I am constructing this team with a very simple notion in mind. To quote fangraphs "sticking effective defenses behind decent pitchers has a tendency to make them look more than decent." So the goal here is to acquire players who have positive defensive values and are still around average hitters. This article explains it better than I can, but basically stick multiple centerfielders in the OF and your team BABIP will drop. With that less runs will score. This year only three teams made the playoffs out of the teams with the 10 highest BABIP. Out of the 10 lowest BABIP 7 teams made it.
- Daniel Murphy (4.109): $5.8MM
- Ike Davis (3.155): $3.5MM
- Dillon Gee (3.028): $3.4MM
- Bobby Parnell (4.132): $3.2MM
- Eric Young, Jr. (3.123): $1.9MM
- Lucas Duda (2.132, Super Two): $1.8MM
- Scott Atchison (4.168): $1.3MM
- Ruben Tejada (2.151, Super Two): $1MM (To trade for whatever prospects we can get)
- Justin Turner (3.045): $800K
I was originally going to trade for Bourjos but then this idea came from this AAOP. Gentry has a career 96 wRC+ meaning he is essentially an average hitter. But, UZR and DRS both have him as being a terrific defender. In essentially a full years worth of playing time in CF he has posted a 31.9 UZR and 34 DRS. In LF he has less playing time but posted a 39.8 UZR/150 (DRS numbers are similar). I don’t think it is unreasonable to project him as saving 20 runs in a corner over a full year. That combined with average production will lead to a great value. For what it is worth Steamer projects him to be worth 1.9 WAR in just over half a season of playing time. With the Mets he’d be an easy 3.5-4 WAR.
I consider replacing Duda with Ike, but I think Duda is the more valuable player so I thought Texas would want him more. In him they get a guy who could DH for them, or replace Mitch Moreland at first. Essentially they trade a guy they are platooning for a starter and get two decent prospects.
Step 2: Sign Jhonny Peralta 2 Years 24 mil. 10 MM first 14 MM 2nd
The whole in LF has now been filled it is time to turn to SS. I looked at both Peralta and Drew to fill this whole and was pretty evenly split between them. I decided on Peralta because I think with his PED history he will be cheaper, and I think there is less of a chance he gets a QO. The past 3 years UZR has him as a being better than average defensively and his bat is strong.
Step 3: Trade Wilmer Flores + Hansel Robels for Trevor Bauer
This is probably the most unique step to my plan and one that I am quite pleased with. Value wise Flores and Bauer are pretty close. Sickels ranked Bauer as the 74th best prospect on his end of season list. Flores was his 14th honorable mention, so right around 89th. To make up the small difference we toss in Hansel (or really any other B- prospect).
So the trade is roughly even value wise, what about need? Well their 3rd baseman posted a terrible .668 OPS and was worth just .5 WAR in about half years playing time. In addition, their DH was Jason Giambi, who had a .653 OPS. In Flores they get their third baseman of the future who can also contribute right away. It hurts to give up Flores but he really has to position to play for the Mets.
Now lets talk about Bauer. He was the 3rd pick a couple years ago and was considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball. The stuff is still there but he has been "overanalyzing" which makes him struggle. You know who doesn’t analyze very much? Dan Warthen. Plus I think being with other young arms (Wheeler, Harvey, etc) who are going through the same thing he is will help him work through it. It could blow up in my face, but if it goes right we have a true ace.
Step 4: Sign LaTroy Hawkins 2 years 2.5 MM. First year 1 MM 2nd year 1.5 MM.
Hawkins could probably make more AAV elsewhere but hopefully the multiple year commitment gets him to stay.
Step 5: Sign Jacoby Ellsbury. 5 years 80 MM (YR 1- 14, YR 2- 15, YR 3-16, YR 4-17, YR 5- 18) with a team option for 18 MM with a 5 MM buyout. Total deal is either 5 years 85 MM or 6 years 98 MM.
So we added a SP, 1 OF, and a SS. We need that final OF spot to be filled. I debated between him or Choo but went with Ellsbury for the defensive value. I think Ellsbury, like Bourn last year, will be undervalued by the market. He is a well above average defensive CF who posted a 113 wRC+. That would put him at the 15th highest wRC+ for right fielders last year. But, guess who had the best fWAR out of all RF last year. Shane Victorino posted a 5.6 WAR with only a 119 wRC+. The worst case scenario is that he becomes essentially Gerrado Parra with a lot more steals. Parra had a 96 wRC+ last year, but ended up with the 4th highest WAR out of all RF because of his defensive value. He should be a 4-5 WAR player in RF. If he finds his power again like in 2011 it will be a steal.
I would love to try and get Dickey back from the Blue Jays (I was considering Dickey for Gee) but there just isn’t money to do that. I would sign a couple relief pitchers to minor league deals as well as signing 2 of Dice-K, Lannan and Aaron Harang to minor league deals for SP depth. I would trade Reuben Tejada for
Buyouts: 8.5 Million
1B- Ike Davis 3.5 MM
2B- Daniel Murphy 5.8 MM
3B- David Wright 20 MM
SS- Jonny Peralta 10 MM
RF- Jacoby Ellsbury 14 MM
CF- Lagares .5 MM
LF- Craig Gentry .5 MM
C- Travis d’Arnaud .5 MM
1. EYJ 1.9 MM
2. Josh Satin .5 MM
3. Anthony Recker .5 MM
4. Justin Turner .8 MM
5. Matt Den Decker .5 MM
1. Jon Neise 5.05 MM
2. Zack Wheeler .5 MM
3. Dillon Gee .5 MM
4. Jenry Mejia .5 MM
5. Trevor Bauer 1.183 MM
1. Bobby Parnell 3.2 MM
2. Vic Black .5 MM
3. LaTroy Hawkins 1 MM
4. Carlos Torres .5 MM
5. Josh Edgin .5 MM
6. Jeurys Familia .5 MM
7. Gonzalez Germen .5 MM
Went a few million over and the plan still has some flaws. First, the rotation lacks an anchor, I really would’ve liked to have had the money to sign someone like Josh Johnson. I tried to get enough rotation depth through minor league signings and I think the depths ok. We have Torres as our 6th starter and then the 2 minor league signings as 7 or 8 with Montero and Syndergaard coming up soon. I tried to not hurt the farm, and while I did trade away some prospects none of them were major prospects. Pretty happy about the state the farm will be in. Unfortunately had to give up 1 (maybe 2) pick but it is a second rounder so it isn’t too bad.
Now for the good stuff. That OF will hands down be the best defensively in the league. That will allow our young pitchers to be more confident pitching to contact and not overthink things. Hopefully that will really help Bauer out. People will probably say that it is a bit overkill on the defense, but I don’t agree. Obviously there will be some overlap between the outfielders but this will allow them to be more aggressive in their first step and should balance out. The IF defense isn’t bad. Murphy is slightly below average and Peralta is slightly above. The defense at the corners is really good with Wright and Davis. The Davis/Satin platoon will provide good offensive production at 1B. The bullpen is at bit thin but solid enough. Eric Young is a good super sub to have. Would’ve been nice to get a better backup catcher though. Offensively I think this team will be around average to slightly above. The lineup would look something like this:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Craig Gentry
3. Daniel Murphy
4. David Wright
5. Jonny Peralta
7. Juan Lagares
8. Travis d’Arnaud
Has plenty of speed and lots of guys with high OBP. The only problem is the lack of a true cleanup hitter as none of these guys will likely hit over 30 HR (unless Davis turns it around). We have a bunch of guys who will hit 10-15 HR and 2 or 3 that should break 20. If Bauer flops then this team is probably around 84-85 wins. If he pans out this team is in the playoffs. It also is set up very well for 2015 as no major long term pieces were lost.
Also sorry about the lack of pictures and tables.