Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fixing The Mets in Six Steps

It’s been nearly three months since my last post, and for that, I apologize. I won’t start to make excuses. I could say my parenting duties have gotten in the way or this is a slow time of year in sports or that it’s an extremely busy time at work right now. I could, but I won’t.

The three months that passed saw my biggest fans/followers in Europe begging for more writing.  I had numerous hits from Latvia, Poland, and old favorite, Ukraine. Why? I have no idea, but they were arriving at the Banter in droves, especially on July 14th. A slow Bastille Day, I assume.

What I will do is continue writing about ways to fix my beloved Mets. Lord, and anyone else that follows, knows the current plan – if there is one – is simply not working fast enough.

The Mets are in the largest market in the world. Yes, their owners are in financial trouble, but if things were that bad, wouldn’t they sell the team at a time when sports teams are being sold for astronomical prices?

The Mets and their fans can look across the coast at the LA Clippers. Forever the bastard step brothers of the almighty Lakers, the Clips are now the talk of the town in California. I think the Mets can pull off something similar.  The Yankees are primed for a fall.  They are an aging team with a farm system bereft (God, I love that word) of high impact talent at the AA or AAA levels.

Land of Hope
Two years ago, I wrote an article on how the Mets could turn themselves into contenders by 2013.  Sandy Alderson actually listened to my first suggestion but not any more.  I stand by that article now more so than I did then.  Some of those moves were genius, and none was a poor decision looking back.

I wrote another article this offseason asking Sandy to make some moves which would have turned the franchise around. Did any happen? Of course not.  Would they have looked extremely smart seven month later? Absolutely.

Let me try my hand one more time on the hopes that Sandy has seen my work and realizes he should listen.

My philosophies are simple here:
   1- Go out and target minor league hitters that are positionally blocked. The lineup is brutal to watch.
   2- Trade your relievers. The single most fungible position in baseball is the relief pitcher.
   3- Tank 2013. Let’s go get ourselves a top 3 pick in this draft.


Now, how should this plan be executed?

1)    Trade RP Bobby Parnell, RP Josh Edgin, and OF Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox for OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. and INF Deven Marrero.

The Red Sox get two relievers under team control for a while to sure up their bullpen. Parnell could be the closer they have been looking for, and Edgin provides the lefty arm the Sox are lacking without Andrew Miller. Byrd can be a useful right handed bat off the bench.

The Mets get a top-100 prospect in Bradley that got off to an ice cold start this season, but who can cover a ton of ground in centerfield at spacious Citi Field and potentially bat leadoff in the future.  Marrero is blocked by Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, and Jose Iglesias. He is nothing more than a utility infielder in Boston. For the Mets though, he can be an adequate 8-hole hitting second baseman that gets on base at a more than passable clip while playing great defense or a useful utility guy if #5 on this list happens.

2)    Trade SP Rafael Montero and 2B Daniel Murphy to the Dodgers for OF Joc Pederson.

The Mets have a surplus of arms (at least as it compares to their bats). Montero can be replaced. The Dodgers exchange a guy who is, you guessed it, blocked, for the foreseeable future behind Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Matt Kemp (and possibly Andre Ethier if he sticks around) for a nice pitching prospect and a new starting second baseman. Pederson is on pace to go 25 HRs / 40 SBs in AA.  Yea, we’ll take it.

3)    Figure out a way to obtain SS Chris Owings from the Diamondbacks.
Owings replaces Justin Smoak as my new man crush

I watched Owings play in the Futures Game and was blown away. He’s got a hosepiece from short, showed great range, and he swings the stick. Love the guy. He’s blocked in the desert by Aaron Hill, Martin Prado, Matt Davidson (Futures Game MVP), and Didi Gregorius. Maybe John Buck is an attractive piece to Arizona as a right-handed platoon mate of the struggling Miguel Montero? Does Buck, Ruben Tejada, and a prospect for Owings?

4)    Shut down Matt Harvey.
Save the bullets plus tank for a better pick in the 2014 Draft. Keep enhancing the farm system. Carlos Rodon, Trea Turner, or Jacob Gatewood (who put on a show and a half at the HR Derby) would all do just fine.

5)    Sign 2B Robinson Cano in the offseason.

Game. Changer. Overpay if you need to, but make this happen. Johan Santana and Jason Bay come off the books in October (after they get bought out). The Mets have basically no one under contract next season besides Wright and Jon Niese. They can fit Cano and one other free agent easily into the budget, assuming the budget is in the $90-100m range which it sounds like it should be. Get better and hurt the cross-town Yanks. Win. Win.

6)    Sign OF Shin-Soo Choo in the offseason.

On base machine. Slots perfectly atop the lineup.

2014 Rotation

2014 Lineup
RF- Choo
CF- Bradley, Jr.
3B- Wright
2B- Cano
1B- Ike / Wilmer Flores
LF- Pederson
SS- Owings
C- d’Arnaud

This is an affordable, sustainable squad.

I would buy season tickets to watch this crew 90 times - including 9 home playoff games during their run to the World Series - in 2014.

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