New York Mets General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, has been hard at work since the day he stepped into his role. He helped orchestrate the blockbuster trade that ignited this off-seasons hot stove by acquiring premier closer, Edwin Diaz, and an all-time second baseman in Robinson Cano. He filled two glaring holes on the team and he wasn't done there. With the help from his colleagues, he brought back a “Familia” face to the bullpen to be Diaz's set-up man. Bad pun, I know. The Mets also shored up an offense-first catcher in Wilson Ramos, who should help put up runs. Lastly, they brought in speedster Rajai Davis, who adds solid defense and excellent speed off the bench.
While they are still in the market for a lefty specialist and a right handed bat to play center field, Brodie and company are gradually sewing up holes on the roster. They have plenty of options when it comes to lefty relievers, such as; Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, Oliver Perez, Tony Sipp, and Justin Wilson. On the other hand, the market for what the Mets want out of a center fielder isn't quite as saturated. That market includes; A.J Pollock, Adam Jones, Eric Young Jr, and Austin Jackson.
The player that fits the bill for New York is A.J Pollock, plain and simple. He possesses elite defense in center, for he was a Gold Glove recipient in 2015. He's also a stable hitter and can swipe a bag or two if need be. Nobody else on the market can do what Pollock can at this point in their respected careers. But the 'elephant in the room' being addressed during negotiations for Pollock is his durability. Since becoming a starter in 2013, he has only one season in which he played in over 140 games. That is a giant red flag for teams, especially for someone looking to sign a contract similar to Lorenzo Cain, which was 5yr/$80 million. When Pollock is healthy, he is definitely worth the money. When he played a full season in 2015, he hit .315, with 20 homers and 76 RBI's. As I noted earlier, he won a Gold Glove. According to John Heyman of Fancred, the Cincinnati Reds are “Pursuing” Pollock's services as well. As of right now, the Mets and Reds are the only teams linked to Pollock, which is hurting Pollock's chances of landing a big contract this winter. The last thing the Mets need is an injury bugged player who is making too much money, which they already have in Cespedes, but the upside can't be neglected. Pollock can be an excellent add and if he stays healthy, these Mets are going places. This is why the Mets must get creative with Pollock and here's how.
The Mets Offer to Pollock: 3 years/$36 million + Incentives, with a 2022 mutual option worth $16 Million.
Pollock's camp most likely won't receive the 5 year deal they want, nor the annual dollar amount. Which is why a 3-4 year deal is the more likely outcome. The base salary to this offer may look low to most people, but the incentives here is where this deal can benefit both the Mets and Pollock. So the base salary for every season is $12 million guaranteed. He could play 50 games and still make $12 million. So what are the incentives?
Once Pollock reaches 100 games played a season, he would receive $1 million dollars for every 10 games he plays past 100. So if he plays in 110 games, he would make $13 million. if he plays a full 162, he would make $18 million for the season. From Pollock's perspective, he can potentially make more than his asking price. For the Mets, if Pollock is playing in 140, 150 games, chances are the team is playing very well. If Pollock only plays in 90 games, they only have to pay him $12 million, which still sucks, but it's better than committing $15 million per season. The contract length is great for the Mets, and the mutual option for the 4th year could benefit both sides, if the Mets are winning ballgames at that point. The 4th year, by the way, wouldn't include the incentive bonus. At that point, both camps have to see if the $16 million value makes sense from their perspective.
At the end of the day, this is just a suggestion. I think its very bold and creative, as it would benefit both parties, especially since the market for Pollock is scarce at the moment. The Mets can get a great right handed hitting center fielder. One who would be a key piece toward a playoff push. As for A.J Pollock, this would be an opportunity for him to play for a team that is giving him a great chance to succeed. Also, he would rewarded for his efforts for staying on the field, helping the Mets win games moving forward.