…the Mets contingent has just arrived at the Winter Meetings!
Seriously, I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot from them, but as was the case during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Winter Meetings, they came, they talked and they left empty-handed. Met fans that were fat and happy last December after a World Series berth are far less content this December, so this development has Mets bloggers, boardies and WFAN callers (yes they still exist) back in 2014 mode.
I’ll admit to feeling more than just a twinge of jealousy with some of the big deals being announced, while the biggest Mets news this week is that Tim Tebow won’t get an invite to their major league spring training camp. But, I think that spending $80-plus million for a closer on the wrong side of thirty or trading three top prospects for a good, but not great player (and then planning to play him in a different position) is a far worse development than telling a fan base ravenous for some player move news that diner has been delayed. Those Stupid Idiots on the Baseball Network and their 24/7 coverage aren’t helping either.
Let’s not forget that prior to the Winter Meetings, the Mets bagged Yoenis Cespedes, who had been ranked by many observers as the top player in this year’s Free Agent class. They retained the services of Neil Walker, who was a relatively unsung hero during the dog days of last summer and who’s presence in the lineup makes a world of difference. They also held onto seven young and cheap starting pitchers, uber-prospect Amed Rosario, and the ever-popular and still very useful Curtis Granderson.
They must have missed my article on Michael Conforto. Even worse than that, this week we all bumped our heads on the glass ceiling that is the Mets payroll budget. I get it that this is the Wilpon’s money (or most of it is) and that the current level of payroll is more money than any of us will ever see in our lifetimes. But this team is close, very close, and the right addition or two could make a huge difference.
I have read some speculation that Sandy Alderson’s recent comments are his subtle way of poking the Wilpons publically into loosening the purse strings some more. I agree. Alderson knows these guys and until proven otherwise, I believe he knows what he is doing.
Stay tuned and keep the faith.
The Yankees can blow oodles of money on a closer who’s almost 29 because they’re loaded. I doubt it’ll hurt them.
As for the Nats, I am happy to see them part with Reynaldo Lopez, whose stuff looked nasty. And Giolito, well, his numbers don’t bear out the hype, but the scouts love him, so I guess I’m glad to see him gone too. Adam Eaton seems like the kind of player who always kills the Mets, though, and a good-OBP guy replacing Ben Revere is a big step up. If Turner’s 2016 wasn’t a fluke, that is a relentless lineup now.
I’m disappointed the Mets couldn’t find someone who’s as high on Bruce as they were last July, but there’s still time.
As for the Mets’ prior moves, I think Walker is a significant risk at $17M. If a few HRs turn into doubles and that range gets exposed and those back problems crop up again, look out. If only Dilson Herrera were around as Plan B…
While most of us Met fans are disappointed that Alderson did not make any upgrades this week, I can’t say I blame him. Really, the current marketplace dictated a holding pattern, as reaction to the late CBA created more supply of OF choices. We, along with the rest of baseball, know that Bruce is a one-dimensional player with numbers that were likely inflated by the ballpark in Cincy along with Votto in the lineup. Anyhow, an AL team in a hitter’s ballpark can extract the most WAR from him, so I think a deal will ultimately be made. Brach is perfect for the Mets, but the way the game is played today, an All-star 7th inning reliever is clearly more valued than a one-dimensional 30 HR LH bat.
Yes, 2017 is “iffy”, but there is no way around it. 3/4 of the infield is coming off significant back problems (yikes) and no amount of dealing could undo that short of gutting the system. And of course the heralded starting pitching will need to prove both health and effectiveness, otherwise they have no shot against the better teams. The Nats are formidable and their lineup clearly superior to the Mets, but as a Met fan I would rather deal with Eaton than those fireballers stacked in the bullpen.
Lastly, like many others, I am skeptical about the Wilpon desire to compete for a championship. Yup, they dropped some serious coin on Cespedes, but I could make a case that his signing was as much a marketing move (season tix, TV ads) as a baseball move. This team needs two high level arms added to its pen, to have no weak links and closing duplicity. If they are serious about doing that, Alderson can’t be forced to wait to “free up” Bruce’s money to do so. I am not saying to drop $85 million on Jansen, that and the Chapman/Melancon deals are nuts to me. But, signing a “leftover” or filling out the roster with minor league invites doesn’t do it for me in 2017. This team will need to win on pitching, and by giving Collins enough high quality bullpen options that he doesn’t need to or won’t burn out the same two or three guys in every close game. With this lineup, there will likely be many close games that require 3 to 3+ innings of strong bullpen work. It will take 7 high end guys to do it, and they still need 2-3. Pay Blevins and give Baltimore what it takes (Bruce +) to get Brach,and keep the 12 best pitchers at the MLB level next year. And go play ball.
The Mets have a currently good team, not great and not close to pre-carter 86 good, but good enough to compete for the east with the Nata and whoever else is up for it. Therefore the tickets sales are there, the cash flow is there, so why the limitations?
I like for Alderson to keep money available for in season moves. They’re necesary, but now, entering 2017 the bullpen is necesary. If they move Bruce or not, doesn’t really matter. As I’ve said before, i wouldn’t mind keeping him.
But they must bring in arms for the bullpen.
The Mets biggest asset is there starters, and the best way to protect them is having a bp that can take over after 6. And alderson knows that.
So yes, even though I expect Sandy to bring in a couple of fresh arms before spring training, it worries me that money is an issue