free agentsFor far too many years, Mets fans have had to feign excitement over second tier free agents like Bobby Bonilla and Jason Bay, and way-past-their-prime free agents like Michael Cuddyer and Mo Vaughn. Meanwhile, across town, Yankee fans were laughing their way to the playoffs as their deep-pocketed ownership forked over whatever it took to land the biggest stars available like Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and on and on. Now it’s our frickin’ turn.

In past years we’d be in a pickle as this Mets team has too much talent to rebuild but too many holes to compete. But, now that we have the richest owner in the sport who is determined to win and willing to spend, the cleat’s on the other foot.

Hopefully, our new GM Billy Eppler can very quickly start telling Steve Cohen who to make the checks out to because the free agent list is starting to shrink as quality players are signing everywhere but Queens. Now, as former GM but still fancy-titled Sandy Alderson puts it, we don’t have the farm system depth to make trades so free agency is our best route. That’s doubly true considering that our potentially expendable players all have diminished trade value due to their less than stellar 2021 seasons.

If free agency is to be the primary focus, then there are two approaches. The first is to plug every hole with replacement level players. No thanks. The second and smarter option is to make like the 2009 Yankees and sign three stars. Unlike basketball, one star is not going to get you to the post-season. Just ask Mike Trout. However, three impactful players added to a core of Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Jacob deGrom makes for a talented roster. Start the season with six studs, see if some of the dead cats from last year bounce and we can reevaluate our top needs at the July trade deadline. Surely a few of those guys will re-emerge, either because they’re motivated, supported by new teammates, inspired by a new manager, or just not listening to Hugh Quattlebaum.

So, who are the three new stars? Ideally one is a front end starting pitcher (Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Robbie Ray, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman), one a middle of the order hitter (Marcus Semien, Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos, Javy Baez, Seiya Suzuki) and the other is the real difference maker – either a speedy leadoff hitter (Starling Marte) to lengthen the lineup or a new closer (Kenley Jansen, Raisel Iglesias) to fortify the bullpen.

In 2009 the Yankees had a press conference that announced the signings of star pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and All-Star first basemen Mark Teixeria to free agent contracts totaling nearly a half billion dollars. That’s a heck of a lot of scratch even 12 years later, but that spending spree did more than just give the Steinbrenners bragging rights and Yankee fans reasons to buy season tickets. It gave the Yankees immediate gratification as they went on to win the World Series that first season after the signings.

Now that might be a stretch, but the point is, three stars can make a much bigger impact in the standings than five or six average to good players. Three stars, a few hole pluggers, a couple bounce backs, and a motivational skipper and this team could be in it come July and then make a move or two to put them over the top. Sound crazy? Didn’t the Braves just do that? The Atlanta Braves have talent but are far from a flawless team. Same for most recent World Series winners. With the cost of talent these days, only the Dodgers really have a team without holes. And really, is there anything stopping the Mets from spending like them now?

It’s Black Friday. Let the spending spree begin!

41 comments on “Mets fans deserve a free agent jackpot

  • Metsense

    That’s easier said then done.
    Sign a #2 starter; Stroman, Gausman or Ray
    Sign a #4 starter; Rodon, Wood or Gray
    Sign Hill as a swing man and depth.
    Sign a RF ; Bryant or Conforto and then
    Sign Suzuki to play RF (and then put Bryant or Conforto LF)
    Sign a 2B; Baez or Semien
    Trade for Chapman or Ramirez for 3B
    Sign a reliever; Chafin or ???
    Easier said than done !!! This isn’t a Black Friday shopping list. This is a Christmas Wish List !!! Come on Santa Steve, Metsense was a good boy this year.

    • Metsense

      Escobar at 2/25 was signed . He is a switch hitter that is just coming off a good season. Career-wise he’s average with a 99 OPS+. He is very versatile and probably be the third baseman and maybe the second baseman

      • Metsense

        Update. 2/20 contract and that is a better salary for the Mets

        • Metsense

          Canha signed 2/26.5 for LF (possibly RF). Career-wise 114 OPS+. He is a solid player. I’m waiting for the big signing. Scherzer???
          So if McNeil plays 2B , Escobar plays 3B ,Canha plays LF and Cano is a DH then JD and Dom are trade chips. We will see.

          • Metsense

            Marte is signed for 4/78. Career-wise he has a 116 OPS+. He will probably be the CF and lead off batter with Nimmo sliding over RF. The patient Nimmo should bat second so that Marte has the opportunity to steal. In one night the Mets refurbished their outfield. So far they have the hit “3 cherries” so let’s get “3 Sevens” and get win a jackpot for the rotation !

          • Woodrow

            Baez will be 2B!

  • JamesTOB

    In addition to re-signing Stroman and Baez, the Mets should do all they can to sign Kris Bryant, Gausman, and Rodon. That would give them a rotation of deGrom, Gausman, Stroman, Walker. and Rodon. Carrasco would be in the bullpen (he won’t be able to give us a full season as a starter) and I’d like to see Lucchesi as a left-handed long reliever. He was excellent over his last 5 starts and I’m hoping he figured things out, besides we need left-handed relief.
    I’m for giving Lee a chance in right and playing either Smith or McNeil in left, and Davis as our DH. I’d cut Cano because he doesn’t have a place on my proposed bench with re-signing Pillar for the OF and our own Guillorme for the INF (though I’d also be happy if we re-signed Villar and left Guillorme in the minors.
    The advantage of this is that you fortify the pitching and hitting without giving up a first round draft pick.

    • footballhead

      Didn’t Lucchesi undergo TJ surgery during the season? He wont be available until sometime in 2023 then.

  • Steve_S.

    Signings:

    SP: Stroman, Rodon, Hill
    RP: Chafin, Kelly (and/or trade Davis for a decent RP)
    INF/OF: Bryant
    INF: Baez
    OF: Suzuki, Soler

    Keep all top draft picks.
    This is the minimum to be done, otherwise you’ve got essentially the same team as 2021 again.

    • JamesTOB

      Hi, Steve. I am curious about your preference for Hill over someone like Gausman. Also, what would you do with Lee? Thanks.

      • Steve_S.

        Hi James.

        Gausman would be my alternative to Rodon. Hill is in the pen until needed to start.

        My OF would be Soler/McNeil, Nimmo and Suzuki. Lee would be waiting in the wings when the inevitable injury hits. Also, Bryant would soon be a starter in the OF, is Vientos and/or Baty is ready.

        • JamesTOB

          Thanks. I liked Rodon because he gives us a lefty. I take it then that you’d have Smith at first and Alonso as the DH, since you’re interested in trading Davis? I liked the idea of Suzuki. The Mets have signed several Japanese free agents in the past. Whether him or Lee, it’s a calculated risk.

  • MattyMets

    Some of the players we all want would be great for 4 or 5 years but there aren’t too many I’d want to go long term on.

  • José

    Le spree has started.

    According to a YouTuber, the Mets have signed Eduardo Escobar as a FA

    I don’t know much about him other than he’s been mostly a 3B (and I presume that’s where he’ll play for the Metsies), he’ll be 33 y/o early next year, and his lifetime OPS+ is 99

    Can’t say I’m overly impressed, unless he’s the next coming of Brooks Robinson with the rawhide, and he clearly isn’t (because I would have heard of him)

    • Woodrow

      A Yu tuber? Hey man,Rosenthal,Sherman..

      • Woodrow

        It’s a deal. Good one. Now resign Baez and Stroman and see if you can get Suzuki or Bryant.

  • Paulc

    This team has many holes. While Cohen is the wealthiest owner in sports, it’s unlikely he’ll spend the $300 million it will take to build a contender. Starting off, the Mets need three SP with deGrom pitching at 1 and Walker at 5. Looking at the best who would be willing to sign with the Mets (sorry Scherzer and Kershaw fans), that’s Rodon at $25 mil AAV, Stroman ($22 AAV), and Gausman ($22 AAV). Other acceptable yet lower performing SP options would be slightly less expensive.

    The Mets could sign Bryant to play 3B/RF at $25 AAV, Baez for 2B ($20 AAV), and Avisail Garcia at RF/LF ($12 AAV). Davis and McNeil can DH, assuming the NL adopts it next year, and play the field on platoon days.

    The team has $156 million in payroll commitments for 2022. Add the $126 million for these free agents and that’s $282 million. To sign bullpen help and role players, that’s about $300 million — a new MLB record. It’s nice to dream. Of course, a lockout or strike is a real possibility come December 1 which would freeze hot stove signings.

  • Mike W

    I like the Escobar and Canha signings. Looks like a smart move with Escobar to play third until Vientos or Baty is ready. Would rather have Canha in left than Dom.

    • MattyMets

      Anyone know if Canha has a decent arm? Nimmo has some range but a noodle arm not suited for RF.

  • TexasGusCC

    Matt, you nailed it. Escobar, Canha, and Marte, with Nido tweeting out a Puerto Rican flag in anticipation of Baez. I still want Suzuki, Gausman and Scherzer.

    • Mike W

      There is your first jackpot. Now the second jackpot will be the pitchers. Will be interesting to see what happens with Smith, McNeill and Davis. My guess is Smith and Davis go and McNeill becomes a Ben Zobrist type utility player.

  • Footballhead

    I like the ‘Black Friday’ additions made! A number of pundits were saying that Canha & Escobar were just Villar & Pillar replacements, but with Marte on board, I like the OF and the improved defense out there.
    I now don’t see the urgent need to get Baez back; nor the acquisition of Bryant. At this point the priority should be to resign Stroman & Hill plus a couple of new SP.

  • T.J.

    Well, that wasn’t too difficult for Mr. Eppler. I’m not in love with Marte from the PED point of view, but I like the overall plan…thirtysomethings are ok to add depth, so long as they don’t break the bank. Big name SSs and Bryant are almost definitely out. Baez would really fit now if they can get him on a reasonable deal, but…it’s pretty clear now…its all about the pitching they add…minimally a premium starter and premium pen arm, along with a couple more additions. Perhaps the new look offense will be more appealing to some of those FA pitchers that want to bank a deal before the Dec 2 lockup debacle.

    • Steve_S.

      My guess is that Baez will be back, with his good relationships with Lindor and Cohen, and with the latter getting to match the best offer. He might get six years, but at least he’s relatively young. And Cohen might still bid on Suzuki (even though some experts say no), since they’re still weak in the OF.

      Yes, it’s time to grab two top pitchers and Hill, Chafin and another good reliever.

  • BobP

    I don’t find these moves particularly exciting. I guess Marte is a good add, but really we have added three 33 year olds, one of whom (Marte) is coming off a career year. I hope he can keep it up. We likely won’t love his deal in years 3 and 4.

    Escobar is a career league average hitter who was a little better than that last year, and a below average fielder. Canha is a high OBP guy who is a bit below average in the field. Both OK on relatively short term deals with Escobar as a placeholder for the young guys at 3rd and Canha as a 4th outfielder, but these two aren’t moving the needle on offense.

    A big bat and a couple of strong SPs is what is needed still.

    • Steve_S.

      Think they might still big high on Suzuki? I would!

      • Steve_S.

        “bid”

    • T.J.

      Bob,
      I agree with you in the sense of looking at the three acquisitions separately. I am/have been against a spending spree on a list of thirty-somethings, despite the wealthy owner. And, I really didn’t want Marte given his PED past and higher possibility that 2021 was PED-driven.

      But looking at them in combination, strategically, I like them. What I see as good is that first, none of these deals is an anchor. I’d prefer $124 million on these three over $170 million on a guy like Bryant. Marte may be dead money near the end, but the big market teams need to handles some of that when importing talent. Second, the lineup is stabilized and lengthened, bench deepened, defense improved. Third, the Mets are well positioned to sign big pitching, both monetarily and attractively, with better defense and a longer line up. Fourth, the Mets are better positioned for trades now or down the road, as guys like Dom, JD, and McNeil are depth pieces vs starters. That is better than Villar/Pillar bench mobbers. Fifth, no top prospects are blocked. Baez…he may be gravy, we’ll see, but I can live with him more as part of this mix vs. the “key guy”…and if they do bring him back, Cano will be closer to gone.

      • Metsense

        5a) and no prospects will be rushed and hopefully they will develop more thoroughly.
        Excellent comment TJ.

      • Bob P

        I agree TJ. I’m not against these moves, but just don’t see them as game changers. As I mentioned I’m ok with Escobar and Canha as placeholders who aren’t blocking prospects and honestly I expect that McNeil will push Escobar to the bench if he stays with the team. That does strengthen the bench and as you said these deals are not anchors. I’ll be happier when the pitching is addressed.

  • Wobbit

    It’s like Christmas morning: I got all three players I was asking for on this site. Marte, Canha, and Escobar all are huge upgrades, bring great flexibility, and are below the league average on strikeouts. Marte brings speed Mets almost never have, highest steal rate in the game- 90%. Canha solid contact hitter, decent corner OF. Escobar a switch-hitting, 3-position IFer with power… great contact rate. A great clubhouse presence. I think a better (in some ways) get than Bryant for way way less money. Mets just made themselves relevant in one day… Billy Eppler made a mark in his first two weeks.

  • MattyMets

    I like the balck friday moves, even if not exactly what I had in mind. It’s a good start. Escobar is an upgrade over Villar and the other two fill out the OF. If Baez comes back the lineup is set, but McNeil becomes trade bait. If there’s a DH there will still be ABs for Dom and JD.

  • MattyMets

    One more thing…Canha and Escobar combined likely cheaper than Conforto.

  • Wobbit

    McNeil a good bench piece… might regain his batting prowess and can play IF or OF, still cheap… can DH opposite JD Davis. He’s an ok bottom of the order guy, a spot starter, a platoon player, fairly versatile. Is not a key piece on a winning team, as he has been seen.

    • BobP

      Wobbit, I don’t agree with you on McNeil. He had a lousy year last year, there’s no disputing that. However, he was a outstanding offensive player for the 3 years before that, and significantly better career wise than the 3 guys we just signed. It’s interesting that you are calling him a bench piece and a bottom of the order hitter. I guess that’s based on last year and you assume there’s no way he could come back from that. There are guys that have had a down year and have come back to their previous levels or better. I can think of 2 recent examples – Escobar and to a lesser extent Marte. Look at what they did through 2019, then in 2020, and what they did to bounce back in 2021. Then look at McNeil. He hasn’t bounced back yet, but I think there’s a good chance that he will. His numbers prior to last year were better than Marte’s and significantly better than Escobar’s. Both of those guys have shown that its possible to bounce back. We can give up on him, trade him for pennies on the dollar after a down year, and then have the same folks that kill the Mets for giving up on Justin Turner (who had no track record before the Mets gave up on him) yell about why we gave up on McNeil.

      • Mr_Math

        I agree with BobP

        Also, how did JdG go from a guy who’s pretty much at the very top of innings pitched since 2014 (his 1st ML season) to someone who is incredibly injury prone and can’t be thought of as anything else? Well, that’s the impression I get from the collection of Cassandra’s Pessimistic Brothers who post on this here blog.

        Claim: JdG = Ultimate God of Pitching

        Let’s make things excruciatingly clear.
        Let’s compare the top three all time leaders in ERA+, and total innings pitched
        #1 Mariano Rivera 205 1283.1
        #2 JdG 157 1261.2
        #3 Clayton Kershaw 155 2454.2

        Now, you guys are clearly smart enough to realize that earned run comparisons between starters and relievers is simply not valid, nor are ERA+ comparisons valid

        (Note: there are two pitchers who, because of their skin color, were not allowed to compete. Their alternate stats, which are still being computed, currently would rank them in the #2 and #3 positions in lifetime ERA+. And please forgive me for not including the name of the league in which they competed, because I find that classification offensive)

        Hence, QED, that is, Quod Erat Demonstrandum
        which translates to “I have proven my assertion, yo”

        Sorry to pull mathematical rank on yous, but WTF did you expect?

  • MattyMets

    Sure hope Boras isn’t using Cohen to drive up Scherzer’s price so he can get more from LA. Now, where have I see this movie before? Just the same, I’m refreshing Twitter every 5 minutes to see what happens. This would be the best 1-2 punch since Arizona rode Johnson-Schilling to an unlikely World Series.

  • ChrisF

    Baez headed to Detroit at 6/140.

    • Name

      Phew, thank god for the Tigers. Mets dodged a huge bullet here.

      • MattyMets

        Name, I’m glad I’m not alone with this unpopular opinion. Baez is an exciting player but there are too many red flags for me – streakiness/slumps, attitude, low OBP. I think for a team like Detroit that needs to get the fans excited, it’s a smart move. I think the Mets can better spend that money on pitching.

        • Bob P

          I’m with both of you on this. I didn’t like the Baez trade last July and didn’t want him back now.

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