Look Into the Future: What Might the 2014 Mets Look Like?

Posted on Jul 30 2013 - 8:56pm by Justin Rifkin
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With the 2013 Mets seemingly out of the race once again, something Mets fans can look forward to is the upcoming offseason. With the contracts of Johan Santana and Jason Bay coming off the books, the Mets could have around $50 million to spend. A position that will be a must fix for the Mets will be outfield, Lucas Duda likely isn’t an answer and if Marlon Byrd isn’t traded he will still be a free agent and doesn’t seem like a likely re-sign. Other internal Mets outfielders include Eric Young Jr who could fit as a 3rd or 4th outfielder and a decent leadoff hitter. Another is Kirk Nieuwenhuis who has struggled enough recently to be demoted to triple-a for the second time this season, so he doesn’t seem to fit the bill. An interesting outfielder is Juan Lagares, the 24-year old is tremendous in center field with great speed and a great glove. And as of recently his bat as started to come around after winning N.L. player of the week a couple weeks ago, and he is hitting .339 with an OPS of .882 in July, raising his season average nearly .100 points. Lagares could be a piece of the future, but if his recent hot hitting is a fluke he could still be used as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement late in games. Andrew Brown has provided some decent pop as a right handed bat for the Mets but he seems to fit as a right handed pinch hitter if anything in 2014. Minor League outfielders include Cesar Puello, who is involved in the biogenesis scandal and seems as if he could be getting suspension which would really nullify his great play in double-a in 2013. Another is Matt Den Dekker, the 25-year old tore up double-a in 2012, but then struggled when called up to triple-a. But this season, he has done well rebounding from breaking his wrist in spring training with an OPS of .807 thus far in triple-a. This considered, Den Dekker is a very similar overall player to Kirk Nieuwenhuis and strikes out just as much probably making him a bench hitter at best. With all this said I can’t pull a clear starter other than maybe Eric Young Jr from the inside the organization. Lagares seems like more of a back up unless he keeps up this hot tear and all the others are bench hitters if anything. So I’m going to go out and say the Mets lone 2014 outfield starter from the organization will be Eric Young Jr.

If they have currently have just 1 outfield starter on the roster that means that they are going to have to go out and acquire 2 more. This is where the $50 mil free to spend comes in to play, with outfield free agent targets including Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, and Curtis Granderson. Cruz and Granderson seem like unlikely fits, with Cruz involved in the same risky business as Cesar Puello with the biogenesis scandal and a possible suspension for him is looming. Granderson currently plays for the cross town New York Yankees and playing with the small dimensions of Yankee Stadium may have skewed the great power numbers that he has put up and the last thing the Mets want is another Jason Bay. Pence would be an interesting fit but the Giants have been rumored to desire him back for the 2014 season and he has yet to come up on the Mets radar. Beltran, Choo, and Ellsbury have all been linked to the Mets as possible free agent signings this upcoming offseason. Beltran, a former Met, is currently 36 and I find a return to Queens unlikely due to the fact that the Mets need the incoming outfielder to be here for 4 or 5 years, while Beltran would probably only get a 2 year deal from the Mets. Ellsbury, 29, has had a decent season this year, batting .302 with a league leading 39 stolen bases, but his power numbers have been way down and his OPS is just .784 which is decent but not worth a B.J.Upton type of contract which Ellsbury is most likely going to get. This leaves the 31-year old Choo who has been a very consistent player, posting an OPS of .800 or higher in 5 of the last 6 seasons, making him a good gamble on a longer deal worth 4 or 5 years. I’m going to say that the Mets sign Choo to a 4 year deal worth $58 million. But that still leaves 1 last outfield spot, which I think is where the Mets will make their big splash of the offseason with a blockbuster trade. The Mets have been in the trade market for a big bat since April and have been often linked to superstars Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. I believe one of these guys will be alongside Shin-Soo Choo and Eric Young Jr in next years outfield. Neither of those players have been made available in season, but continued rumors say that they may become available during the winter. And I think the Mets first choice would be Stanton, given his tremendous hitting at just 24 years old. The Mets would have to part with a lot to land the Marlins star outfielder, but the Mets definitely have the pieces that it would take. From what I understand, the Mets are reluctant to part with top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud who they acquired from Toronto in the R.A. Dickey trade last offseason, but if they don’tpart with d’Arnaud then they will have to part with coveted pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. My proposed trade to bring Stanton to Flushing is as follows, Zack Wheeler, Wilmer Flores, Josh Satin, Jeremy Hefner, and Jack Leathersich to Miami for Giancarlo Stanton. Remember this is all speculation and nothing of this proposed trade is based on real rumors. But in this trade the Mets would get the huge outfield bat that they desire and give the Marlins a bundle of prospects including a top of the line pitcher in Wheeler, a infield prospect with Flores, 2 young Major Leaguers who could fill voids in this Marlins team in Satin and Hefner, and a valuable relief prospect with tremendous strikeout numbers in Jack Leathersich. Yes, I understand that Harvey-Wheeler is the next big thing and all of that, but Giancarlo Stanton is a once in a generation kind of hitter with tremendous power which will pack fans into the seats of Citi Field.

So, so far this leaves us with an outfield of Eric Young Jr, Shin-Soo Choo, and Giancarlo Stanton. The catcher is obviously going to be Travis d’Arnaud who is baseball’s top catching prospect and would have been in the Majors by now if it weren’t for breaking his foot in April. With Josh Satin gone in my proposed trade, that leaves Ike Davis and Allan Dykstra, who is currently at double-a, as the two foremost internal options for the first base job. And since I see the Mets spending their resources on fixing the outfield, that makes these two the only candidates for the job. Im going with Ike Davis as next years 1st baseman since I believe that with a new slate next year working with what he learned in his stint in the minors, Davis will be the player or similar to the player that the Mets thought they had after his rookie year in 2010. The second base spot is pretty clearly going to be Daniel Murphy’s, considering that Wilmer Flores, who would be his only true competitor, is in the proposed deal to Miami, making Murphy the obvious second baseman. The shortstop job will likely be a spring training competition between Omar Quintanilla and Ruben Tejada, and due to Quintanilla recent struggles and Tejada having the age advantage, I’m going to give the starting nod to Ruben Tejada for 2014 but that could change based on in-season performance next year. And 3rd base is obviously going to be manned by the captain, David Wright.

No onto what should be a bright spot for next years Mets, the pitching rotation. The ace of the staff will be one of baseball’s best in right-hander Matt Harvey. Next in the rotation comes Jonathon Niese, the 26-year old will be the lone lefty on next years staff and has been out over the past month or so with a partially torn left rotator cuff. Niese was the 2013 opening day starting pitcher coming off a career year in 2012, when earlier that season the Mets gave him a 5 year $25 mil extension. My prediction for the Number 3 starter in the rotation is Noah Syndergaard. The 20-year old righty was acquired by the Mets last offseason along with Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, and Wuilmer Becerra from Toronto for R.A. Dickey. Syndergaard will likely start next season in the minors at either double-a, where he currently is pitching, or triple-a, but I expect him to get a similar call-up time to Zack Wheeler, who was called up on June 18th of this season. Jenrry Mejia may start the year in the rotation as a place holder for Syndergaard. I believe the Mets number 4 starter next year will be Rafael Montero. Montero dominated earlier this year at double-a, and has been a little shaky at triple-a so far, but I fully expect him to turn it around which could get him a spot in the 2014 opening day rotation. As for the number 5 spot, I think it will go down to Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia, who’s original spot will go to Noah Syndergaard. I’m going with Gee as the 5 starter since Mejia seems like more of a reliever and Gee is a pure starter.

Now to an aspect that has plagued the Mets for year: the bullpen. The closer will stay as Bobby Parnell, who has been tremendous in that role this season. Other right-handed arms out of next years pen will be Carlos Torres and Jenrry Mejia, when Syndergaard get called up. I also see the Mets re-signing David Aardsma consider the great deal of good he’s done for this team and this bullpen thus far this season. Do to injury and struggles, it seems that Jeurys Familia will start 2014 in triple-a to work out some of his troubles living the bullpen looking like this: Closer: Bobby Parnell RHPs: Carlos Torres, Jenrry Mejia, David Aardsma, Gonzalez Germen, Jeurys Familia LHPs: Josh Edgin and Scott Rice.

So after going through each aspect of the Mets here is what their complete 2014 roster should look like:

Starting Lineup:

1. Eric Young Jr LF

2. Shin-Soo Choo CF

3. David Wright 3B

4. Giancarlo Stanton RF

5. Travis d’Arnaud C

6. Daniel Murphy 2B

7. Ike Davis 1B

8. Ruben Tejada SS

9. Pitcher

Bench:

Justin Turner IF

Juan Lagares OF

Matt Den Dekker OF

Anthony Recker C

Jordany Valdespin IF/OF

Starting Rotation:

1. Matt Harvey RHP

2. Jonathon Niese LHP

3. Noah Syndergaard RHP

4. Rafael Montero RHP

5. Dillon Gee RHP

Bullpen:

Closer: Bobby Parnell RHP

RHP: Carlos Torres

RHP: Jenrry Mejia

RHP: David Aardsma

RHP: Gonzalez Germen

LHP: Josh Edgin

LHP: Scott Rice

With a roster like this, the Mets have to be at least considered contenders in the NL East and definitely a chance to finish over .500 for first time since moving into Citi Field and a chance at their first playoff appearance since 2006.