When the Mets locked up star OF Yoenis Cespedes for four more years, it appeared they would be setting up for an active offseason. There were several clear spots on the roster that could use some upgrades, and it seemed that Sandy Alderson and Co. were going to spend the winter filling those spots. Well, since Cespedes, they haven’t.
Sure, one can claim that any offseason spent bringing back a lineup-booster like Cespedes automatically makes it a good one. But, there are still some areas that need fixing. And with the offseason coming to a close in less than a month, it’s time for Alderson to put some pen to paper.
The Mets’ bullpen in 2016 was, for the most part, one of their biggest successes. With an under-the-radar set up man in Addison Reed and a lockdown closer in Jeurys Familia, if the Mets got through seven with a lead, they were most likely coming away with a win. But, there were some sore spots in that bullpen in 2016. Besides the back-end, there was never a consistent arm that made the middle innings easy. Hansel Robles stood out the most, but he was wildly inconsistent and sometimes ill-tempered. And then the lefties: Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Although Blevins is still available in free agency, it seems less likely that he will return to Queens. Smoker, the Nationals 2007 1st round pick, did have success this past season but is not yet ready to be the main lefty. There are still some viable left-handers in free agency, including J.P. Howell and Travis Wood (who can provide some starts if more injuries arise) so we will see where Alderson goes.
Another concern, also dealing with the bullpen is the status of Familia. There is still some uncertainty regarding his domestic violence charges on Halloween, but it appears he will miss the beginning of the season due to suspension. In this case, who will the Mets use as a closer? Reed has experience from prior stops, so he seems like the most probable fill-in. But, even then, who takes his role as the set-up man? The bullpen has been shaken up due to Familia’s shocking charges, and it will be interesting to see which direction they go.
As far as position players go, there was not much for Alderson to do this offseason. Bringing back Neil Walker, although he is coming off back surgery, seemed like the best move at second base. Lucas Duda will hopefully stay healthy and patrol first base, while the rest of the infield will comprise of Asdrubal Cabrera and (maybe) David Wright. Jose Reyes, a key cog in the 2016 push, will happily fill in anywhere in the infield.
As for the outfield, there’s one lingering question: What is the story with Jay Bruce? There have been headlines this week where the Mets have made it clear that they want multiple prospects in return for Bruce. This would be fine by me, but the Mets are running out of teams to make deals with. There are still some spots for Bruce to go, but time is ticking and other teams are making deals.
Bringing back Cespedes and Walker were two things at the top of the Mets’ list, and they got them both done. But, there is more to baseball than a couple big bats, and it appears that the front office might have forgotten that. As the offseason dwindles down, so do the Mets’ chances of signing an impact reliever.
There is still about a month to go until Spring Training, so here’s to hoping that Alderson makes another big move.