Mets armchair GMs and the rush for a second-tier starter

We’re all armchair GMs to one degree or another and no one more so than me. We also play judge, jury and executioner. Unfortunately many do this before all the facts are in, with a belief that it’s more important to be first than it is to be right. My position is that in the big picture, there’s always time to be depressed so there’s no reason to rush to that conclusion.

By the end of the 2017 season, the Mets had traded away most of their impending free agents for a bunch of righty relievers and payroll relief that did not seem earmarked for next year’s budget. Additionally, there were rumors of a massive cut to team payroll, rumors that no one in a position of power on the Mets did much to contradict.

These two factors, along with a 92-loss season, put much of the fanbase in a foul mood.

If you were told at the beginning of October that the Mets would add a third baseman who’s averaged 3.4 fWAR the past six years, an outfielder who’s averaged nearly 30 HR the past seven years and a reliever who had a 2.33 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP – you wouldn’t have believed it. If on top of this, you were told that they hired a manager who was universally praised as one of the top young minds in the game, revamped their medical system – including getting rid of the Angel of Death (and fall guy) Ray Ramirez – and purchased their own Triple-A farm club in Syracuse and thus ending the game of musical chairs that has seen them exiled to two different PCL clubs, how would you have reacted? Hopefully not with pitchforks and Tiki torches.

Still, we all recognize that the Mets will need better health, specifically from their starting rotation, if they are going to return to the playoffs in 2018.

This knowledge has many banging the drum for the club to bring in another starter, even though they have nine guys under contract already who started games for the club last year. Last year the Mets had seven guys planned to get most of the starts, which was an okay plan as long as three didn’t get hurt at the same time. Woops

Is nine enough for 160 or so starts? Nobody has any idea. Maybe the club will get a better feel for the situation as Spring Training both arrives and develops. Last year, the Mets had two of their seven guys go down while they were still in Florida and they did nothing to address the situation. We need to hope they don’t make that mistake again.

But the way the market has developed this year gives hope that if Grapefruit League play uncovers injuries and/or ineffectiveness among the starters, that Sandy Alderson will find a suitable replacement. Or at least one better than Tommy Milone.

My opinion is that the default assumption should not be (right now) that nine starters is too few and that they need to go out and sign a “second tier” SP among the available free agents. But if Matt Harvey’s breaking balls have no bite and Seth Lugo has an elbow the size of a grapefruit and Steven Matz has no location – by all means change course and get a pitcher you feel comfortable getting 30 starts.

Currently, the Mets have an issue with their rotation where if everyone is ready to go, there simply isn’t enough spots for them. Why spend money to compound that situation? Last year Doug Fister was there for the taking well after the season started. The slow market ensures that someone Fister or better will be available in mid to late March this year, too.

So, if the Mets don’t go out and sign Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn in the next 48 hours, let’s try to do a better job on the judge-jury-executioner thing. This offseason has been pretty good so far and with nine starting pitching candidates on hand already, there’s a valid reason for patience.

But it’s okay if you’re chomping at the bit for February 12th to arrive. Pitchers and catchers reporting is always a great day.

16 comments for “Mets armchair GMs and the rush for a second-tier starter

  1. Eraff
    February 7, 2018 at 10:06 am

    I don’t Understand the Math of adding a Pitcher now…financially or from a “who starts Today?” perspective.

    Matz, Degrom, Wheeler, Lugo, Gsellman, Harvey, Montero, Syndergaard……. Oswalt?…Molina…Flexen???? …. some of these Guys have innings limits, I’m sure. If they are Healthy and Performing, the Team will need more Innings in the Latter part of the Year. Unless you’re Parking Starters in the Minors or The Bullpen—- and Minor League Innings Count, How are you adding to the Staff in April for Innings that won;t be needed until August?

    It seems that they should wait and see,,,and then add at the mid year or so.

    Now…if they have zero confidence in the quality or health of multiple guys I’ve mentioned—or if they fail health or performance— then the entire year is shot.

    I’d love a specific theory on how to do this…I don;t understand it.

    • February 7, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      I think it’s essential to add a pitcher because, frankly, I don’t trust Harvey, Wheeler or Gsellman, while Matz and Lugo have injury concerns. If they’re gonna make a serious run with JdG, Thor, Yo, Frazier and more, then solidify the pitching and do it right. Don’t pretend everyone is gonna throw 200 innings of 2.50 ERA ball.

      • Metsense
        February 7, 2018 at 5:42 pm

        If there is room in the budget then any of the four free agent pitchers would make the Mets a better team. If that can’t be done then sign Dickey who will give the Mets an average #3 starter that can be relied on with the potential of 31 starts. Like Mike, I also don’t trust the other five to be relied upon because of their injuries. For a relatively reasonable expenditure Dickey would be worth it.

  2. Hunter
    February 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Too many good teams are a starter short to expect that the price of Lynn and Cobb will fall enough to entice the Mets to bite.

  3. TJ
    February 7, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Nice job as usual. I prefer a chair with no arms, but nonetheless I will confess to more virtually GMing as an adult than imaging myself as world series hero as a child.

    I am in the camp that the Mets need to add more pitching, however, I have backed off on Lynn and Cobb because of the combination of price/loss of draft pick for non-elite performer. So, assuming Arietta and Darvish are out of the question due to price, I am in on the next level type, be it a Vargas, a Dickey, as Cashner. And, I am in on a quality lefty for the pen. However Alderson works this will be fine for me. From what I know, they only risk losing Montero and Robles due to lack of options. I really like the notion of the group of Wheeler-Harvey-Matz-Gsellman and to some extent Lugo having a tad more competition for the opening day rotation. And, I also like the idea of a crafty vet with different “stuff” being mixed in with all the fireballers. I won’t cry if this doesn’t happen, but a tad more depth with minimal commitment is optimal. Frankly, I think from here on out it matters more what the Nats do as opposed to what the Mets do.

    • February 7, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      You prefer a chair with no arms?!?!? Good god man, are you a communist?

      It’s a bit surprising to me that no one has tried Cashner as a reliever yet. I don’t feel like he’s a viable starter. I know he had results last year but I refuse to believe that a guy with a 4.64 K/9 and a 3.46 BB/9 can come close to repeating his 2017 ERA.

      And I’m sure it’s the heart speaking more than the head but I’d love to see Dickey back with the Mets.

      • Eraff
        February 7, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        Im a big Fan of Cashner…very similar to my unsubstantiated support of Plawecki.

        Most of his Downside is that he’s an explosive moron on the mound when things don’t go his way….. maybe it’s a Seratonin Shortgage/maybe it’s a “Stuff” shortgage. I keep seeing a Good Pitcher and Imagining that he’s just having a Bad Day.

      • Chris F
        February 7, 2018 at 1:43 pm

        “And I’m sure it’s the heart speaking more than the head but I’d love to see Dickey back with the Mets.”

        It is. that experiment would not go well. But he is definitely on the Mets “All Cuddly and Adoring Team” captained by Flores!!! Gimme some tears Wilmer…I know they’re in you!!!

      • Herb G
        February 8, 2018 at 9:34 pm

        Early on, with the Pads, Cashner was used as a part time reliever (93 G, 96.1 IP) Over the course of his career his results have been much better as a starter. I wouldn’t relegate him to the pen.

        Actually, since I believed that Alderson would pass on either Lynn or Cobb due to price and the draft pick thing, Cashner has been my choice to sign from Day 1. I think he is the best of the entire group below the top 4.

        Brian, I share your feelings on a Dickey return. It would be great to see opposing hitters flail at his flutterball in Citifield. If it isn’t Cashner, I would love to see Dickey back home. I bet he would inspire the fans the same way Big Sexy did. After all, he is only 43 years old.

  4. MattyMets
    February 7, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    The secondary urgency to add a starter is that, one way other another, Harvey is not likely to still be with the Mets in 2019.

    Also, assuming we don’t have the money for Cobb or Lynn, I like the idea of Francisco Liriano. He’s a veteran lefty who can start or relieve and is ripe for a bounce back with help from our new pitching gurus. I think he could be had cheap too. Maybe not on a minor league deal, but certainly on a very reasonable one year deal with incentives.

    I’m just stunned that we are days from pitchers and catchers and there are at least 10 impact players in limbo. This is wild.

  5. Mike Walczak
    February 7, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    I think that they could use another starter. Matz and Wheeler could both be tremendous assets to the bullpen.

    Even though I like the idea of adding Lynn, I also agree with waiting and see how spring training goes for a few weeks first.

    Yes, I am an armchair GM. I am an impatient fan who likes to see moves.

  6. Mike Walczak
    February 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I have no problem if they pick up Cashner, Vargas or Dickey rather than Lynn or Cobb.

  7. Eraff
    February 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Go to the Minors…. don’t throw too many innings because we may need you in July/August….. wait to see if 6-9 guys fail in front of you…. all of the Guys on Minors Deals will want an early opt out.

  8. February 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Ya’ll dreaming if you think Sandy and Wilpons are dropping another $10m+ for either Lynn or Cobb. Ain’t happenin’ bro’…!!! Maybe, just maybe, Jason Vargas can be had for a similar deal they gave Frazier, or Mets can bring RA Dickey back on the cheap, that would be more realistic. Oh, and another lefty reliever, please.
    Tony Watson is still out there sir Sandy !

  9. February 7, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    How much time do you give Harvey to rediscover his magic? And if he bombs out in SP you will be trading low but looking to get another SP (Lynn?) Six million is a lot to tie up for a 5th or 6th starter. Can try to package Harvey and Lagares for something more useful if payroll is a concern.

  10. Eraff
    February 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    So Pete…. If Harvey Can’t Pitch, you package him and his 6.5 Million along with Lagares and his 663 ops and 15.5 million over the next two years…. Stop it!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: