Looking Ahead...Quite a Bit - Matt Silva

        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.


Charles said...

I like the outfield choices, although I doubt they'll sign both. I see them getting possibly Pence and going with Den Dekker in center,

No way on JJ!!! Always hurt and will cost way too much for the mets to have to pay another over priced pitcher to spend have his contract on the DL.

Mack Ade said...

Excellent post.

Welcome to Mack's Mets.

Unknown said...

Charles- In a perfect world, the Mets would hopefully address both spots, but I can see them going with Den Dekker. And as far as JJ goes, he is the closest thing to an ace that the 2014 FA class has to offer. He did pitch 190+ innings last year. I would take that gamble.

Mack- Thank you very much. I look forward to more.

Justin M. said...

I'm hoping they can fill all their SP spots from the minors over the next few years. Also, JJ can't stay healthy and is going to get a HUGE contract if he has a decent 2013.

SO I'd go get two of Pence, Choo, Ellsbury. Any guesses to what contracts these guys will command? Jason Werth money?

Mack Ade said...

I've lost tract of what Alderson is trying to do in the outfield. Is he trying to only sign people to one year contracts?

Unknown said...

Justin- it really all comes down to the year these guys have. They are all into their thirties so this could be their last big payday. For Choo and Pence, they will probably be looking for around 9-12 million a year.

Choo could put up some big numbers in the Reds lineup and he will definitely be looking for a raise on the 5 million he is earning this year. Ellsbury is tough to predict, but I'm sure he'll want more than the others.

Justin M. said...

I'm thinking 15-17M per for these guys. All three are better than BJ Upton and Nick Swisher.

Charles said...

It all depends on the walk year PLUS next season the new tv money kicks in. 50 mill to every team. Prices will sky rocket.

The Mets will have a rotation of Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Gee, and ????.

They could easily fill that void with a McHugh or a slot saver until Montero is hopefully ready. I hope they spend their money on the outfield. This team can easily compete next season as long as they are actually willing to reinvest all of the Santana, Bay, and Fransisco money that'll come off the books.

Also, it seems as if Hairston might just be a plan B at this stage. That could be Sandy trying to get his price down or them actually trying to pull something off. We'll see.

TP said...

Good post. A couple of comments - 1. 2014 s a long long way off, and much can happen with the players you name as well as with the Mets' personnel. Not bad choices, although I would stay away from JJ. Hopefully the farm will have a great year and enhance the ability to fill a major hole via trade as wel.
2. Please do not write-off 2013 yet. There will be some additions to this roster. We need to be realists, but the wonderful thing about baseball is we can all dream and dream big. Just last year, who had the O's in the playoffs, the A's wining the AL west, and RA winning a Cy Young?

Herb G said...

Interesting, forward looking post, Matt. But just because it's 4th and 10, I wouldn't assume Sandy is going to punt. I sense a "Hail Mary" coming up, one big play Sandy has up his sleeve. Before we decide on what to do in 2014, we need to see what he does in 2013. He might sign a Marcum or Saunders to a 2 year deal, or trade for Upton or someone else under team control for a while. Things change.

I like your thinking on acquisitions. Just because Johnson had his troubles 2 years ago doesn't mean he is bound to repeat. How he looks next year will tell a lot. Wainwright, Shields and even Garza are reasonable alternatives. Then again, as I said before, he might get someone on a two year deal now, and then wait for Syndergaard, Mazzoni or Montero to be ready for 2015.

Similarly, for the outfield, we need to wait and see what comes our way now, then respond next off season. I think Ellsbury and Pence, if we could sign them, would be great fits on this team. It might pay to work a trade with Boston to get Jacoby now, if it didn't cost too much, and then extend him, or make him a qualifying offer and attempt to resign him at season's end. There are, of course, some alternative outfielders we could target in 2014, just so we aren't shut out by putting all our eggs in one basket.

Mack's Mets © 2012