As free agency approaches rapidly, the New York Mets will have a lot of work to do to improve their team. One area where the Mets should focus a significant amount of attention is their infield. The infield really only has one star player, third baseman David Wright, while second baseman Daniel Murphy had a solid 2013 season. The Mets saw two more players expected to contribute to the core, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, undergo a severe regression and added rookie catcher Travis d'Arnaud in mid August. With that in mind, the Mets 101 staff takes a look at the big questions for the Mets and their infield going forward.
1. What Should the Mets do with Ike Davis Going Forward?
Mike Phillips: The Mets probably should bring Ike Davis back for 2014. Even though Davis struggled to start 2013, he was hitting better before hurting his oblique muscle in September. The Mets could bring him back for roughly 3.5 million dollars, which is a cheap enough figure for a starting first baseman. Although Davis didn't give the Mets much to write home about in 2013, guys with 30 home run power don't grow on trees. The Mets also can't turn over their entire roster in one winter, so giving Davis another shot (possibly with a right handed caddy) is logical. Davis' strong work ethic and positive attitude in the face of adversity also helps his cause.
Kyle Brosnan: The Mets should re-sign him and give him the chance to win the first base job in spring training. He's still young and is only a season removed from 32 home runs in 2012. When he came back from the minors last year, Davis showed a more patient approach at the plate and was able to draw walks at a very high rate before he got hurt. I'm not ready to quit on Ike Davis just yet.
Steve Popoloski: Since Sandy Alderson has already stated that the Mets will not non-tender Davis, it looks like he's going to be given another shot at winning the first base job. I'm fine with one last shot for Ike. The potential is there, but if he can't put up respectable numbers by the All Star Game, pull the plug.
2. Is Daniel Murphy the Long Term Answer at Second Base?
Mike: Murphy may not be the long term answer at second base, but he is the clear answer there right now. Daniel Murphy was the only Mets' regular player to make it through the entire season without being injured, demoted, or traded. While Murphy is not an elite second baseman, he is an above average hitter and has improved to a serviceable level defensively. Murphy also is a good fit in the second spot in the Mets' batting order, and he can be a key piece on a winner.
Kyle: Yes. His 2013 stats rank with names like Mike Trout, Hunter Pence, Andrew McCutchen and Ian Desmond as the only players in the majors with at least 35 doubles, 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases. You're not going to get that production from anyone else on the current roster who plays second base. I can most definitely live with Murphy's glove if he puts up stats like that.
Steve: Unless the Mets find a better 2B option and move Murph to first, then yes. I want him on the Mets regardless. He's a great value and his bat offsets his limited range in the field.
3. Does Travis d'Arnaud's slow start raise concern about his long term ability as the team's catcher?
Mike: There are no concerns at this point for d'Arnaud. The young catcher hit only .202 on the year with one home run, but his eye at the plate was impressive. The Mets invested a lot to acquire d'Arnaud, so there is no reason a bad month and a half should have them down on him. Even after the poor showing, d'Arnaud still has a ton of potential and young catchers with power don't grow on trees either. The Mets will go forward with d'Arnaud in 2014, but they will likely look for a sturdy veteran (such as Henry Blanco) to back him up.
Kyle: No. The jump from Triple-A to the majors is huge and I'm not concerned that a rookie catcher had issues with major league pitching when he was first called up. d'Arnaud will be fine.
Steve: Given that he missed a majority of 2013, I don't have any concern regarding d'Arnaud. He may only pan out to be a solid .250 hitter but many teams don't even get that out of their backstops. The second coming of Piazza he won't be, but I think d'Arnaud goes on to have a nice year offensively and defensively for the Mets.
4. What Will the Mets do at Shortstop Next Season?
Mike: The Mets could literally do anything else and end up with better shortstop play than they had last season. The incumbents, Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla, were a black hole on the Mets' lineup and Tejada in particular ended up in the organizational dog house. Some rumors have suggested the Mets could try and re-acquire Jose Reyes from the Toronto Blue Jays, but given his age and contract the Mets will probably patch this hole in free agency. Notable free agent shortstops include Stephen Drew, Jhonny Peralta, and Yunel Escobar, any of whom would be a good stop gap for the Mets while Gavin Cecchini continues to develop.
Kyle: I honestly believe that the Mets' 2014 shortstop is currently not on the roster. Ruben Tejada is not he answer and the prospects seem like a few years away. I would love a blockbuster deal with Colorado for Troy Tulowitzki, but I'd sign up for anyone else than Tejada at this point.
Steve: Like Davis, I think Ruben Tejada gets every opportunity to win his job back in ST, as he's another guy who once looked to be the future starter that one day woke up and couldn't hit water if he fell off a boat. It'd be something if the Mets somehow dealt for Jose Reyes but I don't see that happening (even with the increased budget) and if Tejada stinks, I guess we're in for another year of Quintanilla, or an equivalent journeyman.
5. In terms of David Wright, what type of hitter does he most need for protection in the lineup?
Mike: David Wright is ideally the Mets' third place hitter. Logically, the Mets need a bona fide slugger to fill the cleanup slot behind him. Manager Terry Collins has indicated in the past few days that the organization's plan is to come out of this winter with a cleanup hitter. Collins indicated that the Mets will likely try and trade for a cleanup hitter, so rumors surrounding Colorado sluggers Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez as well as Blue Jays' outfielder Jose Bautista make sense. The Mets know they need to come out of the winter with a cleanup batter and I believe they will, but the question is who it is and how much he will cost.
Kyle: Ike Davis could provide the type of protection the Wright needs if he can put it all together. If Wright has a legitimate power hitter behind him in the lineup, he's going to get pitches to hit. The Mets can't go with a one man lineup again or hope that they find another Marlon Byrd off the scrap heap.
Steve: Wright needs an RBI man most of all. A slugger isn't the answer in Citi Field, but they need someone who can get clutch hits and move the runners along so Young, Murphy and Wright's hits and walks aren't going to waste. Anyone from Colorado would fit the bill, but Tulowitzki would be a clutch move to kill two birds with one stone.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- Mets 101 Second Half Preview: Roundtable Predictions
- Mets 101 Season in Review: Offense
- Mets 101 Roundtable: How Do the Mets Move Forward Without Matt Harvey?
- Mets 101 Season in Review: Surprises and Disappointments
- Mets 101 Player Review Series: Lucas Duda
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/130t