I'll be the bad guy. Its cool.
During the season I suffered the slings and arrows for being the guy to tell the hard truth- the Mets needed to take a knee this season and protect the pick. Many on this board wanted to live in la-la land and pretend that getting to .500 baseball was all that mattered...as if the Mets would somehow magically get more talented if they could just overcome their psychological barriers, just like in the classic movie "Major League".
Sorry kids, that's just not how the real world works. I have to make life or death decisions with my day job, so this just comes naturally. The Bill Simmons Rule is in fact, in effect. MLB's new rules have ensured that. You can just stick your head in the sand if you want to pretend that you live in an alternate reality. Want to know what its like to put an Italian Hex on your own team in Sept? I do, it sucks.
So be prepared for some reality based AAOP. Because that's just what the Batman does- takes the hits because he can. Because he has to.
So hard truth #1: We're better off keeping Daniel Murphy.
Yup....he's going to cost us $5 million plus. Yup he's pretty valuable (but not outrageously valuable). I'm not saying you don't trade Murph at some point (possibly deadline if someone makes you a big offer), and if someone makes you a godfather offer in the offseason- you take it. But on the whole Murph is part of what's between you and embarrassment. Oh and none of us is really sure Flores is actually a 2nd Baseman.
I'm sorry but I lived through this once....Gregg Jeffries. Remember him? In 1988 he was the kid who could do no wrong. A converted SS who's natural position was 3B. Hojo was injured/resting in Sept. Jeffries was becoming the next big thing. Then we tried him at 2nd Base. And it was downhill from there. Duda is our more modern cautionary tale- he got so nervous playing in the OF it actually affected him at the plate. I'm not saying that Flores is Jeffries or Duda- but there's a lesson here. Flores's highest, best value is as a 3B. He's been playing the left side of the field for years. His arm is good. His glove, not as terrible at the corner. He's the guy you trade.
My second piece is...you've got like 3-4 middle inf in your system already. Dillson Herrera, Maz, Cheech. I realize Gavin is a SS but he might end up a 2nd Baseman. Same for Evans, if he can get his act together. They are all 2-3 years away from contributing-- which is about as long as Murph has arbitration (believe its 2014 and 2015).
So you're better off trading all that potential Flores has into the potential of someone else at a different position: So 1st move is---
Trade Wilmer Flores, 3B for Joc Pederson, OF
Yup, a prospect trade. But one that makes sense for both teams. Yes the Dodgers could keep Uribe. That's a distinct possibility. But they could also get their 3B of the future/now, in Flores. Joc....well we know Joc on this board now don't we. It makes too much sense for both teams. The Dodgers will have to unload a ton of money to get Kemp, Either or Crawford off their team. I don't see a huge amount of takers--at least not without the Dodgers eating some big bucks. The previous regime saddled them with Kemp's contract and Either was a panic move. They are in a better position now picking 2 of those guys, but they don't need Joc. Both the Mets and Dodgers can play from positions of strength (them OF, us INF). I'm also willing to send them a party favor in the form of Rebuen Tejada. Just cause i'm a nice guy.
Hard Truth #2: Our pitching is good/promising but not great
Sorry but this is pretty true. We've been building our guys up for sometime and unreasonable expectations were assigned. We were spoiled by the 1980s/1990s. We thought Generation K would lead us into the golden light where nothing would ever go wrong and the Mets would always beat the Yankees.
Harvey is the one Northern Star you can count on...the fixed point. And he's out. So Wheeler--- good, could be much better. Niese, solid but not spectacular. Gee, surprisingly not terrible. But the Mejia, Familia types litter our system for every Thor or Montero we posses.
2nd Move: Stand pat on pitching
yeah I know.... a non-move? Look you'll be relying on Wheeler, Niese, Gee and.....others. Could be Dice-K. Could be Harang. I think we roll the dice on Mejia at this point as your #4. Keep Torres warm in case of injury. Let Montero come up in June. Let Thor start in AA and jump to AAA as soon as possible. At some point- if we're completely out of contention in 2014, we listen to all offers on all our pitchers not named Wheeler, Harvey or Thor. Oh and you know what....screw it. Let deGrom pitch. I say throw him into the mix on #5 starter straight out of Spring Training or in the pen. He's almost as old as Niese for chrissakes.
Let Familia, Black, deGrom fill our bullpen. If we get desperate, we can re-sign Hawkins for 2 years $3 million, but I'd rather see the kids pitch.
Parnell has to be trade bait at the deadline. I'm sorry but he's the one piece you can part with that doesn't kill the team.
Hard Truth #3: You got to pay for one OF this year--and its not from within.
Yeah I know this is not so much a hard truth but really self-evident. No more "Hey lets play Duda in the OF" experiments- we're passed that. MDD or Captain Kirk just need to go or be included as filler in a trade. Even finding ourselves another Byrd, while attractive when it pays off, doesn't help establish a winner. We need at least one OF we can rely on. And for me that's Choo.
3rd Move: Sign Choo for the love of god. Even if that love comes in the form of a 5 year $90 million contract
It takes some things off the table. EYjr who we love, who is a fan fav, native of the area-- goes to become your 4th OF and super sub. He should still get 300-400 PA in my opinion.
4th Move: Sign Marlon Byrd for a 2 year $10 million contract
Yup I'm bringing back Byrd. Yup is for relatively "real" money this time. But Byrd in RF, Choo in LF and Lagares roaming around the entire OF will keep us with "ok" to "good" defense and an offense that's at least passable.
Hard Truth #4: We don't really have a SS, nor an obvious internal option
Most know i love Tovar. I'm a fan. But I'm not seeing him as the long term answer (I hope I'm wrong!). Cheech....well I'm getting worried about Cheech. He could still be "the one" but he's at least 3-4 years away. Tejada has something wrong with him and....well he was never especially great. I think Tejada could be a 2nd Baseman....if his bat improves. Maybe Rosario works out one day. But I digress.
We need us a SS. I think we have to go spend a little loot to do so.
5th Move: Sign SS Drew to a 2 year (3rd yr team option/buy-out) $20 million contract
yeah, yeah I know...2015 has so many better SS. But If we are gambling on Cheech being "the one" then what we are really looking for is the guy who will hold it down for now. And I'm going with Drew because he's not a PED guy and I think he knows how to win.
Hard Truth #5: Neither Ike, nor Duda/Satin is the answer and you ain't getting much for any of them
Again self evident. I'll hit myself with my signed Ken Griffey Jr bat later. Of the 3, Duda is the most valuable right now. So he's the one I'd trade. Satin---- well #HailSatin. He's not worth much to other teams, he fill a need, he's 28, he's apparently connected to Howie...so screw it. Just keep him for a few years. I'm on the Jayce Boyd/Dom Smith bandwagon anyway.
But its important to note something here. We have to play hardball with Ike Davis now. Like right now.
Here's how it goes down: Sandy hands a contract for 1 year $2.5 million to Davis and just says "sign it or else you're traded in the next 15 minutes." No discussion, no negotiations. Because the alternative is that he'll be traded or more likely just non-tendered. And then where does that leave him? Getting a minor league contract? Even with his past and his potential, the clock is running out for Mr. Davis. So its either $2.5 million....or we go with Duda/Satin
6th Move: Sign 1B Ike Davis to a 1 yr $2.5 million contract.
Because you can't have too many lottery tickets. And Tampa Bay might go into cheap mode and not re-sign Looney. Also Tampa Bay can use Duda as a DH. Note: I'll give them a gift with purchase of Zach Lutz.
Non-Tenders: Spin, Frank Francisco, Q, Dad
So I've added approximately $33 million in salary ($10 million for Drew, $5 million for Byrd, $15-18 million Choo), cut $1 million from Davis (legally allowed under arbitration rules that is the lowest he can earn- unless non-tendered).
1B Davis/Satin $2.5 million
2B Murphy $5.8 million
SS Drew $10 million
3B Wright $20 million
RF Byrd $5 million
CF Lagares $500K
LF Choo $15.5 million
C TDA $500K
Turner (ss, 2b, 3b) $800K
Eric Young (all 4 OF, 2b) $1.9 million
Recker (c) $500K
Andrew Brown (1b/OF) $500K
Satin (3b/1b) $500K
Niese $5 million
Gee $3.4 million
Dice-K or Harang (till June 15th), Montero (after June 15th)
Dice or Harang $1 million total (includes incentives)
deGrom $500K (may come out of ST, might be a call up)
Vic Black $500K
Parnell $3.2 million
S. Rice (LOOGY) $500K
We end up with some really nice, almost ML ready pieces in Pederson and Puello. We get some lottery tickets for Duda. And I'm at a Wilpon friendly $80.1 million.
Not the best team money can buy.....but it should win a few more games. Until Harvey returns we aren't competing or a WS title (or inverse- unless the Wilpons want to open up the budget to bring in more talent). I realize you'll all hate it, but that's ok. I'll take the hit. Because under this amount of payroll, this is the type of team we root for.