The Mets finished 74-88 in 2012. I woke up one morning and saw that and said, "Gee golly, that isn't very good." Then, I said, "Hey, I have a good idea. I think the Mets should so better next year!" I thought about it some more and decided it would be a good idea to make the playoffs in 2013 and also win the World Series. So, I made this handy little plan so that the Mets could win the World Series. You're welcome.
Let's take a look at what we currently have so that we can identify strengths and weaknesses. This is what the 25 man roster would probably look like given what we currently have.
Strengths: starting infield, starting rotation
Weaknesses: Catcher, infield depth, outfield, bullpen
Priorities for this offseason:
1. Acquire a solid all-around starting outfielder
2. Acquire a right-handed hitting catcher who can either start or platoon with Josh Thole
3. Improve the bullpen
4. Acquire a good backup infielder
So without further ado, here is my plan to make the New York Mets the 2013 World Series Champtions.
1. Give David Wright an extension of 6 years, $120 million. He is the face of the franchise, plain and simple. Coming off a 7.8 WAR season, David Wright showed in 2012 that he can still play at an MVP level. There really isn't much to say about David Wright that hasn't already been said a million times. I think a 6 year deal for $120 million should get it done. This will not influence the 2013 payroll, as Wright's option has already been accounted for.
2. Give R.A. Dickey an extension of 2 years, $ 36 million. Gotta bring back the sun god.
3. Sign A.J. Pierzynski for 2 years, $18 million. This is a pretty easy decision in my opinion. The Mets need a catcher, and they need power. A.J. Pierzynski fits both of those roles. He is coming off a resurgent year, hitting .278 with a .326 OBP and a .501 slugging percentage. He had 18 doubles and 27 home runs. He has been very durable over his entire career, averaging 127 games caught over the last 5 years. Overall, he had a 3.4 WAR last year. Even though he is 36 years old, Pierzynski has shown that he can still play an above average level. He made $6 million in 2012 and he is certainly due for a bit of a raise, and other teams may be reluctant to give him a guaranteed second year, so I think this should be enough to get it done.
4. Trade Jon Niese, Wilmer Flores, Wilfredo Tovar, and Jefry Marte for Justin Upton. I was trying hard to find an alternative to Justin Upton, just because he seems so uncreative to me, but frankly, who cares? He is exactly the kind of player the Mets would love to acquire in a trade. He is young, under an affordable contract, he is a quality right handed hitter, and he is a good fielder. What's not to like? The Diamondback recently traded away Chris Young, but they are still very deep in the outfield, with Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, Jason Kubel, and A.J. Pollock all fighting for playing time.
Jon Niese would make a perfect centerpiece for the deal. The Mets have plenty of starting rotation depth, so we can afford to give him afford. Niese alone, however, would not be enough to obtain Upton, who is one of the top outfielders available. The Diamondbacks' biggest weaknesses are second base, third base, and shortstop. Aaron Hill, Chris Johnson, and John McDonald are fine stopgap options, but none of the Diamondbacks would probably like to acquire a long-term answer for those positions. Marte, Flores, and Tovar all seem to be blocked in New York, so they are expendable.
Upton is set to make $9.75 million in 2013.
5. Re-sign Ronny Cedeno for 1 year, $1.5 million. Cedeno reportedly wants to find a starting job, but the market is flooded with better options like Stephen Drew, Marco Scutaro, , and Alex Gonzalez, and frankly, Cedeno didn't play well enough to earn a starting job. He plays good defense and would provide a decent stopgap option in the event Ruben Tejada got hurt.
6. Re-sign Scott Hairston for 2 years, $7 million. Hairston did a great job hitting lefties for the Mets last year. Even with the acquisition of Upton, our outfield is so bad that it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring back Hairston. This is a relatively low risk investment, and you know you will get right handed power either off the bench, in a starting role, or in a platoon role. Hairston could be of great use to us with the uncertainty surrounding the abilities of Lucas Duda, Kirk Niewenhuis, and Jordany Valdespin.
7. Sign Randy Choate for 1 year, $1 million. 2012 was a tale of two season for Randy Choate. When he was with the Marlins, he was a fantastic lefty reliever, pitching to 2.49 ERA and a .99 WHIP. However, he was traded to the Dodgers in the Hanley Ramirez trade, and when he was in Los Angeles, it didn't go as well, pitching to a 4.05 ERA and 1.6 WHIP. I like Josh Edgin and Robert Carson, but both of them are young and inexperienced, so it couldn't hurt to have another lefty reliever. In 2012, he struck out 38 batters in 38.2 IP, and in 2011, he struck out 31 batters in 24.1 IP. Choate certainly has the ability to pitch well against lefties. His performance the second half of last season scared other teams off, however, and that is why his price tag fell. At just $1 million, Choate is a low risk investment who has the potential to be our best lefty reliever. Edgin and Carson could battle each other out in Spring Training for the second lefty job.
8. Sign Matt Lindstrom for 2 years, $8 million. Lindstrom just had a pretty good season for the Diamondbacks. He pitched to an ERA of 2.68 and a WHIP of 1.26. He pithed 47 innings and struck out 40 batters. He only gave up 2 home runs, his opponents' batting average was just .249, and he stranded 76.8% of inherited base runners. Not bad, not bad at all. Why the Diamondbacks declined his $4 million option is beyond me, but it is a sign that other teams don't think he is worth that much, which means if he flies under the radar he can be ours for the taking. Lindstrom also has closing experience, saving 15 games for the Marlins in 2009 and 23 games for the Astros in 2010, which means he could be our answer in the ninth inning.
9. Sign Matt Capps for 1 year, $2.5 million. Matt Capps missed the second half of the 2012 season because he had a shoulder injury. When he is healthy, though, Matt Capps has a track record of being a quality reliever. Capps was an All-Star in 2010, putting up a 2.47 ERA for the Pirates ans saving 42 games. In 2011, his ERA went back up to 4.25, as he gave up more home runs and struck out less batters than he did the year before. However, in 2012, Capps went back to his better form, increasing his K/9. 2012 was also the third straight year that Capps lowered his BB/9. The Twins declined a $6 million option for him, which in a way puts a ceiling on his potential free agent value. Capps should look to sign a cheap one year deal to increase his value and try to land a multiyear deal next offseason. Capps may also factor into the closer role in 2013.
10. Offer minor league contracts to the following players:
- Fernando Abad, LHP
- George Sherrill, LHP
- Manny Acosta, RHP
- Mike Pelfrey, RHP
- Brian Bixler, IF/OF
- Steve Tolleson, IF/OF
Mike Pelfrey may return from injury and do what he always did, provide his team with lots of mediocre innings. The rotation should be set with Dickey, Santana, Gee, Harvey, and one of Hefner/Mejia/Familia/McHugh, but it can't hurt to have some extra depth. He might not accept a minor league contract, and if not, oh well, but if he does, great.
Abad and Sherrill are both two left handed relievers. Abad was with the Astros in 2012, posting an ERA of 5.09, and he posted an ERA of 7.32 in 2011. Because of this, the Astros may not want to bring him back. However, Abad does have some potential, putting up K/9 rates of 9 and up in the minors, and an impressive K/9 of 7.43 in the majors last year. Abad also started 6 games for the Astros in 2012, so he has some added value as a starter. Sherrill pitched in just 2 games at the major league level last year, but in 2011 he struck out 38 batters in 36 innings, posting an ERA of 3.00 for the Braves. Both pitchers could factor into the bullpen for the Mets at some point if they need an extra lefty.
Acosta isn't worth bringing back on a major league deal. He is just too inconsistent. He has shown flashes of awfulness and flashes of brilliance. The Mets shouldn't rely on him for anything too major. After posting an ERA of 6.46 in 2012, he won't get anything more than a minor league deal, and at that price, why not bring him back?
Brian Bixler and Steve Tolleson are both utility men who don't hit well, but can play many positions across the field, and can play the field well. Both of them can probably be had for minor league contracts. They would make nice additions to the bench if they could play well during Spring Training, or they would serve as decent replacements in times of injury.
11. Trade Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner for Alejandro de Aza and Duente Heath. The two players have been remarkably similar over the last two years. In 2011, Murphy hit .320. de Aza hit .329. In 2012, Murphy hit .291. de Aza hit .281. Murphys wRC+ was 101 to de Aza's 105. In general, the two have put up very similar production.
This is a simple swap of positions. The White Sox have had a black hole at third base over the last few years, and there projected third baseman for 2013 is Brent Morel, who in 2012 had a .420 OPS and .194 wOBA. Needless to say, with Kevin Youkilis hitting free agency, the White Sox desperately need a third baseman (which is Murphy's natural position), and they are reportedly willing to trade Alejandro de Aza.
de Aza has had a 2.7 WAR each of the last two years. He scored 81 runs last year and stole 26 bases, so he adds an element of speed to the Mets lineup, and could hit leadoff for them. He also had a 9.7 UZR in 2011, adding some much needed defense in center field. The addition of de Aza would give us more outfield depth and allow us to send down either Duda or Niewenhuis to AAA if they didn't perform.
de Aza is set to make about $1.5 million in arbitration in 2013. Murphy would have made about $3 million.
The White Sox don't have any depth in the infield, so they could use a guy like Turner. In return, they give up 27 year old relief pitcher Duente Heath. Heath spent the last 5 years in the minors before finally making his major league debut in 2012. The White Sox must not be very high on him if they kept him in the minors until age 27. He never really got an opportunity in Chicago, and the White Sox have a pretty deep bullpen, so Heath is expendable.
Heath is a strikeout pitcher. His K/9 was over 10 in AAA in each of the last two years. In 2012, he struck out 78 batters in 69 innings at AAA. His 2-seam fastball has plenty of movement, and he is hard to hit, posting an opponents batting average of .185 last year. Heath also has good control, with a walk rate of 2.74 BB/9. Overall, in 2012 at AAA he posted an ERA of 1.43 and a WHIP of .99. Amazingly, he has flown completely under the radar, getting called up at one point due to Jesse Crain's injury, but getting sent back down without making an appearance. In total, he only pitched in 3 games over the year for the White Sox. He would be a great under the radar acquisition, and could certainly be a diamond in the rough for our bullpen.
12. Sign Jeff Keppinger for 2 years, $5 million. Keppinger would be a great addition for this team, and would likely take over the second base job with Murphy gone. Jordany Valdespin can hopefully take over at second base which would bump Keppinger down to a very good utility man off the bench. Or, perhaps they could have a platoon, since Keppinger is righty and Valdespin is lefty. Either way, Keppinger would be a good addition. His AVG/OBP/SLG line last year with the Rays was .325/.367/.439. He showed a bit of pop, with 15 doubles and 9 home runs. Offensively he had a great year by any metric. He posted a wOBA of .352 and a wRC+ of 128. His WAR was 2.8. Keppinger would love to get a multiyear contract, and with a deep infield market, Keppinger probably wouldn't get a much better deal anywhere else.
13. Sign Joakim Soria for 1 year, $5 million. Soria missed all of 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. While he was healthy, he was one of the best closers in baseball, racking up 143 saves from 2008-2011. His career ERA is 2.70. His career K/9 is 9.73. No matter how you put it, Soria is a great pitcher. He should be a bargain at $5 million as he tries to get his career back on track.
2013 OPENING DAY ROSTER
|Lineup/Rotation/Bullpen spot||Name||Position||Salary in $millions|
|1.||Alejandro de Aza||CF||1.5|
Don't forget to add in Jason Bay's $6 million to the payroll. You will also have to pay minor leaguers the league minimum once you call them up, but those aren't accounted for in the Opening Day Payroll.
2013 Opening Day Payroll: $107,950,000
Key minor leaguers: Kirk Niuwenhuis, Duente Heath, Robert Carson, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Colin McHugh, Anthony Recker, Elvin Ramirez, Mike Nickeas, Josh Satin, Chris Schwinden, George Sherrill, Fernando Abad, Steve Tolleson, Brian Bixler, Manny Acosta, Mike Pelfrey, Matt den Dekker, Greg Burke, Zach Lutz
This is a Mets team that has no holes. The lineup is solid from top to bottom, with a mix of table setters and power hitters. It is balanced throughout, with 4 lefties and 4 righties. We added a solid leadoff hitter and center fielder (de Aza), a very good 8th hitter who can play different positions in the case of injury and act as our super-utility man (Keppinger), a veteran catcher who hits very well (Pierzynski), and a young star right fielder with unlimited potential (Upton). The bench is solid as well, and we have Kirk playing every day in the minors and ready to come up if an injury occurs. The rotation remains a strength, with 4 pitchers (Hefner, Mejia, Familia, McHugh) competing during Spring Training for the fifth starter spot. The bullpen goes from perhaps the worst in the league to perhaps the best in the league, with the additions of 3 possible closers (Soria, Lindstrom, Capps) as well as a solid lefty specialist (Choate) and a possible diamond in the rough (Heath). The 2013 Mets will be the team to beat in the NL East.
The New Faces:
P.S. I worked very hard on my AAOP, so please give me some Rec's.