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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Commentary: Mets Shakeup In Queens

Image result for citi fieldCommentary: Mets Shakeup In Queens

It's been a while since I posted, sorry but the Mets did not meet my expectations and basically, I gave up on the season and continued with my daily grind at my job (that pays the bills).

My last post was on September 18th where the Mets sat at a 65-85 clip. I knew the team had given up because they only came back with a 70-92 record to finish the season. So I did not miss much. This team had so much promise in the beginning of the year, but injury after injury led them to their demise in which, the Mets have finally fired their longtime trainer Ray Ramirez. So hopefully we can see the team get managed injury free and less often. Like announcer Ron Darling commented on a telecast, "trained as baseball players, not bodybuilders."

Now the Mets have started to look forward towards to the 2018 season and first off the Mets will be with a new manager. Terry Collins looking back did more than I expected as Mets manager. He led them to multiple playoffs and even a World series run which fell short. Now he will be the assistant to still Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, who wants to build a new culture in the minors with help from Collins.

There are multiple candidates for a manager in 2018. Ex-Mets Robin Ventura, Joe McEwing, Bob Geren (Ex-Coach), Chip Hale (Ex-Coach) and hitting coach Kevin Long lead the list for the position. Outsiders Brad Ausmus, Joey Cora, Sandy Alomar Jr., and also Joe Girardi (If the Yanks Fail) have also been mentioned about the position.

My favorite to replace Collins would have been Wally Backman if he had stayed with the organization. The Mets need a firey field general, but the Mets may go with a guy that's more analytical towards Sandy's style.  But it's up in the air right now who they are going to lean on and may take after the World Series to find their man.

The coaching staff is also up in the air without a new manager yet. Pitching Coach Dan Warthen was let go of his duties mainly because he was not going to be paired with Collins anymore. Warthen did his best and helped this team to get to the forefront when healthy. The new manager usually picks his own staff that he wants to work with.

Of the Mets' other on-field staff members, only third-base coach Glenn Sherlock is under contract for 2018. Alderson said he expects the hitting and assistant hitting coaches Kevin Long and Pat Roessler to return, though perhaps not in their current roles. Like I said, Long is a candidate to replace Collins as manager, a move that would likely result in a promotion for Roessler.

My take on the team moving forward is they have a lot of promise with the kids they have in the organization. The team is most likely going to stay with prospects Dominic Smith at first base and Amed Rosario at shortstop. But the Mets need either a new second baseman or third basemen. My guess is the Mets will look to get a high-quality third baseman like Mike Moustakas. The Mets have the money to spend and can't afford to wait around for David Wright to come back with all of the medical issues. Wilmer Flores will most likely be the second basemen moving forward and T.J. Rivera will be at first against left-handed pitching (the guy can hit). That leaves a decision on what to do with Asdrubal Cabrera, who wanted to be traded and didn't. Most likely don't see him coming back and the Mets can save another $8 Million. Also, it will be a longshot if they bring back Jose Reyes for another season as he proved his value is slowly decaying. The only way I see him staying if he takes a smaller contract to mentor Rosario and back up the position.

The catching core of Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki might stay intact. Don't be surprised if Plawecki starts more than d'Arnaud because he showed he could hit down the stretch. The Mets could move in another direction and sign a catcher. Jonathon Lucroy, who had a down year but is a free agent could be on the Mets radar if the price is right.

On the offensive side that leaves us with the outfield. The Mets will be without Michael Conforto for sometime when the season starts in 2018. That leaves a giant hole in their lineup and will need some balance. My suggestion is the Mets go out and sign a center fielder like Lorenzo Cain. He can hit and play the position, but I would not mind seeing a lesser signing of Jarrod Dyson to match with Juan Lagares. The Mets can use his speed at the top. Signing a center fielder will give Conforto the chance to move to right field when he is healthy. Yoenis Cespedes was the only big signing in the 2017 off-season and boy did he not only meet the expectations, but he could not stay on the field. Can someone tell him he doesn't have to squat 800 pounds with his legs? Take a yoga class or something.

The Mets pitching staff which was a medical disaster in 2018. Jacob deGrom was the only one to stand his ground and pitch the entire season with 15 wins. The Mets have to take care of Noah Syndergaard (Thor), who also tried to be He-Man this off-season. That leaves the Mets with Matt Harvey, who will be pitching for a new contract in 2019 and youngsters Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo man the rest of the rotation. The Mets are looking to sign other starters to bolster the depth, but don't look for a major signing here.

The bullpen was another medical mystery with closer Jeurys Familia on the shelf with a suspension and injury for most of the season. The Mets made a bold move in acquiring AJ Ramos, who looked good and could take over the spot left from Addison Reed, who the Mets traded. Jerry Blevins will be the only lefty staple in the pen as he has an option to be picked up. The rest is a crap shoot and the Mets most likely will have to find ways to get the pen better either through free agency or trade which also has to be a priority.

So just to recap, Alderson has a lot to do this off-season:

1) He has to get a new manager and staff including training
2) He has to acquire a new infielder (either second or third basemen)
3) He has to acquire a new center fielder preferably
4) He has to add starting pitching depth
5) He has to fix the bullpen

Once he does step one, hopefully, step two through five will give them enough to get back to the promise land in 2018. Stay Tuned Mets fans!

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