MLB GM Project: New York Mets 2015-2016

Logo Orange & BlueI originally thought I didn’t have much to fix with the New York Mets going into 2016, which just goes to prove why GMs don’t make plans for next year until the current year is done. Signing Yoenis Cespedes seemed to be the most logical move on a team that was going to lose two good bats, Cespedes and Daniel Murphy, and who could afford a major contract. I guess I have egg on my face.

Not only was Cespedes not productive throughout most of the playoffs, but he looked downright terrible through most of the World Series. Fielding issues, hitting issues, and base running issues, oh my. Well, here’s $28 million Yoenis, enjoy! I had made a play to nab a much less expensive Yasiel Puig from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and highly considered Dexter Fowler as a suitable replacement. Fowler could have at least offered some speed on the base paths as a leadoff hitter, allowing Curtis Granderson to move down the lineup. But in the end, Cespedes torrid summer with the Mets won my money, and I held out hope that another 30 home run year would help the Mets return to October. I’m not very proud of the move, but it’s the one I made so I have to stand by it.

Other than that, the biggest struggle of being the Mets GM was the unmovable contracts of Jon Niese and Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer’s contract I understand, as he offered the Mets a 0.0 fWAR and will be awarded with $12 million in 2016 for his “efforts”. Niese on the other hand is now terribly miscast as a lefty reliever, which has completed altered his value. I don’t know too many lefty long relievers who started 29 games and kept a 4.13 ERA, which ranks 32nd best among pitchers with 150+ innings in the NL. For a mere $9 million, I would have figured there would be some bites. Alas, there were not. I almost had a deal that would have sent him and $5 million to St. Louis for a reliever and a prospect, but that seems too rich for David Groveman’s blood, and again I was stymied.

So Niese will instead be my fifth starter until Zack Wheeler returns in June or July, and hopefully someone will want to pick him up with a reduced contract at that point. Cuddyer, I will just have to hope and pray that he plays well the first few months of next year, and I can unload that awful contract of his. In the meantime, it will be up to in-house options to sure up the bullpen, and a little hope that some guys like Vic Black, Josh Edgin and others can return to help. With four SS prospects in the Top 10, perhaps one can be parted later in the winter for a couple of young arms.

This project was fun, but extremely frustrating. An entire winter’s worth of GM meetings, wheeling and dealing and signing was condensed into a week’s worth of movement. Some major trades were made early on, but I had extremely few serious trade offers. I could have been more aggressive, but again I thought I was in a position of strength. A week’s worth of fairly bad baseball will change that quickly.

With a starting rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and hopefully Wheeler by mid-year, I’m set there, barring injury of course. Dilson Herrera, Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada will likely split time at second and short until my two everyday guys emerge. Flores was one of the few bright spots during the WS, as his defense was far from the concern it was in spring. His bat was quiet, but so was nearly everyone else’s. Any money I can recoup from a Niese or Cuddyer deal later in the winter, or early next year should be used to first help the bullpen, and second to find a useful utility veteran who can sub at third if catastrophe strikes there again in 2016. Again, in-house options will have to do for now.

In the end, I don’t think I made the Mets much better. Had I had a little more time to consider certain moves, I think I could have increased the depth of this team, while avoiding the big overpay. But maybe Cespedes will have an MVP year and I’ll look like a genius. I doubt it, though. Good thing this isn’t real, or else I think I’d be looking for a new job.




16 comments for “MLB GM Project: New York Mets 2015-2016

  1. November 3, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Sorry Pat,

    As you saw, I got my long reliever more cheaply than our proposed deal for Niese. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make the trade just to save money.

    I think the money spent on Cespedes was way too much but I think you might agree with that at this point too. How did you afford Cespedes’ $28 Mil with so few contracts coming off the books?

    • Patrick Albanesius
      November 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      I had assessed that my budget would be roughly $80 million with minimal raises for everyone. I read recently that it might be closer to $90 million. I think that’s another tough thing to balance while the season is still going on. I could still make this work if I can unload either Niese or Cuddyer, but at the moment I might be slightly over budget.

  2. TexasGusCC
    November 3, 2015 at 9:55 am


    Can’t blame you for thinking Cespedes fits perfectly as a “lineup need”. But since you did the homework already, please offer:

    – Trade Duda and his power (albeit streaky) and put Wright at first?
    – Do you tender Tejada for $3MM+ or go with Reynolds?
    – Don’t kill me on this one: Granderson is going to be 35, his value will never be higher. Want to at least examine the market?

    Obviously you were in a difficult position seeing the Mets were still playing, but do any of these now make sense now that all is said and done?

    • Patrick Albanesius
      November 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      I wouldn’t trade Duda, because I think he still has the potential to be an MVP-caliber player with a career year. Wright only offers value at third.

      I don’t know if Reynolds is ready for the majors, so I’m keeping Tejada at least as a backup.

      I considered trading Granderson, but I thought getting a more traditional leadoff would help ease the blow if I missed on Cespedes. I think that would be the better option for Alderson in reality.

  3. November 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm


    Any thought to retaining Kelly Johnson or Juan Uribe to sub in the infield?

    Or did all the Murphy money go to Cespedes?

    • Patrick Albanesius
      November 5, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Someone signed Uribe for too much money. Johnson would have been a better option for me, but I had blown all my money on Cespedes instead. Like a dope!

  4. November 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Wilmer Flores was 1-for-17 in the World Series. That’s not quiet, that’s harmful.

    • Patrick Albanesius
      November 5, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      The Flores Hater-ade continues. He made some fine plays, and nobody hit well. I don’t think he was even close to the reason we lost.

      • November 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm

        The accurately assessing Flores’ output continues.

        There were 18 players in the World Series that had at least 10 AB and Flores had the worst OPS of the group. That’s not opinion, it’s not a vendetta – it’s just reality. Saying that other people were bad doesn’t make up for the fact that Flores was the worst of the bunch, was hitless with runners in scoring position and he struck out to end the Series.

        • Matty Mets
          November 6, 2015 at 11:54 am

          Flores put the ball in play. His numbers are skewed by a low BABIP and a key hit with men on base that was incorrectly ruled an error. I’m not suggesting he had a good series but at least he wasn’t a strikeout machine like some of the other hitters.

  5. A-Rain
    November 3, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I think the Mets are honestly in pretty good position right now, as long as they do this:
    -Keep Duda until his contract his up, Dominic Smith is coming up in the minors anyway and Duda’s power gives protection in the lineup potentially.
    -Let Murphy, Cespedes, Colon and Kelly Johnson walk.
    -Lagares plays center, Conforto in left, keep Granderson because he actually fields pretty well, had an OBP 100 points higher than his batting average, and gave 5.1 WAR this year, he should be given another chance.
    -Flores is actually pretty good, and only 24, I think he will improve greatly, and with Tejada coming back as well as Herrera coming up they can figure out a good combination up the middle.
    -Remember that D’Arnaud hit 12 homers in 68 games, as long as he doesn’t get hurt he should bat no lower than 5th honestly, given he has a good batting average too
    -I’m going to assume Wright can play third next year
    -As for pitching, try to keep Niese as the 5th starter until Wheeler comes back, and then if he is having a good year trade him for something like a good middle reliever or another Juan Uribe type player if he doesn’t get resigned.
    -Keep Addison Reed and try to resign Tyler Clippard
    -It may be tempting to resign Cespedes, but in the long run if they can transition David Wright over to first base if he can still hit but 3B is an unnecessary strain on his back, the money will be there to potentially sign Nolan Arenado if Dominic Smith doesn’t work out as a first baseman in the future and Duda is let go.

    • Patrick Albanesius
      November 5, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      I agree with most everything you said.

  6. Eraff
    November 3, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I’d “fish” with Duda for useable parts and arms. I’d offer Murph the QO, and even lightly overpay for him to stay. He and Flores make for very effective “around the IF” players—400 plus ab’s as swing IF’ers/IB etc.

    I’d love to see Cespee back….. Herrera at 2nd…. The kid from Chicago at SS (Zach Wheeler???).

    That makes you a better fielding team…more speed and offensive versatility

  7. November 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I’d sign Ben Zobrist and try to improve the bullpen.

    That’s really all the Mets “need”.

    I would still offer Murphy a qualifying offer because David Wright is iffy and Dilson Herrera is unproven but Zobrist is the only specific target I have for the offseason.

    • TexasGusCC
      November 5, 2015 at 9:39 am

      David, I must disagree with you on the bullpen as few team have the power options the Mets had. Hopefully the Mets shift gears on their offensive approach of power and strikeouts, but I don’t see playoffs when you have a potential lineup of:

      Herrera, Granderson, Wright, Duda, TDA, Conforto, Flores, and Lagares will only work if you have no injuries to Wright and TDA, and if Duda stays awake all year long. Based on recent history, none of these things are likely to happen and your leadoff hitter has not mastered MLB in his previous two cups of coffee.

      I would like a true upgrade at SS, leaving Flores as a utility sub.

      • Patrick Albanesius
        November 5, 2015 at 1:13 pm

        I agree that the Mets need more contact hitters, and a slightly more traditional leadoff, in order to take advantage of Granderson’s power further down the lineup. I think Brian paid $15 million for Zobrist, or something close to that. I think that’s a little too much. I’d still love to have him, but not at that price. Then again, I wasted a ton of money on Yoenis, so what do I know.

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