A slow off season means a change in plans is in order
We need a leader. Someone to tell us what to do. Someone to raise the bar. Someone to make it rain. “Beach Boys” by Weezer, Pacific Daydream
If there was ever a time for the Mets to listen to the timeless words of the rock group Weezer, now is the time.
We need a leader
Someone to raise the bar
Someone to make it rain
Make it rain free agents! Be the leader!
This has been an off season like no other. From free spending teams like the Dodgers and Yankees purposely sitting out of the free agent market all together, to relief pitchers flocking to Colorado, it has been an unprecedented off season. There is even some concern this slow off season could turn off some fans. Fangraphs just wrote about that HERE
Which leaves a golden opportunity for the Mets to strike.
For years, the Mets were operated without a plan. Without a vision. Without any long term thought whatsoever. The general manager would add whatever player was in fashion at the time. Or whatever player ownership told him to bring in. It’s how a rookie shortstop phenom ended up playing second base his second season in the bigs. And how the Mets signed Jason Bay.
The hiring of Sandy Alderson changed that. He is a man with a plan, long term vision and determination. The type of determination you learn from years in the Marine Corp. The type of determination you learn in law school. Whether Sandy Alderson’s vision and plan is a productive or successful one is up for debate. But there is a plan in place. Which is refreshing.
The plan for the 2018 off season seemed pretty clear.
- Add a bullpen piece.
- Add an outfielder.
- Add an infielder.
- Stay within budget
All but the last have been accomplished so far.
The funny thing about plans is, they change. Very few things go according to plans. If they did, the Mets would have been back in the play offs in 2017. The off season has changed. Free agency has changed. It is possible player evaluations has changed. The big spenders are sitting this out, and the long term free agent contracts are hard to come by. Which opens a golden opportunity for the Mets. And opportunity to take the lead. To set the bar. To make it rain!
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It is time to put plans on hold, and re-examine the market. At the start of the off season, it didn’t make sense for the Mets to acquire most of these players. As the off season goes on (and on, and on, and on), the prices seem to be dropping. Which presents the Mets with a golden opportunity.
Right now, the Mets are a young team built on pitching. With good health, they can win around 85 games. That’s probably not good enough to win the division. It should be good enough to compete for a wild card spot. With a few moves though, the Mets could go from competing for a wild card, to being a top team in Major League Baseball. They just have to go for it.
Sign Mike Moustakas for third base.
He hasn’t always been the top choice here. Last season, he has a career offensive year. 38 home runs-which set a Royals franchise record. 85 RBIs and and Ops of .835. But his WAR was only 1.8. He’s not a good fielder, and he’s not winning many games with his base running. At the start of the off season, it seemed he was in line for a 5 year deal worth around $18-$22 million per season. As the Mets were already a poor defensive team, with limited team speed, that contract made little sense.
As the off season goes on, things change. No one is offering that kind of deal. Many teams seem to be rebuilding. Or waiting for next years crop of free agents featuring Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson. MVP players.
It is rumored that a ‘creative’ contract could land Moustakas. Something along the lines of a three year contract, with a player opt out after the first season. The Mets could offer him the first year at $10 million, with two additional years at $15-$18 million a year for the remainder. Or they could do the opposite. $15 million for 2018, then if he doesn’t opt out, $22 million for the final two season. The Mets should be able to fit either scenario into their long term budget.
The Pittsburgh Pirates realized there is no middle ground in Major League Baseball today. You are either a player or being played. They choose to move Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Cole. Josh Harrison could be next. The Mets have already had trade talks with the Pirates about Harrison, before they signed Jay Bruce. And Pittsburgh has interest in Brandon Nimmo.
Nimmo is a solid young player many rebuilding teams covet. If you are a 100 lose team, and you cannot market Nimmo’s 1000 watt smile, then you need to fire your marketing department.
The Mets could hold on to Nimmo. They need insurance in case Conforto’s recovery from should surgery is delayed. But with this series of moves, trading Nimmo for a legitimate major league second baseman- a void the Mets have had for almost a decade- now would be the time to pull the trigger.
40 man roster issues:
They are real. The Mets 40 man roster is full. They already lost one player by adding veteran Adrian Gonzalez to the roster. The Mets did make an anticipated move by signing former Met Ty Kelly to a minor league deal. Once the Mets sign a major league infield free agent, they can design for assignment Matt Reynolds, and add someone like Mike Moustakas to the roster. The Mets would still have a veteran minor league infielder that could fill at at various spots both in AAA, and the major league level.
The Nimmo for Harrison trade has no effect on the 40 man roster.
Let’s raise the bar. Let’s make it rain.
The Yankees could use a veteran infielder. They don’t seem too interested in the free agents out there. Rumor is they want to wait to next year and make a big push for Manny Machado. Let’s give the Yankees Asdrúbal Cabrera. He can play both third and second. And he had 11 of his 14 home runs left handed last season. He could be a asset for them, even if the Mets pick up $2 million from his contract- which was his buy out amount. And it is only a one year commitment.
With the room on the 40 man roster, the Mets pick up another veteran infielder, and a prime target this off season.
With Cabrera gone, the Mets are free to really go for it. Frazier, and his solid 3.6 War in 2017, can platoon at first base with Adrian Gonzales. That alone should alleviate concerns about Frazier’s low batting average, while giving the Mets another 30 home run bat. It also give Mets manager Mickey Callaway more options during games.
No. No. No. NO!!
Ok, so we have not been huge Jonathan Lucroy fans. Most 30 year old catchers do not have the worst year of their careers, then have a bounce back season. Maybe Lucroy is that one to do it. We also have not been fans of the way the Mets have developed Travis d’Arnaud, either.
If Lucroy was willing to come to NYC, on a one year deal, to split time with Travis, it might make sense. Lucroy could be the mentor Travis has needed, and could further improve the pitching staff.
If we are raising the bar, we might as well make it rain as well.
Both Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb are still out there.
There are some red flags with Lynn. He is season removed from Tommy John surgery, and the Cardinals were not too interested in monitoring or limiting his innings. The second year back, in that kind of circumstances, can lead to dramatic drop in production. Mets fans are familiar with this, as they saw it happen with Matt Harvey.
A similar 3 year deal, with the one year opt out for either (or both!!), could get the deal done. We recommend the buffet at Aria over Wynn to both Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. It is possible that Lugo (27 years old, partial tear in ucl) is designated for assignment to make room on the 40 man roster.
When the off season started, it made sense to wait and be patient. There were many players not worth the money or years they were asking for. And the Mets had other plans. But real leadership is seeing how the market is changing, and adjusting with it.
Now make it rain!