AAOP: Wilpoholics Anonymous

A 12-step program to cure the Mets from their addiction to Wilponery

The Mets have gone so long without competent management, that we don't even know what it's like to have a team that runs on a real budget, with a full-fledged analytics team, and that targets good young players. So long, that even if the Wilpons were to sell the team, it would be hard to change the way things are run. We'll need to turn to our local support group for help.


WA graphic


In our group therapy, we will work through our problem in 12 steps, making the necessary changes to our roster management in general and the 2019 roster in particular.

Note that:

- Each player's salary is listed in parentheses. Salaries for newly-acquired players and players with newly-structured contracts are in bold.

- Most contracts are structured so that 2019-20 are cheaper than 2021 and beyond, as we have no contractual obligations beyond 2020.

I. Admitting powerlessness in our right-handed core

We'll start with listing our current core players and top prospects. These are the only ones who should be untouchable this winter. But it's true, we're missing power, especially the right-handed variety. Let's not count on Alonso raking just yet:

a. SP: deGrom (12.9), Syndergaard (5.9), Wheeler (5.3), Lugo (0.6 -€” swingman).

b. RP: Zamora (0.6). The only full-time reliever (Lugo is really as swingman) who impressed in 2018.

c. IF: Alonso (0.6, though he'll be in Syracuse for the first couple of weeks), McNeil (0.6), Rosario (0.6).

d. OF: Nimmo (0.6), Conforto (4.4).

We admit, this core is powerless at bat from the right side.

    II. Believing that a higher (level) power (hitter) can help

      If we're powerless, we'll need outside help. We have three positions not currently manned by core players or top prospects -€” catcher, third base, and one outfield spot. Let's look first at the outfield. We're not counting on Cespedes returning, and neither Lagares nor Bruce should be playing every day in the OF -€” Bruce should either stick to 1B or play part-time, and Lagares is a walking (running? jumping?) injury risk. Neither one of them is a right-handed power hitter. Looking at the current free agent class, I couldn't find a righty power-hitting outfielder who isn't either too old or too often injured. So we'll go the trade route: The Padres are making an outfielder available, and they need starting pitchers, so let's trade Steven Matz (three years left of team control, cheap, plenty of upside, seems to have overcome injuries) for Hunter Renfroe (0.6 -€” just broke out, hasn't really played a full season yet, plenty of upside).

      Renfroe is a higher-level power hitter, and we believe he can help.

      III. Deciding to turn control over to the higher power (=the real higher power in this AAOP -€” REALMUTO!!!)

      Catchers control the game. Our current catcher, Kevin Plawecki, is league-average-ish, and can move to the bench if we get someone better (though Plaw's development curve may be trending upward). Prospect Tomas Nido may or may not be able to hit in the future, but as things look now he still needs time in AAA. So an upgrade is warranted. Again, we'll go the trade route, and land one of the two big prizes of this AAOP: J.T. Realmuto (6.1). The Fish seem to be asking only for prospects for him, not MLB-ready pieces. So it's going to cost us big-time, but I think it's worth it. We send Andres Gimenez (who projects as a future MLB regular at a premium position), David Peterson (a future rotation piece), Tony Dibrell (a promising pitching prospect), and Tim Tebow (MIA -€” a team in SEC country -€” can actually make some money with him as they're rebuilding) for one of the best players in the league.

      We turn control over to Realmuto -€” an even higher-level power hitter.

      IV. Taking a personnel inventory

      After rightly dumping Jamie Callahan and Jack Reinheimer before the AAOP, and after we just added Realmuto, we have 39 players on our 40-man roster. We'll be adding nine more players for this, but letting go of five, so we'll have to get rid of a few more relief pitchers, besides saving $3m by releasing Jennry Mejia. We thus release Paul Sewald, Eric Hanhold, Tim Peterson, and Drew Smith. Or we can trade any of them for org depth, IFA money, cash considerations, or a bag of balls. I would have kept Smith and released Rhame instead, but Jacob is a cool name (my brother's ), so we'll have four of them on our team by the time we finish with this proposal...

      Inventory taken.

      V. Admitting to the entire fanbase the wrongs done

      The team is admitting this to everyone, and so are the AAOP rules. We recognize our sunk costs for 2019: Cespedes (29 -€” we'll be lucky if he's healthy enough to contribute in the second half) and Wright (3.75 -€” because that's what the contest rules say).

      Sunk costs are wrong, and we admit ours.

      VI. Being ready to have higher-power pitching correct any shortcomings in one’s bullpen

      Our biggest shortcoming is obviously the bullpen. So let's get the best righty and the best lefty relievers that we can. Kimbrel and Britton will demand more years than is advisable, so we'll go with our old friend Jeurys Familia (33/3 [10/10/13]) from the right side and Justin Wilson (5/1) from the left.

      Shortcoming corrected with higher-power pitching.

      VII. Adding higher-power hitting to remove other shortcomings

      Where else can we look for higher-level power hitting? As I said before, there are three positions that could use an upgrade, and we've already taken care of two -€” outfield and catcher. That leaves third base. Frazier (like Plawecki) is league-average at that position, and as he may be in decline, should do well as the short side of a platoon, with some more time as backup first baseman (sending Smith to work on his OF D in AAA). The long side of the platoon will be free agent Mike Moustakas (14/2). Neither Frazier nor Moose is really a "higher power", but together as a platoon they should fit the bill. Of course, for the first couple of weeks, Frazier will be the starting first baseman, until we get the extra year of service time for Alonso.

      Another higher power that removes one of our shortcomings.

      VIII. Making a list of wrongs done and being willing to make amends for those wrongs

      Overpaying players is wrong. But we can make amends by trading those players' contracts for better ones. At least two of these players can be moved by trade. As many on AA have proposed, we send Jay Bruce to Colorado for Bryan Shaw (8.5), who will probably do much better here than at Coors. However, I think that trade favors the Rox (Bruce seemed to have recovered in the second half of 2018), so we'll even that out by our sending them a slightly overpaid Juan Lagares (COL need a defensive CF) and their giving us in return a prospect version of Lagares for our needed outfield depth -€” Yonathan Daza (to play in AAA).

      Amends made.

      IX. Signing contracts with those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person or the team

      What should we do with those who have been hurt? Basically, Non-tender them and re-sign them only on MiLB contracts (with ST invite, of course), which may cost somewhat more than a bag of balls. This should be done to catcher Travis d'Arnaud (1+bonus if he makes it back to MLB), who will begin 2019 on the MiLB disabled list, and infielder Wilmer Flores (1+ bonus if he makes it back to MLB), who has a chance of being in some kind of playing shape to start the season. TJ Rivera should be given similar treatment -€” outright him and assume he clears waivers due to health, though he, like Flores, may be ready for Opening Day. This way all three will have an organization to rehab with, and if any of them return to form, we get the first chance at their services. Two other injured infielders will also be mentioned here -€” David Thompson and Will Toffey, who are not on the 40-man roster anyway. Of the four injured infielders, at least two should be ready to start the year in AAA.

      Those hurt have signed and been taken care of.

      X. Continuing to take personnel inventory and admitting when one is wrong

      Our next round of inventory shows us that we need another starting pitcher, having traded Matz. Also, we have been wrong by not giving out long-term contracts to get the best players. In this case, let's get the best starter available, and one who has shown he can pitch, not just throw. Preferably a lefty. Enter Patrick Corbin (140/7 [15-15-25-25-25-20-15], so we outbid the Yankees).

      Inventory taken and wrongness admitted.

      XI. Seeking enlightenment and connection with our higher-power pitching via prayer and meditation

      We have quite a lot of higher-power pitching, and two such pitchers can use an extension. Let's connect to them: Jacob deGrom (110/5 -€” 14/18/26/26/26) and Zach Wheeler (40/4 -€” 6/8/13/13). We may need some spiritual means of connecting to deGrom, though, as he doesn't yet have an agent. We may also need to pray that they accept what we're offering, although both have expressed their desire to remain with the team.

      Connected with higher-power pitchers.

      XII. Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need

      Bench players and minor leaguers are in need -€” in need of playing time and sometimes in need of money. So let's fill out our bench. In the outfield, we need to replace the newly-traded Bruce and Lagares. Bruce's replacement is easy -€” our old friend Curtis Granderson (4/1). To replace Lagares, though, we'll need a trade, and the Astros may be looking to deal Jake Marisnick (2.4). Their strong farm system is heavy on pitching and outfielders, so we'll give them catcher Ali Sanchez and middle infielder Luis Carpio for Marisnick. In the infield, we're missing a backup middle infielder, if we don't want to rely on Cecchini or Guillorme as the backup shortstop just yet. So let's sign free agent Jose Iglesias (5/1). The 25-man roster is now full, leaving us needing only minor league depth. We'll re-sign outfielder Jhoan Urena (who progressed well with his position change in 2018), and sign former Mets catcher Juan Centeno (I know he's been taken already, but this is AAOP, so that doesn't count).

      Message carried to backups in need.

      So, at the end of our recovery plan, this is what we get

      Roster (newcomers in bold):

      Position ($)

      Starters ($)

      Bench/BP ($)

      AAA depth

      ($ when applicable)

      Pitcher (82.7)

      de Grom** (14), Corbin (15), Syndergaard (5.9), Wheeler (6), Lugo (0.6), Vargy (8)***

      Familia (10), Shaw (8.5), Gsellman (0.6), Swarzak (8.5), Wilson (5), Zamora (0.6)

      SP: Oswalt, Flexen, Gagnon, Dunn. RP: Bashlor, Bautista, Wahl, Rhame**, Conlon*

      Catcher (7.4)

      Realmuto** (6.1)

      Plawecki (1.3)

      Nido, Centeno*

      Infield (23.8)

      Alonso (0.6)****, McNeil (0.6), Rosario (0.6), Moustakas (7)

      Frazier (9), Iglesias (5)

      Cecchini, Guillorme, Flores* (1), Rivera*, Toffey*, Thompson*

      Outfield (12)

      Conforto (4.4), Nimmo (0.6), Renfroe (0.6)

      Granderson (4), Marisnick** (2.4)

      Dom Smith, Daza, Urena*

      Injured (33.8)

      Cespedes (29), Wright (3.8), d'Arnaud* (1), Kilome

      Total payroll: 159.7

      * Not on 40-man roster

      ** Jacob

      *** Lugo and Vargy (definitely not Vargas!) compete for 5th starter, loser becomes swingman.

      **** To gain an extra year of service time, Alonso will begin the season in AAA, while an extra pitcher will be brought up to MLB. Frazier will start at first base during that period.

      Starting lineup (after Alonso's promotion)*:

      vs. RHP

      vs. LHP





































      * Food for thought: had we signed Machado, brought up Carpio rather than trading him, and made Lugo a regular starter, the entire lineup would rhyme every five days

      This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process.