Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

New Mets

Jon Niese DSCN8232
Jon Niese, one of the last Mets remaining who played for them at Shea Stadium, was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets completed an infield makeover this week, trading Jonathon Niese to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Neil Walker and signing free agent Asdrubal Cabrera.

The moves were a surprise after the Mets spent much of the early offseason pursuing Ben Zobrist, who spurned them to rejoin his former manager Joe Maddon with the Chicago Cubs.

You’d have to guess that the Opening Day lineup will feature Lucas Duda at first base, Walker at second, Cabrera at shortstop and David Wright at third.

I’m not sure that’s any better than the 2015 Opening Day infield of Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores and Wright… but it’s not any worse. And on the plus side, Flores provides a better option off the bench than John Mayberry Jr.

But the Cabrera signing is still a bit of a puzzle for me. With news coming out of Venezuela this week that Flores fractured his left ankle playing winter ball, Ruben Tejada recovering from a broken leg sustained during the NLDS, and Wright dealing with spinal stenosis for the rest of his life, adding infield depth is not a bad idea.

However, the defending National League champion needs a better starting outfield than Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson. And their batting order is still missing a real leadoff hitter and a right-handed power hitter to complement Duda and Granderson.

Denard Span, if healthy, could be that leadoff hitter. Yoenis Cespedes could provide the power. Either would have filled a more obvious need than Cabrera, but unless the Mets have more surprises in store I don’t see how either fits into their 2016 payroll plans.

It’s only December 10th, so the Mets’ front office certainly has time to work it all out… let’s see what else they do.

One thought on “New Mets

  1. I tend to disagree about Cabrera and the “moves” and “needs” in general.

    The Mets needed a real shortstop. Cabrera isn’t light years better than Tejada or Flores, but he’s a real shortstop AND a switch hitter. Walker is pretty even with Murphy’s all around game, better defensively for sure, AND Walker’s a switch hitter. Flores is a good back-up for the bunch for 2016. If he ups his game, he can take over from Walker, but Walker’s only here for one year anyway.

    As for the outfield, Conforto, Lagares and Granderson is already an upgrade from Granderson, Lagares and take your pick.

    Wright is likely going to have to miss, say, 20 games. But the stenosis really shouldn’t be a huge issue for the next year or two. Yes, gradually, it’ll get worse. But Mattingly’s back issues began in 1987 (and got worse in 1990), but he played 125 games at first base in 1995 (his final season) batting .288 (below Mattingly par, but not bad for a 34 year old, with or without back issues). He did lose some power, over time.

    And here’s the thing everyone likes to forget, for some reason. The Mets started 2015 on fire. That was without Cespedes. It was only when Wright and d’Arnaud got hurt that they struggled. Duda went into a tailspin without lineup protection. As bad as we got, we still kept pace with Washington when we were at our worst. You can say the Nationals were terrible, too, but what makes anybody believe they are better than what they showed last year? I think they are what they were. The Marlins, Braves and Phillies aren’t even worth talking about. I love Cespedes. Me, I’d pay almost anything to keep him. But we don’t NEED him or a bat like his to get back to the post-season. What we need is for Wright and d’Arnaud to stay healthy, the rotation to stay healthy, and upgrades to the bench and bullpen. We’ve upgraded both the starting nine and the bench by signing two solid switch hitters–however the position battles shake out. We upgrde the outfield by having Conforto for a full year. The bullpen is still missing a piece or two and a cheap platoon partner for Lagares would be nice. I’ve got no problem with Grandy as the leadoff guy. None.

    Alderson has proven himself to be sneaky smart. I truly believe he knows what he’s doing. The team is built on pitching and its already been upgraded from the Mets team that was red hot in April. I think we’re fine. We will make the post-season in 2016, even if no other moves are made. The only question I see is whether we can beat the Cubs again…and that will depend on their (the Cubs) pitching.


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