Reese Kaplan -- What's the Plan, Stan?


The first shoe has dropped.  Yoenis Cespedes and his collections of cars and horses are now part of the Mets’ future for the next four years.  Celebrate that news however you see fit.

Now the question becomes what happens next?  Obviously the Mets have too many outfielders.  Both Curtis Granderson ($15 million) and Jay Bruce ($13 million) are on the last years of their respective deals.  Michael Conforto showed great promise in his rookie year of 2015 but then had a d’Arnaud-like offensive tailspin in his sophomore campaign.  Juan Lagares looks as if he’s remembered how to field and throw, but he too had his challenges when it came to wielding the almighty stick.  Brandon Nimmo showed some flashes of potential last year and, after finishing a point behind teammate T.J. Rivera for the AAA batting crown, it would appear he has some legitimate potential as well. 

In an ideal world the Mets would trade away both Bruce and Granderson, giving them $28 million payroll dollars to allocate in other ways.  The problem with that strategy right off the top is that you’d be gambling big time on a return to form for Michael Conforto and penciling in a platoon of Lagares and Nimmo in centerfield. 

Now, of course, some of that $28 million windfall could be used to pay for a more well regarded centerfielder.  There’s free agent Dexter Fowler out there.  So is Ian Desmond.  After that the dropoff in quality happens rather rapidly.  You have FAs like Drew Stubbs, Rajai Davis, Austin Jackson, Michael Bourn or Alejandro De Aza (sorry, threw up in my mouth a little on that last one). 

The trade market is always a possibility, but once you unload Bruce and Granderson (presumably for prospects or bullpen help), the cupboard’s somewhat bare.  You probably can’t afford to trade Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman until you know the state of the health of the other pitchers.  You have Gavin Cecchini with nowhere to play which would make him a viable chip, but others might prefer T.J. Rivera or Wilmer Flores as they have shown an ability to hit major league pitching.  Then there are the more highly regarded minor leaguers like Dom Smith, Amed Rosario and Thomas Szapucki who would net major returns but the Mets are probably dead set against trading low cost quality. 

The next issue concerns the aforementioned bullpen.  Jeurys Familia may receive a suspension which would push Addison Reed into closing duties.  That leave the team without a 7th and 8th inning guy to lead up to the closer.  Some familiar faces will likely return, including Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker, Josh Edgin and Erik Goeddel.  Others on the 40 man roster include Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero (and, until Wednesday, Logan Verrett who was mercifully shipped to Baltimore).  There’s certainly room for more quality to fill in for the free agents Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas. 

Many people are signaling Baltimore as a possible destination for Curtis Granderson with Mychal Givens as one of the players coming in return.  Givens has a career trajectory similar to the Mets’ own Paul Sewald, a late bloomer who’s done nothing but succeed on his long road to the majors.  He’ll turn 27 this season and has two partial seasons in the bigs under his belt, but he’s excelled.  Overall he’s 10-2 with a 2.75 ERA and a 134 strikeouts in 104 IP.  He’s not a FA until 2022 and not arbitration eligible until 2019.  That’s the kind of player Sandy Alderson would covet. 

Of course the bullpen is not the only issue.  Many are fearful of Travis d’Arnaud on three fronts – health, throwing and batting.  Maybe the ideal is to land a catcher who’s major league ready in one of these deals.  Granted, it’s not going to be a top flight receiver like Salvador Perez or Buster Posey, but perhaps there are teams with someone who has been groomed at AAA and would have someone available that the Mets could use as a backup to d’Arnaud (or starter should TdA prove once again unproductive or unavailable). 

Toronto is rumored to be interested in Jay Bruce.  Perhaps part of the package should be Max Pentecost, a strong hitting catcher who was formerly a first round pick for them before missing an entire year with shoulder surgery.  As such he’s a bit behind where you’d expect him to be at age 23 and just entering AA this season, but he’s a career .304 hitter. 

Another one is Baltimore’s Chance Sisco who is further down in the minors but hitting like Ted Simmons in his prime.  He’s a .323 career hitter and zooming his way up the farm system.  At age 22 he may be in AAA this year.  He’d be like Baltimore asking us for Amed Rosario or Dom Smith, so that’s likely not going to happen, but it never hurts to ask. 

Finally, I would suggest that Juan Lagares is probably in play in trade talks as well.  His backloaded contract is set to pay him $20 million over the course of the 2017/2018/2019 seasons.  He’s a nice player but nearly $7 million per year average seems a little stiff for a guy sitting on the bench most of the time.  On a second tier club he might be a starter and again could result in cost savings if dealt for a prospect. 

So what are your priorities?  Would trading both Bruce and Granderson make sense?  That $28 million could buy relievers or catchers. 

Of course, if there’s no CBA then the Winter Meetings and most trade talks are off the table, so it’s something of a moot point.  


Thomas Brennan said...

Travis Taijeron on is hoping Grandy and Bruce get traded for catchers and relievers. I think trading Bruce and Grandy without a real plan to sign a Fowler is a non-starter. An OF of Cesp, Fowler, Conforto, Nimmo, and Lagares would be sweet. Of course, Reyes could wear an OF glove too.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

Good morning.

The problems the current outfield have are good ones. Lots of home run talent on a team that has the money to pay them if they choose.

That being said, I believe one of the 'big 3' need to dealt away for prospects to replenish the system... and we know that isn't going to be Cespedes.

I believe Bruce would bring more of a return which could include a AAA or AA prospect outfielder for the future.

I would not trade Mayor Granderson. He has turned out to be the face of the Mets in the of the field events that the Mets do so well for the needy.


I would give Lagares CF from opening day to the all-star break. Let's see if he can prove to be that he can play Golden Glove defense every day while hitting .260+ from both sides of the plate.

Cespedes and Conforto would be my corner starters and Grandy would fill in on all three positions.

Nimmmo would be OF5.

One last thing... let us remember that this team always has their share of surprise injuries, especially from the aging bodies on this team. Getting rid of BOTH Grandy and Bruce could be quite costly.

Reese Kaplan said...

The COULD solve the CF dilemma rather easily had they actually given Jose Reyes reps in the outfield as they said they would. He certainly has the speed and athleticism to play the position and as Ian Desmond, Billy Hamilton and others have demonstrated, it's certainly possible to take a SS and convert him to CF. That would provide them with a leadoff hitter and some baserunning speed, two things they desperately need. If (and a huge if) Wright plays every day then Reyes is buried on the bench. Had they planned ahead (ha ha ha ha ha ha) and made Reyes comfortable in the outfield then they could afford to trade both Granderson and Bruce with Lagares and Nimmo as capable backups due to injuries.

Zozo said...

Get rid of both Granderson and Bruce, and save $28 mil
Sign Chapman, Wilson Ramos and Carlos Gomez.
Chapman 16 a year for 4 years.
Ramos a one year deal for 7.
Gomez a 3 year $21 mil deal. I figure you can pay De Aza almost $6 mil last year, so you won't have a problem paying Gomez 7 a year for his much better potential. Plus coming home might suit him well.

You don't lose any draft picks with any of these free agent pickups. Get as many young guys as possible for Bruce and Grandson and you only raise the payroll a bit more.

Reese Kaplan said...

In the failing to plan category, there were some interesting non-tenders yesterday including centerfielder Ben Revere formerly of the Nationals who is a career .285 hitter with great speed, pitchers Tyson Ross (recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome -- good to stash away in AAA), catcher Wellington Castillo and reliever Chris Withrow. Perhaps the biggest name came early, HR champion Chris Carter, but the team is already filled with all-or-nothing types.

Signing Revere would enable them also to trade both Granderson and Bruce. He's left handed, so he could platoon with Lagares.

Of course, there's no room at the inn with the 40-man roster full though minor league deals with a wink-wink, nod-nod deal can be made a'la Marlon Byrd and others who went that route.

Thomas Brennan said...

Any thoughts on why young Ben Revere stunk last year?

I like Zozo's ideas...great out-of-box thinking.

Reese Kaplan said...

Strained oblique which caused him to alter his swing. Missed time due to the injury eventually which forced the Nats to put SS Trea Turner in CF.

Thomas Brennan said...

Sandy ought to consider Mr Revere, then.

Mack Ade said...

Nothing against Nimmo, but if you could sign Revere for a decent number, he would be a much beter OF5 option

Adam Smith said...

It would really be a nice problem if at least one of our OF's other than Lagares was a natural CF. Theoretically, I like the idea of trading both Grandy and Bruce, and I'd be all for giving Lagares a full time shot out there, but depending on he and Conforto to step up without a real backup plan would be risky. Would have to bring someone in, I think.

Lyle Weiser said...


What about signings of FA C Wellington Castillo and FA RP Greg Holland (I know he is not throwing 95 yet, but his upside is as good as any RP out there)? Both would certainly not be expensive!

Reese Kaplan said...

Agree on Holland but the defensively challenged Castillo is healthier bit probably no better than d'Arnaud. Plus they just retained Rene Rivera.

Mack's Mets © 2012