#25. The New York Mets
Team Ace: Johan Santana
Most Valuable Position Player: David Wright
Breakout Candidate: Matt Harvey
Notable Offseason Additions: Travis d’Arnaud, Shaun Marcum
Notable Offseason Losses: R.A. Dickey, Jayson Bay
Biggest Team Weakness: Outfield
Although the Mets traded away last seasons Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, I think they had a really nice offseason. The team knew it didn’t have the pieces to win in 2013, so trading Dickey away at the peak of his value for top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud was a no brainer, especially when you know Dickey only has a few seasons left in the tank. They’re also officially free of Jason Bay’s awful contract, which had been bogging the team down for years, allowing them to save up money for 2015’s monster free agency class. Plus getting David Wright signed long-term as your centerpiece is a great step in the rebuilding process.
First baseman Ike Davis was really hyped up going into last season but was awful over the first half of the season and was subject to a lot of criticism. After the All Star break he quietly redeemed himself, hitting for 20 homerun and a solid .255 average the rest of the way. He’s been an afterthought entering 2013, and I expect him to have a solid, under the radar season, batting at least .250 and hitting close to 40 homers. Mix him with the potential of Ruben Tejada and David Murphy in the middle of the infield and the Mets could actually have a long-term lineup. The outfield still leaves a lot to be desired, but it honestly can’t be any worse than it was with Jason Bay and Andres Torres last season.
Travis d’Arnaud is an obvious break out candidate, but it’s unclear when he’ll see game action, and I think the Met’s young pitching staff will steal the show. Over the last two seasons, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee have developed into reliable starters and should continue to improve this year, and 23-year-old Matt Harvey was an extremely effective strikeout pitcher after being called up at the end of last season and could really make an impact right away in the back end of the rotation. The addition of Shaun Marcum to the top of the rotation will give their staff the stability it needs after losing Dickey.
The NL East is tough so I’m not saying that they’ll contend this season, and they’ll probably move a few more veterans, like Johan Santana if he’s healthy (and if they can find a team willing to take on his 23 million dollar salary), before the trade deadline. But the more I look at this team the more I like it, and come 2014 it might not be too farfetched to believe that this team could be fighting for a wild card birth, or even a spot atop their division.