It appears that the baseball hot stove is not going to fully heat up until the Miami Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton. In the interim, teams have been making a couple of minor league free agent signings to round out their minor league rosters as well as to bring in players who could potentially earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
The early free agent minor league signings have had a direct impact on the Mets. Kevin Canelon was signed by the Reds. Travis Taijeron was signed by the Dodgers. The Mets acted swiftly and re-signed Phillip Evans.
The question is now which of the Mets pending minor league free agents should the Mets make a priority this offseason. In MMN’s latest roundtable, our staff was almost unanimous in their response:
Baldonado is definitely my pick, I still think he has a big league future as a LOOGY. Love his fastball/breaking ball combo. Overall numbers last year in Vegas are ugly (6.65 ERA, 1.62 WHIP) but he still shutdown lefties to a .188/.274/.294 slash line. Given the Mets complete lack of depth in the outfield Victor Cruzado should be near the top of the list as well.
Baldondao would be the one free agent the Mets should look to try and re-sign this offseason. Signed by the Mets in 2009, the Panama native was brilliant to start the 2017 season. He appeared in 11 games with Binghamton, recording a 16.2 scoreless innings streak, with 25 strikeouts and only five walks, good for a ridiculous 32.8 percent K-BB rate. While he struggled with his promotion to Las Vegas, the lefty reliever held left-handed hitters to a .188/.274/.294 slash line. He features a three-pitch mix out of the pen, with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a changeup, and curveball. With relievers in high demand across the majors, Baldonado would make sense for the Mets to keep, to further evaluate whether the promise he’s shown in the past would translate to the majors.
I believe Mets should again bring back the lefty reliever. I know he’s been playing in the Mets organization since 2010 but I’ve always enjoyed his game. While with St. Lucie Mets i saw his potential to dominate and use a 20+ mph change of speeds between his fastball and offspeed pitch to keep hitters off balance. I believe it’s smart to keep a lefty who can top close to mid 90s in the system. Perhaps new coaches can find a new method for him.
big lefty reliever with a big fastball and curveball. Still see a major league caliber reliever in Baldonado. Had trouble in Las Vegas, but with this curve as his best secondary pitch that isn’t that much of a surprise. When he returned to AA he showed what he is capable off in better environment to pitch. Plus which organization doesn’t need some depth from the left side.
Armed with a 92-95 mph fastball and multiple deceptive breaking balls, the lefty has dominated in the Mets system for the past several years. After pitching to 0.00 ERA in 16.2 innings for the Rumbles Ponies in 2017, he was promoted to Vegas and finished with a 4.80 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Nevertheless, since there is no definite second lefty in the Mets bullpen, the Mets should resign Baldonado. He can easily become an dominant asset in the bullpen in 2018.
lberto Baldonado has simply had too much success throughout his minor league career to let walk. I’ll take the low 90s fastball with a major league curveball any day. He still has a future ahead of him at only 24.
There’s not much more I can add that my colleagues haven’t already said about Baldonado. Still, I would like to add one additional comment. Left-handed relievers are a valuable commodity, and that goes double around the trade deadline. Consider that in a two month span in 2016, the Mets released Dario Alvarez, the Braves picked him up off waivers, and then he was the centerpiece of a trade deadline deal for a former first round pick in Travis Demeritte. Point is, when you have talented left-handed relievers, you make sure you hold onto them because they are extremely valuable trade commodities. They’re also very valuable when they have an ability to contribute to your own bullpen.
Given the Mets injury issues with their pitching the past few seasons, the team should take Tyler Pill into consideration as well. Likely that decision rests with how well he rehabs from his elbow surgery in August.
We hope you enjoyed our list, and we encourage everyone to share with us which of the pending Mets minor league free agents the team should re-sign.