Let’s start off by saying that 2015 was a remarkable year for the Mets. After a 15-year absence, the Amazin’s were back in the fall classic. Not only that, but the future looks bright for the Mets. As we saw last season, the Mets have one of –if not the best– rotation in baseball, and they’re young… and cheap. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and the returning Zack Wheeler represents dominance, and the five of them are projected to make close to just $9 million COMBINED next season. Let’s not forget that the 32-year-old Zack Greinke just received close to $34 million a season with Arizona, and even Jeff Samardzija –who posted a 4.96 ERA in 2015– received a five-year, $90-million deal this winter. So, the Mets realize they are quite lucky to contain even better, younger starters at such a low cost. With the rotation set, one would think the Mets, a big-market team in New York, would be able to allocate lots of funds to their offense–which ranked last in the National League before the trade deadline last season–and their bullpen, which the world saw blow three World Series games in 2015. However, once again that seems not to be the case.
The Mets’ payroll currently stands at just $94.5 million, after the signings of Asdrubal Cabrera and Jerry Blevins, and the trade for Neil Walker. What’s worse is that the Mets’ offseason attitude is exactly like it has been in the past, acting like their hands are tied financially. Assistant GM John Ricco says the team can’t afford prized free-agent Yoenis Cespedes, and ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports the Mets are only looking for cheap, one-year contracts. This intensely baffles me for a team that is in absolute “win-now” mode. Don’t forget, this is a New York team, in one of the biggest markets in the world, and for a team that is ranked the seventh most valuable baseball team by Forbes, with a revenue of $263 million.
For a team that wants to win immediately, their payroll should be close to half of the revenue they’re reeling in, like the Dodgers or the Yankees, or the Red Sox, or Giants or Cubs or Nationals. The list goes on. Let’s not forget that owner Fred Wilpon–notoriously thrifty since the Bernie Madoff scandal–promised fans that he would spend the money once the fans showed up more, and the team was in a position to win. Well, the fans are certainly showing up, and the attendance is expected to be high again next season, the team is in win-now form, but the Wilpons aren’t spending, even after they gained a projected $45 to $60 million in revenue alone from the playoffs in 2015. It’s a series of lies and cheap motto that is similar to the hated Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. Why? Because the Mets do have the money. This isn’t Cleveland or Arizona–which just spent $206 million on Greinke I must add–this is the big apple. A place where as former Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan said, the payroll should be closest to the top in the league every season. But Mets’ fans aren’t even asking for that. They just want a big bat. The Mets need one.
Go Get Yo. Or Upton. Or Carlos Gonzalez.
After Michael Cuddyer suddenly retired, it clears about $10 million more in payroll. Now, as I’ve stated here, that shouldn’t matter for a New York winning team whose payroll is barely approaching $95 million right now. Not to mention, this team needs offense desperately. Everyone tends to forget that before the Mets acquired Cespedes at the trade deadline, their offense ranked last in the National League, and yet they were still just four games back in the East. After Cespedes was brought in, he propelled the team to a National League title immediately and aided the offense from last in the NL, but to the best offense in the MLB in the second half of the season. Cespedes helped the rest of the Mets’ lineup. Yes, Daniel Murphy was awesome in the playoffs, but it was because teams didn’t want to pitch to Cespedes that Murphy was getting great pitchers in front of him.
Lucas Duda went on a tear in August after Cespedes arrived, because he was finally getting good looks at the plate. The Mets have no power hitter right now, and it is projected Duda or Conforto could be their cleanup hitter right now. Really? A New York team that wants to win now is going to rely on a 22-year+old that could be a star, but still needs time to develop. They also can’t rely on 33-year-old David Wright, with back issues to play over 130 games, and can’t really count on catcher Travis d’Arnaud to stay healthy because he simply hasn’t so far in his career. It hasn’t and will not happen. Just a couple of injuries in June could put the Mets right back to where they were last season, with Eric Campbell and John Mayberry Jr. at the heart of the order against Clayton Kershaw. But that shouldn’t happen because the Mets need to sign Cespedes, if not another big, power hitter.
As I’ve mentioned, he transforms their lineup. And his defense? It’s well above average in left field, but where the Mets would want him–center field–he’s still pretty good. Up until the World Series Yoenis had done a fine job in center, and his arm is a cannon, dropping bombs on runners who try to test it. His offensive ability is without question, and in two years the Mets could move Cespedes back to right field or left when Curtis Granderson departs. Six years is a lot for Cespedes, I’ll admit, but I believe the Mets can get him on five. Offer him five years, $115 million, or even $125 million. I don’t think he passes. The long-term contracts are tough in the back years, but if he would help you win a World Series so it’s certainly worth it. The Yankees dished out massive contracts to C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira before 2009, and although they aren’t loving those deals right now, they helped them win a World Series, which makes it all worth it. Besides, five or six years to Cespedes is actually much less in length than those two got. Let’s not forget that the Mets offered 34-year-old Ben Zobrist a four-year contract that would’ve expired when Zobrist was on the brink of 40. Cespedes would be at most 34 at the end of his.
If not Cespedes, then sign Justin Upton. Upton is another outstanding power hitter, and he’s only 28. Granderson could play center field, and although it’s a slight downgrade defensively, Granderson’s right field defense isn’t that good either. He’s actually statistically better in center field. Besides, the value of Upton in the lineup would outweigh the slim defensive downgrade (if there is one). Or trade for Carlos Gonzalez, who has just two years left at just $17 million a year on his contract–a bargain for his caliber of talent. The Mets need someone. A big bat in the middle of the order.
But Cespedes is the perfect fit. His ability on the field is tremendous and would bolster this team. While his off-field presence in New York City would be huge. He’d put even more buts in the seats at Citi Field, and he’s the type of player you put on the front page of the program. And he plays center field.
The Mets and Cubs were in similar positions when they began rebuilding. The Cubs built with a plethora of young, talented hitters, while the Mets stocked up with pitchers. The difference? Now that they’re ready to win, the Cubs have spent the money to take them to the next level. Spending on Zobrist, Heyward, and John Lackey. The Mets? They haven’t spent at all. The whole key of an offseason is to get better. The Mets, by not resigning Cespedes would be getting much worse from the World Series. With teams like San Francisco, Washington, the Cubs, and others getting better in the National League, the Mets need to get better themselves, and they have plenty of money to do it.
It’s a deal that all Mets fans are screaming for: Go sign Yoenis Cespedes, Mets. It’s all the fans want for Christmas. There’s even a “#ResignCespedes” trend on Twitter. The Mets haven’t spent the money, and they have it. It’s time to spend, and it’s time to win. This isn’t Tampa Bay or Cleveland, it’s New York.
Bring Back Yo.