Mets free agent priority – a solid everyday first baseman with “Presence”

The New York Mets need run production and power from their corner infield positions. The free agent 2018 crop of first basemen is worth taking a look at. Here’s a run-down of the players the organization can choose from along with their expected salary requirements, always a consideration when the Wilpon Brothers are involved.

The Mets salary dump in mid-season included sending Lucas Duda to the Tampa Bay Rays for starting pitcher, Drew Smith, who was not on the Rays radar before the trade. Duda, when healthy, filled a power void the Mets desperately needed in their lineup.

The response of the organization to fill that void was to promote Dominic Smith, who hit .198 in just less than 200 at-bats with the Mets. His nine home runs projects to about 25 over a full season, which if that’s all you’re for, is the apple tempting the Mets to stand pat during the offseason, not to mention the fact Smith will be making the major league minimum salary.

With the departure of Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers during the same salary purge, the Mets lost the only legitimate clubhouse leader on their team, save for David Wright who is absent as much as he is present. And with this now, maybe you can see where I am going to the track the Mets should be taking this offseason. The need for leadership from the position players on the field. Or, another way of saying it is they need players with those “intangibles” that can mean so much on a winning team.

Michael Conforto could be that guy, but not right now as he is still developing himself into a major league All-Star, year to year. Yeonis Cespedes leads only with his bat, and most everything else that comes with the baggage he carries is a detriment to the team. No intangibles there. Ahamed Rosario, maybe, but again we’ll have to wait and see. And David Wright, as much as it hurts to say it, is so far removed from this team and a yesterday guy, he can at best be given an “honorable mention.”

The Mets could (should)…………….

Eris Hosmer is available as a free agent talent for the 2018 season. He’s characterized as follows in this recent Mets blog website:

Coming off his best ever season at age 28—a 4.1 fWAR year buoyed by a .351 BABIP—Hosmer and agent Scott Boras will be looking for a long contract worth more than $20 million per year, something that really doesn’t make sense for a player who has averaged less than two fWAR per season over the last four years.Amazin Avenue

Not necessarily a ringing endorsement, huh? But here’s where it gets interesting because what is not factored into those raw stats, or any other stats someone wants to throw out there, is that Hosmer is a winner both on and off the field. He won a World Championship with the Royals which, ironically came against the Mets in 2015, and he has endeared himself to Kansas City along the way.

Preparation, the bane of some major league ballplayers over the course of a six-month 162 game season comes naturally to Hosmer as seen in this video.

Hosmer is only a piece of the puzzle. And as such, he’s should be counted as one of the building blocks the Mets should be focusing on as they move forward and away from the ho-hum approach the team seems to exhibit when it comes to putting the quality team New York fans have come to expect on the field.

Is he going to eclipse Smith’s 25-30 home runs? Probably, but he’ll undoubtedly hit for a higher average than Smith and account for more run production overall, and more importantly, he’ll be a presence on the field in much the same way Mets fans looked at Wright before injuries dissembled his career. More than anything, the Mets need that.

But, oh my. There’s that $20 million per season price tag attached to his name. And he has Scott Boras as an agent, and as everyone knows, Boras never loses for his players.

And the reason he never loses is that Scott Boras knows the players he represents. Eric Hosmer is not Aaron Judge, and he is not Keith Hernandez regarding numbers each puts up on the board. What he is though is one of the few players who can be sold as someone with those “intangibles” managers, but not necessarily general managers, look for when signing big checks for a ballplayer.

We started this series not too long idea with the idea that a new manager will help, but the team needs new and better players. And now the time of reckoning has come for the Mets. Each day, new names will be added to the list of 2018 free agents. And since the Mets have hardly anyone to offer in a trade, unless they go for a big score with Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard as bait, the team is left with cherry-picking this year’s free agent crop.

Mets History: Parting With A Dollar

The proverbial US Dollar is on the line, and that’s been the bugaboo for the team in recent years. To be fair, the team has almost $5 million tied up in deferred salaries which were inherited by Sandy Alderson and the Wilpons. Carlos Beltran is due $3.1 million, Bobby Bonilla gets his $1.2 million until we’re all dead, and even Bret Saberhagen collects $250,000 spending money every year until 2028, even though the last time he appeared in a Mets uniform was in 1995. So, there have been egregious mistakes in the past. But that was then; this is now.

And Mets fans don’t care about any of that. They had no part of it.

Are the Mets all in for 2018? Or, will they write the name Dominic Smith into the lineup 140 times this season hyping him as the “future”? When the question is the future of what. And besides, if the Mets don’t like the idea of Hosmer, there’s still a wealth of talent out there, including Yonder Alphonso, Logan Morrison, and even our old friend, Lucas Duda.

Mets Wilpon Brothers: The time is now to let the healing begin

Here we go, folks. From here on in, we’ll learn very swiftly the true intentions of the Mets front office when it comes to the team that will take the field when the 2018 season begins.


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