How would the current Mets fare against a lineup of former Mets playing elsewhere? I did a little digging to uncover who is around on other rosters and who is projected to start in various roles for the Mets. What do you think?
James Loney (Texas Rangers) vs. Lucas Duda – If healthy, obviously a huge edge to Lucas Duda as Loney is a singles hitter with only occasional power. Early on he looked like a good fielder but when his bat went south so too did a lot of his defensive game.
Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals) vs. Neil Walker – The Mets are paying Walker nearly $5 million more than the Nationals are paying Murphy and it’s not money well spent. Huge edge to the Ex-Mets team here.
Ruben Tejada (NY Yankees) vs. Asdrubal Cabrera – Former Terry Collins inexplicable favorite Tejada is on a minor league deal with the Bronx Bombers and may never see the big club. Asdruba Cabrera was arguably the Mets MVP last year for the stability and offense he brought to the SS position. Huge edge to the Mets.
Justin Turner (Los Angeles Dodgers) vs. David Wright – Sorry, fans, but anyone who would take David Wright over Justin Turner (not even considering salary) is delusional. His health and age are working against him while Turner is in his prime.
Angel Pagan (FA) vs. Yoenis Cespedes – This one is a no brainer with Cespedes’ offensive and defensive totals dwarfing what Pagan can provide at this stage of his career.
Carlos Gomez (Texas Rangers) vs. Curtis Granderson – I’ll probably get flack for it, but if I was starting a major league team right now and my choices to play CF were these two players, I’d have to go with Car-Go for his superior defense and speed. Throw in the difference in salary -- $11.5 million vs. $15 million – and there’s another reason to take the 30 year old vs. the 35 year old. You could argue the superior power from Granderson is worth the difference in price but the potential for rebound in 2017 seems higher for Gomez.
Carlos Beltran (Houston Astros) vs. Jay Bruce – This one is a tough call. Beltran’s defensive days are pretty much behind him, but then again no one is going to confuse Jay Bruce for Roberto Clemente out there in RF. They posted similar run production numbers in 2016 but Beltran managed to hit .295 vs. Bruce’s .250. Beltran is over 40 and earns $3 million more than does Bruce. Bruce is playing for a contract for next year. I’ll get killed for saying it, but I’d go with the much maligned Bruce as a better bet for the end of the year totals as I’m concerned about age and injury to Beltran (though playing DH would help in that regard).
Anthony Recker (Atlanta Braves) vs. Travis d’Arnaud – Another player who did better once he left New York, Recker delivered a much more acceptable .278 batting average for the Braves last season. He’s a superior defensive catcher to d’Arnaud and has been healthy, too. Despite that, I’d still pick d’Arnaud as I’ve felt the breeze from Recker’s swings way too many times.
For all the fanfare about the vaunted Mets rotation, there are some pretty good arms out there on the Ex-Mets side, too. You have Rookie-Of-The-Year Michael Fulmer, former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, big Bartolo Colon, erudite Collin McHugh and poster child for trading a prospect for a project, Scott Kazmir. I’d still give the edge to Noah Syndergaard, Jacob de Grom, Matt Harvey, Steve Matz and Robert Gsellman, but health could tip the scales the other way.
As good as Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed were for the Mets last year, there’s plenty of quality out there on the Ex-Mets team. You have Tigers closer Frankie Rodriguez, excellent setup men in Darren O’Day, Joe Smith, Carlos Torres and Tyler Clippard, plus another two serviceable arms in Matt Bowman and (don’t laugh) Oliver Perez. Compare that to who will start in April – Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Seth Lugo, Josh Smoker, Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin and Erik Goeddel – and I’d have to go with the Ex-Mets here. Assuming you get Familia back in 30 days and he replaces whomever is deemed the weakest link it’s still mighty close.
1st Base and SS are mighty weak on the ex-Mets side, but the starting rotation is pretty darned good and the bullpen is outstanding. Throw in some solid offense from Murphy, Turner, Gomez and Beltran and you'd have a team that could compete though probably fall short of the 2017 Mets.