By: Joe Messineo

3 Worst-Case Scenarios for the New York Mets Offseason


If you believe the Mets front office, they have a quiet, tidy little plan for this offseason. The Mets will avoid big trades, steer clear of high-priced free agents, and spend money judiciously to improve their team while staying under budget. That’s all well and good, but the Mets’ plans are still reliant on some factors that are beyond their control. And while their allegedly modest plans will give them a low profile, they’re still going to be exposed to a certain amount of risk depending on what free agents, other teams, and player agents decide. Here are 3 worst-case scenarios for the Mets offseason.

Scenario #1: The Mets Don’t Snag a Free Agent Shortstop, Ben Zobrist, or Daniel Murphy

If you believe the Mets front office, they’d far prefer to sign a free agent shortstop rather than trade for one. They don’t want to let go of any of their young pitchers, and that’s probably would it would take to pry SS Starlin Castro from the Cubs. So that leaves guys like free agent Ian Desmond. Okay – except that there are at least three or four other teams that would also like to bring in one of those same shortstops. If the Mets get outbid for guys like Desmond and Asdrubal Cabrera, then they’ll be stuck either coughing up some pitching or sticking with Wilmer Flores and/or Ruben Tejada at shortstop.

Bad stuff, but it wouldn’t be a disaster yet. The Mets could still re-sign 2B Daniel Murphy or IF/OF Ben Zobrist to shore up the infield. Shortstop would still be a liability (and, with Murphy, so would second-base defense), but that’s a flaw, not a game-changer. But if the Mets miss out on Zobrist and Murphy too, though, they’ll be all but out of options. They could get a stopgap guy for second, but they would probably just shift Flores to second. Considering one of this offseason’s goals is to upgrade the Tejada/Flores tandem, ending it with both of them cemented as starters would be a massive failure.

Scenario #2: The Nationals Invest in One or More Mega-Star Free Agents

The Mets’ strategy of standing relatively pat this offseason isn’t the dumbest thing in the world. It’s frustrating for fans, sure, but it’s long been understood that the playoffs are strongly influenced by luck. It stands to reason that the surest path to a championship is a prolonged period of playoff appearances, not a short run of dominance. Just ask the Giants, who have been regularly good but rarely the best – or the Nationals, who were briefly the best but have not enjoyed many shots at the ultimate prize.

But the Nationals may not share the Mets’ wait-and-see attitude. And while that may not be the soundest strategy for prolonged contention, it could be a ticket to at least one division championship – next year’s. The Nationals would be mortgaging their future if they signed a marquee free agent to force their closing championship window back open, but that’s their decision – and in the meantime, such a choice would deal a serious blow to the 2016 Mets’ chances of winning the National League East. If the Nationals make a run at a top guy like free agent OF Jason Heyward, watch out. The Mets’ long-term plan may not have an answer for a short-term Nationals splurge.

Scenario #3: The Mets Fail to Find a Platoon Partner for Juan Lagares

The Mets are determined to use CF Juan Lagares somehow, since they’re paying the guy. As a result, they’re veering away from full-time outfielders and are focused on the market for lefty-hitting guys that they can platoon with their athletic but light-hitting center fielder. The problem: there aren’t a ton of these guys around. The Mets were hoping to snag a guy like Colby Rasmus, until Rasmus accepting his qualifying offer and stayed with the Astros. Now they’re hoping for Gerardo Parra.

If the Mets miss out on Parra, too, they’ll have very slim pickings indeed. Here’s another case where missing out on Zobrist (who could be among the last possible solutions to come off the board) would be the last straw. If the Mets are forced to use Juan Lagares as a full-time player next year, they’d better hope they got their infield right, or it will be a long season for the offense.

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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