When Andrew Friedman took over the Dodgers in 2013, he was told to win immediately and win in the future. He was given a blank checkbook to build up all areas, so he built up the scouting, the analytics department, the coaching staffs and of course the roster. He traded for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, and everyone laughed at him for taking the contracts. Eight straight division titles later, any one still laughing? He used those guys as temporary bandaids, while building up his system for the long haul. That is our goal also.

First thing I tell Sandy Alderson is to hire Billy Owens to stock talent into the minor leagues. Second, call Tom House and see what it will take to get him on our coaching staff to build up our pitchers to their full potential. Then, I tell Alderson to call Ron Darling, Pedro Martinez, Phil Regan and Al Leiter and tell them we would like them to be guest coaches in the spring. Another thing the Dodgers do well is they bring their stars back to work with the present players and instill in them the Dodgers mystic.

Now the fast track rebuild. When evaluating the roster, we see the deepest position on the major league roster is first base with two very good players (Smith and Alonso) and two good players (Davis and Cano). There is no center fielder, no MLB catcher if we do not pick-up either Chirinos’ option or Ramos’ option, several second base candidates, two young shortstops of different strengths, a shortage of starting pitchers and a plethora of underperforming relievers. Our decision makers have decided to reward Davis’ hard work and give him more time to continue his improvement at third base as he started off very impressively but fell off defensively. Also, it was decided that due to Thomas Szapucki’s advanced age but relatively little professional pitching experience, he would be in the MLB bullpen to be brought along slower than a starter, but to not use up his years of control in the minors while getting his MLB experience and knowledge.

Free Agent signings:
James McCann: $7 per year for two years
George Springer: $19 per year for four years
Brad Hand: $9 per year for three years
Tommy Hunter: $2.5 per year for two years
Chris Owings: $2.5 per year for three years
Robbie Ray: $12.5 per year for three years
Michael Brantley: $15 per year for two years (if the DH is passed for 2021)


Trade Dominic Smith, Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Jeurys Familia and $5.5 cash to Cleveland for Zach Plesac and Francisco Lindor. Smith and Plesac are very close, maybe an edge to Smith, but the rest of the deal is structured around what Los Angeles gave up for Mookie Betts last year while allowing for the consumption of Familia’s final year.

Trade Pete Alonso and Robert Gsellman to Tampa for Ryan Yarbrough and Brent Honeywell, Jr. Yarbrough is a lefty mid-rotation arm with four years of control and Honeywell is a former top prospect with five above average offerings that has been hurt for a couple of years, but has potential to be an ace. Problem: Honeywell has not pitched since 2017 because of TJ surgery and then breaking his pitching elbow in spring training of 2019 and so he is out of options and needs to be on the big league squad – if he’s healthy. Acquiring Honeywell makes it necessary to put Szapucki in the minors if Honeywell is healthy, but we couldn’t pass up on the arm.

Going into 2021 season:

Edwin Diaz $8.5*, Corey Oswalt $0.6, Dellin Betances $6, Tommy Hunter $2.5, Thomas Szapucki $0.6, Brad Brach $1.25, Jeurys Familia $5.5, Brad Hand $9, Chasen Shreve $2.5*, Seth Lugo $4.5*, Honeywell $0.6 = $41.05

Jacob deGrom $21.78 (AAV for Luxury Tax because he took a salary of only $9 the first year of his deal, his real salary is $36), Steven Matz $5.5*, Noah Syndergaard $10.5*, Ryan Yarbrough $0.7, Zach Plesac $0.6, Robbie Ray $12.5, Walker Lockett $0.6 = $52.18

Michael Conforto $15.5*, Brandon Nimmo $5.5*, George Springer $19, Michael Brantley $15, Chris Owings $2 = $57

Tomas Nido $0.8, McCann $7, Jeff McNeil $1, Robinson Cano $20.25, Amed Rosario $2.5*, Lindor $26*, JD Davis $0.8, Luis Guillorme $0.6 = $58.95

Total Payroll: $209.18


SP: deGrom, Plesac, Ray, Yarbrough, Matz, Lockett, Syndergaard
RP: Diaz, Betances, Oswalt, Hand, Hunter, Lugo, Shreve, Brach, Honeywell, Szapucki
Catcher: McCann
First Baseman: Cano
Second Baseman: McNeil
Shortstop: Lindor
Third Base: Davis
Left Field: Nimmo
Center Field: Springer
Right Field: Conforto
DH: Brantley
Backups: Nido, Guillorme, Rosario, Owings

24 comments on “Fast-tracking the Mets’ rebuild with their 2021 roster

  • TexasGusCC

    A few things that are not evident in reading the post:
    – The actual payroll will be higher by $14.22, but for the exercise we are using Luxury Tax so JDG’s lower AAV will give a more snug number.
    – Szapucki will be in the majors if Honeywell Jr. starts in extended spring training or a reliever is hurt or released, hence the ten relievers. We have to use players that have a player option and we would like to avoid starting the season with two rookies in the bullpen.
    – Also, it’s my feeling that Matz may have been hurt this year as he did spend time on the IL due to shoulder issues, but he felt compelled to fight through it due to the needs of the team and his previous reputation. So, we are not releasing him. Too many good years in a row to think he just sucked for no reason.

  • Dan Capwell

    That’s a fast track to another last place finish. For openers, you can’t rely on Syndergaard (injuries) or Matz (poor performance) for anything in 2021. Any contributions from them will be unexpected surprises.

    Second, please no more playing guys out of position. Cano at first? No way.

    I agree on McCann over JTR. I can’t take Robbie Ray’s grunting, so please pass on him. Sign Mike Minor instead. Push in all the chips on Bauer. Jake-Bauer-Minor-Peterson isn’t a bad start for the rotation. Since you can’t rebuild everything in the winter, hold an audition for the #5 spot in Spring Training.

    Brad Hand would be a good addition if Cleveland doesn’t pick up his $10M option. I also like Trevor May from Minnesota. If you can land Hand and May, and you really want to make a trade with Cleveland, then talk to them about Edwin Diaz for Oscar Mercado. I’d keep Chasen Shreve and Erasmo Ramirez, but use them better–no way do they pitch beyond the 7th inning unless absolutely necessary.

    On that subject, figure out exactly what to do with J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, Seth Lugo, and Dom Smith. What are their roles here? Where do they play? Do they have more value as trade pieces? It seems to me that a lot of the Mets problem is a lack of organization. Those are four very talented players who appeared to be miscast for most of 2020.

    • TexasGusCC

      Very fair Dan. I can follow and like some of that, but obviously not all, LOL. All are good points except that there are five other starters and two backup starters besides Syndergaard since we don’t know when he will be back.

  • David Klein

    Friedman took over in the winter of 2014 and Colletti took on big salary in 2012– poorly researched man.

    • TexasGusCC

      David, I gave you a whole forest and you only saw the dying bush in the front? You know how long all the important stuff took to research, looking up teams and matching needs? Sorry, my memory is missing some nowadays.

  • John Fox

    Just a few too many big moves for my taste, Gus. Trading either Alonso or Smith could make sense, but not both in my opinion.

    • TexasGusCC

      I thought of that too John, but the ability to add three promising arms, two of them high end, is very enticing for a position I think is the easiest to fill. I like both Smith and Alonso going forward, but it’s the position the team has the most options at and they need quality, young pitching.

  • Brian Joura

    No one knows how the pandemic is going to affect FA signings this year.

    That said, it feels like the McCann and Springer deals here are way too low. If Realmuto is looking at a floor of $20 million per year on a 5-year deal – seems like I saw he’s targeting Joe Mauer’s 8/$184 deal – I can’t see any way McCann gets just 2/$14. I think he gets more years at a higher AAV. Maybe 4/$50?

    Springer might not be as extreme but as Fowler and Cain each got five-year deals, I’d expect Springer to do at least as well. Maybe 5/$110?

  • TJ

    Nice write up, certainly a lot to digest. I’ll try to stick to the big points, starting with Lindor. He is a wonderful, top shelf talent, but the Dodget deal is not comparable. The Dodgers have a deep system, had been to the WS twice recently, and Mookie was the final piece. Even if the Mets were to extend Lindor before the deal, they annot afford to part with that much talent given all the other holes. It strikes me that this type of deal would perpetuate the inability to contend regularly. I strongly expect the DH to become a part of NL baseball for good, but I’d need to hear that before dealing either Pete or Dom, and I wouldn’t deal both barring a huge overpay by the counterpart. Realmuto is great but I can deal with a competent alternative if more resources go into pitching, and especially starting pitching. Matz is a tough one, he’s probably worth a gamble at $5 million to provide depth. I’d rather find a big bullpen piece in the offseason, perhaps one of your targets, and give Lugo a shot at a starting role with a shift back to the pen as a fallback. Overall, I’d prefer that they refrain from thinning the talent pool further, but I’d also be leery of going really big on free agents as that rarely works. Perhaps one big FA, some targeted FAs to avoid thinning the talent pool, and maybe a good fit trade that will acquire a player controllable for multiple seasons.

    • TexasGusCC

      Thank you TJ. I considered very strongly keeping the talent and signing Lindor next winter, but I didn’t want to waste a DeGrom year. If you want to make only one of the trades – the Alonso/Rays trade or the Smith for Plesac and maybe a low minors player from Cleveland – which one you make?

      • TJ

        I can’t claim to know more than the trade targets besideds the stats on line. I’d likely prefer the the Dom for Plesac move. No reflection on Dom, but more because the Mets are short on RH power and have more LH depth, so betting Alonso gets back on track helps avoid increasing the need for RH offense.

        Again, Lindor is a stud but I’d rather see what Giminez is and what happens with Rosario before binging…he can likely be had for money only in a year.

  • Edwin e Pena

    Cannot trade both Alonso and Smith.

    Peterson ? How and why would you deal a promising young LH from a position of dearth, not strength. If there is a chance for Lindor, then how about Rosario, Nimmo, Familia, JD Davis. That’s enough right there, unless they want Matz / Oswalt too, no problem. Remember that even after trading assets to get Lindor, Mets must pay him big big bucks. Not all teams will be able to do that this offseason post Covid Season.If Realmuto is too costly (doubt it with Steve Cohen at the helm) then go and get McAnn. Need two other arms to go with Jake, Peterson and Lugo.
    If Bauer cannot be had, then go for Minor and Stroman. BVW messed up on Wheeler. He alone would have put Mets in playoffs this yr.

    • TexasGusCC

      Understandable in waiting for Lindor…

  • Metsense

    The Mets weaknesses are starting pitching and defense. Their strengths are hitting and money. Springer and McCann, your free agents, will improve Mets defense but Davis shouldn’t be your 3B. Ray would be a gamble which should be avoided. Taijuan Walker would be a better choice. Stroman should get a QO and if doesn’t accept it then try to sign him. Your transactions deal with our young, starting, controllable players that are affordable. Lindor is fine player but he makes $17.5m and is a FA is 2022 and SS isn’t a weakness. Plesac could be a target of a trade,though.
    The Mets should used their new found money for free agents to “fast-track the rebuild”.

  • Joe Vasile

    Honestly, I like all the free agent signings. All solid players who could either help as starters or provide the kind of depth this team has lacked for a long time.

    The trades are a little more tough for me to swallow. Getting Lindor and Plesac from Cleveland for that package is fine, but I’m not entirely sure Cleveland goes for it. As far as Alonso to Tampa Bay, I think that is not a good trade for the Mets. As you mentioned Honeywell hasn’t pitched in three years, and who knows what he is going to be if he ever comes back. I think the Mets could get a lot more for Alonso at this point since he still has a year before he hits arbitration. Like, a lot more.

  • Dennis

    You’re Crazy! Who in their right mind wants to trade the only two bats in the lineup with legitimate home run & power numbers. You maybe trade one of Alonso or Smith but not both. Especially when one of the arms you are trading for Alonso is broken for two years. Alonso might have had a slumping year with his batting average but still hit 16 homers in 60 games, not a bat you want to give up on after two seasons & Smith had the type of year that the Mets expected when he was in their farm system & actually held his own in left field. Find some other way to get pitching like the free agent system because I don’t think it’s a great idea to trade these two.

    • TexasGusCC

      Dennis, you have to give to get. I don’t want to push them away either, but that’s the position there is the most excess in. As Joe and others said, both trades can be questioned from a signing Lindor standpoint or a getting a hurt pitcher standpoint, and I get that, but, I like accumulating talent and don’t know how else to fix the rotation because I’m not in love with the free agent options.

  • MacLean Fitzgerald

    Ug. That would be a very disappointing team. Losing Smith, Alonso, Gimenez, Peterson. Springer is not a CF either, not for long anyway, so we would have to trade Nimmo in a year.

    • Scott Ferguson

      Springer is definitely a centerfielder. He’s actually an elite defensive centerfielder.

  • MacLean Fitzgerald

    If you want a high-end arm, Bauer is available. That only costs money. No talent.

  • Mike W

    I like the out of the box thinking ,but I dont like some of the moves. Ray is talented, but way too erratic. I really like Yarbrough, but I dont like dealing Alonso. I dont like Davis at any position. Dont want to trade the farm for Lindor. The Dodgers farm was stacked and still is even after the Netts deal. Ours is not. He could be a Stroman rental. Plus, his next contract will be sky high. Dont like keeping Matz either.

    Here is what I would really like. Sign AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu to play third base. Trade for Salvador Perez. He will be good for three years until Alvarez develops. I’d also like to see if we could pull Merrifield out of the deal as well. The Royals would probably like young cheap players like Nimmo and Smith.

    As for pitching, I would sign probable 2020 Cy Young candidate Trevor Bauer. If you get Yarbrough, your top four are deGrom, Bauer, Yarbrough and Peterson.

    So this lineup looks more like this.

    + left fielder

    • TexasGusCC

      Pretty good Mike, no problem from me on the team. But you never said, how are you getting Yarbrough? A good young lefty with four years control isn’t going to be had without a little pain…

      • Mike W

        The heck with it. Yarbrough is a good bonafide major league pitcher. Some may shout here. Trade Wolfe or Dominguez in the deal.

  • MacLean Fitzgerald

    I think he currently is, I just don’t think he ages into it. He will be a corner OF in the next year or 2. He is now 31, 6-3, 215lbs. So 32 next year. 2021 CF, but 33 he is probably RF or LF.

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