An MMO Fan Shot by Travis (T Boogy)
Believe it or not, money may be an issue this off-season for the Mets. Yes, sarcasm. Seriously, though, if Yoenis Cespedes re-signs then there will not be much money to go around for other free agents given that several young Mets are due for substantial raises in arbitration. But, we all want Cespedes to stay because of the impact he has on the lineup.
Even if Cespedes leaves it’s possible that money may not be so abundant. It’s possible Neil Walker gets and accepts a Qualifying Offer, or signs a long-term contract with the Mets. Additionally, Sandy Alderson may have to spend more than expected to beef up the bullpen with Familia’s uncertainty. I’m actually hoping the rest of the teams over-bid for Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen and that Sandy makes a run at Mark Melancon instead. He is every bit as good as his high-strikeout, flashier counterparts but doesn’t get the attention, and hopefully not as much money. But, that’s for another article.
For now, I’d like to look at the scenario if Cespedes leaves. Assuming Sandy doesn’t want to go after Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond, or Dexter Fowler, then he may want to rely on the current crop of Met outfielders. The problem is that 4 of the top 5 remaining are LHB and without a RHB the Mets would be vulnerable to left-handed starters. I love Juan Lagares but he’s having trouble staying on the field and, when he is healthy, he’s having trouble being consistent. In addition, it would be great if the Mets had a RHB who could play first base also since Duda may need a platoon partner. That would free up to Flores to play elsewhere if needed.
Here are some options for right-handed batters that have the ability to play outfield and first base as platoon options:
Steve Pearce: Free Agent; .852 OPS against lefties (1.028 last year). He has long been sought after for his versatility and favorable splits. He plays against every lefty starter but also is solid enough to earn some starts against some righties.
Sean Rodriguez: Free Agent; .755 OPS against lefties (.934 last year). Had a huge year last year and the Pirates will likely want to keep him, especially if they consider trading McCutchen. He has tremendous defensive versatility, with experience last year at every position except for pitcher and catcher. After a disappointing year in 2015, he re-signed with the Pirates for $2.5 million. He won’t be that cheap this off-season.
Scott Van Slyke: Two years left of control (estimated $1.3 million in arbitration); .845 OPS against lefties (.739 last year). Many fans were clamoring to trade for him after his solid 2014 season but injuries and inconsistencies have slowed him down. Last year he battled back and wrist injuries and only played in 52 games. If he’s healthy, then his versatility and bat against lefties are exactly what the Mets will need.
Danny Valencia: One year left of control (estimated $5.3 million in arbitration); .873 OPS against lefties (.924 last year). Billy Beane doesn’t seem to love this guy despite his solid production since coming to Oakland. A’s prospect Ryon Healy impressed in his debut this past season and appears to have third base locked down. Ditto for left field where Khris Davis had a huge year. He was shopped at the trade deadline and likely will be shopped again this off-season.
There is a low probability of prying a Tyler White or David Freese away from their clubs. I thought about Mark Reynolds, who is a free agent, but last year he had reverse splits (although his career splits are fairly even).
A player of interest: Chris Colabello. I know, I know, his big 2015 season was likely due to steroids and he flamed out last year after returning from suspension. But, if the Jays non-tender him then he likely will come cheap and may be worth a $1 million risk.
Lots of scenarios and variables out there. Let me know what you think. Did I miss anyone? Any of these guys appeal to you?
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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Travis (T Boogy). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 30,000 Met fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to FanShot@MetsmerizedOnline.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.