Mets need a Matt Kemp, not an Andre Ethier

Kemp EthierIn Baseball, like in most things with quantifiable results there are people who are GOOD and people who are GREAT at what they do.  In baseball there are plenty of solid players but a team that wants to win a championship needs “Elite Players”.  It’s pretty straight forward, but let’s give our base example.

David Wright is an Elite Player:  Opposing teams need to prepare to face him and he is among the best at his position in the majors.  When you look at the Met lineup you won’t be surprised to see David Wright hitting 3rd, 4th or 5th (Core Roles).  You also expect his production stats (Runs and RBI) to be in the 100 range for a full season of play. (*Leadoff can be a Core Role or a Specialty Role depending on the echelon of player.  Jose Reyes was an Elite leadoff hitter, Eric Young Jr. is a Solid one.)

Daniel Murphy is a Solid Player:  Opposing pitchers would never look at Daniel Murphy as an easy out.  He’s too good of a hitter to ignore.  Yet the lack of true speed or power keeps Murphy as a Solid Player instead of elite.  You want hitters like Murphy is your lineup but you’d prefer them hitting 2nd, 6th or 7th (Secondary or Specialty Roles).  You aren’t expecting these players to carry the team and if you are… you are decidedly not a World Series contender.

The Mets need to add both types of players to the lineup this offseason.  They could upgrade themselves by adding Solid Players at SS, 1B, LF, CF and RF.  In fact if the Mets added: Drew, Loney, Byrd and Hart most fans might be happy because at least you’ve surrounded David Wright with legitimate threats.

It is my opinion, however, that the Mets NEED to add at least 1 “Elite Hitter” to their lineup.  They need to do this for a few reasons:

  1. David Wright has the weight of the world on his shoulders: The Mets don’t have Matt Harvey and all eyes, right now, are on David Wright to carry the fate of the Mets in 2014.  Offensively you could add some solid performers but you’d be leaving the full weight of expectations on “Captain America” and we all know he can’t defeat Loki on his own.
  2. REVENUE: The Mets managed to disgust WFAN enough to end a long relationship.  We have heard that attendance is down and that the team needs to improve their revenue for the ownership to invest more (worst logic… EVER).  An Elite Player is going to give the Mets a headline in an offseason where they desperately need one.

Elite Players:

  • Kendrys Morales, 1B (FA) – I suppose Morales is a borderline “Elite Player” but his ability to switch hit and his consistent production (when healthy) makes him good enough to qualify.  Add that he’s going to get a Qualifying Offer and you have an Elite 1B who would likely be an improvement over Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Satin and the names on the “Solid Player” list below. [I’d bet a lot that the Mets aren’t interested in pursuit]
  • Robinson Cano, 2B (FA) – He’s going to be a Yankee and he’s going to cost a ton, but I can’t NOT list him amongst Elite Players who are technically available.  You’d better believe he gets a Qualifying Offer. [No shot!]
  • Howie Kendrick, 2B (Trade) – The logic is that you have Kendrick play second and move Murphy to first but I just don’t know if this is the “Elite Player” that makes the kind of difference the Mets need.  Daniel Murphy is a very solid contributer when he plays second but at first the lack of power is a glaring fault.  This seems like a poor move (unless we are trading someone). [Kendrick isn’t on my wish list but I could see the Mets being involved.]
  • Troy Tulowitzki, SS (Trade) – The Rockies say that Tulow is not available and I tend to believe them but like anyone on the trade list not named Ethier I’d bet the Rockies are simply willing to wait for the “Right” offer.  I don’t think the Mets want to give up Noah Syndergaard plus others for anyone.  (*NOTE: This likely crosses a few names off the list.) [If he’s made available the Mets will sniff, but they aren’t going to give up the haul the Rockies want.]
  • Carlos Gonzalez, OF (Trade) – While the Rockies again don’t advertise Gonzalez being out there I tend to think he is to some degree.  I would say that Gonzalez is worth less than Tulowitzki but again, I can’t see the Mets parting with Syndergaard and I can’t see the Rockies accepting less. [If the Rockies are willing to take a large prospect package that doesn’t include the Met’s prize pitcher… maybe, but only because he’s about to get expensive.]
  • Matt Kemp, CF (Trade) – The Dodgers have money coming out of their ears but at the same time they are spending A LOT, want to re-sign Clayton Kershaw, and wish to improve their infield.  Whether they would look at Murphy/Flores as a potential upgrade or be willing to trade the often injured centerfielder is a matter of speculation but I happen to think that they will not get the answers they wish for in response to offers on Ethier. They will get better prospects and clear more payroll by trading Kemp and with Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Ethier under contract.  It’s a decision the Dodgers need to make and I expect at least one of their 5 potential starting outfielders to be traded in the offseason. [I would love to see Kemp on the Mets but I can’t say I think it’s likely to happen.]
  • Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (FA) – While Ellsbury is not a “Core Hitter” he is an “Elite Leadoff” guy.  His ability to score runs and make things happen with his legs gives him great value.  It also gives him a very high level of risk as his value (especially in Citi Field) would be tied into him running.  He’d cost a lot and he has a high risk but… there are worse things the Mets could do. [Not sure I see the Mets snagging Ellsbury but it would make a splash.]
  • Curtis Granderson, CF (FA) – If the Yankees offer him a qualifying contract… I don’t want any part of him.  I think the Yankees will offer it… and I think he’ll accept it.  If they don’t, then Granderson becomes a free agent I might be willing to risk a lucrative three year deal on.  Speed + Power + Lefty = A triple threat in terms of Met needs for their outfield.  His injury history is a concern but you might notice everyone on this list has concerns. [Unlikely to be an option.]
  • Jose Bautista, RF (Trade) – Would the Jays trade Bautista?  I’ll file that away as a “Maybe” but the question should be: Would the Jays trade Bautista to the Mets without getting Noah Syndergaard back?  I’ll say that’s more of a “Probably not.”  Bautista would make a lot of sense for the Mets and his contract isn’t so long that he’s tying them down.  I’d trade a number of good prospects for him, but I’d balk at trading Jonathon Niese (with Harvey hurt) or Noah Syndergaard.  [Boy it would be nice.]
  • Shin-Soo Choo, RF (FA) – The more I think about Choo, the more I doubt his future as a Met.  TOO MANY teams are involved for the Mets to win this thing.  The good news is that the top pick is protected which gives Alderson a snowball’s chance of making the winning bid without vastly overpaying. [Every single day I doubt it more and more.]
  • Nelson Cruz, RF (FA) – Will steroids keep Cruz from seeing a qualifying offer?  I actually think he’d hope so.  I think that Cruz would need to accept the deal from Texas if they offered him $14 Mil because teams may balk at offering him years (because of the steroids and they’d owe Texas a pick).  I don’t know if Cruz would be a success in Citi Field either.  Arlington is much more hitter friendly and I don’t want to have another Jason Bay situation on our hands. [He’s a big-time option without that qualifying offer.]
  • Giancarlo Stanton, RF (Trade) – Would you trade the Marlins: Noah Syndergaard, Wilmer Flores, Travis d’Arnaud and someone else (Michael Fulmer?) for Stanton?  Some people would, but I can’t say I’d be one of them.  The Marlins won’t even be looking to unload Stanton who should be happier as he started seeing some help come his way late in the 2013 season.  [Stanton will stay a Marlin… for now.]

Solid Players:

Hopefully everyone wasn’t hoping for analysis for all the Solid Players… maybe some other time.  I also hope people are looking at the big picture of what this post is saying.  The Mets NEED to bring in a player that the organization can hang their hats on.  While everyone I listed has the potential to help the Mets win in 2014, this team needs another star.

24 comments for “Mets need a Matt Kemp, not an Andre Ethier

  1. October 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I can’t see the Dodgers trading Kemp. Especially after an injury plagued season. They are a better team with him in center rather than Ethier. The Dodgers are not concerned with the 189 million dollar cut off. they have billions of dollars coming from their local television deal.

    • David Groveman
      October 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I think they will trade Ethier or Crawford, and eat some payroll.

      I still think the Mets are in need of more than a good player and need a star.

    • Herb
      October 27, 2013 at 12:40 am

      The Dodgers need to break the logjam they have in the OF, and shopping Ethier and Kemp is the most likely way to get it done. I believe one of them will not be wearing Dodger Blue next spring. If the Dodgers can’t get the return they want for Ethier or if they believe Kemp is too risky at this time, Kemp could certainly be the odd man out. The big question is will Sandy be willing to take that risk and trade for Kemp, even when the cost in prospects is not too high?

  2. October 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Howie Kendrick has one season as an elite player but that’s so far above and beyond what he’s done otherwise that he shouldn’t be on the elite list. I’m not sure he’s any better than Murphy.

    • Joe Vasile
      October 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Agreed. Kendrick is basically the AL version of Murphy.

  3. October 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I do not know why people a seem to dislike Ethier so much. Guy has never had a sub 780 OPS and averages well into the 800’s. He provides good defense also I think he would fit our needs on both sides. Plus his injuries are not career threatening like Kemp’s are,

    • Dan Stack
      October 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Nice logo Mickey!! I’m a Pioneer, class of 99!

  4. Name
    October 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Here’s a longshot candidate that hasn’t been brought up: Ben Zobrist, the most underrated man in baseball. This guy is so damn consistant (4.5+ bWAR and 3.7+ fWAR in last 5 years), and can play ANYWHERE on the field, with RF and 2b his primary positions and SS as his secondary. He has 2 team options at 7 and 7.5 mil so he is super cheap.

    I only mentioned him because the Rays have a history of trading players 2 years before they hit FA to maximize trade return. However, Zobrist is so cheap and so valuable to the Rays that they might not trade him unless they get really overblown which makes his price sky high. The only downside from the Mets perspective is he isn’t well-known and would not bring in the name recognition that a lot of Met fans seem to covet.

    Just another thought to think about.

  5. October 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Dave I would very curious as to how much money the Dodgers made this season. They led MLB in attendance nearly 3.75 million fans. If you average each seat at 50 dollars that’s 175 million just for starters. Add television revenue, corporate sponsors, parking, playoff home games and I wouldn’t be surprised if the number topped 100 million dollars.

  6. Metsense
    October 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    If Granderson gets a qualifying offer he might turn it down. MLBTR values him at 3/$45M-4/$56M.
    The market hasn’t been established yet but at that price he would be the power bat that Sandy would want.
    Tyler Colvin is not a free agent and would have to be traded for. I like him and would look to pick him up along with Granderson: but really, a solid player?
    I would also look into Josh Redick also, just as solid as Colvin based on your criteria.
    Pederson could be a good addition also.
    Another good analysis Dave. Thanks

    • Metsense
      October 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Sorry David, while checking up on Colvin, I see he was released by the Rockies and actually is a free agent. Mets should seriously look into him at well below his 2013 $ 2.2M salary. Probably could get him at a shade above minimum. But really, a waived player made your solid list?

      • TexasGusCC
        October 27, 2013 at 2:31 am

        Metsense, it does seem kind of funny that a waived player was labeled as solid, and I found myself looking at why this player was even waived. I remember from his Cubs days, that he wasn’t usually given first chance at openings.

        His BB% for the last three years is 6.3%, 4.6%, and 3.8%, respectively. Oh oh. His K% has been 26.1%, 25%, and 34.6%, and his defense has been -3.6 in 2012 and -4.6 in 2013.

        He just another player that would take at bats away from the players that need them.

  7. Dan Stack
    October 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    If you had to guess off this list (both lists actually), how many guys do you think the Mets will get?
    I’m glad you didn’t mention any pitchers, the Mets should not invest a lot of money into a middling option.

  8. October 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    One or none.

  9. TexasGusCC
    October 27, 2013 at 2:42 am

    I also cannot see Kendrick as elite, but if they can add a truly elite bat and two solid bats, this team would be interesting. Right now, the Mets have a lineup that relies on too much youth without a good mix of veterans and talent, so obviously consistency will not be there next year. Plus, expect a lot more strikeouts.

  10. TexasGusCC
    October 27, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Tell me what you guys think. Sign:

    Halliday: 1 year, $13MM
    Hudson: 2 years, $20MM per
    Braun: trade, $11MM
    Kubel (1B): 1 year, $4MM
    Granderson: 2 years, $15MM per
    Peralta: 2 years, $10MM per

    Halliday and Hudson will teach the young pitchers, while Granderson and Wright will teach the young hitters.

    Lineup: Young, Granderson, Braun, Wright, Kubel, Peralta, d’Arnaud, Lagares

    Pitching: Halliday, Hudson, Wheeler, Niese, Mejia

    Total new players is $73MM added to the $33MM committed for 2014. They are trading Murphy, Gee and Davis. This team will bring in 3,000,000 paying customers at $70 per head, $210MM revenue before sponsors, commercials, etc.

    • October 27, 2013 at 6:37 am

      I was wondering if there been any news as to the Wilpons re-financing their 2 loans(600 million) that are due in 2014?

  11. October 27, 2013 at 6:33 am

    TexasGus. There are going to be MANY teams vying for these players. Hudson will probably re-sign with Atlanta. Halliday for 1 year? You don’think there will be any team to offer him a 2 year contract? Braun comes here. What are you giving Milwaukee in order for them to give up their David Wright? Granderson 2 years? A potential 30-40 home run hitter. And you’re going to get him for 2 years? I doubt it. He’ll be 33 in the off season. So if I’m Granderson I’m looking for minimum 3 maybe 4 years. It’s his last big paycheck. I have a feeling payroll is not going to top 90 million this coming season. Sorry to wake you you up from your sweet dream but reality is the Mets are not going to be much different next season with the possibility of them signing 1 significant free agent. All it takes is one other team to be interested in your players list and the Mets will wind up back in dumpster shopping mode. One last thing. You forgot to add at least 10-15 million for ARB players.

    • TexasGusCC
      October 27, 2013 at 11:47 am


      Thank you for your reply. This is NOT what the Mets will do, but rather what the Mets CAN do. Call it a waste of time, but IF THEY GAVE WINNING A CHANCE, they could make moves like this and make a good amount of profit.

      Now to your questions. Hudson may, but he’s 38 and just made $9MM. The Braves aren’t giving him more than double his paycheck, and after Lincicum’s contract, he’s worth it. Halliday has been hurt, so I figure that he may not get many guaranteed deals, and what better place to re-establish value than New York.

      Braun, with the fan base of the Brewers not happy, send him to the Mets for Murphy, Davis, Gee, and Montero. It fills their holes at second and the mound; all players are young and can be around for a while and possibly explode. Granderson has been hurt, so I figured give him a good deal. I would even offer him $16MM per year for two years. No one else will.

      This will put the payroll at $110-$115MM, but before Alderson hems and haws about spending, they will make much more money from selling a bunch of tickets, getting many more sponsors, and revitalizing their brand to make it appealing to banks to refinance it.

      Dream? Possibly. But, while their dumpster diving satisfies their ego, does not my plan satisfy their needs?

  12. bill shea
    October 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

    The obvious low cost answer is pay nelson cruz to hit behind wright and davis and trade a couple of young pitchers not named syndagard for andrus to hit leadoff..rangers will dump that salary and he’s only 25. plugs three holes for 30 mill yr. play ey in left and hit him in the two hole and drop murph to sixth. lets darnaud and lagares hit at bottom with less pressure.

  13. October 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Kemp is expected too be fully recovered in time for spring training. So if the Dodgers trade him whichever teams is involved would certainly be taking a risk if there are any setbacks.Just look at what happened to Santana last spring training.

  14. October 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I’m with you. I want the Mets to be successful. But SA has one hand tied behind his back. Payroll will be 90 million again next season. They’ll make excuses and say the price was too high for some free agents. If you want Braun then you will probably have to give up Syndergaard. Gee is just an average 3rd or 4th starter, Davis is inconsistent and Murphy is adequate. Your dumping our crap for their team leader. What about the ARB players and the additional 10-15 million dollars that will be added on to your projections? Whatever additional revenue the team gets will go towards their 2 loans that are due in 2014. The team is in serious financial difficulties even if they are able to re-finance their debts. The Mets probably have 40 million dollars to spend this off season. Sign Choo and EllsburY with back loaded contracts. Solves your lead off and outfield problems and allows you to carry a light hitting shortstop. Platoon first base and left field. Take your 7 best relief pitchers north regardless of which side they pitch from.

  15. za
    October 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    The Mets could easily trade for Ethier and Van Slyke. Van Slyke would get a starting job and we could platoon Ethier with a lefty-masher – a guy like Brown, for example. Ethier has a career 142 wRC+ against righties; it means he’s been 42% better than average on offense against righties. In 2013, he put up a 140 wRC+, right in line with his career numbers. Matt Kemp has a career wRC+ against righties of 113 and 2013 numbers of 92; Ethier was way, way better against righties in 2013 than the average player and Kemp was actually below average against righties.

    By acquiring Ethier and putting him in a platoon, we could put up the same or more offense overall than Matt Kemp alone while not having to spend nearly as much money. Van Slyke is the other piece of the puzzle – he’s a righty who walks a lot, has decent speed, plays good outfield and respectable first base, has a baseball background (his dad), has power, and is severely underrated. An excellent comparison for him is Jayson Werth, who didn’t break out until his age 28 season. 2014 will be Van Slyke’s age-28 season.

    We don’t need much to pull that trade and we’d dramatically improve our OF without spending all that much money and without losing all that much in prospects. The Dodgers would still have an OF of Crawford, Kemp, and Puig and keep Joc Pederson, their best positional prospect and a guy close to the Majors.

    I wasn’t a big fan of Ethier initially but the truth is that he crushes righty pitching and would make us a better team if used right. Along with Van Slyke, Brown, and Lagares, that could be a respectable OF with some speed, OBP, power, and defense. On a name for name basis, it’s not an All-Star group but when you look at their actual performance, their projected performance, and the cost, it makes too much sense.

  16. October 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    How much pf Ethier’s contract would the Dodgers eat? If I’m L.A.,I am in no hurry to make any deal. Wait for the demand to go up after Choo and Ellsbury sign. If the trade goes through, you would have to give up Murphy and? for this deal to work for BOTH teams.

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