3D logoThe early offseason is typically a happy time for most teams and their fan bases. The top free agents are all coming to your favorite team, unless you’re convinced that your GM is going to trade magic beans and get back an impact player. There’s some of that with the Mets this offseason but it also comes with a giant dose of anger.

Met fans hold management and ownership in contempt right now, just walking around looking for a reason (real or imagined) to trash them. As the losing seasons and the lies that have gone with them pile up, it’s an understandable reaction. Besides, while not preferable, anger beats apathy any day of the week.

If you read the blogs you’ll find no shortage of what the Mets have to do this winter. They have to get a power hitter, they have to get a left fielder, they have to get a shortstop, they have to get rid of certain contracts and so on. Yet if you look at the roster, it’s amazing how little the team actually has to do.

The 2014 Opening Day roster contained six players who were not in the organization at the end of the 2013 season. And it still included Ike Davis and did not yet include Kyle Farnsworth, who made his Mets debut on April 2nd.

Meanwhile, if Monday was somehow April 6th, the Mets’ Opening Day roster could look like this:

SP – Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler, Niese, Colon
RP – Parnell, Familia, Mejia, Torres, Edgin, Montero, Gee
C – d’Arnaud, Recker
INF – Duda, Murphy, Flores, Wright, Tejada, Campbell
OF – Granderson, Lagares, den Dekker, Nieuwenhuis, Young Jr.

Now, to be crystal clear, I am not advocating for this to be the team’s actual Opening Day roster. Rather this is merely to point out how different this is from recent past years where the team truly had to do things in the offseason to field a representative, competitive team.

There’s no dumpster diving necessary for the starting rotation. There’s no mad scientist surgery required to assemble a bullpen. There’s no scramble for a backup catcher. There’s no importing of a veteran outfielder hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

It seems to me that the progress the team has made gets lost in the anger.

Sure, it would be wonderful if the team added a Gold Glove caliber shortstop who could also hit. It would be terrific if they acquired a 30-HR caliber corner outfielder. And it would be outstanding if they acquired a LHP-mashing first baseman who would be content to sit on the bench mostly just to give Lucas Duda a day off every now and then against a tough lefty.

Sandy Alderson should be trying to do all three of these things this winter. But he doesn’t have to do any of them. Sure, sure, the fan base will burn him in effigy if he doesn’t make a move to address either SS or LF. But armed with a new three-year contract, Alderson has zero reasons to worry about what the fans think.

There’s a reason the phrase “a New York minute” exists. Five-year plans may play in backwaters like Kansas City and Pittsburgh but here the natives demand more. Pay no mind to the fact that the team had seven straight losing years before they cracked .500 in 1969. Forget that the Mets went six consecutive years in the 1990s with a sub .500 record. And don’t even think about mentioning that despite having relatively more money to spend, Frank Cashen lost 90-plus games in three of his first four years (and didn’t make it all four only because of the 1981 strike, a year when the Mets played at a dismal .398 winning percentage) and the team had lost 90-plus games three straight years before he arrived on the scene.

If things break right with injured players bouncing back and youngsters keeping gains made last year, this team will match Cashen’s fifth year with a winning season without making any additions. Of course, all of the things won’t break right, which means this offseason isn’t the one to push all of the chips into the middle of the table.

There’s a time not to care if you “win” a trade or if you “overpay” for a productive free agent. The Mets aren’t there yet. Last year, the Diamondback wanted Noah Syndergaard for Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew wanted a three-year deal for big bucks. Alderson was right to say no to both of those things. He would be right to say no to both of those things again this offseason.

Perhaps the All-Star break or the trade deadline will be the right time for the Mets to overpay – if most of the question marks are answered in a good way, the Mets are legitimately in the race and they have one obvious weakness. And of course if a good trade or free agent signing is available now, Alderson should act.

The last thing the Mets should try to do now is to win the offseason with high dollar moves acquiring older players that casual baseball fans have heard of because they were good five years ago. Andre Ethier, I’m looking at you here. Or overpay in prospects to get guys who are only temporary solutions like the previously mentioned Gregorius.

Instead, the Mets should be making a move for Alex Gordon or Yasiel Puig or Troy Tulowitzki (assuming the latest injury checks out). Guys who are true difference makers. The Mets shouldn’t overpay to get any of these guys – or anyone else in this category not named. But they should be willing to pay fair market value to get them now.

If the Mets make no moves because the Dodgers wanted Dilson Herrera, Rafael Montero, Kevin Plawecki and Syndergaard for Puig, then that’s fine. But if they make no move because the Royals wanted Montero for Gordon, well that’s another story. And I say that as a guy who wants to see Montero in the rotation and Matt den Dekker in the starting outfield for the 2015 Mets.

Alderson should be in discussions with teams that have actual current stars on the market, looking to swing the proverbial win-win trade. Given Alderson’s trade history, odds are against this type of deal happening. But the Mets have moved past the dumpster diving model and they’re not in the overpay model, either.

Conventional baseball wisdom states that sometimes the best moves are the ones a team doesn’t make. An offseason where the Mets make no major deals may just fall into this category. The question remains: Will an angry fan base accept that?

45 comments on “Mets face offseason with an angry fan base

  • Charlie Hangley

    Well said, Brian. Now is the time to bring in the modern-day equivalent of Keith Hernandez or Donn Clendenon.

    • pal88

      Perfect analogy!

  • Name

    If this is a long winded post saying that the Mets shouldn’t be stupid and ridiculously overpay… well duh.
    But there’s no reason to defend inaction at this point in the offseason, because it’s not like we’re seeing Free Agents ask for ridiculous contracts or GMs asking multiple top prospects for mediocre players.

    “Conventional baseball wisdom states that sometimes the best moves are the ones a team doesn’t make”

    With Alderson, we don’t really have to worry about this because he is super conservative.
    What we do have to worry about, is him not making the move that the team should make. And we’ve seen from experience that he has missed boatloads of good deals because of this (and there’s probably been more than we haven’t seen)

  • pal88

    Great article Brian. I’m a fan who would like to see what Flores can do in a full season at short..I believe his offensive ability would far outweigh any defensive liability ….I think the big need is for a solid corner outfielder… our trade bait would exclude Harvey, DeGrom, Wheeler…but Colon, Neise and Gee along with Syndergard and Montero could be had for the right return..that said, Ihink Boston or KC are ideal trading partners…

  • Eraff

    There should be a desperate urgency to address the financial side of the operation—and the key piece is Added Revenue. They need a “splash” of sorts to do that—most ticket sales at this point are “pre-sales”…they need “something to sell their fans!

    Fortunately, the financial piece and the baseball piece can be in strong cohesion for the first time in a long time. The off season moves need to be defined and on-target. A “big move” would work—but an obvious baseball move (or moves) would show the intention and new direction of the franchise.

    • Brian Joura

      I’m sure the Wilpons are arguing that urgency is the reason they fired their VP of ticket sales…

      • pete

        Maybe the Wilpons did not want to pay for her maternity leave? They can apply the money they saved to payroll.

  • Dan Capwell

    Great article Brian. Getting Puig would be great and he is about the only name I have heard to date that is worth a Syndergaard or a Wheeler. Cespedes is worth a few B prospects only, IMHO. If the Rockies really want to move Tulo to us they need to settle for Niese and Grandy, not the two aforementioned arms.

    I would much rather start 15 with our much the same team we ended 14 with, plus a hopefully healthy Matt Harvey and David Wright. I am OK with adding some platoon types like Matt Joyce or Johnny Gomes. Trading potential future stars for definite past stars is extremely risky and if it fails we are back to square one again.

    • Joe

      Niese and Grandy? For the best SS in baseball and possibly the best player in baseball? Please stop. Literally any other team in baseball would jump at the chance to beat that offer. Colorado would laugh in your face and then hang up the phone.

  • Joe Gomes

    It all comes down to what you have to give up and if it is for a 1 year rental vs a player who will be with the team for multiple years. I would be reluctant to give up a high end pitching prospect for a 1 year rental.

    Sandy should not panic. There are a lot of teams in need of pitching and they know the Mets have a surplus. A trade that will help both teams will come along.

  • norme

    If nothing reasonable comes along in the way of a trade, so be it.
    The projected team for 2015, I would only exclude EYJr. and Tejada, is still better
    than the teams the Mets started with in recent years.
    If this team gets off on the right foot the fan base will be accepting.

  • blastingzone

    I don’t trust Sandy period! I don’t think he knows what a block buster trade is unless it involves the other teams minor leagues so I will believe it when I
    see it! He doesn’t have the balls to make the kind of trade the mets need to
    make that includes trading a Syndergaard or a Wheeler to get a power
    hitting OF like Gordon, or Puig!!

  • Jerry Grote

    What fan has called for making a major trade? In fact, I think fans *would be* upset at moving a lot of talent.

    OTOH, we should certainly lynch Sandy by his testicles if he can’t get done this simple task:

    Find someone that can hit LHP. There are literally 150 players in all of the *major leagues* that have a wRC+ of 100 or better and 90 ABs. There must be another 150 in the AA/AAA/AAAA level.

    It’s the most oversupplied talent in baseball, and the one thing you need. You have 10 starting pitchers, 3 2B, and 2 LH OFs, not to mention 2 of the best young catchers in all of baseball.

    No. Don’t make the big deal.

    Do
    Some
    thing.

    • pete

      Hey JG! If it’s the most over-supplied talent in baseball why don’t the Mets have one?

      • Jerry Grote

        What are you talking about Pete? Sandy already went out and got that bat last year.

        He wound up producing 11 XBH in 23 games.

        >>> for the Yankees.

        • pete

          And to add salt to the wound why couldn’t SA in all his brilliance sign CY to the same type of contract the Yankees just did with CY? It motivates CY to play hard All the time and stay focused. If SA is so shrewd of an evaluator of talent why couldn’t he have offered the same type of incentive laden contract that would benefited both team and player?

          • Jerry Grote

            put this under your hat.

            You know who has an .823 OPS against LHP and plays LF, 2B, 3B and has 1B experience.

            A former ex Brave, that Sandy wanted last year but has no spot in the Yankee outfield. I don’t know what is up with Martin Prado but Alderson was upset that Dbacks didn’t come to him on that trade.

            Wouldn’t surprise me if we made a play for him. But there are countless RH bats that can play LF and swing a little bit against LHP.

            • pete

              Maybe GM’S who don’t have to play the let me see what I can squeeze/waiting game just prefer Not to deal with Alderson. Now that! would be frightening considering Prado is a second tier player.

            • Name

              Why are you so concerned about finding people to hit Lefties? The ratio of lefty PA is somewhere between 20-30%, in other words, the ratio of righty PA is between 70-80%.

              I think finding and allocating money to guys who can hit righties, the vast majority, is more important.

              • Jerry Grote

                Agreed!!!
                100%!!!

                But you have two of those guys on the roster *****right now*****! For the life of me, I don’t understand why others aren’t beating this same drum (Brian excepted) incessantly.

                One difficult talent to find is the one we have in abundance; players that can hit RHP well, and at least in one case can do it with an established ISO higher than 2.

                Give the 400 ABs to either KN or MdD, get that simple component, and give yourself 5 or more WAR without destroying the team.

  • Paul K

    I am one of the many angry Mets fans. My message to Fred Wilpon:
    If you want to sell more tickets, then stop pissing off what’s left of the Mets’ fan base, pull your head out of your a$$ and do something now to put a legitimate playoff contender on the field. This is New York City. We are all tired of watching a losing team year after year after frustrating year.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  • Patrick Albanesius

    If the reports that KC wants Montero and Murphy for Gordon are true, sign that deal yesterday.

    • TexasGusCC

      LOL, and they haven’t done it yet?

    • Joe Vasile

      Yeah, I’d sign up for that trade in a minute. Montero and Murph for a gold glover who has a good bat? Done and done.

    • pete

      I get the feeling we’re missing something because that offer is too good to pass up.

      • Brian Joura

        Supposedly, the Mets don’t want to pay that much in trade for a rental.

        • pete

          Brian Sandy is always looking for a cheaper way out. eventually if the Mets want to compete for a playoff spot and perhaps a World Series in our lifetime getting another offensive bat at SS or LF would be helpful before Wright and Granderson deteriorate to the point where they’re just shells of their former selves. Alderson reminds me of a thrifty shopper who keeps asking the manager for a discount in a discount store. At some point you have to make a move. Kansas City did and it worked. Oakland tried and it failed. But at least they tried.

    • geo

      There are no such reports that the Royals have asked for Montero & Murphy. Andy Martino of the Daily News speculated that “might ” be what the Royals would want. Emphasis on “might,”, and absolutley no indication that it’s what the Royals want.

  • TexasGusCC

    Brian,
    The last four years Gordon’s WAR has been at least 5.6 or higher three times; he’s pretty good.

    The last four years, Ethier’s WAR has been 2.7 or higher three times. He wouldn’t be a terrible fallback.

    If the Royals use the name Syndergaard, hang up and call the Dodgers.

    • Brian Joura

      And last year Ethier had a 0.7 fWAR.

      He’s a defensive liability and he can no longer make up for it offensively. And he has a massive contract. No thanks.

      • TexasGusCC

        Brian, I’m not saying he’s awesome, I’m just saying he did well those years that he got to play. Last year, he played mostly centerfield, when he did play but we all know his playing time was sporadic. Does that sound like a guy that has lost it? Of course, I’m expecting the Dodgers to eat close to half the contract and accept a Montero or Gee return, otherwise, they can keep him.

        • TexasGusCC

          I would much rather have Kemp or Gordon and pay more than Ethier, because I want a better player than Ethier, but just saying he can be useful if the cost on the other guys is too prohibitive.

          • Metsense

            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-dodgers-and-still-too-many-outfielders/
            An interesting article concerning the Dodger outfield. I think Kemp could be an answer, Crawford maybe and Ethier a no. Puig has talent but not for the vanilla Mets (they think Harvey is a problem). Van Slyke and Pederson fit the budget, the Met profile, and are team controlled. Those are the two I would concentrate on.

    • pete

      And if the Dodgers ask for Syndergaard?

      • Jerry Grote

        If Mattingly is that pissed off at Puig that they want to trade him,

        make the deal. Pretty much, whatever they want so long as it doesn’t include Harvey.

        • pete

          Puig thinks he’s better than anyone so therefore he doesn’t have to listen to anyone (or their advice). Can you imagine Collins asking him for a favor to run out of the batters box on all plays? Or asking him not to lollipop his return throws to the infield? As positive of an upgrade he will be the negatives outweigh whatever you gain. The baseball version of Plaxico Buress.

  • Chris F

    Another season where doing nothing is somehow justified as progress. At this point we are all well conditioned to that experience. It continues to point to the Metsian, and hallmark Aldersonian, lack of the “fierce urgency of now”. Why should there be any urgency? Simple, we are losing the luxury of a window to perform. Like it or not arbitration and free agency must be in the calculus now….so for how long will we have player control and a budget that the wilpons can provide? Why should we be interested in dealing or some FA? The nominal configuration simply is incapable of being a serious team.

    Duda? I’m a Duda guy. Always have been. Do I think he is good for 30/90 like clockwork? No, or at least not yet. Murphy? He’s a defensive liability of such concern I don’t believe he can hit anywhere near enough to offset it, which is particularly concerning if Flores mans short, a position he is incapable of playing at mlb level. What about wright? Who knows. We have the worst defensive catcher in the game. With a team lacking certain offensive power, a strong defensive team matters up the gut…with only Lagares able to carry the load.

    If I’m GM I head into the winter meetings eager to make good moves for winning now and for the next couple years.

    • pete

      +1 Chris. I was wondering TdA had more passed balls than Thole?

    • Metsense

      The Mets should improve at least 4 games adding Harvey and Parnell to the roster bringing their win total to 83 and within striking distance of a playoff spot. Chris F makes a great point that the middle defense is weak. An upgrade at SS along with a Murphy trade sliding Flores or Herrera to second will improve the defense. The Mets also need to get at least a better than average corner outfielder. There is some excess at second base, starting pitching, relief pitching and a stocked farm system in order to achieve this.The better the players obtained, the better the odds of a playoff spot. There should be a sense of urgency to obtain these upgrades because a playoff spot is well within their grasp.

      • pete

        Addition by subtraction. No retreads like Farnworth, Lannan or Valverde to blow games in the early part of the season.Tthat alone should be worth some wins

  • pete

    New front office for Dodgers. I don’t think that will happen.

  • pete

    Andrew Freidman and company are new school. So who do you think they would want? The more significant the players? The more they’ll eat? The Dodgers could use 1 SP and bull pen help

  • steve alan

    i have not attended a met game for 4 years. i do watch on tv and do follow the team closely but i will not spend a dime unless they “overpay” unless they decide to be a real big market team. i handful of fanatics tow the party poverty line and poo poo those of us who stay away but we now outnumber you and we dont buy into the pr bullshit. sign big names now or once again the stadium will be empty.. period ,,, exclamation point

  • Joe

    I understand your point, but I’d make that Puig trade any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    • Brian Joura

      If Puig was a choirboy, I think you could make a case for that deal. But with his seeming attitude problems, I don’t think it makes sense.

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