Why Am I Pissed At The Alejandro De Aza Signing?


I have nothing against Alejandro De Aza. In fact, apart from what knowledge I can draw from his FanGraphs page, his inclusion on the bench of a fantasy team or two of mine over the years and name recognition, I don't know much about him. I'm sure he's a fine guy and people tell me he's a decent hitter with some power and some speed. 

I do not dislike Alejandro De Aza. I'm pissed off at what the Alejandro De Aza signing means. 

Consider the situation the Mets are in. Many consider the young stable of starting pitching the Mets have as one of the best units in the game. And that's just from evaluating from talent. When you consider their age and that they'll make 9 million...ish dollars next year combined, the combination of talent, value and age might be the best most of us will see in our lifetimes. Make no mistake--it is very special, and very rare, to have five aces on the same staff and have four of them make minimum wage and the other be in his first year of arbitration. Needless to say, the Mets have a very unique and rare opportunity right now. 

They're also coming off a World Series appearance. 

They're also in a rare position where three teams in their own division are rebuilding and one is a mess that can't get out of its own way. 

They're also in a National League that lacks a true dominant force--unless, of course, you consider the Mets and their dominating starting pitching that very force. 

They're also a team with holes going into their first off-season after a successful rebuild. 

All of this points to one thing: Going for it while the pitching is still young and still cheap. That means the next few years with a big emphasis on next year. Soon, one by one, the starting pitchers become free agents. They continue to get older, more expensive, and, likely, less effective. I don't have to convince you. We all know about competition windows and we know that the Mets' window is wide open right now in a way that it might not be again for a long time. 

Heading into the winter of 2015-2016, Mets fans, beat reporters and the front office identified three areas of need: Bullpen, bench/depth, and center field. After acquiring Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera in perhaps puzzling-but-depth-creating moves that were redundant but cheap, the Mets certainly made their infield bench a strong unit. At this time, they still have not addressed the bullpen, short of bringing LOOGY extraordinaire Jerry Blevins back for a year. They also added fan-favorite Bartolo Colon to fill in for Zack Wheeler until the summer. Despite kind of really hating the Cabrera signing, I'm still fine with all of this. I didn't see the need to sign Zobrist or Murphy because I like Dilson Herrera (and after Walker's acquisition, I am more than fine with him at 2nd). No, the prizes were and always would be in the outfield this fateful winter. 

No matter how you look at the free agents this year, the area in which the Mets could most improve the team, best solidify the lineup and most forcefully charge into 2016 ready to pick up where they left off was with a star center fielder. There were three players that fit that mold: Denard Span, Jason Heyward and Yoenis Cespedes (Span less a star than the other two but still a great/sensible option). I really wanted Jason Heyward. How can you not? The guy has all five tools. His range is other-worldly (read: He could handle dominate CF), he hits, he runs, he's 26, and heck, he will opt out after three years anyway so you could hypothetically pay your pitchers whatever they want once he's off the payroll. The Nationals--a team with a payroll mountains higher than the Mets and a team far worse, made the highest reported offer to Heyward to play center. He will be the center fielder on the Cubs--a team that didn't go as far as the Mets in the playoffs, has far more dollars committed in current and future salaries--and, before signing Jason Heyward, was objectively not as talented overall as the Mets squad (come at me, Cubs fans).

Heyward not your cup of tea? How about Denard Span? One of the best defensive center fielders in the league the past few years, an offensive threat on the bases, walks a ton, can lead off in a pinch, and is left-handed, providing a beautiful platoon for Juan Lagares that would also give Span time to rest his surgically repaired hip. Not enough offense for you? Okay I get it. 

How about Yoenis? Yea, the guy who mashed to the tune of a 135 wRC+ last year, proved he could slug in spacious Citi Field and carry a Mets team that truly needed an offensive identity. How about him? 

No? Dexter Fowler? Gerardo Parra? Not really my thing but I guess I at least understand it. 

Mets didn't/won't get any of them. Heyward signed for 23 million a year for 10 years and two player opt-outs in a deal I the Mets absolutely could have and should have at least tried to make. If you look at it as a 3-year 70 million dollar deal (perhaps a few million more with a signing bonus) for one of the best all-around players in the game, it's eons away from a bad deal especially when you consider it covers the years when our competition window is open the widest. But the Mets didn't even make an offer. 

They won't make an offer on Cespedes. 

Jon Heyman reports that they are unlikely to pursue Denard Span now. You can apply that statement to Parra and Fowler too. 

No, the Mets went with Alejandro De Aza for 5.75 million. Alejandro. De Aza. He who has barely played center field since 2013 because he was such a disastrous defender there for the White Sox that they shifted him to left and eventually traded him. The idea is that De Aza, a lefty who hits righties well, and Lagares, a righty who hits lefties well, will platoon to give the Mets something like league average offensively and something like league average defensively (Lagares being a great defender and Alejandro De Aza being the defensive equivalent of Steve Harvey's beauty competition card-reading ability). 

That's what we have, Mets fans. This is what we have to deal with. We have to deal with half a dozen better options on the market and three can't-miss outfielders just to watch them get signed by other teams who actually, you know, made offers to them. We have to watch the four best set-up men on the market get signed to completely reasonable deals while the Mets, again, fail to make an offer. 

What do we get? Marginal improvements and small dollar amounts committed to a number of players--some of which are redundant and mainly depth moves. Instead of going for it while the window is open, the Mets project to open 2016 with a payroll in the bottom ten in baseball. Some might argue that it is stupid to spend money for the sake of spending money and that this free agent class was weak. To that I would say, "You're half right". It is stupid to spend money for the sake of spending money. But there was massive amounts of talent available in this free agent class, especially in the outfield and relief pitching--the two biggest areas of need for this team. What did the Mets do? Signed one free agent in the top 50 free agents this off-season: Asdrubal Cabrera at 37. And he's not even an improvement over Wilmer Flores. He provides depth. Asdrubal Cabrera was a depth move and it's the best the Mets ownership gave us this winter. 

That's why I'm pissed at the Alejandro De Aza signing. This is a team with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dominate this game we cherish so much for a long time and they're squandering it because ownership cannot support a big market major league team. That or they're still using team profit to pay off personal and business debt. 

Whatever it is, this should anger you. No, the off-season isn't over. However, we've all become far too familiar with how this team operates. That means we all know that De Aza and Lagares will be our center fielders, Asdrubal Cabrera is our shortstop and god knows who our 8th inning guy will be. This is the hand we've been dealt and will continue to be dealt as long as the Wilpons own the New York Mets. It's a shame that I even have to write this. A financially sound owner in the situation the Mets are in right now coming off the season the Mets just had would be announcing Jason Heyward as the new center fielder for the team. And if not him, Cespedes. 

We get De Aza. Woohoo. 


LouisCFR said...

It's absolute bullshit. It's absolute malfeasance and near criminality how these bumbling idiots, Wilpons, are running, or shall I say ruining this franchise. If you cannot afford a team, sell it. I believe this is the final straw for Mets fans.

Yaakov Richman said...

I read this article in vocativ, and it makes me nauseous when the owners of the Mets blatantly lie to the loyal hard working fans ; to whom a dollar earned requires our dedication and our sweat. The lords of the manor deem us underserving of their fidelity and simple committment to success. Like chattel who can be herded into the pens..we are assumed to be blind , deaf and dumb to their onerous manipulation of our devotion. We see what you are up to in your ivory tower, and ultimately we will be victorious in spite of you. Our loyalty to each other and baseball will long endure, even when you are a faded bad taste in our collective mouths.

Alexander Han said...

Stephen, thanks for writing what many of us have been thinking. I get the feeling that there is a real upswell in anger which goes far deeper than the usual moaning about the Mets. I'm even noticing that there are people posting who usually don't.

To me this is a real moment of truth. As so many people are writing - including even people like Ken Rosenthal - is that if the Mets aren't spending now, they never will. I am not in favour of extravagant free-agent signings, but as we have endlessly discussed in these forums, we are one bat away from having a truly daunting team, so it's the time to take a risk.

For me, if they don't sign or trade for an all-star caliber bat like Cespedes, I'm done with the Mets. I'm not going to spend my time and money following this team owned by a selfish, short-sighted real estate family who treats our club like their little family jewel locked up in a safe in their basement. When they were on the verge of letting in new minority owners, I felt a ray of hope, but then they decided to squash that.

Until the Wilpons finally move out of the way of our Mets, I think it will remain this way.

It's possible that the public pressure in the media and online moves the Mets to do a signing. But I'm not banking on it, because I think there is a major financial issue behind all of this. The only thing that can change things is if a large amount of people truly boycott the Mets. Unlikely to happen I know. But I for one am heading that way, unless they make a move in January.

bob gregory said...


Peter Buell said...

If Bowie Kuan was still Commissioner the Wilpons would. W forcedo to sell under "the best interest of baaeball" clause. This Commissioner should impose a.payroll floor or pressure them to.sell. it is so obvious this is hurting a team in the biggest market

Peter Buell said...

If Bowie Kuan was still Commissioner the Wilpons would. W forcedo to sell under "the best interest of baaeball" clause. This Commissioner should impose a.payroll floor or pressure them to.sell. it is so obvious this is hurting a team in the biggest market

Thomas Brennan said...

Great, Mr Guilbert.

If the Mets are so danged broke, sign Cespedes and add a $3 per ticket "Cespedes Surcharge" to pay him. Fans will be happy to do it.



Anonymous said...

isn't asdrubal 30???

Hobie said...

OK, if Cespedes won't sign for less than 6 yrs (no matter what the amount), I get it. Move on, it's not about (just) being cheap.

But this is what I don't get about the "cheap" motive: as a 4th/5th OF'r, us De Az $4M more productive than, say, Ceciliani? Legares is going to be the everyday CF.

Mack Ade said...

Stephen -

I think you have summed up all our feelings well on this subject.

Thomas Brennan said...

Oh, by the way, welcome aboard, Alejandro. Our scathing reactions are at Owe-nership, not you.

May you have a career year.

But cash your paychecks quickly, just in case the Wilpons don't have overdraft protection.

Herb G said...

Thank you Stephen, for a comprehensive, well thought out article. However, I respectfully disagree with you. If you read my comment on the previous article, you will see part of the reason why. But here's more:

We all knew that Sandy was loathe to sign Cespedes to a huge deal, and were looking for a platoon partner for Lagares instead. So why do we bitch when Sandy signs a platoon partner for Lagares, and not Cespedes? Is it because you guys think there was a better partner? They seemed to have 4 options; Span, Parra, Venable and De Aza. (Fowler wasn't in contention, perhaps because we would lose a 1st round pick . . but if you look at them, De Aza was about the equal of Fowler last year - .262/.333/.422/.755 vs, .250/.346/.411/757)

Of the 4 options, against RH pitchers, De Aza has the 2nd highest career OPS, 40 points higher than Span's and only 9 points lower than Parra's. His OBP is 2nd only to Span's. Sandy signed him because he didn't want to lose out altogether, and to me, it is a pretty good signing. Would you prefer to give Parra the 4 years (and maybe $36 million) he wants . . or a hip risky Span 2 years/$26 million? Not me. I'm on board with De Aza.

bob gregory said...

Fans complain Alderson chose a platoon partner at CF because they don't agree with that decision.

They complain because they realize the Mets need a 3rd and/or 4th place hitter and see options available that Alderson is dismissing without providing an alternative.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

A different question...

Would you bat de Aza in the leadoff slot in the games he plays?

bob gregory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob gregory said...

If he offers the highest on base percentage.....absolutely.

Maybe Granderson can be shoe horned into the 3rd or 4th spot of the lineup.....not ideal

bob gregory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob gregory said...

I would like to make something clear here also.

Alderson has no interest in signing Cespedes. Clearly.

IF Cespedes ends up for some odd twist of fate with the Mets moving forward it will be because of a fan revolt that ownership reacts to and forces Alderson to sign him.

Remember before the trading deadline last year. The fans were revolting in a very loud manner. The Mets front office only acquired Cespedes at that time because Jeff Wilpon was reacting to the tsunami of fan and media criticism.

bob gregory said...

My apologies Mack.
I'm just so disgusted.

Since the Met front office clearly doesn't care as much as I do about the team.

I guess I'm not as motivated to go looking up on base %s and other information to give you a well informed opinion on this right now.

Mack Ade said...

Bob -

No apologies needed.

The Wilpons got lucky with the Cespedes signing. It came in a year that they weren't even supposed to make the playoffs.

Bob, look over to the right blue column... I'm afraid this is the 2016 team

Mack Ade said...

Alexander -

Did I just lose another Mack's Mets writer???

Herb G said...

I hate to be so disagreeable this morning, but I have too much respect for Sandy Alderson to believe that he would only sign Cespedes, committing more than $100 million, bowing the fan pressure. Just as I am absolutely positive that he (and the Wilpons) did not make last deadline's moves in response to fan pressure. Sandy knew full well that the bench, the pen, and the offense, were in serious need of upgrades. He bad a plan and he carried it out. If you recall, Yoenis was not his first choice. But he made the bold move at the 11th hour to get Cespedes when his other choices fell through. But he was motivated by need, not fan pressure.

If Alderson does eventually sign Cespedes this winter, (a very remote possibility) it will be because he gets his price and the deal fits into his plan for the team, and decidedly not as a result of a fan revolt.

bob gregory said...

As was reported: Jeff Wilpon pushed Alderson to make the Cespedes trade.

bob gregory said...


I know it doesn't, nor should it, persuade you from your beliefs...
But understand.....
You are in the far minority of Met fans and for.that matter....
Baseball fans now.

MJ said...

I think it's naive to piss and moan that the Wilpons should sell this team. That was a valid argument 5 years ago when the Mets were awful and hemorrhaging $$$'s . Now, it's too late. The team is fresh off a WS appearance, booming season ticket sales, SNY ratings through the roof, one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, hence no luxury tax, just shed way more money than they have spent in the offseason, are solidly in the black, and filling the Wilpon coffers with coin big time. Why in God's name would they sell? They are probably patting themselves on the back for what they've done financially with this team. The only way that they can be hurt at this point is if the fans boycott the games, and don't watch on TV. Are we prepared to do that? I think not.

Mack Ade said...

MJ -

The Wilpons are NOT going to sell this team and their good friends in the league offices are not going to make them.

The Wilpons did n=one thing wrong... they invested their (and the team's) money with a friend that turned out to be a crook.

We all have to live with that now.

bob gregory said...

Be careful.
Not all fans feel or care to live with the Wilpons mistake anymore.

They can do as many have over the past 5 years.....
Moved on.

Stubby said...

Go on. Move on, all of you. Boycott the Mets. This is the same junk I heard all last offseason and guess what, we went to the World Series last year. I think it's been proven that a huge payroll guarantees you nothing. Otherwise the Dodgers would have gone to the Series, not the Mets.

I love Cespedes. I've said numerous times I'd pay over market to keep him. But that isn't my call. It isn't yours either. And I go back to April when, without Cespedes and with Murphy in a slump and Flores stinking up the joint, the Mets were on a tear. Then Wright and d'Arnaud went down with injuries. Sure, we struggled. But, when they came back, so did the Mets. And the team then added the pieces they needed to make the most of it. And we did.

So we get a platoon in center in 2016. Big whoop. Did you flay Gil Hodges for platooning? Davey Johnson? Hell, you could have written the same piece about Teufel and Backman.

If the Mets made NO moves this off-season, the 2016 team would still have been an upgrade over the 2015 team just on the basis of the starting pitching alone. Having Thor and Matz for a full season and deGrom with another year under his belt, Harvey a year further removed from TJS--that's an upgrade from the team that was just in the Series. But still, the Mets went out and got a real shortstop, whether you like him or not, and a second baseman who is about on par with Murphy offensively and much better defensively. That's an upgrade from the team that went to the Series in 2015. Lagares was hobbled most of the year and, if he's your guy (which, last off-season, you all said he was) needed a platoon partner anyway. The Mets got one. I'm not a big De Aza fan, but he's no worse, overall, than Fowler or Span or Parra (who had basically one good half season) or Venable (who hasn't had even that much). And Heyward has underperformed since he's been in the majors. I wouldn't go anywhere near him. But having a healthy Lagares and De Aza is an upgrade over the team that went to the Series in 2015. Having Blevins healthy for a full season is an upgrade over Alex Torres, certainly. And Cuddyer retired. Addition by subtraction. Having Conforto for a full season is an upgrade. Going into 2016, if the Mets do nothing else, they are a better team than the one that shocked everybody in April 2015. And the Mets are still looking for an upgrade at first--be it a platoon partner for Duda or a replacement.

The Mets season did not begin and end with Cespedes. It was a helluva ride. But the story of the 2015 Mets goes back to April, when Wright and d'Arnaud were healthy.

Call me crazy, but I think I'll trust the guys who got us to the World Series a year ahead of schedule over the guys who live to complain. They said they had a plan and you said they didn't. Well time proved them right and you wrong. Every year, teams like the Padres and Marlins go out and bust the bank bringing in big names and it never gets them anywhere. It's usually over for those teams by mid-May. I'll take my chances with Alderson and the Wilpons. You are free to find another team to root for.

bob gregory said...

You are missing the basis of all the Criticisms.

You can not seriously say or believe that the current Mets team would not be better with a player (or 2) like Cespedes hitting in the 3 and/or 4th spots in this lineup.
All while staying out of the top 10 payrolls in baseball.

Oh...and ....if anybody wants to point to the Dodgers payroll and saying the Mets lower payroll went further....

Correct me if I'm wrong please......
But wasn't the winners of the World Series Royals have a bigger payroll than the Mets?
And the Royals won.

Eddie O. said...

The baseball Gods smiled on the Mets last year and gave them the formula to make the World Series; stellar starting pitching, a strong bench, a steady closer, and a power bat. The only short comings that team had was infield defense and middle relief pitching. So you would think the logical thing to do this year would be to keep the things that got us there last year and improve on the things that prevented us from winning it. This year the starting pitching should even be better with having Matts for a whole season in the four slot and having a number 5 in Colon who had double digits in wins last year. When Wheeler is ready....Wow! Infield defense should be better with Walker and Cabrera replacing Murphy and Flores as starters. The bench won't be as strong without Uribe and Johnson but it is still good with Flores, Tejada, and Herrera. I think the Mets had very good relief pitchers who were injured (and suspended) last year that could have made a difference if they were healthy so if we get some of them back we will be ok there. What I don't understand is how Alderson doesn't make a play for Cespedes. How often do we get a superstar fall in our lap that actually performs when they come to New York. He wasn't intimidated and actually liked everything the city and fans gave. Add that the Gods smiled again and gave an extra 12 million when Cudyer retired unexpectedly. But what do they do? Spit in the face of the Gods and ignore Cespedes and sign a journeyman outfielder. Why??????????

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