While much of baseball is a win-here-and-now game, teams that can break the mold and sustain success in the MLB are very well heralded. Many people compare the Mets’ pitching staff to that of the Braves in the 90s; however, winning 14 consecutive divisional pennants is something that baseball may never see again. Therefore, baseball sees success more along the lines of what the Phillies did from 2007 to 2011, or the Tigers in the Dave Dombrowski years. Now with young players on the team, the real question is how to keep October baseball in Flushing for years to come.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has proven to be a man who can put together a team that is more than just a one-hit wonder. From 1983 to 1997, Sandy served as the Oakland A’s GM, bringing a World Series to the Bay in 1989, bookended by two other AL pennants in 1988 and 1990. Sandy brought in players such as Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Walt Weiss to spearhead a three-year run as the best team in the AL. After working in the MLB office for a few years, he worked as the GM for five years in San Diego, bringing back two NL West championships before the team fell off a cliff.
When coming to the Mets, the former GM Omar Minaya had drafted many players that would be instrumental to the team’s future success, such as Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob DeGrom. Alderson also traded veterans away for young talent, such as Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Travis D’Arnaud, all while hampered by the Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Through all of this, Alderson has helped make the Mets one of the most lethal pitching rotations in the major leagues.
As the monetary stranglehold of the scandal seems to have subsided, the Mets came off their most successful season since 2000. They already have free agents hitting the market and garnering interest, such as Daniel Murphy, Bartolo Colon and, probably the most important one, Yoenis Cespedes. A qualifying offer has already been given to Murphy, and the team has expressed interest in bringing back Bartolo in a relief role, however, many think that New York will let Cespedes walk. It is not the worst thing in the world if Cespedes does not come back, considering he would want a long-term contract after being on four teams in four years. While it is likely that the Mets will sign neither Murphy nor Cespedes, the team still can lean on its potent pitching to lead it to a .500 record, like it did this year. However, they will in fact need some bats.
With prospects such as Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds set to make their debuts this upcoming season, and young guys such as Dilson Herrera and Michael Conforto set to have a big impact, the team needs to find ways to fill in those holes while the young players develop into those roles. In the absence of Daniel Murphy, a guy such as Alexei Ramirez, previously with the White Sox, could fill that role nicely. He was a solid player in Chicago, and can fill in to the lineup immediately.
As for the hole of Cespedes, the development of Juan Lagares will need to continue. After his breakout year in 2014, he receded in 2015, relinquishing his leadoff role to Curtis Granderson. While the power of Cespedes would not be filled, the fielding still can be. Lagares is a young player still being developed. As for the cleanup spot, the hole for the beginning of the season will have to be filled by either Lucas Duda or Travis d’Arnaud. If they continue to be streaky, then a deadline acquisition will have to be brought in, with the potentially unfortuante result of giving away one of our top prospects. If Bartolo refuses a spot in the bullpen, a player such as Darren O’ Day from Baltimore could fill in.
The New York Mets accomplished incredible things this year with their run to the World Series, and are also expected to have more spending money this offseason. While they are losing key components in their run, the team continues to find ways to win. When the pitching is off, the hitting is on, and vice versa. Their ability to pick each other up will be the key to multiple NL East championships and multiple runs to the World Series.