With the Mets’ pitchers and catchers reporting tomorrow, let’s take a quick look at what they did this offseason.
When you look at the Mets’ 40-man roster – Note: trading Gabriel Ynoa to the Orioles basically cleared a spot on the 40-man for Fernando Salas – it is the same as the team that finished 87-75, eight games behind the Nationals in the NL East and lost to the Giants in the wild-card game.
CESPEDES: Doesn’t fill all Mets’ holes. (AP)
That the Nationals added Adam Eaton, yet lost closer Mark Melancon, so it is questionable as to how much they improved. However, they didn’t maintain the status quo as did the Mets.
We must also note the Braves, Phillies and Marlins also made moves to improve, so the NL East isn’t just a two-horse race anymore.
The Mets’ offseason plan first included picking up Jay Bruce’s $13-million option as a hedge for Yoenis Cespedes not coming back.
The Mets then resigned Cespedes and picked up Neil Walker’s one-year $17.2 qualifying offer. They also extended Lucas Duda and brought back Jose Reyes.
Pitching wise, the Mets also brought back Jerry Blevins and Salas.
However, they were unable to trade either Bruce or Curtis Granderson, and consequently, may not have a spot for Michael Conforto, the player that manager Terry Collins proclaimed to be the team’s future No. 3 hitter.
Regarding their pitching, they had three starters – Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom – undergo surgery. Throw in Zack Wheeler and that’s four recovering from the knife. That’s four injury-related questions, and you know as well as me not all questions are answered in the positive.
Complicating matters is the Mets let Bartolo Colon get away. That’s roughly 30 starts and 200 innings, not to mention 15 victories. There’s no guarantee either Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman can fill that void.
They also have a gap in the bullpen with the expected suspension of at least 30 games of closer Jeurys Familia. They will sub Addison Reed for Familia, but that still leaves a hole in the set-up role.
Yes, they got Cespedes and Walker – who is coming off back surgery – but GM Sandy Alderson has a $13-million outfielder he can’t trade and a myriad of pitching questions, so they didn’t get better. Once the games begin we will see they didn’t get worse.