This 2014 offseason is set up to be the most pivotal offseason in a long time for the New York Mets. Met fans have sat patiently and not so patiently waiting for the Sandy Alderson Dream Team to make this team a perennial winner for years to come. We were told once the young pitchers came up to the majors everything will change. The owner Fred Coupon will start to spend money on legitimate free agents. 2014 was supposed to be the year the Mets made that leap into a legitimate contender. Alderson was given a pass because Matt Harvey the crown jewel of the organization had Tommy John surgery and was lost for the season. The owner promised the fan base to spend money last offseason. But what he really meant was to just spend the money that was coming off the books. Not exactly the spending spree the fans had wanted to see as the Mets continue to operate like a small market team while living in the New York market and having their own network. Now as we head into the 2015 season the Met fan base is demanding an improved offensive attack to go with the oodles of young pitching this team has already contributing on the major league level.
Let’s start right there. The Mets don’t need to bring in any starting pitching. In fact they should be looking to trade starting pitching for hitters. This should be right in Alderson’s wheel house. The projected starting rotation should be Matt Harvey, hoping he comes back just fine from surgery, Jacob deGrom, who should win the NL Rookie Of The Year and I will say Zach Wheeler should be the third mainstay and untouchable pitcher. Now the next 2 spots you can choose from a list of quality arms and prospects. Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, Bartolo Colon, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are the pitchers Alderson must use to piece together a trade with the holdovers filling out the rotation. Actually it is unrealistic that Colon could be traded for the offensive player the Mets need. When Bartolo Colon is your 4 or 5 in your starting rotation then you got something. If the first three arms are in the fold I have no problem with any of these players in a trade for the right player. Even the bullpen looks good and if Sandy can add one or two veteran arms like Mike Adams and Andrew Miller to go along with Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia then you have the makings of a solid bullpen. I actually liked Bobby Parnell and felt he had a nice 2013 as a closer. If he comes back healthy he could be extremely valuable as a pitcher who can come in and get a strikeout. Oh and there are some more arms coming on the horizon too. Alderson has done well to restock the farm system with quality arms. I must also give kudos to one of the best talent evaluators in the game in Omar Minaya who did bring in some of these guys too.
Offensively this Mets team is certainly lacking the quality bats needed to compete. The biggest move might be that the fences will be moved in. I don’t like this as when your team is built on pitching making your home stadium more hitter friendly does not make much sense. But these are the Mets. In a year where David Wright had his worst season and big free agent signee Curtis Granderson had extremely bad slumps all year long there was 3 bright spots worth talking about.
The maturation of Travis d’Arnaud. When the Mets decided to trade CY Young Winner RA Dickey after the 2012 season the Mets got 2 players that most baseball people were amazed they were able to get. Syndergaard who had some injuries during the 2014 season after wowing the organization in the 2013 season and d’Arnaud. In his stint in 2013 he did not impress and Travis began this year much like he ended the 2013 campaign. While he wasn’t getting called a bust yet Met fans and the media alike knew he was paramount to the team’s future. When d’Arnaud got sent down a lot of us were down on him. Afterall the Mets needed him to be their catcher for the next 10 years. His minor league stint was short and when he got back to the show he seemed to figure out how to hit again. Now the Mets know they have their catcher for the next 10 years.
The emergence of Lucas Duda. I don’t know if the were Mets were lucky or just smart with Lucas. A lot of people, me included, felt Ike Davis should have been named the starter and left alone. The thought with how well Ike fields the position and the hope he can regain his offense that he would be the Mets first basemen for10 years. Boy was I wrong and the Mets were right. Ike struggled and Duda flourished big time to the tune of 30 + homers and 90 + rbi’s. I would have liked to see the Mets let Lucas hit more against left handed pitchers this past year but he has certainly proved he can be a player the Mets can count on.
The third player is often the most over looked player on the team and no doubt the hardest worker. Daniel Murphy has been the most consistent offensive player the Mets have over the last few seasons. He has limited power and speed but can either knock one out of the park or steal a bag when your not looking. Plus he is well liked. The problem is he is not good defensively at second base or anywhere else he played. Is his bat big enough to play anywhere else in the field? No. He is not signed long term but how much is he worth on the trade market.
Wright, Granderson and the newly crowned Gold Glove winner Juan Lagares are all coming back in 2015 so that leaves only 2 real positions that the Mets must improve on. You better believe they will be linked to every trade offer for a shortstop or outfielder that comes along. The Mets should not even get into discussions with the Colorado Rockies involving Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The haul to get these two very talented and injury prone players will be a lot not to mention paying them the big contracts they already have. Signing Michael Cuddyer will cost the Mets a first round pick. He too can’t stay on the field. When healthy he is a very good player though. I also would not trade one of my pitching chips for Starling Castro. I just don’t see the fascination with him that others have.
So I am not sure where I go if I am the Mets. There isn’t much on the free agent market but you never know who is available in a trade especially when the Mets can offer such talented young arms. I don’t feel the Mets need to bring in big star hitters. But they need legitimate good to great offensive players to get this lineup to the next level. I read recently that the Mets have interest in Asdrubal Cabrera and Alexai Ramirez. Both are very solid players. Cabrera is a free agent and Ramirez would be in a trade. I would be very careful when trading these kid pitchers. One thing to keep an eye on is the Giancarlo Stanton relationship with the Marlins. I would be shocked if it comes to it that he could be traded within the division. But the Mets have the cache to get this player. I would move two of those arms (Niese, Gee, Montero and Syndergaard) in a trade for Stanton. The Mets also have a top catching prospect and other arms on the horizon too.
The ball is in the hands of Sandy and Fred now. They owe the fans to get this done right. It’s go time for the Mets brass and their fan base deserves a contender in 2015.