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.
Ruben Tejada‘s New York Mets career came to an end when Chase Utley broke his leg during last year’s National League Division Series.
With the off-season additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera pushing Wilmer Flores into a reserve role, Tejada was slated to be the Mets’ second backup infielder in 2016… and with a $3 million salary, Tejada was apparently too expensive for the Mets.
According to published reports, the Mets placed Tejada on waivers – if another team claims him, the Mets would be completely free of Tejada’s salary. If they end up releasing him more than 15 days before Opening Day, the Mets still save 5/6 of the money.
If you thought the Yoenis Cespedes signing signaled an end to the Mets’ penny-pinching payrolls, I guess you were wrong.
Cabrera is hurt and may miss Opening Day. Wright is slated to make his first Grapefruit League appearance on Friday, and there are questions about just how many regular season games he will be able to play this year.
I don’t think anyone who has watched the Mets regularly during Terry Collins‘ managerial tenure will be very surprised by his comments in Bob Nightengale‘s USA Today piece.
“I’m not going to sit there today and look at all of these (expletive) numbers and try to predict this guy is going to be a great player. OPS this. OPS that. GPS. LCSs. DSDs. You know who has good numbers? Good (expletive) players.
For better or worse, that’s who Collins is… he’s going to summon that lefty reliever to get a left-handed hitter out even though the lefty reliever fares better against right-handed batters, and he’s going to go with the hitter who he believes gives him the best chance to win even if those numbers suggest he should use somebody else in that spot.
He did get to the World Series last year and all of the Mets players seem to love him, so it’s hard to argue with success.
But as a fan, I’d sure like to think that there’s somebody in the dugout who is paying attention to the numbers. Someone who has enough of Collins’ respect to maybe talk him out of some of those not-so-good strategic moves, and who can help players identify and perhaps overcome their weaknesses.
Or we can just keep pushing Sandy Alderson to fill the roster with “Good (expletive) players.”