Mets’ Top Five Issues Entering Spring Training

I trust you all enjoyed Thanksgiving with your families. With Christmas fast approaching, followed by the Super Bowl, it is time to forget about the Jets, Giants, Knicks and Nets, and focus on hockey and the upcoming baseball season.

The spring training countdown begins at the conclusion of the Super Bowl. With that, I’ll take a look at what I consider the Mets’ top five issues entering the season.

HARVEY: No hiding he's a key. ESPN

HARVEY: No hiding he’s a key. ESPN

If you disagree, and that’s the point of this exercise, I would be interested to hear your issues.

1. DAVID WRIGHT’S HEALTH: I touched on this the other day, and rank it first because it is the lead domino. If Wright returns to All-Star status it alleviates a lot of pressure from the offense. It takes away a potential distraction and goes a long way toward making the Mets whole.

2. MATT HARVEY’S RETURN: If not Wright, then it has to be Harvey’s return from Tommy John surgery. The Mets have to handle him with kid gloves whether he likes it or not. There will be an innings limit, which has yet to be disclosed which figures to become an issue.

3. THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BULLPEN: For as long as Sandy Alderson has been here, building the bullpen has been a major issue. With Bobby Parnell’s injury, the Mets went with a patchwork bullpen last year that saw the emergence of Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia. Manager Terry Collins said the job is Parnell’s when he returns, but that’s premature. Let Parnell ease into form. As of now, Mejia, Familia, Parnell and Vic Black bring a lot of heat from the sixth through ninth innings. The Mets need another lefty to complement Josh Edgin and there’s a need to bring back Carlos Torres.

4. THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF JACOB deGROM AND ZACK WHEELER The Mets claim their foundation is young pitching, which means they need an encore year from deGrom and Wheeler to pitch up to expectations. For Wheeler, that means lowering his pitch count and giving the Mets depth. It can’t all be Harvey.

5.  WILMER FLORES’  ABILITY TO TAKE TO SHORTSTOP: Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t going to land a marquee shortstop, either through trade or free agency. It is time to see if Flores can produce. This should he his shot.


13 thoughts on “Mets’ Top Five Issues Entering Spring Training

  1. One thing for sure Flores can hit. 12-15 homers? 75 ribs? But can he play the position? My thinking is he winds up on second base sooner or later.

  2. I’m satisfied with average defense and above ave offense…which is what Flores will provide.

  3. I agree with your 5
    #1 David – if he returns to all star form ( he won’t ) it would be huge. I get the feeling he is chronically hurt, shoulder, ribs, back, etc. One thing after another. I want him to succeed. He is a good guy who competes. I just don’t think he will ever be what he was and what the contract is paying him.
    #2 Matt – an awesome competitor. If he is effective this makes our rotation so much better. If not we still have the other arms.
    #3 pen – I am not worried here. The emergence of the young guys makes the return of Parnell not as important. If jurys can conquer his control issues that would be awesome. If Black finds some control watch out.
    #4 young pitchers – if Degrom can continue ( he seems to have the focus ) and Wheeler can figure it out we have a much better chance of making the playoffs. A lot of ifs. I would push this higher on the list of top 5
    #5 Wilmer – I guess this is his shot. Like Dan his defense will be below avg. let us not sugar coat that. For a pitching team to be this weak up the middle is a major issue. If he gets a shot and his bat comes around this would help a lot. Longer term for this team we need to get an above avg shortstop for our pitchers.

  4. Wow, that’s some picture!!

    #4- I think development of our pitchers is so important we should be looking for a better pitching coach.

  5. I’m ok w/starting staff-despite potential Harvey slow recovery comeback-like bullpen as it stands as well.Give me some more offense in addition to Murph and a few others (Wright not withstanding), and hey-we could be on our way!

  6. I think Granderson needs to be somewhere as well, but I agree with all 5 and definitely Wright is at the top of the list. I’d say that our bullpen is a lesser concern other than the guy who’s managing it. Finding another lefty just for the sake of having a lefty does not address the problem. Nothing irritates me more than a LOOGY who doesn’t get lefties out. May as well use Torres since he handles lefties at least as well as righties and you don’t have to go thru half of your bullpen by the 8th inning.

    Harvey’s situation will get interesting. He would’ve pitched last season if it were up to him. I’d be inclined to use the ASB as a rest period (pre-determined at start of the year) take away 3 starts and limit his pitch counts to around 100. Notice I didn’t say innings, if he’s efficient he can still get thru 7 even 8 when he’s throwing a gem. It may even make him a better pitcher by not feeling like he needs to strike every guy out.

    With Granderson, I don’t think our offense can afford him disappearing for months at a time. If there’s a period of 5 games where he’s just clueless, then sit him. Use him 1 day a week if necessary then bring him back when the calendar changes to see if he’s fixed himself.

    If we’re to make any kind of splash this year, we need to find out where we’re coming up short against the Nats. I don’t think they were destroying us completely but they were consistently winning most every game. We need to at least be able to match up against them. Otherwise, I was quite happy with how we handled ourselves within the division.

    • Michael: I agree with all of your points. Pinning down what went wrong against the Nationals would be hard to do as they lost in a variety of ways. If all five of these things happen that should close the gap a little. Maybe them losing LaRoche will help.-JD

  7. As long as Shady and Collins are running the show this team has little,or no chance of the playoffs much less a WS appearance.