Edwin Diaz

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Brown: Who Stays, Who Goes For Mets This Offseason?

Jake Brown
October 09, 2019 - 2:40 pm
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Should they stay or should they go? 

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The Mets began their offseason in the right direction. Next up, it’s giving Joe Girardi what he wants to make him the next manager. 

After they hire a manager, it’s time to figure out their plan for the roster. Let’s take a look at each player and see who the Mets should be keeping and who they should either let go in free agency or explore trading. 

OFFENSE:

Catchers

Tomas Nido - GOES 

Nido was solid defensively, but the Mets have to get some kind of production at the plate from their backup catcher. They have been the kings of having atrocious hitting backups, but they need to change that and get some depth at the position. 

STAYS: 

Wilson Ramos was really good at the plate in his first year with the Mets. While he struggled defensively, the Mets haven’t had as good of a bat behind the dish as Ramos in a while. It makes sense to keep him with one year left on his contract. 

Infield: 

Dominic Smith - GOES 

Here’s where things get interesting. I love Dom Smith. He’s a terrific clubhouse guy. He finally showed something at the plate before getting hurt and he came up one final time to end the year with a bang. The problem is there is nowhere to put him. He looked lost in left field, and even with work in the offseason, he’s a first baseman. Smith should have value and the Mets should try and deal him to either an AL team to be a DH or a team looking for a first baseman. They should try and get pitching help or at least a few prospects close to the big leagues. 

Todd Frazier - GOES 

There’s not much to break down about this. Frazier had his moments, but overall was a disappointment in his two years with the Mets. There’s no spot for him next year with the options that they already have at third base. 

STAYS: 

There’s not much you can do with Jed Lowrie. He’s under contract for another year and unless you’re just going to eat the money, he’s got to be an option at third base in 2020. You’re paying him $10 million, so if he’s healthy and productive, he’s going to play at least in a part-time role. 

Robinson Cano is also staying. Nobody is taking his contract. After a slow start and numerous injuries, Cano was solid at the plate at times, and he’s going to be the second baseman most days next year. 

Outfield:

Juan Lagares - GOES 

Lagares has a 2020 option for $9.5 million with a $500,000 buyout. The Mets would be fools if they chose to not buy him out. I also would not expect them to consider bringing him back for cheaper. Lagares had a few good years, but his tenure will mostly be remembered for injuries and his struggles at the plate. His defense is also just not the same as when he won a Gold Glove Award in 2014. The Mets will need to find a defensive center fielder this winter. 

STAYS: 

J.D. Davis needs to stay. I know a lot of people have talked about shopping him now while his value is high, but the Mets just need to get him better defensively in the outfield and at third base. Davis’ bat is just too good for the Mets to deal him. If he can improve in left field and a bit at third base in the offseason, it’s a no brainer to keep him and use him at both spots and off the bench. 

Michael Conforto has to stay. Conforto has improved every season and had a career-high 33 home runs and 92 RBIs this year. He needs to be the everyday right fielder for years to come. 

The big question is Brandon Nimmo. He’s slotted right now as their center fielder in 2020. I think Nimmo deserves a chance. He showed when he came back how much he can ignite them with his ability to get on base and score runs. He’s a great clubhouse guy and plays his heart out. It’s a bit too early to trade Nimmo and his value isn’t incredibly high right now to even get a ton in return. 

Starting Pitching: 

Noah Syndergaard - GOES

After all the drama that Syndergaard caused with him trying to have a personal catcher, it’s got to be a bit too much. For a guy that just hasn’t proven enough, he’s been a diva. Syndergaard was incredibly inconsistent in 2019 and had starts where he looked flat out awful. While the stuff is there and he isn’t costing the Mets a ton, the Mets should explore a trade. If they aren’t getting enough back in return, you keep him, but the right offer should push them to deal him. Sure, he will likely go elsewhere and win a Cy Young because it’s the Mets, but he isn’t an untouchable piece anymore for this team. 

Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler
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Zack Wheeler - GOES 

The Mets have the option to give Zack Wheeler a qualifying offer of $17.9 million, which is a lot for a guy that would be their fourth starter. Maybe you offer it to him, because if he turns it down, you get a draft pick. I would not touch a long-term deal for Wheeler. Even $17.9 million for a year is a bit too steep. While Wheeler was terrific at times this year, he’s still shown inconsistency throughout his career. He’s a good back-end starter, but he isn’t a must-have piece for the Mets to have success in 2020 and beyond. 

STAYS:
Jacob deGrom, obviously. That does not even need to be stated. 

Marcus Stroman was a bit inconsistent in the two months with the Mets, but a fresh season with a new club should help. Stroman has a year left on his contract and will be a key piece for the 2020 Mets. There’s no reason to give him any kind of extension right now, but they should be satisfied with the fact that he will be right next to deGrom atop their starting rotation next year. 

Steven Matz has stayed healthy the past two seasons. That’s been the key for him after dealing with an abundance of injuries prior to that. He’s a serviceable back-end starter and a lefty that the Mets need. He also has two years left of control and won’t cost the Mets more than $5 million. 

Obviously, the Mets need to get rotation help in the offseason if they do indeed let Syndergaard and/or Wheeler go. We’ll address that down the road. 

BULLPEN: 

Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, Paul Sewald, Daniel Zamora, Walter Lockett - GOES 

All these guys can’t be in Queens when the season begins. All of them probably won’t be gone, but they can’t be part of the big-league bullpen. They all just were not good. None of them can be trusted in pressure situations and right now have all looked like pitchers to use in mop-up duty, which the Mets don’t need right now. 

Edwin Diaz - GOES 

I know he’s cheap and he probably can’t be any worse than last season, but how do you figure the Mets can trot Diaz out there next year and he’s great again? He got absolutely shelled from late May to September. If you keep him, it can’t be in pressure spots, because he folded.

The Mets should be exploring trades for Diaz and see if they can get pitching help and try and re-stock what is now a depleted farm system. Brodie Van Wagenen may have to take a hit on his ego, but sometimes you just need to accept your losses and move on. There is no way you can say Diaz is your closer or even setup man next season. 

Edwin Diaz
Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Images

STAYS: 

Sadly, Jeurys Familia has to stay because you’re paying him. There were times he wasn’t bad, but for the most part, he also struggled mightily this season. There’s nothing you can really do with him at this point. No team would trade for his remaining two years, $22 million on his deal. Familia is just going to have to put the work in this offseason to return to old form. 

When Justin Wilson was healthy, he was great. He struggled a bit in September, but for the most party the lefty was reliable this season. He has another year on his contract. 

The Mets would be foolish to trade Seth Lugo, despite his trade stock being at an all-time high. They should make Lugo their closer at this point, unless they go out and get one. If they get a great closer, you consider putting Lugo in the rotation. He was so reliable this season that it makes perfect sense to lock him in as your closer. The issue would be that there may be times you can’t go to him back-to-back days, especially if you use him for potentially two innings. 

Van Wagenen and the front office have a lot of important decisions to make to this roster that will decide if this team is ready to be a major contender in 2020. They were a few games away in 2019. A new manager, revamped bullpen and a few trades could be what puts them over the top next season. The hot stove is quickly approaching.

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