It’s that time of year again, Mets fans. The snow is melting, the skies are blue and Spring Training has finally kicked off. Opening Day is so close you can almost smell it.
With that being said, now is as good of a time as ever to take a look at how the Metropolitans offseason panned out.
After reaching the World Series in 2015 and appearing in the Wild Card playoff game in 2016, the Mets accomplished a feat only obtained once prior in their history: reaching the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
The expectations for the team are high, and while the Mets did not actually add any players this offseason that weren’t on the team last year, here is why their offseason was a success.
If you told me Yoenis Cespedes would still be on the team in 2017, I would be in disbelief. After being acquired by the Mets at the 2015 trade deadline from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for RHP Michael Fulmer, Cespedes carried the Mets to their eventual National League Pennant, having one of the best offensive showings the final two months of the season that any Mets fan has ever seen. In 57 games, Cespedes clubbed 17 homers and drove in 44 runs, while hitting at a .287/.337/.604 clip.
However, Cespedes was seen as a rental, and many believed he would walk and sign a hefty contract with another team after his storied playoff run. That never happened. Cespedes fell into the Mets’ lap and signed a three-year deal with an opt out after the first year when his market didn’t develop quite like everyone thought it would.
Cespedes chose to opt out of the deal after the conclusion of the 2016 season, but signed a lucrative four-year, $110 million deal with a no-trade clause to keep him in Queens.
Without Cespedes, the team suffers. Plain and simple. He is the big bopper in the center of our lineup, and someone who can change the game with the swing of a bat. Cespedes has embraced New York and we have embraced him, and bringing him back makes this offseason a success within itself.
Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas
The re-signing of lefty reliever Jerry Blevins and righty reliever Fernando Salas solidified and deepened our bullpen. Blevins has proved he can be an effective reliever and lefty specialist in New York since coming over to the Mets in a trade right before the 2015 season, and Fernando Salas impressed in the final stretch of the 2016 season after coming over in a late season trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. With Jeurys Familia slated to miss an extended amount of time after his domestic abuse fiasco and Addison Reed taking the reins as closer to start the season, the Mets need a deep bullpen. Combined with Reed, Hansel Robles, Josh Edgin and one of Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo make for a pretty strong staff.
Did you think Jay Bruce would still be a Met on March 2? Yeah, me neither.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While I am disenchanted that Michael Conforto will most likely start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, having an outfield of Cespedes, Bruce, Granderson and Lagares is pretty darn good.
I, like many, expected the Mets to ship Jay Bruce off this winter for a reliever or a pair of prospects, but it could be a blessing in disguise that he’s still a Met. The combination of his track record with the Reds and his showing at the end of last season when he started to get accustomed to New York is enough to see if he can prove to be the three-time all-star we thought we were getting when we traded for him.
Some of the biggest acquisitions we made this offseason came from within. This is slated to be the first season in which all five of our young starters will be healthy and pitching together. Zack Wheeler is returning after missing two seasons from Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey is coming back from surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, Steven Matz had a bone spur in his pitching elbow removed, and Jacob deGrom is back to 100 percent after missing the end of the 2016 season. Am I forgetting someone? Oh yeah, just our flame throwing Norse god, Noah Syndergaard who is my early favorite to win the Cy Young Award this season. Be afraid, Washington Nationals. Be very afraid.
Overall Grade: A-
While the Mets didn’t make any external acquisitions, the re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes, as well as bringing back Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas to solidify the bullpen were necessary moves the Mets needed to make. Jay Bruce can prove to be a difference maker hitting in the middle of the lineup with Cespy, and our five starters being collectively healthy for the first time ever makes me giddy like a kid in a candy store. The Mets could round out this offseason with one more move, and that’s the signing of Kelly Johnson. With David Wright going down with yet another injury, Johnson’s versatility will be much needed yet again; and this time we can have him without having to give the Braves anymore of our prospects.