This is my first ever AAOP, and i'm starting it off after todays qualifying offer's, so walker is in obviously, Cespedes out.
Also, I apologize in advance because i'm not savvy enough to have any tables/graphs, but I still plan on being specific/accurate as possible. With that being said, here we go...
Cespedes declined (yay, a draft pick at least) and Walker unfortunately accepting, the current payroll is at 123.9 at this very moment.
First trade, Mets trade Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays for LHP Angel Perdomo. Perdomo is the Blue Jays 28th ranked prospect. Blue Jays get Bruce, who they have been pursuing for a while, meanwhile the Mets get a Jays top 30 prospect, and most importantly shed bruce's 13M contract.
Second trade, Mets trade Curtis Grandson to the Texas Rangers for their 24th ranked prospect RHP Tyler Ferguson. Some people might think this is a lot to give for Grandson considering his age/coming off a down year, but don't forget Ian Desmond, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Gomez are all free agents. For the Mets, they get a rangers top 25 prospect, and once again, more importantly, shed Grandy's 15M contract.
Last trade: Mets trade RHP Gabriel Ynoa and RHP Marcos Molina to the Royals for closer Wade Davis. Royals have already come out and said that they need to reduce their payroll, so paying a closer 10M seems unlikely. Mets give up 2 of their top 20 prospects for a one year rental, but add an elite closer.
FREE AGENTS: Mets sign CF Dexter Fowler to a 4 year, 60 million dollar contract. With Grandy/Bruce/Cespedes gone, Mets need another outfielder. Fowler is a true leadoff, and is an excellent fielder, as well as adding speed to a very slow Mets team.
Next, Mets sign catcher Matt Weiters to a 3 year, 39 million dollar contract. Weiters, at age 30, will be age 30-33 throughout the contract which is not bad at all. I know the knock on Weiters is that he's injury prone, but when healthy he has shown he can be very good. d'Arnaud himself is always injured, and even when healthy disappointed in 2016. Weiters is good offensively and defensively, and teams won't be able to steal on the Mets whenever they feel like. If something does happen to Weiters, d'Arnaud will still be on the roster and would be a more than enough capable back up.
Signing #3, Mets bring back Jerry Blevins on a two year, 10 million dollar contract. Blevins was great in 2016, and mets need a lefty in their bullpen.
Last but not least, Mets bring back Kelly Johnson on a 1 year, 2M contract.
Opening day roster:
Kelly Johnson: 2M
Wade Davis: 10M
Josh Smoker: .55M
All for a grand total of...136.65M
SP's: Harvey, Syndergaard, Degrom, Matz, Wheeler, Gslleman, Lugo
RP: Familia, Reed, Robles, Smoker, Gsellman, Lugo, Wade Davis, Jerry Blevins
So the lineup would look something like this:
This is not a bad lineup, obviously a lot hinges on injuries, but if healthy I don't think thats a half bad lineup. And don't take that batting order too seriously because honestly, it's pretty interchangeable, Duda/Walker/Wright/Conforto could all hit 3-5, depends on whoever is hot.
Overall: This Mets team is a lot different then last years. They will definitely miss Cespedes's big bat, but the bullpen is better, and they are much better defensively. Weiters is a quality defender who can throw people out, Lagares is a gold glover, Fowler is an excellent fielder, and Conforto is a better fielder than initially expected. This team is also slightly faster with the addition of Fowler. Some people are probably concerned about having no 5th outfielder and having that 5th outfielder be Reyes. I thought long and hard about that, and debated whether I should replace Kelly Johnson/the remaining money to throw at a 4th-5th outfielder. My reasoning is: I'd like to see Reyes get as many at bats as possible, because I think he's a great catalyst and I actually want him as the 5th outfielder. Also, Duda/Wright/Walker are all coming off major surgeries so I figured it couldn't hurt to have another infielder. If the Mets can get to the 5-6th inning with a lead (which they should be able to do a lot with this starting pitching, I really like their chances of winning. Another key note is that none of these moves will cripple their payroll in the future, especially with Walker, Davis, Duda, Reed, and Cabrera being in the last year of their contracts. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this and feel free to make any suggestions/tweaks, especially as far as the trades are concerned. I'd like to hear other people's opinions on that matter.