When the Mets hire a new General Manager, many will focus on what needs to be done to be done to the Major League roster to help bring the Mets their next World Series. Part and parcel of that is reassessing the Mets farm system. That means not only deciding which players are and are not part of the future, but also on deciding on what their roles should be:
Believe it or not, there is still a real debate about who the Mets first baseman of the future should be. Where some see Peter Alonso as the obvious answer, others seem him as a DH. Where some see Dominic Smith, some like Keith Law of ESPN, see Smith as someone who will hit at the Major League level.
Ultimately, the is the Ike Davis/Lucas Duda situation all over again. Much like the Mets did in 2013, they are eventually going to have to make a decision between Smith and Alonso. If they guess right, they have a key piece of a World Series contender. If they guess wrong, they will flounder while watching the better player help take another team to the next level.
While the general consensus believes Andres Gimenez is the Mets top prospect, there remains a question over where he should play at the Major League level. While Baseball America believes he can be a good defender at shortstop, he is currently blocked by Amed Rosario. The natural inclination would be to move Gimenez to second base, but Jeff McNeil has shown real promise there this year and may serve as a long term impediment there. That leaves third where his glove may play but his bat probably won’t.
Overall, Gimenez presents a real dilemma. Is he a top of the order middle infielder, or is he trade bait to help take the 2019 Mets over the top? There is no simple solution.
Sort Through the Right-Handed Relievers
The Mets spent the past two trade deadlines acquiring right-handed reliever after right-handed reliever. We have seen Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, Eric Hanhold, Jacob Rhame, Drew Smith, and Bobby Wahl pitch and struggle at the Major League level. With them getting a chance at the Major League level, the 40 man roster has become top heavy with right-handed relievers, which is a big problem when you consider the team is going to have to add at least one reliever this offseason.
It is quite possible at least one of these relievers is going to have to be designated for assignment to make room for a Major League acquisition. Considering how much the Mets gave up to acquire these relievers and how the bullpen is a perennial issue, the Mets cannot make a mistake on who they keep and who they release.
Rotation or Bullpen
This past season, the Mets gave starts to Corey Oswalt, Chris Flexen, and P.J. Conlon starts. Of the trio, Oswalt performed best with an underwhelming 5.85 ERA. The next General Manager needs to determine if the root cause of these struggles will stand in the way of these pitchers serving as being sufficient starting pitching depth.
Can you truly rely on them in a spot start? Will they continue to develop and become Major League starters? Are they better suited for the bullpen?
In the case of Conlon, the Mets had seemingly already decided he should be a reliever. With Flexen, we have seen him be a two pitch pitcher with a curveball which could be a real out pitch. Overall, there is no easy answer, and as we saw with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo this year moving starters into the bullpen depletes needed depth in the event you need a pitcher to make a couple of starts.
A few weeks ago, Chris Becerra left the Mets organization to join the Red Sox. Becerra was one the more respected International Scouting Directors in the game, and he was instrumental in the Mets signing Rosario. Behind Rosario is a number of talented international free agents who could have a big impact on the Mets in the future.
This leaves the Mets in a precarious spot. At the moment, it appears like Omar Minaya, who was responsible for signing Jose Reyes, could fill Becerra’s shoes. However, that is only if the new GM wants to retain Minaya. While Minaya is well respected in the game, you can foresee a situation where a new GM will not want to keep one of his predecessors on the payroll.
Overall, these are just five of the looming issues for the Mets next GM as it pertains to the minor leagues. There are a number of other decisions which need to be made with respect to player development and the like. Over the past year, the Mets have made significant strides on that front, and the team is not going to want to lose that momentum.