Let’s travel to another dimension; a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey to a wonderful land whose boundaries are that of the imagination. Next stop, the Mets Possibility Zone (apologies to the Twilight Zone). So far this offseason the Mets have made a total of three major league deals with Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, and Bartolo Colon– respectively. Lots of Mets have blamed the lack of exciting moves on the injury of Matt Harvey; heck even Jeff Wilpon acknowledged this fact. Let’s pretend that Harvey never got injured and the Mets were to head into the offseason with a healthy team. Would Sandy Alderson have handled the offseason differently? Let’s speculate.
This was the biggest offseason question even before Harvey’s injury. When the Mets entered the offseason, almost every fan of the Metropolitans was hoping Alderson would sign highly coveted lead-off hitter Shin-Soo Choo. I hate to break to everyone, but no matter the circumstance, Choo wouldn’t have been a Met and here’s why. It’s true that the Mets may had shed over $35 million in payroll and could certainly have afforded him, but when Alderson said that he didn’t believe that anyone was worth $100 million besides Robinson Cano, he meant it. Highly unlikely that Alderson would have signed Choo unless his price was $90 million or less.
With regard to the players that actually were signed, Granderson and C. Young, it is a roll of the dice to decide if one, or both, would have been signed. However, it would seem logical that if Choo wasn’t signed, then Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, and Granderson would all have been considered to play a corner outfield spot. Young would have been the interesting choice, because if Alderson really has as much confidence in Eric Young as he says he does, then the Mets wouldn’t have had to prove anything early in the offseason and C. Young wouldn’t be a Met.
This makes the starting outfield (from left to right): Young, Juan Lagares, Granderson/Beltran
This is interesting because if Harvey wasn’t injured then it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that Colon wouldn’t be here. However, with the influx of starting pitching in the upper minors and majors, one of the eight starters (Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob DeGrom) could have been traded for other areas of need – anyone but Harvey or Syndergaard. In reality, Alderson probably would go into the season with a dogfight for the 5th spot without trading anyone.
The rotation would have likely been: Harvey, Niese, Wheeler, Gee, Mejia
(Syndergaard and Montero in AAA with DeGrom in the bullpen)
Going into the offseason every Met fan wanted to see a new face to the left side of David Wright. If the Mets didn’t have to worry about Harvey, there is no question that Ruben Tejada would have been long gone and Johnny Peralta/Stephen Drew would have been playing here. If the Mets were still stunned by the prices of the two, then there is almost no question that a trade would have gone down involving either a pitcher or a first baseman.
Opening Day Shortstop: Drew/Peralta/Trade Target
Lucas Duda and Ike Davis came into the offseason unsure what team they would be on at the start of next season. When Alderson said that he preferred to have Duda to Davis, he meant it. Alderson definitely would have traded Davis to acquire more parts that he might have needed.
Coming into the offseason, this was considered to be an area of “need” for the Mets and there is a possibility that something could have happened with a veteran. In reality, the Mets would just go in with Anthony Recker and Juan Centeno.
The bullpen wasn’t considered very high on the priority list, but there is a very strong possibility that Latroy Hawkins could have been signed. Other than that, there are a limitless amount of options that Alderson could have pursued.
In reality, the offseason wouldn’t have been that different except we would have had an ace. If Colon puts up similar numbers to Harvey, then it can be a pretty solid team.