finding a trade partner willing to give up young countrollable outfielders that have decent upside for a 1b/dh is an issue though…. you make it sound pretty easy… “Trade Duda to an AL team with a real outfielder to spare”… only if… what team has AFFORDABLE outfielders to spare and a need at DH?
The mets have shown that they’re not going to invest any sort of decent money this offseason. they’re going to fill holes with whatever leftovers they can get in late jan/early feb. if that’s the case…. warm bodies all around.
I agree that they shouldn’t be in a panic sell-off mode since they’ve actually already done most of the painful shedding of their irresponsible past… 2014 will only have 8.5m going for nothing (for Bay and also assuming they don’t pick up Santana’s option). And also that this means they were write to keep Wright (even though I seem to be in the minority that he could very well not pay for his contract outright) since he will be useful for a good while and be something to add pieces to. I also like their rotation, though I’d be very surprised if Santana offers much anymore… just look at his peripherals and velocity since he became a Met.
But while I agree that teams find underutilized gems for the outfield and bullpen, finding enough in one year – even with natural variance – seems impossible, and so the one move I would make is to trade Dickey if they can get what will help them have a much greater chance of being within a roll of the dice next year and beyond. So Dickey’s cheapness this year and that his knuckleball makes it harder to predict regression doesn’t mean anything if we go with the vastly great probability that while they could improve so much that they compete just one year from now, it won’t be this one.
Keeping Wright shows you realize things really could be better soon. Trading Dickey shows that you also know that “soon” isn’t 2013.
Comment by Jabronies — November 30, 2012 @ 1:54 pm
Agree, but they should be a little more aggressive than that right now. After Wright, the next highest paid player they are committed to for 2014 is Jonathan Niese at $5M. They should have a ton of flexibility to spend right now if the right guy is available. No reason to arbitrarily limit the spending in 2013.
If it’s obvious that the outfield is the major need, why limit that to “a slightly below average player who wants a shot at playing everyday”, which is basically what they got last year with Hairston. Why aren’t they in on a guy like Shane Victorino, 2 years older than Wright, and still worth 3 WAR in 2012 in a down year? Or why weren’t they in the trade market for a guy like Denard Span (is maybe Dexter Fowler available?)
Maybe the front office is just playing it close to the vest and really will make a more meaningful move like this, when the right one is available. There’s still plenty of time in this offseason for that to happen.
But I don’t think they should be satisfied at this point with adding below average regulars. David Wright is worth every penny. But most of the value will still come in the first few years of that contract. It only really makes sense strategically for the Mets if they are going to make a real effort to compete in those years while Wright is still in (or at least near) his prime.
This is a NY team, with some pretty good pitching ready to come off the farm, a decent infield (and you may even be under-rating Ike Davis, if his first half slump was due to recovery from Valley Fever), and very little salary commitments for next year. They should be aiming a little higher in shoring up that outfield. A premium outfielder might even make sense (young guys like Baxter, Niewenhuis, Valdespin, and Den Dekker could possibly step up and be the role players).
Comment by acerimusdux — November 30, 2012 @ 1:54 pm
Off the top of my head? Houston may be a good fit here. Unless I’m mistaken, Duda isn’t arb-eligible until 2015, and his .303 career ISO would play well in MMP. We need a DH, and we have a couple of guys laying around who could provide *at least* average defense. Maybe a reunion with Fernando Martinez?
Comment by TheHoustonian — November 30, 2012 @ 1:55 pm
Great commentary by Cameron.
I think the Mets really need to improve their bullpen next season. Their bullpen lost 29 games in 2012, 4th worst in the majors. The average for teams last season was 22 bullpen losses. If the Mets bullpen had just been average, you’re looking at a .500 record. Now improve the OF — just a little — and maybe add on a few more wins. If their rotation stays healthy I expect it to be slightly better than 2012 when they lost Santana and Gee early due to fatigue and health issues. So maybe add in another 2-3 extra wins. So all of a sudden you’re looking at perhaps 86-87 wins without any new major additions to the club. It’s not that hard to see where the Mets can be competitive, especially if the other teams in the division don’t make major improvements (and so far they haven’t).
Well, it obviously wouldn’t be a straight up FMart-for-Duda deal. The Astros would have to throw in other pieces.
Comment by TheHoustonian — November 30, 2012 @ 2:06 pm
The Rockies have Cargo, Fowler, Cuddyer, Colvin EYjr Charlie Blackmon, Tim Wheeler to cover a 5 spots in their OF.
EY2 is interesting in that he hit .297/.388/.423 in the minors and .316/.377/.448 last year and has 41SB/6CS over the last two years.
Blackmon has a MiLB line of .312/.376/.473 and hit .283/.325/.407 coming off an injury he struggled out of the gate but hit .361/.418/.514 in September both can play some CF. With Helton about to retire Duda might make some sense in COL.
Part of the reason their bullpen was so bad was because of the atrocious defense. It’s very difficult to walk that tightrope in late innings when so many balls that would be fielded for outs by a competent major league defense fall in for hits or get booted. I don’t think the actual pitchers on the Mets were really that bad at all.
If they address the horrible D (they already have started by dumping Jason Bay) they bullpen likely will have a miraculous bounce-back season even if they don’t do much to change the personnel there.
I strongly disagree with your assessment of why the bullpen was so bad. Are you a Mets fan? Did you watch any Mets games last year? I watched the majority of them, and the reason the bullpen was so bad wasn’t because of the defense but because of the inability of the relievers to make good pitches.
If it were the defense, then that would have impacted the starters too. But the starters for the most part were fine until Gee got hurt and Santana simply ran out of gas.
I’ll go ahead and sound dumb here – Cameron’s scenario is pretty much what I used to win the Series with the Mets in 2013 in OOTP ’12. I actually managed to flip Bay to Texas for Mitch Moreland, who was less terrible in the outfield than Duda; I swung some deal for the Reds’ Ryan Hanigan to serve as the primary catcher (don’t remember who went the other way); I rode pitching (primarily Santana, Wheeler, Dickey, and Neise) and put up with Murphy’s glove at second. We were super-lefty-heavy in the lineup and suffered against lefty starters, of course, but we managed… from the play-in game against Cincinnati, through Atlanta and Los Angeles, and finally beating Texas in seven.
I will concede it’s unlikely that the real Daniel Murphy will hit sixty doubles in a season, but nobody else’s stats really looked out-of-line.
Sorry Dave, as Mets fan I’m just not buying this. For every Josh Reddick there are a hundred Wily Mo Pena types. Your plan is way harder than you’re letting on. The idea that its an easy task to finding guys with no track record who could suddenly be productive full time players seems foolish to me. Teams like Pittsburgh have been doing this for decades with little to no luck. Also the Mets have no money so buying 2 Win players for $8-$10MM each isn’t an options meaning we have to trade for these guys. We’re already loaded with fringy MLB type guys (Duda,Capt Kirk, Turner, Baxter, Lutz, den Dekker) so the plan is to trade for more and hope they work out? Where are we getting a catcher? Russell Martin just got $9MM AAV coming off a season when hit .211 and the Yankees or all teams were outbid for him. If it were only as easy as Dave makes it sound.
Schoenfeld at ESPN makes the good point that the Mets have to assess their situation and plot their short- and medium-term strategies in light of where the Braves and Nats are likely to be over that stretch. Both the Braves and Nats have put themselves in the enviable position of having rosters that are not only strong but young. It’s not going to be enough simply to add 6-8 “wins” in the manner Cameron proposes; the Mets need to be using assets now to obtain young players who can be expected to real strengths over a period of years. That’s why Schoenfeld says that Dickey should be traded now; another 20-win season from Dickey in 2013 isn’t likely to push the Mets past the Braves and Nats, since those teams are so clearly stronger than the Mets. But what the Mets might be able to get for Dickey could mean a lot in 2014 and beyond.
Comment by Acoustic567 — November 30, 2012 @ 5:08 pm
The Phil’s just non tendered Schierlholtz. There’s your cheap, slightly below average outfielder who can play every day.
And in the near term, the Phillies aren’t a team I’d sneeze at. Their long term prognosis isn’t great, but Rollins, Utley, and Howard aren’t in their graves yet, and Lee, Hamels and Halladay still make a fearsome top of the rotation.
I agree, it’s not so much whether the Mets can improve, it’s whether the Mets can improve ENOUGH.
Agreed. There are teams that seem to excel at squeezing every last ounce of value around the margins (the Rays, the As) but it seems like an entire organizational philosophy from top to bottom and not necessarily something one can just snap one’s fingers and execute.
I wouldn’t ever predict an MLB teams talent level to far into the future. The Nationals and Braves have a lot of really, really good players right now. They will probably be two of the best teams in the NL this year and probably the year after that. But I’m not ready to start talking about their 2015 roster. There are far to many variables, both Wright and Dickey could still be productive in 2015, so if you can afford to keep them, go ahead and do it.
Second, the new WC format allows for three teams from one division potentially play in extra games. If the Mets can make the play in game anything can happen.
Luv ya dude but you’re a wee bit optimistic. Wright was pretty bad the last three months of last year, awful the year before. He is hardly a leader. 8 years will probably start strangling us around year 3 which is right around the time we can be competitive with our young staff. Dickey won the Cy Young with a season for the ages. Zero reason to believe he can come close to anything like that again.
I don’t have the same optimism as most people, even with Wright the Mets are a 4th place team that has no chance of beating the top 3 teams. The Nats continue to get better, the Phils have better pitching and will spend to right their team, and the Braves also seem to be way ahead of the Mets. You didn’t convince me that they can be players in the East.
On the flip side, the Giants’ Brian Sabean seems to find players like that consistently. He’s done it three years in a row (Andres Torres, Ryan Vogelsong, Gregor Blanco) and all three moves have lead to World Championships.
If the Mets don’t have that kind of raw talent evaluation, they should realize that they are more likely to find a +1 or +2 player in a system like San Francisco, and try to obtain players from them through trade, Rule 5 or waiver. The Yankees have done as much in acquiring BOTH of the Giants’ backup catchers.
The Mets have already benefited from such a bias sample, as it were. Zack Wheeler might end up having a better career than Matt Harvey, as he was selected by San Francisco and underwent the mechanical changes that lead to an immediate breakout once he left the Giants’ system. He wouldn’t have broken out if he wasn’t on the cusp of one already.
Comment by Petruchio — November 30, 2012 @ 10:07 pm
He had a 131 wRC+ in July, a 94 wRC+ in Auguest, and a 101 wRC+ in September. BY my count, that’s one excellent month, one below average month and one slightly above average month.
2011 he played the entire year with a stress fracture in his back.
Dickey was amazing this year, but he was still a really good pitcher in 2010 and 2011, 3.65 and 3.77 FIP respectively (and we know FIP underrates knucklers). Zero reason to expect him not to be a really good pitcher next year.
I have always wished a guy named Choo would be a LOOGY.
Comment by kiss my GO NATS — December 1, 2012 @ 2:38 am
The Mets will win more than the Phillies next season. The core in philly is just to old to be effective all season, and I am counting the pitchers.
Comment by kiss my GO NATS — December 1, 2012 @ 2:40 am
Right but the part you need to factor in is the fact that the Mets need like five of those guys. The Giants were and still are a good team without those guys. Did they need Blanco or Pagan to win the WS? Maybe. Would they be a 75ish win team like the Mets without those guys. No obviously not and that’s the point.
I think they should focus on moving Duda for a reliever from a pitching heavy team. Then package Familia and McHugh for a solid outfield prospect that is ready or nearly ready. That makes more sense to me than moving Duda for an outfielder, I don’t know why a team with a capable outfielder that could also DH would move him for someone who is just a DH.
I see what you’re saying, but, yes they are. Apart from R.A. Dickey and Matt Harvey, the end of the season was a death-spiral painful to watch. There’s still plenty wrong with the team, and the ownership is terrible. They’re not the Marlins, but no one is.
I think we’ll see guys like Brennan Boesch and/or Rajai Davis in Queens. They’ll add another catcher too, maybe a trade for Saltalamacchia. I’d like to see them trade Niese or Dickey, but it sounds like that market hasn’t developed. Naturally, teams are waiting for Greinke to sign first.
Comment by Matt Mosher — December 1, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
I dunno. Philly’s window is closing, but I don’t think I’d go that far.
Comment by Matt Mosher — December 1, 2012 @ 4:43 pm
Do the Yankees really want to trade one of the best defensive outfielders in the game to acquire a guy who’ll compete with all their aging regulars for DH time? Methinks not.
The Jays could give up Gose + a reliever (the article mentioned the Mets needing bullpen help). They could use a DH, especially one who is still cheap like Duda. Maybe the Mets agree to take Lind’s 2013 salary and that could be a decent deal, no?
“In looking at their overall roster, the Mets are probably still a 75 to 80 win team in terms of true talent level, but they’re a 75 to 80 win team with some obvious places to make improvements. With a couple of solid outfielders and a warm body at catcher, they’re an 80 to 85 win team.”
Which would cost the tean around $30m. They don’t have the resources for anything but a time-share catcher. I like how the author refutes his own thesis, but buries the lead several paragraphs in.
Very weak sauce, Mr. Cameron.
Comment by Jack Strawb — December 2, 2012 @ 4:43 am
The great thing about baseball is that predictions based on what’s on paper are often wildly wrong. The so-called experts predicted Oakland to have a worse W-L record than the Mets in 2012 and look what happened. The Orioles were also predicted not to do much better than the Mets.
What you can’t predict when assessing a team’s chances are which veteran players are going to have good/bad years, which prospects or younger players are going to fulfill their promise, and which of the bullpen arms are going to fail/succeed. Most important, you can rarely predict with a high degree of accuracy what the competition in the division or rest of the league is going to do. Heck, many predicted the Marlins would win the NL East division in 2012 … a true LMFAO prediction if there ever was one!
So, the point is, if you take a team’s strength, make it even better, and tweak a team’s weaknesses, then almost anything is possible …. especially in baseball. One of the Mets’ strengths is starting pitching. If they maintain that strength, and shore up the bullpen and OF, then I don’t see why they can’t be at least very competitive which is what Cameron is predicting.
There are no surefire teams in the NL East. There are two strong teams — the Nats and Braves — and then everyone else. The Nats seem to have a small edge over the Braves. But even those two teams have some question marks. The Braves have their stellar bullpen but how are they going to do post-Chipper?
It’s hard for me to get excited about the Mets’ rotation. Although it has the potential to be “pretty nifty,” it also has the potential to be horrendous.
R.A. Dickey almost certainly will regress somewhat.
Niese is nice.
Johan Santana probably will continue to follow the Pedro Martinez post-injury model and have another season like 2012.
Dillon Gee’s ERA+ has been below average for two straight years.
Matt Harvey could be a star. Then again, he could be Mike Pelfrey. I don’t think that will happen, but he pitched better in the majors than he ever did in the minors. Let’s see what happens once the NL gets a good look at him. He’s talented, but so is Phil Hughes, and, despite some success, he’s still trying to put it together.
Zach Wheeler showed improvement in the minors, but his walk rate shot up at Triple-A, albeit in only 33 innings, so we’ll just have to see.
Add it up, and it’s a rotation largely filled with question marks.
And, then we must consider the offense. Davis should get better. Wright should maintain his recent rate of production. Perhaps Tejeda can replicate last season’s numbers over a full year. And then there’s…there’s…there’s…there’s…
Hey, I still like Thole’s line drive swing but, even if he blossoms, that’s four hitters. There’s a lot of work to do.