I like what Joel Sherman of the NY Post had to say this morning about the Mets, the Rays, the A’s and building from the bottom up.
There have been too many late-season days when the Mets too closely resemble the Long Island Ducks. They need to fortify the whole roster, even with money tight.
They are closer — in financial willingness — to Tampa Bay and Oakland than, say, Philadelphia and Detroit. And Tampa Bay had the second-lowest payroll in the AL last year, Oakland the third. Yet, Oakland had the AL’s second-best record and Tampa Bay the fourth.
It is impressive how many good players both jam onto their rosters, especially considering their limitations. They do this by thinking of filling the roster from the bottom up, making sure there are no wasted roster spots.
They can’t get the high-paid players, thus, they make sure their low-paid guys have use, belong in the majors.
There is a myth that they do this by drafting well. The reality is neither has, and Tampa Bay, in fact, over the past five or six years has been rather dreadful. What both teams are particularly adept at is finding players who have a few above-average skills then unearthing a counterpart who covers the flaws.
This makes roster construction trickier and means you have to possess a few anchors, which the Mets believe they have in David Wright and Daniel Murphy and hope they have in Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares. That allows for mixing and matching elsewhere.
Yet here is a problem the Mets might face already: Alderson went to Houston to meet face-to-face with Chris Young. One reason the Mets believe they succeeded in signing him is the GM promised full-time play, though probably not in center. The Mets believe Young is one of those players who need regular at-bats to succeed, to be closer to the All-Star he was in 2010.
Sherman says that Young’s numbers are less meaningful outside of center field and that that the A’s actually used him mainly against lefties last year and he was “still miserable (.200 overall average).”
I can’t find any fault with anything Sherman says here and more often than not we usually disagree.
On another note, I’ve been reaching out to some Houston Astros people to verify something that was told in confidence to me this morning.
I was informed that the only other team who had “real interest” in Chris Young were the Astros, but they were “unwilling to go more than $3-4 million dollars” for him. I haven’t received any replies yet, but when I do I’ll make a full post on it.