Top 5 Offseason Priorities For New York Mets
Top 5 Offseason Priorities For New York Mets
After a hard-fought 2013 season, the New York Mets are about to embark on a critical and eventful offseason. They’ve already locked up manager Terry Collins for a couple more seasons, and now it’s time to put together a roster that Collins can win with in 2014 and beyond. The Mets put up a valiant effort late in the season using a lot of young players, and they were able to hold their own because of a lot of heart and effort. But there are a plethora of holes on the Mets’ roster heading into the offseason, and GM Sandy Alderson needs to find a way to fill most, if not all of them.
The Mets have a talented starting rotation that’s ready to return next season, even with ace Matt Harvey ruled out for the 2014 season. That rotation is going to put them in a position to be successful in 2014, but for the Mets to compete in a tough NL East division and be in contention for a playoff spot, they’re going to need to fill out their roster with position players that can help produce runs.
As it stands right now, third base is likely the only position that the Mets won’t have to address during the offseason. At every other position, the Mets are going to have to make a decision about how to proceed, whether that means promoting a player from within or acquiring a player through a trade or free agency. Of all the Mets’ needs this offseason, here are their top five priorities:
5. Veteran Catcher
Travis d’Arnaud is set up to be the starting catcher in 2014, and the Mets hope he can hold that position for many years to come. But considering his injury history and his inexperience at the major league level, the Mets need to make sure they have a competent backup, and their best bet is finding a veteran that knows going in that he’ll be a backup and who will be happy with that role. The Mets have solid catching depth with guys like Anthony Recker, Juan Centeno and Francisco Pena, but if d’Arnaud gets hurt, there’s no way they can feel good about going with any of those guys for an extended period. This means they’ll have to find a dependable veteran catcher in free agency.
4. Veteran Starter
Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee are penciled in as starters, while Matt Harvey has been ruled out for next year. This means there’s room for two more starters in the Mets’ rotation, despite the possible return of Jenrry Mejia and several talented pitching prospects. Even if Harvey returns from his elbow injury in 2014, the Mets will have a young rotation and will need a veteran to help anchor it. The Mets struck out with Shaun Marcum last season, and they need to make sure they find the right veteran starter this offseason.
This is a tricky situation for the Mets. They’re not happy with Ruben Tejada, but he’s still incredibly young for a guy with so much big league experience and they may not want to give up on him so soon. However, the Mets will certainly explore options outside the organization at shortstop. Tejada could have a bounce-back year in 2014, but there’s no guarantee that will happen, and if the Mets are going to compete, they need someone at shortstop they can trust. Right now, that’s not Tejada, and this will force them to go outside the organization to find their shortstop for 2014.
2. Corner Outfielder
How the Mets fill out their outfield will go a long way toward determining how good they are in 2014. They have enough options in center field to feel good about that position, but they need to find a right fielder that can provide power and at least be solid defensively. The Mets may also be looking for a left fielder, depending on whether or not they keep Eric Young Jr.. The Mets will look at free agents and should be active on the trade market, doing whatever it takes to get at least one corner outfielder that can be an impact bat in the middle of their order. Rumors indicate that Shin-Soo Choo could be their top target, but he might be out of their price range, which means they may have to get creative in order to find a viable outfielder.
1. First Base
The Mets don’t necessarily need to acquire a new first baseman this offseason, but they could decide to go that route. More than anything, the Mets need to make a decision about what they want to do at first base because that will dictate how they handle other positions. However, there are a lot of options to sort through. Ike Davis is a possibility, but he could be done with the Mets after a terrible 2013 season. Lucas Duda blew an opportunity to play first base every day in September. Josh Satin is nothing more than a platoon player, and Wilmer Flores could have a future at first base, despite playing sparingly there during his career. The Mets will need to make a decision to either go with one or two of those guys, or find someone from outside the organization. Either way, it could be the biggest decision they make this offseason, and it’s the thing they need to decide before doing anything else.