In what’s sure to be an interesting year, this Mets season will surely be an elevator ride, meaning there are going to be plenty of ups and downs.
What the opening series against the Nationals showed us is that there is hope for this team in the future, but the time may not necessarily be now. It’s almost tortuous for the fans to see glimpses of greatness from time to time, but know that this team is just not a completely gelled product.
There aren’t many sure things with this team. In fact, I wouldn’t say there are any. This season is going to be very important in terms of establishing roles for the future and taking the next step in becoming relevant. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. As a fan base, all we want is to be playing serious September baseball, and one loss in April isn’t going to derail that dream.
There are a number of serious questions though moving forward, and the Mets may have to do something to address those uncertainties in the months moving forward. Here’s what I am talking about.
1. Matt Harvey
The key to the future of the Mets pitching staff, no doubt, Harvey is fresh off of Tommy John Surgery, and his first start was brilliant enough to make fans drool about the possibilities moving forward. But, there have been cases where Tommy John Surgery was not completely successful on the first shot, so the Mets have to be careful and handle their stubborn ace with kid gloves moving forward.
What looked like a strength for the Mets coming into the season is looking like a question mark. Injuries have really taken a toll and have forced Sandy Alderson into making two trades. First, Josh Edgin went down with Tommy John Surgery, and then Vic Black was placed on the DL, although he isn’t expected to be out a long duration. With Bobby Parnell making his way back from surgery, that created a need for guys to step up, so Carlos Torres, Rafael Montero and Buddy Carlyle will play significant roles. For some reason, the Mets are carrying three question mark lefties as well, with Sean Gilmartin, Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins in the bullpen as well. Time will tell to see how the questions surrounding the bullpen shake out.
3. The Bench
I have never been a fan of only carrying four men on the bench, especially in the National League. On a normal day, the Mets have just Ruben Tejada, John Mayberry Jr., Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Anthony Recker at their disposal. That’s really a three-man bench because Recker needs to be saved in case something were to happen to Travis d’Arnaud. This situation puts the Mets in a tough situation, especially late in games. If they had Eric Campbell with the squad, they could use Recker as a pinch hitter, since he has the ability to drive himself in with one swing. I expect the Mets to eventually carry five men on the bench, because if they don’t, they’ll feel the burn.
4. Wilmer Flores
The Mets have given the keys to the car to an unproven shortstop with a high offensive ceiling in Wilmer Flores, but these first few days have already been an adventure in the field. Some reporters are already calling on Sandy Alderson to make a move, with Troy Tulowitzki and Starlin Castro being everyone’s dream targets. I am not yet ready to give up on Flores, and I certainly would not switch back to Ruben “I should have been non-tendered” Tejada. Hopefully, the Spring Training Wilmer Flores shows up soon and he’ll be able to silence his own critics.
There’s also questions on the lead-off hitter, David Wright’s return, Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki and Steven Matz’s eventual call-ups and more. It should be an interesting year in Queens, and as the elevator business goes, I expect some ups and downs.