30 Clubs in 30 Days: New York Mets

Posted: March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

ImageIt has been five years since the New York Mets have won 80+ games. The once proud franchise, champions of the NL East in 2006, has never recovered from their “close-but-no-cigar” choke jobs of 2007-08. Half-a-decade later, the franchise is recovering from financial burdens and roster mismanagement to, perhaps, contend for their first winning season since 2008.

Gone are the days where New York shelled out millions for high-priced talent. The failed signing of Jason Bay (.165-8-20), whom the team released this winter, might have been the last straw. Instead, the Mets spent this offseason restocking their prospect pool. The lone big transaction, the trade which sent NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey (20-6, 2.73) to Toronto, landed prized C prospect Travis d’Arnaud, along with pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. These two, along with Zach Wheeler and Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.73), are the keys to a prosperous future in Queens.

With Dickey gone, the team needed pitching. They replaced their Cy Young right-hander with oft-injured former Brewer Shaun Marcum (7-4, 3.70). When healthy, the right-hander can be a fantastic #2 or #3 starter. It is obvious, however, that not many teams were confident in his health, as Marcum inked just a one year deal with New York. Behind Marcum, the Mets have largely the same group as last year. Harvey, Jonathon Niese (13-9, 3.40), Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.10), and Jeremy Hefner (4-7, 5.09) will likely be the opening day rotation. The Mets do have talent in the upper minors in Wheeler, Jenrry Mejia, and Collin McHugh who could see time this year.

The lineup includes a few new faces and some familiar ones as well. David Wright (.306-21-93) returns with a fresh $100+ million contract. Blossoming young players like Ike Davis (.227-32-90), and Ruben Tejada (.289-1-25) will join the third baseman to aid a New York offense that scored just 650 runs last season, fifth worst in the NL.

Five Year Review:
2012:  74-88
2011: 77-85
2010: 79-83
2009: 70-92
2008: 89-73

2012 Team MVP: RHP R.A. Dickey: Other than David Wright, there are not any real contenders to steal this award from the now former Met. A 37-year old knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey’s life story is one for the silver screen. Sexually molested by a babysitter as a child, Dickey was a career AAAA player until he finally got a consistent opportunity with New York in 2010. That year, the right-hander finished 11-9, 2.84 and many believed he was another one-hit wonder whose weaknesses would become apparent after hitters got to see him more. Unfortunately for Dickey’s opponents, that was not the case. The Tennessee native became a household name in 2012 with a 20-6, 2.73 season that included 5 CG, 3 SHO, 233.2 IP, 230 K, and 927 BFP, all league leading stats. He was traded to Toronto in the offseason, so Mets fans will not even have a farewell tour to congratulate Dickey on.

2012 Team LVP: LF Jason Bay: Just like Dickey, this one was not difficult. Also, like Dickey, Bay is no longer a Met. The franchise released the highly-priced but under-performing outfielder in November after three wildly unproductive seasons in The Big Apple. Following a 2009 season with Boston in which the right-handed slugger feasted on Fenway Park’s favorable dimensions to the tune of .267-36-119, Bay inked a 4 year, $66 million contract with New York. The deal was putrid from the start, as Bay’s numbers declined sharply and the veteran battled with injuries during his tenure with the team. After slugging 30+ HR four of the previous five years prior to joining the Mets, Bay went on to hit just 26 and 124 RBI in 288 games over three seasons in Queens. The Mets will be paying Bay $16 million this season just for him to stay on the West Coast.

Key Acquisitions:

C Travis d’Arnaud (Toronto Blue Jays)
C John Buck (Toronto Blue Jays)
OF Collin Cowgill (Oakland Athletics)
OF Andrew Brown (Colorado Rockies)
OF Marlon Byrd (Boston Red Sox)
RHP Shaun Marcum (Milwaukee Brewers)
RHP Brandon Lyon (Toronto Blue Jays)
RHP LaTroy Hawkins (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
LHP Aaron Laffey (Toronto Blue Jays)

Key Departures:

C Josh Thole (Toronto Blue Jays)
C Kelly Shoppach (Seattle Mariners)
SS Ronny Cedeno (St. Louis Cardinals)
OF Scott Hairston (Chicago Cubs)
OF Jason Bay (Seattle Mariners)
OF Andres Torres (San Francisco Giants)
RHP Chris Young (Washington Nationals)
RHP R.A. Dickey (Toronto Blue Jays)
RHP Mike Pelfrey (Minnesota Twins)
RHP Ramon Ramirez (San Francisco Giants)

Projected Lineup/Rotation (w/composite 2013 projections):

OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis – .236-11-40
2B Daniel Murphy – .287-9-68
3B David Wright – .277-21-86-16 SB
1B Ike Davis – .255-28-87
OF Lucas Duda – .249-17-66
OF Marlon Byrd – .267-1-8
C John Buck – .228-10-35
SS Ruben Tejada – .271-3-44

LHP Johan Santana – 8-8, 3.91
LHP Jon Niese – 10-10, 3.89
RHP Shaun Marcum – 10-8, 3.67
RHP Matt Harvey – 10-9, 3.72
LHP Dillon Gee – 9-9, 4.13

RHP Frank Francisco – 3-2, 3.67, 23 SV
RHP Bobby Parnell – 3-2, 3.39, 9 SV

2013 Outlook:

With Johan Santana coming back from injury, the Mets rotation is a huge question mark. Matt Harvey and Jon Niese are the surest things, and the former is a rookie without a full MLB season behind him. Little about this team has improved. The outfield is so bad that ESPN ran an article a few weeks back stating that the Mets’ trio could be the worst offensive outfield in the history of the sport. Pretty impressive, eh?

David Wright will get his, and Tejada, Davis, and Duda are good complimentary players. But, the Mets just do not have anything that resembles a competitive MLB lineup. When Marlon Byrd and John Buck are in your lineup and it is 2013, not 2003, your team is in trouble. I would have a lot more confidence in this team to get to .500 if they had at least one competent professional outfielder on their roster. As of now, I just do not see it. I predict the Mets to win between 70-76 games, missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

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