankings represent Murphy’s excellence as an NL second basemen and are certainly going provide Murphy’s representatives with a strong foundation for demanding a large salary increase.

Murphy’s case is further strengthened by being the Mets’ only All-Star selection as well as the team’s best hitter for most of last season. As the Mets’ 2014 leader in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, and stolen bases, it is evident how important Murphy is to the team’s success.

Comparable Players

Brett Gardner -- 2013 -- Salary: $5.6M -- Raise from previous year: $2.75M

As Brett Gardner’s numbers in his platform season are very similar to Murphy’s, the $2.75 million raise Gardner received in the 2013-14 offseason serves as an excellent predictor of Murphy’s 2015 salary. Although a center fielder by trade, Murphy and Gardner will be lumped together because they play “up the middle,” with Gardner getting a slight bump because of the more challenging fielding position.

Murphy had more hits, doubles, homers, RBIs and a better batting average, while Gardner had more runs, significantly more stolen bases, and a higher on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Although batting statistics are more important, Murphy’s poor fielding compared to Gardner’s is worth noting. With only three errors, a .991 FP, and six DRS at an arguably more difficult position, Gardner has excelled as an elite defensive player while Murphy continues to disappoint.

When comparing the players’ career numbers through the platform season, it becomes clear how strong of a base stealer Gardner is. He accumulated 161 to Murphy’s 55. Despite his speed, Gardner had 310 fewer career hits, 105 fewer doubles, 25 fewer homers, 152 fewer RBIs, and a lower batting average, slugging-percentage and on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

It appears Gardner was awarded his 2014 salary largely for his base-stealing capabilities. Because Gardner had nearly twice as many stolen bases than Murphy and only one less home run in his platform season, in addition to Murphy’s higher starting salary, it is reasonable to predict that Murphy’s raise will be less than $2.75 million. Although Murphy will never be the base-stealer or defensive weapon Gardner is, he has proven himself the more reliable hitter over time. Accordingly, it is reasonable to expect Murphy’s 2015 salary to be significantly higher than $5.6 million, but it is highly unlikely he will receive a raise greater than $2.75 million.

Jed Lowrie -- 2013 -- Salary $5.25M -- Raise from previous year: $2.85M

Murphy and Jed Lowrie also had extremely comparable platform seasons, with Murphy’s superior base-stealing abilities offset by Lowrie’s homer and RBI production. The players produced nearly identical amounts of runs, hits, doubles, and similar batting averages and on-base percentages. However, Lowrie exhibited much stronger power-hitting numbers, with 75 RBIs, 15 homers, a .446 slugging percentage, and a .791 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Also similar to Murphy were Lowrie’s poor defensive statistics in his 2013 platform season. At shortstop, Lowrie had 16 errors, a .962 FP, and an abysmal -18 DRS -- lower than Murphy across the board.

Despite similar platform seasons, a career comparison demonstrates Murphy’s superior hitting abilities. However, a career comparison is not as indicative here as it is in other situations because Lowrie became third-time eligible despite only 1,969 career plate appearances, compared with Murphy’s 3,081. While Murphy may have proved himself the more reliable hitter over time, Lowrie appears to be more of a power-hitting threat in the long term.

With similar hitting and fielding statistics in their platform seasons, but with Lowrie having the slight edge because of his superior power, Murphy should expect a lower raise than Lowrie received. However, the long-term consistency of Murphy leads us to believe his total salary will be much higher.

Predicted Result

While Murphy is not a top-tier slugger, he is an elite hitter when compared with the rest of the Mets’ roster. As a second baseman, Murphy could generally make up for ordinary hitting abilities with great fielding. But Murphy remains a defensive liability. Although batting statistics bear more weight in salary-arbitration proceedings, Murphy’s poor fielding -- especially in the NL, where there is no designated hitter and players derive more value from their fielding skills -- makes it less likely he will receive a raise equal to Gardner’s. Whereas Lowrie’s power-hitting capabilities as an American Leaguer were enough to offset his defensive liabilities, Murphy will likely not be able to ameliorate the effects of his fielding.

Accordingly, we predict Daniel Murphy can expect a raise of $2.4 million and an overall salary of $8.1 million for the 2015 season.

Yanks, Mets donate Berra replicas

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
2:16
PM ET

Just because Yogi Berra's World Series rings and MVP plaques aren't in his museum anymore doesn't mean you can't still go there and see them.

According to a statement on the website of the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey, Berra's two former teams, the Yankees and Mets, will donate replicas of the priceless items stolen from the museum on Oct. 9.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, we are pleased to announce that Commissioner Allan H. [Bud] Selig and Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets are graciously donating exact replicas of the items recently taken from the Museum," reads the statement. "In addition, they also are donating several new items to our existing collection, ensuring that the Museum will be an even better place for fans to visit in honor of Yogi's legacy. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball, the Yankees and the Mets for their generosity, as well as to all of the fans and friends of the Museum for their concern and support during this difficult time."

Among the items taken were two of the three American League Most Valuable Player Award plaques Berra won in his 18 seasons with the Yankees as well as all 10 of his World Series rings. Berra also managed the Yankees in 1964, leading them to the World Series.

Details on exactly what items will replaced, and how soon, have yet to be worked out.

He finished out his career playing nine games for the Mets in 1965, and also managed the club from 1972-75, including the 1973 "Ya gotta believe" team that went to the World Series but lost to the Oakland Athletics in seven games.


(Read full post)


Nimmo, Reynolds named AFL All-Stars

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
2:10
PM ET
lastname
Reynolds
lastname
Nimmo
NEW YORK -- Outfielder Brandon Nimmo and shortstop Matt Reynolds will represent the Mets in Saturday's Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game, which will be televised at 8:08 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

Nimmo is hitting .233 (10-for-43) with five RBIs and eight walks through 11 games.

Reynolds is hitting .278 (10-for-36) with three homers, nine RBIs and seven walks through 10 games.

Mets spring-training schedule set

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
1:12
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Here's a look at the 2015 Mets spring-training schedule, which ends with two games in Arlington, Texas:

MARCH
4 at Braves, 1:05 p.m.
5 at Nationals, 5:05 p.m.
6 vs. Tigers, 1:10 p.m.
7 vs. Braves, 1:10 p.m. (ss)
7 at Marlins, 1:05 p.m. (ss)
8 vs. Red Sox, 1:10 p.m.
9 vs. Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
10 at Braves, 1:05 p.m.
11 at Marlins, 1:05 p.m.
12 vs. Nationals, 1:10 p.m.
13 vs. Braves, 1:10 p.m.
14 vs. Nationals, 1:10 p.m.
15 at Rays, 1:05 p.m.
16 at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
17 vs. Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
18 OFF
19 vs. Astros, 1:10 p.m. (ss)
19 at Cardinals, 1:05 p.m. (ss)
20 vs. Cardinals, 1:10 p.m.
21 at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
22 vs. Yankees, 1:10 p.m.
23 at Marlins, 1:05 p.m.
24 vs. Astros, 1:10 p.m.
25 at Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
26 at Nationals, 5:05 p.m.
27 at Cardinals, 1:05 p.m.
28 vs. Nationals, 1:10 p.m.
29 at Cardinals, 1:05 p.m.
30 vs. Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
31 at Nationals, 1:05 p.m.

APRIL
1 vs. Cardinals, 1:10 p.m.
2 at Cardinals, 12:05 p.m.
3 at Rangers in Arlington, Texas, 8:05 p.m.
4 at Rangers in Arlington, Texas, 2:05 p.m.

Wright hopes to get in swing within 2 weeks

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
12:53
PM ET
NEW YORK -- David Wright, who finished the season inactive because of "weak" and "stretched-out" ligaments that failed to hold his non-throwing shoulder in place, is nearing completion of a rehab program intended to strengthen the area.

Wright is due to see a team doctor within two weeks, hoping to gain clearance to begin swinging a bat.

Testing the shoulder while swinging will determine whether it is stable enough to avoid surgery. Wright experienced looseness in the shoulder before getting shut down following a Sept. 8 game.

"Everything is going well and progressing, so hopefully I'll get good news then," Wright told ESPNNewYork.com about the planned doctor visit.

John Bazemore/Associated PressLucas Duda is projected to earn $4.25 million in 2015.



First up, this detailed report from the Pace Law team on Lucas Duda's projected 2015 salary ...

Lucas Duda entered 2014 in a first-base platoon with Ike Davis. Duda ended the season entrenched at the position. While Davis failed to take advantage of his opportunity and was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Duda established himself as the Mets’ top power-hitting threat after David Wright turned in an injury-plagued campaign.

Duda led the team in homers, RBIs and OPS. He proved a threat every time he stepped into the batter’s box, finishing second in homers, tied for third in RBIs and fourth in OPS among NL first basemen. While not a Gold Glove-caliber defender, Duda only committed seven errors in 1,197 total chances and proved an adequate fielder. Coming off an astounding statistical season, Duda looks to cash in with a healthy raise from his 2014 salary of $1.6375 million.

The Case for the New York Mets

The Mets likely will argue that Duda is one-dimensional and relies too much on power. His .253 average places him seventh out of nine qualified NL first basemen and he strikes out at a 22.7 percent clip. Both numbers are troubling for the Mets, who are afraid of committing a large amount of money to what could be a Davis clone.

Duda’s 2014 average was his highest total since 2011 (.292), when he still was a part-time player. His career average sits just below, at .248. Further, the Mets will attempt to argue that Duda struggles mightily within the “friendly” confines of Citi Field. Batting only .227 at home compared to .275 on the road, his inability to hit for average contributed to the Mets sub-.500 home record. Duda also hit only .180 with two homers in 111 at-bats against left-handed pitching in 2014.

The Case for Lucas Duda

Duda has a lot going for him entering his second arbitration-eligible offseason. Not only did he lead the Mets in multiple power categories, but he also was a force among all NL first basemen. He posted career bests in nearly every major offensive category, most notably at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, homers and RBIs. Most importantly for his arbitration case, he solidified himself as an everyday starter for the Mets, appearing in a total of 153 games, including 136 starts at first base.

Duda will be able to argue that his production did not slip when given the opportunity to play every day. Rather, it improved across the board. Further, Duda proved to be an extremely clutch player throughout the year, batting .301 with 12 homers and an OPS of 1.100 with runners in scoring position. His rate stats only improved when there were two outs and RISP, hitting .318 with an OPS of 1.145. Duda saved his most impressive statistical season for his platform year and should see a considerable raise as a result.

Comparable Players

Brandon Moss -- 2013 -- Salary: $4.1M -- Raise from previous year: $2.5M

With 30 homers, a .256 average and 87 RBIs, Brandon Moss represents a near-identical comparison to Duda’s platform season. Duda distinguishes himself with his elite ability to get on base despite a low batting average. However, Moss displays far greater slugging ability, posting a SLG 41 points above Duda. Duda also has an advantage in that he was an everyday player for a longer portion of his platform season, starting 23 more games. Based on their relative statistics, Duda should receive a raise that exceeds Moss’ $2.5 million.

Garrett Jones -- 2012 -- Salary: $4.5M -- Raise from previous year: $2.1M

Another power hitting first baseman, Garrett Jones’ platform and career statistics set the range that Duda should look to receive in 2015. While Duda arguably outperformed or matched Jones in all statistical categories during their platform seasons, Jones is superior over their respective careers. Therefore, Duda should be paid a salary that approaches, but does not surpass Jones’ $4.5 million.

Predicted Result

With more games started than both Moss and Jones, Duda is more valuable because he is an everyday player and no longer confined to a platoon at first base. This alone would make him more valuable than in previous years. In conjunction with his statistical prowess, he should see a considerable raise from his current $1.6375 million. With arguably better platform statistics than both Jones and Moss, Duda should cash in with a raise that is larger than both of his comps.

However, with lesser career numbers than Jones through their respective second-time arbitration-eligible seasons, Duda will likely come in with a salary lower than the $4.5 million received by Jones. Further, with seemingly identical stats to Moss, a $2.5 million raise seems to be the appropriate figure to gauge Duda.

Taking into consideration the 23 more games started, we predict Duda will receive a nominal raise over Moss and receive a total salary of $4.25 million for the 2015 season.

Intro to Pace salary-projection series

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
11:55
AM ET
Pace Law School in White Plains won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in 2013 in New Orleans. This week, Dan Masi (Pace '14) and Jesse Kantor (Pace '15) offer their salary projections for the Mets’ arbitration-eligible players, including detailed analyses for Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team will explain MLB’s salary-arbitration process and will predict the outcome of the contract negotiations and potential arbitration cases for these players using the same methods agents and team officials employ.




As the Mets hope to make free-agent splashes during the winter on a potentially limited budget, every dollar matters. The salaries of these four players could be crucial to the shape of Sandy Alderson’s offseason and the near future of the organization.

Here's the Pace team's primer on the arbitration process:

Under Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, players typically become arbitration-eligible for the first time after accumulating at least three years of major league service.

Some players also can become eligible for their first year of arbitration if they are designated as “Super Two’s.” Those players have accumulated at least two but less than three years of major league service and at least 86 days of service in the previous season. They also rank in the top 22 percent of all players who have at least two but less than three years of service. (For example, Ike Davis was designated a Super Two and became eligible for his first year of arbitration following the 2012 season after having accumulated a service time of 2 years and 168 days.) A player earns a day of service for each day he remains on a team’s active roster or disabled list.

Arbitration eligibility becomes critical to a player’s earning capacity in his early career because, until that moment, he holds little bargaining power. A player stays under team control until he reaches or exceeds six years of major league service, when he can elect to become a free agent and is able to negotiate a contract of any length on the open market.

A player with less than six years of service has no negotiating leverage prior to becoming arbitration eligible, since he remains subject to baseball’s “reserve system” that bars a player from seeking deals with other teams and from negotiations with his own club. Players therefore are generally forced to accept minimum salaries regardless of the quality of their performance. (The major league minimum for 2014 was $500,000. It will see a modest rise for next season.)

Of course, teams are free to offer their players a larger contract based on perceived value, but the team has no obligation to do so. As a case in point, Mike Trout, who finished second in the 2012 AL MVP voting, earned only $510,000 in 2013 because he had only one year of service and was subject to the reserve system.

After a player does become arbitration-eligible, the team must first decide whether to tender a contract to the player. If the team does not offer the player a contract by the Dec. 2 tender deadline, the player becomes a non-tendered free agent regardless of how many years he has played. (Mike Pelfrey was non-tendered by the Mets during his arbitration years.)

If the team has tendered a contract to its arbitration-eligible player, the player can either accept that typically low offer, or the sides can begin negotiations for a contract of any service length. (Jonathon Niese is the most recent example with the Mets of a player agreeing to a multi-year contract to bargain away his arbitration years. He signed a five-year, $25.5 million deal.) Typically, a player will earn significantly more than the minimum salary after becoming arbitration-eligible and will receive significant raises for each subsequent arbitration year until he reaches the point of free agency. If a player has no long-term deal that covers his arbitration years, he typically will engage in arbitration a maximum of three times prior to his free agency. A Super Two may go through the process four times.

In addition to offseason trades and free-agent signings that certainly catch the winter headlines, teams are busy negotiating contracts with arbitration-eligible players throughout the offseason. If no agreement between a player and team materializes by the CBA pre-set date in mid-January, then a final binding arbitration date is set to determine the player’s one-year salary for the subsequent season. In preparation for this final date, both the player and his current team exchange and submit to a panel of highly qualified arbitrators a salary request. They also create statistical-evidence presentations, according to CBA rules.

Neither side needs to justify its submitted figure at the point of submitting their figures. However, once exchanged, these figures cannot be altered. Assuming the sides have not agreed to a contract prior to the scheduled date of arbitration, the arbitration panel will proceed to determine the appropriate salary. Since the panel must award only one of the stated figures -- not a figure between -- each side needs only to prove that the player is worth either just above or below the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

In making its determination, the panel may consider only certain evidence:

• The quality of the player’s contribution to his club during the past season (referred to as his “platform season"), including but not limited to his overall performance, special qualities of leadership and public appeal

• The length and consistency of his career contribution

• The record of the player’s past compensation

• Comparative baseball salaries

• The existence of any physical or mental defects on the part of the player

• The recent performance record of the club, including but not limited to its league standing and attendance as an indication of public acceptance.

Statistical comparisons to players with similar service time often provide the most convincing argument. Arbitrators tend to base their overall decisions on the similarity of the player in question to the presented “comps” in their equivalent year of service time and in their career stats to that point.

As we spend the next few days exploring the cases of the Mets’ prominent arbitration-eligible players, we will focus our analysis on each player’s platform season, career statistical totals, intriguing stories and comparable players’ statistics and salaries in order to predict their salaries. Enjoy.

Bios ...

Dan Masi (@DanMasi) is a 2009 graduate of the University of Georgia. He graduated from Pace Law School in 2014. He currently is awaiting his bar results for New York and New Jersey. A two-time member of the Pace Baseball Arbitration team, Masi helped the school finish in first place in the Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in 2013. He hopes to pursue a career in Baseball Operations.

Jesse Kantor graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2010. He is in his final year at Pace Law School. A member of the Pace Law Review, Kantor also competed in the 2013 and 2014 National Sports Law Negotiation Competition held at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and the 2014 Tulane Baseball Arbitration Competition.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187