Updating Mets’ Top Ten Offseason Issues

Maybe the Mets made Bartolo Colon an offer. I haven’t heard. So far this winter their heavy lifting has included picking up the options of Jay Bruce and Jose Reyes, and extending qualifying offers to Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker.

ALDERSON: A lot of his plate. (AP)

ALDERSON: A lot of his plate. (AP)

Other than that, it has been a relatively quiet offseason for GM Sandy Alderson. With the Winter Meetings less than a month away, here is what I see as Alderson’s Top Ten priorities:

1. Keep Bruce for now: There is an Internet report stating the Mets are talking with Toronto about Jay Bruce. It makes sense from the perspective of the Blue Jays, who could lose both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to free agency.

Reportedly, the Mets have feelers out on Bautista, although I prefer Encarnacion, who could enter into a first base platoon with Lucas Duda.

However, trading Bruce with the Cespedes situation unresolved makes no sense. They picked up Bruce’s option as a safety net for losing Cespedes, so what’s the point of dealing him without know what happens with Cespedes?

2. Decide on Cespedes: For a myriad of reasons, I believe the Mets should let Cespedes play through to the next hole. You guys know that by now. However, the Mets insist they want him back.

Fine. If that’s their position, get Cespedes’ contractual demands as soon as possible and go from there. He already rejected the Mets’ qualifying offer, so they would be in their right to ask what the player wants and go from there.

With a new CBA on the table, this could extend into January, which wouldn’t be prudent.

3. Bring back Reed: Yes, I know Addison Reed isn’t a free agent unless the Mets pass on him. Sign Reed and establish him now as the closer because they have to know Jeurys Familia will be suspended for at least 30 games.

If not Reed, the Mets have to go in on a closer. They won’t pay the big bucks for Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen, but what about Mark Melancon? He won’t be cheap, either.

4. Bolster the bullpen: Without Familia and the change of roles with Reed, there are other bullpen holes. Will they bring back Jerry Blevins? Will Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have starting or bullpen roles? With Colon gone, the Mets could go for a middle reliever capable of multiple innings. Is that guy Hansel Robles or somebody in the market?

5. Define the back-up infielders: For somebody coming off back surgery, a $17.2 million qualifying offer to Neil Walker was fairly generous. It was a no-brainer to bring back Walker to team with Asdrubal Cabrera would solidify the double-play combination for another year. The offer will undoubtedly frustrate Wilmer Flores, but there has to be some area of consistency. It’s unlikely they can trade Flores, but if he’s on the 25-man roster what will that mean for T.J. Rivera?

6. Figure out what to do with Conforto: First base seems a reach for Michael Conforto. If they try that, the platoon with Duda should be with a right-handed hitter. They would be better off earmarking him for center field, because we know Cespedes doesn’t want to play there.

Defining Conforto’s role should also help dictate how they’ll use Curtis Granderson.

7. Figure out Wright’s role: I’d like to know now, but realize that’s not practical. But, assuming for the moment he’s healthy, is there a rough projection of how he’ll be used and how much? Seriously, is first base a realistic option?

8. Determine the health of the rotation: Four pitchers from this vaunted future All-Star staff are coming off surgery. The early reports are positive, and that includes no surgery to remove Noah Syndergaard’s bone spurs. But, we really won’t know until March.

If everything works out for the best, Alderson and manager Terry Collins must figure out where Lugo and Gsellman fit and resist the temptation of dealing either because they think they are in a position of strength because they are not.

I wouldn’t be opposed to picking up a veteran as insurance.

9. Improve the catching: If they enter the season with Travis d’Arnaud as the starter, it has to be with a short leash. He’s been frequently injured and unproductive, and frankly the rotation performs better with Rene Rivera.

10. Determine Duda’s leash: Duda is another prone to injuries and slow starts. They had to sign James Loney last summer and he performed well. However, it is unlikely they’ll bring him back.

Duda has monster power, but the past few years it has taken him into the second half before he warms up.

Other than Cespedes – pro or con – I don’t see the Mets making a major personnel decision this winter. But, whatever they decide, it will have far-reaching ramifications.

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8 thoughts on “Updating Mets’ Top Ten Offseason Issues

  1. Please stop….platoon with duda.what planet are you on.both will start wherever they go..

    • George: As I just wrote Scott, Encarnacion would have to be the starter. But, as a pinch-hitter and spot starter is the way to give Duda some at-bats.-JD

    • Scott:Encarnacion is by far the better player and should be the starter. But, if Duda is on the team he has to play somewhere, right? So, unless they trade him it will have to be as a lefty pinch-hitter or to give Encarnacion the day off. Not a classic platoon, but the only way to make it work with both on the roster.

  2. The only thing to do with the captain, is pencil him in for the final roster spot, let out a gigantic sigh when you think about the guaranteed salary amount,.. Hope he is able to contribute some key pinch hits… Expecting him play third full time would be pathetically irresponsible and foolish.
    — The last two years he has barely passed 160 AB’s …………………………………………………
    — The last time he reached 100 rbi’s was 2010………………………………………………………….
    — It has been three years since he reached 535 AB’s put up 8 hrs/63 rbi’s – that was Turner/Mmurphy level production before they took off. no one could have foreseen turner’s rise, but we did witness a full season of murphy transforming under Long.

  3. We Mets fans have to swallow a very bitter pill in David Wright. He’s been our pride for so many years and now he’ll more than likely be our albatross. I’d love for him to prove me and the rest of you doubters wrong but it’s a long shot he’s nothing more than a slightly below average player. He may have spurts of.his of his old self but it wont last long. He’s lucky if he plays 80-90 games, bats 245, hits 8 homers and 35 ribbeys. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t break camp on the roster if he has a disastrous and embarrassing spring. If that’s the case you can expect.the brass to DL him and keep him in Florida until they can come to an arrangement and decide his fate.

    • I think we’re rapidly approaching a time when he decides enough is enough, and he retires. Prince Fielder retired this year after similar setbacks & issues. I don’t think it’s a matter of if, but when.

      And I don’t say that flippantly. It’s sad, it’s unfortunate, and it’s really a damn shame. I’m David’s age, older than him by one month. This is not how it was supposed to play out. There’s not many multi-millionaires I feel a deep sympathy for, but he’d be one of them. I hope he makes the right choices that are best for a long, healthy future. He’s a good guy.

  4. You have to assume David is a minor role player. Does this mean Jose is your everyday 3rd?

    If you want to move Mike to first , why not Bruce? Mike is by far the better outfielder. Why purposefully kill your outfield defense to give deference to a defensively challenged veteran? I don’t get it.

    None of these issues you list are really serious. The question is how to improve the team? Yes your focus on a reliever in the face of an uncertain familia addresses that, but standing pat on the offense or defense for that matter does not.