Aubrey Huff was a pretty good baseball player for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and others, last appearing in the major leagues in 2012 with the San Francisco Giants.
He’s also an artist and seemingly a fan of Marvel superheroes. If you looked at Huff’s Twitter feed today, you’d have seen paintings of Iron Man and Captain America that he’s hoping to get signed by Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans for a charity auction.
Yesterday, the New York Mets made what is likely to be their biggest move of the off-season. They reached an agreement with free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to bring him back to New York for the next four seasons that will make him the highest paid Mets player ever (at least in terms of average annual value.
And that’s great. No, really, it is – the 2017 Mets will be a lot more fun to watch with Cespedes in the lineup than without him.
But at least according to published reports, Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson‘s next off-season priority is trading away RF Jay Bruce or CF Curtis Granderson.
The 2016 Mets were tied for 25th in the majors in runs scored despite ranking 5th in home runs. And since it seems like the offensive game plan is going to be the same in next year, don’t you want to have a deeper lineup where all three of your starting outfielders are legitimate 20+ home run threats?
But ok, Cespedes is a Gold Glove left fielder, while neither Bruce nor Granderson are considered strong defensive players. Maybe Alderson is trying to shore up the defense in a deal? Nope… at least not according to what Newsday’s Marc Carig is hearing. The Mets are hoping to unload one of their outfielders for “prospects or even a controllable bullpen piece.”
If Bruce is traded, Granderson would play center and presumably Michael Conforto would inherit right…perhaps in a platoon with Juan Lagares. If Granderson gets traded, Bruce plays right and Conforto and Lagares platoon in center.
So unless Conforto figures out how to hit curveballs this winter and starts living up to the promise we saw when he first came up in 2015, we’re probably looking at an offense that will be very similar to what we watched last year.
And I don’t think I have to remind anyone that wasn’t always a whole lot of fun.
But at least we don’t have to find out how much worse the Mets’ offense could look without Cespedes. So we’ve got that going for us, which is something.
The New York Mets’ 2016 baseball season lasted 163 games, ending last Wednesday when Jeurys Familia gave up a three-run homer to Conor Gillaspie in the ninth inning of the National League Wild Card Game. The Mets hitters couldn’t figure out how to deal with San Francisco Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a shutout.
I won’t lie – it was a frustrating loss. But several days later, I’m willing to tip my cap to Bumgarner and the Giants. They were the better team on Wednesday, though they’re standing on the brink of elimination from the National League Division Series. The Giants ran into a team that’s better than them in the Chicago Cubs. That’s how baseball is supposed to work…and sometimes it does.
Terry Collins took a team to the postseason, if only for three hours, with a rotation that included unheralded rookies Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, along with ageless veteran Bartolo Colon and the Mets’ one enduring ace, Noah Syndergaard. He patched together an infield that included just one Opening Day starter. And somehow, he kept everyone believing that a playoff push was possible when common sense said to start planning for 2017. If that’s not worthy of Manager of the Year consideration, I don’t know what is.
So now we wait and watch to see who will be crowned the 2016 World Series Champ, even though it won’t be the Mets. I’m rooting for Daniel Murphy and his Washington Nationals teammates, but I could see myself switching over to Justin Turner‘s Dodgers if the Nats don’t make it.
The Mets have a host of important roster decisions to make this winter…the team that starts 2017 may not bear much resemblance to the one that finished 2016. That’s ok, and it makes for an interesting hot stove season.
Meanwhile, I have a bunch of baseball cards to sort, checklists to update and autograph request letters to write.