Objective – Build a team that can compete for the WS in 2023-2025 without mortgaging the future. My expectation is the minor league system will be ready to start producing high level talent on a yearly basis in 2025, allowing the Mets to be less reliant on over the cap payrolls. Until that time we have to spend.
One of my main goals is to get younger and deeper in the SP rotation, so we can avoid the risk of paying old guys $40M+.
I would like to bring back our three big free agents:
Jake – really want him to be a Met for life, team offers him 3 years at $45M, but I think if he was going to stay it would already be done. Time to turn the page.
Nimmo – hard to replace, one of my favorites, Mets start at 5 years for $20M, after we lose Jake we up to $25M per. The Rockies sweep in and do crazy, they get bring him home for 7 years.
Diaz – can’t replace him, 5 years for $101M (Hey I got one right).
QOs to Jake, Brandon, Bassit & Walker all turn them down.
I don’t want to sign Free Agents with a QO. I think we will be successful in improving our minor league development system and that behind-the-scenes work is already underway. As a perennial playoff team we are going to be picking late in the draft so I’m not giving up those picks unless it is for somebody special (Ohtani, Soto).
I prefer to look to trades to fix the SP rather than bringing in a 40yr old Verlander.
Trade #1 – with Milwaukee
Mets send them Mark Vientos and bring back salary dump Christian Yelich and prize Corbin Burnes.
The Brewers are paying Yelich to be a MVP caliber player he’s owed $26M per for 6 more years. This is handcuffing their team. They give up two years of Burnes to get out of the Yelich deal and save $37M in the first year. The trade simulator hates this deal for the Mets but the way I see it is the extra value from two cheap years of Burnes helps take the sting out of the Yelich money. Yelich doesn’t have to be the man in NY, maybe that helps him bounce back a bit. Because the trade values are skewed in Milwaukee’s favor, the Mets also get the right to hire David Stearns as POBO.
Trade #2 – with Cleveland
Before I share it here are the 5 reasons I can trade F Alvarez.
1. We have to solve 9 holes in our pitching staff. We can’t do that while breaking in a rookie catcher.
2. If we are serious about being a WS contender in 2023, we can’t introduce three rookie offensive players and expect them to produce big time (the 2022 ROYs were exceptions, you can’t count on that). I’m keeping Baty because he has a defensive home at 3B, Vientos and Alvarez aren’t going to be ready defensively which will likely impact their offense as they adjust to the bigs.
3. It is not yet certain that Alvarez can stick behind the plate. If he can’t, we lose out on his max value by not moving him now.
4. Parada will be better, we just have to wait 1-1.5 years.
5. You’re going to hate this one, but – it is a proven fact, the Mets can win 100+ games with Nido and McCann as our catching duo. (Besides, what else are you going to complain about?)
Once you realize we can live without him the question becomes how do you get max value for him.
Alvarez & Mark Canha go to the Guardians for SP – Tristian McKensie, CF- Miles Straw, AAA SP Tanner Bibee & AAA SP Joey Cantillo (rule 5 eligible). The trade evaluator says it’s an even deal but it feels like it favors the Mets. Obviously, the Guardians would have to love Alvarez for this to work.
Why it works for Cleveland. They are loaded with pitching and have a serious roster crunch. A 4 for 2 deal opens spots for them, they have an elite SP prospect ready to fill McKenzie’s spot, they hold on to Bieber because they can win now. They are looking for power, Alvarez is controllable power. Canha backfills OF and provides veteran leadership to a team that saw 17 MLB debuts in 2022.
For the Mets, we add a TOR pitcher in McKenzie with years of control remaining, backfill Nimmo’s spot in CF with Straw he’s not as good offensively but a serious SB threat, and add two pitchers with options to our AAA depth.
Trade #3 – with Marlins
Vogelback for 2 pitchers and a AA OF. Marlins need offense and while it’s easy to root for Vogelback, he’s one dimensional and that doesn’t play in the post Wilpon world.
Mets get LHRP Tanner Scott, RHRP J Brigham and AA OF Mesa Jr who can play all three OF spots.
Free Agent Signings
1. Pitching, Pitching, Pitching – Kodai Senga SP 5 years for $65M
2. Josh Bell – 3 years for $51M to be the full time DH
3. Resign Ottavino – 2 years for $20M
4. Resign Trevor May – 2 years for $16M
We have the best starting rotation in baseball, and now it is younger which should mean healthier. Our AAA depth is better than it has been, we filled some of the void that has been traded away the past several years. Hopefully this can hold us over until the system starts producing more talent.
The pen is a mix of established vets & young arms with options which should provide the flexibility to adjust without losing players on waivers. There are a couple of lefties although I don’t have one in the starting five.
Offensively the big add is Josh Bell at DH, hopefully Baty delivers at 3B (we have Escobar as a safety net). I think Nido & McCann have to be a bit better than 2022, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. Miles Straw in CF brings a speed element Nimmo didn’t but his OBP won’t match Brandon. I plugged in Mangum as OF5, I think he is under rated as a prospect due to his age & injury history. He is primarily a singles hitter, but he has hit at every level including being the all-time hits leader in the SEC.
There’s even a bit of money left over allowing a mid-season add.