As I said in a previous article on this site, Jose Reyes is a goner. (If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out). He was the spark that made the New York Mets go since he came up as a rookie. That spark will be going to another team, maybe even within the NL East Division. The Mets are going to have to get creative in order to produce runs without him.
The Mets are full of guys who are like Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions — if healthy, pretty good. Ike Davis and David Wright are examples. Davis, who injured his foot in a fluky collision with Wright in Colorado last year, was proving why he was a former first-round pick. Besides his propensity for diving over the rail to make catches, he can flat out hit. With the fences being moved in at Citi Field, Davis’ numbers should get even better. Wright is coming off another injury-plagued season in which he continued to be streaky. I fully believe Citi Field and the beaning he took from Matt Cain in 2009 still are effecting him. However, I don’t see the Mets going into next season without Wright and Reyes if they want to have any fans in the seats.
The rest of their infield is going to be a mix of people. Ruben Tejada, most likely, will be the starting shortstop. Tejada can field, but the question is whether he can hit enough to be a major-league regular. Second base may be a platoon between Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy. Both players can hit, though Turner’s production started to slip as the season went on because of a lack of experience and injuries. Murphy’s season ended on a slide into second. He’s not exactly a second baseman, and may become a super utility man.
The outfield probably will look the same as it did last year. Jason Bay will continue to patrol left field, and Mets fans will count the days until his contract ends. He hasn’t hit for any power and can’t stay healthy. Unless he turns it around, he will be a part of the Bobby Bonilla wing of Mets history as big-name free agents who didn’t make it. Angel Pagan, most likely, will be tendered a contract by the Mets and be in center field. Pagan was limited by injury (stop me if you’ve heard this before) but has shown flashes of being a productive center fielder. Lucas Duda will be the right fielder. He’s not exactly Vladimir Guerrero in his prime in the field, but Duda can hit and showed in 2011 he deserves a shot in 2012.
The catchers, again, will be Ronny Paulino and Josh Thole. Going forward, they will have to improve in this area to be competitive. Pitchers had problems with each catcher in 2011 and the defense was lacking.
Here is what I think the Mets will look like, with salary included:
Pagan CF ($4 million-5 million)
Tejada SS ($400-500k)
Wright 3b ($15 million)
Davis 1B ($400-500k)
Bay LF ($18.1 million)
Duda RF ($400-500k)
Murphy/Turner 2B ($400-500k each)
Thole/Paulino C ($400-500k for Thole, $2 million for Paulino)