As the New York Mets play out the string of a rough 2013 campaign, it's time to look forward and ponder what the team will look like next season.
Will manager Terry Collins be back? Will Matt Harvey be lost for the season? Will general manager Sandy Alderson sign any viable free agents?
Opening Day 2014 is still seven months away, but let's project what New York's 25-man roster will look like when the new season commences. By the way, Collins will be back as skipper in 2014, in my opinion.
2B Eric Young Jr.
LF Shin-Soo Choo
3B David Wright
C Travis d'Arnaud
RF Juan Lagares
CF Matt den Dekker
SS Ruben Tejada
C Anthony Recker
INF Wilmer Flores
INF Josh Satin
INF Omar Quintanilla
OF/IB Lucas Duda
The first thing that jumps off the page is the sight of Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Morneau in New York's starting lineup. Sweet!
The prediction here is that Alderson will open his checkbook to sign these two free agents now that the Johan Santana and Jason Bay contracts are off the books. That would improve the feeble lineup dramatically. You can see David Wright smiling from ear to ear right now.
Ruben Tejada is back at shortstop after paying his penance at Triple-A Las Vegas but is on a very short leash.
Where are Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis? Davis will begin the regular season with the 51s. Murphy will be traded over the winter, while his value is still pretty high, for a solid midlevel prospect. Mets fans will miss "Murph." He was a gamer.
Eric Young Jr. moves to second base and stays in the leadoff spot, where he has been so effective this year.
This lineup also gives New York one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.
1. Zack Wheeler
2. Jon Niese
3. Dillon Gee
4. Tim Lincecum
5. Rafael Montero
The prediction here is that Matt Harvey will get Tommy John surgery and be lost for the season. That's a very tough blow, but Zack Wheeler will have to step up and take over as the ace of the staff. He has the stuff to do it.
Dillon Gee has pitched so well this season that he has earned the right to move up to the No. 3 slot in the rotation.
Tim Lincecum signs a three-year deal as a free agent and moves into the No. 4 spot. Alderson is at least spending some of owner Fred Wilpon's money.
Montero moves up to the parent club after pitching quite well for the 51s this season. He'll start in the No. 5 hole. It's time to see what he can do.
RHP Carlos Torres
RHP David Aardsma
LHP Scott Rice
LHP Josh Edgin
RHP LaTroy Hawkins
RHP Matt Lindstrom
Closer Bobby Parnell
Matt Lindstrom joins the Mets as a free-agent acquisition after a season with the White Sox. He will be 34 years old in 2014, but he'll give New York another veteran arm in the bullpen.
Carlos Torres and LaTroy Hawkins are capable of being setup men. Bobby Parnell had a fine season as a closer before being shut down in August with a herniated disk in his neck. As of now, he is still New York's closer going forward.
Rice will be the main southpaw out of the bullpen, and Josh Edgin will get another shot at the lefty specialist role. He needs to stay healthy.
The look of this bullpen is not stellar, but it's not bad either. The key will be whether Parnell returns to 100 percent health. If not, Alderson will be looking for a closer.