An MMO Fan Shot by Dave in Spain
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Mets and how they can improve for 2016. I don´t think they need to make a lot of changes, as the core of the team is pretty good. But here are my thoughts on what they should do.
Starting Pitching – Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz make a great first four, and Zack Wheeler will be coming back in June or July. They´ll need a stopgap, but more on that later.
Closer – Jeurys Familia.
First Base – Lucas Duda is maddeningly streaky, but is patient, gets on base, and can hit with unusual power. Worth keeping, unless you could get Edwin Encarnación or Paul Goldschmidt, but that´s not happening. And Duda is under team control for two more seasons, which dovetails nicely with the arrival of Dominic Smith.
Second Base – The Mets are clearly planning on having Dilson Herrera man the keystone. As with any rookie, you never know, but based on his numbers in the minors and all the comments I´ve read about him, it’s worth giving him a shot. If he succeeds, he could match Daniel Murphy´s numbers, more or less, with better D. If he fails, slide Wilmer Flores over to 2B.
Shortstop – Wilmer Flores will never be Ozzie Smith or Rey Ordonez, but he´s improved in the field and gives you unusual power for a SS. He´s still very young (24), and works hard on improving. You’d like to see a higher OBP, but he can hold the fort until Gavin Cecchini or Amed Rosario challenge him. And if he has to move to 2B, Tejada can back him up.
Third Base – Which David Wright will show up in 2016? Will he play a full season? Will he still be able to hit for average? Has he lost his power? The team clearly needs a backup option just in case.
Center Field – Ah, Juan Lagares. The million-dollar question… Will his arm be healed by the spring? Was 2014 an offseason outlier? This is a potential area for improvement – see below.
Bullpen – There are some promising arms, but we might need somebody from the outside. Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, Carlos Torres, and Sean Gilmartin (Will he stay as a reliever, or will they stretch him out in Vegas to be a starter?) have all been pretty reliable, and with another year under their belts they could be even better. Parnell, Carlyle, Blevins, and Clippard are gone, and I can´t see Mejia getting another chance.
1. The Mets need a leadoff hitter. Grandy has done an admirable job there, but his power could be put to better use somewhere in the middle of the lineup. I would target one of either Dexter Fowler or Denard Span to play CF. Both are leadoff hitters. Fowler has more power, and is a switch hitter, while Span (if recovered from his hip surgery) is a lefty bat with a higher BA and OBP. Both can steal around 20-25 bases per year. Having either a LH or SW batter will balance the lineup. Both will be in demand, but will not command an Upton, Cespedes or Heyward sized contract.
2. I would trade Jon Niese for a solid utility/backup 3B, a strong setup reliever, and/or prospects. The acquiring team would get a solid lefty with one more guaranteed year at a reasonable price and two team option years.
3. I would re-sign Bartolo Colon. He could be a starter until Wheeler comes back, then transition to the pen. He’s older than the hills in baseball terms, but he can still pitch, and has been a great influence on all the Mets younger pitchers. If you don´t re-sign him, you still have Verrett, who has pitched pretty well this year as a starter, to be the stopgap starter for the first half.
4. I would get a solid utility player for 3B, either as a free agent or via a trade. While Juan Uribe is getting old, his overall numbers in 2015 were good, and he was great in the clubhouse.
I know that there are a lot of possible variations here, and it would change over the course of the year anyway, but this is a starting point.
- Dexter Fowler (S) or Denard Span (L) – CF
- David Wright (R) – 3B
- Curtis Granderson (L) – RF
- Travis d’Arnaud (R) – C
- Lucas Duda (L) – 1B
- Wilmer Flores (R) – SS
- Michael Conforto (L) – LF
- Dilson Herrera (R) – 2B
- Kevin Plawecki
- Ruben Tejada
- Juan Lagares
- Michael Cuddyer
- Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe
- Matt Harvey
- Jacob deGrom
- Noah Syndergaard
- Steven Matz
- Bartolo Colon / Zack Wheeler
- Jeurys Familia
- Addison Reed
- Hansel Robles
- Erik Goeddel
- Logan Verrett or Carlos Torres
- Sean Gilmartin
- Josh Smoker
This team would come in at around $105-108 million. Colon would probably get around what Niese would have been paid. Murphy, Parnell, Clippard will all be gone. There are some arbitration raises, but the Fowler/Span signing would probably be in the $12-15 million range for three years. Very do-able, and it leaves open the flexibility to sign one or more of our young pitchers to extensions when the time comes.
It´s time to get to work on 2016, and I don´t see the front office making sweeping changes to the team. But a few key additions, combined with good health (and a backup plan just in case), should put us right back the hunt next year. Let´s Go Mets!
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