When Brodie Van Wagenen took the reins as New York Mets general manager earlier this offseason, his to-do list in order to improve the club was quite long. He still has work to accomplish prior to pitchers and catchers reporting to Port St. Lucie next month, but one of the biggest needs that has required consistent attention was upgrading the offense.
Although BVW has already addressed that area of the roster by acquiring Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos for the middle of Mickey Callaway‘s lineup card, some uncertainties still exist. That’s why he’s starting 2019 off by continuing to pursue a number of options for the club as we inch closer toward Opening Day — with the outfield seemingly being the most important of all.
All of this got me wondering about how often we’ve actually seen a Mets offense that’s been both above-average and among the top in baseball in recent memory. This current decade has been filled with more rebuilding teams than truly competitive ones, but it’s interesting to see where they’ve ranked since 2010.
I’ll be using team wRC+ as the point of reference, which is a park-adjusted rate statistic that credits hitters for the value of each outcome since not all hits are created equally. The league average for this stat is 100.
|Year||Team wRC+||MLB Rank|
Outside of that huge jump between 2010 and 2011, it’s kind of surprising to see New York actually finish in the top 10 or just outside of it in the three years leading up to 2018. Mostly because, well, it seems like we’re always talking about a lack of offense with them to some degree.
For what it’s worth, this past year’s club would’ve been a lot worse had it not been for a second-half surge at the plate. New York entered the All-Star break with a team wRC+ of 90, which ranked 22nd in baseball. They finished where they did on offense thanks to a 101 team wRC+ over the final two-and-a-half months, which was the league’s 11th-highest mark during that time.
Adding Cano and Ramos to the fold hypothetically raises the performance floor of the Mets’ position players, but everyone is talking about how Van Wagenen and his front office still have work to do because of all the “if’s” that remain quite visible. As the roster currently stands, New York needs to hope for a bounce-back campaign from Todd Frazier, Amed Rosario to take another step forward, Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil to not regress too much, Juan Lagares to actually stay healthy, and who knows what at first base.
He took a step back in 2018 compared to his 2017 breakout, but his peripherals from the second half were more in line with what he did the year before. He’d fill the immediate need of at least a short-term full-time outfielder since Yoenis Cespedes is no sure thing. If Cespedes does come back and is healthy, Gonzalez can then provide some more certainty at shortstop, third base, and/or first base, if necessary.
The Mets certainly need more depth throughout the roster to feel confident about their chances of competing in 2019, but it’s also clear that they shouldn’t be done with regard to providing the offense with a major upgrade. Getting this done via free agency also makes the most sense because BVW used a lot of New York’s top prospect depth in the Cano-Edwin Diaz deal.
Yet another slow-moving market still gives them plenty of options, and as we keep getting further away from the holidays, asking prices from players and their agents are more likely to drop. Whether it’s Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, A.J. Pollock, Nick Markakis, or someone else, the Mets need to do something significant to continue giving this offense a shot at being a top-1o unit again, and a shot advancing in October — if they’re able to find a way to get there.