Some Mets Fans: “Launch Grandy/Bruce Into The Sun”

bruce-grandy-sun

The Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes a week ago, and it was glorious. It briefly felt like his signing would be the start of a special offseason where the team would look to bolster the entire roster before going to war in 2017 with the Cubs, Cardinals, Nationals, Dodgers, and Giants.

Fast forward a week later and the mainstream media is reporting that the Mets feel they’ve completed their heavy lifting this offseason. The plan going forward seems to be 1) sign any reliever willing to accept a one year deal (i.e. the Mets annual reliever dumpster dive-athon) and 2) Trade Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for a second “cost controlled” reliever.

That’s the plan?!? The team retained the two best hitters from their 87 win club and now we’re done? Oy vey. And what makes it worse is some fans are seemingly enthusiastic about the plan to trade Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson (less so for Grandy). Fans are ready to launch Bruce/Grandy and their combined 63 home runs from 2016 right into the sun. Fans are passionately debating which middle reliever they want in return. I’ve never seen a fan base so enthusiastic about a salary dump in all my life.

Curtis Granderson has done nothing but live up to his 4 year 60 million dollar contract during his time in Flushing. He’s played 150+ games and launched 20+ homers for three straight seasons. He’s served as an unwavering veteran presence on a roster that for the most part has lacked The Captain David Wright during that stretch. He was a major contributor during the run to the 2015 World Series and down the stretch last season.

That being said, if the Mets want to trade Curtis Granderson for a late inning cost controlled bullpen arm and then sign Dexter Fowler to play center field, I can get comfortable with that. But if the Mets are dumping Grandy to save 15 million and to ultimately platoon Michael Conforto/Juan Lagares in CF then to hell with that plan.

If the Mets want to dish Jay Bruce for a talented reliever, re-sign Jerry Blevins, and add a legitimate utility player for the bench, that works for me. It was reported today that the Mets want Brad Brach from the Orioles for Bruce. He’d be a great addition to the bullpen. But apparently the Orioles want the Mets to cover some of Bruce’s salary to consider that type of return.

If the Mets find a team to take on all of Bruce’s salary, I’d love to see the team reallocate that 13 million dollars on a free agent that fits better on this roster. But is that the plan? What about Luis Valbuena who can play all over the infield? Nope. Today Sandy said Wright is our third baseman (he failed to add “for 30 games at most”). What about Welington Castillo, Matt Wieters or some other upgrade at catcher? Nope. Apparently Travis d’Arnaud is our guy.

Also keep in mind, there’s absolutely nothing stopping the Mets from retaining their outfielders and bolstering their bullpen via free agency other than the organizations reluctance to give multi-year deals to relievers. The free agent reliever market is very deep this offseason. It’s not a great practice to sign relievers long-term. But will the franchise be ruined if Brad Ziegler or Jerry Blevins don’t work out on three year deals? Give me a break.

So should we prepare for the same roster cycle? The cycle where we assemble a roster, injuries cripple that roster, and then we make trades during the season to fill the holes but we don’t retain any of those players after the season. Hell, I could easily see the Mets needing offense come July 2017, and Jay Bruce being an option on the trading block. The old Kelly Johnson roster boomerang trick. Been there done that. Speaking of Kelly, where’s he at? I hear he wants to return but we have no interest. Back to Atlanta for Kelly. I hope he didn’t sell his house.

If the Mets dump Curtis Granderson (arguably their most reliable position player over the last three years) and Bartolo Colon (arguably their most reliable arm over the last three years) in the same offseason and replace them with two bleh relievers on one year deals, I’m going to be livid.

Let me add the standard stupid disclaimer language that Mets bloggers are supposed to add now that we signed Cespedes:

** Please note, I trust our renowned General Manager Sandy Alderson to make the best moves he can possibly make with the resources he is provided. Sandy is a genius. We’ve made the playoffs two years in a row. Thank you Sandy. We signed Cespedes. Thank you Sandy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be curling into a ball on the floor and muttering “In Sandy We Trust” over and over for the rest of the week until the Winter Meetings are over.

A Bruce Salary Dump Would Be Unacceptable

Jon Heyman recently reported that a rival executive thinks the Mets might consider trading Jay Bruce once they pick up his 13 million dollar contract option after the season. This news really isn’t all that shocking. Mets fans have been speculating for months that this might be a possibility depending on the outcome of the Yoenis Cespedes contract situation.

I want to make one thing clear though. A trade of Jay Bruce for a pitcher or position player that improves the major league roster is completely acceptable. A trade of Jay Bruce for a prospect that improves the overall depth in our farm system is also acceptable provided that the Mets make corresponding moves to enhance the quality of the major league roster in significant ways. But the Mets cannot trade Jay Bruce if they are purely being motivated by financial reasons and plan to just hand the job to Michael Conforto. I refuse to accept the narrative that many fans are citing which is “the Mets can use the Jay Bruce money to pay for Yoenis Cespedes”. The focus of the offseason should be on improving the overall roster relative to last season in an effort to win a championship. I realize every team has payroll limits, but I don’t want those limits to be the running theme that dominates the Mets offseason headlines. And so far, it has already been headline news in the form of the Yoenis Cespedes opt-out discussion and the Neil Walker qualifying offer debate.

The NLCS matchup should be an eye opener for the Mets. The Cubs and Dodgers have incredibly talented farm systems and had arguably the deepest preseason major league rosters. But it’s no coincidence that they were the highest spending teams in the NL at the end of the season. The Cubs “won” the 2015/16 offseason when they signed Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, and John Lackey and now they have a great chance to win the World Series. When the Cubs retained Dexter Fowler their organization didn’t worry about finding enough playing time for Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Jorge Soler. And the Mets shouldn’t worry either if they wind up retaining Bruce and Conforto.

The Dodgers brought in a plethora of starting pitchers (Scott Kazmir (3 years 48 million), Kenta Maeda (8 years 25 million), Brett Anderson (accepted 15.8 millon qualifying offer)) before the season started to replace Zack Greinke, and they certainly made use of their starting pitching depth over the course of the year. They re-signed second basemen Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley and turned the former into a utility player. Despite having the most regular season injuries in recorded baseball history, the Dodgers were able to survive, win the NL West, and make a deep playoff run because of their unrivaled depth.

Spending big money on payroll doesn’t always equate to success in baseball. But in 2016, the NL teams that flexed their financial muscle in the offseason and assembled deep rosters made it to the NLCS. That can’t be ignored.

Please don’t read this post and confuse me for a member of the Jay Bruce fan club. I don’t think Jay Bruce has to be on the 2017 team for the Mets to have success. And I certainly don’t want the Mets to spend money for the sake of spending money or to “make a splash”. But the days of the Mets making a purely financially motivated roster decision should be over. They appeared to be over last offseason when the Mets raised payroll and retained Cespedes. But the Mets must continue on that track if they want to win it all. Otherwise they will be at a real disadvantage when trying to overtake the Dodgers and Cubs going forward. Because those teams certainly aren’t going to stop spending like big market clubs any time soon.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on Mets Merized Online.