Offseason In Review: New York Mets

The Mets rebuilt their bullpen and lost Jose Reyes this offseason, lowering payroll by a record $50MM in the process.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Matt Tuiasosopo, Miguel Batista, Rob Johnson, Chuck James, Lucas May, Garrett Olson, Adam Loewen.

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Draft Picks Gained or Lost

  • Obtained 71st overall selection from Marlins for Reyes. Also obtain supplementary first round pick, 35th overall. 

The Mets lost their franchise shortstop, lowered payroll by a record $50MM and watched as the Marlins and Nationals spent and traded aggressively. It wasn’t a fun offseason to be a Mets fan.

Despite the team’s interest in Jose Reyes, the free agent shortstop signed with Miami for $106MM. The Mets didn’t seem willing to guarantee the dynamic 28-year-old shortstop more than five years and $75-85MM, and Reyes said they never extended a formal offer.

GM Sandy Alderson is working with a payroll in the $90MM range, but with Johan Santana and Jason Bay combining to earn $40MM of that sum, he didn’t have much flexibility. To replace Reyes, the Mets will rely on Ruben Tejada and newcomer Ronny Cedeno. Though they offer a promising balance of upside and certainty on paper, the pair may cost the Mets three or four wins relative to Reyes, who's one of the best in the game.

The Mets did spend on their bullpen, signing a pair of free agents who spent the 2011 campaign in Toronto: Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Francisco had a respectable season, pitching especially well after the All-Star break, but it took $12MM to sign him. Given that relievers such as Chad Qualls, Todd Coffey, Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins and Kerry Wood signed for $3MM or less, $12MM seems like a lot for Francisco.

Still, Alderson’s decision to improve the bullpen makes sense, since it was a clear area of need entering the offseason. The Mets also obtained Ramon Ramirez from the Giants in the trade that sent non-tender candidate Angel Pagan to San Francisco for Andres Torres. Ramirez, who has put together four solid seasons in a row, will be a welcome addition to Terry Collins' bullpen. It's also possible that relievers such as Bobby Parnell and Manny Acosta will show progress, further improving the 'pen.

The change of scenery swap brings Torres, a 34-year-old journeyman to the Mets. His career batting line is inferior to Pagan's, but Torres costs $2.7MM in 2012 and is under team control through 2013, while Pagan will earn $4.85MM before hitting free agency this coming offseason. UZR suggests Torres is an excellent outfielder and defense was indeed a driving reason for the trade.

"More than anything, we're expecting solid center field defense from Torres," vice predident of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta told MLBTR. "Offensively, we'd anticipate something in between his 2011 and 2010 performances."

The Mets' signing of Chris Capuano worked out nicely in 2011, when the left-hander made 31 starts. The team didn’t make any such additions this offseason, though swingman Miguel Batista re-signed on a minor league deal. If Johan Santana’s shoulder limits him in a significant way — a real possibility given the nature of shoulder injuries and the trouble he encountered last summer — the Mets may explore the market for starting pitching. So far, they haven't been as eager to sign starting pitchers as they were a year ago.

"There were two main factors at play," DePodesta explained. "One, we felt strongly about Capuano a year ago and didn't have the same conviction about someone in this year's class. And two, we didn't have the same opportunity to sell this year. With Santana coming back, we had a full rotation, assuming health. Therefore, our situation wasn't as appealing to a Capuano-esque starter."

One of the most significant moves of the Mets' quiet offseason occurred when the club officially decided to moves the outfield fences in at Citi Field. The change ostensibly creates balance between offense and defense, but it could also increase fan interest and enhance the trade value of certain Mets position players.

If David Wright drew serious trade interest, we didn't hear about it at MLBTR. The currently sidelined third baseman could rebuild his trade value in his suddenly cozy home park if he stays healthy. A midseason deal is possible, but if the Mets wait until next winter, they'd be offering Wright for a full season instead of just the pennant race.

The Mets seem content to rely on catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas for the duration of the 2012 campaign. Veteran free agents including Ivan Rodriguez were available, but it makes sense for a developing team such as the Mets to see what their young, internal candidates can do before turning to the veteran stopgap types.

Optimistic Mets fans will look to the likes of Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey and Jenrry Mejia and hope for big seasons in 2012. There's also Zack Wheeler, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Brandon Nimmo and the promise of the 12th overall pick this June. Talent is on the way.

Yet the Mets' offseason was at best unspectacular and at worst demoralizing. Until the team's bad contracts officially expire and the multi-million dollar lawsuit against against owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon is settled, there's no indication that the Mets will stop operating like a small-market club. Sometimes it’s hard to believe they play in the biggest market in the U.S.

58 Responses to Offseason In Review: New York Mets Leave a Reply

  1. GW 3 years ago

    Terrible, just terrible.  Bunch of AAAA league players out there.

    • MetsMagic 3 years ago

      Aside from the catching situation, you can’t objectively call the starting position players on this team AAAA, even if they aren’t that good. Such a double standard on this site, people can make fun of guys like Torres because they play on a bad team, but people think players like Eduardo Nunez and Roger Bernadina have some sort of upside.

      • Havok9120 3 years ago

         Most people think Nunez’ upside is what he’s doing now unless he straightens out his defense. He’s a pretty good backup for the middle infield. He is NOT a 34 y/o centerfielder with a ? for a bat.

  2. JacobyWanKenobi 3 years ago

    This is why I don’t play Monopoly.

  3. LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

    This just in: The Mets are terrible

    • Nat fan? Haven’t you guys been terrible for your whole existence? 

      • LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

        You mean all 7 years the Nationals have been a team, only three of which Rizzo has been the G.M.?

        Enjoy looking up from the basement for the next 5+ years

        • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

          lol ahh yes, hows that crystal ball treatin you? swing and miss

          • LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

            The crystal ball that said the Nationals would finish in 3rd last year? Pretty well

          • It was not by much either.

          • LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

            If you think the Mets will finish anything other then last this year, you’re delusional

        • you forgot your years that you were the Crapos yep

        • Joe Valenti 3 years ago

          Thats right. I forgot the Nationals were an expansion team. I guess that thought that the team that played in Montreal was the same franchise was completely part of my imagination

          • LUWahooNatFan 3 years ago

            You would be right, minus that MLB pretty much stole the decent prospects the Expos/Nationals had prior going to D.C. and the fact they used to be owned by Minaya/Bowden until ST of ’09

      • Have the Expos/Nats ever done something worethwhile in the last 2 decades o wait no so lol. They will be good this year tough

  4. HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

    The upside for the Mets is that we do have some young and exciting talent on the roster already (davis, duda, niese, tejada, murph, etc) and young kids on the farm as was mentioned above.

    The downside is that we literally have NO depth, after our top flight guys there really isn’t much to look fwd to, and with our history of injuries thats not a good thing. It’ll take some time, but I feel good with this FO making the right baseball decisions moving fwd and hopefully whatever outcome of the Madoff case is, it means better things for the Mets moving fwd.

    • The problem with that core is that every NL East team has a better core. Davis, and potentially Niese, are blue chippers, although even with Niese, Atlanta and Washington have some better young pitching. But those other players you listed have flaws and do not contain the talent on teams around the NL East. Murphy can hit, but he doesn’t have a lot of power and can’t play a position, so that’s an issue. Duda looks like a 5th or 6th hitter at best, Tejada hasn’t shown he can hit enough, etc. So while yes, it’s a decent core, every team in the NL East has better young talent than the Mets.

      • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago


        I never made any mention of the competition in the NL East, nor made any comparisons to any other teams. Simply stated we have some talent but no depth. And look around, EVERY team in the NL East has questions or flaws (will phillies IF stay healthy this year? Will atlantas rookies hit the “sophmore slump” and can chipper stay on the field?, will the marlins gell with all the personalities on that team and remain healthy (josh johnson, reyes)?, will washingtons young kids put it all together this year? Will werth bounce back? How will Gio do out of the collesium?)

        Of course our young guys have flaws that veterans on the other teams don’t, we’re a young team. Its going to happen, but to discount them is short sighted. Duda is probably slated best in the 5 hole, you’re right, but to have Wright Davis and himself in the middle of the order should be pretty nice moving fwd

        • mikefichera 3 years ago

          Play the games, how many seasons did the Mets win the world series on paper in the last decade?…

      • Duda surprised last year and Davis is set to be a star.I wouldnt go throwing in the towel for the Mets yet

  5. GoFish 3 years ago

    They’re also still paying Bobby Bonilla.  Let’s not forget about that.

    • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

      I love when people bring this point up, its simple economics with this situation. Do some reading and educated yourself on how money tends to lose its value over time (inflation) and how putting aside money now, letting the interest grow, and then paying it out at a later time is the correct financial decision.

      • yclept 3 years ago

        Whether it was the correct decision or not, Omar’s post is still valid:  Bottom line is that they still are paying Bobby Bonilla and this is a franchise that cannot afford to be still paying Bobby Bonilla…no matter how wise it may have been 20 years ago.

        • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

          but thats just it, Omar’s post is NOT valid as Bobby’s contract has been paid for (most likely) a few times over now. They had YEARS to build interest on that amount and probably turned a profit on the money they invested to pay him.

          • MetsDriveMeCrazy 3 years ago

             Except they got those “returns” from Madoff money.

          • HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

            you’re right. Doubt you’ll see this happen again because of that fact.

      • SantanaClaus 3 years ago

        Only problem is the account they invested in was done with a Mr. Bernard Madoff… So yes they are paying Bonilla

  6. Mets fans do not go to a game this year.   Do not buy a hat.   A shirt… anything.   Its time to choke out the Wilpons.  

  7. Too bad Johan.  If only you would have stuck with the Twins and taken their reasonable offer.  You would have had a chance to pitch for a playoff caliper team up until last season.  Too bad man.  Grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the hill is it?

  8. Too many structural constraints on the Mets to expect them *not* to act ‘small-market’. In their current situation it’s the only way they *can* act, and the new front office is doing well IMO. Lots of talent on the way in the next 2-3 years. I don’t expect to see much more than a break-even season before then, but I am excited about seeing all the young players develop. And let’s not forget, we had three years as a really, really good team quite recently. Not every team can say that. It’s a bit of a desert at the moment but it won’t last too long.

    • Havok9120 3 years ago

       Uhhh. Bull on the small market thing. They’re a small market team when they bore every young New Yorker and Jerseyite into being a Yankee fan and chase the older fans into bitterness by following up 3 years of very good teams with several decline years and then resigning themselves to divisional impotence for a half decade beyond that. THAT’S when revenue shrinks to “small market” status.

      If half of what Reyes was saying about his contract situation is true, there was not a ton of reason to lose him, and none besides simply cutting payroll to the bone. That said, I know little about your farm. Maybe you’ve got some studs coming up but….yikes.

      I do like that your front office appears willing to come up with a plan and execute it though. I trust their knowledge far more than my opinions, and they moved very quickly toward doing what they thought was best.

    • Smallmarket teams don’t succeed look at the Rays,and Diamondbacks.

  9. FarmerErnie 3 years ago

    They’ll be better than people expect.

  10. Bernaldo 3 years ago

    Better than who? The Mets are still penciled in as the last place team in NL East behind Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Washington.  They are still a 70-74 win team so if the they get 75-76 wins, I guess they are “better” than people expect. 
    The Mets need a bunch of career years for their own players and for the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, and Nationals to all have lousy years.  Possible, but very, very unlikely.

    • they won 77 last year thank you.Honestly I think the Mets are better than the Marlins right now.Now even though I think Keith Law is drink some kool aid he put the Marlins farm system below the Phillies now thats bad.The Mets have 3 highly coveted prospects Harvey,Wheeler,and Familla.Also look for  Nimmo,Valdespin and Flores to start jumping on prospect radars this year.

    • they won 77 last year thank you.Honestly I think the Mets are better than the Marlins right now.Now even though I think Keith Law is drink some kool aid he put the Marlins farm system below the Phillies now thats bad.The Mets have 3 highly coveted prospects Harvey,Wheeler,and Familla.Also look for  Nimmo,Valdespin and Flores to start jumping on prospect radars this year.

  11. o enjoy the Phillies and Braves AAA lineup im sure they weill score a lot of runs.

  12. Joveoak 3 years ago

    A new hope, new owners will bring.  Dark ages, Mets fans must live through.

  13. GW 3 years ago

    Ya gotta believe… in Mr. Met.

    (I’m a Mets fan, also from Hoboken oddly enough)

    Hard to believe in the team though, as I feel we’re going backwards… its one thing to be rebuilding, but we’re disassembling.  

    Will have a few interesting guys to watch though, I like Ike!

  14. greggofboken 3 years ago

    I’d say their off-season just picked up a little bit.

    (Too funny.  Maybe we should form a jazz trio.  Who knew?)

  15. MetsMagic 3 years ago

    Disassembling? They lost one player this offseason. One. Besides that, they haven’t done much of consequence other than cross their fingers and hope Johan’s arm has enough sinew left in it to stay attached to his left side.

    Fans of big market teams, so to speak, get caught up in dollars and stars to the point where they can no longer think objectively.

  16. HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

    Heyo to the BroBoken

  17. Havok9120 3 years ago

     I agree. The Wilpons LIKE owning the club, and MLB franchises are pretty darn safe investments, even when you stink for years and years.

  18. Joveoak 3 years ago

    Usual in Spring Training, Pelfrey stinks a lot. Trading partners for Pelfrey, I fail to see. Team sold to others, it was not to be now.

  19. all hope is lost? talk about your Phaillies who are relying on tis year Chase Utley and Ryan Howard should put up some decent numbers right? o wait they are on the disabled list my bad. This is why I hate non Mets fans wwo don’t even boter to look at the stats judge te team because of their bad luck.
    A.Dickey 3.23 era 208 innings pitched, thats as good as Burehle or Gonzalez will put up right.
    B.Healthy Santana well is 150 innings pitched ill take it 13-7 3.23 era
    C.If Niese improves it can help too.I think he will go 13-7 with a era of about 3.80

    so no all hope is not lost.Better watch out we wouldnt want Hamels or Lee to trip over a nail.Btw im sending lee a walker

  20. GW 3 years ago

    Which bar are we gonna get together to watch our hapless Mets all year? lol

  21. HobokenMetsFan 3 years ago

    haha good question! I’m partial to Texas Arizona, but I think we’d be better off going some place where we wont get made fun of (as much….), maybe Sammies Roadhouse or Rogos or some other bar in the middle of town.

  22. greggofboken 3 years ago

    Maybe the back room of the Hudson County Pigeon Club on Observer Highway in the middle of the night?  We could have someone watch the door.  I know a guy who knows a guy.

  23. GW 3 years ago

    Done and done.

    Texas Arizona did a great job with that back room, hadn’t been there in awhile, looks good.  Though yeah, maybe too packed for us this year lol.

  24. The Phillies are lucky if they will get 2-3 runs a game who is hitting 4th in your lineup Mayberry jr or Thome with his walker.You guys PHAIL

  25. Breaking News:Utley is going to see a specialist for hi knee. Ok so how many walkers sould I send now?

  26. It was not dissasembling at the slightest sure we lost Reyes.But we gained a bullpen which I was glad about.Why? the Mets blew a combined total of 24 blown saves last year.77+24=101 yes while no team is perfect lets do a little mor math -8 blown saves and you get 93 hey we would have won the wild card. Grant it now we lost Reyes and as much as a major dissapointment that was we gained a very stable bullpen. a “ace” if he stays healthy and A potential all star 1b back so that will make up for the loss and more. I honestly think the Mets can win 92 games if they are healthy

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