The Mets are entering the offseason looking at a Top 15 draft pick (mediocre) and not a whole lot of money coming off the books. They have a whole lot of money tied into Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright that might not ever make an impact on the major league roster for 2019 and they are reaching the end of their rope with their star pitching talent. That is why it makes no sense for the Mets to spend their limited resources on improving positions that they may be able to improve internally.
The Mets have not gotten consistent offense from the mashup of Wilmer Flores, Jay Bruce and Dominic Smith and the temptation to make something of a position that usually comes with offensive pop is high. Unfortunately for those who look to Free Agency, there isn’t much there. Joe Mauer, Logan Morrison and Lucas Duda don’t inspire a ton of confidence and could cost money that the Mets might be better off spending elsewhere. Add that Peter Alonso seems just about ready to get a shot at starting and that Bruce might be forced out of the outfield by defensive limitations and it seems that they will need to hope that the players they already have pay off.
Wish Asdrubal Cabrera moving on the Mets have some internal options at second base as well. Chief among those options is the local folk hero known as Jeff McNeil. A player that nobody paid much attention to before 2018, McNeil blossomed in a big way for the Mets and has made his minor league success stick in the majors. The big question on everyone’s mind is if this success is going to last beyond this magical season. Instead, the Mets could look to spend some money on a fairly deep pool of middle infielder free agents. They could bring back the likes of Cabrera or Neil Walker, they could bring back their former playoff superstar Daniel Murphy, or they could look to the likes of Ian Kinsler, Logan Forsythe, Brian Dozier, and D.J. LeMahieu. To me, with McNeil on the roster and with Gavin Cecchini, T.J. Rivera, Philip Evans and Andres Gimenez there to pick up the pieces this might be wasting an opportunity.
On the flip side of the coin we’ve been staring at, the Mets internal options at catcher don’t really inspire a tone of confidence. Travis d’Arnaud has never been able to remain healthy and Kevin Plawecki should likely only be used as a backup, despite having okay offensive numbers. What has been proven, is that this tandem cannot be counted on for health and success over a full season and the Mets don’t have any prospects in the upper minors who appear ready to blossom. That leaves Free Agency and in that pool, only one name stands out. The Mets should be saving all their meager chips to be played on Yasmani Grandal who could, frankly, be brought in on top of d’Arnaud and Plawecki for all I care. If the Mets could solidify only one position this offseason, this would be it.
The Mets no longer have Jeurys Familia and are without a sure closer for their 2019 team. More than a few likely names jump out of the Free Agent listings but the Mets also have a stable full of some talented arms at their own disposal. Should the Mets bring back Familia or sign someone like Kelvin Herrera or Craig Kimbrel? Or can they count on the likes of Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Tyler Bashlor, Drew Smith, Bobby Wahl, Tim Peterson, Anthony Swarzak, Jacob Rhame, Gerson Bautista, Corey Oswalt, P.J. Conlon etc… to produce a winning bullpen? The common sense answer is that the Mets probably should get a formidable closer if they intend to make a true effort in 2019 but the money might not be available.
While Grandal and Murphy will be among the Top 20 or even Top 10 Free Agents this offseason they are not the big prizes that teams will be gunning for. The likes of Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Mike Moustakas always seem beyond the Met purse strings. Could the Mets make a splash and succeed? Certainly. Should the Mets? Actually, probably. The timeline to losing the services of Jacob Degrom and Noah Syndergaard creeps ever closer and the team should legitimately be trying to win in 2019, despite the disaster of 2018. What better way to do this than to make a concerted effort to sign one of the Top offensive forces in the game? With superstar money tied up in Wright and Cespedes it’s likely just not possible but the Mets could sure use it.