The Omar Minaya Mets were heavy on stars but not so hot on depth. This stars and scrubs mixture worked pretty good when Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado were playing in 155 games a year. But it wasn’t so hot once those guys got injured.

The 2019 Mets looked to spread the wealth around a bit more, including paying for guys to play a position where they already had a solid answer. They imported Robinson Cano to play 2B when they already had Jeff McNeil there. They added Jed Lowrie and J.D. Davis to play 3B when they already had Todd Frazier there. Injuries around the diamond meant that Davis and McNeil played a whole bunch last year. And the team won 86 games, despite a bad defense, a horrible bullpen and a schedule that did them no favors.

The 2006 Mets won 97 games and if they had gone to the playoffs with a healthy Orlando Hernandez and Pedro Martinez at their disposal, they could/should/would have won the World Series. Some might call this “proof of concept” for the stars and scrubs approach.

Last year Jeff Wilpon stated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Mets would not be assembling a team filled with stars, as he asked how many teams had multiple $30 million players as a justification not to chase two of the youngest players to hit free agency in recent memory. And the club seems to be doubling down on the share the wealth concept this offseason, as they are acquiring pitching depth to rival last year’s hitting depth.

Could sharing the wealth work and result in a 97-win team in the regular season? Most would agree this was a potential outcome for the 2020 Mets, even if they wouldn’t give it much of a chance of happening. Most would feel better if the team was getting something from the guys making eight figures a year, like Yoenis Cespedes, Jeurys Familia and Lowrie, who gave them nothing or less than nothing in 2019.

Which team would you rather follow/cheer for — the team loaded with six to eight stars and filled in around those impact players? Or a team with just a couple of stars but buttressed with many more good players?

Which kind of payroll application do you prefer?

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16 comments on “Poll: Thoughts on a stars and scrubs team

  • Boomboom

    This Team has stars and depth.

  • Bob P

    I voted share the wealth. I liked last years team overall and really believe that if Diaz and Familia had done 75% of what was expected the Mets would have been in the playoffs and would have had a legitimate shot at the WS. A team that is reliant on stars can be good but can fall apart with an injury or two. Also, having a more balanced team can lead to opportunities for more stars if young players develop, like Alonso and McNeil.

  • Chris F

    A WS team needs stars and depth.

    • Brian Joura

      I’m not sure if you’re missing the point on purpose or not. But to clarify what the question is asking let’s look at two recent WS winners

      The top five OD payroll guys for the 2019 Nationals made up roughly 63% of the team’s payroll – Stars

      To get that same roughly 63% of OD payroll for the 2015 Royals you’d need the top 10 guys. And you’d need the whole ’15 Royals team to get what the ’19 Nats paid their top 5 guys — Spread the wealth

      Just because the Nats spent more on the top 20% of their roster didn’t mean they didn’t have depth — Howie Kendrick and Matt Adams come immediately to mind. And both teams had pre-arb and early-arb guys playing significant roles on the team for not a lot of money.

      Sometimes the situation is thrust upon you. You may prefer spread the wealth but if you have Scherzer and Strasburg and Rendon and Zimmerman and Corbin then you’re pretty much forced to go the stars route.

      But you look at the Mets of the past few years – they’ve taken the spread the wealth approach. They signed multiple free agents both of the past two years. If they had taken that money and sunk it into one star instead each year – they could have a stars approach.

      There’s no one right answer.

      • Chris F

        I agree there’s no 1 answer.

  • TexasGusCC

    Stars are stars for a reason: They are money in the bank. I’m not talking Robinson Cano, who if BVW can make us forget about, he will be the best GM of all time, but I’m talking stars that produce. Sharing the wealth means getting a bunch of secondary players and hoping to get lucky.

    The Royals and their “resiliency” got them to back to back World Series appearances. However, if you ask me would I rather have the Mets roster or the Royals roster that year, 10 out of 10 I’m taking the Mets with their starting pitching and lineup. But, sometimes, crap happens. The 1988 Dodgers with one ace pitcher and a team of nobodies beat the might A’s… but given an option of which team I’d rather have, again, the A’s. And the Mets, of course.

  • NYM6986

    I am partial to everyday impact players whether they be stars or not. Getting to the WS is rare so however it happens works for me. For 2019 the offseason moves were reasonable getting Diaz, expecting 2 plus strong years from Cano and the Familia who did so well setting up for the A’s. Even a Lowrie off a great season seemed logical. Best laid plans don’t always work for any team. If those players bounce back than hail to the scrubs, or impact players as I like to think of them.

  • TJ

    I voted for balance over stars and scrubs, but like others I would take the WS any way it happens.

    Stars seem to be more defined by their rate of pay. However, it strikes me that the teams with the most stars have the best chance, and the teams that hit it on their draft picks/international FA signings and get low cost stars have a much better chance at accumulating stars.

    The Mets are actually fairly well-positioned despite two bad “star” contracts, and with the “fixing” of the Cespedes contract they look to be in great shape. deGrom is a star at incredibly reasonable star money relative to comps. Alonso and McNeil can be considered stars if they perform near 2019 levels again. Rosario, the former top prospect in baseball, has a shot at becoming a star given his tools and the steps he took in the 2nd half of 2019. Conforto and Lugo are also relatively affordable and have a shot at delivering star performance.

    While this team won’t be favored in its division no less the NL, but two more quality additions (without subtractions) can position the quite well to complete and succeed if things like health and performance break well. Nothing against Beltran, but I’d feel better with Girardi, but that is now water under the bridge.

  • MattyMets

    It’s a balance that is very hard to strike for teams who can’t go over a 200mm payroll. The Phillies and Nationals have more stars than the Mets now, but they also have gaping holes to fill.

  • Mike W

    Look at the Yankees in the late 90’s. Non HOF but excellent players, Bernie William’s, Paul Oneill, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Andy Pettite.

    Four WS championships with a solid roster.

    Stars are good, but I’ll take solid.

    • Brian Joura

      Jeter was a HOF. Bernie Williams was better than Jeter from 1995-2002. Posada took over from Piazza as the best catcher in the game. These guys were stars.

    • Chris F

      Um, Mariano Rivera was a HoFer too. That was a team of stars.

      • Mike Walczak

        Correct – point trying to make, they had some awesome ballplayers who are not HOF.

  • Metsense

    Share the wealth, But I agree there isn’t a correct answer. I prefer not putting all of your eggs in one basket. The franchise that is the poster boy is the Saint Louis Cardinals. They seem to be in the mix almost every year. They seem to have a few Stars but the franchise produces good players. It must have been very difficult for the franchise to let Albert Pujols walk but they weren’t going to skew the balance of the payroll. Since 2000 the Cardinals made the playoffs twelve times and the World Series four times winning two times.

  • Eraff

    Is it required that a Guy have a big contract before you call him a Star? Is Cespedes Not a Star because He’s possibly not a player any longer…or is he not a Star because he now has “Only” a $10,000,000 base?

    The Met’s had 2 guys on the 1st Team All-MLB,,,Alonzo and deGrom. Underrewarded and underrecognized is the year Jeff McNeill had…#20 OPS… arguably the Best Widget in the Game— that “Position” needs to be added to the “Team”. Is Jeff Not a Star?

    When you start checking boxes for what a team needs to do and needs to have, this team is well positioned. All Regressions to past performance represent an upward trend for the team, most especially a correction to the norm for 2 of the Bullpen pieces…….. of course, “Regression the long term trend” will not roll out to play 2nd base and Bat in the Middle of the Lineup—even though they’re paying Him like He’s a Star.

    • Chris F

      I agree Eraff. Also, what about Alonso making a MLB min salary…but he’s a superstar.

      I guess we are talking about bog contract and big performance (?).

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