Merry Christmas everyone. While the past few years with the Mets have tempered my enthusiasm for baseball somewhat (OK, greatly) this time of year does signal that we’ve reached the halfway point in the offseason. I think “halfway there” also describes the current state of the Mets offseason. FWIW, I do approve of both the Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson signings. I am also willing to remain optimistic that Chris Young can actually contribute. Kudos to Sandy Alderson (and the Wilpons) on this trio of moves.
But then there is this:
“Well, I think it is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago, let’s say,” (Alderson) said. “But we’ve improved the team at other positions. And so giving Ruben (Tejada) a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn’t such a bad thing. But we’ll continue to monitor what’s there from the trade market and conceivably free agency, although there really isn’t much left there. There are two or three teams that are possibilities.”
Oh boy. This sounds like the usual doublespeak from the GM. It looks like we are not only stuck with Tejada again, but some combination of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda at first base. If that is indeed the case then the Mets are at essentially Hold Serve, or another 74 win season.
In my estimation, what this flurry of moves really did was buy the regime a little more time this offseason. At this point, waiting for the market to come to them may not be the worst of strategies. I think holding out for a good pitching prospect for Ike is a sound plan. Either Nick Kingham or Tyler Thornburg would be a solid return. In a perfect world, Ike comes to Spring Training still a Met, launches a few moonshots, builds his value and gets dealt at the price Alderson is asking for (and apparently not getting) right now. They would then need to resist the notion that Davis is “back,” but that is another post.
Unfortunately for the Mets, the ideal shortstop for them currently plays in Toronto and is never coming back here. Stephen Drew is a nice enough name and if Sandy’s “let the market come to us” strategy makes Drew a Met I won’t be too upset. But, let’s go back to Alderson’s quote for a moment. What if one of those “two or three teams” is the LA Dodgers? They do have Joe’s long time fave Dee Gordon, a shortstop with the speed to hit leadoff. Gordon is blocked by Hanley Ramirez and LA’s ranked #2 prospect is SS Corey Saeger, so Gordon is likely available. Maybe a straight swap of Gordon for Tejada? (Or even Ike?) This might be the classic “change of scenery” deal that helps both clubs. I understand that Gordon has underwhelmed so far, but this is probably the year to take a chance on him.
Imagine a Met lineup with speedsters like Gordon and Eric Young Jr. at the top of it. Also it might help the strikeout prone CB Young and Granderson see more fastballs if one or both of these guys can get on base (the BIG if, I admit) and are in motion. Putting David Wright in the three hole, Grandy four, CB Young five, some 1B combo of Ike, Duda or Daniel Murphy six and TDA seven creates a nice right-left balance in the order one through seven; maybe all the way to eight if Matt den Dekker starts in center.
Something to ponder this week while you sip your eggnog and watch the Bowl Games.