Let’s get one thing straight. The baseball season will be delayed but will happen. So stop buying toilet paper for a minute, and let’s talk about the new New York Mets! It seems like every season us Met fans say: “Looking good this year IF our stars stay healthy we have a good shot.” “If” is the key word, the Mets have had no luck in the previous seasons with injuries, especially to star players. I feel like Bill Murray because it’s Groundhog Day… again! This year however, I am coming into this season with less optimism and more realism.
The Mets have made mostly short-term signings, this offseason, to address our pitching woes and depth problems of last season. The most notable signings were Dellin Betances, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha. However, those are just the big names the Mets also signed Jake Marisnick, Matt Adams and Eduardo Nunez. Not to mention the Mets have a new manager, Luis Rojas who I will not talk about here because he could have a full article just to himself.
Betances is the most impressive signing, but he only played 1 game last year due to a shoulder injury. The Mets obviously have a thing for injury prone players and players coming off big injuries. He is impressive when is on the mound though. The 4 time all-star from Washington Heights has a career ERA of 2.36 and averages 14.6 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. If he stays healthy, I think he is the best signing by Brodie this off-season. One of the best parts about Betances is that he can handle the pressure of pitching in New York unlike the last big name reliever Brodie traded for (not naming any names). However, you never know how someone will perform the year after a season ending injury.
Michael Wacha is the least impressive of the big name signings. The 28 year old is coming off a 6 win season with a 4.76 ERA pitching 29 games. To put this into perspective, Jason Vargas who all Mets fans loved so much had 6 wins in only 19 games and had a 4.01 ERA with the Mets before being dealt to the Phillies for nothing. Not saying we should have signed Vargas, but Wacha is not much of an improvement. However, Wacha probably won’t make the starting rotation if everyone stays healthy. If he does make the team (which I definitely think he will), we might see him come out of the bullpen. It seems like Brodie took a shot on Wacha hoping he could duplicate his 2015 season when he posted an ERA of 3.38 and won 17 games. But we must remember 2015 was now 5 years ago! Wacha never repeated this feat and in 2018 he was shut down from an oblique strain in June that lingered the rest of the season. So yes, the Mets went for another injury prone player.
Then there is Rick Porcello, I know Rick Porcello won the CY Young in 2016, but his career ERA is a sub par 4.36. The 31 year old from Morristown, New Jersey is coming off his worst season ever with a 5.52 ERA and he is not getting any younger. The Mets could have just signed Zack Wheeler who is younger and has stayed relatively healthy the last 2 seasons. He also has put up much better numbers with a career ERA of 3.77. Instead, he will be playing for our rival Phillies next year. This being said the Phillies overpaid for Wheeler, in my opinion. So yes, the New York Mets made a move concerning saving money. Shocker!
Let’s not forget to talk about the other signings. Eduardo Nunez. WHY? Just why? Widely known as a terrible fielder the 32 year old utility player only hit a pedestrian .228 last year with a -1.5 WAR. Did I mention he can’t field? Nunez has a career .959 fielding percentage. To put this into perspective, with a .959 fielding percentage last year he would have been 24th worst in the league (tied with J.D. Davis among other players). Remember last year when the Mets were below average defensively (19th to be specific)? Why sign an aging utility player who can’t field? He probably won’t make the roster unless someone gets injured, but if you know the Mets you know someone will get injured. So we will probably see him in the majors at some point this upcoming season. As far as depth signings go, this one has me scratching my head.
Matt Adams a depth signing at best probably won’t see much of the field since he has Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith in front of him at first base. Adams could be useful coming off the bench as pinch hitter because he has a lot of power. 20 homers last year for the Nationals in 111 games played. Definitely a good depth signing.
Then there is Jake Marisnick. Who must not have heard the cans banging in Houston because he only batted .233 last season. Yes, he is a good fielder (.992 fielding percentage) and had a positive WAR 1.2, but nothing really excites me about him. The 7 year veteran has a career batting average of .227 and a career high of 36 RBI. We might as well have signed the former Gold Glover, Juan Lagares, because Marisnick is only a slight improvement offensively.
Overall, I would give this off-season a B minus pretty plain nothing too exciting. It seems like the Mets are just going to bank on players like Diaz and Familia returning to their best days in the bullpen. The Mets do have a good looking lineup with everyone healthy which all Met fans know is wishful thinking. The starting rotation is also not in bad shape (with everyone healthy). All this being said, I hope all the new Mets prove me wrong and have career years. I have nothing against any of these players personally. Hopefully, this pandemic comes and goes when the weather gets warmer and we can return to our normal lives and watch baseball again!
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