It's great to have great players in your starting lineup, but seasons are often won or lost by how the marginal guys do (or don't).
How did the Mets' offensive subs do in 2016? my own definition is a sub is a guy healthy most of the year who had 300 or less at bats. Let me list them in my perceived performance order, add some commentary, and draw some conclusions:
JOSE REYES - more starter than sub after his midseason acquisition, Jose energized the Mets with a stat line of .267/.326/.443, while leading the league in smiles per game. Showed surprisingly nice pop and great enthusiasm, while manning a new position at 3B. Grade A.
TJ RIVERA - a guy who hit .333 in 105 at bats, with 8 extra base hits. He gets an A grade in his limited major league action.
KELLY JOHNSON - despite going 10 for 48 after August, KJ was AOK in 2016 as a Met. In his 183 Met at bats, he hit .268 with 9 dingers. I give him B+.
James Loney - filled in nicely at 1B for the injured Lucas Duda, but his late-season fade and lack of power and speed make him only about the 20th best 1B in the National League. Just 3 homers and 13 RBIs in 155 at bats after July is inadequate for a MLB starting 1B. Thanks, however, for the very solid .265/.307/.397 and solid glove work. Grade: B
Rene Rivera - fine catching, weak bat - he actually did better with the stick than I expected, going .222/.291/.341 in 185 ABs. I give him a B-.
Ty Kelly - limited playing time (55 at bats), slow start, finished strong (at .241/.352/.345). Grade B-
Brandon Nimmo - hit well enough (.274) besides his impressive AAA season, but just 2 extra base hits in 79 plate appearances is disappointing and sub-par for a major leaguer. Grade B-
Juan Lagares - the top sub at the start of the season, he grossly disappointed, getting hurt for too long again, and was .239/.301/.380 in over 150 plate appearances with just 9 RBIs (the same number that pitcher Tony Cloninger once had in a single game - OUCH). He helped make the Bruce acquisition a necessity. Grade is C-. But - Tommie Agee went from horrific in 1968 to indispensable in 1969. May Juan's 2017 be a healthy and similarly indispensable year for Lagares...but dive too much and your season will too.
Matt Reynolds - he had a few good moments, but his .225/.266/.416 numbers in over 90 plate appearances were too Ruben Tejada-like. Grade C-
alejandro de aza - lots of moolah for a lousy player, who did revive somewhat later in the season - .205/.297/.321 was not what Sandy envisioned. Grade D-
kevin plawecki - expected to be the Mets' active # 2 catcher with an improved bat, he was - well, awful: 137 at bats, .197, .288/.265. Grade D-
eric campbell - he petered out well before the start of 2016, and 2016 was ugly for him: .173/.284/.227. Awful as David Wright's brief replacement. He did us one huge favor - made the mid-season signing of Jose Reyes a necessity. Grade: F
RUGGIANO AND CECCHINI - combined they hit about .340 - sadly, that spanned just 26 at bats. Maybe better in 2017, who knows?
WILMER FLORES - more starter than sub, if it were not for his boneheaded face first slide into the plate in September, he might have had 400 at bats. Really rough start to his season, rebounded nicely until his dumb slide ended his season. I'd give him a B-, but I believe he can do better, perhaps much better. Maybe Turner/Murphy better?
Overall, what all of the above tells me is:
1) don't spend too much at the bargain bin for aging players (de Aza); and
2) not to the extent of the utterly miserable subs of 2015 before Johnson and Uribe arrived, cheap fixes in 2016 nonetheless provide well-below acceptable offensive results more often than not.
So Sandy, don't go cheap here. The fingers-crossed, penny-pinching stuff can lose pennants as a result.