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The 2017 Mets Suck, but What Will the 2018 Mets Look Like?

It’s been widely publicized that one of the most underperforming teams this season has been the New York Mets. Mired by injuries, poor play, and getting into scraps with players like Yasiel Puig, the Amazins are, well…not so Amazin.

98% of us would admit right now that the Mets wouldn’t contend for a playoff spot for this year. Acknowledging this and the fact that a lot of key players’ contracts are going off the books, and this will be a different Mets team next year.

Rotation

Yes, the Mets rotation is banged up. Yes, we have only seen the Mets rotation 80% healthy during their World Series run. And yes, the Mets should stick with the rotation that they have.

I’m still convinced that Matt Harvey can be a good pitcher when healthy. Having that muscle atrophy certainly didn’t help him this year, either. Give him one more shot, then if he’s still awful, let him walk.

Syndergaard, Matz and deGrom can anchor a rotation for years and years to come. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if either was moved at the deadline this year — the Mets could be looking to completely rebuild, which might not be a bad idea.

On the back end, Zack Wheeler is probably not worth much as a starter anymore, but he’s still young and could get another chance. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are also good options here; they’ll only get better as time goes on.

Bullpen

Addison Reed will likely be out the door for rebuilding pieces, so he will no longer be with the team come 2018. The Mets might grab more pitching, they might grab prospects. While that’s unknown, what is known is that they still could have a solid core in the bullpen.

Keeping around Jeurys Familia is a smart move, despite his medical history and character incident. He should be slotted back in as the closer next year; the guy can still bring it.

Jerry Blevins should also be kept around – he’s quietly had a decent year with all the turmoil surrounding the team. After him, put one of Gsellman or Wheeler in the bullpen as a long guy. From there, bring in some pieces, whether they’re from the farm system or off the free agency market to round out the ‘pen. It’s not as bad as it may seem.

Catcher

Let’s face it: Travis D’Arnaud hasn’t worked out with the New York Mets. Originally supposed to be the centerpiece to the R.A. Dickey deal, D’Arnaud has fallen by the wayside, whether it’s from Syndergaard’s overshadowing, or his constant trips to the DL. It would be surprising if the Mets decide to pursue him beyond this year.

There are some options on the free agency market. Jonathan Lucroy is the most enticing option, but he is in the midst of a down year, and won’t come cheap. The Mets would be better off saving that money for a different position, and moving to a different option instead of an expensive, potentially underperforming Lucroy.

A more realistic option would be Welington Castillo. Castillo is having a decent year for the Orioles, batting .258 with 8 home runs. Not the best numbers, but a guy on a cheap contract who will hit consistently and play good defense is generally a smart idea.

First Base

Lucas Duda is almost certainly on his way out at the deadline. Once thought of to be the future face of the franchise after a stellar 2011, Duda has struggled to hit for average, and to stay off the DL. He might be sent to a team like the Yankees who so desperately need help at first base.

The Mets should stay in-house for first base. Promoting #2 prospect Dominic Smith to the bigs would be the wisest and cheapest move. If he doesn’t work out, they could platoon with Wilmer Flores at first. Nothing stellar, but it won’t break the bank, and you’d know you’d get consistent production out of at least Flores, if not Smith.

If they do decide to spend here, maybe go out and get Carlos Santana. He shouldn’t command too much money, can play first, and has a lot of power. A little inconsistent, but a solid player nonetheless.

Second Base

Not a day goes by without a single Met fan or executive kicking themselves over passing on Daniel Murphy. His replacement, Neil Walker, has certainly not been a bad player by any means. In fact, he’s been a consistent presence in that lineup. But, Walker is 31 going on 32. If he commands a hefty deal, the Mets should move on. If they can bring him back for cheap, that’s also probably a smart move.

In the event that the Mets move on from Walker, they should again stay in-house. Some combination of Wilmer Flores (if he isn’t playing first), T.J. Rivera, or even Gavin Cecchini could at least work as a stopgap for a few years until a new player hits the marker.

Shortstop

AHMED. ROSARIO. Call the kid up, and let him play. Simple as that.

Third Base

Even if he miraculously comes back, David Wright shouldn’t be more than a bench player at this point. His production is down, and he is banged up. Really banged up.

This is where the Mets should spend some of their money. Go out and pay for Mike Moustakas. He can field, he’s definitely got a power bat, and he knows how to win. If he’s too pricey, however, don’t pull the trigger.

If Moose goes elsewhere, another option would be Todd Frazier. Frazier’s contact numbers have seemingly died since he joined the White Sox. However, he still has a lot of pop — he drilled 40 home runs last year and almost drove in 100 runs in a weak lineup. Frazier also shouldn’t break the bank, unlike Moustakas. Either way, the Mets would get a solid player.

Outfield

Yoenis Cespedes isn’t going anywhere, which at this stage of his career, might be a bad thing. The batting average is a bit down, he’s hurt, and can’t move as well. That being said, finding him some way to get at bats and limit his play in left field would be ideal. Maybe a move to first base? I wouldn’t leave that unexplored.

In center field, if the Mets still have some money lying around, they should pursue a guy like Lorenzo Cain. His defense is nothing short of amazing, and he’s got a solid bat. He’d likely command a large sum of money, but if the Mets can afford him, they should outspend everyone else to get him. They need an anchor out there.

If Cain doesn’t work out, another very solid player is J.D. Martinez. Martinez has a really solid bat, and good defense. He’s one of the most underrated players in baseball. Martinez would be slotted in right field, which would mean…

Michael Conforto finally gets his shot as a starter. He’s clearly proven himself this year to be worth a damn, and the Mets should acknowledge this. Whether it means he’s a center fielder or preferably a right fielder, the Mets don’t care. Conforto will go wherever there is an opening, but rest assured he will start next season.

 

So there you have it. While the infield has some question marks, this Mets team has the potential to actually be something decent. Getting through a team like the Cubs or the Dodgers? Highly, highly unlikely. But, maybe sneaking in as a Wild Card and stealing that game with a Thor gem? That may be more plausible than it seems now.

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