New York Mets: 5 Possible Batting Orders for 2013
No offense, but there is none.
The New York Mets will most likely be entering 2013 as the fourth best team in the NL East, a familiar place for the organization.
General manager Sandy Alderson has failed to upgrade the bullpen and lineup—so far— which were both among the worst in the NL.
While bullpens tend to be cyclical, even with the same cast of characters, lineups do not magically produce more runs.
Here are five potential lineups for 2013 judging by different variables that may or may not happen prior to Opening Day.
Ideally: Tejada, Murphy, Upton, Davis, Wright, Duda, Buck, Nieuwenhuis
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This would be the lineup if the Mets were to pull off the blockbuster trade of acquiring 25-year-old Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Virginia native is a dynamic player, having finished fourth in the MVP voting just two seasons ago.
He is the ideal piece for the Mets to acquire not only because he is an outstanding player at the moment, but he is young enough to still be in his peak when the team's best prospects are ready to perform.
Additionally, he is a right-handed hitter, which the Mets could certainly use that this point.
This lineup would feature much more punch than that of 2012. It also rotates righty and lefty hitters in spots one through eight.
This is a player that GM Sandy Alderson should really attempt to acquire.
Plan B: Tejada, Murphy, Wright, Davis, Young, Duda, Buck, Nieuwenhuis
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There has been no speculation, but by adding Delmon Young, the Mets would at least be getting a veteran right-handed bat with a great deal of postseason experience.
Young is not nearly the player Upton is, but he is also a former No. 1 overall pick (2003) that has a top 10 MVP finish in 2010.
The Mets would be upgrading over their current situation, but obviously it would not make them significantly better.
At this point, even adding a league-average outfielder would be more beneficial than having three mediocre players.
Realistically: Tejada, Murphy, Wright, Davis, Hairston, Duda, Buck, Nieuwenhuis
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At this point, the Mets should just re-sign Scott Hairston before they risk losing out on their best power source in the outfield.
Hairston is not an All-Star player by any means, but anytime you can receive clutch production from a player that conducts himself very professionally for under $5 million per year, it is a no-brainer in my mind.
There's no reason to be disrespecting the ability of Hairston by offering such a paltry contract to an established player (MLBTradeRumors).
This lineup is essentially the same as last year, which ranked No. 12 in the NL in runs with 650. Expecting a significant increase would be foolish, but the front office seems more intent on waiting for their expiring contracts to run out which would grant them maximum flexibility next offseason.
At the Moment: Tejada, Murphy, Wright, Davis, Buck, Duda, Niuewenhuis, Baxter
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This lineup would be extremely punchless.
The Mets received woeful production from their outfield in 2012, and that was with Scott Hairston's 20 home runs. Without him, they would be counting on a tremendous increase in production from all of the starters—none of which have exactly earned the distinction of being a starter.
The front half of the lineup could be dynamic, but Wright and Davis are as streaky as hitters get. Additionally, Davis produces very little against left-handed pitching which mitigates his contributions.
In previous years the Mets possessed very deep Opening Day lineups, but gave themselves very little margin for error by not acquiring competent utility players to fill in during times of injury.
Barring any significant trades or free-agent signings, it's not hard to make the argument that the Mets have the worst lineup in the National League.
Upon the Promotion of Prospects: D'arnaud Replaces Buck
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He may not be the next Mike Piazza, but Travis D'arnaud is regarded as the top catching prospect in baseball.
At the very least he is a tremendous upgrade in upside over the duo of Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, who were both moved onto Toronto in exchange for the 23-year-old.
Any catcher that produces a .975 OPS is impossible to ignore, even if it was accumulated in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Assuming he begins the 2013 season in Triple-A in order to gain a bit more seasoning prior to being promoted, the Mets will begin the season with John Buck as the starting catcher.
Once he is ready to contribute, he will most likely be behind the dish in Queens for the long term.
He is not a young prospect—he turns 24 next month—which means the front office will look to promote him in mid-April in order to prolong his "under control" seasons.