What would be the pros and cons of the New York Mets acquiring Mike Moustakas, Andrew McCutchen or Jonathan Lucroy?
The New York Mets now have money to blow! Or something like that. Sources tell John Harper of the New York Daily News that Mets ownership would be willing to spend money on big name free agents if they consider the contract a value.
So with a cold hot stove and prices seemingly on the decline, the Mets have recently been linked to three standout free agents in Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Lucroy, and Andrew McCutchen.
Now we’ll get into the hypotheticals as we look at the pros and cons of acquiring each player for the Mets.
The first thing that jumps out when it comes to signing Moustakas is the contract value. Harper estimates his market could fall to the point of roughly four years, $60 million, which is significantly less than his projected numbers heading into this winter.
If the Mets could swing a deal at that price for a top third baseman, we’d be talking about Sandy Alderson as a genius for a while.
Another pro in relation to signing Moose is that it would effectively end the David Wright era at the hot corner for the New York Mets. Ever since his spinal stenosis diagnosis, the Mets have been hamstrung into using inadequate players at the position with the hope that Wright would one day return.
With Moose at the hot corner, the Mets could move Wright to first base, a much easier position for his battered body to handle.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 5, 2018
One thing that might scare clubs away from Moose is his monster season in a contract year. He set career highs in home runs (38) and RBI (85) last season, numbers he’s never been in the ballpark of before.
He’s also coming off a poor season in the field as he provided a minus-3.1 UZR in 2017. His conditioning and the fact that he will be 30 next year do not make that number any more attractive, either.
With Michael Conforto’s shoulder still a major question mark heading into 2018, McCutchen makes all the sense in the world as a one-year rental. That short-term commitment for an aging center fielder is the perfect scenario for the Mets.
Most of his value will come from his ability to be a middle of the order bat for this Mets team. With a fully healthy lineup, he’d slot in nicely behind Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes and have loads of RBI opportunities.
His age (31) would be the top con here, but with only one year left on his deal, it shouldn’t make much of an impact.
His declining defense, however, is a fairly big concern. The Mets would be hard-pressed to play Cutch in center field this season after he posted a minus-4.6 UZR at the position in 2017.
And last but not least is the prospect price, Cutch is the only player on the list that will require prospect compensation to acquire. As a one-year rental, he should be cheap, but the fact that he has been a franchise player and an icon in Pittsburgh while being a leader in the clubhouse. All that could all push his price up. The Mets should be careful not to overpay for a declining center fielder on the wrong side of 30.
Lucroy is an experienced veteran catcher that has laid down some legitimate offensive production in years past on his way to earning two All-Star appearances.
Even though Lucroy’s 2017 was forgettable, that will make his market thinner and likely only earn him a short-term deal. This will work well for the Mets and offer them the chance to buy-low on Lucroy and hope for a bounce-back season on a cheap short-term deal.
Age is a huge factor for Lucroy as 2018 will be his age-32 season. The catcher’s position is a taxing job and could cause a steep decline in his defensive skills and, subsequently, his offensive production on heading deeper in his 30s.
The other negative of a Lucroy signing would be the end of the Travis d’Arnaud era in Queens. Travis is only three years younger than Lucroy and his opportunity to cement his role as the starting catcher would likely be over with a proven veteran in the mix.
Not to mention, young prospects such as Tomas Nido would have their timelines pushed back as well.