I saved that gif, not because I enjoy pain, but because Harvey's face was the exact face I had when I heard the news of his torn UCL. Not having Harvey for the 2014 season sucks. However, the Mets should not look towards being conservative. The Mets will have a ton of money going into the winter, and the free agency class provide a few interesting options. With 80 million dollars being our ceiling, I attempt to build a baseball team that could not only make New York Mets baseball entertaining in September, but offers memorable moments, and a potential playoff run. Let's get to work.
The 2013 New York Mets finished with a record of 74-88. The highs were awesome. Matt Harvey was must-see TV, Super Tuesday with Harvey and Wheeler, the arrival of Juan Lagares, Marlon Byrd and the Marlon Byrd trade, the arrival of Wilmer Flores, the clinching of the draft pick. To match that, man were the lows low, Ruben Tejada placed himself firmly on the outside looking in on the 2014 Mets, Jordany Valdespin, Jeremy Hefner's injury, and, of course, the Matt Harvey injury. The injury damages the chances for the Mets to be a contender, but with Sandy Alderson saying that the Mets will spend some money, it offers some hope for a team contesting for the playoffs. With our 80 million cap, I attempted to make a team of my own. Here's what I got:
2014 Contracts Obligations
- Daniel Murphy- 5.8mm
- Ike Davis- 3.5mm
- Dillion Gee- 3.4mm
- Bobby Parnell- 3.2mm
- Eric Young Jr.- 1.9mm
- Lucas Duda- 1.8mm
- Ruben Tejada- 1.0mm
Omar Quintanilla- 900k: 300 at bats in the 2013 season. Unfortunately, Omar turned them into.222/.306/.283, with meh defense. The shortstop position will be upgraded, and Q will no longer be needed.
Scott Atchison- 1.3mm: Eh, better options are on the market, I think.
Justin Turner- 800k: I'm sure he can teach someone the value of the 3.14 before he leaves
TRAIDS (Because the dollars aren't in the right space)
Daniel Murphy to Baltimore for Eduardo Rodriguez and Stephen Tarpley
For the Orioles, Daniel Murphy would add someone who can play both second base and DH, both positions where the Orioles had trouble. Placing Murphy's bat in the middle of lineup would help immensely with the offense, and it doesn't cost the Orioles much. With pitching needs, I think Baltimore could look for a cheaper alternative to adding offense, and Daniel Murphy, for 5.9 million, could be an enticing player to add, en route to a second playoff appearance in three seasons. Also, with Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, and Manny Machado, the Orioles can soak up Murphy's true value, which is his bat, by playing him at mostly DH.
As for the Mets, well, you acquire Eduardo Rodriguez, who can contribute to the major league team in 2014. In his stint in the minors, Rodriguez has shown great control, with high strikeout potential. While his walk rate is less than ideal (9.5% in his 2013 season for AA), Rodriguez still projects to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues, and while the Mets look to improve for 2014, Rodriguez should ultimately be a major contributor in 2015 and beyond. As for Tarpley, I consider him more of a lottery ticket. 2013 third-round pick, who had a solid season in rookie ball. The Mets can sit on him, and check back later in 2016.
Jacob deGrom and Gonzalez Germen to Minnesota for Daniel Santana
Lucas Duda and Jeuyrs Familia to Tampa Bay for Yunel Escobar
It's tough projecting for Tampa Bay, but I'll give it a shot. Yunel Escobar was great for the Rays last season, and for the next two seasons, he'll be considered a steal for any team that gets him. For Tampa? He's more of an asset. Hak-Ju Lee is close to the majors, and the David Price trade rumors have Texas throwing down the Jurickson Profar card. If that's true, then Escobar's five million could be allocated elsewhere. Lucas Duda is under control until 2017, and offers a solid first base option. He can hit for power, and he can take a walk from time-to-time. As for Familia, the Rays could use another right handed reliever, and like Duda, is under control for the next handful of seasons.
For the Mets, you get someone who fits a need. Escobar is going to make 10 million dollars over the next two seasons, which is an insane value. Escobar doesn't strike out much, he can draw walks, and he gets on base a ton. Since 2008, Escobar's OBP has fell under .330 once (2012), and has gone over the .330 mark in five of six seasons. Along with solid offense, Escobar offers elite level defense at shortstop. After a disastrous year at shortstop for the Mets, having the stability in Escobar for two seasons sounds heavenly.
Ruben Tejada to Oakland for Michael Taylor
For Oakland, Jed Lowrie is a free agent after this year, and Addison Russell might not be ready by 2015. If that's the case, why not take a chance to Tejada. He'll be just 24 years old next season, and he'll be worth 1.0 million. Maybe like Ike, all Tejada needs is a change of scenery. He got complacent in New York, and it ultimately led to his downfall. After keeping him in AAA for most of the year, it's very easy to see the relationship between Tejada and the Mets end this offseason.
For the Mets, you take a chance on Michael Taylor. Taylor is 27 years old and stuck in the minors. With Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, and prospect Michael Choice in front of him, it's tough to see Taylor getting a chance in Oakland. In New York, I'm placing him in right field, and hoping he hits. In his 2013 Triple-A season, Taylor finished with splits of .280/.360/.474, a walk rate above 10%, and 18 home runs. 2012 ( .287/.405/.441, 15% walk rate, 12 home runs) and 2011 ( .272/.360/.456, 11.5% walk rate, and 16 home runs) saw similar success for Taylor. Look at this as low-risk, moderate reward. Taylor is still in his pre-Arb years, and won't be eligible until 2016. If he turns out to be a decent player, the Mets have found a gem. If Taylor struggles, the Mets have Cesar Puello behind him.
Welcome Back Kotter (via sonic540)
LaTroy Hawkins: One-year, 1.5 million: Bringing him back for a couple reasons: After Parnell, Hawkins saved the most games last season, and I think that's valuable. The second? Veteran leader. From all accounts, he was an excellent guy for the younger pitchers, and I say, a modest pay raise allows Hawkins to return as our 8th inning guy.
Minor league contracts
Tyler Colvin: Colvin placed a 6 wRC+ last season for Colorado, but a solid AAA season suggest that maybe something is still there. His 2012 season (290/327/531, 115 wRC+, 18 home runs) saw him earn a 2.2 fWAR. Worth the flier, just to see if he can be a respectable bench piece.
Daisuke Matsuzaka: Earned a 0.3 WAR in his seven starts with the Mets. Nothing special, and the ERA- and FIP- suggest he was a below-average, but hey, I'm sure Dice-K would enjoy a nice pay check and trip to Vegas.
Hideki Okajima: Loogy. Wasn't great for Oakland, but respectable for the AAA club. 25% K-rate and a walk rate under six. Veteran with a great track record, and left handed.
Grady Sizemore: Injuries have zapped Sizemore, so much so, that he missed the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Still, another potential bat off the bench. Career .288/.376/.515 against righties.
John Lannan: Another intriguing option for the Mets. Ground ball rate constantly over 50%, kept his HR/FB numbers down in 2013 and Citi Field could help his numbers. If he can remain healthy, a candidate to soak up some innings in the major leagues.
Nate McLouth: Two-year, 11 million
I couldn't decide between McLouth and David Murphy. I ended up going with McLouth. McLouth is a 32-year old outfielder who played last season with Baltimore. His stats were: .258/.329/.399, 12 home runs, 76 RBI, and 30 stolen bases. The number that stood out to me was his walk rate (8.9% in 2012), signifying that he has some patience. He's also a solid defender in left field. With no real leadoff option on the Mets right now, I see McLouth as the best option to do that for my team.
Marlon Byrd: One-year, 7.0 million
I should just place the "Welcome Back" video right here. Yes, I think the Mets should bring Marlon Byrd back. While it's unlikely that he'll replicate his four win season, I think he'll still have some pop in his bat, and should be a presence behind David Wright in the order. Byrd is a big strikeout guy who doesn't walk, and his previous seasons suggest that that it he'll have a bat 2014 season, but there's no such thing as a bad one year deal. but I can see the Mets offering him at least nine million, but I stayed conservative and went with seven, knowing that he's turning 36 next season.
Phil Hughes: One-year, 5 million
I wanted at least one project on the team, and I think Phil Hughes is one to look into. The Mets have an empty spot in the rotation, and Hughes can be interested in a one-year deal, just to get his value back up, in time for the 2015 free agency class. Hughes doesn't force many ground balls, but the move from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field should help with his HR/FB rate. The overall move from the AL to the NL should help Hughes' numbers, and for the Mets, it allows them to not have to rely on Rafael Montero's arrival.
Matt Albers: One-year, 1.3 million
After bringing back LaTroy Hawkins, I wanted to add one more relief pitcher into the mix. Last season in Cleveland, Albers posted a 3-1 record in 56 games. He forced a ton of ground balls (63.8%) and didn't give up the home run ball (5.9% HR/FB). All the numbers (82 ERA-, 92 FIP-, 1.27 WHIP) could allow one to think that he might be undervalued at this point, but then, you look at his walk rate (8.8% in 2013, 9.1 in 2012) and it suggest otherwise. Either way, Albers could be a nice relief guy who can induce a ton of ground balls in 2014.
Jose Molina: One-year, 2.0 million
Molina. Sandy wants a backup catcher. Always sign the Molina.
The Final Roster
|Starting Pitchers||Comments||2014 Price|
|Jon Niese||Would love to see Niese stay healthy for the entire season and return to that 2.5 WAR pitcher.||5.0mm|
|Dillion Gee||I tried to move him in this AAOP, but Gee should be able to soak up a ton of innings, and provide his typical Dillion Gee performance.||3.4mm|
|Phil Hughes||Mets project. Should work for both sides. Hughes wants to up his value for 2016, and the Mets want a pitcher who can help us soak up innings and get to the playoffs. Also bumps Wheeler down a bit.||5.0mm|
|Zack Wheeler||The Young gun. 2013 saw some good things from Wheeler, and hopefully, he has a better 2014 season.||500k|
|Jenrry Mejia||I would love nothing more than to see Mejia solidify himself as a starter for the 2015 New York Mets. The road to that, however, starts with a solid 2014 season.||500k|
Spot starter and solid reliever. Again, with Niese, Gee, and Mejia in the rotation, I would be shocked if Torres didn't see a spot or two before Montero makes the leap into the rotation.
|Scott Rice||Loogy: Part One. After being overused in 2013, the addition of Okijimia should prevent that from happening again.||500k|
|Hideki Okijima||Loogy: Part Two. 39-years young, and should be able to help Rice neutralize those darn lefties.||500k|
|Vic Black||Young Flamethrower. Potential 2015 closer. Not a fan of him getting the 8th inning role, I say, let him earn it.||500k|
|Matt Albers||Albers should force a ton of grounders and anger people when he walks a couple batters. That's about it.||1.3mm|
|LaTroy Hawkins||Stabilizing leadder of the bullpen||1.5mm|
|Bobby Parnell||Another Mets pitcher I can see moved in 2015||3.2mm|
|Travis d'Arnaud||Didn't look too good offensively in his first run. Hopefully, TdA stays healthy, and has a successful season.||500k|
|Ike Davis||This is your last chance, Ike.||3.5mm|
|Wilmer Flores||Don't know if Flores will be a second baseman long term, but should continue to develop as a hitter, and the tools are there for him to be a great hitter.||500k|
|David Wright||The Man. The Myth. The Legend.||20.0mm|
|Yunel Escobar||Best Mets SS since Reyes. Again,a steal at five million for 2014.||5.0mm|
|Nate McLouth||Leadoff hitter who can snag a couple bases.||5.0mm|
|Juan Lagares||Shame we was robbed of the gold glove. Monster defender, would love to see him take another step forward offensively. 281 OBP has to jump into the 300-310 range.||500k|
|Marlon Byrd||Potential bridge to Puello. Solid power hitter behind Wright in the lineup.||7.0mm|
|Eric Young jr||I enjoy him off the bench against lefties and on the basepaths.||1.9mm|
|Michael Taylor||Alternative if father time catches up to Byrd, and if Puello isn't ready||500k|
|Jose Molina||MOLINA. Teach TdA the way to go.||2.0mm|
|Wilfredo Tovar||Middle infield prospect, who can cover in a pinch in case of injury.||500k|
|Josh Satin||Our best bat off the bench. Think about that.||500k|
|Rafael Montero||Should get a couple starts in the Summer. I just didn't want to rely on him for 2014.|
|Jack Leathersich||Relief, if needed.|
|Jeff Walters||See: Leathersich, but he'll actually be the first one the team brings up.|
|Cory Mazzoni||See: Leathersich and Walters. Starter upside, which is interesting.|
|Noah Syndergaard||NOAH. Think he nabs a couple starts in August.|
|Eduardo Rodriguez||Like Monteo and Noah, could see time in 2014.|
|Cesar Puello||After 50-game suspension, will need to prove that his breakout wasn't a fluke|
|Jacob deGrom||Another potential starter, if needed.|
Overall, I wanted to field a good team, while not giving up the future. I knew what positions I wanted to address, and I addressed them with short-team answers. I rather keep the pitching surplus, just in case something happens. Knowing that I have Montero in AAA helps me with that. I don't want to rely on our farm system for wins, which is why I went out and added guys like Taylor, Byrd, and Hughes. Cesar Puello could very well come back and have a monster season in AA, and Montero could have another season where he shows us that he's ready for the major leagues, I rather have that, then them struggling at the major league level.
The bullpen was something I wanted to add to. Again, I didn't want to completely put my trust into our younger relievers. Okijima and Albers could result in a boost in our bullpen, as well as allows Rice and Torres from pitching every time we need a reliever. Bringing Hawkins back was a no-brainer, and if Parnell can come back and continue his run from 2013, I think the bullpen will be much improved, and that's something we'll need if we want to contend for the second wildcard.
Shortstop and outfield were the two position where I saw the best chances to upgrade the team, and I went there. Escobar, while unspectacular, is consistent, and the upgrade to him from Omar, should result in a couple of wins. Moving EYjr to the bench helps the bench, and McLouth should a modest upgrade. Bringing Byrd back should also result in solidifying the outfield. Ultimately, the team will improve even more if guys like Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores can offer even average production at their positions.
As for the pitching surplus in the minors, why not? It opens the Mets up to being potential trade partners for a big bat. Maybe Toronto decides to blow it up and shop Jose Bautista, maybe Oakland feels like it's time to trade Cespedes, and maybe, just maybe, Colorado decides that it's time to move Carlos Gonzalez. Acquiring another prospect to throw in trade allows the Mets to either jump into those respective trade talks, or shop guys like Niese, Parnell, or Gee, and turn to a cheaper alternaitve.
Overall, I think this pushes the Mets from 74 wins to 81-85 wins, and that should be enough to push the Mets into the discussion for the second wildcard. I think what would push the Mets from the 81-85 range to 86-89 would have to be the success of TdA and Flores offensively, if the bullpen holds up, and if we can get above average production from our starting pitchers. With so many potential starters in tow, maybe the Mets can get respectable production from all the pitchers, and that could push them into the discussion of NL East winners.
Including Johan and Bay's pay, this comes out 78.3 million. Thoughts?