12/12/15

Reese Kaplan -- Incremental Improvements

36 comments
Well, after a long trip to the other side of the world I come back to see the Mets be uncharacteristically active during the off-season.  If you recall, the big acquisitions in 2015 were the recently retired Michael Cudaver, er, Cuddyer, John Mayberry and Rule V Selection Sean Gilmartin.  1 out of 3 is an All-Star in baseball but a putrid record in making business decisions.

Now, of course, there was that mid/late season flurry of personnel activity that brought Yoenis Cespedes, Addison Reed, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe and others to help seal the pennant.  Still, that whirlwind would not have been necessary had the roster been addressed in the off-season.  Consequently seeing the Mets be active was a pleasant surprise. 

I was always in the camp that was not enamored with the idea of adding Ben Zobrist at his advanced age and at the money he would command.  Yes, he was a much surer thing than Dilson Herrera, but I felt the money could better be allocated where there weren’t alternatives such as a LH bat for CF or setup relievers. 

Imagine my pleasant surprise, therefore, to see them acquire Neil Walker at virtually no cost by sending Jon Niese packing.  To me that was the ultimate no-brainer decision as you addressed the same need without spending the kind of money nor the length of commitment that Zobrist would require. 

The Asdrubal Cabrera move was a little less clear until I thought about the broken boned infielders the Mets have in Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada.  Even if they’re both fully ready for spring training (which is no guarantee), you do still have the issue of David Wright’s durability to consider.  A two year commitment for modest money for Cabrera was a good hedged bet against these three players’ health.

The question now, of course, is how to replace Yoenis Cespedes’ offensive production.  There are many who will point out that a full year of David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Conforto and now Cabrera would make up for what was missed when way too many ABs went to the likes of Eric Campbell, Mayberry, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Cuddyer, Kevin Plawecki, Anthony Recker, Eric Young, Jr. and others.  However, everyone who watched the team saw what it meant to have a fearful hitter in the middle of the lineup.  Still, the World Series was won by a team without a bonafide offensive superstar so that sword cuts both ways.

Right now the Mets stand with a payroll of about $109 million, certainly with room to spend for another solid reliever and a platoon partner (if not outright replacement) for Juan Lagares.  My personal thought would be to bundle Lagares plus to the Marlins for their embattled and apparently no longer wanted Marcell Ozuna.  He’s one season removed from a 23 HR/85 RBI campaign and has been vocal about the manipulate-the-service-time game Miami played with him.  While he’s not necessarily Cespedes or Justin Upton, a 20 HR centerfielder plus health and full season productivity from the aforementioned others would probably be enough offense.  Best of all for the Wilpons, he’s still earning close to major league minimum. 

Another buy low opportunity to consider is Aroldis Chapman.  Before everyone goes all PC on me about how he’s an alleged wife beater and all, I’m cynical enough having watched countless others who have done the same or worse get chance after chance after chance if the talent is there.  I don’t have to break bread with the guy to respect his on-the-field talent.  Would you make the Reds an offer now that the Dodgers’ deal has fallen apart?  You wanted a lefty reliever and lefties hit a paltry .120 against the guy. 


Sure, it’s easy to say go sign Upton and Tyler Clippard but spending big money is not the team’s MO.  I am not upset about missing out on Jason Heyward who, for all of his defensive prowess, has been an offensive underachiever that doesn't seem worth $23 million per year.  His numbers are in line with what Neil Walker produces.  

Are there any sleeper moves that you would like to see made?  

36 comments:

Thomas Brennan said...

Welcome home, Reese.

What would George Steinbrenner do? Sign Cespedes. The difference being that signing him would still leave this team with a relatively low payroll.

Of course, we saw a few Cespy blemishes, and we weren't in the clubhouse to get the totality of what makes up the man they call Yoenis (maybe he has a few skeletons, too)...but sign him, and sure, trade for Aroldis "The Human Torch" Chapman if at all possible to give Cespy a Cuban buddy - and let's go to the World Series for the next 5 years. And win at least 4 of them. How un-Mets would that be?

George would approve.

Metsiac said...

I'd go for Yo for sure, but only if his demands are lower. I always add extra points for someone who has shown he can play here and said repeatedly how much he likes it.

For a sleeper, my pick would be Ben Revere, who is a perennial .300 hitter, steals bases, bats LH, and plays a nice CF. I wonder if the Jays would consider a deal for Nimmo or Lagares plus a mid-level prospect.

My sleeper among current Mets continues to be Hansel Robles, who IMO will become a top-tier RP within a year.

Thomas Brennan said...

Ben Revere would be nice, but I still like Cespedes.

Many forget how much fun it was to have a team that could HIT. We were in a famine from April thru July, and then destroyed the league in August and Cep-tember. It was so thoroughly un-Met - and delightful.

Re-sign Cespedes, and the Mets offense will be feared. And we will have a blast. Fannies would fill most seats, and the team would make lots of $$.

It would cost a lot of bucks, but Grandy is off the books after 2 more seasons, and Wright likely follows his buddy Cuddyer's approach at some point. In fact, he is MORE likely to retire with honor (and at a discount) after he wins a series or 2.

bob gregory said...

Acquire: Cespedes & Votto/Frazier type 1st baseman

Move: Duda & Granderson

Acquire: lower cost & younger leadoff hitting outfielder

Mack Ade said...

I see nothing standing in the way of offering Cespedes a multi-year package of $20mil per year.

Wright would gladly sign on to this one.

Zozo said...

Sign Cespedes
Sign 2 lefty relievers
Make a 3 team trade with Cincinatti and Pittsburgh
We trade Duda to 3rd team (Pittsburgh/Orioles/Cardinals/Brewers/Colorado/Padres to name a few)
3rd team gives prospects to the Reds plus Brandon Nimmo from us
We get Frazier from Reds

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

I'm missing something.

If you trade Duda now, who plays first and who is his backup now that Cuddyer is gone?

Jeff said...

How about going outside the Cespedes box? Trade Duda and sign Span, net result a small increase in payroll. Go use the $20 million to get Chris Davis. True 40 - 50 HR power, lots of K's, better defense.

bob gregory said...

Chris Davis's avg is too low and too many strikeouts to be my preferred 3rd or 4th place hitter.
In my eyes..... more of a 5th place hitter.
The Mets already have 3 or 4 candidates for the 5th hitting position

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

You have eliminated just about every potential 3rd and 4th hitter available here on the site.

Could you please give us your top 5 to go after?

Thomas Brennan said...

No Chris Davis. KS will get worse as he ages

bob gregory said...

Mack...
Hmmmm...give me a little time to think about that.
Taking the kids Christmas shopping today.
Would you like me to email what I come up with to you?
Sneak peek: Definitely Cespedes, Votto & Frazier as mentioned above.

Herb G said...

Mack-
In Zozo's scenario, Frazier plays 1B,or we shift Wright if he shows he is up to the job in ST. Ces in CF and Frazzle at 1B would sure give us a super potent lineup.

I'm not trading the load of prospects it would take to get 1 year of Aroldis. (Wheeler, Ynoa, Nimmo, Lagares?) My BP plan is to resign Blevins and sign the Korean closer Oh. (The Final Boss)

BTW, we'd probably have to surrender Wheeler to get Frazier so resigning Colon would be a good move, although I think we have starter depth with Montero, Verrett, and Gilmarten.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

Super - Take your time.

Email me list and I'll add it to a future Q and A -

Enjoy the shopping... my size is XL

Mack Ade said...

Fine, you want to trade Duda, go right ahead.

But then you have no first baseman and no backup (gone are Murphy, Johnson and Cuddyer)

Some options could be Mike Napoli (yeah I know Bob and Tom... no #3 or #4 hitter and too many Ks) or you could convert Flores to a full time first baseman

Thomas Brennan said...

Flores at first...hmmm, interesting. Until Mr. Smith Comes to Queens.

Thomas Brennan said...

Flores at first...hmmm, interesting. Until Mr. Smith Comes to Queens.

Herb G said...

Mack-
I'm on the fence with Duda. It's his extreme streakiness that bothers me. I think Frazier would be an upgrade, so if I were able to trade for him, I'd do it. And then I'd try to ship Duda to the Rays for Jake McGee.

Anonymous said...

My sleeper pick is Keirmeier from Tampa Bay. 2nd would be Blackmon from Colorado. But personally I'd stay away from injury guys like Spann. Also Chapman is interesting for 1 because if he gets suspended from MLB he might not accrue enough service time to be a FA at the end of the season!! So if you trade for Chapman you might have him for the last 120 games of 2016 and all of 2017

Zozo said...

You move Wright to first and Frazier at 3rd

Stubby said...

Not that everybody can be believed when such things are said, but Cinci has said Frazier is untouchable. Which means, at best, you'd have to overwhelm them and overpay to get him. Some speculation is pure fantasy. Getting Frazier is pure fantasy. Getting him for a package of Duda and Nimmo is a joke. Neither of those players is highly desired by other organizations. You should see their potential trade value as "throw in". Sorry if the truth hurts.

Thomas Brennan said...

I'm with you, Stubby.

Thomas Brennan said...

I'm with you, Stubby.

Thomas Brennan said...

I asked my brother about one alternative, Denard Span. He was typically blunt. "Crap....he is very average.". He also prefers Cespedes.

Zozo said...

Duda could bring back a few youngsters to go with a Nimmo. If you have to throw in a Cecchinni as well then that should be enough I believe.

Herb G said...

Frazier is by no means untouchable. The Reds are said to be shopping him. It will, however, take a king's ransom to acquire him. If SA has the inclination, I'm guessing Zack, Nimmo, Ynoa, and a lower level prospect might do it.

Despite all this Frazier talk, I think there's a 1 in 100 chance of it happening. I will be ecstatic with Cespedes, a 4th OF for the bench, (Parra, DeAza, Venable, etc.) a UTI like Johnson, a starter like Colon, a loogy (Blevins) and an 8th inning guy (The Final Boss). That would be a great off-season.

Herb G said...

Thomas-
I don't know what your brother's credentials are, but IMHO Span is better than average. And as a LH platoon partner for Lagares, he would be great. If Cespedes is a no-go, I would take him in a heartbeat. Check out his lh/rh splits.

Thomas Brennan said...

Will do, Herb. My bro's only credentials are life long Mets fan, and when he used to pitch in high school, AL Hrabosky looked calm by comparison!

Anonymous said...

Love these ideas. Gotta be aggressive this year because the Cubs are stacked and there's a limited window with our pitching which they will never afford to keep together.

S. Finch said...

Duda is a MUCH better offensive player than Frazier. Frazier has never put up a comparable season in his career to the last two from Duda.

And if your argument is streakiness, take a look at the first half vs last half of Frazier's 2015.

Bob, the only player I've seen you mention as being an actual upgrade is Votto, but have you seen that contract!?

Gary Seagren said...

Look our biggest advantage going forward is we're in the NL East a major stroke of luck. The Wilpons have NO excuses not to spend to upgrade this team to a division winner. The Cuddyer gift just helped push the "sign Cespedes" chant to a deafening roar. Now just for the hell of it how's this scenario: the Red Sox trade us Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley jr. for Duda assuming half of Ramirez's contract. Bradley platoons with Lagares and Hanley plays first and third. He's only 32 next year and it might be worth the gamble. Thought's anyone?

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

well, we all have opinions here...

I'm happy with the new infield

I want a top middle reliever and a platoon CF before the season starts

then, I'll trade Harvey at the end of next season for three top players

Metsiac said...

I'm with you, Mack, about the RP and CFer being priorities. Keep in mind that our current 25 is light years better than last year's OD squad. If we solidify these two spots, we can make the big move the n July if needed.

Smith looks like he's on track to be here by '17, so why dump our only potential 30+ HR hitter now?

Peter Buell said...

If says that it can be had for 5 years and 100 million then I think it should be done. We can only trade so many play it is to avoid payroll. That being said, we are talking about the Mets. Miami is obviously looking for cost controlled players. If they would take lagared and Marcus Molina who will miss all of 16 I'm all for it. there are other options J lag and Nimmo, jlag and cecchinnI or even jlag and Rosario. I think this kid has star written all over him. Of course he is a Boras client so we will only have him for five seasons but I think it is well worth it.

Peter Buell said...

Thomas, there is no reason they cannot afford Cespedrs. With the money they saved on Cuddyer and an additional 8000 as of a month ago new season or partial season ticket plans sold. Bring in another box and they will sell many more of those plans. Citi Field will be the place to be. I really like the idea of Ozuna patrolling centerfield. I would give them J lag and any reasonable prospect for ozona, I think he could turn out to be just as good as Cespedes

Thomas Brennan said...

@ Peter Buell: as you know, I 100% agree with you on signing Cespedes. I would as an alternative consder Ozuna, as you suggest, in a fair trade.

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