Thursday, February 18, 2016

N.Y. Mets: Happy Pitchers and Catchers Day

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

The Truck 'O' Stuff Has Arrived ...

NEW YORK METS: As Pitchers and Catchers report, defense of their National League championship starts now.

The AGE of WILPONianism
Year 14 A.D. 
(After Doubleday)

Roughly 4,802 days ago, former partners Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday parted ways, 
thus making Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and Saul Katz, sole owners of the 
New York Metropolitan Baseball Club.

Team ownership has been a rather neat and tidy history ... from Joan Payson, to Nelson Doubleday, to Fred Wilpon & Son.  We are now entering the 14th year of the latter's reign.

I couldn't resist...

Having secured the 2015 National League pennant, the Wilpons easily enjoyed their finest moment as sole owners of the Mets - for it was ownership whom stepped up at last year's trade deadline and dictated the short term course of the club.

With the off-season now officially behind us, the New York Mets enter Spring Training an improved team, with ownership's continued financial investment into Yoenis Cespedes largely to thank, which is not to say they've retired their massive debt - far from it.

Nevertheless, after a long rebuilding process the Mets are no longer underdogs, and instead enter the 2016 regular season among the favorites to win the World Series.

This blog created the WILPONian Calender in jest, and so, with a turn in team fortunes, ownership at least deserves straight forward credit.

If you think about it, the time spanning the respective firings of Bobby Valentine and Steve Phillips, through Art Howe, Jim Duquette, Willie Randolph and Omar Minaya, the 2016 New York Mets indeed enter the season on the highest of notes over the last 14 years.

So let it be done...

The Competition

With regards to the N.L. East, I think it's safe to say we're talking about a two team race between the Mets and Nationals.  Despite signing 2015 NLCS hero Daniel Murphy, many might argue the Nationals actually took step backwards this off-season.  As noted, the Mets on the other hand, are an improved team.  By how much is debatable, but they're improved nonetheless.

The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins are next in the division hierarchy, while the Philadelphia Phillies seem destined for another last place finish.  All three teams lost in excess of 90 games last season.  Perhaps only Miami, with the return of Giancarlo Stanton, seems equipped to break that trend this season.

Otherwise, I do not think much else has changed.  In the West Division, Los Angeles and San Francisco will battle for a lone playoff spot, because the N.L. Central will once again feature three of the circuit's top tier clubs.  Some believe the Cubs are the favorites to dethrone the Mets as N.L. champs.

We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

The Team

Can you believe it?  No overwhelming issues.

Without getting into the real particulars, there are no positional jobs up for grabs per se, the bench is poised to be strong, the starting rotation is set, and outside of one remaining reliever spot there are no glaring needs to speak of.

Oh how the times have changed...

Behind the dish, Travis d'Arnaud simply needs to stay on the field and in the line-up on a more consistent basis.  His penchant for incurring fluke injuries is becoming problematic.  I'm still high on Kevin Plawecki.  The Mets have a good situation on their hands, but ultimately, one of these catchers needs to win the job outright.  That said, it's obviously TDA's to lose.

Will the real Lucas Duda please show up...  Are the Mets getting Dr. Jekyll from 2014, or last year's Mr. Hyde?  His 2015 regular season was entirely too streaky.  Perhaps he'll benefit from having Yoenis Cespedes in the line-up for a full season.  He has a lot of convincing to do.

Up the middle, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are more polished infielders than Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy demonstrated.  The Mets are better defensively, if only slightly.  Offensively, the Mets might be breaking even.  The acquisition of Cabrera, however, turns Wilmer Flores into a super-sub off the bench.  There's real net gain here.

Look no further than third base, where the Mets are looking towards limiting David Wright to 130 games.

Yoenis Cespedes will headline the outfield.  If only the Mets could convince him to play right field, where they'd maximize his freakish arm strength.  Curtis Granderson looks like he drinks from the fountain of youth.  Unlike last season, Terry Collins gets to figure a way of fitting Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares, and Alex De Aza, over the course of a full season.  Once again, it's a good problem to have.

As the starting pitching goes, so go the Mets - obviously.  And by the way, their lone southpaw starter, Jon Niese, got traded to Pittsburgh.  I wish him luck there.  Otherwise, there's a need for a fifth starter.

In the bullpen, the Mets perhaps need one more reliever in order to round out what seems like a capable bunch (for now...).

That concludes my first stretch...

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Day!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Say what you feel. The worse comment you can make is the one you do not make.