Like all fans I have my thoughts as to what direction the team should go in this offseason. When looking at the holes the Mets have in their lineup, the potential players available, and the realities of the team’s financial situation, I’d like to see the Mets pursue a reasonable but ambitious plan. If 2014 is expected to be the year of serious contention, some groundwork needs to be put down this offseason.
I’d like to see the team aggressively go after (and eventually acquire) 2B Ian Kinsler of Texas, LF Alex Gordon of Kansas City, and a young catcher.
Kinsler is quickly becoming expendable in Texas. With the emergence of Elvis Andrus and the impending arrival of Jurickson Profar, Kinsler is on deck to be replaced cheaply in the middle of the infield and at the top of the lineup. He’ll be making an average of $15M per year through 2017. The Rangers are a perennial contender and can leverage their positional advantage and deal away Kinsler to address other team needs.
Alex Gordon has finally lived up to his potential and become one of the most productive and best defensive LF in baseball. He signed an extension with the Royals just last year, however there are now rumblings that he is available. It makes sense, as KC is a small market team and Gordon takes up a considerable portion of their payroll even at $9M per year. The Royals have created a pipeline of talent from their minor leagues and can replace Gordon, certainly over the long-term if not in the short-term.
Finally, it’s time the Mets addressed the catching situation on this team. Thole is best-suited as a back-up and cannot carry the full-time duties. My first choice is Travis d’Arnaud. He’s one of the best overall catching prospects in baseball, proving strong defense and game-calling from behind the dish as well as a potent offensive game as well. While d’Arnaud is the most valuable of the Jays’ catchers, it’s conceivable that he could be available. With their recent blockbuster trade with the Marlins, it’s obvious that the Jays are making a big push for success in the here and now. If they feel they are only a couple of pieces away from a championship-level club, they can deal d’Arnaud and live with Arencibia/Buck behind the plate. Even if d’Arnaud is not the acquisition, the Mets should take the initiative to find a full-time solution at catcher this offseason.
The lineup would be :
SP4 Wheeler (June)
I haven’t addressed the RF situation because I feel that whomever would be playing there this year will not be starting in 2014. As the player likely won’t be anyone of any serious consequence, I’m assuming the FO will find a placeholder and it’s not worth speculating on. The same is true for the SP5 role.
I haven’t put forward presumptive trade packages for any of these players as I don’t know what each team would want in return. What I do know is that the trade packages would be put together from a basket of players that includes (but not limited to) Dickey, Flores, Valdespin, Mejia, Familia, Duda, Murphy, Gee, and McHugh. That’s why I constructed the lineup without Dickey, Duda, Murphy, and Gee. The only thing I’m sure of is that if the Mets want to acquire multiple productive players via trade this offseason, then Dickey will be traded. In fact, I could easily see him as the centerpiece in a trade for any of these 3 players.
For next offseason, Santana will be coming off the books if he isn’t traded at the deadline. I think the team will then be in a position to add an SP1 or Ace, a power-hitting MOTO RF, and an SP5. The team should have more financial flexibility to go after those needs next year and the remaining prospects will have (hopefully) taken another step forward, thus increasing their trade value. Kinsler, Gordon, and d’Arnaud(?) will help to build the foundation for the team and allow the organization to find the finishing players next year.