Throughout the offseason, most fans did not expect the New York Mets to make a flurry of moves. Aside from a Tuesday night during the Winter Meetings, the New York Mets met expectations. There were some rumors here or there about interest in a free agent or some trade discussion – most of it surrounding left-handed pitcher Jon Niese with a couple of whispers related to first baseman Ike Davis. Somewhat surprisingly, the New York Mets might have one of the more complete rosters in the game at this point and GM Sandy Alderson is enthusiastic about his bunch.
If you look at the Mets’ roster, you don’t see too many major openings. First base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots are accounted for. Daniel Murphy has the inside track at second base and the Mets will probably be willing to take some defensive lumps to keep his bat in the lineup. Basically that means you can add second base to that list. Josh Thole figures to get at least a chunk of the playing time behind the dish, but that is a two-man job for many teams and it is too early to say if the Mets have committed to a backup/co-starter. There are some bench spots up for grabs, but the Mets’ postponement of signing the “coveted” left-handed fifth outfielder indicates that they are pretty satisfied with things at this moment.
In the starting rotation the Mets are going to trot out R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee, Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Chris Schwinden until Johan Santana is finally healthy (if that ever happens). I’ve dogged the pitching staff plenty this offseason, but there are plenty of instances where teams don’t even have five guys that they want to start the season with at this point. Hell, look at the New York Yankees last year. They were fortunate in 2011, but any other year, I think most fans are taking what the Mets have over a rotation that includes A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. Of course it is easy to say that while ignoring the fact that the Mets don’t have a CC Sabathia to anchor the rotation. Hopefully that is coming though. The bullpen will require some sorting, but the bodies are there.
If the New York Mets played in almost any other division than the National League East, I might be quite a bit more optimistic about their chances to contend. Unfortunately the Mets are stuck where they are and will have to weather the storm in one of the top two division in baseball. At least with the majority of the roster set, most players can spend Spring Training adding new skills and sharpening existing ones. Hopefully that will allow everyone to get the best out of his game in 2012.