Call me crazy, but…
I’ve been thinking about the Mets upcoming offseason and wondering what the team will do to improve. They have two problems to address:
1. Not enough impact position players on the team, particularly in the power department.
2. Recapturing the interest of fans, or in other words, convincing fans that the team isn’t “all talk and no action.”
Most of the free agent options discussed have drawbacks:
Jacoby Ellsbury has an injury history, varied production with not much power except for one year, plays a position that we actually have a decent option at, and Boras as an agent.
Shin-Soo Choo isn´t as high profile, but has great OBP skills and had decent speed. He is a strong defender in the outfield corners, but has Boras as an agent too.
Both of those players may involve the loss of the first round pick if the Mets don’t have one of the Top 10 protected picks. Other players, like Cody Ross, Carlos Beltran, and Curtis Granderson, have bigger questions.
One player who I haven’t heard discussed in connection with the Mets, however, is Robinson Cano. Before you go crazy, let’s agree to put aside the cheap Wilpons won’t do it” and the “not Sandy’s style” comments for a moment.
Cano is the same age as Choo, and one year older than Ellsbury. He consistently plays 150+ games per year,and his career slash line is a very healthy .308/.355/.503. He’s good for 20-30 homers and around 40 doubles per year.
Cano is represented by CAA and JayZ, so the agent dynamic is an unknown. Recent speculation has suggested that the Dodgers may not jump into the Cano sweepstakes, given their existing salary commitments, upcoming Clayton Kershaw negotiations, and successful play on the field.
Who has the money to play this poker game? I don’t see a lot of teams with positional need and financial resources out there.
So close your eyes and imagine the following scenario:
- Mets sign Cano to a 7 year $160 million deal, with a team option for an 8th year. His consistency, power (2B and HR), and OBP in the middle of the lineup would have a huge effect on Wright hitting behind him.
- Mets sign Choo to a 3 year $45 million deal. His speed and OBP at the top of the order would be a huge improvement. If Choo didn’t sign, I’d go with either Eric Young Jr. until Cesar Puello arrives or a younger player is obtained via trade.) Assuming that the Mets release or trade Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, who together would probably make $8.5 million next year in arbitration, this would give the team some money to help.
- The Mets trade Wilmer Flores to a team that needs him at 3B or DH, perhaps in a package with Davis and/or Murphy, targeting high upside prospects or perhaps a young left-handed starting pitcher. The alternative would be to put him at first base and trade Lucas Duda.
My Mets lineup would be:
The bench would allow for some platoons or substitutions when facing a particularly tough pitcher. Puello could slip in later in 2014 or in 2015, and compete with den Dekker.
The projected payroll for the 25-man roster would be below $80 million (not counting Bonilla and Bay, etc payments).
With many young pre-arbitration players on the roster, the crunch years would be 2018-2020, when Matt Harvey, Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard reach their free agent years. But Choo would be gone by then, likely replaced with young in-house talent. Interestingly, Wright’s salary decreases in those years, to $15MM in 2019 and $12MM in 2020, so that offsets the other salaries a little bit.
To me, adding Choo improves the top of the order with speed and consistent OBP, but without a long-term commitment. Adding Cano provides power and OBP from a non-traditional power position, and allows us to focus on outfield defense in Choo, Lagares and den Dekker; leaving room for Puello in the near future.
Yes, it’s a long commitment to a 30 year old, but most other options will be the same age and require the same commitment in years… unless you can trade for Stanton, but that would have an extremely high cost too, in terms of prospects.
It hasn’t been Sandy’s M.O. in the past, but maybe now that the bad contracts are gone he’d be willing to invest in a proven, consistent player who would improve the team for the long-term. And shake up the fanbase at the same time…
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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, Dave In Spain. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 22,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.