Bumped from FanPosts. The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan contest is underway, and here's one example of the many great entries we have already received. You, too, can make a plan. It's your plan, and your plan, you like your plan. The authors of the first, second, and third place plans will receive Amazon gift cards. -- Chris
After another long year, Mets fans are all asking the same question... Why aren't there orange seats at Citi field. Also how can we get this team turned around quickly, while building for the future. I've laid out a plan here that I think is a good balance of present and long term. Some of you will like it, others won't, but I can guarantee you, of all of the AAOPs you read this year... this will be one of them.Position players
Ike Davis – As if there was any other option. Davis was having a breakout year before a slow motion collision with David Wright , followed by a tragic encounter with the Mets crack medical team left him with a bone bruise which needed extensive time to heal. With a .383 OBP and a 152 wRC+ last year prior to his injury, it's hard to argue he's the clear future for the Mets at 1b. Davis has shown repeatedly that he can not only hit some of the most spectacular home runs you'll ever see, but also has a solid glove at first as well. Adding this to the fact that he strikes fear into the hearts of railings everywhere, and the fact that he's cheap, team controlled, and completely f*cking awesome in every way, he's the clear cut choice for our 2012 first baseman.
Ruben Tejada – Tejada has come a long way from the all glove, no bat reputation he carried with him into the big leagues. While he's not going to hit for massive amounts of power, he had a .360 OBP which put him amongst the top 2b in the league. He's what you would call a good contact hitter, and has a great approach at the plate, capable of fouling off sometimes near comical numbers of pitches. While he hasn't played enough for UZR to be meaningful, at least to me he passes the eye test as a second baseman, and is competent to fill in as a shortstop in a pinch as well. Overall he's not spectacular, but given the number of young second basemen the Mets have working their way through the system (Satin, Havens, Valdespin, Turner), along with Daniel Murphy as a capable fill in, it's hard to justify paying the guys currently available.
Yes, thats right... I'm going to TRAID the core. At least this piece of it. This is not because I don't think David Wright is talented, or that he's not one of my favorite Mets ever, or that I don't believe he can bounce back, but because I think an opportunity exists we need to take advantage of. Trust me I don't like this any more than you. After a tough first half of the year (probably from breaking his back carrying the team on it) and a trip to the DL, he came back and looked a bit more like his old self. Looking a bit deeper however, his strikeout rate showed no sign of decreasing even after he came back from injury, and his walk rate decreased from July onwards as well. This is pretty much in line with the general trend we've seen with Wright over the past few years. He's still a valuable player, especially with third base being such a weak position in the NL right now, but I don't foresee a return to the days of old in his future. The reason I'm saying to trade him now is strictly based on what I hope is an opportunity to improve our team in the long run, and not because I feel we're a stronger team without him immediately.
As such it was my goal to find a logical home for him, with trade pieces which we could use. The team that immediately came to mind was the Cincinnati Reds. I mean come on, they gave Miguel Cairo extensive time at third base last season. How many of you even realized he still played baseball, let alone started ¼ of the season at 3b for a team? The Reds have been doing a fantastic job of stockpiling young players, and those are just what we need right now. The trade I propose is as follows. Reds get David Wright, Mets get Yasmani Grandal and Dave Sappelt (note we may need to add a prospect as well to sweeten the deal, but Grandal is worth it). The Mets are currently quite weak at the catchers position, and this deal would provide them with a young catcher with huge potential. The Reds currently have a plethora of catching talent (Hanigan, Mesoraco) making Grandal dealable. Furthermore, Dave Sappelt is blocked at all outfield positions by Bruce, Stubbs, and Heisey, making him expendable as well. Sappelt is ideally suited as a center-fielder. He has above average speed and has an arm that will allow him to play any outfield position. In the minor leagues he hit line drives at a 20+% clip, mostly hitting to the gaps. He won't hit for a lot of power (maybe 10-15 HRs) but his line drive gap hitting paired with his speed should play well in Citi, making him a strong candidate for a doubles/triples type hitter. The biggest knock on Sappelt is he's not a particularly disciplined basestealer, getting caught more frequently than someone with his speed should, however I believe proper coaching can remedy this problem. His numbers in the big leagues this season were underwhelming in 38 games, but once he gets a bit more experience under his belt he projects to be a solid CF.
Since David Wright will no longer be around, Daniel Murphy will play third base. Prior to the Irish Hammers freak injury (again!?!) this season on a funky takeout slide, Murph was tearing the cover off the ball to the tune of a .350 wOBA, and was among the league leaders in batting average. I believe his offensive production will play well enough to make him an above average third baseman. His versatility also allows him to fill in at first and second as well should any long term injuries to other players occur, requiring infield shuffling.
Jose Reyes – Lets face it, if Jose goes, the Mets aren't going to have a payroll in 2013 because nobody will come in 2012 to see the team. Nothing brings joy to a Mets fan like watching Jose fly around the bases for a triple, or stealing a base (except maybe an RA Dickey start). However, taking fan favoritude (totally a word) out of the equation, he's one of the top two shortstops in baseball, spent this season absolutely destroying any baseball thrown his way, and the Mets don't really have any shortstop prospects ready to replace him anytime soon, which means we'd need to go out on the free agent market hunting year after year for a fill in if we let him go anyway. I say give him 5 years, 100 million, and be done with it (17, 19, 20, 21, 23). I hope Jose will take a deal along these lines.
Ramon Hernandez – While Grandal will be the clear future for the Mets at catcher, he should probably start the season at AAA for a bit more conditioning first, since he's barely played there at all. As such we'll need a stopgap in the meantime. Ramon Hernandez is above average both hitting and fielding (as analyzed by Beyond the Boxscore) for his position, and would make a solid addition to the team. I would sign him to a 1 year, $5 million deal. He only played 90ish games last year, and at age 35 will probably need a reasonable amount of time off, which can be filled in by Josh Thole.
Look, I'd love to trade Jason Bay for some magic beans as much as the rest of you, but with the contract we gave him, he's not going anywhere after the last two seasons, unless we're willing to get hosed Vernon Wells style just to get rid of a player. As such, Bay is penciled in as our opening day left fielder next year. We're going to have to hope he can find some semblance of the hitting talent which seems to have completely escaped him since his move to New York.
Defensively, Duda is less than impressive, but sometimes chicks just dig the longball. Duda hits some home runs that can only be described as "majestic". With a .370 OBP and copious power, I'm willing to live with his slightly, shall we say quirky, play in the outfield. One day I'd love to see the Mets slide him over to an empty spot in left field where Jason Bay used to be, but for the moment his bat is too valuable to not be in the lineup somewhere.
Angel Pagan/Dave Sappelt
I would pay Angel Pagan the ~4.5 mil he'll likely be due in 2012. If he can regain his 2009-2010 form, he'll be well worth the money, and if not, he'll make a solid bench piece to back up our new acquisition. Both Pagan and Sappelt will compete out of Spring Training for the starting CF gig, with the loser of the battle becoming the 4th outfielder. Should either struggle for an extended period during the season, I'd swap their positions in the depth chart. This gives us the advantage of having two true center fielders available, and the potential to have a strong defensive and competent offensive outfield in those "close and late" games where having Duda in right may be too much of an adventure.
Dave Sappelt/Angel Pagan – Insert loser of the Spring Training battle here
Jamey Carrol – Carrol is coming off of a very solid 2011 campaign, which is unfortunate since I'd prefer his versatility for cheaper. However I would still give him a 2 year, 5 million (2.5,2.5) deal to act as a super-sub, since he has experience at pretty much every infield position, and gets on base at a good clip.
Wilson Betemit – Basically here for his bat off of the bench, but Betemit could fill in at 1b or 3b in a pinch. We'll give him 1 year and 3 million to back up Murph and Ike.
Josh Thole – Somebody has to back up Ramon Hernandez, and it's not going to be Nickeas, thats for sure.
Willie Harris – Despite seeming awful, Harris performed admirably as a bench player, to the tune of a .351 OBP. It was a rather empty on base percentage, as he didn't hit for a lot of power, but he managed to not make outs, which is about as much as you ask for out of a bench player. Plus it keeps him out of the enemies hands, and we've seen what he does AGAINST the Mets. Also his contract will make it legally forbidden for him to ever play second base again.
Niese and Dickey aren't going anywhere, plain and simple. I'll let Pelf walk, Dillon Gee can fill his role as crappy inning eater well enough if injuries force us to use someone other than the guys listed above. Chris Capuano performed admirably for the Mets last year, and I see no reason not to give him a chance to repeat the performance. I would give him 1 yr/2 mil and hope he continues to pitch 180+ innings.
Additions: I would make 2 other signings here. The first is Rich Harden. After coming back from an injury, he pitched 80 innings striking out almost 10 batters per 9 innings. When healthy Harden will miss bats at an elite rate, but because of his injury history, he should come a bit cheaper than other similar arms. I would offer him a 1 year, 4 million contract with a vesting option, which will pay him another 6 mil in 2013 if he pitches 150+ innings. With Santana's status questionable for the 2012 season, I think it is important to add another high quality arm to the rotation as well. I propose we try to sign CJ Wilson to add a solid arm to the starting rotation. He strikes out a lot of guys, gives up very few home runs in a hitter friendly park, and eats a ton of innings. He does walk a few too many, but not an intolerable number. I would offer 4 yr/52 mil for his services (10,12,14,16). Note: For those of you who don't think we can land Wilson in this price range, replace his name with Mark Buehrle, make the 4th year an option, and drop the $ a little from here on out and carry on, the point here is to add a solid, reliable pitcher who will eat a good number of innings, I'll take the best one we can get but either one works for the purposes of this plan.
This gives a final rotation of RA Dickey, CJ Wilson (or Buehrle), Jonathan Niese, Rich Harden, Chris Capuano, leaving the option of using Capuano out of the 'pen if Santana is healthy and pitching well as a swing man. I think this rotation (if healthy, and of course that is always the caveat with bargain pitcher shopping) would be fairly solid top to bottom, without breaking the bank.
The Acostalypse had a solid season last year, and in general has actually pitched much better than his nickname might suggest. He's a clear candidate to bring back. Byrdak will be back next year in the LOOGY role, and Herrera makes a good backup lefty with a decent K/BB ratio for cheap (plus I love his kitchen sink repertoire). Cap'n fastball can act in a setup role, and if he can keep his walks down, will be very effective.
Walker and Coffey both provide decent middle relief to the pen. Frank Francisco would be brought on to close for the Mets in 2012. At 53 Ks to 18 BB last season, he seems like he'd be much less of a heart attack waiting to happen than a lot of our recent closers. He made 4 million last year, getting a chance to close in the second half. A raise to 5.5 million seems reasonable to give him a chance to prove himself as a closer over a full season.
This plan would leave us with the following lineup:
Jose Reyes, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Jason Bay, Ramon Hernandez, Angel Pagan/Dave Sappelt.
The starting rotation would be:
RA Dickey, CJ Wilson (or Buehrle), Rich Harden, Jonathan Niese, Chris Capuano, and if healthy Johan Santana will replace Capuano, with Capuano moving to the pen as a long relief/swing man role.
The Bench would have:
Sappert/Pagan, Josh Thole, Wilson Betemit, Jamey Carrol, and Willie Harris. This bench gives us a lot of positional versatility, as most of these guys can play multiple positions. None are a total offensive black hole either, so we won't have any Chin-lung Hu type wastes of space on the bench either.
The Bullpen would have:
Bobby Parnell, Todd Coffey, Tyler Walker, Tim Byrdak, Manny Acosta, Danny Herrera, Frank Francisco (closer). This pen should be an improvement from last season, with guys like DJ Jazzy Carrasco and Toyota Irrigation not making appearances.
Final cost tally is:
I feel this plan gives us a strong lineup, a solid starting rotation, and improved bullpen, a deep bench, and a couple great pieces for the future all at a reasonable cost. While losing Wright would be tough, the money freed up by trading him allows us to have a more competitive team this year, and will bring in a rare catching talent that should be with the Mets for a long time, and a potential center fielder as well. It may not be the most popular idea, but I think it'll work.