Monday was a big day for the New York Mets. Jacob deGrom became the fifth player in franchise history to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award. (Two other Mets players – Travis d’Arnaud and Jeurys Familia – finished in the top ten.)
That wasn’t a big surprise – while Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton and St. Louis’ Kolten Wong had good rookie years, they didn’t have deGrom’s credentials.
The Mets also signed outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year contract on Monday, potentially signaling a shift in focus to trying to win in the present rather than building for some undefined point in the future.
I was initially in favor of signing Cuddyer this winter, but I didn’t think he was worth the gamble once the Colorado Rockies extended a qualifying offer that forced the Mets to forfeit their first round pick in next year’s amateur draft to do it.
If Cuddyer is healthy, he’s a significant upgrade over Matt den Dekker offensively… but there’s no guarantee that Cuddyer, who will be 36 by Opening Day, will manage to get 500 plate appearances next season. Injuries limited him to 49 games in 2014 and 101 games in 2012. Factor in the loss of whoever the Mets could have taken with the 15th overall pick in next year’s draft, and I thought it was too big of a risk. I still do.
But I’m happy to see Sandy Alderson place more value on winning now. David Wright turns 32 next month. The clock is ticking on the Mets’ cheap (for now) young players and they won’t be able to keep all of them once they reach their arbitration years and free agency eligibility.
Taking some risks is essential, or the Mets will never climb out of mediocrity. I just hope this gamble works out.