FanPost

AAOP: A Source Who Would DEF Know Tells Me This Is My AAOP

My goal is to turn the Mets from this:

Aaop-2012-wide_medium

Into this:

Aaop-2012-wide_medium

Shrewd trades and targeted free agent signings accomplish that. Nothing of exceptional value is given up, and nothing that would cripple the team in the future takes place. The 2013 team, in theory, might be able to play meaningful baseball late into the baseball season while setting up the team for success after 2013.

Departures

Tim Byrdak

-I’ll come out and say it: I never really liked Tim Byrdak all that much. A lot of people liked him, for whatever reason. Was he a useful player? Sure, mostly. I’m not saying that Byrdak was bad, per se, but that he’s expendable in my mind- especially coming off semi-serious injury that required surgery. There are other lefty relievers out there.

Mike Pelfrey

-I’m generally lukewarm on Mike Pelfrey. I’ve liked him for portions of his career, and I’ve disliked him for portions of his career (not to the degree of many others, though). All in all, during his Mets career, he was a decent if underwhelming pitcher, whose biggest fault was not living up to the unrealistic expectations that many had of him. Already making $5.6 million dollars, it’s unlikely that the Mets tender him an arbitration contract. He could be offered a general big league contract afterwards, but given the little finances that will be available, I’d rather not spend a few million dollars on a Mike Pelfrey who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and isn’t necessarily even guaranteed to pitch in 2013, let alone pitch better than he has since he became a mainstay of the rotation. We’ve had some ups and downs, some really good memories and some really bad memories, but this is the end, Mike. Good luck wherever you wind up.

Jon Rauch

-Rauch had a very up-and-down season. He started his Met career off pretty decently, got pretty sucky towards the middle, and was pretty decent again after the All-Star break. His being a "name brand" reliever with "closing experience" is what got him $3.5 million dollars after having a not-that-great 2011 season, so I don’t expect that price tag to go down after his having a decent 2012 season.

Ramon Ramirez

-Over the last couple of years, Ramon Ramirez was quietly among some of the best middle relief options. From 2008 to 2011, he threw 291.1 innings, and had a 2.77 ERA/151 ERA+ with a 2.02 K/BB ratio and a miniscule 0.6 HR/9 rate. For whatever reason, he was generally poor during his tenure with us in 2012. He’s going to be a free agent, but his age (31) coupled with his poor season make me hesitant. Based on his performance history, he’d likely be due a decent, multiyear contract. I want to avoid a possible DJ Carrasco repeat, so I’m letting Ramon walk.

Andres Torres

-Andres Torres, since he became a fulltime player in 2010, has a cumulative .243/.329/.394 batting line, and an OPS+ of exactly 100. Most of that stems from his "breakout" 2010 season- he spots a cumulative .226/.320/.334 batting line with a 84 OPS+ for 2011 and 2012, and a .230/..327/.337 with a 85 OPS+ for 2012. He made $2.7 million dollars in 2012, and will be due a raise in arbitration. We all know that Torres is an all-glove, no-bat player, but his phenomenal fielding has also been slipping since that breakout 2010 season. He sported a +22 UZR in 2010, saw it drop to +9.4 in 2011, and saw it further drop in 2012, to +3.0. For a player like Torres to be worth it, in my opinion, he needs to constantly be amazing with his glove (see Rey Ordonez). Though still a positive fielder, those UZR numbers are trending down. Other stats fully or partially derived from speed- stolen bases, infield hits- are also trending down, which makes me think that Andres, who is turning 35 in January, is just getting older and his numbers are reflecting that. With that in mind, I don’t think that his fielding will be as good as I’d like it to be, good enough to warrant him having a starting role with the team, good enough to warrant being paid the $3 million dollars or so that he’d get in arbitration for the 2013 season.

Chris Young

-Over the last two years, Chris Young has provided marginal value, but at the same time, has been pretty useful. Young accepted a Minor League contract in 2011 as he attempted to break back into the Major Leagues returning from injury. In 2012, he accepted a Minor League contract as he attempted to break back into the Major Leagues returning from injury. Both years, he was decent enough for a pitcher who fit his profile (returning from multiple injuries and fragile to begin with). At this point, even with trades I make, I think the Mets possess enough pitching depth to not have to re-up Chris Young. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable offering him a guaranteed Major League contract, and I don’t believe he’d accept another Minor League deal this time around, anyway.

Options/Re-Signings

Manny Acosta: 1 Year/$1 Million Dollars

-He’s the Acostalypse, but it’s always a tale of two seasons for him. In the first half of the season (22.0 IP), batters were hitting .361/.448/.588 off of him (helped by a .414 BABIP), and he only had 23 strikeouts to 15 walks (all unintentional), resulting in a 1.53 K/BB ratio. After returning to the MLB after being sent down to the Minor Leagues, he pitched 25.1 IP and batters were hitting .148/.242./182 off of him, and he struck out 23 batters to 10 walks, resulting in a much better 2.3 K/BB ratio. Overall, while he wasn’t even above replacement level in 2012, he has been a decently fungible relief pitcher who periodically shows periods of being really good. For $1 million dollars, other than fxcarden’s blood pressure boiling over, why not retain his services? I don’t necessarily envision him starting the season in the Mets BP, and will most likely break camp in AAA- though with how poor his starts to the season usually are, that might be a good thing.

Ronny Cedeno: 1 Year/$1.75 Million Dollars

-Originally, I was going to keep Ronnie Cedeno. Then I found a Minor League free agent who was decent enough with the stick, but had a real slick glove- Angel Sanchez- who would basically be Ronny Cedeno minus a little offense but plus a little glove, at the Major League minimum salary. Then the Angels put the kibosh on that, when they signed Sanchez. Looking at all available shortstops at the Major League and AAA level, no one was particularly compelling in the back-up role. So, since Cedeno was perfectly cromulent last season, he can come back and put up decent numbers as a back-up player again. He played more or less net neutral defense at shortstop when asked, and his wRC+ was on the positive side of 100 for the first time in his career. That’s worth a slight raise, as hopefully he can repeat that.

Scott Hairston: 2 Years/$8 Million Dollars ($4 Million 2013, $4 Million 2014)

-For about a month or so at the beginning of the 2011, I was one of the many who questioned exactly why Scott Hairston was brought in. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but they weren’t very good at all. But, a month is only a month, and here we are two years later, and his cumulative line as a Met sits at a respectable .255/.300/.495 in 213 games as a bench and part-time player. I would bring him back, in more of a platoon situation in all outfield positions, that way he is in the line-up as much as possible, a caveat that he would likely require.

Kelly Shoppach: 1 Year/$1.75 Million Dollars

-Shoppach hit .233/.309/.425 for the season (76 games), and amazingly enough, that’s up there among some of his best offensive seasons. As a Met, he hit a more modest .203/.276/.342 in 28 games. Yeah, he can’t hit very well. He does have some decent platoon splits- against lefties, he hits .267/.358/.510 for his career. Defensively, Shoppach is fairly good. He was ranked the 4th best defensive catcher in Beyond the Boxscore’s 2011 Catcher Defense Ratings, and using the same metrics, he was ranked 28 of 116 for the 2012 season- a drop for sure, but still better than about 75% or so of all of the other catchers out there who took the field during the 2012 season. At the end of the day, he is neither Josh Thole nor Mike Nickeas, so these are also points in his favor. Bigger name free agent catchers certainly are out there, but given the state of the finances, they are more or less out of the picture, realistically. In the end, Shoppach delivers the most value to the dollar for those low fruit catcher free agents that the Mets will be looking at- Chris Iannetta, for example, will be making about $5 million dollars next season with the Angels, and he was worth 1.3 WAR for the 2012 season. Shoppach will be making a fraction of that, and was worth 1.2 WAR.

Trades

Trade Lucas Duda and $3 Million Cash Considerations (NYM) for Tony Sipp and Chun-Hsiu Chen (CLE)

Why this makes sense for the Indians:

Lucas Duda, now an Indian, mans first base and DH, two positions that the Indians will need to cover this off-season with the impending free agency of incumbent 1B Casey Kotchman and incumbent DH Travis Hafner. Comparing the three in 2012:

Player Age Games Batting Line Home Runs OPS+ Salary
Duda 26 121 .239/.329/.389 15 99 $497,000
Kotchman 29 142 .229/.280/.333 12 73 $3.0 Mil
Hafner 35 66 .228/.346/.438 12 96

$13.0 Mil

This was a down year for all three, so let’s look at their combined numbers for 2011 and 2012:

Player Games Batting Line Home Runs OPS+
Duda 221 .262/.347/.429 25 115
Kotchman 288 .269/.332/.379 22 102
Hafner 160 .259/.355/.445 25 125

All three hit for about the same average and get on base at roughly the same clip. Kotchman provides a lot less power, but consistent and has a reputation for being a decent defensive first baseman (though his net UZR over the past three seasons is slightly negative, at –1.7). Hafner provides a little more power, but is older and injury prone at this point in his career. Compared to Kotchman, Duda provides more offense at the expense of some defense at first, for a fraction of the price that Kotchman likely will, and will be cost controlled for another few years. Compared to Hafner, Duda provides a little less power at the expense of youth and a little versatility (Duda is bad but passable in the outfield, and isn’t any worse than Shelly Duncan; Hafner cannot play the outfield) for a fraction of the price that Hafner likely will, and will be cost controlled for another few years. In short, plugging Duda into either open slot results in no real drop off in offensive production, and the Indians will have that production until 2018 for relatively cheap (Arbitration starts in 2014, with Free Agency in 2018).

Duda’s recently broken wrist complicates matters. In the long term, it should be not much more than a speed bump in his career- he broke a wrist in 2009, limiting his power, but he obviously recovered, hitting 23 homers in 2010 spaced over AA-Binghamton and AAA-Buffalo, and 29 homers in the MLB from 2010 to the present. This is where the cash considerations come in, to smooth over the deal. I would prefer that Duda’s stock not be sold at such a depressed state, but it is what it is- the Indians will not be looking to fill the two positions that Duda can play next season (presumably), so the deal needs to get done now. Likewise, circumstances in the future could change and make the two players received more important to Cleveland, and as such, much more expensive than they might be right now.

The Indians lose Tony Sipp and Chun-Hsiu Chen, a Major Leaguer and a Minor Leaguer, respectively. Sipp was a reliable reliever in 2012, and since his debut in 2009, he’s been a reliable reliever. The Indians, for all of their faults and deficiencies, have a very impressive bullpen. Without Sipp, the Indians have Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, Cody Allen, and a recovered Rafael Perez to get the ball to Chris Perez, their closer (for now). Chen’s loss is much less of an impact on their future, as Carlos Santana is firmly entrenched behind the plate for the foreseeable future.

Why this makes sense for the Mets:

Though a lefty, Sipp does not have particularly noticeable platoon splits. For his career, right-handed batters hit .209/.324/.403 against him and left-handed batters hit .215/.292/.414, in similar sample sizes (491 and 427 plate appearances, respectively). As such, he is not consigned to a LOOGY role. His 4.42 ERA and 89 ERA+ in 2012 are both the worst in his career in those respective categories, but much like Mike Pelfrey, Sipp has good seasons and "bad" seasons depending on whether or not the year is even or odd- he has a career 2.98 ERA/138 ERA+ in 102.1 IP in odd years and a career 4.28 ERA/93 ERA+ in 118 IP in even years. Cargo cult science, or cosmic phenomenon we don’t understand? You be the judge. In either case, moving from Progressive Field to Citi Field should help him- though Citi actually allows a few more home runs than Progressive Field, it dampens overall offense a bit more than Cleveland did. Currently 29 and turning 30 in July, Sipp is affordable, just beginning the arbitration process, and will be under team control until 2016. Having made $504,000 dollars in 2012, he will likely make around $1 million in 2013, which is affordable.

Graded a C+ prospect by John Sickels and the Indians’ 13th top prospect, Chun-Hsiu Chen is a 24-year-old righty who hit .308/.394/.426 in 108 games for AA-Akron last season and .262/.330/.451 in 113 games the year before. Those are overall good numbers, but the best part about Chen is that he’s a catcher. He has a strong arm, and has a career 35% caught stealing percentage. Defensively, he is much less gifted. He allowed 18 passed balls in 2010 and 2011, leading to the Indians giving him more time at first base than at catcher. In the Major Leagues, Josh Thole allowed 16 and 18 passed balls for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, so that’s something to consider- will Chen’s defense be better or worse in the Major Leagues (assuming he makes it some day). Either way, Chen can get a lookout in Spring Training, but barring being the KoST and having a complete about-face vis-à-vis his defense, he starts 2013 in AA-Binghamton, or perhaps AAA-Reno.

Trade Dillon Gee (NYM) for Alfredo Aceves and Steven Wright (BOS)

Why this makes sense for the Red Sox:

The Red Sox pitching rotation, as it exists right now, seems very flimsy. Jon Lester and Clay Bucholtz, both coming off of disappointing seasons, are penciled in at the front, but after them, things get fuzzy. Currently, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Franklin Morales are penciled in behind them, and it’s not clear if Doubront and Morales will even be starters, as they were seen more effective as relievers last season and Bobby V didn’t like moving them around. There isn’t much in the depth chart either, asides for Daniel Bard or perhaps Pedro Beato, and there’s no guarantee that either will be effective starters, as history so far has demonstrated. For everything that he isn’t, Dillon Gee is a solid back-end starter. His surgery does not seem like anything that might impede in his ability to pitch in 2012, and there is no reason right now to think that it is something that is going to decrease his effectiveness. His peripherals took a great leap forward in 2012, before his season ended prematurely. Nothing screamed out unsustainable, as he had similar peripheral numbers in AAA-Buffalo- meaning keeping the walks down and the uptick in strikeouts seems like it can be repeated. In addition, Gee is still young and under team control for a few more years. For a team that may or may not be in the rebuilding process, this is another mark in Gee’s favor.

This might seem like very little in return for an established Major Leaguer in Alfredo Aceves, but it is important to keep something in mind: Aceves is rightly or wrongly (seemingly rightly) seen as a clubhouse malcontent. After Andrew Baily- the man that Boston specifically traded for to be their closer- returned from injury, Aceves turned on his manager and the team. After having a poor relief outing, Aceves ripped his uniform out and walked out of Valentine’s office. He was suspended by the team a few games as a result. When he returned, he got into an argument with Dustin Pedroia that resulted with the two needing to be physically separated, and when being removed from the mound, he has shown up Bobby Valentine, by not handing him the ball, and by walking around him when leaving the mound. Bobby Valentine, we know, isn’t going to be around for the 2013 season, but with a fragile clubhouse chemistry, something that the Boston organization has had controversies centered around more than once over the past calendar year, I don’t envision they’d want the risk and/or the negative controversy. This is going to artificially decrease his stock even moreso than it is already depressed.

The Steven Wright loss is more or less hand waved away. Both are Minor League filler that aren’t particularly on Boston’s radar. On the Mets, he isn’t necessarily more than that, either, but he may serve purpose(s), as extrapolated below.

Why this makes sense for the Mets:

On the whole, Aceves did not have a very good 2012 season. His final line wasn’t exactly pretty: In 84 IP (69 Games), a 5.36 ERA, an 81 ERA+. When you look around the edges, though, things seem a little more palatable: His BB/9 rate (3.33) stayed the same while his K/9 rate (8.0) went up nearly two strikeouts from 2011. And interestingly, when you look at his home/road splits, things become very stark:

Home/Away Games ERA BAA Ks BB HR Allowed
Home 35 7.03 .267/.339/.500 40 17 8 HR
Away 34 3.86 .242/.314/.352 35 14 3 HR

For whatever reason, pitching in Fenway was his major problem in 2012 (in 2011, the home/away splits were neglible), and in particular, it was the long ball. Citi Field’s larger dimensions to all fields- compare Fenway’s dimensions (310 to left, 389 to center, 302 to right) to Citi Field’s dimensions (335 to left, 408 to center, 330 to right)- would help mask and go far in making this tendency negated. I am not resigning Jon Rauch, so this leaves the line-up needing a late innings reliever to replace him. Aceves, generally speaking, does everything Rauch would do, but better- he’s generally put up better stats these last couple of years, he’s younger, he will be cheaper, and can/will remain under team contract past the 2013 season.

For whatever reason, pitching in Fenway was his major problem in 2012 (in 2011, the home/away splits were neglible), and in particular, it was the long ball. Citi Field’s larger dimensions to all fields- compare Fenway’s dimensions (310 to left, 389 to center, 302 to right) to Citi Field’s dimensions (335 to left, 408 to center, 330 to right)- would help mask and go far in making this tendency negated. I am not resigning Jon Rauch, so this leaves the line-up needing a late innings reliever to replace him. Aceves, generally speaking, does everything Rauch would do, but better- he’s generally put up better stats these last couple of years, he’s younger, he will be cheaper, and can/will remain under team contract past the 2013 season.

As for Steven Wright…What’s the point of throwing in a 28-year old Minor Leaguer who only has 39 innings of AAA experience and an overall up-and-down MiLB career in this trade? Here’s Wright’s best pitch, in his own words: "You can't control the movement, you try to control the starting point and try to stay within your mechanics…Once you start trying to overthrow the pitch it can start spinning and you can get out of what you're trying to do, which is to kill the spin on the ball and keep it in the zone. As long as I can stay under control, usually I'm able to repeat it and keep it in the zone. That's the hardest thing is just keeping it in the zone. Sometimes it moves a lot and sometimes it doesn't move as much, but if you're throwing strikes with it, you're giving yourself a better chance of going deep into games." That’s right- knuckleball. And, does this ESPN Boston description of his career sound familiar to anyone? "Prior to incorporating the knuckler, Wright had a more conventional array of pitches and referred to himself as a power pitcher. He was selected in the second round of the draft by Cleveland in 2006, and by 2010 his career had begun to stall as he battled consistency problems in the upper minors. That year, he threw the knuckleball roughly 10-15 percent of the time, more as a change-of-pace pitch. In 2011, Wright fully committed to the pitch, and he now approximates that he throws it 75-80 percent of the time." Who better to help Wright develop the pitch- a knuckleball that he throws in the low 80s, relatively fast for a knuckleball- than R.A. Dickey, the man that Wright’s story mirrors almost to a T? There’s no guarantee that Wright becomes anything more than Minor League filler, or an interesting story, but of anywhere, his chances of becoming something more lie here, with the New York Mets.

Free Agent Signings

Sign Melky Cabrera: 1 Year/$6 Million

-Yeah, he did performance-enhancing drugs. He also hit .346/.390/.516 last season, .322/.360/.489 over his last two, and has if you want to discount every he did over the last two years as some magical byproduct of the drugs (or a higher than normal BABIP), he still has a .267/.328/.379 batting line, which isn’t all that bad. As a fielder, Cabrera isn’t particularly good, but as a left fielder, he has less responsibility, and less ground to cover, which helps masks his problems there. Because of his suspension, according to the rumors, he is most likely going to be getting a one-year deal, and one that is not anywhere near reflective of the season he is coming off of. While the Mets probably won’t be competing in 2013 unless all the cards break just right, Cabrera will presumably be a decent bargaining chip come July, as the 2013 trade deadline approaches.

Sign Kosuke Fukudome: 1 Year/$800,00

-I remember when Fukudome first signed with the Cubs, and there was a lot of fanfare surrounding his MLB debut. He never played up to those expectations, but looking at his stats, he actually had a few pretty good seasons and is a lot better than I gave him credit for. Currently a free agent who is still in his arbitration years, I’d take a shot on Fukudome. He has a career .258/.359/.395 batting line, which isn’t particularly impressive (except for the OBP), but he has a cumulative 99 OPS+ and 102 wRC+, meaning he’s basically been league average. He hits better against righties than he does against lefties (.260/.366/.402 versus .251/.328/.363), and those platoon numbers fit perfectly with those of Scott Hairston, who hits better against lefties than he does against righties (.276/.325/.500 versus .229/.288/.416), so we have a perfect platoon situation for right field. In the event that Fukudome is putrid, he comes for cheap, so taking a $800,000 hit isn’t the worst in the world, and Scott Hairston played well enough against righties last season that his having more and more at-bats against them isn’t the end of the world- if he continues to succeed, let it be, and if he doesn’t, alterations in playing time can be made easily.

Sign Austin Kearns: 1 Year, $800,000

-It feels like Austin Kearns has been on every other team in creation, so why not the Mets? For everything that he isn’t, Kearns is a pretty decent marginal player. Historically, he’s shown he has some pop in his bat. He strikes out a bit, but he also walks a lot to mask it. He’s generally a good fielder. All in all, that’s a skill set that would be welcome on this New York Mets team. In the role that he’d have: right-hand bat off the bench, with the occasional spot starts, there’s no real risk, and if any of his past upside decides to show up, awesome. If not, it’s a complete-the-roster kind of move that isn’t necessarily going to hurt the team any more than a similar move would.

Sign Brandon McCarthy: 2 Years/$14 Million ($6 Million, $8 Million), Club Option

-Brandon McCarthy probably shouldn’t be as good a pitcher as he actually is. He gets injured pretty often. He hardly strikes out any batters. But, yet, here he is, a good pitcher. Part of his success is his impeccable control- his BB/9 rate over the past two seasons with Oakland was 1.32 and 1.95, respectively- and his ability to limit home run damage. The latter is out of his control, but the transition from the Oakland Coliseum to Citi Field won’t completely destroy his home run suppressed numbers. With guys like Zach Wheeler, Jenrry Familia and Jeurys Familia waiting in the wings, on the cusp of being ready for the show, why bother signing another starter? With Santana’s susceptibility to injury or ineffectiveness (or both), we don’t really know what we’ll be getting from him. McCarthy, the same thing. If the team gets around 130 innings pitched from both, however effective, that’s an entire season’s workload divided over their two arms. He also acts as a stop gap in case something unforeseen happens to any of those pitching prospects, because TINSTAAPP. If you’re banking on Zack Wheeler, and he suddenly goes down with Tommy John, we’ve got McCarthy. If you’re banking on Familia to discover control of his pitches, and he doesn’t, we’ve got McCarthy. If you’re banking on Mejia to remember how to strike batters out, and he doesn’t, we’ve got McCarthy. As an "older pitcher"- he is only 29, but he’s been around the block a few times- he can do veteran-type things with our younger pitchers. Plus, he’s a really funny guy on Twitter.

Sign Nyjer Morgan: 1 Year, $800,000

-Nyjer Morgan had a pretty bad season, but despite hitting .239, barely getting on base every three times he stepped up to the plate, and slugging a paltry .308, he was still above replacement level. Why? Though diminished, he still has a decent glove. Hitting the hell out of the ball was never Morgan’s calling card- his best offensive season, 2011, he only sported a .344 wOBA. He’s always been a good fielder, peaking with a +27.6 UZR season in 2009 that certainly passed the eye test. Morgan isn’t a world-beater, but in 2009 and 2011 he was worth 5.2 WAR and 3.9 WAR, respectively. He is coming off of a bad season, where a .296 BABIP (below his career norm) depressed his average/OBP, and as a result, he can probably be had for close to the Major League minimum. Morgan has experience playing both corner outfield spots, and centerfield, and with some less defensively gifted players roaming Citi Field’s outfield, he can be utilized as a defensive replacement. His speed is still more or less in line with his career numbers, so he can also be used as a pinch runner. His inclusion on the roster leaves Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwinhuis down in AAA-Vegas, as the lefty outfielder quota is met. Nieuwinhuis, I’m fine with him playing in AAA-Vegas because (a) I want him to get regular playing time, something getting spot starts and pinch hits on the MLB bench doesn’t afford and (b) so he can work on his strikeouts. Baxter is obviously less of an asset than Nieuwinhuis, but should Morgan falter, and Kirk not really show that he’s out of his second half funk from last season, he’s our man. At $800,000, Morgan is an easy bullet to bite, and Baxter is a fine replacement- the two obviously have different strengths and weaknesses, but they both add up to bench/spot starter guys.

Sign Hideki Okajima: 1 Year/ $1 Million

-Last season, I was fairly confused by two things, regarding Okajima: Firstly, that the Red Sox did not utilize him in any constructive fashion during the 2011 season. He pitched 8.1 innings in the Major Leagues, appearing in 7 games, and had a 4.32 ERA with 5 walks and 6 strikeouts. In AAA-Pawtucket, he pitched 51 innings, appearing in 34 games, and had a 2.29 ERA with 5 walks (1.6 BB/9) and 25 strikeouts (8.5 K/9). Secondly, that he barely received any kicks in the tire during the off-season, by any teams. He eventually signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees, and received a Spring Training invite, but was released because of a failed physical (the details of which were never released). Whatever physical issues he had clearly didn’t affect him very much, as he had a successful season with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, pitching 47.2 innings with a 0.94 ERA/2.24 FIP, 6.80 K/9, and 1.1 BB/9. It’s not that I think he can repeat that in the Major Leagues- far from it- but during the time he was in the MLB, he was a decent relief pitcher. When he was at his best, he was a versatile, late-innings, high-leverage reliever who could get anyone out. At worst, he could be an effective LOOGY- in his MLB career, lefties hit .218/.277/.323 off of him. His advanced age (he will be 37 in 2013) is something of a concern, but that is mitigated by the fact that he pitched an entire season for Fukuoka and none of the rigors of Japanese baseball- and they are a lot more strenuous than MLB standard- had an impact on his performance. He’s gone on record saying "[He] would like to play in America again. [He] would like one more chance.", so I plan on giving him that one more chance.

Sign Angel Pagan: 3 Years/$23 Million ($7 Million, $8 Million, $8 Million)

-I liked Angel Pagan, but I saw the virtue in the trade that sent him to San Francisco. Andres Torres was basically Pagan but with an emphasis on defense more than offense. It didn’t work out, and it is what it is, but I want Angel Pagan back. I’ll treat the trade that sent him out west as his Amish rumspringa- he went out, had a good season, won a world championship, got all of that out of his system, and now he’s ready to come back and toil away for the team that drafted him and gave him his first real chance. Overall, Pagan had a good 2012 season, offensively and defensively. The things that he brings to the table- a little bit of pop, a decent glove, some speed on the base paths- are all things that the Mets need. With one fell swoop, needing a centerfielder, needing a leadoff hitter, and needing a speedy player who can steal some bags can all get checked off. Plus, we get to use the Crazy Horse animated GIF again!

Minor League Signings Of Note

Dusty Brown

-Coming off of a career year, the defensively-gifted Brown signed with the Texas Rangers during the off-season, and hit .220/.354/.397 While he didn’t have as good a season offensively, it wasn’t exactly horrible, either, as he at least got on base at a decent clip- it was the PCL, though, so do with it what you wish. Brown isn’t particularly known for his bat, though, and any good performance with it is mostly gravy, anyway. My thought process behind signing him is to help mentor Josh Thole and the young catchers in the system- improving on that part of their respective games would exponentially increase their values and likelihood to stay at the MLB level.

Cedric Hunter

-Turning 25 right at the beginning of the 2013 season, Cedric Hunter was the Padres third-round draft pick in 2006, signing with them right out of high school. His early career looked pretty good, hitting .318/.362/.442 in A+ ball, but he seemed to stall out in AA, because of his overall lack of power. In the offensive-charged PCL, he’s a .264/.332/.372 hitter. Hunter has good plate awareness, as evidenced by his 300 strikeouts in 3,380 plate appearances and 275 walks- not only does he strike out relatively few times (roughly a 9% career K rate), but he walks almost as much. On top of that, he is a relatively decent outfielder, who has the range and hands to handle center decently, though he’d be better in the corners. Generally speaking, he’s more likely to be organizational filler more than anything else, but his understanding of the plate and decent enough outfield ability would put him near the top of the OF depth chart if someone needs to be called up.

Jason Knapp

-Jason Knapp was drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2008 Amateur Draft by the Phillies, and quickly flew up the list of top prospects, to the point that when Philadelphia traded for Cliff Lee, Knapp was the centerpiece of the trade. Shortly after arriving in Cleveland, Knapp’s career kind of fell apart as injuries ravaged his body. He would never start more than ten games in a season for Cleveland. After sitting out all of 2011 and 2012, Cleveland released Knapp in August 2012. What do the Mets gain by signing Knapp? First of all, he is only 22. Injuries limited him to 28.1 innings in 2010, but he was still effective- a 2.86 ERA/1.38 FIP, 5.6 hits per nine, a 3.8 BB/9 rate, and a 14.9 K/9 rate (3.92 K/BB ratio). All of this screams out one thing to me: Reliever! Converting Knapp to relief would space out his appearances, putting less stress on that weary body per appearance. There’d be plenty of variables: those numbers might not translate to decent numbers at higher levels of the Minors (he has logged a total of 113 innings in A-ball), he might continue to be injury prone, he might not be able to successfully convert into a reliever, whatever. A guy with his potential, and relatively young age, I see no reason not to take a flier on him. Worst thing that happens, he doesn’t pan out, and if that happens, oh well, it means little.

Spring Training Non-Roster Invitees

Bobby Jenks

-Before he went to the Red Sox in 2011, Bobby Jenks was a pretty good relief pitcher. Various injuries and other assorted problems cost him not only most of his 2011 season, but all of the 2012 season as well. Reports say that he is still able to throw in the low ‘90s, so why not? As a non-roster invitee, nobody has anything to lose, and everything to gain: the Mets a decent relief pitcher, and Jenks a place to reestablish his baseball career in a low-pressure environment.

Chris "Disco" Hayes

-A guy can dream, can’t he?

The Starting Lineup

Position Player Handedness
1B Ike Davis Left
2B Daniel Murphy Left
3B David Wright Right
SS Ruben Tejada Right
LF Melky Cabrera Switch
CF Angel Pagan Switch
RF Scott Hairston Right
C Josh Thole Left

The Bench

Position Player Handedness
C Kelly Shoppach R
INF/OF Jordany Valdespin L
INF Ronnie Cedeno R
OF Kosuke Fukudome L
OF Austin Kearns R
OF Nyjer Morgan L

The Starting Rotation

Player Handedness
Johan Santana Left
R.A. Dickey Right
Jonathan Niese Left
Matt Harvey Right
Brandon McCarthy Right

The Bullpen

Player Handedness
Josh Edgin Left
Hideki Okajima Left
Tony Sipp Left
Alfredo Aceves Right
Bobby Parnell Right
Frank Francisco Right

Notable MiLB Players

Player Position MiLB Location
Anthony Recker C AAA-Vegas
Cedric Hunter OF AAA-Vegas
Matt den Dekker OF AAA-Vegas
Kirk Nieuwinhuis OF AAA-Vegas
Mike Baxter OF AAA-Vegas
Justin Turner INF AAA-Vegas
Greg Burke RP AAA-Vegas
Robert Carson RP AAA-Vegas
Manny Acosta RP AAA-Vegas
Danny Ray Herrera RP AAA-Vegas
Jeremy Hefner SP AAA-Vegas
Zack Wheeler SP AAA-Vegas
Jenrry Mejia SP AAA-Vegas
Jeurys Familia SP AAA-Vegas
Collin McHugh SP AAA-Vegas
Dusty Brown C AA-Binghamton
Chun-Hsiu Chen C AA-Binghamton
Steven Wright SP AA-Binghamton
Jason Knapp SP/RP A-Savannah

Payroll


Player Salary
Johan Santana $25.5 Million
David Wright $16 Million
Angel Pagan $7 Million
Frank Francisco $6.5 Million
Brandon McCarthy $6 Million
Melky Cabrera $6 Million
Jason Bay $6.0 Million
R.A. Dickey $5.0 Million
Scott Hairston $4.0 Million
Ike Davis $3.0 Million
Jon Niese $3.0 Million
Daniel Murphy $3.0 Million
Alfredo Aceves $2.5 Million
Kelley Shoppach $1.75 Million
Ronnie Cedeno $1.75 Million
Bobby Parnell $1.50 Million
Manny Acosta $1.0 Million
Hideki Okajima $1.0 Million
Josh Thole $1.0 Million
Nyjer Morgan $800.000 Thousand
Tony Sipp $800.000 Thousand
Austin Kearns $800.000 Thousand
Kosuke Fukudome $800.000 Thousand
Ruben Tejada $490.000 Thousand
Josh Edgin $490.000 Thousand
Matt Harvey $490.000 Thousand
Cash Considerations $3.0 Million
Total Payroll $109.3 Million

Odds And Ends

-As theoretical GM, David Wright and R.A. Dickey are both signed to new contracts. Because I am keeping their 2013 salaries as is, this information is "not important" to the 2013 payroll/roster.

-A few MiLB free agents were signed after I did research on them and "signed" them myself. That was annoying.

Gratuitous Dickeyface

Aaop-2012-wide_medium

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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