Posted by Matthew Silva at 7:10 PM
Pitchers and catchers will be reporting soon and that means we have a little over a month until our hopes and dreams for this season become a harsh reality. Let’s be honest with ourselves. This team, as it stands, simply isn’t good enough to make it to the postseason. There is little hope for the 2013 New York Mets. But is there hope for 2014?
Sandy Alderson recently told Adam Rubin of ESPN.com that there could be some “significant activity” in 2014 when they shed some of the financial burden this team has been suffering with for the last few years. Granted, Alderson might believe giving any player a major league contract counts as significant activity considering we haven’t achieved that feat this year. It is a shame, but that seems to be the theme for 2013. This year is being punted, whether any fans want it to be or not, and we have to just sit and wait for the next series.
2014 is our next chance to achieve something and in an effort to preemptively numb the pain of this upcoming season, let us take a look at a couple of things that should be done to make this team competitive in the coming years.
What the Mets should do: Sign Josh Johnson.
Johan Santana’s contract will be off the books and even though the Mets seem to have a strong core of Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey and eventually Zack Wheeler, someone needs to lead this rotation. Josh Johnson could be that someone. This will be a pivotal year for Johnson. He will be coming off yet another injury filled season and he will be pitching against some potent lineups in the AL East after being sent to the Toronto Blue Jays this off season. Johnson could set himself up for a big payday if he performs and the Mets should seriously consider giving him the opportunity to be the number one option in their rotation.
He would be very familiar with the NL East lineups and would have the benefit of the pitcher-friendly Citi Field. Johnson tied his career-high in home runs allowed last year and pitching in Flushing could help him keep that number down. In our hearts we want a homegrown guy to be the top gun, but I don’t think that Harvey or Niese are ready to be that guy. Johnson has the ability and the pedigree. As long as he stays healthy, he will hopefully don blue and orange in 2014.
What the Mets should do: Sign Jacoby Ellsbury and Hunter Pence.
This should be a no-brainer. This team is void of outfield talent and these two players could turn that all around in one fell swoop. Ellsbury is in his contract year and after his injury plagued 2012, he will be looking to show his MVP-like talent to all of major league baseball. The Mets sorely need a gold glove caliber center fielder with a career .297 batting average. He could help carry this team’s offense from the top of the lineup by getting on base and accruing steals. We all thought we could achieve this by signing players like Andres Torres on the cheap to get similar results and we all saw how that turned out.
As far as Pence goes, he fits with this team in so many ways. The Mets are in dire need of another right handed hitter with good pop to balance the lineup and Pence can be a guy that alleviates the pressure on David Wright to be the team’s only threat from that side of the plate. And while he has never been the greatest fielder (7 errors in 2012), he has a strong arm and would look like a gold glover compared to the likes of Lucas Duda. But what Pence really brings to the table is his tenacity. This guy is a competitor and he gives it his all every single game. This is the type of ballplayer that Terry Collins will covet if he is coaching beyond 2013 and hopefully his attitude will galvanize a team that already preaches competing until the last out.
These are just a few of the steps needed to field a competitive team next year, but these could be the most important. Again, it is unfortunate that we as Mets fans have to look into the future a little further than most, but admit it. You’re looking forward to 2014 just like Sandy Alderson is and these improvements could make punting worth it in the end.
Do you have any ideas for 2014? Do you think the Mets will prove me wrong and become competitive this year? Post here and tell me why.