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Martinez: Mets Window of Contention

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Posted: 1/15/2013 12:23 PM

Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb...-contention-mlb

New York Mets

Optimal year of contention: 2015


Overview: 
How can the Mets go from 74 wins and 24 games out in their division in 2012 to World Series Contender in a matter of a few seasons? First off, the contracts of  Jason Bay  and  Johan Santana  are officially off the books after the 2013 season -- aside from $8.5M in buyouts -- and only  David Wright  and Jon Niese, two productive players in the prime of their career, are signed long-term. The top catching prospect in baseball,  Travis d'Arnaud , will be a regular in the Mets' lineup at some point in 2013 and he'll be working with a very good rotation that will probably include Niese, Matt Harvey  and  Zack Wheeler  in the top three spots going into 2014. Even if the team does not have the means to boost payroll back to the typical $115M-$150M range it had been between 2007-2011 prior to the Bernie Madoff mess, GM Sandy Alderson will still have plenty of free agent shopping money and, more importantly, the ability to sign the team's best young players to long-term contract extensions. If he can spend wisely, Mets fans should soon be cheering on a  winning  team for the first time since Citi Field opened in 2009. 

Extension candidates:
Ike Davis , 1B (eligible for free agency after 2016):  His overall game line (.227/.308/.462) left a bit to be desired in 2012, but the 25 year-old overcame a brutal start to lead the team with 32 homers, which was third-most in baseball at his position. And his 21 homers on the road were second behind only  Adam Dunn  and tied with  Josh Hamilton and  Giancarlo Stanton . Pretty good company, right?

Matt Harvey, RHP (2018):  After two solid seasons in the majors, Niese agreed to a five-year extension with a pair of club options that could keep him in New York through the 2018 season. I could see the Mets trying to do something very similar with Harvey in terms of contract length and when it gets done (after two full big league seasons), but it's likely to cost more than the $25.5M guaranteed if his first 10 big league starts are any indication.

NYM payroll outlook: An estimate of guaranteed salary (GS) over the  next  five seasons, with the number arbitration-eligible players in parentheses.

YEAR GS
2013 $70M (3)
2014 $33M (7)
2015 $27M
2016 $29M
2017 $20M
*Source: Cot's Contracts

Weaknesses: The current team might possess the worst outfield in baseball and there really isn't a lot down on the farm. Brandon Nimmo, the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft, is years away and far from being a surefire impact major leaguer. They'll have to jump back into free agency next offseason or trade from an area of depth (starting pitching) to upgrade.

Potential free agent targets: The Mets will need to find an outfielder, another outfielder, and probably one more outfielder if they want to possess a lineup that actually strikes fear into opposing teams. They'll use 2013 to find out if  Lucas Duda ,  Kirk Nieuwenhuis  or  Collin Cowgill  can be part of the equation long-term, but it's more likely they're better fits as part-time players. The free-agent market will be deep in very good outfielders over the next two offseasons and the Mets will have the payroll space to afford at least two. Here (in alphabetical order) are some of the more productive options they might have:  Melky Cabrera  (after the 2014 season), Shin Soo-Choo (2013),  Coco Crisp  (2013 or 2014 if club option exercised),  Nelson Cruz  (2013),  Jacoby Ellsbury  (2013),  Brett Gardner  (2014),  Carlos Gomez  (2013),  Corey Hart (2013),  David Murphy  (2013),  Hunter Pence  (2013),  Colby Rasmus  (2014),  Chris Young (2013 or 2014 if club option exercised).

Trade bait: If Johan Santana can repeat his first half of 2012 -- 3.98 ERA with 65 K's in 63 1/3 innings -- he should have plenty of interest from contending teams around the 2013 trade deadline. If the Mets eat most or all of his remaining salary, they could end up with a decent prospect in return. Just don't expect another d'Arnaud or Zack Wheeler-caliber prospect. Then again, I wasn't expecting d'Arnaud for one season of  R.A. Dickey  or Wheeler for two months of Carlos Beltran .

Waiting in the wings: Only a handful of teams have two prospects in their farm system who are legitimate top-20 prospects. The Mets are one of those teams and it just so happens that their pair of top prospects, d'Arnaud and Wheeler, should be in the majors at some point in 2013. An impressive crop of pitching prospects, including Michael Fulmer, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and Domingo Tapia, could begin to arrive in 2015.  Jeurys Familia  and  Jenrry Mejia  might not have what it takes to remain starters, but both could end up being impact late-inning relievers.

Future regulars (ETA in parentheses): Travis d'Arnaud, C (2013); Michael Fulmer, RHP (2015); Noah Syndergaard, RHP (2015); Zack Wheeler, RHP (2013)


Last edited 1/15/2013 12:29 PM by nyjets2047

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Posted: 1/15/2013 12:27 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


Sorry guys, bear with me on the editing. Article didn't copy and paste over like I hoped.


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Posted: 1/15/2013 3:31 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


"First off, the contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana are officially off the books after the 2013 season -- aside from $8.5M in buyouts "

Ownership has already said that the buyouts count towards 2013, so if they make any claim about counting those against 2013, I'm pretty sure that is my last day following this team. I'm fine with them going frugal in hard times, but if they are going to start claiming the same major expenses multiple times, that is really my limit...
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Posted: 1/15/2013 3:37 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


The Free Agent OF targets he lists are horrendous....

Would like the Mets to start to focus on some high school power hitters early in the draft... who was the last one.. Lastings?

Last edited 1/15/2013 3:43 PM by BelieveInMetsMagic

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Posted: 1/15/2013 5:27 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


All I want to know is if they are going to be in a perpetual "cheap" mode on FA signings. I get the whole "build from within" concept but the chances of it working without being able (or willing) to go out and drop 50 million on a 4 year FA contract(s) is going to make the odds of perrennial playoff contention a pipe dream.

If you want a top notch free agent you are likely going to have to be high bidder unless you're Beltran and the Yankees. The Mets are going to have to outbid for key FA's. That is a fact in my mind.

Are they willing?

Last edited 1/15/2013 5:29 PM by EddyBarzoon

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Posted: 1/15/2013 5:36 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



erosen wrote: "First off, the contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana are officially off the books after the 2013 season -- aside from $8.5M in buyouts "

Ownership has already said that the buyouts count towards 2013, so if they make any claim about counting those against 2013, I'm pretty sure that is my last day following this team. I'm fine with them going frugal in hard times, but if they are going to start claiming the same major expenses multiple times, that is really my limit...
Prepare yourself for the worst.  I dont have teh time or the energy to look this stuff up, but they have been guilty of double dippinng with their obligations in the past.
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Posted: 1/16/2013 5:52 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



EddyBarzoon wrote: All I want to know is if they are going to be in a perpetual "cheap" mode on FA signings. I get the whole "build from within" concept but the chances of it working without being able (or willing) to go out and drop 50 million on a 4 year FA contract(s) is going to make the odds of perrennial playoff contention a pipe dream.

If you want a top notch free agent you are likely going to have to be high bidder unless you're Beltran and the Yankees. The Mets are going to have to outbid for key FA's. That is a fact in my mind.

Are they willing?
Agreed, at some point they will have to pay for a few good FAs. No farm system can fill every position, at least not with good players.
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:59 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


I don't think there's a single soul, including those with the Mets, who'd say they're looking to fill every single position from within, especially not with so much money off the books by next season.

That said, the time to splurge is once you're comfortable with the core you have in place. Hopefully this season Harvey, Wheeler, and TDA can cement their spots in that core, a few other guys in the minors can step up or keep performing the way they have been, and we can start saying that the "new core" is in place and ready to be augmented.

John Adams: At a stage in life when other men prosper, I'm reduced to living in Philadelphia!
Mike "Doc" Emrick: THEY SCORE! HENRIQUE!! IT'S OVER!!!

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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:33 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



BelieveInMetsMagic wrote: The Free Agent OF targets he lists are horrendous....

Would like the Mets to start to focus on some high school power hitters early in the draft... who was the last one.. Lastings?

I was just looking at mayo's top 50 draft prospects.  The college bats look deeply flawed to me.  It it loaded with HS catchers and LH HS pitchers.  A lot of good shortstops, but who knows where a SS ends up playing.  Gregg Jefferies was drafted as a SS.
Mets trade away reigning CY Young award winner.
Still have the best pitcher in Baseball.
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:54 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



BelieveInMetsMagic wrote: The Free Agent OF targets he lists are horrendous....

Would like the Mets to start to focus on some high school power hitters early in the draft... who was the last one.. Lastings?

I like the approach,  Draft HS Centerfielders with projecable bodies.  See if they grow into corner outfield type bats.  If he sticks in CF, all the better.
Mets trade away reigning CY Young award winner.
Still have the best pitcher in Baseball.
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:07 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



StelOgStem wrote: I don't think there's a single soul, including those with the Mets, who'd say they're looking to fill every single position from within, especially not with so much money off the books by next season.

That said, the time to splurge is once you're comfortable with the core you have in place. Hopefully this season Harvey, Wheeler, and TDA can cement their spots in that core, a few other guys in the minors can step up or keep performing the way they have been, and we can start saying that the "new core" is in place and ready to be augmented.
So you believe they will spend once those guys are in place, or will the "in place" always be a moving target? Not sure I believe there is any plan to spend money any time soon.
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:07 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



BelieveInMetsMagic wrote: The Free Agent OF targets he lists are horrendous....

Would like the Mets to start to focus on some high school power hitters early in the draft... who was the last one.. Lastings?

Nimmo?
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Posted: 1/16/2013 8:13 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



danfran wrote:
StelOgStem wrote: I don't think there's a single soul, including those with the Mets, who'd say they're looking to fill every single position from within, especially not with so much money off the books by next season.

That said, the time to splurge is once you're comfortable with the core you have in place. Hopefully this season Harvey, Wheeler, and TDA can cement their spots in that core, a few other guys in the minors can step up or keep performing the way they have been, and we can start saying that the "new core" is in place and ready to be augmented.
So you believe they will spend once those guys are in place, or will the "in place" always be a moving target? Not sure I believe there is any plan to spend money any time soon.
What is "any time soon"? When the payroll's down to $40 odd million because Johan and Bay are off the books, or are we assuming they won't even spend then?

The core being in place is pretty simple: you've built up enough ML caliber talent to fill multiple spots in your lineup, and don't need to make a plethora of moves to compensate for shortcomings. Right now, we still have doubts whether Murphy/Tejada are long term answers and we don't have an outfield to speak of, plus D'Arnaud hasn't come up yet, nor Wheeler, nor has Harvey made a dozen MLB starts yet, plus we're not exactly bursting with position player depth at the minor league level just now.

Don't get me wrong: I think that Harvey/Wheeler/TDA all project incredibly well, I think the young pitching we're developing will do a ton for us, and I have more faith in Murphy and Tejada than some other people do. I honestly don't think we're that terribly far off. But it also isn't my millions we're talking about here, potentially investing heavily in a few FA's when we don't even know if our new young core is really set yet.

There's no point in asking if it's a "moving target", considering we haven't even found the target yet to begin with. I'm fairly confident that we'll reach it this season, but why compromise your (shamefully) limited resources until you're sure you're there?

John Adams: At a stage in life when other men prosper, I'm reduced to living in Philadelphia!
Mike "Doc" Emrick: THEY SCORE! HENRIQUE!! IT'S OVER!!!

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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:21 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


Not spending on a big time FA this off-season (putting aside who the FA's were) has very lil' to do w/ not having the core yet, and everything to do w/ just not having the $. IMO, that's pretty clear.

Fortunately, the $ coming off after '13 is so gigantic (FF's $6.5M also comes off), that by freakin'  accident they should be able to sign 2-3 impact to good players. And unfortunately, the '14 FA class is pretty pedestrian as a whole.banghead

"Seen It All"

loyal_Jues (IG)

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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:24 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


This is why it make so much sense for me to go pluck Justin Upton from the dbacks right now....


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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:32 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



xmulderx wrote: This is why it make so much sense for me to go pluck Justin Upton from the dbacks right now....
I agree (taking into account the '14 FA class, and Upton's value possibly being at it's lowest). Hopefully SA can find a 3-way or something if we don't match up directly w/ the Snakes..

"Seen It All"

loyal_Jues (IG)

Last edited 1/16/2013 11:34 PM by Gstacks177

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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:55 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



Gstacks177 wrote:
xmulderx wrote: This is why it make so much sense for me to go pluck Justin Upton from the dbacks right now....
I agree (taking into account the '14 FA class, and Upton's value possibly being at it's lowest). Hopefully SA can find a 3-way or something if we don't match up directly w/ the Snakes..
  +1 it would be nice to see...


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Posted: 1/17/2013 9:30 AM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 



VAMetsFan wrote:
BelieveInMetsMagic wrote: The Free Agent OF targets he lists are horrendous....

Would like the Mets to start to focus on some high school power hitters early in the draft... who was the last one.. Lastings?

I like the approach,  Draft HS Centerfielders with projecable bodies.  See if they grow into corner outfield type bats.  If he sticks in CF, all the better.
Seems the Mets are on a "long, gangly white kid" kick when it comes to drafting position players in the first couple rounds... haha
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Posted: 1/17/2013 1:49 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


"Not spending on a big time FA this off-season (putting aside who the FA's were) has very lil' to do w/ not having the core yet, and everything to do w/ just not having the $. IMO, that's pretty clear."

That said-- if there was a core in place that had the Mets looking like an 84-88 win team, spending $40M to buy ~6-8 wins in 2013 might still make sense, even with the owners' money problems.

A couple teams' financial docs were leaked a like 3-4 years ago; they showed that the Angels made ~$2M for *each* LDS home game and $3M for each LCS home game [The Rays averaged about $2M per home play-off game in 2008].

Significantly increasing your chances of post-season play can be worth a lot of money. And I imagine that adding 6-8 wins to get into the low-to-mid 90s does a hell of a lot more for regular season revenue than adding 6-8 wins to get into the mid-to-high 70s.
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Posted: 1/17/2013 3:56 PM

RE: Martinez: Mets Window of Contention 


Yeah, I don't doubt for a moment that the Mets ridiculous financial restrictions stem from the Wilpons' ridiculous financial mishaps and misadventures, not as much from an altruistic "we're rebuilding, and that's that" mindset. 

But it doesn't change that the team's core isn't fully in place yet, and that it's just smart baseball sense to build that before augmenting it.

That said, yes, I'd love to have Justin Upton. Young, not too expensive, very high ceiling, he'd fit the bill for what this team needs going forward perfectly. He'd be a part of that core, not just a piece brought in to compliment it.

John Adams: At a stage in life when other men prosper, I'm reduced to living in Philadelphia!
Mike "Doc" Emrick: THEY SCORE! HENRIQUE!! IT'S OVER!!!

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