KICKING THE TIRES: Quick Thoughts on Aoki, Peralta, Braun, Cargo, Granderson, and the Pitchers We’d Be Willing to Flip




This is what I need you to do, Mike. Try to imagine that you are Sandy Alderson’s teenage son.


I’ve heard that is Sandy’s recurring nightmare.


Well, guess what? Good news! He’s going to buy a car for you, because you’ve been such a swell kid. Pretty exciting, isn’t it? Your first car!


Nothing like it.



First thing, calm the hell down.

Because . . . yeah, no, you are not walking into one of those fancy dealerships with sparkling espresso machines and new cars. No, he’s going to drag you 20 miles down a dirt road, past the empty warehouses and old shacks, until you come to Bud’s Used Car Jubilee!

Wait, strike that. I believe Sandy prefers the term, “Pre-Owned Vehicles.”


But you’re still a kid, Mike, and you’re hopeful. This is exciting. A car is a car, after all. You eagerly point out a red roadster. Sandy frowns. You see some other cars that look pretty good. Sandy shakes his head, no. He points to a jalopy in the far back corner.

“You’re not interested in any of the ones I like?” you ask, a little crestfallen.

“Oh, I’m interested,” he says, drifting away. “Very interested.”

You sulk a little, thinking to yourself, “Well, that’s a strange way to show it.” Maybe a groan of despair passes from your lips.

Sandy pauses for a minute, turns around, stares at you. He sighs and takes the long, slow walk over to the red roadster. He looks under the hood, sticks his head through a window, eyeballs the interior.

“Pretty sweet ride, huh?” you say, getting hopeful.

Sandy pulls back his leg like a long lever, and wham, kicks a rear tire.

He clucks his tongue, shakes his head mournfully.

“No good?” you say.

“Let’s keep looking,” he replies.

As you might have guessed, Mike, the above scene is a parable. There’s no teenage son. There are no cars. There’s only a market full of free agents and potential trading partners — and a bunch of fans who desperately want to see a good team in Flushing.

We are in the tire-kicking phase of the process. A lot of it will come to nothing. It’s important we don’t overreact.

Each day there’s news about the Mets being “interested” in Shoo, “interested” in Furcal. Showing “preliminary interest” in Curtis Granderson, but no word yet on Nelson Cruz. They “really like” Corey Hart and Jhonny Peralta. They are shopping Davis, Montero, d’Arnaud, Murphy, Duda.

The Mets are “interested” in everybody and nobody.

Best of all, miraculously, they are “adding: $30-40 million to payroll while actually lowering the budget.” Meet the new math!

So get used to it, folks. Don’t react to every nugget of dubious information. This is going to take some time.¬†Grab a Coke, pull up a milk crate. Because Sandy is patient as hell, that’s how he operates. He’s going to walk up and down this lot all day long, and he’s going to kick every tire in sight.


Plus, the Mets are not a team with one glaring hole to fill. As Jeff himself pointed out, there are very few players who are under contract and known solid performers. And we do not operate in a vacuum for players, the other major league teams are involved in the process. All of these factors indicate that fans need to let things play out.


Supposedly there’s interest in Ike Davis out there, which makes sense to me. He’ll go cheap and there’s real upside. Joel Sherman identified Norichika Aoki of the Brewers as a guy the Mets might be able to get. The poor man’s Choo. That do anything for you?

Aoki sort of looks like Choo. Maybe Sandy figures that Mets fans won't notice.

Aoki sort of looks like Choo. Maybe Sandy figures that Mets fans won’t notice the difference.


Aoki has very little power, and would most likely play a corner. He does have a very reasonable contract for 2014, acquiring Aoki to fill one spot on the field leaves budget to address other spots. For Ike? I would sure do it. Hey, I’m on record that I believe Davis needs a change of scenery to succeed. I’m also on record that I am never right about anything with Ike.


All the bloggers seem to like Peralta.

Here's Jhonny! A shortstop who can hit would lengthen the lineup. Combining OBP guys with Black Holes doesn't cut it.

Here’s Jhonny! A shortstop who can hit would lengthen the lineup. Combining OBP guys with Black Holes doesn’t cut it.


Add me to that list. If Tulowitzki is off the market I don’t see a better shortstop option for us. And we need a shortsop, no logjam there.


My dream is to one day field an all-PED team. That’s the beauty of PED players — their performance is enhanced! If I could sign up an all-HGH team, I’d do it. Just go after guys according to their hat size. If a player has been busted for trying to get better, I’m all in. That’s right, I’m not giving up on Ryan Braun. I’ll say this, if Braun is even a flicker of a possibility, the early stages would happen on the down low.


I agree a Braun deal somewhere is not out of the question. He has a ton of money still owed to him, that will be a bigger stumbling block for many GMs than anything else.


There are very few guys out there who could change perceptions in the fan base. And by that I mean, behavior. Going out to purchase tickets. Clearly Sandy will change the faces, but will he change the dynamic? A bat like Ryan Braun or Carlos Gonzalez would change the story, IMO.

Adding a real bat to the team would signal meaningful change, a new way of doing business.

Adding a real bat to the team would signal meaningful change, a new way of doing business.


A big move would help, but it will take a few years to get many of the fans back in the park. They spent three years driving them away, there is no one move that will totally flip the fan base. But yes, a marketable player would be huge for the franchise. For 2014 the marketing department has already lost Harvey, who was becoming a big star around here.

Overall, to sell tickets they need a combination of moves that creates hope that the team will win. It’s hard to sell a season that is designed as one big Arizona Fall League. This isn’t Boise, there are plenty of other things that people can do.


Any other tires you want to kick?


If we could get him for only two years I’m very warm to the idea of Curtis Granderson.


We’ve said it a hundred times. Can’t keep everybody. I would flip Gee or Niese in a heartbeat, btw. We are pitching-rich in the minors with guys who size up like that, future 3-4-5 guys. Sure, I’d like to keep the frontline starters, including Syndergaard and Montero. But, well, something’s got to give. Sometimes you’ve got to pay the piper. My preference would be to flip the established arms rather than the young guns, though all that depends on market value.

In terms of attractiveness on the marketplace, how would you rank Wheeler, Syndergaard, Gee, Niese, and Montero?


That would depend on who the partner is, are they in a rebuilding mode, or going for it? To keep it simple, if we are trading for a major league player, I’ll assume we found a partner who is regrouping. In that case:

  • Wheeler
  • Syndergaard
  • Niese
  • Montero
  • Gee


By the way, apropos of nothing, I stumbled upon this fantastic, one-minute video of the worst umpired game in playoff history. Eric Gregg, we’re looking at you in disbelief and disgust . . .

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  1. Eraff says:

    MLB’s new Television deal provides $25,000,000 per team in New Money. My guess is that at least half of that money will become increased player salaries…after all, the product provides for Ticket Sales and Local Broadcast Revenue.

    My anticipation is per-team salary increases of 15-25%…… the mets need to decide to play in that market.

    I, and others, moaned about the Mets sitting out the player acquisition Market last year. We felt that re-filling a roster needed to be a multi-year process. SUPPOSEDLY, they are now committed to doing that….and they are doing it in a year of very loose money for EVERY MLB team.

    The double talk…..the lack of specificity….. HOW MUCH MONEY WILL THEY SPEND ON NEW PLAYERS?…… can SOMEONE ask that question directly—make them answer…..or let them dodge it loudly.

    I am now sided with the concept of ADDING MAJOR LEAGUE BALLPLAYERS….. a star would be nice…and actual MLB’er as an everyday player at SS, LF….that would be a huge start. Sure, maybe find a Star….but field a Major League Team.

  2. Patrick Boegel says:

    That came that Eric Gregg called was the surefire catalyst for Questec.

  3. RAFF says:

    Depending on the degree to which one can gauge how Braun’s numbers are influenced by PED’s. his production versus his salary numbers is actually “attractive”– $16.2 Million average, with an option and Buyout at the end (16.7 guaranteed ” fully loaded” with buyout). I think his productivity is going to continue to be strong. So, assuming that the Brewers are willing to discuss moving him, my issue with this type of deal is that I think it takes the “likes” of Wheeler, TDA, AND an additional prospect (Flores, Puello, etc) to get a guy of his caliber (Braun, Cargo, Tulo, Stanton, etc). You can change the names of the prospects I’ve listed, but you get the concept, right? So, , this kind of deal really empties the cupboard. To those who are in favor of this type of approach – prospects for an existing “High-End-Guy” > In your opinion(s), am I overstating what this type of deal would require the Mets to surrender in prospects?

  4. RAFF says:

    I’d like to see the balls and strikes automated through technology, and I’d like to see a true “pitch-clock” put in place. If done properly, this would accomplish the dual tasks of “getting it right” and speeding up the game. The ball and strike automation would be fairly easy and seamless, and I think it would be readily embraced by the fans and the players. The pitch clock would require some degree of exploration and testing to determine if it could be done in a way that makes sense- but I really believe that MLB could develop a way of doing it WITHOUT causing unintended consequences of the need to “review” infractions- This could be handled by coming to an agreement on the specified time, and then just building in a “grace period” of several seconds. SO, if a pitcher exceed the time (including the “grace period), then the infraction call would be pretty cut and dy.

  5. IB says:

    I’m salivating at the idea of signing Granderson and Peralta. If D’arnaud lives up to the hype then suddenly you have a real lineup. Ya know, like a real ML team. But, I’m also concerned about the bench – EY is a nice piece but they lack ML depth after that.

    Cmon Sandy, do the right thing!

  6. Alan K. says:

    I think Peralta is a real possibility because he won’t cost a draft pick, likely won’t require more than three years, the Mets are down on Tejada and they realize they have to sign somebody if they hope to sell any tickets. Granderson may require four years and will cost a draft pick which may deter the Mets. I can see Peralta, a trade for Aoki and signing an innings eater type pitcher and the Mets going to war with that. The Mets know that they can’t stand pat but lack of financial resources and Alderson’s refusal to adapt to the market will serve to limit what the Mets will be able to accomplish.

    • I wonder: Would Peralta and Murphy have the least combined range of any MLB middle infield?

      • Michael Geus says:

        It wouldn’t be worse than Q and Murphy, and the offense would improve plenty.

        Other than Tulowitzki all the shortstop options have some flaws, but the good news is no matter what we do we should be able to upgrade.

  7. Patrick Boegel says:

    If Peralta is in a situation in which longer term deals evade him, I’d think the Mets can win out, if they have to bid to get him I worry about what four years of Johnny Peralta looks like post Biogenesis.

    That is my primary fear with all PED guys, is you just don’t know how much came from the bottle, pills, etc.

  8. RAFF says:

    Is anybody who is in favor of TRADING prospects and/or existing players for a BIG TIMER willing to take a position on WHAT you think it will take? I really want to hear your opinion on what we would need to give up to get: Tulo, Braun, Stanton, Carlo. I keep hearing THAT approach here, but I haven’t heard anyone who has listed their opinion of what an “exchange” would look like.. Don’t give me your “negotiating position”: I want to hear what you think YOUR DEAL is going to take

    • Michael Geus says:

      When we wrote about Tulowitzki I stated I would trade Syndergaard in that deal. Not that he alone would get the deal done. Based on Aldersons comments today it is moot, you cannot deal for these guys as they make more than $100 million in guaranteed money.

    • I don’t know what you expect from us. From the outset, we put Syndergaard at the center of any big trade. I won’t speak for Mike, but I’ve never gone for highly detailed fantasy trades, particularly when the Wilpon-Alderson Mets show no inclination to bring in that caliber of player. Right now, I’d bet the Cards will get TT, they have the players and the desire. And I’d also suggest that the Rockies won’t trade both Cargo and TT. I’ve never thought Stanton was a realistic guy for the Mets. For Braun, I’d offer Niese, Montero, Flores/Murphy, Davis and see how the conversation goes. But again, we’ve already discussed this on the blog.

      Personally, as I said before, I don’t at all get that Niese or Gee or untradeable guys.

  9. Alan K. says:

    To get any of those guys two of the big three-Wheeler, Syndergaard or d’Arnaud has to be in the deal. Maybe one of the three with lesser prospects may be enough for Braun. I don’t think it’s realistic to think that any trade of that magnitude will happen without those players having to be moved.

  10. Don P says:

    I, for one, would trade pitching prospects for the right stud. I would part with wheeler and syndergaard for Tulowitzki or Cargo. I think for Braun I would trade either wheeler or syndergaard with a grade “b” guy like montero. Two out of three pitching prospects flop anyway. If we come away with a known commodity, I will happily call the trade a success, even if the prospect becomes an all-star. We are trading for an all-star, we should expect to give one up.

  11. Eraff says:

    So, he’s not going to sign a $100 million dollar player…. is he going to commit to at least 2 “long term” players?….. 3-5 year deals to solid MLB’ers?

    They have tons of question marks and holes…. I’d like them the flat out answer 2-3 this off season…KNOWN quantities for ONE OF slot and SS would be a great start…throw in another OF’r/1B and you have the start of an interesting team.

    You need to like some Major League ballplayers AT MARKET VALUE if you intend to win. Over the past 3 years they either cannot or will not sign one!….not $100 Million dollar guys….NOT $50 million dollar guys. There’s a place for Rookies, Wanna be’s and has beens….NOT at every slot in the lineup!

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