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Editor’s Note: Hearty thanks to the MetCave’s latest Guest Blogger–our very own metstrapper–for seeing BVM’s suggestion yesterday that readers take turns kicking in off-season blog posts, proposing a new MetCave series, “FROM THE GROUND UP”, then submitting the first installment himself, all in a span of 12 hours! Way to go, trap–strong work! Now, let’s flex our collective GM muscles below (comments will stay open as long as the series’ subjects stay warm) and divvy up new installments for a MetCave reader blueprint to re-boot our favorite franchise “from the ground up.” Don’t be shy! Given the Mets’ current state, there should be enough topics/targets to keep our underground lair well-heated all winter!
DISCLAIMER: “Guest Bloggers / Pinch Hitters” items appear in The MetCave 3.0 blog uncut and uncensored. All links to others’ content, statements of “fact,” views, rumors, innuendo and/or opinions expressed below are the sole responsibility of the author. The MetCave’s lawyers insist that we mention that every time.
metstrapper, Contributing Author
always kvetching and suggesting roster moves until a title returns to Queens.
I’m not a sabermetrics or stats guy – I leave that stuff up to Blazin, Pass and Gregg (whenever he moonlights with us). So here are my thoughts on DW from the eyeball test as to why he will be a Met long term:
1. If we try to move him now we will get lowballed. Carlos Lee was moved for not much. “Laughing Boy” Hanley Ramirez wasn’t moved for a lot. Victorino, same. And the mega deal: you can argue that Adrian Gonzalez was the sacrificial lamb in order to get from under those headache contracts in Beckett and Crawford. Look at the players received in return in each of those trades. The jury is still on out Eovaldi for Ramirez. Boston’s deal we won’t know for sure…even though it looks like they will keep Loney as a stopgap at 1B next year. If you look at the team with 3B needs – Dodgers, Orioles, maybe the Reds – there are questions about what we can get back in return. The Dodgers are a bit thin having traded all those guys to import Blanton, Victorino, Crawford, Beckett and Gonzalez. The O’s and Reds might use fill in guys instead of trade the pitching we need for DW. Is he worth 3-4 players as some in the media have said? No. We might get 2 guys back for him at this point – 1 blue chip and 1 good AA guy.
2. Sandy HAS TO SIGN DW FIRST before trading him. No one in their right mind would sink very good prospects in a deal for DW without getting him under control for the immediate future. Sandy has to push for a club friendly deal to make him movable, as the trend has been recently – salary relief counts as much as players coming back who are talented and under team control. It is clear that DW shouldn’t give the Wilpons a discount. He saw what happened to Reyes and is not stupid, and he should get money from the Wilpons. But we don’t think he is going to be an ass about it because if Larry Wayne Jones can make money in Atlanta, DW can make money wherever he plays. Still, it’s up to Team MBA to strike the right deal if the intent is to trade him.
3. The Wilpons want him around to put butts in the seats. Ike, Duda, Harvey, Tejada are not at that level yet to be guys you go “hey I need to see him play”, or “hey, he’s the guy to have at the charity events or other functions to represent the team”. Eventually, sure. Like it or not, DW does a good job of being the face of Queens off the field, and when he is hot, a nice guy to come see play every day. In the field he has gotten better and is a treat to watch. Santana cannot be that guy anymore until he gets a full season in – by the time he does that, his contract might be up. Based on how Uncle Bud does things, it would seem a bit…odd not having DW there in a Mets uni for the 2013 ASG. Having DW leave in a shitty way this or next off-season is a PR mistake even the Wilpons cannot be brain-dead about.
The only comparable guy to DW is Ryan Zimmerman in DC. Did the Nats overpay when they resigned him? Yes. But look at the current construction of their team. Zimm isn’t asked to lift the club himself: Werth, LaRoche and Morse help Ryan form a very tough middle of the order. Espinosa and Desmond give speed at the top. Ramos and Suzuki are a good combo at catcher. Bernadina is talented enough that he could play every day. Harper is the dynamic bat in the lineup. Their order is so diverse in that you can bat Werth lead off, Harper in the #2 or #3 spot and not suffer with Morse, Zimm and LaRoche behind them. DW hasn’t hit in a lineup like that since Beltran, Delgado and Cliff Floyd roamed Shea in 2006. Zimm is the face of their franchise right now and it still his team, until Harper takes that mantle. Still, whenever the Nats were bad Zimmerman was dangerous enough you had to account for him. To me, DW has the higher ceiling, but RZ is the better player at this point.
DW is what he is right now: a guy that evokes mixed emotions. If you view him from the lens that he is paid like an elite guy but puts up complimentary player numbers, then you got me. When DW gets hot, it doesn’t mean the team wins automatically. He’s not that guy where if he gets to the plate and you make a mistake he WILL crush you a la Edgin vs Ryan Howard in Harvey’s last start in 2012 at the Citi. DW doesn’t directly make guys better with his game.
If you look at the lens that he is a complimentary player who has to play outside his game due to his circumstances, then he is one of the best in the game. When he gets hot he makes guys’ jobs in a lineup easier. He is durable, dependable and accountable. He works hard and doesn’t take plays and days off. In that regard, you can blame the Wilpons for overpaying a player – that’s not the first time it’s happened.
The problem DW faces is that NYC hates nice guys. We want winners who can get the job done and will get their hands dirty by leading from the front. That’s why people like Jeter – even though he’s got some pretty boy looks boy he’ll “murk you” on that baseball field with his talent and his will. I’d like DW to get a ring in Queens, but it may never happen. That’s the beauty and irony of superstars in team sports – as talented a guy might be, he still needs his teams to be successful – but is expected to be THAT GUY when pressure is greatest. Right now, and maybe forever, DW isn’t THAT GUY.
Are there replacements for DW if he gets moved? Sure. Murphy can go to 3B in the interim, maybe Turner too and Wilmer Flores if he pans out is the first option from the farm. You could argue his production can be replaced on the field but I’m not sure how well he can be replaced otherwise.
It’s a real pickle Sandy and Co find themselves in this offseason. I believe DW’s contract status has a bigger ripple effect on the interim future of the team than Reyes in 2011. I’m glad I don’t have to make that call.