Reese Kaplan -- Will the 2016 Squad Repeat?


Right now everyone is patting themselves on the back for the Mets’ triumphant late season push to the Divisional pennant.  The story lines are familiar and we all look forward to seeing the team regroup after the Nats series this final weekend and begin the playoffs against the Dodgers.  There are a lot of people who made this post-season possible but a great many may not be here come 2016.  Let’s take an early look at who is on the team and who may not be.

The Keepers
  • Lucas Duda – the big man got hot at precisely the right time as he is arbitration eligible.  With no guarantee of retaining Yoenis Cespedes and no predicting the long term impact of David Wright’s spinal stenosis the team has no choice but to pony up and pay whatever the going rate is for his services.
  • Wilmer Flores – a productive hitter at a bargain price, he’ll be back for sure unless he becomes part of another trade
  • Ruben Tejada – his late season surge with the bat probably guarantees him a spot on the bench and too many ABs in the starting lineup
  • David Wright – the $20 million man will be back, but at what capacity is anyone’s guess
  • Travis d’Arnaud – another bargain basement productive hitter, the challenge will be keeping him healthy
  • Michael Conforto – he certainly hasn’t looked as if the jump from AA has intimidated him at all. Look for him to be starting in LF
  • Curtis Granderson – after his first season for the Mets it was looking almost as if they’d done another Jason Bay deal, but he rebounded nicely in 2015.  He’s still not the 35+ home run threat he once was but he plays hard and actually seems to thrive in the leadoff role
  • Michael Cuddyer – unless he’s platooning with either Lucas Duda or Michael Conforto he looks to be an extremely expensive bench piece
  • Juan Lagares – his contract extension after his Gold Glove season guarantees him income but not necessarily coming from the Mets
  • Kevin Plawecki – he demonstrated that he can handle catching duties, offers more long term potential than Anthony Recker and is insurance against another DL stint by d’Arnaud
  • Matt Harvey – enjoy him until free agency kicks in
  • Jacob deGrom – the 1B ace assuming Harvey is 1A
  • Noah Syndergaard – he showed flashes at times to rival both Harvey and deGrom
  • Steven Matz – if he can stay healthy, there’s no reason to believe he won’t dominate at this level, too
  • Jon Niese – ironically the number five starter is the one who will be earning more than the rest of them combined
  • Jeurys Familia – arguably the team’s MVP, look for him every 9th inning with a lead
  • Sean Gilmartin – a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield, he’s been terrific and adapted well to the long man role in the pen
  • Erik Goeddel – another starter turned reliever, if he’s healthy he’s there in the bullpen
  • Hansel Robles – he’ll keep getting the ball in strikeout situations
  • Addison Reed – I believe he will assume the 8th inning role currently held by Tyler Clippard as he is only arbitration eligible and won’t require a long term commitment until the team sees how he does over more than a 6 week audition
  • Carlos Torres – arbitration eligible, his performance over the past few years has been good, so I don’t think one injury-riddled end to 2015 necessarily spells the end of his Mets career.  He is on the bubble, however

 The Soon-To-Be Departed
  • Bartolo Colon – he says he wants to pitch again in 2016 and he probably should given his pinpoint control and ability to get people out with lackluster stuff.  It just won’t be with the Mets
  • Tyler Clippard – coming off an $8.3 million salary as a setup man, I think they’d love to have him back but at nowhere near that number.  Considering his downturn in the 2nd half of September, it could depress his price but probably not enough to warrant a return
  • Eric O’Flaherty – good riddance
  • Bobby Parnell – ditto
  • Daniel Murphy – it’s unlikely they want to pay him $10 million or more per year for multiple years when they have both Dilson Herrera waiting in the wings at minimum wage and Wilmer Flores needing a regular place to play.  A qualifying offer is probably off the table, too, because if I’m Murphy, I’d take the $15 million and then become a free agent again at age 31
  • Yoenis Cespedes – as hot as he was, you have to believe he’ll want to test the free agent waters and frankly it’s unrealistic to expect he will be worth what he gets.  He already cooled after his unworldly production in August and early September.  Yes, he’s probably close to a lock for 100 RBIs and those kinds of bats are hard to find, but given the commitments to David Wright and others the team is likely going to be outbid for his services
  • Terry Collins – a first-time pennant pretty much guarantees a return for 2016 but how he fares in the post-season determines whether it’s a one-year or long term deal

 In order to return to the post-season they need to replace Cespedes in CF, commit to either a Flores/Herrera DP combo or sign someone like Ian Desmond for SS and then let Flores/Herrera fight it out for 2nd base.  Another solid relief pitcher would be helpful, too, if they don’t retain Clippard.


Thomas Brennan said...

Good to start thinking ahead, Reese. Hopefully a lot of playoff baseball before we have to really start to push for best fits for 2016.

So far today, 2 home run balls turned into a foul and a double, and den Dekker fabulous grab on Murphy saved 2 runs. Or the Mets might be up 4-0

Stubby said...

Give it up on Desmond already. He sucks. I'd just as soon stick with Tejada as sign that POS. Mack's right--Castro's the guy to target.

Anonymous said...

Tejada? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We need a real SS. Dilson will be an upgrade with the glove over Murphy at 2B, but we desperately need a solid glove-man at SS.
Remember strength up the middle wins. We need a SS and sign a FA CF (who we know won't be Cespedes).

Stubby said...

If what we "desperately" need is a solid glove man--a sentiment with which I entirely agree--then you don't want Desmond who is one of the WORST fielding shortstops in baseball, if not THE very worst. Tejada is a better glove man than Desmond. Flores is a better glove man than Desmond. Heck, I'm a better glove man than Desmond (and I'm 60 and in terrible shape). You want a glove man at short? Go get Castro.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm not advocating Desmond. I am predicting. Similarly I am no fan of Tejada but I can't see them cutting him loose or doing as they should -- relegating him to the bench. The Wilpons will make a half-hearted effort at Cespedes who will go to the highest bidder and then they will try to steal Desmond at a bargain price. They always go half-in not all the way in.

Gary Seagren said...

Your right Reese about the half-in ownership. To really compete fully going forward we HAVE to spend money. Met fans have surely showed up now that we have fielded a winning team so it's time to stop bargain shopping and support this team. I think the biggest thing they need to do is decide what their going to do with Harvey....sign him or deal him. Big decisions ahead.

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