Today is the start of the annual winter meetings. A time when all the GMs and agents in baseball are in one place to talk about trades, free agents and baseball in general. It is an important one for the Mets this year as they have multiple holes to fill with limited resources to fill them. Second base, outfield, bullpen and maybe even first base are all spots the Mets would like to add players at so let’s take a look at the options. The good news is I’ve had lot of time to think about these holes, considering I started thinking last July
Before I start I just want to say I’m looking at all these things in a realistic manner. I’d love for the Mets to Reunite the Royals that beat them in 2015 and get Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Wade Davis but that just isn’t going to happen. We can argue that money can be spent that isn’t or that the money just isn’t there but regardless I’m working within the parameters that the front office has shown they are working with.
Second Base- To me this is the most glaring need and area where they can make an impact. Not may of us were watching but Asdrubal Cabrera had a very strong second half last year hitting 307 with 6 homers and 35 RBI so giving him the third base job is something I’m very ok with. The names that have been thrown around so far are mostly trade options. Ian Kinsler from the tigers, Jason Kipnis from the Indians and Josh Harrison from the Pirates. A reunion with Neil Walker has also been mentioned, but I need some new blood in the clubhouse so I’m leaving Neil off the list, sorry bud. For me Harrison would be the be option. He’s a young controllable player who can hit leadoff, has a little pop(16 homers last year with a .278 avg) and has a fire/scrappiness we haven’t seen around here in a bit. Kinsler wouldn’t be a terrible pick up either. He hit .234 with 22 homers last year in what most considered his worst season. The potential for a bounce back is there but is also could be the start of a decline for the 35 year old. I’m assuming the cost would be a Seth Lugo/Rober Gsellman type which I’m ok with, you have to give to get and neither have shown to be much more than a 4th starter. Both players I mentioned would be great additions to a lineup that needs some help.
Bullpen- After watching the playoffs this past season it’s clear there is a shift toward bullpen dominant pitching staffs and the Mets seems to be leaning toward that philosophy. A report from Newsdays Marc Carig basically said if your name isn’t Noah Syndergaard or Jacob Degrom you aren’t pitching past the 5th inning. Now that shouldn’t be taken literally but for example if Matt Harvey has given up 3 runs in 5 innings at 78 pitches, he’s done. If it’s 5 shutout, I’m sure he’ll keep going. The only real name mentioned with the Mets is Bryan Shaw who pitched for Mickey Callaway in Cleveland. He has a 3.13 career era and averaged roughly a strikeout per inning the last 2 season. He would be a great addition to AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Familia. Pair that with the possible growth of the young hard throwing arms acquired in the fire sale last season such as Jamie Callahan and Jacob Rhame, that could make for a formidable end of the game.
Outfield/First Base- These go together because and likly addition at one will be able to play both. There have been reports that there is mutual interest from both sides in a Jay Bruce reunion and I think that would be wonderful. Jay flourished in his first full season in New York hitting 29 homers and driving in 75 runs in 109 games before being dealt to Cleveland. He is a legitimate middle of the order bat that will complete the lineup and give the Mets some protection if Dom Smith doesn’t pan out at first base. Some other names that have been thrown around are former National Adam Lind, who would be a great bench addition but not someone I’d like to count on for a big role, and former Red Sox Mitch Moreland who has hit 20+ homers in each of his last 4 full seasons. If the Mets are serious about competing this season as they say they are, Bruce or top free Agent JD Martinez would be enormous boost to the team, but Bruce seems like the more realistic option here.
The success of the 2018 Mets will be highly dependent on the moves they make at or as a result of the winter meetings, as well as the health of their starting pitching and the growth of Amed Rosario and Dom Smith. If they can get 25+ healthy starts from 2 of the their 3 struggling “aces” (Harvey, Wheeler and Matz) to go along with the 1-2 punch at the top of Noah and Degrom, things will be good in queens in 2018.