Despite a slightly rocky start, the 2015 New York Mets pulled themselves together after the All-Star break and rode the young arms of their pitching staff and the bat of Yoenis Cespedes all the way to the World Series. It didn’t end as they hoped, but any season that ends in the championship series has to go in the win column.
Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard Steven Matz, and even “Big Sexy” Bartolo Colon put on a show through September and October, shutting down the streaking Chicago Cubs in the NLCS for their shot at the Kansas City Royals. Daniel Murphy seemed unstoppable, hitting the zone and driving shot after shot over the wall to reach a post-season record. Right until the last moment, when Harvey talked his way back into game five after pitching eight beautiful innings, they looked like a team of destiny. Then things began to unravel.
The team is going into 2016 with an aging, injury-prone veteran at third, a catcher who also spent much of 2015 on the DL, and several other players presenting offensive and defensive liabilities that could be addressed with some creative signings, moves, and/or trades.
There’s no time to sit and wonder about what might have been. It’s time to consider what might be. With that in mind – here are five major questions facing the 2016 New York Metropolitans – a team with commitment issues.
Sign upton to trade conforto?
Trade mats or wheeler for a backup catcher and /or backup 3b?
I didn’t say they had to trade Conforto, I said they would need to move him if they put Granderson in RF. It’s always a question when there are too many fielders, yes? The issue with Granderson is real… my first suggestion of simply swapping the two corners… that’s the one I believe works best. The comment on Upton was just (again) that if you bring in a fielder who is obviously going to start, you have to move someone.
I can’t believe they’d trade a potential ace pitcher for a backup catcher or backup third baseman. You only trade an ace for a star, a starting player that fills a gapping hole in your team. Maybe trade for a great center fielder
That said, they should keep all their pitchers because you never have enough pitching. And, with enough pitching they can keep them fresh. Wheeler will be limited, Colon a year older. Harvey should be free of inning limits but keep it sensible. I bet they’ll be bringing up more starters to reinforce what they have.
If they don’t trade one of those two guys at or by the All-star break, I’ll be shocked. Yes, in a perfect world, you keep all your pitchers, but the fact is that without Cespedes in the lineup their offense was having serious trouble. They have to get someone, and I don’t believe I said they should trade for a backup third baseman. I said they need to get a deal that brings them a succession plan for Third. Wright is not likely to play more than 100 or so games. The real need is someone with pop in their bat to bolster the offense. Pitchers need runs to win, and with Murphy and Cespedes gone, they need help. Getting a backup catcher (as someone said above) could happen from their own farm system, and I don’t know that farm system well enough to know if the Wright backup might not be there too – but they have not been brought up, so it’s impossible to tell how that might end. Someone has to be brought in who can hit.
You probably shouldn’t be shocked. The Mets are typically restrained in the trade market. Even in their late-season flurry of trades last season, they dealt off exclusively minor-league talent.
In stating that Wright is not likely to play more than 100 or so games, you’re passing opinion off as guesswork. Meanwhile, they’ve already deepened their infield, so Wright’s backup is clearly Wilmer Flores. If disaster happens, than Flores is the successor as well.
As for catcher, they have an established backup in Plawecki. His offense may not have revealed much yet, but his defensive metrics suggest he did as well as anybody last season. (The notion that he was “barely adequate on defense” isn’t supported by any data I’ve seen.) The third-stringer won’t be Guy-We-Traded-an-Outstanding-Starter-For, but rather Veteran-Guy-Signed-To-Minor-League-Contract.
You are not making any sense as Plawecki has the potential to be a decent back up to d”Arnaud, and is a guy who might hit for a decent AVG. You forgot that Plawecki played with a pretty serious sinus infection for 6 weeks when the Mets first called him up when d”Anaud first got injured. The team did not figure out what was wrong with Plawecki, and like a trooper he kept playing. Kevin was dizzy and could not see clearly so that disrupted all aspects of his play. Besides Kevin, the Mets have a really good minor league catcher named Patrick Mazeika who hit 356 last year. The dude also steals bases, hits homers and can throw the ball to 2nd base really well. Mazeika should start the year in AA Binghamton along with OF, Kevin Kacmarski and OF Wuillmer Beccera. Kaczmarski hits from the left side and Becerra is a righty bat. Kaczmarski hit 354. He is a college player so his rise to the Majors hopefully will not be as long as Becerra’s who is still very young. If all goes well either Mazeika, Kaczmarski or Becerra could be July call ups if the Mets need reinforcement. You also forgot to mention Jeff McNeil who is a lefty batting infielder who plays multiple positions and has played some outfield too. McNeil needs more seasoning and likely will not be ready until 2017. The Mets do have two infielders who could be call ups in July 2016, and their names or TJ Rivera and Gavin Cecchini. Rivera plays some outfield and middle infield and he has never hit below 300 in his minor league career. Cecchini hit 317 in Binghamton and Vegas last year.
All of that might be true, but it wasn’t showing in 2015. As a group the backup players behind the plate barely broke a .216 batting average. I’m not saying none of them can do the job, I’m just saying they need to commit and push for “the guy” whoever he is, because the fact is – they didn’t do as well last year with D’Arnaud out of the lineup.
The minor league guys are exactly what I’d say would be a solution. I didn’t say they HAVE to trade to get a backup catcher, just that they need to find the one who is not a liability when the starter is down. Last year, all three were liabilities of one sort or another.
The pitchers like throwing to D’Arnaud and they are in the best position to judge a catcher. And, he’s a young player with power potential. Playing more regularly we can expect more offense from him as well.
And he rates above average in throwing base runners out.
I love D’Arnaud. I was talking about getting him a better quality backup. When he’s in the lineup, they win… but he’s been kind of injury prone (at least in 2015) and you have to be able to keep winning when he goes on the DL
Linda, you are one knowledgeable fan. It’s a pleasure to read your post.
Even if I don’t agree with your assessment of everyone, you make great arguments.
You really seem to comb the minor league records. The warning is you can’t
really predict MLB success by how players perform in the minors. Look at
how great Hilson hit at Lost Wages Neveda but couldn’t produce yet at the
major league level. That said, you have an excellent knowledge of the minor
leaguers and other people are making decisions without knowing what potential
players the Mets have in their system.
Your post makes me want to research several of your picks, starting with Patrick Mazeika. Save me the trouble and write more about him.
The Mets didn’t have a rocky start. They had a rocky middle.
I was sort of talking about everything before the All-star break… but yeah, more toward that point. One of my bosses at work is a big Mets fan and he had all but given up and started grumbling when they went out, got Cespedes and turned it around.
Sure, but not everything before the All Star break was bad. They had a Spring training for the ages, then went out and dominated the league relentlessly in April into the start of May.
Then they ran into Chicago and Pittsburgh, just as the injuries began to really take the their toll, but that great start allowed them to tread water until August, when the deadlline acquisitions and players returning from injury allowed them to step on the gas. But it was all Cespedes down the stretch and it wasn’t all bad before him.
That was quite a stretch too. I’m a Cubs fan at heart, and it broke my heart when, after beating them every game during the season, the Mets surged past to the Series… great seasons for both teams, and a lot of fun to watch.
The team can never have enough pitching. That’s what kept them competitive. I can pretty much predict at least one of the pitchers will go down this year. It happens every single year. Keep all their great young arms and let them pitch. Colon can spell Wheeler till necessary.
If they want to lock a trip to the post season, open up their wallets and sign Cespedas.
No, he’s not the perfect centerfielder, but he’s fast, as a bazooka for an arm and for most of the year played outstanding in the outfield.
He makes the entire offense better, they have to pitch to everyone with him in the order. He hits close to .300 and he has awesome power. He’s incredibly fast on the base paths. If he cut his swing down, he’d be absolutely awesome, still have plenty of power and greatly cut down on strikeouts.