The New York Mets have already resigned Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes, so what is the next move Sandy Alderson has lined up?
The calendar has just turned to December and the New York Mets have already had a very successful first few weeks in the 2017 offseason. It all started on November 14th when veteran second baseman Neil Walker agreed to sign a one year qualifying offer worth $17.2 million to stay in New York for at least one more season.
After coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to last season in the trade that sent Jonathon Niese the other way, Walker had a very successful first season with the Mets both at the plate and in the field. Walker batted .282 with 23 home runs, 55 RBIs, and a .347 OBP in 113 games in his first season in New York.
Then, just yesterday Sandy Alderson achieved his main goal for this offseason which was locking up star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a long term deal which will keep him with the Mets for the next four seasons. Even though the Mets are spending a whopping $110 million to keep Cespedes in New York, it is well worth it as Cespedes has put this team on his back for the past year and a half with a total of 48 home runs and 130 RBIs in 189 games since joining the Mets at the 2015 trade deadline.
So now that we know Walker and Cespedes will be back with the orange and blue next season, the question is, what is next for the Mets this offseason?
First of all, it is very clear that the Mets are trying to trade away one of their veteran left handed hitting outfielders in Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson as the Mets outfield possesses a bit of a logjam. The Mets absolutely need to move one of these two veterans before the season starts so it can open up more playing time for the Mets younger outfielders such as Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, or Brandon Nimmo. Ideally, the Mets would love to get either a late inning relief pitcher or a veteran catcher in exchange for one of these two outfielders.
However, if the Mets cannot get that in return, the Mets can look via free agency to take care of their bullpen need, potentially pursuing a veteran left handed relief pitcher. Whether it is resigning Jerry Blevins or inking another lefty, either way the Mets need to find a lefty specialist who is reliable late in games.
As much as most Mets fans would love to see Jerry Blevins return, it is quite possible that may not happen as the Mets have already spent a lot of money this season on Walker and Cespedes. So, there’s a fair chance the Mets may not be able to afford Blevins, especially after the four year pact Brett Cecil received from the St. Louis Cardinals.
If the Mets cannot afford to resign Blevins, some cheaper options the Mets could go to as a left handed bullpen arm are Boone Logan, who had a successful 2016 season with the Colorado Rockies, or 39 year old veteran Javier Lopez, best known for his work with the San Francisco Giants.
Even though the Mets do have some left handed relief pitchers within their organization such as Josh Smoker and Josh Edgin, neither of them have proved to be reliable late inning lefty specialists, granted the sample size isn’t very large.
And last but not least, the Mets need to figure out what they are going to do at the catcher’s position in 2017. It is no secret that Travis d’ Arnaud had a very disappointing season in 2016 in all areas of the game and Kevin Plawecki has yet to prove that he can be an everyday big league player. However, the truth is those two could possibly be the best options this team has in 2017.
As much as the Mets would love to go out and sign a veteran catcher such as Wilson Ramos or Matt Wieters, they really don’t have the money to go out and sign a new everyday catcher. Though, the Mets may have the money to sign a lower tier veteran catcher for cheap such as Kurt Suzuki, A.J. Ellis, or Nick Hundley. The Mets could possibly sign one of the aforementioned players and have them serve as a veteran backup for either d’ Arnaud or Plawecki, much like what Rene Rivera was for the Mets last season.
Before the start of spring training, the New York Mets need to trade either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, and find themselves a veteran catcher and at least one additional bullpen arm, whether it is via trade or free agency.