Seven decisions the Mets should make

NY logoEvery day moves us closer to the game we love and every team feels the fresh start coming upon them during the early months of the year. In the Mets’ case, a few simple changes could put the team we love into contention. As most of the fans know, the Mets have been slowly piecing together a playoff team and many believe that the team is two or three moves away from serious contention. With seven bold moves internally, the lineup, rotation, bench and bullpen will be stacked enough for a wild card spot.

#1) Wilmer Flores starts at Shortstop everyday
Before everyone jumps to the typical rebuttal, “you’re just saying this because of the recent report,” let me say that I have entertained the idea of him being the Mets’ shortstop since the offseason began. For the predictable doubters of this idea, take this into consideration; for the 20-25 singles that will pass him that’s 20-25 more extra base hits that he will be hitting over Ruben Tejada or Omar Quintinilla. He has an impressive look after attending the weight camp and beyond that he played shortstop as recent as 2011. Flores is a fierce competitor and one thing that he certainly realizes is that the two best offensive positions are the only positions he can play. He wants a spot and Flores knows that he must improve defensively to play, thus proving this the best decision Terry Collins can make. Granted, if Flores looks lost in Spring Training defensively and it seems like a terrible idea, don’t put him there.

#2) Find the Correct First Base Platoon
At this point, most fans don’t really care if the Mets will have Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. Since the beginning of the offseason, Sandy Alderson banked on the idea of trading one of the two. I’m not going to sit here and decide which one is superior nor will I berate Alderson for not trading them, but just simply say that only one can be on the 40-man roster by March 31st. Just think of the platoon between (Duda/Davis)/Josh Satin. It’s not too farfetched to think that a slash line of .270/.340/.440 with 25 HR and 80 RBI is possible- which is on par with Kendrys Morales production. If something goes wrong with both, there are reinforcements that the Mets have signed to minor league deals. However, if Morales is available after the deadline, sign him as a last resort.

#3) Keep Youth in the Outfield- not too much Young
Two of the major three signings this offseason have been for the outfield and Curtis Granderson seems to be the obvious choice for a corner spot. The other two spots are for the trio of Juan Lagares, Chris Young, and Eric Young Jr. In recent reports, it seems that Lagares could be the odd man out. Not only would this be a mistake defensively but offensively, too. Lagares has shown signs that .275/.320/.400 10 HR/20 SB could be in his future with a gold glove. The starting outfield (from left to right) should be Granderson, Lagares, and Young with Young Jr. on the beach. If Young really wants to play center, let him play there for half a season while Lagares keeps gunning down Bryce Harper in right field. For the argument that we need a leadoff hitter, simply place the guy with 1164 PA batting leadoff (.758 OPS) – Chris Young.

#4) Assemble the correct bench
This seems to be the least important part of a team, but the Cleveland Indians proved everyone wrong by supporting a great bench that propelled the team to the playoffs. The main man on the bench will be either Satin or Duda/Davis and then it comes down to the defensive wizard up the middle, Young Jr., the fifth outfielder, and the backup catcher (we’ll get to that next). The defensive wizard on the bench, who will be replacing Daniel Murphy or Flores in the late innings is going to be: Tejada, Wilfredo Tovar, or Quintinilla. It will really come down to whether the Mets want a bat off the bench (Tejada) or a glove (Tovar/Quintinilla). With regards to the fifth outfield spot, it will again depend on whether the Mets want offense (Andrew Brown) or defense (Matt Den Dekker). My guess will be that with four above-average defensive outfielders the Mets will go with a bat, but in the infield they will want a glove thus going with Tovar.

#5) Make the Right Decision for the backup Catcher
Since there was no veteran backup brought in to mentor Travis d’Arnaud, it seems that the Mets will have to decide between the clutch hitter and the backup catcher of the future. If a casual fan doesn’t know who those two are, it’s Anthony Recker and Juan Centeno. For the immediate future, it may seem necessary for Recker to play it out one last time; after all he is responsible for Zack Wheeler’s first win. While Centeno may have stolen our hearts by catching Billy Hamilton, he should get another half-season in Las Vegas.

#6) Jenrry Mejia MUST be the 5th Starter
While many will agree that adding competition for Spring Training is a good idea, including myself, the Mets need to realize that not placing Mejia in the rotation is a crime. Between John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mejia will have to prove himself, but in the end a guy in his early 20’s is more valuable than two guys in their early 30’s. That being said, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, or Noah Syndergaard should by no means be on the opening day roster.

#7) Find the Perfect Balance between bullet throwers and Soft Tossers
For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Mets could have a successful bullpen for more than a month. The locks for the bullpen seem to be Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Scott Rice, Josh Edgin, and Gonzalez Germen, leaving two spots open, and while it is far from a certainty, Jeurys Famillia seems to occupy a spot leaving one spot for the long reliever. The prediction is that Carlos Torres and Lannan will be fighting for the final spot and in the end the lefty might get the job. There are six minor leaguers that could have a spot during the season; Jack Leathersich, Jeff Walters, Ryan Reid, Erik Goeddel, Cory Mazzoni, and Joel Carreno.

Think about it, are the Mets that far off from playing in the Wild Card game? This lineup could produce some runs:
CF) Chris Young
2B) Daniel Murphy
3B) David Wright
LF) Curtis Granderson
SS) Wilmer Flores
1B) (Ike Davis/Lucas Duda)/Josh Satin
C) Travis d’Arnaud
CF) Juan Lagares

That is filled with a bench that will bail out any injury, provide great defense, or hit a big homer in the late innings:

1B/UT) Josh Satin/(Ike Davis/Lucas Duda)
C) Anthony Recker/ Juan Centeno
OF) Eric Young Jr.
OF) Andrew Brown/ Matt Den Dekker
Middle INF) Ruben Tejada/Wilfredo Tovar

Which could be backed up with a rotation that will hold opponents to three runs or less on many occasions (in alphabetical order to keep things simple- by first and last name!):

Bartolo Colon
Dillon Gee
Jenrry Mejia
Jonathon Niese
Zack Wheeler

That is secured with a valuable bullpen that not only can finish off the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings, but have long relievers for the extra innings:

CL) Bobby Parnell
SU) Vic Black
SU) Josh Edgin
LOOGY) Scott Rice
MR) Gonzalez Germen
MR) Jeurys Familia
LR) Carlos Torres/ John Lannan

This team can surprise some people not only during spring training, but throughout the regular season with the arrivals of our top prospects; Syndergaard, Montero, deGrom, and Cesar Puello. Final message to Alderson: No Duda in the outfield after June 16, 2013!!!! (His last game played in the outfield)

21 comments for “Seven decisions the Mets should make

  1. Reese
    February 5, 2014 at 1:08 am

    I agree with 95% of what you say here and have trumpted the same things. The only quibble I have is about Recker vs. Centeño. If the reserve plays 1-2 games per week I’d rather have the strongest glove/arm. It would be different if the catcher was starting more often due to slumps or injury. In addition, the contrast of a lefty hitting catcher allows you to sit d’Arnaud against tougher righties like Strasburg or Cain.

    • dd
      March 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

      I have no problem going with the (vastly) better glove when it comes to picking a backup catcher. I’m just not convinced that Centeno is really better than Recker.

      Typically a catcher’s defense is ranked on his ability to gun down baserunners, plus how smooth he looks behind the plate. It’s the combination that doomed Mike Piazza to live with the Bad Glove rep, and the same combination is working its magic on the career of Anthony Recker.

      But consider:

      In 2012 Recker split time between the Athletics and the Cubs. When catching for the A’s, his pitchers managed a 3.48 ERA, which was better than the League average of 3.81, and exactly equal to the A’s tean ERA, which was 2nd in the League.

      Midseason 2012 he traveled to the ChiCubs, where pitchers throwing to Recker pitched to an ERA of 1.86. The team’s ERA was 4.51.

      Last year with the Mets, pitchers’ ERA when throwing to Recker was 3.28; team ERA was 3.78. And unless I am very much mistaken, that record was achieved without Recker receiving a single pitch from Matt Harvey.

      At which point I submit that downgrading Recker because he isn’t as smooth behind the plate as Juan Centeno is a bit like complaining about Brooklyn Decker’s accent.

      The typical small sample is actually three small samples. Don’t you want to see how the next small sample comes out? I do.

  2. February 5, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Sorry but Flores allowing 25-50 hits because of his lack of range adds to the pitchers pitch counts and extends innings. Counterproductive. 2-4 you’re absolutely on mark. 5) I can’t see why the Mets didn’t sign Buck to a contract to help (he signed for a million with Seattle). It’s so invaluable to have someone to teach d’Arnaud and he can still be productive. 7) depend so much on TC that it doesn’t matter. 8) find a competent manager 9) No caps sorry please read Mets 360 comment policy.

    • February 5, 2014 at 9:58 am

      For your comment on John Buck, I would have liked him signed as well. Unfortunately the time that the Mets had to sign him has passed- thus I kept him out of the discussion. In response to your theory on Flores, I hadn’t seen it that way. However, if he puts up average defensive numbers in spring training I don’t see a reason that New York shouldn’t try the idea for a month or so. FInally, I’m not sure why everyone dislikes Collins so much, would you care to elaborate?

      • February 5, 2014 at 10:20 am

        I feel he goes by the book so much that he doesn’t manage what he actual sees in a game. runs his “hot” players into the ground. His philosophy that the bullpen has to carry certain types of pitchers(loogy)

        • February 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

          Sorry about that. I have no idea what happened. Anyway TC to me is outdated. A manager is supposed to put his players in the best possible position to execute and utilize their strengths. For example playing Duda in the outfield was a disaster from Day 1 and yet the team continued to run him out there. Throwing your players under the bus when they don’t perform is just amazing to me. I seem to recall his telling the beat writers if the players don’t listen to his tutoring then how can he be held accountable. TC is the opposite of Jim Leyland.

          • February 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm

            I will agree that Collins has not managed his bullpen- ever! However, in response to that he puts his “hot” players on the field- he really only did that, on a regular basis, in 2011 when the team was full of bench players anyway. That being said, I do agree that his entire reaction to Duda was uncalled for and mishandled.

  3. February 5, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Forgot about 6. If Mejia can stay healthy and pitches well during spring training then he should be the 5th starter.

  4. Marcus
    February 5, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Nice job. I like it, and I love this time of year because we can all hope. I have Flores. String fifth and knocking 22 home runs at as. One can dream.

  5. TexasGusCC
    February 5, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Now, what if they sign Drew? Drew at the top and Young 5th? Then, we have two lefties in a row.

    • February 5, 2014 at 10:37 am

      Two lefties in a row. Is that bad or good? I’m sure TC can figure it out. Right?

  6. February 5, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Julian almost forgot. Running 4-5 relief pitchers just to get three outs in an inning is little league managing. Take your best 7 pitchers from spring training period! His infatuation with Loogies handicaps the bull pen.

  7. Upset met
    February 5, 2014 at 10:35 am

    The thing with Flores is, we know he’s great and has potential to be great… Unfortunately it’s hard to imagine him squeezing onto the mets’ everyday lineup regardless he still has to play daily in the first half to show his value and pull off a trade. Like I said he will be good but I don’t want to watch a guy with his talent on a bench, if he can play somewhere else everyday at third then so be it. Now the idea of him at short isn’t the worst I’ve heard but if the mets sign drew he’s gotta play first and if he shows he has the bat to play everyday then forget the platoon but I can’t see any other way to get him at bats.

    • February 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      At this point, the Mets will not sign Stephen Drew unless the deal is one year and under 12 million- this is highly unlikely for a Scott Boras Client. The Mets have an infatuation with getting Duda and Davis PA’s. I don’t necessarily agree with this but it eliminates the possibility of Flores at first- which could be a good idea. Trading Flores would not only be a shame, but it would completely kill all of the work done by Omar Minaya to bring in foreign talent, in which Flores is the last all-star potential position player.

  8. Doc Schweitzer
    February 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I like all your ideas, primarily the ones about Lagares and Flores. I cannot stand when anyone mentions the Mets acquiring Stephen Drew for SS!!!!!!!!!!! He will cost a draft pick!, he’s 30!, and he can’t hit( a la the playoffs last year)!! He will be a liability real quick–he can’t factor into Met future plans!! Lets be realistic–Future is what we are talking about realistically anyway—and I mean—world series realistic! Not till Matt Harvey come sback and is himself again, will we truly have a chance at world series thoughts. When a team has at least two bonafide all-stars on their squad, can you think about adding “pieces” to that core. The Mets right now have only one All Star–David Wright-( with potential future ones coming)–If Harvey did not blow his arm out, we could add( because we’d have at least 2 all stars), but as it stands–we need to continue patience and focus on becoming a legit .500 team first. Thanks!

    Editor’s note – Please do not capitalize words in your post. It’s a violation of our Comment Policy

  9. Metfan62
    February 5, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Don’t. Throw me under the bus here people…… I have watched CY play here in Arizona. Still consider him a flawed player. He is best as a 4th OFer at best against LHP. Has a poor record against RHPing. Look at the career stats. Prefer him as platoon with Duda if they are determined to have that experiment ( with Duda that is). JL will cover some but not all the mistakes that Duda will make. Better yet I prefer EYjr starting over both. Many get on about SS, would like to see Flores at least tried for the position. Tejada though is best situational hitter for lower end of lineup, since his K /BB ratio is better than most. Now just hear me out, before I get a rebuttal. I am only working within the pieces currently here. We all know TC is no Jimmy Leyland. Nor do I consider him the dimmest bulb in the package either. I just am fed up with him playing AL ball in the NL. I do consider us able to contend IF…. notice big IF….. pieces are played correctly. This club has the speed to run and thus should, no matter who is at bat. This team needs to play aggressive, strong fundamentally, with emphasis on defense, pitching, and situational hitting. Playing any player in situations they may succeed more often than fail.

    • February 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

      If the Mets had any intention of playing Flores at SS they would of asked him to play SS in winter ball. Why waste all this energy over a non-issue?

      • Metfan62
        February 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

        Pete we are talking about the Mets here….. that should explain a few things right there. Now that I have taken my tongue from cheek, I see them experimenting and he was originally a SS in minors from my research. I see him eventually filling a role similar to what Kevin Mitchell once did, before going to the Giants. That is the only option right now till a spot opens, via trade or injury, to get him some regular AB’s.

        • February 6, 2014 at 11:58 pm

          If the team doesn’t have a position for him to play every day, then he should start the season in Las Vegas playing perhaps shortstop? And if the team internally feels he can contribute on a regular basis in 2014 someone has to be traded to make room.

          • Metfan62
            February 7, 2014 at 12:58 am

            Pete, I definitely agree with you there. there is no reason to rush him when we all expect that ’15 is the target.

  10. MetFan62
    February 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I do believe that we have the pieces already to be competitive. That being said the emphasis is on last word…. competitive!!!!! there are few I would sign that are currently FA’a. Boras can bluster all he wants, it is his job to get best contract for his clients. JD Drew is not worth what he is asking for. Yes, I may get blasted for that, but I agree with Doc on that point. The only FA’s worth signing are Ervin Santana & Bronson Arroyo. Yet not for a team like ours, perhaps the Angels should. Would prefer if we could package a deal with Tampa for Price, at deadline, if competing, if window was available to sign him long term, if not mortgaging our future….. there are a lot of ifs there, as there is about this team. We need to run out the the course of this season to get the questions answered! those question are posed in the above article.

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