What I do know is that I tired of Bauer's act long before he made his decision, and feel somewhat grateful that I don't have to pay too much attention to it anymore. If, on the other hand, you had really hoped for Bauer to land in New York, my condolences. Most of the chatter leading up to Bauer's decision seemed to point to the Mets signing the pitcher. It sucks to lose out on something you really wanted, particularly when your hopes were inflated. I won't be the one telling you how the Mets might have dodged a bullet, because that probably doesn't matter to you if you had your hopes set on Trevor Bauer. And, to be honest, those of us who didn't want his baggage on the Mets moved on already.
Some out there among Mets fans and even in the pundit class have dubbed the offseason of 2020-2021 a failure, primarily based on not signing one of the big three free agents — Bauer, George Springer and J.T. Realmuto. This rather conspicuously ignores the additions of Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann, Trevor May and some of the lesser pickups. The Mets are significantly better than they were heading into the offseason. The real question is whether they can move on from the Bauer melodrama and put the finishing touches onto this roster. If they fail to do that and are unable to compete for the division then this whole offseason really will be a failure. On the other hand, if they do finish off the roster strongly, they can compete against the Braves and have a chance of winning the NL East. Forgive me for restating the obvious, but the true test of "winning" the offseason is graded by the W's and L's tallied up when the games count.
If the Mets went into the season with their roster as currently constructed, the biggest concerns would seem to be their bench players. As it stands now, the Mets 40-man roster has 26 spots taken up by pitchers. Of the other 14 spots, depending on how it goes with the DH rule either 8 or 9 spots will be taken up by starters. Let's say there won't be a DH and assign 8 spots to James McCann, Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, Jeff McNeill, J.D. Davis, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto. Of the remaining 6 spots, 3 are backup catchers Tomas Nido, Ali Sánchez and Patrick Mazeika. That leaves 3 spots for backup infielders and outfielders. Luis Guillorme, José Martínez and Guillermo Heredia occupy those 3 slots currently. Guillorme will be a valuable contributor to this club. Martinez is most likely a RH pinch hitter, occasional outfielder and DH (provided that there is one). Heredia is a 30-year-old journeyman who has never hit at the major league level and is just an okay outfielder.
My first thought in looking at this is wondering when some of those fringe pitchers start to go. My second is, do the Mets really want to go into 2021 depending on Guillermo Heredia to be a key contributor? My third is that I doubt both Ali Sánchez and Patrick Mazeika survive the season on the 40-man, and the catching depth is still very shaky. Fourth, I assume the Mets will get a temporary spot on their 40-man by putting Noah Syndergaard on the 60-day Injured List to start the season. Even under the most optimistic scenarios he's not expected to pitch for them before June.
Okay, so here are a few thoughts:
- I'd like to see the Mets pursue Jackie Bradley Jr for CF. He'll be a huge upgrade defensively, and they could live with another LH bat. I wouldn't give him more than 3 years however, even if it might frustrate some of us to see another target sign elsewhere.
- Marwin González is a guy the Mets have been linked to, although it remains to be seen if that's because the club is really pursuing him or just because it seems to make so much sense with Kiké Hernández off the board. González is a major league bat who can play multiple positions. The Mets have a real need for that kind of player.
- There have been plenty of rumors of the Mets looking to deal one or more from the group of Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances and (possibly) Brad Brach to clear some salary. If they do this, I would like to see them go after one more established reliever. Seems unlikely that they'd be able to trade Familia or Betances without taking on someone else's bad contract, however, but you never know.
- The Mets should at least be talking to some of the upside starting pitching candidates. Right now it looks like David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi are the fourth and fifth starters. Why not try to lure a James Paxton or Taijuan Walker here? The benefit to them would be a great chance to earn a rotation spot out of spring training. If they get hurt, there's reinforcements coming.
- Trades are still a possibility, particularly if the Mets can pull it off without asking another team to take on a lot of money. I think they want to be careful about giving up too much in the way of prospects.
- I'm not a big advocate for signing Justin Turner. He's not likely to take a 1-year deal with the Mets, and signing him to a multi-year contract at this stage of his career would be as dumb as letting him go the first time around.
This is Statler..— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) February 1, 2021
He is a 33 year old bat and loves to go on his daily morning ‘flights’.. pic.twitter.com/FkTgJbkvWY