…And Your 2013 New York Mets Position Players Are…

With the Mets hopelessly out of playoff contention for this year, it’s not too early to look forward to next year. This projection takes into account free agency, but not trades. Today’s topic are the position players.

First, the current players. All italicized players are impending free agents

  • Josh Thole
  • Kelly Shoppach
  • Ronny Cedeno
  • Ike Davis
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Ruben Tejada
  • Justin Turner
  • David Wright
  • Mike Baxter
  • Jason Bay
  • Scott Hairston
  • Andres Torres
  • Jordany Valdespin


The first thing I notice about this squad is the lack of players touching Free Agency. Obviously the priority of re-signing David Wright, which I think Alderson will do. Using Ryan Zimmerman’s recent six year/$100 million extension as a guide, I think Wright will sign for slightly less than that (six years/$90 million with mutual options for two more years).

The Mets will also probably resign Scott Hairston to a two year deal that values anywhere between $2.5 and $4 million annually. While Ronny Cedeno has been a decent surprise, I can see the Mets’ letting him walk as he’s too much of a luxury signing, and there are plenty of defensive specialists on the market. Shoppach will most likely end up somewhere else as well.

What’s interesting is that the Mets have to make moves if they want their young kids to play. Assuming Hairston re-signs, their five outfielders on the roster today will all be back next year. That means there would be no room for Lucas Duda, no room for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and no room for prospect Matt Den Dekker, who has had a great year so far in the minors. My guess: Torres gets traded, and Bay gets cut, so the Mets can use Den Dekker and Duda in the outfield next year.

The Mets starting infield is pretty much set as well. Davis and Wright are virtual locks, Tejada has earned another year at SS, and Murphy should be starting over Valdespin (assuming Murphy isn’t used a trade bait for pitching help). Thole isn’t a world-beater at backstop, but since the Mets are not checking in on marquee catchers like Mike Napoli, he should retain his starting spot for 2013.

With two backups needed, the Mets should look outside the organization. They need a backup catcher, and could land of the better ones in the game in David Ross. Ross is an impending free agent, and the current backup for the Atlanta Braves. If the Braves were to let him go, the Mets should jump all over him. Not only does he offer tremendous power, but he calls a decent game and could play against lefties if he were to platoon with Thole.

To replace Cedeno on the roster, the conventional idea would be to pick up another glove-fist middle infielder. But, with Turner’s flexibility, the Mets could afford to sign an power hitting righty to come of the bench. Somebody like a Mark Reynolds (who strikes out a ton but has obscene power) wouldn’t be a poor idea. He’d likely want to look for a starting job, but if the Mets’ can get lucky and sign him to a one year deal worth $4 or $5 million, he’d immediately help the Mets: not only as a bat off the bench, but somebody to spell Davis if he were to enter another prolonged slump.

To recap, here are my predictions

  • Josh Thole
  • David Ross
  • Ike Davis
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Mark Reynolds
  • Ruben Tejada
  • Justin Turner
  • David Wright
  • Mike Baxter
  • Matt Den Dekker
  • Lucas Duda
  • Scott Hairston
  • Jordany Valdespin

…And Your 2013 New York Mets Pitching Staff Is…

With the Mets hopelessly out of playoff contention for this year, it’s not too early to look forward to next year. This projection takes into account free agency, but not trades. Today’s topic is the pitching staff.

First, the current staff. All italicized players are impending free agents


  • R.A. Dickey
  • Johan Santana
  • Jonathon Niese
  • Chris Young
  • Matt Harvey


  • Frank Francisco
  • Bobby Parnell
  • Josh Edgin
  • Jon Rauch
  • Ramon Ramirez
  • Jeremy Hefner
  • Manny Acosta


The Mets shouldn’t have to look outside the organization for starting help. R.A. Dickey’s option is a no-brainer to pick up, Niese signed an extension earlier in the year so he’d staying put, and Harvey is here to stay. Santana has a spot next year, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Mets decide to trade him and his expiring contract next year when the feel that wunderkind Zach Wheeler is ready. Chris Young may be leaving, but Dillon Gee is due back next year, and should take his rotation spot. Mike Pelfrey, who began the year in the Mets’ rotation, is an obvious non-tender candidate, but it’s not out of the question the Mets would resign him at a reduced rate and stash him in Buffalo as depth.

The bullpen has been a mess all year, so expect a major overhaul. Edgin and Parnell have spots that are theirs to lose (young, cheap, power arms are valuable commodities). Francisco is there because the Mets will continue to justify his contract ($6.5 million next year). Ramirez will leave in free agency, and Acosta will be non-tendered. The Mets could re-sign Jon Rauch, but it’s probable he’ll seek one more pay day as he’s putting up career numbers. Hefner will probably go back to the farm, and become Dillon Gee 2.0 (first starter up if injury strikes, and consistently inconsistent). That means the Mets will have to fill up four empty bullpen spots.

Two of those bullpen spots should be reserved for Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia. Both are being stretched out as starters in AAA, but there’s no room for both of them in the majors. With Niese, Harvey, and Wheeler already under control for the next 4+ years, there wouldn’t be room for both if the Mets give Dickey a deserved contract extension, and signed a marquee free agent in a few years (a rotation where your #5 starter is Niese sounds scary, doesn’t it?). Both Familia and Mejia have good fastballs, and Familia has a potential knee-buckling curve, while Mejia throws a nice changeup. They both also need to improve their command, but their stuff is nasty enough to solidify a weak bullpen.

With two more spots, the Mets will likely need to go outside the organization to fill these. They’re in need of a Lefty One Out Guy (affectionately known as a L.O.O.G.Y) with Byrdak having possible career ending injuries. Randy Choate is available, and absolutely kills lefties, but would be chased by contending teams that can offer more money, so my guess is the Mets go with Mike Gonzalez as their L.O.O.G.Y. He’s got a career 2.90 ERA over 10 big league seasons, and is returning to form as a member of the rival Nationals. At 34 years old, he’s winding down is his career, but the Mets will slightly overpay him for two years of service, in part because of their need, and in part because it would take away a Nationals reliever.

Going truly outside the box, the Mets may fill up their last bullpen spot with the Australian side-armer Peter Moylan. While the medical red flags would obviously be raised, he’s a low-risk, high-reward candiate. He has a career 2.60 ERA, and has posted years with the rival Braves that were really, really, good. Plus, Moylan doesn’t like Nickelback, which is worth the signing even if he had a 4.60 ERA.

So to recap, here’s how I believe the New York Mets’ 2013 pitching staff will look like


  • R.A. Dickey
  • Johan Santana
  • Jonathon Niese
  • Matt Harvey
  • Dillon Gee


  • Frank Francisco
  • Bobby Parnell
  • Jenrry Mejia
  • Josh Edgin
  • Jeurys Familia
  • Peter Moylan
  • Mike Gonzalez

Fun With Bad Contracts: The Money Involved in the Rumored Jason Bay Trade

Rumors were swirling late last week that the Marlins and Mets were throwing around the possibility of a change-of-scenery trade between the teams. The rumored trade would send outfielder Jason Bay to Miami for catcher John Buck and reliever Heath Bell. This is is the final part of the series, examining the financial aspect.

While cases can be made both for and against the Jason Bay trade, this post is mostly going to focus on how awful each of the three players have been during their respective contracts. First, here are each player’s contracts.

Jason Bay

Initial Contract: 4 yr/$66 million deal signed in 2010, with year four (2014) being a vesting option, or requiring a $3 million buyout.

Remaining: $19+ million ($16 million next year, $3 million buyout, remaining salary this year).

Heath Bell

Initial Contract: 3 yr/$27 million deal signed in 2011, with a team option for 2015, that could become a vesting option based on performance

Remaining: $21 million+ (two years at $9 million, $3 million in delayed bonus payments, remaining salary this year)

John Buck

Initial Contract: 3 yr/$18 million deal signed in 2010

Remaining: $6+ million ($6 million next year, remaining salary this year)

While the Mets would upgrade in two areas after this deal, they’d be taking on an extra $8 million-and-change. The Mets are still a big-market team, but they have made shrewd moves in lieu of giving out big contracts in recent years. The Madoff scandal and subsequent settlement took a decent chunk of change out the Wilpons’ pockets.

One of the reasons the Mets went with Sandy Alderson as their GM was his track record of success with an extremely limited budget in San Diego. Their 2011 opening day payroll decreased by over $40 million in 2012, and Mets ownership sold $240 million in minority stakes to keep control of the franchise.

The Mets are stuck paying Jason Bay regardless. He’s not a nut-case like K-Rod and won’t give the Mets reason to put him on the restricted list. He’s a professional player in the midst of an incredible struggle, taking his demotion to bench warmer with grace. But what kind of production would the Mets rather be paying? All three are ridiculously overpaid for what they actually do.

They could continue paying Jason Bay nearly $300,000 for every hit he gets, or pay John Buck $116,883 for every hit he gets and Heath Bell $201,492 for every out he records. The Mets could decide to continue to pay Bay $26,336 for every strike he takes or swings at, or pay Buck $9,202 for his similar services, while paying Bell $87,947 for every ball he throws.

Either way, they’re stuck paying outrageous money for abysmal performances.

Counterpoint: The Rumored Jason Bay Trade Would Create A Worse Situation

Rumors were swirling late last week that the Marlins and Mets were throwing around the possibility of a change-of-scenery trade between the teams. The rumored trade would send outfielder Jason Bay to Miami for catcher John Buck and reliever Heath Bell. This is is the second part in a series, opposing the trade.

Obviously, I’m not Jason Bay’s biggest fan, but I’d rather keep him then get back Buck and Bell.

Yes, there are the pros I listed the other days, and developing Valdespin would be nice, but what’s stopping the Mets from doing that without trading Bay? Just because Bay is making more than 20 times Valdespin is making doesn’t mean Bay should get 20 times the starts.

The Mets can’t try to justify the Bay contract anymore and they’re just starting to realize that.They made another huge mistake and it’s going to hurt the team in the upcoming year, but they can deal with it. They don’t need to take on an extra $9 million in 2014, with another possible $9 million due in 2015 based on Bell’s performance.

While Buck would be a nice complement to Thole behind the plate, neither are really cornerstone players, and Buck is certainly not worth his $6 million contract next year.

But the biggest issue in this trade would be bringing Bell back to New York. Not only was Bell flat-out awful in his three-year stint with New York (4.92 ERA over 108 IP), but he harbors hatred towards the Mets franchise.

He was a fan-favorite, kind of like a Rick Reed of the ’90s, or a Mike Baxter of today. Not a superstar, but a cult hero for fans. Bell went out of his way to please Mets fans, developing his sprint from the bullpen in Flushing, and always willing to stay late to sign autographs.

Omar Minaya and the Mets’ brass at the time returned Bell’s dedication to the team by sending him between AAA and the majors multiple times in his stints. He was left of the postseason roster and given away in a trade to the Padres for journey Rob Johnson. He’s harbored ill-will towards the Mets ever since, and was delighted when he got the first save in Citi Field history.

He’s been vocal about his displeasure with the organization and the change-of-scenery this trade would give Heath Bell may reduce his performance even more. A toxic situation when the franchise is a year away from contention would set the Mets back more than Jason Bay already has. It’s a good deal on paper, but the Mets can’t make this trade.

Point: The Rumored Jason Bay Trade Would Be a Godsend.

Rumors were swirling late last week that the Marlins and Mets were throwing around the possibility of a change-of-scenery trade between the teams. The rumored trade would send outfielder Jason Bay to Miami for catcher John Buck and reliever Heath Bell. This is is the first part in a series, supporting the trade.

The Mets have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rid themselves of one of their historically bad contracts and have to pull the trigger. They never had a chance to dump Oliver Perez, and Bobby Bonilla is still on the books for another 23 years, but they can fix the Jason Bay problem.

Bay has been so incredibly bad for the Mets, that there are talks of just flat out releasing him. His career slash line for the Mets is a paltry .238/.324/.372, and he’s owed $32 million over the next two years with a vesting option.

Moving Bay would allow a opportunity for Jordany Valdespin to play everyday, and give him a chance to develop into a more patient hitter. When a guy only gets an occasional start or one at bat off the bench, of course he’ll try to swing at anything. Valdespin has struck out 25 times, while walking only three times. Those kind of K:BB ratios are only rewarded if you have Adam Dunn power, and Valdespin does not. However, giving him more at bats to develop plate discipline is one of the many reasons why the Mets should make this trade in a heartbeat.

Another is adding a power-hitting, right-handed catcher to complement Josh Thole. While Buck is being overpaid in his contract, he unquestionably has some pop. In 2010, Buck slugged 20 HRs for the Royals, and still had 16 last year for Miami. He’s infinitely more valuable than Rob Johnson or Mike Nickeas, and on days Thole starts, will provide a decent right-handed bat off the bench.

Finally, adding Bell would shore up the Mets’ achilles-heel: the bullpen. While he has struggled this year, he gives the Mets a proven, shutdown closer. Frank Francisco is not that guy anymore, Jon Rauch was never that guy, and Bobby Parnell wouldn’t have to be that guy.

An opportunity to develop Valdespin, and add two valuable, albeit overpriced pieces for essentially the same money they would be paying Jason Bay to hopelessly roam the outfield next year. Sandy Alderson has to make this deal–yesterday, if he can.

Player Profile: On Matt Harvery

via Nj.com

Yes his name is Matt Harvey, but don’t tell that to the Mets. I mean there must be more to the starter who has excited Mets fan and given them restrained hope for the future. As the press release above correctly states, the Mets selected Harvey as the seventh overall pick in the 2010 first-year player draft. Harvey was the highest draft pick the Mets’ have had since 2004, in which they selected Phillip Humber No. 3 overall.

He is the reward for a miserable year that featured a 40-year-old Gary Sheffield’s carcass patrolling LF (a slight improvement over Jason Bay), Omir Santos as the everyday catcher, and Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding making the most starts in the rotation. That means that Matt Harvey is the Mets’ primary compensation for going 70-92 in 2009. Can one pitcher make up for such an excruciatingly bad year?

So far, yes. Since 2009 the Mets have progressed from mediocre to sub-par. They’re on the verge of becoming average, and possibly, a couple of years away from contention. Harvey is a key cog in all that: He’s the only Mets’ starter who can wow you with his pitches. He’s a power arm, with a durable build; a build Mets fans are hoping can carry this team into relevance.


via ProspectNation.com

Matt Harvey was born in New London, Connecticut on March 27th, 1989. He attended Fitch Senior High School in Connecticut, and as a senior Harvey had a sensational year, finishing with a 0.64 ERA and tallying 112 Ks over 54-and-a-third innings pitched. Harvey was named the Connecticut player of the year by Gatorade, and was considered one of the top high school pitchers in the draft along with Jarrod Parker, Madison Bumgarner, and Phillipe Aumont. He fell to the Los Angeles Angels in the third round (118th overall) due to signability concerns, and declined to sign for a $1,000,000 bonus. According to a LA Times article, his father Ed called it “the major disappointment of his life, at that point, not signing out of high school.”

Harvey spurned the Angels to accept a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. After an unspectacular year as a freshman, Harvey was dreadful his sophomore year. While his electric fastball didn’t lose any of its speed, he lost all control of it and finished with a 5.40 ERA.

While his issues were purely mechanical, scouts wondered if Harvey could stay as a starting pitcher. They felt he could be a shutdown reliever, but not a guy who you would starting every fifth day. Harvey corrected his flaws between his sophomore and junior campaigns, ultimately ending up with the ninth most strikeouts, and tenth most wins in Tarheel history. He finished his junior year with the Tarheels with a 3.09 ERA, 102 Ks, and 35 BBs in 96 innings of work.

His control came back and he was once again considered one of the top arms in a draft class featuring pitchers Jameson Taillon, Drew Pomeranz, and Chris Sale. While phenom Bryce Harper went first overall, Harvey was the fourth pitcher to come off the board and was considered an overdraft by the Mets.


via ESPN.com

He’s been anything but since, and he’s been a sparkplug to a fading franchise. Needing only a year-and-a-half in the minors before making the big leagues, Harvey looks like he’s here to stay. Harvey also possess a competitive attitude that borders on being a little too much. After his first career loss to the Giants in which he gave up two runs over 6+ innings he said he expects to go out and put 0s on the board, and anything less is a failure in his eyes.

He’s a Met with a not-so-Met attitude. Met fans just hope an unstoppable force of a winning attitude does beat the immovable object known as Mets futility.

Five Fun Facts About Yesterday’s Mets Victory

This isn’t going to be a daily thing or anything, just five fun facts about a game I find interesting enough. These will mostly be dramatic victories or heart-breaking losses (if Mets fans hearts could break anymore).

1. Yesterday was the first time Jason Bay reached base three times since April 18th of earlier this year. That was a 14-6 loss to the Braves.

2. The Mets won their first extra-inning game since April 29th against the Rockies. They had lost four other extra-inning games since then, including two by five runs.

3. Manny Acosta picked up the save by giving up one run in one inning. He also lowered his ERA to 10.25.

4. The Mets scored four runs off Sergio Romo in last night’s 8th inning. Romo had previously allowed four runs all season.

5. Scott Hairston is the only Met to hit a homerun in extra innings this year (doing so twice). The last Met to hit a homerun in extra innings was Jason Pridie on September 11th of next year.

Phantom GM Part 3: Exporting Young for Young Guns

The Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and the Mets, thankfully, are looking more like sellers as each loss piles up. While Sandy Alderson and his personnel were looking for pieces to buy as recently as three weeks ago, the abrupt struggles by the Mets leave them little time to work out trades with the still-contending teams.

For help that nobody in the Mets’ organization will ever see, and mostly for my personal amusement, I’ll be developing a trade a day until the trade deadline. Each one makes sense on paper and will help the Mets for a run next year. If the other team’s prospects don’t get traded to another team within the next three or four hours.

Without further ado, the final trade suggestion:

Mets send RHP Chris Young, RHP Collin McHughOF Juan Lagares, and a roll of duct tape to the Toronto Blue Jays for OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Danny Barnes, and RHP Noah Syndergaard.

OK, this isn’t really realistic. The Blue Jays are ultra-conservative when it comes to their prospects and aren’t true buyers. But if they want to make a run, they need starting pitching, and though they can do better in quality, the Jays flat-out need quantity.

Chris Young, when healthy, is an above-average big league pitcher with below-average stuff. His command makes him a fighter, and though he may not have the stuff to dominate the AL East, he has a chance to wade the waters. The roll of duct tape would be included to keep Young’s right shoulder attached to his body.

Collin McHugh is a whole other story. Undrafted out of high school, and a mid round pick out of college, McHugh has put up a 2.95 ERA over two levels of the minors this year, including AAA. The AL East is not the International League, and there’s a good chance that McHugh and his below average peripherals will get eaten alive by the cutthroat division. He’d still be a better option than the in-house starters Toronto has called up this year though.

Juan Lagares projects as a corner outfielder and has the potential to be a .300 hitter with some pop in his bat. He has above-average speed and could develop to be a LF that hits 10-15 HRs a year and plays solid defense.

As for the return, Jake Marisnick is prize 1a. The Blue Jays already have fellow CF prospect Anthony Gose, who is way more developed at this point. They also have Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus as their other two outfielders, and would have no room for Marisnick. His floor is being average with all five tools (hitting, power, speed, defense, arm), and his ceiling is being a five tool player with a good all-around game. The Mets could use a true CF.

Righty Danny Barnes is dominating AA ball as a reliever averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, with a 2.38 ERA across two levels. He wouldn’t join the Mets immediately and would probably be a summer call-up. The Princeton product, and Long Island native sits at around 93mph with some cutting action on his fastball, and is developing above-average off-speed offerings. If he reaches his ceiling, it would be that of a really good closer.

And finally, prize 1b: Noah Syndengaard, a RHP from Texas. Syndengaard has good command of a dominating fastball that can break 100mph, and easily sits at 95mph with it. While still raw (he turns 20 in late August), his curveball and changeup flash above-average potential. He’s projectable at 6’5 and, if developed properly, has the potential to be a future ace. He’s years-and-years away, and may not pan out as anything more than a flame-throwing reliever, but he’d be a fantastic get for the Mets.

So why would Toronto trade a future ace, closer, and centerfielder for two months of Chris Young, an average AAA pitcher in McHugh, and an average OF prospect? Well, I mentioned this offer was unrealistic, but it can make sense if everything fell into place.

The first step is Toronto becoming buyers. The second is that the incredible depth of their farm system, and the pressure facing Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulous force him to make a fairly bad trade. Toronto is dying for a winning franchise to bring back the excitement of the early 90s, and right now, they’re on the cusp of getting some starting pitching back, and their slugger back. They only sit 4.5 games behind the second Wild Card, and solidifying a woebegone-rotation at the expense of your second best centerfielder, your 4th or 5th best pitching prospect, and a minor league reliever would please the fans. Besides, Toronto has quality to go along with it’s quantity, and there won’t be enough room for all of those prospects on the big league roster.


As an aside, I can’t wait to see one of these three Toronto prospects traded to a different team like San Diego or something.

Introducing: Bay Watch

Sadistic me wants to watch this all day.

Laugh all you want, but Jason Bay lost a lot of money. He currently makes $157,518 for every ball he catches for the Mets.

Watching Jason Bay patrol LF for the Mets is pure entertainment. You go into the game and don’t expect to be given more reasons to regret his 4 year/$66 million deal, yet Bay consistently delivers. Entering today’s game he was 0-22. I can’t even call that a slump because Bay has been a bum so far.

I’m sure Bay is a likable guy, and he plays right. I mean half of his concussions have come on him giving it all at a wall. He is probably trying his hardest and as soon as the Mets get rid of him, he’ll settle in somewhere between 2009 Red Sox Jason Bay and 2010 Mets Jason Bay. That’s a decent outfielder, but not one who deserves to make double what R.A. Dickey, Daniel Murphy, Ruben Tejada, Ike Davis, Jordanny Valdespin, and Jonathon Niese make combined.

So here is Bay Watch. It’s an extra page similar to Game in One Word where I update the everyday exploits of Jason Bay until he ceases his existence on the Mets’ roster. Will Jason Bay get a hit? Walk? Strikeout less than four times? Pinch hit?

Who knows? Just bring back The Dude.

Phantom GM Part 2: Hairston Heads to Atlanta (Update)

12:23am: And Jaye Chapman is being sent to Chicago as part of the deal. 2/2 with identifying what AAA players Wild Card teams would be willing to move.

10:56pm: Oh, hey look, Reed Johnson traded to Atlanta…so 2/2 with trades that end up busting hours after post. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s.

The Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and the Mets, thankfully, are looking more like sellers as each loss piles up. While Sandy Alderson and his personnel were looking for pieces to buy as recently as three weeks ago, the abrupt struggles by the Mets leave them little time to work out trades with the still-contending teams.

For help that nobody in the Mets’ organization will ever see, and mostly for my personal amusement, I’ll be developing a trade a day until the trade deadline. Each one makes sense on paper and will help the Mets for a run next year.

Without further ado, today’s trade suggestion:

OF Scott Hairston, RHP Jon Rauch, 3B Wilmer Flores and cash considerations to the Atlanta Braves for 2B Tommy La Stella, RHP J.R. Graham, and RHP Jaye Chapman.

The Braves need a lefty killer. Hairston is one of the best in the bigs, with a season slash-line of .308/.341/.617 against southpaws. He’d be an immense upgrade over the struggling and injured Matt Diaz.

Rauch has a history of being a solid reliever, and if the Mets pick up his whole salary (something a team needs to do in order to get better return), he’ll find a spot in Atlanta’s bullpen. I mean, he’s a better option than Luis Avilan at least.

Wilmer Flores is a 20-year old Mets prospect. After being hyped up by the media upon his arrival as a A-Rod type of player, he’s had some below-average seasons in the minors, and moved from SS to 3B, decreasing his value. Right now though, he’s looking he may be able to stick at 3B, and the Braves could definitely use another 3B in a year. He’s also hitting very well for the first time since signing with Mets, so selling him high would be a good idea.

Quick side note on the Braves’ 3B situation. They too have a 3B prospect who may not stick (Edward Salcedo). Adding Flores gives them an increased chance of having an impact 3B for the next 10 years, and, at the worst, gives them a strong fourth outfielder.

In return, the Mets would grab a bat-heavy 2B in La Stella. While scouts question whether or not he can stick at 2B, they get excited about his bat. La Stella has the potential to be a Daniel Murphy 2.0 player, with a bit less contact, and a bit more pop.

J.R. Graham would be the prize of this deal. A 4th round pick out of Santa Clara University from last year’s draft, Graham has a 2.27 ERA over 170.1 minor league innings so far. With a fastball that averages around 96mph, and a wicked slider, his floor looks like that of an elite closer while his ceiling is tremendous. With the Braves already having two top-50 pitching prospects in Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, and young pitchers like Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, and Brandon Beachy, and the Braves have a starting five for the next four-to-five years.

Jaye Chapman is a minor league reliever that is close to being big-league ready. He’s not overpowering, and doesn’t have filthy peripherals, but he’s solid. He has good command to go with the average fastball and would be a good bridge guy to the 8th inning electric arms. At this point, he’d be an immediate upgrade over the Acostalypse.

Why would the Braves do this? For starters, they’re rivals with the Mets, and trading with rivals means paying a premium. Hairston would give them a bat they would really use in a run for a Wild Card spot. Rauch would be a free upgrade this year over marginal relievers the Braves have, and Flores is a decent prospect. In return the Mets get a bullpen arm for 2013, a possible #2 starter or dominant reliever, and Daniel Murphy. That’s not a bad haul for Scott Hairston, Jon Rauch, and an overhyped prospect.