Where Do The Mets Go From Here?

As the trading deadline passed, the Mets decided on keeping the quartet of starting pitchers–Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz intact–for now.

And to me, that is the correct decision as I sit here at Nationals Park for one reason-the return offers did not equal what any of these pitchers are worth. And just to make a trade for the sake of making a trade is pointless. I do think in the month of August both Devin Mesoraco and Jose Bautista will be moved but the return will be minimal at best.

I also believe that in order to contend in 2019 this team needs to become more athletic, possess more team speed, and have both a defense and bullpen that can support these starters.

That being said, this coming off-season the team could have a brand new general manager in control and the plans could change.

I will say that signing Jacob deGrom to a long-term extension (five years,$120 million) should be the top priority. After that this BP has some pieces but needs some help. The misconception about the Mets this year is their offense betrayed the pitchers. While this has some merit, the bullpen was awful and needs help.

I do think Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Anthony Swarzak could provide a trio of good set up guys but they need a closer. Free agents Craig Kimbrel, Cody Allen, Kelvin Herrera, and even Jeurys Familia should all be on their radar. Of the youngsters, I like Drew Smith and Tyler Bashlor but not much else I have seen. I love the stuff Gerson Bautista possesses whom Mets got in Addison Reed trade, but he needs more minor league reps.

As far as the defense is concerned, you need more athleticism out there if you are going to rely on starting pitching while the offense needs help as well. I would take a run at Batting Champion and Gold Glover DJ LeMahieu for 2B and use both Wilmer Flores and Jeff McNeil as great utility infielders. I would move Jay Bruce to 1B and put Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the corner outfield positions while trying to get a CF who could play incredible defense and hit the ball as well.

That could be Juan Lagares but his injury history concerns me. A.J. Pollock or Adam Jones could be a fit there which would both add offense and improve the defense. I like Adam Jones, but his 33-year-old body concerns me

The catching position needs help as well as I do believe Kevin Plawecki could be a fine back up catcher but Yasmani Grandal could be a good platoon partner for him.

I know that this list does not include any of real high ticket items but I honestly think it is not realistic for Met fans to dream about Machado or Harper. And I will say this–seven-year contracts, which they will likely command, do not thrill me as they rarely work out the way you think they should.

I know I am in the minority about this but I firmly believe Mets are not as far away as people think. Michael Conforto will be a core piece here and despite the fact I am not counting on Yoenis Cespedes to start the season for obvious reasons, he could be a great trade deadline addition for the team–if you get my drift.

The Mets also need to change their hitting approach so they become one of the first teams to defy the game’s logic. Hitters like Conforto and LeMahieu as well as Pollock could really push this team in that direction which would make power hitters like Bruce and Frazier more useful in the lineup to put an exclamation point on big innings.

It has been an awful season for this team but the last two months are so important as Rosario, Conforto, and Swarzak could be three key pieces for this team in 2019. Peter Alonso could also be a piece for this team should Bruce’s injury woes continue.

As Met fans, think out of the box as I can safely tell you guys like Harper and Machado will not be on Mets radar but the players I mentioned above should be–because they are baseball players that will help define the next wave in baseball–forget the launch angle and use the whole field. Because power can be contained in post-season while pitching controls the game.

Who knows–with this plan the Mets might even convince baseball that Batting Average is still an important stat and starting pitchers might even start throwing eight or nine innings in a game on a regular basis.

If Mets don’t try this plan, some other team will–and teams shifting will pay dearly. I have thought about this long and hard and this is the best way for the Mets to re-tool this team. Not over the top free agents but players in the game that won batting titles like LeMahieu and solid five-tool athletes like Pollock. That, along with an airtight bullpen, will support this quartet of great starting pitchers.

About Rich Coutinho 5 Articles
Rich Coutinho has been a Met beat reporter since 1984 working at ABC Radio, WFAN, ESPN Radio, and SNY.tv. He is the author of Press Box Revolution as well as an upcoming book on the Miracle Mets which will hit the stores in April of 2019. He lives in Rye, New York.