Yoenis Cespedes is apparently trying to make press conferences an annual occurrence.
Today, the Mets hosted the second annual Cespedes introduction, which seemed so familiar, Sandy Alderson joked about it being like a marriage, when the legal separation goes well.
But the general manager also said, “The Mets for the last two years have been about winning.” With a World Series appearance and going to the playoffs two years in a row, it’s hard to argue with that assessment.
And today, signing Cespedes proved that statement,
This was, though, the easy part of the off-season. Cespedes wanted to be here and all the Mets had to do is produce a competitive contract.
It’s what happens next which will dictate if this winter is a success and even though Alderson has “clarity” going into the Winter Meetings next week, there’s still room to upgrade.
With now a surplus of outfielders, Alderson will look to trade either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson to help upgrade the bullpen or another position. The Toronto Blue Jays seem to be interested, especially if Edwin Encarnacion signs elsewhere. Right now, the Astros are reportedly in the lead for the slugger, so there may be a fit.
Now, Alderson will not give an outfielder away and they are not really interested in prospects, since the goal is to win in 2017.
But they have a catcher in Russell Martin, who can be had.
As much as the bullpen, which needs another big-time arm, upgrading catcher is a must. The club hired Glenn Sherlock to be the catching coach and hopefully put Travis d’Arnaud back on track.
But he’s not a miracle worker and it’s not an elementary solution because like Noah Syndergaard lost faith with d’Arnaud behind the plate and demanded Rene Rivera catch him for his starts the second half of last season.
And with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz coming back from injury, do the Mets want to take a risk with a below average catcher?
Martin would be a perfect fit, because he would work well with starters. He has been in the league a long time and knows the league.
The problem, though, is that Martin is going to be 34 and is owed $60 million through 2019.
That contact is a killer, but it’s also means he’s could be available. In any trade, the Blue Jays must send money back to the Mets to offset some of $20 million a year he will be making the next three seasons.
And his offense has taken a step back. In Martin’s last season in Pittsburgh, he had a WAR of 5.5 and last season it fell to 1.7. But he still has power and can drive in runs, with 20 homers and 74 RBI last season, which will make him an upgrade over d’Arnaud.
Plus because he played for the Yankees, you know he can play in New York.
But remember, Martin will be 36 when his contract ends. .
If the Mets are about winning right now, it’s a risk you may need to take.
With Cespedes and Neil Walker back and either Granderson or Bruce in the lineup, the Mets should have enough offense. But it would be a sin to have a less than adequate defensive catcher behind the plate, with a high end pitching staff coming back from injuries.
So, unless you believe Sherlock is some sort of catching whisperer and d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki will become Jerry Grote and Gary Carter overnight, Alderson owes it to the team to see if he can upgrade behind the plate.
Buster Posey and Yadier Molina aren’t available, but Martin may be, so make it happen Sandy.