Club 15: New York Mets
We are now halfway through the 30/30 series, so how appropriate is it that the 15th team being covered is probably the team that could be the most average team in baseball – the New York Mets. This team could be either REALLY good (if their vaunted pitching staff stays healthy) or could be REALLY bad (their pitching staff won’t be healthy). The best bet is that they’ll be average at best.
|Baltimore||Chicago AL||Houston||Atlanta||Chicago NL||Arizona|
|New York AL||Detroit||Oakland||New York NL||Milwaukee||Los Angeles|
|Tampa Bay||Kansas City||Seattle||Philadelphia||Pittsburgh||San Diego|
|Toronto||Minnesota||Texas||Washington||St. Louis||San Francisco|
2017 Record: 70-92, 4th in the National League East
Acquisitions: RP Anthony Swarzak (free agent), OF Jay Bruce (free agent), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (free agent), 3B Todd Frazier (free agent), SP Jason Vargas (free agent)
Departures: P Tommy Milone (free agent),
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
LF Yoenis Cespedes
RF Jay Bruce
3B Todd Frazier
1B Adrian Gonzalez
C Travis d’Arnaud
CF Juan Lagares
SS Amed Rosario
SP Jacob deGrom
SP Noah Syndergaard
SP Jason Vargas
SP Matt Harvey
SP Steven Matz
The Mets currently seem to be set at their core positions, but they do have depth in case of injuries, or because of them. The Mets signed Todd Frazier to play 3rd base because David Wright has been unable to stay on the field for the past three years due to various back and shoulder injuries. Juan Lagares is starting in center field because Michael Conforto is out until at least May 1st. The pitching staff has Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero available as depth because injuries have derailed Matt Harvey and Steven Matz (as well as Wheeler and Montero themselves).
The team from Queens is considered one of the great what ifs of the past few years. Injuries to some of their top stars and up and coming pitching stars have halted any momentum the Mets could have made in the past three years. David Wright, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Rafael Montero have all suffered serious injuries over the past three seasons, and those injuries have caused the team to sit in a virtual standstill the past few years. Their rotation was considered one of the best rising staffs three years ago, but injuries to Harvey, Matz and Wheeler have all but scuttled those expectations. 2018 is a make or break year especially for Harvey because he is a free agent after this season, and another year of injuries and/or struggles will make it nearly impossible for the team to keep him and will make it difficult for Harvey to find a home anywhere in 2019. Montero is out of options, so the Mets have a decision to make whether to put him in the rotation, the bullpen, or to release him outright. Wheeler missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, and struggled upon his return last year, so this can also be considered a make or break year for him as well. The Mets also have Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman available as starting options, but both are likely expected to start the season in Triple-A.
The Mets signed veteran Adrian Gonzalez to fill their first baseman hole, but this may be the final hurrah for this former All-Star. The Mets have young prospect Domonic Smith waiting in the wings (while also recovering from injury), so if the Mets struggle early in the season don’t be surprised if Smith takes over first base and Gonzalez is moved during the trade deadline. The rest of their offense has some pop, with sluggers Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes manning the corner outfield spots. Top prospect Amed Rosario has taken over the shortstop role from fading veteran Jose Reyes, and Rosario joins a budding list of great young shortstops in the majors.
The Mets have the potential to win 90 games in the NL East, but that is completely predicated on their pitching staff staying healthy and pitching to their fullest potential. Given that we have rarely seen that over the past three years, it wouldn’t be a wise bet to think the Mets will win 90 games. I would bet on the Mets being around .500, which won’t be good enough for the postseason.