For Mets fans, the 2013 season ended with the tragic news that All-Star Matt Harvey would miss the entire 2014 season after needing Tommy John surgery. However, in a season where next to nothing was expected of us, it sure did feel good to finish ahead of the Phillies. The team showed some very bright spots during the year but this season also raised a few questions as we head into the offseason. With Harvey out, it’s time for the Mets to start building around his return.
While there are certainly some moves I feel need to be pursued outside of the organization, most successful teams build a core within their own system. Moving forward, the Mets first need to assess which positions they already have covered. With that being said, let’s take a look at the first of three posts grading the 2013 Mets Opening Day roster and discuss whether or not they fit into the plans for 2014. I am aware that several members of the Opening Day lineup are no longer with the team but I’ll grade their performance with us and how their departure hurts/helps the team.
Part 1: Opening Day Starting Lineup:
Collin Cowgill – D -He hit a grand slam on Opening Day and it went downhill from there. After batting .180 out of the leadoff spot, trading him to the Angels to open a spot for Juan Lagares was the best thing we got out of Cowgill.
Daniel Murphy - A - Murphy absolutely played himself into the plans for the future. He plays a defensively sound second base and for the second half of the season, Murphy was the team’s best hitter. I couldn’t stand him when he first broke in but Murph is incredibly dependable and the type of hitter every good team needs.
David Wright - A - The Captain continued his great career as a Met, starting in the All-Star game. Although he missed a bit of time with an injury, he played well when he was on the field. Wright batted over .300 but only drove in 58 runs, which should be an indication to building the top of the lineup for next season.
Ike Davis - F - Ike Davis was supposed to be one of the consistent power threats in the lineup and it looks as if he may never pan out. Another season fighting injuries, he only hit 9HR with 33 RBI while striking out 101 times and batting just .205. The Mets should get whatever they can for Davis and look elsewhere for a first baseman because he just hasn’t been the player they expected.
Marlon Byrd - A- The play of Marlon Byrd was a very pleasant surprise but it was more important to trade him. I was happy to see him play well in the postseason but Vic Black looks like a helpful addition to the bullpen and Dilson Herrera could be middle infield help a few years down the road, if not trade bait.
Lucas Duda-C- In a season that started off looking very similar to that of Ike Davis, Duda was able to figure it out and his power really showed up towards the end of the season. As long as Duda never plays poorly enough to be demoted again, his bat could be a valuable power source in the lineup or off the bench. However, I don’t think the Mets should count on him as their power hitter just yet.
John Buck -B - For a short time at the beginning of the season, John Buck looked like our best hitter but nobody bought that and his play dropped off as the halfway mark of the season passed. With d’Arnaud behind him, Buck was another player who we needed to move. Hopefully the catcher position is solidified for years to come now.
Ruben Tejada-C- Not much was expected out of the shortstop position this season but I think it’s pretty clear that the solution must come from outside the organization. Tejada missed a lot of time due to injury and while defensively, the platoon with Omar Quintanilla wasn’t bad, there is almost no contribution on the offensive side. Neither are great hitters nor are they particularly fast which makes it hard to argue for their spot in the starting lineup.
How alarming is it that two of our highest grades were traded away during the season? It appears as if the Mets are going to build around the pitching prospects of the future but there are many spots that need to be addressed before we can make a serious run. Only two of the players on this list undoubtedly deserve to be in the lineup Opening Day next season (Wright and Murphy) but aside from them, the front office needs to start putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Our young pitchers are never going to develop the way we envision if we can’t score runs.
I’ll be following up this post with parts 2 (Starting Rotation) and 3 (Bench & Bullpen) but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from our readers. Did you agree with my grades? What spots in the lineup do you think the Mets need to solidify? Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.