New York Mets offseason

New York Mets offseason in review

The New York Mets have been one of the most active teams in free agency this offseason, making shrewd and solid moves in an otherwise stagnant offseason for most clubs.

Many teams have chosen to adjust their rosters via trade, rather than increase payroll. However, the Mets have made the most of their budget and reconnected with some familiar names.

With spring training underway, the season has begun for the Mets and they are ready to embark on the 2018 season. Let’s recap the team’s most significant acquisitions and signings thus far.

Anthony Swarzak

New York Mets offseason

Anthony Swarzak delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo from NY Daily News)

This signing was made to bolster the Mets’ bullpen depth, although he essentially replaces Addison Reed from last year’s team. It was still a necessary pickup to give new manager Mickey Callaway another option out of the pen besides Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia.

Callaway has stated that there will be a closer by committee this season for the bullpen, so there is no defined role yet for Swarzak. However, it will become clearer as the season goes on. 

Jay Bruce

New York Mets offseason

Jay Bruce celebrates with Yoenis Cespedes after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo from Forbes.com)

The Mets realized they traded away too much of their power from last season, so they brought back Jay Bruce to fill a hole in the outfield, and provide depth at first base. He will also take on a role as a leader in the clubhouse that was sorely needed for how young the team is.

Bruce led the Mets in hitting, home runs and RBIs before he was traded to Cleveland last summer. The team will expect more of the same productivity moving forward.

Adrian Gonzalez

The Mets brought in Gonzalez to be a placeholder at first base until Dominic Smith is ready for his next chance in the big leagues. He replaces Lucas Duda from last season.

While he won’t provide the offensive firepower that Duda had, he is a veteran and a natural at the position with a smooth glove that will help the youngsters around the infield improve their overall game.

Jose Reyes

This move was made purely for infield depth and allows the team to reconnect with a fan favorite. It also gives Reyes the opportunity to play for the one team that has always accepted him. He will be around to mentor the young Mets’ infielders, specifically Amed Rosario, who expressed his desire to the club to bring Reyes back in the offseason.

He will look to establish himself as a future star in his first full big league season. Reyes will provide infield depth as he is capable of playing third base, shortstop and second base.

Todd Frazier

New York Mets offseason

Todd Frazier in the home run derby. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In a much-needed move, the Mets not only improved their offense by plugging Frazier’s power into the middle of their lineup, but also solidified the team’s defense, as Frazier can pick it at third with the best of them. He has been rated one of the best defensive third basemen ever since he came up with the Cincinnati Reds.

He is also a large presence in the clubhouse. The team will hold him in high regard for his leadership skills on and off the field to go along with the many hits he will hopefully swat for the team during his tenure.

Jason Vargas 

New York Mets offseason

Jason Vargas being formally introduced as the newest member of the New York Mets. (Photo from NY Daily News)

In a surprising late offseason signing, the Mets added some valuable pitching depth behind Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard by signing Vargas. He will almost certainly take up one of the five rotation spots for the Mets this season.

The signing also increases competition for the last two spots among the other young Mets hurlers like Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. This will make an entertaining spring training.

 

 

 

 

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New York Mets team profile

New York Mets team profile

The New York Mets finished in fourth place in the NL East with a 72-90 record. They were a team that dealt with a plethora of injuries, and it ended up costing them its season. David Wright has not been able to get over the injury bug, and the team’s two best hitters, Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, saw extended time on the disabled list.

It was not only at the plate, but on the mound the Mets saw its fair share of issues. Matt Harvey has not been able to break out of his rut, and Noah Syndergaard was only able to start seven times. Jacob deGrom was the only one that was able to cross the 25-start threshold in 2017, so the Mets have a fair amount to deal with before being able to compete in the near future.

Offseason moves

New York Mets team profile

Jay Bruce will reunite with the Mets in 2018 (Photo from FanRag Sports)

The New York Mets have taken strides to improve in the near future. It was reported on Wednesday that Jay Bruce would be returning to the Queens with a three-year contract. This is a solid signing that is lighting a mini spark into the hot stove. Since not many other moves have been made, the Mets look serious about improving in 2018.

So far, the only loss for them has been Jose Reyes, who did not have a great 2017 season. It was also reported that the Mets were very close to a deal with the Cleveland Indians for second baseman, Jason Kipnis. While he may not have provided the impact that the Mets need, it would have been a step in the right direction to show they are serious about improvements.

The three-year contract that Bruce signed also shows that the Mets are nowhere near thinking about a rebuilding phase despite its current place in the division. The rest of the NL East is in for some trouble with how successful the Nationals have been during the regular season. This move shows that the Mets want to try their hand though, and they may not be that far off.

The pitching

The New York Mets ranked 28th in pitching in 2017. This is nowhere near the expectations for the players they have on the team at the moment. New York has some of the best young pitching in the league, but due to injuries and underperforming, they took a step in the wrong direction.

The Mets have built a very good base in the rotation with Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler. As mentioned, due to injuries and poor performance, it does not look as solid as it once did. The top two in the rotation still look like they have a promising future, but Harvey, Matz and Wheeler will have a pivotal year in 2018. If they don’t show signs of improvement, the Mets will know it will be time to move on.

Anthony Swarzak had the best year of his career in 2017. He may have been one of the better middle relievers in all of baseball. He, along with A.J. Ramos and Addison Reed, should provide a reliable core to the bullpen.

2018 outlook

New York Mets team profile

Matt Harvey needs to get back on track in 2018 (Photo from USA Today)

As stated previously, the Nationals are still at the forefront of the NL East, and the National League as a whole. No team from the East will most likely compete with them for the division.

This is a year for the Mets to build up and see if they are ready to compete by 2019 perhaps. Washington is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, and even the Wild Card is going to be tough to come by as it will take more than 87 wins most likely.

This is a big year for Matt Harvey as well. After stellar seasons between 2012-15, Harvey looks like he has lost his touch. This especially looked to be the case last year after finishing with a -1.1 WAR and 6.70 ERA. Something has to change in order for him to stick around the team. Whether it is mechanical or mental, the Mets can not afford to let him throw games away much longer.

With Noah Syndergaard coming off injury and deGrom looking to improve, there is a lot of room to improve. Their health is key too, as we may see a much better team in 2018 if the Mets are able to keep guys on the field.

 

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