Continuing our NL East off season out look series leads us to the New York Mets. The Mets are in for a rough year and Ben Berkon, the editor of Rising Apple, gives us a better grasp of their situation and some interesting things they will be trying to take care of both this off season and into the 2012 season.
Carlos Collazo: Do you agree with the Mets holding on to Reyes and trying to resign him this off season or do you think it would have been better to trade him at some point last season?
Ben Berkon: I think there was more than what now meets the eye. On the surface–and in retrospect–it would have been a no-brainer to trade Reyes, and acquire all sorts of Major League-ready talent. In fact, I bet Sandy Alderson was pleading with the Wilpons to do this. But we have to consider a few things. First of all, back mid-season, the Mets supposedly brought-on David Einhorn and his $200 million to directly infuse into the payroll. By season’s end, the Wilpons decided to reject Einhorn’s proposal, thus shattering any sort of payroll infusion. In addition, it’s quite obvious that with incredible and still mounting debts, the Wilpons were in no position to fork over a fat contract to anyone–including Jose Reyes. The Wilpons can go public as often as they like, pretending their financials are not in dire straights, but most fans are not buying that anymore.
the rest after the break…
CC: David Wright had the worst season of his career last year? Should the Mets keep him or wait for his value to go up a bit and try him to try and help with the whole rebuilding process? Do you think he will have a better season this year with the fences at Citi Field being shorter?
BB: Wright’s trade value can’t really be worse than it is now, so there’s no point selling low when anything could be better. There is a good chance some of Wright’s offense will bounce back in 2012 due to the new Citi dimensions, but it will not fix all his problems. For instance, Wright owned a respectable 16.3% K% from 2004 to 2008, but a terrible 22.9% K% from 2009 to 2011. Also his home/away splits in 2010 (.288/.383/.496 line at home, and a .278/.326/.508 line away) don’t illustrate any Citi-specific struggles. Essentially, Wright is simply not the same hitter he was from pre-2009. In addition to his offensive struggles, Wright has become one of the worst defensive third basemen in the NL. After posting back-to-back fruitful UZR/150 in 2007 (6.3 UZR/150) and 2008 (5.2 UZR/150), Wright gloved horrific showings in 2009 (-12.2 UZR/150), 2010 (-9.5 UZR/150), and 2011 (-16.4 UZR/150). He has now endured three comparatively bad seasons in-a-row–he has a lot to prove in 2012.
CC: Right now, if you are the GM of the Mets what is your game plan going forward? Do you trade off the last chips on the team (Wright, Davis, Murphey) or try and put get quality players that will help the team contend now?
BB: I have no problem trading Wright at the deadline or Murphy (anytime), but I don’t see why dealing Davis makes any sense. Davis is 24 year-old slick-gloving first baseman with the potential to hit a ton of homeruns. If the Mets were to “compete” again in 2014, Davis will just be going into his prime. The Mets need top notch hitters/defenders making comparative peanuts if they want to fend off the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, and Nationals for the Division Title. The Mets don’t have many good chips, but if I were to trade one, I’d rather it be Niese than Davis.
CC: What is your outlook on Ruben Tejada? I’ve heard some good things, but what are you expecting of him this season both offensively and defensively?
BB: I think Tejada will hold his own defensively at shortstop, but based on his .331 BABIP and lack of OB skills in the Minors (.314 OBP in Triple-A), I don’t think his .284/.360/.335 line from 2011 will repeat. Expect more of a .250/.330/.335 line in 2012. The guy has zero pop and isn’t really a speedster, so he’s an eighth hitter (at best).
Thanks again to Ben for talking about the Mets with us. Be sure to check out Rising Apple for my Braves discussion with him and follow Ben on twitter @BenBerkon