For all my fellow Mets fans, opinions have been flying fast in the blogosphere, twitterverse, and any other media I may have forgotten to mention. And all this is occurring before the World Series has even started! No Free Agents can change teams right now, no player has been tendered, yet you would think from some of us Met die-hards that the offseason is already a failure.
Lets all take a deep breath, I mean, Sandy Alderson hasn’t even had time to officially decline Johan Santana‘s 2014 option for $25M, pay the $5M buyout, and move on to Free Agency. There was significant debate about whether the Mets should have chased Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu, who eventually signed with the White Sox for a six year $68M deal. In my opinion, this deal will come back and bite the ChiSox where the sun don’t shine; I mean, giving a guaranteed $11M a year to a guy who has never hit higher that Double A pitching? No Thank You. In fact, I doubt that over the course of the six years that Abreu even hits one Home Run per million dollars he’s paid (for those that can’t do math, that’s 68 HR’s).
Then there was the news last night that the Giants signed Tim Lincecum to a two year $35M deal. Wow! A guy who is clearly in decline, who’s ERA was nearly 5 in 2013, and who’s average fastball speed has decreased two miles an hour gets $17M PER YEAR to continue that mediocrity. Most of the early reaction from Giants fans and media has been that this is a massive overpayment, and not only that, but this deal just drove up the price of every other medium, used to be somewhat useful, starter the Mets might have interest in this offseason (see Josh Johnson and Scott Kazmir).
So, no matter your view of this front office (and count mine on the slightly positive side), they will have their work cut out filling all the holes while staying under what looks to be a team budget of roughly $85M (You can complain about that budget if you want, but it is what it is). So, as you would do in any business, you prioritize. You make the case for which positions on the diamond have the greatest need while accepting those that can be updated next year (or later). If I were Sandy Alderson, my list would look something like this:
- Outfield (Right Fielder)
- Starting Pitcher
- Outfield (Left Fielder/ 4th OF)
- First Base
- More Pitching
If there is one thing that simply must be done to have even a chance of competing in 2014, its that the Mets obtain a power hitting Outfielder who provides the Mets with an OPS threat that will never be confused with their OBP. This won’t be easy, but there are options out there and this is simply what Sandy Alderson and company must spend the bulk of their dollars on, even at the expense of quality options in other areas. Shortstop is another key area, and there is a possibility that signing someone like Jhonny Peralta could address both concerns, as he played a decent LF for the Tigers in the playoffs. Also, it might be a pipe dream, but perhaps Ruben Tejada rededicates himself to the craft, and becomes the Tejada of 2012, which wasn’t too shabby.
Some readers might be disappointed to see First Base listed so far down the list, but lets think about this for a second. If Sandy obtains a power hitting outfielder, and another one who makes contact and gets on base, we can assume that the budget (again, it is what it is) is near tapped. Then I can live with Lucas/Ike/Josh batting 7th in that lineup.
I am expecting a decent offseason from this front office, I know I am in the minority in that sentiment, but I really believe there will be at least one blockbuster trade that the Mets are a part of.