Michael Friere - How Does It All Come Together


Every off season, to include this one, Mets fans of all shapes and sizes have an opinion on what the team needs to do in the trade market and the free agency "frenzy" that take place prior to the start of Spring Training.  It is relatively straight forward to look at the roster and to identify positions where improvement can be made, or even positions where there are no real answers, i.e. "a void".

I recently penned a series on this very blog, explaining my take on the current roster and where Sandy could potentially make changes to improve the team's chances in 2018.  Granted, that was before the revelation that the team payroll will GO DOWN to $135 million dollars this year, which is a reduction of approximately $20 million dollars.  When did we turn into the norther version of the Tampa Bay Rays? 
Regardless, the Mets will still take the field in 2018, so it is a worthwhile exercise to evaluate the roster and their current chances.

However, plugging perceived voids or deficiencies in a roster is one thing.  But determining exactly "how it all comes together" is another.  For example, do you have a need for a lead off hitter, or maybe a left handed relief pitcher who can close out games, etc.  It is one thing to have an opening at 2B, but are you looking for a defensive minded player who can lead off, or do you want a power bat because you are "weak" at a different position?

By my estimation, using the current roster, here is how the lineup "comes together";

Batting Order (generally speaking, this is a fluid situation depending upon the day)

1 - VOID (future acquisition for 2B)
2 - Rosario (SS)
3 - Conforto (RF)
4 - Cespedes (LF)
5 - Smith, D (1B) ***
6 - Cabrera (3B)
7 - Lagares (CF) ***
8 - d'Arnaud (C)

***I think Nimmo gets some playing time in CF as part of a platoon and he would be better suited to hit in the #2 hole when he does, due to his OB%.  I also see Wilmer Flores giving Dominic Smith a break at 1B in a comparable set up, with a similar position in the batting order (5th or 6th, due to his power potential).

When you look at the roster this way, you clearly see why I don't like any of the current options on the roster as the FULL TIME answer at 2B, since that player will likely be tasked with leading off.  Dee Gordon would have been an excellent addition, but that is no longer an option.

I am not in love with Cabrera playing regularly at 3B, because the lineup looks pretty light after the clean up hitter (Cespedes) and 3B is traditionally a position where you park a "power bat".  I prefer Cabrera as a utility type of player and a I want a different player at the position who can support our two big bats (Moustakas would be a nice addition, but there is that pesky "budget problem").

The lineup as constructed above is largely dependent upon a return to health from our two "stars" and a leap forward by our two "rookies".  That is a lot to depend on as the calendar turns over into 2018.  I am not optimistic that we will match our production from last year, which is why there will be increased pressure on the pitching staff.

Starting Rotation and Closer (I expect a lot of changes throughout the year)

1 - Syndergaard
2 - DeGrom
3 - Matz ***
4 - Harvey ***
5 - Wheeler ***

CL - Familia

***After our two "aces", things get a bit dicey.  Matz, Harvey and Wheeler are all coming back from injury and/or ineffectiveness and like the batting order, it is a lot to depend on heading into a new season.  Fortunately, there is more depth on the roster in the form of Gsellman, Lugo and Montero, where the Mets could survive one or two "hiccups". Again, money aside, I would love to see a veteran starter added to the roster that can give you 180 innings of solid production (Lancy Lynn, perhaps).

The bullpen looks to be in solid shape, but that depends on which Familia we get for 2018.  Mickey Callaway is on the record as preferring a "committee" approach to closing out games, so maybe the "CL" designation isn't as important as it used to be (on my team, Familia gets first crack at the job).  We are still a bit light from the left hand side, by the way.

In closing, I think it is a valuable exercise to assess the roster and see where changes could be made.  If you break that down further and start piecing together the batting order and/or the starting rotation, it may lead you to valuing a different style of player then you originally thought you wanted (like the void at 2B and at the top of the lineup).

It also highlights how "thin" our roster is and how crucial it will be for the team to stay healthy and for a majority of the highlighted players to produce near their "expectations".  If that does not come to pass, we may see a repeat of 2017, which I am sure is not be the way Mickey Callaway wants to start his tenure in NY.


Mack Ade said...

Good morning Mike -

I was fed bad poop last month by a Mets insider, telling me that the Mets would spend in excess of the $145mil spent last year. Whatever, I've gotten used to being disappointed by Sandy and Company. Starting to feel like a Jets fan.

Sandy seems to be waiting for the market to come to him, which, in my opinion means he will spend on Jay Bruce what money he has left. Bruce will start most of the game at 1B until Michael Conforto comes back. He will then move to RF/1B and split time on first with Dominic Smith.

2B, to me, in Wilmer Flores' job to lose.

And then I turn the existing pitching staff, which would rank as one of the top 10 in talent in this league, to our new manager, pitching coach, and heath/strength dudes.

I then put the draft and the international system under Omar, and I play 2018 with the hand I've been dealt.


Tom Brennan said...

Mack, I read a few days ago that Bruce's agent was expressing Jay's love for the bay area in San Francisco - we'll see if the Giants love him back.

Teams with flaws generally have two possible roads to travel:

Road 1: spend big to fix the flaws and compete

Road 2: spend small & keep fingers crossed until circulation cuts off

Reese Kaplan said...

There is one HUGE difference that we all sometimes tend to forget. The idiocy of the lineup of the past seven years in dead and buried. Hopefully the ones who produce are the ones who play under a new manager.

Herb G said...

I think you meant to say $154 mil, which was their opening day payroll. I continue to believe that Jeff will not hold Sandy to a $135 mil limit, and that the final payroll will approach that $154 mil number. If that is the case, Alderson has a decent chance to put a pretty good team on the field this spring. He could add Bruce and Frazier on back loaded deals, similar to Swarzak's, and maybe even sign a decent starter like Andrew Cashner, moving Wheeler to the pen.

That said, if he has to live with that $135 mil limit, leaving about $10 mil to spend now, I'll go out on a limb and say he brings back fan favorites Jose Reyes to play second, and R.A. Dickey as a #5 starter, again, moving Wheeler to the pen.

Reyes had a solid second half, after a terrible start,
batting .288/.356/.472/.828. And he can still lead off with that high OBP and 24 steals, 14 of them coming in that 2nd half.

Dickey tossed 190 innings last year with (believe it or not) a 2.2 WAR.

Unknown said...

All this leads to what ....a .500 record at best although I know that with the WC we could be in "race" but I can't get over this feeling we're rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Everyone not named DeGrom under performed last year and our best up and coming star had a very bizarre injury and no telling if he'll ever be that guy again. The pitching HAS to improve big time or were sunk simple as that and then what...tear it down and start over or are the Wiponzies still making enough with a 500 club to keep em happy.

bill metsiac said...

Right, Herb. I'd rather go with Jose at 2B/leadoff than the no-D Wilmer everyday.

bill metsiac said...

How short memories can be.
2 years ago, it was "reported" that Sandy had no money to spend after OD, and then suddenly Yo appeared, with no salary being shed in exchange.

Last Winter, it was "reported" that the budget was restricted, and lo & behold we gave Yo a huge contract plus $17 mil to Walker.

Now it's "reported" that the budget will be reduced by $20 mil. Let's see what the ACTUAL payroll looks like by OD.

As for the players, let's remember that a year ago, many "experts" projected our roster to be post-season worthy. It was the DL that did us in, not the talent. If everyone's healthy, we're a lot better than a .500 team this year. I still expect more moves to be made by ST, as well.

bill metsiac said...

You surprised me, Mack. I thought you were a "defense up the middle" guy, and you want WILMER full - time ay 2B?

Mike Freire said...

I like Flores, too.....but, if he is playing 2B then who leads off?

bill metsiac said...


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