As the post season crawls to a close, thus ushering in the hot stove season, there seems to be a growing tide of great and unrealistic expectations for players the Mets could or should target.
Over at MetsBlog, they’ve spent this weekend writing multiple times about Tim Lincecum as well as other potential free agents or players presumed to be on the block like Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.
Readers here should already be conditioned to understand that these are all mostly pie in the sky Met rumors with no basis in any fundamental belief that any deal is forthcoming.
Let me spend this beautiful Columbus Day morning by running down these players and giving you my quick take on their situations as it pertains to the Mets.
Jacoby Ellsbury – There’s no doubt that Ellsbury would fill a void for the Mets, but seriously, do you believe the Mets are in a position to make him the team’s new $100 million dollar man? I seriously doubt the Mets would entertain paying the oft-injured Ellsbury through his age 35 or 36 season especially when the team seems committed to the further development of Juan Lagares in center field.
Mike Napoli – This might be one of the worst possibilities for the Mets on this list. Already 32, and seeking a 3-year deal that will pay him more annually than the $13 million he earned this season, Napoli would only add to the logjam that already exists at first base for the Mets. And there’s good reason to believe that he may not even represent an upgrade. Essentially we’re talking about a career .259 hitter who is entering his declining years. Jose Abreu would be cheaper and six years younger with more power and upside to go with it. Oh, and Abreu won’t cost the Mets their second round pick like Napoli would.
Tim Lincecum – After earning $22 million in 2013, Lincecum went 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 197.2 innings for the Giants in spacious AT&T Park. It was the second straight season of pedestrian results for the 29-year old righty, but the Giants want to keep him and he wants to stay. They are at the negotiating table as we speak and are reportedly making progress. It’s been two years since he last touched 95 mph on the radar gun, and he makes zero sense for the Mets anyway.
Matt Kemp – Kemp just had shoulder surgery on Wednesday in addition to the career-threatening, micro-fractured ankle he still suffers from. It’s ridiculous to entertain the notion that the Mets would take on the $130 million he still has remaining on his contract with all of that risk. They wouldn’t do it even if he were 100% healthy – which he’s not. And if the Dodgers agreed to eat any portion of that contract, they’ll want the Mets to kick in Noah Syndergaard on top of the big package it will take to acquire him. Let’s get real…
Andre Ethier – He’ll be 32 and is owed an average of $17.5 million through 2017 with one of those Bay-esque vesting options for 2018. He’s averaged 14 home runs per season over the last three years and he peaked seven years ago. Ethier has no speed, never scored 100 runs in a season, and only had one 100 RBI season back in 2009 and has never come close to duplicating that. In fact, he’s averaged 67 RBI’s over the last three seasons. Do you really want to pay him superstar money for that kind of production?
Many of the names on this list represent a reckless spending era that we’ve been trying to distance ourselves from. Don’t buy into everything you read. The Mets want you to think they are interested, it’s great for season ticket sales. Or at the very least it can’t hurt, but really they’re not targeting players like this.
If the front office were going to spend this offseason, something that has yet to be proven, it would be for someone younger and with more upside, and not for players whose best seasons are clearly behind them.
This isn’t a Moneyball thing or the Wilpons being cheap… This is just a common sense approach…