An MMO Fan Shot by Robert Walsh
Christmas is coming and “Santa” Sandy Alderson got us an amazing early Christmas present in re-signing the largest prize of this offseason in Yoenis Cespedes. Thank you Santa Sandy! While this will prove to be an excellent signing for the Mets it does place them back in the predicament Sandy recently alluded to as being like a move between two houses, where we have four corner outfielders and not a true center fielder.
There is still plenty of time to get deals done this off-season and the Mets should not be content in a straight salary dump of Jay Bruce. Deducting Bruce’s projected $13 million salary comes at the cost of the .440 slugging percentage FanGraphs Steamer is projecting.
Sandy has stated he is not looking to dump for project prospects but legitimate players that could contribute. Translation, he is looking to turn him for a middle innings reliever at negligible cost and not eat any of what Bruce is due. It is imperative the Mets look to address the deduction this takes from their lineup.
Amongst the sellers and teams in motion during the winter meetings, the Royals and Rockies standout as potential partners to be had with the Mets.
The Royals having already dealt Wade Davis for Jorge Soler have shown their cards as a mid to small market club not able to maintain their assets into free agency. Astutely they’ve capitalized on short term free agents to-be by cashing in with ready to plug in cost-controlled players. Lorenzo Cain is a great fit playing in the last year of his contract. With a two year WAR average of 4.5 he is top five amongst players under 32. He has a low strike out rate of 17.5% and a high on-base of .352 which is exactly in the Mets’ wheelhouse – the question is what it will take?
Obviously the Royals did not take pitching back in return for Davis and this would vacate a starting spot in their outfield. Would a package of Michael Conforto and Robert Gsellman get it done? Two cost controlled players ready to plug-in for one in their contract year. I would argue this is what the Royals would like, if I were the Mets I’d ensure there was a sweetener of a prospect from their side to get this done.
Another option is talking to the Rockies about Charlie Blackmon. I think we were all scratching our heads when we read that the Rockies had recently signed Ian Desmond to play …First Base? So like the Mets the Rockies have more outfielders than they need except they’re going with the mantra of plugging their holes with the best bats regardless of defense. Not ideal but I think a deal with the Mets could even out their needs and assets more effectively.
Obviously Ian Desmond is an outfielder now and a legitimate one. Could he play in the infield, certainly but let’s not expect Gold Glove defense at first and his options to the left side of the diamond are nil and none in Colorado.
Blackmon would be an incredible leadoff bat for the Mets that would answer their needs at center field as well. This would reshape the lineup presumably allowing Curtis Granderson to move down to more RBI prone 2 or 6 slot where he could do more damage.
Could a package of Robert Gsellman and Lucas Duda persuade the Rockies to give up Blackmon? Duda would be a better solution for the Rockies at first base, and they desperately need more pitching depth. This allows Desmond to move to a more comfortable center field.
The other option for them would be Steven Matz straight up and they could go continue to pursue Edwin Encarnacion at first base which they’ve been connected to. Encarnacion would rake hitting at Coors Field. The Mets could presumably fill first base with Wilmer Flores to start, but could easily find roles with Reyes and Dominic Smith throughout the year.
Any which way you slice it the Mets have to get creative to address their needs in this market. Getting rid of Bruce’s salary straight up doesn’t help the lineup it hurts it. The Royals and Rockies are two teams showing a willingness to get things done that the Mets match up very well with. The question for both scenarios is who’s more willing and what will it take.
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This MMO Fan Shot was written by MMO reader Robert Walsh. 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.