Reese Kaplan -- No Yo, Part II


Continuing the line of thought that Yoenis Cespedes may indeed opt out of his contract, let’s try (hard though it may be) to see it as an opportunity to address other needs with the $25 million available to spend.  Towards that end, let’s see what right handed bats are worth considering in the free agent marketplace:

  • Edwin Encarnacion – As steady as they come, you can pencil him in for .265/33/100 before the season starts and pretty much win your bet.  The right handed slugger has been primarily a DH for Toronto but during his Cincinnati days he played both corner infield positions.  With the ailing backs the Mets currently have penciled in at 1st and 3rd, he might be someone worth considering.  Furthermore, although he’s earning $10 million right now, his market is likely going to be depressed somewhat on a character issue.  He is currently charged with knowingly giving a woman STDs during a romantic weekend in the Dominican Republic and is being sued for $11.5 million.  Many clubs will run scared, but considering the Mets embraced known adulterers, PED users and spousal abusers, their bargain hunting may outweigh their righteous indignation.  Besides, a civil suit won’t mean games missed.  I’m not advocating the man’s lifestyle, just his bat.  A two year deal with an option for a third for around $25 million total might do it.

  • Justin Turner – Hubris is a terrible thing.  If Justin Turner was interested in a return to the Mets, they should swallow their pride and listen.  The numbers he’s put up since becoming a starter in LA are terrific and he’s coming off a salary of just $5.1 million.  At his age and considering he’s not yet earned big money, he’s likely going to command a 4 year deal at minimum.  I’d sooner cough up $12-$15 million per year for him than $17.2 for Neil Walker. 

  • Wilson Ramos – The standard right now for 20 HR catchers would seem to be the 5 year/$82 million deal signed by Russell Martin.  Ramos is probably a tick better offensively and defensively, but he doesn’t have Martin’s overall durability and health.  Now that he’s down and out until at least June, expect his numbers to take a hit.  It’s an adventurous ballclub that would try to lock him up before knowing how well he responds to the surgery.  It could be in Ramos’ best interest to take a one-year “prove himself” deal at a reduced rate and then go for the big bucks in 2018 when he’ll still just be 30 years old.  Consider him a July-September addition. 

  • Mike Napoli – After a somewhat lackluster but lucrative career in Boston, Mike Napoli was forced to take a $7 million one year deal to reestablish himself in 2016.   All he did for Cleveland’s investment was slug 34 HRs and drive in 101.  His catching days are behind him as he last donned the tools of ignorance in 2012, but he played a lot of 1st base and DH.  As a 1st baseman from the right side and an emergency catcher, he’s an interesting option.  At age 35 when the season begins, he’s probably good for another year or two at 1st base and will command an increase to perhaps $10 million per year which is a bargain considering what he is capable of delivering with the bat. 

  • Jose Bautista – Joey Bats had some injury issues this past season and it may be that the light is starting to go out on an otherwise notable career.  However, it was only a year ago in 2015 that he hit 40 HRs.  His ending salary is $14 million and he may want to do a 2 year/option year type of deal to take him through retirement.  Age and a poor year work somewhat against him, so $15 million per year might do it. 

  • Mark Trumbo – Remember Dave Kingman?  He was the ultimate all-or-nothing type of hitter who, like Michael Jackson, wore one glove for no apparent reason.  Mark Trumbo is this era’s Dave Kingman (though no one suspects he’ll be sending rats in the mail to any newspaper reporters).  He will hit 35-40 home runs and strike out 150-175 times while doing it.  The club doesn’t really need more free swinging players who can kill rallies with aplomb, but there’s no denying that Trumbo has more power than even Yoenis Cespedes. 

  • Ian Desmond – While many (including myself) have floated the idea of Andrew McCutchen for the outfield, acquiring him will mean giving up a major package of prospects and you’ll have to take over the remaining year and option year of his reasonable $14 million salary.  Surprisingly, Ian Desmond rebounded last year to put up McCutchen-like numbers while playing CF for the Texas Rangers.  He hit .285/22/86 with 21 SBs.  The only chink in the armor was the high 160 Ks, but he’s always been one to strike out a lot.  His deal with Texas was for $8 million.  At age 31 next year, he’s going to probably want a 4 year deal which might push him out of the Mets’ price range.  Figure he’ll get about $50 million over that period of time. 

  • Matt Weiters -- Here's another big roll of the dice.  He's had injury issues (including Tommy John surgery), but rebounded fairly well in 2016 to deliver .243/17/66 over 400+ ABs.  He's hit over 20 HRs in three consecutive seasons and could be a more consistent offensive force behind the plate than another year waiting for the real Travis d'Arnaud.  The down sides are his two lost years to health problems and the fact that he never was considered a plus defender as a catcher.  Still, he'd be likely a relative bargain on the free agent front.  His ending salary was $15.8 million but he'd be lucky to get 3/$30 million in a new contract.  Personally, I'd rather gamble on one final chance for d'Arnaud than spend that much on Weiters.  

Now remember the premise here – you have $25 million to address multiple areas.  Suppose you had Edwin Encarnacion playing 1st Base and Justin Turner at 3rd.  You’d still have retained all of your trade chips to improve at Catcher and the bullpen.  Would the loss of Yoenis Cespedes sting a bit less?


Eddie Corona said...

Reese... I dont love any of those Ideas in term of replacing Cespedes...
I think the only real way to replace cespedes would be via a trade... take Encarnacion yes he would fill in the power category but also its a long term contract and a position where we actually have depth close to MLB ready... which would mean trading Dom smith and Duda for what i believe would be someone who you could see as Cespedes replacement (or as I said previously... to replace cespedes it would take 2 player)...

Eddie Corona said...

Napoli would be interesting if we could get him on a 1 year deal... and I think he would provide leadership that is gone in walker and D wright...

Eddie Corona said...

Just read an article about the tigers wanting to get younger and cheaper... How about JD Martinez as a option

Reese Kaplan said...

@Eddie -- I'd love JD Martinez who provided .307/22/68 in an injury shortened season, but he's just 29 and earning a modest (for that production) $11.7 million in 2017. The only reason they might be inclined to trade him is that he's a FA in 2018 and due for big bucks. They might look to move him a year too soon rather than lose him for a QO draft pick.

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