The task at hand is to revamp the Mets to prepare for the 2022 season. Spoiler alert. I will propose a few big moves but all in all I imagine my recommendations will be less splashy than some of the other off-season scenarios done by other writers.

The first order of business is to hire a President of Baseball Operations. My choice would be Matt Arnold, senior Vice-President and GM of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers are the NL Central champs this year, and have been a frequent playoff team in recent years. Arnold is in his early 40s with 20 years of experience in various positions with MLB organizations. described him as the top lieutenant to Brewers President of Baseball Operations David Stearns. Arnold, or whoever is hired for the post, will then recruit candidates to fill key positions like General Manager and Manager.

Now onto the actual players, by position. The returning catchers are James McAnn and Tomas Nido, neither is star caliber. I’d have them split playing time, going with the hot hand. The good news is slugging prospect Francisco Alvarez should be a factor, maybe by 2023.

First base will remain in the capable hands of Pete Alonso. Hopefully he can improve on his weak spots like chasing pitches out of the strike zone.

At second base I’d cut Robinson Cano loose, either by somehow trading him and undoubtedly paying a huge chunk of his remaining contract, or if need be by biting the bullet and releasing him. I would open up the check book and ink mid-season acquisition Javier Baez to a generous free agent contract. He started off slowly after joining the team but he then caught fire finishing with a slash line (Mets only) of .299/.371/.515 with a DRS of 3 in his roughly 2 month tenure with the Mets..

Incumbent shortstop Francisco Lindor is going to be around for a long time thanks to his pricey long-term contract. Hopefully he can revert closer to his mean in batting performance next year after his sub-par 2021.

Jeff McNeill will get a shot at third base. He has his first disappointing MLB season, with a line of .249/.317/.358, after having hit .300 or higher in his previous three MLB seasons. He did have some bad luck, Statcast showed his hard hit ball % was 33.4, slightly higher than his lifetime mark. Free agent-to-be Jonathan Villar saw a lot of action at third this year and had some key hits for the Mets but overall his numbers were mediocre. He might be worth keeping around as a utility player, but he will probably try to get a starting slot somewhere.

Veteran defensive whiz Luis Guillorme should be the main utility infielder again, he is a plus defender and second, short and third. He has little power at the plate but he gets on base as his .374 OBP shows. J.D. Davis and Dom Smith spent time at third and first respectively last year, and both had disappointing years. I would try to deal one of them, whoever fetches the bigger return, which is probably Davis. Smith has spent time in the outfield and could see some time there as well as backing up Alonso first at first.

Left field needs to be upgraded, and here we will fish in the free-agent pond. Chris Taylor was a valuable piece for the Dodgers, he ended up playing 148 games this year at corner outfield, 2b, and 3b with passable defense at all those spots. His line was .254/.344/.438. He showed some pop with 20 homers. He should not be outrageously expensive, and has experience playing on a contending team.

Brandon Nimmo is the returning CF, and he had an excellent year. He made some defensive adjustments and proved he could be a quality fielder in center. He ended up with a positive 5 DRS figure for outfield play in 2021. He is one of the best lead off batters in the game,with a slash line of .292/.401/.437 last year.

Michael Conforto has been a right field fixture for the Mets since 2015, and is a free agent. He had a bad start this year but he did rebound. In Sept./Oct. He slashed .275/.359/.431, and was even a little better, especially in power for August. I would push to resign him, or maybe he will be back via a qualifying offer. If he goes elsewhere another outfielder would be needed, perhaps free agent Jorge Soler who played for the Braves this year.

Kevin Pillar would be a fit as the fourth outfielder, he’s good defensively and can play center. He has some power and he is a gamer, as his quick return from the terrible fast ball to the face he got in May. Whoever stays of Smith /Davis can get some outfield reps as well.

In 2021 the starting pitching was excellent the first half of the year and much worse in the second half. It’s no coincidence that Jacob deGrom was historically dominant in the first half and on the injured list for the second half. Hopefully when he returns in 2022 he can cut back a bit on all those 100 mph fastballs and squeeze out a full season. Noah Syndergaard pitched only token innings at the end of the year after slow recovery from elbow surgery but should be good to go in 2022. He is a free agent who seems partial to remaining a Met.

Marcus Stroman pitched very effectively this year, and I would make a strong effort to lock him up. Even if he returns, and especially if he does not, another quality arm will be needed. Here I would make the move of luring Steven Matz back home. He sparkled for Toronto this year, He had a 14-7 record with a .382 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He was very durable, pitching 150 innings in 29 starts.

Tylor Megill, Taijuan Walker and Trevor Williams all started games and all did well, at least at times. I would have them available to battle for the 5th starter role, to fill in when the inevitable injury pops up, and as long relief options. Carlos Carrasco will also be in this mix, he had a bad injury plagued 2021, and will be 35 next season.

Speaking of relief, that was a team strength in 2021. Edwin Diaz will return as the closer, Seth Lugo and Aaron Loup make a fine pair of set-ip relievers. Pitchers like Trevor May and even the erratic Robert Gsellman could be factors. Relievers Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia underperformed and should be cut loose.

So to sum up my plan, I am proceeding under the assumption there is a good core to the team and that the 2021 struggles were due primarily to injuries and a few players having negative outlier seasons. I will provide stability to the front office by hiring a top notch President of Baseball Operations. I won’t overhaul the roster but I will strive to improve at some key spots including 3b, LF, and starting pitching. I would lock up the key free agents from the current roster.

41 comments on “Upgrading the Mets for 2022

  • Wobbit

    Jeff McNeil is not a third baseman. A savvy GM might shop round to find someone who really likes him and get what he can. If not, a bounce-back year would be a nice surprise, and he can move around the field a bit. i just would not pencil him in for more than 400 ABs.

    Cano should be prosecuted for violating the game’s rules… a disgrace that he will still get paid after second major infraction…

    • ChrisF

      we’re on a vulcan mind meld Wobbit.

  • T.J.

    You are essentially bringing back the same team (the one with a league bottom offense) along with Chris Taylor…and this requires at least two significant multi-year contracts to secure Baez and Diaz…maybe another with Conforto. Yikes!

    I agree with Wobbit (and Chris) regarding Cano.

    There is zero change I would invest big money in Baez and the 104 career OPS+.

    The two biggest moves this winter for me will be first the hiring of the POBO, and second determining what the market would yield in return for Mr. DeGrom, by far their most valuable trade chip.

  • JimO

    I don’t know what an “injured” deGrom would bring back. I think that the Mets might also have some union issues if they tried to release Cano without eating the contract or at least some sort of substantial buy-out. Cano really is a big issue.

    • Bob P

      They are contractually obligated to pay him so they can release him, but would have to pay his full salary for both remaining years, unless as you said, he agreed to some type of buy out (which he’d have no incentive to do). The Cano situation is the perfect time to take advantage of Cohen’s deep pockets. With all of the bad hiring decisions and bad press the Mets have gotten with Callaway, Porter, etc. they should release him, eat the salary, and start to change the narrative and show that you are not going to put up with these scumbags.

  • Bob P

    I agree with everyone above on Cano. I want nothing to do with him. I’m also with TJ when it comes to Baez. I’d much rather see McNeil at 2nd. I’d take the chance that his year was an aberration, based on his prior 1,000 plate appearances of great production and target Bryant for 3B (and maybe a corner OF position when the young guys are ready).

  • Metsense

    There was a lot of the thought into this article. I especially liked the idea of targeting a young GM on a successful organization to be POBA.
    Baez is best free agent at second base so it would upgrade.
    Bryant should be primary FA target and plug him at 3B until Batty is ready and move him to RF.
    Solar with a one year contract could replace Conforto in he rejects the QO.
    Taylor in LF would make Smith and McNeil expendable.
    Davis could be the DH, Guillorme the UI and Pillar the 4th OF.
    Stroman should be signed. Syndergaard should taken a QO and then target Scherzer, Gausman or Ray to have insurance in case deGrom doesn’t recover. Megill, Peterson and Williams are depth starters.
    Diaz, May, Lugo, Castro and Smith should all be back. Loup and Hill should be signed.
    Cano should be traded, if possible, or released.
    The core of 2021 hasn’t had a winning record in two years and once in five years.

    • Steve_S.

      I agree with a lot of this, Metsense. I would get rid of a few more of the “core”, including Smith, Davis and Conforto. Yes on no Cano. Save a few million and deal him.

      An INF of Alonso, Baez, Lindor and Bryant would be something! Better defense and more power, speed, and hustle!

      I’m OK with Solar, but like Schwarber’s power. And while I’m OK with Nimmo’s defense in CF, I favor a 3-year deal for Starling Marte there. Nimmo, Marte and Schwarber in the OF. Yeah! Bryant and Pillar can play out there too. While I like Taylor, I would save the money and play McNeil at OF/INF/DH.

      Definitely we’ll need Stroman and I like the chances of Syndergaard coming back to throw 150 innings. And yes, we need to get someone like Gausman to start, along with Hill. The bullpen isn’t bad, but we probably need a couple more relievers to replace Familia and Hand. Chafin would be a good one to add.

  • Footballhead

    I agree with TJ when I first read the article….it looks like the same team basically except with a bigger payroll! I too would see what the market would bear for deGrom, with the caveat that Cano is included in any deal. I’d accept just a couple of decent prospects to shed the 45 million.

    And yes I know, Cohen is suppose to be a Mr. Moneybags who can afford the cost, but man; what would that money buy!

    If I was to shake up the roster, my no brainers would be not having the following players on my 2022 roster: Conforto, Syndegaard, Pillar, Villar, Lugo, Gsellman, Betance, Familia, Davis…that’s another 51.4 million freed up to sign Baez & Stroman and also to bring in Bryantfor 3B.
    I know my pitching staff would be weak……Stroman, Walker, Hill, Peterson, Lucchesi, Megill, Carrasco, Williams ( yes, yes, a bunch of #5s and maybe 4s in the last six). Again, bring in another pitcher in a trade/money deal.

    Reward competency/excellence…. big raises for Alonso, Nimmo, Loup for sure!

    Of course, nothing will change…no matter what the rosters composition will be, if a competent front office, innovative GM & solid manager isn’t imported for the upcoming season.

  • TexasGusCC

    Some interesting thoughts John. I don’t know enough about theBeewers guy to have an opinion, but I would kick the tires.

    I don’t want to trade JDG. I like having the better players. Cut Cano to save the roster spot and keep your better players. This winter Vientos, Mauricio and Cortes need to be protected from Rule 5 draft eligibility.

    I’d like to sign Kershaw to a three year deal. He’s still very good even at 34. I like winning players. I would sign Bryant only to a three year deal or see if Chapman or another two year controlled player is out there in order to keep 3B available to the kids. Lastly, if Conforto accepts the QO, they don’t need another OF. If Conforto does not accept, I don’t like Taylor as a main piece – more a complimentary one – and would look elsewhere. JMHO

    • Foxdenizen

      Kershaw is interesting, Gus, but I suspect he’ll remain a Dodger. If he does leave it might be to the Astros, he lives in Texas and Houston could well remain a contender for a few more years

  • NYM6986

    I believe that Nimmo proved he could play CF, but would also be an excellent LF if we can land a solid CF with some pop. I’d go for a Bryant at 3B because he can also play other positions. We were all down on McNeil this year with how shockingly poorly he hit. Thank you for reminding us that his career average over the prior three years was over .300. He was, of course, penciled in for a similar type year this past season and I believe with the correct hitting coach will return to his prior status. Where to play him is the question. Regardless, I would resign Baez if possible, because he is a very exciting player and because he and Lindor up the middle make the Mets very strong defensively. Conforto should be offered a qualifying offer even if his agent won’t let him take it. In that way we least get a draft pick in exchange. He can be a very exciting player who can carry a team for a period of time, but after six years we know exactly what we will get from him as his numbers generally accumulate to his average by the time this season is over. He was certainly another disappointing bat in the order.
    We are all dreading the return of a 39 year old Robinson Cano, but I believe the new ownership won’t let that stand in our way. If he comes back healthy enough to hit, he can certainly be the DH if MLB gives it back to the national league. Remember when all of us National League fans hated the DH until we got to use it last year? We are all over it now. And the reality is with the owners deep pockets, while $24 million a year is a huge sum, he can certainly afford to eat the majority of it to send Cano on his way. This past year we only drew about 1.5 million fans, I believe the lowest since citifield opened. With a competitive team, S
    something we stopped being when Jake went down with an injury, and another injury, and another injury, we should be able to draw another 1 million fans. At $75 a pop, for a ticket and other purchases, that gives us another $75 million to play with.
    I think that most of us don’t have an objection to bringing the majority of this team back, because if we had been better at scoring our RISP, we would have won the division. Of course without Jake we would not have survived too long in the playoffs.
    When you read a lot of the other Met blogs, so many of the younger fans want us to have an all star at every single position. That is not realistic, nor really need it. All we really need is for our hitters to just have average seasons, especially in the division that we play in.
    I believe we have very good team chemistry. As for our pitching staff, fingers are crossed that Jake can really come back and pitch, that Thor gets a QO, that we can lure Stroman back, and that Walker will be stronger and not fade in the second half like he did. We need to remember that in the prior year he threw very few innings.
    As far as bench players, they come and go and kudos to who we have because they all stepped up when needed, especially in the first half. That made us lose sight of the fact that when they faded later in the year, that they are not starters, because if they were good enough they would be starting on other teams. They are backup players and need to play much less frequently and serve much less of a role on the team.
    Can’t wait for the off-season and some FA acquisitions. I still believe in Alderson and what he can do with limitless funds should he still be the one calling the shots. Ya gotta believe we will be better next season – and yes I know we say that sadly we say that each year. LGM

  • Wobbit

    Everybody’s talking like Bryant will sign here, but I don’t think he would. After playing on a good Cubs team and solid Giants team, why would he come to such a forlorn organization with such paralyzing front office issues? Same with other smart players. That’s the real problem that I see.

    Cohen has to blow it all up and build a new team, and I doubt he has the stomach for that, and it has to be a young team. WIth this “core” the Mets currently have, they are years away from working out their issues, and attendance will not get better until they do.

    • Steve_S.

      Here’s hoping Bryant signs—and money talks usually, so Cohen can bankroll signing Bryant, Baez, Gausman, and more. How many players and their agents turn down the top bids?

  • JamesTOB

    The notion that we should trade deGrom is unacceptable and thankfully, the Mets would never do that. He’s another Tom Seaver and we let him get away twice! We deserve to have him pitch for us for as long as he is able. If he can’t overcome his injuries, then so be it.

    I agree that Walker should do better in a full season. We shouldn’t have expected him to be as good in the second half as the first given his injury history. But he did show what he is capable of and that’s worth betting on.

    The same is true for Carrasco. One could always hope a pitcher could instantly return to excellence after a significant injury, but it rarely happens, esp. at his age. I anticipate that he’ll be much more effective next year. Quality, like cream, rises to the top.

    I don’t like Stroman as a person. I resent him bailing on the team last year. But he is a good #3, so we should sign him, but only if we cannot sign Robbie Ray first. He could be our #2 and let Thor slide into the #3 slot.

    Syndergaard has asked for a QO, will receive it, and will be back to rebuild his value. No way he goes elsewhere to sign a longer-term contract for less money than he thinks he can get once he rebuilds his brand.

    That leaves Megill, Lucchesi and Peterson for the bullpen, spot starts, and filling in for injured starters. I like having Lucchesi and Peterson at the MLB level, instead of AAA, to give the new manager several left-handed options along with Hand.

    I would love to see the Mets sign Liam Hendricks for our closer and trade Diaz. In addition, I see Loup, Lugo, and Hand. I’d be content if
    Lucchesi was sent to AAA so that Williams could stay. I’d definitely trade May and Familia (and I’ve been a Familia fan for a long time, but enough is enough.)

    • T.J.

      With regards to deGrom and my comment above, I did not call for the team to trade deGrom. What I called for is that the get a very accurate sense as to his value and what he would bring back. Like most Met fans, I love deGrom and would like to see him retire a Met. However, I love the team more, and this is a team that hasn’t won the WS in 35 years, has losing seasons in 4 of the last 5, and has let the Braves smack them around for over a generation. I want to see the new leadership leave no stone unturned, and do what is absolutely best for sustained winning. If the is a winter where someone in the marketplace will overpay significantly, then that may be the way to go. If not, well, they did their homework. No one on this team is untradeable.

      • JamesTOB

        I understand your point. It’s simply due diligence. However, I would consider him untouchable. In any case, it’s probably a moot point. I can’t imagine anyone giving us enough. Were you a fan when the Mets traded Seaver? The only valuable piece we got was Neil Allen and the only reason he was valuable is because he was a key piece in getting Keith Hernandez. That trade was pulled off by the incomparable Frank Cashen, which illustrates the necessity of a great front office. Having built so many great teams for the Baltimore Orioles, I remember how excited I was when the Mets hired him and, sure enough, he built the great club that won it all in 1986.

  • BobP

    Just curious for those that want to sign Baez. What do you think a reasonable contract is for him?

    • Steve_S.

      6 years for $150 million.

  • deegrove84

    Good Work John,

    I’m still working on my piece for this series. For what it’s worth, I also target Chris Taylor and wind up bringing back a lot of old faces.

    I don’t think people suggesting that the Mets: Sign Javier Baez, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman/Robbie Ray and Kris Bryant while also extending both Syndergaard and Conforto extensions are being realistic.

    The Mets have some significant room between what they currently have on payroll and the salary cap but I don’t expect them to go over it. You have roughly $125 Million in yearly salaries listed between those players above and cutting Cano doesn’t mean the Mets get to clear his salary.

  • JamesTOB

    Earlier I commented on pitching. Here’s my take on the position players.

    The Mets have to decide where free agents and prospects fit in their philosophy. The Mets are going to have several high-priced guys (Lindor, Baez?, deGrom, Thor, Nimmo and more to come.). They are going to have to have some low-cost players to fit the budget. All successful teams have to maintain a revolving door of older stars and future stars. I know Cohen has deep pockets, but you cannot build long-term success by going over the luxury tax. The cost in draft picks and money for international free agents is just too high. A bare minor league system is a recipe for finishing out of the playoffs consistently. Therefore, when it comes to players, the highest priority should be to keep spots open for our top prospects.
    Like others who’ve responded, I am content to wait through next year for the team to decide what it does and does not have. One down year is no reason to jettison a player who has done well, especially when we’d be selling low.

    Moving around the horn, Alonso is obviously our first-baseman unless the DH is implemented, but even then, I’m not sure I’d move him there. That would be a big blow to his sense of himself.
    As for 2B, I really don’t know what to think about Baez. If they can sign him, he probably should play 2B. It would be a shame to have given up on Crow-Armstrong for a rental, but what’s done is done. I’d be happy with McNeill at 2B, though, if Baez wants money in the upper 20s to 30 million range. I agree that McNeill is not a 3B, his throws are too inconsistent as we saw a year or two ago. But I also think the Mets should keep him. He’s had several good years prior to this one. If Baez takes 2B, then maybe he could play LF. Didn’t he play outfield a couple of years ago and was considered at least average?

    Lindor will be our SS for the foreseeable future.

    As for 3B, it needs to be kept open for Baty’s arrival in 2023 or 2024. I can’t imagine Bryant wanting to leave SF, but if he is willing, no one is going to sign him for less than 5-7 years and it will take way too much money.

    We’re stuck with McCann and Nido until Alvarez is ready in 2023 or 2024.

    I like offering Conforto a QO. Even if he doesn’t take it, I wouldn’t go out and get a pricey free agent since it would block prospects. If he leaves, then I’d move McNeill to RF. Does anyone know if the Mets think Vientos can play RF or LF? If so, then I definitely wouldn’t go out and get a free agent.

    Contrary to all the nay-sayers, Nimmo showed he is an above average CF. I know he has been injured a lot, but I’m still bullish on him.

    I’m for giving Khalil Lee another chance in LF after the fine season he had in AAA. There are lots of fine players who stumbled when they first got to the Show. One thing Mets fans are famous for is not giving kids a chance to get acclimated and giving up on them too soon.

    That leaves Dom Smith. Dom has so much potential, which he has sometimes tapped, it would be a shame to trade him for the little he’d bring back. So I’d keep in on the bench to be available for LF or DH or 1B. He’s just 26 so I’d be willing to see if he can get over the hump.
    What about Cano? Wasn’t there talk when he was suspended for a second time, that the Mets were going to seek to void his contract? Does anybody know what happened with that? Cutting him doesn’t save us much at all. If he passes waivers, which he would, any team that signed him would only owe him the minimum and the Mets would have to pay the rest, unless, of course, the contract is voided, as it should be. Why is clause 5B there, if not for cases like Cano’s? He takes up a roster spot, so I wouldn’t care if he was cut.

    What I’d really like to know is what other positions Mauricio could play. Obviously, he’s not going to be our SS. If he can play 2B, I’d definitely pass on Baez and stick with McNeill until Mauricio would be ready in 2024 or 2025. But, I’d really like to see if he can become an above-average outfielder to play either LF or CF.

    Pillar and Guillorme are definitely on my bench.

    I know this is essentially bringing back the same team, but I disagree with those who think it’s a bad group. In previous seasons the hitting was good and the pitching bad. This year the pitching was good, but collapsed for understandable reasons. I’d like to see what they could do next year, since I think we’ve made substantial upgrades in the pitching, as my previous post indicated.

  • ChrisF

    “you cannot build long-term success by going over the luxury tax”

    Tell that to the Dodgers.

  • BoomBoom

    We know a few things.

    The rotation (if everyone is healthy) will include DeGrom, Syndergaard (he will take the QO), Carrasco and Walker – all of whom will be under contract. Peterson, MgGill, Yamamoto, Luchessi are all options for the 5th spot, but I think they should bring Marcus back. 4 yrs 100 million with a 5th year option may get it done. That’s a decent staff with depth (although we’ve heard that before). Diaz, Lugo, May, Drew Smith, and hopefully Loup will make up the core of the pen. So 2-3 spots to fill there.

    Catcher, 1B, SS, CF are set, and if they don’t get a taker for Dom Smith, he’ll be in LF again. We are going to need a new RF, and a 3B. Bryant is the guy because he can play both spots. I prefer him to Baez, although I kind of expect them to sign Baez to play 2b, in which case I agree with the post that McNeil is the 3B with the ability to move around.

    • BoomBoom

      Oh and I would make a run at Bruch Bochy for manager

  • Wobbit

    I can’t understand the comments that express expectation of having McNeil at 2B or 3B. You think having a .250 hitter with little power (.664 OPS), average speed, and below average defense can win the division? If you actually want to beat the Braves and the Phillies, you’d better upgrade from mediocrity, and that takes both money and ingenuity. Complacency will not get it done. Dom Smith in LF (.664)? Did you see what Duvall gave the Braves out there?

    It’s time to scrap the parts that don’t work and rebuild the car. If you want to bank on McNeil hitting like he did two and three years ago, good luck. I don’t consider that sound planning.

    • Bob P

      Wobbit, I agree with your concept that you can’t keep running subpar player out there and expect to win, but McNeil has an excellent track record of over 1,000 plate appearances before this year. I’m willing to bet on another year of him to see if this year was an anomaly, which I expect it was. As an arbitration eligible player he’ll probably cost in the range of $3 million. I’d much rather take a chance on him at that price and put the money into pitching, OF, etc. Players have good and bad years all the time and you have to take chances that some will bounce back. I think McNeil is a bounce back candidate.

      • Metsense

        I too think McNeil is a bounce back candidate. He is versatile. He can play LF, RF, 3B, 2B and DH. The Mets should pencil him in for the utility role. He is inexpensive, controllable, under 30 and had MLB success and made the all star team.

  • TexasGusCC

    Wobbit, McNeil’s on base has been a consistent .381, .384, .383 his first three years, making his OPS .830+ every year prior to this one. The problem is he is not the player that his 23 HRs one year, but that what the Mets want. Left alone he could be a very good leadoff man as he also has good speed. Nimmo has more power and I feel would be the best #3 hitter in baseball constantly on base for the big boppers, however, everyone tends to disagree.

    • JimO

      Well not everyone disagrees. McNeil as a leadoff is an interesting concept. Lindor has to (has to1) improve as the #2 hitter. He killed us this year in that spot. Nimmo as a third hitter is interesting. His issue is his inconsistency with his health. Maybe the long-touted move to LF might help out on that a bit if we can locate a worthwhile CF.

  • ChrisF

    Really, until there is a new PBO and GM the granularity of individual players is just fun debate. We have no idea if McNeil will/not be part of a new system. He certainly does not match the HR ubber alles approach and has become. There’s no doubt he can be an accomplished hitter, and giving up on that prematurely would hurt. By the same token, here is a guy that will be 30 in 2022 coming off the worst season imaginable. Is that an anomaly or has the run come to an end, hastened by the terrible 30s slide?

    Regardless of how you view his batting, McNeil is a liability defensively. Right now his only passable position is 2B (please stop it with McNeil as a 3B, he cannot make the throw with pace and without double stepping to generate speed – he’s too slow for 3B). Cohen said that his bat did not offset whatever skill at 2B he has by bringing in Baez. If one is swayed by that sample size and belief Baez has learned to control the zone, then McNeil is a bench guy. He’s not a passable outfielder (nor is Dom for that matter).

    So how you posture McNeil maybe determines his fate on the Mets. He’s Arb 1, so dirt cheap and obviously under control for years so, even if he is a career platoon/bench guy, I can see keeping him. Im not sure he has trade value based on this year. I will say, he is the kind of bench guy a winning team needs. He will be 33 coming to free agency, so the Mets can ride out the arb years and let him go.

  • T.J.

    What else will we fans do all winter besides meaningless GM granularity?

    I agree with those who think McNeil is a pretty good bounce back candidate. As a late bloomer, he is controllable through his prime years, and his versatility fits the modern roster. I would not commit to him as a 3B, but I could live with him as a majority time 2B, elsewhere as needed. With Conforto likely gone, the Mets will need the LH bat to bounce back.

    All things being equal, I home McNeil over Dom. Dom is their most likely trade candidate to me, mostly since the Mets have a slugger at 1B (assuming they keep him) combined with Dom likely having a higher value in the trade market than McNeil. He could be a real nice get for a team with an opening at 1B.

    Center field upgrades as an improvement over Nimmo are really hard to come by and if you locate one, will cost a ton. Nimmo as the most time CF part time LF/RF and leadoff hitter is a move even the duo of Brodie and Jeffy could figure out. He should also be their number one extension target. Yes, they can use a RH defense first backup CF, and yes, his solid CF defense is only one season and maybe a year or two from diminishing, but this dude is a top leadoff hitter. Let’s leave him be for 2022.

  • ChrisF

    Who knows what happened to McNeil. It was a disappointment this year for sure. Given that he is in arb years, the cost is minimal, so keeping him around is not a huge financial reach. The same for Dom and JD Davis (Cal Sate Fullerton my alma mater!!). Lets envision that Uncle Steve likes this whole Baez-Lindor keystone, what does that do for McNeil? It puts him as a bench/utility guy which I can live with. Dom is headed for a back seat role too, as they are not going to bench Pete and 40 HR power for Dom’s gap-to-gap hitting. If you can see Alonso getting some DH time, then you can envision a lefty/righty platoon at 1B. Again, he’s cheap and a good bench piece.

    Davis is an interesting story too. His biggest issue is that he really does not have a place to be on the field. He’s basically a butcher with a glove in his hand. That said, he certainly has not seen the offensive inconsistency. JD seems aligned to DH if anyone of the youngin’s does. Is the bat too valuable to be a second, bench IF utility guy? He’s spent enough time at 3B to know he aint Justin Turner.

    My fear of “bring back the same team” is that it is banking on a miracle or doing the same thing over again hoping for a different result. If you put Baez on 2B, and (it wont happen but lets imagine) Bryant at 3B, then you have a potent IF bench but weak OF depth.

  • Wobbit

    I’m all in on McNeil off the bench…good versatility in the field, but we’re not going to win the division with him as an everyday starter, except for the fantasy-based “bounce back”… I watched him hit all season…

    Meanwhile, Nimmo got better this year and is at his highest value, maybe still possibly higher next year. He’s a great number 2 hitter in that he takes pitches and makes contact, hits line drives, hard to double up. What we need is a leadoff hitter CF with speed. I like Marte, or Canha, even Tyson. Or how about Brian Reynolds in CF… huge upgrade from Conforto in the lineup.

    Dom has trade value and JD has trade value. Of the two, I keep JD as a DH, maybe teach him to play 1B, too. No worse than Alonso with the glove.

  • ChrisF

    Wobbit, we need to be Co-GM

  • MattyMets

    Just a correction. Several of you mentioned Joey Luchessi as a part of the 2022 plans. He had TJ surgery and will likely miss all of next year and is not under contract beyond that so he may be DFA’d or bought out – not sure how that works.

  • Wobbit

    A really savvy GM sees the road ahead just a little better the the average guy. He sees Dom Smith falling down to earth in 2019 when he gets injured and the fall is interrupted. Then Dom has a decent short season, and his future looks promising, especially to a team that needs a first baseman. Dom would have brought an everyday player in a trade during the previous off-season, someone who fit better into the Mets’ needs.

    One can’t fault that they tried making Dom work out, played him out of position, and hoped for lightning in a bottle. But now that he has bottomed and his value is very low, one has to wonder what could have been.

    Dom might still be valued in some front offices. His good fielding and the hope for a better offensive year might be worth something to somebody and get us a quality player or prospect, but who’s going to make that trade? I’m worried the Mets will take too long to fill the jobs in the FO and opportunities will be lost.

  • rawilner

    Vientos had more home runs in the minors than any other Met. He ended the season in AAA doing well. Hitting 3 homers in one week. He will major league ready next year. If not in spring training than later in the year. Where do you factor in such a young prolific hitter?

    • ChrisF

      Thats a great comment. I dont know if you bring him up before the ASG, but depending on the status of the team and FA signings, its possible he makes his way to the Show for Aug and Sept. As you said, the power is there, and righty hitting is a thing we need. I dont know his defensive metrics, but like Baty, hes got a plus arm.

      Would be nice to be in excess at 3B and see one of them take the job over.

      This is part of the “waiting game” or “win now” question.

  • Wobbit

    When Kris Bryant says, “No Thanks” to the Mets, I like Eduardo Escobar for 3B. Switch hitter, good contact, decent glove… 3B problem solved… money saved.

  • rawilner

    Vientos has been working out in the outfield. LF. They should be playing him in spring training. If he does well then you have another outfielder. We should not be trading such great young talent away. We need a place for them to play and the sooner the better. I am an old die hard Mets fan and I would love them to win more than anyone. But after this disappointing season I do not think you can fix all of the problems in one off season and expect a World Series champion. We can not get past the Braves and they just keep getting better because of their farm system. We need to improve our farm system, do not trade top prospects, develop the players better and move them up when ready.

    • T.J.


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