Mets Minors: Jeff McNeil and building from within

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.

First Base:

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.

Second Base:

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.

Catcher:

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.

Relief:

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.

The Superstars:

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.

10 comments for “Mets Minors: Jeff McNeil and building from within

  1. TexasGusCC
    September 10, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    David, the more I see, the more it seems Bruce will be moved this winter. More comforting is the weak crop of first baseman, it the Mets are trying to paint Bruce in the best light and it is certainly this. It doesn’t make sense to block a top-30 MLB prospect (soon) like Alonso, who has seven years of control, for Jay Bruce, who has two years of control at a higher cost. Flores can be the fallback, Smith is Plan C and even the captain as Plan D, but I’d like to see Wright standing in the grass if he really can’t even dive.

    The catching can be solved by only one name: Wilson Ramos. He is the offensive catcher that the Mets need, he is fully healthy, and he has a cannon.

    As for the relievers, wow! Let’s start with who we have, and I will add Vargas as the LOOGY because I feel Lugo is too good to not be in the rotation. Gsellman, Swarzak, D. Smith are the first three. Then pick two or maybe three from Mejia, Callahan, Montero, Crismatt, Bashlor, Bautista (I’d like to see the coaches work with these youngsters in the winter on mixing their pitches and avoiding “right down the pipe” they seem to aim for), who along with Vargas brings us to six relievers. Then the last two spots could be Zamora and a closer, or signing two relievers that can show a decent track record.

    The superstars? LOL. These are the Mets.

    • Madman
      September 10, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Bruce has two years and 28 million on his contract. Don’t think anybody is going to take that off their hands!

      • TexasGusCC
        September 10, 2018 at 9:35 pm

        They may not take the $28, maybe they’ll take the $18?

        If the Coupons can save $8.5 per year on the difference from Bruce’s pay to Alonso’s pay, you don’t think that would interest them?

  2. September 11, 2018 at 12:39 am

    I ‘m curious? How about Marwin Gonzales of the Astros? He’s a super sub who can play infield and outfield. Probably won’t cost as much as a top tier FA. Sign Grandal and let d’Arnaud walk. Saving the Mets about 4 million which the Mets can apply towards Grandals salary. Bring back Familia as closer.
    Dave if Wright comes back healthy where does he play? Third base? Second? Outfield? DH when in an American League park. If third base then Frazier moves over to second base. McNeil subs both? In spring training if Alonso tears it up do you then move Flores?

  3. September 11, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Forgot to add, Do the Wilpons apply any of the 50 million dollars they received from the sale of Bamtech towards next years payroll?

    • TexasGusCC
      September 11, 2018 at 1:43 am

      Pete, you know the Coupons, what do you think based on how they didn’t reinvest the Multi-Media money nor the insurance money?

  4. Metsense
    September 11, 2018 at 3:05 am

    A good analysis of the situation. The priorities of the 2019 team should be a set of man and a Closer. I would also like to upgrade the catching but it might be a reach. With so many second baseman available in free agency the Mets could cash in with a late January buy out like they did last year. That signing would be a veteran who could balance the roster and play Third Base also. I’m not suggesting the player replace O’Neill.
    The Mets have strange ideas when it comes to they’re minor Leaguers. Remember when deGrom came up and they were going to let another pitcher, I think Mejia or Familia pitch before him even deGrom was producing. Nimmo had also a struggle to break on into lineup initially and they refused to bat him leadoff even with a near .400 OBP.
    Even to the extent of their V picture, Oswalt has more of a future then Vargas and when Oswalt starts he has produced acceptable results many times. The Mets refuse to show confidence to their young players. I hope they show confidence in McNeil and hopefully in Alonzo and Gimenez when they’re ready ( or Force themselves) to play in the majors. The exception is Rosario who they are giving every opportunity to succeed. Even Dom Smith has undeservingly given more opportunity then the players I mentioned. It seems the Mets when given a surprise package don’t know how to open.

  5. Metsense
    September 11, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Readers, I am sorry about the sloppy post above. It would not let me edit to clean it up. I think you got the gist of it though.

    • TexasGusCC
      September 11, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      We do Metsense, and it’s understandable when up that late. I have a Greek proverb for you that always seems true:

      “The day sees the night’s work and laughs.”

  6. MattyMets
    September 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Before long there will be a long offseason to debate this stuff. For now, I’m focused on enjoying this last month of Mets baseball. I’m rooting for McNeil to keep this up, for Bruce to show he can play first and for one or two of those righties in the pen to prove themselves worthy of a 2019 roster spot.

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