Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
In early November, while discussing his plan for the off-season, Sandy Alderson said he hoped to acquire a few new players for his starting lineup in 2014.
“You cannot have two or three holes in your lineup and live with five guys trying to generate offense,” he said to WFAN’s Mike Francesa, insisting he does not want to go into next season with too many internal candidates at starting positions.
He went on to commit $55 million to OF Curtis Granderson, who will obviously be a starting corner outfielder. He signed OF Chris Young, who told reporters that he expects to get 600 plate appearances playing mostly corner outfield, with a chance of playing center field. Alderson later signed Bartolo Colon to anchor his rotation during Matt Harvey’s rehab from Tommy John surgery.
They’re all smart, quality moves that will help. However, the rest of the roster is still very much a mystery…
In all likelihood, Ruben Tejada will be Alderson’s starting shortstop, assuming he does not acquire Stephen Drew. This is fine, but awkward since Alderson spent much of the winter telling media how Tejada had slacked off during the last year. Similarly, the starting first baseman could still be Ike Davis, who Alderson has been been quite open about trying to trade. It’s also possible neither of these men are in the starting lineup, but in either case, it will be an ‘internal candidate’ at those positions.
The bullpen will likely star Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen, Scott Rice, Josh Edgin and Carlos Torres, and eventually Ryan Reid, Joel Carreno, Jack Leathersich and Jeff Walters may make appearances. I have no idea what to make of this bullpen, though. I like the strategy of relying on various parts and pieces to fill out the bullpen, because I see it repeatedly work for the Rockies, Padres, Red Sox and others. I just don’t know yet if this is the right mix of guys. We’ll see… but, again, it’s a mystery yet defined.
I assume Omar Quintanilla will join Josh Satin and Eric Young Jr., on the bench. However, anyone from Lucas Duda or Andrew Brown to Davis to Anthony Seratelli to Juan Centeno, Anthony Recker or Taylor Teagarden may be sitting next to them. Where does Wilmer Flores land? It all depends on Drew, Tejada and whether or not Ike hits with power. In any case, it’s looking like a third of the 25-man roster will be earning the league minimum. Again, it’s a mystery…
That said, I like Juan Lagares. He reminds me of Carlos Gomez when he was with the Mets. Lagares, Granderson and Young give the team an incredible and entertaining outfield defense, which the pitching staff will adore.
The rotation is Alderson’s strength, especially if Zack Wheeler improves upon his 2013. It’s very good, with the potential to be outstanding if the middle infield can step up its game behind them.
In the end, the way I see it, knowing what we know of about the markets, off-season and likely roster, 2014′s success likely comes down to Travis d’Arnaud‘s development, sound play at shortstop and second, and Parnell and Black becoming a dominant 1-2 punch in the bullpen.
And, seriously, thank God for David Wright…