The New York Mets Are Actually Very Close to Being Contenders

By Craig Moir
Anthony Gruppuso-US Presswire

Let’s take a good look at the New York Mets after a quiet MLB Winter Meetings has now passed and it is looking more and more that there will not be many moves made this off-season.  I will prelude this article by saying this: No matter what I have stated before, the Mets are actually very close to being contenders.

But there is a caveat to that thought.  In order for the Mets to be contenders, several things must happen all together from now until the 2013 season ends.  First, GM Sandy Alderson has to find some way to bring in at least one major league viable outfielder that can help the youngsters that they will be putting out there every day.  I am not sure that only a Scott Hairston-type player would fill that role.  I understand that the Mets will not give in to the ridiculous demands that the Arizona Diamondbacks want for Justin Upton,  and Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher are probably too rich for the Wilpon’s blood, but the Mets need someone bad.

Secondly, Alderson might as well keep C Kelly Shoppach since he is comfortable in New York and I believe he would be a better fit with Josh Thole than a Miguel Olivo.  At this point even Olivo would be an upgrade at least defensively, but he does not provide any type of pop in his bat.  There is a huge gap in viable catchers after the Molina’s, so nobody is going to be a huge upgrade, but the Mets can not go into 2013 with Thole and Mike Nickeas.

Everyone seems sold on the fact that the Mets need dire bullpen help.  I say this. Last year, Alderson went wild at the Winter Meetings signing several relievers that at the time made sense.  Baseball is famous for the ups and downs of the bullpen from year to year.  It is not that far-fetched that the Mets could actually keep the bullpen they have with Frank Francisco closing, Bobby Parnell in the set-up role and youngsters like Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia rounding it out.  Bullpens are so hit or miss that the Mets might actually have something there.

Finally, we all know the starting rotation is set with Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, Jonathan Niese, Dillon Gee and for now, R.A. Dickey.  I hold to the belief that Dickey is the best option for acquiring and outfielder for the next few years.  I love watching Dickey pitch and the energy he brings to the Mets, but he is not a long-term solution for this club.  We will see Zack Wheeler later in the year, and the Mets rotation will be good for a long while barring injuries.

The main thing that needs to happen for the Mets to become relevant again is for David Wright to remain a leader of this club while getting production from Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.  If these players do not continue to improve and become the base of this ball club, then no matter what moves Alderson makes, they will be moot.

I have said for a while that it will not be until 2014 when fans will see a significant change in the Mets and the winning will begin.  Yet with a few minor tinkerings, the Mets may actually be a good team sooner rather than later.  The question remains if the Wilpons and Alderson are willing and able to find the two pieces the team needs now.  That question may not be answered until spring training or even later.  For now, fans just have to sit back and believe.


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