AAOP: Long Term Sustainability

The New York Mets are seemingly a team on the verge of World Series contention coming off of back to back playoff appearances including a 2015 World Series appearance and as such many of the fans are clamoring for them to spend big this offseason in hopes that 2017 can be the year they win another World Series. However, despite having a talented roster the New York Mets lack the cost controlled talent and financial flexibility that teams like the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dogers and Boston Red Sox have and in order to match up with these types of teams will have to be a lot more wiser in how they spend their resources. In terms of how the Mets go about doing this I believe in a long term sustainability type of philosophy when it comes to roster management and maximizing our resources by avoiding too much long term risk and the trading away of cost controlled talent. So with that in mind here is my plan.


Addison Reed RHP - $10.6M

Jeurys Familia RHP - $8.7M

Lucas Duda 1B - $6.725M

Matt Harvey RHP - $5.2M

Jacob deGrom RHP - $4.5M

Wilmer Flores INF - $1.9M

Travis d'Arnaud C - $1.7M

Zack Wheeler RHP - $1M

Non Tenders:

Rene Rivera C

Josh Edgin LHP

Notes: All of the tendered players are obvious and I plan on replacing Edgin and Rivera with better talent at their respective positions.


Trade Steven Matz LHP and Hansel Robles RHP to the Boston Red Sox for Eduardo Rodriguez LHP, Blake Swihart C, Jason Groome LHP (A ball) and Matt Barnes RHP.

Why the Red Sox make this trade: The Boston Red Sox have been looking for a high quality starting pitcher to help their ailing pitching corps and to be able to get a young controllable asset like Matz without giving up any other their big 4 prospects (Moncada, Benintendi, Devers, Kopech). Rodriguez is expendable with the addition of Matz who provides a lot more certainty in the rotation, Swihart has fallen down the depth chart due to Sandy Leon's breakout season and the FO seems to really like Christian Vazquez, Jason Groome is a valuable piece but is still very far away from a team that is contending right now and Matt Barnes is replaced by a more consistent reliever in Hansel Robles.

Why the Mets make this trade: The New York Mets turn Matz and Robles into four cost controlled pieces. Eduardo Rodriguez while not as consistent has premium velocity from the left side with a good three pitch mix and seemed to make legitimate improvements in after a poor 1st half going from a 15.3% K rate, 8.8% BB rate and 2.76 HR/9 to a very appealing 24.6% K rate, 8.7% BB rate and 0.81 HR/9. Blake Swihart is less than a year removed from being one of the best catching prospects in baseball and despite injury and defensive concerns still shows a lot of promise. Groome was the Red Sox 1st round pick this year and a consensus top 5 talent in the draft with all the tools you look for in a pitching prospect. Finally Matt Barnes is relief pitcher with mid to high 90s velocity and a curveball that flashes tons of potential but can be a bit inconsistent and with improved command and potentially adding a Warthen slider he has the potential to become a back end relief arm.

Trade Jay Bruce OF to the San Francisco Giants for Steven Okert LHP.

Why the Giants make this trade: Giants are in desperate need of a left fielder (Gregor Blanco the primary left fielder managed to put up -0.7 fWAR) and are cash strapped and lacking in minor league talent.

Why the Mets make this trade: Bruce struggled mightily in his time in New York and considering the team is very left handed heavy in the lineup even without Bruce he doesn't really fit in. With Steven Okert the Mets get a major league ready and cost controlled lefty who has consistently dominated lefties his entire minor league career (and short major league career) with low to mid 90s velocity and a wipeout slider from a crossfire type delivery.

Free Agency:

Offer Neil Walker QO ($17.2M)

Walker is a very good 2nd baseman and well worth the $17.2M he'll get for his QO.

Re-sign Addison Reed RHP for 4/$48M ($12M AAV each year)

I was very skeptical about re-signing Reed last season and boy was I wrong. Reed made legitimate improvements in his pitching with much more life on his fastball and a much sharper slider and he looks like he should be one of the premier bullpen arms moving forward.

Sign Kenley Jansen RHP for 5/$80M ($16M AAV each year)

Spending this much on a reliever to go along with the loss of a draft pick is definitely a risky proposition but I think Jansen is a good bet to dominant over the life of his contract. Jansen has been one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball the past couple of seasons and as we've seen over the past couple of post seasons with Chapman, Miller and Davis that is a very valuable thing to have. With this deal only running through his age 29 to age 33 seasons and his strong build, easy delivery and great command he is a good bet in my mind to continue to pitch like he has over the life of his contract.

Sign Carlos Gomez RF for 2/$25M (2017: $12M, 2018: $13M)

This one is surely going to get me a lot of heat but I'm choosing to go with Carlos Gomez at corner outfielder rather than investing big money on Cespedes and I'll detail why later on. When it comes to Gomez I view him as being quite possibly the steal of this free agency. After struggling mightily over the past year and half he went to the Rangers and looked like the Carlos Gomez of old putting up a .284/.362/.543 slash line while also drastically improving both his exit velocity and launch angle. Could this have been just a coincidence or a last faded effort to try and improve his value? Perhaps but Gomez is the type of player with athleticism, strength and the effort to improve his game to rejuvenate his career and turn into more of a corner outfield slugger. If things break right like I think they can the Mets could be looking at a five tool RF on a very cheap deal.

Depth signings:

Offer Dillon Gee RHP and Henderson Alvarez RHP minor league contracts as more insurances on pitching staff.

Final Roster:

C: Blake Swihart - $500K -

1B: Lucas Duda - $6.725M-

2B: Neil Walker - $17.2M -

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera - $8.25M

3B: David Wright - $20M

LF: Michael Conforto - $500K

CF: Curtis Granderson - $15M

RF: Carlos Gomez - $12M

UTIL: Wilmer Flores - $1.9M

UTIL: Jose Reyes - $500K

UTIL: TJ Rivera - $500K

Backup C: Travis d'Arnaud - $1.7M

4th OF: Juan Lagares - $4.5M

Starting Pitching:

RHP Noah Syndergaard - $500K

RHP Jacob deGrom - $4.5M

RHP Matt Harvey - $5.2M

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez - $500K

RHP Robert Gsellman - $500K


RHP Kenley Jansen - $16M

RHP Addison Reed - $12M

RHP Jeurys Familia - $8.7M

RHP Zack Wheeler - $1M

RHP Matt Barnes - $500K

LHP Steven Okert - $500K

LHP Josh Smoker - $500K

Total Budger = $139.9M

Roster thoughts:

The starting catcher job will be between Swihart and d'Arnaud with the early edge to Swihart and Plawecki waiting in AAA. Duda and Flores will run a strict platoon at 1st base with Dominic Smith waiting in AAA. Walker and Cabrera will both be the everyday middle infielders barring injury with Rivera, Reyes, Flores, Cecchini and Rosario all as possible replacements if injuries do arise. Wright will be the primary 3rd baseman but get ample amount of off days where Reyes, Flores or Rivera will play. Conforto will be the everyday LF. Granderon and Lagares will be the primary platoon in CF and Gomez will be the everyday RF with Brandon Nimmo waiting in AAA as the 1st outfield callup.

Final thoughts and Future moves:

To get the elephant out of the room right away my reasoning for not signing Cespedes has to with the likely contract he will command and the future options available. Because this is a weak market and next year's free agent class is even weaker in terms of bats Cespedes is very likely to get a 5 to possibly 7 year deal at $25M-$30M per and as we've seen those types of deals very rarely work out in the long run. And while I admit that Cespedes should age better than most players it still is very concerning tying up that much resources into one player where one injury or even one slight downturn in bat speed or approach could turn that contract into an albatross real quickly and even if it doesn't go quickly those last couple of years are very likely to be a big dead weight on the roster. I also am very high on Gomez being able to somewhat replace Cespedes production and going on to have a huge bounceback season without the financial constraint allowing us to be big players in 2018 free agency with Harper, Machado, Pollock, etc... Also when it comes to the Jansen signing I plan on having him and Reed be the long term 1-2 punch in the back half of the rotation and unloading Familia for some cost controlled talent once he is further removed from his sexual assault allegations since as we've seen with Chapman that uncertainty can really plummet a player's value. For the 2018 team Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo will all see increased roles by replacing Cabrera, Duda, Granderson and Walker giving an infusion of youth to the offense. Overall my approach for this plan was to try and add young talent to this team while also staying away from long term contracts that I see as being dead weight and I think that this is a team that if things break right could be very competitive in 2017 and if not should still be very well setup for 2018 and beyond with a good young team and financial flexibility moving forward.

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