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  1. #1
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    The Mets Are Not That Far Away

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index...that-far-away/
    This morning, the Mets re-signed David Wright to a seven year, $122 million contract extension that seems to be a good price for the team, and right about what we expected he would get if the two sides wanted to reach an agreement. Wright is probably going to be worth the contract on his own; the real argument has been about whether or not the Mets should be the one giving it to him.

    I touched on this briefly last week in my article about the perils of losing on purpose, but I donít think the Mets are the kind of team that need to be tearing down the talent in place and going for a youth movement. While the Mets have had four straight losing seasons, I just donít see a lot of evidence that the team canít win in the near future. When I look at this team and what they have in place, I just donít see a roster that is really all that far away from being a viable contender.

    To start, they havenít exactly been awful as of late. Theyíve won 230 games over the last three years, finishing in the 74-79 win range each year. Last year, they were outscored by 59 runs. The year before, they were outscored by 24 runs. The year before that, they outscored their opponents by four runs. This is just not a team that has been miserably bad. Theyíve wasted a lot of money, certainly, but theyíve been a slightly below average team, not a doormat.

    Even last year, they were just a little worse than average, and that was true pretty much across the board. Their non-pitchers posted a wRC+ of 98, ranking #16th in baseball in park adjusted offense. Their 107 ERA- shows that the run prevention was a little worse than average, but the pitching was actually okay (104 FIP-), and they were just let down by a poor defensive unit. Upgrading a teamís defense is one of the cheaper and easier things to do in a given winter. For the Mets, it simply starts by not using Lucas Duda in the outfield anymore.

    Simply reallocating the playing time that went to Duda and Jason Bay to one competent Major League outfielder could be a +3 or +4 win swing. Thatís not asking for the Mets to find a star Ė thatís just replacing a black hole with a guy who can run around the outfield and not embarrass himself at the plate too badly. Thatís finding next yearís Gregor Blanco. This doesnít require a huge investment or some long term prospect development. It just requires finding a slightly below average player who wants a shot at playing everyday.

    Thatís one of the encouraging things about this Mets roster. The problem isnít a lack of a championship core, but instead, the lack of reasonably acceptable role players and roster filler. Most teams donít have two guys as good as David Wright and R.A. Dickey, even with their expected regression in 2013. Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, and Johan Santana make for a pretty nifty #2-#4 in the rotation, and if Dillon Gee is healthy, he showed enough to be a pretty interesting #5 guy as well. Toss in the potential addition of Zack Wheeler, and the Mets have the makings of a well above average rotation.

    With three average-ish infielders around Wright, itís not like the position players are a total disaster either. The Mets have a pretty substantial holes at catcher and in the outfield, but again, upgrading on holes is a lot easier than trying to add wins over decent-but-unspectacular performers. Just getting a couple of extra league average performers in the outfield would go a long way towards making the Mets respectable once again.

    In looking at their overall roster, the Mets are probably still a 75 to 80 win team in terms of true talent level, but theyíre a 75 to 80 win team with some obvious places to make improvements. With a couple of solid outfielders and a warm body at catcher, theyíre an 80 to 85 win team. Maybe grabbing all three of those guys this winter is impractical, especially while they work to improve their bullpen at the same time. But, over the next 12 months, do we really think that the Mets canít grab a couple of decent role players?

    David Wright is going to be 30, not 40, next year. R.A Dickey is a knuckleballer, so his age is about as irrelevant as any pitcher in the game. These guys are not on the precipice of losing all of their value. They can regress and still be good enough to be the two best players on a winning team. The Mets just need to flank them with fewer embarrassments. And, thankfully, those are the easiest upgrades to make.

    Trade Duda to an AL team with a real outfielder to spare. Grab a couple of interesting guys who have been productive in limited roles and could use a full time job to show what they can do. Snag a couple of low cost relievers with some upside. There are five or six fairly easy wins to be added here, simply in replacing the dregs around the roster. And the Mets are five or six wins away from being on the fringes of the playoff race. Add in the huge swings in outcomes that canít really be predicted based on things like hitting with runners in scoring position or winning one run games, and the idea that the Mets are years away from even dreaming about a 90 win season just doesnít add up.

    Theyíre not the best team in the NL East, certainly. Theyíre probably not going to make the playoffs in 2013. But, given the wide variance around both player and team performance and the pieces they have in place after re-signing Wright, this team could easily be a player in 2014. And, by re-signing Wright, theyíve given themselves a chance to pull an Orioles/Aís upset and move the timetable forward if things break right.

    So, I say good for the Mets on not giving up on their short term future. They just arenít anywhere close to being bad enough to justify punting the next few years while they wait for the farm system to develop new stars to build around. They already have stars to build around. They can win with the ones they have now.
    I agree with Dave Cameron, the Mets are just a train ride away from me, ok make it 2 trains, but is still fairly close. Is not like they in another state.

  2. #2
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    ....but seriously I really do agree with Cameron, the Mets could get a couple of decent players and actually improve and have a chance to surprise because their pitching is good and have excellent depth as well.

    Their outfield was so bad last year, that getting a couple of 2 WAR type players would make a world of difference because Duda was just so horrible on defense and Bay was worthless that just about anybody would be an improvement. They need guys that can play at least average defense and can be average hitters.

    The infield is good imo as well, not great or spectacular, but solid.

    Then the other problem is the pen, but with arms like Mejia and Famlia as well as other guys that will be at AA and AAA that could be improved from within. I also think Burke would be a solid addition, but if the Rays are able to find pen guys of the scrap heap each year why can't the Mets?

  3. #3
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    "Mr. Martin Tanner, Baritone, of Dayton, Ohio made his Town Hall debut last night. He came well prepared, but unfortunately his presentation was not up to contemporary professional standards. His voice lacks the range of tonal color necessary to make it consistently interesting. Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order."

  4. #4
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    Yeah I have my temper my enthusiasm till we see who else we acquire this offseason if anyone.

    But this team could compete with an improved OF and bullpen.

    Saying that, I feel like we fall into this trap every offseason and going into spring training.

    Wont do that just yet.
    Last edited by metswon69; 11-30-2012 at 08:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    No one probably wants to hear this, but the Mets Gregor Blanco is Mike Baxter.

    Give Mike Baxter all the AB Duda would get, and we would see a nice improvement.

    Get Ludwick, and our OF would look decent.

    LF-Ludwick, CF-Nieuwenhuis, RF-Baxter is a decent one. Get a guy like Reed Johnson to platoon with Baxter, and maybe even bring back Torres for cheap to play with Kirk in CF.
    Last edited by YoungStuna; 11-30-2012 at 08:50 PM.

  6. #6
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    Double post.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fanofclendennon View Post
    More likeÖ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYM0j2NCB88

    But I've been told I'm old.

  8. #8
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    I to see the Mets can compete with the rotation being Dickey, Santana, Harvey, Niese and Gee. Now how much can we expect from Santana really? The greatest possiblity of the Mets competeing seriously is to come to the realization no one is untouchable besides Harvey and Wheeler. Now I would consider trading Niese and Gee and minor leager Cody Mazzoni all Pitcher to the Royals for Wil Myers and Alex Gordon, then turn and trade Dickey and Wilmer Flores and Jenry Miaji to the Bluejays for d'Arnaud and pitcher Deck McGuire. Remember you have to give up some thing to get something

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fanofclendennon View Post
    You never disappoint, FOC. Good work.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna28 View Post
    No one probably wants to hear this, but the Mets Gregor Blanco is Mike Baxter.

    Give Mike Baxter all the AB Duda would get, and we would see a nice improvement.

    Get Ludwick, and our OF would look decent.

    LF-Ludwick, CF-Nieuwenhuis, RF-Baxter is a decent one. Get a guy like Reed Johnson to platoon with Baxter, and maybe even bring back Torres for cheap to play with Kirk in CF.

    600 strikeouts in that outfield. Baxter is a 4th outfielder at best, kirk looked awful at the plate and ryan ludwick is an average/below average player who benifited from playing in a little leage field last year. Mets should be making moves that'll help them in the long term, ryan ludwick isnt that

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna28 View Post
    No one probably wants to hear this, but the Mets Gregor Blanco is Mike Baxter.

    Give Mike Baxter all the AB Duda would get, and we would see a nice improvement.

    Get Ludwick, and our OF would look decent.

    LF-Ludwick, CF-Nieuwenhuis, RF-Baxter is a decent one. Get a guy like Reed Johnson to platoon with Baxter, and maybe even bring back Torres for cheap to play with Kirk in CF.
    Decent AT BEST. As of now, Baxter and Kirk are 4th outfielders. While I do believe they could easily perform at an average rate, I just don't see them being successful over an entire year.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fifthangelkai View Post
    I to see the Mets can compete with the rotation being Dickey, Santana, Harvey, Niese and Gee. Now how much can we expect from Santana really? The greatest possiblity of the Mets competeing seriously is to come to the realization no one is untouchable besides Harvey and Wheeler. Now I would consider trading Niese and Gee and minor leager Cody Mazzoni all Pitcher to the Royals for Wil Myers and Alex Gordon, then turn and trade Dickey and Wilmer Flores and Jenry Miaji to the Bluejays for d'Arnaud and pitcher Deck McGuire. Remember you have to give up some thing to get something
    The Royals wouldn't make that deal.

    Dickey could be possible straight up for Myers but Niese would need to be packaged for Myers or Gordon.

    We wouldn't be able to acquire both.

    Welcome to the forum btw!!
    Last edited by metswon69; 11-30-2012 at 09:12 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebuilding View Post
    600 strikeouts in that outfield. Baxter is a 4th outfielder at best, kirk looked awful at the plate and ryan ludwick is an average/below average player who benifited from playing in a little leage field last year. Mets should be making moves that'll help them in the long term, ryan ludwick isnt that
    Why is Baxter a 4th OF at best? The championship Giants started Blanco in their OF, he's not a much better player than Baxter. He's better defensively, but not with the bat. Baxter knows how to get on base and he showed more pop than I thought. He's definitely a better overall option than Duda.

    Kirk was a rookie, and I'm sure he can make some adjustments in his sophomore campaign. If not, no big deal, give Matt den Dekker a shot. If both guys are flops, then go get a Gomez, Ellsbury, etc. in CF next year.

    Ludwick had a 133 wRC+ which is park adjusted, so that is extremely good, and offensive production we would sorely use. His wOBA was better on the road than at home. He'd be a perfect #5 hitter in our line-up.

    SS-Tejada
    RF-Baxter/R. Johnson
    3B-Wright
    1B-Davis
    LF-Ludwick
    2B-Murphy
    C-Maldonado/Thole(for Dickey)
    CF-Nieuwenhuis

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetsFanatic19 View Post
    Decent AT BEST. As of now, Baxter and Kirk are 4th outfielders. While I do believe they could easily perform at an average rate, I just don't see them being successful over an entire year.
    Baxter hit .263/.365/.413 with 1.2 WAR in 211 PA. That is nice production.

    Kirk definitely has more to prove, but I think he can be a .250/.330/.400 kind of player next year.

  15. #15
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    They aren't that far away, but they need to be looking at more than a "slightly below average player who wants a shot at playing everyday" for the outfield. With David Wright the only salary commitment for 2014 for more than the $5M they'll be paying Jonathan Niese, this team could easily afford to be in the bidding for the likes of Josh Hamilton.

    With a core of Wright, Davis, Hamilton, Dickey, Harvey, Niese, Santana, there's a real chance the supporting cast could come together enough to contend. Right now they're at least one really good player short.

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