Although the Mets don’t seem to have the financials means to make any serious off-season acquisitions, it is likely that Sandy Alderson will make personnel moves with the players he already has to improve this team for 2013. Here is a look at the Mets players looking towards the off-season and whether the Mets, in my opinion, should lock ‘em or drop ‘em.
Josh Thole (.234 BA, 1 HR, 21 RBI)
The Mets Opening Day catcher the last two seasons, but he has digressed each season since his call-up in 2009. A catcher that hits for no power is tough to keep on a roster, but when his on-base percentage is .294 it’s even harder. That being said, if the Dickey is in the Mets plans for next season. Thole did the best job catching the knuckleball this season and would be useful on the staff. Lock ‘em as a platoon or backup for 2013.
Kelly Shoppach (.203 BA, 3 HR, 10 RBI)
Shoppach is a veteran catcher who was brought in mid-season to win the job for next year. In the 28 games he played for the Mets he did little to prove such. Drop ‘em.
Mike Nickeas (.174 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI)
A life-time .180-hitter in 73 games over three years. Not worth carrying a third catcher in today’s game. Drop ‘em.
Ike Davis (.227 BA, 32 HR, 90 RBI)
The best FIRST BASEMAN on the team. Trade bait or not, you don’t trade a 30-plus home run guy and replace him with someone you think can hit that many. A plus defender when his head is in the game and he came on strong in the second half – I think his struggles were more related to missing virtually the entire 2011 season rather than Valley Fever or partying. Lock ‘em.
Daniel Murphy (.291 BA, 6 HR, 65 RBI)
His average was bound to come down from the nearly league leading .320 last season before he was injured. His average will hover around .300 while hitting 40 doubles and roughly 60 RBI. After being jerked around position wise, he seems to have found a home at second base. He was .010 below the league average in fielding-percentage this season, but we know he’s not flashing gold leather no matter where he plays. Lock ‘em.
Justin Turner (.269 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI)
Due to the lack of injuries on the team (and his own) he was forced into a reduced role this season. Won’t contend for a starting position, but he has value to the Mets on the bench, especially if he can become competent at a corner outfield position during spring training. Lock ‘em.
David Wright (.306 BA, 21 HR, 93 RBI)
The Franchise Part II. Your Mets all-time leader in hits, run scored, total bases, doubles, RBI, and walks. Lock ‘em…forever.
Ruben Tejada (.289 BA, 1 HR, 25 RBI)
His first full season as starting shortstop of the New York Mets went well. Not only was he asked to replace a star and fan-favorite at the position, Terry Collins also batted him leadoff for the majority of the season. The projects as a great number two hitter with the ability to hit line drives, work the count, and make solid contact with two-strikes. Lock ‘em.
Ronny Cedeno (.259 BA, 4 HR, 22 RBI)
A more-than solid backup middle infielder, this was the first year since 2007 that he didn’t come close to playing in 100 games. He will be looking for a starting job in the off-season and the Mets don’t need a middle-infielder. Drop ‘em.
Jordany Valdespin (.241 BA, 8 HR, 26 RBI)
Way, way too wild with the bat. He either hits it 500 feet or misses the ball by six inches – evidence of a two strike count in 111 of his 191 at-bats. But he also ran into 8 home runs. He looked putrid at shortstop, but wasn’t terrible at second base or the outfield (with the exception of a few misreads). He will play second base during winter ball, but I wouldn’t be so fast to hand him an Opening Day bench spot, let alone a starting role. Drop ‘em to Las Vegas.
Jason Bay (.165 BA, 8 HR, 20 RBI)
Would you believe he only managed to see time in 70 games this year – it felt like so much more. His batting average drops nearly 100-points this season and managed to somehow 20 RBI. His $20 million (including 2014 buyout) virtual guarantees he’ll be back, but I feel I’ll be in the majority on this one. Drop ‘em.
Andres Torres (.230 BA, 3 HR, 35 RBI)
A throw in from San Francisco in the trade that also netted the Mets Ramon Ramirez last off-season, but the Mets may have been better off with Angel Pagan. Torres was brought in to be the speed guy on the team, but after a leg injury on Opening Day, he never quite got the legs going. He was 13-for-18 on stolen base attempts and was either picked off or mad bone-headed mistakes on the base-paths several times as the season slipped away in late July. Drop ‘em.
Lucas Duda (.239 BA, 15 HR, 57 RBI)
A truly interesting case. Like Murphy, he is another man without a position, displaced by a better hitter and fielder. In 100 games he batted .292 and slugged .482. It was that performance that lead management to believe Duda could provide the Mets with three power bats in the middle of their lineup. A switch of positions to right field was possibly the cause of Duda’s batting average dip, lose nearly 100-points on his slugging percentage and be sent down to Triple-A. The Mets seem to be hell-bent on making a choice between Davis and Duda at first, but I feel that’s the wrong decision. Tell Duda today he is the left fielder and let him shag flies all winter and get a full spring training in at that position. It worked for Murphy, right? Lock ‘em.
Mike Baxter (.263 BA, 3 HR, 17 RBI)
In the first half of the season before his injury Baxter batted .323 in a predominantly pinch-hitting role included crushing 12 of his 21 hits for extra-bases. After his miraculous no-hitter saving catch, the Queens-native returned roughly two months later and batted .228 in the second-half. Lock ‘em.
Scott Hairtson (.263 BA, 20 HR, 57 RBI)
After crushing left-handed pitcher for the first four months of the season, Hairston stats leveled off as he recived more playing time against both lefty and righty starting pitchers. He finished the year with 20 home runs and 57 RBI in 398 plate appearances. He is defiantly worth more than the $1.1 million the Mets paid him this season, he may not be able to secure the starting job he is looking for during the off-season. If not, the Mets should be able to guarantee him 400 at-bats with the current outfield talent. Lock ‘em.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.252 BA, 7 HR, 28 RBI)
He seems to be a forgotten man after his demotion and then season-ending injury. He instantly became a fan-favorite after taking over the second game of the season for Andres Torres. His football background showed on many outstanding defensive plays with complete disregard for his body. He seemed unstoppable over the first few weeks, but then fell victim to swinging at the pitches high and outside, which led to 98 strikeouts 282 at-bats. It was a great first learning experience for the rookie and he should make the team next year at least as a fourth outfielder. Lock ‘em.