No, there is no reason to participate in a full rebuild in Queens already. There is no reason to trade Jacob deGrom for every prospect you could ever want. A lot of the players you want for a contender, when healthy, are on the team. However, there are 43 men on the roster (between the 40-man roster and 3 60-day disabled list) players. With that and the Rule V draft protections due by the end of the season, it is time to see how we can bulldoze the Mets roster without participating in a full rebuild.
Guaranteed Roster Spots in 2018 (23): Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Phillip Evans, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Tomas Nido, Kevin Plawecki, Wuilmer Becerra, A.J. Ramos, Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, Matt Harvey, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, Marcos Molina.
Yeah, well, most of these are obvious for who will be on the 2018 roster just on contracts or because they are a known commodity. Obviously not all of the 23 will be on the 25-man roster come next April, but these are the known guarantees.
The writing was on the wall when Asdrubal Cabrera was not traded at the July 31 deadline or the August 30 deadline that Cabrera’s option year would be picked up by the Mets. His ability to play short, second and third, despite wishing to only play one of those positions, has the Mets ready to give him a spot on the 2018 roster. Of the utility infielders on the roster, he is the only known commodity in terms of what you will get. Blevins, on the other hand, is a really easy option to pick up. It does not require an explanation.
Free Agents (1): Jose Reyes.
With the likelihood that the Mets will pick up Cabrera’s option, Jose Reyes stands to be the only regular free agent on the Mets roster. With Cabrera likely either a) the starting third baseman or b) the super left side of the infield utility man, it is possible Reyes will not be on the 2018 roster. The question there is whether or not the Mets are content to stick with T.J. Rivera and Matt Reynolds as backups to Amed Rosario. Rosario is the shortstop for 2018, no question. However, Sandy Alderson has to decide whether Reyes needs to be a member of the 2018 Mets.
Well. These are almost guarantees. The exception would be Smoker, who has a chance to serve as a LOOGY if he can get it together. Aoki is actually still under team control, but I find it hard to believe with Cespedes and Conforto healthy that Aoki has any part of the 2018 roster. You figure the Mets will probably sign another outfield bat, whoever that may be. Travis Taijeron has not looked good in the majors since he came up. Velocity is embarrassing him badly. Taijeron is going on waivers.
As for the rest of the pitchers, the obvious departures come in the form of Tyler Pill and Tommy Milone. Both are depth pieces and neither were effective with the Mets in 2017. As for Erik Goeddel, things have gone backwards. A great reliever in 2014 and 2015, 2016 and 2017 have looked awful, and with a lot of new arms in the pen, it is possible the Mets may try to get Goeddel through waivers and stash him in AAA. Kevin McGowan, the stunt double of deGrom and Rob Gsellman, came for depth. Not sure he survives the roster slashing.
There is a mix of situations within the final 10 on the roster. Rob Gsellman is probably a guarantee to return, with the need for starting pitcher depth, but nothing is impossible. He may be better suited to become a reliever though. Paul Sewald had an average debut this season, but the Mets might be better off with a better fireman. Most likely he will survive any cuts. The same statement applies to Chasen Bradford. Callahan and Rhame probably will return in 2018. Chris Flexen is probably going to be in AAA next season, but is good depth to have around.
Hansel Robles is an interesting situation. He reads of a similar case to Erik Goeddel. The Mets intended for Robles to be the 7th inning guy for the Mets this season. However, everything that went wrong did. Robles burned on the long ball and it may cost him a roster spot. However, Alderson will probably end up keeping him.
T.J. Rivera and Matt Reynolds are the last two and the biggest question marks. I don’t know what Sandy Alderson thinks but Rivera is coming off Tommy John surgery and Matt Reynolds has not shown a lot of offensive prowess. Personally I’d send both through waivers, but Sandy probably will disagree.
So right now the Mets probably have at least 4 roster spots open with the 7 DFAs and getting the 3 members of the 60-day disabled list off of it. We know the Mets payroll is going to go down, but at the same time, they need quality players, so there stands to reason more waiver runs. That is bulldozing this disaster and trying to make a contender in 2018.