Saturday, November 18, 2006

Offseason Analysis: The New York Mets--A Novella

The Returners
C: Paul Lo Duca 6.25 mil
1B: Carlos Delgado 14.5 mil
2B: Jose Valentin 3.8 mil
SS: Jose Reyes 2.5 mil
3B: David Wright 1 mil
LF: Endy Chavez (arb)
CF: Carlos Beltran 12 mil
RF: Throw Shawn Green down the well 3.3 mil (Arizona pays 5.8)


PH/"1B" Julio Franco 1.1 mil
IF Damion Easley 850 K
OF Ben Johnson (minimum)


2B/SS Anderson Hernandez
2B Ruben Gotay
OF Lastings Milledge


1/2 season at most of Pedro Martinez 14 mil
El Duque 4.5 mil
John Maine (minimum)
Oliver Perez (arb)
Dave Williams (arb)


Mike Pelfrey (800-ish K)
Brian Bannister (minimum)
Alay Soler (900 K)
Philip Humber (800-ish K)


Billy Wagner 10.5 mil
Duaner Sanchez (arb)
Aaron Heilman (arb)
Pedro Feliciano (arb)
Jon Adkins (arb)


Henry Owens
Juan Padilla
Steve Schmuck
Jason Standridge

Free Agents the Mets seem to be interested in keeping:
Chad Bradford
Tom Glavine
Guillermo Mota

Free Agents the Mets don't seem to be interested in re-signing:

Mike DiFelice
Cliff Floyd
Roberto Hernandez
Ricky Ledee
Eli Marrero
Kelly Stinnett
Steve Trachsel
Michael Tucker
Chris Woodward

Free Agents/Arb-eligible guys I can't get a good read on what the Mets want to do with:

Edgardo Alfonzo
Ramon Castro
Scott Kazmir
Darren Oliver

1) Second base
Jose Valentin still can't hit left-handers, and the club would love to make him a bench player spotting all the infield (but mainly second). Damion Easley was brought in to give a nominal presence against lefties should all attempts to upgrade fail (.764 OPS last year, .755 career). Anderson Hernandez would be a great partner if he could hit lefties (or anyone), but he's purely a defensive sub for the middle infield.

As far as free agents, Ray Durham hit 26 homers last year and is the premiere second baseman on the market. But the Mets have balked at him before, turning down a Durham for Kaz Matsui offer in 2005 mainly due to concerns about his defense. He also probably wouldn't be willing to split time, so I doubt he'd be a target.

A better option would be Julio Lugo, but I doubt he'd want to play second base instead of play shortstop for the Red Sox, who will probably offer him more money anyway. So, I'm not optimistic about the chances for that.

Theres been some talk about Adam Kennedy, and while he's a surer bet than Valentin defensively and theres not as much a chance of total regression, I don't think he's worth it in this market. You've got to go stars and scrubs at this point, with the fact that people like Mark DeRosa are getting 4 mil a year. Todd Walker is a good player, but has about the same bat as Valentin and less defense, so I doubt he'll be considered.

Probably my favorite target would be Tony Graffanino (ChartAChild). He's solid defensively, hits lefties, and would give us a credible middling option should Valentin turn back into a pumpkin. Mark Loretta provides the same thing, but I don't think he'd be willing to play a platoon role.

2) Corner outfield

Moises Alou is reportedly going to be the next answer here, according to Heyman and Rosenthal. I think Alou fits in well here, as he's essentially the same injury prone slugger that Floyd was, except a right-handed bat that we need for balance. I feel bad for Floyd, he gave us a lot of good at-bats and wants to be back, but he's just so hobbled that it's hard for him to play NL baseball.

Sadly, this shortens the novella as I don't have to talk about why I don't want to give Soriano or Carlos Lee or JD Drew a lot of money.

Alou and Endy should be a solid offense/defense combo and Endy will get some spot starts there and in center. And Lastings can come up during the inevitable 6 week injury that Alou suffers and we'll see what he can do then. Assuming he isn't traded. The real problem is that the Mets seem to think Throw Shawn Green down the well is a productive outfielder, wheras in reality, he sucks major ass. He'd be an okay bench player, unfortunately, I think we're stuck with him. Which leaves us with...

3) The Bench

Assuming Julio Franco is a lock for veteran clutchness and coolness and breaking old man records, he'll join Valentin, second base option du jour, or Damion Easley. Then Endy. That leaves us with two or three bench spots. Ramon Castro should be a fine backup catcher, and I hope he comes back. If not, my favorite catcher on the free agent market is former Blue Jay fluker Greg Myers. But, lets say Ramon comes back.

This gives us 3 righties, 1 switch, and 0 lefties. The problem this sets up is that there is no righty to spot Green, because we need an impact lefty pinch-hitter. I really like David Dellucci, but I think he thinks he's better than Shawn Green (and he's right), so he wouldn't want to be a bench guy again. Theres always re-signing Cliff Floyd. I don't think we want to though. Craig Wilson would be a good option if he weren't a righty. Unfortunately, I think this will probably be a spot that we ignore to our detriment. Heres hoping it's Dellucci though. I'd talk about the other bench spot, but the Mets almost always carry twelve pitchers.

4) Aaron Heilman

Heilman continues to demand that he's a starter. Mets braintrust doesn't agree. The thing is though, he's had two good years in a row out of the pen, so he has a lot of value as a cheap option in the trade market. In a world where Scott Linebrink can be a key piece to a Marcus Giles trade, and assuming we re-sign Bradford, we have a pretty dependable bullpen, I would definitely explore what we could get for Heilman this offsesaon.

He's already been linked to the Red Sox, Cubs, and Devil Rays, and I'll throw in my thoughts on who I would or wouldn't think about on those teams, as well as some other situations I think work.

The Red Sox were really all about Manny for us, and when Alou signs, I think that takes care of any kind of deal with them that doesn't involve prospects. The Red Sox have as much of a problem with starting pitching as we do, and there just doesn't seem to be much immediate help that would be available.

The Cubs can't really help us out starter-wise, as they have no one reliable outside of Zambrano, who shouldn't be for trade. I'd love to get Matt Murton, but thats only because he's the best person ever.

The Devil Rays. I have a lot of interest in talking to them, but I don't think they will give us a fair deal. They have Cantu, who we could be nominally interested as a right-handed bet. Most importantly, they have a ton of outfield talent. I don't know if Carl Crawford is available, but I'd build a Milledge/Heilman/more package and see if they'd bite. Even if he's not, Jonny Gomes and Elijah Dukes could both be solid options, the former more than the latter.

Assuming we want to deal for a starter, the White Sox, Tigers, and Angels seem to have the most to deal from. The former two don't need much bullpen help though, and the White Sox have a bunch of starters that, while interesting, are expensive enough to make me second-guess dealing Heilman for them. There were talks about Javy Vazquez somewhere, but I think with Garland getting dealt we're done with those for awhile. Probably the best option is to work out some kind of deal for the Rockies with Jason Jennings coming back, although I have to admit off-hand I have no idea if they are even interested in Heilman.

Ultimately, I think Heilman will be traded. Where he is dealt will be a big key to what the rest of the offseason will bring.

5) The Starting Rotation

A huge factor this offseason has been the development of the pitching market skyrocketing. The Mets still need at least two more reliable starters, so they will have to play here unless they can get Jennings. I never thought I'd be rooting for Tom Glavine to come back three years ago, but here we are. He's 50/50 between the Mets and Braves and I don't understand how the Braves are in this thing, does he love his family enough to give up the 6 or 7 million extra he tends to gain? I think ultimately, his union rep status will force him to New York, where he will get his 300th win.

As far as the other starters, we are linked to Barry Zito by just about everybody, GM's and writers alike. I don't really think he's better than Matsuzaka or Schmidt (who I'd like to see a play for, but I understand he is a West Coaster), but he's a reliable starter and his ERA may very well come down in the National League. I'm gonna go ahead and tenatively award him to the Mets, though I can't say I'm super thrilled about it like I would be if we had Matsuzaka.

If we somehow whiffed on one or two of them, we are FUCKED. Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, and Ted Lilly are pulling insane offers for mediocre starters. If we don't get Zito, I'd rather sit through Bannister than give 48 million to Jeff Suppan, 'nuff said. Andy Pettitte would fit into the Zito/Schmidt conversation if he were not retiring, but I say he is, and even if he isn't, he'd stay in Houston or be a Yankee. Were we screwed into a deal with any of the non-Zito/Schimidt starters on the market, the guys I would target would be people who haven't really been bandied around as much as the Suppan/Lilly/Padilla class, guys like Gil Meche, John Thomson, or Tomo Ohka could be solid third starters, I'm especially high on Meche, since he struck out 156 last year and would probably see an ERA reduction coming over from the AL. However, were we to miss out on all of them, I would hope we would get Kei Igawa from the Hanshin Tigers. Kei translates to around a 4 ERA, and in Shea probably less. He also would have much less leverage as an unproven commodity.

What I'd like to see us break camp with:
Jose Reyes
Paul Lo Duca
Carlos Beltran
Carlos Delgado
David Wright
Moises Alou
Jonny Gomes (Trade Heilman for him and some maybe pitcher)
Jose Valentin

Ramon Castro
Julio Franco
Tony Graffanino
Endy Chavez
Shawn Green

Barry Zito
Tom Glavine
El Duque
John Maine
Oliver Perez

Billy Wagner
Duaner Sanchez
Chad Bradford
Pedro Feliciano
Guillermo Mota
FA/Big Camp Reliever
Darren Oliver/Brian Bannister

Thats a team I'd feel confident defending the NL East with.

1 comment:

Medicine said...

However, were we to miss out on all of them, I would
hope we would get Kei Igawa from the Hanshin Tigers.