What would it take this offseason for the Mets to contend for a Wild Card in 2014 as Sandy Alderson asserts?
DrDooby – I believe that adding one impact outfielder (like Choo, Beltran, Ellsbury), a legit starting shortstop (like Drew, Peralta or via trade Y. Escobar or A.Ramirez), a quality mid-rotation veteran staring pitcher (like Arroyo, Feldman or Nolasco) and one outfield bat with pop (like M.Byrd, C.Hart, N.Cruz as free agents or maybe M.Cuddyer or J.Willingham via trade) would give the Mets a legit shot at contending. Those would be four legit average to above average major leaguers to replace mostly replacement level fringy guys. If Wheeler & d´Arnaud make significant progress, the young power pitching depth in both the rotation & bullpen proves adept over the course of the season, and the Mets manage to avoid serious long term injuries beyond Harvey, they have a very legit chance to contend in that case with a roster that – on paper – should be improved by 10-14 wins.
Kirk – I don’t think there’s much of anything Alderson can do to make this team a wild card contender in 2014. I’d just like to see him focus on signing solid players to reasonable contracts similar to what the Red Sox did last offseason. A few smart additions coupled with the development of our current crop of players could lead to a vast improvement in the standings and perhaps catching lightening in a bottle and making the playoffs.
Satish – We need actual improvement at multiple fields. I say the bullpen and maybe the rotation can be looked at as general strengths, so a guy like Jacoby Ellsbury or Carlos Beltran should be signed (not a fan of Choo). If a guy like Jhonny Peralta gets signed, which would be great, we’d still need more to compete. It’s sad, however, that I feel like we’re not in the running for more than one free agent — and we might not sign a single one.
Barry – I think the Mets need to add between 5 and 8 new players to the 25-man roster, at least 3 of whom can be penciled in as starters in the outfield, shortstop, or pitching rotation with the others competing for possible starting jobs/platoon/ backup with the holdovers. These can come via free agency, trades, Rule 5 drafts, or even their own minor league system (Montero, Syndergaard, Flores?). Of course, whether I am confident or just think that the Mets have an outside chance of making the playoffs depends on who they are.
Tommy – We need to somehow acquire an elite bat, and I’m talking somebody like Carlos Gonzalez, not Shin-Soo Choo. If we trade for a CarGo-type player, it will make a big difference. After that, I would also need to see the Mets acquire a second top-level player (Choo? Ellsbury?) or two solid–but-not-elite bats like Jhonny Peralta or JJ Hardy (through trade or free agency). Carlos Beltran and Marlon Byrd should also be considered. If Curtis Granderson is willing to take a short-term deal to re-establish his value, the Mets should explore that avenue as well. Do we have the money for these signings? Do we have the trade chips for these deals? Probably not, especially after our “surplus pitching” was blown up by several elbow injuries. But this is what it would take for me.
* * * * * * * *
What I want to see more than a futile attempt to chase a wild card, is something that Sandy Alderson hasn’t been able to provide in three offseasons already – to add just one proven MLB hitter that will be with the team when we are ready to compete again.
Had we added one legitimate everyday outfielder last offseason, and a shortstop to replace Jose Reyes the offseason before that, we’d only have 3-4 holes to fill instead of 5-7.
I’m not looking for some pie-in-the-sky offseason or for us to fix every problem in one fell swoop. That’s unrealistic. I just want to see us improve one player or position at a time – at the very least. I don’t believe that’s asking a lot.
As Sandy enters the final year of his contract, I’m surprised that someone who was supposed to be among the best in baseball in finding and securing undervalued talent, has the team with more voids to fill than when he took over. I don’t think anyone expected that even with all the financial problems that have hovered over this team.
One of the reasons I was glad to see Sandy Alderson get the job as Mets GM, was because I felt he was the best chance the Mets had to add solid major league hitters to the team without needing a $140 million dollar payroll to do it. That was the bill of goods we had been sold.
But instead here he is, about to wrap up his four-year deal (there’s still a team option year), and our offense is more impotent now than ever before. With a front office whose focus was supposed to be on reducing strikeouts and getting on base more, we are now among the worst in both those categories. I never expected that in a million years – especially after three full seasons in the bag. That’s not what I signed up for.
To answer the question about what it would take to compete for a Wild Card in 2014, I find that almost impossible to answer. There’s just so much work to do now and it’s because we have no viable holdovers offensively that were bought in by this front office. I find that very disappointing.
The owner of the team himself mentioned only third base as far as what positions he thought the team was set at, on Tuesday. One position out of eight (excluding pitchers) – and that’s based on the optimistic view of the team’s own COO.