AAOP: Rushed Blob of Text

AAOP season came at a bad time for me as I am a bit swamped at work. So, this is severely lacking in presentation and PAINTZ. Hopefully it makes up for it in creativity of ideas.

With all the arbitration players included we are at 122.45 million for 14 roster spots. Filling the roster with league minimum guys (550k) brings us to an even 129 million. 30 million is not a lot to play around with.

My view of what the Mets need is #1: An upgrade offensively. #2: Bullpen help in the form of several relievers. #3: Starting pitching depth. I am also a big fan of pitch framing. I think it is underrated in that by saving strikes it also saves your best pitchers arms (or allows them to go deeper into games). I don’t think that aspect of framing is captured in framing metrics. Because of this and #1 it seems like the easiest spot to upgrade the starting position players is at catcher.

My first thought was to trade Gimenez in a package for Realmuto. But, it seems like it will require much more than that to get JT. But, once I opened the door to trading Gimenez I couldn’t close it. If we are going to significantly improve the team on this budget we need to move some prospects and I am lower on him than most. So, here goes nothing.

Trade 1: Andres Gimenez for Kirby Yates (3), Craig Stammen (2.25 million), Jose Castillo (pre-arb), and Logan Allen (minor leaguer)

I built this trade off of the framework of the Brad Hand + Adam Cimber for Francisco Mejia deal. Meija was ranked by Sickels as the #22 prospect in all of baseball midseason. Gimenez is, by Fangraphs ranking, Fangraphs ranking #30 currently. So, roughly interchangeable.

Mejia brought back 3.5 years of an elite reliever in Hand and a rookie (aka lots of years of control) with a 3.17 ERA, 2.33 FIP and 2.82 xFIP. Jose Castillo is much younger than Cimber, but had a similar amount of experience and stats as Cimber when the trade was made. In Stammen (1 year left) and Yates (2 years left) we get 3 years of control for relievers coming off very strong years. Both have less of a consistent recent track record than Hand and both are older than Hand. But, both were dominant last year.

Because of the half year less control, age of Stammen and Yates, and Hand’s longer track record I decided we needed a sweetener. So, I threw in Logan Allen coming our way (ranked #123 by Fangraphs). I picked him somewhat arbitrarily. I also considered making them take on Vargas, but don’t think they would do that. If you think that makes it lopsided then you are why we can’t have nice things. But, I guess you can remove him from the deal.

The Mets do this deal to solve their whole bullpen issues on the cheap. Gimenez is a natural shortstop so his path to the majors requires moving either him or Rosario off their best position. I am also not sold on his bat. I wanted to acquire relivers because the free agent market for them is notorisouly volatile (see Swarzak or

Payroll is at 132.85 million.

As I hinted at above I want a good offensive catcher who is also a great pitch framer. Fortunately the perfect fit is a free agent. So, I sign Grandal for 3 years 39 million (13 per, no backloading). I think this is a huge steal. Steamer (which doesn’t include framing) projects him to be a 3.6 WAR player next year. Using typical dollar per WAR figure that is worth more than 2/3rds of his contract right there. BP which includes framing has him being a top 25 player every year for the last 4 years and 5+ win player last year (note that there seems to be an issue with their framing stats for 2018 showing up on the player page. But, you can look it up separately and add it to his WARP). BP also has him as the best framer in the game 2 of the last 4 years, and 2nd and 4th the two other years. He has been consistently terrific at that aspect of the game and is a career 117 wRC+ hitter, which for a catcher is fantastic.

Payroll is at 145.3 million.

The safe bet here is probably to sign a back end of the rotation guy and then fill out the bench. But, fortune favors the bold.

Free Agent Signing #2: Sign Patrick Corbin to a 5 year 90 million dollar deal (once again not backloaded).

I went this route because I didn’t like the value elsewhere. This deal accomplishes the last priority I listed. It moves Matz down to the #5 slot which is where he should be given that he was worth less than 1 win last year, and his career ERA/FIP/xFIP is ~4. As a #5 if he performs to his career norms that is still above average and if he lives up to his potential that is gravy.

Corbin is 29 so giving him 5 years doesn’t expose us to much of his decline years. He also has a career xFIP of 3.51, so even if last year isn’t replicated there is still a good pitcher there. If last year is the real Patrick Corbin then we’ve got another steal. Seems to be like a low risk high reward proposition. We now have the best rotation in the league. We should get that on a banner and hang it in the stadium. Worth every penny.

Payroll is at 162.75 million. Whoops…

So, I have to non-tender Travis d’Arnaud. This move stings a bit because I always had high expectations from him. But, with Grandal and Plawecki it just doesn’t make sense to keep him. Hopefully he can land somewhere else and stay healthy.

Payroll is at 159.6.

Next we are going to sign Jon Jay and Logan Forsythe at 1 year 1 million dollars each to round out the bench.

Payroll is at 160.85.

Here is your 2019 NY Mets:

Biggest issue in my book with this team is lack of SS depth. If Rosario goes down the options are either Guillomre/Ceech in AAA, or waiver wire. 3B also doesn’t have much depth. If Frazier goes down you can play Flores there or move McNeil to 3B and play Forsythe or TJ at 2B. On the flip side we have solid depth on the right side of the infield, especially with Alonso and Smith lurking. The bullpen has been turned from a big weakness into a strength and we have Zamora, Smith, Wahl, etc. all in AAA ready to get called up. I also expect Grandal and Corbin to be huge improvements. Our catchers were worth 0.4 WAR last year. Grandal is projected for 3.6 WAR without framing. With framing this is essentially a 5 win upgrade. Oswalt and Vargas had 32 starts between them good for -0.1 WAR in 147 innings. Steamer projects Corbin for 3.6 wins, down from 6.3 this year, in 197 innings. So roughly a 3.5 win improvement with the added benefit of additional rest for the bullpen. That is a projected 8.5 win improvement for just 31 million. I’d also look into extending Wheeler, DeGrom, Conforto, Thor, McNeil and Nimmo. But, I am not sure what it would take and it won’t impact payroll this year so I am not going to speculate.

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