Contending in 2014 with Three Off-Season Acquisitions.

An article by posted on August 13, 2013

The clock is ticking on the 2013 season, and we’ve learned so much about the future of this franchise. The problem is, in some aspects we’ve learned the Mets have more work to do than we had hoped.

Ike sadWhether Ike Davis hits 10 HR in the next 10 days or not, Davis needs to go. He was given a second chance to prove that 2012 was a fluke, and instead he proved it was a red flag. There’s no way you can extend him a tendered contract because not knowing whether you have a gaping hole at 1B or an elite hitter means you have a gaping hole.

Ike Davis can turn into a 30 HR guy somewhere else, sure people will find a way to blame the Mets if that happens but the truth is, they gave him more chances than he deserved to prove he was a cornerstone talent.

We know that we need a SS, a power hitting corner outfielder and now a 1B. Realistically, I don’t think you can find a long term solution at either spot right now. Fans will dream of the day Jurickson Profar is brought to Citi Field, but while I feel Elvis Andrus is more likely to be dealt – the package to get either of them will likely be needed to get an impact corner outfielder.

There are two American League players that I think would be great fits here in New York. I don’t think either of them will force the Mets to break the bank, but a short term 1-3 year deal could be a perfect fit.

At first base, I believe Justin Morneau fits this team perfectly. Sure, you can bring up age and his injury history but I’m not suggesting they offer him a long term contract. He’s a proven leader as evidenced by this piece in which Texas closer Joe Nathan said

“On and off the field, he’s just a natural-born leader.”

Sure, it’s just one guy’s view but then Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer said,

“He’s a competitor. He goes out and grinds every day, battles every day. If he does go somewhere else, somebody’s going to be getting a great ballplayer that’s going to help them win a lot of games.”

At 32, Morneau isn’t going to be a superstar at 1B. Then again, who is? He will bring intangibles listed above as well as a quality glove at 1B and a capable bat.

For the SS spot, I don’t believe Ruben Tejada is a part of the future in New York. He’s getting a chance to earn a spot back into the big leagues but he’s not proving he can even hack it in AAA right now.

I’ve read suggestions that Wilmer Flores should be the SS so Daniel Murphy can stay at 2B. If the Mets felt Flores could handle SS in the big leagues, then they wouldn’t have moved him out of that spot following the 2011 season. The thought of moving David Wright to SS is so ridiculous that I am embarrassed I even wilmer flores metsmentioned it.

Further, you don’t move a gold glove caliber 3B for a kid who can play other positions and doesn’t play a gold glove caliber 3B. It doesn’t make sense. So let’s put Flores at 2B and be happy.

One out of the box idea I had for SS is Jhonny Peralta. Okay, I know what you are going to say. Cheater, Biogenesis, PED, yada yada.

He’s serving his suspension, and unlike other players on that list, Peralta has never proven to be an issue for his team (unlike another Met). We’ll welcome back Cesar Puello and give him a second chance (send him to Miami in Giancarlo package? I’ll get to that), so why not extend the same offer to Peralta?

Peralta is a quality SS. Whether PED’s are the reason, you’ll need to take the gamble on that. One thing I know for certain is, Peralta was not visiting Biogenesis in 2013 and at the time of his suspension he was hitting .305 with an OPS of .822.

Peralta plays a very solid SS and has been a part of 3 different playoff teams as their starting SS.

Peralta is a pending free agent and at the time of his suspension, the Tigers acquired Jose Iglesias – which likely puts an end to Peralta’s time in Detroit.

Based on the link to biogenesis, I don’t think Peralta will cash in on a big contract heading into 2014.

Sure, it feels a little dirty to make him a 2-3 year deal but he fits the Mets needs perfectly and he would make them a much better baseball team. It’s a risk, I get it – but I think it’s worth it.

These two moves would bring two veterans with a proven track record to the infield, but also allow the Mets to utilize their trade pieces for their one desperate need which is a corner OF with power.

For those that like projecting a defensive lineup, how’s this look for 2014:

C d’Arnaud/Centeno
1B Morneau  (The d’Arnaud and Morneau Show?)
2B Flores
3B Wright
SS Peralta
OF Byrd/Young
CF Lagares
OF Acquired power hitter like Stanton or CarGo.

I understand that the chance to acquire Giancarlo Stanton is such a long shot but they have to try to sweep the Marlins off their feet this winter with a deal. Throw out names like Montero, Puello, Centeno, Gee, Mejia, and yes even Syndergaard. See what gets it done in a package deal. If a package involving these guys cannot get it done, then it’s time to move on.

I’m not big on Carlos Gonzalez but if Giancarlo is not an option, then CarGo in LF becomes the next target (which would then likely move Byrd back over to RF).giancarlo stanton

Then of course a rotation that includes Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Mejia and Gee – or some low cost pickups if Mejia or Gee get shipped to Miami.

This lineup puts Daniel Murphy on the outside likely to be used as some sort of trade piece perhaps for a bullpen arm, but also I admit LF isn’t perfect. I think if you make significant upgrades in the other spots, a platoon of Byrd/Young isn’t so bad.

I think this puts the Mets right into the mix in 2014. The key of course being what they do with that corner OF spot.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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