The New York Mets faced a myriad of questions entering the off-season. Now, with spring training staring us in the face. let’s see how have they answered them.
REBUILDING THE ROTATION
With Matt Harvey lost for the season following Tommy John surgery, the Mets needed to add two starters because they had no assurances of help from their minor league system that includes Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom.
Bartolo Colon was signed to a two-year contract, theoretically to fill the void this season and in 2015 if there was a problem in Harvey’s rehab.
Within the past two weeks they signed John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka, which should give them the promise of at least five innings from the fifth starter.
Colon is an upgrade over Aaron Harang, and if Matsuzaka pitches as he did in his final three starts last season, he will keep things in order until the prospects arrive.
Conclusion: They are better now than after the season, but not good enough to make them better than a .500 team without some help.
BOLSTERING THE BULLPEN
With Bobby Parnell recovering from neck surgery, the Mets’ Plan B is to make Vic Black the closer.
The Mets will bring back most of their 2013 bullpen, but there won’t be enough arms in camp to create widespread competition.
Conclusion: Things would be better if the Mets could depend on Parnell’s status, but the bullpen heading into spring training is no better than last year’s.
SETTLING ON A FIRST BASEMAN
Most Mets fans said the team should have done this last July and cut ties with Ike Davis. Unable to trade him – and initially showing signs of leaning toward Lucas Duda – it appears the Mets are back to square one by giving Davis another chance.
The Mets’ outward efforts to deal Davis only decreased his value. Duda doesn’t have much trade value, either. Neither does Wilmer Flores, who won’t be given a chance to compete for the first base job.
Conclusion: What was a season-long distraction lasted through the winter and will greet us in Port St. Lucie.
Acquiring a shortstop was a top priority during the winter, but the Mets were never in it for Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew is well out of their price range.
Prior to the Winter Meetings, GM Sandy Alderson suggested Ruben Tejada would get another chance. The Mets also brought back Omar Quintanilla as Tejada’s back-up.
Conclusion: Instead of upgrading, the Mets are reduced to hoping for Tejada to play better than he had ever been before.
ADDING POWER TO THE OUTFIELD
Curtis Granderson was signed to a four-year contract and Chris Young was given a one-year deal. Granderson is coming off an injury prone, non-productive year.
Granderson is young enough to give the Mets hope he can bounce back, although nobody expects him to duplicate his Yankee Stadium numbers at Citi Field.
Conversely, Young is several years removed from his best seasons. The Mets are hoping for lightning in a bottle from him.
Conclusion: A productive Granderson will upgrade the offense, improve the outfield and protect David Wright in the batting order. No guarantees, however.
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