A Fan Shot by Brian Goudsward
The Mets have entered the 2013 offseason in a position where they need to spend. Following another lackluster season in 2013 and the fifth consecutive losing season of the franchise, the fan base’s frustration is now at an all-time high. There are a multitude of positions where upgrades are necessary like the outfield, which just took a major step forward with Curtis Granderson now aboard, the bullpen, starting pitcher, and shortstop. However, there is one position of need that has gone unnoticed, and that is first base.
The Mets have rolled with Ike Davis at first base for the last four years. The signs were nothing but positive in Ike’s rookie campaign of 2010. It begun with making stellar catches falling over the dugout railing, pounding monstrous home runs, while hitting for a respectable average in his first season. Then, a collision with David Wright in Coors Field cut his 2011 season very short. A valley fever scare in Spring Training the following year put 2012 in question and it was a year in which he rebounded after a disastrous first half.
Unfortunately, he hit rock bottom this past season in 2013.The boos were in abundance from the few fans that were in the seats at Citi Field and ultimately, it led to a demotion to Triple A Las Vegas. Even more so, it has added another position to the list for which the Mets need to explore other options. Lucas Duda’s name has been thrown around as a possible solution, but as someone who only drove in 33 runs with a batting average of just .223 and an unspectacular glove, Duda is just not a viable candidate. Instead, the Mets must look outside the organization for a possible plug-in. When taking a look at the list of free agent first basemen, there is one name in particular that is attractive and that name is James Loney.
Loney will not dazzle fans with majestic power or blow you away with exceptional talent, but what he has been is a solid, steady option at first base since coming into the league in 2006.
The 29 year old hit .299 with 13 Home Runs and 75 RBI in his lone season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. He owns a career batting average of a very respectable .285 across eight Major League seasons with the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Rays.
For an organization that has seen far too many strikeouts from its first basemen over the last several years, it would be refreshing to see Loney, who has never struck out 100 tiImes in a season. He would come as a relatively low-cost option, and for a team that certainly seems hesitant to sign free-agents, that is an added bonus.
The Mets are simply not in a position to be making blockbuster free-agent signings because of financial constraints. As a result, they have to pick their spots and be wise in their decisions. There is no reason that the talent level on the team cannot be improved. If money is tight, you have to be creative. Loney would fit well as a temporary first base fill-in given his body of work as a solid offensive player and his reputation for a slick glove.
The Mets’ outfield is in much better shape now with the signings of Curtis Granderson, and earlier, Chris Young. The focus should now shift to other positions. The Mets probably haven’t given too much thought on bringing in a first baseman, but it has been a position where the production has just been lacking too much. I think it is time for Sandy Alderson to really take a closer look at first base and realize that an alternative is needed.
With the proper moves being made, I am confident that the Mets can move closer to contention in 2014. First base should be looked at the same as all of the other holes and they cannot be tricked into thinking the answer is on the roster. The answer for first base in 2014 is James Loney. Now, Sandy Alderson must make it happen.
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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader, Brian Goudsward. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 25,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.