After two straight playoff runs, the New York Mets have stood pat this offseason, banking on the healthy return of their 2016 roster.
The New York Mets officially returned to relevancy last year. They proved that the World Series run was no fluke, advancing to the playoffs once again. Not since the 1999 and 2000 seasons have they made consecutive playoff appearances.
The Mets lost the Wild Card Game in 2016, one season removed from losing to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. The Miracle Mets, true to their legendary moniker, scraped their way into the postseason despite a roster ripe with injury.
The rotation is where the Mets were hurt the most last season. Matt Harvey (17 starts), Steven Matz (22 starts) and Jacob deGrom (24 starts) were all dinged up for parts of the year. The Mets expected the return of Zack Wheelerafter missing all of 2015. He made one appearance in the minors, never seeing the mound in Queens. One could argue their biggest (both literally and figuratively) move this offseason was letting last year’s “ace” Bartolo Colon go. Again, Alderson trusts his youth.
The offense had its woes as well. Travis d’Arnaud had yet another season featuring trips to the DL. Their 2015 home run leader, Lucas Duda, was limited to 47 games, forcing James Loney into a starting role. Loney has always been a nice, consistent player, but power has never been his strong suit. Yoenis Cespedes (132 games) and Neil Walker (113 games) also missed time. Those are crucial bats to the Mets lineup, who contributed 54 home runs and 141 RBI. Could you imagine this team had they played just 150 games?
Then, of course, is their captain. David Wright is a shell of his former self. He can hardly play anything remotely close to a full season anymore. But he brings more than athleticism to the table. The Mets are content with giving him every opportunity until he decides it’s time to retire on his terms.
One of the Mets’ few moves this offseason was to give Jose Reyes his option. That gives the Mets a security blanket at third as well as short should Asdrubal Cabrera — who also missed time with injuries — get hurt.
It’s an interesting state of affairs in Queens. They have made in-house moves. They exercised the options on Jay Bruce and Reyes, resigned Cespedes and kept Walker on board. That gives them a very veteran offense full of pop from top to bottom. Should Jay Bruce play as he has for the majority of his career, this is the best lineup in the NL East.
They have also addressed their primary weakness, signing a couple arms to minor league deals for the bullpen. Even those moves came with some familiarity, as Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas both knew their way around the clubhouse last season. These moves are magnified while Jeurys Familia‘s 2017 remains in limbo. It will give Terry Collins options in the later innings should Addison Reed become the closer.
The 2017 Mets squad could actually resemble the 2015 squad more than the 2016 squad. They would be favorites to win the National League, should they stay healthy. That seems to become a big “should” for this organization. If they are bitten by the injury bug yet again, they could be in for a long season.