January 31, 2015

Almost there...

The Superbowl is tomorrow and it cannot come and go soon enough.  At least the talk of deflated balls will go by the wayside.  As for our beloved Mets it's time to start dusting off the equipment, move down to Port St. Lucie and see whats what.

The off-season is done, save for a minor trade or two, and while we have all complained, bitched and moaned about not getting a shortstop or another left handed reliever we need to take the roster for what it is and see where we end up.

So here we go, all positions are filled as of now.  There is the glass half-full and half-empty approach to this year.  I think it will be a complete bust or great improvement from the prior few years.

Infield:  Half-full - Duda continues to mash, gives 25 and 85, Murph does what Murph does, hits .300 and doesn't kill us defensively.  The Captain returns to form, hits 20 homers and around 90 RBI.  d'Arnaud continues to grow as a hitter, cuts down on the passed balls and makes Plawecki trade bait.  Flores surprises everyone, plays acceptable defense and hits .260 with 15 homers and 70 RBI.

Half-empty - Duda regresses, barely hits 15 homers and 60 RBI, Murph struggles with injuries, Wright's decline becomes official, d'Aranud can't stay healthy and Flores is what a lot of people think, a quadruple A shortstop.

Outfield:  half-full - Grandy, with Kevin Long's help finds more consistency, Lagares is still the Gold Glover we know, hits .280 and steals a few more bags.  Cuddyer stays healthy, hits 20 homers and drives in 80 RBI.  Mayberry is a solid 4th outfielder and give Cuddyer the rest he needs to stay on the field.

Half-empty - Grandy is still a strike out machine, the fences are the least of his worries and he continues to be wildly inconsistent.  Lagares doesn't progress with the bat and has another 15 day DL stint and Cuddyer is every bit of the 36 years old we feared.  Mayberry is relegated to bench warming or filling in and underwhelming regardless of position.

Pitching: Half-full - Everyone takes the step forward you would expect, Wheeler finds the control he needs, de Grom continues to do what he did last year, Niese stays healthy and Harvey is Harvey despite a strict innings limit.  Colon eats innings (and buffets) and Gee, well he may some place else for that left handed reliever we need.  The bullpen progresses as well, Familia and Mejia continue to hone their skills, Edgin continues his resurgence and Parnell becomes a vital member later in the season.

Half-empty - Wheeler struggles with the zone and is inconsistent, de Grom gets bit by the sophomore slump, Colon eats only buffets, Niese's shoulder is truly a problem and Harvey struggles to reacclimate to pitching as quickly as hoped.  The bullpen struggles to find a solid footing as injury and inconsistency hamper their efforts.

Ok, so these are obvious statements and concerns and as always the truth most likely falls somewhere in between.  All things being equal I see this team riding their pitching to around 84-86 wins, competing for the final wild card spot and finishing second to the Nats in the East (granted Jayson Werth doesn't hurt his beard in a freak drunk shaving accident).

This is not a bad roster, it has its share of question marks and concerns, but what roster doesn't.  Granted teams like the Cubs, Padres and White Sox have won the off season, but there are plenty of years the Mets did the same and there have been no World Series championships to speak of.  It's cliche but you don't win games on paper, you win them between the white lines starting in April.  There will be a surprise team that no one sees coming (see KC last year) and a team that should by all accounts win 95 games but stumbles and barely breaks .500.  That's baseball and that's why it's fun to watch, starting April 6th we see where we stand.

January 1, 2015

It's 2015...What's Next?

With the turn of the calendar page a new year is upon us and like 29 other fan bases who claimed wait til next year we are ready for more!  Pitchers and catchers report in less than two months and we will ring in the Grapefruit league season in no time.

So with a fresh start and a clean slate for the year what do the Mets need next?

Well, the shortstop conversation is still up in the air and unless Sandy has something up his sleeve we are resigning ourselves to Wilmer Flores at the 6.  Tulo is still ever present although I would have to say anything happening around him will wait until at least Spring Training when the Rockies can show he is healthy.  Ben Zobrist is a name that has surfaced since Tampa Bay signed Asdrubal Cabrera.  I would not mind Zobrist in the slightest.

A career .264 hitter with three 20 home run seasons and the ability to play almost anywhere, he would be a welcome addition to the team and would not cost nearly what Tulo would.  Granted Zobrist is 33 and past his peak form but he's a professional hitter and since he can play so many positions he can fill that super utility role while being a steady hand in the lineup.

We have long figured out that a lineup deep with hitters who can work the count and get timely hits super cedes the lineup with one megastar and seven nobodies.

Zobrist was not a guy I or anyone else thought of early in the off-season since he wasn't deemed available, but if he is Sandy should make a play and see if he can pry him away from the Rays.  This would be another move in line with the Cuddyer signing.  A guy who can still play, will not cost a ton and doesn't block up and coming players with a long term deal.

Although the impact bat we all may have hoped for hasn't arrived and may not, a healthy and maturing starting rotation and the addition of Cuddyer and possibly Zobrist could make for a formidable team especially considering the Braves seem to have mailed it in and the Phillies are in total rebuilding mode.  The Nationals are the odds on favorite to repeat as division champs and the Marlins are relying on young talent to carry them.  The Mets are definitely in a good position to jump up this season and surprise everyone.  Time to make it count.