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AAOP: GOING BACK TO OMAR, OMAR, OMAR. GOING BACK TO OMAR. HM, I DON'T THINK SO...

Alright - I'm doing some crap I don't really want to do - big contracts to guys over 30, big reliever contracts, and giving up the first and second round draft picks. Omar's back? Maybe a little, but I'm prepared to deal a number of these players one or two years down the line...maybe not the way Loria does it, but certainly more aggressively than the current FO. Also - the future is not mortgaged with these moves (only 68 in guaranteed commitments in 2021 and 0! dollars committed to 2022), and if Wright retires as expected in 2018, the Mets could still be top players in FA the next couple of years.

And here's the thing - I already like the roster for both 2017 and 2018.

A couple of disclaimers - it's probably too many moves, and the things I like most probably have no shot of happening with this current FO/Ownership. But - I'm here on Amazin' Avenue, and I'm participating damn it.

COACHES, MEDICAL STAFF, AND THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

Terry Collins is gone. Teufel, too, and maybe even Long - Forget that I've wanted TC gone since mid-2013; that doesn't matter. What matters is that I want an entirely new bullpen philosophy, and he's clearly not the guy for that (and for other things as well). He can stay in the org, as can Teufel who is banned from being a third base coach. Long can stay if he can preach a new hitting philosophy that involves hitting line drives to all parts of the field, while selectively seeking pitches to yank for bombs.

The Medical/training staff gets an overhaul, with new protocols. I have no idea who should be replaced, but we will spend considerable time figuring it out, because the last decade or so? - not working.

David Wright - it's a touchy subject, but paying a guy 20 million/yr who might play 80 games if we're lucky makes offseason planning and budgeting nearly impossible for a mid-market team. I was going to offer David a strong package and lifetime place in the organization in exchange for early retirement, but I knew people wouldn't think that was realistic at this point, given his rhetoric. But at least the conversation starts this year. And to be clear - I expect Wright to retire in 2018 with the old golden parachute. He can't go on like this forever.

RESIGNINGS

PAY THE MAN - Yoenis Cespedes signs a 5 yr/125 million dollar deal (15/20/25/30/30) - Cespedes is no longer a CFer. He's going to be the every day LFer where he has plus defense.

Jerry Blevins is signed for 2 yrs/8 million dollars (3/5)

Kelly Johnson is signed to a 1 yr/3 million dollar deal

I HAD THE METS SIGNING COLON - but we all know how that went. Gsellman gets the nod in his place.

EXTENSIONS

The Mets extend both Familia and Reed to identical contracts, buying out their final arbitration years.

Jeurys Familia agrees to a 4-yr/44 million dollar deal (8 mil, 10 mil, 12 mil, 14 mil)
Addison Reed agrees to a 4-yr/44 million dollar deal (8 mil, 10 mil, 12 mil, 14 mil)

ARBITRATION

The Mets come to terms with Duda, TDA, Flores, deGrom, Wheeler, and Harvey.

QO's

Neil Walker gets a QO (we get a draft pick) - thanks for all the fish, Neil, and good luck wherever you land.

OPTIONS

Jay Bruce - his option is picked up with the sole intent of trading him.

Jose Reyes - his option is picked up with the sole intent of trading him.

MORE FA SIGNINGS - SPLASSSSSSSSSHHHHHHH

Justin Turner and the Mets agree to a 5 yr/85 million dollar deal (14/15/16/19/21) - this is the type of contract I hate to sign. Over 30, costs a draft pick, yada-yada-yada. But it's necessary. Turner ends up being the third baseman for the 2018 Mets. If you are still clinging to the idea of Wright trying to power through 2018 and if there is no imminent replacement for Duda, Turner can play first base. For 2017, he'll slot in to 2B, while getting lots of playing time at third base in order to manage Wright's balky back.

Kenley Jansen and the Mets agree to a 5 yr/75 million dollar deal (13/13/15/17/17). Familia and Reed are really good, but Jansen is simply better. His career splits against both righties and lefties are devastating, and he'll be the Mets closer moving forward, even though we will be redefining the closer's role somewhat. If you think this contract isn't enough, I'd be willing to go up to 6 yrs/90 million.

Rajai Davis and the Mets agree to a 1 yr/5 million dollar deal. He can play all three OF positions, including a very good CF. Davis provides speed and a solid platoon option from the right side.

Edinson Volquez and the Mets agree to a 1 yr/8 million dollar deal (guaranteed 10 million - 12 million dollar team option for '18, 2 million buyout) - Volquez slots in as the number 5 starter for the beginning of the season. He still has solid FB velocity, and the dude throws innings. He's just one year removed from a very solid season, and I think he could bounce back to have a strong year. If it doesn't work out in the rotation, he'll move to the pen where I think he could be a real asset.

Carlos Torres and the Mets agree to a 2 yr/5 million (2, 3) dollar deal - I never thought he was great, but I never wanted him gone either. He eats innings, and often does so very well. He also pitches well against lefties (better than righties actually). Welcome back, Carlos.

TRAIDS

3-WAY TRADE

First off - hat tip to Shrieber - I never would have gone after Vogt had it not been for his article here on AA.

A's - C Kevin Plawecki, RP Hansel Robles, IF/OF Rob Refsnyder, IF/OF TJ Rivera, OF prospect Dustin Fowler, and LP Josh Edgin (yes, I realize he doesn't have much value)
Yankees - IF Jose Reyes, OF/DH Jay Bruce, and RP Erik Goeddel
Mets - C Stephen Vogt, SS prospect Yairo Munoz, RH prospect Chance Adams

Why would the A's do this?
- Losing Vogt is the real loss, as he still has a three more years of control. However, he is 32 - that's a 32-yr-old catcher who can't hit lefties. He also didn't have the greatest '16 season. The A's have other, younger options at catcher, and they'll also get Plawecki whom I believe will be a decent backup in a year or so. And Vogt is getting expensive. This is exactly the type of player the A's can afford to part with.
- Munoz is a decent prospect. He's toolsy with a higher ceiling, but he didn't have a great '16, is mucking it up in the AFL , and could be as much miss as hit. And the A's have two better SS prospects in their system right now, along with Semien at the big league level.
- The A's had a sucky pen last year. Robles could end up being a set-up man or closer for them, and he has multiple years of control. And if Robles does well in a larger role, I could see Beane flipping him for something better down the line. Edgin has little trade value, but I could see the A's making lemonade here and getting a cheap Loogy for essentially nothing.
- Refsnyder had a down year for the Yanks, but he's the type of player who could wind up being a nice role player for the A's. He can play multiple positions, and could end up having a decent bat to boot, if he reaches his ceiling.
- TJ Rivera is another guy who can play a bunch of positions, and he just seems destined for a team like the A's.
- Dustin Fowler is a decent B-/C+ prospect who had a nice year in AA. He'll end up being a CFer or 4th OFer for the A's in the near future while swiping a bunch of bases.

Why would the Yankees do this?
- I get that the Yankees have been in retool mode, and this might not be THE year. However, they aren't going to concede this season after nearly getting to the playoffs last year. And they still draw a lot of fans who want to see a competitive team. If they were going to write this year off, they would have found a way out of the CC Sabathia 25 million dollar vest, either via trade or shifting him to the pen. So they'll be looking for veteran talent to round out the roster.
- The Yankees pick up 3 legit major leaguers for a maybe bench piece and a couple of B-/C+ prospects (or B/B- if you're being generous). They give up none of their better prospects.
- Jay Bruce might not have value to folks here at AA, but he'll hit 40 bombs with the Yanks and their joke of a right field, and if he plays the OF, his defense won't be nearly as bad, with less ground to cover. Yes, the Yankees have Ellsbury/Gardner/Judge, but Gardner is not very productive at this point and should be a 4th OFer. And Bruce can also DH, or maybe even play first.
- Jose Reyes can take over at 3B where the Yanks' offensive production was pretty meh, and he can also play 2B or SS when necessary. His newfound power could result in a 20-HR season in that ballpark, which would surely lead to a QO. Yes, the Yanks have Chase Headley, but he's not as dynamic as Reyes (and hasn't hit that well the past couple of years), and I could also see Headley shifting to first for some playing time. Even if Reyes doesn't start at any one position, he'll be a great guy to have on the team as quality depth.
- Goeddel isn't great, but when healthy, he has swing-and-miss stuff. He still has options and four years of control, and is good bullpen depth. I think he still has upside.
- Although Bruce and Reyes are technically 1-year rentals, the Yanks will most likely gain a draft pick through a Bruce QO, and maybe even a Reyes QO, if things break well.
- Fowler is a nice prospect, but folks don't know if he's a 4th OFer or starter, and the Yanks already have similar guys in Ellsbury and Gardener. Adams is a decent RHer, but I'm guessing he ultimately winds up being a reliever, and if so, is he guaranteed to be better than Goeddel? It's tough to give up on Refsnyder, but he's already getting squeezed out by better players/prospects...and Reyes is surely an upgrade over him for '17.
- For luxury tax purposes, the Yanks also fill three holes for roughly 14 million dollars, which ain't bad at all.

Why would the Mets do this?
- I still believe in TDA, but the Mets need insurance. Vogt is solid against righties, and could platoon with TDA until Travis asserts himself and/or stays healthy (two big IFs). At the least, Vogt is a really strong backup. I still believe in Plawecki, too, btw. I just don't know if the Mets can afford to wait around for either young catcher to step it up. Oh, and Vogt has 3 years of control.
- Vogt can also play/platoon at first base in 2018, if Duda is gone, Smith isn't ready, Turner is playing 3B, and if Travis steps it up at C, of course.
- The Mets pick up Munoz who has a solid SS glove. He's very toolsy, with decent upside, and even if he falls short of his ceiling, I could see him being a solid backup IFer. He's not having the best year, but he's 20, and is already in AA.
- Adams is a decent righty arm in AA, and I could see the Mets maximizing his value as they have done with other arms. He probably competes for a '18 pen spot.
- The Mets lose a lot of depth here, but you gotta' give something to get something. And they shed a little bit of payroll while clearing the 40-man a bit.

2-WAY TRADE

This was a late decision, and a hard one.

Royals - RF/DH Curtis Granderson

Mets - OF Jarrod Dyson

Why would the Royals do this?
- With Morales heading to Toronto, the Royals could use a DH, plus Curtis provides some RF insurance as Orlando struggled offensively in the second half of '16. Curtis' makeup, versatility, and ability to work good AB's should fit in well with the Royals who aren't eager to commit the years/money to the top FA's.
- It sucks losing Dyson who has solid speed and defense, but they are getting a clear offensive upgrade in Curtis.
- Dyson, like Curtis, is eligible for FA after '17.
- The Royals gain a starter player while giving up a bench player.

Why would the Mets do this?
- It sucks to see Curtis go. He's one of my favorite Mets - what a great guy and true clubhouse leader. But with the salary restrictions (he'd still be here with a big market payroll), it's time to pass the torch and see if Conforto can hold his own in RF.
- The Mets get another legit CFer in Dyson, and they sacrifice big offense for better overall defense and some more team speed. Dyson hits okay against righties (.329 career OBP), and could be a potential platoon partner with Lagares.
- The Mets shed salary with this deal.

MINOR LEAGUE SIGNINGS

Mets sign Henderson Alvarez, Bud Norris, Gonzalez Germen, and/or Joba Chamberlain to minor league contracts with invites to Spring Training. They probably won't be able to sign the entire group, but I would like at least a couple of these guys to compete for pen spots, given Familia's situation and potential injuries. The Mets also sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor league deal, with an invite to Spring Training.

2017 ROSTER CONSTRUCTION

2017 ROTATION

I'm moving Wheeler and Matz to the pen for now. Don't worry - Matz will be back in the rotation sometime in ‘17, but there's nothing wrong with minimizing his workload early on. Wheeler, on the other hand, needs to just be healthy at this point, and might end up in the pen long-term anyway.

THOR
deGrom
Harvey
Gsellman
Volquez

Depth in AAA - Ynoa, Lugo, Gilmartin
Minor League Signings - Henderson Alvarez and/or Bud Norris

Later in the year, Volquez could be shifted to the pen in favor or Matz, Wheeler, etc.

2017 BULLPEN

Jansen
Familia
Reed
Matz
Wheeler
Torres
Blevins

Depth in AAA - Ynoa, Smoker, Lugo, Gilmartin
Minor League Signings - Gonzalez Germen and/or Joba Chamberlain

The goal for this pen is to be the best in the league while also having the least number of appearances. How does this happen?

BULLPEN PHILOSOPHY ADJUSTMENT

1) No more Loogies - Blevins is here, but he's no longer just a lefty guy unless it's a big game (playoffs, late September, etc.). He can pitch effectively to both righties and lefties (see chart below), so he will go full innings.

2) Asking relievers to pitch full innings minimum and multiple innings when they are pitching well - we have a pen where just about everyone can pitch effectively to both sides of the plate (again, see chart below), so full innings will be the norm now. When a pitcher other than Blevins and perhaps Reed has good stuff, they will be asked to pitch multiple innings, after which, they will have a minimum number of days rest, depending on the workload. The overall effect of this will be no more 70+ appearances, and no more warming up in the pen over and over during a game based on match ups.

3) SAVES - Jansen will get the bulk of the traditional save opportunities, because he's the best reliever. However, if Wheeler, Matz, Familia, etc. look great the inning prior, they may close out the game. The idea is not to fall into set patterns of thinking and use the relievers that make sense at the time, depending on a variety of factors. This will take some nuanced managing, which is why Collins is gone.

Using this new approach, I believe at the end of the season, the Mets will have a well-rested pen that is ready for a long playoff run.

Reliever vs righties vs lefties
Kenley Jansen .143/.216/.243/.459 .200/.264/.302/.566
Jeurys Familia .185/.259/.248/.506 .255/.306/.364/.701
Addison Reed .242/.281/.402/.683 .235/.298/.345/.643
Zack Wheeler .225/.296/.328/.624 .259/.359/.393/.752
Steven Matz .252/.295/.382/.677 .265/.339/.351/.690
Carlos Torres .256/.311/.434/.745 .248/.342/.364/.705
Jerry Blevins .243/.332/.387/.719 .214/.266/.322/.588


2017 POSITION PLAYERS

3B - David Wright - Justin Turner/Kelly Johnson/Wilmer Flores
SS - Asdrubal Cabrera - Wilmer Flores/Amed Rosario
2B - Justin Turner - Kelly Johnson/Wilmer Flores/Gavin Cecchini
1B - Lucas Duda - Wilmer Flores/Justin Turner/Stephen Vogt
C - Stephen Vogt/TDA
LF - Yoenis Cespedes - Rajai Davis/Jarrod Dyson
CF - Juan Lagares - Jarrod Dyson/Rajai Davis
RF - Michael Conforto - Rajai Davis/Jarrod Dyson

IMPORTANT NOTE - I anticipate Wright not being healthy in Aug/Sept and Turner playing 3B full-time, at which point, Rosario will be the full-time SS with Cabrera moving to 2B. I don't care if it's the perfect time for Rosario to arrive; this move will be about defense first.

So, platoons - I'm NOT saying that everyone on the Mets should platoon all the time, but below are your potential lefty/righty lineups, should the manager ever need to use them.

VS. RIGHTIES

CF - Dyson
SS - Cabrera
2B/3B - Turner
LF - Cespedes
1B - Duda
RF - Conforto
3B/2B - Wright/Johnson (with Turner moving to 3rd while Johnson plays second)
C - Vogt

VS. LEFTIES

RF - Davis
SS - Cabrera
1B - Turner
LF - Cespedes
3B - Wright
2B - Flores
CF - Lagares
C - TDA

Depth in AAA - Cecchini, Rosario, Reynolds, Smith
Minor League Signings - Jarrod Saltalamacchia

2018 GAME PLAN

I expect the Mets to transition to a much better fielding team in 2018, and with their strong pitching and dominant bullpen, they should have a formidable team. I'm expecting Wright to retire, with Turner moving to third. Rosario will be penciled in at SS, no matter what, because I want above-average defense at short again...please, please, please.

Very important - I EXPECT TO TRADE SOME OF THE PIECES CURRENTLY ON THE TEAM for younger players/prospects to fill other holes in the coming years. We are accumulating better assets this year in order to have greater trade flexibility. More assets = more flexibility.

PROJECTED 2018 TEAM (without any FA signings or Traids)

2018 POSITION PLAYERS

3B - Turner - Flores
SS - Rosario
2B - Cabrera - Cecchini/Flores
1B - Flores/Vogt /Smith/Turner
LF - Cespedes
CF - Nimmo/Lagares
RF - Conforto - FA backup
C - Vogt/TDA

Not a bad team really, and you still have a chance to add another player or two...and maybe a lot more if Wright retires, as expected.

2018 ROTATION

THOR
deGrom
Harvey
Matz
Gsellman

Volquez (12 million option, if it makes sense)

2018 BULLPEN

Jansen
Reed
Familia
Wheeler
Torres
Blevins
Lugo/Smoker/Ynoa/Molina/Adams/etc.

2017-19 BUDGET BREAKDOWN

PLAYER 2017 2018 2019 NOTES
Wright 20 20* 15* *go to zero if Wright retires
Cabrera 8.5 0 0 option for '18
Turner 14 15 16
Duda 6.7 0 0
Vogt 3.7 0 0 arb eligible in '18, '19
TDA 1.7 0 0 arb eligible in '18, '19
Flores 1.9 0 0 arb eligible in '18, '19
KJ 3 0 0
Cespedes 15 20 25
Dyson 2.5 0 0
Lagares 4.5 6.5 9
Rajai Davis 5 0 0
Conforto 0.5 0.5 0 arb eligible in '19
Syndergaard 0.5 0 0 arb eligible in '18, '19
deGrom 4.5 0 0 arb eligible in '18, '19
Harvey 5.3 0 0 arb eligible in '18
Gsellman 0.5 0.5 0.5
Volquez 8 2 0 12 million option for '18, with 2 million buyout
Jansen 13 13 15
Reed 8 10 12
Familia 8 10 12
Wheeler 1 0 0 arb eligible in '18, '19
Matz 0.5 0.5 0 arb eligible in '19
Torres 2 3 0
Blevins 3 5 0
141.3 106* 104.5* *86/79.5 mill in '18/'19 if Wright retires

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