New Year's Resolutions for Mets in 2014
As 2013 comes to a close and 2014 is right around the corner, the Mets will look to put together a more successful team next season.
In order to do just that, they will have to make some good signings and trades and hope that they end up working out in the future. The Mets already made two big signings in Curtis Granderson and Chris Young to improve their outfield.
There are still other areas to improve upon, though, and hopefully, the Mets can make more moves after the new year and before spring training.
Here are five resolutions for the Mets in 2014.
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.
Find Some Real Stability at Shortstop
With the outfield having been addressed already, the Mets' next biggest concern is at shortstop. Ruben Tejada had a very poor season last year and has shown that he might not exactly be ready to be an everyday shortstop in 2014.
The Mets need to evaluate their options and decide whether to sign or trade for another shortstop, because an upgrade is clearly needed there.
Enter Stephen Drew. Fresh off a World Series championship this year with the Red Sox, Drew is now a free agent. With both Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts on the Red Sox roster for the foreseeable future, it's highly unlikely that the Red Sox will re-sign Drew. The Red Sox's recent trade for Jonathan Herrera as infield depth further indicates that they plan to let Bogaerts become the everyday shortstop.
Drew could be a good fit for the Mets, and he would provide power that they have not had at shortstop since Jose Reyes' 19 homers in 2006.
If Drew does not seek a particularly large contract, the Mets should try their best to sign him for two or three seasons. 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini is years away from being ready for the majors, so a player like Drew filling the hole at shortstop would very likely end up working well for the Mets. Drew would provide power and a steady glove, which would be better than what the Mets saw at shortstop this past season.
With both Jhonny Peralta and Rafael Furcal now off the market, it's imperative that the Mets take advantage of the one particularly notable free-agent shortstop left in Drew.
Figure out Who the 5th Starting Pitcher Will Be
The Mets' upcoming 2014 pitching now includes Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and newcomer Bartolo Colon, who recently signed a two-year contract. The Mets still have the final spot in the rotation to figure out, though.
If Matt Harvey were healthy, the Mets' 2014 rotation would be completely set. But unfortunately, that will not be the case, with Harvey expected to miss all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.
The Mets have some internal options to fill the void. One of them could be Jenrry Mejia, who was 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA in five starts last season. The Mets could also look to bring back Daisuke Matsuzaka to compete for the spot or sign another veteran, such as Bronson Arroyo. An Arroyo signing, though, does not seem as likely now that the Mets have already brought in Colon.
And then there is another factor for the Mets rotation. What will they do if/when both Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero are ready to get promoted?
They both could be called up this summer, and the Mets would then have a logjam in the rotation. The Mets may end up moving Mejia back to the bullpen, where he could ultimately become more successful. Other options, though, could exist as well.
The Mets' starting rotation was one of the brighter spots last season and should be even better in 2014, despite the loss of Harvey. Hopefully, a good decision can be made on the fifth starting spot.
Put Together a Bullpen That Works
For the past few seasons, the Mets have tinkered with their bullpen and have brought in various relievers. Most of them unfortunately did not end up working out as particularly great relievers, though, which led to more changes.
The Mets' young 2014 bullpen should include Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Gonzalez Germen, Vic Black, Scott Rice, and closer Bobby Parnell. Parnell, though, is recovering from neck surgery he had in August. With that being said, it's imperative that the Mets get a veteran reliever that has at least a good amount of closing experience from either free agency or the trade market.
One of Andrew Bailey, Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan, Carlos Marmol or Fernando Rodney could be just what the Mets need in order to strengthen their bullpen. If the Mets can find a way to sign one of them, they might be able to protect more leads in the late innings.
Find More Ways to Score Runs
Despite having a good pitching staff in 2013, the same could not be said for the Mets offense, which ranked 29th out of 30 teams in batting average. The Mets were also 23rd in runs scored, 27th in hits, tied for 25th in home runs and 29th in OPS. Despite finishing 12th in walks, the Mets were tied for the third-most strikeouts as well.
The aggressiveness at the plate is a concern for the Mets, whose lineup was full of hitters that struck out a lot. In order for the Mets lineup to improve as a group, they need to get on base more, score more runs and strike out less.
David Wright can't do all the work himself. He needs the added support in the lineup to be there. Daniel Murphy needs to show more patience on the plate and continue to hit well. One of Ike Davis or Lucas Duda need to hit more home runs and get on base more often. Curtis Granderson and Chris Young need to provide solid hitting and a good amount of power themselves, while the young bats of Juan Lagares and Travis d'Arnaud need to keep developing.
The Mets lineup has potential to improve this season. Too many seasons of offensive mediocrity have happened recently for the Mets. It's time to make progress and for the hitters to start putting together real results that can lead to more wins.
Last but not least, the Mets simply need to start winning more. The team's rebuild should be in its final stage now, if not already completed.
The Mets have not had a winning season since 2008. They have not been to the postseason since 2006. That is something that needs to change very soon for the Mets to actually get somewhere with all their recent efforts. The Mets' 2009 and 2010 seasons did not work out as well as expected.
After Sandy Alderson came in as the new general manager after the 2010 season, the Mets went into rebuilding mode and rebuilt their minor league system, which now boasts some very good young starting pitching. The Mets have used the past three seasons to develop these prospects, some of which are already major leaguers. A few more will likely make their major league debuts this season.
The Mets have spent the past three seasons to get to where they are now. They might need one more season to fine-tune everything before really going all in at trying to become an elite team. But nonetheless, the Mets have had money to spend and have made a few commitments already through free agency for the next few seasons.
It's time for the Mets to really make strides toward becoming postseason contenders again. Hopefully, the Mets can become an elite National League team for at least the rest of decade, if not longer. If that does not end up happening, the rebuilding efforts of the past few seasons will have gone to waste.