Much has been said regarding the future of the Mets’ outfield, with many suggesting a run at CarGo, Ellsbury, Choo, or Stanton. That certainly should be a focal point for this offseason; however, with the lack of production from the infield, even more questions have emerged. Let’s take a look at the situation at each infield spot.
Entering the 2013 season, Ike Davis was high on everybody’s list as a potential 40 homer threat. Well 9 home runs, a demotion, and an oblique injury later, now what do the Mets do? Lucas Duda has played decently since supplanting Davis as the everyday First Baseman, but is he an answer to the problem? Duda vs. Davis may be an interesting debate this offseason, especially because Davis will be earning around $4 – $6 million next season. Davis may be non-tendered of course, but Duda also has an option available for next season. So, there is a scenario where Lucas Duda is the starting 1B for the Las Vegas 51s, while Davis retains his job in New York.
Josh Satin has also earned a spot on the Mets bench and seems to be a good fit due to his versatility. He has below average speed and doesn’t hit for too much power, but he has a .329/.417/.493 slash line against southpaws. There is always the possibility of the Mets signing a free agent to fill the 1B need, but it is hard to envision the Mets going down this route. If the Mets are to spend money, look for them to spend it in the outfield or at SS.
Prognosis: I don’t know why and I hope it works out, but I honestly believe Ike Davis should be the First Baseman in 2014. He certainly has not earned it, but I am still inclined to give him one last shot. He has succeeded at this level and he has a much better glove than Duda at 1B. I of course would give him a short leash and stash Duda at 1B in AAA. A platoon with Satin/Flores would be advisable as well.
Daniel Murphy is and will be the second baseman for the New York Mets for the foreseeable future. Murphy seems to have the support of the front office and his manager, so it will be hard to supplant him at 2B. He has played in 149 of the 150 games this season and has played at least average defense. You’d like to see Murphy take a few more pitches, but at the same time he is most effective when he attacks the ball. He’s hitting .283 with 11 home runs, while his 19 stolen bases and 70 RBIs are career highs.
.309/.391/.512 with GG caliber defense.
Here’s where things get very interesting. Ruben Tejada is not loved by the organization, but still factors into the future. I like Tejada; however, I’m not sold on him being the everyday shortstop for the Mets. I believe he has the ability to both 2B and SS at this level in some capacity. He’s a contact hitter with no power, but will hit his fair amount of doubles. Has a solid arm and glove, but just has not put it together yet. These factors, in my mind, make him a solid backup.
Castro would cost a lot more in terms of prospects than any of them, but is by far the youngest. Hardy is entering the final year of his deal with the Orioles, so he is somebody that could be traded, especially with Manny Machado capable of shifting over to short. Alexei has good speed and is hitting .285 this season, but with a lot less power than his norm. He has two years left on his contract and about $17 million. He is a player that could be moved as the White Sox start rebuilding. Erick Aybar was infamously offered straight up for Jose Reyes by the Angles back in 2011. Aybar would be a solid pick up but comes with 3 years left on his deal at about $8 per year.
Prognosis: I would go after Alexei Ramirez. He’d cost less in terms of prospects than Castro, but would be a good 2 year fill for a position that definitely needs some change at the big league level.
Barring another injury, Travis d’Arnaud will be the starting catcher. Anthony Recker has some pop and is well-liked by the pitching staff. These two are the front-runners to be the opening day catchers on the roster. A veteran could be signed as insurance for the oft-injured d’Arnaud.