Buyer’s remorse – we’ve had a lot of that in Met Land in recent years.  Santana?  Yeah, a few good years, then stuck paying the huge albatross of a contract with nothing to show for it the last half of the contract.  Jason Bay?  Cavernous fences and still managing to head butt them made that a – well – brutal investment.   Chris Young?  $7MM to do exactly what again?  Ollie Perez – 3 years, $36 million when 3 years, 36 bucks might have been more appropriate.   David Wright?  That “big apple” is the lump rising in Met owners’ throats wondering if David will ever be David again, with $100 million + left to pay.

Can you blame them for thinking smaller, cheaper?  Not as sexy, but sure a lot easier to shift away from a guy who is major league minimum to someone else cheap.  Sometimes that works – sometimes better, because those guys are often younger and improving.  The big contract guys are like a well-maintained, high mileage Ferrari – looks great, but is it gonna fall apart as soon as you drive it home from the showroom.

Hence, my outfield for 2015 looks like this:

·        Granderson – expensive, getting older, hopefully the fences being moved in are the elixir he needs.  Or we may all need an elixir.

·        Lagares – a young Roberto Clemente.  I said it last spring, I’m sticking to it.

·        Den Dekker – now it gets interesting.  Young, cheap, unproven.  History of failure.  History of subsequent real, tangible improvement.  The rare guy who realized he needed an extreme makeover – at least with the bat – did it, and it worked.  He’ll give us less power than a big, splashy, expensive, aging free agent that we can write about critically for the entirety of his multi-year contract when he “Roberto Alomars” us with mediocre play after years of top notch play – for other teams.  Dekker, were he to get 500 Pas next year, I project at .275/.375/.425, 20 steals, stellar defense.  $500Gs.  Sign me up.

·        Cesar Puello – sure, he struggled, but from July forward, he played 42 games in AAA, and was close to .290/.400/.500.  Lots of folks don’t know but despite his early 2014 struggles, exacerbated by sporadic playing time, his two year (2013/2014) totals, slightly more than a 162 everyday equivalent, are 649 at bats, .290, 41 doubles, 4 triples, 23 HRs, 37 of 45 steals, and .380 on base %, over 100 runs, over 100 RBIs.   Superior vs. lefties, a work in progress vs. righties, so a great platoon option with den Dekker – and cheap, cheap, cheap.

·        5th slot – I can live with Eric Campbell, as he gives IF and OF versatility, but his 2nd half fade in 2014 greatly concerns me.  While I am on board with Dekker and Puello, frankly, going with those two could lead to failure, as neither is a proven commodity, so I like the idea of a Delmon Young seems to be just what this outfield mix needs.  Could be Cuddyer too - not choosy there.

I think that Nimmo shows up major league ready in late 2015, and Conforto in late 2016, as starting outfielder-caliber players, so why block up the roadway with huge, risky contracts that can turn into Bay or Grandy (or more recently, Sin Soo Choo)?

Outfield decisions are not made in a vacuum, so how would the above align with the rest of the offense?

I am a fan of Flores at SS, and would be fine if he started next year, but I would trade excess pitching not for a costly multi-year, hi risk outfielder, but instead for a young star caliber SS Owings or Castro, if we can keep the core of Harvey, Wheeler, deGrom, Matz and Thor on our team.  Flores an get at bats at 3rd, SS, 2B, and perhaps 1B.

I’d also keep Plawecki, get d’Arnaud or Kevin to grab a 1B and 3B glove, and see if some of their ABs could be shifted there to keep them both.  Catchers are injury prone, nature of the trade, so why not go that route for a year or two?

I wish baseball were different with the long term contract risk.  I’d gladly give Nelson Cruz 2 years, $50MM, but I get the willies thinking of the # of years he would demand.  Let some other team sign him for 5 or 7 years – we don’t need that mistake.

Cheap, cost controlled – I’m OK with a roster like that because I feel the talent is there this year to do it.

What sayest thou?


Anonymous said...

Given the weak FA class this year and solid prospects hoping to ascend in the next two years, I am OK with at least starting next year with the cheap internal options, especially since Puello will likely be gone if not on 25 man. I would keep EC as the corner back up and keep the OF of Grandy, Lagares, MDD, Puello and Kirk. I don't see any obvious upgrades that wont take one of the Fab Five and with Nimmo/Conforto given one more year of clarity, there are also two top flight FA OF next year in Heyward and Upton. I think there is one more year before the staff if fully together, so I would like to start next year with internals and make a trade June/July if it flops

Tom Brennan said...

That is a reasonable plan, Anon. The only concern is if they sputter out of the gate with that approach, but I think the pitching we'll have in 2015 ought to minimize chances for that.

I am a little concerned about Nimmo - every time I let my guard down, he seems to slip, as he has in AFL (only 0 for 12, but it is a concern). We still do not know what his ceiling will be.

Anonymous said...

Any plan they start with can sputter out of the gate (see Grandy+April last year) so there is definitely risk anyway you go, unless you give up a crown jewel for an established bat and even that could sputter. I see 2015 as a year to put all of the pitching pieces in place and I would like to see them exhaust all internal OF options before making a big move. If the Mets sputter out of the gate, chances are that it will be more than just the RF platoon or even a flat SS out of Flores, so I only see it being a difference maker if it works. No guarantees, but I would prefer not to spend player or monetary resources on any risk. The other reason I like this approach is because I don't see MDD or Kirk as a long term solution in the corner, but one or both may have a bright future somewhere else playing CF, where their bats may be above profile....if they don't whiff like Baez
Anon Joe F

Anonymous said...

I would like to have

Lagares, Granderson, Den Dekker, Nieuwenhuis en Puello as my outfielders. Platoon Puello with Den Dekker or Nieuwenhuis.

D'arnaud, Duda, Murphy, Flores and Wright as the infield with Tejada as back up for Flores/Murphy and Cambell as back up for Duda/Wright. Centeno as back up for D'arnaud.

Harvey, Wheeler, DeGrom and 2 of Colon/Niese/Gee. Trade the one that gets you the best return. I wouldnt mind adding $$ to get the best deal.

Mejia, Familia, Black, Torres, Edgin, Parnell (when will he be ready???) and Eveland as the pen.

Around the ASB Plawecki, Herrera, Reynolds, Syndergaard and some other starters who could be pen options (Verrett, Mazzoni and perhaps Montero) could step in or be traded


Tom Brennan said...

Vets sure can sputter out of the gate, with Grandy and Chris Young in April as two glaring cases in point.

I go with den Dekker over Kirk. I am pretty convinced that Matt fixed his strikeout issues, and his .328/.426 on base in Sept in 68 plate appearances makes me very hopeful for a surprisingly strong 2015. Kirk can go to AAA to try to work down his Ks.

I would not mind a guy like Delmon, keeping Cesar Puello as OF #5. Ease Cesar in, unless he breaks out quickly - nothing in 2014 shows he would do that, though.

Jonah, not a bad plan except for Kirk

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm willing to start the season with some combination of den Dekker/Puello/Campbell but not Nieuwenhuis or Young.

I am only willing to do that with the proviso that the cheap bastards in the front office actually intend to take on salary in mid season if needed to propel the team forward if this approach didnt' work. There are no such assurances, however.

Anonymous said...

I think the time to upgrade the OF from the outside would be next off season, when there is better inventory available and presumably a few more bucks to spend if the Vets get moved. My guy would be Heyward to play RF, which would make Nimmo or Conforto available to be traded for a SS. I actually think Kirk is a pretty good 5th OF because he has shown good pinch hitting skills, can defend all three OF positions, has some pop and a little bit of speed. While this is not the configuration I would sit on, it will do in a pinch and I really do believe that Kirk and MDD will have ML careers either playing CF or as a back up OF
Anon Joe F

Tom Brennan said...

No Delmon Young Love emanating from Reese!

And who are you calling cheap? The Wilpons' hope is to have all 25 guys on minimum pay and get the team salary down to $13 million.

Hey Joe F, I agree Kirk showed some good signs. Gone are the days from 2012 into 2013 where he went 9-90 with 40 Ks in one stretch, but he needs to figure out how to reduce the K's. Improve it to 1 every 4 plate appearances and he has the pop, etc. to have some success in this game.

eraff said...

Please stop worrying about "blocking young players"...good players are never BLOCKED. There's not a crowd until there's a crowd.

The good young players will add value and force future decisions. The only blockades to good young players is not having them to begin with...and an unwillingness to provide them with the challenge they earn.

Good teams have depth....let's do that!

Steve from Norfolk said...

I guess I'm the odd man out. I want Cuddyer. I know he's getting old, but would you turn down Marlon Byrd for a return? Cuddyer has always performed, and it's not linked to Colorado.He can fill our outfield slot nicely, as well as provide a iBplatoon partner with power for Lucas. He can also be used to rest David. We have plenty of places to play him, and get that power bat into the lineup. I just think we need the bat until Nimmo/Conforto arrive. Sigh him for 2 years. We'll get plenty of use out of him.

Bill Metsiac said...

You're not alone, Steve. I've been campaigning for Cuddyer since I heard his comments when the Rockies were here last month. When a pending FA says he WANTS to come here, instead of, "I'll take your money if you're the high bidder", it means a lot to me.

As for "blocking" young players, if you've got Grandy at big $$$ thru '17, and another aging vet signed thru '18, you're not going to sit them so Nimmforto can play in '16.

And I like Flores at SS, at least until we see a full season of him, but I'm not averse to signing Drew on a cheap, one-year deal to see if he can rebound.

And I'm tired of hearing about the "cheapass" owners. Alderson had over $30 mil to spend on Grandy/Colon/CY in '14. The money was there and available. Whether or not you like the choices he made, it wasn't the money that was the problem.

Mack Ade said...


I want a new bat in the outfield

Tom Brennan said...

Hey Mack, what do you think of Steve from Norfolk's idea about trying to pry Marlon Byrd from the Phillies for his last year. He's got a pretty big bat, then he is out of the way for the youth movement.

Tom Brennan said...

Read this:

Pat Gillick said that the Phillies would not contend in 2015 or 2016, a clear indication that the Phillies could clean house. It would be difficult envisioning Utley or Rollins accepting a trade, particularly Utley who has clearly indicated he wanted to finish his career in Philadelphia. But other veterans such as Howard, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Ruiz and even Hamels have come up in trade talks and could be moved.

Presumably true that Byrd is up for grabs on a team like that. A few prospects and Phils get salary relief? Byrd did K a whopping 185 times in 2014, and my gues is the all around package of Dekker (defense, speed, on base) is better than what a year-older Byrd would give us. Would have loved Byrd for 2014, not so much for 2015.

Mack Ade said...

Byrd would be fine for me though I'm not usually a big fan of bringing back someone.

what's important to me is that it is only a one year deal

Juan said...

Lagares "a young Roberto Clemente"???? Wow, out of all the outlandish descriptions I have read, that is the most ludicrous. The fact that he is a gold glove outfielder in no way makes his deserving of being in the same sentence as Clemente, who was one of the best players of his generation.

eraff said...

denDecker with an .800 OPS projection.... Lagares is a "young Clemente"...Oh boy!!!!!

Rose Glasses?.....Too many Glasses of Rose?????

Curb your Enthusiasm!!!! ;)

eraff said...

At 25, Clemente had 1000 hits...Juan has 200

I love Juan...BUT...


Tom Brennan said...

Hey Eraff

I did not elaborate on Lagares as a young Clemente. True, the young Clemente started earlier than Juan, but in his first 5 years, Clemente I believe was a .280 hitter with a sub - .400 slug %. After that, the "old" Clemente was far superior to where Juan is now.

As good as Clemente was in the field, and I recall him scooping up a ball in Shea's right field corner and throwing a strike to 3rd base, Juan is the better fielder. Close, but Juan is the best I've ever seen when it comes to tracking down balls. Superb instincts.

Tom Brennan said...

Dekker at .800 OPS: Holding Dekker back vs. lefties, I can see him with a .370 on base and .430 slug % in 2015. That gets me to .800 for Dekker, Eraff.

Might be optimistic, but when he changed his stance, he is a very different hitter. Much more contact. Shorter right center dimensions will benefit him too.

He hit .420 with a .500 on base% and .700 slugging % his last 42 games in AAA. PCL or no PCL inflation, those are stunning #'s. That alone is cause for reconsideration as to whether the new Dekker is very different than the old one - I say he is.

eraff said...

I HOPE for a Paul Blair Result from Lego.


Tom Brennan said...

Hey Eraff - Just saw your Paul Blair comparison to Lagares. That is a real good one, except I hope Lagares will hit a little better. Hopefully, Lagares can match his homer power. He was a spectacular OF defensively too.

I looked at Paul's stats as you suggested, and it was another reminder of the danger of long term contracts to guys getting older. Frankly, he put up awful offensive #s once the clock turned past 30.

And, lastly, Mets beat his butt in 1969!