Hello! Sage here.
I haven't done one of these in a long while.
Hope you have fun.
What do you do when you have an owner with unlimited monopoly money? Almost as rich as Seto Kaiba? You try to spend as much of it as humanly possible.
I think we underestimate how rich Steve (Seto) Cohen is. His art collection alone is worth more than some baseball teams. He's worth more today than when he first bought the Mets. He's worth more than most of us ever will earn in our entire lives. So why not play pretend GM and spend some of his hard earned money?
Mokuba came to tell Seto Cohen there are some ground rules.
One: Payroll cannot exceed 325 million.
I'm currently using the payroll that sportrac has for the Mets. The current money they have adjusted is $184 million. At the end of each section I'll update the expected payroll hit.
The adjusted payroll with the dead money is roughly $204 million.
If I somehow go over, I give full control of the Mets to Mokuba.
Non tenders/releases --
Taijuan Walker (FA)
Dominic Smith -- sorry Dom :(
Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon - The Rotation
Artist rendition of our 2023 Rotation
Blue-Eyes White Dragon #1 -- Jacob DeGrom (deGawd) 3 years/135M with a 4th year player option
This move should be obvious for a whole multitude of reasons. Face of the franchise, homegrown, plus literally one of the best pitchers of our generation. To see him pitch for another team would be so not what a rich bored billionaire with oodles of monopoly money would do.
In case you forgot how good DeGawd is, just look at this line from the last two years:
Yes over the course of just 2 years (full seasonish btw) he has still amassed a ridiculous 1.58 xFIP. Stuff like that is practically superhuman. To not sign him is almost expecting Wilponian sloppy seconds, not the behavior of a rich asshole. Even Carlos Rondon (another decent injury risk) couldn't possibly fathom to put up numbers nearly as good as DeGrom's. For reference, over the past two seasons, Rodon's xFIP is double that of Jake's.
Blue Eyes White Dragon #2 -- Koudai Senga 6 years $130 million, opt out after year 4
Why go after Koudai Senga? Koudai Senga is like Yu Darvish, but no posting fee and absolutely insane stuff. He's also on the younger side of the rotation guys at age 29.
The one advantage the Mets have over the Cubs and other teams is that we have a lot of monopoly money. More than any team in the league. If we want someone, we get them. And giving a record breaking contract to Senga for a NPB player sounds like a great move.
Why I think Senga is better than Bassitt -- Senga throws harder and has a much more devastating breaking ball. The one thing a good Japanese pitcher needs is a unique breaking ball. Tanaka threw a really nasty splitter early in his career that fooled MLB hitters, but the forkball is exceptionally rare. For Senga, it's a nasty strikeout pitch, but it also renders a lot of awkward swings. I don't think Senga will be perfect -- as we've seen even Yu Darvish and Tanaka struggle at times versus MLB hitters, but man, he could be a lot of fun. Plus, it's good if we had a pitcher that offered as much variety compared to DeGrom/Scherzer as Bassitt did, only better.
Hard to say how Senga translates to MLB, but his 10.0 K/9 in NPB is similar to Darvish's 10.8 K/9. He also is far better at handling the long ball, with only a 0.6 HR/9 in NPB.
The one drawback of Senga is his injury history, which could be a concern, but we should have no problem getting him with money alone.
Blue Eyes White Dragon #3 -- Carlos Carrasco 1 years/14 million
Obvious move is obvious as your #4.
Blue Eyes Shining Dragon -
Orioles get: Mark Vientos, Jeffrey Springs, Eduardo Escobar, Stephen Nogosek
Rays get: Ronny Mauricio, Jordany Ventura, Ryan Mountcastle, James McCann (+6 million), Jorge Mateo, and Khalil Lee if the Mets don't front the Rays James McCann money
Mets get: Ryan McKenna, Josh Fleming, Ryan Yarbrough
Sage, are you smoking the good stuff? You may first ask.
This may seem like a weird move at first. Why would the Rays make this trade? Why would the Orioles make this trade. The Rays are currently in a roster crunch. They also have salary they need to unload. Yarbrough earned 3.8 million in arbitration last year, and he's getting older. The Rays have big needs at C and 1B after trading Ji-man Choi off. Ryan Mountcastle provides them a low cost option at 1B.
The Orioles are the interesting team in this mix. They have said they want to compete, and they have lots of money to spend. I see them making a big splash, and the Rays and Orioles are no strange bedfellows. Jeffrey Springs helps significantly shore up the Orioles' rotation. They get a solid infield piece in Eduardo Escobar without having to make a big splash on the market (for the record, they have the lowest payroll in the league, so expect them to spend a little, but not going too crazy). The Rays don't care about interdivision stuff. They're weird.
Mark Vientos gives the Orioles something they have lacked since they traded Mancini -- right handed pop. The Mets clearly don't have faith in Vientos, but his pop is legitimate. The Orioles lack a solid DH/1B type if they trade Mountcastle, and Vientos fills in nicely as the lefty killer. If they want true defensive 1B options, there are plenty of them, and they will be much cheaper than the pitching or the other infielders/outfielders in FA.
The Rays also need a C and badly. Zunino had TOS so it's unlikely he'll be the same player ever again. Mejia has been mediocre behind the plate. And if there's any player that needs a change of scenery, it's James McCann. He's still pretty ok defensively, but nothing to write home about. If he can regain form offensively, this turns into a very cromulent move by the Rays. I see this trade as a bit of a wash, which is why I think the Rays only do it if the Mets front some money to Tampa. I think he'll be cheaper than a FA catcher, but I know the Rays are big on Sean Murphy from the As. I just see that move being way too costly.
Why include Mateo and Mauricio? I see Mateo as being superfluous for the Orioles, but he's still an electric speedster, so they'd be selling him high. The Rays need someone to cover CF after Kiermaier leaves, and Mateo should be very cheap. Knowing the Rays, they'll find a way to use Mateo, similarly to how they used Margot. Mauricio is there because Brandon Lowe looks like he may have a very serious injury that could threaten his career (hint: it's a back injury). Mauricio is a true power threat at 2B and gives the Rays something for the future. Unfortunately to move McCann, it's going to cost something.
Ventura is a solid piece, but unspectacular. He is currently ranked #20 in the Mets farm system. He currently is recovering from Tommy John, and his future is uncertain. Some may say he could become a top prospect, but the jury's still out for that. He's the type of guy with potential I can see the Rays taking a flier on.
For the Mets: Yarbrough is a rubber arm. Think of him like Trevor Williams, but a lefty. He can give you strong innings in both starting and relief, which is why I envision him as sort of the Trevor Williams type of this team. Plus, he's been pretty durable outside of this year (oblique). He had thrown 140 innings in starting and relief in 3 of the 5 seasons he's been in the league. He's nothing spectacular, but I sense he'd be a cromulent pickup. There won't be many free agent starters that want to do both starting and relief, which is why I think it makes sense in a trade. Yarbrough is excellent at giving you length and innings. Plus he has been solid in the postseason.
Ryan McKenna is a very solid choice for a 4OF. Here is his scouting report from a few years ago. McKenna provides plus defense and speed, and he can play CF. He's also young and capable of hitting some dingers which is more than Jankowski could say. Plus, he's dirt cheap and has options. Not bad for offloading some contracts eh?
The last piece, Josh Fleming, is Joey Lucchesi insurance. Josh Fleming is a guy who was #27 in the Rays farm system a few years ago. Think of him like the mini-me Ryan Yarbrough. He's a lefty, crafty, and had some decent success in the COVID season. Ignore his ERA, his FIP means he's very solid depth. And he has options. And no TJS scares. All in all, as we have seen, pitching depth is very very important.
Yarbrough (as the swing man)
Pretty solid depth, although admittedly very top heavy.
This puts the team at
$204 million +
+ 45 AAV DeGrom
+ 26.7 AAV Senga
+ 14 AAV Carrasco
+ 4 AAV (estimated Yarbrough arbitration estimation based on this year)
= ~278 million.
The million Blue-Eyes retrains to fulfill the ego of Seto
Kaiba Cohen -- The Bullpen
Ryan Yarbrough has been accounted for, so let's go with the rest.
Blue-Eyes Solid Dragon -- Trade Mark Cahna to the Rangers for Brett Martin and Antoine Kelly
So I admit I went into the trade simulator for this one :).
But this trade is a bit of a wash for both sides. Martin has been a solid, albeit an unremarkable lefty. He was also hurt last season with a shoulder strain, which does present a big of a problem. However, versus lefties, which was a weakness of the Mets last season, he was excellent.
I think it's important to trade for a reliever or two than sign for one, considering how expensive the RP market is. I mean Diaz got 5/102 and Montero 3/34! Seto Cohen doesn't want to give away his company to Mokuba. Plus, if you can nab a reliever with options, all the better.
Antoine Kelly is the Rangers #13 prospect, which I think the Mets can nab in this trade. The Rangers are in a win now mode, with a lot of strong pitching arms in the future such as Jack Leiter and Brock Porter in their top 10. Kelly has had an injury history and control problems, but his lefty arm is electric when on. He struck out 11.9 / 9 last year, and has a strong fastball and slider. If he doesn't materialize as a starter, he could also slot in as another lefty option in the BP. I think Kelly is the real prize in the trade.
Cahna gives the Rangers something they really lacked last year -- production in their OF. He was worth 2.8 fWAR to the Mets, and given his fair contract, it's certainly a trade the Rangers might think is worth making. They seem to have balked from the asking price of a lot of top FAs such as DeGrom, and it's unlikely they'll go after Judge.
Blue-Eyes Tyrant Dragon Edwin Diaz 5/$102 million
I don't need to explain this one. Edwin earned back the 'win' in his name last year. Let the trumpets commence.
Blue-Eyes Chaos Dragon: Adam Ottavino 2/$14 million
Adam was freaking amazing for the Mets last season. While it's risky to expect him to do it again, his slider has proved that when he can get it over, he's really solid.
Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon: Michael Fulmer - 2/$10 million with player option for year 3
Michael is a player I have a bit of an irrational bias towards. 2021 shows what he can be if he can keep his walks down like Ottavino. He's got a solid fastball/slider combo, and I think he'll be better than Trevor May personally. Plus, he's shown he can be durable in the BP, if the last two years have shown anything. Plus, he'll be back in the org that drafted him. Can never go wrong there.
Blue-Eyes Abyss Dragon : Andrew Chafin 3/$36 million
Andrew has been an excellent reliever the past few years, and an elite lefty. I think he gets a decent sum on the market. One thing about Chafin is he's consistent. And that's crucial.
The expected BP:
Brett Martin - LHP
Andrew Chafin - LHP (SU)
Michael Fulmer -- RHP (7th inning / SU)
Edwin Diaz - RHP (CP)
Adam Ottavino -- RHP (7th inning / SU)
Drew Smith (RHP)
Ryan Yarbrough -- LHP (long relief)
John Curtiss (RHP)/Minor League FAs/Antoine Kelly -- LHP
Vision with Eyes of Blue -- Minor league FAs
Ken Giles -- major reclamation project. I think he's got potential as a minor league FA considering how good he was a few years ago. He didn't look bad with the Mariners either. $1.5 million incentive if he makes the MLB roster.
Obelisk The Tormentor -- The Lineup
Every bored rich billionaire needs something to big and giant to boost his ego, so Seto Cohen went to work on the lineup. Of course, he can't summon an Egyptian god without some tributes.
Tribute #1 Brandon Nimmo - 5 years, $100 million with mutual option for year 6.
Think this move is obvious and necessary. Definitely necessary for the ego of a bored billionaire.
Nimmo is great, he gets on base, and he plays a good CF. But the mutual option might entice Boras to
not take a freaking eternity to allow his freaking players to sign accept the offer.
Tribute #2 Mitch Haniger - 2/$20 million with a mutual option for year 3
I secretly love this move. Mitch Haniger was freaking awesome in 2021. He hit 39 bombs and drove in 100 runs. He had a 121 wRC+. But the awesome thing about Mitch -- he can actually really hurt lefties. He boasts a 132 wRC+ against lefties for his career, and in his best season he boasted a 148 wRC+ with a .921 OPS. He provides the Metsies a real power threat against LHP and behind Alonso. However, an ankle injury ruined his 2022 and I think his shot at a big pay day. I think Mitch takes this contract. I also think he'd be better suited for LF than RF. While he was above average in RF in a SSS this year, over the course of a full season in 2021, he was pretty poop, with a OAA of -7.
Tribute #3 Brandon Drury - 2/12 million with a team option for year 3
Brandon was really really good this year. He showed his true potential as a power threat. That being said, he still has a bit to prove, and I don't think he gets more than 10 million AAV as a result. What makes Brandon special is his positional versatility. The Mets would be signing him to play 3B mainly, but he could fill in the OF, second base, and first base when
the Marlins or Braves bean one of our hitters again. Now I admit I'm a little worried about the GABP effect, but as a Padre he rebounded nicely and makes me think this stretch is pretty legit. His BABIP was actually lower this year than in years past, and his wOBA was really good at .350. If Drury can crank out 15-20 HRs while playing all over the place, the Mets could take that. Especially with Guillorme coming in for late defense. I'm a little more bullish on Drury being better than EE this year, hence him going out to Baltimore.
White Stone of Legend -- Minor League FAs
Brett Phillips - a fun, gritty little player. He was not very good last year, hence the non tender, but he's got some pop, a ton of grission, and he plays the OF very well. Did I mention he somehow was worth 2.3 fWAR in 2021 despite hitting .206? I don't believe he gets a major league contract, but I definitely see him signing a minor league deal with a wink wink major league handshake. I'd like for him to compete with McKenna for the 4OF spot. Plus how can you not love this guy?
Yes I did all this math plus arbitration. I'm insane. Thanks.
Yarbrough (Long man)
Diaz (trumpet guy)
I hope Seto Cohen can laugh his way to the World Series.