How can the Mets go from 74 wins and 24 games out in their division in 2012 to World Series Contender in a matter of a few seasons? First off, the contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana are officially off the books after the 2013 season and only David Wright and Jon Niese are signed long-term.
The top catching prospect in baseball, Travis d’Arnaud, will be a regular in the Mets’ lineup at some point in 2013 and he’ll be working with a very good rotation that will probably include Niese,Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler in the top three spots going into 2014.
Martinez speculates that Ike Davis and Matt Harvey will be signed to contract extensions and that Johan Santana will most likely be traded at the deadline assuming the owners give the okay to eat in excess of $15 million dollars. The team’s biggest stumbling block to success will be the outfield.
The current team might possess the worst outfield in baseball and there really isn’t a lot down on the farm. Brandon Nimmo, the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft, is years away and far from being a surefire impact major leaguer. They’ll have to jump back into free agency next offseason or trade from an area of depth (starting pitching) to upgrade.
The outfield is indeed in shambles and Martinez believes the Mets will dive into the free agent market next offseason or the one after that for one, two or even three of the following players: Melky Cabrera (after the 2014 season), Shin Soo-Choo (2013), Coco Crisp (2013 or 2014 if club option exercised), Nelson Cruz (2013), Jacoby Ellsbury (2013), Brett Gardner (2014), Carlos Gomez (2013), Corey Hart (2013), David Murphy (2013), Hunter Pence (2013), Colby Rasmus (2014), Chris Young (2013 or 2014 if club option exercised).
Many of those names were already available this offseason and the Mets never made a move for them. I’m not so sure they will when they are all either one or two years older. I already discussed the weakness of the outfield market in 2014 and thought the Mets missed an opportunity by not pursuing Denard Span or signing B.J. Upton.
As far as what the Mets have waiting in the wings, if you’ve read my minor league posts in the last few days, what he writes next will sound familiar:
An impressive crop of pitching prospects, including Michael Fulmer, Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and Domingo Tapia, could begin to arrive in 2015. Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia might not have what it takes to remain starters, but both could end up being impact late-inning relievers.
Anyway, depending on if your a half-full or half-empty type of Met fan, 2015 is apparently now the magic number, at least according to Martinez. As for me, I’ll hold off on making any predictions until we first get ourselves an outfielder or two or three.
In the meantime I look forward to watching what Wheeler and d’Arnaud do in their debuts later this season, and seeing what Matt Harvey does for an encore.