Dec 18

Mets Still Have Voids To Fill

We are a week from Christmas and two months away from the start of spring training and the Mets still have two significant concerns to address:

CENTER FIELD: The Mets need a platoon with Juan Lagares, preferably a left-handed bat the equal of Yoenis Cespedes. That’s going to be tough. Making their quest even more difficult is the growing speculation they are going to do this on the cheap.

There does not seem to be sentiment to let Lagares open the season in a full time capacity, similar to what they did with Wilmer Flores.

Dexter Fowler and Denard Span are the names most frequently mentioned, however, they are lower tier options.

While neither are top drawer, they are at the point in their careers where they want the chance to play full time and won’t be anxious to enter into a platoon situation.

By the time the Mets get around talking with them, the market may be depleted, elevating them to the top of what is left – consequently probably making them too expensive to sign.

BULLPEN: Signing Bartolo Colon improves the bullpen, but you must remember that probably doesn’t happen until Zack Wheeler returns in July. Until then, things are thin. Jenrry Mejia was tendered for 2016. They are also bringing back Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, and Tyler Clippard remains a possibility.

So, for now we really can’t say the Mets are significantly better than they were at the end of the season. And, please don’t underestimate how important this area is to the Mets. There is no return trip to the World Series, and maybe not even the playoffs without a better bullpen.

Dec 17

Bringing Back Colon No-Brainer For Mets

The Mets had a handful of decisions to make this off-season, and bringing back Bartolo Colon was no-brainer. Sure, he’s 42, but he also won 14 games, made 31 starts and pitched strong in the playoffs. He won’t make 30 starts in 2016, but even so it is worth it to give him $7.25 million for next year.

The money is worth it for a lot of reasons:

COLON: Worth it. (AP)

COLON: Worth it. (AP)

* He’ll be a reliable stop-gap as the fifth starter to replace Jon Niese until Zack Wheeler is brought up in late June or July. And, if for some reason Wheeler’s return is delayed Colon can always go back into the relation.

* Colon’s work in the bullpen in the playoffs proved valuable and gives the Mets a reliable option as a long reliever.

* Colon is an invaluable asset of information to the Mets’ young core of starters. Even Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and even Matt Harvey can learn from him.

* And finally, if he does well until Wheeler comes back, he might be attractive to a contender at the trade deadline. You never know.

The $7.25 million the Mets will give him will be a bargain if he gives him a year they are hoping for.

 

Dec 08

Mets Today: More Zobrist

With Ben Zobrist expected in town Tuesday, the Mets will put the full-court press on their top free-agent target. Reportedly, Zobrist wants $60 million over four years. The Mets originally said they didn’t want to go more than three years, but it is looking as if they’ll bend on the years.

If it happens it won’t be the first time as they acquiesced on Curtis Granderson and gave four years and gave two years to Bartolo Colon when they only wanted to give one.

Zobrist has proven to be a solid player who stays in shape, but he’ll be 39 at the end of the contract which makes it a risk. Of course, most teams know players will break down at the end of their contracts so the Mets can expect him to fall off in the third and fourth years.

I like Zobrist, but he’s a complementary player and won’t be the player to put them over the top. The Mets’ primary objectives should the bullpen and finding an outfield bat to platoon with Juan Lagares.

For the past two years we’ve been told by the Mets that Dilson Herrera was the long-term solution for second base, but their pursuit of Zobrist makes one wonder where he really fits into their plans.

The Mets did tender Ruben Tejada, but haven’t said how he’s recovering from his broken leg sustained in the playoffs. Tejada at shortstop and moving Wilmer Flores was thought to be a possible solution, but that seems to be on the back burner.

 

 

Nov 28

Reports Have Colon Returning To Oakland

Media reports out of the Bay Area have 42-year-old veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon returning to the Oakland Athletics.

After a successful two-year run with the Mets, which had him leading the team in innings pitched and 14 victories in 2015, but working out of the bullpen during the postseason, Colon is not ready to retire. The Mets expressed an interest in resigning him, but in a relief capacity.

With several big name pitchers on the market – Zack Greinke and David Price to name just two – Colon represents a bargain for a financially-conscious team seeking experience. Colon has averaged 16 wins over the past three years, so he has something left.

Another plus to a one-year deal is if Colon does produce and the A’s fall off early as they are expected, they can possibly trade him for a lower-tier prospect.

 

Nov 11

Mets Interested In Bringing Back Colon

The Mets are interested in bringing back 42-year-old Bartolo Colon and reportedly the feeling is mutual. It would be great to have Colon back for another year, and not just for the entertainment value.

Colon was 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA, but more importantly, worked 194.2 innings. He tied for the club lead in victories and for the second straight year was the leader in innings pitched.

He also proved to be a rock as a reliever in the postseason. That versatility is what makes him attractive to the Mets for a third season.

With Zack Wheeler not expected back until July, either Colon or Jon Niese can be the fifth starter, and with their bullpen thin in the middle innings he could be valuable in that role, also.

“He is interested in coming back, but he’s going to go out on the market and look and see,’’ assistant GM John Ricco told ESPN at the GM Meetings. “It’s very early, and we really just talked about how happy we were with what he did for us.’’

What Colon did out of the pen was one of the more interesting storylines of the postseason. Over 8.2 innings in seven appearances, Colon struck out seven and gave up two hits.

“He proved in the postseason that he can pitch out of the pen,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said after the playoffs. “Whether he would do that on a full-time basis, or be a swing man/middle guy, or even step into the rotation in the event of injuries, I think we’re still open-minded about the possibility of Bartolo.’’

I can see Colon moving on if he’s determined to remain a starter, but I like that the Mets recognized what the did last season and see that value.