Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:15 AM
Well, the Mets made their version a splash in the free agent market just before Christmas by signing........... a non Center Fielder to platoon with Juan Lagares at......Center field.
I believe our own Captain Kirk has also found a new home, and there perhaps can still be a chance that Mets might 'shock the world' and sign Yoenis Cespedes, thus simply making De Aza what amounts to a pretty solid (extra) lefty hitting outfielder.
However, as it stands now, there are some/many who believe that the Mets have the core of what they will be going with on their 25 man roster to start the season. So it got me thinkin...........Who are they counting on the most offensively?
The new middle infield is filled with veterans. I can respect the acquisitions in general, but I do not believe that either Cabrera or Walker will be hitting in the middle of the order.
Juan Lagares, even if he only plays against opposing lefties where his numbers are pretty solid, will not be doing so either.
I guess there is now the chance that Grandy can and will be moved into the middle of the batting order, at least against opposing Righties, but Im personally a little cautious about this move because the man just had his best year with the club. His production was solid, and despite all the 'waisted' solo homers, you simply can't discount the walk totals and overall OBP for the year from the guy who also gave you gold glove caliber defense in the field. The idea of 'if it aint broke don't fix it' is swirling through my head.
Michael Conforto looks legit ladies and gentlemen. I was beating that poor dead horse numerous times last year commenting and posting about my thoughts on his talents way back in spring training and in A ball with St. Lucie last year. He then burst onto the scene and possibly hit for even more power than I thought. It probably doesnt take an expert to project Conforto as a long term No. 3 hitter in a lineup. But can he do it in 2016?
Lucas Duda is the man who needs a plan this year. He needs a plan of attack. The organization has continued to now fully invest in Duda Smash services. The consistency is extremely troubling however, and his random approach at sometimes attacking first pitches, and then completely forgetting to lay off junk in the dirt for weeks at a time is scary, but I guess we can still honestly put in down for 25 homers.
Travis d'Arnaud is the guy who continues to get the pretty much undeserved lable of 'fragile'. The guy and his recent injuries were about getting hit and basically just pure bad luck. So at this point all we can really do is expect him to be there opening day, play MOST of the games SOMEWHERE on the field (i still say he has to catch) and see him live up to all that talent and potential.
Which now slowly/quickly brings me to the man of the hour, David Wright. What are we expect from our captain this coming year ahead? We've heard all the talk about David and his back CONDITION, which means its not an INJURY that will be fully healed next spring. There is talk of David now consulting with specialists about altering his pregame warmups and approach and hopefully shorten the length of time it takes for him to be game ready. But the bottom line is if David Wright can still be an everyday 3rd baseman for the Mets? And also, based on how this 2016 team seems to be constructed, does he now even have to play every possible game in the middle of the order?
I think we all kind of saw some glimpses of excellence from the captain in the 2 hole last year. David Wright, as many of us see, hear/read and know, is the ultimate pro. He's literally played with a broken back to help this team and compete. And so I'm sure he had no problem going from 3rd to 2nd in the lineup. In fact, there's actually some new things being set around the league which actually shows some teams trying to play their 'best players' in the 2 hole, so maybe I'm overreacting anyway with this to begin with. But, regardless, what impact overall will David Wright have ON THE FIELD for this team in 2016? And is it the key to the entire foundation of the organization and the direction they are heading for the entire season? I say yes.
I'm not saying that David Wright has to play 145 games, hit .300 with 15-20 homers and 90-100 RBIs, but I'm saying that the organization at this time seems to be HEAVILY invested in putting their trust into certain players this upcoming year, expecially the captain.
I know I've read many of the same articles/blogs/posts etc. from various beat writers and analysts who state that technically, guys like Cabrera, Walker, Wilmer and even Ruben Tejada can man third base as needed to hold down the fort. But, you know what, these arent the 2009-2014 Mets anymore folks. The 2016 Mets have a World Series starting rotation. And, if his confidence is not shaken, they have a world series closer in Familia.
I say David Wright is the key to the entire season because that's what means to the franchise. And not only that, we've seen what happens (april-july 2015) when they try to mix and match guys at 3B while going without a true legit 3-4 hitter power consistent dominant threat in the lineup. In my opinion the Mets have ignored the logic they kept saying they wanted to use in building this team. The one plan they've stuck with is the idea of holding onto the arms, I'll give them that, but there really is limited defense, speed, contact hitting and tough strikeouts in this lineup. In fact, they just let go of the best guy they had in NOT striking out in order to gain a draft pick and replace him with Neil Walker. Other guys who may still be the best on the team at not striking out are Wilmer and Tejada......you know, two guys who are now officially backups and won't be making that consistent contact on a regular basis. In no way am I saying they should both definitely be starting, but I'm randomly making a point.
This team seems to still be trying to be built on pitching, power hitting and experience. And I'm wondering what happens to this 25 man alignment if the captain is on the DL for a long period of time.
Like anything else, time with tell. David Wright I'm sure wants to play everyday. The question is even if he does give it a go, how productive will he be, and what impact, positive or negative, will it have the team during the season? Again, either way, I say he is the key. He will ALWAYS lead from the bench and in the clubhouse. But he's not Michael Cuddyer. The Mets need and expect David to also lead on the field and be productive.............................................................