Mets Hot Stove Poll: Outfield 2013

#Mets Poll: Vote for Right Track, Wrong Track Poll

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With more help, can Wright again hit .300, 30, 100?

In 2007, the Mets had the fourth-most productive offense in the National League, which included Jose Reyes and a lineup with three players that hit more than 20 HR and 80 RBI, including David Wright, who hit .325 with 30 HR and 107 RBI.

In 2008, the Mets had the second-most productive offense in the National League, which again included Reyes and a lineup with three players that hit more than 20 HR and 80 RBI, including Wright, who .303 with 33 HR and 115 RBI.

However, since then, the Mets have repeatedly been one of the worst and least consistent offenses in baseball, during which Wright has struggled to match the level of production he did in previous seasons.

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

In other words, while there are some fans who feel Wright is the problem, there are others (like me) who believe – if surrounded with better hitters – he can return to being as productive as he was a few years ago. I know he isn’t getting any younger, but – in terms of power production, less average – historically speaking – these next few seasons should actually be his prime…

In a post to Mets Today, Joe Janish writes:

“I feel strongly that Wright will hit .300+ and 25+ HR in a lineup that includes other proven MLB run producers. You’re right, he’s not a Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder type of hitter, who can carry a club on his own. Though, even Fielder and Cabrera had each other in 2012, and Fielder had Ryan Braun previously, while Cabrera had Victor Martinez. As nice a player as Ike Davis is, he’s no Martinez, and certainly, no Braun. Most great hitters have at least one strong-hitting “sidekick” that helps them be great; Wright has had no such complementary teammate since Carlos Beltran‘s last full season as a Met in 2008 (when Wright last hit 30+ HRs, drove in 100+ RBI, and hit .300+). Off the top of my head, the only other really good NL hitters who didn’t have an established sidekick were Andrew McCutchen and Chase Headley. McCutchen is a bonafide superstar while Headley may have benefited from a combination of a second-half hot streak and the fact that people were not expecting him to be as good as he performed. In comparison, Wright finished with very good numbers — though he did, as you say, more or less disappear in the second half (similarly, Headley was only so-so in the first half).”

I totally agree with Joe. What’s more, according to Wins Above Replacement, Wright can be considered one of the best players in the National League.

So, the question is this…

#Mets Poll: Vote on How you feel about the 2012 season?

Matthew Cerrone , Lead Writer

In April, just before the season started, I wrote this about the 2012 Mets:

The way I see it, if Johan wins a Cy Young and Bay, Lucas Duda, David Wright and Ike Davis all hit 30 home runs each, I think the Mets could win 85 games or so and challenge for the second Wild Card, all of which I think is a long shot. Of course, I hope it happens and, because it’s my nature to give the benefit of the doubt until I see otherwise, I’ll imagine it can happen… because that would be downright awesome. But, more realistically, I’m simply hoping for progress. That’s all. In November, when writing this blog later this year, all I hope is that we – as fans – are excited and feeling good about the direction the franchise is headed. … The point is, given how things have gone the last five years, though I’d love a World Series victory, I’ll gladly settle for progress and a better unity among fans.

The Mets won 74 games, one short of 75. It’s what was probably expected at the start of the season, but – after a strong first half, expectations were raised. So, today, 74 feels like a massive let down as opposed to being par for the course. I think most reasonable people knew the first-half, two-out hit parade was unsustainable, and to get half your wins from just two starting pitchers (one 37 and the other coming off shoulder surgery) was never a recipe for long-term succes. Nevertheless, at 46-40 and tied for the last Wild Card spot, perception became reality and – even though I knew a bucket of cold water might get dumped on us in the second half – I still let myself hope and believe again in miracles… which is why today, I feel disappointed in just 74 wins.

That said, though Lucas Duda didn’t answer questions about his potential, for the most part, I think we learned some things about where this train is headed…

We now know Matt Harvey can pitch in the big leagues and he can be counted on to be a mid- to front-of-the rotation guy. We know (and the rest of league knows) Zack Wheeler is worthy of his top prospect status, and he can be seriously considered in future planning. We know Ruben Tejada is certainly a big-league middle infielder and he will keep working hard to be better. We know Robert Carson, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia give strong, inexpensive, internal, promising options for the bullpen. We learned David Wright can hit in Citi Field and should be signed to a contract extension. And, lastly, we confirmed that RA Dickey is not a gimmick, but the real deal with plenty of mileage left on his 37-year-old arm.

The point is, while there were clearly some side steps and new holes created (such as in the outfield and behind the plate), and though I’m not sure I’d say I’m ‘excited,’ I do think there is progress here in simply knowing what isn’t working and what needs to be done, all while getting one year closer to the end of Jason Bay’s and Johan Santana’s contracts. And, I think that’s what this season was always going to be about.

As I’ve said before, 2010 and 2011 were about cutting the overpaid, veteran fat and creating roster space for young, less expensive, internal options (like Duda, Harvey, Mike Nickeas, Josh Edgin and others) to essentially audition in 2012. The thing is, the team won early and raised expectations this year, changing the conversation a bit, but I don’t think Sandy Alderson’s goal for the roster (and long-term plan) ever changed. As such, though losing again prevailed, management should have a good idea at this point about who is legit and who isn’t.

In other words, as I said repeatedly on this blog already, Alderson has done his due diligence and demolition, he knows what’s what, now it’s time to actually start building around the players he wants to keep.

Poll: How should the Mets handle David Wright this winter?

CJ sent in an e-mail asking: “Is David Wright worth a big contract? Don’t get me wrong, I love Wright and home grown talent, but I’m not sure signing him to a long term big contract gets the Mets anywhere closer to winning it all. He can’t carry a team, he’s a great complementary player, but not a “Piazza”.  So I say trade him, and then sign someone like Josh Hamilton.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I’ll get to Wright, who may be worth his next contract based solely on what he does for this franchise from a message, stability and marketing point of view. But, first, let me say there is no way the Mets should or will sign Hamilton. I admire Josh’s fight, story and struggle, but his history would be cause for concern in New York. Plus, he has a lot of mileage on his body and life, he’s an old 31 in my book, and I don’t see him ever living up to the massive, long-term contract he’s likely to get from the Rangers. I’d much, much rather Wright on this team in this city for a slightly less expensive contract.

Now, I know what you mean when you say, ‘Wright is a complementary player.’ I get it. I don’t agree, but I understand what you’re saying and why. The thing is, Wright is actually responsible for about the same percentage of his team’s run production as Hamilton is for Texas. In other words, in the context of the Mets, right now, Wright is Hamilton. The problem, however, is Wright is NOT surrounded by Texas’s offense, which sort of gets back to your point, CJ…

Basically (and this going to sound obvious), if the Mets keep surrounding Wright with Quadruple-A and part-time players and a constant revolving door of youngsters trying to find their way, it will not matter what he’s paid or how his advanced statistics stack up to other team’s stars. You will be disappointed in Wright, because we’ll all be disappointed in the Mets. However, if Sandy Alderson surrounds Wright with “better,” every-day hitters, whether they develop from within or come in by trade or free agency, even if they’re not the game’s most expensive players, if the team scores runs as a unit, I think you’ll go back to loving Wright (probably like you did in 2006, 2007 and 2008, when he better players around him).

In other words, with their promising young pitching, and RA Dickey, I think Wright (at $20 million a year) and the Mets will be fine over the next few years, so long he, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy are backed up by three outfielders who can actually hit and drive in runs.