New York Mets: Early Winners and Losers During Offseason
The offseason for the New York Mets is still in its early stages, but it's not too early to see who the winners and losers are so far as the holiday season gets in full swing.
Mets fans are yearning for their team to improve, for general manager Sandy Alderson to spend some of Fred Wilpon's money, for their beloved team to finally escape the abyss of mediocrity.
This is a crucial season for the Mets. They need to get better. Mets fans are frustrated with losing, and it's time to finally become a wild card contender in the National League.
Let's take a look at New York's early winners and losers of the offseason.
Winner: Chris Young
Not bad for a guy who hit .200 last season.
If he plays well during spring training in 2014, Young has a good chance to supplant Juan Lagares as New York's starting center fielder.
As brilliant as Lagares is defensively, he still has a lot of offensive shortcomings. Sure he's young but he still has holes in his swing. Lagares hit just .242 in 121 games last season with four HR and 34 RBI. His OBP was a feeble .281.
Young, on the other hand, is still in his prime at 30 years of age and has 144 career home runs. That includes seasons when he belted 32 and 27 home runs, respectively, for the Arizona Diamondbacks. As every Mets fan knows, New York needs power desperately, so Young is worth the gamble despite his meager batting average last season.
"I've always been excited about playing in the New York market," Young told usatoday.com. "Those kind of things intrigue me as far as, I like playing on big stages. I like big-game moments."
Loser: David Wright
Poor David Wright.
The New York Mets icon and team captain needs help. Offensive help that is.
Sure, if Chris Young lives up to his potential he will help New York's anemic offensive "attack". But Wright needs more protection than that. He needs for General Manager Sandy Alderson to provide him with another potent bat in the lineup, like free agent slugger Nelson Cruz, for example.
Cruz missed 50 games last season because of performance enhancing drugs but still clouted 27 home runs and drove in 76 runs in 413 AB. Yes, he's 33 years old now, but his .506 slugging percentage last season is better than his lifetime SLG PCT of .495.
A 3-4 batting order of Wright and Cruz would bring quite a smile to the faces of Mets fans. Not only would Cruz protect Wright in the order, but the Dominican Republic native has such fine power that a move to Citi Field should not hurt his power numbers too greatly.
It's time for Alderson to fork over some cash and sign the veteran slugger before he gets away.
It's time for New York to be aggressive for a change.
Winner: Matt Harvey
The Mets ace right-hander made the right decision by deciding to have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 22.
It had to be done.
If Harvey had elected to rehab his shoulder instead, questions would abound every time he took the mound: How effective would he be? What if he blew out his arm and really put his career in jeopardy? Mets management, coaches and fans would be on pins and needles every time he toed the rubber.
The stress factor would have been through the roof.
In all likelihood, Harvey will miss the entire 2014 campaign while he recovers from surgery. However, he should take solace in the fact that several hurlers have recovered quite well after undergoing TJ surgery. Among them are Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson, Joe Nathan, Adam Wainwright and Stephen Strasburg.
That's quite a quality group, needless to say.
What's most important is that the dynamic Harvey, one of the most exciting players in baseball, is healthy and primed to dominate hitters again.
Even if that won't be until 2015.
Loser: Sandy Alderson
Mets fans are tired of watching other teams sign free agents and make dynamic trades to help themselves (see Jacoby Ellsbury with the Yankees and Jim Johnson with the A's, respectively). They are passionate for a winner. They're fed up with feeling like a small market team.
They're tired of losing. This columnist is one of those devout Mets aficionados that has just about had it with this hapless franchise.
Sandy Alderson needs to quit giving us GM speak about being fiscally responsible (cheap) and make New York a viable playoff contender again. His only move to date was signing Chris Young, who may be a bargain but also could just as easily be a bust.
Alderson needs to "step up to the plate" and sign Bronson Arroyo, Nelson Cruz or Curtis Granderson and shortstop Stephen Drew. Now we're talking. That would get Mets fans excited about coming back to the ballpark in 2014.
We keep hearing about how the Mets are going to be aggressive this offseason. Talk is cheap though.
It's time for Alderson to put his money where his mouth is.