Reese Kaplan -- Reinforcing The Bench

Today let’s look at the free agent class in terms of fortifying the bench.  Gone (hopefully)) are the days of fringy AAAA players and has-beens who are not going to help much in a pinch, let alone if pressed into playing for an extended period of time due to injury.  While nearly  everyone is on board with the idea of signing Kelly Johnson directly instead of trading for him for a third straight season, who else is out there that might contribute when needed?  I see three that jump to mind immediately:

Buttressing the Bench

Steve Pearce – the erstwhile Oriole combined between Baltimore and Tampa Bay to produce 13 HRs and 35 RBIs while batting .288 in 264 ABs.  He had performed well as a semi-regular his last time around in Baltimore with a 2014 season yielding 21 HRs, 49 RBIs and a .293 average over 338 ABs.  The right handed hitting Pearce can play OF, 1B and 2B.  He last earned $4.75 million and is a free agent for the first time.

Dae-Ho Lee – the Mariners took a flyer on a 34 year old player from Korea and were rewarded with 292 ABs showing good power.  He hit just .253, but slugged 14 HRs and drove in 49.  The big right handed veteran plays 1B and earned just $1 million in his first year in the majors. 

Rajai Davis – the mighty base-stealer is probably looking to start, though his role of late has been that of 4th outfielder.  The Mets haven’t had a stellar baserunning threat since Eric Young departed.  With Jose Reyes likely starting that means having someone like Davis available off the bench could help.  Of course, with his timely and unexpected HR to tie the 7th game of the World Series, he’s got a higher profile than any other moment in his career.  Although he slugged a career high 12 HRs this year, it’s his league leading 43 SBs that catches everyone’s eye (doubly impressive at the age of 35).  Cleveland paid him $5.2 million last year. 

Other Cubans?

Jose Miguel Fernandez – a 23 year old Cuban defector who is not subject to any compensation picks, he hit .326 with an outstanding OBP with very few strikeouts.  Predictions are he’s going to get a 3 year deal worth about $6 million per year.  Whether or not the Mets should be interested again hinges on David Wright’s health.  He’s played 2B and 3B, positions also covered by Jose Reyes, TJ Rivera, Wilmer Flores and Neil Walker (if he’s in the picture).  It would be better if he could handle CF.  Interesting, but not a great fit.

Lourdes Gourriel – brother of highly touted now Astro Yulieski Gourriel, Lourdes hit .344 in Cuba playing the outfield.  Just 23 years old, the talk is he will likely first approach the Astros about joining big brother in Houston, but most feel he will have enough power to command a corner outfield position on nearly any team.  Estimates peg him to be worth 6 years/$72 million.  When you look at the stats, remember the Cuban season is about half as many ABs as the American baseball season. 

Trade Target

Although not a free agent, a good buy-low candidate is the Washington Nationals’ center fielder, Ben Revere.  Ben lost his starting job when he was slow to recover from injury and now he appears superfluous to the NL East champs.  Ben is a speedy baserunner and until last year a solid hitter with a career mark of .285 who has stolen as many as 48 bags in a single season.  He’ll play 2017 as a 29 year old and I could see him in CF flanked by some combination of Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and (dare I say it) Yoenis Cespedes.  He’s arbitration eligible this year after playing for $6.25 million last year.  I can’t see him getting a raise given his .217 season and having lost his starting job.  Given they only have one more year of control, he might be readily available in trade even to a division rival. 


Thomas Brennan said...

Another great list, Reese...and notably, no Eric Mendoza Campbell on it.

Don't want Revere, don't know enough about the bananas from Havana, who may be the best of the bunch. I like Pearce for his power/average/RBI combo, and speedy Rajai Davis in that group, too.

Mack Ade said...

I'm not sure if the bench needs reinforcing. Rivera is as best as it gets as a reserve catcher, and Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera is just fine in the infield.

The outfield is now any combination of Bruce, Lagares, Conforto, and Granderson.

What is needed is a 5th quality power starting outfielder

Bill Metsiac said...

The Pirates reportedly are interested in moving McCutchen to save salary, and coming off a poor (for him) season they'd be selling low. I could see him in CF or RF, and he's under contract for a few years.

Another guy I'd look at is Angel Pagan, who is a FA. If he doesn't get a QO, He's worth checking into. Switch hitter with good
speed and decent pop, he could back up all 3 OF spots as well as PH.

Reese Kaplan said...

McCutchen would cost a lot in terms of prospects. Ian Desmond just posted similar stats and is a FA.

Mack Ade said...

Bill -

I don't think the Mets have the players that would be needed to get McCutchen away from the Pirates.

It would take one of our quality healthy starters (err... we only have one of these) or a combo of Conforto + Rosario

We are less than half a season of turning 1B, 2B, and LF fulll time over to Smith, Rosario, and Conforto. Let's stay on that course.

Bill Metsiac said...

If it takes that much, forget it. But I'd still explore it. Before the deals were made, did anyone think we could get Keith for Neil Allen/Rick Ownbey? How about Olerud for Robert Person? Or the guys we gave up for Carter?

Never hurts to ask.

Bill Metsiac said...

Cutch is signed for the next 2 years at $14 mil per, with an option for another year. Very reasonable. And he'll be 31 next season. And he's a FAR better player, though he wasn't this year.

Mack's Mets © 2012