We're limited to an $80 million payroll.
Five straight years of losing baseball
We've had enough.
The Mets need A New Start as well as a vanity plate telling everyone about this new beginning. Unfortunately, "A NEW START" doesn't fit on a license plate. We'll have to improvise, and do what they did on Arrested Development. We'll compress the spelling to 8 letters.
Let's jump in with trades.
Trade #1 with Baltimore
Daniel Murphy and Cory Mazzoni for J.J. Hardy and T.J. McFarland, and then sign Hardy to a 2/24 extension.
- J.J. Hardy is the best shortstop, who is realistically
available, either through the free agent or trade markets. Hardy has never had an UZR below 4.1, so he can play defense. He also has a career 95 wRC+, which is very respectable for a shortstop. The 31 year old shortstop should have some years left in the tank.
- T.J. McFarland is a lefty reliever who concluded his rookie season with a 4.22 ERA. He also had a 3.56 SIERA, and a slightly high .319 BABIP, so I expect that his numbers will move in the right direction.
- Why does this make sense for Baltimore? Hardy will be a free agent after the 2014 season, so the Orioles would benefit from leveraging Hardy into productive assets that they'll have beyond next season. Daniel Murphy can play third base, which allows Manny Machado to move back to shortstop. Cory Mazzoni was the Mets 2011 2nd round draft pick. He's got a ceiling of a mid-rotation starter, although his future may lie in the bullpen.
- Why does this make sense for the Mets? J.J. Hardy is an above average defensive shortstop, which is something that the Mets have been without for many years. His bat is usually at least close to league average, not for shortstops, but for all position players. He's also consistent on a year-to-year basis. With a two year extension at $12 million per starting in 2015, the Mets are covered at shortstop through the 2016 season. McFarland provides the Mets another quality southpaw bullpen arm, which is needed.
Trade #2 is with Oakland
Jeurys Familia and Rafael Montero for Yoenis Céspedes and B.J. Boyd.
- Yoenis Céspedes is a noted pig roaster.
He also plays baseball.
- B.J. Boyd is an outfielder prospect who just concluded an excellent season in the New York-Penn League. The toolsy 20 year old had a 149 wRC+. Not much of that in the Mets' system.
- Why does this make sense for Oakland? Céspedes is entering the penultimate year of his four-year contract. He is coming off of a down year, with his salary rising from $8.5 million to $10.5 million. Outfielders are an area of strength for Oakland. Pitching is not. The A's also love cost controlled players, and Montero and Familia are just that.
- Why does this make sense for the Mets? The Mets need to improve the outfield. Céspedes is a prime candidate to rebound in 2014. In 2013, his BABIP plummeted, along with his plate discipline. In an organization like the Mets, who place a premium on plate discipline, Céspedes has a new opportunity to mitigate this weakness and rebound. Céspedes could become, again, a 3+ fWAR outfielder. The Mets also get a legitimate outfielder prospect, which is something that the system needs.
Trade #3 is with Colorado
Ike Davis, Allan Dykstra, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Ruben Tejada to Colorado for Drew Pomeranz, Rex Brothers, and Tim Wheeler.
- Drew Pomeranz, like Ike Davis, is a potentially elite player who seem to have fallen off of a cliff. Pomeranz, the 2010 #5 overall draft pick selected two slots ahead of Matt Harvey, is a southpaw pitcher who may never succeed in the majors, win multiple Cy Young awards, or just about any outcome in between. We're sending him to the farm to try to work things out.
- Rex Brothers, a 2009 supplemental first round pick, is an effective southpaw reliever, with some ability to get righties out. Brothers leans more to the LOOGY side, but not hopelessly so.
- Tim Wheeler (no relation to Zack) was the last player selected in the opening phase of the 2009 First Round. The 25 year old Wheeler, an outfielder who can play all three positions, hit 33 home runs in AA in 2011. Then he broke his hamate bone early in 2012. The power disappeared. Hamate bones can take years to fully heal, so the power may still return.
- Why does this make sense for Colorado? They need affordable position players, particularly at first base. Ike Davis is a wild card, but so is Drew Pomeranz.
- Why does this make sense for the Mets? The Mets get two lottery tickets, with excellent upside, in Pomeranz and TIm Wheeler, without forfeiting 2013 production. Brothers helps to fill out what may be the Mets' best bullpen in a very long time.
Free agent signings
- Marlon Byrd — My heart tells me to sign Beltran. My budget laughs at my heart, so we look to Marlon Byrd. Byrd was a wonderful surprise for the 2013 Mets. Then he was traded for a legitimate second base prospect, as well as a rookie high-leverage reliever. Now the Mets can sign Byrd again, and roll out a legitimate right fielder every. $4 million base, plus lots and lots of incentives, for two years. Figure an AAV of $7 million.
- LaTroy Hawkins — Did you watch the 2013 Mets? Then re-signing The Hawk is a no-brainer, as long as the price is reasonable. Considering his age, I think that 2/5 keeps Hawkins in a Mets uniform.
- Josh Johnson — We miss Dickey, so we look to a Johnson. This former elite pitcher pitched like hot garbage in 2013, but is young enough to rebound. With Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner likely out for the 2014 season, we need someone to fill out the rotation. The upside here is just to much to pass up. 1 year at $3 million plus incentives. [Edited at 10/27/2013 4:15pm] Johnson's incentives (innings pitched based) will make it easy for him to hit $6+, however he will be traded when Noah Syndergaard is "ready" to maintain payroll.
- Grady Sizemore — Once upon a time, Grady Sizemore was an elite center fielder. The type of player that every team wanted, and then wanted to clone. He's probably still a full blown elite baseball player, except for two small things: His left knee and his right knee. Well, Sizemore has had microfracture surgery on both, and he's been rehabilitating. Can he still play center field? Don't bet on it. Can he play a corner spot? Maybe! With righties starting in all three outfield spots, Grady's lefty swing will have an opportunity for playing time coming off the bench. We'll sign him for $1.2 million plus incentives.
How does this play out?
|$1,800,000||Lucas Duda (platooned with Satin)||1B||0.4|
|$800,000||Justin Turner||IF, Bakery||0.5|
|$1,900,000||Eric Young, Jr.||2B,LF,CF||0.6|
|$3,400,000||Dillon Gee||Starting Pitcher||1.0|
|$3,000,000||Josh Johnson/ Noah Syndergaard||Starting Pitcher||0.0|
|$500,000||Jenrry Mejia||Starting Pitcher||0.0|
|$5000,000||Jon Niese||Starting Pitcher||1.6|
|$500,000||Zack Wheeler||Starting Pitcher||1.1|
|$1,000,000||Gary Matthews, Jr.||OF||0.0|
Adding it up
|$82,500,000||We're over budget, so we'll force Jeff Wilpon to cut his $5 million salary by threatening to release his SAT scores to the public. STEAMER projects us to have a record of 74-88. This is what we can afford. If Josh Johnson rebounds, Noah Syndergaard emerges as an elite pitcher, Marlon Byrd repeats his 2013 season, and various younger players progress, we could approach 90 wins. If some high upside wildcards like Grady Sizemore and Drew Pomeranz pan out, look out!||26.5 WAR|