AAOP: Let's make some trades

Let's kick things off by resigning Jacob deGrom and Brandon NImmo. DeGrom should get a slightly cheaper three year deal than Scherzer's and receive opt-outs after each season. This amounts to three years for $120 million, making it a cool and even $40 mill a year. Nimmo is currently being compared to George Springer who got a 6 year $150 million deal a couple offseason's ago. What Nimmo possesses over Springer is being a couple years younger when he reached free agency, obviously Brandon is the more prolific on-base player, but Springer more than makes up for that with his power. The real kicker is injury history, Nimmo's is more checkered than Springer, so considering, the age difference washing out the injury differences and power trumping on-base skills, I have Nimmo at a slightly reduced 6 year $144 million contract.

Our remaining deficiencies lie in the bullpen and starting depth. The current projected rotation would be deGrom, Scherzer, Carrasco, Megill, Peterson and Lucchesi as the sixth starter. I would prefer to have Lucchesi in the Trevor Williams, long relief, pinch starter role and with Jose Butto, Elieser Hernandez and Josh Walker as AAA starter depth, I would like to push everyone down one spot. In other words, add a number three starter and have Peterson/Megill compete for the fifth starter role. This is especially significant given Megill's dearth of innings pitched. I'd like for him to throw 120 innings regardless of capacity next season.

While there are some intriguing free agents available, I have my eyes on two teams whose payrolls far exceed, not only their 2022 production, but also they're out of line with where they have been historically. Those two teams being the White Sox and the Rockies. One of which will, in all likelihood be trying to compete, the other is probably looking for smart ways to shed payroll. I've concocted a three team trade, which at first glance looks to make no sense at all, but after closer scrutiny, actually aligns very well with what each team will be attempting to accomplish this offseason.

The trade is as follows; the Mets give up Carlos Carrasco, Tomas Nido, Khalil Lee and Eric Orze while receiving German Marquez, Reynaldo Lopez and Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies will be shipping out the aforementioned Marquez and Blackmon, as well as Randal Grichuk and will be receiving Yasmani Grandal and Eric Orze. The White Sox stand to acquire a massive haul of Carrasco, Nido, Lee and Grichuk. So let's break this down team by team, important to note that Blackmon, Grichuk, Carrasco, Lopez and Grandal are all free agents following the 23 season.

The Rockies shed a whopping $40 million by moving Marquez, Blackmon and Grichuk, while they take back Grandal's one year commitment of $18 million, to give them $22 million in savings, plus a young, controllable reliever. While Marquez is a meaningful asset, his value has waned as he hasn't been able to perform at Coors Field in over two years. With a new GM in toe, this moves clears ample space which will allow the Rockies to make several additions along the margins of their roster, while they start bringing up their top prospects. The White Sox, while adding approximately $5 million in payroll, do so by trading from a position of strength, their relief corps, while upgrading their catcher position, getting a controllable asset there, adding much needed outfield depth, which was a huge issue last year and a proven veteran mid-rotation starter, to a very top heavy, light on innings group of aces.

On to the Mets, while they are clearly taking a calculated risk on Marquez, given his lackluster overall performance. The upside is apparent, not only does he throw strikes, but he can get his fastball up to 98 MPH and has pitched much better away from Coors. One of the most significant factors of Marquez's contract is while he will be making $15.3 million, his "cap hit" will only be a cool $8.6 million. Again, this is something where the Rockies will care more about shedding the actual money, where Uncle Steve and the Mets brass care more about the "cap" and its ramification. Onto Reynaldo Lopez, the hidden gem of the deal. Once, a top-of-the-line prospect, Lopez had shed that label becoming a bust, only to rediscover his nastiness as a top shelf reliever. His numbers last year were nothing short of élite and now that he has command, he will go a long way in bridging the tremendous void left by the entire Mets bullpen hitting free agency.

But Charlie Blackmon. Yes, his $15 million salary is a tough pill to swallow, even considering what the Mets are receiving in this trade. While, I am not thrilled to have been burdened by this, it's the price of doing business and we are quickly turning around and packaging him along with James McCann to the Nationals for Patrick Corbin. Wait, Corbin? Seriously? I've lost my mind. Here me out a second. First off, the Mets could really use a left-handed starter, as well as a workhorse and Corbin ticks both boxes. Also, in trading Blackmon and McCann, the Mets actually shed $2 million in 23 salary, while minimizing their 2024 "cap hit" to just $12.75 million.

But doesn't Corbin suck, is the real problem we still need to answer for. And although Mets fans will be up in arms and rightfully so, I believe there is something left in that left arm of Corbin. Not only has he underperformed his peripherals signifyingly, but after watching hours of Corbin pitch, he has a slight mechanical adjustment that he needs to make in order to return to being a decent pitcher, if not his previous self. How do I know he can make that adjustment, well i don't, but what I do know is the Mets made the same adjustment last year with Diaz and look how that turned out. That adjustment being, making sure his plant foot is always planted in the same place. When Corbin has lost his fastball command it's been because of his plant foot not landing where it should, leading to fastballs well outside, as well as meatballs center cut and flat sliders. Also, sucking, especially on a bottom feeding team like the Nationals has to cut deep psychologically. Sending Corbin back home to New York to play for a winning team and an excellent manager, will definitely play a significant part in getting his career and psyche back on track.

Lastly, we will sign Taylor Rogers for 3 years and $37.5 million, Aledmys Diaz for 2 years and $10 million, Roberto Perez for 1 year and $4 million and Danny Duffy to a $2 million incentive laden contract. As for minor league signings, I think bringing in Jake Brentz and Mauricio Llovera makes a lot of sense. Both struggled with injuries last year, but have proven successful at the major league level and both provide depth at important spots. Brentz is left handed and Llovera can long relief in a pinch.

Quick explanations on the moves, Rogers is a hard throwing late inning reliever, who's left handed and has a history with Hefner. Diaz is a super utility type, who doesn't strike out, can play all infield spots as well as left field and mashes lefties. Perez is a heluva receiver, who was out all year with an injury, but is widely considered one of the best all around defensive catchers and will be a great mentor to Alvarez. Duffy is the wild card, I'm hoping for some David Robertson like magic here. But, if not, it's just a couple million. He's a hard throwing lefty, who can be used as a high leverage guy, a multi inning guy or even starting games.

In conclusion, we've subtracted Carrasco, Nido, McCann and Lee from the 40-man while adding Marquez, Lopez and Corbin via trade and Rogers, Diaz, Perez and Duffy via free agency. Along with the resigning of Nimmo and deGrom, the current 40-man roster stands at 39 and the LT payroll stands at $314 million. I believe Uncle Steve will convince Cano to go on the restricted/retired list, while still receiving his salary which will unburden their LT by $20 million and put them at a smooth $294 million, almost exactly in line with last year's payroll. This will happen after the team has already reported to Spring Training and after Cano's agent spent the whole offseason receiving calls from the NPB and KBO. Cano will sign a one-day contract with the Yankees and the Mets will open dialogue with Pete's agents about a long-term extension.

So what does the team look like? Opening day lineup, rotation, pen and bench to follow:

Lineup: Nimmo, Marte, Lindor, Alonso, McNeil, Vogelbach/Ruf, Escobar, Alvarez, Canha

Bench: Roberto Perez, Luis Guiilorme, Aledmys Diaz, Ruf/Vogelbach

Rotation: deGrom, Scherzer, Marquez, Peterson, Corbin

Bullpen: CL-Diaz, SU-Taylor Rogers, SU-Reynaldo Lopes, MR-Megill, MR-Smith, LR-Lucchesi

ST battles for the last two bullpen spots (from most to least likely): Danny Duffy, Bryce Montes de Oca, John Curtiss, Stephen Ridings, Stephen Nogosek, Taylor Saucedo, Jake Brentz, Yoan Lopez, Jeff Brigham, William Woods

AAA positional depth should be solid with Senger, Meyer at catcher, Vientos, Baty, Mauricio and hopefully Mangum.

AAA rotation should be underwhelming, but not horrible with Jose Butto, Elieser Hernandez and Josh Walker leading the pack. Not bad considering our 6th and 7th starters are Megill and Lucchesi who should both start the year in the pen.

AAA bullpen should be stacked with all the aforementioned guys who don't crack the Opening Day roster. All have options except for Nogosek and obviously Danny Duffy. Also, John Curtiss underwent TJ surgery in September 21, while he may be back by Opening Day, he may start the year on the IL, either the 15 or 60. I do not have inside info.

So, what do you think? Have I done enough? I believe this team to be a 99 game winner, but more importantly, capable of a long run in the post. And finally, as I step down, my last move will be to oversee the hiring of a CBO. The finalists are Theo Epstein, James Click, Jeff Luhnow and Brandon Gomes. Or do we just wait another year for David Stearns?

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