Championship caliber teams traditionally are built strong up the middle: catcher, pitching, shortstop and second base and centerfield.
The Mets have a decent start in that area with Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate; their young pitching staff and Gold Glove finalist Juan Lagares in centerfield.
What we don’t know about is shortstop and second base, where Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy, respectively, are expected to open the season.
The Mets are saying shortstop is open between Flores and Ruben Tejada, but Flores has the definite edge. Tejada has not won the job despite several opportunities. He’s supposed to be a glove man, but hasn’t come close to living up to expectations. Offensively, he’s been below average and teams can no longer carry a weak-hitting shortstop.
Flores has the greater offensive potential, and was surprisingly effective in the field. The rap on him is he lacks range, but he can make up for that with better positioning.
Whether the Mets can live with Flores long term is unknown, but for now he’ll have to do.
Second base has potential with Dilson Herrera, who is fast and quick to give him range, but nobody knows about his long-term offensive potential because he’s had a limited window.
There have long been complaints about Murphy’s defense and range, but he’s getting better all the time. Will he be another Joe Panik? Who knows?
All the talk about trading Murphy for a power hitter is ridiculous unless he’s packaged along with a pitcher. By himself, Murphy won’t get it done.
The catching, rotation and Lagares are all promising, but nothing you can consider as givens. You have to like the potential, but we’ll know more about the future after this season.