The Mets have been active this winter, but have they improved their quality with quantity?

de aza parra span

BaronThe Mets agreed to sign free agent OF Alejandro De Aza to a one-year, $4.5 million contract on Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports, pending De Aza passing a physical.

The Mets had shown interest free agents Denard Span and Gerardo Parra throughout the off-season, but like many teams with Span, they have been concerned with his health after coming off major hip surgery in August.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, that along with Span’s, “sign-ability” led them to sign De Aza, who Jerry Crasnick of ESPN said the Mets were eying on Monday.

The concerns over Span are certainly justified. He is going to be 32, and the procedure he had can directly affect his greatest strength, which is his speed and mobility. He’s been an excellent player but this specific injury could compromise what would’ve made him valuable to the Mets.

That doesn’t mean the Mets shouldn’t have waited to see him workout, as Crasnick reported they would do in early January. And if healthy, he would’ve been the best of any of the available options not named Yoenis Cespedes, which also appears to be all but dead in the water.

As for Parra, Puma tweeted the Mets didn’t want to give him more than a one-year deal.

Like De Aza, Parra is not a natural fit in centerfield, having played the bulk of his career in both corner outfield spots. It’s also not clear he would really want to shift positions and be in a platoon at age 28. There are certainly more natural fits for him elsewhere on the market, and if he can get a 3-4 year deal with those teams, it seems logical for him to pursue those opportunities, which it would appear he will now do considering the Mets – for whatever reason – did not want to go beyond a one-year commitment.

But even if Parra isn’t the best fit for the role, he might be a better fit than De Aza. And if he continues to grow as a hitter (remember, he’s still only 28), he could easily have become the club’s everyday outfielder while providing Gold Glove caliber defense in the process.

Parra is a guy people in the organization have really liked over the last few years because of that immaculate defense. He had a surprisingly good year at the plate in 2015 which might have inflated his value to a degree, but he wasn’t in-line for a one-year deal even if he had hit to his career averages in 2015.

If the Mets only wanted Parra on a one-year deal this winter, it can be concluded he wasn’t particularly high on their list of targets to begin with.

From the very beginning of the off-season, the front office’s goal has been to create a deep, versatile, and dynamic offense which can help support their treasure chest of starting pitching. Production can certainly be defined in many different ways, and the Mets chose the route of trying to reduce their strikeout totals, get on-base more, and lengthen their lineup while deepening their bench to create a roster with 13-14 players who can start effectively on any given day.

The Mets are probably comparable to slightly upgraded on their middle infield with the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, if for no other reason that it turns a right-handed bat capable of 15-20 home runs into a super-utility role in Wilmer Flores, and can increase the production at second base in a platoon with Walker. Walker can be considered comparable to slightly better defensively than Daniel Murphy by virtue of the fact he is better at turning double plays and at least catches what he can get to. Cabrera is not a good defensive player, but he’s probably no worse than Flores or Tejada at shortstop and should at least be league-average offensively with a little bit of pop.

And certainly, there is no question the deal to acquire Walker was savvy in that it cut dead and expensive weight from the roster and filled a need at the same time at zero net cost.

But there is no question the Mets have cut a corner in center field with De Aza, if this is in fact their solution.

Yes, De Aza brings the element of speed to the top of the order, and his speed will be in play 70-80 percent of the time since they will face right-handed pitching on most nights. And he is still seemingly productive against right-handed pitching, which is something they were seeking. But De Aza strikes out a lot, doesn’t get on-base very much, and was in large measure a singles hitter in 2014 and 2015.

De Aza is not really a centerfielder at this point in his career, either. And who knows what kind of toll the position will take on him in his age-32 season.

Combining that with Cabrera’s below-average defense, and the Mets probably haven’t addressed their problems on defense overall, something which is vital to the success of their anchor, the pitching staff.

Just ask the Royals about that, as a clear-cut difference between the Mets and Royals in the World Series – along with the bullpen – was the quality of their defense.

Now, the Mets didn’t need to acquire a superstar at every open roster spot. Again, they needed to acquire solid stability and people who can be counted on to row their part of the boat.

Have the Mets done that to-date? Have they given their championship-caliber (and still very inexpensive, for now) starting rotation enough support to give them four runs per game, and prevent unnecessary runs from scoring?

While their roster may be deeper than it was on Opening Day in 2015 and they have in fact been very active this winter, have they improved their quality with the quantity?


It’s hard to see how they are better today than they were on November 1.

And in order to get back to and win the World Series, their roster needs to be better.

10 responses to “The Mets have been active this winter, but have they improved their quality with quantity?”

  1. This is a ridiculous wasteful move by an ownership whose only concern is saving money and fielding a team with the lowest payroll possible. deAza is in no way a CFer yet that’s the position they plan to force feed him and us.
    Chances are deAza was the only player they approached who would accept a one year deal and the only one who would play for less than $5 million per season.
    Mets ownership is a disgrace to the sport. A commissioner with any guts would be trying to run them out of the business.


  2. You spent a lot of wording on going around and ending up not saying anything specific. Yes they are not any better than on Nov. 1, and there really aren’t any superstar players on the team(ex pitchers), and where will they be next year – lets say July 31, my guess is they will be looking for another rental.
    Now another spin on how things have gone. Are they stockpiling players that have trade value? I don’t have any specifics in mind. What do others think?


  3. This is one huge FU to the fan base. The league should step in. Obviously the Wilsons can not competently run this franchise.


  4. This De Aza move is mind-boggling. Kind of reminds me of the Chris Young signing. All that maneuvering and signing for a mediocre team lacking depth once again. They have arguably the best pitching staff in the MLB and Harvey is only around for 2 more years. When will they make the investment in a guaranteed run producer? Are they betting that a healthy d’Arnaud and full-time Conforto will equal Cespedes. I can see why they might be hesitant about Span and the price-tag & years for Cespedes, but a 2-3 year deal for Parra with a option year shouldn’t be too hard to swallow. Are they thinking Nimmo will be ready by mid-year? I don’t see him being all that good in the majors. Even if they are waiting for July 31st again to make a move, they really took a hit on their minor-league pitching ands little-to-none in minors trading depth left overall so I don’t see that working. This strategy makes little sense with the brain-trust that Alderson has around him.


  5. I join the chorus who sigh and want to shout after seeing this signing, and view it as another indication of the problematic nature of Mets ownership and front office (Alderson is severely overrated). The current team is not better than the one at the end of 2015 and is probably not much better than the one that was 52-50 when Cespedes arrived. What makes the signing more confusing (and this would have been true for Spann as well) is that it makes NYM an overwhelming left hand hitting team with 4 lefties, 2 switch (but Walker is terrible against righties) and 2 righties – one who is prone to his body breaking down (will be lucky if get 125 games from Wright) and the other who at best (because of position he plays) will start 130 games and this doesn’t account for him being injury prone. For all the talk of the wonderfulness of platoon baseball, its value is at the start of the game, but it doesn’t sufficiently account for what takes place at critical moments in the middle of the game, where a mediocre Mets team is going to be hurt by a weak bench.


  6. Even though Al misspelled the Wilpons’ name, I think he summed up the Mets’ front office woes most succinctly! Their hands are tied because they have an ownership group that just crushed all of the positive momentum their postseason run generated for the fan base. But what’s a Mets fan to do? No petition will force the the owners to sell or get Manfred involved to force a sale. You have to believe there is a plan here, but it’s hard to see that after the de Arza signing. I think the Wilpons need to take our a full page ad and explain to Mets Nation why they’re doing this. Despite the flaws of Cespedes (and he does have flaws), he fills seats. Yes, he strikes out too much and has his mental gaffes, but the guy can carry a team. It is true our starting pitching will carry us if they stay healthy, and it is possible we’ll see another cycle of July trade deadline moves. However, this team still have a few fatal flaws: 1) no hitters that an opposing team truly fears; 2) weak defense up the middle, including a catcher that cannot consistently throw runners out; and 3) lack of team speed. Despite these flaws, the Mets can defend their pennant, but as Michael penned, is this roster really superior to the one it had on November 1st?


    1. (That was spell check. Happens when it sees “Wilpons”. Spell check doesn’t like the Wilpons either!)


  7. I think there is much merit in the previous note particularly the teams fatal flaws and more could be added, but Ido find problems with the often stated but not substantiated comment regarding YC’s flaws. On the one hand which player is flawless, but my main point here is the complaint about his Ks. YC was 32nd in MLB last year with names such as Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis, Kris Bryant, Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout ahead of him, as well such outfielders in NYM conversation over the last year as Justin Upton, Jay Bruce and Dexter Fowler. YC’s Ks per plate appearance is only slightly lower than Bryce Harper and Jay Votto. I will make no comment about comparison to such NYM lovables as Lucas Duda and the Grandyman.


  8. Looks like we all agree that the Mets ownership and maybe Front Office are flawed. Ownership history is horrible, and seems to never have recovered from the Madoff fiasco. What’s the scoop? Where are the Wilpons in all of this? We longggg suffering fans seem to agree that our suffering will only continue until the day that the Wilpons will find that a franchise worth over $1 billion is worth selling. We hope that day can’t come soon enough.


    1. On the other hand, the Dodgers were in a similar ownership situation, sold and their new owners seem to spend tons of money and still obtain players of little value. Both major market teams are being run by sabermetric, Moneyball types. Obviously it doesn’t work!


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