The Mets got an early Christmas present when Robinson Cano got busted for PEDs and was suspended for the season. The good news comes in multiple ways. The most obvious of these is that the club now has an extra $20.25 million at its disposal. Not that the bottom line was going to be an issue with new ownership but rather because the Mets are now that much further from hitting the Competitive Balance Tax, which most teams generally try to avoid.

And there’s the fact that Cano was not the team’s best option to play 2B but was likely to be put there for the overwhelming majority of the time, due to his veteran status and bloated contract. Finally, while Cano’s 2020 numbers look very good, he also benefited from a very hot start. In his first 27 games, Cano had a 1.088 OPS thanks in large part to a .373 BABIP. But in his final 22 games, Cano managed just a .670 OPS, much more in line with the .736 mark he posted in 2019 and what you would anticipate from a 37 year old.

So, how do the Mets proceed in their happy new reality? Here’s how our writers would move forward:

David – Consider that the Mets had $24 million tied up into their second (or third) best second baseman and that they still have glaring holes in center field, catcher, their starting rotation and their bullpen. The addition by subtraction here allows the Mets to keep Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the starting lineup while re-allocating those funds to the needs I just mentioned. Assuming Steve Cohen puts his money where his mouth is, the Mets could be looking to add $50 to $75 million of payroll, which is more than enough to accomplish those things.

Joe – This helps the Mets pencil in McNeil at second base for the entire season, which opens up a question mark at third base. Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen have spoken about being more active in the international market, so maybe the Mets use the money saved from Cano’s salary to get Ha-Seong Kim, a star shortstop from the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO. His bat plays at third base, and there is speculation that the 25-year-old will ultimately be an MLB third or second baseman. If the Mets see him as more of a second baseman, they can still roll with McNeil at third. Either way, Cano being out of the picture opens up the door for this possibility.

Dalton – With Cano out of the way for the time being, there are plenty of suitors for the second base position on the Mets roster internally. The biggest name being McNeil, who saw a lot of time there during his early Mets days. McNeil is already on the payroll, so it makes no sense to go out and sign DJ LeMahieu. Speaking in Thanksgiving terms, why go out and buy the whole turkey when you already have the breast in the freezer?

Matt – Put McNeil at third base and sign a new second baseman. As always, there are many more free agent options at second, including LeMahieu, Kolten Wong, Tommy La Stella and others. The 3B FA pool is far less appealing with old, familiar faces like Justin Turner, Todd Frazier and Asdrubal Cabrera. No thanks. And don’t say, J.D. Davis, who is better suited as a bench piece or trade chip. Unless we can work out a trade for Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant, the Mets are better off leaving McNeil at third and finding a new second baseman.

Jim – With $20 million plus freed up from Cano, I’d have to pursue a deal for George Springer. We might need to increase that base salary figure to get Springer but it would help balance the line-up and improve the overall defense. Not replacing Cano with another infielder seems to still be ok due to the position flexibility our team is likely to have in 2021.

Brian – Install McNeil at second base and aggressively pursue J.T. Realmuto on a two-year deal. Offer him up to 2/$70. If you get Realmuto under those terms, fill in with the best pitching and 3B the budget will allow. If that doesn’t get the job done, sign Bauer and whoever you think the next best free agent pitcher is and fill in at 3B and catcher. Springer is a great fit for the club but unless you’re prepared to deal an outfielder, it seems that money could be better spent elsewhere.

9 comments on “Roundtable: How do the Mets move forward in the post-Robinson Cano reality?

  • Steve S.

    What no one is really saying is that Cohen may not care about going over the $210 million luxury tax threshold. I know he said that they weren’t going to spend like “drunken sailors,” but maybe they’ll just be a little tipsy in their spending.

    Let’s say the Mets go over the threshold by $20 million. That’s only a first-time tax of $4 million. Chump change for Cohen.

    I am open to putting Guillorme at 2B, Gimenez at SS, and McNeil at 3B (or having him at 2B and putting Guillorme at 3B), and dealing Rosario and Davis for more pitching. Then signing Springer, Bauer, Hand, and McCann.

  • MattyMets

    Steve S. – you’re gonna love my Friday post.

  • Metsense

    Cohen said he want to win a World Series and said that his other business mades his money. The Mets have multiple holes that free agency and money can fix. I don’t think the salary tax is an issue. Not winning the World Series will be the issue.
    That said, I would did be surprised to see Springer, Realmuto and Bauer signed if Alderson thinks that is the way to win a World Series. Cohen wants a powerhouse team and I think money is no object.

  • Ike

    How we gonna do without Cano,just fine!, Time to be aggressive sign Bauer & Springer now time for a trade for Lindor and Ethan Hankin, (minor league pitcher) of course you know you need to be able to sign him, we send Nimmo, JD, and their choice of SS then put Jeff at 2nd which ever SS is still here at 3rd and Dom in LF see what it would take to bring back Marisnick so end of games put him in LF and Dom at 1st. I would not send any of our pitching unless it’s one of the secondary starters and go sign one of the other FA starters

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

    • NYM6986

      What do we do with Cano the year after? Cohen may have unlimited funds to spend on the Mets but he’s no chump. If the two-time offender can still swing a bat after next season, offering him up as a DH to another team at a 50% discount or more might be attractive. Then again he might just be ready at 38 plus for assisted living at that point. So in all likelihood we are stuck with his final two years unless there is some out clause in his contract or he screws up for a third time and it’s over. Under the Wilpon regime we would have had to carry his contract and also hear that because of it we could not afford to spend more money. At least that is not the case.
      I love McNeil and would accept him at 2B, 3B or LF. The bottom line is he is too good to include in any deal. That being said, improving the infield is still a goal and whether that is Arenado or Bryant to play third I say go get them. Arenado will need to come with cash to offset his salary, but if the Rockies want to improve they can eat 25% of that and be out from under the financial burden. Bryant is still young enough and can be gotten back on track.
      Last year we showed that we can hit, even with the roster we had. #1 priority has to be adding starting pitcher where we only have deGrom and Stroman as proven commodities. Petersen was a nice surprise but the sample size was small. Matz should be shipped out to let someone else get the lefty back on track. Noah is possibly not available until mid season and his readiness will still be questionable. Maybe he will learn to throw just 95 and improve his ability to get players out and not be up to 100 pitches by the 6th inning. With all of their bats, who they throw to needs to be a good pitch framer and someone who can throw base runners out and won’t hurt you much hitting in the 8 hole.
      With all of the conjecture on which players to get, if Cohen is opening the purse springs, make a free agent run at all the top players like JT, Springer, DJ, etc. The financial reality is that if you can add 15000 fans to each home game at an average overall spend of $75 each for 81 home games you bring in $90 million. I know the math is not that simple, but spending money and putting a strong competitive team back on the field, starts to pay for itself. So get whoever you can via free agency and do not trade what promising future players we are developing unless the return is stronger and not an aging former start in his mid 30’s. Next year there will be another crop of feee agents. As we improve we can make deals from strength and not desperation. So fasten your seatbelt and let’s see if Cohen really puts his money where his mouth is and what kind of exec Alderson can be without being shackled that the top free agents are unavoidable due to the Bernie Madoff fiasco. And just to be clear, by the time all the money was paid back to people ripped off by Madoff, reportedly the Wilpons were out $30 million and not $150 million where it started. Not chump change, but with all the money they have made, not enough to cry poverty the way they did.

  • José

    I think Cohen should invest patriotically.

    He should spend like a drunken sailor

  • HOF19

    Can we get this GM situation done in the near future ?

  • TexasGusCC

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    Any money found, is only for one year. Next year, the $20MM will come back on the books. Hence, we could use that money for a one year player, i.e.: Kris Bryant. If the Cubbies want to cut him, Alderson can plug him in for one year and then see where he fits in next hear’s budget. How about signing Corey Kluber and Cole Hamels with that $20MM, signing as many of Bauer, Springer, and Realmuto as they’d like? That gives you a rotation of JdG, Kluber, Hamels, Stroman, and Peterson/Matz/Syndergaard. You can even sign Ordozzi and skip one of Hamels or Kluber, whomever doesn’t show to be healthy and use the other $10MM for Hamels or Kluber towards Brad Hand.

    That $20MM from Cano is a rotation gift.

  • Rae

    Lindor is not needed. Between Giminez and Guillorme the whole infield is covered, along with Smith at 1B, and hopefully Alonso at 3B? Plus I’d want the Mets to extend Conforto rather than having to deal with Lindor’s huge payment extension price. We also need to eventually extend Jeff McNeil who will one day win the batting title. Put the Cano money towards signing Bauer, also pay to get either McCann or Molina to catch, trade for Byron Buxton from the Twins to play CF, by giving them Rosario. Rosario does not want to learn other positions because he is a dumb assed prima donna. Today’s baseball is all about players working at multiple positions. Plus he’d get paid more in free agency if he had position versatility. Springer has stated he wants to play for his boyhood dream team which is the Red Sox so he is not going to sign with the Mets. Buxton has been injured throughout his career but when he has been healthy he has shined on the field. We signed Mallak Smith to be the 5th OF er because of his great speed, and great defense. Between these two players we would certainly have speed and defense, and if Buxton stays healthy he should hit at least 250.  If the Mets are going to be smart they should sign both Kiki Hernandez and Cesar Hernanadez. Kiki is an excellent back cup OFer and IFer, and he is an excellent defender who gets a lot of clutch hits. Cesar can hit as he has always hit between 272-to-284 thru his career plus he plays 2B, 1B. and 3B, plus he can provide some games at SS if injuries occur. If Alonso can’t handle 3B Cesar can. Lastly sign Jake Odorizzi to be the Mets third starter behind deGrom and Bauer.

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