The Mets discovered a scarcity of entry or curiosity on the high of the chief market earlier this season, unable to lure a Theo Epstein or Chris Antonetti or David Forst to be their president of baseball operations.
They pivoted, reducing their websites to only hiring a GM and on Saturday had been finalizing a deal with Diamondbacks assistant GM Jared Porter to fill that position.
What if the Mets do the identical with their roster?
At this level, the Mets have gained for 2 of the higher gamers under the highest tier of free brokers, agreeing on a two-12 months, $15.5 million pact with reliever Trevor Could and transferring to the doorstep of a four-year agreement for just more than $40 million with catcher James McCann.
I nonetheless assume the Mets will signal one of many massive free brokers, in all probability George Springer, possibly Trevor Bauer, earlier than this offseason is over. However what if Could and McCann will not be an appetizer, however a method? What if the Mets determined, in 12 months 1 of the Steve Cohen regime, the easiest way to not solely contend immediately, but additionally to set themselves up long run, is to make use of the brand new proprietor’s deep pockets to construct the roster and payroll with excessive-finish depth?
Would Mets followers really feel that layering the roster with expertise (however no massive stars) whereas climbing towards a $190 million-plus payroll is a smart first step? Or would they really feel betrayed? Do they really feel that the swap from the Wilpons to Cohen was to present them every thing instantly — depth and stars?
The star out there at catcher was J.T. Realmuto, who nearly actually was going to wish greater than 4 years and are available in at triple the general value of McCann — possible extra. However one NL govt mentioned the Mets ought to have gone for Realmuto, calling what McCann obtained “bananas,” contemplating he was non-tendered two years in the past and has no observe report of sustained excellence with a No. 1 catcher’s workload. One other NL govt concurred, questioning if a 450-plus plate look season would significantly expose a weak spot in McCann versus righty pitching and supply “a really generic catcher offensively” for $10 million-plus yearly.
An AL govt, although, noticed McCann’s management as essential to the Mets’ efforts to steer towards a greater submit-Wilpon tradition and mentioned the participant was good and arduous working and, thus, the upgrades of the previous two years will not be fluky, however somewhat a part of a later-in-the-profession evolution to an above-common, complete-package deal catcher. The AL govt mentioned: “When he talks about pitch framing, he isn’t mouthing phrases. He is aware of why he acquired higher at it and understands the ideas.”
Having Cohen’s assets permits the Mets to gamble extra comfortably on projection that McCann is now among the many handful of greatest catchers within the sport, since he’s now being paid that approach. However what else will Cohen’s cash purchase? He’s in such good stead proper now along with his fellow Mets followers that he in all probability is not going to wish to disappoint. Which means the Mets would add a Springer or Bauer or DJ LeMahieu — possibly a mixture. However what if the steely businessman in Cohen sees dominating the second tier as the perfect speedy path? What would that seem like?
The primary steps had been Could and McCann. What if on high of that — for instance — the Mets additionally landed Liam Hendriks, Jake Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka and Jackie Bradley Jr.? None of these gamers had been made qualifying provides, thus, a corporation, just like the Mets, attempting to restock their system would quit no draft-choose compensation (which they might with Springer, Bauer, LeMahieu or if they’d finished Realmuto). McCann’s 4-12 months deal nearly actually could be the longest given to anybody on this group, thus, the longer term threat could be mitigated.
The most effective methods to enhance shortly is to have bullpen depth, and Hendriks is the perfect free-agent reliever out there, although, like McCann, he was designated for project in 2018. The Mets’ finish sport then could be Edwin Diaz, Hendriks and Could — and probably Seth Lugo. The rotation could be Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson, Odorizzi and Tanaka, with Noah Syndergaard percolating in his return from Tommy John surgical procedure. Stroman and Syndergaard could be coming into their stroll years, so if Odorizzi and Tanaka every obtained a few years, that would offer the Mets safety past 2021.
Bradley is a lefty hitter, which doesn’t match the Mets nicely. However he’s a terrific defensive middle fielder and a profitable participant who proved in Boston that he can deal with a giant market nicely. With that deeper pen, the Mets may — for instance — commerce Jeurys Familia for the righty bat of the Rockies’ Ian Desmond. They’ve practically equivalent quantities left on the ultimate 12 months of their contracts in 2021, and Desmond can play throughout and hits lefties nicely (offering much more general depth).
Add these sorts to the core of deGrom, Lugo, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Dom Smith, and the Mets actually would have a playoff contender whereas doubtlessly saving cash and prospects for the July commerce market — and past. However is the promise of Cohen for extra? Now?
At this level, the brand new Mets proprietor has given his admiring fan base intriguing appetizers in Could and McCann. Will there be a important course?