Through much of the offseason thus far the bulk of the Mets rumored moves have been circulating around dealing Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson and looking to add some bullpen depth. When many look at the Mets roster, they see a team with a quantity of players to fill each position but what many don’t seem to notice is the quality, or should I say balance, isn’t there. This lineup desperately lacks speed, contact hitting and average.
Over the last couple years the Mets have needed late season surges to overcome early season struggles. This team has shown an inability to manufacture runs. In 2016 the Mets put up clutch numbers that ranked among the worst in the history of the game. The Mets lineup is extremely power heavy. Power heavy lineups are known for the ability to bust out and score 40 runs in a week, averaging 7 to 8 runs a game, only to go into an extended slump and an inability to muster more than 2 runs a game for an extended period. This is a problem the Mets need to address if they have any intention on catching the Nationals for the division in 2017. The question is, what can the Mets do to add the average, contact and speed this lineup do desperately needs?
Adam Eaton would have been a perfect addition to this Mets lineup. Unfortunately the Nationals addition of Eaton is not only a major addition to their lineup but a major loss to the Mets. Jarrod Dyson is rumored to be available and could be a solid addition to the lineup. On the other hand the Mets could very well have a similar player in Brandon Nimmo. Currently the outfield is overflowing in quantity and cleaning up that quantity seems to be the goal. However, upgrading is a must.
Curtis Granderson has had a solid career but will turn 36 in March. He was awful through most of 2016 only to put up an outstanding September. It may be time to seriously consider putting Granderson in a backup role, however at a price tag of $15 million in the final year of his contract a backup role is not going happen. Unless, the Mets get creative.
In April of 2005 the Red Sox and Tim Wakefield agreed to a one year extension that also contained a continuing yearly option at $4 million per year. It was basically a contract that would guarantee he would finish his career with the Red Sox. As long as he wanted to continue playing, the contract would allow him to do that. Each year when the option was picked up another option was automatically added. After the 2005 contract and 2006 extension ran out, they continued to pick up the option on a yearly basis until he decided to retire after the 2011 season. The Mets should strong consider approaching Granderson about a similar setup.
What the Mets could consider is guaranteeing Granderson a yearly player option (instead of the team option the Red Sox gave Wakefield) at $5 million per year. Also they should agree to defer $10 million of 2017’s $15 million salary to be paid in $5 million instalments in June of the following two years after he decides to retire. As the 4th outfielder he would still get considerable playing time and at $5 million would be making in the upper salary range for a backup player. The fact is Granderson is one of the sports most recognized leaders, both on and off the field. Losing his leadership would be a huge loss. By trading Bruce and converting Granderson to a backup role the Mets can look to start Comforto in RF and either give Nimmo the CF starting job or go out and acquire a speedy CF who can get on base at a high percentage.