I think the Mets have had a decent off season thus far. Going into the offseason I felt the Mets needed to sign 7 or 8 players that would be on the 40 man roster for the majority of the 2014 season. Those 7 or 8 would be two outfielders, two relievers, two starting pitchers, a shortstop and a backup catcher. With the projected $30-$35 million of payroll space, I knew the big names such as Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Robinson Cano etc. would not be an option, and after seeing what they ultimately signed for, I’m glad they weren’t.
With Choo and Ellsbury unavailable, Curtis Granderson was my next option. I like the signing, but I don’t like the guaranteed 4th year of the deal, especially since they bid against themselves to get the deal done. There are several free agents still on the market that are tied to draft pick compensation, so I’m not sure anyone else would’ve given Granderson 3/$45 and also give up a 1st Round pick. I think he ultimately would’ve signed with us at 3/$45 considering he clearly wanted to stay in NY.
The Chris Young signing was OK. I’m not totally against it. I think Young was about to sign with someone else, and at the time, we weren’t sure if we could land Granderson. It’s only a a $7.25 million commitment for one year. It could be a huge reward without taking on too much risk if he returns to an All-Star caliber level. At the same time, it could hinder the development of Juan Lagares, and we could’ve signed a shortstop or a couple of RP with that $7 million.
I like the Bartolo Colon signing, as I stated previously, but I don’t love it. Pitchers get hurt. There is no such thing as pitching depth, and it’s possible that we get ace level production for No. 3 or 4 starter money, and we’re only committed for two years. We also added Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan as rotation depth. I like the Dice K signing. Lannan, not so much. I would’ve taken the chance on Clayton Richard instead.
As far as the position players go, I would’ve preferred the Mets signed Granderson at 3/$45, and addressed our SS situation by signing Stephen Drew at 3/$36. Taking a shot on guys like Roger Bernadina and Tyler Colvin on minor league deals was something I wish they had done also. George Kottaras was DFA’d by KC early in the off season. He could have provided depth at the catcher position, and has always had a high OBP. Theo Epstein quickly scooped him up. Michael McKenry is another guy I wanted us to add as depth behind the plate on a minor league deal. Signing A.J. Pierzynski to mentor TDA would’ve been a really nice move, and he signed the same contract as Chris Young. All of those guys will most likely out produce Taylor Teagarden. I do like Anthony Recker as the backup, but if TDA goes down early, we’re in trouble.
The Colon signing was surprising, and I would’ve preferred the Mets take a gamble on guys like Jeff Niemann, James McDonald, Jake Westbrook, Tommy Hanson or Clayton Richard. Instead of spending $20 mill on Colon, we could’ve signed 3 or 4 of these guys to minor league deals. Chances are one of them will bounce back. In fairness, I haven’t seen their medicals. I would still like to see the Mets add Joel Hanrahan or Andrew Bailey on low base incentive laden deals, but they may not be healthy until June or July. Jesse Crain would’ve been a nice gamble also.
The two things that I felt the Mets absolutely had to do this offseason was sign or trade for a shortstop and move Ike Davis. The Rays and Mets matched up very well as trade partners earlier in the offseason, before Tampa signed James Loney, and traded Alex Torres. The Rays traded Torres for Logan Forsythe, and it was rumored they had at least some level of interest in Ike. Torres would’ve been a really nice addition to our bullpen as a lefty RP, and it would’ve cleaned up the 1B situation a bit. Ike Davis & Wilmer Flores for Matt Joyce & Alex Torres, and something else. We could’ve expanded the deal to include C Jose Lobaton, SS Hak-Ju Lee or SP Jeremy Hellickson. All those guys would’ve filled needs on our team. The Pirates have McCutchen, Marte, Tabata, & Lambo with Polanco on the way. Prying Tabata or Lambo in a deal involving Ike would’ve really helped. Dexter Fowler and Drew Pomeranz to the Astros for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes is a deal I wish we could’ve gotten it on. Fowler would certainly fill a need at the top of the order. I like Fowler much more than Chris Young. An OF filled with Fowler in LF, Lagares in CF & Granderson in RF would’ve been just fine by me.
All in all, I’m not disappointed in the Mets offseason, and if they can move Ike for a RP or a pitching prospect, and sign Stephen Drew, then I would consider this offseason a very successful one. In fact, I think it will make us contenders for the second Wild Card spot.