- Pick up Jay Bruce’s option – whether you keep him here or look to trade him, for a player with his long track record of health and production, you can’t let him walk for nothing. When Cespedes walks, you need his bat or you need to trade him to obtain another promising one.
- Swallow hard and pay Addison Reed – I still doubt they will do so, but without him the pen becomes a major question once again.
- Re-Sign Jerry Blevins – between he, Reed, Jeurys Familia and Hansel Robles you have the makings of a very fine pen. Throw in perhaps a Paul Sewald and Josh Smoker or re-signing Fernando Salas and you could have one of the tops in the game. I’m irritated every time I read about how the Mets need to trade to improve the pen. You have the material here already. (this entry was written before the news came down about Jeurys Familia's escapades on Tuesday. Now I think they must look at the prospect of a Reyes-like suspension if there's anything to these allegations).
- Look for another catcher – I’m fine with Travis d’Arnaud getting another shot, but given his track record for long stays on the DL, whether you believe in him as a hitter or not, it’s foolish not to have a viable long term alternative available.
- Wave bye-bye to Neil Walker – You have Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores and TJ Rivera as capable replacements at 2B. Gavin Cecchini is also transitioning to that side of diamond. Risking a $17.3 million QO is bad business as he’ll likely take it so he can have a very well paid year to reestablish his health and hit the market again next year. Let someone else pay him. You’re dealing from a position of strength here.
- Increase your catering budget and welcome back Bartolo Colon – He has been too good to let him walk away, especially considering that Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zach Wheeler are all dealing with issues. For those who say, “What about Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman?” I suggest you look at the catcher bullet. You have to give to get.
- Fortify the bench – Please, no more sightings of the likes of Eric Campbell and others of his ilk. Rather than give up still more pieces for the third installment in the Kelly Johnson chronicles, just sign the man. I’d keep Brandon Nimmo around as the spare outfielder to go along with Juan Lagares. Rene Rivera earned his keep. The losers in the 2B sweepstakes become the backup infielders.
Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
If you are an avid reader of the papers and blogs, you find many people advocating various approaches to the off-season. There’s the Yoenis Cespedes saga. There are the health issues surrounding David Wright and Lucas Duda. There’s the starting rotation, all of whom had health issues last year except free-agent-to-be Bartolo Colon. There’s the bullpen where Addison Reed is about to cross the 8 figure mark for a single season of work and Jerry Blevins who is again a free agent. There’s the saga of Neil Walker, his back, his prospective QO and whether signing him long term helps make up for the probably loss of Cespedes. What about the players who had odiferous 2016 campaigns – Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto? Did they hit bumps in the road or are they lost causes? What about the slugger with the $13 million option, Jay Bruce, who seemed to forget how to hit once he arrived?
We all play armchair GM and some take it to the most granular level, picking very specific players to target and how many dollars they should be paid. I think it’s time we step back and take a look at the multitude of areas which can be improved, then rank them in order of importance. Here’s my stab at just that exercise: