Lorenzo Cain or Jay Bruce in the outfield. Mike Moustakas at third base.
A return to health for Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia. A return to effectiveness for Steven Matz.
Proof that Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are ready for prime time.
A new face in the manager’s office.
There’s your 2018 Mets wish list.
Unfortunately, the only one that seems guaranteed is Terry Collins not returning.
Sandy Alderson’s teardown / sell-off of the Mets’ free-agent-to-be veterans appears complete after Friday’s trade of Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers and Saturday’s waiver claim of Rene Rivera by the Cubs.
Alderson put out the “everything must go” sign on July 27 when he traded Lucas Duda to the Rays. Less than a month later, the shelves have been picked clean.
The return for Duda, Granderson, Rivera, Bruce, Neil Walker and Addison Reed was pitching prospects and financial relief, $10 million or more in savings that we all know the Mets are going to pour right back into the franchise for 2018.
Just kidding. We don’t actually know that the Mets will aggressively spend in the offseason. That’s what they should do, whether it’s those free agents or others, but the Mets do not get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to spending. They have earned the skepticism of most of their fan base in that regard.
A few days ago, Alderson was asked just that — if the dollars saved will be spent on next season’s payroll.
“What I do, is I try to look at the aggregate,” he said. “So we’ve added a number of good arms, we think, and we have pared our payroll down for this year. As for whether there’s a direct one-for-one correlation going into next season, I can’t tell you that’s the case.”
(Memo to Mets marketing department: “Look at the aggregate” could be a great slogan for 2018.)
As for the rest of this season, the young guys are the story, especially Rosario and Smith, the latter of whom hit his second big-league home run in Saturday’s 8-1 win over Miami.
Brandon Nimmo also is expected to get an extended look. The 24-year-old was the first draft pick of the Alderson era, going 13th overall in 2011 from the baseball non-hot bed state of Wyoming.
Nimmo went 1-for-4 with a run as the centerfielder and leadoff man last night. He has shown some flashes in a limited role over the last two seasons — especially as a pinch hitter — but he hit .227 in Triple-A this year and has never hit more than 11 home runs in a season.
Still, a platoon of Nimmo and Juan Lagares could be in the offing for 2018. Re-signing Bruce (and playing Michael Conforto in center) or signing Cain would be better.
But there’s that money thing again. Nimmo and Lagares combined would cost about $7 million. Bruce is making $13 million this season and Cain, the Royals centerfielder, will be looking to cash in on his first free-agent foray after making $11 million this year.
One year for $7 million or many years and many millions of dollars. You do the Mets math.
Moustakas, who is 28 and has 35 home runs for the Royals, probably will be even more expensive, and the Mets still have David Wright signed for three years and $47 million with no guarantee he’ll ever play again. So that’s probably just a pipe dream anyway.
Another pipe dream? That Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz, Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Familia will all be healthy and pitching at the top of their games in 2018.
But the way the Mets are built, and likely will be rebuilt before next season, that has to happen, regardless of who’s in the lineup or manager’s office. Fingers crossed, Mets fans.