NY logoIt’s hard to call the Curtis Granderson addition a subtle upgrade. This will likely be the only big splash that Sandy Alderson makes this offseason. Alderson’s trend for this offseason — and going forward — seems to be making subtle upgrades in the outfield. This type of approach is bothering a lot of Mets fans because it’s not really an exciting way to improve a team. However, there are a lot of good things about these signings.

If we look at the Mets outfield last year — as a group — it compiled a WAR of 7.6. To put that in context, Carlos Gomez had a WAR of 7.6 last year. Much of the WAR compiled last season was helped by the fact that Marlon Byrd had a WAR of 3.5. Byrd isn’t coming back this year, and even if he were coming back he probably wouldn’t have that type of season. Last year’s outfield squad was cheap because most of the guys playing were making $700,000 or less. It’s pretty hard to recreate an outfield that repeats that performance because of regression to the mean. In addition, you can’t really count on finding a lottery ticket like Marlon Byrd, who signs a minor-league deal and then turns out to be one of the better outfielders in the league.

The combination of Granderson and Chris Young signings were more expensive, but they were also pretty good deals considering the market price for quality outfielders. Although the Young signing may have seemed like an overpayment, he has some upside; if unlocked, he could be an above-average outfielder. Assuming he reaches that upside he could probably do about 60-70 percent of what top outfielders such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo for only 10 percent of the cost. Young also looks to be an upgrade over the combination of Eric Young, Jr. and Lucas Duda.

If we conservatively assume that Granderson will be a 3.0 WAR player, Young a 2.5 WAR player, and Lagares 2.5 player, then the Mets’ outfield projects to compile a 8.0 WAR next season — a slight improvement over last year’s squad. For the Mets to really improve the outfield, Alderson is probably going to have to acquire another 1.5-2.0 WAR guy. He could use Ike Davis as a trade chip for that type of outfielder.

There was a rumor that Davis was going to be traded to Tampa Bay for outfielder Matt Joyce, but that has fallen through since the Rays’ just signed James Loney and no longer need a first baseman. Alderson may add a Joyce-type of outfielder in the near future. The Brewers need a first baseman, and Alderson could probably get Khris Davis in return for Ike Davis. Such a move would further solidify the Mets outfield.

The approach of buying low on players has worked for many other teams: Pirates, Athletics, Red Sox, etc. We’re facing a reality as a fanbase that the Mets aren’t throwing around the type of money they did back in the Minaya days. From now on it seems the Mets are going to be an ever-changing cast of characters.

Kind of like Broadway.

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14 comments on “Sandy Alderson’s outfield trend of subtle upgrades

  • Brian Joura

    I doubt that Alderson could get Khris Davis from the Brewers. Supposedly the reason they traded Aoki was to make room for Davis.

  • Metsense

    Davis for Aoki was rejected. An offer of Davis for Davis would probably get Melvin to put Sandy on his Do Not Call List!
    Davis for Joyce was the deal that should have been jumped at when the timing was right.

  • Name

    Conservatively, i’d put Granderson at 2 WAR, Chris Young at 1 WAR, and Lagares at 0 WAR(there’s almost no consistency for defensive metrics -look at Mike trout and Carlos Gomez.

    If Doug Melvin dealt Khris Davis for Ike Davis, i’m sure he would be fired immediately. I remember when a Brewer fan was on the board earlier this year and was touting Khris Davis and other Brewer OF’s. After an impressive season in 2013 (11 HR’s in just 153 PA), his stock has got to be even higher.

  • pete

    While you may be competitive for a year you’ll never win a World Series that way. The Red Sox’s already had Ellsbury, Ortiz, Pedroia, Drew and Napoli. What happens when Young plays above expectations? Does Sandy then turn around and trade him? For what? Eventually you need continuity because if a player falls flat on his face the Mets do not have any promising options in the minors.

    • Chris F

      It think that we need to say “if” not “when” when it comes to CY. Does he got into the long term picture of a competitive Mets team? Obviously not on this contract. Unless some how the Mets are 10 up after the asg then we need to make a run and acquire more help, but in the more likely scenario that the Mets will be mid pack, if CY is similar to Byrd, I’d trade him in a hot minute.

    • Jerry Grote

      They did not have Napoli (who initially signed a 3 year deal but then was found to have decrepit knees), nor Drew (who signed a one-year, make-good, very-Chris-Young like contract).

      They lucked their way into a closer that was nearing 40, to whom they gave a 2 year deal; they overpaid for Shane Victorino.

      They basically got shit-a$$ lucky and went from last to first. If any of those pieces of luck falls the wrong way, nobody is talking about the Red Sox right now. They are talking about how the Dodgers took the Red Sox pieces and made them work.

      Until the SS position is resolved, I see absolutely no reason to believe this team cannot get to the playoffs next year. Best defense in baseball; one of the best rotations; two power hitting LH bats in addition to baseball’s best 3B; possibly the next breakout C.

      • pete

        Sorry Jerry. The Mets have too many question marks. Catcher, first base, and our bull pen. Yes I agree about Boston. But you need to have those kinds of breaks for everything to fall into place. One last point. The Red Sox’s front office understood they made a mistake hiring Valentine and went out and got a manger who brought the team together. Can’t say the same for Collins. He’s affordable. Nothing more.

      • Chris F

        Of course I love the optimism, but I’d be surprised if his team even approaches .500.

        I don’t think this rotation and pen is anywhere near the Nats or Braves, both of whom should be ticketed to the playoffs. There’s no way these mets will be better than either of them.

        Best defense in baseball? Not with the endless passed balls by DarNo, Murphy’s inconsistent glove, Ike/Duda/Satin imitating Larry mo and curly, and tejadas limited range and weak arm.

        • Jerry Grote

          My look at the metrics for defense at 1B for Duda and Satin show a pretty good player; I am specifically saying that we need a resolution at SS (which presumably does not include Tejada). DarNo comes to us with an excellent reputation (won best defensive C in his league). Murphy is a weak link and if that’s the worst we come up with, having 3 CFs in the outfield, Duda/Satin, Wright … we will have the best defense in the NL next year.

          I guess we’ll just have to disagree on defense Chris. If I’m right, we have pitching and defense. It’s shaping up to be a might fine team, with just the SS needed to be resolved.

          • Chris F

            Here’s to hoping you are right!

          • pete

            Have to see what the starting line-up be opening day before you can say the Mets will have the best defense.

  • pete

    Chris that’s exactly my point. You trade Young and then what? Do it again next off season? There is no continuity. The Mets are loaded with 4th outfielders who are being mentioned as platoon players at best. A trade with the Rockies would have made sense before they signed Morneau.

    • Chris F

      Yeah, I get that, but that’s all CY will ever be. He was not brought in as a long term player, unlike Granderson, who himself may be traded (though I view that less likely). This tells us the 2014 roster is clearly not the team as expects to go post season, nor do I. SA is still stocking the farm for post season rosters down the road. Young is not Napoli etc. The difference in your comparison is that the Mets are not the Red Sox. Their major problem was not the players as much as a hated coach. Meanwhile, the Mets apparently have a teddy bear for a coach, but basically quad A team. Until there’s is more money to bring in more new proven FAs to join the emerging pitching staff, this is intentionally built as a group that is biding time with crossed fingers for catching lightning in a bottle. I wouldn’t expect many names on this 25 man to be on one that plays in their next World Series.

  • pete

    The new television contracts are in place. So if the team is going to have a 90 million dollar payroll then you can read between the lines. We are like little sparrows picking up a twig here and a twin there to build our home. In the meantime the pigeons fly right by and crap all over us. Next years free agent outfielders are pretty thin. So the only upgrade will come from a trade. That is if Sandy is still here.

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