With Matt Harvey on the shelf, the realistic timeframe for contention has been delayed another year. If the target is now 2015, it may seem prudent to punt on this offseason and wait for next year to make our push. However, the conditions exist this offseason for the Mets to be very aggressive in remaking the roster. For the first time in years, some flexibility exists in the budget and our farm system has developed a reasonable degree of depth. While fielding a contending team in 2014 remains a stretch, the opportunity to put the pieces in place for our next contending team can occur this offseason. To make the changes necessary, it will be necessary to be very aggressive-executing some moves that might diminish the product on the field in 2014 in hopes of building for the future.
Daniel Murphy signed for $5.8 million
Ike Davis signed for $3.5 million
Dillon Gee signed for $3 million
Bobby Parnell signed for $3 million
Eric Young Jr. signed for $1.5 million
Lucas Duda signed for $1.8 million
Ruben Tejada signed for $1.0 million
Justin Turner signed for $800,000
Johan Santana (declined option $5.5 million buyout)
Although several of the arbitration eligible players vastly underperformed in 2013, there remains a reasonable probability that the players tendered will produce at levels commensurate with their increased salary levels.
Free Agent Signings
Sign 2B Robinson Cano to a seven year $175 million deal
On the surface, signing a 31 year old veteran to this large of a deal seems like a win now kind of move. Why would a team with little chance of contending in 2014 make such a move? Simple. Cano is a special player; a true two-way player at a premium position. He has proven to be extremely durable and appears to have a swing and style of play that should age very well (I see him on a trajectory very similar to Beltran). Not only is he the best player in this free agent class, he is better than any projected free agents in 2015 and 2016 as well. Therefore, Cano provides the best shot for the Mets to get a true impact talent through free agency that will help them compete in 2015 and beyond.
Sign RHP LaTroy Hawkins to a one year $1 million deal
LatToy was excellent for the Mets last year and seems to have been a great influence on the young guns in the pen. Although soon to be 41 years old, he seems to have enough in the tank for another year.
Sign LHP Scott Kazmir to a one year $7 million deal with 2nd year $15 million option triggered by 200 inning
It’s time to exorcise the demons left from Kazmir-Zambrano deal. After several years lost in the wilderness, Scott mysteriously found his velocity last year. With his fastball back in his arsenal, he can be an above average mid-rotation tarter.
Sign OF Tyler Colvin for one year $500,000
A flawed player, Colvin does have power. He had a dismal year last year, but at his best can be a 2nd division starter.
The Mets need cornerstone players. Obtaining an established star like Stanton, Tulowitzki, or Carlos Gonzales would decimate our farm system. Therefore, the Mets need to gamble and go after a future star. It’s no secret the Mets have a massive hole at shortstop. Fortunately, there is crop of blue chip shortstop prospects in professional baseball: Profar, Baez, Bogaerts, Owings, and Lindor. Francisco Lindor is my favorite. Of the bunch He actually reminds me a lot of Jose Reyes, Francisco is a little short when it comes to Jose’s cannon and blazing speed, but Lindor makes up for it with a better overall glove and above average plate discipline. Lindor could make his major league debut late next year.
To get a talent like Lindor, the Mets would have to part with either Harvey, Syndergaard, or Wheeler. Harvey is hurt, so he will not be going anywhere. Between Syndergaard and Wheeler, I think Thor has the better shot at reaching his ceiling. Wheeler is a good pitcher and still has the potential to be an ace. However, Zack’s control scares me, and the pitch f/x data from last year was not as awe inspiring as one would hope.
Kluber emerged last year as a solid back of the rotation starter.. He represents solid starter depth something needed if Wheeler is dealt.
This deal works for Cleveland. This past year, the Indians found themselves a surprise playoff team. This success thrusts Cleveland into win-now mode. The Indians need to build on their success, but lack the financial resources to go after high priced talent. Ulbado Jimenez will most likely opt for free agency, so they need to replace a spot in the front of the rotation. Wheeler is young pitcher with a pedigree and found some big league success last year. Moreover, Wheeler is cost controlled for six years. A combo of Wheeler and Salazar gives Cleveland a great young one-two punch. The addition of Flores and Duda provide two other potential big league pieces that can help Cleveland now and in the future. Both are much better suited to the American League. Flores has the potential to be an above average major leaguer at third base, a position of weakness for Cleveland. Duda is a classic buy low option for the Indians. Lindor is the cream of the crop in their farm system, but they have Cabrera signed another year and have several highly touted shortstop prospects in their system. They would be trading from a position of strength
Colorado needs a 2B and Murphy seems a good fit. Playing half his games at Coors Field, I could see the Irish Hammer compete for a batting title. Dickerson is major league ready and has the talent to be an average major league leftfielder. Tim Wheeler displayed enormous power two years ago that then completely vanished. He is worth a flyer.
LF Corey Dickerson, $500k
C Travis d’Arnaud, $500k
2B Robinson Cano, $25 mil.
3B David Wright, $20 mil
IB Ike Davis, $3.5 mil.
RF Matt den Dekker, $500k
CF Juan Lagares, $500k
SS Ruben Tejada, $1 mil.
C Juan Centeno, $500k
OF/2B Eric Young Jr., $1.5 mil.
2B/SS Justin Tuner, $800k
OF Tyler Colvin, $700k
1B/3B Josh Satin, $500k
LHP Jon Niese, $5 mil.
RHP Dillon Gee, $3 mil.
LHP Scott Kazmir, $7 mil.
RHP Corey Kluber, $500k
RHP Jenrry Mejia, $500k
RHP Bobby Parnell, $3 mil.
RHP Latroy Hawkin, $1 mil.
RHP Vic Black, $500k
RHP Gonzales Germen, $500k
RHP Carlos Torres, $500k
LHP Scott Rice, $500k
LHP Josh Edgin, $500k
Mid-Season Call-ups: RHP Rafael Montero, RHP Noah Syndergaard, RHP Jacob deGrom, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Jeff Walters, RHP Chasen Bradfod, OF Cesar Puello, OF Tim Wheeler, SS Francisco Lindor, SS Wilfredo Tovar
Payroll: 77.5 mil.
Much like the 2013 Mets, this team assembled is flawed. The offense looks weak. Outside of the two stars, it relies on a hope and a prayer that Ike Davis can become something close to what we hoped he would be three years ago. After the past two years, that does not seem like a very good bet. Further, the outfield is patched together on the belief that out of Dickerson, Lagares, den Dekker, Colvin, and EY Jr., you can find passable production. Realistically, perhaps one or two can rise to solid starters. The starting rotation appears solid, but not fantastic. With Kazmir and Mejia feeling two spots, you have to worry about durability.
All and all, there could be some pretty dismal periods for this team. That said, as the summer heats up the reinforcements start to emerge. Hopefully, by the end of July, Puello can garner a promotion and take one of those outfield spots. By August, Lindor should be ready to take over shortstop (for what hopefully becomes the next dynasty team), and of course, Montero, Syndergaard, and deGrom rise to the show filing key spots on the roster. Furthermore, the team should have the depth to be able to trade somebody like Gee, Niese, or Kluber to help solve the problems at first base and the outfield.