Things That Will Happen in the Next Year

These are the slowest news days of the year for Mets fans — no games for the team, no trades rumors flying, no free agents to sign. There’s nothing to talk about but economics and ticket prices. The really boring stuff, in other words. This month is great as a baseball fan: The days when we get four division series games in a row are baseball’s version of March Madness, and the intensity just ramps up as we go through October. But for fans of a particular team, it’s either a feast or a famine depending on if your team is in the playoffs. The Mets, as you might have noticed, are not in the playoffs. It’s famine for us.

So let’s make some news up. I’ve gazed into my crystal ball – though it seems to be more of a baseless-speculation ball – and seen how the winter of 2011 and the 2012 season play out. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad, and some of it’s just weird. I can’t guarantee that every prediction will come true, but I can guarantee they’re all predictions. If you’re starving for Mets news, jump into the DeLorean and check out the future:

November 15: Chris Capuano re-signs. Two years, $13 million. He buys himself a new Segwey.

November 16-December 10: JOSE REYES JOSE REYES JOSE REYES ALL THE TIME JOSE REYES

December 11: Jose Reyes signs a $132 million dollar, six-year deal with the Miami Marlins. My heart wants to say he comes back, but it’s hard to come up with concrete reasons that will be true. I see the Mets making him a fair offer, but someone just blows them out of the water. My guess is the Marlins. Sleeper, but they have a new ballpark opening, a new crazy manager, want to make a splash, have the money (even if they don’t usually spend it), and are secretly in win-now mode because the farm system is thin. Plus, it would be a kick in the groin to a division rival. Hanley Ramirez moves to third base to make room for his buddy Reyes; the parallels between this and the 2010-11 Miami Heat are lost on absolutely no one.

December 11: A collective “oh” can be heard over the New York metro area as the Mets’ decision to push season ticket holders to renew before November 7 suddenly makes sense to everyone.

December 28: The Mets sign . . . wait for it . . . Cody Ross to a one-year, $5.5 million dollar deal with a vesting option for 2013. Once you’ve regained control of your gag reflex, hear me out. I swear this makes perfect sense. Almost.

Right now, the Mets have these players in the outfield mix for next year: Jason Bay, Jason Pridie, Angel Pagan, Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Fernando Martinez. Pridie, Duda, Baxter, Nieuwenhuis and Martinez are all lefthanded hitters. Pagan is a switch-hitter with better numbers lefthanded. That leaves Jason Bay as the sole weapon against lefthanded pitching in the outfield, with Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy and Josh Thole other lefthanded bats in the lineup. So the Mets could use a righthanded bat, particularly one who can play the outfield. Which brings us to . . .

Cody Ross: .282/.349/.563, 46 home runs in 684 at-bats against lefties for his career. He’s practically Jose Bautista! If Jose Bautista never walked, could only hit lefties, and looked like a baby with stubble.

Then consider that Pagan, Pridie, and Nieuwenhuis are the only three who can handle both center and right. And of those three, Pridie doesn’t offer much at the plate, Nieuwenhuis hasn’t played a full season at Triple-A, and Pagan is a potential non-tender after his down year. The Mets could use another vaguely competent defender in the outfield, particularly if they cut ties with Pagan. Double particularly if they cut ties with Pagan and plan on using Bay and Duda in both corners. This again brings us to . . .

Cody Ross: Nine defensive runs saved in center field for his career, -1 UZR in center. Not spectacular, but an average center fielder and a tick above average as an outfielder overall. But nevermind that — It’s ugly baby Jose Bautista against lefties! Playing center field! For the Mets!

Or Sandy Alderson could re-sign Scott Hairston, who does the exactly same things, only a little bit worse for less money. Either way, the Mets don’t have a lot of depth in right and center, and whoever fills the third/fourth outfielder void is probably going to see serious playing time.

January 3: The Mets sign second baseman Kelly Johnson to a two-year, $15 million deal with an $8 million dollar team option for a third year. Johnson is an above-average hitter, above-average defensive second baseman for his career, and he’s averaged about three wins above replacement per season for his career. He is prone to going into season-long slumps, however, which keeps his price down in the Mets’ range.

January 4: Daniel Murphy digs through his closet for his outfielder’s glove.

January 15: The Mets sign reliever Brad Lidge to a one-year, $1.3 million dollars contract (plus performance incentives and a team option for 2013). Twitter immediately crashes for four hours. Lidge saves 27 games and posts a 3.13 ERA in 2012, but makes everyone nervous every time he pitches and no one likes him.

By the way, I think one year of Capuano+Ross+Johnson+Lidge, if they all have okay seasons, is about equal in value to a season of Jose Reyes. They would cost about the same, and those four come without the multiple years of commitment. Just saying.

February 26: Position players report to camp.

February 27: Fernando Martinez tears an ACL, breaks every bone in his body, and gets a really deep, painful splinter. He’s listed as day-to-day. Later, the Mets will trade him for a reliever in December. Martinez goes on to have a career that is better than Lastings Milledge’s, but worse than Jay Payton’s.

February 29: Leap year!

March 3: Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia pitch in spring training games. On the MLB Network, Jerry Manuel advocates using both of them as middle relievers in the big league bullpen.

March 15: The Mets give Chris Young, still rehabbing from Johan Santana surgery – can we just go ahead and coin that surgery as Johan Santana surgery? — a minor-league contract for 2012. He works out in Port St. Lucie all spring, but the Mets forget that he’s down there. They eventually find him in mid-August, emaciated and unshaved, locked in the medicine ball closet.

March 28: Every Mets blog writes at least 2,000 words on the Chris Capuano and Dillon Gee competition for the fifth starter spot. There are a lot of debates about the merits of xFIP.

April 5: Opening Day at Citi Field against the Braves. The lineup:

He's going to randomly hit .320 one season and make an All Star team. Just watch.

CF – Angel Pagan
2B – Kelly Johnson
1B – Ike Davis
3B – David Wright
RF – Lucas Duda
LF – Jason Bay
C – Josh Thole
SS – Ruben Tejada
P – R.A. Dickey

Santana needs a bit more time to get ready, and begins the season on the DL.

April 22: Santana makes his first start. He throws 83 pitches over five innings, allows two runs with three strikeouts and two walks.

April 24: The Mets meet the Miami Marlins for the first time. Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Jose Reyes, Mike Stanton and Ozzie Guillen are all in the same dugout wearing hideous rainbow uniforms. It’s weird.

May 1: The Mets go 12-11 in April. David Wright and Ike Davis get off to hot starts; Jason Bay and Ruben Tejada struggle. The calls for the Mets to cut Bay grow louder by the day.

May 26: The Braves are five games under .500 and in last place. Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel are both on the DL, as is Chipper Jones. The Braves fire manager Fredi Gonzalez and hitting coach Terry Pendleton. The Nationals, Mets and Marlins are neck and neck for second place, with the Phillies on top again.

June 1: The third-place Mets are 26-24 after two months. Ruben Tejada has no home runs, but a .350 on-base percentage. Kelly Johnson has 10 home runs; Jason Bay has six.

June 20: Johan Santana goes on the DL with shoulder fatigue, spending six weeks on the DL. He makes more than 20 starts in 2012, but fewer than 30. He finishes 7-6, strikes out 6.2 batters per nine innings pitched, and his ERA is exactly 3.71. Exactly 3.71. Write it down.

Ongoing: The Angel Pagan saga. Pagan is somewhere other than Flushing come the end of the 2012 season, though I’m not sure how. I see two ways:

1. Pagan might be not be tendered a contract in the winter. His offense declined this season (though almost entirely from a dip in BABIP), his range declined, and his throws from the outfield would have been bullets to the plate, if bullets bounced and home plate was located 25 feet up the third base line. He’ll probably make $5 million through arbitration — and would be worth it – but not offering him a contract (or dealing him) is the easiest way for the Mets to free up a chunk of money. If Reyes signs, Pagan might be an additional cost.

2. Should he return, Pagan is unlikely to attain Type-A status as a free agent. He is iffy for Type-B status; it really depends on his production in 2012. If the Mets fall out of the race and decide they’re not going to re-sign him, it seems likely that they’d trade him to recoup something.

June 22: Jason Bay plays 130 games in 2012, hits 22 home runs and posts a .360 on-base percentage. Just kidding. Terry Collins declares that “Jason Bay is our right fielder” in every single press conference for the first 10 weeks of the season, but Bay is riding the bench by mid-June and operation “pretend we think Lucas Duda can play right field until Jason Bay finally kicks it” comes to its inevitable conclusion. Duda moves to left and the Mets call up Kirk Niewenhuis.

July 1: The Mets play well in July and are 42-39 at the halfway point. Mike Pelfrey’s ERA is lower than Jon Niese’s ERA, although Niese’s peripheral stats are much better. Dillon Gee, back from the minors, has replaced Johan Santana in the rotation and remains there the rest of the year.

July 16: David Wright is the Mets’ sole All Star. Pagan, Pelfrey and every relief pitcher on the team are rumored to be on the trading block.

July 23: The Mets trade Pelfrey, Tim Byrdak and cash to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for catcher Hank Conger and minor-league reliever Steven Geltz.

Here’s how this works: The Mets will bring back Pelfrey for 2012. They have to. Santana-Dickey-Niese-Gee-Schwinden-absolutely-no-one-else isn’t going to get it done. They need his 200 innings, and it’s only going to cost them $6 million dollars.

But 2013 is a different story. The 2013 Mets already have about $90.5 million dollars on the books. (Deep breath: Guaranteed deals to Johan Santana and Jason Bay; team options for David Wright and R.A. Dickey; arbitration for Josh Thole, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, and Pelfrey; and minimum deals for 15 more players to fill out the roster.) If you throw in $20 million for Jose Reyes, they’re at $110 million right now. Today. With *crosses fingers* a couple of pitching prospects knocking on the door by the middle of the summer, Pelfrey has to be the odd man out in that scenario.

So the Mets know Pelfrey probably isn’t needed for 2013. But he has some value, because he does make all his starts. So say there’s a certain team that makes bad trades, needs pitching help AND undervalues good-hitting, poor-defending catchers . . . well, I smell a deal.

My proposed trade is a WFAN trade, I think, but I did throw in Tim Byrdak, cash, and made the other team the Angels so it looks more like a realistic trade. Oh, and Steven Geltz is a fringe relief prospect I found with a three-minute Google search. I assume that’s how the Mets found all their relievers for this past season.

Ongoing: David Wright rebounds to hit .305/.395/.545, but fields .940 and posts a UZR of -12. The Mets discuss moving him off third base, only to realize immediately they don’t have anywhere to stick him. Wright is eventually moved to left field when Jason Bay’s contract expires after 2013; Daniel Murphy becomes the everyday third baseman. I don’t know what happens to Lucas Duda, whom I’ve already penciled into left field, because I haven’t thought this all the way through yet.

Fun/depressing side note: Since 2009, David Wright ranks last in UZR and third-to-last in defensive runs saved among major league third baseman. He’s also ninth among third basemen in Fangraphs’ catch-all stat, wins above replacement, sandwiched between Michael Young and Martin Prado. I think (hope) moving in the fences at Citi Field is going to fix Wright offensively – and I’m guessing he’s the #1 reason they want to move the fences – and maybe that somehow helps him in the field. But it’s almost at the point where the Mets have to move him to another position in the field, because by the numbers, he’s become the poorest fielding everyday third baseman in baseball and a middling player overall.

But hey, he’s still better than Martin Prado.

August 1: The Mets are 55-54, but seven games behind the wild card leading Brewers. The everyday lineup is now:

SS – Ruben Tejada
2B – Kelly Johnson
1B – Ike Davis
3B – David Wright
LF – Lucas Duda
C – Hank Conger
CF – Cody Ross/Jason Pridie
RF – Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Jason Pridie bats leadoff on the days he plays. No one can figure out why.

August 3: Johan Santana is back. He makes all his starts the rest of the way.

August 13: Hey, whatever happened to Chris Young?

August 24: Ike Davis is healthy and hitting .273/.373/.512 with 22 home runs after four-and-a-half months. The Mets sign him to a four-year, $32 million dollar extension that covers the 2013-2016 seasons.

This is the other side of the “The Mets have a lot of money on the books for 2013.” If Davis is hitting and healthy, I’m going to guess Sandy Alderson locks him up now and saves money by buying Davis’ three arbitration years and a year of free agency. Davis walks, has power, good defensive first baseman and big target for the other infielders. Maybe not a super star, but a very good player and makes a few All Star games. He’ll be worth it, and it saves the Mets money over what he might get in arbitration.

September 1: 69-68. R.A. Dickey leads the Mets staff in ERA, followed in order by Johan Santana, Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Chris Capuano. Meanwhile, down on the farm, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia are all in the Triple-A rotation; Zack Wheeler is in Double-A. They all have 2.53 ERAs. Not really. One of the four is hurt and another is struggling, but we’re all really excited about the other two.

September 6: Familia and Mejia are called up for cups of coffee. Mejia accidentally spills his.

September 14: Daniel Murphy has played first, second, third, left, right, bus driver, ambulance man and ticket inspector at various points this season, gathering 400 plate appearances and hitting .283/.339/.456 along the way.

September 25: David Wright hits his 30th home run and makes his 30th error of the year in the same game.

October 3: Season ends. Mets finish 80-82, but attendance is actually up to about 2,550,000 fans on the year. Dynamic pricing backfires, however, and they pull in about the same amount of money as they did in 2010. The Phillies win the NL East again, the surprising Nationals finish second, the Mets are third and the depth-challenged Marlins fourth, while an injury-ridden Braves team completely implodes and finishes last.

October 4: That left over Jose Reyes money? The Mets begin gearing up for a run at a loaded 2012 free agent class. Matt Kemp rumors start flying almost immediately.

November 22: Happy birthday Fred Wilpon and Sandy Alderson! At the party, they realize that there’s an outside possibility Jason Bay’s 2014 option vests.

November 23: Mets cut Bay.

December 12 21: World ends.

That’s what I’ve got. Other predictions, baseless or otherwise, in the comments.

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56 Comments

Filed under Columns, Mets, Words

56 responses to “Things That Will Happen in the Next Year

  1. this was awesome, dude (except the part about Reyes being a Not-On-The-Mets)

  2. feel like I’ve already watched the 2012 season. i am having a sad.

  3. Paul Zummo

    Probably wise not to make a prediction for November 6, 2012. After all, this is a sports blog.

    One more year. That’s the mantra. One more year of mediocrity for us, one more good if not great year for the Phils, and then the division gets turned upside down.

    That is unless the world ends before that.

    • Patrick Flood

      Yeah, but just think: If I get one prediction right and if it’s just a little bit close to the day I said it would happen . . . I’ll open a fortune telling shop and be set for life.

  4. Entertaining stuff, and now that you’ve said it, you have assured none of it will come to pass. Bonus.

    But the idea of Jeffrey Loria, a guy who practically had to have a gun put to his head by Bud Selig to give Josh Johnson enough of a contract to avoid having a lower operating budget than the Savannah Sand Gnats, giving Reyes a whopper of a contract like that…dude, it’s too early in the morning on the West Coast for me to be on an acid trip! You think Hanley wouldn’t immediately start screaming, “Where’s mine?”, and the rest of the team (and the city) wouldn’t be scratching their heads over Jose out-earning the rest of the team combined?

    On the other hand, if Loria wants to do that, let him. I can just picture Ozzie accusing Jose of malingering the first time he hits the DL, it will be hilarious.

  5. You forgot Josh Thole rebounding from his SOPHOMORE SLUMP to post a .300/.360/.350. Collins eventually promotes him to second in the order, then realizes that means he has to bat the other catcher second when Thole sits, because it’s important that players feel comfortable knowing when they hit, so you can’t have guys hitting third against righthanders and second vs. southpaws.

    Strangely, run production is not affected by this, but five fans die from bleeding ulcers.

  6. I have always have an extreme, inexplicable aversion to Cody Ross, and now I realize: baby with stubble.

    All of this is too believable. Another prediction: Lucas Duda hits .183 with 0 HR and 3 RBI through mid-May, lots of chatter again about him being “unconfident” and “mentally fragile,” then of course goes on his characteristic tear and finishes the year batting a tick over .300 with 18 HR.

  7. The mets should go balls out to win the last WS before the world ends. That’s my stance.

  8. i am glad you said make believe. because your fired as the make believe GM. Step away from the mirror put down your coke spoon.

  9. I am printing this and referring back to it as we reach each milestone date.

  10. Do we really have to endure another year of Mike Pelfrey?

  11. Lou

    Not bad kid, not bad.

  12. But what happened in the Madoff case?

  13. Very good effort. One thing.. this is a BEST CASE scenario. Ugh.

  14. Baseball season is over. Hope for the best in the Jets. Hopefully the world ends before next baseball season,or else we got a problem.

  15. December 12: World ends.

    The World ends on 12/21/2012…..everyone knows that.

    • Patrick Flood

      Shoot, you’re right. I guess I figured 12/12/12 seemed more apocalyptic. Don’t worry everyone, we get nine more days.

  16. perfect, spot on predictions, with i’d say 99.9% accuracy. Ur only mistake is the world ends on December 21st, 2012, not December 12th. A lot can get done in those extra 9 days

    • Patrick Flood

      Lazy me, you’re right. The world ends on 12/21/12, not 12/12/12. We do have nine more days. Lemme change it.

      • The world ends for the exact reason you got the date wrong: the perfectly confusing combination of 1’s and the 2’s. As soon as the clock strikes midnight, time stops. Everyone’s head blows up. Little green aliens in the orbit crack up at our lack of understanding of mathematics.

      • Strikes midnight where?

  17. I think you are wrong about Reyes. But, forgot that point. Why in the world would the Mets sign Kelly Johnson for 2b? That makes zero sense? If Reyes goes and Tejada plays SS that still leaves Murphy, Turner, Valdespin, Satin and Havens as 2b options. You need to rethink your predictions and start over.

    • Patrick Flood

      Defensive questions about Murphy and Satin, Turner isn’t all that good, Valdespin isn’t all that ready, and Havens is never all that healthy. You’re right in that the Mets have a lot of guys who could play second base next season. But Johnson can hold his own offensively against all of them, and his defense might be the best of the bunch.

      • Johnson is a high strikeout hitter who was basically kicked out of the Atlanta, and then Arizona lineups. His only advantage is that he hits for power, which, uh, in Citifield is no longer applicable.
        He would be a much-worse version of Jason Bay in the lineup.

        Just sayin…

      • Patrick Flood

        But they’re going to move the fences!

      • Great! Now we can call all popouts flyouts…Besides moving them in 10 feet wont fill those holes in the lineup, you know, the ones normally occupied by major league hitters

      • There is something you are forgetting. The Mets have limited funds to spend. There are not spending 7.5 million on a 2b when they have 5 other options. Btw, I think you are right about Brad Lidge coming to the Mets. Very possible.

  18. I like the fact that you acquire a couple of Met killers.

    No room for Pat Burrell and Wilson Ramos?

  19. Can I still be in denial that Jason Bay signed a 4 year deal with a 5th year vesting and not a 3 year deal with a 4th year vesting option?

  20. The Reyes to Miami Hanley to 3rd thing isnt as crazy as it sounds considering its been making the rounds here in Miami for months.

    • Really? This notion is totally ridiculous. The Marlins already have a top-3 SS with speed, so if they’re spending 20 million per season it might be for a guy named Prince and not Reyes…

  21. Wow, pretty similar to what I had in mind. I predicted that Brad Lidge would be our next closer, I think Jose Reyes resigns however. But Patrick, I think it would be wise to wait till 2012 free agency- Matt Kemp (as you said), Josh Hamilton, Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson, Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Miguel Montero…

  22. Congrats you made a last place team, I do not agree with any of this except the Ike Davis extension

    • Patrick Flood

      Now wait a minute, I made a third-place team. I thought I was very clear about that.

      Also, I think you missed the point of this exercise.

  23. You forgot about when David Wright joins dancing with the stars

  24. If what you said comes true, they have no shot at being around .500.

    Likely scenario is they sign Jose to more than he’s worth, Starting rotation si exactly the same with the addition of Johan. they fill out the bullpen with re-treads and tehy still will stink.

    They need to let Reyes walk, sign CJ Wilson with that money (or trade for Wandy Rodriguez), then sign solid major league pitchers in the bullpen, not re-treads. They can be in a Wild Card race if they do this.

    They can survive with Tejada at SS, Murph at 2B. I’m not against Cody Ross playing CF, but Pridie has to go. They will need to find a CFer but it won’t be their top priority.

  25. If any of that happened, especially losing Reyes. Alderson should be fired immediately and the Wilpons should be sued.

    These idiots are destroying the Mets! FIRE ALDERSON NOW!

  26. Dec. 7, 2012, like pearl harbor, another shocker on the east coast. David Wright is moved to the Dodgers for Billingsly and a couple of low level prospects. Murphy plays third and matches or exceeds David Wrights recent performances. Mets fans cry until Billingsly throws 1st Mets nohitter,

    • Patrick Flood

      Interesting idea. I like Billingsley, and I think he and Niese are buddies; they’re both from Defiance, Ohio. Not sure the Dodgers would trade Billingsley + prospects for one year of Wright, though.

  27. Great work Mr Flood, loved it !

  28. That was terrific! But you left out the part where the Mets bring back Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman!

  29. Reyes leaving the Mets will be the best thing that has happened to this team in a long time. My father was saying this to me for years and I never got it, but now I see it: the guy is all flash. Jose Reyes hits a double, steals second, and gets the pitcher to balk…oh my god Reyes is the greatest thing since sliced bread!!! another player hits a solo homerun and it’s meh.
    meanwhile we don’t have a single corner player that produced over 20 home runs…and all people are calling for is to keep Reyes? when you cut through all the dancing and excitement you have a better than average shortstop that can’t stay on the field. We should have traded him when we had the chance. time to turn the page and seek out mature and intelligent players.

  30. Pat- This post was awesome!!!! totally awesome!!!!

  31. Loved reading this! I’m going to put your prognastications right on my calendar. Something really cool should happen each time you get one right. You should get your own cowbell.

  32. For real? You really think this is going to be how things play out over the next several months? What are you sniffing? Whatever it is you need some fresh air. Alderson has already made it clear, he isn’t spending money on anyone. No way, no how. The only departure were going to see is Jose Reyes, the only addition the Mets are likely to make without spending much money, is going to be K-Rod. “Read my Lip’s, mark my words.” Alderson stated he was going to sign a closer off the free-agent market. I believe I heard mention of somebody that has come off an injury. for the Mets, that makes sense, not that I see any logic. They have a knack for signing retreads, so why should this be any different.

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