In 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.]
- James Loney, 1B (FA)
- Justin Morneau, 1B (FA)
- Mike Morse, 1B (FA)
- Elvis Andrus, SS (Trade)
- Johnny Peralta, SS (FA)
- Stephen Drew, SS (FA)
- Yunel Escobar, SS (Trade)
- Andre Ethier, LF (Trade)
- Jason Kubel, LF (FA)
- David Murphy, LF (FA)
- Joc Pederson, CF (Trade)
- Chris Young, CF (FA)
- Carlos Beltran, RF (Trade)
- Corey Hart, RF (FA)
- Marlon Byrd, RF (FA)
- Tyler Colvin, RF (FA)
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.