The dust is starting to settle on what has been one of the busiest off-seasons the New York Mets have had in a few years. However, as the dust settles, it’s becoming more and more evident that this Mets roster is no better than the roster of 2013.
The signings that have been made this winter have done nothing to improve the team from the start of 2013. What the signings did was improve the team from where they were at when the 2013 season ended. Had the roster gone unchanged, the 2014 Mets were on pace to win a dismal amount of games—probably in the 65 win range.
After the Winter Meetings ended, many baseball analysts labeled the Mets “winners,” but the roster is in the same exact place it was at the start of 2013. In fact, it may not even be as good as in 2013 with the loss of Matt Harvey.
How can this be, you ask? Take a look at this breakdown and tell me where the Mets have improved significantly from the start of the 2013 season…
Catcher: According to Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud is due to have a breakout year in 2014. We all hope that is the case, but John Buck hit 15 homeruns and drove in 60 runs during his time with the Mets. Do we expect d’Arnaud to perform significantly better offensively than Buck did? I understand that Buck’s numbers were driven by one great month, but at the end of the day he hit 15 homeruns and drove in 60. I feel d’Arnaud is an upgrade at catcher, but hopefully he can stay healthy because Anthony Recker is not much more than a younger version of John Buck.
First Base: The Mets are a convoluted mess at first base heading into 2014. They are no better at this position.
Second Base: The Mets should get similar performance as they did in 2013 from second base as long as Daniel Murphy is at the helm.
Shortstop: No improvement here unless Ruben Tejada regains his 2012 form.
Third Base: No improvement needed as David Wright is a perennial All-Star and one of the best in the game at his position.
Right Field: The Mets made a big splash signing free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson a couple of weeks ago. But was it an upgrade from what the Mets had in 2013? Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Granderson is a better player than Marlon Byrd, but do we expect Granderson to out-produce Byrd in 2014? Byrd spent two-thirds of the MLB season in a Mets uniform where he put up a .285 batting average to go along with 21 homers and 71 RBI. I like the Granderson signing, but I’m not convinced anyone can pass the straight face test while saying they can guarantee that Granderson puts up numbers like Byrd did in 2013.
Center Field: You would have to believe that Juan Lagares is going to improve going into his second season in the bigs. The Mets also went out and signed Chris Young to bring a little added pop from the outfield. Who is standing in centerfield on opening day is still anyone’s guess.
Left Field: Is it Eric Young Jr or Chris Young in left? One brings power and the other is a significant speed threat—too bad we can’t combine them into one player.
Pitching: The Mets lost one of the most dominant pitchers in 2013 for the 2014 season in Matt Harvey. They went out and tried to replace him with Bartolo Colon. While Colon probably won’t be featured in the body issue of ESPN, he should be a solid stop-gap in the rotation. The fifth spot in the rotation is also still up for grabs. Even with the Colon signing the rotation has taken a step in the wrong direction.
Bullpen: The Mets bullpen in 2014 is one that should improve, but it’s still anyone’s guess as bullpen pitching is very hard to predict from year to year.
So now that the dust has settled, where have the Mets improved? The Mets offseason signings have simply gotten them back to square one, right where they were in 2013. In 2013, they were a 74 win team.
The Mets haven’t won more than 80 games since 2008. The 2008 Mets featured three hitters that popped more than 25 homeruns in Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and David Wright. The lineup also featured a slick fielding and dynamic leadoff hitter in Jose Reyes. This roster is a far cry from the 2008 Mets that managed to win 89 games even with a lackluster pitching staff that only featured two pitchers with a sub-4.00 ERA (Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey).
Can anything happen in 2014?
Sure it can. But the Mets have not done anything to significantly improve this team for 2014 to have us believe something special will happen. While there is still time this winter for Sandy Alderson to continue improving the team, I don’t see where they can pick up the 10-15 additional wins that would put them in a playoff race in 2014.