Since Larry Jones started the trend that just won't seem to go away, there have been farewell tours throughout the league for players with very different legacies. Hey, you know the old saying... if you can't beat em, join em.. And that's exactly what the New York Mets are doing here with their Manager, Terry Collins.
With rumors swirling that this season may be the last for the pleasantly plump manager, Sandy and crew are going to let him do what he seemingly has always wanted to do, and that it just lefty righty matchup chaos this team for this bridge year for our lineup. Doing this isn't as crazy as it sounds either, this team with a few signings and some action in the front office can dominate the National League. Three of our better hitting prospects seem poised to be ready for the Majors by 2018, and with many contracts expiring at the end of this season, the way the roster currently is sets up perfectly for a platoon party in flushing, and Terry is inviting everyone to come along for the ride!
NOTE: My original plan involved Neil Walker not accepting his QO, but now that he has, it felt weird to make this without him part of the plan, so enjoy the amended version of the version nobody saw!
The In-House deals:
- Yoenis Cespedes: Declined.
- Neil Walker: Accepted.
- Tender: Lucas Duda (6.725MM), Addison Reed (10.6MM), Matt Harvey (5.2MM), Jeurys Familia (8.7MM), Zack Wheeler (1.0MM), Josh Edgin (800K), Travis d'Arnaud (1.7MM), Wilmer Flores (1.9MM), Jacob deGrom (4.5MM).
- Non-Tender: Rene Rivera (2.2MM).
Rene Rivera was useful this past season, but 2.2MM for a backup catcher when we have other more feasible options seemed like the smarter decision. I contemplated non-tendering Edgin, but he might be needed for a trade later (Spoiler). All the other arb-eligible players to me are no-brainers.
The 3-Way Bruce Deal:
- Houston Astros Receive: Jay Bruce (NYM).
- Pittsburgh Pirates Receive: Colin Moran, Reymin Guduan, Jake Rogers (HOU), Josh Edgin, Juan Lagares (NYM).
- New York Mets Receive: Tony Watson, Alen Hanson, Elias Diaz (PIT).
Pending the signing of Cespedes (Spoiler again), the Mets are going to have a bit of a log jam of corner outfielders, something we have all known for a while. The Astros are in the market and looking for a bat that can play outfield, especially since Colby Rasmus won't be going back to Houston, and their center fielder hasn't been more than a replacement player for a few seasons. Jay Bruce, Houston native, seamlessly fits into the middle of a young and talented Houston lineup. Pittsburgh, in what almost seems like a semi-rebuild, receives a 4th outfielder, and former gold glover in Juan Lagares, and a lefty who pre tommy-john was poised to become a very solid LOOGY from the Mets, along with former top 10 draft pick Colin Moran, who has shown good power and ability to play 3rd base, and is currently blocked by other prospects in his current system, hard throwing lefty Reymin Guduan, who can contribute to the bullpen, and catching prospect and former 3rd round pick Jake Rogers, who projects as an exceptional defensive catcher. The Mets receive catching prospect Elias Diaz, who is decent defensively and has a rocket arm, to replace Rene Rivera, Alen Hanson, a switch-hitting infield/utility prospect who can steal bases, and Tony Watson, the long-time setup man for the Pirates, transitioned closer when Mark Melancon was traded. In wake of the Jeurys Familia domestic violence issue, Watson can step into the 8th inning role if Familia should miss any time, and can seamlessly step into the role Jerry Blevins had on the Mets once/if Familia returns.
With one remaining year on his 4 year 60-million-dollar deal signed in the winter of 2013, Granderson has had several ups and downs. The positives were that he stayed healthy, playing in 150 games in each of the last 3 season. In 2015, Granderson established a career high in walks with 91, showing that he can be a patient batter at the top of the lineup. The bookends, though, to that season were not up to par for a 15MM AAV player. 2016 was not kind to Granderson, as he posted an extremely unusual line of 30 home runs and only 59 RBIs, hitting a putrid .159 with RISP. He did win the Roberto Clemente award this past season, and is undoubtedly one of the really good guys in this league, but it's tough to see any sort of improvement upcoming from the 35-year-old outfielder, who will be 36 by opening day 2017. With this deal, Granderson gets to play for his home town White Sox for a prove it year, and can slide into right field, shifting Adam Eaton into center, and can bring excellent right field defense and a little more production than JB Shuck or any other centerfielder was providing Chicago in 2016. The White Sox send switch hitting outfielder and 2013 3rd round pick Jacob May, whose father was a Mets first round pick in 1986, and is extremely athletic and very fast; as well as Juan Minaya, a long relief pitching prospect with not that high of a ceiling, but a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider, and of course his last name is Minaya. I'll leave it at that.
The Free-Agent Signings:
- Yoenis Cespedes for 5 years, 125M.
- 3 year player option.
- 23 million year 1, increasing by 1 million each year.
For the Mets to be competitive this season, they NEED to bring back YO! Cespedes has truly thrived in New York since arriving in August of 2015, and is unquestionably the centerpiece of the Mets lineup. It is tough to think where they would be the last two seasons without him, and on top of being an exceptional player and athlete, he brings people to the games, and while it may require the Wilpons to open their wallets, this HAS to be done.
- Carlos Gomez for 3 years, 36M.
- 2 year player option.
- 12 million each year.
What was, and then what almost was, and then thankfully wasn't, now finally is, and without losing Wheeler, or Wilmer! Carlos Gomez FINALLY makes his return to Flushing as a METS player, after almost being reunited so many times. After trading Lagares and Granderson, there is an extremely noticeable hole in Center Field, and that's where Gomez fits right in. He was miserable in Houston, but had a resurgence in Arlington, and will provide some added consistency to the middle of the lineup, as well as some speed, good defense, and no doubt a lot of emotion, as it will be very exciting watching Cespedes, Reyes, Gomez and Asdrubal Cabrera have a great time on the same field.
- Michael Bourn for 2 years, 8M.
- 4 million each year.
Bourn has given the Mets some problems over the years. After spending most of his prime with the NL East Rival Braves, he went to Arizona this season, and proceeded to get 8 hits and 3 stolen bases in 7 games versus the Mets this year. Bourn finished the year with Baltimore, and at this stage of his career, can provide solid defense and solid speed and a lefty bat off the bench.
- Boone Logan for 2 years, 10M.
- 4 million year one, 6 million year two.
With Edgin being a part of the Jay Bruce trade, another lefty out of the pen would please TC on his tour. Logan had seemingly a career resurgence last year. While his ERA wasn't spectacular, at 3.62, he has been pitching in mile high the last 3 seasons. Last year, his ERA at home was 2.35, and his WHIP on the road was under 1.0. The big number here, and why this acquisition is a good one, is that his opponent batting average vs Lefties was .144. He can be the LOOGY we've all been dying to talk about here at AA. Logan, being a Yankee for 4 season, is also used to pitching under the bright lights of NYC.
That's 16 roster spots filled, and since the other 9 players are under Team Control, or already under team contracts, we have the team behind the farewell tour!
Adding the 500K of deferred buyout money to Jon Niese, and the total payroll is 139.88 Million. But wait, what would a true Terry Collins farewell tour be without getting perfect matchups at every opportunity? This current roster sets up as a platooned lineup for more than half of the positions, since many of the Mets position players can play several places in the field. This way, some of our injury prone position players don’t have quite as taxing of a work load, and we stay full strength for the remainder of the season; and with Ray Ramirez and co. still holding the first aid kit, we need all the rest we can get. TC, let’s see those lineup cards.
This kind of flexibility doubles for the pitching staff. Keeping Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo on the 25-man roster provides the ability to give the rotation rest throughout the season. It may not be what fans want, and our 5 (:D) aces may not get the innings or strikeouts most aces get, but in the long run, it will help all of them have longer careers. Syndergaard started 30 games this season, in a year where he ended up being the only healthy pitcher. This year it’s safe to project the starting 4 from last year getting at least 28 starts a piece, Gsellman and Lugo starting around 13 games each, and Wheeler getting the remaining 24 starts, in a perfect world.
This is a versatile deep lineup, with a solid bench, and arguably the best pitching rotation in the league, with nearly proven spot start options, and a very solid bullpen. This team, barring an inexplicable cold streak of batting with RISP again, or several injuries, should be poised to play and make some serious noise in October.