So you are thinking: Why third base? The New York Mets have Jeff McNeil, Jed Lowrie and JD Davis that can all play there.
We understand that. But we want to explore ALL options this off season, to find a way to push the Mets over the top in 2020, and keep them their for as long as possible.
We know the bullpen was the biggest issue in 2019. And the offense was pretty good. Pretty good. Not outstanding. Not great. Pretty good. There were several games where the Mets could have pushed across an extra run or two. A four run lead instead on one or two runs could have given the bullpen the confidence to shut the door.
Looking at the Mets in 2020, the only real places to add anyone is 3B or CF.
The free agent market for CF is thin. Beyond thin. I’ll take a combination of Conforto and Nimmo in CF over pretty much any free agent centerfielder.
There are guys under contract that could be available for trade. Springer and Betts are stars in the last year of their deals. The Pittsburgh Pirates have 2 option years for Sterling Marte, and could look to move him this offseason.
All 3 of those players will cost a significant amount in any trade. Betts will also come with a $25-$30
million salary as well.
But 3B is deep. Really deep. There are 6 to 10 guys that the New York Mets could add, that would improve their offense.
We know the Mets have guys for 3B. But they can all play somewhere else, too. We have two philosophies here as well. We’ll go deeper into them next time, but here’s a small taste.
One way to build a successful team is to increase talent. Add talent where ever and whenever you can. 3B is a place where the Mets can add talent. I don’t know any other position where you can add two 6-WAR players this offseason.
The other philosophy goes back to Brodie Van Wagenen’s initial press conference. He said the goal is to “win now, and win in the future”.
It is possible that if the Mets sign say Mike Moustakas, they might have to trade Nimmo, Davis and or Dom Smith.
The question is: are the Mets better with Nimmo? Or are they better (now and in the future) with Mike Moustakas, and the prospects they got trading away Nimmo (or whoever else the Mets trade away).
We don’t know those answers. We don’t talk to MLB GMs daily. But it’s an interesting question.
Look at the Cleveland Indians last offseason. They could have traded Cory Kluber, got those prospects, and signed someone like Patrick Corbin. They wouldn’t have lost total talent at the MLB level, and they would have set themselves up for the future.
We’re going to dive more into there philosophies and ideas as the offseason continues. For now, looks take a look at who is available at 3B this off season.
Extra base hits:80
Rendon is not just a premier 3B, but he is also a top 5 player in the National League. The World Series champ should finish in the top 3 of the MVP voting, right as he hits free agency for the first time. All of his numbers say he is an incredible player.
Unfortunately, Rendon will be 30 in June. The current trend in baseball today shows a steep decline in ability, starting between 30 and 32. Rendon has also already turned down an 8 year contract from the Washington Nationals for over $200 million. These long term deals have not been successful for teams recently.
It’s hard to see Rendon being an effective player at age 36 to 38, while making $30 million a year or more.
extra base hits: 70
The former Toronto Blue Jay, and MVP, had a terrific season for the Atlanta Braves. Signed on a one year deal, Donaldson proved his worth on both sides of the ball. He’s a big, right handed bat, in the Mets lineup that can get too lefty heavy. He’s a perennial 30 homer/30 doubles guy. Pair him, Alonso and Cespedes in the lineup, and that’s some serious thunder. Donaldson also provides insurance in case Cespedes isn’t available (and we all know the Mets organization loves their insurance). Donaldson is such a professional hitter, I would pay to listen to him and Beltran talk hitting. (Donaldson talks hitting on MLB)
Donaldson signed a one year deal with the Braves, and produced. He gambled on himself, and it worked. Does this mean he wants a multi year deal? Donaldson has missed significant time with injuries in the past, which is why he only got the one year deal. With his violent swing and big leg kick, he is a major injury waiting to happen.
If Donaldson was willing to sign a 1 or 2 year deal with the Mets this could be a great match. If he is looking for a 3 year, $60 million deal, the Mets probably aren’t the best fit.
Just this week, the Braves extended Donaldson the Qualifying Ofer. We feel this significantly lowers Donaldson’s free agent value. He should think hard about accepting the QO.
There are some reports, out Monday, suggesting a few teams are looking to sign Donaldson for a 4 year $80-$100 million deal. With his age, injury history, and recent history of free agency in general, it is hard to see a team willing to pay Donaldson $20-$25 million through the 2023 season, while losing a draft pick now, to do so.
extra base hits: 66
For starters, if you pair Mike Moustakas with Carlos Beltran, you have enough to make the heads of some simple minded Mets fans explode. That’s reason enough for me! Moustakas is also a constant profession hitter and could provide the veteran leadership the team loses with the departure of Todd Frazier.
It is also possible he accepts a similar contract to what the Mets gave Frazier. With an already tight budget, a 2 year, back loaded contract might work for both sides. We’re thinking 2020 $5-$6 mil, 2021 $8-$10 million.
2 years ago, Moustakas positioned himself for a top free agent deal. Then the free agent landscape shifted overnight, and he was forced to accept a couple of one year deals.
His biggest wish seems to be that multi year deal. Is that 2 years? Or 3-4?.
If both sides can make a deal work, Moustakas would be a welcomed addition in Queens.
Extra base hits 73
Gurriel is in the last year of the initial contract he signed, coming out of Cuba. Technically under team control until 2022, Yuli is scheduled to make $8 in 2020.
He put up that impressive 73 extra base hits, including 40 doubles. At the same time, he maintained a batting average around .300. Those type of numbers could set the Mets offense apart.
The Astros are in a similar situation as the Mets. Both teams face a budget crunch, as their core players work their way through arbitration.
Gurriel had a terrific 2019, but do the Astros need to pay a guy $8 million to play 1B for them?
If the Mets took on the whole salary, they could probably get Gurriel for just a midlevel prospect.
Downside is Gurriel’s age. He will be 36 in June. He also hasn’t played 3B everyday since coming to the United States. But he did log 42 games there in 2019, as the Astros faced a series of injuries.
For one year, it could be worth it.
In house options
extra base hits: 63
In his first full season in the majors, McNeil proved he belongs. He showed he could play 3B, 2B, LF and RF all at an above average level.
This is the case for and against McNeil as the every day third baseman. His value to the team comes from playing multiple positions well. While he is probably the best “in-house” candidate to play 3B, moving him the the OF could open 3B for another quality hitter.
extra base hits: 45
What a find Davis was by Mets General manager Brodie Van Wagenen. JD Davis’s numbers at Citi field (.354/.413/.665. 31 extra base hits, with a OPS of 1.078) are ridiculous, and we all know how Mets players have struggled hitting at home since Citi opened.
The downside to starting Davis at 3B is his defense. In limited time there in 2019, he had -9DRS at 3B, and -11 in LF. If he wants to be an every day option, Davis really needs to improve his glove work
As we said, 3B is incredibly deep this offseason. Here’s a quick look at some other players available for the hot corner.
Starlin Castro: He’ll be 30 in March, played 45 games at 3B for the Marlins in 2019. He could have 2000 hits around his 33rd birthday.
Kris Bryant: Not a free agent until 2022, and currently suing the Cubs for service time manipulation. With 2 years of control left, their rebuild process could start with trading him this offseason
Todd Frazier: Solid player and veteran leader for the Mets for 2 years. His time is Queens was hampered by his first ever trips to the Injured list.
Jed Lowrie: was injured all of 2019. Scheduled to make $10 million in 2020. If he’s healthy, he will probably see at least some time at 3B in 2020 for the Mets.
So who do you think will see the most time at 3B in 2020 for the New York Mets?
What do you think is the best option?