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New York Mets offseason challenge: You’re the general manager

jkamilhor
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: (L-R) New York SVP of Delta Air Lines Gail Grimmett and COO of the New York Mets Jeff Wilpon pose with Mr. and Mrs. Met at Delta Air Lines' unveiling of the 'Let's Go Mets' aircraft at JFK Airport to celebrate the team's return to the postseason on October 6, 2015 in New York City (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Lmages for Delta (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Delta)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: (L-R) New York SVP of Delta Air Lines Gail Grimmett and COO of the New York Mets Jeff Wilpon pose with Mr. and Mrs. Met at Delta Air Lines' unveiling of the 'Let's Go Mets' aircraft at JFK Airport to celebrate the team's return to the postseason on October 6, 2015 in New York City (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Lmages for Delta (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Delta)
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You’ve been hired as the new general manager of the New York Mets. What moves do you make?

Here’s a hypothetical situation; the New York Mets hire you as President of Baseball Operations after Jeff Wilpon is named Ambassador to the fictional country of Nambia.

You have convinced Fred to give you total autonomy as long as you don’t add more than $40 million to the current payroll. You can sign free agents to realistic contracts, and make realistic trades.

You must balance current needs with future needs, so you are not allowed to empty the farm system. You can non-tender arbitration-eligible players and use their money to add to the roster.

Tell us your moves (including money involved) and your 2019 25-man roster. Free agent contracts will count as the average annual salary.

Here are the moves I would make:

Convince Fred Wilpon to add money saved from David Wright‘s and Yoenis Cespedes‘ insurance payouts back into the payroll

Non-tender:

  • Travis d’Arnaud (add $3.5 million)
  • Rafael Montero (minimum salary–clears a 40-man roster spot)

Trade:

  • Jay Bruce
    • $26 mm remaining for 2019-2020:
      • Mets send $11 mm ($5.5 mm in 2019/$5.5 mm in 2020) to an AL team to DH, in return for a low-level prospect
  • Wilmer Flores
    • Arbitration estimate 1 year/$5 mm
      • send to a different AL team to DH in return for a low-level prospect

Sign as FAs:

2019 salaries added

  • Maldonado $6 mm
  • Gonzalez $11 mm
  • Eovaldi $11 mm
  • Kelly $9 mm
  • Ottavino $15 mm
  • Szczur $1 mm

$53

  • -$3.5 (d’Arnaud)
  • -$5.5 (Bruce in 2019)
  • -$5 (Flores)

-$13 mm in savings

$40 mm added

25-man roster

Infield and catcher

  • C Maldonado (R)
  • C Nido (R)
  • 1B Alonso (R
  • 1B-LF Dom Smith (L)
  • 2B-3B-LF McNeil (L)
  • 2B-SS Guillorme (L)
  • SS-CF Rosario (R)
  • 3B-1B Frazier (R)
  • 3B-2B-LF TJ Rivera (R)

Outfield

  • LF-2B-1B Gonzalez (B)
  • CF-LF Nimmo (L)
  • CF Lagares (R)
  • RF Conforto (L)

Starting pitchers

  • SP deGrom (R)
  • SP Syndergaard (R)
  • SP Wheeler (R)
  • SP Eovaldi (R)
  • SP Matz (R)

Bullpen

  • CL Ottavino (R)
  • RP Kelly (R)
  • RP Lugo (R)
  • RP Gsellman (R)
  • RP Zamora (L)
  • RP Swarzak (R)
  • RP Vargas (L)

Key minor-leaguers

Why I think this will improve the Mets without hurting the future:

  • Defense and positional versatility improves significantly, while adding Alonso’s bat, and Gonzalez’s all-around play
  • Gonzalez provides insurance for both Alonso and Dom Smith
  • Adds players from winning teams: Boston, Houston, Colorado, Cubs (Szczur before San Diego)
  • Rotation deepens with the amazing Nathan Eovaldi
  • Bullpen improves significantly
  • Swing-man Vargas should improve with better defense
  • Do not trade any prospects, allowing Andres Gimenez, Desmond Lindsay, Justin Dunn, David Peterson, etc. to work their way up to the major leagues from the farms upstate
  • Rosario gets some exposure to CF (starting day one of Spring Training and throughout the season, maybe one start per week), prepares the team for the imminent arrival of Andres Gimenez at shortstop
    • That’s the only new position expected of any of the position players
  • Add Cespedes in August perhaps
  • Szczur provides minor league depth for inevitable outfield injuries

Possible reasons the Mets still won’t make the postseason:

  • Puts a lot of weight on Conforto, Nimmo, McNeil, Rosario, and Alonso to carry the offense until/if Cespedes returns to his young/old self
  • Puts some pressure on Rosario to learn to play CF, which may affect his offense
  • Relies on Daniel Zamora and Jason Vargas to handle the tough left-handed hitters (should I have re-signed Jerry Blevins?)
  • Eovaldi’s and Kelly’s arms fall off after insane post-season usage
  • Two of deGrom, Syndergaard, and Wheeler get hurt or slump, pulling both Vargas and Lugo out of the bullpen
  • The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies significantly out-spend the Mets and add Machado (Phillies), Harper (Braves), Corbin (Phillies), and Kimbrel (Braves)

Grading the 2018 Mets catchers. Next

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Now it’s your turn. What moves would you make?

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