With Opening Day in just a few days, I would like to present five predictions I have for the New York Mets in the upcoming 2015 season.
- Daniel Murphy will be traded
Entering a contract year, the Mets have to decide if they want to commit long term to their All-Star second baseman. I predict that he will be traded mid season. I think that ideally The Mets would resign him, but he is the type of player that could bring a good return of prospects for a team making a playoff run. The Mets have shown throughout the Sandy Alderson regime that a team can never have enough young pitchers. Additionally with prospect Dilson Herrera the heir apparent to Murphy, the Mets may look at the potential savings from not signing Murphy as a good trade off for the potential that Herrera has.
- The Mets will finish over .500, but will not make the playoffs because of a questionable bullpen.
Josh Edgin out for the season. Bobby Parnell returning from missing almost all of last season. Jenrry Mejia did well as a closer, but who else do they have? Dillon Gee would have been a good arm out of the bullpen, but he has been forced into the starting rotation due to Zack Wheeler’s season-ending Tommy John Surgery. . Jeurys Familia, Victor Black, and Rafael Montero have live arms, but have had injury issues, and not the type of experience a team wants for a team looking to contend. Even with the recent trades to strengthen the bullpen, I still believe this bullpen has more questions than answers, and will prove to be a weakness this season.
- Curtis Granderson will have a rebound year.
A lot of attention has been made about of the hiring of former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. There is good reason for this, especially as it concerns Curtis Granderson, who had his most successful seasons with the Yankees when Long was their hitting coach. I believe Long will help Granderson regain that stroke that made him a premier free agent now that Long is with the Mets. Additionally, entering his second season in Queens, there is less pressure on him since he wasn’t the main acquisition the Mets made this offseason.
- Ruben Tejada will be a valuable part of team.
Wilmer Flores is the starting shortstop entering the season, and Murphy is the starting second baseman. The biggest weakness in Flores game is his defense. Shortstop is one of the most demanding positions from a defensive perspective. While he has been exceeding expectations during spring training, I see Flores lack of experience becoming a liability, especially in close games where a fielding error could be the difference between a win and a loss. Enter Ruben Tejada who has more experience and better defensive abilities as a player I envision becoming a frequent late game defensive replacement for the Mets. I think he will strive in this role as it plays to the strengths of his game, and he will be an important part of the Mets success this year.
- Lucas Duda will have a down year
Duda and the Mets are discussing a contract extension for the left-handed slugger who was third in the NL in homeruns last season. I advise Duda do sign an extension as soon as possible. I am a believer that players who unexpectedly have breakout seasons will struggle in their follow up season. There is more pressure to match what he accomplished the year before, and teams have had a large sample of play to determine how to exploit their weaknesses. Duda also struggles against lefties, which I believe will become an issue if Michael Cuddyer continues playing as well as he did this spring throughout the season. He can play first base, and the Mets have other options of lefties who can play outfield i.e. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who played well this spring. Therefore there is no guarantee that if Duda struggles, the Mets will have no choice but to stick with him. With pressure to justify new especially new contract, I see him struggling this season.