QUICK TAKES: The 2012 MLB Winter Meetings

Jimmy:

* Adam Rubin reports that the order of the team priorities at this year’s Winter Meetings — besides an upper-floor room with a jacuzzi! — is outfield, then catcher, with bullpen taking a back seat (read: table scraps). I guess the sequence doesn’t really matter. But because catcher is the hardest position to fill with quality, I’d love to see Alderson surprise us by making a strong move to solidify the team at backstop. Here at “2 Guys,” we think relievers are like Chinese factory owners — they should come young and cheap — so we don’t really have a problem if nothing dramatic happens in that area this week. Actually, when it comes to the pen, we don’t think anything dramatic should happen.

Mike:

* The Nationals picked up exactly the type of outfielder we needed in Denard Span. He has some speed and is an above average player with a reasonable contract for the next two years. The price was Alex Meyer who just had a very nice season in High A ball. We have players in our system not named Harvey or Wheeler who compare favorably to Meyer. One that comes immediately to mind is Michael Fulmer. Everyone knows we have to address the outfield situation; right now Alderson faces a fork in the road. Trade a prospect for an established outfielder or trade an established player for a high end outfield prospect.  I keep thinking it will be the latter but perhaps we will all end up surprised.

Jimmy:

At first, I thought you were suggesting that a hypothetical trade of Fulmer for Span would have been a good deal, and that made me crumpy. I’m very high on hard-throwing, 19-year-old Fulmer, keeping in mind that TNSTAAPP (mandatory reading, btw, if you’ve never encountered the great Joe Sheehan’s short, classic 2003 piece on the subject of pitching prospects). However, Span to me is merely meh. No power, no great ability to get on base, nowhere to effectively bat him in the lineup, a neither/nor. However, you are correct, I do think Sandy is going to have to flip pitching — a prospect or an established Major Leaguer — in order to build a well-rounded, fully-functioning team.

Mike:

* As for trades of established players for high-level prospects, there are reports of Kansas City having discussions with Boston and Tampa Bay, the bait being Wil Myers. The targets would be Jon Lester from Boston or James Shields from Tampa Bay. Jon Niese has a much lower salary and is significantly younger than both of those pitchers. Given the market the Royals play in, Niese is a very attractive proposition. This is the move I am rooting for. I want the Mets to cash in Niese for offensive help. If Myers is ready right now, great, if not we also drop $5 million in 2013 payroll with a move like this. The payroll drop, if reinvested, could also help with the outfield.

Jimmy:

Yes, definitely. Touched upon this in the interview yesterday with Brian Joura of Mets360. One thing that I believe is going on is that Sandy knows exactly what it will take to close the Dickey deal. He can pull that trigger at any time. Meanwhile, he’s trying to reach clarity on the market value of Dickey and Niese. The offers he gets will determine which pitcher he keeps, which one gets swapped out. And I agree: The great thing about the Niese contract is that it brings even impoverished teams from Third World countries like Pittsburgh and Kansas City into play, greatly lengthening the list of potential suiters (and possibly creating a bidding war). Also, I think we can pair Wilmer Flores with a pitcher in any potential deal. I want to come back with a future star.

Mike:

* Word is that David Wright’s contract is structured as a “bell curve” with lower pay in the first few years and the last few years, including a new, lower amount for 2013. I’m sure that is the type of “clarity” Alderson was talking about when he was frustrating all of us who just wanted the Wright contract done.

Jimmy:

After an incredible rookie season, Soto has fallen off a cliff and can’t get up. Even so, he remains a tantalizing, low-cost, high-upside option.

* I actually think there could some money floating around, so there’s a chance of Alderson actually spending some of it. By the way, Chris McShane at the Amazin’ Avenue World Blogging Corporation has done a nice job identifying some non-tender targets at catcher. You know, this is my great dream for the Mets, that one day we come up with a legitimate backstop. Failing that, I think Geovany Soto or Jesus Flores are interesting, inexpensive, short-term options to pair with Josh Thole until that stud comes along.

* Bell curve fans, please note:

Readers, please don’t confuse Mike’s mention of the “Bell Curve” with the curves on actress Kristen Bell. That’s a different thing entirely. Carry on! — JP.

 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Alan K. says:

    I think Soto and Flores are interesting options. Not great by any means but better than the status quo. If the Mets areas high on Plawecki as they appear to be, they may not want to commit to a long term catcher option. I also believe that they will explore all of their Dickey/Niese trade options, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they kept both and signed someone like Ryan Ludwick. IMO, Alderson will likely do something this week, although it may not be a major move.

  2. Michael Geus says:

    Agree all the way on catcher. We can improve here easily since the bar is so low. The non-tender market has a few interesting guys.

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