The New York Mets had a fairly busy offseason. They’ve spent roughly $88 million by signing Bartolo Colon, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, among others. Let’s take an in depth look at the Mets with our position-by-position report card.
The Mets are counting on rookie Travis d’Arnaud to make the jump from putting up below average numbers in his time with the club last year, to an All-Star in his first full season at the major league level. This grade is one of the tougher ones, because it is unclear how good d’Arnaud could be. He was unimpressive in his short stint with the Mets last year producing a batting average of just .202. On the other hand, he is superb behind the plate and will be more comfortable in the batter’s box now that he has at-bats under his belt. This grade can quickly jump anywhere from an “A” to an “F”… only time will tell.
First Base: D+
Who knows what’s going on at first base? In December, it was practically a given that the Mets would trade Ike Davis, the only question was to whom. And here we are, the first official day of Spring Training, and Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, and Josh Satin are all on the roster. Unless either Davis or Duda is traded between now and Opening Day, the first base job will be won via a true competition. All of the first basemen have the potential to be “A” players, but potential doesn’t always translate to success.
Second Base: A-
Second base is one of two positions where Mets fans can be confident they will get an above average player each day this season (barring any injuries of course). Daniel Murphy has grown defensively, and is consistently able to find the vast Citi Field gaps. Murph has steadily improved each year in the Majors, and has turned himself into a fine player.
The shortstop position consists of Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla. That may change by the time March 31st rolls around, depending on whether the Mets eventually sign Stephen Drew. Last season Tejada was abysmal and Quintanilla is a solid veteran to have as a backup, but he’s nowhere close to being an everyday player. As of now, the Amazin’s will be in huge trouble if Tejada struggles.
Third Base: A
David Wright is the epitome of a captain. The 7-time All-Star works as hard as anyone and his results prove it. He holds the club record for hits, doubles, and extra base hits. He gives it his all day in and day out and wants nothing but victories. Captain America will go down as one of the greatest players to put on a Mets uniform.
The Mets outfield has gone from, “what outfield?” to one of the strengths of this team. The emergence of Juan Lagares and the additions of Chris Young and Curtis Granderson have helped change this group’s reputation as one of the worst in the game. Throw in NL base-stealing champion Eric Young, and the Mets have something going. It is unclear, however, where each player will play and how often. It seems illogical to remove the Gold Glove caliber Juan Lagares from center field. But knowing the Mets, I wouldn’t put it past them.
Starting Pitchers: B
This grade would have been an “A” if not for the demoralizing injury to Matt Harvey, which will sideline him for the entirety of the 2014 season (although Harvey says he wants to pitch this year). Nevertheless, the Mets still have a strong rotation. Their front 4, Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, and Dillon Gee, are all quality starters. Jenrry Mejia, John Lannan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, and Noah Syndergaard will compete for the 5th and final spot. Mejia appears to be the front-runner. He flashed his potential last year with a good fastball and a much-improved changeup. He was sidelined after just 5 starts in order to remove bone spurs in his elbow. In those 5 starts, Mejia had a 2.30 ERA. When Harvey returns next year the Mets will almost certainly have one of the strongest rotations in the game.
Relief Pitchers: C
The Mets bullpen has struggled since the Omar Minaya days. Sandy Alderson’s biggest contract prior to the $60 million one he gave Curtis Granderson, was the one he gave to Frank Francisco for $12 million, a colossal failure. Jon Rauch didn’t quite turn out as planned either. The veteran section of the Mets bullpen consists of Bobby Parnell, and two right-handers signed to minor-league contracts: Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde. The Mets bullpen could be very shaky this year.
One thing’s for sure: the Mets wouldn’t be valedictorian with these grades.