Reese Kaplan -- Is It 2017 Yet?


As disappointing as this year has been, it may get worse before it gets better.  Going into 2017 the Met have very few players written in ink on the lineup card and based upon the last off-season’s inertia Sandy Alderson doesn’t seem to have it in his DNA to make the kind of wholesales changes necessary to reshape the roster. 

1st Base

Lucas Duda will be available to the Mets next year in his final year of arbitration.  The team may have to consider whether or not they want to allocate potentially $7 million plus on a guy with a balky back despite the power he can provide when he’s available.  Given his paltry contributions in 2016 you’d think he would not be deserving of a raise, but the MLBPA will see that he does indeed get one.  Could a wink-wink, nod-nod deal be done through which the Mets don’t tender him a contract but he still signs back with the team for the same or less?  It’s possible and he never struck me as the go-for-the-gold type of player, but even then is it a wise move? 

The alternatives are the two-headed monster of James Loney and Wilmer Flores.  Loney’s had a credible season bouncing back from obscurity here in El Paso but that relative success may indeed lead him to seek greener (in more ways than one) pastures elsewhere, perhaps a club with a starting vacancy at 1B because Loney would be buried on the bench if Duda is indeed healthy and re-signed.  Flores is showing once again he can mash lefties at will, so he’ll have a role unless they decide his best value is as trade bait.

2nd Base

Here’s where it gets very interesting.  There’s no guarantee they would pony up what it would take to re-sign Neil Walker.  They do have an option on Jose Reyes who could play 2B.  The aforementioned Wilmer Flores is another possibility.  The trade of Dilson Herrera suggests that defensively challenged Gavin Cecchini may be asked to shift to the other side of the diamond as well.  Again, nothing can be written in ink.


Here’s the only iron clad guarantee on the infield for next year.  Asdrubal Cabrera is signed for 2017 and played at a good level both offensively and defensively.  Assuming he stays healthy, he’ll be in the lineup at SS on Opening Day.

3rd Base

Ah, the $20 million (plus) question…what does David Wright have left in the tank?  More importantly, if he’s unable to play, who is the alternative?  It’s hard to foresee a scenario with the likes of Kelly Johnson or Ty Kelly or Ty Wigginton coming out of retirement to man the hot corner, yet the club’s hands are somewhat tied until they have a resolution to the Wright question. 


Despite his name being floated in trade rumors this season, Travis d’Arnaud is one of the few players who they can pencil into the lineup to deliver above average offense and mediocre defense compared to other catchers around the league.  Considering he’s still on the lower end of the pay scale, it’s hard to imagine they would shift gears at this juncture unless it was for some kind of blockbuster to net them a guy like Buster Posey from San Francisco or Salvador Perez from KC.  Unfortunately, to my knowledge the defending World Champions’ GM nor the Giants’ GM have not taken any severe blows to the head lately, so that’s not going to happen. 


Three guys jockeying for position out there is untenable.  Incumbent Yoenis Cespedes is probably the first choice but he has an opt-out clause.  Newcomer Jay Bruce has been pretty brutal upon arriving, but his Granderson-like salary with way more than double the RBIs makes picking up his option a no-brainer.  That leaves Michael Conforto as the odd man out.  Yes, he’s had a “challenging” sophomore season, but his manager inexplicably finds starts for the sub-Mendoza Alejandro De Aza while Conforto improves his game by sitting on the bench.


Juan Lagares and his repaired thumb may come front and center again as the team is rather lefty-heavy and defensively challenged.  After that CF options are Michael Conforto (who doesn’t get a chance to play there), Curtis Granderson who shouldn’t play there and Brandon Nimmo who hasn’t yet shown he belongs in the big leagues (though Alejandro De Aza does, for reasons that escape the majority of Mets fans). 


How can you have only 31 RBIs in over 400 ABs while having amassed 18 HRs?   That’s almost impossible to do.  His .226 batting average suggests that the 4th year on his deal was probably not one of Sandy Alderson’s better ideas.  You’re stuck with him for 2017 so expect to see him manning RF once again. 

To Recap

1B           (unknown)
2B           (unknown)
SS           Asdrubal Cabrera
3B           (unknown)
C             Travis d’Arnaud
LF            (One of Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto)
CF           (Juan Lagares)
RF           (Curtis Granderson)

That’s 3 out of 8 positions unknown at this point.  You can’t leave it to the Skipper to resolve the outfield situation because he will choose the veterans regardless of how poorly they perform (witness the number of starts for De Aza and Granderson).  Someone has to be the smartest guy in the room.  


alizarine said...

Assuming DW can't make it all the way back, I'd keep Reyes at 3B and put Wilmer at 2B. If DW comes back, then put Reyes at 2B. The OF is a complete cluster.

Thomas Brennan said...

We have 50 games left roughly to consider guys.

Grandy - I have a unique (or at least clarified) take on him, which I think I will share in an article tomorrow (doing so guarantees he will have a huge night tonight and mess me up).

TJ Rivera is a guy who deserves a long look after 4 for 4 tonight. We need hitters, and we may just find out that he is very competent at the major league level in that regard.

Harvey may (sadly) never be Harvey again, so we can't assume he will eat up gobs of future $$. Spend it where needed most - HITTING. Re-sign Cespedes at all costs. Or we will be last in hitting next year, too.

bob gregory said...

You point to a lot of issues that make the Mets 2017 and future, just as uneasy as this year has become.

Something that bothers me is when I look at how many years Alderson sacrificed in order to realize the vision he had for rebuilding the Mets and putting into place an organizational structure and plan that would sustain a high level of performance at the major league level.

Yet here the Mets are, after making an incredible World Series run last year, sitting on such uneasy ground.

Perhaps there is a flaw in 2 important aspects of Alderson's team building strategy.
1) building a team based so heavily on hard throwing dominant pitching seems to carry a significant injury risk

2) building an offense as an interchangeable and replaceable parts system from year to year might be resulting in unreliable expectations. More importantly though, his focus on walks and power is too prone to feast or famine results. Just look at how the poor results the Mets have had when the team does not hit a home run in a game.

In addition to these 2 flaws enough has not been done to address the incredibly high amount and severity of injuries the Mets suffer through from year to year.
I don't have actual data to reference, but it certainly seems that the etsy have had a higher quantity and more severe injuries than any other team over the past 8 years? Maybe more...maybe less.

Like any machine, the more stress you put on something, the more likely it is to break.

What is even more annoying is when you consider those darn Yankees.
That organization sacrificed what? 1 year entering into this year looked at as no chance to contend....and now look at how promising their future looks with the young hitters they have about to join the majors.

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

How's that TJ Rivera looking?

Yet they were content to trot out losers like Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell and others while guys like Rivera didn't get a shot...

Reese Kaplan said...

Why is Michael Conforto in the witness protection program while .186 hitting Alejandro De Aza gets penciled into the lineup?

Eddie Corona said...

when you see this on paper its is shocking and disheartening... I use to say In Omar I trust... But with Sandy I have said lets see... well so far we see very little... who is the guy that Sandy can hold his hat with?
He had to use maybe his best guys in fulmer to acquire Cespedes and its not llike he's willing to lock him in as out franchise guy... He wasted at least 3 HIGH draft picks in Nimmo, Cecchini, and the pick we sacrificed for cuddyer (Jury is still out on Smith and Conforto)... We are never involved with the best international prospects... and when we had a big need we do not try to address it with Moncado where all it would take is Money... (Money ball with money is what we were sold)...
Omar had his faults and I could not defend his firing since it was inexcusable to sign castillo, perez and Krod to those deals... but he still has a stamp in this organization... Maybe Sandy will too years down the line but Omar wasnt given 5 years to be awful... This group did and honestly if not for a 2 month hot streak... we still are...
We may look back and see that the 2015 season was the shot at the brass ring unless this FO get really creative or Freddy coupon pays up...

Thomas Brennan said...

Eddie read my 2016 draft pick report card tomorrow. See if you are not further disappointed.

Eddie Corona said...

oh wow ... really... cant wait to see it but probably not for the right reasons

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