AAOP: The Plan for Next Next Year

Oh, so many holes...


With the Metsian end to a very Metsian season, we are left to look at a team that mimics my cheese of choice for grilled cheese. Holes. So many holes. Now, don't get me wrong, other cheese can be used in grilled cheese sandwiches, but they are all wrong choices and I'm sorry you can't all be right in this regard. Where was I? Oh, holes. Some are larger than others, some are smaller than others. Some have options that are currently at the major league level, some have no plug in sight. Can the rookies stick? Will they flounder? Holes and question marks abound. Can these holes be plugged up before the dyke breaks and floods the Netherlands? Do I have enough fingers and toes? Do I have an analogy that makes any sense? The answer is no to all of these. Oh, the horror, poor Netherlands... Well, luckily this team has it's own Sewald.

So, this is the plan to rebuild the Netherlands the Mets, save our fingers and toes, and build a quality team with the necessary depth to compete going forward. The end goal will be to put together as competitive a team for next year, as they do have a decent core, but the true goal is looking to 2019 and beyond. This will be a time of testing the kids to see if they can be long term solutions, seeing how the unhealthy healed, cleaning out the flotsam and jetsam, and injecting some youth to restart the pipeline of oil, natural gas and cheap quality prospects. I'm looking at the issues we have with organizational depth, 40 man issues, holes at the major league levels and durability. As such, some bold (potentially stupid, potentially great, but probably stupid) moves will be made. Let's begin.

Those that will be leaving, whether willingly or involuntarily:

Bye Bye

  • Jose Reyes - Free Agency
  • Asdrubal Cabrera - did not exercise his option (2 million buyout) Stupid Mets...
  • Norichika Aoki - declined arbitration and set him free
  • AJ Ramos - D. F. A. (you can figure out what those letters stand for)

These guys are old, declining, and not part of the future. Ramos was a trade that should never have been made, but I'm not holding onto him just because prospects were spent to bring him in. He's been trending down, and I'm not using the funds he would suck up on, well, him. Yes, he's been good in the past. He's not Manny Acosta. That said, I tried looking for trade partners, but in the end, I wasn't going to be able to move him without eating salary, and I'm not doing that. I need payroll space, and it's not too tough a decision, so he's cut. For the other three two, they could certainly provide a stop gap on a one year deal, as they all could provided needed depth. That said, considering the cost, the 40 man spots they'll clog up, and the ABs that they'd take away from the kids, they are best given a hearty bon voyage and hope they avoid Nessie.

*** Note *** As for Cabrera, I'm not redoing my MSPaintz. Mainly due to laziness, but also because his head worked perfectly up at the front of the ship. After my annoyance of this passed, I'm actually glad that the Mets did this. It's a short term deal, and while I would have preferred the flexibility of letting him go, it is a smart deal to have him man the hot corner for another year. There were other options for a longer 3B fix, but ACab at 3B for one more year at 8.5 mil is the smart play. Which is why I wasn't going to do that... Oh well.

The sad state:

  • David Wright - 20 Million tears of sadness and it's all Cuddyer's fault.


Michael "Cuddles/Cuttles" Cuddyer is all at fault here. We all know it. Barwis too. Cuddles lured him in with his Viginian-ness, and Barwis lured him in with his Wilponianism. And, they broke him. And that's all i'm willing to invest in this narrative, as I cry like a father onion mourning the loss of his baby shallot. David is toast and his salary is part of this team. Nothing can be expected of him going forward other than holding a 40 man spot and showing up for home games looking skinny. It makes no sense for him to retire, except that whole quality of lift thing, and it makes no sense for the Mets to buy him out, as insurance is footing the bill. He'll be here, taking up a 40 man spot but soon enough sliding over the 60 day DL and making the occasional appearance, for sure.


  • SP Jacob deGrom to the Milwaukee Brewers for OF Lewis Brinson, SP Brandon Woodruff, 2B/SS Muricio Dubon, and SP Carlos Herrera.


Wow, did it just get hot in here? I feel like people are staring at me with fire shooting from their eyeballs, or at least some frickin' lasers or something. How in the hell could you do this, IPA? You're an idiot, IPA, You just don't trade deGawd, IPA! Well, I did. deGrom's escalating salary is something to consider (specific to the Mets, not to other teams), but his combination of being pretty awesome, the relatively lower salary (for anyone other than the Mets) and the years of control he still has makes him the best option to reduce payroll and provide an influx of talent that can make an impact on the team in short order. Woodruff back fills deGrom's spot in the rotation. Brinson (while a risk) provides another CF option with a higher risk/potentially awesome reward for a team that is light on OF talent. Dubon looks to be a legit 2B prospect that could be 1-2 years away. Dubon actually has been getting some reps in CF too, so his positional flexibility make him a promising grab. Lastly, Herrera is a couple years off, but could turn into something nice. Plus, he reminds me of Pickles. With this move, we've addressed OF depth, a SP spot and put some talent into the minors. Why does Milwaukee do this? They need a front line stater, they have a deep minor league roster, they have OF prospects other than Brinson who are on the cusp, and deGrom has both control and isn't overly expensive.

  • SP Matt Harvey to the Texas Rangers for 2B/SS/3B Jurickson Profar


This is both a swap of headaches, as it is a change in scenery for both Harvey and Profar. Texas needs SP and is worth the gamble to have Harvey as a high risk, back of the rotation starter. Mets need middle infield depth, with a possibility of pulling out a 2B starter. For now, I have Profar slotted to the bench. He can play multiple defensive positions (he played 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, and LF last year), Maybe he could grab an everyday roll dependent upon that bat coming around. His bat has been bad, and he's had shoulder issues. His bat seemed to get better as the season progressed (short sample size, I know), but it's a risk worth taking He did put up a 116 wRC+ in AAA this year, so there could be promise. And if he bombs out, you've only risked 1.25 million for this year. Well worth the risk.

  • SP Seth Lugo, 2B Gavin Cecchini, and SP Marcos Molina to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2B/3B/OF Josh Harrison.


Pittsburgh is at a weird place. They need to address several holes and have almost no flexibility with their payroll. The thought was that they could dump McCutchen, but I get the feeling that they hold onto their hometown hero for his final year. They have a bit of flexibility with other options, which brings us to Josh Harrison. He's had subpar offensive seasons the past few, but put up a 102 wRC+ this year. He's making 10+ mil. Pittsburgh needs SP cheap SP. Seth Spin Rate Lugo is that cheap, young, cheap, controllable, and cheap answer for the Pirates. They also get Cecchini because I needed to have a smear campaign from SamNY, and Molina, as well, because he's a 40 man causality and he could fit OK on their 40 man. The Mets didn't value D, but now I'm making them. An infield tandem of Rosario and Harrison beats the snot out of ACab and Reyes/Flores. Also, Harrison's contract isn't small, but it's also got about as much flexibility as he does. There are team options for 2019 (11.5 mil, 1 mil buy out) and 2020 (11.5 mil, 500K buyout), so should he stink or if they need the room, he can be dumped. But dumping him is doubtful, as he can play 2B, 3B, and OF if needed. Harrison could be that second stop gap for 3B if needed, or if/when ACab breaks, he could slot over to the hot corner. Plus, he likes unicorns.

The not really Free because it costs so much Agency

  • SP Lance Lynn - 5 years, 78 million (14/15/16/17/16).


While not the tippy top of the best pitching available, Lynn is in the next tier. In a year where he's coming back from Tommy John, his numbers were a little wonky. K's were down slightly, HRs were up a ton, and xFIP was way up. I'm going to chalk most of this up to the juiced ball and his first season back from TJ. He's on pace to near 190 IPs by the end of the year, and has proven, sans the TJ, to put up consistent innings year after year. He'll cost more than I would like to pay, but it's he's someone we want on this team.

  • SP Alex Cobb - 4 years, 52 million. (10/12/14/16)


Cobb has shown some true talent in the past, but injury had been an issue. He lost almost all of 2016 due to Tommy John. For 2017, he's on pace to put in about 180+ innings. He's showed a higher propensity for the long ball in 2016, but that dropped significantly in 2017 (a trend that Lynn will hopefully follow). He'll be 30 years old going into 2018, so he's not young, but certainly not over the hill. It'll cost a fair amount, again more than I'd prefer to go, but the plan was to move existing SP to fill holes and then back fill the rotation in FA. Cobb has top to mid rotation type talent and is worth the overpay.

  • LRP Jake McGee - 3 years, 21 million (6/7/8)


This team can't be without a Jake. This one even has two syllables in his last name to boot! And that's why we sign him. Well, that, and he's awesome, and he'll be one year of waiting in the wings to be the closer, if not next year, dependent upon Familia's performance. Really, he's one of the best options on the FA market for the BP. High K%, low walk%, high ground ball%, low HR% (0.65% this year in Colorado!). I'm not a big fan of 3+ year contracts for BP arms, but this one is worth it. Plus, he's a lefty.

  • RP Anthony Swarzak - 2 years, 12 million (4.5/7.5)


Swarzak came out of no where to put in a 2017 season that was stellar. His K rates were between 5-ish and 6-ish while with the Twins from 2009-2014. And then, 2015 - 9.87, 2016 - 9.00, 2017 - 10.96, All while keeping the BB rate around 2. The BP needs some quality arms, and Swarzak brings the kaPOWski. I don't know what that means, and unfortunate for Anthony, his only save opportunities will be by the bell, variety. With 1-2 of Montero/Matz/Wheeler/Gsellman destined to be in the pen, and youngin's like Rhame and Callahan on the way up, I wanted to make sure that we could not have to rely on the youngin's out of the box. Let's let them build up their pitching confidence in Las Vegas, because that is what you do with pitchers in Las Vegas.

  • OF Austin Jackson - 1 year, 2.8 Million (incentives included that could bump this up to 4 mil)


Yeah Baby! We'll need Jackson because of Mr. Michael Capsuleforto. A smart woman/man does not go into this offseason thinking that Conforto will not only be ready for spring training, but be back to his 2017 pre-injury form. With Conforto most likely out, we'll add Jackson to the mix and have an OF of Cespedes, Lagares, Jackson, Nimmo, Brinson to start the season, with Conforto (hopefully) coming back at some point. Also after these 6 guys, the remaining depth for the OF is Reynolds (assuming no one claims him), Harrison (who'll be needed at 2B/3B) and... Crickets begin to chirp. 2 OFs this offseason was a must. We'll still sign some depth AAA OF too.

TEH Depth


  • 2B/SS/3B Erick Aybar - Split contract, opt out after May 1st.
  • Utility Adam Rosales - Minor league deal
  • C Ryan Lavarnway - Minor league deal
  • OF Dustin Ackley - Minor league deal
  • OF danman11 Matt den Dekker - Minor league deal.
  • SP Tommy Milone - Minor league deal.
  • SP Josh Collmenter - Minor league deal.
  • RP Kevin Siegrist - Minor league deal
    If there is one thing we know, it's never start a land war in Asia. Or spit in the wind. Or moon a werewolf. Or eat yellow snow cones. Or that this team needs depth. One of those things.

Lastly, the 40 man housekeeping.

With all the trades and FAs and such, we'll also look to drop Tyler Pill, Josh Smoker, Wuilmer Becerra and Matt Reynolds from the 40 man. I kicked around dropping Taijeron, and he probably warrants it, but I opted to hold on to him vs. Reynolds. This allows us to add the FAs (Lynn, Cobb, Swarzek, Jackson), the trade guys that qualify (Woodruff, Brinson, Profar, Harrison, Dubon, Hicks), and allows us to add rule 5 eligible guys (Bashlor, Guillorme, Uceta, Bautista)

TEH TEAM for 2018 and beyond:


And the 40 Man roster (I'll be honest, some of these moves could be swapped out, depending on any newbies worth protection vs others. This isn't my strong suit. My strong suit is polyester.) Bold names are on the 25 man roster. 20 pitchers and 20 Positional Players.

40 man

So, the construction of the team should provide depth and flexibility at just about every position. Some are based on projections (looking at you 1B and SS), but given the budget constraints, there should be depth to mix and match positions should people falter or there be injury. There wasn't much on the catching FA market, so d'Arnaud and Plawecki make the team. Plawecki will also get some time at 1B during spring training, because, why not. The infield will be Smith, Harrison, Rosario, Cabrera, with Profar and Flores as the backups. Yeah, Flores as a back up again. But really, he'll be more of a platoon, back up option for Smith, with Profar able to man the other infield spots.

The OF spots of Cespedes, Lagares/Nimmo, Conforto, with Nimmo/Lagares, Jackson on the bench is decent. And there is Brinson waiting in the wings. Given that Conforto's shoulder is a big bag o' question marks, adding Jackson and Brinson was a must, should Conforto end up hanging out with Wright during and after Spring Training. Speaking of Wright, imagine if he actually came back like the Wright of old and, well, I'm sorry. I'll put the crazy glue down now, even though it smells SO GOOD!

For the pitching, Noah is the ace and he can come back, as long as he leaves his bowl of doom in Asgard. Yes, we lose deGrom and his "only pitcher to actually make it to 200 IPs this year," but that's part of why he would net so much in trade. The top 4 of Syndergaard, Lynn, Cobb and Woodruff is a solid top 4. Matz, Montero, Wheeler, and Gsellman all have the talent for the rotation (I can't believe I just wrote that about Montero), and all 3 can fight it out for the 5th rotation spot, with the others slotting into the BP. The hope is that Familia, McGee, Blevins, Swarzak, Duensing fill the top 5 o' the bull pen for the entire year. That leaves 2 spots for the failed/reclaimed SPs. Should injury occur (does that happen to the Mets?) those 2 SPs in the RP can move into the rotation, and up can come Sewald and the RP Corps (corpse?) kiddies that Sandy amassed in the great purge of 2017.

The end goal was to hope for the best in 2018, but to also prep the team for 2019. The opportunity to see if the kids can actually stick, see how the infirm can come back from the infirmary, bridge the Delaware Water Gap because traffic on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons can be brutal, and bridge the gap (didn't you just do that over the Delaware?) from the youngins to the MLB roster (Szap, Brooks and Dunn, other country music singers, etc). There are some promising names that could come up into the BP, like Rhame, Callahan, Bashlor and others. This plan should have addressed:

  1. the need a short(ish) term solution for 3B
  2. a retooled SP rotation
  3. Euthanizing, err, Youthenizing the roster.
  4. OF depth to weather the Conforto situation
  5. bolstering the bullpen to allow the bullpen kids time to develop.
  6. Provide positional flexibility.

This team, if they get some breaks of the non-bone kind, could give it a go for 2018. Come 2019, you will have a salary around 137 mil, with the ability to dump Harrison, and trade away d'Arnaud, Flores, etc. to make room for changes. Plus, you'll have the added year for Rosario, Smith, Nimmo, Plawecki, Profar and Brinson. It's tough to extrapolate out a plan like this to see what the team may look like at spring training of 2019, but I will because all the kids are asleep and I have time. With big names like Grandal, Dozier, LeMahieu, Murphy, Donaldson, Machado, Blackmon, Pollock, Harper on the offensive side and Corbin, Kershaw (if he opts out), Keuchel, Richards, Familia, K Herrera, Robertson, Rosenthal, Britton, and Miller, there are a lot of tantalizing things to choose from. This team has flexibility. Move Harrison to 2B, bring on Machado/Donaldson. Bring in a more steady 2B. Go after Pollock for CF. Look to bolster up the BP with high end talent. And this doesn't even account for the most obvious move, which is to trade for Votto. This year's goal should never sacrifice tomorrow. Well, if it was for Votto, it would be on the table for discussion. As in discussing how quickly we should destroy tomorrow to bring on Votto. Votto, champion of OBP, defender of walks, slayer of strikeouts, embracer of fancy stats. Sweet Votto...


Sweet, sweet Votto...

Votto laughing

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