Published by Fran Cava
In light of the whole Jared Porter fiasco, the Mets had to deal with internally, Toronto strategically revved up their bidding on George Springer. As reported, these two teams were neck and neck for the thirty-one-year-old Connecticut native. In the last stages of bidding the Mets offered six years for 125 million; which they can be grateful he did not accept. Toronto went above and beyond by giving six years for 150 million, but it’s understandable. They’re a young team that could benefit from having a veteran with an all-star level bat in the locker room, and who’s had postseason success. Springer checks all those boxes and takes their offense to another degree. Their name was linked to every major free agent, so it was nice to see them land one. As for the Mets, with a ton of contract uncertainties coming up like Conforto, Syndergaard, Stroman, and Lindor – signing Springer long term just doesn’t make a lot of sense. While I think he could have transcended their offense to an elite plateau this year, his contract after 3 years won’t be too appealing. He’ll be moved to a corner outfield spot where his value diminishes, and his glove won’t be as sharp. Not exactly a guy you want to be shelling out 25 million a year to, especially when he’s 36. Still, the Mets struck out and need to answer the void in center field.
Centerfield throughout the entire league is a very thin position. Stars are few and far between, with the majority being good on only one side of the baseball. It’s exactly why a publication like MLB Network would be inclined to put Nimmo as the 5th best center fielder when anyone who watches a game knows he’s a 4th outfielder who’s best suited in left. The position’s lack of depth is the exact reason fans were disappointed to see Toronto steal Springer away, but there are still moves to be made. Unless the Mets want to go the trade route and acquire someone like Harrison Bader, there’s a seamless cheap fit sitting in free agency. I won’t be the first, nor the last to mention his name but Jackie Bradley Jr. would be a nice alternative to snag. Not even comparable to Springer on the offensive end, but a Gold Glover who will negate the negative defensive play holding this premier offense back. People like to forget that in this shortened year the Mets finished 3rd in total offensive rankings. They then proceeded to trade for the best shortstop in the league, and a catcher who plays well on both sides. The offense will be fine without George, they need to take care of the defensive side of the ball first and foremost. Jackie will likely command a 2-year deal in the range of 20-24 million; in other words, chump change for the new administration.
Speaking of the defensive side of the ball, third base is a problem. Sure Arenado, or Justin Turner would have been great answers but Cohen is being patient. I love JD Davis. He’s a fan favorite and his bat is electric. He’s a timely hitter that makes great contact, but defensively he’s a nightmare. The experiment in left was a shit show, and at third, he’s just extremely inconsistent. He’s the perfect DH, which is where he’ll be slotted when the NL hopefully institutes the rule this year. Nonetheless, this season they need a defensive guy that ideally bats right-handed. As the roster fills out the Mets are becoming a predominantly left-handed team, so a righty bat is becoming a dire need. Why not kill two birds with one stone and sign Kike Hernandez? A Swiss army man on defense, who can play any position besides catcher and provides a bat that you can get away with. While he may be perceived as a bench piece, he can find his way into the lineup every day giving different guys rest. He’s also had some timely hits during his major league tenure.
A cheap deal, thinking two years for 17 million at most gets it done.
The consensus has been the Mets will leave the rotation be until the start of the season, unless of course, they sign Trevor Bauer. They haven’t been linked to any other Free Agent starter, and to be fair no other starter at this point will bolster the rotation. They also picked up a nice depth southpaw in Lucchesi for a bag of peanuts, so the rotation looks solid for now. The bullpen has some great pieces like Lugo, May, and reluctantly saying this but Diaz as well; but it can use another arm. They dropped the ball letting Yates go north of the border, and the ties to Jeffries have to be severed. His analytics point to a steady decline that’s already in motion. The fan base was pump-faked when Hand was reported to be heading to New York earlier this week, but the deal fell through. Perhaps Rosenthal jumped the gun because the Mets are still in active deep talks with the former Cleveland closer. He’s also a lefty which the pen desperately needs, and he’s a true closer. This will allow Diaz to pitch in less rattling situations, and maybe let Hand take the 9th. Imagine a 7-8-9 of Lugo-Diaz-Hand. It’s a thing to marvel at as a fan, and a burden for an opposing team attempting to come back in a game.
If the Mets make these three moves and Ozuna decides to leave Atlanta, the division will lean in New York’s favor. If the holes aren’t filled then the Mets are going to continue to struggle defensively, and the pen will always be just one piece away. In essence, whichever team closes out the offseason stronger will have the advantage come regular season play.