There was joy in Flushing when Sandy Alderson and the Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to reprise his role as “Mets Offense” for the 2017 season. Since the Cespedes announcement on November 30? Literally nothing but a bunch of minor-league free agent signings and invitations to spring training. We appreciate @MetsGM for his professionalism and perseverance; it’s hard to work for owners that hamstrung the team’s ability to compete according to its market size. But while Alderson’s brought the club to the brink of the World Series, Mets fans can be excused for a modicum of dissatisfaction with the offseason transaction report.
At the opposite end of the wheeling-and-dealing spectrum is former Met pitcher Jerry Dipoto. Dipoto’s made 35 trades since taking over as Mariners general manager just 15 months ago. By contrast, during that time Alderson’s acquired only five players (that is, not PTBNL or cash) in trades: Jon Niese for Neil Walker; Akeel Morris for Kelly Johnson; Antonio Bastardo for Jon Niese; Dilson Herrera for Jay Bruce; and Erik Manoah for Fernando Salas. There’s probably a happy medium between five deals and 35. We’re going to thread that needle. Here, in the baseball purgatory that is January, we speculate on the quality and quantity of trades Dipoto would make if given the keys to the Mets’ roster. — Scott D. Simon (@scottdsimon)
Dipoto Deals For Character
Mets acquire RHP Hunter Strickland and UT-S Jimmy Rollins from San Francisco Giants for OF-L Jay Bruce, UT-S Jose Reyes, RHP Rafael Montero and $5 million.
Mets acquire OF-R Andrew McCutchen and $5 million from Pittsburgh Pirates for OF-L Michael Conforto, RHP Jeurys Familia, and UT-R Gavin Cecchini.
The Giants need a left fielder. Their current depth chart at the position lists Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker and Gorkys Hernandez, who combine for a career WARP of 1.2. We know the Mets can’t move Jay Bruce at his $13 million salary for anything of value. Throwing in Sacks O’Cash and Jose Reyes, a potential +1 WARP switch-hitting utility guy making the league minimum, however, could bring back a short reliever with dominant stuff (if not results), and a much older utility guy on a minor-league invite. Especially if the Mets pay down a portion of Bruce’s salary. Montero might or might not ever become a big-leaguer, but it surely won’t happen in New York.
From all appearances, Michael Conforto has no place in New York either. Between the Mets re-signing Cespedes and picking up Bruce’s option, team brass has shown no desire to give their former first-round draft pick an unobstructed path to playing time. The Pirates have expressed ongoing interest in moving their franchise player. So why not flip Conforto, an All-Star capital-C Closer, and the Mets’ number-9 prospect (another former first-round pick) for a win-now outfielder whose declining range in the pasture is still probably better than that of Cespedes or erstwhile center fielder Curtis Granderson? Familia is by no means expendable, but with Strickland in the fold, his replacement is already in-house. Play with the cash coming back from Pittsburgh if you feel one side’s getting the better end of the bargain.
Do these deals make the Mets a better team? If we’re talking solely about on-field performance: Maybe! That’s the essence of a Dipoto trade diptych, after all. Indisputably, though, the deals make the Mets a better team to root for. There’s nothing like exchanging two accused domestic violence offenders for Roberto Clemente Award winners. Between Granderson, McCutchen and Rollins, the Mets would have the last three recipients of the honor given to the player who best represents the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Who says there’s no such thing as team chemistry? — Scott D. Simon (@scottdsimon)
Dipoto Chooses his Chasen
Mets acquire LHP Chasen Shreve from Yankees for RHP Chasen Bradford.
It was an opportunity that Jerry just couldn’t pass up. There are only three Chasens in MLB history and two of them played in New York, so relocation wouldn’t be a problem for the Yankee. The third Chasen had the boorish manners of a Yalie. No time for that.
Jerry had to make the move, even if it was just a reliever-for-reliever swap. How could he turn down this opportunity? The Mets hired him for a reason. He was Chasen history. — Andrew Mearns (@MearnsPSA)
Dipoto Nabs Nate
Mets acquire RHP Nate Jones from White Sox for RHP Jeurys Familia and OF-L Brandon Nimmo.
It would benefit the Mets to move on from Jeurys Familia, and not just because of the domestic abuse allegations. For a team on the Wild Card bubble, every win matters, and Familia is likely to miss dozens of games at the start of the season. And he’s expensive.
So let’s swap him out to the White Sox for their cheaper, older, slightly inferior reliever in Nate Jones. The Sox can afford to wait until Familia comes back, then flip him to a contender for a sizable prospect haul. As a reward, they get Brandon Nimmo, who actually ends up their Opening Day center fielder. –Bryan Grosnick (@bgrosnick)
Dipoto Unites with Yusmeiro and Signs Smith
Mets sign free agent RHPs Yusmeiro Petit and Joe Smith
One thing the New York Mets definitely know is that you can never have too many (relief) pitchers. Joe Smith is most remembered for his weird arm angle positioned somewhere between side-arm and submarine. The Mets traded him away back in 2008 for JJ Putz, who ended up being a putz (Yiddish for worthless person) during his one-year tenure as a member of the Mets. But Joe Smith went on to be successful with the Indians, Angels and Cubs, having pitched more than 70 games in five of the past six seasons. He would be able to eat some innings in case the Mets don’t want the young starting rotation going late into the game.
Yusmeiro Petit never actually pitched for the New York Mets but instead was traded as a prospect in the Carlos Delgado deal. He can serve as a long reliever or a spot-starter when the Mets want to give their starters an extra day of rest. Since being traded from the Mets he has played for the Marlins, Diamondbacks, Giants and Nationals as well as a short stint in the Mexican League. His career is most remembered for retiring 46 batters in a row in 2014. Mets fans are desperate for a move. While this wouldn’t fulfill desparate Jay Bruce trade fantasies, it would at least make Mets fans content knowing they have a few more relief options, especially when Familia starts the season suspended. — Seth Rubin (@sethrubin)
Dipoto Flips Franchises
Mets acquire Chain-L In-N-Out Burger from West Coast for Chain-R Shake Shack.
Last year Shake Shack moved out west, opening five Los Angeles area locations to complement their better known home in the northeast, including at Citi Field. We know Jerry Dipoto loves cross-country trades, and I don’t think he would stop with the players. Dipoto was a GM in Southern California for years, and SoCal hamburger eaters swear by In-N-Out. If Dipoto went east, he’d probably swap Citi Field’s Shake Shack for an In-N-Out because the family-owned business won’t expand to the East Coast by choice.
What better way to go down as the king of lateral moves than flipping one regional hamburger franchise for another? It won’t be long before fans start sharing In-N-Out’s secret menu on the train coming to and from the game! — Noah Grand (@noahgrand)
Dipoto Requires Respect
Mets acquire OF-L Colby Rasmus for OF-R Juan Lagares
Scrolling through baseball Twitter, Jerry Dipoto was appalled that he wasn’t the talk of the tweets. Instead, the confusing moves made by the Tampa Bay Rays drew the wonder and ire of commentators, and Jerry couldn’t stand for that. The Rays would not be the only team making ineffective, quasi-useless moves this offseason.
So he did what Dipoto does best: he traded inconsistent outfielder Juan Lagares for declining outfielder Colby Rasmus, a recent Rays pickup, and looked quite satisfied with himself. In his trading frenzy he was unaware that he allowed the Rays to once again make a befuddling move, and his pride was so great in this action that he sent a note to the Rays front office: I am the one who trades. — Brian Duricy (@briansusername_)
Dipoto Sends Himself
Mets acquire GM-R Jerry Dipoto from Mariners for future considerations.
Dipoto swayed softly in his ergonomic chair – the same model he had purchased for the entire front office. “Office comfort is the new market inefficiency,” he said at the time. He didn’t know if he still believed it. He didn’t know what he believed anymore.
The coffee on his desk had long since grown cold. He eyed the bourbon on his shelf for warmth instead. “No,” he decided after letting his eyes linger a moment longer. Last time he touched the stuff he woke up with a nine-figure bill for Josh Hamilton. He needed something, though. “Another speedy outfielder, of course. Probably a LOOGY or two, maybe a…” – his thoughts trailed off. It wouldn’t be enough. It never was. He needed more. Seattle wasn’t enough, he wanted to be a bigger star than a Beane or Epstein. He couldn’t do that in Seattle. “But where?” He did not know where the next thought came from – destiny, perhaps – but it was vivid. A third horse. A third amigo. Dipoto, Thor, and Yo. He thumbed down to “Alderson” in his phone… — Brock Chenier (@)
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports