Well, it wouldn’t be a Mets offseason if they weren’t trying to address their perpetual outfield problem with veteran stopgaps. At least it’s not Jeff Francoeur. That’s something at least. Were the Nationals unwilling to listen for offers on Tony Tarasco? Couldn’t they at least try to bring Lance Johnson out of retirement?
The best thing I can say about the signing of Michael Cuddyer is that it’s for two years. The money is certainly reasonable at 21 million over two years. Cuddyer and his agent Casey Close took the certainty of 21 million (split out with 8.5 million in 2015 and 12.5 in 2016) over 15.3 from Colorado this season and who knows in ’16, maybe a series of one-year deals if he gets hurt. With Cuddyer limited to just 49 games in 2014 due to various thigh and shoulder ailments, 21 million is a pretty good deal, especially considering the Mets will be surrendering their 1st round draft pick in the bargain. My big hope is that Cuddyer comes in and helps the Mets gets re-Metsmerized.
I understand Sandy Alderson’s reasoning. It makes sense, sort of. Matt Harvey returns next season, and this team is loaded with pitching. They won 79 games in ’14, but the team outplayed their record by a few games. With the hope that David Wright’s shoulder makes a full recovery and Curtis Granderson rebounds to have a reasonably productive season, the team figures it’s just a few pieces away from contending in the East. Maybe. I’m not so sure Lucas Duda’s breakout season is sustainable and will Juan Lagares hit that well again? Is his ceiling more around .260?
He’s so good defensively it doesn’t even matter.
The Mets outfield was fairly putrid offensively last season. They collectively ranked in the bottom half of the NL in nearly every counting statistic except stolen bases, and with the addition of Cuddyer just under half of those (Eric Young had 30 of the outfielders 73) will be replaced. Of course, Cuddyer’s 114 career OPS+ will also replace that .229/.299/.311 line Young threw up last season as well. Even a rather conservative line of .270/.330/.400 out of Cuddyer with about 10-12 home runs would dwarf Young’s production.
The Mets haven’t exactly hit their 1st round picks out of the park when it comes to positional players. Baseball Prospectus has Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith projected to be solid regulars, which is fine. All first round picks don’t turn into superstars, but you kind of hoped for something more from Nimmo since just behind him was drafted Jose Fernandez followed soon after by Sonny Gray and Kolten Wong. It also sort of hurts that the Mets could have had Joe Panik, my new fan crush player.
Even if you wanted to punt that pick, giving up the draft slot money is tough. They’re giving up the potential of finding a player that slips or overpaying in later rounds if they’re lucky enough to find someone in a freefall.
All in all, I don’t hate the deal. I think the Mets could have gone after Nick Markakis or bet on Colby Rasmus. Heck, why not kick the tires on Melky Cabrera? Cuddyer is a fine player, but I have to believe that Markakis could provide reasonable offensive production at a similar cost with the added bonus of defense.
Cheer up, Mets fans. It could have been for four years and 60 million.