Reese Kaplan -- Trade 'Em a Year Too Soon


Branch Rickey once famously said it's better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. One thing we have noticed about GM Sandy Alderson is his predilection for maintaining payroll flexibility, so towards that end, let’s have a look at who is scheduled to be a free agent in the 2018 season.  Perhaps some of the other GMs have some Branch Rickey in them and these players could possibly be on the move as a team could get something valuable in return rather than losing them for nothing or a Qualifying Offer draft pick.  Assuming that the club is set (pending health) in the starting pitching arena, let’s instead look at relievers and position players:

  • Fernando Abad – He’s been a solid middle reliever and last year combined to play for both the Twins and Red Sox.  He’s arbitration eligible this year and a pending FA in 2018.  His career record is a 3.23 ERA in the minors and he’s pretty much mirrored that in the majors. 
  • Steve Cishek – The former Marlins closer was serving a setup role for the Mariners before a hip labrum tear ended his season prematurely.  He’s going to require 4-6 months of rehab which means he won’t be ready for the start of 2017.  The Mariners may want to non-tender him or consider moving him since he won’t be helpful to the club until probably June. 
  • Tyler Clippard – Yup, remember him?  He was too rich for the Mets blood yet people think nothing of paying nearly double Clippard’s salary to retain Addison Reed. 
  • Jeanmar Gomez  -- The Phillies’ closer by default did turn in 37 saves this year but his ERA spiked considerably into the high 4 area.  He still might be a good setup guy in the future. 
  • Luke Gregerson – Once offered up in even exchange for Daniel Murphy, Gregerson year in and year out provides a sub 3.00 ERA as one of the most dependable middle relievers in the game.
  • Craig Kimbrel – The seemingly untouchable reliever from Atlanta was somewhat more human in Boston this past year.  He earns big bucks and it will be interesting to see what the Red Sox do when he’s eligible to be a free agent.
  • Jake McGee – Flying somewhat under the radar, the former Tampa Bay Ray has a 3.07 ERA for his career and would be a nice acquisition to try to make if Jerry Blevins does not return. 
  • Seung-Hwan Oh – The Korean closer for the St. Louis Cardinals was virtually unhittable.  He’s already 34 years old and may transition to a stellar 8th inning role rather than take on the stress of being the closer as he gets older.
  • Huston Street – He had a rough go this past season, but has been a very good closer during his caerer.  He’s currently earning $9 million with  a $10 million option in 2018 (or a $1 million buyout)
  • Tony Watson – Here’s a name many many not know, but he’s provided a 2.56 ERA over the past six seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It kind of makes you wonder why they wanted Antonio Bastardo when Watson was pitching at an elite level as a lefty?

  • Michael Brantley – He’s recovering from surgery and may or may not be ready to compete when Spring Training rolls around.  With Cleveland advancing in the post season without him, perhaps they might consider him superfluous if the right package can be cobbled together
  • Melky Cabrera – He’s a slightly less powerful version of what most expect from Michael Conforto (plus he has some PED baggage)
  • Todd Frazier – Local boy makes good to the tune of 47 HRs.  He put up nice numbers in Cincinnati before his batting average took a severe hit last year at just .217.  He’s worth a long look
  • Carlos Gonzalez –The “away” numbers are not nearly as impressive for CarGo as his Coors Field inflated stats, but he’s a quality hitter and his $22 million per season contract is ending after the 2017 season.  Although the Mets are already too lefty-heavy, he could be a good Cespedes replacement in terms of power if the need arises
  • Hyun Soo Kim – The Mets typically don’t take flyers on foreign players but Kim’s career .318 batting average in Korea is hard to ignore, particularly when you factor in that he rarely strikes out.  Last year as a part timer for Baltimore he hit  == career .318 with 20 HR power, doesn’t strike out.  He hit .302 over 300 ABs, so you might not be able to pry him loose even with a crowbar (especially since he’s slated to earn just $4.2 million in 2017)
  • JD Martinez – Another one recovering from injury, Martinez is doing to Houston what Daniel Murphy did to the Mets – making them regret a decision to let him leave.  He’s the kind of right handed power bat the team could use.
  • Cameron Maybin – Health has always been Maybin’s problem.  He never seems to be able to put together a full season.  However, when he does play, he’s shown stellar fielding and good speed.  He gets probably a little more attention that he deserves due to his high draft pick status
  • Mike Moustakas – Mets fans remember well how he helped kill any chance the club had of winning the 2015 World Series.  If David Wright is forced into early retirement, you could do far worse at 3B
  • Ben Revere – He lost his job last year to Trea Turner.  It may be that Washington returns Turner to the infield and Revere to the outfield, but if he’s a bench player again, then they may consider moving him.  He’s good for about a .290 average and 30+ steals
  • Justin Upton – He has an opt-out after the 2017 season if he thinks he can get more than the $22 million per year he would get if he stayed in Detroit. 
  • Danny Valencia – The clubhouse-questionable Valencia had a very nice part time gig in Oakland last year with both power and batting average.  There were rumblings that the Mets might have been interested but nothing materialized
Anyone look interesting to you?  Also, consider the shoe on the other foot...do the Mets try to move players in the final year of their contracts such as Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda and Addison Reed (assuming all are tendered contracts and/or have their options picked up)?


Mack Ade said...

Reese -

What's funny is that there are guys like me that are so buried into the Mets that they simply don't recognize most of the pitchers on your list.

That's the kind of fan I have become over the years.

Case in point: I have not followed one pitch of the playoffs this year past the last Mets game.

Thanks for the work put in here.


Zozo said...

Trade Granderson
Trade Bruce
ASAP for the best prospects you can get

Reese Kaplan said...

@Zozo -- You could do that only if you knew for certain Cespedes was returning. At this point you don't know.

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

I disagree for two different reasons -

1. NOBODY is going to pick up Granderson's salary (and the Mets fans have come to love him)

2. Forget the strikeouts... you couldn't possibly find this kind of immediate power (look, he was bummed out being traded and had his head screwed on wrong when he came to the Mets) for this price.


EDDIE FROM CARONA joined yesterday as an spot start writer here on Mack's Mets. Any chance of getting you back? If so, send me your email to: macksmets@gmail.com and I'll add you to our '2017 roster'.

Eddie Corona said...

Its Eddie From Corona, Queens... Guess I will have to put thoughts to Paper real soon...

I totally believe Grandy can be traded and honestly pretty easily... Its the return that dictates whether we should... But I agree that unlike last year knowing what happens with Cespedes dictates our Off season...
And yes trading Bruce as he is not made for NY...

Eddie Corona said...

Reese... after re reading your article you have some interesting name...
Kimbrel was not the Lights out reliever he was in the past but as a set up guy paired with Reed and Familia may be awesome...
JD Martinez would be an excellent pick up but not as a replacement for Cespedes... but if we were to get JD then definitely trade Grandy, and Bruce
Moustakas... another very solid addition... I don't think he is the star everyone thought he would be but he could be a very nice Robin to Batman (Cespedes)...

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