Mets: An offseason plan to bring a World Series victory to Queens
By Michael Calascione
Free Agent Signings
The biggest hole on the team is the bullpen. It was terrible last year and needs to be better if the Mets want to be serious about 2020. However, there are other holes on the team, like the one created by the previous trade of Ramos. The Mets need to address Wheeler, third base, and now they need a catcher.
The free-agent signings will be a big telling point if the front office builds on the success of 2019 or if the Wilpons are still going to pinch their pennies together and make this team stay under the luxury tax. I choose to believe they will open their wallets and spend some, or a lot of money.
Yasmani Grandal – 3 years $45M
With the trade of Wilson Ramos, the Mets will need a new catcher and the likes of Rene Rivera and Tomas Nido will not cut it, especially on a win-now team. Last offseason the Mets and Grandal had mutual interest and were both motivated to strike a deal but the two sides could not come to terms. Could this offseason end differently?
The seven-year veteran had his option declined by the Milwaukie Brewers making him a free agent.
Grandal is more of a complete catcher than Ramos. In 2019 Grandal slashed .246/.380/.468/.848 with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs.
In addition, Grandal threw out 27% of would-be base stealers, which is above the 26% league average. His defense is just on a different level than Ramos. Grandal finished top three in baseball with 19.4 framing runs saved, according to Baseball Prospectus. This is a significant piece of the game that would pay immense dividends for not only the infield defense but also the pitching staff as a whole.
He is also a more balanced hitter, hitting balls equally on the ground and in the air, which is something Ramos has struggled with.
The deal that was being discussed in the 2018 offseason was four years for $60M, which is $15M AAV. Now one offseason later, three years for the same AAV seems fair. He would be getting more than Ramos would had he not been traded but Grandal is worth more money than Ramos due to his added capabilities as a hitter and a catcher defensively.
Anthony Rendon – 6 years $190M
This one is the big one, the one to put the team back on the map and Major League Baseball on notice.
Why can’t the Mets be considered a potential landing spot for Rendon?
Redon is a perennial MVP candidate, he is a gold glove caliber third baseman, and he is one of the best third baseman in the majors. He should be someone that every team tries to sign. He is worth the money and he is worth going over the luxury tax for.
Not convinced? Here is a blind player comparison:
From ages 23-26
Player A: .288/.366/.478/.844, 136 HRs, 546 RBI, 571 runs
Player B: .298/.381/.497/.878, 163 HRs, 676 RBI, 650 runs
These two players compare well through their age 29 seasons. Both are complete players hitting for both average and power.
Player A is Anthony Rendon and Player B is David Wright.
Imagine what the lineup would look like with Rendon slotted in there between Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto.
He would solidify the hot corner for the first time since David Wright and he would bring his gold glove defense which would not only help the team as a whole but also help Amed Rosario’s defense at shortstop.
Back during the 2019 season, it was reported that the Nationals offered Rendon a seven-year $210M extension that he turned down. There are many reasons he could have turned it down, the biggest being the amount of deferred money the Washington Nationals were going to give him.
I think the rejection of that deal had more to do with the deferrals than the value of the contract. If that is true it bodes well for the Mets.
Rendon is going to be looking for Bryce Harper money, but no team is going to give him that kind of money and he will be closer to the $200M mark. I think that six years $190M with a $31.67M AAV is fair for Rendon and I think that with the rest of the players on this team and the addition of Beltran, the Mets may be an attractive destination for Rendon.
Juan Lagares – 2 years $4M
The longtime Met returns but on a much more reasonable salary. Juan Lagares has not been a good offensive player since he won his gold glove back in 2014 but he still has some of his defensive ability left.
Centerfield is a very barren position this year on the free-agent market.
The price for Starling Marte is going to be way too high so the Mets will have to settle for a free agent. Lagares is nothing more than a fourth, maybe a fifth outfielder. The contract reflects that and if he can come in as a defensive replacement then even better.
With the unknown status of Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets need to add an outfielder due to their dearth of outfield depth in the minor leagues. Lagares is a body but has had limited success in New York.
For the money it would take to sign him, assuming no one seriously overpays for his services, it is worth it to take the flier on him.