Reese Kaplan -- Looking at 2019 -- 3B Options


When the 2017 season ended and the Mets were facing another Wright-less year, the club finally decided they needed to get semi-serious about finding a 3rd base solution.  The big prize in the 3B game was Mike Moustakas who was coming off a 38 HR/85 RBI season.  Many were writing it off as a one year outlier, one most fans wish Sandy Alderson had embraced before putting his FA dollars into a similar outlier in Anthony Swarzak.  Now the problem with Moustakas beyond his ability to replicate this output was draft pick compensation as he was extended a qualifying offer by the Kansas City Royals.  With a surprisingly slow market he wound up returning to KC for just $6.5 million.

Some folks advocated trying to secure speedster Edwin Nunez who inevitably went back to the Boston Red Sox.  He was coming off a .313 season with over 20 SBs.  He was never a great fielder but the average and speed were things that could help change the complexion of the team.  He’s not fared well there, hitting just .256 and injuries have curtailed his baserunning.  He’s only making $4 million but he’s not really earning it. 

This time Sandy Alderson’s MO of waiting out the market bore fruit as he was able to secure the non-compensation Todd Frazier for a relatively modest $17 million 2-year contract.  After all, Frazier had a reputation as a solid clubhouse leader, a terrific fielder and he’d hit as many as 40 HRs in a season and compared to the $13 million per year that went to Jay Bruce, he was a bargain.  Unfortunately, injuries have impacted his offensive output but 10 HRs at the midway point is respectable if unspectacular. 

So going into 2019 Frazier is indeed under contract (as is David Wright).  It would probably be wise to consider Frazier as one of the players that acting GM John Ricco characterized as looking at options beyond expiring contracts during the July trading season.  It’s not so much the financial relief but the need to get younger and more athletic. 

If they were to find a taker for Frazier, then going into 2019 the Mets have the option of using Wilmer Flores or Jeff McNeil at the hot corner.  Granted, neither is going to make anyone forget Brooks Robinson, but their offensive output, age and cost all tick boxes in the plus column. 

Outside options are available, including the out-of-reach Manny Machado.  Others to consider would be the aforementioned Mike Moustakas and Edwin Nunez who are both on one-year deals. 

There is an interesting albeit highly controversial name to consider in the Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang.  He hasn’t been in the majors since 2016 due to legal troubles.  In 2016 he was accused of assaulting a 23 year-old Chicago woman, and then in the off-season was arrested in his native Korea for drunk driving and fleeing the scene of the accident.  His work visa was denied and he was forced to miss the entire 2017 season on the restricted list.  In 2018 he was allowed once again to work and the Pirates brought him back to their minor leagues to get into playing condition.

Kang hit 16 HRs in his American rookie campaign and then followed it up in 2016 with 21 HRs.  He’s currently hitting .310 in the minors and is slated to be eligible for free agency at the end of this season.  He was earning about $2.5 million per year and the Pirates own a $5.5 million club option with a 250K buyout.  He’s right now on the DL with a sprained wrist.

Now considering that the Mets have had no such problems with morally questionable people like Jose Reyes, Jeurys Familia, Carl Everett and others, they may place baseball abilities above character.  The since clean and sober Kang has gone through rehab and the Pirates may decide he’s not worth the public relations issues and pass on him.  If so, he’d probably be a bargain. 

If they do wind up keeping Todd Frazier, I can live with him at 3B for one more year.  However, if the right deal comes along, there are some internal and external options worth considering. 


Mack Ade said...

I think...

1. The Wright mess will be over by opening day. I believe the one reason Reyes is still around is so he can play one more home game with David on the field this year. After that, Wright will 'retire'.

2. Frazier lost any chance of being traded this month once he hit the DL.

3. I don't expect the team to be bidding on Machado in the off season.

4. Therefore... I play Frazier in 2019 and either Rosario or Gimenez become my third baseman in 2020

Gary Seagren said...

Can someone please tell me HOW CAN IT TAKE THIS LONG TO FIGURE OUT YC NEEDS SURGERY ON BOTH HEELS!!!! So the first time we'll see him again will be what June. Dam the more things change around here the more the stay the same and why is it healthy or not Thor can't seem to get beyond the 5th inning or is he hoping they change the rules to 7 inning games, as has been talked about, then a quality start would be 3 runs or less in 5 innings......can't wait.

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

First, it starts with the player. The player must express the fact that something is going wrong somewhere on his body.

A lot of people here on MMs have different opinions on Cespedes. I think he's a simple person from Cuba who was given a ton of money. I do not feel his motivation is to play full time. I belive he will milk this contract to the end,

As for Thor, I would not worry. He threw over 80 pitches which is a lot for someone's first outing back.

Gary Seagren said...

Mack I totally agree YC will milk this for all its worth but this was Thor's 2nd outing back and even when healthy he's a 5 inning guy. Great stuff but will he ever take the next step and be Jake....that's a huge maybe so for me he'd be the big trade candidate.

Mack's Mets © 2012