Category Archives: What if Wednesday

What if Wednesday: Justin Upton

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In the offseason of 2012-13, the Mets made a push for Justin Upton. Upton, then of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was just 25 years old and was considered to be one of the best outfielders in the game.

Supposedly, Sandy Alderson was pushing hard for Upton, trying to make a trade work for a while. Eventually, this effort failed.

Upton was traded along with Chris Johnson to the Atlanta Braves in January of 2013 in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and three prospects- Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, and Brandon Drury.

But what would a Mets trade for Upton look like? What would change as a result of this acquisition?

  • The Mets trade Daniel Murphy, Jenrry Mejia, Wilmer Flores, and Rafael Montero to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Justin Upton and Chris Owings.
  • Let’s take a brief look at how this one trade two winters ago would’ve impacted the way this offseason (2014-15) has played out…
    • With Justin Upton on the Mets, the Braves clearly can’t send him along to San Diego. The Padres killer offseason comes out a notch below where it is today.
    • The Pads’ lose out on Upton, and so, have no need to trade Seth Smith to the Mariners. He remains in San Diego.
    • Even with Upton, the Mets still sign Cuddyer to fill out the outfield, forming the “Norfolk Three” with Upton, David Wright, and Cuddyer.
    • Because Martin Prado is never a Diamondback, he can’t be traded to the Yankees in the summer of 2014. As a result, the Yanks can’t send him to Miami. Prado is still a Brave, and Nathan Eovaldi is still a Marlin.
    • Now that the Marlins don’t have Prado, they have no reason to trade Casey McGehee to the San Francisco Giants, and he thus continues to call Miami home.
    • With the Giants missing out on Chase Headley, and now not acquiring Casey McGehee, they’re in some big trouble at third base. They make a greater push for Asdrubal Cabrera, ultimately signing him, as he spurns the Tampa Bay Rays.
    • The Rays don’t sign Cabrera to add to their surplus of infield talent, and thus, all of these Ben Zobrist trade rumors (particularly to the Mets) are, more or less, obsolete.
    • The D-Backs don’t trade Didi Gregorius to the New York Yankees, as they have nobody else at shortstop, with Chris Owings a Met and Nick Ahmed still a Brave.
    • The Yankees need to find another shortstop, so they go out and place the winning bid on Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang.
    • And lastly, the Mets aren’t the subject of every shortstop rumor, because they already have their shortstop of the future in Chris Owings…
  • Now we can rewind a little bit…
    • The Braves need to acquire another outfielder to accompany Jason Heyward and BJ Upton after failing to acquire the latter’s brother. With all of the big-time corner outfielders off of the market, the Braves really have nowhere to go… They place utility-man Evan Gattis in left field.
    • In the 2013 season, the Braves don’t perform to the level that they did in the “real world” without Justin Upton, but they still just barely sneak into the playoffs with the weak NL East. They get swept in the NLDS by the LA Dodgers.
    • The Mets don’t sign Curtis Granderson in the winter of 2013 because they already have Upton and Lagares, and plan on signing another outfielder the following offseason. He ends up back with the Yankees on a lesser contract.
  • And many, many, many more things would’ve changed if Upton was a Met…

What else do you think would’ve changed? Let me know in the COMMENT section!

What if Wednesday: Rickey Henderson

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Before the 1999 season, the Mets signed one of the best left fielders in MLB history, in Rickey Henderson. However, Henderson hadn’t made an All-Star game since 1991, nine years earlier, and was clearly entering the twilight of his career. He put up some nice numbers in 1999, winning the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Aside from that, his statistical impact wasn’t major, but his overall impact was tremendous…

What would’ve changed had the Mets passed up on the opportunity to sign Henderson in the winter of 1998?

  • In Henderson, the Mets signed a starting left fielder and a leadoff hitter. Now that they passed on him, the Mets use in-house options to fill these two roles. Bobby Valentine slots Benny Agbayani in left field and gives the role of leadoff hitter to the team’s speedy right fielder, Roger Cedeño.
  • With the Mets no longer an option, Rickey has to look elsewhere for work. He ends up going back to his hometown of Chicago, IL, and joins the speed-starved Chicago Cubs lineup.
  • In Chicago, the Cubs had a nice hitter in LF already, with Henry Rodriguez, and they had superstar Sammy Sosa in right. As a result, Rickey has to man center field, which was not his primary position.
  • With the addition of Henderson, the Cubs put up an ever-so-slightly better performance in 1999, finishing second-to-last in the NL Central as opposed to fourth-to-last in the entire MLB.
  • After gaining a full-time spot as the Mets’ left fielder, Benny Agbayani excels, taking advantage of the depth of the left field wall. He gains a reputation as a nice power hitter and sticks around in the MLB for far longer than he actually did (he was out of the league after the 2002 season).
  • However, the absence of Rickey’s impact in New York changed a lot. In reality, he acted as a mentor to Roger Cedeño, teaching him maturity and helping him develop his speed and offensive skills. Without Henderson’s presence, it’s doubtful that Cedeño would’ve ended up with 66 steals and a .313 batting average.
  • With Henderson no longer in Flushing, and Cedeño giving a depleted effort, the Mets don’t end up winning the NL Wild Card spot, and miss the playoffs.
  • Instead, the Cincinnati Reds snatch that NL Wild Card spot. With their subpar pitching rotation, the Reds fail to defeat the Randy Johnson-led Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the MLB Playoffs.
  • However, the D-Backs are no match for the Braves, and they get swept right out of the playoffs.
  • With all of that momentum riding into the World Series, the Braves are able to put up more of a fight against the Yankees, not getting swept. They still can’t win the series though, losing in 6 games.
  • With Roger Cedeño not living up to his full potential with the absence of his would-be-mentor, Rickey Henderson, he isn’t valuable enough to be traded after the season to Houston in exchange for Mike Hampton, an All-Star in 1999.
  • Hampton was a key part of the Mets 2000 playoff run, that ultimately resulted in a World Series loss to our crosstown foes, the New York Yankees. He won the NLCS MVP with two wins. Without Hampton, the Mets lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games, failing to make the World Series.
  • All of these changes will lead to a bunch of other changes throughout the league…

What else do you think would’ve changed if Rickey was never a Met?

COMMENT your responses!

What if Wednesday: Carlos Beltran

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So, the 2006 Mets were a good team. Like really, really good. And then they got to the NLCS. And then they went to Game 7. And then they lost, all because Carlos Beltran stared at a decent pitch. For more on this unfortunate series of events, check out this article that I posted a few weeks ago.

Let’s just imagine that Beltran swung at that ball, and let’s just say, hit a blooper into shallow center-field, and St. Louis centerfielder Jim Edmonds just can’t get there in time. So, the ball drops, and Jose Valentin, the man on third, comes in to score.

What would the MLB be like if the aforementioned scenario really happened?

  • The 2006 Mets would’ve made the World Series, facing off against the Detroit Tigers.
  • The Mets, clearly the superior team, take the series in 5 games, giving them their 3rd World Series victory in franchise history.
  • As a result of the instrumental parts that they played in the World Series win, manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya would be given far more leeway, and would not be fired in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
  • In fact, these two guys would still be in their exact positions today!
  • With Omar Minaya still around, Sandy Alderson is clearly not the Mets GM. Unlike the penny-pinching Alderson, Minaya sticks to his spending ways, and manages to keep Jose Reyes in New York come the 2011-12 offseason.
  • Instead, Sandy Alderson sticks with the San Diego Padres, remaining as the team’s CEO. He serves as an instrumental part in the team, and leads them to success, both in the offseason and on the diamond.
  • Upon Bud Selig’s retirement, Sandy Alderson, who had worked closely with Selig for many years, is named the commissioner of the MLB.
  • Due to the lack of Sandy Alderson’s presence in the Mets organization, Carlos Beltran isn’t traded to the San Francisco Giants for starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
  • The Giants are perfectly fine keeping top prospect Wheeler in the organization. Once he comes up to the MLB, he and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2 punches out of the starting rotation in the MLB. The Giants are set to compete for years to come.

What else do you think would’ve happened if the Beltran swung (successfully) at that pitch from Wainwright in 2006? Would the Mets be better or worse today?

COMMENT your responses!!!

What if Wednesday: Jason Bay

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In December of 2009, the Mets signed star outfielder Jason Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract. Bay was coming off a season in which he was an All Star and Silver Slugger. He had hit for 36 home runs and 119 RBIs the season before, with the Boston Red Sox. His great play that season led to him being listed by Sporting News as the 41st best player in the MLB. The signing seemed like a no-brainer, but as we know now, it was a pretty terrible move

Let’s check out what would’ve happened if the Mets hadn’t taken the bait and signed Jason Bay…

  • With the Mets backing off of Bay, the Red Sox re-sign Jason Bay to a four-year, $60 million deal.
  • The Mets are still in dire need of an outfielder, and they ultimately end up giving big money to Matt Holliday- to a seven-year, $127 million deal to be exact.
  • The Cardinals, after losing out on their trade deadline acquisition, Holliday, decide to go after another outfielder to take his spot. They trade for Curtis Granderson, the star outfielder for the Detroit Tigers. They trade Shelby Miller, David Freese, and Jason Motte to Detroit for Granderson.
  • Detroit acquired now-star pitcher, Max Scherzer, in the Granderson deal to the Yankees. Now that that deal is off the table, Scherzer stays in Arizona. While he excels there, and is a borderline All-Star, he doesn’t do enough to win 2013 Cy Young Award.
  • Granderson does so well in St. Louis that he is locked up long term, and doesn’t even hit the open market in 2013. In this case, the Mets have to look at other options to fill out the third outfield spot and play with Juan Lagares and Matt Holliday.
  • We know that in the 2011 World Series, the Cardinals ended up defeating the Texas Rangers as a result of David Freese’s heroic and historic play. However, now that he’s no longer a Cardinal, they end up falling short of the title, losing to Texas in 6 games.
  • To fill this final spot in the outfield, the Mets put away all bad blood and bring Carlos Beltran back for a second opportunity to excel in Flushing.
  • The Mets never sign Michael Cuddyer, as they have three very good outfielders in place, and he thus accepts the qualifying offer and returns to Colorado for the 2015 season.
  • With Shelby Miller calling Detroit home, the Cardinals no longer have him as a trade chip, and thus can’t acquire Jason Heyward to fill out their outfield. The Braves insist on trading Jason Heyward, so they look for other options.
  • The Braves end up trading Heyward and their #2 prospect, Lucas Sims, to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for their promising, young pitcher, Taijuan Walker.
  • All of these changes will lead to a bunch of other changes throughout the league…

What do you think about this scenario? What else would or wouldn’t have happened if the Mets didn’t sign Jason Bay?

COMMENT your responses!

What if Wednesday: Mike Pelfrey

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The Mets drafted Mike Pelfrey, a right-handed pitcher, in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft. 9th overall pick, to be exact…

Pelfrey was a 6’7 ground-ball pitcher from Wichita State University. After months of negotiations, Pelfrey and the Mets ultimately agreed to a four-year contract worth over 5 million dollars in guaranteed money, plus a 3.5 million dollar signing bonus.

Once Pelfrey made it up to the MLB- only about a year after the 2005 draft- he left a lot to be desired. In seven seasons with the Mets, he posted a 50-54 record with a 4.36 ERA. After the 2012 season, the Mets brass decided it was time to move on, and Pelfrey left in free agency, ultimately joining the Minnesota Twins.

Clearly, Pelfrey wasn’t worth that coveted ninth overall pick, and after further examination, it’s clear that there were a lot of guys who would become clear MLB starters, and even a few household names, behind him. Think: Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Chase Headley, Yunel Escobar, etc.

Clearly, McCutchen is the star of that bunch. Through six years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, ‘Cutch has been voted to four All-Star Games, won three Silver Slugger awards, won a Gold Glove award, and even won the 2013 National League MVP. He is, arguably, the best player in the National League.

Can you imagine what the Mets would be like, had they selected McCutchen (who went two picks later to Pittsburgh) instead of Pelfrey? Well right now, we will!

What if Wednesday: Johan Santana

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I remember it like it was yesterday… It was the 2007-08 offseason, and Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the MLB, was on the trade block. The Twins were set on trading Santana, who had won the Cy Young Award just a season before. The Mets, Red Sox, and Yankees were the three leading contenders to trade for Santana. Ultimately, with a package of Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Deolis Guerra, and Philip Humber, the Mets successfully landed Santana.

But we can wonder… What if the Mets HADN’T traded for Johan Santana?

  • The Boston Red Sox would’ve traded for Santana’s services, giving up Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp, and Justin Masterson.
  • Because the Mets failed to trade for Johan Santana, they’d go out and do the next best thing- sign C.C. Sabathia to a record setting deal
  • Now that the Yankees don’t have C.C. Sabathia, they don’t have the pieces to win the 2009 World Series. Instead, the Johan Santana-led Red Sox win the World Series, defeating the Phillies in 5 games.
  • Without Johan Santana, the Mets still don’t have a no-hitter.
  • Johan Santana’s no-hitter with the Mets was highly disputed, as there was an extremely questionable call that kept his no-hitter going. This was one of the main reasons for the installation of a Replay System, and now that this no-hitter was inexistent, a Replay System isn’t installed in the MLB until at least 2015.
  • Carlos Gomez is a Met, and they lock him up to an extension, so he blossoms here in New York. Thus, there is no hole in the outfield come the 2013 offseason, and the Mets don’t sign Curtis Granderson.
  • Instead, because of a lack of a real market, Curtis Granderson settles for less money to join his friend and former Yankees’ teammate, Robinson Cano, with the Seattle Mariners.
  • Granderson adds to an already stacked team that the Mariners built in just a few winter months, and this team is ready to compete. They ultimately perform well enough to earn a wild card spot. The Angels win the AL West, and the A’s and Mariners clinch Wild Card Spots, so this division basically monopolizes the playoffs. Because of this, the Kansas City Royals just barely miss the playoffs.
  • The Oakland A’s beat the Mariners in the Wild Card Game, as they’re simply more prepared and a better team. The A’s move on to face their division rival, the Angels, in 7 games, as the Angels banged-up pitching staff just can’t do the job. Finally, the A’s move to the ALCS to face off against the Baltimore Orioles, and the Orioles are no match for this dominant Oakland team.
  • Oakland moves on to the World Series to play the San Francisco Giants in a Bay Area Showdown. The A’s showed during the regular season that they were a far superior team to the Giants, and nothing really has changed. The Giants end up getting swept by the A’s in one of the least exciting World Series’s of recent memory.
  • All of these changes will change a bunch of other events throughout the league…

What do you think about this scenario? Should we have traded for Santana in retrospect? Would the league have been better if Santana ended up with the Red Sox, and not the Mets?

Please COMMENT your responses and VOTE on the below poll!

 

What if Wednesday: Jose Reyes

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Many Mets fans wonder what the MLB would be like today if Jose Reyes had re-signed with the Mets after the 2011 season.

Well, here are some possibilities…