Stephen Guilbert- Let Me Play "Mock GM" for a Moment


While I do not believe the Michael Cuddyer signing was a good one, it did take care of the remaining corner outfield and first base platoon need the Mets had going into the winter.

Despite the loss of draft pick, I do believe the early move suggests the Mets have big things coming up. By signing an outfielder, a trade for a shortstop seems likely.

Here are a few paths the Mets could take:

1.) "The Prospect Shortstop" Path

Trade for: Nick Franklin, Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings, Chris Taylor, Addison Russell, or Javier Baez.

Give up: One top pitching prospect such as Rafael Montero, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard or one mid-rotation arm (Jon Niese or Dillon Gee)

Analysis: The best path in my eyes. Chris Owings may have priced himself out of the Sandy Alderson market with his very strong rookie season but this is one of the better all-around young shortstops in the National League and the Diamondbacks like Gregorius (his glove is ridiculous. Go watch a highlight clip) and want pitching.

Trade: Rafael Montero for Chris Owings. The league likes Montero and for good reason. The kid can pitch, has very few miles on his arm, and is electric. I have been on record many times saying he will be better than Noah Syndergaard and I stand by it. But that is what it will take to get Owings.

Other trades to explore could be Syndergaard for Russell, Jenrry Mejia for Didi Gregorius, or Matt Bowman for Chris Taylor.

2.) "The Superstar Shortstop" Path

Trade for: Starlin Castro or Troy Tulowitzki

Give up: A king's ransom of prospects starting with Noah Syndegaard and complemented by 2-3 more of Kevin Plawecki, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, or Rafael Montero.

Analysis: Yes, I just called Starlin Castro a superstar. No, I didn't mean it. I still do not think Castro is as good as most people think he is. He's a low-OBP inconsistent contact hitter with troublesome declining SB and fielding numbers. But fans love him and he should be included here. He will cost Syndergaard+.

For Tulowitzki, the risk is assuming 20 million a year with a guy coming off surgery and can't stay on the field. The reward is the best infielder in baseball. If we can get away with a trade that does not include Wheeler and allows us to keep one of Montero or Syndergaard, I would go for it. A rumor going around was something like Thor, Plawecki, Conforto and the Mets assume the entire contract. I would be very very tempted to accept that offer but it would put a lot of money on a small number of players--never a recipe for success. If there is a player to do it for, though, it's Tulo.

3.) "The 'No Better Than Flores'" Path

Trade for: Alexei Ramirez

Give up: A major pitcher

Wilmer Flores is projected somewhere between 2 and 3 WAR with a plus bat and poor glove from the shortstop position. Alexei is the opposite. Good glove, not much with the stick. Fans love him because he has some speed, actually had some pop last year, and played good defense. But for 20 times the cost of Wilmer Flores plus giving up a major pitcher like Syndergaard, I'll pass.

4.) "The Free Agent" Path

Sign: Hanley Ramirez, Jed Lowrie, or Asdrubal Cabrera.

Give up: $10-18 million for 3-6 years, depending on the player.

Analysis: I had my heart set on J.J. Hardy but the O's were never going to let him leave Baltimore. The remaining options do not look good. Hanley is now one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball and will need to move to third soon. He will be the most expensive, require the most years, and while his bat is by far the most advanced of the three, he does not fit in with the Mets staff who generate a ton of ground ball outs.

Jed Lowrie is a solid player but over the past four years, he has been worth 0.5, 2.2, 2.3, and 0.8 bWAR from 2011-2014, spanning three different teams and two leagues. The first two years were as a part-time player. A lot of his value comes from power out of the shortstop position and at-times good defense. In short, I do not see an upgrade over Tejada defensively and only marginally better on offense. Not worth the money.

Asdrubal Cabrera, although I hate to admit it, is the best of the three. Still a strong hitter with pop and speed, his defense can be good. It is not above average and has been well below average at times over his career but he has ability and his moments. He would be an upgrade defensively above Flores and an offensive upgrade in a big way above both Ruben and Wilmer.

5.) "The International Savior" Path

Sign: Jung-ho Kang or Yoan Moncada

Give up: Money. A lot for Kang. Less for Moncada, but expect it to exhaust the international free agent bonus pool.

Analyasis: There's nothing here. I like Kang but he is not the sort of signing you can make and expect to be an answer at shortstop.

Moncada is a must-sign in my eyes. The Mets lost a big potential draft pick by signing Cuddyer and they can get that talent back in a big way with Moncada. Experts say that if he were a U.S. high school or collegiate athlete, he would go 1-1 in the draft. That is the sort of talent I want--even if it costs the entire free agent pool. Keep in mind, though, he will be in any team's farm system for two years before being ready. This is not a major league caliber player right now. He's also probably not a shortstop as a major leaguer.

Conclusion: What started as a post about being Sandy Alderson for a day has turned into another "Shortstoptions" post. So I will salvage this piece and give you my day as Sandy Alderson. I present you with three options and choose. Comment which you would do.

1.) Trade Noah Syndergaard, Jon Niese, Kevin Plawecki, and Michael Conforto to the Colorado Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki. Rockies send 24 million (4 million/year of Tulo's contract) to the Mets. Mets sign Jon Lester or Francisco Liriano. Mets sign Yoan Moncada.

2.) Mets sign Asdrubal Cabrera to a 3 year $36 million deal. Mets sign Yoan Moncada.

3.) Mets trade Rafael Montero for Chris Owings.

I like #3 and have for over a year now. If I am Sandy, I still do that and figure out what to do with Herrera, Murphy, Flores, Tejada, and Reynolds later. As well as all of the pitching.



Kevin S said...

Alexei Ramirez "currently" is what we "hope" Wilmer Flores will be this season. Ramirez has posted positive oWAR & dWAR the past 6 seasons.

That's the reason I like him. I think Wilmer has endless potential. If his glove doesn't play out to a negative dWAR, he could be valuable. Very valuable. But that might be asking a lot. I'd love nothing more than to be proven wrong and have Wilmer play an average defensive SS while hitting over .250 with 15 HRs & 75 RBI. All while making league minimum.

But what happens if he can't hit over .200 and has 5 errors (plus countless non DPs that a better SS would've turned) over the first month? What is the backup plan?

I'm not excited about the up the middle duo of Murphy & Flores. Or Herrera & Flores.

Just my take.

Kevin S said...

I would do Option 1 but in my opinion, you would need to take out Niese and put Mejia in that trade for Tulo. No way Jon Lester signs for 4/60 but I'd sign him anyway (5/125?). I'm assuming you mean sign Moncada for $30M instead of $3M. I'm 50/50 on that with my mind changing every 15 minutes.

Charles said...

They say Moncada will get at least 30 and since that would exceed every team's bonus pool by more than 15%, you be taxed 100% on the overage. So he really would cost nearly 60 million.

This for a 1-1 draft pick if he was in the draft. And you could sign any international prospect for more than 250,000 for the next two years as a penalty.

So, is he worth all that? Any team that signs him would have to consider him a Bryce Harper type of phenom considering his age and years away from the majors. 60 million for a player who won't be ml ready for 2 years? I don't know if that's justifiable.

Anonymous said...

Honestly i think Moncada is going to cost more than Kang.

Most scouts do not believe Kang can be a MLB SS though so that option is probably off the table.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Yes, my mistake on the 3/30. Moncado will almost certainly cost upward of 20 and possibly 30-35. Will edit now.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Yes, my mistake on the 3/30. Moncado will almost certainly cost upward of 20 and possibly 30-35. Will edit now.

Kevin S said...

Moncada doesn't make sense in scenario #1. If we were an AL team that could move Tulo to DH or 3B that might make sense to shift him in 2 years when Moncada is ready.

Bill Metsiac said...

I'm not a big fan of trading for rospects. Remember the deals we made for Piazza, Delgado, and Santana? We got them for "stud prospects", but what did the trading partners get out of the deals?

I look at MnL stats of these hotshot SSs, and they look impressive, but then I look at Flores' numbers and see equal or better ones.

I'd just as soon give Wilmer the job and look elsewhere in July if it's nt working.

What I like about Alexei, if we trade now and don't have to overpay, is that he's a proven ML talent who's only committed thru '15 but has an option year. If we get him and like what we see, we exercise the option; if not, he walks and we make another choice.

Anthony said...

Um Bill, the Twins got Carlos Gomez out of the deal for Johan Santana, who went on to become a huge star.

Anonymous said...

We are back to the Jon Lester signing? Open the phonebook and dial any number, NOBODY is going to think this is a good idea. First it was 8 yrs/$130+M
and now you can get him for 4/$60M? Well, I guess the first proposal was completely off the wall and the second one could be offered by just about any team. Forget Lester and forget Tulo for now, nobody is trading for him until he gets back on the field, which is why the Rox are downplaying his availability and I would never give up that much talent, even with money coming back. Remember how much Santana tied this team down and that deal only gave up one really big piece. All due respect, glad you are not the GM, you would have inked a player for 8/$132M two weeks ago that you now think is worth 4/$60M today. Give up on the Lester thing, it is a dream and a bad one at that

Richard Jones said...

I would have Profar as my #1 SS target. I would offer Gee and Montero.
Yoan Moncada is a must sign as you stated. I don't see him staying at SS.
I see him as a 3rd basemen but that doesn't matter. Sign the best players and deal with the problem of were to play them when their ready. I would rather have the Cubs problem of dealing with 3 very good Short Stops than the Mets problem of trying to find 1.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Anon, I never proposed 8/132 for Lester. I have no idea where you're getting this from and in an interest of being politically correct, I'll just ask you to copy where I ever said that. In fact, I reiterated to you just a week ago that if Lester is cheap, he provides a nice addition to a rotation that could lose some talent in a blockbuster trade for a shortstop.

The range of where he could sign is huge. He's a 15 million pitcher most likely but the years are the question. Some team will give him five, maybe six, but the negotiations are starting at 4/60.

A better question is--why are you so against Lester? And why are you so insulting when it's brought up? I don't "think" he's worth any dollar amount right now in specific. There is a range that he is going to get offered. 15 a year is a good starting point and four years is what I would offer him. He's probably not going to take that unless the market dries up--which can always happen in any given off-season.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Remember, a year ago Nelson Cruz was asking for 5/75 and a lot of people--of which I'm sure you are one--would have laughed at the idea of the contract he ended up signing.

There is quite a bit of pitching available to teams this winter between free agents and trades. It's not crazy to think Lester won't sign for crazy money.

Look, if the Mets sign Asdrubal Cabrera, this is a moot point. But if 2-3 starters head somewhere for a big piece or pieces to round out the roster, it would make sense to buy a pitcher instead of use more prospects to trade for one. It's not a particularly attractive option to me but it's certainly an option.

If you're done insulting me, maybe we can have a real conversation about baseball--preferably void of misquotations and misinformation.

Bill Metsiac said...

Anthony--- I asked what the TRADING PARTNERS got out of those deals. The Twins got 2 very mediocre years of Gomez, nothing out of the others. They then traded him to the Brewers, and 3 years later (5 years after the Mets traded him) became a star in Milwaukee.

And even granting his stardom (I wouldn't call it "huge), he's one player out of the 10 or so the Mets traded in the deals I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, it was Craig Brown on 10-221-14 (can't copy and paste it) who suggested signing Lester to 8/$176M. Sorry for the the mixup, but he is actually has a better chance at getting Lester than 4/$60M. It is a terrible idea because the Mets already have 9 starters for 5 spots, have limited resources and are having trouble shedding their excess inventory of pitchers, so adding to an existing strength at the expense of all other acquisitions is foolish. So Lester is going to sign with the Mets for the same money as Granderson because Nelson Cruz only got one year? If Lester signs for that ( and he won't) there are about 15 teams that will jump at him. It is a bad idea and the Mets are not even considering it; Theomay not even sign him and he actually needs pitching.

Stephen Guilbert said...

You're still missing the entire point. Of course the Mets aren't pursuing it because they have an excess in pitchers. In my scenario that excess disappears in a trade. Also, don't think that Colon or Gee aren't going to be moved for a reliever. And Lester is an upgrade over Niese, Gee, Colon, and probably Montero. Thor, no matter how you cut it, spends April and May in Vegas and maybe more if he struggles. So while you may see nine starters, I see fewer if a shortstop is acquired via trade, one more fewer if Colon is moved to free up salary/attain a RP, and even more if you consider that the point of the off-season is to improve and Lester offers that above Niese, Gee, and Colon (and perhaps others but for sake of argument we'll just stop there).

Again, this is only an option under one very specific circumstance in which major pitching is moved for a major shortstop--something that seemed much more on the table a week ago and something I still think the Mets are interested in and talking about internally (if not directly with the Rockies). And if that happened, sure, you might be right that the Mets go for a 4-5 for cheap. But if the payroll is open and the idea is to get the best team you have, Lester is far superior option than Kevin Slowey.

In conclusion, the point about Nelson Cruz is that the market every year is fluid. Saying "Jon Lester will never get a deal that low" is as much speculation as saying "A deal will start at 4/60". We'll see what he ends up signing for but if the trade market is as open for starters as it seems to be and Liriano especially doesn't get the money some expect, the market for Lester might not be what you think it is. It's a waiting game and a good GM pounces on opportunity--even if it means excess at a certain position. Keep in mind, we still have a bench bat, a reliever, and a shortstop to attain this winter. Pitching is going to be used to get some if not all of that.

You've beaten a dead horse. You don't like Lester. I do, on the right deal which is 15 million a year and I'd start negotiations at four years and end at five. I've been on the record with that number quite a few times now. This is my opinion from a lot of knowledge. Yours is different. I respect your opinion and we will see what happens.

I find it hard to believe, though, that if Wheeler and Syndergaard are moved, that you wouldn't want to kick the tires on Lester--even if his price is higher than you want to spend. He makes this and every rotation better.

Stephen Guilbert said...

A much better argument would be that trade negotiations for a player like Tulo are going to take quite literally the entire winter whereas a pitcher like Lester, historically, will sign mid-winter--thus making this entire point moot. THAT is an argument I could get behind. Simply saying "This is a bad idea you'd make a terrible GM this would never happen" doesn't go very far with me.

Any player that makes the Mets better is fine by me, assuming the cost is right. I didn't think it was for Cuddyer. I don't think it would be for Lester unless some serious pitching is moved. That's the scenario we're talking about here. It would be smart to remember that.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Unless the market collapses, you're totally right that Lester will not get 4/60. It's insanely low for a 31-year-old pitcher coming off his season. 5/75 is where I'd end my talks and he'll probably find 100 million from either the Cubs or Red Sox. If the market shifts, though, and 15 a season for fewer than 6 guaranteed years can get him, AND we've dealt away considerable pitching to get a shortstop, that is a must sign. I'd even go as far to say six years is fine with me IF we find ourselves in that scenario. He's a rotation anchor and a valuable lefty--something this team drastically needs. So as much as you say we have a glut in pitching, we really don't. We have one southpaw who seems at odds with the organization, gets hurt all the time, and is on the trade block. You can't survive in the NL East with an all-righty rotation. So I will concede 4/60 but stand by my thesis that Lester would be a good add, especially if pitching is dealt--which seems likely.

Anonymous said...

I'm not missing your point, I just don't see any merit or reality to it. I like Jon Lester, but I don't believe the Mets can afford a large contract for him (they had to backload a $20M contract) when their fab five staff will collectively cost about 10% of a big time contract and I would not be willing to trade the young arms right now because of the overpay, especially not with two other prospects for another superstar we cannot afford and is not guaranteed to be on the field opening day. The Rox have already pulled him back off the trade market becaus of diminished trade value and teams that really need pitching are backing off Lester because the conventional wisdom now that 2nd Gen contracts to pitchers like Lester have not worked out, so for a team that has tons of pitching to take that risk would be mind boggling. You want to trade a young arm? Fine, but use Montero to replace, not Lester. Either way, Lester and Tulo are not currently under consideration by the Mets, nor should they be. I stand by that thesis.

Thomas Brennan said...

Big, big gambits can have big, big downsides (e.g. Johan Santana). I'd stick to the Mott the Hoople theme "All the Young Dudes" and stick with the nucleus of youngsters. Only move Colon, Gee, Niese, Montero, perhaps Verrett. Not all, but at least a few (OK, the last 2 are young, but keep the top-of-rotation young talent of Harvey, Thor, Matz, deGrom, Wheeler).

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