The GM candidates have weighed in on what the team should look like in 2017, Keep in mind this is the initial debate, without moderators, and the candidates can change their positions in the weeks to come without being accused of flip flopping.
1) GM Reese Kaplan: Keep Lucas Duda but have a REAL plan B. He should be a bargain for a 30 HR hitter at around $6.5 million. That Plan B could be handing Michael Conforto a 1st baseman's glove, or letting Wilmer Flores have the position outright. I'd also get Travis d'Arnaud some reps at 1B to help keep his fragile body intact for once.
DON'T make a QO to Neil Walker. Have we learned nothing from David Wright, Lucas Duda and others from back injuries? He would likely take it to reestablish his value as he is in a poor negotiating position now until he proves he's healthy. I would Hand TJ Rivera and/or Wilmer Flores the job, (or Jose Reyes if, by some miracle, David Wright can play).
Sensing a theme here, Rivera, Flores and Reyes are your backup plans should Wright discover he can't play.
Find a catcher.
LF will go to Michael Conforto when Cespedes departs.
CF is a platoon of Lagares and Nimmo.
RF is Jay Bruce
Rotation is Syndergaard, de Grom, Harvey, Matz and Wheeler with Colon and Gsellman in the wings as backup starters. Lugo is trade bait.
Pen should include Familia, Reed, Salas, Robles, Blevins, Edgin and Smoker.
The challenge is to find a durable catcher who can hit and play the field. Wilson Ramos can hit but isn't durable. I'm not sure who that might be.
Also, you know how the story will be spun -- getting back Wright and Duda more than makes up for the power losses of Cespedes and Walker.
2018, more saving$ as Duda, plus Grandy/Bruce depart.
1. Re-sign Duda and Bruce as hedges against Cespedes leaving.
Should they retain Cespedes, Colon, offer Duda arbitration, and shift one of their excess young powerarms to the back of the bullpen, the only real acquisition needed is at C, which they can trade excess assets to obtain. I m very high on 2017, with or without Yo.