Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Studious Metsimus Presents The Happy/Crappy Recap For 2014

We've made it through another year, Mets fans.  The 2014 campaign marked the sixth consecutive season without a winning record for the Mets, putting the team one sub-.500 season away from tying the franchise record of seven straight sucky seasons.  (They posted seven losing seasons in a row from 1962-68 and repeated the flustering feat from 1977-83.)

The 2014 season had its usual shares of ups and downs.  It was a year without a Harvey Day, but it was also a year where we were delighted with deGrom.  It was the season we impeached Ike and replaced him with a 30-homer hitter whose post-game interviews made Marshawn Lynch look like a well-versed wordsmith.

As we do every year as Mets fans, we felt both happiness and crappiness.  So why not recap those happy and crappy moments now that the year is coming to an end?  Let's start with all that was good in 2014.  Come on, get happy!

The Mets signed starting pitcher Bartolo Colon to go deep into games and be a veteran presence in the clubhouse that could help the younger pitchers as they adjusted to their increased workloads.  He did everything that was expected of him, as he led the team with 15 wins and also surpassed 200 innings.

Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom filled in for the injured Matt Harvey with aplomb.  Both Wheeler and deGrom averaged more than a strikeout per inning and combined to win 20 games.  In addition, both pitchers improved as the season progressed.  Wheeler went 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA in his final 16 starts and deGrom posted an 8-1 record in his final 12 starts with a 1.90 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.  And let's not forget the game in which deGrom tied Jim Deshaies' major league record by striking out the first eight batters he faced.  Now imagine Wheeler, deGrom and Harvey in the same rotation in 2015 and the future looks very bright for the Mets.

The threesome of Wheeler, deGrom and Harvey will need help from their bullpen, and the Mets have one of the better relief corps in baseball.  Who'da thunk it after the 2014 season began with Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth blowing more games for the Mets than umpire Angel Hernandez ever could?  The trio of Vic Black (2.60 ERA, .206 batting average against), Jeurys Familia (2.21 ERA, five saves, .209 batting average against) and Jenrry Mejia (28 saves, 98 Ks in 93.2 IP) made it a lot easier for Terry Collins to remove a tiring young starter from a game after just six innings of work, especially if that starter had an innings limit for the season.

We already knew Juan Lagares was a brilliant defensive outfielder, and he was rewarded for his fielding greatness with his first Gold Glove.  But Lagares was much more than this generation's Garry Maddox.  ("Two thirds of the Earth is covered by water.  The other third is covered by Garry Maddox.")  Lagares was a great contact hitter, striking out just 12 times in his last 119 plate appearances.  He also proved he could be a leadoff hitter, stealing nine bases in a 14-game late-season stretch and reaching base safely in all but two of those games.  Continued improvement by the 25-year-old center fielder will make it much easier for Mets starting pitchers, especially those who are susceptible to fly balls.

Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson combined to hit 50 home runs in 2014.  It was the first time since 2008 that two lefty swingers combined to hit 50 balls out of the park for the Mets.  Back then, it was Carlos Delgado (38 HR) and Ryan Church (12 HR) who turned the trick.  But even more noteworthy was that it was the first time in team history that two players who batted exclusively from the left side of the plate both reached the 20-homer mark in the same season.  The closest any lefty-swinging duo had ever come to turning this feat prior to Duda and Granderson was in 1999 when Robin Ventura smacked 32 homers and John Olerud hit 19 of his own.  And now that the right field fences at Citi Field will be closer to home plate than they've ever been, perhaps the dynamic duo will improve upon their unprecedented power numbers.

Travis d'Arnaud set a Mets rookie record for catchers by blasting 13 home runs in 2014.  But it was what he did after being called back up from the minors in late June that raised eyebrows.  In his last 68 starts, d'Arnaud batted .272 and had an .805 OPS.  The catcher clubbed 19 doubles, three triples and ten homers in those games, while driving in 32 runs.  Let's look it at this way.  It would not be a stretch to say that d'Arnaud can catch 136 games over a full season.  That's exactly double the amount of games he started after he was recalled to the big leagues.  So repeating his post-honeymoon-in-Vegas numbers over a full season would result in 38 doubles, six triples, 20 HR and 64 RBI, or as I like to call it, the closest any catcher has come to Mike Piazza since Mike Piazza.

Looks like a lot of happy recaps up there, doesn't it?  But there was also a whole lot of crap going on.  (And I'm not just talking about the Austin Mahone concert this past September at Citi Field.  My ears are still ringing from all the prepubescent shrieks.)  Let the blue and orange toilet paper lead the way.

Wilmer Flores performed well with the bat, especially over the last month of the season, when he had almost twice as many extra-base hits (12) as he had strikeouts (7).  Similarly, Ruben Tejada, who was the author of one major league home run prior to this past season, found a way to blast five long balls in 2014.  That being said, Flores makes Derek Jeter look like the best defensive shortstop in history and Tejada still has fewer home runs as a Met than Dwight Gooden.  The Mets can either hope Flores can make people forget he's a defensive liability by putting up big numbers with the bat, or they need to find a two-way shortstop - one who can hit AND field.  The team has used up all of its toilet paper trying to clean up that mess since Jose Reyes left the team.

Let's talk about the bench in 2014.  Or what passed for a bench in 2014.  When Bobby Abreu and Eric Campbell combine to play in 163 games (or one more game than a team plays in a full season), you know you need better bench players.  Eric Young, Jr. gave the team speed off the bench.  It's too bad he had a .299 OBP in 2014.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker both played good defense and had decent on-base percentages.  Unfortunately, they're pretty much the same player taking up two roster spots.  And let's not even talk about the Mets' $7 million dollar man, Chris Young, who played so badly, even Jason Bay was shaking his head.  The Mets need to improve their bench in 2015 for late-inning situations and to sub for any everyday player who needs a rest.

Speaking of needing a rest, what the fudge happened to our captain in 2014?  David Wright had the worst year of his career, posting the same slugging percentage (.374) as Anthony Recker and the same number of homers (8) as Chris Young.  At least the third baseman didn't forget how to hit singles, as laced 105 of those in 2014.  Wright is earning $20 million a year, or more than 20% of the team's payroll.  He'll need to go back to his 20-25 homer, 90-100 RBI ways if he wants to be worth his salary and keep batting third in an improving Mets lineup.

Finally, is this the last hurrah for Terry Collins?  It's true that the team improved by five wins in 2014, giving Collins the most wins he's had in any of his four seasons as the Mets' skipper.  But some of his in-game decisions didn't exactly help the team reach that "lofty" 79-win total.  And none of those decisions angered fans more than his infatuation with the bunt.  Let me break it down for you.  A bunt with a man on first pushes the runner to second.  The Mets batted .235 in 2014 with a runner on second base.  Similarly, a successful sacrifice with runners on first and second moves the runners to second and third.  How did the Mets fare when they batted with two runners in scoring position?  Badly, to the tune of a .202 average.  So bunting runners over usually meant those runners stayed where they were.  You're not going to win many games when you give up too many outs.  And Terry Collins gave up way too many outs, and perhaps his first chance at a non-losing season with the Mets, by relying too much on the bunt.

And that'll do it for the non-Festivus related airing of grievances.  We hope you enjoyed all the statistical silliness Studious Metsimus has provided for you in the year 2014.  And as always, we can't let the year come to its conclusion without mentioning those sites that inspire us and give us something fresh to read when we need a Bartolo Colon-sized serving of Mets news and information.

Our fav'rit reads come from A Gal For All Seasons, Faith and Fear in Flushing, Mets Merized Online, Metstradamus, Remembering Shea, The Daily Stache, Mets360, MetsBlog, Rising Apple, Kranepool Society, Mets Police and MetSilverman.  You will not be wasting your time with those sites.

So from the staff of Studious Metsimus, which includes Ed Leyro (hey, that's me!), culinary expert/roving reporter Joey Beartran, Cole Hamels informant Iggy Beartran, and hot chick with a sailor's tongue Taryn Cooper, we'd like to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.  May all your wishes come true in 2015.

And remember, Mets fans, if you're ever in line at Dunkin Donuts and the guy in front of you asks for a double shot of Espresso with a double-dipped chocolate doughnut, you may just be standing behind Daniel Murphy, Doubles Machine.  And there's certainly nothing crappy about that.  See you next year!

Why wasn't I invited to this party?  So jealous...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Song Parody: Tulo Hits, He Fits

Wouldn't Troy Tulowitzki be a hit if he found a fit in orange and blue?  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Have you checked the interwebs these days?  Especially #MetsTwitter on (ahem) Twitter?  It's impossible to find a Mets fan who doesn't have an opinion on current Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

"Trade for Tulo," some fans say, noting that he would be an upgrade over the current Flores/Tejada two-headed monster.

"Get someone else," other fans say, knowing that Tulowitzki has an injury history and would cost the Mets an arm, a leg, a kidney, an appendix and a Syndergaard, at the very least.

"Keep Tejada.  He hit five homers last year", says absolutely no one.

Needless to say, everyone has an opinion on the Mets' shortstop situation, and most of those opinions include one Troy Trever Tulowitzki.  Even if he misses a month or four per season, he'd still probably put up better offensive numbers than Wilben Flojada.  (Or was that Rumer Teres?)

And what about that Coors Field factor?  Well, Tulowitzki has played 480 contests away from Denver's thin air - approximately three full seasons worth of games - and has posted a .274 batting average, .469 slugging percentage and .818 OPS in those affairs.  Only nine players have ever posted an OPS higher than .818 while wearing a Mets uniform (Olerud, Piazza, Strawberry, Wright, Beltran, Delgado, Bonilla, Floyd, Ventura).  Tulowitzki would be right up there with them.  And that's only considering what he's done away from Coors Field.

So basically, as long as he's healthy, Troy Tulowitzki would have a chance to become one of the best hitters in Mets history.  His offense is clearly needed on the 2015 squad.  Tulo hits.  And he most certainly fits.  And New York is where he should set up shop in 2015.

So in honor of the "bat man" the Mets truly need, I'd like to share a song parody of a ditty originally performed by a former "bat boy".  The song "2 Legit 2 Quit" was a top-five smash in 1991 for former A's bat boy Hammer, who had dropped the "M.C." from his stage name by then.  Hammer didn't know it back then, but almost a quarter century later, his song would serve as the basis for a rallying cry - a cry penned by yours truly in the hopes that the Mets will go all out to acquire the premier offensive shortstop in the National League.  And naturally, that rallying cry had to be called "Tulo Hits, He Fits".

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!

Mets going on a shortstop quest
Now don't quit (no!), get the best
Ardor (yeah!), Sandy never showed before
In bettering the team, especially its core
He don't mind (mind!) if you think that he's fakin' it
A shortstop bind that he'll fix, no mistakin' it today
(No!) 'Cause Sandy don't play that
He's watching his guy, Troy, not having setbacks
Please (please!), we've got no one
He hustles, he's got muscle, he's all we need, son
Sandy's going for the guy he can get
Startin' at the top, 'cause Tulo hits, he fits!  (Cha-ching!)

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Heyyyyy!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Tulo hits!)
Tulo hits!

When he feels right, most don't even play him close
He hits a jack, he rounds the sacks, and then the pitcher's toast
He's got that power, he flexes every hour
The pitchers all shake, they all get devoured
The fans are enthused, baseballs are abused
Competitors petition to change all the rules
Schoolin' the game, the man is insane
Not ashamed I gotta say this, Tulo's going for Fame
Unchained, no one's better, even flashes some leather
Tulo is the tops when he keeps it all together
So roll with this guy, his physique doesn't quit
Now's the time, cause Tulo hits, he fits!  (Bang!)

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Tulo hits!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Heyyyyy!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Tulo hits!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!

Get him this winter, he'll make the Mets a winner
Hits away from Coors, not just where air's thinner (word!)
He's not a noob, he's tried and true
Revitalize fan interest (yo!), just bring him through
We're through (Talk!), we've had it with the strife
Ready for postseason, so believe the hype
So get him (Get him!) or you're gonna regret it
'Cause the day you missed him is the day you lose the pennant
Troy reminds me of the best in history
Breakin' records, gettin' all the glory
We're so ready, we're ready for it
Hey, you!  Come through!  'Cause Tulo, he fits!  (Bang!)

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Tulo hits!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!

Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!
Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!
Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!
Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!  Get Troy!

So people, don't admit defeat
We've waited long, to win the NL East
Daily (every day!), we ask for moves
Something to improve, make the team more cool
So we pray (Yo!), that Tulo can play
We used to feed the bottom, Troy can lead today
Oh yeah!  I know he fits!
He'll get us to the top, cause Tulo hits, he fits!  (Say it!)

Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Hey, hey!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits!  (Tulo hits!)
Tulo hits!  Tulo hits, he fits...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Joey's Letter To Sandy Claus (2014)

I hope Sandy Claus leaves everything I ask for under my ridiculously huge tree.

Dear Sandy Claus,

It's me, Joey Beartran!  And if I'm writing you this letter, that means it's that time of year again - the time when you have to decide who was naughty and who was nice in order to determine who gets what they want this holiday season and who gets coal in their stocking.

I know you must be tired from all your recent travels.  I mean, I would be pooped as well if I was spending all my time and energy trying to find good bargains on coveted holiday gifts like Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry, Jr.  I'm sure you had to fight off many people to secure them.

But unlike others who absolutely have to have the best in right-handed hitting outfield/first baseman hybrids, I'm a simple bear.  And that is why this year's list shouldn't be much of a challenge for you.  Because my list is so simple, you should have no problem finding everything on it and we can overlook whether or not I should be on the "naughty" or "nice" list.  (Personally, I don't think causing one of the toilets to overflow in the Caesar's Club last summer should put me on your "naughty" list.  It could have happened to anyone who was trying to flush their autographed Chris Young baseball.)

Are you ready, Mr. Claus?  Here goes!

The home run apple outside Citi Field seems like a good place to write my letter to Sandy Claus.

I would like Matt Harvey to return to the rotation in the best of health.  You already wouldn't let him pitch in 2014 despite his constant nitpicking, so he should be good to go next season.  (And don't worry, I'm not going to accuse you of wanting to extend his free agent clock another year by not pitching him at all in 2014.  Remember, I'm nice, not naughty.)  Also, please don't let Harvey pitch too many innings in 2015.  I'm expecting the Mets to compete for a postseason berth so I'd like him to be as fresh as possible for any potential starts in mid-to-late October.

Speaking of returning to health, I would like a return to form for David Wright.  After all, he gets paid more than your reindeer and elves combined, so he might as well earn his salary.  Eight home runs and eight stolen bases is just not enough for a player who produced a 30/30 season in 2007.  I mean, if you want that type of production, just bring back Jason Bay.  That's what he averaged in three seasons with the Mets, although Bay averaged just 96 games per season as a Met, while Wright put up his 8/8 season in 134 games.

I'd also like a new and improved shortstop.  Yes, I know we already have Wilmer Flores and that Hakuna Tejada guy, but Flores' best position is hitter and Tejada is probably going to press next year now that he knows he produced more walks, doubles, and RBI than Nationals' wunderkind Bryce Harper, all while striking out fewer times than Harper and reaching base at a similar clip in just three more at-bats.  Don't believe me, Sandy Claus?  Take a look for yourself.

Player RBI Year AB 2B BB SO OBP
Ruben Tejada 34 2014 355 11 50 73 .342
Bryce Harper 32 2014 352 10 38 104 .344
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/13/2014.

Would it be too much to ask for another good year from the bullpen?  After three seasons of throwing relief pitchers at a wall and hoping some of them would stick, you finally found some with good adhesive qualities.  They also had good fastballs and off-speed pitches.  Jeurys Familia was so spectacular that he finished tied for seventh in the Rookie of the Year vote, a feat almost unheard of for a middle reliever/set-up man.  Vic Black earned two wins and 12 holds, allowing more than one run in just one of his 41 appearances.  And Jenrry Mejia's 28 saves set the franchise record for most saves by a homegrown pitcher, surpassing Tug McGraw's 42-year-old record by one.  Please make sure they continue to provide a spark for the team in the late innings.

Speaking of Jenrry Mejia, could you please let him know that it's okay to toss a 1-2-3 inning every once in a while?  Mejia made 56 relief appearances in 2014 and retired every batter he faced in just 21 of those outings.  In sixteen of his 24 one-inning saves, he faced a minimum of four batters.  The numbers "1-2-3-4" might have been staples at Ramones concerts, but they shouldn't have to be staples of Mejia performances.

I'd like Daniel Murphy to stick around for at least another season.  In 2014, he became the first second baseman in Mets history to reach base 200+ times in three different seasons, so why shouldn't the Mets keep him around?  And if they did trade him before Opening Day, who would they give the job to?  Eric Young, Jr. was just non-tendered and Dilson Herrera, who won't be old enough to drink until March, still needs more minor league seasoning.  If the Mets do make the playoffs in 2015, Murphy should be there to enjoy it as the second longest tenured player on the team.  His teammates left him stranded on third in a crucial moment during the final week of the 2008 season.  His front office shouldn't do the same by trading him away just as the team appears to be heading toward contention again.

Are you there, Sandy?  It's me, Joey!

If it's not too much to ask, can you please make sure Lucas Duda has another solid season like he had last year?  Can you also have Curtis Granderson replicate Duda's power numbers?  And while I'm at it, can you get your decoder ring out so you can translate Travis d'Arnaud's second half performance into a full season of fantastic hitting?  Perhaps if all three hitters could give solid production, David Wright would have the protection he needs in the batting order and I wouldn't have to compare him to Jason Bay in future letters to you.

Finally, I understand the Mets have to trade a starting pitcher, especially with Matt Harvey coming back to claim one of the spots in the rotation, but does it have to be Dillon Gee?  I know how much you love dumping salary, which is why Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo were all given their walking papers before their contracts expired.  So maybe this is a good time to escort Bartolo Colon to the airport.  He served his purpose in 2014 at a $9 million cost to the team.  Now he's due to earn $11 million in 2015 and he'll be 42 before Memorial Day.  He should be the one to go to make room for Harvey.  And I'm not just saying that because he hogs up the Shake Shack line at Citi Field.  I just happen to like Gee.  What's so wrong with that?

I was only being held by Gee because it was easier to check up on his pitching arm that way.  Honest!

That's it for my letter this year, Sandy.  See, it was a very simple list.  All you have to do is remember to keep Matt Harvey healthy, prevent David Wright from watching his "Jason Bay Guide to Hitting" video, give me a shortstop not named Flores or Tejada who can hit AND field (not hit OR field), provide me with another dependable relief corps, show Jenrry Mejia how to count to three, make sure the Grandy Man can actually protect Wright (Duda and d'Arnaud can help in that regard), and last but not least, keep Dillon Gee from putting his arms around another team's uniform.

You've been able to provide me with many of the things I've asked for in the past few years, but not everything.  (I wanted a healthy Johan Santana in 2013.  Instead, you gave me a healthy Shaun Marcum.  Not the same.  Not even close.)  That's why I made this year's list a little easier for you.  As nice as I was this past season - pay no attention to the Chris Young Bathroom Incident - I don't expect you to make all my holiday dreams come true.  But as a long-suffering Mets fan, you owe me!  You owe all fans who have invested so much of their time and money on this team.  And while I'm on the topic of being owed, you also owe me change for a hot dog I had last September.  I paid with a $10 bill and only got a buck in return.

Thanks a lot for reading my letter, Sandy Claus!  I hope you can fit everything I asked for under my ridiculously huge tree.  I also hope you found a good plumber for the Caesar's Club.  I intend to use the bathrooms there at some point in 2015.  Maybe this time I won't have to bring a baseball with me.

All my love,
Joey Beartran

Hope this makes it to you on time, Sandy.  If not, I'll have to write another letter to my local post office.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Tale of Two Michaels: Should The Mets Have Gone For Morse Instead of Cuddyer?

Michael Morse will be dancing to A-Ha in 2015, but not at Citi Field.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

In early November, the Mets pulled off a stunningly quick free agent signing, inking Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million contract to play the outfield and fill in for Lucas Duda at first base whenever a tough left-handed pitcher was facing New York.  The Mets made this move even though they knew they would have to part ways with their first round draft pick in 2015, as Cuddyer was given a qualifying offer by his former employers in Colorado that he chose not to accept.  The signing reunites Cuddyer with his childhood friend, David Wright, as the two All-Stars grew up near each other in Virginia.

Cuddyer has an injury history, played his last three seasons in the thin air of the Mile High city and will be 36 years old by the time the curtains open on the 2015 season.  Clearly, there are lots of question marks with this deal, but if Cuddyer stays healthy, he should still be a serviceable player who will make positive offensive contributions to the team.  With that being said, why didn't the Mets make a stronger push for a fellow Michael who just won a World Series ring in San Francisco?

Michael Morse is coming off a season in which he missed 31 games.  However, he still managed to produce 32 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs and 61 RBI in 438 at-bats, averaging an extra-base hit every 8.6 at-bats.  In doing so, Morse was one of just six players in the majors who had at least 50 extra-base hits in fewer than 500 plate appearances.  Morse's .811 OPS was quite good in a season where just nine National League players posted an OPS of .850 or higher.

In three seasons with the Rockies, Cuddyer produced an .886 OPS.  However, that number was clearly inflated by playing his home games at Coors Field.  From 2012 to 2014, Cuddyer's OPS at home (.984) was far superior to his road OPS (.795).  His OPS on the road while with the Rockies was very similar to the overall .794 OPS he posted in 11 seasons with Minnesota, leading one to believe that he will produce around the same figure with the Mets.  Morse, on the other hand, has played the majority of his career in home parks that are not among the best for sluggers (Safeco Field, Nationals Park, AT&T Park).  However, he has been very consistent at home and on the road, posting an .809 lifetime OPS in his home parks, while producing an .807 OPS on the road

Going back to Cuddyer's injury history, the new member of the Mets has played 140 or more games in a season just four times since making his major league debut in 2001.  And since 2011, Cuddyer has missed a total of 229 games.  Morse is not the healthiest of players either, surpassing 130 games played just twice since becoming a regular player in 2010.  However, Morse has missed "only" 181 games since 2011, meaning he remains on the field more than Cuddyer does.

When considering what a player - especially one who is injury-prone - would do over the course of a full season, a valuable tool to use is baseball-reference.com's "per 162 games" stat.  Let's look at what Cuddyer and Morse have done per 162 games since both became everyday players in the big leagues.

  • Cuddyer (since 2004): .280 BA, .468 SLG, .816 OPS, 37 doubles, 22 HR, 89 RBI
  • Morse (since 2010): .279 BA, .479 SLG, .816 OPS, 32 doubles, 27 HR, 83 RBI

Basically, they're the same player when healthy.  But Cuddyer (born March 27, 1979) is three years older than Morse (born March 22, 1982) and could be on the decline sooner than Morse, especially now that he's left the thin-aired confines of Coors Field.

Now let's consider what Cuddyer has done against the NL East teams he will now be playing more regularly and compare that to what Morse has done against the same teams.  Since Cuddyer has less experience playing National League teams than Morse does, we will only consider non-cumulative stats for both players.

  • Cuddyer (vs. ATL, MIA, PHI, WAS): .302 BA, .484 SLG, .846 OPS
  • Morse (vs. ATL, MIA, PHI, WAS): .307 BA, .512 SLG, .870 OPS

Unlike the "per 162 games" stat, in this case Morse clearly has an edge over Cuddyer.  The experience factor (all but 612 of Morse's 2,296 career at-bats have come as a National League player) also gives Morse an advantage over Cuddyer, who spent over a decade in Minnesota.

Finally, and this has always been important in the Sandy Alderson scheme of things, Michael Morse was not given a qualifying offer by the Giants when his contract expired at the end of the 2014 season.  Therefore, had the Mets chosen to sign Morse, they would not have lost their first round draft pick next season as they did when they signed Cuddyer.  Furthermore, Cuddyer was finishing up a three-year, $31.5 million deal with the Rockies, meaning the Mets were going to have to dole out over $10 million per season to a player of Cuddyer's talent and experience, even with his recent injury history.  Meanwhile, Morse was coming off a one-year, $6 million deal with the Giants, just one season after finishing off a two-year, $10.5 million contract originally signed with Washington in 2012 (Morse was later traded to Seattle and Baltimore during those two seasons).  Given Morse's injury history, he probably would not command more than a two-year deal.  However, his average annual value would certainly not exceed $10 million per season.  Perhaps a two-year, $18 million contract would have been enough to lure him to Flushing.

So let's summarize.  Cuddyer is three years older than Morse, has similar offensive production to Morse (per 162 games) and is coming off a three-year stay in hitter-friendly Colorado to play at sea level in New York.  And although Cuddyer hits well against his new division rivals, Morse's numbers are better against those teams and Morse has more experience playing those clubs.  Oh, and lest we forget, Morse would probably have had a lower price tag than Cuddyer and would not have cost the Mets next year's first round draft pick - a pick they could have given up for another quality player in addition to Morse.

David Wright and Michael Cuddyer are friends.  So it's entirely possible Wright had a big say in the team's hasty decision to sign Cuddyer.  But had the team waited it out a little longer, they could have come up with a better deal in the still-unsigned Michael Morse.  Like Cuddyer, Morse is a right-handed hitting outfielder who has experience at first base and could play there in place of Lucas Duda whenever a tough lefty was on the mound.  But the Mets decided Cuddyer would be a better fit for the team.  Let's just hope Morse doesn't turn into a good fit for one of the Mets' main rivals.