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Mets Heartbreaking Mistakes Highlight Next Season’s Needs


MLB Royals Mets 2015 World Series Game 5

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel via USA TODAY For The Win

It’s been a long time since I’ve yelled at the top of my lungs into my ceiling without actually saying anything, spiked my hat (off a trampoline), and then fore-armed a laundry room door. It must’ve been what my father wanted to do when he watched Mookie Wilson’s slow ground ball bounce through Bill Buckner 29 years ago, but instead he took every ounce of mocking my 5-year-old mouth gave him and somehow resisted throwing me through a window.

mookie wilson mets 1986 world series bill buckner red sox

via MLB.com

There were a lot of comparisons made when the Mets went down 2-0 in the World Series against the Royals. The 2015 Mets lost by the same differential as the ’86 Mets to the Red Sox. Michael Conforto hit 2 home runs in Game 4 just as Gary Carter had 3 decades before. It seemed like everyone was willing the Mets to their first World Series title of the millennium with fate and destiny and superstition and coincidences.

michael conforto mets 2015 world series home run

via MLB.com

But, the Mets defensive flaws came out in full effect when it mattered most. If this were Little League or Babe Ruth, the Mets would’ve swept; they led 43 of 51 innings. Three blown saves by Familia; 1 on a bad pitch to Gordo, and the other 2 on costly errors. I’d noted on Twitter that I wasn’t in the camp of fans who was ‘just happy’ we made it that far. We should’ve won. We were too close to let them slip away in such brutal fashion.

Just as the Mets took advantage of the Dodgers’ and Cubs’ errors, the Royals returned the favor to the Mets when the blue and orange slipped up at the worst possible times. How do the Mets prevent that from happening next season? By being ACTIVE in the offseason.

Below, you’ll find the list of Mets players whose contracts are up along with potential free agents to pursue and my thoughts on ’em all:

Mets Free Agents

yoenis cespedes mets 2015 smoking cigar

Via Mets Tumblr

Yoenis Cespedes
Hasta la vista, Yo! You gave us the spark we needed to clinch the division and our first postseason berth in 9 years. You gave us the Rally Parakeet and ultimately heartburn with your defensive lapses, base-running blunders, and overall lack of productivity at the plate. His most recent contract was 4 years for $36M with $10.5M over the last 2. He wants 6 years and 9 figures total. Godspeed, Yo Knows Beisbol, we’ll never forget the summer of ’15.

yoenis cespedes mets 2015 smoking cigar

Via Deadspin.com

Bartolo Colon
Bart’s a character. The fan base loves him. But $10M? Is he our 7th inning bridge or a long relief guy? There’s no room for him in the starting rotation with Wheeler returning. I suspect he walks, but maybe he comes down significantly on his ask because he knows has a good shot of returning to the Fall Classic. I doubt it.

juan uribe mets 2015 walkoff

Via MLB.com

Juan Uribe
How different would the World Series have been if Juan Uribe is healthy? Ya gotta believe Los Mets would’ve won games 4 and 5. Juan will be 37 next season. His health has come into question. His price tag’s a little high for what he ultimately gives us. His salary is down from $8M to $6.5M. Could he come down to $5M? Cheaper than Murph, but can he make up for Murph’s productivity? My guess is he doesn’t come back.

Tyler Clippard
Woof. Adios, Clip. Yes, he was an upgrade to our bullpen, but that’s more a commentary on how poor the pen is. It’s real hard to make a case for the guy making $8M a year with his shaky postseason. 5.40 ERA in the NLDS, 6.00 ERA in the NLCS, and a 9.00 ERA in the World Series. Against the woeful NL East, he was fairly dependable. Against quality lineups, he gets knocked around or can’t entice hitters to bite.

Daniel Murphy Mets Cubs Jake Arrieta

Gif via MLB.com

Daniel Murphy
Murph was the G.O.A.T., the Cubs goat, and the Mets goat. He earned $8M last year and will want multiple years at a higher rate. I just think it’s not worth it, however, there aren’t many 2B options on the market.

Eric O’Flaherty
Nope.

Bobby Parnell
He showed glimpses of his former self towards the end of the season, however, his former self wasn’t that dominant. 6.38 ERA doesn’t help. I think the Mets let him walk.

Jerry Blevins
Just stay healthy! It’s hard to re-sign a guy who seriously injured himself twice in a season and only tossed in 7 games. If you can expect the 2010-2013 Blevins, re-sign him, but there’s not a lot to base the decision on. Too much risk in my mind.

Kelly Johnson
Fairly low price tag attached to Kelly and it might go down. A lot of fans had beef with him as the DH in Game 1, but maybe he’s the stop-gap at second until Herrera or Reynolds comes around? It would probably cost the Metros less than what he made last year ($1.5M).

Tim Stauffer
It must be cool to earn $500k and not have most fans know who you are. Sign ME up for that.

Projected 2016 Lineup

CF – Juan Lagares (R) – or he could move to the 6th spot after Conforto
RF – Curtis Granderson (L)
3B – David Wright (R)
1B – Lucas Duda (L)
C – Travis d’Arnaud (R)
LF – Michael Conforto (L)
2B – Wilmer Flores (R)
SS – Ruben Tejada (R)

Flores only has 13 fewer hits than Murph last season and that was in 28 less plate appearances, so I think Wilmer will be fine at the plate. Move Flores to 2B and start Tejada at short.

Mets Prospects to Watch

*Brandon Nimmo, OF

Brandon Nimmo should make his way to the big show by season’s end. He’ll be 23 before the season starts and ranks as the #2 top prospect behind Matz, so essentially he’s the top guy now.

*Matt Reynolds, SS/2B

Of the top prospects, Matt’s one of the elders at age 25. He’s been described as “boring good”, which I will GLADLY take after getting Murph’d so many times in the field.

There’s a very slight chance Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith could see some time, but would probably come on the extended roster. Rosario will turn 20 soon, plays SS, and is the top 3 prospect for the Mets. The organization estimates he could be up in 2018, but if he can continue to surpass expectations, a brief appearance next season with more of a role in ’17 isn’t unreal. Smith is 20 years old, is a top 5 Mets Prospects and 3rd top prospect at his position. They estimate 2017 is his year, but a handful of games next season wouldn’t hurt.

Projected 2016 Starting Rotation

Jacob deGrom (R)
Matt Harvey (R)
Noah Syndergaard (R)
Steven Matz (L)
Zack Wheeler (R)

That’s a CRAZY rotation. Matz was limited in the postseason due to his injuries, so you can imagine what his outings will be like once fully healthy. Add in Wheeler and I don’t see how this team doesn’t get to 100 wins if they score more than 1-2 runs per game.

Problem Areas for the Mets

Bullpen

Darren O’Day

The former Met is 33, which would normally ward me off, but he was an All-Star last year and is projected to have an ERA below 3, a WHIP of around 1, and strikeout to walk ratio of 3.6 to 1. He averages around 2.31 ERA and had a career high 6 saves last season. He’s thrown 60+ innings in 5 of the last 6 seasons and his workload should go up as a specialist with the Mets. He might be due to make more than $4M, so the asking price could be too high, especially considering his postseason numbers.

Joakim Soria

The 32-year-old, 2-time All-Star had a pretty good season last year after going from the Tigers to the Pirates. In 2015, he had a 2.53 ERA in 72 games and is comfortable closing games. Projected to have a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.2. Soria could be more expensive than O’Day, clocking in at around $7m+.

Antonio Bastardo

The former Phillie turned Pirate has a career average of 3.58 and typically throws about 50-60 innings per season. At 30, he’s projected to have an ERA over 3.5 with a WHIP above 1.2 and a strikeout to walk ratio below 3.

Tony Sipp

The 32-year-old has been fairly consistent with number of games per season trending towards 60+. His ERA has come down significantly over the past 2 seasons. Though, he’s projected to have a 3.47 ERA and a WHIP around 1.2, he does get 3+ strikeouts for every walk. He comes in fairly inexpensive at >$2.4M.

Carlos Villanueva

He’ll turn 32 in 2016 and usually stays around an ERA of 4+. Projected to have a WHIP of almost 1.3 and 2.76 K/BB ratio. Took a pay cut to be with the Cards, going from $5M with the Cubs to $2M with St. Louis, so it’s possible the Mets could scoop him up for less.

Edward Mujica
He’ll turn 32 in 2016 and his ERA is approaching 5. His best years were with the Cards in 2012-2013 when he once made an All-Star roster. At $4.75M, I’d have to think the Mets would need him to take a pay cut.

Jonathan Broxton

The 2-time All-Star will be 32. His career ERA has been a little over 3. 2015 got off to a rocky start with Milwaukee, but he settled with the Cards. His postseason numbers were in line with his regular season stats. He was making $9M when the Cards bought him out for $2M, granting him free agency.

Backup Insurance at 3rd for David Wright

*David Freese

He’ll be 33 next season and is projected to have 12 HRs and 55 RBIs, but that’s with a full workload of almost 500 plate appearances. He’s average 15 HRs and 78 RBIs over his 7 year career with his best season coming in 2012 when he was an All-Star with the Cards. He was the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2011, but from the 2012 NLCS on, his numbers in the postseason have been less attractive. He could be due to make more than $6.5M, which is a lot for a backup, however, we know how David gets hurt every season, so this might be worth the investment.

2B If Murph Doesn’t Re-sign

Howie Kendrick

The 32-year-old will typically get you around 12 HRs, 20+ doubles, 6-12 SBs, and 75 RBIs in a full season. His batting average is around .300 lifetime, so it’s not that much of a downgrade from Murph, however, he’s gonna want in the neighborhood of $10M.

Asdrubal Cabrera

The 2-time All-Star will be 30 years old next season and is projected to have almost 30 doubles, 14 HRs, and 57 RBIs. His batting average is around .267 lifetime. Made $7.5M last year, which was down from $10M with Cleveland, who traded him to Washington in 2014. I think Mets might be able to get him down below $7M for a slightly watered down Murphy.

SS if you want an upgrade

*Ian Desmond

He’ll be 30 and is projected to hit 19 HRs and 75 RBIs. Defensively, he’s a liability having committed the second most errors in the league at any position, but he’ll give you more slugging power than Tejada. He made $11M last season, so he could be too expensive, but he fills the void left by Murph and allows you to play Flores at 2B.

Big Bat (OF?)

Jason Heyward

He’ll only be 26, he averages $8,300,000 per year, but he plays RF with some occasional starts in center. Mets would need to shift Grandy to CF or test Heyward out in the middle. He made $11.5M last year with the Cards. The All-Star has also won the Gold Glove twice.

Justin Upton

David Wright’s buddy will be 28. He’s a 3-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger,  and averages 25+ HRs and 85+ RBIs, plus 25+ doubles. But, he either plays LF or RF, so he’d have to convert to CF or have Grandy go back to CF and put Upton in RF. He would also make north of $14M. I don’t see this happening.

Colby Rasmus
He’ll be 29, averages 25 HRs, 72 RBIs, and 29 doubles over a full season, and is projected to get 23 HRs, 59 RBIs, and 20+ doubles. He also has a lifetime batting average over .300 and plays CF. He made $8M last year, so it’s very possible the Mets pull out the wallet for him.

Dexter Fowler

He’ll be 30 next season. Averages about a dozen HRs and 50 or so RBIs per year with a BA around .270. He’s projected to have 25 doubles, 14 HRs and 49 RBIs. Who knows what he could do under Kevin Long’s tutelage. He made $9.5M last season, so I would think he’s not as tangible as Rasmus, but more so than Upton or Heyward.

Ben Zobrist

The 2-time All-Star just murdered the Mets in the World Series. He’ll be 35 next season and can play 2B, 3B, LF or RF, plus be the DH the Mets would love to have during interleague and postseason play.  He made $7.5M last season and might be able to get that or higher next season.

I’m not sure there’s much to be done via trade. There have been some rumors about going after Craig Kimbrel. He’s a 4-time All-Star with 3 years left on his contract, the last of which a team option with a potential buyout – and is scheduled to make $11M the next 2 seasons with $13M in the team option / buyout year.

As Mike Francesa keeps insisting, I don’t think the Mets make a big splash in the offseason, but I don’t think they can rely on Wright staying healthy and the rest of that lineup coming through in the batter’s box. We saw how woeful the team was with the bat without Cespedes, Wright, and d’Arnaud. The team would put a lot of fears to bed by adding a bat or two and some help in the bullpen. The starting pitching can only do so much. How many wins have the Mets offense cost Johan Santana and Matt Harvey over the years?

Personally, I think we missed our shot, but this year’s World Series loss should motivate the squad to work on their fundies and return next year. Let’s go, Mets! #LGM

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