AAOP - Eureka

I'm going to start this AAOP with what is probably an unpopular sentiment.

I'm glad Austin Jackson was the regular center fielder for the second half of last year, and putting this together owes a lot to that. I'll explain later.

Here we go - 40 man Roster, including Opening Day Mets - {All names link to Baseball Reference]



40 man roster

He's got an intriguing arm - he probably needs to work on his fastball command, and maybe sharpen his secondary pitches - he can do that at AAA.



40 man roster

What do I think of him? See Bashlor, Tyler.



Opening Day Roster

LH reliever signed as a free agent, details below.



Opening Day Roster

Came back from injury in the second half to post a very Brucian .811 OPS



40 man roster

This is how thin the position player depth is on the 40 man



60 Day Disabled List ( probably )

Cannot hammer down Cespedes' timetable.



Opening Day Roster

Finished with a flourish - 9 taters and a .981 OPS in Sept.



Opening Day Roster

Cy Young winnah

I gave deGrom a contract extension, kinda, sorta, using Zack Greinke's deal as a baseline. This was a lot cheaper to do a couple of years ago on my previous AAOP



Opening Day Roster

RH reliever/closer signed as a free agent, details below.



Opening Day Roster

Didn't tender him due to walk-off hits ( Which ARE cool) , or because I like the guy ( Though I do) I tendered him because he's slaughtered lefties in the past, he put up good offensive numbers in 2016-2017 despite limited playing time, and because he can hit at Citifield, which not all Mets can do.



Opening Day Roster

Frazier and Flores combined to hit 61 Homers in 686 AB's versus lefties from 2015 - 2017



Opening Day Roster



40 man roster

See Bautista, Gerson.



Opening Day Roster

Left-handed batting OF acquired along with Kazuhisa Makita from the San Diego Padres.



60 Day Disabled List

Out for the year.



Opening Day Roster

Relying on him in this AAOP - Needs to wear Nerf



Opening Day Roster

The one reliever who was there all year who didn't make me nuts



Opening Day Roster

Right-Handed hitting C signed as a free agent, details below.



Opening Day Roster

I gave Matz a contract extension, exactly the same as Jon Niese's 5/25m deal, also replicating Niese's two option years.



Opening Day Roster

Every once in awhile something nice happens for the Mets



Opening Day Roster

LH reliever signed as a free agent, details below.



40 man roster



Opening Day Roster

I gave Nimmo a contract extension, exactly duplicating Christian Yelich's 7/49m deal, along with his 15m option year.

The contract requires Nimmo to try to get out of the way of fastballs.



40 man roster

Reminds me of Dillon Gee in the way that he pitches



Opening Day Roster

RH reliever signed as a free agent, details below.

Great stuff, but so slow to the plate you can channel surf during his delivery

I think Alan Arkin could steal a base off Ottavino -



40 man roster

LH reliever acquired along with Jurickson Profar from the Texas Rangers.



Opening Day Roster

I never realized that Plawecki had such a small head.



Opening Day Roster

Switch Hitting IF/OF acquired along with C.D. Pelham from the Texas Rangers.



Opening Day Roster

Switch-Hitting OF signed as a non-roster invitee free agent, details below.



40 man roster

See Hanhold, Eric.



40 man roster

Hasn't really played in a whole year



Opening Day Roster

August - .286/.319/.411 - September .283/.317/.416

That's super-encouraging to me



40 man roster

I still have not given up on Dominic



40 man roster

See Rhame, Jacob.



Opening Day Roster

Unlike a lot of guys in the BP, at least had an excuse - hope he's healthy this year



Opening Day Roster

CY YOUNG 2019 - calling it now



Opening Day Roster

not bad at all post all-star break - love to see him get deeper into games



40 man roster

Switch- Hitting IF/OF acquired for cash considerations from the Tampa Bay Rays.



40 man roster

See Smith, Drew.



Opening Day Roster

Jacob deGrom's historic Cy Young winning ERA: 1.70

Zack Wheeler's second half ERA, over 11 starts and 75 IP? 1.68



60 Day Disabled List

Have a great life - Wish him well



40 man roster

I liked him a lot, I was tempted to not sign Jerry Blevins and save 2m. But you know, depth is important, too. Plus Zamora only had 9 innings of experience. He's also another small-headed guy, but I'm not at all prejudiced. Homer had a head the size of a bocce ball , and he wrote The Odyssey.

There's 39 men on the 40, after Cespedes, Kilome and Wright hit the 60 day DL - Cespedes' timetable is fluid, so he may require a 40 man spot after all - otherwise, the 40th spot is free for the time being.


There's no way around spending on the BP, in my estimation - It's been a huge achilles heel for the Mets two seasons in a row.

The 2017 version was a bunch of kindling soaked in kerosene, with two of the 3 most important relievers in the pen on opening day being Fernando Salas and Hansel Robles. It's no surprise that pen went up in flames.

The 2018 version looked a lot more reasonable to me, apart from the baffling decision to have only 1 lefty in the pen - But Anthony Swarzak got hurt, then he stunk, A.J Ramos stunk, then got hurt, Robert Gsellman and Jerry Blevins were erratic, and Paul Sewald, who had a job because the Mets didn't need a second lefty, was beyond horrendous from May through September, running neck and neck with fellow arsonist Robles for most nerve-wracking Met. Hopefully Daniel Zamora's 27 outs were enough to convince the Mets braintrust that a second lefty is not a bad idea at all, particularly if he's replacing a AAAA arm.

I spent the bulk of what money I had on 3 of the very best relief arms available, and if this doesn't work, well, I give up.

LHP Jerry Blevins, 1 year, 2m, with a 2020 club option for 3m or a 500k buyout

RHP Jeurys Familia, 2 years, 20m, with a 2021 club option for 11m

C Martin Maldonado, 2 years, 10m

LHP Andrew MIller, 2 years, 20m

RHP Adam Ottavino, 3 years, 31.5m

OF Henry Ramos, non-roster invitee

I thought it might be interesting to look at a cross section of free agent predictions for the 5 players I wanted to sign.

I culled from these resources: ( right click to open in new tab or window)

Fancred ranked the top 131 free agents and gave dollar predictions here

MLBTR's top 50 is here

The Fangraphs top 50 is here

The Detroit Free Press has a somewhat irritating slideshow of their top 50 here

The Atlantic's top 35 sits behind a paywall here

{FULL DISCLOSURE - I did not go behind the paywall - somebody told me the figures, which I guess is like pirating a dvd.}

The NY Post has a top 30 here

TSN, featuring former Met GM Steve Phillips has a top 30 here


MLB.COM starring former Met GM Jim Duquette has a top 25 here

And this is what it looks like for my purposes - U stands for unranked -

PLAYER Adam Ottavino Andrew Miller Jeurys Familia Martin Maldonado Jerry Blevins
Jon Heyman FANCRED 3/42 1/13 2/20 2/16 1/3
Jon Heyman's Mystery Expert FANCRED 3/30 2/20 2/18 3/26.25 1/2
Ken Davidoff NY POST 2/17 1/9 2/18 2/12 U
Steve Adams/Tim Dierkes/Jeff Todd MLBTR 3/30 3/27 3/33 2/8 U
Kiley Mcdaniel FANGRAPHS 3/45 2/22 2/22 2/12 U
Median Crowdsource FANGRAPHS 3/30 2/22 3/30 2/10 U
Tony Paul DETROIT FREE PRESS 3/22 3/29 3/27 U U
Jim Bowden THE ATLANTIC 2/20 1/10 2/20 U U
Jim Duquette MLB.COM 3/27 2/18 3/27 U U
Scott Mitchell/Steve Phillips TSN 3/33 3/30 U U


averages -

Ottavino - 2.8 years, 29.6m, 10 estimates

Miller - 2 years, 20m, 10 estimates

Familia - 2.4 years, 23.9m, 9 estimates

Maldonado - 2.2 years, 14m, 6 estimates

Blevins - 1 year, 2.5m, 2 estimates

I gave Blevins and Miller the spot on medians ( with Blevins' buyout) , I rounded up for Ottavino, and rounded down for Familia, and gave a little less to Maldonado ( who I penalized a little for being unranked 4 times ), contract details visible in the tables to follow -


Here's where I get to talk about how a journeyman retread CF, who struck out 74 times against 12 walks and 3 homers, and who wasn't exactly Gary Pettis in the OF, got my seal of approval -

He was an actual center fielder.

That's it.

And what that means is the Mets did not play their actual RF in center, and move their actual LF to RF, and then stick a First Baseman and SS in LF, to see how it goes. They had an entire OF at their strongest positions, and I don't think it's entirely a coincidence that the pitching staff began reeling off nice start after start the second half of the season.

Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland are stressing to the Mets rotation to pitch with " conviction ", it's alluded to in this writeup of an early Matz outing here. Well, one way to do that is to at least present a modicum of defense behind them. Austin Jackson may be no great shakes at this stage of his career , but he was a modicum of defense, and his absence from the lineup meant Dom Smith or Jack Reinheimer or some equally bad idea in in LF, and that's the kind of thing the Mets should avoid from now on - Guys learning a strange new position on the fly while the pitch counts of the starting rotation rise.

If I'm right, imagine what conviction the Met hurlers would have if, instead of an ordinary CF on the downside of his career, the Mets had instead a gold glove caliber fielder out there - and they happen to have one on the payroll already - It's Juan Lagares, and it doesn't cost a top prospect, or a system prospect or even an extra dime to pick him up - He's already here.

Problem is, he's always hurt. You need to have a backup with a similar defensive acumen, or even better, someone who could platoon out there with him:


Will Toffey to the San Diego Padres for Travis Jankowski and Kazuhisa Makita, Padres eat 900k in Makita's salary.

The San Diego Padres have an epic roster crunch coming up . This SBNation article here claims that there are a whopping 66 players vying for the 40 spots on the roster - Even if that number seems a little excessive, other articles like this one here confirm the fact - These guys have a problem, and they are probably motivated to make some deals, especially if what they receive doesn't need to be rostered.

Padres GM A.J. Preller has as much as stated he needs to trade some outfielders here. The problem is, he's most likely not going to look to dump Jankowski for an absolute nobody since he's been sought after a couple times in the past : Here and Here. He may be a 4th outfielder in the Padres plans, but he's not nothing at all.

While taking 1m worth of Makita ( who was just Rusneyed off the SD 40 man ) helps a little, you still need to part with something the Padres deem reasonable, whether it's Toffey, or maybe a minor league pitcher.

Speaking of Makita, what I like about him is this : As a submariner, he presents a totally different look out of the Mets pen - And I'm not going to con you, he had a rotten first season in the bigs, one that saw him sent to AAA El Paso on 6 separate occasions. I am going to say that he was pretty good in Japan, and he wasn't terrible in the PCL, and he was fairly decent as a Padre when he was facing righties - So maybe he's that rare thing: a soft tossing ROOGY. If you're going with an eight man pen, which I expect the Mets to do sometime starting in Mid- April, and continuing as needed for the rest of the year, Makita may not be a bad guy to have around.


Hey! There's another team with a big time roster crunch, these guys here.

Cash considerations to the Tampa Bay Rays for Andrew Velazquez

How much are cash considerations? Well I didn't scour the internet for months, but I did take a good long look and all I could find was this blurb, wherein these very same Rays obtained Rob Refsnyder for 90,000 dollars cash, and here it is.

Is that a lot? Not enough? Who knows. Anyway, It's late, and I've got Velazquez, because the Mets have no roster crunch, but maybe they have 90,000 to spend on a Rays system prospect who's got one foot on the waiver wire.


What I'm missing is a bat, and I have 2 problems:

1 - I don't know where to put the bat without weakening the defense, by sticking Nimmo in center and abandoning the Jangares platoon, which I'm loathe to do.

2 - I can't afford a bat.

The answer is a trade, and the answer is also to trade for a player who's spent his MLB career bouncing all around the field, a player who can get full time AB's without having a full time position.

Travis D'arnaud, Anthony Kay, Patrick Mazeika and Simeon Woods-Richardson to the Texas Rangers for C.D. Pelham and Jurickson Profar.

What's Profar's trade value? According to Evan Grant, who covers the Rangers, it's not a whole lot. Here's the MLBTR article, with a link to Grant's original piece. I have to say though, I think he's selling Profar a little short. Sure, I have a hard time imagining a Profar trade netting a juicy, top 100 type prospect, but you still have to hand over some nice projectable stuff if you want him. And what the Rangers must want is SP prospects. There's also two catchers for them, seeing as they just declined Robinson Chirinos' option here.( Although if it's revealed that Travis d'Arnaud can't be ready by spring training, I may have to revise the deal)

The Rangers, though, might be perfectly happy to hang on to Profar. They don't NEED to move him for at least a year, as he's controlled through arbitration through 2020. They may think as I do, that Profar didn't just have a nice season in a hitters park, but that he's ready to break out, and another nice season or even a brilliant first half of 2019 would enable them to up their asking price for him, and maybe get that top 100 prospect. Of course, he's also been injury prone in the past - so they would be taking a bit of a gamble in not moving him.

There are some red flags with Profar -

Globe Life Park is the opposite of Citi Field, it's a hitter's haven, and that's borne out in Profar's career splits:

HOME 637 .260 .346 .438 .784
AWAY 675 .222 .297 .340 .637

That's ugly.

Also, he made plenty of errors last season, mostly of the throwing variety - detailed here, along with possible hope for improvement, vis-a-vis his footwork.

Here's what really interests me about Profar, however - he finished .270/.348/.498 - That's his post all-star break slash line, and he really had a fine June as well - he was basically a well above .800 OPS guy the last 2/3rds of the season, and I believe it's possible that he's turned a corner in his career.

For the Mets, he's exactly what they'd need . Frazier's hurt? Play Jurickson Profar. Really tough lefty? Rest Michael Conforto, Play Jurickson Profar. McNeil turns into a frog? Play Jurickson Profar. Rosario needs a day off? Bruce is slumping? Nimmo's been hit by a pitch, and needs a day? Play Jurickson Profar. Profar's presence keeps AAAA players from accumulating playing time, because he's so versatile, and he's just the kind of player you want if you're going with a 4 man bench for any length of time. Profar had 594 PA's last year, despite having no set position. That's invaluable.

Final damage:

ROTATION, alphabetically, 30.2m

PLAYER 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Jacob Degrom 10m 20m 31m 31m 32m 32m 32m option/10m buyout FA
Steven Matz 1m 3m 5m 7m 9m 10m option/500k buyout 10.5m option/ 500k buyout FA
Noah Syndergaard 5.9 Arb 3 Arb 4 FA . . . .
Jason Vargas 8m 8m option/2m buyout FA . . . . .
Zack Wheeler 5.3m FA . . . . . .

BULLPEN, alphabetically, @39m

PLAYER 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Jerry Blevins 2m 3m option/500k buyout FA . .
Jeurys Familia 9m 11m 11m option FA .
Robert Gsellman TC Arb1 Arb2 Arb3 FA
Seth Lugo TC Arb1 Arb2 Arb3 FA
Andrew Miller 9m 11m FA . .
Adam Ottavino 9.5m 10.5m 11.5m FA .
Anthony Swarzak 8.5m FA . . .

Probable Opening Day lineup, 3/28 in DC, Degrom vs Scherzer

by position, @34.3m

PLAYER Position 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
Martin Maldonado C 4m 6m FA . . . . . .
Jay Bruce 1B 14m 14m FA . . . . . .
Jeff McNeil 2B TC TC TC Arb1 Arb2 Arb3 FA . .
Amed Rosario SS TC TC Arb1 Arb2 Arb3 FA. . . .
Todd Frazier 3B 9m FA . . . . . . .
Brandon Nimmo RF TC 1m 3.5m 7m 9.75m 12.5m 14m 15m option/1.25m buyout FA
Travis Jankowski CF 1.4m Arb2 Arb3 Arb4 FA . . . .
Michael Conforto LF 4.4m Arb2 Arb3 FA . . . . .

Probable Opening Day Bench, alphabetically, @18.9m

PLAYER 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Wilmer Flores 4.7m FA . . . . .
Juan Lagares 9m 9.5m option/500k buyout FA . . . .
Kevin Plawecki 1.3m Arb2 Arb3 FA . . .
Jurickson Profar 3.4m Arb4 FA . . . .
Henry Ramos TC TC TC Arb1 Arb2 Arb3 FA

Disabled List Payroll Obligations, 44m, minus 11.25 insurance money for Wright's contract, or 32.75m

PLAYER 2019 2020 2021
Yoenis Cespedes 29m 29.5m FA
David Wright 15m 12m FA

Additional Payroll Obligations - 1.9m, with 900k kicked in by the Padres, so, 1m

PLAYER 2019 2020
Kazuhisa Makita 1.9m FA

All options are club options -

TOTAL 2019 Payroll = @156.15m, leaving almost 4m for a midseason acquisition budget, which at the trade deadline, with 2/3 of the season done, prorates to about 12m dollars.

One caveat is, since the 11.25m deduction is allowed for Wright's insurance, it doesn't necessarily count towards extra unused payroll - If the Wilpons chose not to view it this way, total payroll would be already be @167.4m.

Ran out of Roster spots - Hopefully see them in Syracuse:

Chris Flexen

Drew Gagnon

Luis Guillorme

Tim Peterson

Paul Sewald

So why is this called Eureka?

Well, because I imagine that somewhere between the Mets 5-21 June and the end of the season, Mickey Callaway may have used that word.

Somewhere along the line, they found a formula that worked. They went 18-10 in September, but they stabilized long before that.

NL East records, from July 1st to the end of the season:

Mets 45 37
Braves 43 38
Nationals 40 41
Phillies 36 45
Marlins 29 48

That's an 89 win pace for the Mets, without any real semblance of a bullpen.

I don't think it's a mirage either - I think they were really gelling as a team, and I think they discovered who they really were as a team - It's a team built around pitching. And that explains not only why Callaway kept playing Austin Jackson and his .141/.173/.218 September bat, but why the Mets won 64% of their September games with such anemia in their lineup .It was the strongest defensive OF they could put out there. Callaway was reluctant to sacrifice defense for offense, and here's what the Mets regular rotation did the last month of the season :

DeGrom 5 35 1.80 .129 0.57
Matz 6 32.1 2.51 .170 1.02
Syndergaard 6 41.2 1.73 .196 1.03
Vargas 4 22 3.27 .183 0.91
Wheeler 3 22 2.86 .139 0.68

The whole second half of the season was building up to this. Build the team around pitching. It makes sense because your manager is a pitching coach, It makes sense because the 3 best players you have are starting pitchers. It makes sense because, finally, that's how your park plays. Citi Field has ranked in the bottom third of run friendly parks for 7 of the last 8 years -

2011 24th

2012 23rd -tied with Tropicana Field

2013 29th

2014 28th

2015 28th

2016 16th

2017 26th

2018 30th

The full sortable list is here

As for the Mets offense last year, it was .252/.331/.421/.752

That's 11th best in BA, 2nd best in OBP, 10th best in SLG, and 7th best in OPS - all out of 30 MLB teams.

Sortable list is right here

That's really pretty good - the problem is, those rankings are only for the MLB road splits. This team can hit, they just can't hit at home. That's OK, no opponents can hit at Citi Field either - So why not build the team around pitching? Sandy Alderson, near the end of his tenure, said something to the effect of " I look at pitching as a part of defense ". I think these Mets should turn that around and make defense a part of pitching. Have guys on the field who can convert hits into outs. That helps reduce the pitch counts. That keeps your starters in the game longer, and that keeps your bullpen fresher, because you're using less relievers per game. There's an incremental benefit to this plan. Your pitchers have to work less hard, because the defense is working for them.

If you can do that, then maybe you don't have a vortex for a ballpark, some exsanguinating succubus of a home field bent on handing you losses - Even though it still depresses offense, you might find you have instead, something every team wants - A Home Field advantage.

Copy and Paste To Meet the 11 New Mets!

JERRY BLEVINS - Well him you know

Jerry Blevins Mets Highlights -

Someone wrote a song for Jerry -

Jerry on dogs, robots and tattoos, with music borrowed from Dobie Gillis -


AND THE BALLGAME IS OVER! 13 minutes of highlights-

Familia nailing down my single favorite game of the Sandy Alderson era:


Travis Jankowski 2015-16 highlights -

Jankowski the imposter salesman -

Travis went to Stony Brook!


Highlights, and his uncoventional delivery -

An interview with " Maki " -

Striking out a familiar face with a pitch so slow it looks like a replay


2017 highlights -

Don't run on Martin Maldonado - a 5 minute video showcasing his arm -

On Roberto Clemente:


2017 highlights

No one gets in the clubhouse without going through Miller first -


Ottavino shows off his baseball IQ on MLB TV

Agent Zero


Interview with some highlights

Lounging in the pool and talking Will Smith and D.C. monuments on " Choctaw Chats "

In anticipation of all his 1,2,3 innings, my nomination for his NY entrance music -


2016 Highlights, with webgems at 5 separate positions, and a NSFW soundtrack

Get to know Jurickson!


Not much on Ramos - Just a look here, batting only -


On the Rays, Fordham Prep, being a Yankee fan -

On the way to setting an impressive minor league record, previously held by Kevin Millar


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