Plus one minus one equals zero. Simple math that New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson doesn’t seem to understand.
Adding one guy but losing another of equal (or lesser) ability doesn’t improve a team. They are merely replacements.
The New York Mets signed Chris Young, Curtis Granderson, and Bartolo Colon this offseason. Young has hit 32 homers in a season before, Granderson once hit 43, and last year Colon lead the AL in ERA. But look closer, and what stands out are not who the Mets have added but who they have lost. The Mets will be without their ace Matt Harvey, and Comeback Player of the Year candidate Marlon Byrd. The Mets essentially signed Colon to replace Harvey, and Granderson to replace Byrd. The Mets would likely be pleased with their production if the new guys play as well as the ones with whom they have traded places.
No one expects Colon to put up Harvey’s 0.93 WHIP (which trailed only Clayton Kershaw) and 2.27 ERA (which trailed just Kershaw and Jose Fernandez). The Mets are just expecting Colon to pitch as well as he did last year (2.65 ERA). And although Granderson will be making twenty-one times what Byrd made last year, I’m sure Mets fans would be satisfied with Byrd’s 24 home runs, .291 AVG, and .330 OBP. For comparison, Granderson in his last full season hit 43 home runs, and owned a .232 AVG, and .319 OBP. Granderson is on the wrong side of 30 and missed practically the entire season last year, so it isn’t even a lock that he will reach Byrd’s numbers. Basically, the only true addition the Mets have made was Chris Young, who had a .200 AVG and hit 12 home runs last season.
Put this all together and it means that Mets’ success depends on their young players. This team will only go as far as their inexperienced guys can take them. Travis d’Arnaud is going to have to step up this year, and Zack Wheeler doesn’t need to be as spectacular as Harvey, he just needs to be very good. Additionally, the Mets have to get production from shortstop and first base, whoever they may be. If the Mets are left with another season of Tejada hitting .200 and committing mental errors, and Davis changing his swing every other at bat, we’re in for a long season.