New York Mets: Biggest Winners and Losers of the Offseason so Far
This was an offseason where the New York Mets needed to upgrade at several positions.
It is January 1, however, and they have only managed to lose a 20-game winner in R.A. Dickey. Could their lack of infusion of talent actually benefit them in the future?
A case can be made that the Mets were best suited to not acquire one of the top-tiered free agents in order to provide the most roster flexibility entering 2014.
At the same time they will most likely be entering the upcoming season with one of the worst outfields and bullpens in the entire league unless an impact signing or trade can be made in the next month.
Here are the biggest winners and losers of the offseason thus far.
Winner: David Wright, 3B
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
It may be the equivalent of being voted "Most Likely to Succeed" at a juvenile delinquent center, but David Wright will be the face of the Mets for the duration of his career.
That was made official (first reported by Ed Coleman) upon the announcement of his eight-year contract worth $138 million dollars.
Rather than playing 2013 as his contract year, Wright will now have the financial security that every player desires. He has earned it not only through his play but also his leadership and ability to avoid controversy while playing in New York.
By signing Wright, the Mets front office at least proved that they were not willing to be outbid on a franchise player for a consecutive year.
The 30-year-old third baseman may not be the player that posted a .325 AVG, 30 home runs 107 RBI and 34 stolen bases in 2007, but he did finish sixth in the NL MVP voting.
The Mets may not have improved the team much entering 2013, but Wright did solidify his spot among the most beloved franchise players of all time, and he cashed in at the right time.
Winner: Travis d'Arnaud, C
Nick Laham/Getty Images
With one trade the Mets went from having little or no impact positional players on the horizon to having one of the best prospects at the most coveted position on the field.
It is not easy to develop a legitimate franchise catcher, and the Mets may have one in Travis d'Arnaud.
Not only did they acquire the 23-year-old, but they traded their two catchers from last season in order to clear his path to the big leagues.
His only competition is John Buck with the departures of the mildly talented Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas.
Buck is not exactly Mike Piazza, as he posted the lowest batting batting average last season (.192) among players with at least 300 plate appearances (via Mark Simon).
d'Arnaud will be given every opportunity to make the big leagues in 2013, and fans will be looking forward to seeing the player who has already been traded for two Cy Young winners, Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey, prior to reaching the majors.
Winner: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
Harry How/Getty Images
Not many players that enter 2013 with such a solid chance to win a starting position have accomplished less than Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
The 25-year-old got off to an impressive start to 2012, and appeared to be the type of player that is better on the field than his scouting report and minor league numbers would suggest.
Gradually his numbers slipped, however, and he was no longer capable of being a starting player.
Amassing 98 strikeouts in 282 at-bats is unacceptable for any player, let alone a top-of-the-order player that hit seven home runs.
He may improve as he compiles more experience, but he does not possess a high ceiling for the future.
Almost any team would have made it a point to improve the outfield if they received the type of production that the Mets did.
Rather, they seem content with having Nieuwenhuis compete with other in-house options for the starting center field role.
It does not promise to be pretty, but Nieuwenhuis did come out as a winner if he is given a chance to win the role.
Loser: Terry Collins, Manager
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Considering the Mets are looking to be headed towards another fourth-place finish in 2013, Terry Collins being in the final year of his contract and the team having more payroll flexibility after the season it would seem that the manager will be gone after the season.
To his credit, certain players such as Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell have improved during his tenure.
On the flip side, the Mets have been historically inept in the second half of the past two seasons and the manager must take a significant deal of flak for not being able to turn stop the bleeding.
He also prided himself on fielding a fundamental team that takes responsibility for inept play. That has not been the case.
I wrote a piece on potential replacements for Collins, I would love to see a more experienced manager to take over once this team has the talent to win, much like Davey Johnson did in the early 1980s.
Loser: Ike Davis, 1B
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The top of the Mets' batting order is respectable: Tejada, Murphy, Wright, Davis.
After that, there is a significant drop-off in talent level, unless they can acquire a respectable right-handed bat to protect Davis.
He is one of the best power hitters in the game, but he is a career .217 hitter against lefties and strikes out once every three at-bats.
Against right-handed pitchers, they can easily pitch around him to face weaker hitters in the lineup. The Mets did not do him any favors by not acquiring another impact hitter.
I do expect him to hit 35 homers this season simply because he hits mistakes so well, but the lineup will continue to be uneven and it will be putrid against lefties unless they can fill that void.